Get Hooked on a Book Series: Upper Elementary Students

As a teacher and now a parent of school aged children, there is nothing better than finishing a book and then watching them race to find the next book in the series.  Over the past several years, these four titles have been the greatest hits in my fifth grade classroom and at home.  Enjoy!

 Gregor the Overlander Series: In this five part series, readers will experience an unforgettable fantasy spanning from New York City to The Underland, an underground world. This series will hook your reader main character Gregor, and they will fall in love with "Boots" and many of the Underland characters. I have had great success with getting students and my own children hooked on this series but reading aloud the first book in the series and having the second book readily available when we are finished.

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street is the first book in the realistic fiction Vanderbeeker series.  There are currently four books in the series, with a fifth expected sometime this year. The Vanderbeekers are a biracial family that has plenty of love to go around in their large family of seven--plus their many pets. I have read them all and in each book you will fall in love with another character in the family.

The War that Saved My Life is part of a two part historical fiction series that focuses on ten-year-old Ada has to navigate life during and after World War II. Ada has to learn to trust people who try to help her after surviving a lifetime of abuse.  

Front Desk is a soon to be three part series, where you will fall in love with Mia and her family of Chinese immigrants looking for a better life in California.  This series follows along as the Tangs manage a hotel along with their teenage daughter who is trying to find enough strength to follow HER dreams and not the dreams of her parents. 

Do you have any other book series that you would add to this list?

Classroom Saves and Splurges

Let me preface this blog post with, yes, in a perfect world, teachers wouldn't have to outfit their classrooms with supplies purchased with their own money.  But this is reality.  The "classroom saves" that I am sharing are all items I have purchased with my own money and have withstood the test of time in my classroom with many students and for many years.

The "splurges" are all items that are WANTS, not necessarily a NEED.  Do I own some of them?  Yep.  But they were all bought when they were on super sale and after all of the classroom "NEEDS" were taken care of.

Click the images and you will be taken to the store with the best price available!


Classroom Saves:

Exacto Pencil Sharpener is worth every discounted penny and will save you in the long run in terms of having to replace sharpeners and wasting pencils.  I bought this four years ago and it still works perfectly.  
Teacher Planner is a major save in terms of money and fluff.  While, I have used fancier planners in the past, this one really simplifies the process and will save you over $50.  
Hanging Wall File has been used in my classroom for the past couple of years for absent work.  It's both, pretty and functional. You can see this hanging file in use here.
Colorful Paper Sleeves will save you both, money and COPIES.  If you followed me at all this year, you know that I have a limited number of copies each year and I use these sleeves in small groups to save on copies.  You can get all 30 sleeves for less than a dollar a piece. Take that dollar spot!  I suggest buying and splitting with your teammates as you won't likely need a whole class set if you are trying to save on copies.
Scissors, expo markers, and glue sticks--name brand because I don't have time or patience for off brand items that will end up costing me more money to replace in long run. 

Classroom Splurges:

Erin Condren Teacher Planner is always a favorite, but they are pricey.  You can use the link to save yourself $10 on your first order.  I can say that I have used them for years, but only use the calendar and planning pages.  There are lots of extras.  This is certainly a beautiful planner but definitely a splurge if you are into paper planning.

Padded Stools would be wonderful around any small group table.  They take up no space, because they can fit under the table and they are comfy on your butt.  At under $10 a piece with this deal, they are still a splurge mainly because most classrooms come with plenty of standard chairs.  

Color Printer is a splurge that I use at home.  I use this exact HP printer at home in combination with HP Instant Ink.  You can use this link to try Instant Ink for a month for free (I get a free month too!) I love using Instant Ink simply because I am lazy, and never have to remember to buy ink at the store.  I use the $10 a month plan and never go over my 300 pages amount per month and currently have 600 rollover pages waiting for me to use at the beginning of the school year.  Note, that the printer I shared in the image is NOT HP brand and you do need an HP brand printer to use with HP Instant Ink.  I chose to share the Canon printer because of current Amazon deals.

Single Cup Coffee Maker was definitely a splurge for me.  It's under $35 in cart with coupon and works with name brand and off brand k-cups.  I have this exact one in my classroom, and while I don't use it daily, it comes in VERY handy on those days after long nights up with my own children. You can see my classroom coffee bar here.

Cricut Explore Air 2 is the priciest item on my list at just under $200 and I have one at home.  I use it at the beginning of each year to CUT OUT EVERYTHING.  I will never hand cut letters again haha.  I use it sporadically throughout the year, mainly on seasonal items, labeling things, and creating gifts for own kids and their teachers.  

Enjoy and comment with your favorite classroom save and splurge!

*Disclaimer--some of these links will earn me a small commission--which, as teachers know, will be put right back into my classroom. Thank you!*

St. Patrick's Day Fun - You've Been Pinched

Spring fun for everyone and free through the weekend!  Click here for your free printable!

STEM With LEGOS In The Classroom

lego stem task cards

I am a firm believer in having a "soft start" to our mornings at school.  Kids come in, get their belongings all organized, and have the choice of whether to read, write, or explore with my Lego STEM Challenge Task Cards.  I have seasonal ones for fallwinter, and spring and summer.  General task cards are a hit too.  I confess, that no matter the season, I keep them all out year long.

I have done this with third through fifth grade and they love this start to the day.  

What soft start stations/centers do you use for morning arrival?  Let me know in the comments!

You've Been Elfed!

Spreading holiday cheer at work or in your neighborhood by getting ELFED!
Neighborhood or work you've been elfed fun to spread the holiday cheer
Simply snag this image from here or here, follow the directions in the poem on the right side, leave treats for your neighbors/coworkers and have fun!

This is a simple way to spread a little holiday cheer in your neighborhood or at work.  There are Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas versions.  

Absent Work Organization

Absent Work Organization

You guys.  I don't know how I lived without this for so long!  I used to just leave papers on the desks of absent kids.  They would get lost or mixed up with someone else's stuff. Problem solved, and it doesn't hurt that it's my favorite combo:  easy on the eyes AND functional.

I bought a wall hanging file folder here. (Way cheap too!)  Then, I used my Cricut (Vinyl Cutter) to cut out my labels.  You could easily print your own labels or use the label stickers that come with the hanging file folders if you don't have a Cricut.

Command hook and done!

The kids love it, but not as much as I do.  The flu season hit us hard last year and this system that literally runs itself has been beyond helpful to have kids return to school and know exactly what they missed!

Let me know if you use a system like this or have another one that works for you!

2017-2018 Classroom Tour

Well, the 2017-2018 school year has been over for more than a month (for me at least).  While, I will be in another school next year--I had to document my room 206.  I poured my heart and soul into this room.  I worked A LOT over the summer and added flexible seating in right before Halloween.  More on flexible seating later.  Below are some of my favorite shots of our room and links to products that I used or Amazon links are below each picture.

My favorite thing!  Our absent folders can be found here.  I used my Cricut and KB Fonts.
Welcome sign and apple border from Target.
Calendar squares from my TPT Store.

Tropical binders from my TPT store.
Teacher toolbox and blue file copy grade to do cart from here.

This is one of my favorite spots! Mini coffee table from Walmart.  Beautiful blue table was a FB yard sale find and it's the first spot kids snag each day!  Library labels from my TPT store.

Genre posters from The Hungry Teacher.

Grammar posters from Teaching and So Fourth.  Black book bins are from School Specialty and are super sturdy.

NON TICKING CLOCK.  With washi tape on the outside.  Seriuosly.  I can't even with a loud ticking clock.  The clock letters can be found in my TPT store.

A hand me down desk with many of my favorite Target dollar spot finds.  The pink desk chair can be found here.  Clutter under desk is homemade :)

Hands down the best bulletin board ever!  I found the eyes in the party section of Target but found some here on Amazon.

Not too many links for the following pictures but I just love the spaces too much not to include them!

Chalkboard contact paper from here.

Figurative language bulletin board from Miss 5th.  Big Joe chairs and pillows from Walmart.  Mo Willems characters from Kohls.

Bench and pillows from Walmart. (Bench got moved to in front of my whiteboard and was used as a stage!)

Modern VIP Desk is from here.  Fun song quotes are from Teaching and So Fourth and all religious ones on the right side are from my TPT store.

I loved participating in @Teachinbythebay postcard exchange almost as much as I love the apple border from the dollar spot!

My reading group table is usually covered with papers, so don't be misled.  BUT, my class LOVED these tractor stools.  You can adjust their height, but you can't lock the wheels.

I saved one of the bests for last!  My coffee bar was a black Friday treat to myself.  The teal shelf was found at Walmart and all of the mugs were gifted.  This area of my classroom was right behind my desk and really saved the day towards the end of the year!

Last but not least, our stuffed animals.  Made with my Cricut and loved my fifth graders, which are never too old for book buddies.

I hope you enjoyed my room!  If I left a link off, just shoot me an email!  I do miss this classroom but I am super excited to get started on my new classroom!  More to come but here is a before shot!

And full disclosure, some of the Amazon links in this post are affiliate links and I will potentially earn a few pennies should you choose to buy that item.  Literally pennies ;)
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