Monday, March 2, 2015

Must-Have Resources for Every Classroom (EdExpo 2015)

One of the most rewarding parts of blogging has been the amazing friendships that I have formed via our own cyber-corners of the world. Starting online, it's absolutely wonderful when these friends become 'real-life' approved. Last weekend was one of these amazing real-life approved weekends when 30 bloggers joined for Ed Expo 2015.
 Kim Bearden is the co-founder of THE Ron Clark Academy...eeekkk! She was the keynote speaker for the SDE Conference going on at the same time as EdExpo. I was so blessed to hear her speak in person, and promptly booked my visit to RCA in mid-October! One of my favorite take-aways from her talk about about shifting education conversations away from achievement and toward significance. Teaching at a pretty affluent school this year, this is especially important. Most of my students, because of privilege and family background - will achieve and show high-acheivement on standardized tests. Shifting the conversation to significances allows for small victories, as well as, the ability for teachers to set the bar HIGH and celebrate when our students have reached their individual best. Anyway, I was all-kinds-of-giddy to meet Mrs. Bearden in person, and re-read her book on the plane flight back. AMAZING!
 Also, I met Pete the Cat. I know. I was pumped and so were my 1st graders. Their first question when I showed them the picture - "Is this the real Pete the Cat or just the author dressed-up?" Oh to be six. ;)
At EdExpo new products for the upcoming school year (2015-2016) are released to vendors and school districts. Our jobs for the weekend were to visit each vendor's booth looking for resources and products that will be classroom must-haves ranking our Top 10 resources. So, in no particular order, I'm excited to share some of my favorites. I'll be honest - I was shocked! There were thousands of resources in the exhibit hall...imagine all the education catalogs were get in our mailboxes thrown into one giant room. I know - teacher heaven!

Magnetic anything gets my teacher-attention. Cuiseniare rods? Check! Base-ten pieces? Check! Ten frames? Check! Part/part/whole circles? Say what?!?! I was all googly-eyed when I saw these number-bond magnets from Dowling Magnets. The large one is perfect for whole-class displays, and the small ones that fit on a small magnetic white board are perfect for small groups. (1 large, 4 small = $16.99) So, I ask again - Part/part/whole circles?  Check!
 Eureka has the best no-theme posters coming out this year. A mix of favorite sayings, book quotes, and a whole cyber-bullying line (oh cyber-bullying how you've become a HUGE issue), Sarah, Nicole, and I could not stop giggling.
Goldie Blox were developed to encourage more females to go into engineering and their business started a few years ago through a KickStart project (how cool!). These blocks are designed around books, and are just as much fun for boys as they are for girls.
 FRIENDS! (yes, I am really yelling) This is the single product I saw all weekend that made me want to teach 5th grade ELA immediately. PRONTO. Below you see a set primary source documents from 12 different time periods. Each Gallopade pack includes 20 primary sources that are appropriate for kids. CAN YOU IMAGINE?!? As a 5th grade teacher, I spent most of my time searching for high-quality (real-world) articles and texts for my students. And there they are. I was all kinds of excited and hopping might have been involved. Can you imagine?!?!? I'm still not over it friends. Each packet is selling for $12 and worth.every.penny.
 Creative Teaching Press has a wonderful line of really clean-looking products coming out, and these individual behavior clip-cahrts caught my eye. Although they don't exactly match our PBIS behavior chart, I really like the idea of a few students (who need the extra reminders and support) keeping smaller charts at their table. Using a paper-clip, students can monitor their own behavior and choices throughout the day. Simple, but a great positive reminder that choices matter!
 With writing journals, math notebooks, and interactive notebooks, we'll all about the composition notebook. This notebook by Pacon is bumped-up with a plastic coil edge (Ohhhhh, ahhhhh) that makes it portable and allows students to turn pages easily. Plus, the primary-styled paper included room to include a drawing! #smallvictories (Note - these aren't available yet in stores!)
A pencil grip?!? Yes, I know, friends. It's the small details that matter here, though. Each each of the grips before, the company has stamped an L and a R so both right-handed and left-handed students know where to place their thumbs when writing. As a right-handed writer, I have ZERO idea how to show my left-handed students to properly hold a pencil/pen, so this simple feature makes a world of difference!
 Magnetic spinners. Again friends, anything magnetic.
 Did you know the abacus is making a come-back? Don't believe me?? Just look at my kids' DreamBox math accounts. Abacci are EVERYWHERE...even with numbers within 100. Friends, so trust me, when I say their back and I'm all kinds of lost. When I saw this addition and subtraction abacus from Melissa and Doug, I was all over it. The salesman thought I was 6-kinds of crazy as I shouted - "Do you realize how awesome this is?!?!?!" #teacherprobs (Again, this is not in stores, yet!)

 I'm going to finish-out with one of my favorite resources - the plastic-trap 120's chart from The Learning Advantage. I'll be honest - I was most impressed with this company. Their resources for very hands-on, great for building number sense, and you could tell teachers helped to create them. My favorite 120s chart was the same. I.LOVE.THIS. Can you impinge all the games that can be played on this - bean-bag tosses, skipping, dry-erase marking... I'm so excited to snag one of these friends for my classroom! The best part? It can fold, it's sturdy, it's LARGE (5 x 6), and it's washable. Doesn't this excite you??
Well, friends, I'm signing out for the night. It was such a surreal experience to be surround by thousands of soon-to-be released products and definitely a huge blessed. Plus, I am really excited to try some of these out in my own classroom and report back. If you see something on this list that you just have to have or learn more about visit the Edmarket page to find a local or on-line retailer.

In the meantime, what do you want for your classroom? Anything that makes your teacher-heart skip a beat? I'd love to hear your opinion! :)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Resources in Action in My Classroom & A TpT Sale!

With TpT's 28% off sale today, it's a great time to snag resources you'll be using over the next few months. I know I need to finish-up my cart this evening, too. :) If you click on any of the blue/purple links or pictures below, you can learn more about the resources showcased! 

Krystina teaches in New York and has been such a sweet follower and friend over the past year. She is the best at sharing photos of my resources in action in her 5th grade classroom, and I love her dearly for that! Last fall she shared this picture of her "We Believe" wall, and I was so impressed. Love this. Love her. Love the blogging/teacher world.

My first subway-art product, my genre posters remain one of my favorites. They jazz up an upper-elementary room without being 'cute' or 'childish'. Visual appealing? Absolutely! Babyish? Not at all!

Without fail, it makes me giddy to see classroom libraries. These are amazing places that build community and change perspectives on the importance of reading. My iRead labels for Primary and Intermediate libraries are great for organizing your library space while still being visually appealing!

The lovely Tara from 4th Grade Frolics, shared my Root of the Week Rolodex during this summer's Monday Made It, and I was beside myself! Tara is absolutely amazing, and I was so excited to see her shout-out. :)
My Black, White, and Yellow Organization pack is full of labels and editable goodies for the classroom. I love seeing these labels on Sterilite containers!

One of my sweet college friends, Elizabeth, used my Black, White, & Yellow Organization pack to create classroom job labels. :)
I also loved seeing Diane's (Fifth in the Middle) 5th graders using my hands-on Greek & Latin Roots games. They're perfect for building an understanding of common roots during literacy centers!
The lovely Deb Hanson used and blogged about my Making Inferences pack. This resource is great for students who are struggling with inferring and need something a little more concrete. Students are given an inference and work backwards, providing the paragraph from which that specific inference could be made. I loved seeing how detailed Deb's student-responses were! 
I love how Marci turned my Main Idea note-taking guide, into an interactive notebook template!
I always love seeing my resources in action in classrooms around the country/world. If you ever have a picture to share, I'd love to see it! :) Outside of the resources above, below are some of my favorite resources. All these resources are 28% off today and tomorrow only (with the code BTS14 at checkout).

As you're preparing for the upcoming school year (eekkk!), you might want to check out some of my subway art posters and my labels for organizing your library!

 And of course, I can't leave out my Primary friends! All of these resources will also be 28% off.

Well, friends, I'm off to fill my cart, and I'll be back to share what I snagged! :) Have a fantastic evening. Happy Shopping!