July 2013 - Ideas By Jivey: For the Classroom


Sigh. Yes, that's correct. I'm back to work already. That's the bad thing about getting out May 24. Just the teachers for this next week though! I'll get my kiddos next Wednesday!
First, I wanted to remind you about what Workshop Wednesday will be for the next two months. I know, that is a super long time, but unfortunately, I start school next week while many do not start until September! It will be quite difficult for you all to share how you start your workshops with your students when you don't yet have students! Sooooo for the months of August AND September, the topic will be "Getting Started With Workshops." This would be where you share about how you get the kids into routines, how you set up small groups, management, and of course, lesson ideas. Because we have Reading, Writing, and Math Workshops, my hope is that you will still take the opportunity to link up for EACH one (only blogging about one subject at a time). I will have different link-ups for each different subject so that it will be better organized over the course of those two months starting next Wednesday. Please link up when you can, as many times as you'd like, posting about one type of workshop at a time! All three subjects will be open to link up to each week so that if you don't teach Math, you could still link up to Reading or Writing! I hope this will work out for everyone's schedule!

And guess what day it is??
Ok yes, it is hump day... (don't you love that commercial??? cracks me up!!)

But it's also the first day of 8 Days of Giveaways! Head on over to my facebook page starting today AND EVERY day for the next 8 days to see what the giveaway is- there is a different giveaway EVERY DAY from 8 of my BBBs!!! Wooo woooo! :o)  (you just said that like the camel, didn't you?)

See you on Facebook!! :o)

Wish me luck today! Hoping I stay awake in all our meetings that we have scheduled.....

Jessica over at I {heart} Recess couldn't have timed these Back to School Goals any better!! Here are mine......
Personal: I've been trying to do better with my eating habits, but I keep "falling off the wagon" because it's so easy to meet a friend for lunch or dinner in the summer. Although I will not always feel like it, I WILL be cooking more often because #1, eating out is expensive, and #2, I don't eat out at good-for-you places. But I'm realistic about it. I left two nights for date nights or dinner with a friend. :)

Organization: I say this EVERY year. It's actually kind of terrible. I have every good intention of staying organized. I have binders for every unit/subject. But then I run copies, or I use books, and they get stuck in a stack on my desk. The stack grows and grows and grows... I just have to make myself put everything away at the end of every day. In other words, I can't leave if there's a stack. :-P

Planning: I always start the year off using my lesson planner consistently, and then as the year goes on, my planner starts getting buried... yes, under those stacks. LOL I'm hoping since I have such an ADORABLE lesson planner, I will be motivated to use it!
Professional: Soooo this won't actually start until September, but it doesn't hurt to think ahead... I'll be getting my Gifted Endorsement this school year, so I'll have class once a week. Sometimes online, sometimes in person, but I will definitely have classwork every week. I need to make sure I plan my schedule to allow time for this because I am notorious for waiting until a day before it's due to get it done. 

Students: I know that sometimes it's easy to listen to other teachers about their experiences with students, and form a negative picture in your mind of what those students are going to do to your year. Yes, sometimes, their experiences will be your experiences, but I've also learned over the years that student-teacher match-ups aren't always the best, and someone else's experiences will not be your own. I'm going to do my best to see the positive in every kiddo, not only to make them feel good, but also just to have a good outlook on the class and the year.

Motto: You know I'm all about workshops and interactive learning. This motto is a great reminder of the kind of teacher I want to be, and the kind of learners I want to have! :)

P.S. In case you missed the announcement yesterday.........
The adorable background and embellishments were brought to you by Megan @ I Teach, What's Your Super Power? 
Starting TOMORROW and lasting through NEXT WEDNESDAYeight, e-i-g-h-t,  8!! of my BBBs have donated some of their best "beginning of the year" items to give away to help prepare you for the new year!! I'm not going to tell you who is participating... that's a secret! But EVERY DAY for those eight days, there will be a different seller featured, so make sure to head over to my Facebook every day to enter to win some AWESOME prizes!! The rafflecopter will be posted every morning by 7 AM and each giveaway will be open until that night at midnight EST.

That means: a winner every day for eight days!! Woohoo!!! But as I mentioned, it's only happening on my Facebook, so make sure you check in daily over there starting Wednesday! :o)



Oh my gosh. I have a new obsession. Actually I have two. I finally know what I've been missing out on, and I'm so sad I didn't jump on the bandwagon sooner!!!

What am I talking about??? Well here's proof of them BOTH:
My personal laminator and INSTAGRAM! I went through an entire pack of lamination pouches already, and Instagram is way too much fun! There's a button now up there at the top of my blog to follow me, or just add me manually: @ideasbyjivey!
I have to link the personal laminator up with Must-Have Monday with my girl Sabra at Teaching With a Touch of Twang because really... if you don't have one, I promise, you NEED one. I got mine for $25 at Target. The lamination is WAY thicker and you don't have to stand in a hot room with that big ol' laminator at school... and lemme tell ya, if your school is like mine, the first week we're back, there is a line out the door. And then the daggum laminator breaks. Wellllllll no worries for me! I can do it while I sit in front of the TV at home. AT NIGHT. In my PJs!!

Next, it's time to show off the things I've made for Monday Made-It with Tara!
Thanks to Instagram and my going back to school in two days ((sob)), I've been a creating fool! I still have some projects that I'm working on, so I'm excited to report that I'll be linking up with Tara TWO WEEKS IN A ROW! Whaaaaaat?!?!?! :-P  Sorry these aren't the most exciting projects- my others next week will be WAY better I promise!
 After all the laminating, what comes next? Cutting!! I now have all my place value unit games/stations created (which is my first math unit that I teach). Aaaaand school threw up all over my coffee table. :) If you're interested in the games I created- most pictured in the image above, here are the links:
Differentiated 4th Grade Common Core Place Value Centers by Christy
Going on a Camp Out Upper Elementary Centers by Christy
Common Core Aligned 4th Grade Place Value Unit by ME! :)

This was a project I pinned last year and never got around to making. My teacher friend, Stephanie, said they worked for her last year, so I did it too! Hot glue a pom-pom on the top of a dry-erase marker, and there's your eraser! Yay!

I also finished up my first interactive notebook product this weekend- it's for the Causes of the American Revolution! It's on sale today for 20% off! :)

I'll definitely be back next week with some more fun things I'm working on... but before I leave, I have to let you know, if you aren't a follower of mine on Facebook, you're going to want to be one!
The adorable background and embellishments were brought to you by Megan @ I Teach, What's Your Super Power? 
Starting THIS WEDNESDAY and lasting through NEXT WEDNESDAY, eight, e-i-g-h-t,  8!! of my BBBs have donated some of their best "beginning of the year" items to give away to help prepare you for the new year!! I'm not going to tell you who is participating... that's a secret! But EVERY DAY for those eight days, there will be a different seller featured, so make sure to head over to my Facebook every day to enter to win some AWESOME prizes!! The rafflecopter will be posted every morning by 7 AM and each giveaway will be open until that night at midnight EST.

That means: a winner every day for eight days!! Woohoo!!! But as I mentioned, it's only happening on my Facebook, so make sure you check in daily over there starting Wednesday! :o)

Guess what time it is??
That's right. Mentor Text Sunday!!

Have you heard of the "Who Was" and "What Was" series? I love these books!
Who Was Series
A great one for my Social Studies curriculum is What Was the Boston Tea Party?
In this book, the Boston Tea Party is literally brought to life while getting to know the who and why of this event. This book makes learning about the causes of the Revolution fun and is written on a level that 8-10-year-olds can actually comprehend it, which is huge since so many books about the Revolution are very high leveled. Anyone else with me on this one? Maybe that can be our next job- write nonfiction that kids can read! :)

Speaking of Causes of the Revolution....... Guess what??? I just finished my first interactive notebook product on that very topic! :) I was so excited to be able to use Erin's (I'm Lovin Lit) AWESOME Interactive Notebook Templates!!!

As usual with my new products, it will be 20% off for today and tomorrow, but I'm also going to give it away to the first person who can guess my birthday, in honor of it being Amanda's birthday today (over at Collaboration Cuties). Just leave your guess in the comments below! And when you head over to check out the other awesome mentor texts, be sure to leave Amanda some birthday love! :)

OOOOOH I almost forgot!!! Today is the last day for your chance to win a $50 gift card for TPT! Make sure you've entered!

Linking this up to Fifth In The Middle's Awesome SS linky! :)
American Revolution Linky

Happy Saturday!! I'm linking up with my BBB Joanne for her fun linky!
Before I get busy in this post, I wanted to share with you my Writer's Notebook, which I referenced in this Sparking Motivation Post back in June. Don't forget to grab the freebie from that post to have your kids make their own! :)

Now onto this week's true post! I am so excited about implementing Whole Brain Teaching (WBT) this year! I've done bits and pieces of it all along, but next year I'm going full-force. Make sure to check out their website if you aren't familiar or are looking for more details. One of the first steps is teaching Class-Yes to the students. It's an attention-getter to bring everyone back together and to YOU. You say, "Class?" and they say, "Yes!" - but they have to say it however you said it. If you said it loud, they say it loud. If you used a funny voice, they must imitate the voice. I found some other fun attention-getters on Pinterest that I'm going to use as well to change things up sometimes:
I'm going to print this to put on the board for MYSELF... but I might have to re-do it because collaborate is spelled wrong. (Is anyone else bothered by this!? LOL... OCD strikes again.)

Another "First Step" is the rules of the class. I will teach these and post these for the purpose of the management piece of it, but I also like to have my class create norms in the beginning of the year. We read over the norms every morning to start the day on the right foot. To get a set of adorable (FREE!) WBT Rules signs, hop over to Rachel Lamb's TPT store. These are the ones I'll be using!

Ok, seriously I could go on and on, but I'll stop here. The whole program itself is a great way to keep kids motivated because the idea is to keep them engaged. If you want to read more, check out their website, and honestly, just google "Whole Brain Teaching" and teacher blogs will come up! :) I'll let you know how it all goes for me periodically thoughout the year!

Before I leave you, have you entered this fabulous giveaway yet?? Who couldn't use $50 for TPT?! All you have to do is follow this Pinterest board:
Then enter the Rafflecopter below!
Contest ends TOMORROW at midnight, so hurry! Enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Sigh. It's my LAST FRIDAY of FREEDOM! {sad panda}

I can't believe I start school again Wednesday, July 31. The least they could have done is wait one day so I couldn't say I start school in July. :-P

I'm not sure if The First Grade Parade is hosting this linky anymore, but just in case... :)
Since I obviously have Back To School 2013 on the brain, here are some of my favorite pins for the topic!





And now... with Pinterest on the brain, I have a feeling you will be very excited about this!!
If you're like me, you're thinking about all of the items on your TpT wishlist as you are switching into back-to-school mode. Wouldn't it be nice if you had a big, fat TpT gift certificate to use? Well, it's your lucky day! These upper elementary bloggers are going to help foot the bill!

Here is what you need to do to enter for a chance to win a $50 TpT gift certificate:
  • Click the picture above or {here} to take you to our collaborative board.
  • Follow the board.
  • Find the pin description that contains the special code.
  • Enter the code in the Rafflecopter.
  • Easy-peasy!!
  • Contest ends Sunday, July 28th at midnight.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!! :)

For Throwback Thursday this week, I'm going to highlight a post that is in my techy tips because it is SOOOO important! I've mentioned it several times, but I'm saying it again because I think some of you DON'T KNOW that you are No-Reply Bloggers (this includes those of you who comment, but don't have a blog of your own)! When I first started blogging, I didn't know! But, I have been blessed to form several friendships through the email correspondence that happens when I reply to blog comments, or bloggers reply to my comments!


Most bloggers like to reply to you through email when you comment so that you'll actually see their response. But if you haven't changed your settings, bloggers can't reply to you! I can't tell you how many times I type out my reply through email only to go hit send and see this:





The steps are very easy. Over in the far, top right corner when you are logged into blogger, click the down arrow next to your name. You will see this screen:

***IF YOU DON'T SEE THIS SCREEN, scroll down to the asterisks below the next step!!***  :o)

Click Blogger Profile. When your profile opens, click the Edit Profile button. Then make sure you have a check in the box next to "Show my email address" and that you have included your email address for replies. (See the picture below)
Done! It's that easy! Now you won't have to go hunt down your comments for replies anymore! :)

***Ok, some of you have gone to follow these steps, but because of Google+, your screen is different. Go read how to fix yours at the tattooed teacher's blog!***


In a different sense of Throwback Thursday, I'm also linking up with Jessica at I {heart} Recess for Time Travel Tuesday! I'm so glad she created this linky because I wanted to pull this picture out to show my class what I looked like at their age!
Grade: 4th Grade
Year: 1992-1993
School: Centerville Elementary School
Teacher: Mrs. Lovelady
Favorites: Mariah Carey, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Full House, Family Matters, Beanie Babies
Memories: I went skating at Skate Night... and fell and broke my arm. :( My parents didn't believe it was broken at first because I didn't cry (I was the kid who cried over a paper-cut!) but they finally took me to the ER, and it was broken in two places! I got to have everyone sign my HOT PINK cast when I returned to school. :)

Happy Thursday! Make sure to come back tomorrow for a surprise! ;-)
Welcome to yet another installment of Workshop Wednesday, July edition! 

Before I get started into my post, I wanted to let you know about what Workshop Wednesday will be for the next two months. I know, that is a super long time, but unfortunately, I start school next week while many do not start until September! It will be quite difficult for you all to share how you start your workshops with your students when you don't yet have students! Sooooo for the months of August AND September, the topic will be "Getting Started With Workshops." This would be where you share about how you get the kids into routines, how you set up small groups, management, and of course, lesson ideas. Because we have Reading, Writing, and Math Workshops, my hope is that you will still take the opportunity to link up for EACH one (only blogging about one subject at a time). I will have different link-ups for each different subject so that it will be better organized over the course of those two months. Please link up when you can, as many times as you'd like, posting about one type of workshop at a time! All three subjects will be open to link up to each week so that if you don't teach Math, you could still link up to Reading or Writing! I hope this will work out for everyone's schedule! I will be posting about each workshop on Wednesdays, like I did this month, and I will also highlight some of the awesome ideas you all link up with!

Ok, onto this week's preparation for:
{said with sarcasm} You'll never believe who I learned about Math Workshop from!!  

Beth Newingham!! Duh.

Here is an AWESOME post she wrote that first got me hooked. I also found Mary Mueller's blog recently- click across the top under her header for several links that give you the nitty-gritty right up front!

I believe math games are a driving force of my Math Workshop. Kids want to "play," I want them to learn... math games are the answer!! I have several games posted for free in my TPT store. Click here to see my free games. Don't forget to leave feedback if you download! I know you don't get credit for that feeback, buuuut, it is nice manners. :o)

I have spent some time this summer (yes, in all my free time) looking through Van de Walle's Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics
With Common Core Standards making our math instruction much more intense, it's been good to visit these strategies again. I utilized this book last year when I created my math units to make sure I was touching on the various models and relationships of the different skills. I created the units to use in my own classroom (as I do with all my TPT products), so I've added some things to them that I wanted to make sure I used this year. At the beginning of the month, I revised my Place Value, Multiplication, and Division Units. I've just finished revising my Fraction 1, Fraction 2, and Decimal Units! Make sure to go download the revised versions from your "My Purchases" tab on TPT to get the updates, or by clicking on any of the previews below! :o) This also applies to those who purchased the bundle!

Other than planning, creating games, organizing, and catching up on some professional reading, I have to admit there really isn't a whole lot to do to prepare for Math Workshop before the kiddos come in. That's mainly because everything is truly centered around THEM. Not that my other workshops aren't, but math just seems to be so much more dependent on their knowledge and understanding. I hope you were able to take away some helpful things whether it be from me, Beth Newingham, Mary Mueller, or John Van de Walle! :)


I'm excited to link up with Miss Kindergarten for this fun linky!
But FIRST, I have to let everyone know....I am now on instagram! Yup. That's right. I caved. Lord, help me. I'll never get off my phone now! Go follow me @ideasbyjivey! You won't find many pictures... yet. But I promise they are coming!! Let me know your favorite apps you use to make your pictures cute cute cute! Because I LOVE cute. :) And of course, let me know your username so I can follow you!

Ok, onto the linky!

There are so many things I've learned from teaching, honestly. I'm going to start with what I think should truly be #1, and then the others will come in no particular order of importance. :)

#1 - Do what you KNOW is best for your students. I know this sounds like a "duh," but you'd be surprised at how easy it is to get caught up in what everyone else on your grade level is doing (or on a blog, or on TPT), but might not be right for your own kids. You are the expert in your classroom!! Sometimes, I just have to tell myself, "shut the door and teach."

#2 - Humor is a great teaching strategy. Example: When I taught first grade, it never failed... someone spelled "put" like "foot" because they rhyme. All I had to do was tell them we don't "poot" on our papers, and they never misspelled it again! And they laughed and laughed and laughed. :)  On that note... Kids will be kids. They think words like, "but" and "nuts" are funny (even when you aren't talking about a butt or... well you get it). They think it's hilarious if you have to spell something that has a double-p or a double-t aloud. Just roll your eyes and keep moving along! :)

#3 - The students who make you want to pull your hair out are the ones you just have to remind yourself to love. Every day. Maybe every minute. :-P When we got in this profession, we knew we would not get to "choose" our students. We agreed to love any and all students that walk in that door. But a reminder never hurts. Time-out in another room doesn't either. ;-)

#4 - Classroom Management Is Key. That would be the title of my book if I ever wrote one. Setting expectations on DAY ONE and staying consistent all year is so important. And sadly, we were never "taught" this in our college classes. In fact, there are a lot of things I wish they'd teach us, but then again, I guess the only way to learn those things are with experience! But I think one thing they SHOULD teach us when it comes to classroom management is that the best plans are ones that don't just punish for negative behaviors. This was how I started my plan when I first started teaching, and I noticed I was only ever saying names for bad behaviors. My mentor swooped in and told me, "kids are looking for attention. They don't care if it's positive or negative! Rewarding students for the positive, though, will make those kids who generally receive negative think twice about their behavior." I changed my management plan right then and never looked back. Will you still have "those kids?" Of course. But I AM A HAPPIER TEACHER because I look for the good instead of the bad!!

#5 - Parents can make or break your school year. Get them on your side!! I like to follow the compliment sandwich rule in conferences - (positive) (concern) (positive). I also like to send something home in the first week of school praising something their child did that week!

#6 - Pick your battles. I'm still working on this one. Students, parents, administrators, fellow teachers... some things you are very passionate about just aren't valuable to others. Don't let that devalue you, though. I really and truly am working hard on this one. Some things I feel are so important just aren't to others! It doesn't help that I'm outspoken. At least I know this about myself, right? I promise to do better this year, though. :)

#7 - Be realistic about grading. I can't tell you how many times a week I carry my school bag home full of papers, and there it sits on the floor until I walk out with it again the next morning. I do a lot of work at home, don't get me wrong. But you know when you just aren't in the mood. Save your back some strain. Or even better- grade one stack before you leave school. You feel good that you accomplished something, and you can leave the rest! :)

#8 - Vent. No one likes a constant complainer, I know. But if you keep all of it bottled up, it makes a not-very-nice teacher. Find someone who will listen, and who will vent back. But just remember, that can't be the only conversation you have! Share positive stories, too!

#9 - Don't reinvent the wheel. There are SO MANY great resources out there, some free, and some not. Don't spend every waking minute creating or thinking up lesson ideas. I AM THE FIRST TO ADMIT- I am the worst at this. Hello, my name is Jivey, and I am a control-freak. Wow, that sounds awful when I say it out loud. But come on... admit it. You are, too. We didn't become teachers without having a little need to control! Anyway, I'm not saying don't ever create. I'm saying, COLLABORATE. There are many ways to do this. With your grade level of course, but also through blogging! I have gotten some of my best lessons from teachers who share their ideas on blogs. Freebies on TPT are wonderful, too- you don't always have to search for paid products! Just don't forget to leave feedback. ;-)

#10 - Maybe this last tip should be tied with #1 actually, because it's pretty darn important. Make learning FUN. You know the feeling of sitting in an inservice, totally bored because the presenter reads every slide, never lets you talk or get up and move around... don't do that to your kids!! Let the kids TALK and SHARE with each other. That's actually proven to be the best way for students to learn! A quiet room is a boring room. And make them move! Those kids who never sit still will thank you. :)

I hope you were able to learn something from these tips- or maybe they were just good reminders to you as you prepare for your next school year! :)

I'm linking up this Sunday morning with those cutie patooties!! The book I'm sharing today might give you the heebie-jeebies, but the kids LOOOOOVE it!! This was one of my fabulous purchases from Dodge at the Summer Literacy Institute this past week. It's called, Animals Nobody Loves, by Seymour Simon.
The cover alone is enough to send some running! :-P This is a great non-fiction book on animals, of course, but this book is the PERFECT book to use for modeling close reading. The book has 26 different pages/animals, each with its own short passage. Seymour Simon reveals the truth about nature's most misunderstood animals and lets the reader decide what to really think about natures grossest, fiercest, and most fascinating survivors. (Amazon description)

Seymour Simon does an excellent job describing each animal in an engaging way. It's really a great book to show how to make their non-fiction writing more interesting (because we know those can sometimes be the students' most BORING pieces of writing...) while still maintaining the truth.

One thing I like to do with this book is show the students one of the pictures FIRST. They work with a partner to decide what vocabulary words they are sure they will hear on that page. As we read, they check off words on their list that were in the text, and add other important words. Then, they use these words to help summarize what we've read. It really works wonderfully because it keeps them from just "using" a sentence or two from the book, and it holds them accountable to using that important vocabulary!

Even though we don't start our animals unit usually until the last quarter, I'm going to use this book in the beginning of the year to model close reading (as I mentioned above). This book will keep them engaged while we are learning such an intense strategy. Here is an example student page for the passage about the octopus:
Click here for a free download!
The students would use a photo-copy of the page in the book that I provide them to annotate... I want them to give the evidence in the text of course to answer these questions.

I hope this gives you some ideas to use with a GREAT Science Mentor Text! I can't wait to see everyone else's link-ups! Make sure to go check out the others, too!

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