Thursday, 31 December 2015

Poinsettia Guided Drawing

WOW! It has been tooooo long since I have written a blog post for my own blog. I have written many for Classroom Freebies but none for my own blog. It is New Years Eve and one of my New Years Resolutions is to blog more and create more teaching products in 2016. Yay!!!!

I know Christmas is over but I wanted to share a last minute art project we completed where my students exceeded all my expectations. Let me set the scene first.... It is the day before the Christmas concert (3 days before winter break) and my kiddos are WILD. I needed some filler activities because there was no way they would retain any new information. I search the internet for some interesting ideas and spotted a guided drawing activity for poinsettias. Perfect. Our class song for the Christmas concert is Don't Eat a Poinsettia. Connection made!!!! 

I could have left it at that... do a quick drawing activity but NO I had to push them more (Why not? They can be focused at this time of year, right?) So I got thinking. How can I change it up a bit. I looked in my cupboards and saw my oil pastels. Hmmm. After playing around a bit with them I discovered that if you outline the shape with an oil pastel color and drag the pastel to the middle of the shape it makes a nice variegated color. Perfect. 

Here is how I had my class complete their poinsettias:

I precut the card stock to be an 8.5 x 8.5 square and did all the folding (so there are 4 sections - half then half again).

We practiced drawing the leaf shapes on scrap paper before starting the good copies. Because the leaves don't have rounded tips I anticipated this would be a big problem for the students and I was right. I HIGHLY recommend practicing this first. 

Then the papers were handed out and using the smartboard I guided them through each step. It took quite a bit of time but I wanted them to be successful. One thing to tell them is that it doesn't look that great as you are drawing but to stick with it because they turn out great. I reminded them of our focus on having a growth mindset (another connection!) and this helped. I am not going to lie -- there were a few tears but in the end EVERY student loved what they did.

After using pencil to draw each part, students went over their work with a fine liner. Now time for the color. I demonstrated how to outline and drag in the color. It is very important that they do all the red, wash their hands, and then do the green. This will keep the colors from mixing. There will be some mixing but not too much. 

I was very impressed with how their poinsettias turned out and I love how even though they all had the same instructions they were all different. 

I quickly stapled them on the bulletin board outside the classroom and they admired their work. 

I will definitely do this art project again (and may be more creative with the final display if time
Cheers and Happy New Years!


Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Student Planners Are A Must!

Every year I have my students use a planner no matter what grade I teach. Planners help students start working on their organizational skills and is great for school-home communications.
I was going to show you the editable planner I made for this year with pictures but I thought I would try something new and make a video. Please be kind, as it is my first video. I tried REALLY hard to not shake my phone while I recorded the video.  I am not sure why it is so narrow but I will be doing some research to find out why. 

Now for some specifics on other things included. There are a variety of reference pages you can include in your planners.
 Here are reference pages if you are in the United States. For the Math reference pages you can choose between have a 100s chart or a 120s chart!


Canadian reference pages are also included if you live in Canada!


If you teach intermediate grades there is also a page with a multiplication table!


I couldn't forget about a year calendar at a glance so there is one of those included also :)


If you like to have your students record the learning objectives you are focusing on or if you want to do it yourself, there are 3 editable pages, each in color or black line, to choose from. 


Do you have your students complete a reading log? There are pages for that too!!! 

In the video I mentioned that there were a few planner covers to choose they are. Each one is editable and can have student names added or any other info you want on the front.

If you would like a copy of my student planner, check it out here.
I would love to hear if you have other ways you help your students hone their organizational skills.


Saturday, 29 August 2015

Getting Ready for Back to School - Day 3

I feel like I was very productive today because I got a lot of little things crossed off my to do list. That is always a great feeling. I still don't know what I will be teaching so I can continue with getting those things done that aren't planning for a specific grade.

The first thing I did today was complete the bulletin board outside my classroom. I wanted something generic so that no matter what I am teaching (grade 2 or 4/5) it would work. I saw a bulletin board similar to this on Pinterest and thought it would be perfect!

The hardest parts were picking all the fonts for the words and deciding what color I wanted the "You!" to be. At first I had a purple "You!" but it didn't seem quite right so with the help of a wonderful friend and fellow teacher we decided on yellow. I think it really pops.  (Keep reading to the end for a freebie to help with this bulletin board!)
After I put the black paper and the border on the board and before I added all the words, I had to take care of the staples. If you have ever seen me put up a bulletin board you would be shaking your head. Everything goes up with push pins first and then I commit with staples. When I have a black bulletin board all I see is the shiny silver staples ( I probably should seek professional help). A couple years ago I found the solution (until someone invents black staples) that is quick and easy. SHARPIES!!!!!!
After I finished my bulletin board I didn't want to do anything on my to do list so I helped (great procrastination) the above mentioned friend/teacher start on her bulletin board.
Just like I am (some say) obsessed with matching my color theme, she is (some say) obsessed with animal print. She had this Welcome sign that she wanted to use so we came up with a jungle tree board. She is not quite finished but this is what we did today. I am excited to see how she finishes it off!!!

Okay, now it was time for me to get back to my list. I different friend/teacher at my school, asked me if I wanted these flower boxes and because I am a "collecting" (not hoarding) I said "of course!" I am not sure quite yet what I am going to do with them but I knew I didn't want them brown.
 Last year I found this large roll of washi tape that I thought was super cute. Again, no idea what I would do with it but I bought it anyways :) Well it finally came in handy. The large roll made it super easy to cover the boxes with. All I had to do was roll it on, fold the edges, then cut out the handles! Now if I could only figure out what to do with the boxes :) 

 I decided to stick with the taping work and FINALLY cover my second Pringles container that holds my classroom rulers. For a good portion of last year I only had one covered and it bugged my but there were bigger things to tend to. Well now they are both done and off my to do list! 

Every year I have Unfinished work folders for my class and they need to be labeled with students' names. They are plastic folders and most labels won't stick to them so I use duct tape. Easy to peel off and it last the entire year. Even though I don't have a class list yet, I decided to get the labels on all of them to make it quicker later. I have a more detailed blog post about how I use them here if you want to check it out!  

Here is the freebie I promised you above. If you want to create your own "Be..." bulletin board here are some word labels for you to use :)

I am not sure what my next Getting Ready for Back to School post is going to be about but here is a link to my Day 2 post.  

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Getting Ready For Back to School - Day 2

Today I tackled my filing cabinet. I call it "tackled" because it was a DISASTER. There was still stuff in there from the previous teacher and I just grabbed my files out of boxes and shoved them in the drawers the night before school started last year. EVERYTHING was mixed together and every time I wanted something I would have to search through all the files until I found it.

As I was pulling stuff out of the drawers I organized them into piles. I had piles for seasonal stuff, Language Arts, Math, etc.
 As I was doing this I found some "treasures!"

I am not sure what I am going to do with these but they are PERFECTLY cut circles in bright colors. Hmmm... maybe on a bulletin board or anchor chart.

 I also found this coloring book that made me itch immediately. It was an entire coloring book about lice.  I cannot even imagine handing this out and having my students color little lice guys. The next page shows lice glueing (with a glue bottle) their eggs to shafts of hair. UMMM No thank you!

Well after too many hours I finished. It was a way bigger project than I anticipated but everything is labelled and organized :)

Now I will be able to find my stuff without having to search!
For today's organizational freebie I am adding my sampler of Classroom Labels!

Next Getting Ready for Back to School post will be about me building shelves and creating a back to school bulletin board in the hallway.

If you missed my Getting Ready for Back to School - Day 1 post you can read it here.


Friday, 21 August 2015

Getting Ready for Back to School - Day 1

This year is a little different for me because I currently hold a Grade 2 position at my school but I want the Grade 4/5 position at my school that will be coming up soon. Long story short -- the way postings are done in my district I can no longer just internally transfer into the position and I have to apply for it. Postings go up on Monday (the 24th) so I will have to wait until the end of the week to find out what Grade I will be teaching.
I want to start getting my classroom ready but I don't know if I should be keeping all my primary stuff or switching it for my intermediate stuff. In the meantime I am going to be organizing stuff that didn't get done with the rush of last years back to school and the teacher strike. 

Step 1: Make a To Do list 
Step 2: Start working on it ...
On the last day of school I organized all the cabinets in my classroom (sorry I didn't take pictures) so that is done. Now I am on to the storage closet that is outside my room. 
The teacher who was in my classroom, retired and left me a ton of her stuff!!!! I moved schools and didn't have enough time to completely go through all of her stuff so I just shoved it on the shelves and closed the 

Yikes look at all that stuff :(

After I went through every box (my stuff and the retired teachers) this is what I ended up with :) Ahhh so organized.

There is some stuff left on the middle shelves but that is stuff that I don't want but isn't garbage. Hey, someone at the school might want it, just not me.

Step 3: Cross "organize storage room" off my To Do list. 

Step 4: Because I am organizing -- give everyone an organization freebie!!!! 

Here are some Monday - Friday labels 
I have this sitting near my desk and it is super helpful!!!
Check back soon for my next post in this series of Getting Ready for Back to School. Next time I tackle the filing cabinet. YIKES!



Monday, 3 August 2015

What's New and a Sale!

Hi All, have had a busy summer (post on that to come soon) and have made a few new items. Since Teacher Pay Teachers is having their fabulous Back to School Sale I thought I would share with you my newest creations. 
My niece and nephew were here for a bit and inspired me to create these two items. They are both Minion crazy and I saw how excited they were to do some activities I had with Minions so I thought I would bring the Minion love into my classroom this September. 

If you are looking for a math center idea or just a fun way for your students to practice their place value the Minion Wars game is perfect. There are 2 different versions included- one to hundreds and one to thousands. Each game is the same and has students trying to build the highest (or lowest) number to win banana points. At the end, the student with the most banana points wins!!!

 I am always looking for new ways for my students to practice their sight words and they love games so I created Minion Sight Word Activities. There are sets of cards with suggestions for different ways to use them or games to play.


I also created a Black and White version of my popular Binder Covers. These are great because you can still have fancy binders and save on colored printer ink.

Now back to the sale details. My entire store is on sale for 20% off and if you use the TpT code BTS15 during checkout you get an additional 10% off. That is a total of 28% off!!!! If you have feedback credits to use, don't forget those as well. They give you even more of a discount!!!!!! 
Happy shopping :)
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