Thursday, August 30, 2012

Keyboard Shortcut to Center Your Text!

I've decided to start a new weekly tradition... a "Technology Tip Thursday" post!  So many of you leave me such wonderful comments on my Technology Tuesday posts and I just love that!

I keep thinking that I have so many little tech tips that don't really warrant adding to the poll or writing a long tutorial on, so I thought it would be fun to post these little tips every Thursday in addition to my Technology Tuesday tutorial!

Most of the tips will be for Microsoft PowerPoint and Word... though some of them will work in other programs as well... just give it a try!

So... here's the first little trick!

Try it out and let me know how you like it! 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Action Cup!

In my previous post about classroom jobs, I mentioned the Action Cup that I use in my class.  Many of you were curious about it, so I'm writing up a whole post about it!

I use the action cup in so many ways!  I have an "Action Cup Helper" as a job.  Each time we transition from one activity to the next, or from our carpet seats to our chairs, the action up helper picks a student to choose an action, then the entire class does that action while they move to the next activity

I also use the action cup to work on counting and skip counting daily during morning meeting.  The morning helper brings the cup to all of the boys or all of the girls to pick various actions to do while they count aloud.

I start off the year with only a handful of actions in the cup, then add more throughout the year.  Every once in a while, I have the class pick new actions to add to the cup.  Here are the actions that were in my cup at the end of the year:

brush your teeth
clap your hands
cry like a baby
do bell jumps (forward and back)
do criss-cross jumps
do jumping jacks
do outer space jumps
do ski jumps
do squats
do the disco dance
do toe taps
fly like a jet
gallop like a horse
hop like a bunny
hop on one foot
howl like a wolf
jump like a frog
melt like ice
pop like popcorn
pretend to be a bird
pretend to build a house with sticks
pretend to climb a ladder
pretend to drive a car
pretend to eat
pretend to jump rope
pretend to read a book
pretend to swim
pretend to take a test
pretend to throw a ball
pretend your arms are spaghetti
pretend your legs are spaghetti
run in place
sit down
snarl like a dog
stomp like a dinosaur
stomp your feet
touch you leg
touch your arm
touch your back
touch your chin
touch your ears
touch your elbows
touch your eyebrows
touch your eyes
touch your hair
touch your head
touch your knees
touch your mouth
touch your nose
touch your shoes
touch your shoulders
touch your stomach
touch your toes
waddle like a duck
waddle like a penguin
walk like a dog

I'd love to hear some new ideas for actions... leave a comment if you think of something I missed!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How to Browse YouTube Safely in the Classroom!

It's Tuesday again, and we are finally getting around to the long awaited tutorial... how to browse YouTube Safely in the Classroom!

This has been a close contender in the poll for weeks, but this week it finally beat out the other options!

Now... I have to tell you when I first stumbled across this website, I had a "duh" moment!  I wonder if you'll have the same experience when you see the title of the website:

The website does have a disclaimer that it filters videos as much as it can, but that it might not catch 100% of them.  That being said, I've never had any issues while browsing it!  The site is pretty self-explanatory, but I typed out a quick tutorial for you anyway!

You can download this tutorial as a PDF by clicking this picture!
Note: This tutorial is hosted on Google Docs.  To save it from there, just open the file and click File > Download to save onto your computer!
For those of you interested in saving the videos from YouTube onto your computer, check out my previous tutorial, How to Download Videos From YouTube:
Now, for a bit of news... For those of you who happen to follow me primarily because of my technology tips, stay tuned on Thursday for a new technology feature, "Technology Tip Thursday."  I'll be posting a lot of quick tips here that don't require a full tutorial!
As for next week's poll, I'm going to add "How to Make Portrait Slides in PowerPoint."  Be sure to vote!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Organizing Your Literacy Manipulatives!

Today was my first day setting up my classroom and I am wiped out!  I'm loving it so far, and I'll be sure to take lots of pictures to post when I'm done! 

In the meantime a lovely follower had a great idea... we all have our labels for our math manipulatives... but what about all of our literacy manipulatives? The magnetic letters, letter stamps, flash cards, etc.

I decided to create cute literacy manipulative labels that coordinate with my math labels... click the picture below to check them out!

Here are the math labels that coordinate with them:

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Get Your Kids To Write Their Name on Their Work!

I'm starting to go through my plans for the beginning of the year and I found a bunch of things that I want to add to my blog... and many of them I'll be adding as freebies!  Soo... here's the first freebie! 

Years ago I learned the first verse of this song from a preschool teacher at my previous job.  So, my first year teaching Kindergarten, I obviously used it a LOT with my kiddos. 

I was absolutely amazed when my students added new verses to the song!  That's right... my students wrote the second and third verses of this song!  I absolutely love how creative they were and I use all three verses with my students nowadays! 

I added this file to TPT as a PowerPoint file so you can insert your own name into it, and I even embedded the font into the document so it should load up on your computer perfectly.  I haven't actually done the embedding before so I hope it works!

Click the picture below to download the song!

How do you get your kiddos to remember to write their names on their paper?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fight Against Fidgeting!

The number one way I have found to stop kids from fidgeting in class is to let them get all of their energy out another way! I make it a point sporadically throughout the day to do exercise songs in class!  It makes a MAJOR difference it getting kids to sit still the rest of the time!

I have a lot of exercise activities that I do with them that are academic in nature, but sometimes we just need a brain break!  I found a ton of songs on YouTube that are just perfect for this!

I used my little YouTube trick below to save these videos into a folder on my computer so I can pull them up easily on the Smart Board. 

Before you say it... I will: "When am I supposed to have time to do this in class!?  My day is already full!" Most of these songs are 2-3 minutes long... and I know that when my kids fidget I sometimes spend more than 2-3 minutes to get them back on task... so you're not taking extra time to do this, you're just re-purposing your time!

Anyway... here are my favorite videos for brain breaks!  I embedded the videos here, but the titles of the song will also link you to the video on YouTube if you want to save it from there.

This one is my absolute favorite!!!

Can you tell that I just love Patty Shukla's songs?!

This one is another one of my favorites!


That's 24 different songs to help your kids get their fidgeting out in a way that doesn't distract the rest of the class... in fact, it's actually in a way that benefits the entire class since they'll all be able to focus better after getting their blood to flow around better!

How do you get your kiddos to stop fidgeting?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Handwriting Book!

I'm getting geared up for the beginning of the year and I decided to make some cutesy Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Handwriting pages!  You can click the picture below to grab it at TPT!

Each of the pages has directions to help the kids write the letters.  I can't wait to do it with my kiddos, I think it will be a cute little booklet for them to keep!

I'm so ready for the first week (even though it's not for a few more weeks)... even if I'm not ready for waking up at 5am! 

Is everyone else getting ready for back to school or are you back in school already?  I find it so bizarre that across the U.S. we're all on different school schedules, but I guess it all works out somehow!  Even if it means we get to watch people talking about "5 days left" on their blog while we've still got 2 months left!  Right!?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How to Make a Collage of Pictures in Any Shape!

It's Tuesday again, so obviously it's time for another technology tutorial!  This one is definitely one of my favorite... how to make a collage of pictures in any shape you want!

This poll won by a pretty large margin, but there were definitely some other contenders... it'll be interesting to see what wins next week!

Now, onto the tutorial!  This tutorial uses the program Shape Collage, which you can download by clicking that link.

 You can download this tutorial as a PDF by clicking this picture!
Note: This tutorial is hosted on Google Docs.  To save it from there, just open the file and click File > Download to save onto your computer!

I have so many ideas for how I want to use this program in the classroom this year!  Primarily, I want to make a collage of photos of my students in the shape of the Cat in the Hat's hat... but I think it has tons of other uses as well!

My students always seem to struggle with the "Which one does not belong?" questions on a test, despite tons of practice.  I'm thinking I can make cute photo collages to use for this activity... for example, using all pictures of winter items in the shape of a winter hat, with a summer image placed in as well.  I think the kids will have a blast playing "I Spy" to look for the picture that doesn't belong... plus this shape will give them a hint as to the category it belongs in, which would make a great introduction point!

How do you think you'll use this in your classroom?

As for next week's poll, I did promise last week that I'd add how to add HTML code to a blog post.  I'm excited to see which one wins this time!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sight Word Cootie Catchers!

I am absolutely in love with these new cootie catches that I made!  I've been meaning to make this for a while, and I finally knocked it off my to do list!  Click the picture below to grab all of the Dolch Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, and 3rd Grade words!  This document has 71 pages and is available in black and white!

This set addresses the common core standards CCS:K.RF.3c, CCS:K.RF.3d, CCS:1.RF.3g, CCS:2.RF.3F, and CCS:3.RF.3d!  Click the picture below to download it at TPT!

Also, as a request from Erin I'm adding the frame for your own use!  You're more than welcome to use this frame for personal use or in your TPT paid/free items, just be sure to give credit to me for creating it!  Enjoy!

To save the file, just click the image to get to the higher quality picture, then right click (or Mac: Ctrl + Click) to save the image onto your computer! 

Let me know what you think!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Flash Giveaway Winners!

I added a flash giveaway to the bottom of my post from yesterday! 

Thanks to everyone who entered!  The book(s) I'm currently reading is the Hunger Games Trilogy!  I finished the first one in two days and I'm on the second one now.  I was so nervous that they'd be gory but they're not at all!

Congrats to Tanya at First Grade is Fantabulous! and Deneise McGowan for being the first two people to guess correctly!  I'll be sending you the file soon!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Race Car Centers for Common Core & a Freebie!

Back in April I started to make these adorable race car centers for the common core standards but I never finished them!  So today I made it my goal to finish them... and I did!

There are five ELA centers:
  • Phonics Bingo (Beginning Sounds) (CCS.K.RF.3ab, CCS:K.RF.1d)
  • Middle Vowel Drivers (Middle Vowel Sounds in CVC words) (CCS:K.RF.2d, CCS:K.RF.3ab, CCS:1.RF.2c)
  • Race Through a Word (Reading CVC & CVCe Words) (CCS:K.RF.2cd, CCS.K.RF.3ab, CCS:1.RF.2b, CCS:1.RF.3bc)
  • Digraphs Keys (Beginning Digraphs sh, ch, wh, and th) (CCS:1.RF.3a)
  • Race to Read Words (Pre-Primer, Primer, and 1st Grade Dolch Words) (CCS:K.RF.1ab CCS:K.RF.3cd, CCS:1.RF.3g)

Math Centers:
  • Race for More and Less (Comparing groups of objects to 20) (CCS:K.CC.4abc CCS:K.CC.5, CCS:K.CC.6, CCS:K.NBT.1 CCS:1.NBT.2ab)
  • Road War (More and Less Using Numbers) (CCS.K.CC.4c, CCS:K.CC.6, CCS:K.CC.7, CCS:1.NBT.2ab, CCS:K.NBT.3

All the centers are available in color and black and white! :)
  • Skip Counting Race (Skip Counting by 10s, 5s, and 2s) (CCS:K.CC.1, CCS.1.NBT.2ac)
  • Time to Write the Room! (Time to the Hour and Half Hour) (CCS:1.MD.3)
  • Steering Wheel Addition (Adding Numbers to 20) (CCS:K.OA.1, CCS:K.OA.2, CCS:K.OA.5, CCS:1.OA.5, CCS:1.OA.6)
I had such a fun time making these I can't wait to print them out and laminate them!

Now, of course,  here's a freebie for my followers... one of the games from the set!!!  Click the picture below to download the game in color and black and white!

Note: This freebie is hosted on Google Docs.  Once you open the file, click File > Download to save onto your computer! 
And let's do a quick flash giveaway!
Can you guess which book I just started to read that I am loving?  
 I'll give you one hint: it's not a teaching book!

The first two people to get it right will win the whole set!  Be sure to leave your email address!

Thanks to everyone who entered!  The book(s) I'm currently reading is the Hunger Games Trilogy!  I finished the first one in two days and I'm on the second one now.  I was so nervous that they'd be gory but they're not at all!

Congrats to Tanya at First Grade is Fantabulous! and Deneise McGowan for being the first two people to guess correctly!  I'll be sending you the file soon!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Classroom Jobs!

There are so many possibilities for classroom jobs, and the kids just love them!  I always have one job for each student in my class!  I just added a bunch more jobs to my job chart set, and I added a jungle themed job chart by request!

Here's the jungle themed set... I had a blast making the textures for the jungle theme and it really made me think about making a whole jungle classroom theme! But I think I love my Dr. Seuss theme too much!

Here are the jobs I use in my classroom (and a few that I don't use since I don't have enough kids for all these jobs!):

  • Line Leader
  • Door Holders
  • Table Helper
  • Easel Eraser
  • Sanitizer Helper
  • Messenger: To bring the attendance folder (and anything else needed) to the office).
  • Lights Helper
  • Smartboard Helper: To turn on/off the smartboard when we use it.
  • Homework Helper: To stamp the homework and hand out homework folders when it's time to pack up.
  • Librarian: To be sure that all of the books are in the right bin and are nice and neat.  Also, to monitor students while they trade in the books they took home to be sure that all of the books came back!
  • Timer Helper: I love to use timers in my class!  I set timers for everything: 15 minutes for writing, 20 minutes for centers (through two separate timers... a 15 minute one for the kitchen/block center to play, then a 5 minute timer for them to clean up while everyone else plays for five more minutes).  The kids know that the second the time goes off its time to clean up and make their way to their seats! It's awesome!  I used to use a kitchen timer but just recently got the timer pictured.  It's expensive, but the kids just grab the red, green, or yellow timer when we start an activity.
This next one is my favorite!!!

Click the picture for an entire post about the action cup!
  • Action Cup Helper: This one of my kids' favorites!  Each time we transition from our seats to the carpet, or visa versa, they pick an action from the cup.  Some of the actions are simple, like "hop on one foot," some are silly, like "pretend your legs are spaghetti," and some are student created, like "fly like a jet."  We use these actions so frequently that the kids could "read" them by November.
  • Treasure Chest Helper: I use a color chart for the classroom.  At the end of the day, the students have the chance to get a prize from the treasure chest, a pencil, or a sticker.  The "treasure chest helper" sets up the prizes and makes sure that each student only gets one prize.
  • Computer Technician: We have three computers in our classroom, and the students rotate to the computer to do an education program that tracks their progress for me.  We have so many random computer problems, and I showed the students how to fix each of the problems.  They know how to to fix everything... even how to close an unresponsive program (Control+Alt+Delete on PC or Command+Option+Esc on Mac)  The Computer Technician is the one who goes to fix the problem if a student can't fix it his/herself, and reports any unfixable problems to me. 
  • Meteorologist
  • Pencil Sharpener
  • Caboose
  • Secretary: To pick up the phone
  • Writing Helper: To hand out “space jewels” (craft jewels from Michael’s which I have the students use to put spaces in between their words), and to hand out the Self-Check pieces from my writing set
  • Water Monitor: To count while students drink water at the water fountain so they don’t take too long!
  • Teacher Helper
  • Trash Collector
  • Lunch Helper
  • Snack Helper
  • Kindness Finder: To look for other students who are being kind and report it to the class
  • Class Chorister: To lead the class while singing
  • Chair Patrol: To check that all the chairs are pushed in
  • Pet Feeder
  • Supply Monitor
  • Calendar Helper
  • Paper Monitor
  • Sports Equipment Monitor
  • Substitute
  • Waste Management
  • Day Counter: To count how many days the class has been in school
  • Attendance Helper
  • Temperature Helper
  • Weather Helper
  • Classroom Experts: Ask these students about centers, classroom expectations, what to when you are stuck, etc, before going to the teacher.
  • Student Council: Attend student council meetings and inform class about various school activities.
  • Fire Marshal
  • Noise Monitor
  • Plant Caretaker
  • Pet Manager

As part of  one of my classroom management routines, "The Most Points," I let one student per day pick their job!  It's a free routine that you can download over at TPT by clicking the picture below!

What classroom jobs do you use in your classroom?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How to Save a PowerPoint Slide as a Transparent Image!

I am so excited to write this post because it is my 100th post on my blog and my 20th Technology Tuesday post!  I never expected to write 100 posts in the five months I've had this blog!  I really do enjoy it though!

Now, onto today's post... how to save a powerpoint slide with a transparent background!

This poll was a real nail biter!  I was really nervous it would end up being a tie!

Luckily, it wasn't a tie!  I'm really excited to blog about this fantastic idea that Mercedes over at Surfing to Success gave to me!  She has a ton of technology tutorials on her blog also so you should definitely check it out!

Surfing to Success” style=

Now, onto the tutorial!

And of course, you can have those two cute star images for free!

To download this tutorial as a PDF, just click the button below.  I decided to host the files on Google Docs instead of TPT and hopefully I'll get the other posts up soon!

Note: This tutorial is hosted on Google Docs.  To save it from there, just open the file and click File > Download to save onto your computer!

For next week's poll I had the hardest time picking what to add!  In my linky party below, the question came up as to how you add the HTML code to your blog when someone gives it to you.  Oops... I put the wrong thing on the poll!  I added how to make a collage of photos in any shape.  I'll add the HTML next week!  Be sure to vote for next week, and in the meantime, check out my linky party!

Back to School Jitters Linky Party

Monday, August 13, 2012


My 600 follower giveaway is over and the winners are Fabiola and Shelly!

Ladies, I'll be sending you your prizes via email in just a few moments!

They both won a ton of fantastic products which are perfect for back to school!  If you didn't win, all of the items are still on sale in my TPT store!