Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tried it Tuesday-Native American Books

I am linking up with Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried it Tuesday. I get inspired by so many people out there in bloggerland. I was looking for a faster way to do a Native American project since I teach both 4th grade classes for Social Studies this year. This project was inspired by Tara from 4th Grade Frolics' Native American project. You can check it out HERE.

She used a simple lunch bag to create the project below:

Well, I tried using the same idea but added my own touch to it. We study California Native American tribes in 4th grade. As a culmination of our unit, the students had to pick a Native American tribe we studied in one of the four regions of California.

Then they had to make 5 fact cards about their tribe. We really worked on elaborating their facts into more than one sentence. On one side, they wrote the fact and the other side, they illustrated what they wrote about. These tucked in nicely in the pocket of the bag.

Next, they had to color in their tribe's location on a map of California. This was glued on the inside page. 

The cover was the most fun. They had to have the title of their tribe and an illustration of something they learned about them. The decorating began! They hole punched the side of the book and sewed it together with "Native American string" and beads. Next, they could choose some feathers to add texture to their book. 

Here is how they turned out!
They had so much fun making these. The boys commented how they really liked learning to sew. This was a fun project and easy to do with both classes in a crunch for time. 

Let me know what you think!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

"I'm first. No, I'm first!"

Have you had trouble keeping track of when students are ready to take Reading Counts or AR quizzes? I had students arguing about who was next last year, so I started having them write their numbers on the board when they were ready. Of course, it didn't look that great and had to be rewritten a lot.
So this year I made it more organized. I created smaller numbers and laminated them, used a header for Reading Counts (that is the program we use), and a smaller pocket chart. Of course, everything had to match my room! Now it looks like this...

So far it has been working pretty well. The students have done a great job keeping their number organized when they move it back and forth.
If you would like my system, you can find it at my TpT store. I also added AR Quiz items to the product if you use that system.
Just click HERE!

Let me know what you think!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Motivating Readers

I am linking up with Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching on this fine Sunday morning. I'm a day late but Saturdays just go by too fast! 

In our school, we use Scholastic Reading Counts to help with comprehension. Our fourth grade team sets goals each trimester that the students need to reach. In order to MOTIVATE them to read more than the minimum, we set up a "Reading Through the Regions" board in our classes. In 4th grade, we study the four California Regions in the beginning of the year so this incorporates our social studies as well.

Here is a picture of my board (Matches my theme of course!!)

As they "leave" a region, they get a reward.

Desert Region: Juice Box (they must be thirsty from the hot desert)

Central Valley Region: Fruit snacks (lots of crops growing here)

Mountain Region: Granola Bar (Rugged mountains)

Coastal Region: Beach Ball (from the Pacific coast)

I also give them a certificate when they have been through all four regions (200 RC points).

You would be surprised how these small tokens really motivate my students. I was able to move one student over to the Central Valley this week and all of the other students were so excited she received a juice box. "LUCKY" is all I heard.

Let the reading begin!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

"Hands Down" I Have a Great Bunch!

So every year we try and come up with a beginning of the year activity where the kids tell a little about themselves. This year my partner teacher, Pam, found this pin on Pinterest. This looked colorful and fun!

So we took that idea and decided to have the kids make a hand about them and color it with words and pictures that represented them. (Of course, we did a circle map first so they could organize their thoughts)
Our students really had a blast tracing their hands and cutting them out! (We don't get to do enough of that now a days!!) 

Here is how they turned out! 

I loved how unique they all turned out. I also let them share their "hand" with their table groups before we put them up. 

So what types of activities do you do on the first few days of the school year as a get to know you activity? Comment below :-)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Classroom Pictures Are UP!

Make sure you check out the "My Classroom" tab at the top of the page to see a peek at my classroom.

The pictures were taken after school started so it's a little lived in. It's amazing how those few days before school started zoomed by! I know it's October but I'm sure you are all feeling the same way after the first month of school-BREATH!

Here is a preview:

I hope you enjoy it and maybe get some ideas to spark up your classroom too!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Check out my new design!!!

It's here! I am so excited that my blog design is done. It is so me!! Thank you to Christi at Ms. Fultz's Corner for a job well done. It was such a breeze to work with her on this.

Let me know what you think...

Monday Made It!

I am linking up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics for her Monday Made it.

Well I have been pretty busy lately. School started 3 weeks ago but I feel that I keep having to add things to my room. We have 37 students each this year so my partner teacher and I have had to make everything to 37. Not an easy thing to do when everything comes in 36 or less. $$$

So here are some projects that I have been working on.

The first one is a pic I took last summer that I found. These were most of the projects I made before I was a blogger.


2. Now for this year. Can I just tell you that I am addicted to Krylon Fusion spray paint! You can paint all of the plastic items you have to match!! I went crazy last year doing it and it lasted all year. Soooo...I decided that I would do the one eye sore I had in my room. The multi-colored rolling cart. It did not match my colors so now they are a lovely shade of black :-)

3. I needed a job chart so I found this beauty....
Old pocket chart
and made this out of it....

4. The last item I have to share is a simple fix to a cute find. 
I stumbled across this school year calendar at Target. LOVED the polka dots!!
Polka dot calendar!!! Oh my!
Well, if you look a little closer, you will see that the advertising sticker that was on the front did not come off so well. I tried everything!!
So here is how I fixed (covered) it.
Isn't this better!!
The last item is not something I made but I ordered. I found this lovely binder at Zazzle.com. You can personalize so many items on this site. I loved the binders so I designed this one for my planner. 
I just love everything to match!!
Well that is all for now. I have several more projects and pictures of my class to add later. I am waiting for my new blog design that Christi from Ms. Fultz's Corner is doing for me right now. I LOVE it!! Check back this week to check it out!

It's coming....!!!

I just got my preview of my new blog design. WOW! I am so excited about the new look. I am having Christi at Ms. Fultz's Corner design it. She is so talented and I love supporting a fellow teacher.

So be on the look out for the reveal and I have lots to post about things I've been making for the classroom.


Monday, August 5, 2013

First Monday Made It and Paying It Forward Part 2

Can I just tell you how long I have wanted to be a part of this linky?! If you don't know what it is just hop on over to 4th Grade Frolics. Tara set up this linky party to share all of the wonderful things we make along the year for our classrooms.

This post is also part of my Paying It Forward series. I truly believe we should always think of how we can give back to others. So here we go....!!!

MADE IT #1-Vistaprint

I made these beauties through Vistaprint.
Class Pledge: we say this everyday after the pledge of allegiance to get everyone ready for the day.
Rack Cards: I give these out to parents to help them log into our blackboard site.
Notepads: We Missed You! I use these when a student is absent. All of their assignments are listed here by a class helper.
Grading stickers: For those times when you are grading on a 5 point scale. I slap one of these in their notebook.
Stamps: Name? (Need I say more!) and Checked by Ms. Munoz (I want them to know that I saw their independent work that wasn't ready to grade or that I don't grade)
Keychain: Ms. Munoz's Keys (Yes, I lose these a lot around campus. Now they know their way back to me)

MADE IT #2- Pam's Projects (Paying It Forward)

HOBBY LOBBY!! Last year I found this store (thanks to you bloggers out there) Well we went looking for items to add to my teaching partner's classroom. I found this frame (on sale of course!) and note board (Already in her theme!!) WooHoo! Put them together with a little hot glue and you get....

Isn't it pretty??!! I also finished her behavior clip chart. You can get it HERE at my TpT store.

I have a few more that I am working on for next week. I am leaving for Florida this week so I better get it together here quick. Here is a little sneak peek...

Well that's all for now. Thanks for reading my post. Make sure you head on over to Tara's blog and check out some more Monday Made Its. (Warning: It is addicting!!)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Pinterest Scavenger Hunt Contest

Here is a Rafflecopter contest that is giving away a $50 gift certificate to TpT. You can find the link HERE.

Good Luck!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Paying It Forward (Part 1)

I had so much fun decorating my classroom last year! (Pics to come soon!) I decided this year I would help my fabulous teaching partner with her classroom. She is a very stylish woman so I'm going with a damask theme and her favorite color- teal blue. It has been fun starting to shop and now that I am almost unpacked (Yes, I moved again!), I can get to work on creating everything!

One of the first few items I made was her behavior chart. You can view and purchase HERE if you like. I will post the pic when it is done. Hopefully I can join in on Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for her Monday Made It linky next week.

Stay tuned for my series on Paying It Forward (Pam's Room) to check out how her classroom turns out!


Monday, July 22, 2013

First Freebie

Well I decided to get my TpT store up and running. I will be working on lots of products to add to it in the next few weeks. You can access my store at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/store/Tales-From-The-Polka-Dot-Classroom

I use a numbering system like most of you out there in the blog world. I plan to use these to make a Homework Club chart. Pictures will come soon!

I am also VERY excited that Christi over at Ms. Fultz's Corner will be creating my new blog design! She is so talented and I love her ideas. Make sure you check out her site HERE.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Day 1 (I am so excited!!)

Well I finally did it! After spending last summer and most of this one following all of those wonderful teaching blogs out there, I have started my own. This blog will be under construction as I have fun figuring out all of the ways to make it cute and reflect my fun side. Thank you for stopping by and please check back for my new design!