Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Come one, Come all to the Monster Marketplace!!

Hey y'all!  I'm gearing up for my new kiddos that'll be walking through my door next Monday morning!  Where did my summer go?!?!  It's okay though - in 9 weeks, I'll be tracked out for 2 weeks and the first nine weeks always seems to fly by!
I have been a loyal Class Dojo user for years and love how the creators have improved the program so that it's now so much more than a way to track student behavior.  Now, I can communicate with parents via messenger, share class pictures in a closed and safe environment - i.e. away from social media, and there's more exciting things on the way!
If you have followed me for a while, you maybe have read about my Class Dojo Super Pack that allows you to implement a classroom economy in your classroom and it works perfectly with Class Dojo.  Well, earlier this year, this set got a MAJOR facelift and a new name - Monster Marketplace!  

When I looked at the set, I realized that teachers could use this resource with any type of system - whether you were giving Dojo points, tickets, or coins - so a new name was needed!  The theme of monsters is still included, but I now have this super cute monster kidlette clipart that I had made just for this set!

So, if you have my original Class Dojo set - go download the update - if you haven't seen it already!  The concept of what's included is the same - it just has a new look!

Let me show you all of the new awesomeness that's included!

Let me start with something I use EVERYDAY!  These behavior calendars are the perfect way to communicate the child's daily behavior with parents.  Since I do use Class Dojo, my students record their number of points in the circle.  Parents initial and then when they "cash in" their points for Dojo Dollars, I use the Total line to total up their points (more on that later!).  When I used a clip chart my first year or so, I had something similar to this and my students would record their color in the circle. If you use a clip chart, you could do the same - you don't have to use Class Dojo to use this!

The best part is that the calendars are now editable!!  The circles and text boxes in each day's box are editable so that if you have a school holiday, field trip, etc. you can delete that days items and add in a text box to let parents know what is going on that day!

My old set only included graphing sheets like above.  Now that I use the calendar,  but I know that's not everyone's choice, I have included blank graphs that you can use and add in the dates before printing and copying.

Above I mentioned credit cards and cashing in points for Dojo Dollars.  Instead of having all kinds of printed bills that my students have to keep up with - my students have joined the 21st  Century and have their own credit card!

So how do my kiddos "cash in"?  I have my students assigned to days where they can cash in their points and I take those points and magically turn them into money on their Monster Express Card!  Each point is $1 - so when I total their points, if they have 25 points, they will get $25 on their credit card.

I assign my students a day so that I am not cashing all of them on one day - or having students cash in every day.  They have one day a week where they can cash in their points - if they miss it - they have to wait until next week!

To make adding and subtracting money on the card easy - I laminate the cards and use Sharpie and a Mr. Clean eraser to write and erase off the laminate.

Once students have money on their credit card, it's time to spend it!  I have the Monster Marketplace set up in my classroom using regular sized library pockets with tickets inside.  The covers pictured above are attached to the front of the library pocket and tickets go inside the pocket.  Students go pick out the item(s) they want to buy, bring it to me and I take that amount off their credit card.

There are pre-made reward pocket covers, as pictured above, included in the set with matching tickets.  There is also an editable PowerPoint file with pockets and tickets so that you can make your own rewards to include in your store!

Short term goals are great for students and that is one reason I love the Monster Marketplace store!  They are able to set a small goal for a small item or experience they want to purchase, work towards it, and then buy it.  But long terms goals are also great incentives.  That is where Point Clubs come into play.

You will find classroom circles to display your point clubs (as pictured above), as well as certificates and brag tags if you utilize brag tags in your classroom.  There are LOTS of point club options.  I chose to do my point clubs in increments of 100 - but others requested them to be in increments of 50 because of how they did their points in their classroom - so you have LOTS of options with certificates and brag tags for each one.  Print and use just what you need!

Leader of the Week is another short term goal/reward I like to use in my classroom.  Each Friday afternoon as we are packing up to head home, I check the total number of points for the week in the Reports tab to find my student with the highest total of points for the week.  You could also look at their percentage if you choose to do it that way - however I would have a few every week that had 100% so I just went with total number of points.  That child was the Leader of the Week for the next week and got their name displayed on our Dojo board, as well as receiving a brag tag and certificate to take home.

The Monster Marketplace banner pictured above is a perfect header to put above your store.

The last set of items included in this set are Monster Labels.  If you are using a Monster theme in your classroom - these could be used for a lot of reasons.  But, I used them to display students in the Point Clubs.  Add student names to the black rectangle in each square and then print.  There are 2 sizes - small and large - so choose the size that best fits the space and how you want to use these in your classroom.

Whew!  That was a lot!  Do you use Class Dojo in your classroom?
I'm sure I've not answered everyone's questions in this post - so make sure to click on the Class Dojo label over to the right and find other posts I've done about Class Dojo.  Still can't find the answer to your question - just ask below in the comments!


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Morning Work - make NO MORE copies!!

Oh, how good it feels to be back to blogging.  I realized a couple weeks ago that I hadn't blogged since mid-May because of all of the end-of-year craziness.  Now I'm about to back in the even crazier beginning of year craziness - AHHH!!

As you are beginning to think about the coming school year and how you want to structure your day, one of the best ways to start your kiddos' day is by setting up some structure and routine for them from the moment they walk in the door.

When my kiddo's come in the door they have a few tasks:
1. Unpack their backpack
2.  Put snack in snack basket and check to see if they need to heat-up their lunch
3.  Check the counter for any papers to put in their COLLEGE notebook
4.  Put COLLEGE notebook on bookshelf
5.  Put everything in their cubby
6.  Morning Work!

Each morning, my students' morning work is projected on my whiteboard for them.  They complete each day's tasks in a marble composition notebook.  We have a few of these notebooks on our supply list - so one of them is used for morning work.

Throughout the post, you may find Amazon Affiliate links, which means Amazon tosses a few nickels my way if you purchase something through that link, at no extra cost to you, that help keep my corner of cyber-space running!

I pre-write the date and how many days we have been in school using my Mimio Pen - just screen capture and write right over top of the PDF.  Don't have a Mimio or Smartboard type program and pen - just use an Expo marker!

Students will then write the sentences in Box #1 at the top of their page.  For Boxes #2-#5 - I just have students write their answers.  They do not have to write the directions for each box as well.

Teacher Reality - I do not go behind my kiddos and check their work.  We check the morning work quickly each morning - takes no more than 5 minutes most days and less as the year goes on - and they check their own work with marker/crayon.  So, as long as they understand where their answers are, I don't stress myself about how they have it organized.

Now, I will say at the beginning of the year, I do use a large wipe-on/off poster that looks like notebook paper to show my students how to set up their morning work.  I usually try to do this for the first week or so.  I tape it to the side of my whiteboard, so they have a visual of how to set it up in their notebook.  

The last box is a fun fact of the day (for 2nd grade).  I do not make my students write these in their notebooks.  Some do because they enjoy keeping up with them - but it is not required - but that is totally up to you if you want to require it or not.

The skills included in the morning work spiral about every 10 days - so about every two weeks your kids will be practicing the same skill.  As the year progresses, the skills gradually get more difficult - more so with math than language arts/grammar.    Some tasks are open-ended so students have the ability to be creative in their responses.

I have used this morning work in my classroom for 2 years and love it!  My kids know what they have to do each morning when they come in and that consistency and expectation is there and makes for smoother mornings.

Now, I will tell you - the first couple weeks of this morning work - just like with learning any new routine - may be a little difficult for your students.  I try to make sure that I don't have many tasks to do during our morning work time so that I am available to help students.  When students don't know what an answer is or how to tackle the problem - I tell them to do their best and give it a try.  Then, when we are going over our morning work, I take more time on those problems to help students understand the process and the answer.  Then, when we get to that topic - let's say arrays in math - my students have been practicing arrays all year and it makes a little easier for them because they've heard that word and know a little something about it.

This summer, I took on the HUGE task of making morning work for BOTH 1st and 3rd grades!!  The set-up is the same as the 2nd grade set.  The only major difference - besides the content and difficulty of content - is that instead of a Fun Fact of the Day, each day there is a Joke of the Day.  The jokes are the same for both 1st and 3rd grade.  Hopefully if you have teachers in your school that are using both grade levels of morning work, students will forget the jokes between 1st and 3rd grade!

Click on each image below to check out the skill set included, test drive the first 5 days, and get a preview of tasks for the entire year (in the downloadable preview).

Timing - my students can begin entering our school building at 7:45 AM and the tardy bell rings at 8:15 AM.  We stop about 8:20 AM to say the pledge, check morning work, and do our morning routine before beginning instruction.  Most of my students are able to complete their morning work - some with time left over!  Those stragglers that come in right at 8:15 do struggle to get morning work done most days.  Because this is a review of skills, I do not stress myself if they are not finished.  They do pay attention when we are going over morning work and try to get the answers written down - so they are processing the information - which is what I want!

When my kiddos finish their morning work, they have a few options of things to do:
1. Finish incomplete work
2.  Read
3.  Morning Choice - mini lego boxes, practice math facts, etc.

For my mini lego boxes, I use 5x7 photo boxes with these mini lego sets.  They are able to grab these boxes and use their imagination and fine motor skills to build whatever their imagination can come up with!  


What kinds of things are you planning for the new school year?!?!


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Contraction-ectomies with 2nd Grade Surgeons!

Hey y'all!  Happy Summer!  My summer is quickly fading as I head back to work on the 17th - ack!  Can't believe it's almost over.  I wanted to share with you a quick and SUPER FUN activity that we did back in April when we studied contractions with our phonics program.

Contraction Surgery!!
Although I like Contractionectomy better because it sounds more official - haha!

Throughout the post, you may find Amazon Affiliate links, which means Amazon tosses a few nickels my way if you purchase something through that link, at no extra cost to you, that help keep my corner of cyber-space running!

To make things a little more realistic for my kiddos, I got them shower caps and masks from Dollar Tree - cost maybe $10.  I picked up band-aids while I was there.  And I did bad math and didn't correctly calculate how many I would need - note to self for next year!

I opted to not do gloves - I knew adult gloves wouldn't fit them and that would make all the cutting and gluing way harder for them.  Saved myself a few bucks and a lot of sanity by opting for no gloves!

We put on a heartbeat monitor sound effect on the board and off into the surgery the kiddos went.  They were SO focused...to start with!  They did a great job, they really did, but their excitement got the best of them after a little while and they got a little loud - but they were learning - that's for sure!  

Not to bore you with too much chatter - here are pictures!

I picked up this doctor coat on Amazon - added a little heat transfer vinyl and BAM! I'm the chief surgeon!

And a video of them in action!  We all called each other doctors - so they even got in on calling each other Dr. {last name} - it was so fun!


Now - where did I get my awesome contraction surgery set - well TPT of course!  I didn't make my own because this one was too good not to buy!  Munchkins Inc did an awesome job with making this activity - it was perfect for my 2nds!  Copied into booklets for them and they were set!

Happy Thursday y'all!  What fun things have you got planned for the rest of your summer?


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Making It To Summer!!

Hey friends!
Quick post for you today!
Last year, I did a blog post series with some of my favorite things that I use in my classroom to help me make it to summer!  I was going to recap each individually over the next few weeks, but I figured, it'd be just as easy to give you links to all of them at one time!
Read one at a time, or read them all at once - it's up to you!
Part 1: Countdown to Summer
Part 2: End of Year Gift & Summer Games
Part 3: End of Year Award Medals
Part 4: Beach Day!
Each of my TPT products in the posts above will be on sale though Friday - so make sure to hop over to my TPT shop and grab them on sale!


Sunday, May 7, 2017

End of Year Behavior - It's all about the MINDSET!!

Happy Sunday friends!

I'm sure you're not quite ready to hit the ground running tomorrow to start a new week - but that just means we are one day closer to summer - so there's a good way to look at it!

I wanted to pop in and share an idea with you and a new freebie that's in my TPT store to help you with student behavior as we wind down the school year.

Throughout the post, you may find Amazon Affiliate links, which means Amazon tosses a few nickels my way if you purchase something through that link, at no extra cost to you, that help keep my corner of cyber-space running!
For the past few weeks I have been using the phrase "show me how almost 3rd graders would..." when I am wanting my students to show me the right way to do something.  I usually try to follow that up with what I am expecting to see (quietly and quickly walking, looking forward, etc).  Most times this quick and easy phrase does the trick and they show me exactly how to walk in line, go back to their seats, whatever it is.

It's all about a mindset shift for them.  At this point in the year, they are eagerly anticipating summer and knowing that they are going to get to move up to the next grade level when they return to school. But with that comes a greater responsibility to act a certain way - that's what I tell them at least!  So when I saw "show me how almost 3rd graders would..." their mind shifts to acting like an older student would act.

But in the last 2-3 weeks of school, I add a visual reminder for them as well!  I am going to give each of my students a lanyard with a "3rd Grader in Training" name tag attached.  They will wear these each day and when they are not acting like a 3rd grader, they may lose their badge.  In addition to it saying "3rd Grader in Training", it also says "How am I doing?"  When other teachers on the hall see my students wearing these and see them acting responsibly, they can easily compliment their behavior and encourage them to keep up exactly what they are doing.  This verbal praise from another teacher (or better yet - the principal!!) is exactly what they need to hear.

Now, before I give my students these badges - before I even SHOW them to them - I have them sitting in a brown paper bag with a note on them.  I'll leave them there for a few days, if not a whole week before they find out whats in the bag.  I will refer to this bag throughout the week - "Oh, you know almost 3rd graders are the only ones that get to find out what's in the bag - if we can act like we are 3rd graders, then we'll find out whats in the bag."  Play it up really big - because to them - it could be a bag full of candy!

When I introduce them to my students - we most definitely will talk about what we should and should not do with our lanyards - and how they could lose their lanyard.  Putting them in their mouths is definitely NOT a 3rd grade behavior - so they would lose their badge.  Swinging them around in the air like a lasso is MOST definitely not a 3rd grade behavior, so they could lose their badge, and so on and so forth.

Now, at the end of the day, all of my students will return their lanyards to the hook where we are keeping them in the classroom.  And at the end of the year, I will bag them all up to keep for next year!  I found my lanyards over at Amazon and they seem to be good quality!  Hopefully they will stand up to my 2nds!

You can grab the freebie tags for Kinders in Training up to 6th Graders in Training over in my TPT shop!


Thursday, April 27, 2017

We "CAMP" Wait for Summer!! Can you?!?!

Happy Friday-eve friends!

Are you counting down the days till summer yet?  We have 25 days left - but there is so much to do between now and then!!  Assessments, report cards, countdown to summer, end of year activities, awards, and more!  But one thing I'm super excited about is our 2nd Grade Camp Day during the last week!

Last year, I did Beach Day as my end of year review classroom flip, but another teacher in my building did a very similar thing and so I wanted my kiddos to be able to have a different experience this year - thus Camp Day!

Throughout the post, you may find Amazon Affiliate links, which means Amazon tosses a few nickels my way if you purchase something through that link, at no extra cost to you, that help keep my corner of cyber-space running!

I am going to transform our classroom into a campground complete with tent, lake, and even bears!  I found lots of ideas on Pinterest - so I'm excited to put it all together!
But behind every classroom transformation - there has to be some educational value!  On our camp day, my students will rotate through centers - Language Arts centers in the morning and Math centers in the afternoon.  Each center will be a campground with a fun camp name!

To set the ambience, I like to pull up a video with a "scene setter" as well as background noises to make us feel like we are really camping!  Here are a few YouTube Videos you might want to use as your scene setter on your whiteboard or classroom TV.  I like to run my videos through ViewPure to make sure we don't get any ads.

After a camping warm-up morning work and reviewing expectations for the day with my students, we will dive right into learning and having fun!  My students will be split into small groups to rotate through each of the centers.

For Crystal Lake Contractions - I'm going to set up a lake in my classroom!  Easy-peasy using blue bulletin board paper!

I even had my kiddos collect sticks for me at recess a few weeks back!  I've got to get them to collect some more for me soon so I can make a campfire!

In addition to having each of these language arts centers set up, I am also going to have a tent set up for students to read in - this will be Camp Read-A-Lot (camp sign included).  I found this AWESOME tent at Amazon for less than $20 - it should easily fit at least 5 kids - especially since they don't mind being close to each other!  It's super easy to assemble - took me maybe 10 minutes to set up in my living room one afternoon!  My kiddos also LOVE using finger flashlights each week for Flashlight Friday - so I got a new box of finger flashlights so they can have one to keep after Camp Day!

I'll keep the tent up in our room all day with a basket of books about summer and camping.  My kiddos love to read - so I know they'll be excited about getting to read in a tent!  I'll share suggested books later in this post.

After lunch, we'll have our math camp stations!

May favorite math center is the Build Your Own Campsite using arrays!  Students will get to design and create their own campsite using arrays - so all of the tents, cabins, lakes, etc for all students should be the same size - but they get to design the layout!
All of the centers are aligned to 2nd grade Common Core State Standards!  I have tried to include a wide variety of skills that I have taught my own kiddos this year.  And this isn't just a "fun" day of easy review centers - some of these will definitely get your kids into using their brain to problem solve.

What I love best about these centers is that the kids can check their own work!!!  It's the last few days of school - one of the last things I want to have to do is to go behind my students to check their work - ain't nobody got time for that!  So, all but one of the centers have self-checking QR codes so students can check their own work!

We have plenty of iPads in our classroom, and my students are very accustomed to using the QR code reader to access videos, articles, and now answer keys!  When students scan the QR code, they will access a screen with the answers in a plain text format so they can check their work.  My students will check their work with a marker so I can see as I am monitoring what they are getting wrong.

After students check their work - just like at camp - they will earn a badge!  I use brag tags in my classroom, so my students will earn their camp badges to wear on their brag tag necklace.  I have included both round and rectangle camp badges so you can choose what is best for your classroom.

I love the look of the circle camp badges - BUT - cutting all those circles gave me a nightmare just thinking about it!  But, Fiskars came to the rescue!  I got an XL Circle Hand Punch that allowed me to easily and quickly cut out all the camp badges in no time at all. 

If you don't use brag tags in your classroom, I have included camp badge collection sheets that students could put their badges on.  I'd suggest using 8.5x11 Avery label sheets so that these are like stickers for students - just cut out for students and they can add to their collection sheet.

I've also included LOTS of other goodies in this set to make for more than a days worth of camping fun in your classroom!

I mentioned earlier that I'm going to load my Camp Read-A-Lot tent up with a basket of books about summer and camping.  Here are some of the books that I'm going to include for our Camp Day reading!


What kinds of fun do you have planned for your students for the end of the year?