A Common Core Teacher's Toolbox!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Let's Get Organized..Again!

    Throughout my whole teaching career, I have gone back and forth on ways to organize all my "stuff". I started out using file folders for my units. Then I'd end up having books and games etc. that would go along with units, so I moved to using hanging files in those little plastic file boxes.I would end up teaching units, and realizing I had a bunch of resources I never used, because things were separated into multiple different places. Over the past 2 years, I have been slowly moving all of my files/resources from those plastic file boxes into binders.  This has called for A LOT of binders and A LOT of time.  I am loving the binders, much more than I ever have my files, because its much easier to go through my units and pick out what I want to copy, use, etc. I'll put a little sticky tab to use as a place holder when I take something out to copy it, so I put it back in the correct spot. I've added some of those binder pockets to hold books/games etc. that go along with each unit. I still am using my plastic file bins however, because some units just have too many books that go along with them. I've labeled each file bin so I know which unit it goes with. I think after almost 8 years, I am FINALLY going to have an organization system I will keep. However, this is an ongoing process, as it is taking me forever to get everything transferred.

     I know for a fact I will be moving classrooms next year, so I am working hard to get everything organized before I have to move to a new room. This will make things much easier next year for me. I'm working on creating binder covers/dividers for all subjects and unit topics. I'm using them as binder covers, dividers, and labels for my plastic bins that will still be housing things I need for units! I just finished my science covers this weekend and listed them in my TPT store. I created over 100 covers with every science topic I could think of. Each topic has binder cover with and without a cute little graphic. I know some teachers don't care much for the graphics. Some topics even have several different graphic options, because I couldn't make up my mind on which I liked best! Check them out here. I'm going to leave them on sale this week since they are new. If you are looking to get organized like me, please check them out ,and let me know what you think. Also, let me know if you can think of any other topics you'd like added. I'm working on adding math and holiday covers this week as well!

  How do all of you teachers keep all of your files/units organized?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Spring...no wait that's Standardized Testing In the Air!

     Well I'm not sure about your school district, but spring time in our district= standardized testing craziness! Our district really buckles down on us preparing in the months of March and April. Needless to say it can be quite taxing on the students and teachers. I try to mix it up to keep things fun for the kids as much as possible. This week during our Math Review time I decided to create a little competition between the students. They finished their math review alone first, then formed math teams.  I set a timer on the Smartboard and the students have a certain amount of time to review one of the math problems together in their teams. When the timer goes off, one team member must hold a whiteboard in the air that represents the whole teams' agreed upon answer.  If they got the answer correct, they get a point. I also have one team explain their reasoning for getting that answer to the class as well. I'm big on all the students working together during cooperative group activities, so the students know they can not be awarded a point (even if the answer is correct), if I do not see all students in the group actively engaged in working to find the answer. They also know when the timer goes off all discussion must stop, or they are also disqualified from earning a point that round. They get really excited playing this "game", and the first time they lose a point  for not quieting down when the timer goes off tends to be their last!  They came up with their own Team Names, which I have really gotten a kick out of so I thought I'd share them with you:

The last group OMGMT= Oh my gosh math thinkers! I just thought the names were too creative. I said create a team name, and I was thinking I'd get "We're the green team" etc. However, they took their team naming very seriously! The game has been ongoing all week, and the big championship finale is this Friday! They can't wait!

  This has really made reviewing Math so much more exciting for my students. They are so engaged in their learning! I teach 3rd, so I created 100 multiple choice review questions for Reading Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies into a bundle I listed this week in my TPT store if you are needing some help with review material. They easily can be adapted to be game cards or task cards. They are in a 4 square type format, which makes great daily review or morning work as well. I'm going to start using them after spring break. I teach 3rd, so the questions are geared towards 3rd. However, they would also work well with 2nd and 4th too.  You can check them out here!

Here's a preview of how the questions are set up:

Good luck preparing for your standardized tests if you are in the same boat as me! I'll keep the blog updated with our classroom preparation activities. I'd love to hear any ways you make reviewing fun for your students too!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

March Currently!

I always see all of you bloggers linking up for Oh Boy, Fourth Grade's  Currently Month series! I have never found the time to do it, but since spring is in the air (well even though it's 30 degrees where I live). I thought I'd link up for some fun!

Listening: My DH birthday is next week, and I've purchased him tickets to see Shinedown along with some of our other favorite bands as part of his gift! (And thank goodness he doesn't feel the need to read my blog). Since we began dating forever ago, one of our favorite pastimes is going to a good concert together.  So I'm listening to the Shinedown station in anticipation of seeing them live!

 LOVING: I'm am so loving the fact that this time next week I will be on spring break. We are going to New Orleans for a few days! I've planned to do some fun outings with my sweet baby girl, since I'll finally have some weekday daytime with her! We'll be celebrating my husband's birthday and ending the week with the concert. Did I mention how excited I am for next week?! : )

Thinking:  I really need to get to the gym and ASAP.  We just booked our summer beach trip, and lately my working out has dwindled down to two days a week. I'm hoping the beach countdown will get me back on track!

Needing:  Geez..I'm needing a haircut, eyebrow wax, nails done...etc etc. All those girly things to have to be attended too. It just always seems like such a chore,even though I feel so much better when its all said and done.

Wanting: I really need some new clothes for spring! I also love shopping for new sandals, because it reminds me warmer weather is coming!

Like: Amazon- We have a love/hate relationship so I decided that must be a "like". Love, Love ,Love all of the ebooks I purchase, but then hate it bc I don't have time to read all these books!!

LOVE: My sweet baby girl Aubrey! She is going to be two in a month! I can't believe it. When I say she is the sunshine of our lives, that doesn't begin to describe this amazing little person God has blessed us with. 

Hate: Anxiety- I'm a terrible worrier! I've been working on it, but I can't stand to be anxious about things. It's the WORST feeling in the world.

Well none of that was school related at all! We did celebrate Read Across America yesterday, and my kids had a lot of fun with that.  They were extremely interested in wanting to know all about Dr. Seuss's life.  I'm  also going to carve out some planning time this weekend, so I get my plans done for after spring break way ahead of time.  Happy Saturday,everyone!!