Centers {Ideas, Help & 100+page FREEBIE}

I'm taking a break from my Must-Read-Monday linky.  It will start back up next school year, but I know many of your are already turning on your summer brains (and boy am I jealous!)  Two more weeks here!

That's right!  It's BIRTHDAY TIME!  Even though our little shop has only been on TpT for 2 years, we are celebrating our 7th birthday!!  CRAZY, right?  We want to THANK YOU for sticking with us during these 7 years by having a huge 7 weeks of FREEBIES Celebration.  You know we don't do things small around here, so we've got some BIG surprises coming your way!  Be sure to follow our TpT store and Facebook Page so you don't miss out!

Our first FREEBIE is available during week one ONLY.  Then it will be for sale in our shop, so spread the word so your teacher friends don't miss it!!

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Any-Time-Series-Telling-Time-Math-Centers-1255245
I plan to work my tail off this summer on our new "Any Time" center series.  The idea behind this series is that it will be a complete set of centers for a single topic.  The theme will be something cute that is NOT holiday or seasonal, so you can pull the centers out to use "any time" of the school year!

There is nothing I hate more than getting to a unit (such as telling time) and realizing that the CUTE center I have for this concept is Halloween themed....and it's January.  Wait!  But I have some cute January centers!!  Oh yeah...nothing with telling time in those.  BOO!!

With these sets, you'll be able to pull out the "Any Time" Telling Time centers and know that they can be used in absolutely any month of the year.  AND, they will include TEN centers - that's absolutely everything you could need - to cover that concept.  From telling time to the hour to determining elapsed time to solving time word problems.  These centers hit all of the common core standards from 1st through 3rd grade, making differentiation a breeze!

In my classroom, I will pull out these centers during our Telling Time unit and also whatever holiday/seasonal centers I have.  That way, I'll have enough centers to know that my students are mastering our current concept while also spiraling some of our previous concepts.

I hope you'll love this new concept with centers, too!  Here's a sneak peek of everything included in this first set.  Click the image below to download it for FREE from May 25-31!

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Any-Time-Series-Telling-Time-Math-Centers-1255245

Now, with these great big plans for centers for next school year, I have to figure out how to organize them.  I have all of my centers in bags, but haven't found a way that I love to store the bags - and I plan to have hundreds of new ones. AGH!!

I'm thinking of getting a file cabinet and organizing them by units in the file cabinet drawers.  Then, maybe using command hooks to display 12 at a time for student use.  Better ideas?  I'd love to hear how you organize and use centers in your classroom.

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Must-Read Monday {End-of-the-Year}








One of my favorite books to read on the very last day of school is Last Day Blues by Julie Danneberg.  
http://www.amazon.com/Last-Blues-Hartwells-Class-Adventures/dp/1580891047/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_y
Many teachers are familiar with Danneberg's other book, First Day Jitters and read it aloud on the first day of school.

But somehow, Last Day Blues is not as well-known.  If you love First Day Jitters you will love this book, too!  Students will instantly recognize Mrs. Hartwell and her class, as they recall reading about them on the first day of school.  This book doesn't disappoint, as it has that same way of showing readers how students and teachers are much more alike than they thought! ;)

What are you reading this week in your class?  Do you have a favorite book to read at the end of the year?  I'd love for you to link up this week!






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Mastery Pockets {Part 2}

I had a lot of requests for the labels that I used on my Mastery Pockets.  So, here they are...

I usually print these on full-sheet labels and cut apart myself to attach to the folders.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7-RC8er5CXTX29sX2M4aWJXcnM/edit?usp=sharing
These are designed to print on Avery labels (1" x 2 5/8").

Just a reminder that you've got two more days to enter my Classroom Rug Giveaway!  You can enter daily by sharing on social media!  Click on the image below to go to my giveaway post.

http://www.teachingmaddeness.com/2014/05/classroom-rug-giveaway-this-is-h-u-g-e.html

Remember to come back tomorrow to link up with my Must-Read Monday Linky!  I'd love to hear about your favorite books for the end-of-the-year!

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Cheap & Easy Mastery Pockets {A Bright Idea}












If you enjoyed this bright idea, be sure you are following me on Instagram, Facebook, and TpT.

For more Bright Ideas from over 130 different bloggers, please browse through the link-up below by choosing the topic/grade level that interests you.




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Judge Madden Presides {End of Year Persuasive Writing}


The end of the school year....we're in survival mode, right?  We're willing to do what we have to do to keep their attention and still squeeze in a little learning.

Here's a look at one of my absolute FAVORITE writing activities to keep students engaged all the way until the VERY END! :)

One of my very favorite end-of-the-year activities is to have my kids write persuasive letters to me telling why they are ready to move on up to 3rd grade!


I swear, I get some of the best writing from them.  They really want to convince me, so they provide lots of details! :)  I tell them that they will read their letter to a JUDGE and the judge will decide if they are indeed ready for 3rd grade.  I don't reveal that I will actually be the judge just yet. :)  I like to keep them on their toes!

While we're working on this writing, they ask me ALL week long when the judge will be coming.  Hook....line....and sinker!

I usually have one of my teammates bring my kids back from related arts one day so that I can be sitting in the front of the room in my judge attire (old graduation gown), glasses down my nose, hair up in a bun.  As soon as the first student sees me, a trickle starts to go through the line, "The judge is here, the judge is here!"  They are so stinkin' excited!!

A loud murmur begins to spread throughout the room.  I bang my gavel (an old hammer the hubs painted black for me) and demand silence in the classroom.  They giggle.  I bang my gavel again and say, "There will be no giggling in this courtroom."

Silence.  Crickets.  Seriousness.

It's at this point that I usually crack.  Then we all roll with laughter.  I finally pull myself together and we carry on.  I call one student at a time up and have them read their persuasive letters.

They are nervous.  Sweaty palms.  The unknown.

They are supposed to tell me ways that they have become smarter and more responsible this year.  If they fail to provide details, I question them.  If they say they kept their desk clean, I may inspect it.  The judge does not play. ;)

Once I am satisfied, I bang the gavel and "sentence" them to 3rd grade.  The court room explodes in applause and cheers!

Of course, there are some students who I know will love the humor in this, so I might make them sweat a little more.  Hehehehe!  Sometimes I take a page from American Idol and worry them just a bit - "Joe, I'm so sorry *long pause* *worried looks* *gasps* but I'm not going to see you every day next year.  You are sentenced to 3rd grade!" or "You are sentenced to come back to this classroom next year *uproar in the courtroom* and visit often because I will miss you.  You are sentenced to 3rd grade!" *wipes sweat from brow* Whew!

I can't do that with all of the kids, of course...some of them would be in tears, but these took a dramatic swipe of the forehead, let out a huge sigh of relief and say "you had me sweating bullets!" or "whoa! I was worried for a minute!"

They love it!  Obviously, we still usually have a few days of school left after this activity, so I let them know that just because the judge had sentenced them to 3rd grade doesn't mean it is official.  They still need to be on their A-game because the judge can always "revoke" the sentence.  I let them know that it's not official until they get their final report card in the mail with the judge's signature!

Once everyone has been sentenced to 3rd grade, we usually take a "field trip" to visit 3rd grade.  Last year, we went to one class and the teacher told them a bit about it and then my students partnered with her students and asked questions they had about 3rd grade.  This was a great preview for them and I think it helps to settle some of their nerves about the unknown.

Some years, we just take a stroll down the 3rd grade hall and make observations.  What can I say?  Some years there's only so much you can do to survive!

You can find a couple of resources I use for this activity at Teacher's Clubhouse (Movin' on Up and A Trip to the Future), if you're interested.

I hope you'll be able to take this activity back to your class and have a little end-of-the-year fun with persuasive writing while surviving the last few weeks of school!  Summer is near, friends!

Don't forget to get ahead for next year by entering my amazing RUG giveaway ($279 value)!

http://www.teachingmaddeness.com/2014/05/classroom-rug-giveaway-this-is-h-u-g-e.html




There are MORE amazing end-of-the-year ideas in our Blog Hop!  Visit Angela at Hippo Hooray for Second Grade for the next post!
http://hippohoorayforsecondgrade.blogspot.com/2014/05/keep-calm-letters-to-next-years-teacher.html

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Classroom Rug GIVEAWAY!! {This is H-U-G-E!}


Our large classroom rug is the center of our classroom.  The "core" I like to call it.  We're on the rug more than we're at our seats.

When I'm teaching mini-lessons, students are seated on the rug.  This ensures that they are close to the instruction, paying attention, and have few distractions.

When I'm reading aloud a book, I'm in my comfy chair and students are right in front of me on the rug.  Listening attentively and often following along in their own copies of the book.

When students are playing games or doing partner work, they all want to be on the rug!  It's comfy.  It's warm.  It's the top choice!

It is the core of our classroom.  It's where learning takes place.  It's where readers grow.  It's where mathematicians explore and solve.  It's where students and the teacher make connections and build a relationship.

Every single classroom needs a large rug to be the "core."

Unfortunately, I've had a love/hate relationship with my large classroom rug.  You see, as you probably know, those large classroom rugs usually range between $400-$600 at school supply companies.  Out of a teacher's budget FOR SURE!

So in the past, I've compromised.  I've bought rugs from our local home improvement stores or rug outlets.  They didn't last more than a few months.  This past year, I splurged on the most expensive one from our local home improvement store, knowing that for sure, it would last.  Wrong!  Within a couple of months the binding had ripped apart and the fabric was fraying like CrAzY!


*SIGH*  I know the problem.  Those rugs aren't intended for high-traffic, daily use....especially with 22 seven-year-olds.  Let's face it, items for the classroom have to be built for the classroom.  Heavy duty!  I do have smaller "school-grade" rugs in my classroom that have lasted for years so I know it's possible, but the large "school-grade" rugs are just out of my price range!  Or, at least they used to be....

Enter KidCarpet - the only place on the planet where people can buy classroom rugs directly from the factory, saving teachers LOTS of money!  A 7'6" x 12' rug is only $279.99 and is shipped FREE!!

I am SO excited to have this new rug as the core of my classroom for next year!


It is "durable enough for the highest traffic areas," fire rated for commercial use, and large enough for all of my students.  Check. Check. Check!  I chose the "On the Spot" design because I love polka dots, plus there are 24 dots and each dot is spaced 24" apart, giving a "spot" for each of my students on the carpet.  Genius!

The first day it showed up in my classroom, several of my girls gasped out loud and declared it the most beautiful rug EVER!  I think they like polka dots as much as me. :)



But, the BEST part??  You can win a rug for school for ABSOLUTELY FREE right here on my blog! Click the link above to browse the many styles available.  You can choose any style you would like (up to a 7'6" x 12' rug valued at $279.99).  Here's a peek at a few of the MANY styles to choose from...

That's right!  You can get THE rug that teachers LOVE!  24 squares so that each of your kiddos can have an assigned seat and their very own space on the carpet.  <3

Or, you could choose a rug to match your classroom theme, like the oh-so-popular OWLS  Whoooooo doesn't love those? {Sorry, couldn't resist.}  Gorgeous!

Maybe you're looking for a rug that can also serve as a learning tool?  What could be better than a giant map of the USA showing the regions...right on your floor for students to interact with??

Or perhaps you have a fashionable classroom and want to choose a warm and inviting chevron rug?

The choice is yours...and these are just a FEW of your choices.  The guidelines for the giveaway are below.  Just use the rafflecopter at the bottom to enter.  Good luck friends!  What an AWESOME jumpstart on the new school year so you can relax and enjoy your summer, knowing you will have the "core" of your classroom already in place!

1. The winner can choose any rug for school that is 7'6" x 12' or smaller from KidCarpet's Factory Direct category (the link above will lead you there).

2. Free shipping applies to the continental US only.  The rug will be shipped directly to the winner from KidCarpet.

That's it!  Enter now!  You can enter DAILY by sharing this giveaway on your various social medias, so be sure to come back to this post daily to do so to improve your chances of winning!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


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