Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Made It! (July 28)

Hello all! I am glad to be back once again in the blogosphere. I may have mentioned this, but Husband and I live out in the country. Our internet is very temperamental. And it apparently decided to die for two weeks :( So that's where I've been! Ha.
It's Monday! You know what that means... time to link up your latest projects with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics. And believe me, I only have like a MILLION projects going on right now. So here we go!
 My first "made it" is actually NOT school-related. *gasp* I know, right? Check out my new wreath for August/September!

The story of this wreath and how I actually got myself to make something that WASN'T for school: I've had the same wreath up since spring. Like, a long time ago. It didn't really bother me though, because it was burlap, pink, and blue. Summer-ish, right? Sometimes I would look at it and think about making/buying a new one...but then I would think of something better to do (most likely school-related). So what made me change my mind? Husband. Yes. For real. He noticed how long it had been up there, and offered to buy me a new one. That's how I was time. So during my weekly (feels like daily sometimes) Walmart (small town Suzy here) I snatched up a cute wreath and some fake foliage and slapped this thing together. Oh, and a letter B for Burns. It's actually gold, not white like it looks in the picture. Whatcha think? 
My next "made it" is a new freebie from my TPT store! I've been thinking a lot lately about literature circles and how I use them in my classroom. I feel like everyone (teachers) knows what they are and generally how literature circles function, but it wasn't until this summer (after some awesome workshops) that I really learned how to set them up and make them successful. This freebie is one of the ways that I plan on doing that this year. I learned this from my super awesome student teaching mentor. She actually used poker chips (love it) with her kids!

How it works: At the beginning of the discussion, give each group member a couple of talk turns (or poker chips!). The rules? To share or take part in the discussion, you have to put a "talk turn" in the pile. When you run out, you're done! Everyone has to use all of their turns before the discussion is over. Once everyone has run out of talk turns, you can then share freely.

Let's talk about it: Would I use this all year with my groups? No. A goal of literature circles is that students learn the "norms" of discussions- when and how to take turns talking to one another about a topic. In real conversations, people don't carry around talk turn cards (although don't you wish some people did?) and my kids need to learn that. But, this is a great way to introduce this concept, especially to younger kiddos. At the beginning of the year, when we are learning the "norms" of literature circles, I will most definitely be using these, then taking them away gradually. I would also pull these out if some of my kids are backsliding into talking too much or not participating in discussions. You can do this with any small objects you already have OR you can go "Cute in the Classroom" style and download this freebie ;)
What tools do you use to make literature circles run smoothly in the classroom? I'd love to hear! 

And because I'm awesome, here's another "made it" freebie from my store...
 Another for-my-classroom "made it". I plan on using this writing process chart to track my students' progress in their writing. I'm tired of writing time being chaos and students calling my name or lining up by my desk for help (don't judge've been there). Now, they will have a clothespin (with a cute little matching number, of course) to move up and down as needed. Need a conference? Move your clip there. With one glance, I can tell who is doing what. And I like that. Feel free to grab up this freebie!

And lastly, another digital "made-it". When I make some more progress in my classroom I promise I will post more real-life ones!

More library labels! This time I made some red and black labels with white polka dots for a TPT follower. I love how cutesy these are. The thing I love (and hate) the most about my library labels (I also have chevron and zebra/rockstar) is that there are SO many choices. 172 to be exact. Today I was working on my classroom library and laboring over which categories to make or not...ah the joys of teaching. Anyways, grab 'em if you need em :)

So there are my "made-it"s for today! I worked in my room today and will return tomorrow, so hopefully I will remember to take pictures of what I "make" so I can post again next week about them! Go see what everybody is making and what not!

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