I have tried one "Whole Brain Teaching" technique with great success - Class/Yes. (If you haven't tried "class/yes," you should; it works!!) Then I was blog stalking and came across this post from Ms. Smartie Pants, and I had to share!!!  This video is amazing.  Take the 6 minutes to watch, and spend tomorrow teaching your class one or 2 techniques.  I know I will!!!



Enjoy! ;)
No problem when you've got Mr. Mark and the gang from Adventure to Fitness!  If you are stuck indoors and can project from a computer to the wall, check out Adventure to Fitness.  It's free, but teachers must register, and you have to make sure your district is signed up.  We've been using this for the last few weeks 1-2 times per week, and it's been great!  The kids get a real workout and stay engaged in Mr. Mark's adventure for the day.  They are much happier to do this than play board games every time it rains.  Check out Mr. Mark {HERE}. What do you do for indoor recess?

OK... by now you know I totally geek out about anything literacy.  One of my favorite things to do is to get kiddos excited about words.  My grade level is using "Words Their Way" successfully, but I like to do a bit of word work in my reading groups that is not tied to the spelling list or the specific book we are reading.  These activities are just for FUN!!  If I can get them excited about how words work, and how the letters affect the other letters, then I feel successful.  One of my go to games for Word Work is Boggle.  It's awesome, and the kids *love* showing others the words they found.  My other ab-fab games are my Word Family Games .  I made these games back when I was a literacy specialist, and used them at least 1x per week with every group.  My struggling students love this game, and I knew they were practicing the common word families with double vowels.  If you'd like to learn more about this game, please click on the picture to visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Monday's done...  Whoot!!! How do you make Word Work fun?
Home today with a sick kiddo, but I DID run in for an hour this morning to prepare the classroom for the sub... and then I ran back by this evening to pick up a few things I had forgotten for the weekend.  I had some very nice surprises waiting for me, and wanted to share.

First, my substitute (who is one of our absolute *best* subs, and subs at our school all. the. time.) left a note saying she was so happy she picked up the job because they are the best class in the school.  <<warm fuzzy heart>>  She apparently also shared that observation with my principal, who came through the class in the afternoon just to "peek in."  Yay!!  :) 

Then, as I was leaving, I ran into 2 of my kiddos in the after-school program.  I got to meet their parents.  You know, the parents who just don't have the time to come in.  Ever. Cause they're really, really, really, really busy.  Both of the parents gave huge compliments about their progress this year, said they love coming to school again, and thanked me for everything I was doing for their child.  <<swoon>>  I felt like I hit the jackpot of Teacher Appreciation. 

Then I come home and read Jen's post at The Teacher's Cauldron.  She shared this video, and it reminded me of what teachers REALLY make.  I couldn't resist, so I'm passing along the love.

You make the biggest difference!!
Wow.  That's just all I can say.  Wow.  (Love me some Kevin Henkes, by the way...)  So my goodies arrived yesterday after school from Highlights magazine; you know the ones I mean.  You send home the slips, parents sign and return, and you pick out cool stuff from the gifts.  Don't judge - I love free stuff!
This arrived:
The Organization Station.  It changed my life today.  Absolutely no exaggeration.  (maybe a slight exaggeration, but it's pretty fabulous all the same!)  I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it when it arrived, but my amazing new teaching assistant suggested I use it for work in progress, so I can see at a glance what remains to be finished.  Brilliant.  :)

The kids took the switch well, and I was able to make a bribe deal with a couple of green beans who always seem to have "tons" of work to complete.  They keep their pocket empty (aka - finish their work!) and they get to keep one of my old Happy Meal toys that litter my desk on their desk for the day.  They were psyched, and loved that they could see the goal.  (It's easier than remembering to pull out your Work in Progress folder and looking at it.)  Yay!

It was such a success, that I'm linking up with Lorraine at Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies for her Classroom Organization Tips linky party.  If you use desks, you owe it to yourself to click on this link for her fabulous ideas to keep your little butter-beans organized.  :)  


If you want to by your own, Amazon has them here.  TGtomorrowIF!

OK, yall.  I'm going to share a little something that is simple but it works!  I was a Literacy Specialist for 9 years, working with the neediest readers who weren't already being served in reading with special services.  My struggling readers could really latch on to 4 strategies, so I modeled/taught/lived/breathed the Reciprocal Reading Strategies: summarize, clarify, question, and predict.  Anyway, this is an oldie but a goodie... click on the picture to download free from TPT, and be sure to leave a comment or review it on TPT.  Happy Tuesday, y'all!  :)
OK.  I feel safe saying this here; I'm not sure why, but I feel that I can share this...  My name is Jennifer, and, (sigh, hang head in shame) I'm addicted to VistaPrint.  There.  I said it.  (Whew!)  I'm starting to feel better about it.
In full disclosure, I feel that I should tell you to stop reading now, because the VistaPrint addiction spreads like crazy.  That being said, I'd like to share a few things I use in my classroom:
Banners - totally awesome, and can be vertical or horizontal.  (Usually you only pay shipping if you buy just one per order.)
I made this one for my Daily 5/CAFE wall.  We refer to this often during our reading block.
This banner hangs in our hallway to promote student work.  We get SOOOOOOOOOO many compliments on this one; it's my favorite!
{Source}
This is an inspirational piece for our classroom wall.  Since I'll have to track in/track out of my classroom next year, I'm trying to avoid too many decorations, but I could not resist making this one!  I can't remember where I got the subway art graphics from; if you know, please remind me so I can give credit.  It's from eighteen25.

Business Cards: so many uses!  Usually, VistaPrint runs deals where you only pay shipping for a box of 250 cards, so it's not a huge investment...
When students reach Outstanding on our Clip Chart (I'll do another post later about my love for the Clip Chart!), one of the treats is that they take home an Outstanding card.  One of my sweeties collects them in a pocket of his lunchbox!  He says he likes to remind himself what a great job he did!  {so sweet!}
Hopefully, you've found something you can use for your classroom!!  If you don't already have a VistaPrint account, click here for a referral!  If you already order stuff from VistaPrint, what's your "go-to" item?
Good afternoon!  I'll be sharing some information with interested staff today at my school about DonorsChoose.org, and I thought I'd share it here.  Hopefully, some of it will be helpful to you, too!  Do you utilize DonorsChoose.org for your classroom?

DonorsChoose.org infomation for staff (in Google Docs)

For teachers from my school who check this out, here is my classroom giving page.
A student entered the classroom yesterday, excited to tell me that she was drinking lots of milk to celebrate "Milk Day."  After a few questions, I figured out she was talking about MLK Day.  Needless to say, I incorporated several additional Martin Luther King, Jr. activities into our day!  {grin}  Enjoy your holiday weekend!
I am linking up with Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for her Currently linky party. She is giving away 2 super cute pencil sharpeners for entering, so be sure to "link up."  :)
Happy Monday!
In our district, we have access to Think Central as part of our Math Expressions textbook adoption.  According to my students, the best part is Mega Math, but we have the students log in for their account.  Here's a link to access the Mega Math games without an account.  This week, we were working on fractions, so we are using "Fraction Action" games to supplement our instruction.  Enjoy!!

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