Fresh Ideas 2015 {Amber from The Sunny Side of Second Grade}

Hi friends! Welcome back to our blog!! To finish up this month I have a question for ya. What do you do to keep your small groups dynamic?

We are all familiar with the importance of data. My literacy coach, she's the best in my opinion, has really taught me how to analyze data. Of course I am talking about our very own Dianna Radcliff. She has taught me how look at my data and arrange my groups that meets the needs of all students.

This led me to create a visual schedule to help manage the several groups I pull during the span of one day.

I take this schedule a bit further with each of the plan pages you see below. This week was the first full week I implemented this new scheduling and planning system... and it went beautifully. I took it to my team and urged them to take another look at their schedules to see where they could provide more intensive support.

Next to having your schedule and planning pages prepared is having your materials prepared. Below you will see some snapshots of how I organize my small group area for ease of access.

{Organize small group tools into baskets - writing, math, reading, and phonics}

{Organize your units and resources into binders for easy access}

{Label classroom library by genre with your guided reading sets labeled separately}

{Arrange weekly materials and group books and lesson plans in drawers or bins}

So my fresh idea is to revamp your small groups. Try to analyze your data at least once quarterly and keep your groups dynamic, or always changing. Your data changes...and so should your groups.

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Fresh Ideas for 2015 {Lauren @ Mrs. Thompson's Treasures}

When I thought of "fresh" ideas, I immediately though of literally keeping your classroom smelling fresh. I don't have my own classroom any more, but I remember a few years ago in my third grade classroom, after recess during the warmer months, our room would be so stinky and stuffy!

I used a candle warmer in my classroom, to keep it smelling a little better! Another idea I found on Stockpiling Moms is to use Gain Fireworks in a wax burner to make the space smell clean and fresh!

Downy Unstoppables in my Wax Burner
If you don't like the idea of using chemicals, you can try a few drops of essential oils with water in the wax burner or a diffuser. We use this one from doTerra at our house, and some of my favorite oils to use are Lavender and Serenity.
Now that we've got your room smelling nice, how about we get your kids acting nice? We all know that being negative comes more naturally than being positive. Kids are constantly tattling on each other, but when is the last time one of them came up to you to compliment someone? Teaching kids to find the good in other people and call it out is a wonderful life skill.

Try setting up a "Compliment Jar" (or just a Kleenex box) where students can put compliments about their classmates throughout the day. At the end of the day, during those last few minutes while you are waiting for dismissal, read the compliments aloud to the class. What a great way to boost morale in the classroom!
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Fresh Idea: School-Wide Academic Initiative [& a GIVEAWAY!]

Hello Friends~
It's Dianna from Sassy, Savvy, Simple today bringing you a FRESH IDEA!

Before I start, I need to first say that none of the following ideas are originally from me! They are things I've inquired through working with other Literacy Coaches & attending Professional Developments.

So, here we go.... During the first semester of school I organized a Close Reading Book Study Professional Development after school for teachers to earn renewal credit. For the second semester of school I have organized an Academic Language/Vocabulary training for my teachers. I'll be posting about this journey on my personal blog from now through the summer.

So my FRESH IDEA, is to start a school-wide initiative of making Academic Language meaningful!!!

#1 ~ How to get students excited about learning new words?

You need a hook! My top 4 book suggestions...
13 Words by Lemony Snicket
The Word Collector by Sonja Wimmer
The Boy Who Loved Words by Roni Schotter
Max's Words by Kate Banks
Most of these books are available in your school library, public library or an online library.

Using a book trailer! You can find so many examples online too. Here's an example that I LOVE:
[click on the photo to watch this book trailer]
#2 ~ How to get staff excited about teaching new words?

You first need to show the staff why this is important! A few things to start with are...
  1. Research says kids can move easily in & out of registers if they have meaning.
  2. Educators want students to acquire vocabulary to promote language skills such as reading, speaking, listening and writing.
  3. Educators want to raise standardized test scores... Which these assessments are based around the vocabulary in the standards.
  4. 85% of test scores are based on how well students know the vocabulary of the standards [Marzano, Tileston].
There is more, but this is information that should raise eyes of those listening!

Then I would move into a visual explaining to the staff that you can't get out of the pool, what's not in the pool. I used this anchor chart: Linguistic Data Pool...
We need to train ourselves to use the formal academic language of the standards daily with our students. As a school if we immerse students in this formal language they will be able to make meaning of these words in different formats & genres such as the testing genre.

This Friday I will start sending out a weekly "Academic Language Newsletter" to my staff to incorporate daily the following week. I will use 2 words a week with definitions & examples. You can visit this website by clicking HERE to see the 29 critical verbs of the ELA standards.

I hope you found all of this information useful! Follow me to stay updated in my journey of this topic:-)

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Fresh Ideas for 2015 with Mrs. Grooms' Room and a Laminator Giveaway!!

Hey everyone!!  

I hope everyone is having a wonderful January!  Can you believe January is almost over?  Here at The Elementary Entourage we are working on Fresh Ideas to bring to you, Fresh Ideas to make our own, and Fresh Ideas to bring to take to our classroom.  

Here are some ideas that I want to share with you:  

1.  This is like taking PICK-A-STICK to the next level:  COOL, HUH??  Mine are cute!  One side has washi tape and the other side has my students' names but could really be an awesome PICK-A-STICK picker!!  (Click on the picture and it will take you to Rowdy in First Grade's orginal link.)   

All you need are a cup and toilet paper roll!  Done!  My plan is to set it by my centers that need a PICK-A-STICK!  All is fair and square! 

All of the inside sticks go on the outside of the toilet paper roll, (the cup), after you have picked that child.  When you are finished choosing everyone, stick                       them back into the toilet paper roll.  Cool, huh? 

2.  Tattle tales...oh my goodness!  This year tattling has been really widespread in my classroom.  "Mrs. Grooms, he's looking at me."  "Mrs. Grooms, she is talking about me."  

Check out this really informative video on tattling and reporting! 

So we are going to try implementing a tattle tale box.  Students write their tattle tales and stick them into a box or container.  I think I am going to put mine into a trash can.  (We are just going to throw those tattles away!)

Have you seen these little pencil holders from the Dollar Tree?  They are as big as a glass.  But still...the idea is there, they could use small paper, and they could fold their papers.     

3.  The last idea I wanted to share with you is the number bonds that I found on Pinterest.  It is from You Might Be a First Grader's blog.  We have used them but I want to make these big bonds!!  It's  a great way to show addition and to bring out that math talk!  :) 

There are so many awesome ideas out there!!!  What fresh ideas have you found or created for your classroom?  

Hey...don't forget to enter our awesome laminator giveaway.  I would love to win that awesome prize!!!  I wish I could have one at home AND in my classroom. 

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Fresh Ideas for 2015 from Aloha to Second plus a GIVEAWAY!

It's a brand new year, and it always motivates me to make new things for my classroom!  I just need to find the time and extra money to complete all my Pinterest finds.  I am sure you all feel the same way.

I love being organized and my classroom always has to be in order.  I am also very particular about my classroom looking neat and organized.  This is a project I have been wanting to complete for a long time.  I have drawers just like these in my classroom, and I would love to have them look like this!

If you click on the image above you can visit Pinkadots Elementary blog where she tells you how she did it!

Do you have drawers like this in your classroom?

Are you ready for our great giveaway?  Enter the rafflecopter below where you can win a laminator with a 100 pack of laminating sheets!  Can you imagine having this at your fingertips each time you need something laminated?  It would be simply amazing!

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Fresh Ideas for 2015 - Plus a GIVEAWAY! {Teach Two Reach}

Hello again everyone! We are here this month trying to give you inspiration for some fresh new ideas to try out in the new year. Read below for some cool stuff I have come across Pinterest lately, and stay with us to enter an amazing giveaway at the end of this 

One thing I loved when I saw it about two months ago was this brilliant idea of printing messages on Post It Notes! You basically make one template with what you want the notes to say, and then you stick the Post Its on the template, put it back into the printer, and print! It's super simple and so efficient because you can print out notes instead of hand writing the same things over and over again on multiple students' papers!

You can click on the picture below to take you to a website that gives you a few free options for templates. 

Another thing that has worked out really well in my classroom is to have a "tired words," or "synonym word," list area. The picture below isn't of my classroom but I basically have done the same thing. I used the pockets with the sticky backs and stuck them on a cabinet door. On the front are the "boring," adjectives or verbs, and inside each pocket are a bunch of strips with more exciting synonyms for the words. Once you train the students to use this, they go to it themselves during work on writing time, and look for words to substitute. If some students aren't getting how to use it, once I go over their rough drafts with them, I'll underline some of these words and they have to go find replacement words. 

Now it's time for the Scotch Laminator and 100 pack of laminating sheets GIVEAWAY!!! You know you want one! And if you have one, you know you want that second travel one!!

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Fresh Ideas for 2015 plus a GIVEAWAY {For a Love of Teaching}

Hey everyone! It's Kim here from For a Love of Teaching! I'm here today to share with you some Fresh Ideas for 2015! I know by this point in the school year we are all noticing a few things we'd like to do differently, or if you're like me you've pinned a few hundreds of ideas on Pinterest that makes you scream, "I've got to do this!" Here at The Elementary Entourage, it's our goal to share with you some fresh ideas and inspiration to get you through the rest of the school year. Check back each day from now until the end of January for new tips, tricks, and ideas that we've each tried or would like to try in our classrooms. Hopefully, they'll bring inspiration to you, too! Stick around, because there's a very special giveaway at the end! :)

I have one problem this year that is driving me crazy!!! It's called, "THE NO NAME PAPER!" For some reason, the class I have this year is famous for leaving their name off their paper. I'm used to having one or maybe two students do this on a regular basis, and I'm even pretty good at recognizing handwriting by this point in the year. However, this year is an exception! No matter how many times I remind my students, I still get home with a handful of papers to grade with NO NAME!

I found this meme from Tracy Orman that I loved! (You can find her post on using memes in the classroom here.)  I posted it beside my turn in drawers. My 4th graders instantly loved it! However, I still have those pesky NO NAME PAPERS every week!

So, I searched Pinterest once again for this cute little highlighter idea I had seen a while back. 

This brilliant idea came from Elizabeth over at Fun in Room 4B. I remembered seeing it and thinking - what a great idea! I have no clue why I've never tried this before, but I'm now in the process of finding cute ribbon and making labels. I'm hoping this will do the trick and solve my problem!

Here's an idea I love that actually came from one of my best friends that I'm lucky enough to teach with, too!  Monica from NC Teacher Chick saw this on Pinterest last summer and immediately went to the Dollar Store to pick up baskets that would fit inside her student's desks. Her desks are now so neat and organized! 

Lose papers, pencils, sharpeners, etc. are neatly placed in these baskets. No more messy desks with papers sticking out of the sides and coming out the front! The image above comes from a photo tour of Amy's classroom from What Happens in First Grade.  She has some great ideas! This one just happens to be next on my fresh ideas list to implement this year!

Here's another idea I've not only seen on Pinterest, but also from other teachers in my school.

This idea came from Rebecca over at Create Teach Share, and I love them!  I'm constantly struggling with displaying student work in the classroom or the hallway. I love bulletin boards, but I hate changing them constantly. A few teachers in my school decided to make some of these and then hot glue them to the wall outside of their classroom. They easily change student work without the hassle of staples or tape. You can also hang these on a clothesline in the classroom. No more ripped papers from staples, and your bulletin boards don't have to be changed constantly! I love the chalkboard look, which just so happens to fit my classroom theme perfectly! These will more than likely be my next snow day project!

I hope you've enjoyed my fresh ideas! Come back for more inspiration during the month of January.  We have so much to share! 

Here's the best part!  The Elementary Entourage is hosting an amazing giveaway for one of my favorite laminators! This Scotch Thermal Laminator is perfect for the classroom and all your fresh idea projects. It even comes with 100 extra laminating sheets! Be sure to enter below to WIN! 

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Fresh Ideas for 2015 and a GIVEAWAY {The Learning Chambers}

Hi y'all!  This is Stephanie from The Learning Chambers to share with you some fresh ideas for 2015.  I'm excited to share a few tips and helpful hints to help spruce up your classrooms and engage your students!

Last year was my first year in second grade and I was a little hesitant to share ideas from my classroom.  I felt like it was my first year in second and I needed more time to grow.  Now it's my second year in second grade, and I'm so excited to share some fresh ideas from my classroom!

The struggle with number lines is real y'all!!  My kids needed a number line that was hands-on and one that they could manipulate if needed.  I just took some yarn, some clothes pins, and some index cards that I had cut in half.  Then, I just stretched it along the bottom of one of my cabinets to make it kid height.  The kids write the numbers and then I place a missing point or points on the number line.  At first, we really discussed the number line and solved it together but now they are totally independent!

When I moved into my second grade classroom, I had these wonderful book boxes but they all had stickers and name labels all over them.  I took some WD-40 and a razor and I worked super hard to get all of the stickers off.  It was after all my hard work that I realized that I needed to number my boxes instead of re-labeling them with names every year.

I printed out the number labels, laminated them, and then taped them on with two strips of clear packaging tape.  The green boxes are for my mockingbird group and the yellow are for my robin group.  I used the calendar cards from Hope King's Pattern's Galore Classroom Decor Bundle.  You can check those out HERE.

Those labels have been on my book boxes for a year and a half and they still look perfect.  I took the picture just today!

Right now, my second graders are busy researching during our biography unit with their partner.  I was so tired of finding the articles, report foldable, and notes all stuffed in their book boxes.  I gave each group a pocket folder and labeled the front with the famous person that they were researching.  Normally, I would make a cute label but this time just a basic label was fine with me.  I have a basket that they put the folders in when they are finished researching for the day.

The Biography Report Foldable Flip Book is from The Third Wheel and it's a super AWESOME freebie.  Click on the product cover below to grab it.

Biography Report Foldable Flip Book

I hope you enjoyed my fresh ideas for 2015.

Now, don't forget to enter our laminator giveaway below.  I mean who doesn't want a new laminator that you could use at home or in your classroom?

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