Money of the World - Cultural Awareness and Acceptance

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Are you looking for a way to easily incorporate world awareness with your students? This may be something you can try …
My students bring money from the countries their families are from. It sets the stage for students to explain some of the unique things about their culture and/or country. The students love looking at the money. They ask questions about the pictures on the money and compare them with US money.

We celebrate differences in my classroom and this is a great way to incorporate awareness of other countries and even currency.

INPUT OUTPUT Mania ... This MACHINE Will Ease the Frustration

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The past few days I have had so much fun (code word for pulling my hair out) teaching function tables or what my kids call “the input output thing.” It’s always a challenging concept to teach, but I have found something that has made it a little easier. It helps the kids understand the pattern is between the input and output, not the row of inputs or columns of outputs.

This “machine” is actually pretty simple to make. I found a old sturdy box and raided my junk scrapbook containers and used anything that would make it look like a machine. I cut slits in the sides for the INPUT and OUTPUT, so I could slide the numbers through. I tell the students this is my magic function machine. At first they believe me, but when they see me writing the outputs on the paper it gives it away. It builds a concrete understanding of what the function table is for and the relationship between the two “PUTS.”

I say something like this to get them thinking about how the “machine” works ...

TEACHER: “I insert the number 4 into the INPUT slot, then the RULE is applied to the number 4, and then a 9 comes out of the OUTPUT.”

(think time) Have the students record the numbers on the dry erase sheets

TEACHER: “What happen to the number? Talk about it with your team or partner.”

STUDENTS: Some kids may say it increased/went up. Some will say you added 5 to the number. Some will be a little confused
TEACHER: “Let’s try another number and see what happens.”  I insert the number 7. “A 7 goes into the INPUT and a 12 comes out of the OUTPUT.”  Have the students record the numbers on the dry erase sheets

I repeat many times with many different rules. It eventually becomes a FUN game of mental math and guess and check. The students love it and understand the patter happens between the INPUT and OUTPUT.

These are the dry erase sheets I use for the kiddos to record the numbers that go in and go out. I print them out and slid them into a heavy duty page protector. These have lasted me 3 years so far! = ) 
 Let me know if you have any tricks that helps easy the frustration of function tables for your students.

Classroom Jobs - Students Feel Important & My Life is Easier!!

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This is the third week of school for me and I am just getting into the "groove." I'm still figuring out the balance of keeping my blog updated and managing other parts of my life now that the days of "sitting on the couch in my PJs and blogging" are over! Any tips or suggestions????
Classroom Occupation (Job) Postings - I have the occupation titles available for download on my TPT store.

I wanted to share something new I started this year in my class. I have always had classroom jobs, but in the past I assigned classroom jobs to my students based on what I thought they would want. Because of this, some would lose interest after the first week, but not this year! I gave them an application and they had to complete it on their own time. This meant that had to apply for the job they wanted and think about why they would be good at that job. Students selected their top three jobs, and all but three students got their top three picks (these three students turned in their app. 1 day late). I have been watching my kiddos take their jobs VERY seriously! Them taking the jobs seriously means my life is easier! The titles of these jobs aren't your typical "Line Leader", and "Teacher Helper"- They have been spiced up with names like "Secretary" and "Directional Specialist"! 
Application the students use to apply for classroom jobs - I have the application available for download on my TPT store.

I have a classroom occupation binder too. This binder lists all the jobs and what the duties include. This binder is in the classroom library so students can access this and read them at anytime.

These are 2 of the 13 pages from the Classroom Occupation Binder that describes each classroom job. I have the occupation  titles and descriptions available for download on my TPT store.

Tropical Storm Issac, Mud Race and Canceled School

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On Friday our admin warned us that Issac may shut us down Monday and turn our classrooms into shelters. Being the born Floridian that I am, I think a little rain, thunder, wind and lightening is all part of the summer. So I basically paid no attention to it! However, before we left on Friday all teachers had to pack up their equipment that may get damaged or stolen if our school was used as a shelter. Keep in mind this is day four of school and I just finished making my room "perfect!" My intern and I spent 45 minutes securing the room by zip tying the cabinets and packing the computers, projector and anything else that would be considered valuable. After being a little annoyed that teachers were responsible for making our rooms "shelter proof," I packed up and went home and mentally prepared for my very first mud race!

The race was AMAZING and I would highly suggest that everyone should add participating in a mud race to their bucket list!!! During the race the sky gave out and it down poured! It was kind of like a out door shower though, so it was nice considering the moment!

All teachers in my surrounding counties got the call today saying, school is closed Monday due to the weather! I must admit I'm a little bummed it being the 5th day of school, but an extra day of raining day planning is always helpful!

First Day Down & Going on a Classroom Tour

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Today was the first day and it was … hectic and stressful, but whose first day isn’t???  (No answer required) However, I LOVE my students already!!!  I love how every year the dynamics of my classroom changes and I get to start fresh with a new group of kiddos!!! Bring on the rest of the year . . .

It's Classroom Tour Time!
I’m linking up with Beg, Borrow, Steal, Time 4 Kindergarten and Swimming into Second for a classroom reveal . . . I LOVE looking (A.K.A. snooping) at other classrooms! So now is your chance to take a sneak into mine . . .  

Entrance to my room ... The wordwall in on my cabinets.
To the right of the door - My school is really enforcing the  fire code that says "No hanging items 12 inches from the ceiling" so that means no fancy hanging things. Anyone have any ideas???
Directly to the right of the door. The non-fiction classroom library and my "teacher" area.
Classroom library up close.
One of the wonderful windows in my room. I hang past pictures from my class up under the window, so the students can look at them. They love looking at past kiddos - I had a student tell me "You've been teaching along time to have that many pictures." I thought in 20 years if I still post the pictures, then what will they think? LOL

The black wall will soon have writing posters made by the kids.
Math centers and manip baskets. The Accountable Math Talk Stem rings and Networking for Help rings are hanging on the wall.

The front view ...

The back view ...

So there it is ... I'm looking at the pictures now and realizing I didn't take any close ups. I will do that tomorrow and add a few more pictures.


A TINY sneak peak ... ONE more day!

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I've been in my room for 3 days organizing, decorating, rearranging and whatever else teachers frantically do to get ready for the first day of school!

I want to show you all some pictures of just a piece of the work I have been doing ... ENJOY = )

This is my student center. The students have everything they need. They know if this area is misused it will be closed. Students can come here almost any time of the day of they need one of these supplies.

This is my Fireworks Frame Wall (from more of these pictures go to this post) for my kiddos VERY best work!

This is me applying the duct tape. It was hard not to get wrinkles in the tape. The best way was using a continuous strip of tape for each section. And go SLOW!!

This is a BEFORE and AFTER picture of my mostly nonfiction classroom library. The duct tape totally changed the look!! I LOOOOOVVVVEEEEEE it! It looks more inviting! Here's the link to the basket labels shown here.  

AMAZING Rug and Tissue Paper "Fireworks"

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This will be short . . . Check out this amazing rug that matches my color scheme perfectly! I've never kept a rug in my room because they didn't match . . . but not this one!!!! YIPPEEEE!!! 

Ths is by far the most expensive thing I
have bought ($20 from Big Lots), but I just
couldn't pass it up!

Some of the "fireworks" that will be placed throughout the room - I'm going to make about 15. These are made with Dollar Tree Tissue Paper - Gotta' keep it cheap! I'm using all the bright jewel tones still - You can't tell in this picture.

*** Please excuse the lack of picture quality -
They were all taken with my phone.

FIRST day back in my class & some WONDERFUL finds!

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I completed day one (about 4 hours) of “Put My Class Back Together Again!” This will take MANY more days! First of all, I am exhausted, but before I came home I had some time to stop by Joann’s and Walmart for a few classroom items!

Here are some of my FABULOUS, cheap, buys!

From Walmart: Elephant ($11), Colored Sticker Letters (.88 each)
and Striped Boxes (.88 each) From Joann: Zig Zag Edging (.97 each),
Paper Packs ($2.59 each) and Materail ($23 total)  Tissue paper was
something I had - I will reveal this project at a later time! . . .

This is the material I will use for small curtains and shelf coverings. I LOVE IT!!
It's perfect for what I wanted to do. It has all the colors, but it's not to bright!
I'M SO EXCITED!! I think the kids might think it looks like silly bands.
It reminded me on different stars - Kinds like fireworks.

My teaching partner and I wanted to do the same theme for consistency, but incorporate a message with it. We are using the Fireworks song by Katy Perry as a starting/inspiration point. We are using some quotes (See the Firework Frames Brag Wall) from the Fireworks song in materials and décor throughout the room, along with bright jewel tone colors. I’m using black as a back ground color to tone down the brightness a little. I didn’t want to over simulate some of my easily distracted kiddos. =  ) Picking a color is also a way for me to save some $$$. I would get bored with a theme too specific. For me, colors are endless and easy to change!

*** BTW: You may have noticed an elephant and wondered how it fits in (LOL) . . . I collect elephants. I rarely buy one for myself because I get them as gifts frequently. HOWEVER, today was an exception. This elephant gel lamp was on clearance at Walmart! It’s so adorable – I can’t wait to bring it to school!   

Here are some updated pictures of the current state of my classroom . . .

The AMAZING windows from the second floor!

What is seen when walking in the door . . .

View from the front of the classroom . . .

View from the back of the classroom . . .

SCARY cabinets - Can't believe I'm showing this!!! = /

T minus 14 days and counting!

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I'm off to my classroom today . . . I have mixed feeling - Anxious, because I will soon be meeting my bright eyed kiddos. There's always the sadness because my days of leisure and sleeping in (7:30AM) are over!

There are two things on the docket today:

1.     Reclaim my car and home! Every summer I have WAY TOO MUCH school décor and resources in boxes, leaning against walls and on the table. It takes over my home – which is usually VERY clean and tidy. My car is also usually stuffed full with miscellaneous items for my classroom too! TODAY . . . these areas become mine again!

2.     Clean up the garden, so it is presentable at open house. (Thank God I have a brother who is able to help me today!) I had a grant give last year for a large garden that is nothing short of amazing. I am now responsible for the upkeep over the summer. I’ll share a picture on the garden before I left it. When I return home today, I will post updated pictures.   

This is a picture on our hydroponic garden from the second floor in May/June.
This is when things were in full bloom and producing veggies!
*************UPDATE ************
I am so exhausted - I worked my butt off today! I'm so glad I didn't work out this morning. If I had worked out, with all this work outside, I would have NEVER made it through the day! Today it was sunny and 95 degrees (felt like one thousand degrees!!!!) in Tampa and I have the sunburn to prove it! The picture below is the finished product.
TODAY - Four hours after my brother, Chris, and I started cleaning out the
plants and their roots. It's ready for Spring planting!

What I have to look forward to tomorrow morning . . . Let the decorating begin:

Walking in the front door of the classroom you will see the front of the classroom.
I have my desk here, but I use it for the projector and lap top computer. I don't really use my
desk so this was a great alternative. Check out my large window!

This is the back of the classroom. This is also where wer have to pile up
all our things during the Summer. You can also see the other huge window we have - that's
my favorite part of my room. We're on the second floor so we have a wonderful view.

This is a close up of my "classroom in a pile."

These are all my cabinets. GREAT for storage! The hall connects to my team
teacher's class. On that connecting wall is where I'm putting the "Firework Frames!"