Five for Friday!!!

Hi everyone!! I hope you are all enjoying summer!! I finally am starting to relax after a month out!! hah :) I haven't gotten a chance to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for a few weeks so I thought it was a perfect time!!
So here goes...

1. This past week I finally completed my new theme for my classroom this year!!! I've always wanted to create my own theme with all the materials, and I cannot be more excited!! I am doing a Community Theme next year to help reduce the gap in background knowledge that my students come in with having to do with where they live and the area around them. Sooo...I cannot wait to get it going!! I even have driver's licenses made for them when they are able to remember their addresses and phone numbers!!! My groups are going to be City Living, Country Living and Suburb Living, and almost every material has a community scene as a background!! Can you tell I'm excited?!? hah :) I made 11 parts to my theme so I put them on TPT separately and in a bundle! :) I blogged about how I'll be using it so if you're interested, feel free to take a look! Click on the picture below to check it out in my TPT store. :)
2. I'm in ARIZONA!!! My family and I just made it to Phoenix, AZ last night for our family reunion!! We're going to Payson, AZ which is in the mountains for the next week! It's so interesting to see how different the US is by area! I love learning about it all! I have to admit, though, I'm really scared to see a scorpion!! hahah My aunt found one this morning! hah AHHH! We midwest people don't have those! I'm super excited for the week!  I love my family so much!!

Side note: I'm on my aunt and uncle's PC, and I have a Mac. Needless to say, even being pretty tech savvy, my cousin and I could not figure out how to rotate the photos. We rotated them in the photo program, but when I upload onto here, it goes back! hah So, I apologize for the upside down photos!! haha :)

3. So I decided this week that I need to do something about my landscaping at my house! haha I absolutely love my house; however, I cannot stand the landscaping! It's like a wildlife preserve! So I think my sister and I are going to try to get it ready to put rocks in and buy potted plants! Then I want to put down some bricks to outline it! If you have any suggestions or advice, I'm all ears!! :)

*I promise it's the last upside down photo!! haha :) Also, don't be fooled by how pretty the poppies are! hah They only bloom for about a week in May, and then they don't look so pretty anymore!! :)

4. After all of the posts and instagrams about the book Teach Like a Pirate, I just had to get it!! Well, it came on Monday!!!! Yay!!! I will hopefully have a little time to start this while we're up in the mountains!! Can't wait to read what it's all about! If you have a second, I'd love to hear what your favorite part was in the book or how you liked it!! :)
5. Finally, for my last post, I just wanted to put a quote that I love! After some events taking place, I am reminded how important friends and family are in your life! It's so important to have a strong support group around you, and I am just so blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life! 
Thanks so much for reading my Five for Friday!!! Have a wonderful, relaxing weekend!!! :)

Tune into Technology Linky: Integrating Technology into Reading

I'm so excited to link up with iTeach 1:1 and Learning to the Core for their new Tune into Technology!! I LOVE integrating technology throughout the day! The kids love it! Our students now are growing up with this technology so it's not going anywhere so might as well embrace it and go with it!!! :) 

I absolutely love the ideas that iTeach 1:1 left on her post! When I do reading, I have 3 rotations: 1 with me, 1 with my co-teacher for reading, and 1 independent technology rotation. During the independent technology rotation, I have 2-4 kids on the laptops working on Successmaker which is through Pearson. I have 2 other kids on the SmartBoard working on spelling activities, and I have 2 on iPads with which they get to choose the reading app they want to play.  This way that small group of 6-9 are still working in even smaller groups which minimizes interruptions helps the kids stay focused. If you look at the picture below, this is how I organize my groups for the rotations. The cards are for their activity during their independent time. The big arrow designates the kids who are the "teachers" of the group so if anyone has a question or needs help, those are the two that can help. This helps tremendously so that they aren't interrupting our reading group instruction. We also talk about what to do if they still can't get to work. They would separate and join in with one of the other groups or read a book and do a reading response sheet.

Some of the apps that they love are...
With the above app, you can assign kids to this level or the next level that is the next app Level 2. It will keep track of the passages they read along with the questions they answered showing their results with how many attempts.
My kids love this app!! It has several games but one of my favorites is the tetris style game. High frequency words fall from the top, and a voice speaks the word. Then they have to tap them before the speaker says another word. 
This app is great!!! It's for several grade levels and skills like prefixes, synonyms, antonyms, suffixes.and so on! Two students play against each other and have to make matches, but there could be a storm that blows in that stops them for a second. So fun!!

These apps are their top pick apps!! 

One program and app that I found through blogs and online was nearpod. This website and app is AMAZING!!! I will do a more detailed post soon with step by step notes on how to use it. I used this during my reading rotation, and my kids were astonished! The looks on their faces were priceless!!

You start with your own PDF that you make which you can export PowerPoint, Keynote, Word, or Pages documents as PDFs. Once you're done, you go to and drag the document into the website. You can add polls, quizzes, videos, etc.!! Then you are in charge of the slideshow. You also get realtime results as they're going through it with you!! 

I am on my way to the airport right now for a family reunion in Arizona so I have to cut this short! :) However, I would highly recommend looking into this program and app!! I will do a  more thorough blog post of this program when I get back!!! :)

Thanks for stopping by!!! :)

Community Themed Classroom!!! *Plus, a SURPRISE! :)

I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it!!! :) Well, I'm sure you've been at this place before, when you want to change your theme, have an idea, but now have to put all the pieces together!! It's both fun and scary! hahah Scary for how once you get going, you don't want to stop! You have to force yourself to just stop for a second and reflect on what you have and make sure it's exactly what you want and need! So needless to say, I've been working on these materials for a few weeks now, and I just LOVE them!!!

So my theme, right?!? Well, seeing that every year I have many students who walk in without knowing their addresses or phone numbers, I wanted to center my theme around this. So I came up with the COMMUNITY theme!! Some of my students have never been to downtown Indy before when we literally live 10 minutes away from it. A lot of my students have not had the same experiences as I had when I was there age especially to do with the community around them and nearby. So my main goal is to bring those experiences to them in making our classroom a small community within itself!! Hence, the COMMUNITY theme! Click the top picture of each set to take you to my TPT store for a closer look! They are in a bundle and separate! :)

Starting with the first day of school, I will have a "Welcome Home" greeting card on each student's desk to welcome them to their new home away from home. I want to build that community right from the get go. When they go to put their bookbags away, they will see that each cubby has a number card of a scene with a car and a number so their cubbies are like their "garages." 

Below are the pages of the greeting card. I teach 2nd so this is just an example for kindergarten. I made one for each grade level. :)

Below are the "Garage(Cubby) Labels" that I laminate and tape to their cubbies! 

Once they're in the room, they will see that their desks are in groups by communities: city living, country living, suburb living. I absolutely love this because I can easily have activities that compare and contrast, cooperative learning with investigating their communities, and much more!! I love when things like decor can lead to cross curricular instruction!!! 

Here's pictures of Group 1's signs! I will laminate these 2 signs back to back and hang them from the ceiling. You can also print them back to back or however you'd like to use them. :)

Along with group signs, I also have community location signs for Classroom Library, Classroom Bank, Classroom Hospital, Classroom Post Office, Classroom Art Gallery, Classroom Theater, Classroom Police Station, Classroom City Hall, and Classroom Cafe. Of course, you can guess where I am going to hang Classroom Library! hah I'm going to hang the Classroom Hospital signs by the bandaids, hand sanitizer, kleenex, etc. (my sink area). I will hang my Classroom Bank by my money that they ear for their Class Dojo points!! :) Finally, I will hang the Classroom Post Office by the writing area which I have a mail organizer so kids can write letters to others. This will also be near the kids' mailboxes. I wanted to bring in different places in their community that I feel they should be familiar with. I'm planning on doing something like a distance learning with our Indianapolis Zoo along with other community locations as a monthly Community Spotlight!! I also have cardinal direction signs as well with a community scene!! 

Here are a couple of the classroom signs! Once again, I'll laminate these back to back and hang them!

After the first week of school, I will add Address Labels and Phones to their desks or folders. I haven't decided yet if I want to add these two to their reference folders which I seem to be leaning toward, but we'll see! :) I really, really, really want my students to know their addresses and phone numbers! If they ever needed help, I want them to be fully equipped with the information they need to know. I think this will help them to understand the importance of this and maybe carry that with them. I know my students move a lot, and parents change phone numbers, but I think if I make it important, they will believe it and embrace it. I hope!! :) 

So on each Address Label and Phone, I will write in their addresses and phone numbers so they can trace them, write them on other paper, and remember them. After the first week of practice, I will give them an address/phone number quiz every Monday to see if they know them. When they successfully pass the quiz, they will receive their Driver's License!!! :) I will have THEM fill out their Driver's License themselves which also includes their School ID and initials which will be good practice as well. I will put their pictures on the gray box, laminate them and make them into lanyards. They will keep them hung up in their cubbies.

What do they get for getting their driver's license?!? Well, they will be allowed to "drive" anywhere in the community (classroom) to eat their breakfast in the morning and do their morning work. I will be adding more to those privileges as the year goes on so definitely be on the lookout! 

Here are some pictures for these activities!

Then we move into classroom jobs!! I love giving them responsibility in the room, but I've learned from past tries that I need to be very explicit in what their job entails. I also need to be on top of them. So, to help this matter, I make sure every student has a job, but I also added directions for each job on their job cards above their cubbies. Each day, they will be reminded what their jobs are for that week, directions, schedule, and a picture and title to remind them of the job and how it is a real life job, too! As you can see, I LOVE making activities and decor relevant to life! It's like playing grown-ups as a kid! I LOVED THAT!! I used to want to be the drive thru person at McD's as my job outside, and my house was the front porch! haha :) I'm sure you all have those experiences! 

So every week, I rotate the jobs over one. I use velcro for these above the cubbies so they're super easy to manage and out of the way! :) Here are a couple examples! If you're interested at all, there are also ones with the directions and schedules blank for you to customize! 

 Then we also have a Class To-Do List! :) Each subject has the name, picture(s), and two clocks for the time the subject/class begins and ends. I put these on my white board so I use magnets, but you could use velcro on a ribbon to hang them, etc. Along with these, I've made ordinal number cards to put next to the subject areas along with a poster for ordinal numbers! If you are interested in these, I can add other subject areas to customize them more to you if you needed others added! :)

Here are some examples!

I also have a new set of ABC posters and Word Wall Headers that I'm in love with!!! When I did the ABC posters, I created different community scenes for each while incorporating the picture that corresponds with the letter. These are in d'Nealian, but if you needed a different font, just let me know! :) With the posters, I can easily have a quick activity to talk about the scene along with what picture they see and how it relates to the scene, they're background knowledge of the pictures, etc.! I'm sooooo happy with how these turned out!!! I do use Indianapolis Zoo a couple times so if you would like your nearby zoo on them to personalize them, I can do that, too! Just let me know!

My word wall headers also continue with the community theme by having kids next to each letter in different community scene backgrounds! I also love the way these turned out!!

Take a look!

Word Wall Header Pics!

Finally, the rest of the decor is for the calendar and reference areas: months, seasons, days, colors, and shapes. I know I've said this before, but I LOVE these!!! I use these in the calendar area and reference areas in the room!! I absolutely had the best time creating the scenes for the months, seasons, and shapes!! The colors and days have a super cute polka dot background in different colors!

Also, I made the months and seasons correspond with each other so they were easily connected! The winter months have the snowflakes and snow which is in the same in the winter sign. The spring months have grass and a calm sun in the corner which is the same on the spring sign which also includes some of the pictures from the spring months. The summer months have a hotter looking sun in the middle just like the summer sign. The fall sign has leaves falling just like the fall sign itself. I always make it a point to talk about those months that share two seasons also. I included those months with the season that starts in that month so March goes with spring. However, we talk about how it actually is a part of two seasons. :)

Take a look!

Calendar Pics!

So there it is!!! I will be adding activities to go along with this throughout the summer and year!!! I can't wait to get started!! Too bad I can't get started organizing my NEW room (haven't moved in 9 years!!!:) until the carpets are cleaned in a couple weeks! I guess I'll just keep creating then! :)

OHH, you also get a bonus of my Birthday Certificates in the Classroom Decor Bundle if you are interested in the whole set! I love the certificates with the bookmarks! I hope you guys do too!!

I would LOVE to know what you think so feel free to leave any comments! :)

Thanks SOOO much for taking the time to read this extremely LONG post!!!! I just am so excited about this theme that I wanted to share it with the world!!! I think so highly of all of you so I'm honored that you stuck through the whole post!! 

If you got to this point, click on the following link for a freebie!! :)