Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Made It: Bead Slides

It's Monday! Two more days until I can get back into school to start setting up and I am SO PUMPED! Also I'm excited because it is Monday Made It day again!
This Monday, I made bead slides to use for phonemic awareness activities!
I read about bead slides from Katie at Two Can Do It who originally read about it from Julie at Make, Take & Teach!

You use bead slides to help students learn how to segment phonemes. As you may know, phonemic awareness is important because children's level of phonemic awareness is highly correlated with their success in beginning reading! (I feel like I should put an in-text citation here, haha.) Anyway, when you're asking a student to segment phonemes, you would give them a word like "book." If they are comfortable with this skill, they would be able to tell you that the sounds in book are: b-oo-k. 3 sounds - 3 phonemes!

Bead slides just give students extra kinesthetic support so they can build this SUPER IMPORTANT skill!  They move a bead with each sound that they say.

Anyway, let me tell you how to make them. :)
You'll need...
  • regular flat shoelaces. I bought 54" shoelaces from Target. They were about $2 a pack, and I was able to make 12 bead slides using one pack of shoelaces (6 on each lace).
  • beads. I got mine at Hobby Lobby for about $2.50. You could actually use pony beads if you want, you just want to make sure that the holes aren't too big so there is some resistance when you move the  beads up and down the shoelace.
Then you're ready to start!

You'll want to put groups of 6 beads onto the shoelaces and tie off about 5-6" inch sections for each bead slide. Here's a picture to show you what I mean.
After you have put on your beads and tied off each section, cut in between the knots and you will have your bead slides!

If you use Michael Heggerty's phonemic awareness book, you could absolutely use these for the segmenting and blending portions of the daily routines!

Julie at Make, Take & Teach has a video about bead slides as well as extra resources to use these! :)

Bead slides are fun to play with, too, so if you don't teach phoneme segmentation, you could easily use these as fidgets in your classroom!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Tell Me More!

Super late to this party! I'm linking up with Mrs. Lemons today to tell you all about ME!

I like dogs, but I am scared of big dogs.

I have a cat who I love very much. Her name is Natalia but I call her The Keekster. She sleeps with me every night! PS: This is not my bed... although it sort of looks like it in this picture. It is a makeshift bed because my bff Nicole spent the weekend with me!!
I really like flowers. They make me super happy. Yesterday I went to a farmer's market and there was a little stand where you could make your own bouquet for $5! It was sooooooo hard to move on to the next stand.... I might find myself back there sometime soon. :)
I don't like eating meat but I love steak. I especially don't like eating chicken although I love boneless chicken wings. And on that note, I detest eating meat off of bones! It really really grosses me out.

I have a little brother. He is 24. We have had our ups and downs as sibling-friends but now we are pretty close and I enjoy him!
I eat everything plain. I don't like sauces, syrups, salsa, or condiments. It actually took me a long time to accept the idea of buttering bread... you know, like when you get rolls with your meal at restaurants? I'm down with butter now though. :) People really get weirded out when I order plain hot dogs for some reason.

I was in a sorority in college, Alpha Delta Pi! It wasn't a HUGE part of my college experience because I had an on-campus job, too, but I was Finance VP and I had a fun time. :)
I am not a runner. I am terrible at running and it makes me feel bad to do it. However........ I applied for a Girls on the Run team for this upcoming school year and I reeeeally hope I get to have one!

I have the two best cousins that ANYONE could have! They crack me up and when I am hanging out with them I feel like I am hanging out with myself. I am a pretty big fan of myself  so that is cool with me, haha!!
My favorite kind of sandwich is tuna, unless it has onions in it!!

That's all!!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Teacher Tools @ Home


Man, I am sleepy! Today I went to a farmer's market, checked out my future home, and went on a super long bike ride!

But I am here to today to link up with my amiga, Laura, in her first ever linky!!
Totally Terrific Teacher Tools @ Home Linky
I don't work a whole lot at home - I prefer to stay late at school and get everything done there. BUT I do have a few things I rely on at home. :)

First is my glue gun!
This bad boy goes back and forth with me from home to school. I legit hot glue everything. Probably even stuff I shouldn't hot glue. Whenever something breaks at school, my students ask if they should plug in the glue gun, haha! I got this super cute one at Michael's for like $5 or something. And you can buy the mini glue sticks at Dollar Tree, so that's a plus too!

Second is my laptop!
I use my laptop at home and at school too! We don't get school computers so I use mine for everything. I make my little activities on here, I blog on here, I do everything. The battery absolutely is useless so it always needs to be plugged in. Oh wells!!

And third is my circle punch!
I love punching out things with my 3" circle punch. It is a good general size for things to be punched. I bought mine at Michael's! I can't remember how much it was... but I used a coupon. It's awesome. The kids love it too!

There are many things I would like beyond these things... but one thing that I think I could really use is a little scanner. Do you know what I mean?
I have lots of worksheets and paper things that I wish I just had in PDF form on my computer. I hate having paper laying around! I would love one of these little scanners that I could just scan my papers through and then recycle them!

What kind of tools do you use at home to make your awesome smawesome things? Go link up with Laura!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Destination: Summer Vacation!

Today I'm linking up with my buddy Krista for her very first linky party! Yay!
Sadly, I am not a well-traveled person. However, that means I just love everywhere I go! I'm not picky. :)

Here are some favorite destinations of mine...

{Lake Geneva, Wisconsin}

Lake Geneva is a lovely little town not too too far from where I live. It is bit tourist-y, so it has your normal ice cream shops and cafes and boutique type of places. But it also has a HUGE lake that you can boat on! There is also a Lake Shore Path around the entire lake that you can walk on. You go through people's huge backyards and it is just really wonderful. Every house can make the path look however they want to, and one house made a really nice paved path with a fence that is covered with inspirational quotations. Here is a picture from a trip that my boyfriend and I took up there a few weeks ago!
Photo: Matt and I had a great time in Lake Geneva today! We walked on the Lake Shore Trail and one house had a fence covered with inspirational quotes. It was so wonderful!

{Oceanside, California}

I have family in southern California and it is the most BEAUTIFUL PLACE EVER. I want to marry it. When I go there I can't stop staring at everything. So many plants and flowers. And so many hills!!! It is so incredibly flat here, and I didn't realize that until I was in California.

{Illinois Beach State Park - Zion, Illinois}

This is another semi-local place I like to visit, although I have not gone yet this summer!!!! :( I definitely do not swim at this beach because Lake Michigan is FREEZING but the beach is gigantic and a great place to picnic, read, and just chill.

So there is a theme to my favorite destinations......... water and the beach!! Here is how I feel about the beach:

Go link up with Krista! I want to know where you go. :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Made It: Crate and Drawer Storage

Hi friends! Happy Monday!
My Monday Made It is a little......... unfinished-looking today. Also my title for this project is not good... I think you'll understand what I mean though. :)

This week I made a crate and fabric drawer and shelf storage thingy for my class!
I was inspired by Stephanie at 3rd Grade Thoughts! Like her, I have an awkward space underneath my whiteboard in my room. This year it was occupied by my Even and Odd Street...
but next year I want to use the space productively. I don't have any in-classroom storage whatsoever. No built-in cabinets, no shelves, nothing. So this will give me some space to store things for Daily Five or whatevs.

The supplies were easy to get! I bought 4 crates at Target (they're on sale right now for $3!), I bought the fabric drawers at Aldi (2 for $5.99! WOW!), and I got the board at Menard's (it was around $7 or so in the lumber section of the store). The board measures... 1" by 12" by 72"... 1 inch thick, 12 inches wide, and 72 inches long. Or 6 feet, however you want to say it.

The crates are ziptied together. I haven't officially attached the board yet because I don't think I could get this contraption into my car if I did. :)

My random baskets are to show what will be there! I plan to buy legit baskets to put my little chalkboards in and my whisper phones and all that jazz.

The drawers will have my Listen to Reading materials, perhaps my Word Work materials, stuffed animals for the kids to read aloud to, and so on!

I am excited about this new storage option in my class!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Yay Meetup!

On Thursday, we had our Chicago blogger meetup! It was so super fun. We chatted and ate and had a great time! If you have a chance to go to a meetup where you live, don't be nervous. You should go and have fun!

Here's a picture of some of us!
Back row: Mel D (Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations), Nicole (Lesson Plan SOS), Lauren (Go Fourth and Inspire), Laura (Mrs. Castro's Class), me!, and Marie

Front row: Melissa (Lesson Plan SOS), Becky (Dots-n-Spots), Krista (The Second Grade Superkids), and Katie

Thank you Melissa, Nicole, and Becky for organizing the meetup, and thank you Mel for taking care of the picture for us!! I look super tan somehow... it must be the lighting. Definitely not that tan in real life. Haha!

And in other news.............. less than 6 hours until the Bachelorette finale! I am totally Team Arie. I mean, come on.
And speaking of Team Arie... if you are a real fan, you can buy a Team Arie shirt and 100% of the proceeds go to fighting drug and alcohol addiction. I think that is great!

Just a tip for you....... don't type in Team Arie dot com with no spaces........ you don't want to go there.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Google Reader = Love

So the other day, I was on my way home from the Chicago blogger meetup with my buddies Laura and Krista when I found out that they didn't use Google Reader to read blogs.

This was crazy to me, because I really don't know how people can go though their lives without Google Reader. Seriously!
So let me tell you a bit about it. I actually started using it before I even read blogs. I was watching a technology webinar and they mentioned Google Reader. I don't even know what I was reading on it before blogs... but that is neither here nor there. :)

First, you have to have a Google account and be following blogs using Google Friend Connect. This sounds sort of complicated, but it's probably what you're already doing.
Next, if your Gmail window is open, look along the top of your window. You should see a "more" thing on the end. Click it!
Then you'll get a drop down. From there, pick Reader. It's right under Blogger!
Then it will open up Google Reader in a separate tab. All of your blogs should be there that you're already following using Google Friend Connect.

Here's what mine looks like right now! Only one unread. :)
If you want to read the post, click on All Items in bold on the left side and you'll see all of the posts in order of when they were posted by all of the bloggers that you follow. Kind of like the dashboard/reading list in Blogger, except Google Reader gives you the whole post instead of a snippet.

If you should happen to find a blog that doesn't have the Google Friend Connect following option, you can still use Google Reader to read their posts! Just click on the red Subscribe button and paste in the blog address. It will add it into the rest of your blogs!

If you want to comment on a post, you'll have to scroll back up to the post title. When you click on it, it will open the link in a separate tab or window so you can comment away!

What I love about Google Reader is that it keeps track of what you have read and haven't read. Also, if you are looking for resources for a specific topic or skill, you can just type what you're looking for into the Search Reader box toward the top of the page. For example, I just typed in "fact family" and I got 77 posts! Wow!

Also there's an app! So I peruse blogs when I'm just hanging out.

So it's pretty much awesome.

Do you use Google Reader and do you love it so much??

Oh, Baby! {Round Two}

So I don't really talk about this on my little bloggio, but I knit! Not all the time, and I very rarely actually finish something that I start knitting (which is a theme of my life basically)..... but I do knit.

A while back, I posted about a baby hat I knitted for one of my second graders' families. Toward the end of the year, one of my first graders came to school and proclaimed that her mom was having a baby.

After confirming this news, I decided to work on a blanket for el bebé! I just finished yesterday evening.
The pattern is very simple but I think it turned out really pretty! It is the Big Bad Baby Blanket pattern found in this book:
I am excited to gift this to my little lady. :) She is one of my lower income students, and she and her sister are 5 and 7, so I don't know if her mom has kept all of their baby stuff  I hope this blanket will help them out at least a tiny bit. :)

I feel like I am going to make 894987545 more of these blankets because my facebook has exploded with expectant moms!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Syllables?! Help!

Okay, teacher friends. I need your help today.

Recently I came across this sweet blog called Two Can Do It.
It's awesome! They have a ton of free resources that I have been downloading like crazy.

I just downloaded their super cute Class Syllable Tally activity, which I'm planning on doing in the first week of school. I love that it is cute AND it focuses on syllables and tallies!

But I have a problem.

How many syllables are in the name Miles???

I had this amazing little guy last year in first grade and I will have him again in second. We legit had the SAME syllable conversation like 10 times over the course of the year when I'd call kids to line up by syllables.

You know... "If you have 2 syllables in your name, line up for P.E. If you have 4 syllables in your name, line up for P.E."

But every time Miles and I would talk back and forth about whether he had one or two syllables.

Miles? Or Mi-yuls?

I would love for you to vote on the sweet little poll I just made. Here it is!

How many syllables does the name "Miles" have? free polls 

My first week of school activity needs your help! :)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Made It: Whisper Phones

Happy Monday! I had a great weekend, and I hope you did too!
This week, I finished a project that I started last year - DIY whisper phones!
I was inspired by Mrs. Saoud's tutorial, but I made a few tweaks along the way!
  • When you pick out your 1/2" PVC pipe at the store, you'll want to ask a worker to cut it into 4.5" pieces unless you have someone at home who can do this. When I asked the Home Depot guy, he literally laughed in my face and said he'd only cut it into 2 pieces. However, I did not give up! I persisted, he got his manager, and his manager happily cut the PVC pipe! Lesson to you - perservere! :)
  • I bought 1/2" elbows and I was just able to shove them onto the pipe. Just make sure you buy 1/2" PVC elbows - they will be white, not beige. No gluing necessary!  That PVC glue smells really bad, so you're welcome. 
  • I spray-painted them with special spray paint for plastic stuff. It's Rust-Oleum Plastic spray paint. I don't know if this was really necessary... but it worked for me.
You can use these whisper phones during Read to Self for Daily Five, or for independent reading regardless of your classroom. You will have to teach them how to use them appropriately, otherwise they will scream into them or make them into a long telephone game..... not that this happened to me or anything. :)

My class last year loved these things. It really helped them focus on their reading and block out the outside distractions. It can be hard in my class to focus when I'm teaching half of the class and half are engaged in independent activities. So this was a big help! And the kids would ask to use them, which was great!

Also - if you want to save some money, you don't need to spray paint. I didn't paint mine last year and no one seemed to mind. :)
If you've been thinking of buying commercially-made whisper phones, this DIY alternative will save you a TON of money! And they are super durable!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fiction Friday

Happy Fiction Friday! I have some GREAT ones for you today!
My picture book for you is called C is for City. It is written by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by Pat Cummings.
This is quite a delightful book! Each page features an alliterative rhyme about the city. The rhythm is perfect and it would be pretty fun to read out loud. Here's an example from the W page:

W is for watching
those brave window washers
who dangle from buildings
a million feet tall.

Just rolls off the tongue! The book is set in New York City, but is applicable to any big city and I'm pretty sure most kids would relate it to a big city they know. I also learned something from this book - that "ghetto-blaster" is another word for boom box. News to me!

My chapter book for you this week is legit AMAZING! I read this in less than a day and I could not get enough of it. Here it is, Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai.
Even the cover is beautiful! This is the story of Hà, a Vietnamese girl who escapes to America at the end of the Vietnam War. She ends up settling in Alabama, and the book details her struggles to learn English, to live in a country where she is not part of the dominant culture, and to endure discrimination and bullying based only on her country of origin.

This book is written in verse, which really worked well. Thanhha Lai's choice of language was nothing short of beautiful. It was so descriptive, she used a ton of figurative language... it was like I was really there picking papayas with Hà and trying to choke down a hot dog for the first time. This would be a great mentor text for word choice beyond just a great read-aloud in general!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Halfway through the week! Wow!
I'm loving that I finished my ESL homework before 2 in the morning! I am the WORST procrastinator ever (or maybe I should say "the best"...), so I am pretty proud of myself for just sitting down and doing it! :)

I'm loving the Fresh Prince! I have been watching this show every day when it's on ABC Family before I go to bed and it is so funny. I just die laughing every day. I'm currently on the hunt for my Big Willie Style and Willennium CDs........ they have to be in my house somewhere!!
I'm loving People Colors crayons! I just bought these at Lakeshore on Tuesday. A few times this year I wanted the kids to draw legit pictures of themselves and I felt so bad when they would try to combine orange and brown to make their skin colors. Never again!
I'm loving that I got together with one of my teacher friends for lunch today!! I've only seen her once since school ended and it was great to catch up. I CAN'T WAIT to teach by her next year, yeah!!!!!!!!!!!! Also we ate at Chipotle and I just love that place. :)

I'm loving that I only have 2 more classes left of my summer class! I don't mind going but I do mind waking up at 6:30! Let's save that for August, thanks.

I'm loving that my boyfriend's birthday is on Saturday and I have a sweet gift for him! I can't tell you because he might read this.... and it's pretty much only exciting if you are him, haha!

I'm loving that the temperature has dropped significantly since last week. It is so pleasant to be outside! I love the summer when it's not ridiculously hot!!

What are you loving today?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday Made It: Mr. Spacer

Another week! Happy happy Monday. :)
This week I went with a super simple Monday Made It, but one that will be very useful next year! I introduce to you............. Mr. Spacer!
I first heard about Mr. Spacer from Hadar and he has been pinned for a long while. Mr. Spacer is used to help your students leave appropriate spaces between words! Lots of my students last year could have used this, but I can think of one student in particular who I wish I would have had this for! His handwriting is pretty messy, and a lot of the time I couldn't tell which letters he was making, let alone where one word ended and another began. I will have him again next year so I am excited to see how his work will change with the help of Mr. Spacer! 

To make Mr. Spacers, you'll need popsicle sticks, googly eyes, and Mod Podge. I got my popsicle sticks and googlies from Hobby Lobby. The popsicle sticks are regular sized and the googly eyes are 4 mm. So tiny!
All you have to do is Mod Podge two little eyeballs on top of each stick! I used a Q-tip to apply the Mod Podge and then just tossed it. That worked perfectly.

These can also be used as pointers or trackers to support one-to-one correspondence in reading. I think I'll have these out in baskets on the students' tables so they can use them when they need to. :)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Fiction Friday

Happy Friday! This week has been so crazy with the fourth. I feel like I am just floating from day to day, haha.

Time for Fiction Friday!
My first book for you today is a picture book, sort of! More like an Easy Reader I guess - Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Partners!
I recently finished No More I'm Done and the author suggested reading this book to introduce the idea of writing partners to the students. Now, I don't know about you, but I find that is WAY more effective to teach things in the context of a read-aloud than it is for me to just sit there and talk at the kids.

Anyway, this was a cute story about Kate and her cowhorse, Cocoa! There were 4 little chapters in the book detailing different little adventures they had - like trying to find a lost calf and getting new horseshoes for Cocoa. You might want to spread this over a few days, reading a chapter a day, when introducing Read to Someone in Daily 5 or when introducing writing partners, like the book said!

My second book for you is a chapter book: Anything But Typical.
This story is narrated by a middle school boy with autism. It basically goes through his day to day life, and you get to peek inside the head of someone who lives every day with autism. It was very interesting and eye-opening, especially because I've never worked closely with a student who has autism. I am just in awe of people who dedicate their lives to teaching students with autism - that is such an important and difficult job.

The only complaint I had about this book is that the author, Nora Raleigh Baskin, didn't mention how she came to write this book. Does she have a child with autism? Did she ever work with a student who has autism? Or was everything she wrote just based on research? I would have liked to know how true-to-life the story was.

Go check out the linky party for other good reads this week!
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