Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Blog Hoppin' Scavenger Hunt

If you follow me on Instagram you may notice that I have posted a lot of pictures with the hashtag #bloghoppin2014.  The crew over at Blog Hoppin'  have put on a scavenger hunt that has a lot of teachers searching high and low.  I have been able to get my kids and friends involved also.  I may have also tried to get a sneak picture of someone wearing a fanny pack but was not quick enough to chase them down.....  You can join in the fun by going to this blog hoppin' post to find out all the details.  If you are not following me on Instagram you can find me at caorsborne.

Here are some of my highlights! B has been a real sport in trying to help me get all of my pictures.

This is where I tried to get the guy in the fanny pack


B and I made play dough so we could spell out my name and Blog Hoppin'!

B wanted to pretend he was holding up the bus.

Making slime! This was our science experiment
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B hold a teacher bag full of books!
 


You can check out other pictures by going to the link up over at Blog Hoppin!

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Teacher Toolbox: PECS organization (Freebie!)

A few years ago when the teacher toolbox craze hit I really wanted to hop on board, but it did not happen until last summer.  I decided to make a toolbox not only for my supplies, but also for my picture communication system.  I decided to wait to blog about it until I could see how it worked out.

 I must say, I  LOVE this system.  Anyone can come into my room and look for a picture they might need.  The drawers are labeled (Although, as you can tell by the pictures, I did not have enough labels, oops!) and all you do is pull out the pictures to locate the one you need.  The pictures are also easy to put away, although I do keep a small basket right in front of the toolbox to throw pictures in.  Then a classroom volunteer can quickly go through and put them away.  I found throughout the year that I needed drawers that were just for a certain student.  So I just wrote their name on one of the blanks.These worked great to keep student specific pictures organized.  

I also love my toolbox with all of my supplies in it.  This made is super easy for all the paraprofessionals I work with to find things in my room instead of having to look on my messy organized in my way desk.

To make this I bought the toolboxes from Lowes.  They are Stack-On 18 drawer Storage Cabinets. Right now they are $19.96 each, however you can go through Ebates and purchase it online to get 2% back.  If you do in-store pickup then there is no shipping costs  (You can find out more about Ebates by checking out this blog post.).  I then made labels, printed them, laminated therm and attached the labels to the insides of the drawers with double sided tape.

To save you some time I am going to share my labels.  I used graphics from MyCuteGraphics and fonts from Kimberly Geswein Fonts.  Ready to go get your copy?  Click here or on the picture to the right!!



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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pencil Sharpener Love!


So, I have this pencil sharpener and I kind of fell in love with it. (SHHHHH!  Don't tell my husband!). I bought my first one a few years ago with a fewer of my fellow teachers.  We bought a 3 pack to try out.  Well, they were a hit!  So much that this school year our PTO bought one for EVERY teacher in the building.  On top of that some teachers have 4 in their classrooms.  That way each table has their own.

These pencil sharpeners where made for classrooms by an elementary school teacher.  Who to know better what torture we put pencil sharpeners through?!  What I love about these sharpeners (besides they sharpen pencils) is that they are easy to use, you can buy replacement parts, and remember how when we were in school cleaning the pencil sharpener always ended up Ina big mess?  Well these awesome sharpeners have an easy to pull out drawer that makes those pen pick shaving messes a thing of the past!

Also, since I have bought my first sharpener, Troy has come up with new colors, designs, and what I am most excited about..... A sharpener for large pencils!  You know, those big pencils that are great for our early learners or special ed kiddos who need something larger to grasp.  Yes, those pencils..... I think this one is going on my wish list.

Are you ready to check it out?  Head on over to Classroom Friendly Supplies to see what the fuss is all about!  You can find lots of rave reviews, more pictures, FAQs, and more.  

I hope you love this sharpener as much as I do!


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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Pirate Week part 2!

Well the boys finished up Pirate Camp last week with a demonstration.  They were a ship and the parents pretended to be a Merchant ship.  When we went to exchange our candy for their chocolate chip cookies they attacked!  They boys learned so much last week about being pirates and some of the marine biology and history from our area were snuck in also.  They made some really cool things also that I now will  put into my back pocket for my next pirate week such as a boat and a bandana. (The sword was really cool also, but I don't think I can get away with making that in school).

So anyway, on to my pirate week at school.  We made pirate spy glasses.  I think these were my favorite and the most of the kids favorite.  To make them we first talked about how pirates use a spy glass to see off of their ship.  Then we got to work making out own.  We used paper towel rolls (Upcycling!!) and decorated them with markers and ocean themed foam stickers.  Then I took a piece of clear saran wrap and attached it to the end of the spy glass with a rubber band.  That was it!  Simple and the kids had a ball during free play making up pirate stories and going on treasure hunts.





When we went outside, I told the kids they would have to walk the plank before they could go to the playground.  If they made it through the sharks they would be ok.  I wish I took a picture of the look on their faces when I told them this.  It was hysterical!  As you can see from the picture our plank was simply a ramp that they walked across, but they loved it.












In honor of my pirate week, I decided to link up with Teaching Tribune again (They are having some great linkys this summer!) and discount two of my products 50%.   The first product is Shipwrecked.  This is a sight word game featuring cute pirates!  The other one is Where is the Turkey? bundle (Yes, I know it is not a pirate theme, but go with it!!).  This is an interactive book that has a classroom edition and a student edition. It works on positional words.


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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Throwback Thursday Pirate Style!


Picture Credit: David Willbanks
It is time for another Throwback Thursday over at The Teaching Tribune.  Keeping with the pirate theme for this week, I am reposting a game I made when I first began blogging.  This game continues to be a class favorite.  Of course, I do not have any pictures of the kids playing it!  I put the sticks in a sand bucket to help fit the theme. 



**This post originally appeared on Learning Ahoy!! on June 12, 2011**

Ship Wrecked! (math & sight word game!)

After seeing a game called Don't Get Zapped on Swap Frog First Graders (I love this blog by the way) I decided to add my own spin to the game to make it fit the pirate theme. The name of the game is Shipped Wrecked. Students pick a stick and read the work or solve the problem. If they get it correct they get to keep the stick, if they get it wrong they put it back. If they pick a stick that says Ship Wrecked then they need to put all of their sticks back. If they pull a stick that says trade with another player, then they need to give their sticks to another player and the other player takes the first players sticks. I think lose a turn is self explanatory :o)

To make this game, print out the game sheet on to address labels. Then cut in half and place on craft sticks.


Let me know your thoughts and if you have any other ideas on how this game can be adapted. Also, please check out Swamp Frog First Graders if you haven't already by clicking on the button.





**End of post**






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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Pirate week!

My oldest two boys A & B are at Pirate camp this week so I thought it would be the perfect time to share some activities that we did in my ECSE classroom for our pirate week.  I will say, I think it was my favorite theme and the kids loved it.  I even had feedback from parents that heard all about it at home.

The first thing we did was read the book  How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long and David Shannon (I just loved David Shannon books!!).  At the end of the book we found a mysteriously placed treasure map. (Of course, I forgot to take pictures of this part).  The captain of our crew (AKA, me), led the students on a quest for buried treasure.  Our letter of the week was X, so we were looking for the X.  We found it!! And when we found the X, we found another map.  This continued for a few rounds until the map led us to a city playground next door to our school that has a pirate ship.  There we found the treasure box filled with gold and jewels.

After having some fun playing on the pirate ship.  The crew went back to the classroom and rotated though centers. Some were free play (kitchen, blocks) and others were structured.  In one center the students made their own pirate maps out of paper bags.  First they cut off the bottom and then cut a slit down the side (lots of following directions).  Next they drew their treasure map and added a foam x to mark the spot where their treasure would be buried.  The last thing they did was crumble up their map to make it look old.

Be on the lookout over the next few days for more posts about the fun pirate things we did!



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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Making Circle time easy!!



Today over at The Teaching Tribune there is a linky for tried and true teaching tips. I want to re-share a website that I use for my circle time, movement, and when I just need to save a video.  I also have subs use this site as I can load up any videos or websites I want the sub to use and it is all in one spot.  I could also make one for the kids (which I have done in the past), but the group I have right now require assistance on the computer as they lack mouse control.  (We are working on it, if you have a great idea for this let me know!!)

I also use another site to help with my videos called SafeShare.tv  Safe Share allows me to show videos to my students without all of the extra Youtube stuff (You know the other videos that might not be appropriate for your students to see) and avoids the advertisments.   Using SafeShare requires an extra step when I put videos on  my Portaportal, however it is completely worth it!

**This post first appeared on the Learning Ahoy blog on  July 31, 2013:  You can find the original post here.***

My Circle Time Lifeline

Part of my morning circle time includes a few songs that involve movement.  I have found that my students LOVE the songs that are videos on YouTube.  Keeping track of how to get all of these videos and  explaining how to get to them to a sub was not easy.  So I started using Portaportal to organize all of the videos, websites, games etc that I wanted to easily be able to link to.  I was introduced to Portaportal when I first began teaching (9 years ago) so it has been around for awhile.  The great thing about this is that anyone with internet access can view my portal, but not make changes.  This means I can give the site to parents, put it on student computers, and leave it for a sub to access. I can even make changes at home.  You can checkout my Portalportal by clicking here.

I made a quick tutorial to help you get started on your own Portaportal. 

Start by going to Portaportal.  You will need to click Signup on the left hand side to make your own account.   porta portal 1    


Now put in your information. Make sure your user name is something you are not afraid to share, as that will be how people find your portal. 
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After you create your account, you will need to login using the username and password that you created when you signed up.
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This is what your site will look like when you log in (Well, it will not have all of the links and categories!)  To get started with adding your own categories and links you need to click on the file folder with the + sign in the top right corner. 
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This is where you add your category names.  After you type them in click on Add Categories.  (Don’t worry you can add more then 5, but can only do 5 at one time.)
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Once you have added your categories. It is time to add your links. On your main page go to your category and click on the middle button that looks like a pencil. You can also add subcategories by clicking the folder in the category view.
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In the title section type the text you want to see under the category.  Next add your URL.  You also have to option to hide a link (set up for the year, but only have certain links available at certain times) add a description and add an icon.  When you are finished click add links.  Your done!! Now go experiment and add more links!
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I hope this makes things easier for you! I do use Safeshare.tv to take out all of the ads around the YouTube videos.  I find this also helps with having the kids ask me to click on a video in the sidebar, or having the kids click on a video in the sidebar.

***End of past post**

So are you going to try this out?  I now have a smartboard and it works great!  I know that I can run to the bathroom while the kids are dancing and the paraprofessionals know exactly what to do next.

Head over to The Teaching Tribune to check out other Tried and True teaching tips!!

While looking through the Tried and True teaching tips, I found another linky party!! Check it out!



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