Saturday, October 27, 2012

Baking Up Some Halloween Math Activities!

I love, love, love this time of year!  I was up at school on the last day of September decorating my classroom for October.  Of course, my most important decoration is the giant spider web above my door.

It is definitely a test of self control for my little cuties.  It takes everything in their power not to reach up and grab it!  I periodically move the spider when they aren't looking and then never admit to it!!  I'm convinced that I have at least a few of them fooled.

We are also trying to keep it festive in our activities.  In math, we have been learning about 3 digit numbers, a HUGE deal to these little sweeties who only learned numbers through 99 last year.  Since we needed more practice comparing and ordering numbers, I made this cute little Halloween Cookie Compare game.

You can get your own copy from my TPT store.  My little cuties loved this game.  It also helped that I was completely silly as I was modeling how to play.  I pretended to "mix" up the dough in the bag, roll them out on a baking sheet, check to make sure they were in the correct order, and then stick them in the oven.  Too fun!!  Here is Halloween Cookie Compare in action in my classroom.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Classroom job dilemma...

Well... time is starting to slip away from me!!  Can the summer already be halfway over??  Yikes! I know, I know, I shouldn't have said it.  I haven't completely decided if it's a good or bad thing yet.  On one hand, I love hangin' by the pool and running to Target here and there, but on the other hand, I thrive on a routine and that's what school brings.  

Thinking about routines sent me on a search for how I want to manage my classroom jobs this year.  Last year, I decided to have one student (the star of the week) in charge of everything.  The star of the week was the line leader, passed out papers, turned on the lights, etc.  It was great because there was no confusion, and everyone knew who was in charge.  Sounds great, but there were a lot of flaws and gaps to that method too.  This year, I'm going to switch things up.  

I love the idea of having multiple jobs so that all the students feel a sense of responsibility.  As soon as I'm able to get back into my classroom, I'm going to make a job chart ASAP.  It is such an important part of classroom management.  Since I am recently obsessed with the design, I made my class job labels different colored chevron and added them to my store.  

I included 16 different classroom job titles, but I haven't decided which ones I am going to use for sure. I also love the idea of the students really understanding each job and if are qualified for it.  So.... I'm going to have them fill out job applications for the positions they think they want. In an attempt to save paper (look at me being all green =]), I made them half sheets.  You can download the freebie by clicking here.  

Well, my mouth is watering and dinner is calling my name!  Thanks for reading.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Crafty Classroom Furniture

One of the most exciting things about moving into a new classroom this year, is getting to start from scratch.... yikes! One thing I know I will keep the same, is a round reading table I made last summer.  I was on the lookout for a small table to put in my classroom library,  and after searching high and low (and getting ready to pull my hair out!!), my brilliant mother suggested trying to make my own using an electrical spool.  Since I like a challenge, I decided to give it a whirl, and ended up LOVING the result.  Here is what I did....
  • First, I went to a local electrician to see if they would be willing to donate (teacher's budget remember??) a large electrical spool for an elementary classroom.  They were MORE than willing to help, and they even let me pick out the perfect one (the cleanest and sturdiest).  Here's what they looked like. 

  • Next, I measured and cut two large circles out of plywood to screw onto the top and the base of the spool.  The plywood creates a smoother surface and also covers up any screws or holes that may be showing.  
  • Then, I made sure to file and sand all the edges down so it would be smooth all the way around.  
  • Finally, I got to the fun part!!  Since I already had paint colors that would work, I decided to paint the table with a Dr. Seuss quote.   Don't forget a clear protective coat over the top for those sticky fingers...

My students loved, loved, loved reading and working at this table, and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out.  It was a great, inexpensive way to furnish my classroom library.    

Last year, I had my students use regular chairs around the table, but I have been working on SPOOL STOOLS this month!!  

I found sturdy spools that were just the right size, and I can't wait to get them all ready.  Stay tuned for more on the progress of the stools.  

- Katie 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Time Capsule Project

Well, I definitely already have the bug...  I can't stop thinking about setting up my new classroom and trying new things with my kiddos this year.  One thing I wish I had done last year with my class is a time capsule.  It is amazing how much each student changes in just one short year.  How fun would it be during the last week of school to look back on predictions, illustrations, thoughts, and handwriting that they had at the beginning of the year!?  Here is a preview of the Time Capsule packet I have been working on.  

You can download your own copy from my TPT store.  I am excited to use it in my class this year!  Stay tuned for pictures of the Time Capsule project in action this September.  

Have a great day!

- Katie Kelsey

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

It's Official!

I am so excited to finally have my blog up and running!   I have been blog-stalking like crazy to get ideas on how I want my blog to look and the type of information I want to share.  I have to say.... getting this all designed was a lot harder than I thought.  Have mercy, I probably redesigned my header 294860203 times. 

I'm ready to share some things I have already been working on for my classroom, so stay tuned!  This year, I am making the transition from 1st to 2nd grade and could not be more ecstatic!  I loved my sweet firsties, but I also love the independence that 2nd graders (well, most of them anyway!!) have.   Their creativity constantly inspires me and keeps me searching for new ways to teach.   

On a personal note, I am also busy helping watch my sweet baby nephew this summer.  How can staring at a baby for hours be so entertaining!?  I've also been helping my sister get her photography business up and running.  Look at this picture she took of my nephew, Copelan.  

Is he not the most precious thing you have ever seen?  My sister is super talented.  If you are like me and love looking at pictures, no matter who is in them, then you can check out her website, Silver Lining Photography.  

Off to squeeze some sweet baby cheeks!!  Thanks for reading.

-Katie Kelsey