Saturday, July 21, 2012

Classroom library, Clipboards and Colorful charts galore...

Happy happy Saturday!  I have now heard from three of my upcoming students.  Those postcards have made it into their hands.  Hooray.

I worked Friday in our classroom, and it is as finished as I can make it!  Woo Hoo!  

The clipboards are completed!

Every adult who saw them loved them! I sure hope my students enjoy working with the clipboards as much as I enjoyed making them.
The team points board is up!
Mr. Smith, Mrs. Hogan and I work as a team with our team points.
Each table has a number 1-6. The students who sit at table 1 in my room also sit together at table 1 in Mr. Smith's room.  We award team points based on work habits, attitude, organization and behavior.  At the end of each two weeks, Mr. Smith and I combine our team points.  Each student from the team with the most points wins a surprise prize!
The anchor charts that I displayed in the first blog entry, "Setting the Stage" are now all in their designated locations.  There are still a few more in the works, believe it or not!!!!  But here they are.
Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening = Literacy

See below regarding our classroom library!

Common Core asks us to provide evidence from the reading to support our opinions.

 Beware the ISTEP Lady... What does she look for in your writing?

We will add book titles to this board as we find books with these life lessons.

Until next time...peace be with you!  Mrs. T.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Postcards home... Classroom Blog... School Supplies

Life is good!  We were able to get our student rosters earlier this year than in the past.  That allowed me to get my postcards sent to all 54 students mailed yesterday.  In each postcard, I included my QR code, above, which I blogged about previously.  

Today I received an email from one of those students!  Yes, we have technologically advanced learners!  They got my email address from scanning that code.  On the code is also this blog address.  I hope to make this a window for parents and administrators to view our day, curriculum and activities.  So I realized I needed to get to the blog and say:


I am always welcoming of volunteers, visitors and parents into the classroom. It has been my luck in recent years that I have a cadre of parents and volunteers who do ALL of my copying and stapling... That way I can TEACH!  WOO HOO!!!!!!  However some parents and family members are like me...They are not available to come into the classroom as they are working. With this blog,  those who cannot come physically can visit virtually.  I hope to update daily or at least a few times a week.  My vision is that the students will help me with the blog.

In addition to making our day available for friends and family members, I hope my administrators and evaluators can get a better picture of me.  We have a Professional Learning Community here at Highland Hills Middle School , and it is my hope that the things I do in class to foster the PLC are demonstrated in this venue.  I look forward to viewing the blog together with the evaluator, and showing my artifacts.

Changing topics, my clipboards are nearing completion.  I have finished applying the scrapbook paper with mod podge.  It has dried for a couple of days, and the tulle will pretty them up within the next few days.  This project was not difficult, but was more time consuming than I anticipated.  

I am hoping the facelift of the brown clipboards will be one more way students can take a little bit more pride in the work they are completing on them.  I do know for sure that this is an idea for GREAT gifts.  Staples sells 3 brown clipboards for $4.59.  So with the tulle, paper and modpodge, this gift will be less that $3.00 each. GREAT for volunteers.

And finally...where oh where are the back to school sales?  Usually by now, the competition is fierce.  Not so here in Southern Indiana.  Crayons are still 50 cents, etc.  Our school year is beginning for teachers August 1.  I need to do my classroom shopping before that...ugg...

Until next time, may peace be with you and yours.  Bonnie

Sunday, July 15, 2012

More creations for the classroom...

How have I ever set a classroom up without Pinterest?  Wow!  These ideas were generated from the blog,  "Pencils, Paper and Pixie Dust."  Many thanks to those who share their marvelous ideas.  I made the ideas my own, but could NEVER have come up with them on my own!

This is my birthday balloon bouquet.  Tonight I made 55 of these, one for every student in my combined classes.  During the first two weeks of school, those students who have a summer birthday will get to choose the balloon of their choice.  The others will get to choose a balloon as their birthday rolls around during the school year.  These are made with Jumbo Pixie Sticks from Sam's Club (boxes of 50), scrap book paper, curling ribbon and staples.  In the bottom of the container, there are gum balls from the Dollar Tree.

From the same blog, I found this great idea.  Shamelessly, I stole their verbiage for the first two bullets. On the third bullet is another idea I found from Pinterest.  This is a free service from the website Remind101 which sends out a mass text to those whom you give your access code.  Not all of my students have email, but most of their families text.  So along with my frequent emails, I am going to send text reminders. I printed the QR code on postcards as soon as I got my class roster, and sent it home. Hopefully the families will have my contact information programmed in to their media sources even before they meet me for the first time.
Have a Smart Phone?
  • Download a QR reader app and then scan this barcode to instantly save my contact information.
  • I am a 21st century educator excited to teach your 21st century learner.                     
  • Also remember to text (424) 400-5094 with @mrsthr to be a member of my text blast group for important classroom announcements. Anyone, including your child, is welcome to receive my text messages.
                      Mrs. Bonnie Thrasher

Another idea from the same blog, "Pencils, Paper and Pixie Dust" that I simply couldn't pass up was the  "Birthday Door."  Since I have nearly 60 students, I could not use photos on my door as she did.  So I had to change the design a bit.Yet I can post all of their names on this beautiful door display.  Since the door is hard laminate, and I had to be careful, the challenge to hang the display was quite a task.  I used 2 yards of fabric laid flat on the floor after fitting it to the door.  On the back, I attached Industrial Strength Velcro to the top. I used Spray Adhesive to attach the border and card stock patches to the fabric.  To hang it, first I stuck the Industrial Velcro to the door.  Then I used about 30 Velcro dots around the edges f the border.  Regular velcro dots stick fine to the paper border, but not very well on the fabric. I will add the students names and their birthdate as soon as I receive that information. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Setting the stage...

Welcome to Bonnie Thrasher's Classroom Blog.

Today was the second day this summer I spent about three hours in the classroom.  I teach fifth grade ELA and United States History to aproximately 55 students each year.  This will be the first year my students are in the middle school setting.  So I strive to create a smooth transition blending the best parts of Elementary School and Middle School into one arena.
View from the door. Anchor charts are prepared for each of those wall strips. They will be mounted as we cover that concept.

View from the locker area. Teacher's desk is under the windows. Anchor charts will be posted in the empty wall spaces as we cover each concept.

View from the back of the room. Anchor charts will fill the empty spaces as we cover each concept.

Books organized in baskets by favorite authors and then alphabetically thereafter. (Dollar Tree for baskets, Office Depot ID badge holders and Home Depot Zip Ties. MUCH cheaper than Really Good Stuff) My photo wall of family and friends.

Conference area. Filing cabinet upcycle using Mod Podge and scrapbook paper.

Conference area with another up cycled filing cabinet. Daily extra papers go in the "rainbow" sorter.

The view from the door. Vocab words and roots are above white board. Each table has a supply bin for colored pencils, crayons, glue, and pencils. The bins remain on the tables.

Common area in front of the smart board for large group time on the floor.

As students enter, they drop homework, notes, etc. off in the plastic trays. We have a large receptacle for recycling front center. Bulletin board will hold anchor chart pad as soon as the posters are finished. Thanks go to a friend for the idea of anchor charts to begin with as well as the idea of keeping them in a chart to flip as we need them!

Notice no space is wasted. This is the teacher's conferencing/computing area. Peace be with you.

Lava lamps in window in the peace corner.

Teacher's desk faces student tables. My teaching partner, Steve, retired, and gifted his real wood desk and Mac desktop computer to me. Truly treasures that will stay with me until I retire.

Our fifth graders have individual lockers (without locks) within each classroom. This is the view from the teacher's computing/conference area.

View from the back corner. Door is in the top right corner.

The designs for these anchor charts all came from Pinterest. I did NOT design them. I found them by simply searching the keywords "Anchor Charts."  We took the pins and then made them our own, personalizing them in some cases.  There are more to come as time opens up to make them.  As mentioned in the captions, I will mount each Anchor Chart as we cover that concept. I have the utmost respect for those with artistic talent who can create Anchor Charts with the students...unfortunately, I can't create them myself WITHOUT the thanks be to my Kimmie for creating them for us!