Friday, July 27, 2018

House System for the Primary Classroom

I am so excited to start this House System this year!  I can't think of anything better to encourage teamwork and boost classroom morale!  I have never been real big on the whole treasure box idea.  I don't want to reward behavior with tangible things.  I want my kiddos to want to do the right thing because it's the right thing to do, not because they're going to get some sort of trinket or piece of candy for it.  

Not that I haven't done that in the past, because yeah... teaching is hard and many things can be solved with a piece of candy!  But, what are they learning from that little sweet treat?  

I need to do better so they can do better.

With that in mind, I created a simple starter kit for a primary grade house system.  Completed inspired by Harry Potter and The Ron Clark Academy.  We don't have a school-wide system in place, so this is strictly for my classroom.  I'm sure it could be used school-wide but since I don't have any experience with that, I am starting with my own little group of kiddos.

I plan to sort them with the "sorting strips" that are included.  I'll cut them up & put them in a fancy basket of some kind to sort kiddos into their houses.  There's a spinner included if you wish to use that instead.  There are 4 kid-friendly houses built around character traits I"m hoping to build within my kiddos:  exuberance (joy), symbiosis (interdependence), perseverance, and integrity.

Here's a list of things that are included and I will surely be adding to the pack as I put it into place and see how it works! There are 3 color choices: a muted pastel version, a brights version, and a black and white farmhouse version that can be printed on any color you like.

I hope you like it and can use it in your classroom or school!  I'm excited to see how it helps to improve our classroom culture.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Light Box Inserts

Do you use a light box in your classroom?  Last year it became one of my favorite things!  I like to keep little inspirational quotes or happy thoughts in mine.  I worked with a brilliant teacher who put sight words in hers!  

For the upcoming year, I've decided to focus on a growth mindset in my classroom and designed some inserts to display in my Heidi Swapp light box.  These are sized about 2.81 x 11" and work best when you "print actual size" and cut directly on the lines.  I've also now updated the file to include inserts sized 2.5 x 11" by request.  

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!  Click here, or any of the images to grab yours. I'll be updating them throughout the year and will let you know when the file has been updated so you can grab the most recent copy.

With happiness, 
Jen ♥

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Literacy Toolkit

Hey, y'all! After an incredibly inspiring #getyourteachon conference, I've created what I hope to be the resource that will end my independent reading & writing time struggles.  The biggest problem I'm facing now is what container to use!  

I thought these beautiful Dollar Tree water bottles would do the trick, but no.... it's too difficult to get the checklists in and out of these beauties.
I'm toying with some cheap food storage containers instead.  I think they'll be easy to replace should they get broken or lost.

I found the Rubbermaid set below for super cheap at Target! (image is linked)
Then, of course, there's these beauties at Michael's that are all the rage in classrooms but... I'm thinking I may be a little too cheap frugal for these.(click on image for direct link)

Anyway, I'll let you know my final decision on storage!

The big ideas for the toolkit are here: 

The writing goal sliders in the image below are what I am most excited about.  They are differentiated into groups of beginning, intermediate, and advanced.  The beginning and intermediate levels have some simple images or descriptors to help those still struggling to read and the advanced is all text.

These are provided in a couple sizes.One large for demonstration purposes or to paste onto an anchor chart, and then two smaller sizes to fit whatever toolkit you decide to use. 
Something wonderful I learned from the incredible Deanna Jump: punch 2 holes on either end of the mini-chart, add a pony bead to a pipe cleaner, insert into the holes, secure to the back, and the kiddos have clear hand-on way to move through their writing goals!  Isn't that the smartest thing?  

The "flip that sound" cue chart pictured below also comes in two sizes to fit your containers and is offered in black and white only for ease of printing.  Please see the sounds included on the image below.  It does NOT include all vowel teams. 

The decoding strategy posters pictured below come in both large square (with short descriptor of skill), large circle, and small circle in 2 different art styles.  Use the large ones to teach the skill display in your classroom, then use the small circles to stick on popsicle sticks as kiddos practice their new skill!  The skill charts included are sized 2 ways to fit into your student toolkits. 

The alphabet mini charts pictured below are available in color and grayscale in 2 sizes. 

This close read markups chart is specifically designed for the K-2 student.  Please make note of the asterisk used in place of a star. In my experience, students at this age are still struggling to make stars and will often focus on the creation of the star rather than looking in the text.  It is much easier to learn to make an asterisk!  So, until kiddos are ready for stars, an asterisk is listed here.

The editing checklist pictured below is included in 2 sizes.  One full size page for demonstration or chart purposes, and a smaller size for student toolkits.

Next, in this big ole pack o' goodness is a spinner set.  This was very much inspired by Deanna Jump at the #getyourteachon conference!  She shared how she pairs students up as "peanut butters" and "jellies."  Kiddos know what they are, know who their partners are, and it apparently works like a charm!  I'm so going to implement that this year but I decided on "bacon"and "eggs" or "milk" and "cookies."  Nothing goes together better than those, right?!  

So, list your kiddos under each image, add a spinner (there's one included you can attach with a brad, or purchase a set of "snap together spinners" online), and your students can buddy up to complete their task! Included is a large display chart and smaller spinners for student toolkits.

I got my spinners here

A few other things that I'm including in this toolkit are listed and linked below:

For touching text: 
 For interacting with text: 

For erasing notes/writing: 

For making notes on text (and because they are super cute): 

For looking in text (no fingers!):

Included in this kit are tools for the students to use independently after explicit teaching has occurred in either a whole group or small group setting.  They will not likely have all these resources at once or I fear it will lose it's effectiveness. 

In total, this pack is 101 pages of print & go happiness for your classroom!  I hope you find it beneficial. 

Thanks so much,
Jen ♥

UPDATE: I went with the Rubbermaid containers and I am SO pleased!  I think they are going to be the perfect addition to my literacy block! 

Punch holes in either end, insert a pipe cleaner with a pony bead, and BAM! You have a slider that kiddos can use independently to monitor their own goals. Other options: velcro, clothespins, paperclips!