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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Incentive Charts: More than a Marble Jar!

It is time for another Bright Idea Linky Party and I am EXCITED! 
This is going to be another great month of awesome teacher tips and ideas! 

It is no secret that I am a bit of a hoarder and like to pull out ideas that I have used in my
 classroom for years. I can tell 'ya... some of these charts I'm going to show you are OLD.  
I like to think I'm RETRO-CHIC like that. 

How many of you use a marble jar? Marble jars have been around forever.  
They became REALLY popular in the early 90's (yes... 90's) when Lee Canter's Assertive Discipline was the greatest thing since sliced bread.  I had one, everyone had one. I still know people who STILL have them and LOVE them, but they just were never my cup o' tea. 
Mainly because they take FOREVER to fill up. 

I was terrible at the marble jar. My kiddos (and I) needed shorter goals. I felt that is was important for the kiddos to know how much it will take to complete their goal. The marble jars were just not concrete enough for me. They are great for teaching estimation, but not so great for goal setting. 

So I started making charts that could be reused and the kids could count and see how many more they needed to make their goal.  This was one of my FIRST ones, and yes... I still have it. (Hoarder ALERT!!) 

Every time the class would earn a compliment or reward for anything, they would earn a grape. When the bunch was full, they would earn a reward. Back in the day, we would do "Read and Munch." They got to bring a snack for silent reading. (Super simple!!) 

This is another OLD one.  I went through a Suzy's Zoo phase.  
The kiddos earn bubbles on the chart, just like the grapes. 
I usually pull her out during our Air and Weather science unit.

My "Old Lady" is about 10 years old.  She has fake doll hair glued on her. LOVE HER!! 
I lost my original pieces of the story, so I made some new ones.  
This one is great for when my class needs shorter goals. 
Once she swallowed the horse, an incentive is earned by the class. 

One of my favorite charts is from my Scooby Doo phase. I simply laminated a Scooby poster and cut out brown paper Scooby Snack dog bones and stuck them on the poster. 
I KNOW I still have it somewhere... in my garage... sigh. So sorry, no picture of that one.  BOO! 

Since I've decided to do a bee theme this year, I am going to start the year with this bee hive my hubby drew and I painted.  The students are going to earn bees for compliments in special area classes or when walking in line.  I will mix up the goals and incentives depending on my class. 

So, the point of this post is to give you some food for thought.  Keep your incentive charts fresh and the goals attainable. It is easy to mix up your charts and change up your class reward incentives. This creates novelty and makes your class a more exciting place to be!

Happy hopping!


    An InLinkz Link-up

Friday, July 18, 2014

Tooth Fairy Fun!!

Let's just face it... even though they are gross to most grown-ups, lost teeth are milestones to our little friends. I wanted to find a way to make a lost tooth an exciting event in my class without losing precious instructional time. I was also on the hunt through all of our local school supply stores AND the internet to find inexpensive awards to give out, to no avail!  So, my cute little Tooth Fairy Fun pack was born.  I love it!!!

This pack contains several activities and incentives to make losing a tooth a fun, educational, 
and special experience. 

I have students write a letter to the Tooth Fairy and explain how and where they lost their tooth. They get to take it home with them.

They also get a "My Tooth Book" with journal pages and a tooth record form in it. Most of my students are from very low income families and their parents can't afford to buy cute little lost teeth journals from Etsy or a fancy bookstore. The parents LOVED that I did this for them, and all it cost was some copy paper and a bit of time at the beginning of the year.  

The same goes for the little tooth pocket.  My mom and I use to have a craft business and these were something we would sell.  I must have made a thousand on them in my lifetime! They are easy and inexpensive to make, and again becomes a special keepsake for the kiddos. (They only get 1 for the year!) 

Subsequent lost teeth go in a baggie with this label on it. (I have these made ahead of time, too.)

Kiddos also get a sticker to wear for the day:

We keep a class book of writing, where they can write about the result of the Tooth Fairy's visit. 

It is simple and easy (and NOT so gross) to make losing a tooth at school a special event. 
Check out my Tooth Fairy Fun pack and get started!! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Holiday Class Writing Journals

If you are familiar with my Class Writing Journals, I have some exciting news!  I finally finished a holiday expansion pack.  I am so excited about these!

This pack includes 6 holiday themed writing journals to use throughout the year.  They match my other Class Writing Journals so they can easily be added to the set.

Each holiday has a cover sheet with a writing prompt and a page of writing helps that you can glue on the inside cover of your notebooks.  They are sized to fit onto a standard composition book or spiral notebook.
Writing Ideas page: 

If you aren't familiar with Class Writing Journals, you need to be!  
They are one of my favorite writing tools I use in my classroom.  

I make mine simply by attaching the cover and writing ideas page to a composition book. 
Covering them with clear packing tape or clear Contact paper will help preserve the longevity. 

I keep them in a basket in my writing center. 
During writing time, students select a notebook and start writing. They also LOVE reading what their classmates have written. They are perfect for fast finishers or can be used for assessments. 

In addition to the NEW holiday pack, I have 3 other sets available in my store:

You can save some $$ by buying the bundle.  It has all four sets in it!! 
There are enough to keep your students writing all year long! 

Other ideas:
-Trade journals with a buddy class. This gives them an audience for writing.

-Send them home for a special at home writing project. One of my friends sends them home on Fridays and the students bring them back and share in partners on Mondays. 

-Save them from year to year.  Students love to find passages their friends, neighbors and siblings have written. 

Check out my other Class Writing Journal posts for more ideas.  

Happy writing!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bully- A Great Book About Bullying

This week I wanted to share another nearly wordless book that speaks volumes. Has anyone read the book Bully by Laura Vaccaro Seegar? If not, you need to put it on your back to school shopping list!!  It is such a great book for teaching about bullies and how the things people say can be hurtful.

This book has very limited text, but the word choice is so powerful. A little bull gets picked on by a bigger bull, and then as a result of his hurt and anger continues to bully the other animals in the barnyard. As his anger and "bulliness" grows, so does the image of the bull. The bull grows and grows feeding on the hurt of others until finally, he pops.

*Note...  Having someone blowing up a balloon while you are reading this would be an awesome visual for the kiddos!  Warning... there is the four letter "B" word  in this book, but it is used as a verb, and not a noun.
(The one that means the same as a rear end.)

What was so great was that after reading and discussing this book, I heard my kiddos retelling the story over and over again. It REALLY stuck with them, so I made little retelling story sticks. You can grab them from my store. Click on the picture to grab them. They are free!

Finally, there is a GREAT little video that is available on You Tube with the author Laura Vaccaro Seegar. Check it out to see more! 

Thanks to Deanna for another week hosting the We Love Books Linky!  I DO love books!!

Happy reading!!

Monday, July 7, 2014

I'm headin' to Vegas and I'm having a sale!!

This week while I'm soaking up the positive teacher energy in Vegas, my store will be on sale!  

Click on the graphic to visit my store!!  

Jackpot BABY!!! 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Vegas or BUST!!!

I am so excited to get the opportunity to hit the road and join quite possibly the largest teacher party convention in the world!!!  Last year was so much fun, I just couldn't pass up another chance for lots of learning, laughs, and fun!! 

This year I am taking 2 days of classes, which I am super pumped about.  There are so many great presenters, it was SO hard to choose! I am also excited to meet and see so many of the amazing bloggers I have come to know as friends.  These gals (plus Greg and John) have been such a support and inspiration to me as I have made so many transitions over the past 4 years.  It is like the best pep rally you have ever been to- times TEN!!!

We did start off our trip with a stop at the world famous Rio buffet. Wowzers! It was a lot of food! 

I am so lucky to have been invited to be a part of a booth in the exhibit hall this year! If you are in Vegas you'll have to come by and get a goody bag! Tons of fun stuff and prizes!! 

Check out my display book! :) 

Finally, here is the view from our room! Spectacular! 

Follow the fun on  Facebook

It will be a who's who of teaching greatness. (I'll be the one photo-bombing in the back!!!)  ;-) 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Bugs in My Hair! If you can't beat them, TEACH them, right?

Thanks to Deanna for another week of great books! 


First off, I want to say that I love David Shannon. I just love his style of illustrating. In his new book, Shannon  covers a topic that people don't generally think of happily- HEAD LICE!! Yes.  That is what I said. A book about lice, and it is ADORABLE!

 Aside from the really great illustrations, this book is informational while also being fun. It is a great book to read to kids to let them know that getting lice doesn't mean you're dirty and that while it's no fun, it happens A LOT! It is a really cute story told from the point of view from a little boy who gets lice, and how his mother has to battle the "Little Nasties". Every year I have one or two kiddos with CHRONIC head lice. Poor babies! Last year my class went for head checks almost monthly, so most of them think it is just part of our routine. 

So, if you can't beat them, TEACH them, right????

If you are interested in more activities to accompany this awesome book, check out my 
Bugs in My Hair book pack.  It is a super fun mix of story activities, vocabulary, and writing with some informational text about lice. 

There are two writing activities included in this pack.  One is the "Wanted" poster which is super fun and can be used to promote hygiene.

The second one is "One day I woke up and had ____ in my hair."  These two little cuties made portraits to go with their stories. One had dog bones and the other one had unicorns.  So cute!  :-)

Check it out, and keep it clean!!

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