Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Who's That Blogger Linky

Welcome Everyone!!

         Are you ready to have some fun??
                                              ....Play a game?
                                                              .....Win  prizes and cash?

I have teamed up with 65 AMAZING blogger buddies to put together the ultimate Back to School Linky/Giveaway!!!

Each one of my blogger buddies submitted a cute childhood photo & generously donated something special from their online TpT shops for this occasion!! We have included a fun game for you to play for a chance to win over $300.00 in prizes and a BONUS  CASH-PRIZE raffle you can enter at the end of this post!! 


The game is easy to play....

 Your job will be to try and match each blogger with their childhood photo!!! With over 60 childhood photos and bloggers to match up, this might get tricky!! As I mentioned above, each blogger has generously donated one awesome prize from their TpT store. Successfully match a blogger and childhood photo, and you win the prize offered from that blogger!!! The more you matches you make, the more prizes you win!!! 

Check out some of the prizes you could win!!!

but Wait....
That's not all....

ONE lucky follower will win a $125 Amazon Gift Card!! Scroll to the bottom & follow the directions in the Rafflecopter for a chance to win $$$

The link below will open a form that will allow you to submit your answers for the match up. 

Use the blogger links and numbered images to help you along the way!! Each childhood photo has been assigned a specific number. 

Once you open the form, use the drop-down menu beneath each blog button and select a number that corresponds to a childhood photo. 

The form results will be collected throughout the week. At the end of the week, each submission will be "graded" and you will receive a prize for each blogger and photo you successfully matched up!!

The game closes on Friday, August 23rd at midnight (Arizona Mountain Time). Answers will be announced on Saturday, August 24th. Winners will be notified through email throughout the week. 

Use the blog links below the photos to search for clues!!
Click HERE to Play the Matching Game!!


Follow the directions in the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a $125 Amazon gift card!! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much for participating!!! Good Luck!!!

If you would like to post about this linky/giveaway, grab the special image below to display in your post and link up below!!! Make sure to use the link to the actual post,,,

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Stablility Balls in Fifth Grade

Classroom Library with 3 balls
After spending the summer relaxing and hanging out with my family, I finally started to feel the itch to get into my classroom. Since I couldn't, I started to stare at Pinterest and looked through tons of other teachers' classrooms.  One caught my eye, and after reading the blog post I got super excited!  Mrs. Smyth from New Adventures in First Grade wrote about how she replaced all her chairs with stability balls.  Intrigued, I read more about it. 

After reading over her post and doing some of my own research on it, I was sold.....kind of. One, I knew that at my school replacing ALL the chairs in my classroom with a stability ball just isn't feasable. I know my principal would be very supportive but we simply don't have the space to store the chairs anywhere. Plus, we have so many books and items that my kids need their chairs to store the hardcover books underneath and their chairpockets for other things. However, I thought if I could incorporate even just a few that it could still be beneficial. Especially since I knew some of my kids could REALLY benefit from these.

After thinking about it I decided to get ten balls and contacted a parent who seemed very excited to donate things to my classroom. Thankfully she was on board and knew about the benefits of it already.  She placed the order immediately. :-)  Before ordering, I made sure I was getting the correct size for my kids. I ended up going with ten purple 55cm balls from Amazon at only $10 a pop! Not too shabby in my opinion.

The balls arrived and I couldn't wait to blow them up. Thankfully I read the directions before doing so and learned that I had to follow the 80/24 rule. Blow them up to only 80% of their capacity and wait 24 hours before filling it up the remaining 20%.  This helps the ball stretch before you fill it too much.

Our back table. Three balls on each side.
I placed six of the balls at the back table for when we do group work and three more are in our classroom library.  The final ball I have at my desk area. I figure I can use some major core strengthening myself especially after having two kids. ;-)  I plan on going to the Dollar Store and getting either frisbees or some other object to help keep the balls from rolling all over the place when we aren't using them.  However, I can say that they don't roll too badly in my classroom since I have carpeting. They do a little if pushed but for the most part they have stayed where I placed them.
Rules poster (right above the back table)
I'm eagerly awaiting the students to arrive in a week to see and start using them.  I did put together a little rule poster for the balls but I plan on also creating a poster with my students as to what we should and should not see when a student is utilizing the ball.  If they can't follow directions, they will love the privilege for a week. I plan on having a three strikes you're out policy per semester.

I did have a Pilates Certified Instructor make a recommendation to only have my students sit on them for short periods of time (max 20 minutes) as many kids these days don't have the proper muscles developed for longer periods.  This is good to know and since I only have them at the back table and in my library the kids wouldn't be using them for longer than that anyway. 

I will keep you all posted as the year goes on.  So tell me, do any of you have stability balls in your classroom?  How is it?

P.S. Stay tuned. I'll have my classroom tour up soon. :-)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Back to School Giveaway - Hosted by Lessons From the Middle


I am thrilled to be a part of a fantastic giveaway that Krystal, at Lessons From The Middle, is hosting to celebrate Back to School. 

There are over $400 worth of prizes to be won including: 
~ Multiple TPT shopping sprees in sellers' stores to help you get all stocked up for a new school year 
~ $10 Starbucks gift certificate to get the year started on the right foot 
~ $75 gift certificate at WiseDecor to make your classroom even more inviting for your students with beautiful wall decals 
~$25 gift certificate at Black Rafter Soap Works to pamper yourself a little bit after the first big week back 
~Cool Duo Binders to get you organized easily 
~An awesome tote from Thirty-One - who doesn't love a new bag? 

There are FOUR Prize Packages to be won! Make sure to enter to win each of the prize packages - they're all fantastic and you don't want to miss out! This giveaway runs August 10th-14th. Good luck!  
Prize Package #1 a Rafflecopter giveaway  
Prize Package #2 a Rafflecopter giveaway  
Prize Package #3 a Rafflecopter giveaway  
Prize Package #4 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Classroom Management Ideas

When it comes to classroom management, I try to employ a variety of positive reinforcement with my students.  My main system that I use is a classroom economy.  In the beginning of the year, students apply for classroom jobs (which they keep the ENTIRE year.) We discuss things such as online job applications (get your copy here for free), resumes, and interviews and talk about what to do and what not to do.  Students each interview with me for the job they would like and I hire them based upon what students I think would be best for each job. (I always try to give them one of their top three choices.)  Once jobs are in place, students are put on payroll. I actually have a spreadsheet and mailmerge that allows me to print out paychecks for each student.  These paychecks reflect what a real check would look like.  I take out taxes to help run the "city" and we discuss what each of those taxes are, etc.  These checks are deposited into their bank accounts, which give them online banking access at So again, students learn all about checking accounts and even have checks of their own that they can use to pay for fines or things they purchase. - IT'S FREE!
Sample Paycheck

In addition to the checks, students can earn class cash, which in my classroom is called Kenzie Kash (named after my daughter, Kenzie).  Students can deposit their cash into their checking accounts or keep a small bit on hand. They use the money to pay for things that they win in the quarterly class auction, the classroom video store where they can rent VHS and DVD tapes to bring home, or pay for fines if they aren’t following the rules in the classroom.  I often hear very positive reviews of my economy system from not only the students but the parents as well. 

Character Certificates
However, the classroom economy is just one of the methods I use to help with my management. Other things that I do are the character certificates.  You can read more about them here but the main idea is that the students recognize each other for their good character.  (Download the freebie here.) 

Puff Ball Payout
Another idea that I do is my puff ball machine. It correlates with the classroom economy in which students who don’t receive points in behavior and work habits the previous week get to take a spin on the puff ball machine.  I did a blog post on that too where you can read all about it.  Depending on what color puff ball the student gets, they get a certain amount of class cash to go with it.  (Read the blog post here.)

Desk Messages

One of my favorite ideas that I do is a weekly thing. Each Friday, I choose 5-6 students and I write a positive message on their desk with a dry-erase marker.  The students really look forward to this each week. I rotate to make sure that each student gets one every few weeks. (Read the blog post here.)

Along with all of these methods, I also use Classroom Scratch and Win cards.  These cards are reserved for birthdays and days that I see kids doing something fabulous.  They LOVE them!  They are super easy to make too.  Basically, I take my certificates and cover the box with a piece of packing tape.  I then mix 1 part dish soap with 2 parts black paint (silver is preferable but all I have is black right now). I then paint over the packing tape with a couple coats of the paint.  When students get a card, they scratch off the paint to see what they won.  They really get a kick out of this! (See my scratch and win printable here.)

Sample scratch & wins (available in my store)

What are some classroom management tips and systems that you have in place? Comment below!
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