Friday, August 29, 2014

Classroom Jobs & The S.O.S Binder!

It's back to school time!! Have you started yet??
I started this Monday, but only went for two days. We close because of the local county fair that is right across the street from our school. So I go back after Labor Day! It seems strange to some people to go for just those two days, but it works very nicely - we get the kids and all of their supplies in, we discuss and practice routines/procedures, our rooms are ready, and when we go back we can jump right into the curriculum!

Well, a midst all of this crazy back to school preparation I made some changes to how I manage things in my classroom and thought I would show and share those with you!

The first thing I changed was my "theme." I have an overall colorful, chevron theme going on (with mostly gray and white chevron) but last year I used robots from CTP, the previous year I had owls, and the year before (my first year) I had stars. I wanted to do a nautical theme along with the chevron, but it just seemed like an overwhelming undertaking when I realized I needed to change all of my black accent items to navy. Just tooo much right now. Then I started working on my student take home binders, and out came a Superhero Kid theme (also thanks to Krista Wallden at Creative Clips, because her aDoRabLe superhero kids clipart helped too!)

When I got to the point that I wanted to work on my classroom jobs, I was a bit stuck. I couldn't figure out exactly what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to use the superhero kids for "Super Helpers" and wanted to have enough jobs for each child (since I would only have 15 to 16 in my class -- I know, I know, I'm lucky blessed!) Finally, inspiration struck when I saw what The Tattooed Teacher created with her new classroom jobs! She added in circles where faces should go on some super cute clip art and the effect is awesome! In the circles, you could put student faces or numbers, and BOOM! adorable job system!
So, while we were in the car heading to Michigan a few weeks ago and I saw this creation on her Instagram, I got to work!

Here's how they turned out, once I printed and laminated them!

SOOO CUTE, right!? I am so glad I found her amazing idea, because I JUST LOVE IT! I took my students' pictures on the first day. I printed an extra circle the same size as what I used to cover their faces and traced on the pictures so it was the exact same size. I cut them out, laminated them, and I will use sticky tack to put them up and change them! I can't wait to put the pictures in on Tuesday to see the final product!

Now, to manage the jobs I created something else to go along with them. I decided that I wasn't very satisfied with a weekly job selection anymore. It just wasn't wowing me. So I switched it up and went with a monthly system. I also have wanted to do a "job application" system but I knew I needed to be in the older grades for it to work. Since I get to stay in 3rd grade this year, I am going for it! I worked on a job application one night, and then to help students stay accountable to their duties, I created job descriptions for each job. I no longer have to repeat what every job is responsible for when we apply for jobs or remind students what their responsibilities are. If they forget or aren't sure, they can look through the descriptions before applying! God really gave me inspiration one night and I worked until about 2am so I didn't lose my train of thought!

Here's how it all turned out!

I laminated the descriptions and hole punched them to put them on a binder ring. I hung them on a shelf that is right next to the wall the jobs are on, and under them I added a pocket where the job applications are kept. Everything is in one space-saving spot!
I also made a disclaimer (above) that says that if at any time a student is not fulfilling his/her duties, I can remove him/her from the assigned position! I couldn't resist that little paragraph of enforcement that they are agreeing to when they sign their application! ;)

I also made a poster to remind them to do their jobs and to do their best (so hopefully I won't have to and they will get in the habit of doing them at the end of the day) and also connected it to my classroom verse: Colossians 3:23. In this verse, Paul instructs us to do our best in everything we do so as to honor the Lord, not to please men.

On Tuesday afternoon I was going over the jobs with my new kiddos and told them we would be applying when we came back from our little break. They were so excited they convinced me to let them apply then so I could assign jobs over break. I was excited about having them apply too, so I went with it! I am so glad I did, because their applications are JUST ADORABLE!

This application wants to be hired because she loves me and "wants to help"..... AHH! This group melts my heart! Several couldn't pick, so they applied for anything! Their reasons were well-written and I was so thrilled as I went through the stack. It's going to be so fun, I will be looking forward to this every month!

Now, I also mentioned above The S.O.S. Binder. It's a revamp of my Take Home Binder system I blogged about several months ago in my post "O-H So Organized." It's a way I keep my students organized and I have wanted to post the pack on TpT for a while, but just never got around to putting it all together. One day this summer the term S.O.S. came to me for Super Organized Student and I finally got to work! I was struggling with more inspiration once I had the name and title down, until I thought of using superhero kids for being "super organized." Originally I had wanted to connect into my nautical theme because of "SOS" being a rescue term, but I couldn't find clip art I liked so I stuck with superhero kids, and I am so glad I did!

Slowly, it all started to come together and I worked and worked....and worked until I had the finished product! Here's a peek of how it looks assembled for my students!

 the cover:

a clear pouch for notes/money, my welcome packet for the year,
and S.O.S. Dos and Don'ts for the students:

 descriptions and instructions for the parents and the communication log:

I just used loose leaf notebook paper for the communication log, but the pack includes contact log forms.
Next is the homework log:

I copied my homework log sheets to be double-sided, and because I don't assign homework on Fridays
one page should last about a week and a half!
Then I added in a page for my behavior logs:

my behavior log calendars. I always print them in color on cardstock to remind parents
of the color choice so they aren't confused if their child is always on red.. that's GOOD!

I then have clear page protectors in which I put our weekly spelling lists & Bible memory verse.
This is where I put other homework helpers, project information, and other items students will need.

last but not least, the take home folder! I bought plastic ones this year, in the hopes
they they won't rip out and will hold up all year!

Because I had looped with my last group of students for 3 years, most of my parents knew and understood this system; they were used to it. This group of parents had never seen a system like this before, so I made sure to lay it out in a simple, organized way and walked my students through the entire thing on the very first day. I had RAVE reviews in several communication logs the next day which warmed my heart! 

You can check out the whole pack here on TpT. Everything you see above comes in color and B&W versions and is entirely editable! I inserted text boxes on the cover pages and put my students' names on top of the burst. Cover pages have multiple options and there are monthly calendars included for the whole year (similar to the behavior logs, but those specifically are not included). Once you purchase it you will be able to redownload the updated calendars every year - so you only need to buy it once!
There are several other items also included that I don't use but that I put in by request. So there are lots of options for you and your students!

What do you think!? Do you use a binder system like this? Tell me about it below - I love to hear others' ideas and how they make it work for them in their classroom :)

Sunday, August 3, 2014

SLANT box reveal!

Hey friends!

I am a tad late on my June/July SLANT box reveal {oops!} Hubby and I went to my cousin's wedding yesterday out of town, so we are currently in Michigan right now staying for the week to explore and visit family. Right now we are in the Detroit area.... today we went to the Greenfield Village. It was very cool! I have become quite interested in history as of late, so the teacher-nerd in me enjoyed all of the historical tid bits. I took LOTS of pictures and a few videos to use in history class with my kiddos this year. My favorite part had to have been Noah Webster's house! I saw the exact study where he worked on the dictionary and saw some neat original books he authored. They had a short video about him there as well, so I recorded it on my phone to show my students since we study him in history - I hope they are as excited about it as me! Tomorrow we are going to hit up the Henry Ford museum and tour the Ford factory... needless to say, my Hubby is quite excited about that! haha

Well, enough about all of that! Now on to your regularly scheduled blog post - SLANT BOX!

This month was my first month participating in the SLANT box and I am so glad I did! I wanted to jump in several times over the past few months but just never took the leap....well I am SO HAPPY I finally did! I met two FANTASTIC teachers and had a blast getting to know them! I got shop for the sweet Rachel who lives in Texas. Check out what I picked up for her on her blog here!

I met another super sweet girl who sent me this fantastic box of sunshine goodies! Every month of the SLANT box has a different theme. For June/July is was fittingly themed as ::sunshine:: and next month for August it is "My Hometown" I have already been talking with two more amazing teachers and as hubby and I drove to Michigan Friday evening, we brainstormed some fun ideas about our little town in O-H-I-O!

Well, here's what my dear sweet friend Lizzie sent me this month:

I was following along the #SLANTbox tag on IG like crazy and as soon as Lizzie told me she sent my box out I anticipated the mail lady's arrival every day! haha FIIINALLY it arrived on Friday and I was SO EXCITED I could barely snap some pictures! haha

I opened it up and BAM! :::SuNShiNe!

I just LOVE it all! The note cards are a bright colorful glittery chevron stripe and I can't wait to use them! I always write my students thank you notes for any gift they give me, so these will be perfect, along with the bunch of colored pens too! :)
I just LOVE the infuser mug with my initials! SO PERFECT! Orange is my favorite color, so she nailed it on the head! Hubby was excited about the package too, because he loves fruity gum and we hit the jackpot with a three-pack! :)

If you haven't heard of or participated in the SLANT box, I highly recommend that you check it out! It is an amazing way to connect with amazing people! I love shopping for thoughtful little gifts for people too, so it a lot of fun and something to look forward to! August sign-ups and matches are complete for now, but you can read more about the SLANT box, see a link-up with all of the other box reveals from this month, and stay connected for the September match-up! I hope you'll join us! You can learn about it here, with Jameson at Lessons with Coffee :)