Poster Love!

I absolutely LOVE our library’s new color poster maker!!!  It has already made my life so much easier.  To begin with, my hand-drawn anchor charts just stunk.  I just don’t have the patience to make posters look cute. 

See what I mean?  Yuck!

I do enjoy making things on my computer, so the poster maker has made a huge difference.  I’m now laminating my anchor charts so that I can reuse them each year.  It’s important to me that students’ ideas end up on the charts.

Here’s one of my new anchor charts that I designed on my computer and enlarged with the poster maker. 

See?  This is much better even though the glare is a bit distracting in this pic (It looks much better in person!). 
I love that I can wipe off this chart and use it again next year.

I recently taught a unit on map skills and my students had trouble using directions to find items on a map (This has always been a problem for my kids!).  Then it hit me – I could use the poster maker to make an interactive poster for us to practice with!

We practiced with cardinal directions 1st and then moved on to the intermediate directions.  The farm pieces were attached with sticky tak.  Each day I would move the cutouts to a different location and we would practice some more. 

This helped my kids TREMENDOUSLY!  With 5 minutes of practice a day for a few days, they GOT it! 

I love the idea of making anchor charts with the poster maker, but the idea of making interactive posters just makes me giddy!  Now my brain has kicked into overdrive trying to come up with some more ideas for interactive posters.  If you have some ideas, please, please share by leaving a comment.

I appreciate Megan at I teach. What’s Your Superpower? for letting me join her linky party to share my new love.
I Teach. What's Your Super Power?
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Creating Flaps for Interactive Journals


Hey, everyone!  I’m guest blogging today over at Learning 4 Keeps while Leah is on vacation.  Hop on over to see some of the ways I use flap templates in my interactive journals and student created books.  I’ve included a freebie template that will help you get started if you’re new to the wonderful world of foldables.  Happy blog hopping!
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Envelope Books

I love creating interactive notes with my kids!  I’m not sure why, but folding, cutting, and gluing can make any topic more interesting.

My kids created these envelope books last week to keep their notes from our map unit in. In addition to learning map skills, our map unit included a lesson on an explorer and his impact on the present. Many of the pages we added to our books are from our mandated curriculum but I tried to spruce things up where I could.

This is a timeline that we accordion folded into our books.

This is the foldable I had planned to add to our books. I forgot to make copies so I had to improvise – oops!

The left side shows the notes we took instead of using the foldable. The right side shows a pocket we created using a map. The map shows the route Juan de Onate took. The folded paper inside the pocket is information about Juan de Onate and his journey.

The left side shows notes that we took on the outside of the folded pocket we made. We stored the maps we created inside this pocket.
These books are so easy a caveman 3rd grader can do it.  Here are the instructions if you would like to give it a try.

Start with a manila envelope of any size. I used 9 x 12 envelopes to make the map books.

Shave off the edges so that the envelope will open up.

Open up the envelope and turn it sideways. This is the inside of the envelope. The clasp should be on the left.

Fold the left side over until it meets the center crease. You will now be able to see the metal clasp.

Lift up the edge you just folded over and place glue at the top and bottom edges.

Fold the flap back down and hold in place until the glue dries. You now have a pocket.

At this point, you can see the 3 panels on the inside of the book for you to fill up with notes and foldables.

To close up the book, fold the pocket over.

Fold over the left side again.

Fold the flap over. I use this as the front of the book. That’s it – you’re done!You can add velcro dots to the flap if you want your book to stay closed. 
I love making these books. They are so simple to make and there is so much you can do with them. My 3rd graders made their own books with me modeling the process. I heard several kids comment that the books were really cool and they couldn’t wait to take them home.
If you’ve made similar books before, I’d love to know what topic you created them for.
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Yummy Writing



I hate to see coworkers move on to new schools, but the good news is you get a new teaching buddy with fresh ideas.  Here’s a cute writing activity that I stole from my newest teaching buddy.  Thank you Liz!

My teacher gave me a kiss and it turned into…


Each kid gets a Hershey Kiss and creates something with the wrapper.  The wrappers are flimsy so the kids have to be careful with their creations.  Our 3rd graders came up with some cute ideas.

I really enjoyed doing this activity with my class and I loved seeing what they came up with.  However… when I first read this story starter to my class, they got a little out of hand.  They are too big for kisses and I heard lots of grumbling.  In response, I held up the bag of Hershey Kisses and sweetly told them I thought they would want one but since I was wrong we could skip this writing activity.  And we did.  I had them put their papers up and we went on to something else.  They were definitely disappointed but I think I made my point perfectly clear.  A few days later we tried the activity again and their attitudes were much better!
This writing activity is a definite keeper and I look forward to doing it again next year.  I’ve typed up a template for you to use if you would like to try this out with your class.  Just click on the picture below to download it.  The frame I used is from Fancy Dog Studio.
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Hallway Behavior

Whew!  I think I’ve finally managed to recover from my first week with the kiddies.  It looks like I have a great class and the only drawback to the whole week was a kid breaking her arm on the FIRST day of school!

Our principal has asked us to focus more on hallway behavior.  I must admit, this is something we all needed to work on.  Have you heard of 2,1,0? 

I think the poster pretty much explains it.  Anytime we’re in the hall, the kids are expected to have their hands clasped behind their backs, stand in one straight line, and stay quiet.  The whole school did a great job with this new expectation.  I noticed all the kids seemed to have more self-control and I was very impressed with my class.  This was new to them but they really tried to do a good job.  They earned so many compliments that I decided to take them out for extra recess at the end of the day and that’s when it happened.  The broken arm.  I felt horrible! 

Despite the arm, it was a great week.  I put extra effort into establishing routines and it showed.  I know I’m going to be anxious to jump right into the curriculum next week, but I’m going to make sure I continue with reinforcing my expectations.

Anyone else have an exciting 1st week?
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