Saturday, June 29, 2013

July Currently

It's that time again!   Time to link up to the Currently on Farley's blog!  Click the image below to link up! 
 Listening:  I often will turn on a video on Netflix or Abc streaming and just listen to it for background noise.  Not sure what I clicked on this time.

Loving:  So as you all can agree we get SO MANY wonderful ideas from blogging.  Between all the linkys, Made-It Mondays, freebies, awesome Tpt files, etc, there is just so much inspiration.  For the past two summers I have felt like I was drowing in all of the ideas.  I'd see something I wanted to do for homework management and then I'd see something else.  So I'm definitely loving that I'm staying organized with it.  One thing I did do was open up One-Note on my Ipad and create different pages.  Each page is something related to my classroom.  For example - I have headings for:

  • Note taking Ideas 
  • CAFE
  • Math Workshop
  • Student center ideas/task cards
  • Common core
  • Teacher supplies
  • Student Supplies
  • Conferencing
  • Technology
  • Tpt stuff I need!
  • Weekly Linkys I want to participate in
I have a page for pretty much everything you can find in a blog.  Then what I do when I'm blogging - if I find something that I know will have a great chance of actually occurring in my classroom - I cut and paste the link into my one note file.  *The trick is differentiating between "This is cool I'm going to pin that" and "I am DEFINITELY DOING THAT THIS YEAR."  I only put the latter in this file.  Then I take this file and my pic collage (see below) on my ipad when I'm out and I have immediate access to the ideas from blogland while I'm scouring Target, Hobby Lobby, Michael's etc.  Because if I don't write it down I see plastic containers at Target and then I catch myself thinking "oh god, did someone have a good use for these????"

Thinking:  There is just not enough time in the day.  As you know we got married a couple of weeks ago.  Well, since most of our family did not come to Maui with us, we are having a big reception on July 20th for our family.  Our wedding planner lost her job so we have a new lady we're working with - the whole thing has just been stressful.  I don't even want to mess with it to be honest - I'm fine with blogging.

Wanting: a laminator.  I really want to stack up on center files, task cards, etc and laminate.  Any laminator suggestions?  I also need to order my new Erin Condren planner.  And reading this post from Ladybug Teacher Files convinced me I need to purchase a subscription to Spelling City.

Needing: to unpack and clean.  I always need to do that though.  No point in elaborating any further.

Tips, Tricks, Hints:  I don't also blog on my phone but I do follow a lot of blogs on Facebook  - which I most often check through my phone.  I basically use Pic Collage much like I use One Note.  Yes I have pinterest for all my ideas.  But I find myself going to pinterest and having so many things I have to sort through.  So pic collage is for the items that I want to buy for certain projects.  So for example if I wanted to make those marble magnets.  I would add the picture of the finished project and then in a text box next to it create a list of what I need to buy.  It's easier and faster to pull that up rather than pull up pinterest, click on the link for blog, and then scroll to find it.  Whatever organization system works for you, but use one.  I spend a lot of money on blog projects last year because I would see something one week and want to do it and then the next week I would have all new ideas.  Staying organized has definitely helped me shop with a purpose.  Which is much needed when I walk into Target.

Speaking of Target - have you heard of ShopKicks?  Amazing!  Basically it's an app and you have the app open when you go to certain stores.  You get kicks sometimes from just walking into the store - other times you have to scan items with your phone.  But then you can trade in your kicks for gift cards!  Amazing!  Check it out and help us both get extra kicks.  Click here

6,250 kicks = $25 gift card to Target - you can get 50 kicks just from walking into Target.  It may take a couple months to stack up but if you're like me - it won't take long~!

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, June 28, 2013

New Blog Design, Homework, and Remind 101

First of all isn't my new design b-e-a-utiful?!! I'd like to thank Dreamlike Magic Designs for once again hooking me up with a fab design!  Check her out

Second, I haven't liked how I've done homework, but I never had any inspiration or time to think about it until I saw this post.  Abby from Third Grade Bookworm is having a linky.
I encourage you to link up and share how you do homework - I'm trying to debate between homework every night or a packet/week.  Thoughts?  Click on Abby's button to check out her blog!

Third, while I was on Facebook I saw CrissCross Applesauce's post about whether or not to give cell phone numbers to parents.  Another discussion spurred by Facebook!  Now this past year I had some difficult behavior issues that required parent contact in the moment.  I had to use my cell - yes we have phones in our class - but it just seemed more quick and effective.  Plus, a lot of my parents do not have internet access.  BUT - almost all of them have cell phones!  I just thought it was unfortunate side effect of working in a low-income school.  ENTER Remind 101.  
How have I not heard of this!  Rather than explain how it works I will refer you the lovely blog The Teacher Garden.  Click HERE.  Essentially you can send messages to your parents without giving your number away.  Fabulous!  Yet another great idea I've learned from blogging that will make this year better!  I love blogging! :)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

New Blog Design Coming

Just wanted to give you a heads up that a new blog design is coming to reflect my name and grade change. 

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bloglovin and Class Dojo vs. Clip Chart

I'm linking up to to Tori's Teacher's Tips for blogs joining Bloglovin'.  Please click on the button in the top right to follow me on Bloglovin'!

Check the linky out here.

Personal Life Break - my wedding pictures

Back to Teacher Talk
As for everything teaching, I'm following Made-It Mondays, but I feel so swamped to even create something.  I know I want to return to my clip chart. 
Despite the fact that the clip chart worked for me for a year and a half, this past semester we needed a change so my class and I did Class Dojo. Check out a pretty good post explaining it here.  My kids did love Class Dojo, but by the end of the year my class and I decided that we ultimately preferred the clip chart and since I'm looping they would rather do that. 

This is how I did Class Dojo..
We brainstormed what to earn points for and what to lose points for together.  This was a great conversation.  It was extremely easy for me to use my IPHone to give or take away points throughout the day no matter where we were in the building (hallway, cafeteria, class, etc.) because I only needed my IPHone.  It also worked wonders because when they saw me pull out my phone, they knew and they tried hard to look good!  The problem for management was it was so easy to give and take away points that it was hard to set warning limits.  I found myself giving a them away too loosely and taking them away too harshly.  With the clip chart it was easy for them to see - yellow (warning), orange (5 minute recess reflection), red (office/phone call home).  But with class dojo it was hard for me to set a limit for how many points because they were all at different amounts.  I couldn't say if you have -5 you get a detention because by the end of the week they could've racked up 40 and even if they were having an awful day they couldn't get down that far.  So it was definitely hard to keep track of what they were losing.  I thought about resetting the points everyday, but that didn't go along with the class wanting to accumulate them to earn prize tickets or Fun Friday time.  My class decided to accumulate points for a week and then turn them in on Friday.  Well enter the next problem - for some of my students who make poor decisions by Wednesday they could have -20 points - what incentive do they have to try.  It's reminiscent of the card system when they were already at the red card by 9 a.m.    The other issue is that while I had it on the smartboard so they could hear the "dings" and "dongs," I couldn't always be showing it because well I have the use the smartboard to teach!!!!  So the problem is that students couldn't always see their scores during a lesson, so then you'd constantly have students asking how many points do I have?  While I love that they were interested in their learning, this at times became annoying.  My final reflection is that the numbers and point system made it too much of a competition and less about intrinsic values.  So I'm returning to the clip chart, but not just any clip chart.  I made this one and ordered it from Vistaprint last night. 

I'm exceptionally
I'm extremely
I'm very
I need to
I need to make a
I need a new

It is not original at all - it's from this website.  Ms. Twist's Classroom 

It's made to go along with our IB/PYP school framework.  Are there any other PYP school teachers out there?  Anyway, I'm hoping that we will be able to get back to where we were last year with the clip chart.  But there is always one thing I struggle with - how do you document student behavior on the clip chart and do you have a reward system?

Let me know!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

June Currently and other Randoms

So I've changed the title of the blog to 4th Grade Sprinkles because the year is over.  I need to have Dreamlike change the design, but I'm currently putting that off until after the honeymoon.

Yes!! You read that correctly.  My wedding is a week from tomorrow (Fri. June 14th)!  We're getting married in Maui, and we leave Tuesday.  It cannot come soon enough.  We were engaged a year and eight months ago, so it's been a long time coming.

Our last day of school was last Friday the 31st.  We were told we had a week to get our belongings out.  I have gone in at least everyday, but I tell you its slow moving.  In years past I've had the bad habit of putting everything in the closet and then coming back to a mess in August.  So despite my urges to go to the pool and not to school, I have been using Clutter-Free Classroom's end of the year packing guide.  (see here)  It's helped a little bit.  Boy do I have a lot of things I have to throw away!  There are also a lot of things I'm not sure about since I've never taught 4th before.  I think I'm keeping too much because I'm nervous about getting rid of it.

The end of the school year was a lot of fun, and it's definitely exciting that I get to move up with a lot of the same kids.  I work in a school where upwards of 85% is free and reduced lunch.  I know a lot of students get bored over the summer so we set up a kid blog where students can keep in touch over the summer (almost all have internet).  We set it up the last week of school and students were able to get on during workshop.  It has provided a lot of good teaching points for writing!  The fourth grade team and I plan to use it to blog about their learning next year.  The website is here if you want to check it out. 

I've also started thinking about how to arrange my room for next year.  (One of the things we have to do is leave a map for the custodians).  The biggest challenge I face is student desk arrangement.  The desks we have are like table tops (they have no storage) and they are very wide.  Approx 30-35 inches wide.  We also are told that we have to keep our reading table (kidney shaped), activity table (regular rectangle) and teacher desk (massive) in our room.  That leaves little to no room for room to walk let alone creativity.  hm.... So instead of packing for my trip, I'm blogging and pinteresting classroom arrangements.  Isn't silly how are brains get fixated on things that later seem irrelevant or less pressing?

I also have the June Currently.  If you don't know about the Currently - check out Farley's blog here.  It's fabulous!


Listening - at the time I typed the currently I was listening to Mike Posner, but as I'm actually typing right this second I'm listening to Dance Again by J Lo and Pitbull.

Loving - that my wedding is so close!  and vacation!  

Thinking - I'm supposed to be done with room and turn in my key tomorrow at school by 4:30 p.m. EEk  My house is a less pressing issue, but we will have a friend cat sitting while we're gone and I worry about other people's opinions of my messy house.

Wanting -  Of course I want the new Erin Condren planner.  The past two have been amazing, and the new videos and pictures that were just released this week are making me giddy. I also need to have Dreamlike Magic change my blog design to say 4th Grade Sprinkles.

Needing - I probably need a lot of things like sleep, to do laundry, more money in my bank account.  But the one thing that I do need before this trip is a pedicure.  I hate how ashy and dirty my heels get in the summer!

3 Vacay Essentials - This one was tough but I'd have to say the 3 important are  Nate (the almost husband), the Ipad (for long plane rides, face-timing, and documenting the experience), and comfy flip flops or Tevas.  A wide variety of shoes is important for nights on the town, a beach excursion, or sight-seeking.  I just love shoes in general.

So with that I need to go clean or pack or something.  Have a great night!  I probably won't blog again until after the honeymoon.  Boy will I miss 4th Grade Frolics Monday Made-ITs  but somehow I think Hawaii will cheer me up!  :)

Happy summer everyone!