Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tuesday Teaching Ideas: Best Book Shoppin' Buys for Daily 5

Teach Junkie Creative Ideas

Welcome back for another Tuesday Teaching Idea!  Are you using Daily 5 in your classroom?  Have you wondered what you should use for your kiddos' book shopping baskets?  Today's Tuesday Teacher Tip is all about your different options and the pros and cons of each (with photos)!

Meet the Contenders:


Storage Tote (Dollar Tree), Sterilite Ice Cube Bin (Target), Plastic Magazine Holder (Big Lots), FLYT Cardboard Magazine File (IKEA)
Not Pictured: Mainstays Ice Cube Bin (Walmart)

First, let's do a price point comparison!


Yellow Dollar Tree Storage Tote: $1.00 (*Note that you can only exchange at Dollar Tree, not return)
Sterilite Ice Cube Bin from Target: $3.99
Big Lots Plastic Magazine Holder: $3.00
IKEA FLYT Cardboard Magazine File: $1.99/5 pack (*Best Value!)
Mainstays Ice Cube Bin: $1.88

Now let's do a book weight test!


Total Fail Walmart!


The Dollar Tree yellow storage tote starts getting off balance at about 8 books.  The more books you add the more stable it gets- however, this is book shopping, so your kiddos will probably only have 8-10 books.

The Sterilite ice cube bin from Target is very stable!  Much better than the Walmart Mainstays brand!  You can also comfortably fit around 15 books.

The IKEA magazine files are actually surprisingly durable, especially considering that they're made from cardboard.  It comfortably holds about 12 books.

The Big Lots magazine holder is also incredibly stable and can comfortable hold up to 20 books.  The bonus?  It's the only one that can fit bigger sized books!  :)



So, which do you choose?

Well it depends.  Do you want something that already fits into your color scheme?  Do you want to do a little decorating?  How many books do you think your kiddos will shop for?  How much money do you have to spend?

I really wanted the yellow baskets because I thought my kiddos would look so cute shopping for books that way, but the instability thing really turned me off.  (Now what the heck do I exchange 16 baskets for at Dollar Tree?)  I have a ton of the FLYT magazine files already- think I'll keep those to organize my teacher read alouds!  I'm really debating between the Big Lots magazine holders and the Sterilite ice cube bins!  I love the potential for decorating the plain white bins... plus I could only round up 12 of the turquoise magazine holders... hmmm...

Need More Options?



Christi at Mrs. Fultz's corner has a great post comparing book bins from Really Good Stuff and Steps to Literacy.  Check it out here!

You can also browse my Pinterest board exclusively devoted to Classroom Setup Ideas- click on the picture below!



Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Classroom Chronicles Part One: Decor Galore Shopping Spree & a Fan Freebie!

As you know, I've got a brand new classroom this year!  This weekend I decided to do some shopping, hoping it would help me decide on my final color scheme (which I HIGHLY recommend.  Don't make any final color decisions before you see what's out there!)  Based on my so-called "research", here's the scheme I decided on:

During my six hour shopping spree I made a new best friend...


HOW have I lived for ten years only five minutes from one of these and never known about it?  I found so much great stuff for my classroom!  Get ready for a lengthy journey in pictures!

5' by 6' Area Rugs for $20!  AND it passes the color test!  Yay!

$3 Plastic Magazine File Holders (great for book shopping in Daily Five!) The turquoise matches GREAT but unfortunately the pink is a little too pink for orchid.

Sweet Storage Options.  I LOVE the stacking bins and the colorful crate seats!

Saucer Chairs (aka Moon Chairs)... not doing a jungle theme but MAN this was tempting!

More Zebra Print Stuff (for those of you that are interested)

Mini Moon Seats!  Man, how AWESOME would these be in the classroom library? And they're only $16!  If only they matched my color scheme! I suppose I could have bought and re-upholstered them... hmmm...

Classroom Pillows that DO match my color scheme... only $10!

Even scrapbook accents and fabric flowers!

Ready for some other stores?  Here's some cute stuff from Target...

Adorable Ornate Picture Frame!  Didn't pass color test.  Bummer. 


Another Adorable Ornate Picture Frame that DOES pass the color test!  Yay!

Cute Rosette Lamp that fails the color test by a hair and is a smidgeon too expensive.  (Hence why I got the plain $10 lamp at Big Lots; I can customize it anways!)

From wandering at Walmart...

Check out this $19 Suede Saucer Chair!  It's so comfy!  I almost bought a $50 saucer chair at JoAnn's that was a perfect turquoise but I'm so glad I didn't- it was $50 and final sale! (By the way, those are $1.88 ice cube bins- great for book shopping!)


And look!  It also lays flat on the ground!  (Not sure if it's supposed to do that; it just happened when I was trying to figure out how to close the darn thing... lol!)
Again, I'm not into the jungle theme, but if you are you might want to check out...

Zebra Contact Shelf Paper

Zebra Rugs

They also have some cute and cheap storage ottomans for $16 (and SUPPOSEDLY they are getting in an aquamarine/turquoise color, so we'll see!)  If you're doing a red/black theme you definitely want to check these out:


Lastly, let's take a look around Dollar Tree...

Pretty Paper Lantern Lights!

Variety of Plastic Bins... I was thinking of using these for center storage or book shopping baskets, BUT they are a little too flimsy and the wrong shade of purple.  UNFORTUNATELY, I did not do a color test before buying!  And Dollar Tree only does exchanges! (Moral of the Story: Take Your Crayola Color Shopping Everywhere!)

Here's the total haul from my Saturday Spree... 


I also ended up getting the Walmart saucer chair in black (just in case if the future turquoise doesn't match) and the ice cube bins (because I can't decide what I want to use for book shopping yet!)  I can't WAIT to get into my classroom and start sorting and figuring out how this is all going to turn out!

And you'll never believe what all this stuff fit into...


That's right, my two-door Chevy Cavalier!  Emich Junior kicks some serious car butt, no lies.  We have been through a lot together over the years... from learning how to park in a garage (the side mirror is decidedly battered now) to splashing through flash floods in search of the perfect classroom supplies.  Thanks for all your hard work this weekend Emich Junior, you rock!  I'm sorry you now smell like wet carpet.  :(


Ready for your freebie?  I FINALLY figured out how to set up my Facebook Fan Freebie Page!  You can pick up my new classroom's color scheme in four beautiful GLITTER pages by Liking my page and clicking on Fan Freebies!  Click on the link below and enjoy!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tuesday Teaching Ideas: Color-Coordinated Shopping with a Crayola!

Teach Junkie Creative Ideas

I'm linking up for my first ever teaching idea Tuesday!  Today's tip is all about color-smart shopping.  One thing I have realized since I started shopping for my new classroom is that NOTHING EVER MATCHES.  Turquoise at Target doesn't mean turquoise somewhere else.  Turquoise within Target doesn't mean everything matches.  Even turquoise within the SAME BRAND isn't always the same!  What is a poor color-coordinated teacher to do?


Yes, that's right, take out a Crayola!  (No I'm not crazy!)  I cannot tell you how much time this has saved me with returns.  I just put my Crayola colored pencils that match my color scheme in my purse when I go shopping and I know right away weather or not it matches!  

Don't forget to share your great teacher tips at Teach Junkie and come back TOMORROW for more great finds from my shopping trip this weekend- and a fun freebie!

Also, don't forget to enter my giveaway while you're here and join me in celebrating my new classroom!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friday, July 12, 2013

Hellos, Goodbyes & a Giveaway

Hi friends!  As some of you may have noticed, my blog has gotten a new look lately because... [insert drumroll] I'm going to be teaching Kindergarten in August!  I'M SO EXCITED!  I'll try to refrain from excessive capitalization and exclamation points, but it'll be tough.  :)

Here's some snapshots of my new room (currently an overflow/storage/music room)...

Hello New Room!

Hello Promethean Board and Mac!  Goodbye Piano!  (This will be a learning curve... I've only used SMART and PC!)

Hello Big Honkin' Teacher Desk! (Never had one before... not sure what to do with it!)

Hello Beautiful Big White Board! (No, I Can't Say Goodbye to the Ugly Metal Shelves... and I can't paint or mod podge them either... but don't worry, my creative side is working on alternative ideas!)

Hello Fabulous Creative Co-Workers I Can't Wait to Meet!  (Isn't this pointer ADORABLE?  Haven't met her yet but I loved checking out her classroom!  My principal kindly took me on a tour and propped up the pointer for the picture.  LOVE LOVE LOVE my new school!)

In short...  Hello Kindergarten!  Goodbye Pre-K!  

Naturally, this means things are going to look a little different around here (and in my store).  I don't know how much posting I'll be doing in my first year, but I am celebrating this occasion with a grand old-fashioned giveaway- win my ENTIRE store before I start taking things down and making changes!  Enter below- the giveaway ends on Friday July 26th, my last day of work!  :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Talking, Drawing, Writing Chapter 5: Writing Words and Why I Take Forever to Read Professional Books


Hello again!  Back for Chapter 5!  You may be wondering, why does it take me so dang long to post for the book study?  Well my friends, it's because I am a slow professional book reader.  Back in college I read like a maniac and never absorbed my textbooks.  Now I read for meaning and always "code the text" so that I can find what I need in a flash later.


And being the organizational freak that I am, I also have to use a highlighter and sticky notes that are color-coded to the book's cover.  :)


Anyways, this chapter is my FAVORITE so far.  One thing I struggled with last year was getting my pre-kinders to write words in their stories.  Now I know how!  Here's what I took from this chapter:

  • Do Lots of Interactive Writing!  I was pretty good at this.  We shared the pen on a regular basis all year long, right from the get-go!  Here's an example of a shared writing we recently completed:  

For the first part of this shared writing, I modeled my thinking and how to slowly say a word and listen for the first sound.  I also modeled using our environmental print word wall to help me figure out which letter makes that sound.  


The next day I modeled again, then released responsibility and guided students as they attempted to sound out and write the first letter of their word.  I should also mention that these letters on our word wall are magnetic, so I can easily pull one down and hold it close to the student for reference as they are writing the letter!

We also work a lot on sentence structure and sounding out words during guided reading/writing.  Once a week my students respond to a prompt to make a class book, which then goes in our library.  It's a great time to teach about how to read from left to write, spaces between words, etc.  Check out some of our books below:

  • Explicitly Model the Connection Between Shared Writing and Writing in Books.  I feel like smacking myself on the forehead- duh!  Somehow I never did this.  My kiddos did a great job with sounding out words and experimenting with sentence structure doing guided writing, and most of them started doing that on their own in their books, but I know they could have gone a lot further if I had bridged the gap!
  • Start Slow.  Encourage students to think first, say the word slowly, listen for sounds and write down the sounds they hear.  It's okay to start with just the first letter sound for each word.
  • Encourage, Encourage, Encourage!  "If there were words to tell this part of the story, what would they say?"  I just LOVE the sample dialogue in this book, it really helps me envision what I can say to students to encourage them to get writing!
This chapter really got me thinking about ways to teach writing words/sentences, shared writing, and what student writing tells us about their understanding of words and language.  I just cannot say how much I love this book!  Don't forget to check out the resources below and I'll see you on Friday (I promise!) with some official exciting news! 



Writing Words Poster Freebies from Mrs. Richardson's Class
Love these strategy posters!
Developmental Stages of Writing from HeidiSongs
This is a great page to have in your writer's workshop notebook- a quick and easy reference to see where your students are with writing words!
Guided Writing from Keen on Kindergarten
Love this blog post about different activities you can do during Guided Writing!