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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Picture Walk Through My Classroom 2014


This is what the kiddos will see when they first get to their classroom!  All that's missing is their sweet, little faces! I'm hoping I don't forget to take their pictures at Open House like I did last year!


 

My smarty pants neighbor Miss Clarke (who also happens to be an icon in my son's starry eyes as his former teacher) had a GREAT idea that was super, easy to implement.  After thinking long and hard about how I was going to have both a fiction and non fiction library in my classroom (....all summer long), I STILL didn't know what to do.  It bothered me to think that I had to separate my dinosaur fiction books from the informational ones. Shouldn't we teach children the difference between fiction and non fiction so that, when they pick up a book, they know what type it is? Why should they have to learn to go to one section of the classroom to get a Frog and Toad story book, but go to another spot to find a book that explains to them the difference between a frog and a toad?  Well, thanks to Laura, my own students won't have to.  She made these caution tape tags that make students take another look because there are "informational texts inside".  So, instead of a full on (10 hour long) revamp, I cut the strips (she even printed them off for me!) and taped them onto baskets that included any informational texts.  Sounds like a mini lesson coming up to me!  I bet if we begged Miss Clarke, she would add them to her store so you could do this in your library as well!



I have tried all types of different nametags.  I am afraid of them choking with the strings around the neck (but, truthfully, even moreso, CAN'T stand it when they are constantly swinging them around and chewing on them).  These are just quickie tags I whipped up that just happen to match my classroom.  I cut off the clip from the plastic insert name badge, attach them with my favorite glue dots and voila! They are so easy to store as well, you just clip them to a wide ribbon and they are at your (or a sub's) fingertips anytime you need them!

 
When you don't have the perfect sized/colored pocket chart you need, what do you do? Well, I make my own and I am soooo super excited about it....if time settles down, I might be able to post directions, but it really isn't that hard.  I cut scrapbook page protectors to the size of my vocab cards (see below), put a piece of border in it, attached to the wall with clear mailing tape (another of my fave teacher supplies!).  You just have to NOT tape where you want to slide in the cards you want to be able to switch out. Then I cute border in half and used that as a border for my pocket chart! Woot--love it!  It will work great to display those weekly must dos for our Treasures Reading Program.  The oral language stories and retelling cards are readily available and displayed so the students can grab them and sequence, retell and/or write about!

I wished I took a picture today because I added a Vocab Wall sign to it, but you'll just have to picture it for now!




Yes! They really are paper curtains and NO! I can't believe they are still alive and well but they truly are!  I made them just like I would be making a valance with fabric only I didn't sew, I used mailing tape to "stitch"...seriously so so so EASY! It was all because I couldn't find black and white valances...but, guess what I found? Yup, I found some zebra valances for $5 each at Walmart, but I couldn't see any really good reason to take these beauties down (which, by the way, probably cost me about $1 or maybe $2 to make).  The purple is that mesh type ribbon and I just used glue dots to attach it to front just to add that little bit of purple!
 

Love my easy to change binder/cubby clips!  I had to laminate plain colored paper (if I had thought ahead, it totally would've been purple and black) to cover up the old, yucky labels that wouldn't come off (that got put on before I found this fabulous idea on Pinterest).

Do you love this or what? My sweetheart neighbor got this for me...it is made by Jenna Shute...click her name and it will take you to her Facebook page...make sure you tell her MMMB sent you! All of her stuff is amazing...seriously...would take one of everything if I could.



One of the best feelings (albeit a small feeling) in the world is finding that perfect puzzle piece that fits perfectly....that's sort of the feeling I got when I was searching for a spot for my brand new schedule cards that aren't being used. I grabbed a zebra designed pencil box (that I bought because it was a zebra designed pencil box) and THEY FIT PERFECT! It's the small things people! I know many of you will know just what I mean. Ha ha!


I am just loving all of my new black pocket charts! Thank you Scholastic.  Hopefully they will be coming out with a variety of sizes SooooooooN! As far as I can tell, they just have the file pocket folder ones and your big, standard sized ones.  If you see my bulletin boards below, you will notice that I cut the big pocket charts in half.  I may even buy another one to cut vertically for my math vocabulary display.
 




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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sneak Peek at Some Back to School Ideas (lots of pictures and a freebie!)

 As hard as it is to believe, summertime is coming to a close.  My classroom isn't completely done, but below you can get a sneak peek.  Guess what my color theme is? I love the black and white because it goes with everything...and, yes, I know my writing board is potentially hazardous, but our writing and some resources will be added to break up all the zapping dots!  It makes me so happy to have my classroom look inviting (without overload) to the students who enter AND to me. 
 If you've been following me at all this summer, you probably know one of my big undertakings was to organize and manage my RTI data in a much more organized fashion.  For letter i.d. and sight word (Dolch Word) assessments, I have used A Differentiated Kindergarten's Top Banana/Ball Word program.  This itself is a VERY motivating program for students to advance in their learning, BUT my tracking system was less than desirable.  I am so relaxed realizing that I am ready for the year with my new system that will make this whole process easier, more organized, AND save time. Please click here to read more about it (and the Top Banana/Ball Word Program from Differentiated Kindergarten!) in another blog post.  It really is going to make my recording and managing of R.T.I. kids and just assessments overall SO much easier.  Below, you will see these banana candies I found at the dollar store....as soon as students know all of their letters and sounds, I will give them their certificate from the Top Banana kit as well as a small plastic baggy with these cute bananas, letting them know they are a Top Banana (stay tuned for the label I may or may not get to making for it!). 
 
http://www.mrsminersmonkeybusiness.com/2014/07/effective-dolch-word-assessment-system.html
Marsha's Ball Word kits all come with editable, printable certificates as well...but I found these rubber balls at Party City that I will keep in this plastic container as an incentive to keep on going! I am going to let them choose a ball every time they achieve (can read) 3 of the 11 Dolch lists.  I just love bouncy balls (probably as much as the kiddos do!) and know (well, hope!) that the variety will keep them reading and learning all yearlong!
http://www.mrsminersmonkeybusiness.com/2014/07/effective-dolch-word-assessment-system.html

 
Here are my gifts to either send or give to my students at Open House (I haven't decided yet??!!), but, either way, they are going to LOVE them.  These little creatures I got at the Dollar Tree (4 in a pack, by the way!) grow AND change color in water.....tell me the little darlings won't love these?? I just look at them as an analogy to the students we get and how much they grow and change through the year with us.  I updated this freebie to have this new version of "growing" into a prek/kinder/1st grader and it can be found as a freebie with my Jitter Glitter letters here or by clicking the picture below).  You can also use those sponge capsules that also grow in water and can get almost an entire class worth for just $1 (I think its 18 to a pack!). I splurged this year--ha ha--although the truth is I just can't bare to do the same thing 2 years in a row!

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Back-to-School-Letter-Packet-Freebie-291013
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Classroom-Jobs-Editable-910605My FAVORITE new addition to my classroom is my new job chart that I got from Mel D at Seusstastic!  I love all of her ideas and products!  I shrunk her job cards to 2 pages per sheet (always saving ink and space ya know?).  I chose the jobs that suit my classroom (EVERY child will have a job EVERY day!) and will laminate this bad boy and use clothespin clips with student pics to switch around (which will even be a job for someone!).  It is a lot to introduce all of the jobs, but, in the end, it is SO worth it because it helps your classroom run so smooth BY THE CHILDREN.  Talk about building community! 
One of the last things I need to do is prepare my MONKEY Books!  I started doing these organizational notebooks years ago and will NEVER go back to any other home communication system.  The only thing I DO change is what they look like (of course!). Hmmmm......
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Editable-Monkey-Binder-Yearlong-Communication-Kit-for-Back-to-School-280190
 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

It's Now Editable==>You Asked for It For It, You GOT It {and a sticky freebie!}!

My newest product is flying off the shelf (well, flying through cyberspace I guess I should say) and I have had many requests already to make it EDITABLE to ensure that you can still implement my organization strategies for assesing and recording letter id/sight words.  You can input the words from your reading program or the words your school system is required to teach in the correct order that you teach them.  It makes this kit much more versatile and teacher friendly which is what Mrs. Miner's Monkey Business is all about, of course!
If you want to read more about this easy to implement and organize and great for R.T.I. product, click here to go to my LONG post that will tell you everything (and probably MORE) than you want or need to know.
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Assessing-and-Recording-Tool-Kit-for-Letter-ID-and-Dolch-Words-1356658
I also want to share an oldie, but goodie freebie that I just made some improvements to.  It is a packet entitled "Top Secret Gluing Techniques" and includes a song and activities that will allow you to take out your white glue without cringing (all the while saving your money and sanity from buying and wasting so many glue sticks!)....over 40,000 teachers have downloaded and used it in their classroom.  Join them by clicking the pictue below to grab my freebie!
http://freebie-licious.blogspot.com/2014/07/top-secret-gluing-techniques-freebie.html

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