Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bubble Painting: Pinterest Win or Fail?

I am obsessed with the site Pinterest Fail.  I think it is so funny seeing people's recipes/crafts from Pinterest turn out a total flop...I'm not saying that in a mean spirited way.... more from an "I've been there" kind of way.  When we did this painting with bubbles activity this week (which I found on Pinterest and is originally from Art is Basic), I wasn't sure whether we would have any luck.  The directions were minimal (put food coloring in bubbles and blow them at paper).  So I wasn't really sure how they would turn out.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cooking: Dirt Cups

This week, our summer cooking extravaganza continued by making dirt cups!  This is definitely one of my favorite desserts, so I figured I should introduce it to my students as well.  Although all of them loved making it, only about half of them enjoyed eating it.  I guess a lot of my kids are picky about having different ingredients mixed together in one dish...or maybe it's because we called it "dirt" (?)  However, one awesome part was that my student with a severe feeding disorder (who currently doesn't eat any real food), loved licking the spoon of the pudding/coolwhip combo!  Super awesome!

As you have seen in my previous cooking posts, we use visual directions like these.  These are great to work on reading and following directions.  We often read a step, then ask the kids what we need to do next.  They have to re-exlpain it using their own words.  Or we have them find the materials they need to complete the step.  

Monday, July 29, 2013

Classroom Friendly Supplies Pencil Sharpener: A More than Brief Review!

OK, I have to admit something...we have a HUGE pencil problem in my classroom.  It is so bad that, last year, one of my coworkers had to sit me down for a pencil intervention.  She told me her students were trying to sneak their own pencils into my classroom because we always had a shortage of sharpened pencils.  Now, I do have a good excuse!  My pencil sharpener is super loud/annoying and it burns out after sharpening 5 pencils.  Also, my kids don't know how to use it very well.

When I got an email saying that my pencil sharpener from Classroom Friendly Supplies was on its way to my house for me to try out, I felt like I had won the lottery! My husband told me, "Only a teacher would be that excited over a pencil sharpener."  He is probably right, but I still could barely wait the few days it took for it to arrive!! 

So, here we are.  My pencil sharpener has arrived and it is a beautiful shade of green.  We are currently in summer school, so I thought I would bring it into my class to try it out with my students.  I secured it easily to the table using the given supplies.  
Here is a small stack of troubled pencils before sharpening.
I didn't watch any video tutorials on how to use it, so it took me a second to realize you need to pull the mechanism out before sharpening.  However, once I realized that, I was thrilled.  This pencil sharpener makes the sharpest pencils ever!  And not in a dangerous way where you are worried the lead will instantly break when you start to write with them and maybe fly into a kid's eye (it happens...believe me!).  My kids used them right away and there was no lead breakage. 

We sharpened pencils that had never been sharpened before as well those that just needed freshening up.  Here are before and after pictures of one pencil.  Pretty awesome, huh?!

The only downside I could find was that it doesn't sharpen my "thick" pencils.  There are very few sharpeners out there that do, but a girl can hope!

This sharpener is also very easy to clean out.  Just open the drawer, dump, and you are good to go again!

Once I got the hang of it, after 2-3 pencils, I started having my kids use it.  They did great.  I think I have scouted out a couple great kids for the "pencil sharpener" job next year.

Overall, I am sold on this little guy.  Just ask my non-teacher friends.  I'm pretty sure I have told every single one of them about my new sharpener!  But solves all the problems I had with my old sharpeners: 1) It is quiet. 2) It doesn't burn out after 5 keeps going and going! 3) My kids understood how to use it within 2 pencils worth of practice.  So definitely head over to Classroom Friendly Supplies to check them out!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Favorite Pins Friday

Phew!  Another Friday already...this summer sure is flying by!  And, I still have been pinning a ton!  I love the pinterest app on my phone...I think I look at it almost as often as Facebook now!  I just wish I had more time in my day so I could make everything I find!  Head over to The First Grade Parade to join in!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Adapted Book Resource

I don't know about you, but adapted books are one of my favorite activities to use in my classroom!  Some, I find online and others I have created myself.  These help students work on vocabulary as well as comprehension!  A few years ago, I found this site and printed off A TON of books to use in my classroom.  I stumbled upon it again the other day and thought it would be a great resource to share with you.  Especially, during the summer, when many of us are prepping for next year (or at least thinking about prepping...haha).  

You can find over 50 FREE adapted books at the NYC Department of Education Site!  I will share a few of my favorites with you here.

This one is called Pet Store.  It goes through a variety of animals that are being considered for a class pet.  Kids can match pictures on each page.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Dice Worksheet Resource

Today, I wanted to share a resource with you for making dice worksheets.  This is a great way to work on counting and beginning addition skills with your kids!  I used this site to make some worksheets for my kids this summer.  So far, they have been doing great with them.  They have been taking their time and trying to get each question right.  I started giving them "grades" for their worksheets...and they all want 100% and a smiley face :-)....I love when simple rewards are motivating for my kids!!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cooking: Veggies & Dip

This week for cooking in summer school we made veggies and dip as well as Kool aid.  We spent a lot of time discussing healthy food vs. junk food this past year, so I want to make sure I bring some healthy dishes to school instead of only making unhealthy treats!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Made It

This is my first time linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It!  So, none of my Made-Its are for my classroom, but they are somewhat related to school.  I think (I hope) you will appreciate seeing them anyways!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Favorite Pins Friday

All of this pinning is making me want to start making things for next year...but I'm just not quite ready yet.  I am not feeling creative enough at this moment.  Also my school us undergoing major construction this year, so I don't even know what my room will look like when I get back?  Will there be white boards?  Or will I have to cover up my ugly green chalkboards again?  Will I have new furniture?  Or do I need to make my old stuff pretty with some Pinterest pinspirtation?  So, I am trying to come up with some general ideas...then I'll re-evaluate when I see my classroom in mid-August! are my favorite pins of the week!  Hop on over to First Grade Parade to join in.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Differentiated Dice Worksheets

I am super into dice worksheets this summer.  It is such an easy way to work on math skills, while making the kids think we are playing games!  You can adapt them easily to a variety of levels as well.  Depending on the student's level, I use them to work on number recognition, counting, and addition.  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cooking: Making Trail Mix

Cooking is something I always want to get to more often during the school year, but we always seem to run out of prior to starting summer school I found several recipes and adapted them using Boardmaker.  I planned for doing 1 recipe a week during summer school.  Luckily, most of the recipes involve non-perishable foods, so I was able to shop for them all at once.  These recipes are available on TPT in packs of 3 recipes with corresponding comprehension sheets.  Check them out here.

This week, we made trail mix.  I did this activity with 3 kids at a time.  It took about 25-30 minutes to get through each group.  To start, we read through the recipe. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Expand an Image Art Project

I have a few artists in my class this year.  These guys love to draw.  I mean, they spend their free time looking up pictures on the internet and in books and re-creating them.  I was thinking this activity would go over great with them.  But, of course, the day I had planned on completing the activity, most of my artists were absent!  Luckily, even the kids who struggle with drawing were successful and seemed to enjoy themselves in the process!

Monday, July 15, 2013


Wow...I made this unit last summer and finally got around to using it with my class this summer.  That is just kind of sad!  It makes me really excited for this upcoming year, however, because my kids did great with it!  I was hoping on doing some more grammar-like units next year for my most advanced students, but this unit went over so well, I'm thinking more kids could participate than I originally thought!  This unit is available on my TPT store (click here).  This unit covers 20 opposite pairs (i.e. hot/cold, tall/short, day/night, young/old, etc.).  Included in this packet are: Flash Cards, Memory Game, 9 Worksheets, and Opposite Bingo.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Favorite Pins Friday

One of my goals for the summer is to be a more collaborative blogger...I spent most of the last year in my own blogging world, but now that I have a little more time on my hands, I am excited to do some more link-ups and guest blogging type things!  

On that note, today I am linking up with First Grade Parade for Favorite Pins Friday!  The 2 major things I use Pinterest for are Food and School Ideas.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Labeling Your Classroom Stations!

At the end of the year, it was so hard tearing down all of my classroom Labels!  Many of them were in great shape, but they are doing so much work in our classrooms this summer, I figured they wouldn't survive.  So, to get ready for next year, I re-printed and laminated them.  

I use these labels in each area of my classroom so my students know where to go and what is expected of them.  My students who have picture schedules, use corresponding pictures to match the labels when they go to each station.  Most areas in my room are meant for only 1 station...however many of these areas can address a variety of topics.  Stations like "Science" usually only  have work related to one topic (i.e. our monthly science topic).   However, stations like "Group Time" occur at the same time each day, but can address a variety of topics and cover many types of activities from games to guided reading groups.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


One of my top-selling items on TPT has been my All About Me book (check out my blog post about this here).  So, I decided to make some additions to the book this summer!  This new product consists of 4 new ALL ABOUT ME WORKSHEETS!! Check it out HERE on TPT!!  Or click the photo below :-)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Math Games with FREE Printables!

Today in summer school, we used some fun math games from  I had pinned several of her math center ideas on Pinterest...and was super excited that when I clicked on them, they led to FREE printables! Todayl, we used 2 different counting games from this site and made them competitive.  They went over well with the kids (only a few whimpers/whines when a kid lost....we are working on losing gracefully!).  Whenever anyone loses, we cue them by saying "Shake it off....oh well."  We have the kids shake out their body, then shrug and say "oh well."  It is pretty funny, because now if any of my kids starts whining when they lose, another kid will say, "Shake it off."

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Awesome Following-Directions Activity

I think I may be in love with this new following directions activity I stumbled across on TPT.  The activities are from Primary Techie (check out her TPT store here).  This activity works on so many goal areas at once...numbers, colors, reading, fine motor, and direction following.  

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Summer School In Action

Wow,  I thought I was going to have sooooo much time to blog over this holiday weekend, but I have been busy non-stop!  And by busy, I mean busy relaxing and having a blast with friends!  From laying by the pool, to going on a party boat, BBQs, and bike rides.  We have had the most perfect weather,  and I have been trying hard to soak up every moment!  So again, sorry for being a bad blogger.  I seriously have so many things I want to blog about too!

Today, I'll show you some stations in my summer school classroom.  We are at a different school this summer and in a completely new room.  I actually am in LOVE with this room because it has air conditioning and a sink! (Oh, the simple joys).

You can see more on our summer school schedule in this post.  We basically start our day with "morning group" where we are all together to discuss calendar, weather, and write our daily journal.  I just made a bunch of fill in the blanks on the white board, so we can go over it is a class, and then the kids can fill in the answers in their individual binders as well.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

4th of July Craft and SALE

Yesterday was the last day of summer school for this week!  Whoo-hoo...4 day weekend!  In honor of 4th of July, we did a fun firework craft that I found on Pinterest.  You basically make a firework stamp from a pipe-cleaner, then use it to create fun fire-work designs with paint.  The website it was posted on has awesome visual directions for kids (and me) to follow along!  Check them out here.  Unfortunately, I don't have a printer at summer school, so I just wrote/drew directions on the board.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Currently: July

It's time for Currently....July.  I feel like I say this every month, but I cannot believe it is already July because the weather doesn't seem warm enough (we are in the midst of a cool front).  But nonetheless, it is that time....and I love it.  Everything about the summer makes me happy, sun, warmth, BBQs, swimming, even the occasional thunderstorm!  If you want to link up with currently, head over to Farley's Blog!

Listening:  Spending my free time today getting errands done (especially a bunch of annoying phone calls I have been putting off) now I am blogging while I sit on hold for one of those phone calls!

Loving:  I love having a pool in my building.  I went 3 times last week.  Maybe that doesn't seem like a lot, but I was super was just so nice to realize I had an hour to kill and I could do it outside poolside!

Thinking:  About the long holiday weekend.  I am so excited to spend the weekend home and not be traveling (for the first time in 6 years!).  I will be enjoying some pool time, renting a party boat for a friend's b-day, BBQs, fireworks, and street festivals....aaaahhh.....can't wait!

Wanting:  I have been all over pinterest lately, and ready to try some new fun summer recipes.  I also just got a popsicle mold and want to try out some fun new flavors!

Needing:  I started reorganizing my (home) closet this afternoon, and now I want to finish....I took some old milk crates from school and have stacked them on top of my closet to store more clothes...maybe this is TMI, but it was such a mess up there and adding the crates makes it look so much better.  I just need two more to complete the project!

Tips, Tricks, or Hints:  I am no blogging expert...and actually I am really looking forward to reading other people's advice on this.  However, I really like seeing photos of the ideas in action as well as step by step, clear explanations of how things work/are made.  

Hope you all have a safe and relaxing 4th of July weekend!

Also, I juts joined bloglovin...

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Monday, July 1, 2013

Pop & Win Bingo

Pop & Win Bingo is one of my favorite classroom games.  It works on academic skills while also targeting social skills such as turn taking.  This game is from Lakeshore (I know I post about a lot of their products, but they are good quality and deal with so many skills my kids need to work on).