Monday, September 15, 2014

Library Grand Opening

Our classroom library officially opened this past week with a new sign to boot!

On Thursday morning we did a guided discovery of our library and one of my kids noted how bare the wall above looked. I shared with her that I was trying to think of the perfect thing to put there and she said "Why don't we put up a sign for our library?". 

Why don't we? I thought - What a perfect idea!
Later that afternoon while my kids were in specials I cut out some quick letters and prepped for the sign creation. My kids had NWEA testing all afternoon on Thursday, so I thought creating the sign could not be a more perfect wind down, break break type activity for them.

I let them pick their partners and each grouping was given a letter. I gave them guidelines in which I shared that they could add whatever design they'd like to their letter but it must contain something related to reading or a library. Ie. Author's names, genres, favorite book characters, tools to create books, etc. 

I mean impressive are these!

The sign definitely spiced up the place, and now there won't be any confusion as to where to find the books!

Here are a few more shots of our little reading area:

No library is complete without a "Super Reader" sock monkey.

Some of our bookshelves - organized by genre.

We have a strict no outside rug policy in my new building. This was a tough one for me to let go of as I felt like the rug just made the whole area so much more homey - but I think it still turned out to be a quite the quaint little, inviting space with what we had to work with. And thanks to my student's help - our new sign definitely livened it it up and made it their own!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Super Site Sábado #10

In prepping for our iPad rollout next week, my students and I did a variety of mini-lessons this week about how we can use iPads in our classroom and what the expectations will be when we have them in our hands!

In doing this, it was my goal to not only convey the information to them that they needed to know, but also try and show them a few features and apps that they would be using this year to get them more excited about our 1-to-1 environment.

Enter Popplet.
Popplet is an app that gives you the ability to create flow maps, charts and bubble organizers. I use the lite version in my classroom, which is what I will be sharing today. It's free and provides me with just the tools I need, but there is a paid version of the app for any who are interested in upgrading.

On Thursday, my students and I had a discussion surrounding what they thought our rules for iPad use should be in order to ensure we were using and handling them safely. I used the Airplay feature on my iPad to project an ongoing Popplet on our Smartboard so that the students could see how the app worked at the same time as I was adding all of their newly developed rules to the screen.

Here is what we came up with.

This map started as one bubble and we added on as we went along. 
Here's how:

You can also customize your Popplet by changing the background color of the whole thing.

Or just an individual bubble - which would be great for placing ideas into categories.

In addition to changing the color of each bubble, you also have the ability to add a drawing by clicking on the pencil icon or a photo by clicking on the photo icon.

Finally when you are all finished you can even save and/or send the finished Popplet. If you plan on having students use it as a tool to communicate their learning, this can definitely be a helpful feature!

And there ya have it, folks. How do you think you could use or how have you used Popplet in your classroom? I'd love to hear and share some of your suggestions!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Pizza Box Mailboxes

Linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for a Monday Made It to kick off the school year!
When I began setting up my new classroom a few weeks ago, I realized that I had no mailboxes. Instead of utilizing my yearly teacher funds to purchase new ones, I decided I needed to get creative.

I had read several posts about teachers using shipping boxes for creating mailboxes and while I really liked the ideas - I also really wanted to try and figure out a free way to get some if possible.

That was when I ran across this post from Teach Preschool about how she used pizza boxes to create student drying racks. 

Thus, the hubs and I set out to visit our local Papa Johns.
And boy did we hit the jackpot.

We squished 26 pizza boxes into his tiny trunk and we were on our way. And did I mention the best part- when I explained what I wanted to do with them, the super kind manager gave all of them to us for absolutely free!

Once we got home, the hubs cut off the front portion of each box, and then I put/stacked them all together.

Once ready, it was heavy duty taping time.

Then I added labels to the inside of each box to correspond to student numbers. (It also covered up the red and black numbers left behind that were kind of an eye sore!)

Once I transported them to school, I added a little bulletin board paper and borders around the outside to blend in a bit more with our classroom decor.

And finally I placed them in this quaint little counter cubby to be easily accessed by my students each day!

And there you have it! Pizza box student mailboxes - a cheap (free), sturdy, and easy alternative if and when you need em'!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Super Site Sábado #9

I am beyond thrilled to share this week's super site with you all today!
Not only is it a creative, innovative and rockin' place for Spanish learners, but I actually had the opportunity to interview the site's creator, and feel honored to share what I learned from him with you all today. is a site chalked full of songs, animated videos, games and more to get kids excited and motivated to learn basic concepts in Spanish. As those of us who are teachers of second language learners know, teaching through song is one of the best ways to reinforce concepts and vocabulary for our students. 

Cesar Chinchilla, this super site's founder has even more to share with you about how the site came to be and what it has to offer in the interview I conducted with him shared below!

So without further ado...

Cesar, please tell Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am originally from Madrid were I used to teach English to Spanish speakers. 7 years ago I moved to San Francisco, and now I teach Spanish to English speakers.  Music is my main teaching tool.

How was the idea for Rockalingua born?

When I moved to San Francisco and I started teaching Spanish I could not find quality materials to teach Spanish so I started to write songs to teach vocabulary and basic grammar structures to my students. They loved the songs so I kept writing more. After 5 years of writing songs and seeing that they worked great with my students I decided that I wanted to do something with them to help other teachers and Spanish students. I contacted Daniel Fernandez, an old friend of mine and a professional cartoon animator to turn all my songs into animated music videos and that’s how Rockalingua was born.

We know the site offers some incredibly videos for teaching students basic concepts in Spanish, what else does it have to offer and how does it all connect?
On the website there are 5 different sections: videos, songs, games, worksheets and picture dictionaries. Each video and song introduces a topic and each topic has a related worksheet, picture dictionary and interactive set of games to review and broaden everything learned on the video and song. All is really well connected. If you are, for example, using the video on numbers at the right of the website you will see the related content so you can easily access the worksheet about numbers, or the games about numbers.

How do you go about selecting content for a video/song?

 I write songs about topics that are relevant to Spanish class. My songs cover concepts that all Spanish students need to learn. Some are very basic such as colors parts of the body or daily routines but I have lately been working on new songs that I will upload soon to the site that covers, verb conjugation, prepositions and irregular verbs that will make the learning of this tricky concepts fun and easy.

What do you currently have in the works? 

 We are constantly creating new content, writing new songs, creating new videos, and worksheets that we upload regularly to the site.  We are  also designing a memory game that we will  add to our game selection

Anything else you'd like to share with readers? 

Thank you so much Krista for this interview (but seriously, THANK YOU, Cesar!) 
I want to invite everyone to explore Rockalingua, there are a lot of free resources and everyone can do a limited free trial that will give them access to all videos and songs for a week.
Thank you so much and enjoy the music!

Not only was Cesar generous enough to take part in the interview, but he also was more than willing to co-host a giveaway with me for all of you!

That being said, one lucky winner will have the opportunity to receive a free 1 year subscription to Rockalingua to utilize with your class, your kids, yourself (whoever you'd like!) 
Did I mention this is a $149 value! Wowzas!
But wait...there's more...Another lucky winner will receive a copy of a DVD containing the Rockalingua videos Cesar and his team have worked so hard to create! 

That's two winners in all folks! The giveaway will run from now until midnight next Saturday. 
Check out the Rafflecopter below to see how to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 29, 2014

Meet & Greet

Wednesday afternoon our school hosted an Open House for parents and students to come meet their teachers, see their new classrooms, and drop off all of their supplies before the big first day this coming Tuesday!

I must say I am even MORE excited now to start this year with this adorable and energetic 3rd grade bunch!

Here are a few photos from the afternoon festivities. 

Instructions were up explaining to students and parents exactly where to put all of the supplies in order.  (And can we have a little I finally have a SmartBoard for the first time ever! Now to figure out how to use it productively ;)!)

Boxes were labeled to correspond with the posted instructions.

Take a moment to admire my fab new counter space. 
Can you guess what kind of room my classroom used to be? 

A few student materials went inside of their desks as well.

Parent paperwork along with their bubbly welcome gift (which you can find more about here) was also set out on top of their desks for them to find.

I also set out a small parent area as they walked in the door with information in English for them. As I teach Spanish Immersion this school year instead of Dual Language, many of my parents are now majority native English speakers, however, I still need to ensure I maintain the target language of Spanish at all times with my this is one way I could communicate info to them without actually having to share it all verbally :)!

And I saved the best part for last! Before students headed out, I had them all take a photo op in our super themed Photo Booth!

And yes, the super teacher even got in on the action!

Now I have some pictures to start the year off with as well as a great tool to practice names before the beginning of the year! The best part is brothers and sisters even hopped in, and it became a fun family photo op as well! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Bilingual Back to School Blog Hop + Giveaway!

There is just so much fun going on in this lil' ole' post, I don't even know where to start!

First off, it's that time again - another blog hop (back-to-school style) brought to you by some of your favorite bilingual bloggers!

Several of us have yet again teamed up to bring you freebies and ideas for the beginning of the school year from August 20th (yes, that is today!) through August 22nd. 

Before I share my freebie for you all, I always wanted to remind you/let you know that all of us participating in the hop are also taking part in the back-to-school sale, part 2, going on at TPT for one day only! Be sure to stock up on some sale merchandise if there is something you've had your eye on while you grab all of your freebies too!

Use code BOOST at check out to receive 28% off!

That being said, I have just finished up a brand new "scoot" style game that I plan to play with my students in order to get to know them better on the first day of school! I have seen so many of these come across in English, but alas, nothing yet in Spanish (until now!). Same set up and rules apply as traditional scoot games and this particular set includes 24 fill-in-the-blank style cards for your students to respond all about them!

Click on the image to grab a copy for yourself! It will be free to you during the duration of the hop!
And I would love for you to share your feedback as your encouragement and ideas continuously inspire me and help me to improve :)!

Alongside the hop this time around, all of us also decided to come together as a huge "thank you" to all of you to offer you the opportunity to participate in a giveaway that includes a $100 shopping spree in our stores to 2 lucky teachers! 

You can enter the giveaway here and it runs through the duration of the hop as well! ¡Buena suerte!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now that I have completely chatted your ear off, and got you all sorts of excited about sales, freebies and for the potential of a "big win ;)", feel free to also visit all of the other lovely teachers taking part in the hop by clicking on any of their links below. Happy BOY!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday Made It! (Tees & Birthdays)

Linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for the latest edition of "Monday Made It" today. 
I officially have two weeks until school starts (I know many of you have already gotten back into a routine). Alas, I am in the thick of "get ready mode"!

This week I worked to put together a few birthday balloons to be gifted to my students throughout the year. I did something similar with my last class and my students really enjoyed them and thought why reinvent the wheel when they work just fine! I have seen these done with pencils (I got mine at the Target Dollar Spot), silly straws, pixie sticks, etc. Really anything "stick-like" will do!

Simply print, cut, and tape and you are good to go for the year.

This week I also worked to create a "first day of school" outfit fit for a bilingual teacher. I have seen so many of those adorable "Happy 1st Day of School" tees come across blogs and Pinterest and found myself wishing so badly that they came in Spanish so that I, too, could be part of the "cool tee" club. Therefore I took it upon myself to do just that!

I hit up the craft supply store and purchased a cheap t-shirt and iron-on printable transfer paper.
I then created my own design in Spanish and printed it onto the transfer paper backwards (this is key so it will be the right direction on your tee.) There was a setting on my print screen in which I could flip horizontally everything that was being printed on the page. Each printer/computer may be different, so I suggest just checking to see how it's done and experimenting with it on a white sheet of paper first so you don't waste your transfer paper.

Once printed, I simply ironed on my design according to the transfer paper instructions and voila!

I am now a part of the "cool teacher tee club". Mission accomplished.

Also, I wanted to let you all know if you haven't already heard, TPT is hosting a second "Back-to-School" sale particularly for those teachers (like myself) that are still prepping to go back and/or who may have realized there are a few more items they'd like to add to the cart!

Super exciting news, I agree ;)!
My entire store along with many others will once again be on sale on August 20th for one day only for any/all interested in some last minute BTS shopping! Use code "BOOST" for 28% off all products!

Not only this, but some of my favorite bilingual blog friends and I will be hosting a blog hop alongside the sale that kicks off the same day! There will be freebies to be had and giveaways to be entered, so be sure to check back on Wednesday to take part in all the fun!