Monday, April 8, 2013

Monday Made It...But Just Barely!

Whew!  Spring Break is O.V.E.R.!  I walked into my room this morning to a brand-spankin' new Polyvision it!!!  However, I also walked in to find the mess I left behind in my rush to "get everything out of the way of the installation crew".  Yikes!  Everything was taken off one whole wall, laid all over the room, and piled especially high on my guided reading table.  Of course, I didn't have copies ready either, because I planned my lessons last night (whooo's fault is that?), so I opted for copies over cleaning, deciding I can teach in a mess, but not without materials.

I'm linking up with Tara at Fourth Grade Frolics for Monday Made It tonight.

I managed to make a few things to share with you, and also wanted to share some things I regularly use in my classroom to bestay, try my best to look organized, and sometimes manage to actually be.

Classroom Made It #1
Dollar Flap Book

I want my kids to totally connect money to fractions, for later in their education, as well as to completely understand the many, many ways to make one dollar.  I thought back to when I used to cut fraction fringes for my third graders, and came up with a similar idea.  I copied this sheet, cutting each horizontal strip apart.  I glued the dollar strip to a piece of construction paper 2.5 inches high by 9 inches wide.  Next, I glued the half dollars to a 5" x 9" sheet of construction paper, the quarters to a 7" x 9" piece, the dimes to a 9.5" x 9" piece, and the nickels to a 12" x 9" piece.  I layered all the pieces so that the coins showed out from under each other, and stapled the whole thing at the top.  Finally, I cut along the lines between the coins, but not through to the top of the construction paper.  Now I have a flap book that can be flipped and folded in about a million combinations to either count and determine total amounts of coins, or to find all the different combinations of coins that can make one dollar.  I hope that made sense.

Classroom Made It #2
Animal Field Journals
photo of cutting from
We began our new science unit today, by making field journals to record our investigations about animals.  I wanted them to look like real field journals, so we took regular composition notebooks and covered them with a brown paper bag.  It was super-easy, even for my cutting-challenged kiddos.  We opened a lunch sack-sized bag, cut down one crease, from top to bottom, and closed the bag.  Then we held the bottom flap of the bag perpendicular to the closed body of the bag, and cut the bottom off.  This creates a large piece of brown kraft paper, essentially, which we crumpled a bit, uncrumpled, and fit one of those bag creases around the front cover of our composition notebooks, gluing it down on the inside cover first, then wrapped it around the outside front cover and glued it to that, as well as wrapping a little around to the back.  We added a small white label, made from notebook paper, and wrote "My Animal Field Journal" on that, along with our names.  Tomorrow, we'll either search through old magazines for photos of animals and add them to the covers, or (more likely) sketch animals with colored pencil (I love the way they look on brown paper) to finish our covers.  Then we'll take those journals outside to make our first observations.  I use hula hoops to focus small groups on a contained area of the schoolyard.  We'll use magnifying glasses to see everything in our hula hoops, drawing and labeling what we see.  I try to find some trash, some grass, maybe a rock or two, mulch, concrete, insects, etc. before placing each hula hoop on the ground so that every one of them has some living and non-living things to observe, record, and label.  Later, we classify our observations as living and non-living, and then classify the living things as animal or plant.  My kids DIE for this activity!  And they LOVE those field journals...

Organization Made It
My Dojo Class
I'm probably the last one on earth to have not heard of this before, but just in case, I set up my class in Class Dojo last night, and introduced my babies to how to get their mojo with class dojo today.  Y'all, it's like a miracle in action!  I just showed them the little video, and then started giving points for behaviors, like participation, being on task, making a 3-F line (feet in one green floor tile, face front, finger over lips), saving time, helping others, being neat, etc.  And, yes, there are negatives, too...I had only one little one who ended the day with a negative 1.  You can take points for being off task, wasting time, being messy, interrupting, etc.  In fact, you can set up any positive or negative points you want.  It's magical...

Organization Make it Every Week
Do y'all know about  It ROCKS!  It's an online planbook that allows you to set up your lesson plans in customizable templates AND share them with co-workers, friends, your boss, etc.  You can choose to show common core standards, your state standards, custom standards, or none at all.  You can set it up to go days across, or days down.  you can add as many "periods" as you want.  You can color-code your small groups, add attachments, websites links, and SO MUCH MORE!  This is the one tool I can not live without.  If I get off track, I can even bump my plans forward a day, put ideas in the cubby (on the side) to use later, and constantly monitor and adjust what actually happened in a day, so that the next day's plans are right.  You can get a FREE account or upgrade for more options.  If you haven't heard of it, check it out at I promise, you will fall right in love!

Last Made It...Still in progress...
I'm thinking of updating my webpage, and got started with this.  What do y'all think?  Better?  Cuter?  Don't Care?  Let me know, 'cause it's kinda fun, and I might be able to teach y'all how to do it, if I can figure it out for myself first!

So there it is.  My Monday is over, my room is still a wreck, but we got our mojo on, and we're lovin' life!

I hope you learned something new from me tonight...I'm usually the learner in blog-land!


  1. Just found you through the Monday Made It linky party and am glad I did! First thing I thought before I even read your post was how cute your blog was- especially the title. The owl and the whooo... so cute!
    Secondly- I think I'll have to check out that online planner- what a GREAT idea!
    Let me know how you go with Class Dojo, we've been using it for a while now and it's GREAT!
    Time to go hit the "follow" button I think ;)

    x Serena x
    Magic Mistakes & Mayhem

  2. Thanks, Serena! We adore the online planner. Did I mention that you can share plans with other teachers and that all can edit and plan together??? Oh, my! I just scrolled up, and I left that part out! It's the best feature! I've been using Dojo for 2 days, and my kids are hooked - I have teachers at my school asking what it is now, so I think I'll try to convince my boss to go schoolwide next year...I'm in LOVE!

  3. I love your new design in the making--super cute! Found you thru the linky and had to click since I also teach 2nd!

    This is my 2nd year using Class Dojo, and I love it. Immediate, specific feedback, and at the end of the day (most days I remember) I go in and type in WHY a specific kid lost a point so the parents get the full story, not just "disruptive," etc. :) Glad you like it! I try to spread the word to every newbie to our campus. :)

    Teach On.


I love to hear from you! Send me your comments, but be sure you're not a "no reply" sender, so I can write you back!