Skip to main content


Showing posts from July, 2010

Carpets in the Classroom - Random Idea

This is an idea for those teachers in schools who do not have budgets for area rugs in the classroom. Lowes and Home Depot have carpet remnants sections where you can catch a good deal on area rugs for the home or classroom. The are left over pieces of carpet that they bound on the ends. Pictured above is a 6 x 8 rug that I purchased for my living room for $42. A teacher friend of mine showed me how to tape the "no slip" rug underlay to the carpet with wide masking tape so it would move with the carpet and not show if the carpet was moved. I was at the store and I looked at the "no slip" underlay and it cost over $40 (more then the carpet I was buying!). I simply reused the one I had under the old was a bit small but it should work (underlays would probably be cheaper at Walmart...or you could use the foam shelf liners and just do the perimeter and not the area). They don't have cute rugs with maps and states but they are inexpensive and

Number of Followers

Wow! I went on vacation and came back to find that I have over 100 blog followers. I remember getting my first blog follower and was so happy it wasn't my mom :) Thank you to everyone who follows or just checks in periodically. It really helps push me in my notebooking and searching for ideas to share.

Random Idea - Writing Folders

When I moved to the elementary school from the middle school I was hired to teach math, science, and writing. While the writing seemed random I found I actually enjoyed teaching it. I love to write and I love to read what kids write (really hated the grading...particularly since I had over 45 students that first year). That first year my students wrote some really fun things and like a good teacher I made comments, put a grade on it, and sent it home in student's weekly folders. As a mother, whenever I got those papers from my son I would mean to save them but they generally got trashed by the end of the school year. I wanted to try something different the next year and put together writing folders. I bought about 30 white two pocket folders from Wal-Mart when they were on sale for .10 or .15 cents. I had students decorate them in the first week and kept them in a plastic tub. Anytime students had a writing assignment finished it went into that folder and stayed there for th

Multiple Subjects - Notebooking

This past year I tried to add notebooking to my reading class and failed miserably. In hindsight I think it was because I was new to teaching reading and I really wasn't sure what I was that overwhelmed me. It turned out setting up a notebooking as well as learning the curriculum was a bit too much so I abandoned them the second novel in (I stared with the novel Top Secret and then Sign of the Beaver). The biggest problem I had was time. Reading a class novel takes time and so does working in a notebook. I tried reading one day and notebooking related to the reading the next day. It was taking forever to get through a novel! I was also alternating between class novel sets and using the reading textbook series (complete with the work book) so I was using the notebooks inconsistently. What I wound up doing was abandoning notebooking and instead had students create large " lapbook " foldables at the end of each novel and that worked well for me....i

Textbook Usage

Our district uses the McGraw -Hill textbook series (for the elementary grades and Glenco for the middle school grades). I use the textbook in the classroom as a resource. It does not guide instruction, i.e. start at chapter 1 and end at the last chapter (I use our standards and EXCELLENT support documents to guide instruction). Last year I (and the social studies teacher on my team) stopped assigning textbooks to individual students and just kept a class set that we used as needed during instruction. We explained our reasons to our principal (kept the backpacks from being weighed down, cleared up space in their desks, etc.) and he was happy with our reasoning and approved the decision. We also made sure to explain to parents on our back to school night (during that discussion I showed them the link on my website where children could access the textbook online if needed). Our textbook series is not bad (sure lots of non standard stuff but easy to work around). I can not say the sam

How to Download Sample Notebook

A couple of folks reported problems downloading the PowerPoint from mediafire. Here are some screen shots that will help walk you through the process.

Complete Sample Notebook (w/notes)

When I first started notebooking I couldn't find much about the topic online. I was a first year teacher and was completely frustrated. I started this blog in my second year of notebooking as a way of recording what I was doing and to hopefully help others who were getting started. I just finished my third year of notebooking and my notebooks look much better then my first year's attempt. There are a lot of people in my district who want to try notebooking and always ask for a left behind student copy to guide them through the process. Most of my good notebooks go home at the end the end of the year and I am left with a handful of notebooks that are incomplete or poorly done as my "leftovers". This year I decided to take pictures of a "good" completed notebook so that I can post it online. The size was a bit overwhelming for my normal file sharing site so I found a new one and uploaded it so that people can download it (click HERE ) and virtually thum


I often get asked about my homework policy. Particularly as it relates to notebooking . Unless your school has a homework policy I find that most teachers assign homework based on their own personal feelings about homework. As a parent, and a teacher, I've seen those feelings run the gamut of "I only assign homework because I think I'm suppose to" to "homework instills a strong educational work ethic and it is impossible for a child to be successful unless we give them opportunities to develop that work ethic." I fall in the category of not loving homework (as a parent....having to hound my child to complete it and seeing how a simple assignment can be dragged out to hours of arguing and grounding until its done and as a teacher....having to spend the time to review, grade and record it). Luckily I work in an elementary school where our administration understands that our students get out around 3:30 p.m. and then have sports practice, babysitting, scou

Organization - Idea

This idea came from two of my teammates this past year. It is a great organization idea that I didn't implement until the end of the year and I was surprised at how much it made a difference. They both put together a notebook that they use exclusively for staff meetings. They put it on their desk and grab it each time they have to go to a meeting. They take notes in it and then they can refer back to the book when they need information for our weekly newsletter or if they forgot what date they have to finish a task by. Shockingly I am not that organized when it comes to meetings (or filing...but that is just a hideous task right up there with dusting). I just grab some lined paper while I am running out the door to the meeting and promptly loose the paper I wrote everything down on :) This system seemed doable and the only thing I had to do was train myself to put the book in the same place every time I got back from the meeting so I didn't loose it among my papers I had

Summer Sales

There is a sale on composition notebooks at Walmart this week - .25 each (which is a really good deal...they go up to a $1 + once school stuff official go on sale). They also have glue on sale for .30 each. Did you know? Elmer's glue bottles and sticks are recyclables ! This is a great school project if a classroom teacher wanted to undertake it for their school (you can get a lot of supplies and prizes for your school or classroom). Details can be found on their website . ALSO - Staples is having their .01 sale this Sunday. Great time to stock up on pencils and (my favorite) sharpeners that catch the shavings (you can NEVER have too many of those - to see an earlier post about how I manage the pencil/sharpener situation in my classroom click HERE ). If you tell the manager you are a teacher you can buy more then the posted limit (some managers require proof, as in a school ID or paystub be prepared). Happy back to school shopping!