Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Toy Story (Part Two)

It's time for Part Two of my blog post on using toys in the classroom.
If you didn't read Part One yet, head on back and read that one first.
After reading Part One, you know my rationale for using toys in the classroom... even with students who are eleven and twelve. It's just difficult not to smile and pay attention when a toy is around to symbolize things like:

Good job!
Your team has earned points!
This is IMPORTANT! Listen up!
Isn't this FUNNY?
and most importantly...
Don't zone out! This is going to be FUN!

Let's face it. Teaching punctuation is never the most exciting thing. However, there are some things I do that actually make my students seem to ENJOY punctuation.

One is my partnership with an old favorite, Mr. Victor Borge. Okay, so we're not exactly partners, but I adore him (may he rest in peace). I may be getting up there in years, but he IS a bit before my time. However, I grew up in a household where we knew and sometimes actually liked the things our parents liked. 

Victor was one of my favorites because of his phonetic punctuation. He inspired me to use it in my own classroom. My students laugh from the minute I start introducing it to them. If you don't know what phonetic punctuation is or have never seen the master at work, take a look at this video. It's not one I use for class (not with the kissing part! Haha!), but it's my favorite. You could also take a look at it if you just want to smile. In fact, I dare you to watch him and NOT smile! 
I use this method in my classroom every year, and my students just can't get enough of it. I have changed the sounds a bit to suit my own preferences, but the idea is the same. When we check dialogue practice aloud, students must read it and put in the punctuation sounds. It is so much fun! If you've never tried it, you must give it a chance!

You can also incorporate toys by using some fun noisemakers to represent the punctuation sounds as well! Here are some of my favorite exclamation marks. If you've ever heard these toys make their sound, you know just how perfect they are for punctuation...and how you HAVE to smile when you hear them. 
In facts, kids like just about anything that makes a silly noise or lights up. Why not jazz up your classroom with these types of toys? I sometimes use them to signal double participation points or that an important question is coming up. 

Have you ever seen the wooden toys with the little doors that open or shapes that come off? Melissa and Doug make some great ones! They are for younger kids, I know, but my students are fascinated by them because I HIDE things behind the doors. I can hide questions, point values, challenges, etc. There is just something so magical about opening up a little door and not knowing what you'll find!

I also have a magnetic fishing one where you use a fishing rod. I put review questions on fish-shaped cards, and then teams have to fish for their bonus points. They get SO EXCITED as they find out how many points are hidden behind each fish!
A colleague of mine always uses a basketball hoop in his room during review games. He divides the students into teams. If the team gets the question right, someone from the team comes up to try his/her hand at the basket (they take turns). He creates lines on the floor with masking tape and each student who shoots decided where to stand. This determines how many points the team gets. Each line is worth a certain number of points, and if you make the basket, you earn that amount of extra points for your team.

I found some fun and REALLY INEXPENSIVE hoops at a site called Office Playground. They have the kind that mount that you could rig up on your chalkboard, etc. and the kind that are freestanding.
I hope you will be inspired to bring some toys into your own classroom this year! It is so much fun to watch your students' eyes light up from the wonder of it all!

Before I end, I would like to mention a new product which was created because of requests from some of the readers here on All Things Upper Elementary. A few months back, I wrote an ATUE post entitled Short Stories in the Classroom. You can read that post if you like by clicking the photo below.
After I wrote this post, many people contacted me looking for a short story packet similar to the one I talked about in my blog post. That packet was specifically for the story I used in the post, so I wasn't much help in sending it to them. Many people wanted one that would work for ANY short story. 

Well, I have finally created one that will work for any fictional short story. What's great about it is you can use it all together like a packet (which really helps with organization while covering a short story) or just use individual sheets for certain stories. It's called Short Story Sleuths (A Comprehension/ Reading Skills Packet) and it's now available in my TpT shop. Thanks, ATUE readers, for the inspiration!

Until next time, happy summer, friends!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

11 Ways to Build a Classroom Library on a Budget

Well, it's about that time! The back-to-school clock is ticking and there ain't no stopping it. Some of you may even be back already! For new teachers especially, this is such an exciting - and scary - time! One of the questions I hear come up for new teachers time and time again is "How do I build a classroom library with limited resources?"

I have a few ideas and tricks that have worked for me over the years that I will share with you here today. I also posted this question on my Facebook fan page and the response was overwhelming! No can ever accuse teachers of not being creative and resourceful when it comes to gathering materials - there were so many wonderful ideas, many of which I had never heard of, that I'm super excited to share with you. If you are willing to do a little work, you will be able to find some amazing books at little to no cost.

11 ways to build a classroom library on a budget:

1) Scholastic Book Clubs
Scholastic Book Clubs are popular - and for good reason. The excitement of a new book order form is like a present under the tree on Christmas morning to most students. It's a great way to get books into the hands of your kiddos at a great cost. For every order your students place, YOU get points which you can then redeem for free books. If you are a brand new teacher just starting out, you may be thinking, "That's great, but this doesn't help me RIGHT NOW." Fair enough - BUT just know that by using Scholastic Book Clubs from the beginning of the year, you are basically investing in the future of your classroom library. It doesn't cost YOU anything, and you will reap the benefits sooner rather than later. Definitely 100% worth signing up over at Now, let's get to some ideas that will give you more immediate access to books.

2) Scholastic Warehouse Sales
Scholastic Warehouse Sales are a great way to get books at crazy discounts. Visit this site to see if there's one near you. Drink a coffee beforehand and wear comfortable shoes. :) AND, here's something I didn't know until a teacher shared on Facebook: If you volunteer at the warehouse sale, you can get paid $10 an hour in books! Here's a link to the volunteer page. How cool!

3) Yard Sales and Garage Sales
This is how I've gotten TONS of books from my classroom. We still have a few weeks left of peak yard sale season - make sure to keep your eye out for signs around your neighborhood! People are usually thrilled to unload their used books at cheap prices. Make sure to mention you are a teacher - sometimes this gets you a better price!

4) Thrift Stores
Good things come to those who treasure hunt! Check out your local thrift stores, as well as Goodwill and Salvation Army for children's books. Apparently, some Salvation Army stores will even give you a flat rate if you let them know that you're a teacher.

5) Dollar Stores
Check out your local dollar stores for deals. I've found tons of books at both the Dollar Tree and the Target Dollar Spot. The quality of the books at the Dollar Tree definitely varies, but they are cheap and generally high interest books. The Target Dollar Spot often has classic books adapted for young readers.

Visit for local book sales. You can search by state and find some great deals.

I've never used this website personally but looks like a great way to get a box full of books for a crazy cheap price. It's been repinned on Pinterest a ton, so the shipping may take up to 5 weeks based on the high demand, but it's definitely worth looking into. 

I've had a lot of success finding books on Craiglist. Search in the garage sale section or try search terms like "children's books" or "teacher". 

9) is a nonprofit site where people post things they want to give away for free. As teachers, we LOVE free! You may need to dig around a little, but you can search by area and find free books.

If you are a public school teacher, look into You can set up a project page and ask for donations for books or other classroom supplies. I've had some pretty big projects fully funded through this website. 

11) Utilize Social Media
Ask your friends and family to donate books they no longer want or need. Post periodically on your Facebook or Twitter page that you are a teacher and looking for books to build your classroom library. Follow teaching blogs, Facebook pages and teachers on Instagram, as many post great deals they find.

This list will hopefully help get you started - but it's definitely not complete! Building a classroom library on a budget takes some legwork, but it can absolutely be done! If you have other ideas to share, PLEASE post them in the comments below - the more ideas, the better! I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

Visit my blog: One Lesson at a Time
Check out my Teachers Pay Teachers Store
Find me on Facebook

Monday, July 29, 2013

Winners are In....

That was an awesome first giveaway! Thanks to everyone who entered! The winners are in!  Stay tuned for giveaways and other exciting happenings in the next months as we start a new school year!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Beat the Back to School Blues Giveaway! Win Over 50 Grades 3-6 Resources!


 We have separated the amazing resources by Math, ELA, and Back to School Resources. Enter the subject(s) you teach or enter them all!

Grades 3-6 Math Resources:

1. Order Up Math Bundle from John Hughes (10 Sets)
2. Grades 4-5 Word Problems Bundle from Meg Anderson(4 Sets)
3. Graphing: Interactive Graphic Organizer and Poster Set from Amy Alvis
4. Flippables Template Mega Pack: Personal Use from 4Mulafun
5. 3rd Grade Math Assessments: Complete Collection from Blair Turner (All 5 Domains)
6. Measurement Wars Bundled: Length, Capacity, and Mass from Miss Math Dork (3 Sets)
7. How To Be a Good Mathematician Posters from Miss Math Dork
8. August Common Core Daily Math Review for 4th Grade from Two Brainy Apples
8. Math Common Core Task Cards Complete Collection: 5th Grade from Jennifer Findley (20 sets)

 WOW! That is a total of 8 Sets and 45 Individual Resources!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Grades 3-6 ELA Resources:

1. Launching the Reading and Writing Workshops from Jen Bengel (Grades 3-6 available- you choose the grade!)
2. Write with Me Journal from Andrea Bentley
3. 150 Journal Writing Prompts from Common Core and So Much More
4. Flippables Template Mega Pack: Personal Use from 4Mulafun
5. Close Read Question Stems for Literature and Informational Texts from 2 Brainy Apples
6. Dog Theme Poster Bundle from The Peanut Gallery (5 Poster Sets)
7. Common Core Weekly Reading Set for 4th and 5th Grades: 36 Texts from Jennifer Findley (9 sets)
8. Common Core Reading/ELA Binder Covers and Spine Labels

That is 8 resources for a total of 20 Individual Resources!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Back to School Resources

1. Back to School Hollywood Style from The Peanut Gallery
2. Back to School Mobile from John Hughes
3. Back to School Writing Prompts from Jennifer Findley
4. Getting to Know You Project Kit from John Hughes
5. Back to School Reading and Writing Comprehension Questions from Jennifer Findley
6. Editable Chevron Covers and Spine Labels by Amy Alvis
7. Flippables Template Mega Pack: Personal Use from 4Mulafun
8. Gather Your School Supplies Relay: A Template to Make Your Own Relay From Miss Math Dork

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and we hope you have a great back to school! 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Hooking Your Kids with Book Trailers...Plus, a Surprise Tomorrow!

Books, books, books....I LOVE books! Every summer I get giddy thinking about which books I am going to use in my classroom for the following year. I sit for hours and thumb through catalogues or click through websites looking for books that go perfectly with the science or social studies concepts I have to teach or are perfect examples of the ELA standards that I need to teach my students. Sometimes to the point to where I have to take a thumb break.

I know that anytime I choose a book to read either aloud to my students or with them in a small group, I have a distinct purpose in mind. It could be that the text has clear examples of cause and effect, the author made the story come alive with figurative language, or it is a perfect narrative that would help my students understand a particular period in history. There are times that I choose a book just because I enjoy it and I want my students to see how you can read a book for pure enjoyment. But whatever the purpose, I always want my students to be as excited about reading it as I am. I mean, why would you ever want to read a book that you aren't interested in? Well, besides for a school assignment..... ;)

Which reminds of movies that I had to watch in school that I thought were B.O.R.I.N.G. before I started watching it. It took a little while for me to finally become engaged in the movie, and, by then, it was usually almost half over. You know the movies I am talking about...the ones that are based off books. You read the book and then watch the movie. I will be honest. Most of the time I thought the book was just OK (I wasn't too pumped about having to read it in the first place), and I was not looking forward to the movie, either. It isn't that the movie was awful. I did end up enjoying the majority of them. But something was missing for me before the movie even began that made me WANT to watch it....

I guess I am the kind of person who likes to know ahead of time what the book that I am going to be reading is about, as well as what the movie will be about. Yeah, you can read the book jacket or the movie synopsis. But reading those words, in my head, in my voice (or in how I think the character's voice would sound....which, by the way, the voices on the movie never matched the ones I imagined in my head), just never really seemed to get me very excited about reading it. Even if my teacher said it was the best thing since sliced bread, I just wasn't buying it. I don't think I was an overly pessimistic person, or a student who disliked books assigned in class. It's just that there were so many "other" books and movies I wanted to watch. You know the kind that isn't assigned in school.

The movie I wanted to watch had an awesome preview on TV for it. It had all the best clips from the actual movie without giving any big events away, and it had cool music that would give me goosebumps...perfect music accompaniment to the point to when I hear that music, I immediately think of the movie in which it was played. I could not wait for that movie to come out, but it would be several weeks. Boo! But I would be the first in line! (Wondering what movie I am talking about???? Well, this instance I am talking about Dirty Dancing.....oh yeah, I know most of you couldn't wait to watch it either. And most of you probably watched it over and over again when it finally came out on VHS to the point that you knew exactly how far to fast forward or rewind it to see the scene where Johnny says, "Nobody puts Baby in the corner"....or maybe you did what I did to all my cassette tapes and use a Sharpie to draw a little black mark at the point where the tape should be for your favorite song/scene to begin so you wouldn't have to rewind, play, stop, fast forward, play, stop, rewind because you have gone to far, etc.)

Think of how our students today feel with all that technology they have! Think of how visually stimulating their environments are compared to ours...and I am sure most of us and them are similar to me when it comes to reading books or watching movies... How can we pique our students' interest in the long chapter book we have chosen for them when they could watch the newest release or play the newest video game/app? We have to compete with ALL of this! No wonder sometimes when we pull out a novel that we just absolutely love, are excited beyond belief to finally get to read THIS book with our students....we are SO sure they will thank us for introducing them to this book! Only to have them look at us with glazed eyes thinking,

"Say what? You want us to read THAT book? THAT book that is just as thick as those dictionaries over there on the shelf? THAT book that has no (or hardly any that aren't black and white) pictures? THAT book that looks like the cover is about to fall off? THAT book that was written HOW long ago???????" Among other things floating around in that mind of theirs.....

Have No Fear!
Children are no different from us when it comes to deciding which movies to see. They watch TV, see a movie trailer (or see a movie trailer while waiting to watch another movie), and then instantly decide whether or not they would like to see it. How do they make this decision? On how well the movie trailer is created. Does music help make it exciting? Do the characters appear interesting? Is the story line about a topic they want to commit a couple of hours to???? Children usually pick out books mainly based on the cover (unless a friend told them about a great book they should read). Most often children get more excited to see a movie than read a book. A movie trailer stimulates so many senses. A book cover is one-dimensional compared to that movie trailer.

What if you brought that movie trailer to that book you are so passionate about? Wham! You get a book trailer! Students are able to watch the many facets of a book just like they can with a movie. Sounds to me like a more technologically advanced Reading Rainbow :)

You may already know about book trailers, but I am going to share the different ways I have used book trailers with my students in hopes of sparking a new idea or to encourage you to give them a try.

Sometimes I show my students a book trailer before we read that book for the exact same reason a producer creates a movie trailer and a fisherman uses bait: to get 'em hooked to reel 'em in! It's amazing what a little music can do! And there are actually a lot of book trailers already made so you don't have to create them yourself! I will include a list of websites at the end of this post. I have had so many students begging to start reading a book because the trailer was WAY cool!

A book trailer doesn't have to be reserved for a pre-reading activity. Sometimes I don't show my students a book preview before we read the book. Instead I have my students create a book trailer either by themselves or in a small group to show their understanding of the book's events and characters (among other things). If you choose to have your students do this, they will need to have had experience making book trailers and also be proficient in using a search engine on the Internet. Students will also need to have access to technology and proficient in using the program chosen to create the book trailer. I had my students use Photo Story because it was free and pretty easy to use (in my opinion), but there are other many programs out there you could have them use.  Book Trailers for Readers and Story Quest Children's Books have informative pages on  how to create a book trailer AND they include sources for photos you can use.

If you are like me, you want an exemplar to show students before giving them an authentic performance task so they can have a visual of what is expected.
Problem: If all they have seen are book trailers created by authors or publishing companies, they may feel like theirs will not be up to par.
SolutionBook Trailers for Kids has several book trailers made BY kids! Exemplar problem solved! Whew!

Now let's move onto the next question: What will you assess by having students create a book trailer? The great news is that it's totally up to you. Are there specific skills you are working on (i.e. theme or a character's internal struggles)? Be sure to include specific requirements in your rubric (which is HOW you will assess your students' book trailers) that students must include in their trailer. Please remember, though, you will have to create book trailers WITH your students first so they are familiar with the process BEFORE you assess them using a book trailer.

Teaching Tool
I had the pleasure of observing a teacher who used book trailers to help teach mood to her students. She had 2 different book trailers about the same book. The ONLY difference between the two book trailers were the music both trailers used. After students watched the first book trailer, they wrote on a chart what they thought the mood of the book would be. Then students watched the second book trailer and did the same activity afterwards. Guess what? The two charts had very different moods listed. One chart had very happy and cheerful moods listed, while the other chart had sad and dreary. Why did this happen? It was all about the music that was chosen. The teacher was then able to further discuss with her students different ways an author can bring a certain mood into the story and how mood affects the story line and characters. Book trailers can help make some of the more difficult ELA standards concrete for students to grasp easier.

Sounds good, but how do book trailers fit with the Common Core, you ask? Well, remember how the Common Core integrates reading, viewing, listening, speaking, and writing, AND wants students to apply learned skills/content in a real world setting using technology when appropriate? Book Trailers for Reading has a visual on how book trailers can help you meet this lofty goal.

Want to check some out? Here is a direct link to a book trailer created for Robert Peck's classic A Day No Pigs Would Die.

Now as promised, here are a few Helpful Websites you can use to learn more about book trailers.
Book Trailers for Readers
Book Trailers for All
Slime Kids
Book Trailers- Movies for Literacy!
SchoolTube (once at this site you can search by book title)
Youtube (once at this site you can search by book title)

So, what do ya think? Going to give them a try? Do you already use book trailers? If so, what do you think about them? We want to hear from you!

As always, thanks for reading and until next time!

Oh, I can't believe I ALMOST forgot! (Just kidding, I didn't really almost forget.) There could be a special little something that could be taking place tomorrow at a blog call All Things Upper Elementary that could help make your life a smidge easier for going back to school.....that's all I'm giving away right now ;)

2 Brainy Apples Blog
2 Brainy Apples on Pinterest
2 Brainy Apples on Facebook
Now on Instagram @ 2_brainyapples

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Using Time Wisely- Planning for A New Year of Interactive Notebooks

I am so happy to be back with you this week to talk about Interactive Notebooks. I am also thankful that my friend, and fellow ATUE Collaborator, Meg of Fourth Grade Studio, was gracious enough to let you know where I was two weeks ago. I definitely had a blast while I was at CAMT 13 and did a full recap over on my blog if you are interested.

Many of you have asked me, "Where do I start? How do I know what comes next? Where do I put things?" and I'm here to help you as I continue to develop new ways to implement INBs in my classroom. This coming year will be no exception as I m looking forward to integrating them with my new classroom of students of all levels in various subjects all at once! Definitely will be blogging about those quite a bit!

So, if you are still looking for where to Start the New Year with Interactive Notebooks, feel free to check out my most recent video over on my YouTube channel.

I am continuing to film videos regularly and have some ideas for some more that are coming up as well as some interactive sessions this fall once we get the new year started! :)

If you are interested in the INB Starter's Pack that I went over on the video, feel free to grab it over at my Teacher's Pay Teachers Store. It has been flying into people's carts and I have been receiving feedback daily from teachers who are excited about being able to start the year right with INBs!

So, until next time...

Mathematically Yours,

Jennifer Smith-Sloane
aka 4mulaFun
4mulaFun on Facebook
4mulaFun on Pinterest

P.S. The Interactive Notebook Linky returns on July 28th over on my blog! Get your posts ready!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Using Summertime Efficiently

I hope you're having a fun, relaxing summer vacation!  In between enjoying my time off, I have been getting ready for next year.  Even though new my fourth graders won't be there until after Labor Day, I actually got started the week after my former kiddos left!  I don't mind giving up some vacation time to devote to school; it's such a nice contrast to be able to pace myself instead of feeling rushed the week before.

After everything was packed up, I started looking over my photos to plan my shopping trips, which I will write about later this summer.  Over on my other blog I've been writing about "Summer Projects" that are all about updating several areas of my classroom to improve the look and organization of our daily work. 

I've also started printing, laminating, and one of those tasks that is one of the most time consuming (but somehow gratifying!) each summer, which is personalizing the space for this group of kids.  All the name tags, folders, bulletin board name plates and labels require names.  And I know, fourth graders can write their names on a lot of items like notebooks and folders.  However I happen to enjoy writing them myself.  It's a small way to model my expectations for neat printing, give them a taste of things to come with carefully written cursive letters, and it helps me remember who's in my class more easily, even if I can't match names with faces until the first day. 

So for now, all the printing, laminating, cutting and handwriting names will continue each summer.  I've created a to do list for myself so I can stay on track.  Just because I enjoy a leisurely pace doesn't mean I want to waste time with more than one trip to the laminating machine!  My Back to School to do List is free and editable if you're interested in getting a system in writing that you don't have to have to think about much from one year to the next (other than some updating). 

A final tip I have for you if you're like me, and you like using some of your summer vacation to prepare for a smoother school year:  Make extra EVERYTHING.  In the above picture I have at least 5 blank name tags, 5 blank leaves for my Welcome Back bulletin board, and so on.  There are at least 3 good reasons for this:

  1. The laminator inevitably eats something. 
  2. The class lists inevitably change.  I know, some teachers feel that names should not go on things until those lists are finalized.  However I feel it's much less stressful to write 1 or 2 names 10 times a few days before school starts than have to write the entire class's names on everything a couple days before. 
  3. New students inevitably join our class later in the year, often with very little advance notice.  I keep an envelope titled "New Student Materials" in which I toss all my extras that I make at the same time as everyone else.  This, along with my New Student Orientation List has significantly cut down on the stress of getting that phone call from the office, "You have a new student coming in tomorrow."  Now I can devote my energy into thinking about how to integrate him/her socially and academically instead of having to reprint a leaf for a bulletin board.  My New Student Orientation List is free for a limited time, and of course it's editable.

Do you have any tricks and tips for using summertime efficiently?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Back-to-School Pinspiration

It's summer. The sun is hot, the beach is calling. It's reallllllllly hard to think about school. But even though my mind feels like it's a million miles away from school, the calendar disagrees. Luckily, over on Pinterest, the pinners keep on pinning! And it's a good thing, because if it weren't for all this Pinspiration, it would be EVEN harder to wrap my mind around the cruel fact that summer is not actually infinite.  

Today, I wanted to share a round up of 5 of my favorite Pinterest boards that are keeping me inspired this summer and helping me to prepare for back-to-school time! These boards are focused on organizing and managing the classroom....because I envision myself as a VERY organized teacher every year in July. Ha!

Click on the title of each board to check it out on Pinterest and follow along.

1) ATUE: Oraganization
This is one of our collaborative boards here at All Things Upper Elementary, and it is one of my favorites.

2) One Mess at a Time
This is my personal board where I pin all kinds of ideas that inspire me to clean up my big fat mess.

3) Classroom Management and Organization 
A collaborative blog owned by Rachel Lynette with tons of teachers contributing their own finds.

4) Organization
This is where our fearless leader, Jennifer Findley, pins her organizational finds!

5) ThirdGradeTroop
This collaborative board (owned by Charity Preston) isn't specific to organization and management, but there are tons of relevant ideas pinned to it all the time.

All that Pinspiration has helped me keep the creative juices flowing this summer and I've made some organizational products for my TpT store. Here are some freebies for you:

These Chevron Nameplates are a free item in my TpT store. Click the picture below to download a copy of your own.

These Paint Chip Inspired Calendars are FREE on my blog, One Lesson at a Time! Click the picture below to check out the blog post and download a copy of the calendars for free from Google Drive. 

Do you have a Pinterest board dedicated to organization? If so, leave a link in the comments and I'll come follow you! Because, let's face it, this girl needs all the help she can get.

Enjoy your summer, my friends!!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Vista Print Fun! Make it to Match Your Theme!

Hey guys! It's Jennifer Findley from Teaching to Inspire in 5th. I feel like it has been forever since I posted on here! Today I wanted to share with some of my newest vistaprint creations! 

 First, I had to find a coupon or something to help with the costs (I believe Vistaprint is on to the teachers using all those free shipping discounts :( ) So I headed to groupon and snagged this deal! $17 dollars for $70 worth of stuff? I think I will. 

Note: The discount does NOT cover shipping, but they offered me another deal that if I spent $25 over the $70 the shipping would be free. The shipping was about that much (maybe a little more) so I took them up on it! Grand total was $45 ($28 at Vistaprint and $17 for the Groupon deal)

Here is what I got:

Labels Galore: I got all these labels for my folders and notebooks...140 per design so I can use them for about 4 years! YES!

Slant Banner: I had another Slant Banner, but I really wanted one that matched my theme (can you tell what it is yet?)  I did decide to change the Nod in Response to Note Key Information because I always felt so silly modeling that one! (Bobblehead, anyone?)

Show What You Know Exit Slip (Magnet Style): This was another product that I had before that I gave a facelift. I ordered the large magnet as the title. I write student numbers on the smaller magnets. The magnets are placed on the markerboard underneath the title. The students put their post it note beside their magnet.

And then I ordered a few new stamps to supplement my ever growing collection of  Vistaprint stamps.

So wanna know how to make your own custom designs? It is easy, but you have to be very patient and adjust your images as needed.

Step 1: 

Adjust the size of your powerpoint slide to make the resolution high enough. Here is what I used:

Step 2: 

Make your design in powerpoint and then save the finished slide as a picture. (Be prepared that you may have to change it!)

Step 3: 

Choose the product from Vistaprint and follow these screens.

Step 4: 

Upload your picture and see what it looks like. Here was my first try at the labels. Notice how the border needed to be adjusted.

Step 5: 

Using the picture from Vistaprint as a guide, adjust your slide to make it fit the way you want. Here is my finished label and how it looked on the slide.

{Background from Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs}
{Fonts from KG Fonts}

Because I wasn't using a special offer from Vistaprint, I was not charged extra for the image upload. It was just part of the price. I hope this helped and you can make some cute themed vistaprint products! 

Check out my blog to see some pictures of these items in action for in the next few weeks!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Summer Classroom Finds

I don't know about you, but every summer I'm always on the look out for new things for my classroom. Most of the time it is things to organize the stuff that I accumulated over the previous year.  The following are just some of the things that I have found this summer.

I got these at Michaels for 44% off and then an additional 15% off. I'm going to be honest and tell you I have no idea what I am going to use them for, but they were too cute and such a good deal that I couldn't pass them up!

I got 2 of these next two containers (also at Michaels) for $11.99 - 44% off - 15% off = $5.70.

I'm going to hold my task cards in them.  I've seen many different ways that people store their task cards on Pinterest and the idea of putting them in pocket accordion files seemed to be the best way for me. I had originally wanted to use different colors for different subjects, but I couldn't find enough in each color.  Most of these are from Target's Dollar Spot. The ones with the black elastic are from Dollar Tree. The base of these are just a tad bigger than the Target files. I'm going to print out labels on the little address labels (the ones that fit about 80 to a sheet) and put the topic on the files.

I got some of the large accordion files to hold the answer sheets for the task cards.

Target had a good assortment of stickers in their Dollar Spot. The smilies and star stickers will go on the behavior clips and the larger stickers are for graded papers.

There is a pin floating around Pinterest about using creates to sort your colored paper. I got 3 of these to hold my colored copy paper and cardstock. ($3.99 at Target)

I can't decide if these are going in the prize drawer (the kiddos LOVE Post-It notes) or maybe using these for our interactive notebooks. They were a $1 at The Dollar Tree.

The kiddos are ALWAYS bring back erasers from the Scholastic Book Fairs, so when I saw these I knew they would be perfect for our prize drawer.  I think I got these at Target's Dollar Spot.

The next three pictures are cute little notebooks, erasers and stickers for the prize drawer. They were all in the clearance section at Walmart for $0.50 a piece.

I saw these tubs at Big Lots and went back and forth about getting them.  But I decided to get them because they are the perfect size for storing our interactive notebooks. I have milk crates that I use now, but these will take up less space and the notebooks will be neater because they will be standing up instead of going every which way laying down in the crate.

Half price flip chart markers at Staples.  If you check out their coupon section, you can usually get a good deal.  

These tabs that I got at Staples will be used in our interactive notebooks to divide the sections. The top row I got for $2 a piece (1/2 price with coupon) and the botton row were on clearance for $1 each.  

What goodies have you found over your summer break? Please share in the comments so we can all check them out!

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