Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Leanne Baur- New Member of ATUE!

Hi everyone!  I hope the school year is treating you well (if school is back in session for you).  Actually, my first day back was today and it was fantastic!  I am hoping it's not a honeymoon period and that the students are truly as well-behaved as they were today!  Do you know what made it go so well?  I had thoroughly planned out my day, stayed ahead with organization, and had copies paper clipped and ready to roll!  Sometimes being stress-free is EASY with a little extra effort!
Enough about my first day...I'm sure you want to know who I am.  I'm Leanne Baur from Leanne Baur's Creative Classroom .
This is me and yes, I love my Baltimore Orioles!
This is my blog!
I'd love to have you stop by and leave me a blog post comment!  I like to blog about classroom ideas, teaching ideas, contests, and life in general.  Since writing is a passion of mine, I feel that having a blog is the best way to do what I love!  I am a freelance writer for The Mailbox Magazine for teachers in my spare time.  
I also love teaching with all of my heart!  This year, I am a fifth grade teacher but in years past, I have taught every grade from Pre-K to grade 5.  I am currently teaching ELA and Social Studies. Just in case you were wondering where I'm from, I am a Maryland blogger who has been on TeachersPayTeachers since it first began!  Over the years I have learned so much about teaching, blogging, and collaborating!  I can't wait to collaborate with all of you through ATUE!
Well, no welcome is complete without a little FREEBIE or TWO, right?  I know we are all busy with the new school year starting so I thought I'd hook you up!  You can download the following resources for FREE through September 7th!
This one is my BEST SELLER on TpT!
This one is my NEWEST RESOURCE!
I hope you enjoy them!  The first one makes life so much easier during report card time. The second one is sure to impress your students, their parents, and your administrators.  It makes for such an adorable display in your classroom!
(Sorry for the glare...laminating material is SHINY!)
If you like what you see and you want to follow me, you can click any of the pics below! Then, you can check out my latest posts for new resources and more freebies!  Please, say "hello" when you visit!  Let me know you found me through ATUE! 
That's all for now!  I have some planning to do!  We are getting ready to read Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper.  You can grab a copy from Amazon below if you are interested in reading along with me!

Have you read it?  Comment if you have! 
 I hope to see you on my blog and social media pages soon! 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Meet Deb - a new ATUE collaborator!

Meet my motivation: husband Troy, daughters Brooke and Kayla
Hi there!
I’m excited to connect with you all as a new collaborating blogger at All Things Upper Elementary! I’ll share just a little about myself: I am an ESL teacher in a school district in northeast Nebraska, and I am just settling into my 16th year of teaching.  For the most part, I co-teach with several third, fourth, and fifth grade teachers. I love this, as it allows me to provide support for a lot of students and collaborate with some amazing teachers at multiple grade levels as well!

If you’ve visited my blog or been by my store, you’ll know that I LOVE to create “craftivity” resources … and the only thing better than creating them is seeing first-hand how students are engaged by them, enjoy them, and learn from them. Day after day, I see my upper elementary students benefitting from doing craftivities in these important ways:

A s'more from my inference craftivity.
RETENTION – Students retain the key concept being focused on better than most other methods I
have used in the past. I think adding a concrete object to an abstract concept aids my students in remembering the meaning of academic vocabulary words like “inference”, “context clues”, and “figurative language”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this general conversation:

A synonym roll from my synonym craftivity.

Student 1: What is a synonym again?

Student 2: Remember those synonym rolls we made?

Student 1: Oh yeah! The words mean the same!

FOLLOWING WRITTEN DIRECTIONS – Students need to concentrate not only on the concept
they are learning, but also need to focus on following the steps to successfully complete the craftivity. All of my craftivities include direction pages that I project on the wall. Students need to carefully read the directions in order to complete the assignment. (Further, if they get distracted and miss a step, I encourage them to problem-solve on their own for a way to make it work!)

CREATIVITY – Students are given an opportunity to make choices and express themselves. From the color of construction paper they select, to the shades they choose to color an object, to the angles at which they choose to glue their objects or embellish their finished products, no two pieces are ever exactly alike. I love to see the pride in their faces when they bring me their “finished masterpiece”.
Students LOVE to invent new flavors when they are decorating their main idea cones!
Students enjoy creating facial expressions to go with various character traits!
TASK COMPLETION WITHIN TIME CONSTRAINTS – Students enjoy a sense of personal satisfaction when they finish their craftivity. Although most craftivities can be completed fairly quickly, it’s still a project with steps that need to be done logically and systematically. I give my students a certain amount of time to complete the activity in class. If students spend too much time coloring, they know that their materials will be placed in an envelope and sent home to complete on their own time. (At the same time, I do certainly allow for individual differences! I never sit at my desk while students work on their craftivities. I walk around the room conversing with students and cutting pieces for those who are working hard, yet still lag behind.) We educators all realize that every moment is precious, and wasting time is not an option!

WOW!  That was a lot of words!  (Do you feel like you've just walked out of an inservice?!)  Now that you've hung on this long, let me "reward" you with an example of one of my newest craftivity resources!  I created this one over the summer, and I actually had a ton of fun working on it!  I got quite a kick out of recognizing that I use idioms and hyperboles A LOT - especially with my family.  (Can anyone relate?  How many did I just use in the last few sentences?!)  On a more educational note, though, idioms and hyperboles often pose a challenge to many ESL students.  I also had their needs in mind as I created this craftivity.  Even though it's a sorting activity to differentiate between idioms and hyperboles, they are exposed to 16 sentences that have them, and I intend to stop by the desks of my ESL students as they work on this to explain any they do not understand (which could very well be all of them!)

Here's how this craftivity is designed:  Students first read 16 sentences that are written in glasses. They are tasked with determining whether each sentence contains an idiom or a hyperbole. (They color the liquid in the glass yellow if it's an idiom (for idiom-ade), and brown if it's a hyperbole (for hyperbol-tea). Once they have completed that, they go about creating their idiom-ade and hyperbol-tea stand!

Do you use interactive notebooks in your class?  One of the fourth grade classrooms I am co-teaching in is using interactive language/reading notebooks for the first time this year.  I intend to incorporate all of the craftivities we do in that class into them.  In the case of this idiom/hyperbole craftivity, I will instruct students to select one idiom-sentence glass and one hyperbole sentence glass to glue into their notebooks.  Next to each glass, I will instruct them to write the meaning of each concept (in their own words, of course).  Then they will have this visual reminder and written description of each concept at their fingertips to refer back to for the remainder of the school year!

The finished products of all my craftivity resources can be used to make a unique bulletin board or fun school hallway display!

I mentioned "rewarding you" a couple of paragraphs back... I'd love for you to try this Idiom and Hyperbole craftivity in YOUR classroom this year, so I'm offering is as a flash freebie exclusively on ATUE!  It would cost you $2.50 at my TpT store, but through August 31, it's available HERE to download for free!  (Want to share this resource with your team or other colleagues?  Please do, but please honor copyright laws and rather than simply passing along the file, please direct them to the blog to pick up the freebie for themselves.  While they are here, they can sign up to follow ATUE to find out about future freebies!)

Before I leave you to make the most of the rest of your day, I'll share with you my LINKS:
You can find all of my craftivity resources (plus more) at my TpT store!
First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Homeschooler - TeachersPayTeachers.com
Please hop over to my blog - Crafting Connections -  and sign up to follow it!  (There, I will regularly blog about my efforts to help upper elementary learners "craft" meaningful connections!)

{GIVEAWAY ALERT}:  Stop over to my blog before Wednesday, 8/28 and enter a giveaway I've got going on!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hello from ATUE newest blogger!

Hello All Things Upper Elementary Readers, whew that's a mouthful to proof read out loud.

My name is Kristy from the 2 Peas and a Dog blog. 

I am so excited ( I waltzed with my puppy when I got asked to join) to be blogging with this AMAZING group of bloggers. When I am not teaching Grade 8, I like to spend time with super cute pets and super cute husband.  

This is my super cute, but mischievous cat Minnie. She likes to help with marking of papers. She personally sits in the marking bin to keep a safe watch over the assignments. 

This is my Shih Tsu dog Riley. She is the mascot for my blog. She is also a super helper when it comes to teaching. Whenever there is a word problem in Math - Riley is the star. She had quite the shopping problem last year, and built some triangular fences when were studying Pythagorean Theorem. 

I am starting my 7th year of teaching Grades 7 and 8. During this time I have taught a self contained class for students with learning disabilities, math, social studies, drama, dance, art and health on rotary in addition to teaching my homeroom math and English. I was also lucky enough to be the school librarian for 2 years. This is when I learned what is good and what is bad teen fiction.

Are you wondering what fun activity to do with your students the first week back? Why not try a Back to School Bingo. It is free in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Click on the photo below to access the file. 

The most popular product in my TPT store is my 12 Different Genre Book Reports Assignment. In this assignment, teachers choose which genre of fiction or non-fiction they want their students to read. There are four types of assignments that rotate through the year 4 R's, Creative Choice Board, Sell this Book and Create a Lesson. This takes the BORING out of traditional book reports. 

Everything in my TPT shop will be 10% off today only (August 22) to celebrate all of your wonderful readers of All Things Upper Elementary!

I am slightly addicted to Pinterest, Facebook, Teachers Pay Teachers and blogging. 

Do any of you share this addiction? 

If so please stop by and saying hello on any of the sites listed below. 

Happy Rhyming Thursday

Kristy from 2 Peas and a Dog

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Student Materials Shelf Upgrade: Tips and Questions!

Earlier this summer I wrote a blog post about each major summer project I planned to tackle in the realm of classroom decor and organization.  Now that summer is drawing to a close it's time to post some updates!

I made a few minor changes to the Students' Materials Shelf this summer.  Since I decided the theme of my changes this year would be "consistency," I swapped out the few Sterilite shoeboxes to give my Math Manipulatives Area a cohesive look.  So I thought it would be a good idea to get more lime green and aqua containers for this shelf.  I love the little Unitz crates from Staples, so I thought I'd just get more of the same.

The Before Photo
Unfortunately, it appears they have been discontinued.  :(

My next dilemma was what to do with the larger items, like rulers, hole punchers, tape dispensers and staplers.  I've never been sure how to house these, and then I got a great idea:  paper trays.  I could create vertical storage and the kids could take a whole tray with them when it was time to distribute them to groups.

Unfortunately, that was not meant to be either.  They're not tall enough, the rulers fell out of them, and they sagged under the weight.  But other than that...

So I'm still not happy with my materials shelf situation.  If anyone could give me advice in the comments below I'd be grateful! 

On the other hand, I made a few positive changes.

I found some lime green baskets in Target's Dollar Spot.  They're not exactly what I wanted since I can't stack them, but they're a good size for my highlighters, Sharpies and scissors.  I also found some tiny striped boxes at Target that fit inside my wooden box to hold paper clips, staples and erasers.  That's a plus because the paper clips could slide under the dividers in the wooden box; hopefully this will contain them better.  And finally I found some cute pails, also in the Dollar Spot that I'm not sure what to do with; I only found a use for one of them (holding my chart paper markers).  That plus some Frixion pens on sale meant a successful shopping trip that day!

The next improvement I made was to my mini trash.  It fits in with the theme with the help of a bit of Duck Tape.  The mini trash was a real success last year when it came to reducing sticky note wrappers and the like being stuffed any old place on the shelf by kids who were too lazy to walk 15 feet to the barrel, haha.  Seriously, my class this past year was one of my neatest ever and I think organization tricks like this help.  Now it also fits in!

Another good use for the Duck Tape was to create a border on the lip of each shelf.  Like the bookshelf, this shelf is so old and worn it has given the kids and I splinters.  So not only does the border tie in with my color scheme, it will hopefully also prevent some nurse visits!

So this shelf is still a work in progress, unfortunately.  I'll check Pinterest, but if anyone can advise me on the ruler, stapler, hole punch and tape dispenser situation I'd be appreciative.  I'm sure they are not going to stay balanced on top of the paper trays as shown below once the kids arrive! 

Shut the Door and Teach:  This week's post is about trying a new way to cover my closet doors
My TPT Store:  Amber Thomas's Classroom Favorites

Update:  Thank you to Kim from Quintessential Lessons for a great solution to my ruler dilemma! Although a Pringles can is too tall to fit on my shelf, I could lay it flat if rolling wasn't such a problem.  However I had on hand a rectangular prism shaped can (Bentley tea tin) that now fits in well thanks to some Duck Tape!

Still looking for ideas on how to stack the tape dispensers, hole punchers and staplers.  Does anyone have a solution?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Educents Bundle for Grades 4 and 5!

Hi, friends! Blair from One Lesson at a Time here, and I wanted to share something pretty exciting with you! You may or may not have heard about Educents - it's basically Groupon for teachers. They run limited time deals - and the deals are bananas. Currently, there are 19 teachers participating in a bundle of goodies for grades 4 and 5. You may recognize some of the ATUE peeps in the image below!

You could snatch up 27 amazing products worth $135 for only $30! It's seriously a steal. You get all the following downloads that will stretch learning across the curriculum and throughout the year!  Take a peek at what is included!

Blog: One Lesson at a Time
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