Optimum Organization: A Simple Way to Take Attendance

Happy Wacky Wednesday fellow bloggers and followers!  It has been a wild week of weather, and weird student behavior!  I was so happy to find Kristen and Elizabeth were trying to put a little bit of organization back into my life after the chaos.
We didn't experience anything nearly as bad as Oklahoma, but there was a lot of RAIN and WIND and THUNDER.. and it made my smarties CRAZY!
Today I'm sharing a quick way that I take attendance in my classroom.

We have to report attendance electronically through our SchoolTools account.  So I don't have to send envelopes to the office etc... but I still like to shake it up and make it interesting.  When I got my Smartboard many years ago I had the custodians move my dry erase board to the back of my room.  Lucky me, ALL of my walls are magnetic... I am the MAGNET QUEEN!!  This year I found these cool magnetic Tshirts from Really Good Stuff.

Sorry they are blurry.. protecting names and all that fun stuff..

Do you evey buy anything from them?   They do have REALLY good stuff!  Every day I ask my students a question to take attendance.  At the beginning of the year I ask them things about their families or homework.. or getting to know you style questions.  As the year progresses I let them begin to write the question for the next day.  I teach them to move their magnets as they enter my classroom.  The board is literally right next to the door.  Easy Peasy.. This really helps when I have a sub.  With so many other things going on in the morning, attendance is difficult for a sub.  With my board, it has become a habit with my smarties and it is easy to take attendance.  It is also helpful when I have a student who is absent.  As work is returned or collected for the day, I place the absent student's magnet on the back wall.  Everything that is that student's gets placed under the magnet, and they know to collect it the next day when they move their attendace magnet.  No more folders or keeping track of whether a missing student got the worksheet.  It is all under their magnet, waiting for them to return.

Next year we are going to use these...



Aren't they cute!!... I think I may have a tiny obsession with my CHUCKS!  But my smarties this year think they are great...it is definatly something that defines me.......that and coffee cups! :)  I'm going to write each student's name in NEON SHARPIE.. I love that I found those at Staples this year.  I ordered the business magnets from Vistaprint with a great Groupon deal.  I also got a stamp that looks similar for stamping Agendas at the beginning of the year.


When I was teaching lower grades I did the same type of attendance, except I had to provide a lunch count to the cafeteria, so I didn't get to ask any fun questions.  We just did hot, cold, home lunches.  I used wooden stars from Hobby Lobby that I painted and attached a magnet to the back of.  I mounted a magnetic baking sheet to the wall, and it served the same purpose.

Do you have any great organizational tricks of the trade?  I am always looking for ways to become more efficient.  If so, be sure to stop by and see Kristen at Ladybug's Teacher Files, or Elizabeth at Fun in Room 4B and share your tips!

I'm looking forward to hearing about them!
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I love My Binder! Writing Biographies

A few months ago,  I was reading a post by Lori at Teaching with Love and Laughter about the new binding machine she is using in her classroom.
A few weeks later,  I received one of my own.  Can I tell you how much I Love My Binding!
They are so easy to work with.. and this binding machine.. AWESOME!  My smarties figured out how to use it in about 20 minutes.  I let a few boys go to town with the directions manual.. love these boys and their tech manuals! Easy Peasie
Isn't this cover beautiful!  I have wonderful artists this year too!


My Smarties finished a Biography unit.  We have been reading about a variety of Americans that have made contributions to our society as positive role models.  We began out unit on biographies by reading about Michael Jordan using Salt in his Shoes [HERE].  Then in our Treasures books we read Let it Shine: Rosa Parks.. you can read [HERE] where I talked about my Book Utopia.  Our biographies were about three character traits that each person exhibitied.  Some of them were pretty insightful which was nice to see before our assessment!
I had my Smarties print 2 copies.  One we put on display in the hallway.  I had my kiddoes make stars to display information.  They made similies and wrote sentences about the character traits... great connections!  The second copy we bound into a biography book using our new classroom Binder.  It was a great addition to our non-fiction reading.  I am so excited by the way this book turned out.
It was great too that my smarties even as middle schoolers found  book binding "cool" and "fun."
We also did a little Biography Poetry with this unit.
 I didn't bind those into a book beause DUH I wasn't thinking at the time and I sent them home before having them make a second copy! UGGGGG, it must have been Monday and I didn't have enough coffee yet.
Next year I think I will save all the copies of student writing and bind them into a portfolio.  Do you have any ideas on how to keep track of all the pieces?  Comment below and let me know!














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Interactive Notebooks: Surface Area

I finished up my unit on Surface Area and Volume last week in Math.  After completing the lab using the cereal, pasta and Toblerone boxes (You can read about it {HERE}),  I didn't have time to blog about what went into our Interactive Notebooks.


I've seen the idea on Pinterest. The original source is from FABULOUS Jen Runde from 
Runde's Room!  She is so incredible!  She wrote about using prisms and being able to fold them up right into the Interactive Notebook.  When our curriculum changed with Common Core and I had to teach Surface Area.. I knew I would get great ideas from Jen.

Bonus for me.. our  math program allows you to create NETS!  So I had students go into the online Math toolbox and create their own NETS of 3D prisms and pyramids.  They printed them out and cut them apart to make sure the image they created was actually a prism or pyramid.  Then we glued the shape into our Interactive Math Notebooks, measured and found the surface area... LOVE this!
Jen is so creative.  I'm so glad I found this to pin!  Don't you love PINTEREST!

It was interesting to watch them try to do octagonal and hexagonal prisms.  Sorry, I didn't take any pictures of those!

Do you have a neat way to teach 3D shapes and prisms?  Leave me a comment below so I can try it out next year!  And stop by and visit Jen too... she is a great teacher, full of creative ideas!


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Five for Friday FLashback....Random Thoughts

Happy Friday!  I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs and Amanda at Teaching Maddeness with 5 for FRIDAY FLASHBACK! <Holla>

#1:  It was so great to be back at school this week!  I have been out of my classroom for 6 school days in a row grading assessments.. blech!  My smarties are running wild!  I need to reign them back in a little.  I still have 5 more weeks of school!

#2:  How cute is my pooch!  He is Bernese Mountain Dog.  I just brought him back from a playdate and grooming.. He is so FLLLLUUUFFFFYYYY.. <Say that in your best Despricable Me voice> "
I'm Gonna Die!  LOL

#3 We all know that this was Teacher Appreciation week.... We don't get out of school until the end of June,  so we don't usually get gifts or cards from students until then.  But we did get goodies all week.
I love these two gifts that I saw:
I think this might have to be a purchase for myself today.. payday Friday and all.. There is also one that says This MOM runs on Dunkin.... but I'm leaning toward the teacher one.
I love this gift too:
There is a packet of EXTRA gum on the inside.  I ordered these from a teacher at school who's sister  is crafty.  I love them.  My own kiddoes are going to give them to their teachers in June, along with a gift card for COFFEE.. <of course>

#4 My Little Man got a little extra praise this week from his school librarian:
Little Man is one of 40 students in the whole school who got this postcard.   It is commending him for a job well done on a research project... so very proud of him.

#5 Last but not LEAST I am loving these shoes:
Orange KEENS! WOOT WOOT.. I know they aren't purty flip flops or heels, but they are the shoes I practically live in all summer long.  Right now I have a BLUE pair, because I didn't realize they made ORANGE.. now of course Orange is on my to GET list!... Where is Farley and her Currently when I need to express something I NEED! <hee hee>

Stop by Doodle Bugs and link up your Five for Friday! Enjoy your weekend..



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Instagram Tuesday and Teacher Appreciation Reminder

So I've been reading a lot about teachers joining Instagram this week.  I decided to take the technology leap, and created an Instagram account for Coffee Cups.
You can learn more about this from the Fabulous Ladies at Apples and ABC's and What a Teacher Wants.  They are masters! and super helpful!
This is basically what my screen looks like:

I also found that The Clutter Free Classroom is doing an Instagram:  Teacher Snapshots Photo-a-Day Prompt. 

 This looked like a great way for me to get used to using Instagram.  I've only put a few pictures up, mostly those taken at softball over the weekend.  I really like this one:


I am hoping this is part of a Teacher Appreciation Gift for me this week.  <hee hee>  They also have one that says This Mom Runs on Dunkin for Mother's Day.

I took this one of my daughter "24"'s gear at a game this weekend. 

 She wrote a beautiful poem in English class based on William Williams' poem, The Red Wheelbarrow called  My Bracelet.  She talks about the connection between her Gator bracelet and her Dad who is away working on his PhD.  We are going to use the picture as a background and frame the poem to send to my hubs for Father's Day... how cute is that!

If you would like to follow me on Instagram.. and bear with me, I'm sure I'll make mistakes along the way, you can link to my page by clicking {HERE} or on my Instagram homepage picture above.  I'll do my best to follow you back as I am loving the idea of connecting with fellow bloggers from across the country!
One small step for Technology, one GIANT LEAP for Coffee Cups!



Also.. a quick reminder... Everything in my TpT store is ON SALE .. 20% off...TODAY and TOMORROW for Teacher Appreciation!
Use CODE:  TAD2013 for an extra 10% off!! That makes it 28%.. 
I am loving my Student Survival Kit... my smarties think they are such masters of my classroom.  Their responses that describe me are pretty funny.  I'll be posting them soon.
Our Teaching Association is putting a breakfast out for us in the staff room today.  Know that as a blogger I APPRECIATE each of you that read my blog and follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook(Yep that one's new and I'm still working on getting a button put on the blog)  but you can find me {HERE}

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Mentor Text and Teacher Appreciation Sale this Week!

So I've managed to get a ton of things Squared Away on this beautiful Sunday, and I'm linking up with Stacie and Amanda.. those super helpful, AWESOME Collaboration Cuties to share a Mentor Text for Language Arts.

Have you read
Twilight Comes Twice by Ralph Fletcher?  It is actually a free verse poem that has been recreated in book form.
I use this book in my classroom to teach or review Personification.  The poem talks about twilight at night, creeping over the town as a young girl walks with ther dog.  Beautiful working like "Dusk pours the syrup of darkness over the forest.."  just amazing words. It then picks up again when dawn enters, and shows how the sleepy town wakes up.  The pictures I believe are oil painting.
I love the personification in this poetry.  I don't really do anything mighty special with it.  I have my smarties use their Reader's Notebooks, and separate the page into Dusk and Dawn.  <sorry no pictures>
They find an example of personification, write it, then write the meanng.  Usually I use this book when I review before the assessment.  My Smarties spend about 10-12 minutes in a task rotation with books that review figurative language.  They always love Twilight Comes Twice.   It really makes them think!

On another note:  I'm having a sale on MAY 7 & 8th at my  Teacher's Pay Teachers Store.  Everything will be 20% off.  Plus TpT is giving another 10% on top of that which is a 28% savings for you!
I've posted a few new products recently:  A Mother or Father's Day Lapbook Writing Project
 Students can write a friendly letter to their parent, fill out an "All About" style  printable.. and apply compare/contrast, figuartive language, and symbolism within the project.
A second project I've been working on is a Student Survival Kit.  Basically the students  you have now complete this writing lapbook project, and then you can put in on your desks for Back to School next year.  Again, students write friendly letters, do compare/contrast, practice figurative language etc.  while giving new students tips on how to have a successful school year.  I have included additional pages which would allow you to use this at the beginning of the school year as a Getting to Know you activity, or have students write to their parent for Open House, and leave them out.

I also have a ton of other Math and ELA products, stop by and take a look!  You can fill up your cart and then wait to check out on Tuesday or Wednesday.  This avoids computer issues on the site.  JUST DON"T FORGET THE SPECIAL CODE FOR THE EXTRA 10%!  TAD13!

And stop by and see those Collaboration Cuties and link up a Mentor Text!



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Surface Area Lab: Incorporating the Real World

I have been out of my classroom all week grading state assessments in ELA and Math.  Needless to say, it has been a SUPER LONG week of work!  I can honestly say that this week, I really have been running on DUNKIN.
I am so jealous of my lesson plans for math!  I'm not in my classroom, but I left a really cool lab for my smarties to practice finding surface area.

I collected a ton of different boxes of cereal, popcorn,  pasta, and tea.  I cut and laminated them to make nets.  I set my room up in stations and am having students practice measuring and finding the Surface Area of all the different boxes while I was away this week.
From what I hear via my teammates my smarties LOVED this lab and I am jealous that I couldn't be there with them!
I was so excited to create all of the different prisms.  I even found a LARGE TOBLERONE box to do triangular prism.. HOW COOL IS THAT!

We practiced measureing in inches and centimeters with all different sizes of prisms, two different size Toblerone boxes, and a square pyramid that I created out of cardboard.  I created a generic form that looks like this:

With all of our new evaluations, I'm trying to put my Common Core Benchmarks right on my worksheets now.


Do you have labs that you use for Surface Area or Volume? Please share!  I want to work on incorporating more of this time of learning next year.  Stop on over and visit Amanda at Teaching Maddeness and link up with her Friday Flashback!

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May Currently

I love the beginning of each month when I can link up with Farley and visit my bloggy friends.  It so nice to meet new people, and find out what people are doing inside and outside of their classrooms.
Listening:  This month I will be sending A LOT of time at the ball park.  My daughter plays softball for her school and on a travel team, and my son plays Little League.  I never mind soaking up a little sunshine in my chair... key word being SUNSHINE.. when we are at the field and it's 40.. that is NOT fun.  May has started off in the 70s which is perfect weather.
My "24" is a catcher, so it is always fun to watch a little action from her behind the plate.  My son "little Man" is a pitcher.  He managed to strike out 3 batters in 2 innings this week.. of course he walked 5 kids and hit one.. being 10 is tough!

Loving:  SUNSHINE... SUNSHINE.... SUNSHINE... 'nough said!

Thinking:  I'm going to see Dave Matthews at the end of the month!  I am sooooo excited for this concert.  DMB is my all time favorite group.  I have been watching their set lists and creating playlists on my ipod with their sets so I will be all ready.  Last year when I saw him I had FABULOUS seats.. like 8 rows from the stage.  THis year, not so much. But I'm not going to let that stop me from having a great time! WOOT!
Wanting:  I want to be done grading our ELA and Math assessments!  I have been out of school all week grading.  I left an awesome lab that I created for Surface Area for my sub, and I really wish I was there to do it with my smarties.

Needing: Our last unit of the year is on Data and Statistics.  I have a ton of time to cover a few benchmarks, so I want this unit to be hands on with lots of sample collection, application and analysis.  I just can't wrap my head around it yet.. too much grading this week.  And.. oh yeah.. who wouldn't love a relaxing pedicure!  My "dogs" are tired!!!

Summer Bucket List:  Gator Nation:  Can't wait to get back to a little Gator Sunshine!  We love spending time in Gainesville.
I'm also looking for a little PD this summer.. so if anyone knows about a discussion group with Lucy Calkings new book about the Common Core, send me an email or leave a comment.  I'd love to join in.
Lastly, I need to get back into my running routine.  I have been such a slacker, and I need to feel healthy again.. both brain and body (thus the RUN and READ)

If you haven't visited Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade to link up for the May Currently, hop on over!  She loves to visit with the peeps!


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