Well friends it has finally come - I am officially on summer vacation!! I feel like my brain has already shut down and slipped into vacation mode. This week was an extremely long week with my daughter's graduation, my school's graduation, end of the year slideshow, trying to clean and organize my classroom etc.

I saw this on Erica Boher's Instagram and it about sums up the state of my house right now:

So before my brain completely shuts down I thought I would complete the second week's challenge for the TPT Sellers Challenge with Third in Hollywood and friends.

So they are pretty self-explanatory but here is a bit more detail just in case : )
1. We have not had tons of family vacations. My husband has not had much, if any, vacation time in the summer and we have not always had the money to do anything big with our kids. I would like to make and save enough money so that we could do a few big vacations before our kids our too old and too cool to be seen with us.
2. My daughter is off to high school in the fall - which means just 4 short years till university - I would love to be able to put more money away for this.
3. I really do LOVE the idea of something I created being used and enjoyed in other classrooms. I love being able to share with other teachers. I LOVE learning from other teachers. I know that people say that blog reading is declining - but it is still my favourite way to learn about other classrooms and share what is happening in mine. I hope to that people continue to blog and that people continue to read my blog or see my ideas on Pinterest and come and check them out.
So those are my dreams. My other dream is of course to lose weight without trying and with eating fries, cheesecake and bread....I think it may happen soon!!
Have a great weekend - I can't wait till Sunday night (to watch True Detective!) and to be able to go to bed knowing that the next day is mine, all mine!!

So I am participating in the TPT Seller Challenge and this week's challenge is a product makeover. I have to admit Makeover Madness did not hit me this week as I am in the middle of End of the Year Madness and Daughter's Graduation Madness. But I did have a product that I wanted to revise based on some feedback from a customer so I took some time this week and revised my Poetry Posters to include black and white versions of the posters.

These posters are my best selling item and I still like the font and I love the frames and papers (I do not get tired of Megan's products, I am a bit obsessed) but I do understand that not everyone wants to print them in color so the pack now includes a black and white version of each poster. I think they look great when printed on bright paper or even just black and white on a bright background. I think the black and white version would also make it easier to print them a few to a page and use them as notes for interactive notebooks.

Check them out - they are on sale till Sunday. Hope you have a great weekend!!

I am so happy to be linking up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics (before I am even done school!!!) for her linky.....


and (finally!!) with my friend Holly at the Fourth Grade Flipper for her linky......


You would think that moving to a new grade for the first time in 15 years of teaching would have provided me with a lot more made its and tried its....and honestly I did make and  try a lot of new things this year...they just did not make it from classroom to camera to blog : )

So today's  made it/tried it is not something totally new for me, it is more of teaching strategy that I have used and kinda stopped using in the move to a new grade. It seems that in moving grades I ended up stopping doing things I knew worked, tried to figure out how to use them in this grade and then started doing them again!! The exit board is one of these things.

When teaching Grade 3/4 I was able to write down a short list of exit instructions for my students - a few quick reminders about success criteria, expectations and routines so that I did not have to answer the same questions over and over during a work period. But writing down a short list of reminders did not work so well in Grade 1...as some students were still learning to read. I sort of stopped using an exit board and used the oh so pleasant strategy of repeating the same directions over and over and answering the same questions over and over....ugh!!

So it was time to make a few changes and bring back the exit board. I loved how my teaching partner ran her exit board and stole some of her ideas and added my own style.

So here is what I am trying (with success I might add!).

I am still using headings....

But now I am also giving students visuals of the tools they need (this is the part that I stole from my teaching partner). I am using the actual tools that they use. I just hot glued some magnets to the back of the tool and bippity boppity boo - a great visual reference is achieved.

I use a magnetic clip to show them the duotang or book their work goes in (cause they still ask which book during math...um your math book....the blue one we have used all year!!).

I do use some word prompts, but we spent time going over them and what they mean in our classroom and they are very short so they are working out really well.

 I printed my headers and prompts on magnetic sheets (which everyone knows I love). I love the clean look of the magnetic sheets. You could print, laminate and attach a magnet to the headers and prompts though. When I print on magnetic sheets and then cut them they do curl up a bit - I just hold the magnetic piece down with....more magnets until I achieve a nice flat item and it is good to go.

If you are interested in trying an exit board with the headers and prompts I made (sorry you will need to make your own tools!!) you can pick up a free copy here.

Happy Sunday. Congratulations to all of you who have made it to your summer vacation, I still have 15 teaching days to go!!

We have been having all kinds of fun with our ABC countdown to summer....Frisbee day, joke day, Koo Koo Kangaroo day. This Tuesday will be our M day....for Math Games and Mapping. Which is a perfect way to review math concepts and wrap up our unit on mapping and our local community.

Here are a few of the books we have been using for our mapping unit....


In addition to these great books I have been using a fabulous resource that me and my kiddos are loving!! It is this Local Community and Community Helpers resource from Tina's Teaching Treasures.


Here are some of the things we have been working on with this unit...

On the first day we used the question prompts to brainstorm about our local community. Notice the "strong and stable structures" idea that was added....perhaps we just finished our unit on structures : )

Then we looked at the needs in our community and which features help us meet our needs. It was great to focus on not just the buildings we find in our community but the "why" - why do communities have these features, what is their purpose.

Then we used some of the "What If" prompts to think about how our community would change if some of the features were removed. This really made the students think about cause and effect and chain reactions. They had to work independently on the prompt "What if there were no road". Their pictures and ideas were great.

We are using the map feature labels and definitions to label a class map.

.....and the best part - we are building a class map. On one of our large class tables we are building a map. I added green paper to the table and they made water features, roads and a railway line. I made the community feature cubes included in this unit (building on one side - symbol on the other).

After seeing what features we already had each student made another feature to add to our map. We gathered around the map to talk about where they should add their feature and why (why should it be near other features etc.)

This is my favourite...it is hard to see but it is a "place to get your hair done" Those are blue scissors above the window.

Here is a shot of the symbols.

This is the far end of the table. They added a barn and pond in one corner. The other one is a vet clinic. They knew that these features should be far away from the downtown area. The vet clinic has a lot of land and a pond for the animals to go outside and heal!!

My students love this group map. They are constantly making additional features for the map when they finish their work. This is a close up of a parking lot that has been added. We also have bridges and street labels now.

This is one of the BEST purchases I have made on TPT and if you need to teach about local communities, community helpers or mapping I highly recommend this unit. It is so easy to use, with clear lesson plans and tons of extras (like anchor chart headings and guiding questions!!) that made my unit easy to plan and totally engaging for my students.

Even though it may be summer vacation for a lot of you, I would love to know....

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