Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Give that Girl a Can of Spray Paint...

...and she can change the world. 

or at least one ugly tree. 

"Hello? 1995? I have your tree here."

My team member was throwing this baby out. I couldn't let it go. I've always wanted a tree in my classroom. But you know me. I just can't leave anything alone. 

I can't show you yet, though. It needs to be festooned with various sized white twinkle lights and installed in my reading corner first. But I'll give you a sneak peak.

Is that paint to die for, or what? After the spraying we were sitting at the kitchen table with the evening sunlight streaming in. The littlest Sparkle asked if I was a vampire because apparently I was looking like Edward Cullen. 

I *heart* glitter. 

I got into my classroom today. If you follow me on facebook you'll know that the classroom fairies did not pay me a visit. Things were as desperate as they were three weeks ago. The littlest Sparkle and I worked for over an hour and made some  headway, so I'm feeling good about that. 

I'm also thinking hard about some of the tools I'll need this year. There are some areas of weakness I need to address. One area I've mentioned before is spelling. Our word work block is only 15 minutes, so whatever I do it has to be quick and efficient. I'm not willing to give in to kill-and-drill and long memorized spelling lists. It has to be exploratory and investigative in nature,the kids need to be learning the spelling patterns from the phonics and rules ends, both. 

I'm proud to roll out this little sweetie called L.I.P.S. (don't you love it already?)

This is a 5 day system that uses composition notebooks as the vehicle but L.I.P.S. is the real driver. It doesn't include any spelling lists or recommended spelling patterns (yet), because I wanted to keep it flexible. I'll be starting with long vowels the first week of school and work our way up from there. 

a set of explanation pages for each day helps you understand what your students will be doing

each day has a short activity that should take less than 15 minutes

This hot little number is ready for you at my TPT store. I can't wait to get it ready for my own class. 

The next thing I created was a writing project for the first day (or week) of school. It's called Time Capsule Writing Kit - A beginning of the year writing project, an end of the year reflecting tool. 

Students will write a letter to themselves which then gets stored in a time capsule until the end of the year. They'll open the capsule in the spring and reflect on how far they've come in 9 month's time. The kit comes with a pre-write, a draft letter and a final draft for both the beginning of the year and the end.

An explanation page will give you some suggestions on using the kit. It might be nice to tuck a "hopes and dreams" into each student's capsule, so a page is included for a parent, a teacher, or even the child themselves to write out. A portrait page will be a sweet keepsake for each student.

This baby is also at my TPT store. We'll be starting this on our first day of school.

Well, it's 11:52 and I had promised, promised, myself that I would go to bed at a decent hour because I have *dum dum dummmmmm* PD all day tomorrow. I'm going to be a sad, sorry mess come 7:00 am.

Don't forget to start thinking about who you are going to thank for Thankful Thursday's Gratitude Party!

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