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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It’s a Mystery!

“What’s in the box?”  “I wonder what’s in there this time!”  “Can I be first to figure it out?”

These are quotes from children who are anxious to find out what is inside the mystery box.  Many times I stand at the door and let the students put their hands inside for about 3 seconds before entering the room.  Other times I walk around the room and let students feel inside one by one and use a word to describe what is inside.  I’ve used the Mystery Box in many different ways, but one thing is the same every time: student engagement!

THE Mystery Box

THE Mystery Box

Principals always want to walk into our classrooms and see students “actively engaged” in their learning.  I’ve heard that phrase MANY times over my short career as a teacher.  The fact is: Not every lesson is engaging.  Sometimes we are forced to teach the “boring stuff” because it’s what the state mandates.

However, I have found a way to make some of those snoozers a lot more eye opening.  (Pardon the pun!)  The answer?  That Mystery Box you see in the picture.  Sometimes it takes just the simplest tweak of a lesson to make it more engaging for all involved.  And it’s one of those things that the kids continue to enjoy throughout the year.  It’s not something that they groan about–they get so excited when they see it come off the shelf.

How I made it:

I bought a hat box, a feather boa, black material, black foam sheet, and stickers at Hobby Lobby.  Before covering the box, I cut a 3.5″ x 3.5″  square in the center of the lid.  Then I covered the box and the lid with the material.  After that, I cut a circle to fit inside the bottom of the lid (for sturdiness) out of the foam and glued it in.  Once it dried, I took my exacto knife and cut an X in the lid where I had cut out the square.  You will be cutting the material and the foam at the same time.  This is where the students will be able to put their hands inside.  When I was finished with that, I cut the boa into smaller pieces and glued it around the edge of the lid and more around the X on the top.  The last step was to decorate it with stickers.

I’m sure many of you out there have used similar techniques in your classrooms.  How does it work for you?  Do you see that the students are more engaged?  I would love to hear your stories!  And if you haven’t tried it yet, let me suggest it!  You might just be surprised to see how much the level of interest increases in your room!!

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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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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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