Sunday, July 31, 2011

Efficient Classroom Library Tool and Printable

After collecting so many new books over the last school year and this summer, I decided it was time to redo my classroom library labels. I used Scholastic’s Teacher Book Wizard to look up my books and decide on which genres I would need for my labels. I was really impressed with this tool. It will tell you genre, Lexile range, and if a book has an AR Test. How convenient! You could also have your students use it in the classroom to find “just right” books based on other books they are interested in. You can type in a book title and it will tell you other books on the same level that are similar. Awesomesauce! I love technology!

I created 16 labels for my chapter books and 12 for my picture books. I decided to add a number to each label because I will be adding a number sticker to each book in the library so that students can easily put books away.

Feel free to download  these for FREE and use the labels I made by clicking the image below. They will print beautifully on Avery labels #8163.


Have a great Sunday!


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Classroom Creations and A Little Blabber

Hello there friends! I hope everyone is having a great weekend. I have been working away on some classroom items today, and I have redesigned my entire class website…whew. I figured if I was going to redo my classroom, my website needed to match. Yes friends…I am that OCD!

Check it out here if you wish, but keep in mind that a lot of things are blank because they will not get filled in until school starts up. Maybe you can get some ideas. When the school year gets underway, I will be sharing some tips for making your website worthwhile for your parents, students, and other teachers.


I have also been playing around with a website that my friend Mrs. Mauney recommended, and I thought I would share it with everyone. The website is called Blabberize. First, let me confess that I watched the introductory video a few times because it totally cracked me up! You should at least visit the site to get a good laugh.

So what does it do? You can take any picture and make it talk. Fun, fun stuff! I can’t wait to use it when my students write animal research papers this year. I am going to have them share their research by making the animal they researched talk. It is so, so simple. You just upload a picture, upload some audio, and then click on the mouth of the animal/person you want to deliver the message. The possibilities here are endless!


If you are still reading, you haven’t clicked Blabberize yet because I promise you wouldn’t be back for a while. It is too funny!

Have a great Sunday, and come on back for some turquoise and green polka dot themed library labels and other fun stuff I will be sharing this coming week for FREE. I am putting the finishing touches on them now!


Thursday, July 28, 2011

My Store Is Open

I opened a store on Teachers Pay Teachers today so I could share creations with all of my bloggy friends out there. Thank you so much for following my little ol’ blog, and also for all of your sweet comments.

The first creation that I will share is a Morning Work flipchart. This flipchart was created in ActivInspire for all you Promethean users out there. I use this flipchart daily to display morning work and take lunch count/attendance. While my kiddos are working on morning work I take up homework, and they choose their lunch on the board by moving their numbered piece of bread. This is a very efficient way to get the morning duties out of the way! After all the kids have chosen lunch, I count choices and take attendance.

Morning Work

Click on the image to download this resource for FREE!!!

*I used some fonts that I downloaded from Fonts for Peas, so I am hoping that it will appear this way for everyone. If you download and you find that everything is distorted, please comment and let me know.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day Two: Classroom Redo

Reading Area

One of my students’ favorite places in our classroom is the Reading Teepee. My mom helped me make a teepee my first year of teaching out of PVC pipe, wooden balls, and some fabric. My mom definitely did the sewing of the teepee because I was not anywhere near comfortable enough with a sewing machine in those days to take on this task.

Everyday, I have a “Student of the Day”, and that student is allowed to read in the teepee during any independent reading time. I only allow one student to read there at a time because I find when more than one are in there, not a whole lot reading takes place. It works very well with one kiddo in there!


The pattern for the teepee can be found here.

Behind the teepee, you will notice some interlocking mats. Students are allowed to use those when sitting around the room reading during independent reading. I alternate boys and girls each day so everyone is not trying to use a mat or cramped up around the room. I have “Gentlemen’s Day Out” and “Ladies’ Day Out”. On Gentlemen’s Day, the boys sit around the room to read and the ladies read at their desks. The next day, ladies read around the room and boys sit at their desks.

We use Accelerated Reader at our school as a reading incentive program. Each child in my room has an incentive chart for AR. When they score an 80 or above on an AR test, they receive a sticker from me to place on their chart. When they fill up their chart, they visit the principal for a prize, and they also get some prizes from me. Above the charts, we chart AR points. My students “Climb the AR Mountain” throughout the year with a goal of 80 points. Please ignore the computer table in the picture. I am not quite finished setting up my technology because my computers are still in the media center…ugh.

AR center

My classroom library is divided into picture books and chapter books. I found large baskets at Dollar Tree for picture books, and small ones for chapter books. These baskets are organized by genre (I am currently working on new labels), and each book has its own label that matches the basket. This has really helped keep the library organized. I have also arranged it so students can access the books from different places to cut down on crowding around the books.


I will work with small groups for Guided Reading here:

2011-07-25 16.10.48

Writing and Meeting Areas

The writing area in my classroom doubles as the meeting area. Writing materials are easily accessible for my students in this area.

wriitng center

As a class, we will meet for read alouds, mini-lessons, and class meetings here. This area works for me because the Promethean Board is at the front of the room, and when meeting here, the class can just shift to the right and be in front of the board for interactive lessons. This area will also be used to display student writing.

2011-07-25 16.07.31

So…that’s what I am working with so far. Now I need to get to making those library labels!

Before I go…I brief technology tip! If you haven’t heard of Picnik, you must check it out. It is an awesome picture editing site that is free unless you purchase the premium membership. I haven’t found a need to do so. There are so many fun tools to make your pictures really stand out. You can add text, frames, stickers, and much more. You can also enhance your photos in many ways. Just head on over to to give your pictures a new look!


Monday, July 25, 2011

Day One: Classroom Redo

I have decided to break this post into a few days because it could be quite lengthy! Stay tuned throughout the week for a full tour of my completely remodeled classroom.

I spent the entire day working on my classroom after working on it all week last week, and I am thrilled to say that it actually looks like a place people might actually learn something now. I decided at the end of last year that I wanted to keep my current theme, which is SC State Symbols, but change my color scheme a bit. My classroom looked like a rainbow had blessed it, and I was pretty tired of it. So, I decided on turquoise, brown, blue, green, and hints of a deep red.

It all started with a trip to Old Time Pottery where I found some fabric that I loved for $3.88 a yard. Shut your mouth…that is a deal! I ended up making curtains, two pillows, a table skirt, a bookcase skirt, and I covered my bulletin boards with it.





After finding the fabric, I went over to Hobby Lobby for some matching scrapbook paper. I used the paper to make a new alphabet for my word wall, bulletin board titles, symbol labels, background for a bulletin board, and backgrounds for the graphs that will hang on my Data Station. I bought one big book for $10 (gotta love a 50% sale), and I have a ton left over!

Paper Background

Bulletin Board Background and Title

Data Station

Data Station

I also decided to spray paint some of my book baskets because they were also primary colors. Did you know that regular spray paint will just about cover anything? I certainly do, I spray paint EVERYTHING to my liking. I used Rust Oleum Painter’s Choice Aqua to paint the library baskets.


Library Baskets


I also found some baskets at Goodwill (far right) that I painted to my liking. I am loving these organized cubbies. I used some crates on top to create bookshelves to store math games and teacher materials. The shoebox containers (I am probably going to paint them) are for the kiddos’ extra supplies. I used the baskets to store paper, whiteboards, dry erase markers, CDs, and movies. I have also stored all of the student workbooks here so they won’t get torn up in desks.

Tomorrow I will share my writing center, meeting area, and reading center. Stay tuned…


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pinterest Linky Party

Hello, my name is Leah, and I have a pinning problem. Okay…I admit it. I tell everyone about it too!

So Michelle, at Math in the Middle, had this brilliant idea to have a Pinterest Linky Party. Woot! Woot! What an awesome way to find new blogs and new people to follow on Pinterest. It is so great to find things other teachers have pinned.

Who doesn’t love clicking that Pin It button? If you don’t, you should. Pinterest is the greatest digital/virtual bulletin board that allows you to pin all sorts of fun things you might find while browsing/stalking the web.

Here are a few things I have pinned lately:

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Head on over to Michelle’s Math in the Middle and link up. If you would like to follow me on Pinterest, you can click the button on the right side of my blog, or you can click here.

Happy Pinning!!!!!!!!!


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Try These Websites Out

Oh my…this past week has been CRAZY! I have been really busy getting my classroom ready. I think I took on a bit more than I should have with a total room redo. I have been gluing, cutting, sewing, and creating like a mad woman. Whew…I promise to share some of my creations and my newly organized and decorated classroom real soon.

In the meantime, I attended a technology class given by a teacher in my school district, and I learned about a few Web 2.0 tools that I was unaware of. Thank you Ms. Jamie for sharing your “Fun Web 2.0 Tools”.  I thought I could share some of those with my bloggy friends, as well! So without further ado…


Thinkfinity is a site that has a ton of fun stuff for teachers, students, and parents. It is aligned with state standards! The site will find lesson plans, interactive activities, worksheets, and much more for you based on your state standards. It is basically a search engine that searches educational sites for what you are looking for. I am in LURVE!


Creately is a free site where you can create diagrams. In the teaching world, we like to call those diagrams, graphic organizers. The site is very user friendly and students of all ages would be able to use it easily. I can see my students prewriting, creating story maps, flow charts, and so much more. I can also use it to create graphic organizer to use with the class.


Kerpoof is FUNTASTIC! On this site, you can set up a teacher account and control student accounts for FREE! Kiddos can make animated movies, cards, and even write a story that will be animated. It even puts the story in book format so it appears like an ebook when finished. Oh my gosh, kids would love this! Have you ever had that student who didn’t want to write? We all have. What if you were to hook them up with Kerpoof? I bet some writing would get done! I can’t wait to use this one for writing this year.

I hope you can use these in your classroom too!


Saturday, July 16, 2011

When You Wish Upon A Wall

One of my favorite websites to use with my students throughout the year is Wallwisher.


Wallwisher serves an online bulletin board that promotes collaboration. I often use it as an activating strategy before a lesson where I will ask my students to respond to a question. I always link my wallwishes to my class website so my students can have easy access to them. You can also just give them the URL from the wall you create.


For example, if they were to click “What is your favorite SC region?”, they would be taken to this page:


When arriving at the page, the students simply click anywhere on the screen to write their answer, A sticky note will come up with a place for their name and a text box to write their answer. They are also able to attach an image. It is really fun to get other teachers and administrators to post to the wall as well. The kids love seeing other people join in from outside of our classroom. When they post an answer, their sticky automatically appears on everyone’s screen.

So how do you get started? Go to, click on Build A Wall, enter your question and voila…you have a wall for your students to wish on!


Friday, July 15, 2011

Classroom Décor by Mrs. Teachnology

Besides Technology, one of my favorite things in the world to do is decorate. I am all about a good craft experience. While blog stalking, I ran across a wreath that I just had to make for my classroom door.

It looked a little something like this:

I hopped on over to Wal-mart for some crayons that were on sale for 40 cents a pack. Then, it was off to Hob Lob for the rest. As I was walking around looking for items to put on my wreath, I found a pamphlet with a picture of a crayon wreath. It was so meant to be!

After five boxes of crayons (24 count), a quilting hoop, hot glue, chalkboard paint, a Goodwill picture frame, scrapbooking letter stickers, and some wooden letters I had myself a wreath.

Here is what I came up with:

2011-07-15 09.25.46

I am so in love with it! I can’t wait to put in on my classroom door for this coming school year.

Last year, I created a wreath for my student teacher as a thank you gift. Here it is:

I wrote a tutorial for making it on my decorating blog. You can check it out at Creative Carolina Charm if you want.


Blog Mixer Party

Yearn to Learn is having a blog mixer party! What a great way to find MORE wonderful blogs. Head on over and link up!

1.  A blogger who is a "New Kid on the Blog". Check out all of the great ideas Mrs. Lamb has to offer.

2.  Post a blogger in your same grade level (3rd). I love all of Krystyi’s creations. BEAUTIFUL!

3.  Post a blogger in a different grade level. Brittany is a first grade teacher at the same school where I teach. She is sharing a lot of great ideas on her blog. She posts awesome printables she has created. She is one of the most organized and creative teachers I know!

4.  It's all about the button. Find a cute blog button and post it. This button is so cute, and the blog is equally as great!image

Your turn! Link up some of your favorite blogs.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What I Could Not Teach Without…Linky Party

I am linking up to Views From Room 205: What I Could Not Teach Without Linky Party!

There are quite a few things I could probably make it through a day of teaching without, but I sure wouldn’t want to! Here are those things…

My beloved collection of Tervis Tumblers. I have one for each day of the week. Coffee in the morning and sweet tea after lunch…delish.


My flash drive and my Dropbox account. Every document I have ever created, and all my classroom pictures are stored here. I would lose my mind without both of these. If you don’t have an Dropbox account, you must CHECK it OUT!


My Hue HD. My friend Hue displays anything and everything I want to show my kiddos throughout the day. He even takes pictures, makes videos, and Skypes with other classes. I wrote a post about my classroom BFF here.


My Promethean Board!!! There are not even words to express how much I love my Promethean Board. I do know what it is like to go without it for a few days because maintenance issues have happened in the past. I am here to tell you, I did NOT like it one bit. I use my board for EVERYTHING. It’s like having a window to the world of learning for my students.


My iPad 2. All things organization are stored on my handy dandy iGadget. Lesson plans, anecdotal records, contact information, interactive books, apps for students, camera, camcorder, daily planner, etc., etc., etc.

My district laptop! Without her, nothing else would be possible.

I am literally laughing at myself at this point because everything I can’t live without just showed how geeky and technology driven I really am. Wow!!! I love me some pens, markers, sticky notes, and cute stationary like most teachers, but I would hate to teach without my technology tools everyday.