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Friday, August 29, 2014

Classroom Reveal! 2014-2015

Wow guys!! I've been back at school for over two weeks now and am just now caught up enough to sit down and blog about beginning the year! My classroom didn't get a giant makeover this year, but I did add a few things, make a few things, and still have a couple more additions to add to it over the next week. So here goes!

Here are a couple of pictures of my room right before the kiddoes came in for meet your teacher night. I did get the bulletin board finished up and ready before they arrived. All of their desks were so neat and tidy...Now that we're two weeks in...not so much...

 The back corner of my room before the addition of my new kidney table. I got a project funded from DonorsChoose.org at the end of the school year and they were kind enough to deliver it during preplanning so that I could get it all put together and setup. I don't have a picture of it so you'll kind of just have to imagine a kidney table where the easel sits in this picture.

This is where I hide all of my teacher junk materials. I bought two cheapo curtains from Walmart and a roll of ribbon to make my own curtains to cover the things I don't want to see all day, every day. All the stuff on top of the shelf, sans the tissue box, have been removed and hidden away in my closets.  Student mailboxes, supply bins, and a few other goodies hide under the small table and the easel makes it's home right there where you see it. The bins beneath the easel hold guided reading materials, all color coded to my reading groups so each group only has to grab their bin and they're ready to go for the day!

 My desk...In a sort of clean state.. I try to keep the top manageable...The drawers on the other hand...are a stinking MESS!! I'm terrible with drawer organization and I'm constantly just tossing things in there. I've lost the remote to my projector three times already...and found it two days later..IN MY DESK!! I'm lucky enough to have a projector, document camera, smartboard, and laptop in my room.. And you guessed it...right under the phone..is a VCR!! The district bought new DVD players and they all tore up within two years, so I had to have something to get closed circuit TV and the VCR was all I got! But I actually like it, I can bring in my Schoolhouse videos to watch in class!!

These were my summer project!! Again, a cheapo curtain from Walmart, some scrap plywood, a crapload of staples, and I have a handy set of eight crate seats. We sit on them during small group, and extra paper towels, cleaning wipes, and other supplies are stored inside! I think these might have been my favorite addition!

Half of my focus wall here... I made all of the headers and A.R. posters right here at home! I LOVE the A.R. posters and can't wait until my kids get to start signing their names to them as the reach their levels. Below are our standards that we are studying. The white pages are laminated posterboard and I just wipe em' down as I need to change standards.

The other half of my focus board. These are little wooden buttons (from Micheal's) that I painted and stuck a sticker to. Each kid has a button that they get to move once they've mastered a particular set of multiplication facts. They love them and are already racing through their facts this year!! Did I mention my class is built for Advanced Content? This has never happened so early in the year before!

Our work display board and half of our classroom library. These bins I got from ReallyGoodStuff and I LOVE them.. They have little dividers in them so the books don't fall forward! Somehow, my kiddoes have removed and lost one of my labels, but no worries..when you make them yourself, all you've got to do is reprint!

This poster was a recent addition and hasn't made it's way to a permanent location. So right now it is magneted to the board until the kids get used to their rotations during flex groups. I have three groups, each color coded, that go through a series of rotations each week. Every day, all of the kids go to a math station, and I pull individual kids from their rotations for remediation. I've tried the scheduling each kid for different things on different days and it just doesn't work for me. I like knowing that everyone has a place to be, and when I need them, I can just pull them out and reteach things as needed. I made the poster at home, had it printed and enlarged at Office Depot, and that was it! I think it cost me about $9.00 for the printing and laminating. 

And that's it for the photos...There are several other things that I want to show you over the next couple of weeks so I'll save those for another post. I hope you've enjoyed your walk through my classroom, and I also hope you'll stop back in soon (maybe on Sunday) for some exciting news!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Fantastic Reading App and a Giveaway!

I was recently given the opportunity to check out an awesome app called FarFaria. I wasn't sure, when I first heard about it, whether or not it would be age appropriate for my kiddoes at school, or my second grade daughter. As it turns out, it is, and we LOVE it! I struggle with finding quality apps that will both engage my students and encourage them to read. The fact that these books are available through the iPad (or Android) is an extra perk for us! Each day, my students use some form of technology, whether it be an iPad, iPod, or classroom computer. My daughter uses my iPad every evening as well That's where this app REALLY comes into play. It has TONS of books that are just right for your lower level readers and little guys as well. The app allows you to read one book, FOR FREE, every day. However, if you, like us, want to read more than one per day, there is also an option to subscribe to unlimited books! In fact, I'm giving away a 3 month subscription below, so be sure to check it out below and enter to win one for yourself.

FarFaria was originally created for children ages 2-9 years of age, but they have a section of stories just for toddlers as well. They also have a book selection gauged towards preschoolers and other age groups as well, of course. The pictures/illustrations in the stories are absolutely beautiful and the kids really love them!  The stories keep him captivated for the full length of each book! They have over 700 children's stories, and they add 5 new ones every week, so there is never any reason to reread or become sick of one in particular (unless your child favors one).

One of the features I really love is the "read to me" option. Upon opening a new "book" you can choose whether you want to read it aloud yourself, or have the recording read it to you. I find this especially helpful as a learning center with a set of headphones, or to simply allow my students to hear fluent reading when theirs seems a bit choppy. I've also tried the app out with some of my newcomers who speak little English, and they too, seemed to love it.
Here are a couple of screen shots from a few areas inside the app. The illustrations just draw me in!

Aren't the pictures amazing? I hope you'll give the app a try! I'm sure you'll love it. Be sure to comment below and let us know if you use it! Also, let me know what your favorite book was growing up. It can be a picture book, chapter book, anything you remember from your childhood. My favorites were always the Goosebumps Series and Babysitter's Club. I still think about those books all the time! Download the app by clicking HERE and check out their website atwww.farfaria.com.
FarFaria was kind enough to offer a giveaway just for the readers of TeachesThirdinGeorgia! If you would like to enter to win a free 3 month subscription to read unlimited books on the FarFaria app, be sure to enter below!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Adventures of Ai - A Book Review and Giveaway!

Hello everyone! I was recently contacted about doing a book review for a new ebook being released by New York Times Bestselling Author, Craig Bouchard. This book is written for the upper elementary/middle school crowd, but being a book fan in general, I also loved it as well!

This is Mr. Bouchard's first adventure into the world of children's fiction and I truly hope that it will not be his last. I sat down with the ebook this evening and didn't put it down until I had finished the whole thing. Did I mention that I love to read?? 

A quick synopsis of the book would be an understatement, so I'll try to explain the context as best I can. The story works in layers. The book begins with the scene of a father telling a bedtime story to his three young daughters.The tale is about a very special young lady named Ai, who has very special abilities.

Throughout her amazing adventure, Ai learns that with every struggle she faces while trying to find the secret treasure, she learns a valuable lesson in return. The most prominent lesson that she learns is that she is unable to do everything alone, and must also rely on her family and animal friends as well.

While on her adventures with her faithful horse Chuugi, a bluebird named Honmei, and a deer called Yorokobi Ai encounters magical trees, monsters, secrets, and treasures. There is always something new around the bend!

Besides painting a beautiful tale through the use of fantastic characters, amazing imagery, and colorful language, Craig Bouchard also integrates art, history, poetry, music, and even some mathematics!

And if you have students that love the book, there is also a 3D videogame for iOS, Android and Kindle that might just be the spark their interests as well! Click here to check that out.

Finally, I am happy to share that in celebration of the book launch, I am hosting a giveaway in which 2 lucky winners will receive an e-book copy of The Adventures of Ai . The winners will be selected on Friday, August 23rd. All you have to do to enter is fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And finally, if you happen to miss the giveaway, you can find the ebooks for sale in the following places. ($2.48-$2.99) 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wordless Wednesday!

Good Morning! I'm linking up with Christina from Second Grade Sugar and Spice for Wordless Wednesday! Here's what I've been up to!

My baby started second grade this year...:-( cue the tears....What happened to that little girl that used to follow me everywhere? 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Have you heard the news? A SALE is COMING!

Hey ya'll! Have you heard the news? The annual Back to School Sale on TeachersPayTeachers is coming up soon! I'm already filling my cart with new clipart and materials for Back to School! I hope you'll stop in and check out some of the new additions to my store while you can get them for 28% off!

If you stop by my store, be sure to check out the custom categories! Here are just a few!