Thursday, September 29, 2011

Math Activities - Problem Solving

Here are a couple of samples from my new Teachers Pay Teachers product, Scott Foresman Grade 3 Math Problems of the Day and group activities. You don't have to use the program to use these sheets. In most cases, the only materials you need are these sheets and a pencil! Activities are simple enough to use with second graders and challenging enough to use with fourth graders. Enjoy!

Lesson 1.9 - number patterns

Lesson 1.10 - rounding to the nearest ten or hundred

Click here to download my Scott-Foresman-Grade-3-Chapter-1-Math-Activities at Teachers Pay Teachers!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Technology Tricks - Changing Layout / Page Orientation

Not sure about you, but switching between my school desktop DELL and home Mac laptop is driving me crazy!!!  I have also have different word processing software at each place - Microsoft Word at school and OpenOffice at home with different printers at each. My school printer sometimes won't print my documents because it doesn't recognize my fonts. I try my best to save everything as a PDF to Google Word so I don't have to run around with a flash drive, but I still bring my laptop to school...just in case! We also have art and music in our classrooms, meaning that sometimes our specials teachers are using our computers with the Promethean Board during my our preps. I'm not complaining because I know many schools don't provide teachers with printers, computers, or Promethean Boards. Anyway, here's a tip that will hopefully help you if you're in the same boat and need a quick reminder!

If you don't have Microsoft Office / Word and want a free option for word processing, try It gives you more options than Google Docs, such as being able to import fonts.

Here's how to change the page layout in OpenOffice.

Click Format from the toolbar --> Page

Find Orientation --> Click Landscape or Portrait --> OK

Here's how to change the page layout in OpenOffice:

Click File --> Page Setup

Click Portrait or Landscape --> OK

Here's how to change the page layout in Microsoft Word:
Click File --> Page Setup

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Show, Not Tell! (First Day of School with Students)

A scene from one of my favorite movies is the best thing to start off my first day of school with kids, especially since I leave home at 6:45am and need a laugh to start off the day! If it wasn't for my Sirius satellite radio, I might not be able to handle the drive... cross your fingers that there aren't any accidents or traffic!

To celebrate, here are some graphic organizers we'll be using after we read Officer Gloria and Buckle to talk about rules. I attended a behavior management training this summer that said we need to do a better job of modeling exactly what following the rules looks like, and I think this is a great way to do it! You can create your own charts on chart paper, an interactive board, or get these blown up if you are not doing these with small groups.

Please leave a comment and Click here to download!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Data Collection in the Classroom

If you couldn't tell by my earlier math posts, I am focusing on math and organization this school year. I am going to start off the year teaching students how to collect data on their learning. This will not only get them involved in their learning, but it will also help meet math standards and provide more tangible data for me, parents, and special services. I figured I'd share my generic forms with you for free on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Back to School Read Aloud Books

I'm just exhaused after finishing up my classroom! I've been running around doing last minute errands before teachers report Tuesday and students report on Wednesday, plus playing kickball and softball... and I am so excited to start the year at my new school! I have met so many great, enthusiastic teachers on staff at our huge school, and they all pronounce my name correctly - I pronounce Alysia Battista as "Uh-lee-shuh Buh-tee-stuh" - which can confuse people when they see it in print. Our school is grades 3-5 with the K-2 and autism buildings just steps away, so I have tons of names to memorize. My grade level has 10 classes, while 4th and 5th have 8 each. There are 11 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, and 2 high schools. What can I say, NJ may be small but there sure are a lot of people here! 

Anyway, I wanted to post my first two weeks of Read Aloud books. I feel that I haven't done enough in the past, so I'm going to see how one a day works, and then transition into chapter books once our routine is down. It's very easy to find plans that go along with them, but I don't have time to post links to them right now.  My students have very unique names like me, so I am really interested in their response to Chrysanthemum. I am going to use these books to introduce reading response in their journals, plus making predictions, making inferences, and making connections. Character education and self-esteem building is embeded in How Full is Your Bucket?, ChrysanthemumI'm Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem, Don't Squeal Unless it's a Big Deal, and The Principal's New Clothes (one of my favorites as a kid!) 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Battista Beach is ready for the first day!

I am sooo excited that my classroom is mostly finished and ready for students on Wednesday. All it's missing is some posters on the wall, my alphabet, my fish tank, and name plates. I also bought an Epson document camera. They are very expensive, but I had one for the last 2 years at my old school and I just can't bring myself to teach without one! It was cool to see that 3 other teachers in my grade level have an ocean theme too. There are 10 of us and it's a huge school! Anyway, here's my room, I hope you like it!

Calendar bulletin board....I have to change the actual calendar so this is just holding its place. The weather wheel and wooden number board are from Target dollar spot.

 Hallway bulletin board... it's too small for posting student work for all 21 students and I hate picking and choosing.  I've never done student of the week or month but I just might start. I also love interactive bulletin boards so I might use it for that.

This is actually two bulletin boards that are put together in the hallway. I have no idea why they were put so close to the ceiling! Right now it's completely unfinished. The plates will become picture frames once students arrive. They will be writing acrostic poems from their names on the decorative paper.

Here's my unfinished door. I have a poster that will go above the flip flops after it's laminated.

This is my incomplete job area. The sign says, "Wanted: Helping Hands" and is made out of the classified section of a newspaper and my job posters. More of the hands are being laminated and I need to get more double sided tape for the rest of my number line that will continue above them. The green bin and collapsible basket from Walmart still need to be labeled with the words "library books" and "lunch boxes."

Here's the area next to the door. Reminder notes for dismissal are hung here. The cork boards are from the Target dollar spot. 

Here are my bathroom sign out sheet, bathroom chipboards (students flip the pink to their number if they are girls and soccer ball if they are boys),  passes, and sanitizing / first aid station. I get tons of paper cuts so the bandaids are right under the baby wipes! We don't have sinks, so this area is important. As you can see, I attached a pen to the clipboard with a lanyard. That means no more missing pencils!

Here's my objective pocket chart that is attached to the chalkboard. I have never left an objective up longer than one lesson, so we'll see how long I can make it with writing them on sentence strips!

This is what the Journeys focus wall posters look like. They get changed every week. I wish I could get rid of the creases and make the spelling and vocabulary words bigger! I can also put it up on the Promethean Board in larger form.

Closet door with birthdays - have to personalize them! I wish I had time to cover the doors with fabric or paper.

Here's the math bulletin board. Anchor charts and visual vocabulary will be added. I will have fish and an aquatic frog in the tank once it's cleaned and filled. (The surfboard is a mirror. It's reflecting a wall and supply shelf next to it!)

I've always done the pencil cups, but I got these cute pencil cup labels from the Peace, Love, Learning blog and taped them to empty metal soup cans.

My desk area...I never sit there unless I'm checking homework. To be honest, the only reasons I kept the desk are I was told there was no room for it elsewhere, some items such as tests need to be locked up, and I like the idea of students sitting at the desk as one of their rewards. I showed a pic of what's on the shelves behind it in the last post.

 This balance scale is part of my whole group behavior system. I have to put labels on each side that say, "positive behavior" and "negative behavior." Each time our class gets a compliment from another teacher / administrator or does something extraordinary as a group etc., they earn a marble or marbles. When they misbehave for a specials teacher or substitute or argue on line or on the playground etc., marbles go on the negative side. I found this works much better than a regular marble jar. Once the positive side touches the desk, students win their reward.

Here's the corner of my desk. I blogged about my substitute binder before and I'll post again when it's finished. There are 2 set of 5 color coded folders, one for each day of the school week in the magazine holder. I got the idea to use the dish drainer as a teacher's edition holder from Pinterest. Since it's black and the magazine holder next to it is also black, it's hard to see. The utensil part holds scissors, pens, my staple grabber, and other stuff like that. I love my huge pencil that I got in Minnesota! It's made of a tree branch so you have to use a knife to sharpen it!

Here's the area next to my desk. The poster reminds students of what they need to do before turning in a paper. To the left of the dry erase board, you see the 3 cookie tin lids that I turned into decorative magnet boards.

Here's my homework basket, which is next to the finished work basket. As you can see, there's a coconut cup from the dollar store with pencil top erasers in it. I keep a spare pencil for students who forgot to write their name on their paper inside the area where the straw would have gone and a calendar for them to write the date. I taped my Stop, Stop, Put Your Name on the Top poster next to it along with a highlighter for them to highlight their name.

Here's the corner of my guided reading table. My organizer is actually a beverage bucket that helps me stay organized. Behind it are reading strategy posters. 

Here's part of my closet. The hooks are numbered. On the first day, students will be put in ABC order by last name and will get a number. They will put their belongings on their number and wear the lei. There are 5 tables and 3 colors of leis, so the students wearing orange will be allowed to pick a seat within the orange table,  while there will be 2 blue and 2 pink tables.

I got the idea to put copy paper box lids in student desks and use them as drawers from an Occupational Therapist at another school. It keeps students much more organized and less things get lost or damaged!

Here are my writing and art centers. Writing process posters are to the left and the word wall is on the right. The ? and ! posters have words to use when writing exclamations and questions. The poster right under it has words that describe emotions.

These bar stools are used when sitting at the counter. The clipboards are used for center work like Read the Room. Directions are clipped on top and the materials go inside.

These drawers will contain different writing materials such as index cards, envelopes, different types of paper, and lots of graphic organizers for students to use once they are introduced. This stapler and tape dispenser are for students. They can't use the ones on my desk because I went through 5 staplers in my first 3 years. They're so rough on them!

I used a coffee cup caddy to hold my scissors. I used Solo cups in a wine rack to hold my markers. Students can grab the whole cup or just one marker. I think I saw the cup rack idea on Pinterest but can't find it again. Let me know if it was your idea!

Here's my easel and reading area. This poster says, "1,2,3, Eyes on me! 1, 2, Looking at You!" The easel didn't have a dry erase part, so I just bought one and turned it sideways. I can take it right off or put chart paper on top.

Here's my library aka private reading beach. The only things left to do are put a new shelf in place of the desks that are hidden by the palm tree there, buy 2 more baskets for the books in the box underneath, and attach basket labels. As you can see, I didn't have room for a carpet, so I used a beach towel with a non-skid piece underneath and put my beach chair there. It's going to be a no shoe zone so we don't have tripping accidents. The signs say, "To the Beach --->;" and "Relax."

 Inside my library, I have this magazine rack. I bought it for $50 when I was student teaching and a teaching store closed. I put the books that are relevant to what we are learning. Right now there are fall, back to school,  chapter books about third grade, hurricanes, and earthquakes.

Front view from my desk - the hammock is a soap holder from Bed Bath and Beyond. I use it for paper clips and odds and ends.

Side view from my desk - I spy the Promethean Board!!!

 Front view from the door - my new shelf is in pieces on the floor!

Side view from the door

Side view from the door - posters are missing from above the back bulletin boards

Management area next to my computer- dry erase stickers from Walmart for reading, math, and spelling homework; schedule dry erase poster from Target dollar spot, Crayola dry erase sticker poster from Walmart, behavior management clip chart and number magnets, and Prediction Pete materials.... reward board cards are being laminated and go in the blank space. Those brown things are large double clipboards that my students use for artwork, centers, or writing on the floor. Someone gave them to me, so I have no idea where you can get them...try an art supply store!

So...would  you like to relax on Battista Beach?!


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