Five for Friday

Along with getting an amazing new haircut today I had a great week!  Summer is officially DONE and I am in full on school mode (never felt like I fell out of school mode!).  
Here is my Five for Friday!
Link up HERE
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I do back to school conferences at my school.  I LOVE the value of these conferences, I start school with a better understanding of where my students are coming from, and I get some extra time to talk with parents about my expectations (and theirs), our schedules, and answer any questions that might be weighing on their minds.  I will not lie's tough!  Today I met with 9 parents, so I have 39 to go! I'm hoping to get them all done next week and scheduling has been a full time job. 
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I got most of my classroom decor hung up this week and just the way I like it.  My classroom feels like a happy place!  Click HERE to see my classroom decor pac in my store!

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Even my library is ready to go!  (I reorganize it every single summer, one day I will get it right!)  I finished it off today with $1 baskets from the Dollar Tree.  I may be late to the game here, but I didn't know that everything at Dollar Tree was actually a dollar!  
I may have a new shopping addiction!

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I joined the party a little late but my entire store is 20% off for Christmas in July!   I wish I was catching rays with this snowman right now!
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My littlest little came home from a 1 week mission trip on the reservation tonight.  She was so full of stories she could hardly get them all out.  I missed her!

Happy Friday to you!  When do you return back to school?  I go back next Thursday (teachers report back).  Kiddos come back August 5th!

What's Happening Wednesday: Classroom Reveal!

What have I been up to?  
I've been doing a lot of work in my classroom that's what! 
I'm excited to share a few pics with you today so get ready for picture overload here...
First and closet.  I moved classrooms this year and that is always an opportunity to clean out and organize.  (I've been teaching 10 years...this is my 6th classroom!)  I'm getting pretty good at this.

I might have to keep my closet open just to stare in amazement at how beautiful it is!
I used my Classroom Decor Pac to organize all my binders.  I got rid of my file cabinet last year and put everything into binders.  I have January through December binders to keep all my purchases and creations straight and right at my fingertips.  I'm excited about this!
My library is coming right along.  I FINALLY have a place to keep my big books (this has always been a struggle) and I increased my library bins by 18....only a few are pictured here.  So now I have a category for just about everything a Kindergartener would be interested in.  Maybe!
My math shelf is looking awesome with all my new labels that match the rest of my classroom.  I love having these all ready to go so I can teach on the fly!
One thing I want to Learner Profile posters from last year.  I love them but I have changed my decor so the "Chevron Brights" don't match anymore.  It's driving me crazy!  But I love having them displayed like this. 
My Daily Five and CAFE wall.  I have to do a little tweaking to get my ICharts to fit but this is where the bulk of my teaching takes place!
This is my IB Interactive Wall.  We post our classroom questions here and the focus for each unit.  I created this "bulletin board" by stapling a sheet to the wall and adding border.  This room did NOT have enough bulletin boards for me!
My new grammar wall!  I posted this as a freebie at the beginning of the summer, you can get it HERE.  I don't have a {perfect} picture of what this will look like this year but it is something we are trying to incorporate in our district this year and I am excited about using it!
I FINALLY found a place for my number posters.  I couldn't fit them in one long line in the room ANYWHERE.  Believe me, I tried.  I finally put them in the corner (and got rid of the TV that belonged here).  I'm hoping this works for my Kinders!
I'm excited to use these sentence strips as my objective board.  I cut out "objectives" with my Cricut that I don't use nearly enough!
I LOVE my new calendar that matches everything in my room! 
This picture is a little bit of everything, but I wanted to share it to show the number line at the top of my white board. I have NEVER EVER been able to use a number line all the way to 100 in one easy space.  I made this in hopes it would fit and IT. FIT. PERFECTLY!  I was so thrilled when I finally had a usable number line for my classroom! 

So that's what's happening this Wednesday for me!  I'm so close to being totally ready it's not even funny.  Tomorrow is the last day of summer school and then I have 1 week to relax before it's time to go back.  I hope you are still enjoying a summer break and NOT working in your classrooms!
If you would like to check out the products I used to decorate my classroom you can see them here:
 And oh yeah!  Everything is on sale until the 26th!  Christmas in July ya'll!

Technology Tuesday: QR Codes

I'm not always the first to jump in there and try something new, I have to get my brain wrapped around it first.  Are you like that?  I like to think I'm a risk taker but with technology there is a  learning curve involved that I like to take my time with.  

QR codes have been no different.  I understand how they work, I know how to make them, and I know the thousands of ways I can use them in the classroom.  Have I used them yet? Nope.  Still waiting for that moment I get motivated to take the plunge.

Today's the day!

Well, last month was the day. I immersed myself in QR code sessions at the annual ISTE conference this year.  Here are a few short steps to help you take the plunge too!

To create a QR code you need to use a QR Code Generator.  The one I like I learned about from Monica Burns (from Class Tech Tips...her site is awesome and she posts daily tech tips for all you techie teachers out there!)  
You can pay for the extras but to create simple QR codes it's totally free.

Simply follow the steps to create your QR code for a website, video, or any of the other listed links.  Copy and paste into the Website URL box and POOF, you have a QR code. With this site you can even change the color of the code. Cool huh? 

Now, the first thing I wanted to try was recording my voice for directions for centers for the kiddos and also adding to my Listening to Reading center for books that I do not have CD's for.  To do this it's as easy as pushing "record" on an old tape recorder.  No kidding! 

First go to the site Record mp3
Just like it the button above to start recording.  Push stop when you are done (just like an old tape recorder, hehe)  and hit save. 
This little box pops up and there you have your URL to copy and paste into the QR Code creator.  THAT.SIMPLE. 

Once you have the QR code you can print it out and include it in center directions, a listening station, or even a note home (gasp!).

Now for those of you that are saying, ok, that's cool but I don't have anything in my room for kids to use to read QR codes.  Here are few things I have thought about for getting devices in the room. 

1. Does your school do BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)?  A lot of schools do and this is one way you can have kids use their own devices to read your QR Codes.  They just need a QR Code App on their device (totally free on Apple and Android devices). 

2. Ask for donations.  If I've learned anything in the last 10 years of teaching....if you don't ask--it's never going to happen.  Ask!  Ask parents, family, or friends if they have any old iPod touches they would be willing to part with.  Even if you got 1 it would be worth it!

3. Donors Choose.  Now I can't talk from experience but I am working on a project right now.  It's my first one and I'm finally taking that leap.   It's worth checking out!  

So tomorrow my kiddos (in summer school) are going to use a QR code to listen to their chapter of our chapter book using a QR code.  I think they will enjoy this fun way to read the next chapter.  Maybe it will help keep them focused during this oh so long 3rd week of summer school!

I hope this helps you if you have been wanting to try out QR codes!  Have fun with it!

Five for Friday...oh so late!

Do you ever just forget what day it is?  I do!  A lot.  Especially in the summer time.  I completely forgot yesterday was Friday, so here is a quick recap of the week.

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I started the week timing my daughter for her mile swim for swim team.  I'm always so impressed with how much stamina she has for swimming.  I couldn't swim 2 laps without stopping let alone 72!  She did it in 30 minutes!  She probably would have been faster if dad would have answered the question "lap?" a little sooner every time she asked it!

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We made some memory boards at home this week so my girls could hang up all their little cherished movie tickets, game tickets, and pictures instead of just throwing them in a box.  They turned out really cute!  

I also canned a bunch of tomatoes from my garden this week too. I felt like quite the homemaker for a second or two.
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I made all of my BEE books this week.  That was a huge under taking and I'm glad they are ready for the first day of school.  I blogged all about them HERE
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We had some nice monsoon storms this week too!  It was nice to get a little rain :) 
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And we had a ton of sunshine too.  My middle little and I went kayaking with a friend on Friday and it was so much fun!  We had a ball!
That was my week!  2 more and it's back to school. Summer why do you go by so fast?