Category Archives: Classroom Management

Classroom Reveal 2015-2016

Before I take you on a tour of our schoolroom, which I prefer to refer to as “the library” I will introduce you to the cast of characters here at CandL HomeLearning.

  • Curly, our oldest son, will soon be 17 years old. He’s a Junior this year, but he’s also enrolled in a class at the nearby Community College for Dual Enrollment.
  • Larry, our second oldest son, is 15 years old. He’s a Freshman this year, and he’s excited to rise to the challenge of taking accelerated courses.
  • Mo, our third oldest son, just turned 13 years old this summer, and he’s looking forward to tackling 7th grade head-on and so far he’s risen to the challenge.
  • Li’l Bro, our youngest son, turned 10 years old this summer, and he’s ready to be a 4th grader. He’s still trying to figure out where he fits in best, whether tagging along with his almost-twin sister or wanting to be with the big boys too.
  • Li’l Miss, our oldest daughter, is 9 years old but just 4 months younger than Li’l Bro, and she’s excited to continue learning in 4th grade this year.
  • Li’l Bit, our youngest daughter and the baby of the family, is 5 years old, and she couldn’t be more excited about being a Kindergartner this year and being “in real school” with her brothers and sister.

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These wonderful T-shirts were designed by Mo and Li’l Miss, and we’re really happy with the way they turned out after ordering them custom on-line. Some of the biggest kids decided they’d rather not wear them on the “same day” as their siblings, but they were gracious enough to pose for a photo for me.

As my students enter our library, which is where 75% of our bookwork, as I like to call it, is done, they can see our rules at the top of the door. They are as follows: Continue reading

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A Walk Around Our Library {A.K.A. The Schoolroom}

We are so blessed to have a room dedicated to school. I know the thoughts are mixed on this, but for us with six children I’m so thankful we have a place to land. We don’t always stay in the room for every subject or every assignment, of course, but we do use this room A LOT every day, including Saturdays and Sundays.

I call it the library and our one-room schoolhouse!

Without further ado, here’s a look around the room from a wide-angle viewpoint.

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This photo was taken panoramic from the end of the room next to our supply shelves looking toward the front with our large window and 15-foot-long bench seat! That spot gets used A LOT too as the sun comes over our home and doesn’t flood the window until late afternoon as the sun is going down. I love curling on this bench with a good book and a few little ones crowded around me (and sometimes some furry friends too). Continue reading

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Getting Organized! School is in Session on Monday!

I have had a LOT of piles going on in our library … piles of books, piles of notebooks, piles of trash bags, piles of NEWLY purchased school supplies including Ticonderoga pencils! It always feels good to clean out stuff you know you’ll never use again, and it feels good to try some new things and some old faithfuls (like those pencils)! I snagged a pile of spiral notebooks because Office Depot had them for 1 cent! They let me get up to 10 of each color, but I think I ended up with 5 of each.

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I started working on our new “I Can Write A … ” board on Tuesday.

I didn’t get to work on it again until today, and I LOVE the way it turned out. Here is a very poor-quality picture of the BEFORE including yet another pile that is now gone as of today!

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The resource includes so many writing choices that I didn’t have space to put them all up on the board at one time, but I think that is a good thing! I am still finishing up the notebook with all of the full-size writing helps and templates, but I have it all printed out! I should add Joey doesn’t suggest putting all of the templates in a notebook, but I’m going to *try* it since I have just two students using this! I reserve the right to adjust as needed. 😉 Continue reading

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Is Spending Time in the Outdoors a Lost Art?

Recently, I read about how some states don’t allow the loss of recess for behavior management while others still allow it. I can’t even imagine the huge responsibility today’s teachers have to manage classrooms and the behavior struggles of some of their students, but I do tend to agree that recess and time OUTSIDE is GOOD for students and shouldn’t be taken away. This infographic below doesn’t speak well for America in regards to physical activity for schoolchildren.

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When I informed my 14YO son, who will be entering 8th grade, that there is no recess at school, he was speechless. In China, where he attended school until age 10, they were given a 2-hour break each day plus they went outside twice a day no matter the temperature or weather. Exercise is very important to the Chinese people, so it isn’t something they’re willing to give up even at school.

We don’t call it recess here, rather we call it “GET OUTSIDE! NOW!”

OK, I exaggerate. I don’t always say that, but I do send them outside and I engage with them outside too. Like today, when I took 4 of our 6 children down to the creek. Li’l Miss and Li’l Bit made a wading pool and searched for found objects like Indian money (or fossils) and feathers and smoothed glass that was once a shard but has been smoothed on the edges by the constant running water of the creek.

My oldest son and youngest son took their fishing poles and both caught some fish. They showed their sisters how to safely grab a fish without getting spiked by his fins, and they observed the differences between the fish they caught.

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Not only that, we were all out in the sun gathering some vitamin K. When we’re outside, we do wear the appropriate sunblock, but our bodies do naturally need things the sunshine provides in moderation.

We also pick fresh veggies and fruit, take care of them, and tend to animals and our property while outside as well. I don’t have any photos I can find of us playing football or riding bikes, because I’m often in the middle of the mix. My point is that I do think time in the outdoors has so many benefits.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. I know for many if not most classroom teachers, you aren’t given a choice but are rather told what time outdoors is and how long it is: please share if you feel more is needed or less or how the allotted time outdoors you and your class are given affects the school day.

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Monday Made It {July 14}

Spending a few days in VEGAS with the Prez and more than 800 teachers at the TpT conference left my garden in desperate need of attention … but that didn’t stop me from making some FRESH SALSA on Monday afternoon with produce plucked right out of the garden.

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What do you think? My version has the same ingredients as this yummy version we pay dearly for at Sammy’s Club. After blanching the tomatoes, chopping them along with  jalapeño peppers, onions, and cilantro, I understand the cost! We will make more as we have tomatoes and cilantro. YUM-MY! Can you tell which one is mine???

Speaking of tomatoes, my next Made It involves more fresh food goodness!

Button+2Nothing really to show here except I am picking several cherry tomatoes a day now. I pick them and Li’l Bit eats them. 😀 She LOVES fresh tomatoes as much as her Momma! End of story.

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And yesterday, the kids and I headed out to pick more blackberries for jam. Sadly, we didn’t find enough for a batch. Not to worry, we had them for dinner with a yummy topping full of cake mix and butter. 😀 While we were out hunting for blackberries, we harvested a 5-gallon bucket of corn! And promptly ate several ears of it for dinner. Yes, I made it in the microwave folks. Just keeping it real.

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Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I actually kept our microwave in the GARAGE for 10 years and rarely used it. Ahem. Then we moved and it moved back into the kitchen. And it is so tempting, setting there mocking me, as if to say, Use me. Use me. I am so fast. And I radiate your food. You know you like it! Alas, we ate it and we are all still here. But it wasn’t as good as it would have been if I had cooked it in a rolling boil over time. Next time, I will!

Button+3And finally, I got out of the kitchen and made something for our library. Actually, I ordered some things from Tar-get ON SALE last week, printed some things and put it all together! I knew that I had to make some changes to our lovely table I made from cubeicals and a repurposed tabletop. It is a wonderful space, but it just wasn’t working as I envisioned.

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I think I have it figured out now. Instead of each of my 3rd grade students having one side, I now have it divided with math bins in one side and ELA bins in the other. Each of my 3rd grade students has 4 bins and we’ll use those along with the rotation ribbons I made a few months ago from {here} and {here}. I printed them out 3 to a page to get the size I wanted, and they are still very readable and work perfectly with my 2 clips for 2 students! The middle cube in green is for ME to use for things I will put in their bins throughout the week and/or upcoming weeks or just for a lesson that day. I think I like it!

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I am most excited about the Interactive Word Wall I made using Letter circles I purchased {here} and that blank space above will be housing {this} which I still need to finish printing. I CANNOT WAIT. Then, you may see the vertical magnetic space is next to our math bins and now houses our Calendar a bit lower for my PreKer  to help with and I plan to keep the items on here above the calendar rotating weekly. Again, I think I like it!

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Here is a close-up of that Interactive Word Wall. I hope it will help us in our quest for spelling words correctly. They can take these off the wall and to the table or desk across the room. They can add to it and once a circle is full of correctly spelled words, I will laminate it for durability.

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I’m linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It!

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What to Do on A{nother} Rainy Day?

A). I could cry. Literally a river. As I watch our garden inundated yet again with torrential downpours. Just for reference: here’s is our otherwise lovely creek. Except right now it is swollen and way outside its banks. Bummer!

IMG_0191B). Or I could curl up with a good book like these two, which I have never finished but really want to finish.

IMG_2398C). Or I could attempt to clean up this pile that mocks me every single time I enter our library.

IMG_1935D). Or I could get some long overdue things printed like my new Alphabet Page Protector Printable Set and my fantastic new TpT and Blogging Planning Binder and actually display these Number Posters that I created awhile ago and sell in my TpT store.

IMG_0216IMG_0221IMG_2390E). Or I could try to finally finish up a new product I’ve been working on which involves a candy theme and fact fluency. Here’s a little sneak peak!

photo 2F). Or I could do all of the above! I have done some of these things today and yesterday as the rains have continued to fall and fall and fall.

Let’s see. How did I do? Continue reading

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Five Free and Frugal Ideas for Your Classroom

Here’s five free and frugal ideas you can use for educational pursuits today!

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1. REPURPOSE plastic pieces leftover from broken or partially misplaced games.

Use them for new game markers for:

  • homemade or TpT games (like the ones in my store)
  • sorting
  • matching
  • counting
  • one-to-one correspondence

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2. ACCESS tumblebooks.com to read and/or listen to thousands of FREE books with audio and highlighted text.

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  • You can sort by type of book, age, reading level, etc.
  • If you have an account with your local library, be sure to ask if they have a tumblebooks account. We are able to access it completely FREE with our library’s code!
  • This site is formatted to work on tablet devices as well as your laptop!

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3. TRY simple scientific experiments with your students!

They can be done with items you DEFINITELY have on hand and will DEFINITELY inspire your students to seek out even more LEARNING opportunities!

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  • A review of the Commutative Property with four glasses of water, two with a smaller but equal amount and two with a larger but equal amount.
  • Does it matter if you add the glass with the lesser amount of water to the glass with the larger amount OR if you add the glass with the larger amount to the glass with the lesser amount?
  • No it doesn’t! Whether you add 4 + 6 for instance or 6 + 4, you still get 10!
  • Try it especially if your students are struggling to understand why the two amounts are in fact equal no matter which way you add them up!

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  • All you need for this experiment is MAGNETS of various sizes and objects to test whether they are magnetic or not!
  • If you have them, brass brads are the MOST FUN, especially with a large and very attractive magnet!
  • Challenge your students to see how many they can pick up with just one magnet!

4. GO OUTSIDE and explore in nature.

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Whether you can find a nearby creek or just a nearby tree or field to explore, get outside and see what you can discover with your students! The world is our classroom!

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5. SAVE PAPER and packaging you find in products you buy.

It has so many uses, not to mention it doesn’t end up in the trash or recycling bin quite yet!

  • Paper piecing: you might notice the chicken pictures in the picture below. They were created with scrap papers including another piece of brown paper that was salvaged from packaging!
  • The history projects on the top of the shelves in the picture below were also saved from the round file! They were intended to be the back of some cubeical shelves, but my Dad made me real wood back instead. These very sturdy (but still paper) boards were the perfect size for 2nd grade history projects!

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Here is a close-up shot of one of the projects in progress!

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  • Instant mural! (this paper below that our children turned into a mural of space “and other things” was wadded up as padding in a package of books I ordered.

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These ideas are free and frugal, yet they are sure to enrich the education of those you teach! If you have some more ideas, PLEASE do SHARE in the comments!

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Another Post About My Desk

How is that for a hook?

Yes I have rearranged my desk again. Actually, I never really arranged it. Until now. It has looked like this … well usually messier … than this. For nine months.

Not bad for nearly one year since we purchased our new home, and nine months since we moved in. Mind you, things weren’t finished when we moved in (and still aren’t), but the library was a top priority and was *mostly* finished.

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But my desk. That is another story. The word piles comes to my mind. A fairly accurate description actually. Workspace would definitely not be an accurate description of my desk these last nine months.

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What Is Homeschooling?

I get asked a lot or rather people will just say (rather than ask): “I don’t see how you do it. Teach all of them at different levels and ages. I couldn’t do it.”

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{Deep breath.}

I don’t teach them all.

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GASP. (Did any of you just gasp?) Continue reading

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