Friday, June 29, 2012

Fabulous Find Friday



One of my 2nd grade teammates has recently started selling Thirty One on the side.  OMG!  These will be my very first Thirty One products, and I'm super excited!  This large utility tote was a special this month.  It is originally $35 but if you spend $35 you get it for $10!  Yay!  This is the pattern that I ordered for me.

This awesome organizer utility tote is fabulous.  A teacher friend has one of these and it is amazing.  I got mine in the pink lotsa dots {which was just a June special}.  I got one of the large utility totes {first pic} for my daughter-in-love in this swirls pattern.

They are suppose to be here next week.  I can't wait to start getting things organized for school!  I'd love to hear about any of the Thirty One products that you have, and how you like it.

*And sorry that I posted two times today...EEEKK!*  I had already posted before I saw this linky party. 

Be sure to head over to Fun In Room 4B to see what fabulous finds others have found.  And be sure to go to my previous post to enter my Name My Cowboy Contest!



Win Prizes for "Name That Cowboy" Contest


Today's post is about a convo at the teacher store and a way to win prizes in my contest!


Yesterday was a girls' day for my bestie and me.  We spent the morning at the teacher store, The Learning Circle, had lunch at Longhorn Steak, spent the afternoon shopping at Marshall's, TJ Maxx, Ross, and Charming Charlie's, and then Gigi's Cupcakes to top off the day.  FUN...FUN...FUN

So, let's go back to yesterday morning when we arrived at The Learning Circle.  Here's kinda how it went.
store clerk:  "Good morning.  Can I help you find anything or do you just want to browse?"
Me:  "Good morning.  Actually, I am looking for anything to do with cowboys/western for my class theme."
store clerk:  "Oh that's a cute theme.  I have a bulletin board set on sale.  Follow me."
Me:  "On sale sounds good!"  I happily follow her to the sale table.  "Oh, that's cute."
2nd store clerk:  "Oh, there is another bulletin board over there." pointing to the wall full of bulletin board sets.
1st store clerk:  "Here, I'll show you."
Me:  I obediently follow.  This one iss NOT on sale, but I squeal with delight.  "I love this one better!"
1st store clerk: "Oh, and there is border back here to match.  Follow me."
2nd store clerk:  "Be sure to show her the cute bandana letters and hat cut outs."
"Oh, and there's a wanted poster in the poster section."
1st store clerk:  "These bandana and jeans library pockets are too cute."
Me:  "Wow!  You sure do have cowboy/western stuff for my theme!", I chuckled.  
The store clerk takes my items to the counter so I won't have to carry them around {and of course this is a ploy so my hands are free to load up again...and it works!...bwahahahaha}  Boy, did they see me coming!  bwahahahaha

As I browse {finally by myself} I find some other cute things that I know I could use.  I round the corner and come face to face with the cutest little cowgirl puppet!  I just have to have her!  I think a horse would be cute too...I don't find one, but I do find the adorable cowboy to go with her!  That's even better!!!  
They really are my "find" for the morning!!!  I head back to the front counter to see what the damage is.  For all that I'm buying, I am pleasantly surprised at the total.  I think I did well!



Now, can you help me out a little???
1.  Will you help me in naming my cowboy and cowgirl?
2.  Share with me how I could use them in my classroom.

If I choose your cowboy/cowgirl name...you will win this...




The book, Mortimer by Robert Munsch
A journal and bookmark made by me
2 cute little highlighters
Everyone else that contributed either a name and/or idea, will go in a drawing for this...




A K-1 literacy center book
Chip board book {with metal ring}
Pretty paper scalloped edged cut-outs {that fit the chip board book}
Pink and yellow flower sticky notes

Ok, so put your thinking caps on and post your names/ideas.
Blessings,
  

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summer Shopping Linky Party

If you are looking for my  Web-errific Wednesday post, I removed it.  No one linked to it so, I just decided to delete that post, and start again.  Can you say "DO OVER!"  LOL  There's a Summer Shopping Linky Party going on, and shopping {retail therapy, if you will} makes things better, so I'm joining in to share what I have bought so far.
My classroom will have a Cowboy/Western theme this next year.  I am super excited at the things I have found so far online.  Let's take a look...
I set this up in my dining room so you could see it better.  I love the barn backdrop!  The adorable table skirt will be great in my reading area!
The wagon wheel will find a place in my chuckwagon area.
The glitter horseshoes that come in three different sizes are TOO cute!  And that "barbed wire" strand is going to work great with my student's work board.
I'll incorporate this into my behavior some way.  Any and all ideas are welcome!
If you are interested in doing this theme in your classroom, 
then here's a FREEBIE for you.  
You might also want to check out this in my TN Shop.
Ok, so instead of Web-errific Wednesdays being a linky party, I'll just add new sites that I find to share.  So, here are the ones I have to share today...
I had given great detail about each site in my original post, but I'm just going to give you a tidbit on each, and you can go check them out.  
This site is SO COOL!  Your kiddos can create stories with awesome artwork that is available on this site.  A must see!

Love this site!  You can create collages, FB banners, edit photos, and more on this site.  It is FREE and NO REGISTRATION REQUIRED!  Can't beat that!

I might have known about this site before, but not sure.  It looks like there is lots of FUN to be had on this one!

This is the coolest!  You upload pictures and then pin items within that picture.  You can link pics to websites for your kiddos...really kewl!  Be sure to browse the Gallery for ideas!

Ok, so that's it for my "DO OVER" post.  tee hee
Now, head on over to Ladybug's Teacher Files to see what everyone else has been shopping for!

Hope you have a most blessed day,




Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Teaching In Chunks AND Made It Monday

I thought you might get more out of this if I did a short video. [no laughing please...teehee]
I will address:
Teaching in Chunks
Class-Yes
Teach-OK
Hope this helps in some small way!
Thanks for watching {and NOT laughing!]

Ok, so I'm a little late to the party, but had to share for "Make It Monday".

I have an obsession with vintage millinery flowers, and I'm still on the journal/notebook "kick"...lol


So, I wanted to share my personal journal that I made with some of my fav vintage millinery flowers and of course, some vintage "bling!  I LOVE the way it turned out!
And here is one that I made for a bloggy friend of mine.
Head on over and check out what others have made....HERE!

Monday, June 25, 2012

10 Effective Principles/Strategies

I am so excited to see several of my readers interested in brain-based learning.  Some are even attending workshops and seminars this summer on this very subject.  I am eager to hear all about their trainings!

Please remember, I am in no way an expert on this subject.  This topic is just something that I have done some research on, implemented in my classroom, and have a passion for.  


All good educators want the best for their students, want them to be on task and involved in their learning, and have some enthusiasm about their own education.  I know I do.  However, on task and involved, doesn't necessarily mean sitting hands folded on their desk staring at the teacher.  How about "Susie Q" who sits on the front row, sits still, and looks straight ahead, however her mind is wandering off into space.  She "looks" like she is listening...but was she really???  How about "Little Johnny" that seems to be "out there" somewhere, that is fidgeting or making some sort of movements...so you decide to call on  him, and not only does he have the correct answer, but he can tell you everything you just said!?!  

First, let's pose the question...What is brain-based learning?  Basically it is strategies that engage the learner in the way that our brain works.  Just like anything else, you have your skeptics.  You might wonder if this is reputable.  In what research I have done, I found that Harvard University has a master's and doctoral degree in this field.  Eric Jensen is one of the "big names" that you will find when searching this topic.  He states that there are "macro strategies" and "micro strategies".  Micro strategies are very situation specific.  An example that he gives for a "micro strategy" is to give only one direction at a time so the brain can process the location, the action, and the qualities of the action.  The ten strategies that he has presented are "micro strategies" that he calls the "biggies" that reap huge rewards.  So, let's look at those now, which I will basically summarize, and add "my two cents", as well.
1.  Physical Activity:  Not one do children need physical education and recess, but classroom movement, as well.  Offer a variety of physical activities at the beginning of school.  Then, offer choice.  There are many ways that I get my kids moving DURING my lessons, but I'll do another post about that.

2.  Grouping:  Establish targeted, planned, diverse social groupings with mentoring, teams, and buddy systems for the most part.  Random social groupings shouldn't be offered more than 10-20 % of the day.  I group my students in teams.  I make sure that my resource students have a stronger student in their group, as well as, students with good behavior as role models for those with poor behavior skills.

3.  Our Brain:  The brain changes every day.  In fact, students' brains are changing as the attend school.  This is huge to me...we have the power to influence those little brains through thinking-skills, reading, arts...

4.  Stress:  Chronic stress is not only an issue for teachers, but for students as well!  We need to teach our students better coping skills and increase student perception of choice.  When they have a better sense of control over their life, the stress lowers.  

5.  Differentiation:  Well, most of us do that anyway.  However, Eric Jensen, says that making differences should be the rule, not the exception.  He strongly emphasizes that 90% of human brains are atypical, damaged, or in some way not healthy.  WOW!  That's kinda hard for me to grasp.  Anyway, we should celebrate diversity!

Ok...we are halfway through Eric Jensen's 10 principles/strategies.  
Are you still with me?  lol  

I think it's time for a Brain Break!

Stand up.  Let's do toe touches.  Here's how we will do it...you will cross your right hand over and touch your left toes, then cross your left hand over and touch your right toes.  Each time you touch your left toes, you count the number, and when you touch your right toes, you will say in order the first five principles/strategies we just learned.  Ok?  Here we go...

Touch your left toes:  say "1"
Touch your right toes: say "Physical Activity"

Touch your left toes:  say "2"
Touch your right toes: say "Grouping" 

Touch your left toes:  say "3"
Touch your right toes: say "Our Brain"

Touch your left toes:  say "4"
Touch your right toes: say "Stress"

Touch your left toes:  say "5"
Touch your right toes: say "Differentiation"

GOOD JOB!  Give yourself a hug!


 I hope you are ready to move on because I REALLY believe in this next one, and have seen it in my classroom!

6.  Chunks:  Teach in smaller "chunks".  Too much content taught in a small amount of time can't be processed...so they don't learn.  If there isn't much prior knowledge of the subject being taught and it is complex content, then the chunk of time needs to be shorter.  However, the greater prior knowledge they have and the less complex it is, the chunks can be longer.  
**I will be doing a post on this in much more detail and share things that I do in my classroom for this, so be watching for that in a post SOON!**   

7.  The Arts: The role that "arts" play in schools.  Certain arts boost attention, working memory, and visual spatial skills.  Dance, theater, and drama boost social skills, empathy, timing, patience, and verbal memory.  I believe in this wholeheartedly!  I feel that art and music are SO important in our schools!  I also agree when he says that they need more than just one of those classes each week.  We can incorporate those into many of our lessons in our own classrooms.

8.  Emotions:  Many kids aren't taught some of the emotions [that aren't already built in] at home.  We need to teach kids patience, attention, empathy, cooperation, honor, forgiveness!

9.  Disorders:  Brain-based disorders is number nine.  Jensen states that all teachers [not just special ed] learn the latest in dealing with brain-based disorders such as Asperger's, dyslexia, autism, and learning delays.

10.  Memory:  Teachers should review content halfway between the original learning and the test.  Jensen's example is if the content is taught on Monday and will be tested on Friday, the review should be on Wednesday, not Thursday, like many teachers [previously including me] do.  Also, it is thought to be more beneficial to review a previous lesson at the end of your present lesson, not before it.


Ok.  So there you have it...Eric Jensen's ten principles/strategies  I'd love to hear your thoughts on these.  Many of them make great sense to me, and some of them I have had great success with in my own classroom.

In my next post, I'll address "chunk teaching" as in number 6! 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

It's A No-Brainer


If you've been coming here a while, you probably know what a proponent of WHOLE-BRAIN LEARNING I am!  I love it, my kiddos love it, and I hope you will love it too!

Have you ever heard "If you are good at Math, you are 'left-brained', and if you are good at Creative Writing and Art, you are 'right-brained' "?  Nobody is "just" right-brained or "just" left-brained.  However, most people do have a dominant side.

But there's another "however"...
However, learning to read and write, doing math, creating art...really, doing anything well...requires using BOTH sides of the brain!  To problem solve and to think clearly requires using BOTH sides of the brain!

Researchers have recently discovered that whole brain learning [or brain based learning] is an excellent strategy, that is both efficient and effective for our kiddos to learn *anything* easily without struggling!

So, you are probably wondering how this works.  Right?  Think about your body...and straight down the middle of your body is the "mid-line".  Every time you move across that mid-line you are improving thinking...problem solving...learning.  So when you move your right arm over the mid-line to your left side...you are using whole brain learning.  When you move your left arm over the mid-line to the right side...you are using brain-based learning!  Easy, right?  

So...
Give yourself a a big hug!
Cross your legs and do "scissors" when you are jumping or doing jumping jacks.
Do the "hula", moving your arms across the mid-line to the other side.

Tell your kiddos that there is ONE AND ONLY ONE RULE:  They must move their right hand across the mid-line to the left side, or vice versa.  Then let them get creative in coming up with ways to do that.

Moving is not the only way to use whole-brain learning.  I'm going to share some posts on more Brain-Based Learning!  I'll share 10 effective strategies for whole-brain learning, some "brain breaks", and many ideas to use in your classroom...which will hopefully become a "brain-based learning classroom". 


Now, let me introduce my new little character, Brainy!  You will see him on my blog in the coming days.   So be sure to check back for that!

When you see what brain-based learning is all about, you will probably think "this is a no-brainer" too!

Brainy Blessings,
*Disclaimer*  I am in no way claiming to be an expert on this subject.  This is merely my thoughts and opinions on the subject from what I have read about brain-based  learning and my experience with brain-based learning in my classroom...nothing else.   

Friday, June 22, 2012

Web-errific Wednesdays

I love finding new websites that are great resources for my teaching and my students.  So I decided to start a Wednesday Linky Party.  I'd like to introduce you to Web-errific Wednesdays which will start next Wednesday, June 27th.

Be ready to share one or two websites that you have recently found and tell us a little bit about it or how you will use it.  Hope you will meet me back here next Wednesday for my very first, Web-errific Wednesdays!  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Made It Monday

I love having such freedom with my schedule in the summer...you know what I mean...no set time to get up, lunch whenever you want, go to the restroom when you actually need to go [lol], and for me crafting and creating.  When my boys were still at home, they would walk by my craft room and say, "Oh, it's craft Saturday, isn't it?"  I'd be up to my elbows in glue, glitter, paper!  
During the summer any day can be craft day, and I love that!  Even if it's just something simple, it makes me happy!  I adore vintage ephemera...like old tickets, labels, postcards, etc.  I also adore ribbon...all kinds and especially velvet!

Well, I sometimes come up with an idea or see something cool that I'd like to do but don't have anything to jot it down on.  Then I have to rely on my memory until I get home, and these days, not such a good idea!  lol  If I do get lucky and find a scrap of paper, it gets lost eventually or I have a pile of scraps and have to spend time sorting through the pile!  
So I bought this little pocket notebook.  I really like this one because it has metal edges to it!


But I had to make it "my own" so I got out my stack of ephemera, glue, ribbon, etc. and went to work.


I took out the ribbon bookmark and replaced it with my own:  two velvet ribbon ones.


I created little sections for websites, bulletin board ideas, center ideas, etc.
I think it turned out pretty cute.  I can't wait to start filling it up!

Now, head over to see what everyone else has been making at 4th Grade Frolics.
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