Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Resources That Keep Us Afloat!

Every teacher has those STAPLE resources in their classrooms.  You know the ones I am talking about... the resources that you seem to come back to over and over and over again, because they're just that great!  Today I'll be sharing a couple of different resources that, quite literally, keep me afloat in the classroom!  One is from a fellow blogger and the other is from yours truly.  :)

The Owl-ways Be Inspired Collaborative Blog girls are all joining in to highlight some of those resources that we just can't live without.  After reading my post, you can hop on down to the bottom of the post to find my other 2nd/3rd grade teacher friends and their blog posts featuring their favorite go-to resources as well.  If you read all the way to the bottom, there might be a special surprise for you!!  :)

First up is a product that has changed the way I create sub plans in a crunch.  Everybody knows how hard it is to write and gather materials for a sub when you are super sick or your kiddo is super sick or it's major last minute.  Unfortunately, we don't have a job where we can just "call in" and that's it.  Sub plans are a lot of work!  I like to adequately prepare for a sub with detailed sub plans and great materials that are challenging for the students, but easy for the substitute teacher and the students to understand.  So I present..... The Busy Teacher's Best Friend!

If you haven't seen or heard of Katie's Busy Teacher Packs, you should REALLY head on over to her TPT store right this minute!  You won't be sorry!  I have all of her 1st grade packs from when she taught first and was so excited when she moved up to 2nd grade this year, because that meant she would be creating them for 2nd, so now even when I have a substitute teacher in the room, I can still differentiate by using both 1st and 2nd grade packs!  Win-Win!

Here's an example of how her Busy Teacher Pack helped me out with a substitute:

Everything I needed for quality Reading Activities.  I just printed these off to go with our story in the basal.

Math Activities were an easy pull for a quick review of different skills previously taught.  I just printed off the ones that my students needed more practice with.  I love that she offers some cut-and-paste activities to keep the students more engaged as they're reviewing skills with the sub.

And finally, Grammar/Writing Activities were an easy print and copy!  We are working on verbs this week, so it was an easy decision to review the Parts of Speech while I was out of the classroom.  Love her options for coloring the parts of speech - much more engaging than just a plain 'ole worksheet!  She also integrates writing into grammar often.

As you can see, her Busy Teacher Packs are all themed around the months.  So February included Valentine's, President's Day, Groundhog's Day, and more!  I just love the variety!

This is just a sampling of what all is included in her packs.  She was correct in naming these packs "The Busy Teacher's Best Friend."  They certainly are!  If you're interested, she will have a March Busy Teacher Pack coming out soon and she usually gives one away on her Facebook Fan Page when it's finished, so make sure you stay connected!  It will be just as good as the others! :)

Next up for Resources That Keep Me Afloat is one of my own!  And it's my #1 Best Seller!  I created these Common Core Graphic Organizers when I first started my journey into blogging and creating curriculum for TeachersPayTeachers way back in January of 2012.  We had just adopted the Common Core State Standards (before many other states had even started the process) and had NO resources that supported CCSS!  I wanted a quick formative assessment, or snapshot, for each standard so that I could see which students had mastered the standard and which needed more practice.  So I sat down at my computer and started creating and this is what I came up with:

  My Common Core Graphic Organizers are a one-page formative assessment for each Common Core Reading Standard, both Literature and Informational Text.  They can be used with ANY text on any level (to allow for differentiation).  I often use them with leveled readers so that the students are reading on their level and I am only assessing the particular skill featured in the graphic organizer, not their reading level.

  They can be used in many different ways, but one example is found below.  Place the complete set of graphic organizers in a binder - one binder per student.  After you teach the skill, give the student the formative assessment (graphic organizer).  They complete it and it stays in the binder.  There you will have a collection of documentation of mastery, or lack thereof, for each and every standard for each and every student.  This is perfect for parent conferences, RTI data, or standards-based report cards!  The standard number is right there on the page in the top right corner for easy documentation.  You can repeat the formative as often as you like and continue to add to the binder as needed for further documentation.  Check this system out below and feel free to pin the pictures for further use:

Honestly, I use these Common Core Graphic Organizers every single week in my class.  It is definitely one of my favorite Resources That Keep Me Afloat!  It has made standards-based report cards a BREEZE!  I also created these graphic organizers for 1st Grade, 3rd Grade, and 4th Grade if you're interested.

Similarly, I have Common Core Math Quick Assessments for 2nd Grade (my #2 Best Seller).  Very similar in format, one quick snapshot for each and every Common Core State Standard in Math.  Same process for documentation as shown above.  They are available for 1st Grade and 3rd Grade as well.  Feel free to check them out! :)

Some other resources I LOVE that keep me afloat... Click the pictures to check out the products!

This resource from Creekside Teacher Tales has kept me afloat with informational text!

This resource from Stephanie Stewart has kept me afloat with tons of winter fun!

This resource from 3rd Grade Thoughts keeps me afloat when we need to get the wiggles out!

Might as well shop while they're on sale also!  Thursday, February 27 and Friday, February 28 you can save up to 28% in my TeachersPayTeachers Store using Promo Code TPT3.  My entire store will be 28% off!

Cute graphic courtesy of Rachel from The Tattooed Teacher Blog.

If you stuck around and read the entire blog post, you get a special treat!  How would you like to WIN a product of YOUR CHOICE from my store ($10 value or less)?!  I have made it SUPER EASY for you to enter!  All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this blog post telling me which product from my store will help keep YOU afloat!  The winner will be announced on Friday, February 28th!

Now, head on over to the other Owl-ways Be Inspired blogs below to check out more "Resources That Keep Us Afloat"!  Check out all the links below!  Each link will lead you to a blog post where you'll find some awesome products and you can enter to win a product of your choice from their store as well!  Lots of chances to win!  Woo hoo!  :)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Must-Read Monday

Today I'm linking up with Teaching Maddeness for Must-Read Monday {A Book-Lovin' Linky Party}.  Click the button below to head over to her blog and find more Must-Reads!
Must-Read Monday Linky

Last week, we spent some time catching up on content because of all of our crazy snow/ice/cold days.  However, we did find time to read some fun Valentine stories!  This is one of my favorites and the kids absolutely LOVED IT!  The story is about a boy who is IN LOVE with a girl and makes a Valentine for her.  The Valentine, however, thinks love is disgusting and decides to run away!  You can follow the two on the fun adventure they have as the Valentine continues to run until something happens.....  You can click on the picture below to take you to Amazon and purchase this book Right. This. Minute.  You won't be sorry!  The kids were giggling like crazy and were catching on to the repetition in the story (a CCSS skill by the way).  We paired it with one of my Valentine ELA Printables and it was a huge hit!

I couldn't pick just one, so here's my other Must-Read(s)!  Today we began by reading some nonfiction texts about Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.  You see, school was in session for us today as a make-up day for those snow days mentioned above.  So we did it up right with some President's Day fun!  These three books were all purchased from Scholastic and are WONDERFUL for learning about the two presidents, not to mention text features while you're at it!  Love these three books!  We paired them with some printables from A Cupcake for the Teacher's President's Day Unit and the kiddos were learning like crazy!  Click the picture below to purchase them on Scholastic.  Again, you won't be sorry and they're super inexpensive!

Now, head on over to Teaching Maddeness and find some more Monday Must-Reads!  Thanks for stopping by!  :)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Managing Your Turn-In Tray Using Clothespins

Do you ever feel like you are constantly checking to see who has turned in work, who is still missing work, or who the no-name paper belongs to?  As a teacher, I think we all find ourselves dealing with the Turn-In Tray Mess!  I came up with an easy solution that saves me time and best of all, it's cheap and easy!

At the beginning of the year, I give each student a number.  It is their number to remember all year long.  It's their cubbie number, desk number, clip chart number, and best of all....their turn-in tray number!  For the turn-in tray, I put their numbers on clothespins.  Let me say, yes, I could have used Washi tape or dye or paint or cute little numbers for the clothespins, but I was going for FAST and EASY, my friends!  This is what my turn-in tray looks like before student work is turned in:

When the students go to turn in their work, they have to find their clothespin, clip it to the top of their paper, and place it in the tray.  This is what it looks like after work has been turned in:

This serves two purposes.  1) If you find a no-name paper, you can quickly figure out who the paper belongs to because their student number is attached and 2) You can easily see who hasn't turned in their paper!  Check it out below:

If you love this idea, please pick your favorite picture to PIN and spread the Bright Idea!