Highlights of My Break Freebie

Just a quick post to hop in on some freebie sharing! Students draw or write on this organizer to share events of their break. I give students five to ten minutes to draw or write in each section. Then I go around the room and allow students to share one thing from their paper. Easy peasy and it gets everything out of their system first thing back! Click the image to get it!
Graphic organizer for sharing spring break activities

Free spring/winter break graphic organizers

Friday Flashback - Randomness and Angry Verbs

One thing that I learned this week is that teachers LOVE their Girl Scout cookies! My daughter just became a Daisy scout last month (right before cookie time - smart! *sarcasm*), so this is our first cookie sale. I think that I spent most of the day Monday selling cookies (don't tell my principal)! But in case he does read my blog, just kidding! (Kind of!) So Wednesday was the day we sold her 120th box (her "quota"), which was only five days after it started! Thank goodness, as I thought that I would be buying a LOT of unsold cookies.

Anyway, much of the early part of the week was pretty uneventful, which isn't bad! I did have students draw me some pictures, but they were the kind that they did on notebook paper just because they had five minutes before the end of class. Not really worth hanging, but I didn't want to hurt their feelings. So I remembered something that I saw on Pinterest that would do the trick - a picture binder! This way, I can keep the pictures in a gallery of sorts, and they don't clutter up my walls!

Wednesday afternoon was an inservice over Write to Learn. This session was a review of Think Back, 3 2 1, 3-Minute Pause, and Q-Charts. Here is an example of a Q-Chart.

At some point I will post some of the things that I've created with these strategies, but this won't be the week. All I know is that my brain really hurt by the time 3:00 rolled around!

And that was apparently the theme of the week. I tried to do some extra assessing since we have another set of conferences next week. So at the end of the day Thursday, my brain was fried again. A coworker came to ask me if I had a Brad. I said that I didn't, and she gave me a weird look. Then I said, "What does he look like? What did he do?" Thinking that was a pretty reasonable reply for the group of kids that I have this year and she just got the name wrong. Then she said, "No, the metal thing that pokes through papers." *facepalm* Duh. And the reason for the weird look is that I'm the queen of office supplies, so of course I should have some on hand at all times :)

Lastly, we finished up verbs by doing the often-pinned Angry Verbs. I was able to download a similar font so that I could type out the title. The twist that I put on it was to make the birds action verbs, the pigs were linking verbs, and the wood pieces were helping verbs. I think. Or the pigs were helping verbs and the wood pieces were linking verbs. Hard to remember since they both can include the same words! Anyway, the kids really got into it!

February Monday Made It

For this edition of Monday Made-It, I'm going to start with some home projects since I spent half of the month home recovering from surgery.

Family Go Fish Cards
The original idea came from {here}. For the family Go Fish game (or whatever game you want to play with them), I started with uploading pictures of each family member to Shutterfly, since I don't have Photoshop. From there, I added captions to the pictures. Then I ordered wallets so that the pictures were in sets of four. When they arrived, I cut them apart and attached scrapbook paper to the backs. I put them through the laminator and rounded the corners. We keep them in a travel soap case.

Divider page for the photo cards
One of the photo cards inside
I've seen several versions of this project out in Pinterest-land. I had tons of photo cards from previous years, so I sorted them the best I could into the years we received them. Then I made divider cards for the years with my Cricut, Xyron sticker machine, and laminator. I included all of the birth announcements, picture invitations, and other picture cards we got that year. I had a couple of large rings, so I punched holes in the pictures and put them on the rings. I've also seen this project with one hole, but I think that two holes prevents the pictures from going crazy all over the place and getting ruined.
Glass tile photo pendants
I've seen several online tutorials about making your own glass tile pendants, for example {here} and {here}. Once again, I don't have Photoshop, so I uploaded them to Shutterfly. This time, I made a collage of thirty pictures so the pictures would be small enough. Other than that, I just followed the tutorials. These took some practice to get out the bubbles, but I think that they turned out nice (if you don't look too closely!).

Now something for school. I'm continuing the trend of making a seasonal pennant banner. Click the image to take you to TpT to download your free copy.

There's still time to link up your Vistaprint ideas with my linky party!

Friday Flashback - Pencils, 100 Days, and Wrapping Up Verbs AND Currently!

I can't believe that I'm blogging about pencils yet AGAIN! My pencil challenge worked for a while, but then I got tired of it. It was always the SAME KIDS. So I conceded defeat a month or so ago. This week, I unveiled my new strategy - personalized pencils. I ordered a gross (I HOPE that will be enough) from Atlas. If I could have gotten ones that would sound an alarm when they crossed the threshold of my classroom, I think that I would have. Anyway, I had them imprinted with what I believe to be VERY clear instructions. Basically, this is MY pencil, so use it then GIVE IT BACK. I ordered a very distinct color, and put students on a mission to narc on anyone that had one outside of my classroom. So far, so good. I put three out, and they've been used daily and returned.

And then we had a snow day on Wednesday. I have such mixed feelings about snow days. On one hand, I like the unexpected day off. On the other hand, I'd rather have a nice spring/summer day off instead of making up a snow day. Now, late starts... that's something that I fully endorse. I get to sleep in AND it counts as a full day of school. Unfortunately, my current superintendent is more of an all-or-nothing type of person. It only bothers me when we don't have a late start and the roads are bad. I travel twenty-five miles to school each day, so it really affects me when I'm white-knuckled on the Interstate. I always update my resume during this time of year in the hope's that maybe I can get a job in my resident district. But alas, I know that deep down I am too comfortable in my current position of fourteen years to ever make the change. It would sure make my life easier in the long-run, though. But that whole "change" thing is scary...

I have never celebrated the 100th day of school with my class, but I found this cool activity from one of the first blogs that I started reading. It's fairly simple. I posted some chart paper in the hallway, and taped up the topics - 100 Books We Love, 100 Things That Make Us Happy, 100 Things That Are Round, etc. Students added to the lists before school, between classes, and after school. Students seemed to enjoy it (even though I had to get rid of a few inappropriate items), and it wasn't too kiddish. Download your own signs {here}.

I created a verb foldable that went with a noun foldable I blogged about previously. The surprising news is that several students actually commented as we were folding, "Remember? We did this for nouns, too." Oh. My. Gosh. Hallelujah! I guess I know what we'll be doing to sum up our next unit of adjectives! And even better, they came up with great ideas on what to write underneath (or at least they did a good job of referring to my anchor chart). It was the most magical fifteen minutes...

Today we started to implement our new assignment policy. I'm not sure what I think about it, but we'll see. I'd be interested in any feedback that you have if you have done something similar or if you have done something that has been successful. *ASP is our after school program where students do their work, kind of like tutoring.

Fifth Grade Assignment Policy
(per quarter)

1st Late Assignment

2nd Late Assignment
15-Minute Classroom Detention
Parents Contacted

 3rd Late Assignment
30-Minute Lunch Detention
Parents Contacted

4th Late Assignment
45-Minute Main Detention
Parents Contacted

5th Late Assignment
Parent Meeting
ASP 3x/Week

And I'll go ahead and throw in my Currently...