Tuesday, July 3, 2012

currently July

Thought I'd give joining the linky party with Farly over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade... a shot. I always admire those awesome "currently" forms she puts out and have often thought about linking up with them but this is the first opportunity I have had.

Anywho, here goes it:
*please take note, I am that person who had every intention of posting this yesterday {Yep, I made this about 24 hours ago}! I am definitely joining my former class mom at the Karate for adults workout class this morning, definitely killing time at the moment!

The first book I chose is:

This book is supposed to be my favorite "read aloud" and it is in a manner of speaking. It isn't the type of book that you sit in your favorite author's chair and share with the students; however, it is a book that I slowly read throughout the year. I use this book as the guide to how they will act in the classroom. It is fun to share the stories and get my 4th graders thinking about why "The Essential 55" are important to remember for everyday life! 
Last year I made a model on powerpoint that I simply printed out and hung on the wall as a reminder, but this summer one of my goals is to jazz up my "Essential 55" signs by using nice paper and laminating! {I love laminating!}

The second book is:

This book is definitely my go to professional book. My mom purchased "The First-Year Teacher's Survival Guide" the Christmas before I began my student teaching in college. Who would have thought at the time that this book would be a necessity when I am at a loss for resources. It is SUPER helpful and one that I am happy to pull out on a regular basis. {It certainly helps that the cover matches my classroom theme!!}

If you are interested in what some other educators are choosing as their favorite books check back on 

and become uber obsessed with Farley's musings!


Sunday, July 1, 2012

end of the year awards

the school I work at is a unique one, we are a small close knit community in a large urban city. I love the fact that teachers and parents at my school are encouraged to have positive friendly relationships. It doesn't happen with all of the families but in some sense we are encouraged to walk away from the school year feeling like we are friends {as much as possible when you are responsible for educating their children} with the parents in your classroom. Not only this but at the end of each school year each classroom teacher is encouraged to have a class award ceremony where each student is recognized for the positive attributes they brought to the classroom throughout the year. 
I was lucky this year to not only have a fantastic team {thanks Liz and Terri} but to also get to spend my days with an incredible group of 9 and 10 year old kids! I'm not going to lie, I am very sad to not have most of these kiddos for another school year! I decided to have a little bit of fun in creating their awards and hopefully develop something that they would be able to keep for years to come and remember the fun we had in 4th grade! 
The finished product:

Anywho, here are the steps I took to create the end of the year awards for my awesome kiddos. For me one of the thoughts when putting together these awards was to not spend an exorbitant amount of money on each award because when you multiply it by 26 the number appear quite daunting! {oops!} I began searching for ideas online and I found one that talked about making a collage of words and giving that to the students, I found a site that did something similar called Tagxedo that takes self created lists and combines them into any formation you choose and color scheme. 

The Image
To create the list I made a questionnaire for each student to fill out including but not limited to: their best friends, their favorite color, their favorite subject as well as an achievement they are most proud of that they made during the school year. After that they flipped their papers over and we all sat in a circle around the room, each paper was passed to all of the students in the room to write {Only kind things} about each other. 
I took the papers and added most of the words {from each side of the paper} and plugged them into Tagxedo making sure to add some of the things that reminded me of the kids, funny sayings they said throughout the year {one of my students was responsible for collecting "jean money" from the teachers every Friday so I was sure to include that in her collage}.
When I was done typing in the lists I saved them onto my computer and sent them over to Walgreen's Photo Center to print them out on photo paper. 

The Frame
My goal in finding something to mount the pictures to was that it would be around $1. I had high hopes for my frugality, and Wal Mart was good in supporting this frugal goal. After hunting throughout the store for awhile I finally found what I was looking for, some plain wooden frames, and the best part was the cost they were only 98 cents!! I was not a huge fan of the plain wood and instantly decided that I needed to paint them. Not too daunting until I realized how many there were to paint. So I quickly decided to set my students to work on giving them each a nice rich coat of black paint! Only had to buy one bottle of black washable paint, that is easily diluted with water to make it go on more smoothly. 

Then it was time to start figuring out what awards I would give each of my students. They were a unique group of kids, and most of my boys thought they were comedians and had "moves like Jagger" but I couldn't give them all the same award. This was one of the more time consuming parts of my award creating. 

When was finally done with this step I used these awesome paint pens to write the award on each frame and tied a piece of teal ribbon around the frame.

Giving the awards was fun, all of the 4th grade teachers got together and gave our end of the year awards as a grade level {this is the way our team works, we are good friends and like our students to feel like we are all a team}. 

I hope all you out in the bloggy world enjoyed reading about my end of the year award creation!

And just because I miss my family and had such a great time with them all out in Vegas visiting, the following is a picture of us standing in a lineup at the Mob Museum downtown.