Sunday, July 29, 2012

Top 5 Resources

Today I am linking up with Kelly over at the Teacher Idea Factory and Rachelle at Life is Sweet in Kindergarten to tell you about my Top 5 Teacher Must Haves and resources. You can follow their wonderful blogs by going here:

Sour Apple StudioLife Is Sweet...
Most of the people that I have clicked on have shared actual materials, so I feel a little weird in my Top 5. Most of my list are places not products. But oh well, here they are. My Top 5 can't live without 'em things that help me to be the best teacher I can be.
  1.Literacy Work Stations: Making Centers Work by Debbie Diller.
Two summers ago I was frusterated with the way I had taught reading for the first 3 years as a teacher. When I did my student teaching my mentor teacher had used centers in her room. Over 2/3 of them were just diffferent area's in the room where the kids did worksheets. This is not a slam on her by any means, that was just kind of the way that centers were done at that time.
At the time ( 2 years ago) my grade level was doing homogenous groups for reading. I worked with the low group because of my year in Title 1. Doing centers the way my mentor had run her's was not an option for me because the kids could not read independently enough to actully do the work. I was constantly having to take time out from my small group work to explain how to do something or correct the behavior.

So that summer I got on the computer and did a search for books on how to effectively run center time. I discovered this little book called Literacy Work Stations. I checked it out from my local library first because I wasn't sure if I would like it. Let me tell you that, within reading the first chapter, I was so hooked I ordered my own personal copy ( I like to mark up books with notes and highlighting) AND had emailed all of the K-2 teachers at my school to tell them to RUN, not walk, to their computer and order themselves a copy.

Needless to say thats how most of the teachers run their reading instruction now because I work with smart people who recognize a good thing when they see it. :)

PS: We talk about Ms. Diller at my school as if we are close personal friends " Well, Debbie says to do this..."

2. The Dollar Store

Ahhh, The Dollar Store, a teacher's best friend. The one that I love is actually called Dollar Tree and it's one where everything really is just $1. Some dollar stores I have found are just called that and their items are really any price. I live in a small town ,so there is no teacher store to go and get cute supplies from for my classroom just down the road. The Dollar Tree is my go to for containers, pre-cut letters, bulletin board trimmers, sharpie markers, poster board, prizes for my treasure box etc. I love the Dollar Tree. Check here to find the one closest to you. :)

3 and 4. Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers

How I survived as a teacher before I found these two sites I will never know. You know that time in January after you come back from winter break, and the holiday rush is over ,and there aren't even any good after Christmas sales anymore, and everything feels like one big drag? ( I don't know, maybe it's just Christmas freaks like me who feel that way.) Well, it was during that dark time that I discovered Pinterest.

Now, when I say I discovered Pinterest I don't mean I am the first person to ever use it or anything like that. It's just when I personally knew and used it for the first time. :) And of course, so many teachers pin things from TPT that it was only a matter of time before I became obsessed with that place too. My classroom, my home, and myself are all cuter, more organized, more fun places/people now thanks to both of those sites. ( Sidenote: I DO like Teachers Notebook, but I am partial to TPT, probably because I used that one first. )

TeachersPayTeachers  - Lesson Plans,Teaching Materials and Other Teacher-Created Resources

5. A good bag ( Tough, Big, and Cute)

If you are like me and are an extreme multitasker, doing anything less than 2 things at once feels like you are being lazy. For example, right now I am typing this post AND making dinner. I know, I know, I'm a super-woman. :) I mentioned in a previous post that I cannot sit still and just watch tv. But, I do love to veg out in front of it after my kid has gone to bed and grade papers, plans lessons, cut out lamination, or create the peices the kiddo's will need for a craftivity.

Well, to haul all that stuff around you need a heavy duty bag. One that you can cram your gradebook, a weeks worth of grading, 15 sheets of construction paper, and your labtop in and not have it rip out. The one that I have used for the past 5 years is a Ralph Lauren Tote that I got at TJ MAX. It looks like this one:

It doesnt have a ton of pockets on the inside, but I love the nylon material its made out of and after 5 years of hauling all my stuff around the bottom is still in really good shape.

So there you have it friends. My top 5, can't live without 'em teacher must haves. Link up and share yours!

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