Monday, July 29, 2013

Summertime Bump

Summer is almost over and school is just around the corner. I will spending my days outside at the pool, the warm weather, and the extra time with my sweet girl. On the other hand I can’t wait to meet my students and get back into my classroom.
 As I've been getting things ready for the classroom and savoring the last days of my summer break I created a simple Bump game board. I love Bump because it is so easy for the kids to play. Once the kids have played it a time or two they become completely independent and they love it because they get to play with a partner.
 You can click on the picture to get your copy of this free math game. Directions are included. Just print, laminate, and you’re ready to play.

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Ten Websites for the Classroom

Have you ever struggled to find online games and activities for your students? Well, I've done the work for you. Here is a list of ten sites to try out.

I am fortunate enough to have a classroom set of computers. Yes, there is a computer in my room for each of my students. We love them. Most of the time the computers are used with specific software tied into our curriculum, for typing reports, or for specific projects and assignments.

However, they are also great for indoor recess and for engaging my early finishers. These are some sites that can be used in the classroom. Please note that some of these sites have ads that go off site. My school has software that blocks most of them from showing up.

1. Funbrain

2. Sheppard Software

3. Funschool

4. Primary Games Arena

5. Kabongo

6. Pipo Games

7. Starfall

8. Turtle Diary

9. Spelling City



Monday, July 22, 2013

Teaching Map Skills With A Freebie

Although I now rely on my handy dandy iPhone and its GPS whenever I venture beyond my normal routes, I do know how to read a map. Even with all the technology around us our students need to know how to read a map too.

When I was first learning about cardinal directions I learned them using a mnemonic device that seriously grosses me out to think about since I hate, despise, and detest worms. Yuck! Anyway, I still use the same mnemonic device with my students. I have my students point up and then we move our arms clockwise as we state "Never eat soggy worms." Then we repeat the motion saying the directions "North...East...South...West."

We also learn about compass roses. A coloring sheet works well to start off this lesson. Here is a free one. We also learn to draw and read maps. When I taught first grade we even build islands out of salt dough showing land forms and then drew a map with a key and compass rose to go with it.

I also found this little song on YouTube to help teach cardinal directions.

How do you introduce your students to maps? Do you have any tricks or tips? Leave a comment and share them. It might just help another teacher out.

As always, thanks for taking the time to visit me at Grade School Giggles. Please take a second to follow me and I hope you will come back again soon.
This post has been linked up with the Manic Monday Linky Party at Classroom Freebies.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Getting Ready For The School Year

The school year is right around the corner and I've been thinking about my classroom. I'm going to keep my classroom theme the same this year. It will have an owl theme.

I've also made other classroom themed packs. Each is over 140 pages. Many pages  are editable. The packs include just about everything but the kitchen sink from alphabet letters and word wall cards to stationary and grade book pages.  Please check them out at my TPT store by clicking on the pictures.


I've also finished my Graphing Through The Month unit for August. Daily graphing is a great way to make sure my kiddos are confident with creating and reading graphs. Having the materials for the entire month planned and prepped makes it so easy to implement. Yeah!

This week I also wrote a guest post over at Learning Ahoy on ways to use play-dough in the classroom. I'm talking about using it to enhance learning the curriculum and not just for play. Although, it's great for that too

I would love to hear from you. What are you planning to try out this year? What's your classroom theme going to be? What kinds of resources are you looking for the back to school season? Please leave a comment and let me know.

Monday, July 15, 2013

If Your Administrator Wants To Know Where You Are Then This Freebie Is For You

Have you ever had someone looking for your class when you weren't in your room? It takes too much time to write a note each time we leave the room. So I made a sign to display by my door. I can just move the clothespin around to show where we are. Easy! You can find easy directions for covering clothespins here.
Since I am teaching resource this year my class isn't going to be going to specials. So, this version will go to one of my friends and I will update the locations with where I will be once I have my finalized schedule. I love how this turned out and I hope you do too.

If you like polka-dots Audrey from The Sweet Life of Third Grade has a similar sign that inspired my version. Hers also has a spot for the computer lab and other. Check it out here.

I also am sharing these free monkey themed binder covers that a reader requested. You can snag either freebie by clicking the picture of the one you want.
 How do you let people know where your class is when you leave the room? Do you have a system that works? Leave a comment and let us know.

As always, thanks for stopping by Grade School Giggles. Please take a second to follow me if you aren't already and come back soon.
P.S. If you would like to find more ideas for classroom projects or freebies check out these two linky parties.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Let's Talk About Concrete Walls

It seems like nearly every teacher with concrete walls has faced the dreaded experience of returning to school in the morning only to find posters scattered across the floor. So, just how do you attach stuff to concrete walls short of using screws and nails?

I have three favorite ways to attach things to my concrete walls. If I need the item to stay up all year I usually use hot glue. I will hot glue covered clothespins to the walls to create permanent display spots. Then I can swap out materials easily. With a cordless glue gun like this one I don't even have to worry about being close to an outlet.
3M makes Command Strips & Hooks that work great for hanging up my pocket charts, buckets, and other slightly heavier objects. They also make a hook and loop version that works well for hanging posters. I can attach some hook and loop tape on the back of posters and switch them out anytime I want.
Stikki Clips are perfect for items like essential questions, unit vocabulary, and word wall words that need switched out frequently. You can use them for items that need to stay up all year too.
Do you use these too?  Have you found another trick that works in your classroom? I'd love to hear what works for you in the comments.

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*This post contains affiliate links.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

How To Erase Permanent Marker

Have you ever made a mistake while labeling student materials? Have you ever labeled folders or binders and then wanted to use them for something else?

Did you know that there is a super simple way to remove permanent marker from most plastic and other nonporous materials?

First, get your item you want to erase. Second, go over the permanent marker with a dry erase marker. Cover it thoroughly.

Finally, wipe it off. If any marker is left a damp wipe will finish the job. You're done!

I hope this tip was helpful. Do you have cool classroom tip or trick? I'd love to hear from you in the comments.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Saving Time On Bulletin Boards

When I started teaching I thought that I had to change my bulletin boards all of the time. After all, my teachers had. Each month or so I would head down to the teacher workroom and grab gobs of bulletin board paper. Then, I would stay late cutting, stapling, drawing, and trimming until I had a snazzy looking bulletin board.

Then, I realized that I was spending way to much time at school and started to figure out ways to cut back without impacting student learning. One of the areas I simplified was bulletin boards. Now, I decorate my boards so that they last.
First, I cover my bulletin boards in cheap, black, cotton fabric. It doesn't show staple holes or fade.
Next, I double up on solid color border around the edges of my bulletin boards. When I update my classroom I can just changes the borders, but I usually get 2-3 years out of the boarders before they need replaced.

Finally, I create easy ways to change out the materials on the board by hot gluing clothespins onto the top of the board to display anchor charts and using Stikki Clips for small pieces that I want to change out frequently. Student work can be switched out easily by stapling page protectors to the boards, using pushpins, or using Stikki Clips.
What do you do with your bulletin boards? Do you change them frequently or keep them up? Leave a comment and let me know. I'd love to hear from you.

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Made It Monday - Neat Pin Jar

One of the amazing teachers that I've co-taught with had a simple, fun way of encouraging her students to use their best handwriting. I'm totally stealing her idea for this year because the kids loved it and it worked.
When the kids turned in their writing assignments with neat handwriting they were granted the privilege of using a neat pen for the rest of class. A lot of assignments still had to be completed in pencil. On those assignments, they just used the pens to write their names. Other things could be done in pen. Either way, the kids were thrilled to earn those neat pens.
So, for today's Made It Monday, I made a neat pen jar and filled it with a few special pens. I can't wait to use them with my students. You can find more Made It Monday ideas over at the blog hop at Fourth Grade Frolics.

As always, thanks for stopping by Grade School Giggles. Please take a second to leave a comment or follow the blog. Thanks!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Freebie Friday

Yesterday was July 4th and the weather here didn't cooperate. So, there weren't any fireworks. I hope it was better where you are.

Even though the fireworks were rained out, we've been busy visiting family. So, today's post is going to be short and sweet. It's Friday and that means it's time for a freebie. Today I'm sharing three color and write sheets. I hope your kids will have some fun using them. Just click on the picture to download them.

I'm linking this post up on Teaching Blog Addict's Freebie Friday. To look at the other freebies being shared just click the picture and hop on over.

As always, thanks for stopping by Grade School Giggles. Please take a second to leave a comment and follow my blog if you aren't already.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Themes, Organization, & Freebies

It's just a few short weeks till I will be setting up my classroom and starting the school year. So, I've been looking through my theme packs and trying to decide if I want to change my theme or stay the same.

Each of the packs are over 140 pages. Many of the pages are editable. There are a ton of resources to help decorate and organize your classroom around the theme of your choice.

~Pennant Letters
~Student Name Plates
~Word Wall Card Templates & Alphabet Headers
~Stationery (vertical & horizontal)
~Newsletter Template
~Hall Passes
~Binder Covers
~Lesson Plan Template
~Grade Book Template
~Attendance Form
~Welcome Sign
~Display Cards for Names
~Sticker Charts
~Calendar Cards (Months & Numbers)
~Substitute Binder

These are the themes I already have. Leave me a comment if you have a suggestion for a new theme.

I've also been sharing the editable substitute binder for some themes as a freebie. The substitute binders are almost 20 pages long and can be edited. You can read a guest post I wrote over at Journey of a Substitute Teacher about how mine keeps me prepared for any last minute emergencies or other absences. You can snag one by clicking on the substitute binder cover.  

As always, thanks for taking the time out of your day to come visit Grade School Giggles. Comments make my day & I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment and let me know what resources you're looking for this school year.