Texas Teaching Fanatic

A look inside a 4th grade classroom

Monday Made It Specials Rotation Schedule (A little late)

I’m linking up again with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It–just a day late!

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My only Made It this time around is my Specials schedule. I’ve tried numerous ways of doing this, but I decided to try something new this year…and I must say this is by far the best one yet.

Our school has A Weeks and B Weeks for Specials rotations. I get tired of students asking what week it is and watching them try to figure out where they will be spending 50 minutes of their day, so I decided to use a cookie sheet and glue pictures for both weeks in order along the edge. I drew an arrow onto a painted clothespin that can be moved each day. This takes all the guesswork out of where we will go each day. The kids love it, and so do I!

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What sort of chart or nifty idea have you come up with? I’d love to hear from you! Happy Tuesday!

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Welcome Bunting

I finally got my WELCOME bunting up on my wall. I think it turned out cute! I’m not crazy about the shininess of the laminating, but eventually the triangles will straighten out and not have as much sheen. I’m probably going to take them down over the weekend and set them under some books to flatten those puppies out! The more I look at it, the more it kills me. I’m not OCD… 😉

Just wanted to post a quick pic of some progress. I’m getting more charts up, so I will post updated classroom pics soon!

Interested in making your own bunting? Stay tuned for a tutorial! 🙂

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Monday Made It: Back To School Finale

It’s time again for Monday Made It with 4th Grade Frolics!

Monday Made It

Made It #1: Pencil Dispenser

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So after seeing a few of these puppies on Pinterest and other blogs, I knew I just HAD to make one!! I’m already spending birthday money just to do this (my birthday isn’t until November!!). Yeah, I REALLY wanted one!! Anyway, I like to give love to my inspiration when I can, so here are some links to the pins and blogs that I searched. {Blog Posts: Ms. Third Grade, Teaching Maddeness, and The Resource(ful) Room; Pin by Melissa Resendez}

I’m more of a “simpleton,” I guess, so my pencil dispenser is just black with my signature zebra and blue ribbon across the front. This wasn’t hard to do at all. I took 2 pieces of scrapbook paper that I had from my scrapbooking days and cut it into 4 pieces (one piece for each of the front 3 sections, and then a larger piece for the bottom. I decorated the piece that goes in the front with ribbon and stickers that spelled out pencils, and then I actually just used clear tape to attach the paper to the dispenser. Since I used black paper, I was limited to the type of adhesive I could use without it being seen!

And there you have it! An awesome pencil dispenser that will make my life much easier….hopefully, anyway! 🙂

Made It #2: Clipboards

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Front

Back

Back

My second MMI is a set of clipboards that I cutsified for my team members. As a welcome back gift, I decided to cover clipboards for my team members. They aren’t completely finished because I am going to personalize them once they make their picks. Instead of me choosing who each one belongs to, I’m going to let them choose.

These were super easy, and I’m sure you have seen them before. Most of you probably even have one! I just love school supplies and thought these would be a great way to welcome my team back to school. There will be 4 of us in 4th grade this year, and two of them are new, so may the force be with us! 😉

Thanks for stopping by! For more amazing ideas–and THE LAST MONDAY MADE IT OF THE SUMMER–head over to 4th Grade Frolics!

I’ve also linked up with Krafty Cards etc. for a linky party.

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Monday Made It: DIY In Under 5 Minutes

It’s Monday Made It time with 4th Grade Frolics!

Monday Made ItI chose two DIY projects that took me under 5 minutes to complete!

Made It #1

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Tired of endless Post-It notes?  Here’s your answer!  I found a picture frame that I liked, cut some scrapbook paper I had stacked in a tub, put it into the frame, and instantly had a Dry-Erase To Do List!  Easy peasy, right?

Made It #2

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Next up is a class set of dry-erase markers WITH ERASERS!  I found some pom-poms at Dollar Tree for only $1, pulled out my hot glue gun, and glued those puppies on the ends of the markers.  No more losing erasers!

My husband and I are going on vacation for a few days, so I’m in a rush to get this posted.  Need more ideas?  Head over to 4th Grade Frolics for lots of Monday Made It ideas!!

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Anchor Charts

I finally uploaded some of my anchor charts that I used with my kiddos last year. Head over to my Anchor Charts page and check ’em out! 😉

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OUT with the OLD and IN with the NEW

Ugly Filing Cabinet

Ugly Filing Cabinet

I needed to get out of the house today, so where better to go than my classroom, right? The custodians have

finished waxing the floors and all of my stuff is on boxes, so I might as well just go ahead and jump in, especially since I’m planning to give my classroom a facelift before school starts.

I strutted in with my zebra contact paper in tow. Although I had grand plans for getting LOTS done, I couldn’t help but stare at the ugly tan filing cabinet just sitting there in all of its awfulness. I couldn’t help myself–I attacked it with my contact paper!

I thought it turned out pretty good. And the best part is that I’m now extremely motivated to clean out filing cabinet #2 and get rid of that bad boy! After an hour and a half of covering one, I decided I didn’t really want to have to do another.

Cute Filing Cabinet

Cute Filing Cabinet

Sorry, if you thought this would be an easy project, you’re wrong. The sides weren’t bad, and even the strips that go up and down on the front and in between the drawers weren’t bad. It was the drawers that took the longest and were frustrating. But..I did it…and am really glad that I did!

I will post pics of my room once it’s all finished, but I still have a long way to go. I took the “before” picture today, and it’s not pretty!! Stay tuned!!

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Mission Organization: Recycled Writing

As I was browsing through the dollar store, I came across this really cute trash can.  I know, it’s a trash can for crying out loud!  But hey, I’m an elementary teacher with vision!!

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I decided that this would be a great place for students to put their ideas that they want to write about in the future, but just don’t have time for at the moment the idea hits them.  Instead of just telling students, “I’m sorry, but you just can’t write about that right now,” I will now have a better solution.  My students will be able to write down their ideas and place them in the “Recycled Writing Ideas” can to save for the future.

There are many different ways that this can be used, and I’m not sure exactly how I will implement it, but right now it is just another step to getting myself and my students organized.  I’m thinking that this will be a great way to find out what kids really want to write about, and hopefully I can incorporate their ideas into my classroom discussions and individual writing pieces.  As the year goes on, I’m sure I’ll find many more ways to use it.

I would LOVE to hear your ideas if you have some.  I’m always open to new ways of thinking!!

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Mission Organization: Drop Box

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I created this organizational tool to give students a place to put party notes, letters from parents, doctors notes, absence excuses, tardy passes, and all of those other things that parents send to school with their students in an attempt to communicate with us.  Instead of having my students just drop them off on my desk, they will now have a specific place to put these items.  Not only does it help me stay organized, it also keeps them from blowing on the floor or getting mixed in with a stack of papers to grade.

I went to Dollar Tree, our local $1 store, and bought a plastic bin about the size of a shoebox and a set of perforated letters from the teacher aisle.  I glued the letters on the side of the box, waited for it to dry, and bam–done!  The best part: it cost under $2!  (I’ll say under $2 since I have lots of letters left over to use on future projects.)  I may end up putting some clear tape over it if the letters begin to peel off, but for now, I like it just the way it is!

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DIY Dry Erase Marker with Attached Eraser

DIY Dry Erase Marker with Attached Eraser

Tired of kids using the end of a dry erase marker, their shirts or their hands to erase their boards? Not only can these methods scratch the boards and leave kids with dirty hands, frankly–it’s annoying! I’ve seen lots of ideas for erasers and tried many of them, but this one is by far the best. Just hot glue a pom pom to the end of the marker! It’s quick, easy, cheap, and it will eliminate those scratches on marker boards! No more lost erasers, either!! Problem solved!!

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DIY Dry Erase or Wet Erase Pockets

ImageI despise wasted paper.  It’s bad enough that many teachers just shove worksheets at kids these days, but seeing all the papers in the trash every day after students exit the classroom makes me think that we could probably be doing some things better!  So…I set out to find something to help cut down on wasted paper.

I found this on PInterest, I must admit, but I felt it was too neat to keep to myself.  These dry erase pockets are super cute and easy to make.  All you need is some duct tape and page protectors.  Just line 3 edges with the duct tape, and you have yourself some neat dry erase pockets to use with your lessons.

How could I use these?

1. Instead of running multiple class sets of a reading passage, allow students to use a Visa-Vis or dry erase marker to underline evidence in the story.  When they are finished, it can be easily erased for the next class.

2. Use these pockets in centers when students are rotating through.  Instead of having to run a whole class set, you can run just enough for the amount of students in the group.  They can erase before switching to the next group.

3. If you make a whole class set, these can be used to cover science papers when in the science lab or while doing experiments.  Many times their papers end up in the middle of the experiment, so by using these, there may be fewer accidents and fewer requests for a new paper!

4. Slide a nonfiction text into the pocket and label the text features.  This could be used as a display with a real book, instead of listing out on a chart.

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