Monday, May 4, 2015

What Works? Classroom Secrets and HUGE Teacher Appreciation Giveaway!

Isn't it so fun to visit other classrooms and get ideas? I love to see what works well for other teachers and then figure out how I can make those ideas work in my own classroom. You know the expression. The best teachers know how to beg, borrow, and steal share. ;-)

I am linking up with some blog friends this week to celebrate and honor all of the incredible teachers out there. We are reflecting on the things that work well in our own classrooms and then sharing those ideas with you. We also have some hefty prizes in store for our readers! Be sure to read all the way to the bottom of this post. Trust me, you don't want to miss out on these prize packages

Here are three things that work really well in my own third grade classroom.
Ziploc Quilt

When I was a new teacher in the 90's, blog hops were called bar hops. We were still learning how to send emails, and digital cameras were the size of a toaster. Since blogs were a thing of the future, we teachers met in person to laugh, cry, complain, and share ideas. I cannot take credit for this fabulous Ziploc quilt. All I can tell you is that a friend of a friend's mom (who was a retired kindergarten teacher) mailed me a picture of a Ziploc quilt she had made and loved. I wish I could remember her name in order to give proper credit. 

My Ziploc quilt (not the one pictured) is getting old now, but it still looks as good as new! It has come in so handy over the years and has received many, many compliments. It makes such an easy and attractive display for student work. Make it one time and use it until you retire. Then you can even pass it along to another nice teacher!

In order to make a Ziploc quilt, you will need gallon-sized freezer bags. The quilt can be any size. Use as many bags as you need for your maximum class size. You will also need regular Scotch tape and two rolls of your favorite pattern or solid color Duck tape. I decided to use a solid color for my frame.  You will also need scissors to cut the tape.

Decide how many rows and columns will be in your quilt. The quilt I made for this tutorial has 5 rows of 4. To begin, you will piece everything together with Scotch tape. This part is really important. Turn the bags backwards so that any brand names or other printing is on the back of the bag. You do not want that printing to cover your student work. All of the tape is on the front of the quilt, which should be the clear side of the bag. Tape together the side seams of the bags to make all of your rows first.

Then, tape together the bags at the top and bottom. For this part, you will want to slightly overlap the bags so that the Ziploc opening is accessible from the back of the quilt. Again, make sure that all printing on the bags is on the back of the quilt.

Finally, you are ready to add the pretty tape. This will cover and support all of the Scotch tape. Simply cover all of your seams with the Duck tape of your choice. Center the tape over the seams.

Here is a before and after picture of the Duck tape. 

Now you can display your student work! Slide the papers in the bags through the back of the quilt. You can hang the quilt with magnets or push pins, but my favorite way to maximize space is to hang it on a bare wall using these Command hooks. I just punched three holes across the top of my quilt so I can slide it right on the hooks.

I have a special teacher in mind for this Ziploc quilt. ;-) Did I mention that they make great gifts for Teacher Appreciation Week?
Math Enrichment Notebook

This is such a simple idea and it works so effectively for students who need extra enrichment in math. I used to copy enrichment packets for my students, but often times many of the pages were unfinished and wasted when it was time to move to the next chapter.

Now, at the beginning of a new chapter, I copy enrichment pages, but then slice up the problems on a paper cutter. I keep the problems in a basket that I can easily access when needed. 

My students use a notebook for many of our daily math problems. We use the front of the notebook for this purpose. Then, we flip the notebook over (and upside down) for enrichment problems. When individual students have mastered a concept quickly, I just pull out my basket and hand them an enrichment problem. They flip over their notebook and use a glue stick to insert the problem in the next empty space. Here is an example from the inside of one of my student enrichment notebooks.

Enrichment side of notebook
I really like this method of math enrichment because I always have challenge problems at my fingertips, and I can prescribe the exact problems that are appropriate for each individual student. It is easy to sneak in a problem even when there is only a few minutes left at the end of class. Also, there is less paper waste. The extra problems in my basket can be used the following year.

The front of the notebook is used for regular math work. The next picture shows what the inside of the front looks like.

Regular side of notebook
My math notebook covers are available as a FREEBIE in my TPT store. Click on this link or the pictures below to grab yourself a copy. The awesome graphics are by Monster Wrangler Mike. I can't seem to get enough of his clip art.

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week everyone! Thank you for all the sacrifices you make in the name of children. Thanks for being dedicated and just plain awesome. Now it's time for you to enter for your chance to win some incredible prizes below. After submitting your entries, be sure to hop around on all the other blogs at the very bottom of this post for many more classroom secrets!

Check out these two prize packages! They are each valued at over $475! The more entries you submit, the better your chances of winning!

One lucky winner will win this entire prize package! 

Prize Bundle #1 includes:

PLUS. . . a $140 gift box of fabulous teacher supplies sent to you from Amazon!

We aren't finished yet! Take a look at everything a second lucky winner will win!

Prize Bundle #2 includes:

PLUS. . . a $140 gift box of fabulous teacher supplies sent to you from Amazon!

Be sure to enter both rafflecopters for a better chance at winning one of these amazing prize bundles!

Enter to Win Prize Bundle #1 Here

Enter to Win Prize Bundle #2 Here

1 comment:

  1. You are so creative!!! Your ziplock quilt is such a fun idea and I love your games for early finishers! Thank you for sharing! Happy Teacher Appreciation Week :)

    Neat Sweet & Hard to Beat