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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Favorite First Week of School Activities

A new school year is coming up and I thought I would share some of my favorite activities that I do in my classroom during the first week back.

This is a great way for my students to get to know their classmates better in a relaxed atmosphere.  I partner them up (or make small groups) and together they rotate around the room to each of the task cards I have hanging up.  On each card there is a question or discussion prompt.  One person reads the card and then each person in the partnership/group gives their answer.  I love hearing the discussions that happen as the kids move around to each card!

I love this challenge, and the kids LOVE this challenge!  C
lick on the photo to go to the website where there is a TED talk about this challenge and some further directions.
I give very basic directions for this activity, basically the three things you see on the graphic
1.  18 minutes
2.  teams of four
3.  tallest freestanding structure

This is a great problem solving and teamwork activity and it is so interesting to watch how students work together and who steps up as a positive leader.

Another favorite of my students!  This is a great activity to introduce/review the steps of the scientific method at the beginning of the year.  It is fun, hands on, and academic!  Kids make a hypothesis about what will happen to a candy work when it sits in water for 24 hours.  

I was really intrigued to hear some of the things my students thought would happen:  nothing, it will shrink, it will lose all the color, it will dissolve, it will become harder, it will fall apart...
There is a little experiment guide where the students can fill out information for each of the steps of the scientific method as they go through this experiment.  I love that this incorporates measurement, writing, making detailed lists, following directions, observation, and following a plan.  But, it is so fun the kids don't even realize how much work they are actually doing!

Name Art
Before school starts I use bulletin board paper to make a name sign for each student.  I printed out each letter of the alphabet (2 letters per page) and then used that to trace over for each students name sign.  The kids get to color these in however they want, patterns, illustrations, crayons, markers- be creative!  This is a great activity for when kids need a little down time that first week back and any students who don't finish can continue to work on it throughout the week when they finish other things early.
I hang these up around the top of my classroom and they are a great all year decoration that personalizes our space!

Do you have any great "first week" activities that have worked well for you, and that your students LOVE?  Leave me a comment- I would love to hear all about them!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Slope- Stained Glass Window Project

This past year I had a group of math students who really loved to be creative and especially loved to color!  

So, when we were learning about slope in class I wanted some kind of creative project for my students to do where they could show their knowledge in a way that was more creative than a worksheet or quiz!

I searched around on the internet and Pinterest, and saw several versions of the slope stained glass window project, but none of them really fit the specific needs I had for my class.  

So...I made my own version of this project so I could include everything I needed,  and it is now in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

In this project students had to choose several linear equations from a list and create a table of values that they plugged in to the equations to create x and y coordinates for each line.

They also determined the slope of each line, whether the slope was positive, negative, zero or undefined, and x and/or y intercepts.

Then they had to graph the lines on graph paper.  Each line needed to be labeled with the corresponding equation.

Bring on the colors!  I gave my students free range on what they used to add color to their design.  Crayons, colored pencils, markers, chalk....anything they wanted.  I encouraged them to put together a nice color scheme to make their final product visually appealing.

I created a 4 point rubric to grade the finished projects.  The kids had this rubric right away, so they knew exactly what they needed to do to get the highest grade.  I also a couple examples and had them use the rubric to determine a grade for each project.  I have found that giving the students a rubric and having them apply it to a sample project really helps them to see what high quality work looks like.

My class LOVED this project!  Here are some of their finished projects!

I love doing projects with my math students!  Giving students another way to show what they know and actually apply the skills to a project (not just a worksheet) really hooks my students interest!

If you like this project, it is available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Stitch Fix #6- July 2015 (Part 2)

This is my second fix from July!

First, if you are not familiar with Stitch Fix and how it works, here is a quick overview:

1. Start by filling out your style profile - you will complete all sorts of questions on sizing, pricing, style preferences, colors, etc.  

2. Order your first fix! A personal stylist will put together a box of 5 items based on your style profile.  Once your fix ships you will be charged a $20 styling fee-  however, if you keep any item [one or more] you will be credited back the $20. 

3. Decide what you want to keep and what you want to send back -it is so easy to return items you are not keeping in the provided postage paid envelope Stitch Fix provides! 

For this fix I requested a fix with all colorful casual tops for summer (short sleeves or tanks) since I am not working/teaching during the summer break and wanted some casual summer tops.

Here is a sneak peak of fix #6:

I have had Natalie as my stylist for all of my first 5 fixes, and she was always right on the mark with what she sent and her stylist notes were always very personal, I could tell she read my requests and looked at my Pinterest style board.

This time I had a different stylist.......... 

1.  Market & Spruce- Lana Lace Detail V-Neck Blouse-  $58.00

I like this top, but it definitely wasn't a "casual" top as I requested.  However, once I got over the initial disappointment of this fix, I decided I really did like this top, and I decided to keep this top anyways, even though I knew I wouldn't be wearing it for a couple of months.  
I can see this top getting a lot of use and being a versatile piece.
It is still sitting in my closet, and will finally get some wear once school starts again in a couple weeks.


2.  Market & Spruce Channy Open Cardigan- $54.00

Hmmmm.....I requested casual summer tops with short sleeves or tanks......  
The day my Stitch Fix box arrived it was over 90 degrees with high humidity making it feel like about 100 degrees outside.  The last thing I even wanted to think about was a sweater!  In no way did this piece fit my request for summer tops, and I also wrote in my style profile that I dislike pastels.

I did like the subtle chevron pattern in the cardigan, and the overall style.  It was very soft.  Had this been a different color and the middle of winter I may have kept it.


3.  Gilli Arun Dress-  $78.00

Again,  not a casual top, and not colorful.  

This dress did fit amazingly, and the fabric was super soft!  Also, the v-neck was not cut too low, which I appreciated!  However, I already have a bunch of black/white and cream/white dresses, so there really was no need for me to add this to my closet.

If it was a different color I probably would have kept this.


4.  Margaret M Emer Jacquard Print High Waisted Cropped Pant-  $98.00

Hmm...not a top, not casual, and not colorful.....  this seems to be repeating itself...

I have received the Emer pants twice before in this size, and both times I have returned them saying I would like to try these again in a smaller size, if available.  
Also, I really have no need for black dress pants in the middle of the hot summer when school is on summer break.


5.  Pixley Eileen Honeycomb Texture Knit Tank-  $54.00

Allright!  A top that is casual!  Not very colorful, but I liked the print, the pink on the top of the straps, and the zipper in the back.  This had potential.

Unfortunately, when I tried this on it it was shapeless and it just hung on me in a very unflattering way.  


This was my first disappointing fix so far.  I have always loved the items I have been sent, and it was always obvious my stylist in the past read my stylist note/requests and looked at my Pinterest style board for inspiration.  

I feel like this stylist did not read my note or look at my Pinterest board at all because this fix was not at all what I was expecting/hoping for.  I was so excited to open my box and try out 5 colorful, casual summer tops, and that was not at all what I was sent.

I still love Stitch Fix though! 

 I left a detailed note when I checked out stating why I was disappointed and customer service emailed me back right away apologizing for the disappointment and they said they were sure they would do better next time!  (hint-  they did do better- my August fix was awesome!- stay tuned)

If you are interested in trying Stitch Fix (don't let this review post scare you, all my other review posts have been great) I would LOVE it if you used my referral link to sign up! When you use my referral link I get a small credit added to my account and you will get your own referral link to pass along to your friends! 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Cute School Clips- Finally Found!

Target Dollar Spot Wood School Clips

I have been searching for these cute clips at Target for weeks now, digging through every bin in the Dollar Spot area every time I go to Target, and have had no luck.....until today!

I made my regular walkthrough of the $1-$3 Spot when I went to Target today, not expecting to see anything new, and they must have just restocked some of the school related items because there was a whole bin of these clips!  

So, if you have been searching for these like I have, give your Target another shot, maybe they have restocked!

I am going to get some super strong magnets to glue to the back of these so I can use them on my whiteboard and easel this year.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Monday Made It- August 10th

I am linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for her Monday Made It link up.  I love summer break and all the extra time I have to be crafty and make fun things!

I still have a few weeks left of summer break, so I haven't really jumped into creating back to school stuff....yet....  This Monday Made It post is all about fun summer stuff!

Jewelry Organization Board

You have no idea how badly I needed this!  My necklaces were scattered between random ziplock baggies and plastic containers and I wasn't even wearing most of them because I didn't even know what I had!  
I got my inspiration from several pins I found on Pinterest and whipped this up in just a few hours.

Bulletin Board ($10 at Target)
White Paint ($2.50 at Target)
Fabric (about $3 at Joanns)
Lace Elastic ($1 at Joanns)
Ribbon ($2 at Joanns)
Push Pins ($3 at Target)

First I painted the boring brown frame of the board white.
Once dry, I covered the cork with my fun grey and white fabrics.  I stapled the edges.
I also added a piece of elastic lace on the bottom, thinking I might hang some earrings from it.
To cover those ugly staples, I glued ribbon around the outside of the edges.  
I let it all dry overnight, then organized my necklace disaster using these fun lime green push pins from Target.
Now I can actually see what necklaces I have and actually start wearing them!

Hanging Flower Pot

I had some extra flowers to plant, and wanted to make a hanging basket, but the only one I had was an ugly green and it had a hole in the bottom and a crack up the side.  Bummer!  I tried to find a new hanging basket, but apparently stores get rid of summer merchandise as soon as summer actually starts, and I couldn't find one anywhere.  
So, I decided to do a little hanging basket makeover!  
I found this bright and fun chevron duct tape and put several layers over the hole and crack, then went over the whole basket with the tape.  
I love how it turned out!  Bright, colorful, and once again functional!

Lemon Cupcakes

Lemon is the perfect summer flavor!  I found this lemon cake mix at the grocery store and decided to make them into lemon cupcakes.  I made the cake mix as directed, but put it into muffin tins instead of a cake pan.
To add a little zing to the frosting I mixed in some fresh lemon zest and the juice of half a fresh cut lemon.
A little yellow sugar sprinkles on top and I had the most delicious summery cupcake!

Summer is not quite over yet, but I do have to start thinking about "back to school" pretty soon.  I have a few ideas of things I want to make for my classroom over the next few weeks and hope to share them with you soon!

Stitch Fix #5- July 2015 (Part 1)

It's Stitch Fix time!  
I decided to increase the Stitch Fix fun this month by scheduling 2 fixes!  
Yep- 2 fixes in one month!  

Here is a little sneak peak at what I received in my first July fix- read on for details!

First, if you are not familiar with Stitch Fix and how it works, here is a quick overview:

1. Start by filling out your style profile - you will complete all sorts of questions on sizing, pricing, style preferences, colors, etc.  

2. Order your first fix! A personal stylist will put together a box of 5 items based on your style profile.  Once your fix ships you will be charged a $20 styling fee-  however, if you keep any item [one or more] you will be credited back the $20. 

3. Decide what you want to keep and what you want to send back -it is so easy to return items you are not keeping in the provided postage paid envelope! 

For this fix I requested fun patterns, colored pants, and summer tops.  Here is what my stylist Natalie chose for me:

1.  Margaret M. Emer Floral Print Cropped Straight Leg Pant-  $98.00

My stylist sure listened to my request for color and patterns!  I have seen pictures online of other people wearing these pants, and looking awesome, so I really wanted to like them.  When I tried them on they were super comfortable, but the floral pattern just wasn't working for me.  It was too busy and no matter what I paired with it I just couldn't make them work without feeling like I just rolled in a rose garden.


2.  Market and Spruce Coval V-Neck Top-  $44.00

I love the colors in this top, and it is a pattern that I probably wouldn't have picked up if I were shopping on my own.  That is what I love about Stitch Fix- they have made me try things I "thought" I wouldn't like.  Turns out, I loved this top!  The fabric is super soft, and it can easily be paired with a cardigan in the fall!


3.  Market and Spruce Nolen Printed Detail Henley Tank-  $54.00

I pinned this top onto my style board, and my stylist delivered!  I don't usually request specific Stitch Fix items, but I really liked this top every time I saw someone else post it in their reviews, and really wanted one for myself.  Obviously, I love this top and am so happy my stylist sent it!


4.  Henry & Belle Abana Ankle Length Skinny Jean-  $148.00

I asked for colored pants in my note to my stylist, and she chose these.  I was kind of hoping for something a little more colorful than plain blue (seems to similar to jeans), something like turquoise, pink or green.  But, I tried them and gave them a chance.  Whoa- when they say these are "skinny jeans" they aren't kidding!  I kinda felt like I was wearing a wetsuit!  Needless to say, these weren't staying in my closet.  Plus, the day I pay $148.00 for a pair of plain basic blue pants is......well, never!


5.  Collective Concepts Rosco Floral Print Crochet Detail Tank-  $58.00

Again, my stylist listened to my request for fun patterns, color and summer tops.  However, this one just wasn't me.  I wasn't in love with the pale pink/peach color and it hung on my in an unflattering way.


I ended up keeping the Nolen top and the Coval top, and I love them both!

Have you tried Stitch Fix?  If you would like to try Stitch Fix out for yourself, I would love it if you used my referral link when you sign up!  

I get a small "referral fee" when someone signs up using my referral link.  When you sign up, you will get your own unique referral code link that you can share with your friends too!

Stay tuned for a review of my second July Fix!