Monday, September 30, 2013

Project Pieces Drove Me Crazy!

When we did projects, we never had enough time to finish them. We had to put materials away. Well, that desk was like the catch-all for everything. I later changed to tables and loved them. However, we needed some way to store this stuff. In my last blog, I told you about a wonderful presenter. Here was her solution: Working Portfolios!!!

So, I got a couple of crates, bought come gallon-sized freezer bags and cut pieces of cardboard to fit the entire length of the bag. I numbered my kids, so I also numbered the cardboard pieces in the top right corner of each side. I designed labels to use on the bags, wrote the numbers on the labels, and stuck them on the top center.

The presenter gave us a little hint for those who love to trap air in bags--snip off a small piece on each of the lower corners--no more trapping air! :-)  I stood these up in the crates. I used 2 small crates, but one large crate might work.

What I thought was amazing was that most of the kids took to owning their portfolio, was proud of it, and made sure they filed pieces away until we worked on the project another day. Such an easy fix for a materials problem.

Here is a picture of the portfolio:

You can find this product at either of my stores:
  Susan        Enjoy organizing!!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Binder Acronym Cover Designs

It has been a long time since I posted, however I have been working on a lengthy project and reflecting along the way on my teaching years. You see...I retired after 31 years this past May. I absolutely loved teaching until I began to grow physically more tired, and completely tired of the changes. 

So, now I am at home but wanting to hang onto my creative spirit that was always a driving force. Let me go back about 23 years ago when a colleague and I went to an organization workshop. The presenter came from Washington state. I loved her energy, and simple way of explaining using binders. I had taught 8 years in 5th grade and tried using folders. Well, there was always the shuffle of getting the right one out of the desk.

When I moved to 3rd grade, I was determined to find a way to help kids do a better job of organizing. (She talked a lot about other organizing, but that is another blog) She stressed we must explain every part of the binder carefully to the students so that they understood--and of course, be prepared to repeat it. :-)

She suggested students have the following materials: 1 inch or     1 1/2 inch binder with the clear view sleeve on the front; 2-3 packages of wide-ruled notebook paper; a pencil pouch; and a set of 8 divider tabs. Over the years I added a pocket folder to the binder as well.

We "loaded" the binders when supplies arrived. Items were placed inside in this order: pencil pouch with erasers and extra pencils; weekly calendar; divider tabs with subject labels; loose leave paper; and the folder which was marked "Leave at Home" on the left pocket, and "Homework" on the right pocket.

Students were taught to file reference sheets behind the correct subject tab to use when needed. Loose paper was used at home when needed. Assignments were recorded each morning on their weekly calendar. I would do a "calendar check" to make sure the assignments were on the calendar. 

I always did a handbook to explain all of the procedures to parents. Parents knew to check the calendar for assignments, go over homework in the folder, and remind their child to put it in the folder to come back to school. 

I was pleased that  most students managed to do a great job handling this organization. One binder for all things necessary for the classroom, student, and parent. Oh, there were some who needed extra time to learn the process. That is why we did a "binder check" at least once a month to reorganize. 

So, I'm sharing this because I have been working on a packet with 20 different binder cover sheets all based upon an acronym. I always printed these up for students to put in their sleeve on the front=ownership! The acronyms many times were based upon themes used in a classroom. For example, one year I used stars. So the binder became "My S.T.A.R. Binder". "S.T.A.R." stood for "Students Taking Awesome Responsibility" in their school work. I did not create these acronyms, but have linked the list I used to create the binder covers for them.

For each them, I have included 2 forms--a colorful one and a one with less color--your choice! That means 20 forms x 2=40 choices! Please check them out. Any feedback you give would be most appreciated. You can find them at my stores:

I've included a few views below. Thanks so much!!!  Susan 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Monthly Poetry Packet

Good evening everyone! I don't know about you, but when it came to poetry, I struggled. And, then, the idea about having the kids combine knowledge of the seasons, using their senses, and writing sentences all came together in my newest packet: Monthly Poetry Packet. There are two different forms to choose from for the activity. I also included a brainstorming page for students to use when thinking about their senses in relation to each month. I love saving these throughout the year for an end of year booklet.

Please check out this product at either of my stores:

Please leave a comment about the product. I do appreciate comments as they help me when I design.


Hi everyone--I am sorry for the confusion for the items you see below that you saw another time on my blog. I changed my TPT profile to show my shop name. That changes the shop's URL. Then, I went in and changed the last few items I had posted to show the new URL. Sounds kind of strange, doesn't it?......Have a great day!

Friday Freebie

If you like cupcakes, how about grabbing the 2013-2014 Calendar Set with a cupcake theme? You can get it at either store:

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