Weekend Warriors: November Necessities {Sunday's List}

Welcome back to another installment of Weekend Warriors! This weekend, my gal pals and I are sharing our necessities.

I hope you're ready for today's list!  Here we go!

Stickers.  Love them or hate them, they are a necessity in my classroom.  I have a drawer full of them.  As in, an entire desk drawer.  Full of stickers.  I may have a slight addiction.  There are so many cute ones out there, and they're usually cheap.  Can you blame me?   Below is just a sampling of what I have and use.  

So, what do I use them for?  Whenever a student earns 100% on an assignment or test, they get a sticker next to their score.  When the students read to me during assessments they get a sticker. Sometimes I just give them out randomly to kids who are making good choices, and I put them in the students' agendas each day that they return their homework.    

Another necessity is my EZ Grader.  It is so much easier that using a calculator to figure out percentages when grading. Hence, the name EZ Grader.  There have been times that I left this tool at school when I've taken things home to grade.  And, when that happens, I don't grade at home. Yep, I love this tool that much.

New student bags are also a must.  I know I've already shared them before (in this post), but really, they are a genuine necessity.

There is nothing worse than getting that little slip of paper in your box 30 minutes before school starts informing you that a new student will arrive that day.  No one has time to dig out all the materials needed for that!  So, I keep a bag of materials at the ready.  I can quickly stock the new student's desk and send home my second grade information without much effort at all.  

Typically, my new student bags include:
  • my welcome letter and handbook for parents to reference
  • notebooks/journals
  • folders (homework folder, unfinished work folder, and writing folder)
  • a name stick, a clothespin for the clip chart, a cubby label, and a job card (I just quickly write their names on these items and place them in their designated spaces around the room)
  • a nameplate for the students' desk
Finally, I could not live without my grade book from Creative Teaching Press. This is actually the first year that I have used a paper and pencil version, but I couldn't live without it.  We recently switched online grading programs. The new system is very time consuming and it wouldn't be fair of me to hold onto the students papers for long periods of time, so this way, I can write down their scores and enter the grades when I have the time.  Thank goodness these still exist!

Don't forget to visit these lovelies to read all about their November Necessities!

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Weekend Warriors: November Necessities {Saturday's List}

How on earth is this month almost over?  Thanksgiving is only a week away!  Shock aside, I am looking forward to our traditional sopapilla and oh-so-unhealthy sweet potatoes.  These foods are necessities for sure. ;)

Speaking of necessities, my fellow Weekend Warriors and I are sharing our November Necessities this weekend.

The following are all items that I need in my classroom.  When I run out or don't have them, I feel like I'm at a loss, that's what makes them necessities!

First up, Post-it notes.  I use them for everything!  I write notes to the students on them, I use them to access students' background knowledge at the start of a new unit of study,  I write quick notes to colleagues on them, I use them to record important reminders, and to even make short shopping lists for those after school errands that I tend to run all to often.  As you can see, I have a thing for the bright, pretty pads.  The standard mellow yellow just isn't my thing.

While we're on the topic of Post-its, my Post-it easel pad is another necessity. My principal bought us these a few years back for making class charts, and I am slightly obsessed!  It is basically a giant Post-it note. We use them when we do shared information gathering, shared writing, and various types of brainstorming.  And, I love that I can hang up our poster and move it around easily since it isn't stapled to the wall.

My "We Missed You!" folders are another necessity of mine. I have used these for years!  It is the easiest way to collect assignments that an absent student needs to make up.  Throughout the day, I just make a pile of the assignments we do on that student's desk.  At the end of the day, I sort through the pile and place it in one of these folders.  Then, I use a Post-it note (see, they are invaluable) to write a due date. The student takes the folder home and brings it back when the make up work is completed.

You can grab these covers {HERE} for free!

I don't know about you, but markers are another necessity in my classroom.  I'm talking about those special "teacher markers."  These Papermate markers are my all time favorite!  Hmm, I think I'm missing a color or two in this picture.  Anyhoo, the colors are awesome and the fine tip makes them perfect for editing students' writing, recording grades in my grade book, and so on.

Be sure to check back tomorrow!  I have a few more necessities to share with you!  In the meantime, head on over and visit these lovely ladies to see what kinds of things they can't live without.

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Let's Be Polite!

Recently I noticed that a small number of my students were struggling with arguing, being unaware of others, and/or being disrespectful. So, I decided it was time to spend a bit of time teaching my students about being polite.  I felt like politeness was a great place to start with them since being polite means one has the ability to share, has an awareness of others, is respectful of others, and so on.

So, the start of our week marked the launch of "Politeness 101."  I started by reading this book.  Don't let the title fool you, this book talks about much more than saying please and thank you.  And, it's pretty straightforward too.

I loved the Richard Scarry books as a kid!  Yep, I'm old.  And, I was beyond excited when I found this book on Amazon for super cheap! 

After we read the book, we buddied up and had some think/pair/share time.  Their task: think of ways to be polite every single day, at school.  I added their ideas to a chart and we talked about each one as it was added.  The chart now hangs in a prominent spot so that I can refer to it as needed throughout the day.  {I love that they had to throw burp etiquette in there}.

Then, we made a class book.  Each student wrote a sentence telling the reader how they can be polite every day.  Then, they added an illustration to their page.  I am sure I have expressed this before, but I absolutely adore class books!!

I plan to read our book aloud every day for a week so that we can review the ideas the students came up with and to keep them motivated in making polite choices throughout their day.  Eventually, the class book will wind up in the class library where it can be read by the students when they have free time.  In my experience, class books are usually the most popular books in the library, so I know this will be a go-to read.  Click {here} to grab a copy of this book.  Simply make as many student pages as needed and you have yourself a book!

Finally, I also made some brag tags to recognize when students are being "perfectly polite." I've already been able to give out a few!  You can grab these for free by clicking {here}.

I am hoping that this activity pays off in the long run!  Kids will be kids, and I'm sure a refresher course will be needed down the road. But, so far, they seem pretty excited about being polite!


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