Saturday, October 17, 2015

Classroom Organization: Curriculum Binder Organization

If you have been a reader for any amount of time, you know that I love my binders!! When Indiana decided to adopt the CCSS, I started organizing my math binders to match those standards. There were so many CCSS resources out there, that I had no problem finding organization tools. I even did a post about several resources that could be used.

Before I could get my 6th grade binders done, the state decided not to adopt CCSS and to do our own standards. I would say that 95% of the new Indiana standards are identical to the CCSS, so I was able to use some of the same materials.

Of course, I needed to make all new covers for my binders.

Then I made cover sheets that listed all the standards for each strand.

Then I made tabs for each of the standards.

Behind each of the tabs are the following:

Our district has a wonderful math team and they put a great document together that broke down the standard plus gave 10-15 sample problems.

I would use these problems to create my tests.

I would then usually create a packet that we would work through. 

Sometimes I would use pages from teacher books.

Other times I would make my own packets if I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for. 

Lastly, I would include any pages that could be used for homework.

Each of the sections have way more material than I can ever use, but that means I don't have to hunt for more materials for intervention time.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


I don't know about you, but one of my first purchases as a teacher was the EZ-Grader.  Having grown up with a mother that was a teacher, I knew how much it would be used.

18 years later and this is what it looks like....

Notice that it has both my maiden name and my married name on it. The corners have come apart and I had to re-attach them with brads from my scrapbooking stash.

When I saw their booth at the EdExpo, I knew I wanted to check out their newest products.

I fell in love with my EZ-Grader all over again!!

They now come in cute pink and purple (my favorite colors)!!

And for those of us that are over 40, they now have a large print EZ-Grader.

But my absolute favorite of the new EZ-Graders has to be the That's Correct! grader. I will be using this ALL THE TIME!! I do all my classwork and homework on a points system.  After a long day of school, I'm usually grading on a half working brain.  This will be so handy to just glance over and see the amount of points that I need to give.

Don't have a local teacher's store to purchase this at? Check out the EDMarket Dealer site.

My local store, United Art and Education, also sells on their website.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Spring Teacher Blogger Meet-Up

Last year when I came back from the Spring Teacher Meet-Up, I didn't think anything could be better than the weekend I had just experienced.  I was wrong. This year's meet up surpassed anything that I had imagined.

Last year, I went with my husband and mother. I'm a VERY shy person and didn't feel like I knew anyone well enough to room with them.  My husband and mother are gamblers, so they didn't mind tagging along with me.  This year I wanted to stay with some of my blogging friends from IN. Well, I waited too long and everyone already had roommates. I reached out to the group and found some others looking for another roommate so it worked out perfectly.

I was lucky to be the roommates of Greg from The Kindergarten Smorgasboard and Hilary from Second Grade is Out of this World. We stayed up talking late into Friday night. It was fun hear about educational things going on in other parts of the country.

Hilary, Greg and I I mentioned earlier, I'm a very shy person. I'm trying to put myself out there, so I made myself sit with people I didn't know. I ended up finding another 5th grade teacher, Lauren from Tastes Like Paste . Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of our table :(

The first thing we did was eat lunch. What is a get together without food, huh?? Then we did an ice breaker that ended with everyone introducing themselves.

Next we did our teacher tool swap, which you can read about HERE. I received this cute jar and Flair markers.

We did a whole group "Tips and Tricks" session. They had everyone fill out cards with topics they would like to discuss and then had an open forum. They presented the question and anyone that felt knowledgeable on the topic stood up and spoke.

We did some organized table sessions were we talked about anything from how to fit it all in to apps to use in your classroom. I was asked by Jenny from Luckeyfrog's Lillypad to join her in talking about great science and social studies websites.

This year for prize giveaways, they gave us five tickets and we put them into the bags of the giveaways we were interested in.  I won this cute t-shirt from Claire Lynn Designs.


Special thanks go out to all the companies that donated to the giveaways:  SDE, Sit Spots, Tallahassee Sunday, Schoolgirl Style, ESGI, Hue Animation Studio, Brain Pop, Seat Sack and Younique by Dana.


We also had some great goodies that everyone received.

We got markers, gel pens and stickers from Scentos.

A teacher planner from Erin Condren.


Stickers, Mini Designer Cut-Outs and Mini Magnet books from Creative Teaching Press.

Bags from Lakeshore and Vera Bradley.

and a nail file from Origami Owl donated by Brenda from Primary Inspired.

The evening was topped off by the Pajama Party sponsored by Teacher Pay Teachers and Go Noodle. We got a large stickers from TpT and a lanyard from Go Noodle. We played music, took pictures, decorated pillowcases and of course had some food. A great time was had by all.

I can't wait for next year's blogger meet-up!!

You can enter to get you own bag of swag by entering below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the blog posts of the other bloggers that joined us for the weekend.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Gift Exchange Linky

I had such a great time at our Spring Blogger Meet-Up and I can't wait to tell you about it.

We did a "My Favorite Tool" exchange while there.  I took my favorite stapleless stapler and hope that the person that received it likes it as much as I do.

Since there were so many people this year, we broke up into grade level bands. I was in the 4-5 group.

I got one of my favorite tools from Tracy at 4th Grade Dynamic Duo:  

Flair Pens!! I use them all the time!

They came in this cute little jar. I can't decide if I want to take it to school or leave it at home as it matches my home office.

Be sure to check out all the other cool tools that teachers received!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Classroom Organization: Taming that Paper Pile

For years, I would end up with a pile of ungraded papers that was a mile high.  This year I finally found what works for me!

This paper tray was used for many different things over the years and this year I decided to re-purpose it!

I don't collect math homework because it is for practice. I want the students to be able to ask questions about the problems they had difficulty with the night before which can't happen if I collect their homework. They do get credit for the homework, but it is based purely on completion.

I do collect science and social studies homework and of course I have tests and quizzes to grade.

The trays sit on the corner of my desk. I made mini signs, printed them on cardstock, laminated them and then attached them with double sided tape (use this all the time in my classroom!).

I use the top tray for tests and quizzes because I allow the students to make corrections to those and it is really easy for them to just drop the corrected papers on top.

I think being able to see exactly how many papers I have to grade for each subject area keeps me from putting off the grading (I don't know about you, but that is top on my list of things I don't like to do!!) and getting a pile a mile high.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Book Review Tuesday: The End of the Line by Sharon McKay

The End of the Line by Sharon McKay

From the publisher:

Ordinary citizens risk everything to save a young Jewish girl in wartime Holland. 

Five-year-old Beatrix looks on in horror as the soldier forces her mother off the tram. It is 1942 in Amsterdam, and everyone knows what happens to Jews who are taken away by the Nazis. The soldier turns his attention to Beatrix, when suddenly, the ticket-taker, Lars Gorter, blurts out that she is his niece. With his brother Hans, the tram conductor, they manage to rescue the child from the same fate as her mother. 

The two elderly brothers realize that they are now in charge of the little girl. They are at a loss -- after all, neither one has ever married, let alone has children. They know that harboring a Jew could cost them their lives, but in desperation, they turn to a neighbor, Mrs. Vos, for help. But even these kindly rescuers cannot shield Beatrix totally from the horrors of war. 

Based on real events, this suspenseful novel vividly portrays the fear, uncertainty, and terror of the Nazi occupation in Holland. It is a story that reflects both the worst and best of humankind. A worthy addition to children's books about the Holocaust, The End of the Line will leave young readers to ponder how the most dreadful conditions can lead ordinary citizens to perform the most heroic acts. People like Lars, Hans, and Mrs. Vos, who risked their own lives to save Jews in wartime Europe, were later recognized and honored as "Righteous Gentiles."

Interest:  Ages 8-11

My Review:

I don't teach about WWII, so it's not been a priority on my get to learn about it list. I know that I learned something about it in high school, but it obviously didn't stick.  Years ago, I visited the Holocaust museum in Washington D.C. It has a lasting impression on me, but really didn't peak my interest. I didn't want to go out and learn a lot more about the war. But ever since I returned from my cruise this summer, I'm been rather fascinated with reading stories about WWII. While we were in Berlin, we went to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. Since then anytime I see a book about the war, I look to see if it might interest me.

As soon as I read the write-up of this story, I knew I wanted to read it.  When reading about stories of people that helped the Jews during the war, you don't often hear about what happened in Holland. At least I've never read anything. This was a fairly short story, it took me about an hour to read but the story was very well written and definitely gave me an idea of what the people of Holland had to go through to survive the war. I will say that there was a surprise at the end of the story that had me in tears.

This is definitely a story I would recommend to my students. It tells the horrific story of what happened to people of the Jewish faith, but in a way that a child would understand it. If you cover WWII in your classroom, this is definitely a story for lesson plans!

You can find more information about the book, including lesson plans on the publishers website.

You can get the book at the following retailers:

Thanks go out to Annick Press via NetGalley for a copy of the story in exchange of an honest review.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Classroom Organization: Daily Work

As most of you know, I teach two different grades. I need a way to keep all my papers organized and I think I finally found the way!

I found this Rubbermaid organizer on clearance at Staples, but it was the only one they had. An associate looked in the system and none of the other local stores had any. So I hunted on eBay and found another one (LOVE that place!!).

I wanted to decorate the front, so I created a sign to fit across the front.  The front is about 13.5 inches, so I had to print two pieces of paper and glue them together. I didn't want a create in the top layer, so I have to make it 10.5 inches to leave room around the edge where the ink wouldn't print.

I glued the label on to the pattern paper and then cut out the dip on top.

I laminated it and then used double sided tape to adhere it to the organizer.

Inside the colored folders are classwork papers and homework.

I put the student's papers in horizontal (since there are more of them) and the answer key behind the papers going vertical. This helps to separate the papers within the folder.

Behind the colored folder is a manila folder that holds my unit tests.

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