Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Make Your Own QR!

I made a QR link for my Welcome to Third Grade brochure! These are sent to each of my students before school has started. Our school posts the class lists about a week before the first day of school. As soon as the lists are posted, teachers send our letters/postcards/brochures about themselves and the students' new grade level.

I thought I'd bump it up a notch and at a QR code!

I haven't ever made a QR before, so what does someone do when they need to know something?! I Googled it ;) I found a 4-Step How-To and followed it easily! I chose to use Microsoft Tag to make my QR code. It was so fast and easy to do. I linked it to my blog's parent page. I plan to include a QR code in my monthly newsletters giving teachers some resources to use at home as we cover a variety of subjects.

Have you used QR codes in your classroom or to provide information to parents? Any tips or tricks to pass along?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Made It Monday - 3rd Grade Kit, Birthday Treats

I'm linking up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics for Made It Monday! I was able to complete a few small projects for this Monday It Monday! I put together my students' first day 3rd Grade Kits and Birthday Treats.

First were the 3rd Grade Kits: The attached note reads
  • Smartie: You are a "Smartie"
  • Stick of Gum: "Stick" to it and I know you will be able to do anything!
  • Peppermint: You are "mint" for our class!
  • Eraser: It's okay to make a mistake, "erase" and keep trying!
  • Smile Stickers: "Smile", 3rd grade is going to be a lot of FUN!!
  • We're going to have a GREAT year! XOXO Mrs. Brown

Then I just baggied up those items and stapled the note onto the bag. Quick & easy and such a hit with the students!

Secondly, I put together my birthday treats. I downloaded the birthday balloon outline from Teaching Third. Then, printed on them on bright cardstock, cut them out, and attached them to a birthday pencil and a fancy sucker. Can't wait to give them out on birthdays & summer half-birthdays :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Made It Monday: Response Feedback Board

I'm linking up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics for Made It Monday!

I just have one project to show for this Made It Monday, but I am so very excited to use it this school year! I had originally pinned this student feedback board from Cheryl's Classroom Tips. Then, I saw how The Teaching Thief adapted this board and included a theme. Well, I am amping up my fish theme this school year, so of course I made my feedback board with fish!

First, I di-cut the fish for the board. I decided to do 28 instead of 24 because you never know what could happen in these years of budget cuts. Better to have more fish than not enough!

Printed off numbers and cut them into squares for the fish. Then, I added the numbers and glued everything down!

Finished product!!!!!! Off to the laminator!!!

My plan is to attach this to the wall along with a holder for sticky notes for the students to write their responses. I will either verbally give prompts (i.e., "What is the theme of this story?") or post it near the board (i.e., "When do you use multiplication in everyday life?"). This gives me a quick way to get feedback from my students and know who is understanding concepts in the classroom.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Postcard Writing

Hello from the sunny state of California!
It sure is a nice break from the hot, sweaty weather in Kansas. We are averaging a 100* temperature with a heat index around 108*. I am visiting my sister out here and loving seeing the ocean!

Onto the classroom-based part of this post! If I ever travel during the school year, I get a postcard for each student. I mail them before I leave time my traveling location. The students LOVE getting mail addressed to them! Plus, I can model for them how a friendly letter should be written.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Finding Technology Resources

I am so looking forward to my new iPad that is coming in the mail! I am scouring Pinterest for iPad for resources for using the iPad in the classroom. Something very exciting, I am getting a projector adapter along with the iPad so we can all work together and see what is happening. Here are some iPad Pinterest boards:

Also, I'm sure most of you have seen this version of Twitter in the classroom:
Pinned Image
But what about using actual Twitter in the classroom?! A suggestion from The Teachers Corner, is to give your students (or parents) your 'teacher' twitter account URL. Then use this to easily communicate quick reminders about homework or tests. They don't need a twitter account to see your tweets. Also, you can send links to parents and other teacher to information related to what you are teaching. If you are already on Twitter, you might want to check out these articles: The 2012 A-Z List of Educational Twitter Hashtags and 100 Serious Twitter Tips for Academics.

Teaching Blog Addict has a few cool features you should check out. First, TBA has a Pinterest link up area!
Click here to go add your own Pinterest page!
Here's my Pinterest page!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Creative Writing in the Classroom - FREEBIE

Getting students to write creatively can sometimes be a challenge. These are some of the ways I try to inspire my students to write:

  1. Sending Hip Hop Hippo home with each student: Hip Hop is our class traveling Hippo. Hip Hop goes home with students along with Hip Hop's diary. The students write a letter to the class from Hip Hop's point of view about what they did together. The students get a kick out of pretending Hip Hop is alive and hanging out with them. The student then gets to read their letter aloud to the class. A class list is on the inside cover so I know who still needs to take Hip Hop home.

  2. Using composition notebooks instead of spiral notebooks: My students take better care of their writing composition notebooks. The pages are harder to rip out (yay!) and everything seems to be more organized. Our student notebooks have three tabs: My Thinking (where their writing goes), Learning Strategies (proof-reading marks, writing strategies, etc. go here), and Robust Vocabulary (part of our StoryTown reading curriculum). I was also inspired by What's The Buzz? and The Daily Cafe to amp up our composition notebooks with a bookmark. Check out my tutorial on those bookmarks!

  3. I saw this idea on Plug-n-Play and knew I had to do it as well! Don't tell the kids where you are and then have them write about where they think you are/what they think happened to you. This was hilarious! I loved reading what my students thought I was doing while I wasn't in the classroom with them.

  4. Creative writing notebooks: This will be new this school year! I was inspired by I Love My Classroom to create classroom journals. My students LOVE to read what each other writes. My titles are Sport, My Dream, Family Vacation, My Wish, Book, Your Weekend, Pet, Favorite Memory. I will put a class list on the inside cover so students will know who has and has not had the traveling journal. If you would like these topics, get them for FREE here!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pinterest, you have my heart!

It seems like I cannot go more than a day without stalking through Pinterest. There are so many WONDERFUL ideas out there and I am very happy to be able to share ideas with other teachers! Here are some of my recent pins:

This can be used for an exit ticket at the end of the day or a way for students to provide informal feedback to you about any topic. I am excited to make mine into a fish theme! This idea is from The Teaching Thief.
Pinned Image

I have had a Must Do/Can Do chart on my whiteboard for many years and my students just LOVE to get to their Can Dos! But this is such a cute way to display it to the students. This idea is from Mrs. Stephen's First Grade Safari.
Pinned Image

My third graders can begin to get a bit lazy as the year goes on with their writing. I hope going over expectations inspired by this anchor chart help! This idea is from My Life As A Fifth Grade Teacher.
Pinned Image

This photography idea is from Christine Kay. I think recording what the students would like to be when they grow up during the first day/week of school is an awesome idea. Then, revisiting it at the end of the school year!
Pinned Image

For the most part, my students are obsessed with using their cursive. We do a lot of art projects involving cursive and I think this one will definitely need to be added to the mix! This idea is from a French & Art teacher at Artisan Des Arts.
Cursive Name Art ... Easy plan for the littles who are dying to write everything in cursive!

Thanks for checking out my pins, I'm sure I'll be adding more soon!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Make It...Sunday?

I'm either very late or a bit early on this Make It... event! I decided to tackle making pencil bags for my students. They do not have pencil bags on their school supplies list, but it is definitely something that is helpful for them to have in the homework binder. Secondly, I made built-in bookmarks for my student journals.

So first, gather your materials: scissors, quart-sized baggies (the slider close is better so that you don't have to constantly line up the zipper for the students), and some pretty duct tape of your choice. You will also need a 3-hole punch to finish your project!

Measure out how much duct tape it will take to cover the width of your baggie. You can actually measure or just eyeball it each time (which is obviously what I decided to do!). Cut at the length you are happy with. You don't want much overhang, so I cut mine slightly smaller than the width of the baggie.

In order to not have air pockets in the duct tape and to be able to see what I was doing properly, I flipped the duct tape over. Then I could line up the baggie halfway down the duct tape before folding it over.

Then, fold it over and tape it down :)

Final step, 3-hole punch and repeat for all your students :)

In order to make your notebook bookmarks, first gather your materials: hot glue gun, notebooks, ribbon (I chose 1" wide), and scissors. Decide how much overhang of a bookmark you would like; Be sure to fold the ribbon over to see what it will look like before you glue!

Choose bright colors and be sure they are glued in well so they stay in the notebooks :)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Up All Night, Then Woke Up to an AWESOME Email!

Good morning blogging world! I understand to most of you it is the afternoon, but I have just woken up! Last night and into this morning, I participated in our town's Relay For Life event. I am team captain of our school's Relay team. We do many events throughout the school year to raise money to fight cancer and find a cure. Some of the events we do are Penny Wars, Dress Up Days (for students), Dress Down Days (for staff), bake sales, and selling items at our school store. Our team raised about $2,000 this year! So I just woke up after walking all night (10+ miles!) and going to bed about 6:30am.

Once I did wake up and get my email checked, I became ELATED! Back in early June, I went to a workshop called Math, Money, & Make-Believe at the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank. At the workshop, we were given TONS of free resources and many websites to find resources for teaching elementary students about economics and the use of money. As the workshop was wrapped, the instructors told us that they are working to develop their website Classroom CLUEs which has many children's literature books with tie-ins to instruction. They were asking us to add teaching tips to books we have used in the classroom. Our incentive, of course it was an economics workshop, was that for each teacher tip we entered our name would be placed in a drawing for a FREE iPad! And guess what?! I won!! This is the fabulous email:

WOW!! I never win anything, so this is something HUGE to win! I can't wait to get some school apps on that baby and share it with my students!

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Olympic Games Come Home

image from here
Here are some ideas for hosting your own Olympic games in your backyard:

Need: Small paper bag, newspaper, string
Stuff a small paper bag with newspaper. Tie it off with a 12" long string. Hold the end of the string. Spin around 3 times. Let go. Watch how far the hammer travels. Record distances. The longest distance wins.

Need: soda straws, waste paper basket, tape
Tape 4 straws together end to end. Mark a starting line behind which all players must stand. Place a wastepaper basket 5 feet from the starting line. Throw straws into the wastebasket. Give each player 5 turns. The winner is the child who gets the straws into the basket the most times.

Let kids pick out their favorite music and choreograph a dance off the top of their head. Pick winners by who has the most coordination, best music, and most enthusiastic attitude. Hold up posters from 1 to 10 to show their scores.


Make a ball out of aluminum foil. Hold the ball in the palm of one hand. Instruct children to place that hand next to their ear and then push the shot into the air extending their arms. They can not move their feet. Record distances; the longest distance wins.

Use a Frisbee to play discus or tape two heavy foam plates together. Hold the "discus" like a flying disk. Throw away from the waist. Record distances. The longest distance wins

Set goals at least 15 feet apart. Goals can be as simple as a rope anchored in the ground. Play the best two out of three games.

ideas from:

Here are some classroom resources:

Friday, July 6, 2012

One Lovely Blog Award

I am so excited to have been nominated by Mrs. Slocum from Teachers Don't Steal - They Share! for the One Lovely Blog Award! I absolutely LOVE reading all the teaching blogs out there and I am so happy that others are reading mine and, I hope, getting something useful out of it.

There are only 4 rules to follow once you've received this award :)
1. Follow the person who gave you the award
2. Link back to the person that gave you the award
3. Pass the award on to 10 new bloggers
4. Share 7 random facts about you

I am passing on the award to the following 10 blogs:
1. Journey of a Substitute Teacher
2. *Teaching Maddeness*
3. 005 Watkins' Way
4. 3rd Grade Sprinkles
5. Mrs. Standford's Class
6. Where Learning Is Fun
7. Step into 2nd Grade with Mrs. Lemons
8. technology rocks. seriously.

My random facts:
1. I am working to become a better cook. Baking is where my heart is, but you can only survive so long on cookies, brownies, cupcakes, and pie.
2. I met my husband when I was 16. We were high school sweethearts, dated through college, broke up while I was student teaching (we now refer to that as the "intermission" of our relationship ;) And were married in March 2010!

3. I am a HUGE Kansas Jayhawk fan! Nothing makes me happier than wearing a crimson & blue shirt on a Jayhawk game day! Our family room is decorated in all KU items!

4. I ran the KC Color Run on June 30th. It was soooo much messy fun. If you have the Color Run coming to your city, get signed up!

5. Traveling is my favorite thing to do! We try to go to a new place each year and would like to check all 50 states off our "been there" list!

6. I love to watch the Kansas City Royals play baseball. I am super pumped that the All-Star game is in Kansas City this year and all the festivities that go along with it!

7. I am a Sigma Kappa. I joined the sorority at KU my freshman year and am now an active Alumna as an advisor!