Organizing with Cricut {Win Your Own!}

Are you in the new-school-year-gotta-get-organized mode yet?  Let me share with you a few ways that you can use a Cricut to help organize my classroom.  {Don't have a Cricut?  No problem!  See how to WIN one at the end of this post.}

I was so tired of trying to organize all of the headphones in my classroom.  So tired.  They were so big and the cords were always tangled.  I invested in earbuds for each of my students (from Dollar Tree).  I wound each earbud around a spool (from Hobby Lobby) and stored in one of these containers (also from Hobby Lobby).  I cut numbers from vinyl to label each compartment so students would know which earbuds belonged to them (no sharing....ewwww).  Super easy solution to the headphone dilemma!

Each container has 16 slots, so I had to use two containers.  I just labeled them on the cover so students would know which container to use to find their own earbuds.

VIP Table
Another simple solution is to use your Cricut to label an area as a VIP space in your classroom!  This is an area in your classroom for those Very Important People (you know, those students who are showing extraordinary behavior!!) - just decorate a desk or table to make it special and put ALL of your special supplies there for only the VIP's to use (think markers, pens, stickers, glitter glue, white boards, etc)!  Instant motivation.

How would you use a Cricut to organize your classroom?
There are only 2 more weeks to enter the Cricut Back-to-School Giveaway for teachers!!
Have you entered yet??

Each week for 7 weeks they are picking 10 winners for amazing prize packages!!  Entering is super easy!
You can nominate yourself HERE.  And, you can enter EVERY WEEK!!  If you enter, leave your link below so I can find you and give you a VOTE!  Good Luck!!


Genre Studies Series: Part 6 {Poetry}

Other Posts in This Series:

During my poetry genre, one of my main goals is to work on reading fluency.  I want to give students some strategies to help them become more fluent readers.  I also want them to see that as they read, read, and re-read a text (or poem), they become more fluent with it.  This will be important as we move on to folktales next. Poetry is also a great tool for teaching so many important literary devices!  As we are reading poems in our classroom, we are also learning to write poems - integration at its best!

We begin our study by reading poems.  I teach my students to think about reading poems - Where should they pause?  What words need to be emphasized?  What words should be read softly?  Students learn to "mark" their poems to practice reading them.  Marking a poem is just as it sounds - drawing marks or letters to remind you of how to read - we use slashes for pauses.  We put one slash for a line break, another slash for punctuation, etc.  Students will put an "s" above words to read softly, or an arrow above a word they want to stretch out.  The options are endless, but they love to add these symbols and create a key for their meanings.  We do several together before they start marking their own poems.  It's fun to see how each child interprets the poems and mark them lets their personalities shine! :)

This is the perfect unit for pulling out our whisper phones.  You can purchase these phones through many educational outlets, or make your own out of PVC piping as I did (well, actually, the hubs made them).  I spray painted them and numbered them just to lessen the germs being spread.  

Students are amazed at how they can read through one end in a whisper voice and then hear themselves so clearly through the other end!  All of my little poets can be reading at the same exact time without disturbing others!

We use a lot of poems from a lot of different places for our poetry unit - dig through all of your resources and make the most of what you already have!  A couple of my favorite resources include:

...the You Read to Me, I'll Read to You books.  These are oh so perfect for partner fluency practice!!  They come in many different genres that I use with my other genre units, too (fables, tall tales, fairy tales)! <3

....the Take Me Out of the Bathtub series.  These poems are make-your-tummy-hurt funny and the kids eat them up!  Plus, they're written to tunes of familiar songs, making it easy for students to find the rhythm for reading them fluently.  #winwin

As, I mentioned, we're also writing poems as we read them.  I like to expose my students to TONS of poetry styles, while also encouraging them to write freestyle poetry.  

Gooney Bird is So Absurd is the PERFECT read-aloud during this time since Gooney's class is learning some of the same poetry styles as my students!  Of course, in perfectly unique Gooney-fashion, Gooney Bird teaches the class to "warm" their brains with unique hats while writing poetry.

We learn to write many, many styles of poetry and students choose their favorite ones to compile into a poetry anthology.  We publish these into books - what special keepsakes!

As we're reading and writing all of this poetry, we're discovering many literary devices.  We create a lot of craftivities to help cement this devices into our brains - let's face it...they're tricky!  These serve as references on our walls, as well as decorations for our "Poetry Picnic" celebration at the end of our unit.

Alliteration with tongue twisters

Onomatopoeia with poetry pops

Rhyming with watermelon rhymes

 More alliteration with allite-rainbows

Vivid vocabulary with vocab baskets

  Similes with Simile Sandwiches

 Personification blooms with our flowers

Rhyming and/or Syllable review with Sandwich Poems

Metaphors with Metaphoric Family Poems

Whew!  We work hard during this genre study!  Of course, we want to showcase all of our hard work, so we invite our families in for a poetry picnic!  We rearrange all of the tables in our classroom, set out all of our projects and a few little treats, and add some finishing touches!

Students add acrostic poem name tents so families will be able to find their seats easily when they arrive.

We add triangle poems to our napkins at our place settings and we're ready for our big event!

Students each get a chance to be in the spotlight as they read some of the favorite poems they wrote during our study.  Our class also performs some of our favorites (from other authors) as a class.

Then, students return to their own desks to share all of their fun projects and poetry anthologies with their families.  What a fun day of celebrating our learning!

 Units I've created to supplement this genre study may be found below.

The Poetry Styles Unit includes a PowerPoint and individual signs of original  poems I wrote for all of the styles that I teach my students.  These are a great model to use when teaching the poetry styles and also serve as a reference throughout their writing.

I also created a second edition called Poetry Styles II as a special request for an intermediate teacher.  I do not use these styles in my classroom, but if you teach upper-grades, you may find it beneficial for your students.

 Poetry Pizzazz includes all of the fun craftivities for literary devices and also templates for publishing the poetry styles I teach.

Weekly Poem work is my newest addition that I am in LOVE with!  This is actually something I now use all year long to spiral poems and reading strategies with my students.  They will be experts at reading fluency in no time with this year-long practice!

I'll be back soon to share my final three genre studies - folktales (fables, tall tales, and fairy tales).


Classroom Reveal {2015}

This year, I kept the same theme in my classroom - Mon-STARS!  I am planning a complete overhaul for next year, but I just need one more year with these cute little monsters everywhere. :)  If you've missed my classroom in the past, welcome - take a peek inside!

Our Monster Door Hanger greets all of my little monSTARS each morning.

Our art wall showcases those special masterpieces and our transportation board makes sure everyone is getting home correctly.

Our cubbies store our centers while Mrs. Madden's lesson plan storage sits on top in labeled containers.

We refer to our writing stages often during Writer's Workshop.

Our rain gutter bookshelves hold our read-alouds so that students can see the titles for taking AR tests if they want.

Our laptops are beneath the raingutter shelves and our rolling seat crates (yes, hubs added wheels!) make the perfect seating and provide extra storage!

View one of one of our reading areas.  Students rotate sitting in a ton of different cozy spots around our classroom for independent reading time.

 I love the cozy quote and self portraits we finally got up behind our sofa!

This shelf holds our non-fiction books and author study baskets.  Our reading buddies are kept here, too.

The bunting you see around our classroom is just triangles of fabric held to the wall with red duct sewing at all - easy peasy!

The monster canvases along our windowsills provide another little touch.

This is our second reading area.  We love books!

The teacher's space is always the messiest area in our room. 

 Here's a view from the teacher's desk. 

 When we don't have a student teacher, we use our big table as our VIP table.

Mr. Madden turned a trashcan into monster storage for our puppets!

Our school uses Accelerated Reader so this board is used for that.  You can also see our scoreboard (whole brain teaching) and the teacher's comfy chair. :)

We spend MUCH of our day on our spotted carpet!  We LOVE it!  (Thanks!

Our other bulletin board holds our anchor chart tablet.  

Just a close up of more of our cozy spots waiting on a little reader to come along. :)

Students move their clips to make their lunch choices here each morning.

Here's another classroom view from a front corner.

 Here's a close up of one of our table teams. 

No words needed.  A must have for our classroom.

Our Whole Brain Teaching class rules hang above our class restroom. <3

This storage area is where all of our daily supplies and prep materials land.

Our centers and reading group materials are stored in this area.

Our pencil area.

 These are new additions for this year.

More storage is by our door, along with the mailbox for turning in teacher notes and our weekly goodbye for students to say as they walk out the door.

Our work hangs from these frames in the hallway.

Our MONSTERS enrichment club hangs in the hall as well.

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