Saturday, June 20, 2015

iTeach 4th! Check out my post today on Take the Leap with Math Workshop!

As we are settling into summer and planning for next year already, have you been thinking about using a math workshop model? Check out my post today at iTeach 4th to see how I got started last summer. Click on the logo below!


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Tried It Tuesday {50 Shades of Gray}

Happy summer! Many of you who start school in August have already begun your summer vacation. You made it! I hope you are relaxing and taking time for yourself. :) In NY, we don't start break until June 25th but this month is already flying by!

It's Time for Tried It Tuesday! 
What have you tried at school or home?
If you've never linked up with Tried It Tuesday, just link up any idea school or home related and what worked or didn't work. Simple! 

My Tried It:
50 Shades of Gray
Ok, how could I resist using 50 Shades of Gray in my title for this post? Haha!! When I started looking for just the right shade of gray to repaint my bedroom, who knew there were SO many very different shades of gray? It is the "new beige" I hear. I learned all about "greige" too (a combination of gray and beige). There were countless hours I spent looking at photos online and on pinterest trying to figure out what might work in my bedroom with the natural woodwork. Most grays look great with white woodwork but I didn't want to paint my natural wood in my 1914 home.

Here are some inspirational photos that helped me narrow down my choices to four paint sample colors. I searched for grays that seemed to work with natural wood.

Sherwin Williams Argos

Sherwin Williams Mindful Gray

Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter (I love this color scheme and went with the teal/blue accents in my bedroom).

Sherwin Williams Amazing Gray

I highly recommend buying the little sample paints and actually painting the walls in your room. Here are the four paint samples from bottom down:
Argos
Mindful Gray
Revere Pewter
Amazing Gray
I wish I had a better picture of the paint samples with the lighting and woodwork. Argos looks the most gray here (top) and the others look almost tan in comparison, but it was too cool of a color for my woodwork I thought.
Here is a better picture of my natural woodwork before painting. I fixed a crack in the plaster above the door with joint compound and tape. There are also some holes speckled that you can see.
I finally decided on Mindful Gray (Sherwin Williams) and am SO pleased with how it turned out. My phone actually bit the dust last night (iPhone 5 won't even turn on) and it doubles as my camera. I have to get something done about that today and then will try for some different pictures in different lighting. It's amazing how a wall color looks differently during different times of day.

My room still needs finishing touches but I am loving it. I bought a little 22" TV that I put on my dresser and watch Netflix at night to my heart's content. I just started watching "Orange is the New Black". It's very fascinating and I don't think I ever, ever want to go to jail! LOL This is the first time I've had a TV in the bedroom since college (since my dorm was my everything room) and I forgot how convenient it is!
 Euro shams and duvet cover are from Pottery Barn. It is the Samantha Damask design in smoke gray. The standard shams and quilt are also Pottery Barn. It is the Pick-Stitch quilt. Both items are on sale right now so they be discontinuing them? I chose a teal accent color and the pillow is from TJMaxx.
 I desperately need something else in the corner but I love my little teal chair from Target.
It comes in other colors too!
 I bought this Momeni Suzani hook rug in grays and blues on Amazon.

One more thing (classroom related) that I am trying are these math games by the Angela Watson. I am using the fraction and geometry ones now and they are wonderful. Once I had all the pieces laminated, I just have about nine baskets of games and students can rotate a couple games during some downtime at the end of the year. It is a change from some of our normal math workshop things and they think they are just having fun! Little do they know...



Grab the button and link up!
This link up will be open for the month! Link up once or more than once! Thanks friends. :)




Monday, June 8, 2015

Monday Made-It {Baby Shower, Mother's Day}

Oh my goodness!! I haven't linked up for Monday Made It with the wonderful, sweet Tara at 4th Grade Frolics in SO long! I love this linky and have a few things to share. We are in the home stretch now. Last day with students is June 24th but there is so much to do before then. I am loving the warmer temps…finally!

So…my baby sister is having a BABY! She is due at the end of August but we just had her baby shower a week ago and it turned out super cute! My older sister made her invitations. She went with the hot air balloon theme. :)
Table with cookies and flowers (real Gerber Daisies that looked fake!) on table as guests enter. 
Table cloth is burlap fabric.

 Pinwheels made from paper
 Chalkboard frames from Michael's
Card basket from Michael's and my sister made the hot air ballon decoration using strips of paper, burlap and pinterest directions! Love it!
 Pom poms hung from ceiling made from tissue paper. We had about 12 of them and people took them home after for decorations in teen rooms and offices!
Banner from burlap and cut out letters from scrapbook paper. It says "Welcome Baby Brown".
Better view of banner but this was not at the shower.
 Table decorations. My sister made the Mason jars by painting them with acrylic paint and lightly distressing them with a soft wire brush (to avoid brush marks). Those were door prizes for games when we ran out of other prizes.
 "Wishes for Baby Brown" idea that I got from my friends at Pinkadots Elementary. These turned out super cute and I am taking the completed wishes to place in a photo album to give to my sister and brother-in-law as a keepsake.


One game that we played was "The Price Is Right". Everyone loved this game and it was quick. This was another idea from my friend, Theresa at Pinkadots Elementary!
I bought all the items for "The Price Is Right" game and held them up for the audience to see. Since the baby's sex is a surprise, I bought two of each burp cloths, socks, and change of clothes. The one they don't need can be take back using the receipt. One guest was only $0.82 away from the correct total!
We played Baby Bingo where guests wrote down gifts they thought my sister and brother-in-law would receive. This kept the audience active during the opening of presents. We had many little prizes to give away and then started giving away the flowers on the table in the painted Mason jars for bingos. I wrote "Brown" at the top instead of "Bingo".
Here is a picture of me (far right) with my mom and two sisters at the shower. We coordinated colors! :)
Mother's Day is over, but this would also be cute for Father's Day or an idea to pin for next year. My students created Wordles for their moms and I laminated them. They turned out cute!
The only advice I would give is to have students copy the words they type in the box before hitting "create". If for some reason, they lose the page, they would have to start typing all over again. If they copy it first, then they can just paste it again. This happened several times and saved many students!

Here is a project I completed in the past for Father's Day and I have a freebie in my TPT store for it.
 I "made" these pencils by placing duct tape at the top and writing student numbers on them with a sharpie. I used three different tapes for my three blocks since the numbers repeat for the three blocks.

 I blogged about my pencil challenge here a month ago and I am so thrilled to report that it has been working! Only six students out of 50 have not met the pencil challenge the entire month and the rest all have the original pencil! It has been great because if a student even thinks about "wasting time" to get a pencil, I just say, "So, you are out of the pencil challenge?" Since most students are keeping this pencil as a back up in their math boxes, they respond, "No! That's right! I have an extra pencil in my box." The pencil must be always sharpened and ready to go to stay in the pencil challenge as well so it works well as a backup. They can only sharpen pencils in the morning, at snack time, and right after class.
I thought this was cute. We received these from the Parent Teacher Association for Teacher Appreciation Week but it would be great for back to school.
That's it for now! I am looking forward to getting my Made Its on for next year come July!

Don't forget Tried It Tuesday is new tomorrow for the month. 
Link up anything all month that you have Tried, new or old, school or home!

Have a great rest of your week! :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tried It Tuesday {Pencil Challenge}

Time is flying! I can't believe that we are well into May. ELA and math state tests are done and we only have science to go. We still have almost 40 instructional days to go…but who's counting?! :)

It's Time for Tried It Tuesday! 
What have you tried at school or home?
If you've never linked up with Tried It Tuesday, just link up any idea school or home related and what worked or didn't work. Simple! 

My Tried It:
Pencil Challenge
Our fourth graders are OUT OF CONTROL this year with pencils!!
Last week mechanical pencils were officially BANNED from the grade. We always write on the school supply lists "no mechanical pencils" please. Now I remember why! We started getting relaxed on this rule and before we knew it, students had mechanical pencils everywhere!! I wish I had taken a picture of some students desks filled with them. There wasn't just the issue of them constantly breaking and students playing with the lead. I had the problem of about five boys who would crowd around each other's desks anytime it was time to line up and look at each other's pencils! One boy said he bought pencils himself at Walmart with his own money. However, he bought the wrong size refill lead and that was another issue, trying to find pencils and trade to match his lead! Ugh!

So, now with mechanical pencils gone, we are focusing on another pencil problem! Since we are departmentalized, students from two other homerooms come to my room everyday for math. I keep book boxes of math materials in my room complete with a pencil case to store a "back up pencil" and highlighters. Students should just come to class with their homework folder and a pencil. Lately it seems that half the students never have a pencil (or a back up one in their box in case one breaks). Students can only sharpen pencils during morning work time, snack time, and at the end of the day for management issues. We all know students who would sharpen pencils all day to waste time. :) I've had these containers for two years, but with 50 students in and out of my room everyday, students just take pencils to borrow them and never return them! I can't keep extra ones in there!
Possible solution? Start a pencil challenge! I read about pencil challenges in the blogging world last year. This is the deal:
I gave everyone a pencil with their number written with a Sharpie on a piece of duck tape wrapped on the end.


The picture above is actually for my block 2 class and the picture below is block 3. I had to use different tape for each block because the numbers repeat three times for each group. I used another different tape for my block 1 but I didn't get a picture before passing those out last week.
The students can save their pencil and not use it or use it everyday. They just have to still have their pencil by "pencil reward day" which is Wednesday for my homeroom.  They received their pencils last Thursday. Today I asked how many still had their pencil and EVERY student raised their hand! I didn't tell them what the prize would be, but said there would be a reward. I'm going to mix it up a bit and sometimes give lunch in the classroom or outside time and other times a prize from my prize bin. It's close enough to the end of the year that I think I can keep it going all year and it will save my sanity these last weeks!!
By the way, my Classroom Friendly Supplies pencil sharpener I first blogged about in January 2013 here is going strong! Here is a picture of my pencil sharpener yesterday. I had it wall mounted in a creative way.

These are my pencils sharpened with the Classroom Friendly supplies sharpener.
These were sharpened with the electric sharpener. :(
I will update on the pencil challenge soon and let you know how it is going. 
Have you ever tried a pencil challenge?