August 29, 2015

Five For Friday: BEST Back to School FREEBIES!

Ok, I'm a little late, but here we go!

This week I’ve been back to school and it has been great! I’m in a new grade and new room again.  It was another tough move, but it’s done and I have a great class this year!  The hardest part of a two-year move is finding things to do that you did do the year before, especially when you have looping students.  I have 5 looping students who came with me from first to second grade!  I let that be my challenge in a quest to find new and interesting products that I could use this first week with FREE as the goal!  So here we go!



The #1 product I used this year was the First Day of School Stations by Melissa Shutler-Evidence of Learning. 

Here is my actual review of the product (sorry about the weird white on these!): 
This product is AMAZING! I used it today for our first day of school exploration! The kids were engaged, on task, and really learned about our room. Plus, it freed me up to observe what they were interested in and to see how they interacted with others! Afterwards we did a review where I talked more about each area, but not as much as I usually talk! I really think this saved my first day of school voice! AND I was able to get a good view of what my kids like through the survey. I had them lay it out and I recorded their names on an additional copy for my records! They took it home to share tonight! There was so much that very few finished everything, but that's ok! THEY LEARNED! Thank you so much!! (I used it in 2nd Grade and it was great!)  Click HERE for the link to the product! 


The #2 product that I used this year was from Simply Skilled in Second called The Scoop on Second Flip Flap Book!  

This is how we started our morning because we have kids come in from 8:05 all the way until the bell at 8:30.  They come with lots of supplies and need to organize themselves, so we can be anywhere from being done to unpacking until about 9:00.  I had the kids color it that morning-that’s it!  We worked on filling it in later in the day and into the next day.  The nice thing about this product is that it provides an opportunity to write, so it gave me a quick assessment on their writing, handwriting, and grammar abilities on the second day of school (that’s when we completed the writing page.)


The #3 product that I used this year was Back to SchoolClassroom Procedures from Kindergarten Boom Boom.  Here is my actual review:  This is a REALLY great product! I have used this over the past two days to go over basic information with my students. I did three with them and then allowed them to color the pictures. I feel like they know things better than when I would just say them. Tonight they are taking it home for homework to read to their parents. I am also keeping my copy on a clipboard so that when they ask me something that is on the sheet, I'm going to send them to it to read! The only thing we didn't do is cut it out because I used both pages. I used it in second grade! Highly, highly recommend this one!


The #4 product that I used this year was Kagan Desk Labels from Teacher By the Beach.   

I follow Mrs. Russell’s Room on Facebook and she shared the Orange Blog Hop.  I followed the hop and came across these great table labels.  I decided to try them out and they have been wonderful this week, simply to have kids follow directions and use their desk numbers in activities we did.  I printed them off, laminated them, and taped them to each desk according to their color!  There are 6 color choices that match my room perfectly!  Thanks Teacher By the Beach! You can find them here.  


The #5 product that I used this year is the Table Leader Tracking sheet.   I made it!  I saved it for last!  After all, it works for me but I don’t know if it would work for others yet.  Here it is!  


I just love this form!  I thought of it the 3rd morning of school-in the shower-where I swear my best ideas come from!  I needed something for my table leaders to record on.  After tweaking it before printing THAT MORNING, I was able to find something that works well and covers the whole rotation of my tables that I learned about from free product #4!  The table leaders LOVE using this tool and now the rest of my kids can’t wait to be the table leader!  It is saving me a TON of time too!  So download away, edit what you like, and have some fun using it! 

So that’s my 5 for Friday (a little late on Saturday, but I got it done!)

What’s your favorite freebie to use for Back to School?


August 19, 2015

Braggin' All the Way

This year I've decided to use Brag Tags in my classroom!  I am super excited to try this out.  I am not one for giving treasure box rewards and having a "store" in my room.  I am more about meaningful praise based on being responsible.  I am a huge believer in The Responsive Classroom and the idea that students should learn to do the right thing, even when no one is looking.  My school does use the 8 Keys of Excellence and they fit in nicely to the general principles found in TRC.  Here's a little breakdown of how my Brag Tags are coming along.

I purchase this roll of dog tag chain at Michael's for $9.99 (I did use my teacher discount so it was less! Next time I will use a coupon too!)  I cut it into 18 inch pieces using my husband's metal crimpers.  Super easy!



Next, I added these chain connectors.  I got 12 for $1.98.  I purchased them at Lowes.  I couldn't find them at Michael's, so I did a quick search of the net. Lowes carries them in their fan section and they were a great price for the least amount of work!

I went ahead and cut them into the 18" sections and added the connectors.  I will tell you I came across a lot of connectors that wouldn't connect. I don't know if it was because my fingers gave out or they just didn't work. But I bought 5 packages so I had plenty.  I had enough chain for 21 students, so I will have a few extra for those who come into the class as the year progresses. 

Now, I have a great suggestion for purchasing Brag Tags-These adorable tags from The Almost Their Height Teacher!


I just LOVE them!  I have purchased all of her Brag Tags for use this year and I'm totally excited to use them!  I might try my hand (and have as you will see in a minute!) but not too much, as she has almost everything I would need!  

So, with that, I'm calling it a night with a FREEBIE!  Here's a Brag Tag for Back to School Night which is, for me, tomorrow night! 


 When is yours and how do you use Brag Tags!