Monday, July 30, 2012

Birthday Balloons and Light Bulbs

This has been the craziest week of summer.  I have quite a few "made-its" but most of them are not post-ready.  Soooo.....your going to have to wait until next week, or the week after that to see.  I do, however, have two quick things to share:

I got the bright idea for the light bulbs from There's No Place Like Second Grade.  I cleaned out the dollar section at Target and purchased all the light bulbs they had.  They are amazing little stress balls that will serve as a perfect brain boost for my little ones who are stuck coming up with an idea.  I can't wait to try them out this year.

I'm not sure where the idea for the birthday balloons first originated.  I found out about them last summer on ProTeacher.  I love that site!  So many great ideas from teachers who love to share!  Got a question?  Post it there and your sure to get a great response.  I apologize for not having a link to this great resource.  If you recognize them and know who created them let me know and I'll copy their link into my post!

Well, that's all for now, but I promise I have more coming.  Stay tuned ... and while you wait, link up with Tara for Monday Made It!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Teacher, the Pump, and Picture Books

As some of you may already know, back in March I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.  Initially, it threw my life into a frantic spin.  In a desperate attempt to gain back control I looked for various distractions.  Hence, the start of my lovely bog and TpT store.

After a few months of struggling with various injections, and not being happy with my blood glucose levels, I attended a few classes at a local diabetes center and decided to start using a pump.  More specifically, I choose Ominipod!  I choose to wear a Pod instead of other insulin pumps on the market because it is wireless!  I live an active lifestyle and a Pod will provide me with the freedom I so desperately want.

Well, just one week after attending my pump class and filling out my paperwork my box arrived in the mail!  I was astonished by how fast it came.  Between paperwork, insurance, mail delivery times, etc...I thought for sure I'd be waiting at least until August.  Nope!  Here it is!

I am uberly excited to get started using the pump over the summer.  My next class is scheduled for Monday, just 3 days away.  I'm hoping to be a pump wearing pro before my first day back to school.

So, while I've been waiting for Monday to come so I can properly be trained how to use my wonderful pump, I decided to do a little internet search for child friendly diabetes picture books.  I intend to share my diabetes and pump with my class this year.  Although a pump is discrete, it still makes noise on occasion, and I am still going to need to check my blood glucose levels, and manage my lows and highs throughout the day.  I also do not want to keep my diabetes a secret from my students.  It is not something to be scared of.  I want to use this opportunity to advocate for diabetes and teach students about it.  While entrusting my students with my diabetes, I will be building a strong classroom community of caring and open-minded students.

So, here are a few pictures books that I've found so far that I can use as an avenue to teach students about diabetes:

1.  Taking Diabetes to School by Kim Gosselin

Taking Diabetes to School (Special Kids in Schools Series)This book contains an instructive story of a grade-schooler with diabetes who tells his classmates about the disease and how he manages it. The story offers insight into the day-to-day school life of a child with diabetes and includes 10 Tips for Teachers and a Kid Friendly Quiz.

2.  Life with Diabetes by Dana Sheppard
This is an entertaining and educational story about Lacie the Lizard on an insulin pump. It shares Lacie’s adventures and friendships, and learn why she is just like any other Lizard.

3. Just Sweet Enough By Stacey Omstead DiNiro

This is a cute and simple story about being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

I'm still on the look out with a picture book focusing on having a teacher with diabetes.  I've yet to find one.  Maybe I need to publish my own!  Do you know anyone with diabetes?  Have you ever had a child with diabetes in your class?  Please share!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Reading Center Wheel

Today, for Monday Made It, I want to share with you my reading center set-up!

I despise rotating through center cards so I created a wheel!  I split my students up into 5 groups for reading centers. Usually, I end up with about 20 students total, so that is about 4 students in each group. Each group is assigned a color: red, yellow, green, blue, or orange.

We start our reading block with a read aloud and/or mini-lesson. Students then go back to their seats for independent reading. Everyone reads at the same time and the quiet is magical. Sometimes I read as well to model good behavior. Most of the time I conference with individual students or work with needs groups.

I set a timer. In the beginning of the year students only read silently for 10-15 minutes. By the end of the year they read for about 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, they quietly look at the wheel to see what their center is, and get started.

In the past I have had 10 centers so each group was responsible for 2, but it is a lot to keep up with. So this year, I am just going to have 5: Listening, Comprehension, ABC, Fluency, and Writing about Reading.  I'll post more about each individual center later.

This year, I decided to create a reading bulletin board to display my center wheel. The center wheel is wonderful, I just turn it each day, and students can easily see what their center is. To the right of the wheel are colorful squares. I laminated them and I write students names on them with whiteboard markers so students know what color group they are in. I like to switch groups every once in a while. These are not my guided reading groups. For centers, I like to have mixed-ability grouping.


Below the bulletin board you can see my plastic containers from Target. This is where students turn in their center work (if there is something tangible to turn in). I can quickly and easily count to tell who has and has not turned in work with this system.

If you’re wondering how I made the center wheel, I taped a big piece of construction paper to my smart board, found a circle that was divided into fifths, projected it on to the paper, and traced it! I then made a 2nd smaller wheel.  I love my smart board. It can do so many cool things! After tracing the wheel I cut it out, glued on the labels and graphics, and took it to Staples to get laminated!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Math Projects for Monday Made It

Hey Yall!  I'm linking up with Tara again for my absolute favorite day of the week:  Monday Made It!  This week I decided to showcase a few of my summer projects that focus on math!

First off, I could not get enough of these amazing dice shakers from Primary Inspired.  I ran out immediately after seeing them and had to make them for myself . I swung by Dollar Tree to get some glitter, dice, glue, gems.  Then I ran to Wegmans to purchase some tiny water bottles.  For some reason, they kind of remind me of mini rocket ships.  Weird!

Any who, I pulled off the labels.  Luckily, they didn't leave any sticky residue.  I popped in 2 dice and sprinkled in a little glitter.  Then I decided to glue the top back on so my little friends can't open them and accidentaly pour the water out during centers....not that they would ever do that, right?

I glued a gem to the top and drew on a couple of simple doodles with the glitter glue.  They came out pretty cute.  I can't wait to use them during math centers for some quiet dice rolling action.  You can check out one of the games that we use dice for right here.

Next, I had to create something robot-ish for my classroom.  Working number sense activities into my daily routine is a must for next year.  My kiddos are also going to need lots of chances to practice their math facts.  So, I devised a game:  Robot Swat.

I found these adorable fly swatters at Dollar Tree.  (They have others that come in shapes like butterflies and flowers.)  I printed off some robot clipart, laminated it, and glued a copy to each side.  I used a hot glue gun so it would stick strong and fast.  Here are pictures of my first two.  However, I ended up making four.

Then I created, cut out, and laminated gears with numbers and operation signs.  I also created some cards with math facts and guess my operation problems.  My thought is that students will get a fly swatter, when they see the problem card they will race to see who can swat the correct gear first.  Whoever swats the correct gear first, wins, and gets to play again.  The other 3 students must pass on their robot (fly) swatters to new students to play.  Here's a pic of my playing against my husband with just the number gears.

I envision my students playing this during morning meeting or as a math warm-up.  They will be gathered around in a circle, with the gears spread out in the middle.  I will select 2-4 students to play at a time.  After students learn how to play I might even make this one of our math centers.

Want a copy of my robot swat game?  You can download it here at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  For today only, all my math materials are 20% off.  Stock up now for back to school!

Check out all the other cool projects on Tara's site for Monday Made It!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Robots in the Mail and Win a Free iPad

Today I received 2 fun packages in the mail!
The first one was from Carson Dellosa.  I love how they use recycled wrapping paper for packaging.  Such a great, eco-friendly idea!  I ordered robot accents, bulletin board sets, name tags, stickers, notepads, and more!

The second package was from Trend Enterprises.  I ordered name plates, gear accents and trimmers for my bulletin boards.  I also got some adorable monkey stickers (just because).

Both Trend and Carson Dellosa's robot/gear stuff match pretty nicely.  They both have a black background and bright, fun colors.  I highly recommend checking them out if you are going with a robot theme this school year!
Of course, I had to hurry and laminate everything.  I can't wait to start decorating my classroom.  Check back soon for some of my classroom pics.  I still have a long way to go before my classroom looks perfect for the first day of school, but I will be sharing a few things soon!
Oh, and before I go.  Do you want to win a free iPad?  Check out Teacher Center Resources for their super cool iPad contest.  I would love to win one of these!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Plastic Bin and Toolbox Organization for Monday Made It

This week, for Tara's Monday Made It, I am posting pics of some of my plastic drawer storage that I recently spruced up.

First off, I have my lovely toolbox.  My inspiration came from the hundreds of other toolboxes that have been floating around over the last few weeks.  I think the first one I saw was from Create Teach Share.  Trying to stick with my robot theme I added a head on top along with a pencil holder.  Ok, so it doesn't really look like a robot.  You'll have to squint to see it.  Look for the eyes and the smiley face.

I use the plastic drawers from Walmart to store papers and handouts.  One is used for our reading center materials for the week and the other two are used for my handouts for the week, organized by subject.  You can download some of these labels here and here.

I have 5 iPods that we use in our classroom.  I house them in a 5-drawer plastic bin.  Each drawer contains one iPod.  I number them and assign students a specific number iPod.  This helps me hold students accountable for how they handle the iPods.  My husband drilled a hole in the back of each drawer so that I could run the wires through to easily charge them.  My school provided me with a super cool charger that plugs into the wall and can charge up to 4 iPods at a time.  When students place their iPod back into the drawer, they hook it up to charge.  I know I know...4 iPods can charge at once, but I have 5.  I usually have around 20 students in class and I divide them into 5 groups of 4 for reading centers.  Therefore, I usually do not have to assign anyone the 5th iPod.  It sits as a back up in case we have trouble with one of the first four or it is used for other things.  However, to charge it, I just rotate it through the other drawers at night and place it back in the correct drawer in the morning.  I typically only have to do this once a week since it is used less often.  You can download my iPod labels here.

I'd love to find a charger for my iPods that plugs into the wall and can charge all 5 at once.  If you happen to know where one is please let me know. 

Link up with Tara for Monday Made It and check out all the super cool things everyone made this week.

*  *  *  *  *  UPDATE - 7/10/12 *  *  *  *  *

Thanks for all the great compliments!  Here is a copy of a cursive label that you can add to your plastic storage bins (if you are making one).  I received the iPod charger from my school about 2 years ago.  I looked it up online and you can still buy one.  You can purchase one at Amazon.  It is on sale for $9.99.  Not a bad deal for the convenience it brings.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Giveaway Winner Announcement

I appreciate all your help and support with my blog giveaway!  I now have 115 followers, well past 100 and I couldn't have done it without you.

So, now it's time to announce the winner!

Drum roll please . . . . . . . . . . . .

Congratulations Karen!  You will be receiving an email from me shortly!  Thanks again to all who entered and check back frequently for more freebies, giveaways and fun!