Monday, August 29, 2011

Fun Online Tool - Wordle

Has anyone ever used Wordle before?
It is an online tool that can be used to create word clouds. All you have to do is enter text in a box and the program creates a Wordle in a matter of seconds! You can edit your Wordle by changing the font, colors, and layout. It is great for introducing new topics or making visual representations of students' writing.

I used Wordle for my Masters project and created one of my own to put on my website. (Click on the picture to go to my website)
I hope you enjoy this great online tool as much as I do!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Crayon Monogram

I have been looking at pictures on Pinterest for the past few weeks and I gotta say, I've been inspired! There are so many amazing craft ideas to choose from it that it is hard not to try a few! When I came across crayon monograms, I knew I just had to have one! It seems like this is a popular gift FOR teachers but I decided I wouldn't wait for someone to give it to me, I would just make it for myself one instead ;)

It might be hard to see in the picture but it is in a black frame. I plan on keeping it on my desk.
I am not usually very good at arts and crafts but this was really really easy to make. Want to make one for yourself? You can find the tutorial at Rainy Tuesday Mornings blog. Have fun!

Great finds!

Hi everyone,

I've been working hard to set up my new classroom this week but it is not pretty enough for pictures yet . I hope to finish it by tomorrow or Tuesday. Not that I really have a choice... school starts on Wednesday! I have so many ideas for my classroom but so little time to make them all come true!

Today, I went on a little trip to the dollar store and I actually ended up finding everything on my shopping list... and more! Here is a picture of some of the things I bought today.

Can anyone guess what I will be doing with all these wonderful finds??? I can't wait to post some pictures soon :o)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Three for Thursday

Today is Three for Thursday at Blog Hoppin’ and teachers everywhere are sharing their favorite font, blog, and online resource.

My favorite font is really nothing special. It is actually Bradley Hand in Microsoft Word. What can I say, I’m a simple gal!

My favorite blog isn’t a teacher blog, surprisingly! It is Pink and Green Mama. Her blog is filled with amazing art ideas! I can’t wait to try some of her creations with my students and my son too!

My favorite online resource is I can’t help but plug my own website here but I really do think all teachers should have this website saved in their bookmarks (or Favorites, depending on what you browse with). It is filled with great online resources for all levels and subjects. I created it as part of my project for my Masters and I just decided to continue adding links that I come across every now and then. I get compliments on it all the time and I am very proud of my work!

Well, today is my first day back to work so wish me luck everyone! I'll soon be posting before & after pictures of my new resource classroom so stay tuned!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Where It All Goes Down Wednesday!

Today at Blog Hoppin', teachers are sharing pictures of their classrooms. Unfortunately for me, I have not been in my classroom yet because I only start work tomorrow. I do not have any pictures to share with anyone today. However, I would like to share my wishlist for my new classroom. I have been spending lots of time looking at fabulous teacher blogs, Pinterest pages, and websites. I made a list of things that I would LOVE to have in my new resource room. Here are some of them:

Synonym word wall. Kids often struggle with finding words to replace the boring words like said, good, and happy. Finding synonyms for these words can really help them make their writing better. I found a great way to display synonyms in the classroom but I can't find the link to where I saw this picture. It was called 'Spice up your writing with... Salsa Words'.

Tattling Turtle. I worked with a teacher who had a stuffed turtle which sat in a bucket with cool pens and colored paper. She used it to help students share their problems without being tattlers. No teacher enjoys having that student who always feels the need to tell on everyone. Now I won't have to! Students will write down their 'story' on a paper and talk to the turtle. In the end, I will be the judge of which stories should be shared with me and which should be shared with the turtle.

Reader's Toolbox. Check out this link to see what I'm talking about! When students are stuck on a word, we will pull out a tool to help us 'fix' our problem.

Reading Nook. I have no idea what it will look like yet but I am full of ideas on this one!

Classroom library. I will be organizing my library a little differently this year. first, instead of having all my books in the same corner of the classroom, I will spread it around the room in different sections. Students will be surrounded by literature and this make it easier for them to shop for books.

These are just a few of the things that I plan on incorporating in my classroom this year. Stayed tuned for before and after pictures!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Smarty Pants

I was pinning away last week and an awesome idea caught my eye. It came from a wonderful blog called The Inspired Apple. I liked the idea so much that I decided to make my own! I plan on stuffing the pants with Smarties candy and giving it to my students when they have an 'Ah-Ha moment'.

As a resource teacher, I know that I will be working with students who can sometimes lose their self esteem. It is important for me to help these students realize that they are fully capable of learning, just like their peers. I think this will be a great way to identify great learning experiences in their lives.

Teacher Talk Tuesday

Hello! Today, we are sharing some advice to new teachers at Blog Hoppin'. With only 6 years of experience, I sometimes feel like I should be taking some advice rather than giving. However, I do have a few ideas that I would like to share:

  • Avoid negativity. It is easy to fall into the trap but you don’t want to come home talking about gossip. Instead, try coming home with a feeling of accomplishment and pride!
  • Choose one goal for each year. This is kind of like a New Year’s resolution but for your classroom. You can’t improve your teaching if you try to fix everything at once so try baby steps instead. 
  • Be consistent and make your classroom rules clear and simple. If you stick to your rules, the kids will too!
  • Always have a back-up plan. Sometimes we prepare a wonderful lesson and, for whatever the reason, it fails completely. You need to be able to think quickly and change the lesson fast before you lose the kids’ interest.  
  • Lastly, you need to always remember that you (and your family) come first. Leave your things at school more often than not. Dedicate nights and weekends to yourself, not your work. This will keep you happy and relaxed!
These are things that I remind myself of during each year so I hope you find them useful!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meet the Teacher Monday

Here is my entry for Meet the Teacher Monday at Blog Hoppin':

A little something about me...

Hi my name is Valerie Young and I have been teaching for 6 years. I taught French as a second language for the first 3 years of my career and, since then, I have been an English teacher for grades 4 and 5. I graduated with my Masters degree in Inclusive Education this past June. This diploma has allowed me to switch directions from a classroom teacher to a special education specialist. This week, I will be starting a new adventure as a resource (special ed) teacher for grades one and two. I am very excited and looking forward to this new challenge!

You might not know...

I am married to a wonderful man, Marc, and together we have a beautiful little boy named Nathaniel. My family is very important to me and I love every minute we spend together!

Our son Nathaniel
Marc and I

What teaching tool can you NOT live without?

  • My Timed Timer, it's a MUST in my classroom! 
  • My laptop, I enjoy using technology in the classroom and I love finding great websites that can be incorporated in our everyday lessons. 
  • Books. Every classroom needs a ton of books!

So, this is me! Join in the fun at Blog Hoppin'!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Teacher Week 2011

What a wonderful way to start my blogging adventure! I'm looking forward to Teacher Week at Blog Hoppin'!

New to Blogging!

I’ve been spending the better part of my summer surfing the web and enjoying amazingly creative teacher blogs and Pinterest pages. After weeks of resisting the temptation, I’ve decided to jump into this blogging world and create one of my own.  I look forward to sharing all my ideas with other teachers!