Friday Favorites, Teaching

Friday Favorites 07.21.2017

I missed last week, so I am excited for a chance to  link up with Andrea, Erika, Narci, Christina and April to share my favorites from the week!

I am definitely enjoying a nice quiet week!

Day dates and mini-road trips are some of my summer favorites! This week we headed up the road a few miles to Red Lodge, MT to enjoy some cooler temps.

We spent a little time at Vista Point on Beartooth Highway.

Spotted some of the local wildlife! 🙂

And watched a summer storm roll in!  Just beautiful!

Since our week was low key, I spent some time working in my classroom getting ready for the upcoming school year! I have a love/hate relationship with this time of summer!  I love arranging my room, decorating, and planning for the new year, but boy do I hate to see the end of summer sneak up on me!

This week I thought I’d share five favorites from my classroom set-up!

My daily lesson/assignment board was first project I tackled.  I had been using the same labels for four years, so it was time for a tune-up!  I purchased an eight pack of these magnetic pockets

It took me a little time to create the subject labels and make sure they were just the right size.  But, I think the end result was worth the time spent. I used Chalkduster font since I am incorporating a chalkboard theme throughout my classroom. I printed the labels on bright cardstock.

I really like the way they turned out!

An editable document for the subject labels is linked below in case it would be of use to you.

Subject Labels

Back in the lineup this year is “Kindness Bingo.”  This was a great positive behavior incentive last year, so I am keeping it.

Each week I recognize students who go above and beyond performing random acts of kindness.  I give them a little 1″x4″ slip of paper, they write their name on it, and choose a pocket!  Once all of the pockets are full I do random BINGO drawings throughout the day!  Winners choose a candy bar from my stash!  It’s a fun way to encourage a culture of kindness in our classroom.

Teachers, does that Bingo board look familiar?  I recycled my old “chip chart” for classroom management from way back when!  It is made from library pockets similar to these. I love the letters!  They are from Carson Dellosa and are chalkboard themed. You can check them out here.

Last year, I created this fun sign using the same letters.  I loved this colorful wall and I put it up again this year ~ minus the confetti, I’m thinking of changing that up in some way!  Any suggestions?

Keeping with the chalkboard accents I put together this bulletin board.  I L.O.V.E the way it turned out this year.  If you are interested in any of these items check them out here.

Chalkboard Dots & Loops Border / Colorful Chalkboard Border

Learn Something New Poster Integrity Poster/ Pennants 

I ended last school year battling the supply monster!  You know, the monster that lives in each student’s locker and eats all of their pencils, markers, paper, glue, etc………..  Ahhhh!  I am going to try something new this year, I hope it will help!

First off, I scored this 30-drawer organizer from our school’s office!

I know, it’s old and a bit sad looking.  But…I see potential!

For the first time last year I assigned each of my students a number.  Nothing exciting, just alphabetically.  This was so handy.  The students used their number for text books, Chromebooks, flexible seating, and a few other random items.  I had heard of using a number system, but never knew just how helpful and efficient it could be.  SO…here’s my plan.  Each of my English Language Arts students will have a drawer that corresponds with their number! Their drawer will house one gallon-sized Ziploc bag with their materials and their ELA composition notebook.

I am hoping this drawer system will help fend off the supply monster!

Students will keep items like emergency pencils, whiteboard markers, colored pencils, glue sticks, and scissors in their drawer.  Now I just need to come up with an efficient routine for grabbing their supplies at the beginning of class and putting them away at the end.  Any advice?

Classroom Set-up = Label + Laminate!  My label maker and laminator are two items that I simply just can not live without!  The first is this Brother label maker. I borrowed it from my mom years ago, and have yet to return it! 🙂  I found this one on Amazon and I think it is similar.

Bubba, loves to watch the labels print.  He is just memorized!

I received this laminator for Christmas this year!  I asked for one after seeing some of my colleagues with them, and felt a little envious.  I am so glad I have this little laminator.  It takes about five minutes to warm up and then you are off and laminating!  I love how it laminates smaller items with what seems to me to be a thicker lamination than the laminator film they have at our school.

Full sheets of paper are easy, and run through perfectly.  BUT…small individual items can be a bit challenging, and frustrating.  I set the items in the laminating pouch and have to really hold it steady as it goes through the machine.  I had a few accidents early on, but seem to be improving steadily.  I think it just takes practice to develop a smooth method for the small items.  These are the laminating pouches.

Last summer I read Donalyn Miller’s The Book Whisperer and this summer I read Steve Gardiner’s Building Student Literacy Through Sustained Silent Reading.  These books have/will completely changed the way I approach and value independent reading time in my classroom.

Wow!  What a difference in my readers.  I started the year off with Miller’s 40 Book Challenge.  My students were overwhelmed and stressed at first, but after we visited about the purpose of the challenge they settled right in.  We started each day with 15 minutes of sustained silent reading, me too!  I really enjoyed reading right along with the kids, so fun for all of us!

I started with a short study of genre.  The class seemed to enjoy this study and it helped to amp up some excitement for picking books to read.  I used this graphic organizer for note taking, using information from The Book Whisperer to fill in the characteristics of each genre.

Characteristics of Genre Graphic Organizer Document

The BEST part of the 40 Book Challenge is each student’s reader’s notebook.  I have students spend some time personalizing their composition notebook, transforming it into their own Reader’s Notebook!  This is a fun activity for the first week of school, and adds to the ownership/buy-in for the 40 Book Challenge.  I make one to use too, the kids love that I am taking the challenge right along with them!

At the conclusion of silent reading time students write about what they are reading.  Then, I collect five notebooks each day and respond to them.  It is a great back-and-forth dialogue between myself and each of my students.  It is especially great for fostering a fun reading environment where students were eager to share what they are reading.

I did adjust the 40 Book Challenge requirements a little, trying to tailor it for my fifth graders.  I think this list worked well.  I left this as a work doc so if you wanted you could edit it to fit your needs.

40 Book Challenge Goal Sheet 

Along with some silent reading each day, I L.O.V.E. to read aloud to my students.  Each day I spend about 15 minutes reading aloud.  This is probably my favorite 15 minutes of the day, especially when the kids beg me to keep reading!  I mean, who wouldn’t love that?  I have been trying to choose a few read aloud books for the year.  I have a really hard time changing it up and moving on from a favorite.

Last year my students really enjoyed Pax by Sarah Pennypacker and Wish by Barbara O’Connor.  So I have them on the list for sure!  I am also keeping Counting by 7s, Wonder, and Hoot close by!

I really enjoyed Counting by 7s, but have never read it aloud to a class.  I may have to test it out this year.

What are some of your read aloud favorites?  I’d love to see your recommendations in the comments.


Thanks for stopping by for Friday Favorites!

I hope everyone had a great week!  Stay cool and enjoy your weekend!



9 thoughts on “Friday Favorites 07.21.2017

  1. Ohhhhh this post makes me excited to get into my classroom. I have moved classrooms for the last two years so have worked pretty much each week in the new room and this year I haven’t went in once. I love this time of year and setting up! Your room is looking GREAT!

  2. Love your ideas! I may steal a couple! 😉 I love your 30 drawer cabinet!! How awesome that you were able to snag that for your room! I started Pax at the end of last year with my students as a read aloud, but it ended up being a teaser for them because we ran out of time to finish it 🙁 I hope a few of them were intrigued enough to read it this summer. I am currently reading The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart. So good! I think that it may not be a good fit for 3rd graders but would be for 5th-7th grade.

  3. Thanks! Steal away! I loved Pax and so did the kids! I will be checking out The Honest Truth.

  4. Love all of this, especially the kindness bingo! How old are your kids? My 6th graders love A Long Walk to Water and they also like Iqbal – but those are historical fiction so not sure if they’d work. Hope you have a relaxing weekend after all of that work!

  5. I have a 21 and 15-year-old sons. I have not read either of those books! Thank you for the suggestions, I will check them out!

  6. Your students this coming year are going to have an awesome teacher! My oldest will be going into first grade and I love that he is reading on his own now. It makes me so proud. Your quiet week in the cooler temps sounds amazing. I am ready for Fall I think! Eek! Happy Weekend!

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