Saturday, September 17, 2016

My Week In Review: Vocabulary Flipbook, Run on Sentences, and Free Football Clipart!

This week was a busy week, but even so, we had a great week of reading and language arts. I also had the opportunity to attend a technology training this week. Today, I just wanted to quickly share a few highlights from my week.

My students created vocabulary flipbooks using their history vocabulary words. I love having students create flipbooks for vocabulary reinforcement and review. They simply wrote the word on the front of a flap and drew a picture. Then, on the inside, they wrote the definition. You can also have students use the word in a sentence. This is not something that I do with all vocabulary words or with every unit, but I like to change things up and have students create these every now and then. It gives students a who enjoy drawing a chance to be creative, and most of the students enjoy creating these flipbooks.
My students are still struggling with run on sentences, and these task cards are a quick and easy way to practice identifying run on sentences. This set of task cards simply require the students to identify run on and complete sentences. This was the first time that we have used task cards to play scoot in my class this year, so this simple set was a perfect set to teach my class how to play. They did a great job! Another fabulous thing about learning to play scoot was that it really was a great exercise in listening skills and following instructions, and my class did great with that as well! You can find these cute task cards here in my TpT store.
I am loving the testing shields that I purchased at the end of the year last year! (I am in no way affiliated with the company. I just love this product!)  They are the perfect solution to desk arrangements with students sitting in close proximity to one another.
I also found time to create a quick and easy homecoming door decoration. Just incase you are in need of football clipart, the football can be found for free in my store. I simply inserted the football clipart into PowerPoint and printed it out in poster size to make it large enough for my door. They would be perfect for printing for your students to color this football season, creating bulletin boards, or for creating products for your Tpt store, and they are free!
Have a blessed day!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Why I Never Post Rules in My Classroom

I never post rules in my classroom? I know. I know! This sounds completely crazy! Posting rules is a must in every classroom, or is it? In my early years of teaching, I always posted my 5 rules. They were large and visible on a prominent wall in the classroom. I went over them the first day of school and expected everyone to follow them. Sometimes students did, and sometimes they didn't. When they didn't, there were consequences. I guess my concern was, did I want my students to simply follow the rules, or did I want my students to gain character traits that they could carry with them throughout their lives?

About five years ago I removed the classroom rules from my wall, and instead placed motivational posters on a bulletin board. These posters contained sayings that reflected character traits and behavior that I hoped to help encourage and instill in my students. We spent time during the first day of school discussing the meaning and importance of each poster. Throughout the year, we read and referred to these posters often. Although my students weren't perfect and they made mistakes, I must say that motivational posters had a tremendous impact on my classroom. I found that for my students, having motivational posters worked beautifully, and I saw positive effects from using them. Most importantly, I witnessed my students learning to be a respectful, caring community. Because of this, I have continued to use motivational posters each year.

Motivational posters are truly a positive way to encourage your students to be their best each and every day. We all need reminders from time to time, and motivational posters are a great way to encourage positive behavior in your classroom. They encourage students to work hard, respect one another, and be the best that they can be.
Over the past few years, I have used several different sets of motivational posters in my classroom, and I have created several different sets for my TpT store.
My Owl Themed Motivational Posters are one of the top sellers in my store and are still one of my favorite sets.
I created these Bright orange, green, and blue motivational posters a couple of years ago for my classroom. I love the bright wood grain backgrounds.

This cute set of Birds and Chevron Motivational Posters would look great in any classroom.

I love the posters that I am using this year! These green and blue posters are so bright and colorful. I hope to add these soon to my TpT store.

This may be my favorite set yet! I have these posters on my bulletin board next to my classroom door. My students and I refer to it often.

Have a blessed day!

Monday, September 5, 2016

How to Find My Clip Art in My Store and Happy Labor Day 20% Sale!

I know that we have only been back to school for a few short weeks, but after 25+ years of teaching, I must admit that I always look forward to Labor Day. It always seems to be the perfect refresher after the busy and hectic back to school season. I hope that you will be able to spend today relaxing and spending time with your family. I know that my plans for today.

If you have a chance to stop by my TpT store, everything is on sale 20% off today and tomorrow! Today would be a great day to add to your border collection.

Which sets are your favorite? I love my Borders #2, Doodle Heart Borders are dear to my heart, and my Border Hoarders #3 (Arrows) set are all some of my favorites! If you have trouble finding my clipart in my store, let me show you an easy way to locate it.

There are a couple of ways that you can access my clip art in my store. The first way is to click the "clip art" custom category to the left of the screen (blue arrow) or you can simply click the "Kelly Benefield borders" header at the top of the store (green arrow). Both of these will take you to all of my borders and clip art in my store. If you are looking for anything else in my store, graphic organizers, PowerPoint Lessons, Writing, etc., you can access these as well using the custom categories on the left. I hope this helps you navigate my store a little easier.

Have a blessed day!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

4 Fabulous 3D Bulletin Board Ideas

What do feather boas, pompom shakers, chain links, and tissue paper all have in common? Bulletin boards! That's what! I work with an amazing group of teachers. Not only are they amazing at teaching and working with our sweet kiddos, but they are pretty amazing decorators as well. and this year they have created some of the most colorful and creative bulletin boards for our school hallways! Today, I want to share 4 fabulous 3D bulletin board ideas from our school with you!
4 Fabulous 3D Bulletin Board Ideas!
 Bright, colorful, and creative would be how I would describe each of these bulletin boards, and boy, do they add a splash of color and a POP to our hallways!

The bright colors and tissue paper flower of this bulletin board definitively make it a stand-out in our hallways! It is absolutely gorgeous! Don't you just love these encouraging words? This bulletin board simply makes me smile!!
Now, you probably know that I love owls, and when our counselor put up this amazing owl bulletin board, I was so excited! Feather boas, pom-pom shakers, and a tissue paper tree make this bulletin board an absolute show-stopper!

I know that I have seen several versions of this 3D bulletin board floating around Pinterest, but our counselor's version of this paint brush bulletin board is just too cute to not share!

Under the sea themed bulletin boards are always cute, but this board is beautiful with all of its 3D effects! The octopus with chain link legs is simply adorable!!! Our hallways are looking good with all of these fabulous bulletin boards in our school! Today's post is short and sweet, but I hope you enjoyed these bulletin board beauties!
Have a blessed day!


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Using Chrysanthemum in Upper Elementary at the Beginning of School

One of my most visited blog post is Favorite Read Alouds for the First Week of School. In this blog post, I listed several picture books that I love to read during the first week. This list includes a few different titles that are usually not listed for the beginning of school. I did not, however,  list one of my favorite back to school books in this post. This year, I went back to that old favorite, Chrysanthemum! I love reading this book to my students partly because of the overwhelming response students have to the story. I'm always surprised by how many fourth graders are not familiar with this book.

This year, after reading the Chrysanthemum, I helped demonstrate how to draw a simple picture of the main character. Then on the left side of the paper, the students wrote words to describe how the students' cruel words made Chrysanthemum feel. On the right side, they wrote how Chrysanthemum's parents and Mrs. Twinkle's kind words made her feel. Next, on an index card, I had the students to write what they learned from the story about how to treat others.

Not only did the students' pictures turn out adorable, but I knew from the paragraphs that were written, that the class understood the message in the book. This helped to reinforce the ideas of classroom community that we have been establishing the first week of school.

These adorable drawings and writings made a perfect hall display for back to school!

Have a blessed day!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

My Classroom Reveal {2016}

Well, we all not only survived, but I truthfully fully enjoyed my first week of school. Our school district begins school on a Wednesday, which is fabulous. This way teachers can establish routines and have time to get to know the students. When next week comes, everyone is ready to dive in and begin a full week.

I have delayed sharing my classroom reveal because, room is not perfect. To be truthful, it never really quite is. There are always things I wish that I had had more time to do, and to be truthful, I spent this summer at home with my family instead of in my classroom. I must say, I don't regret that one bit! My room still came together, and it looks great (according to my daughters!)

If you have followed my blog (and by the way, you can now follow me on Instagram @teachingfourthwithkellyb), you know that I have decorated my room with an owl theme since the beginning of my blog. I have slowly moved away from the owls, and this year my theme is....(drumroll is playing here....) green and blue!!!??? I had a first year teacher/customer to respond that she had chosen an owl classroom theme because she was told that colors were not a theme. That got me to thinking, why not simply decorate with coordinating colors?  Well, that is exactly what I did, and here is my classroom reveal...

Teaching Fourth classroom reveal {2016}

The student chairs in our classrooms are green, and I painted my bookshelf wall bright green a few years ago, so naturally, green is part of my classroom color scheme. I personally like the look of turquoise blue with the green, so that is what I chose as our classroom color scheme. The bulletin boards are functional as well as pretty. Motivational posters are hung on one classroom bulletin board. This bulletin board and title were inspired by this bulletin board by Amy Lemons.

Motivational Posters Bulletin Board
Grammar parts of speech posters are hung on the second bulletin board.
Grammar Parts of Speech Posters Bulletin Board
 The front of the desk is covered in a pretty blue contact paper. Simple cut out letters decorate the front.
Blue contact paper lines the front of the desk.
Here is the student book nook reading area. Book bins have been replaced with simple book shelves. I was ready for a change. I want to focus on book authors this year, so my students at the end of last year helped me arrange books alphabetically by the author's last name. 
Reading Book Nook
I also covered my old, ugly filing cabinets with contact paper and turned them around so that the back is the only part that is seen. (I'll show you in just a bit why I did this.)  I did this just a few hours before our open house! I think they look so much better than before, and I love the way they turned out!!
Contact paper covers old filing cabinets.

Two final picture lets you know why I say that my classroom is not perfect.This summer, our old classrooms have undergone some renovation. The wall of old rusty windows have been replaced with a wall and two nice new windows. I love it! Now, my room will stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter! No more cold air blowing through the cracks in my window panes. We also are getting a wall of new shelves, but unfortunately, they are still working on these, so for now, I do not have countertops. This is what I have, but, hey, I'm happy to be getting countertops soon, and I simply decorated around them! I'm just so excited to be getting these in my classroom!

Also, I always have things that I need to organize later and just stash away and hide for the moment. I turned this bookshelf around backward so that  could have a place to stash away things. Do you remember I told you I would explain why I turned my filing cabinets around backwards? This is why. You can also see in this picture the front of the ugly filing cabinets. I only covered the back of them with contact paper. The front is turned so it cannot be seen.
I hoped you enjoyed my classroom tour, and I hope your first week of school has been or will be blessed!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

4 Fabulous Thoughts to Instill in Your Class Beginning the First Day of School

I am beginning a new series here on Teaching Fourth called "4 Fabs with Teaching Fourth." This series will highlight a variety of subjects, thoughts, strategies, and more for your classroom and school year. With the beginning of school starting or approaching for many of you, I am kicking off this series today with, "4 Fabulous Thoughts to Instill in Your Class Beginning the First Day of School."
We as teachers have the opportunity to touch so many young lives each and every day! Knowing this, here are four fabulous thoughts that we can instill in our students each and everyday beginning the first day of school.


Teacher's Pet??/You are Special

The first thought that we should instill is, "You are special!"  Admit it. We all want to feel important and special to others around us. Even as teachers, we want our principals to let us know that they notice our hard work and effort. Our students have a desire for this as well, so we should convey this to our kiddos beginning on day #1.  Recently, a story was shared about a teacher who made all of her students feel that they were the teacher's pet. One child went home and told her parents that she was the teacher's pet. Another child went home and shared the same thing with his parents. Eventually, the parents in this classroom talked with one another and realized that all of their children had come home and told the same story, that they were the teacher's pet, and they truly all felt that way! These parents realized that this teacher had made each child in her classroom feel so special that each and every child felt that he/she was truly the teacher's pet. How great is that? I want to do that! I want my kiddos to feel that special! Don't you know that because of that connection this teacher had with her students, that these students worked hard, learned, and performed to their best abilities all year long! Yes, this year I want all of my students to feel they are the teacher's pet.

Others are Important. Treat them with Respect.

While we want each child to feel special and important, we want to teach our children to always treat others with respect and in a way that will make others always feel important. As we model how to treat others with respect, our students will have the opportunity to see this in action. Also, provide opportunities for student to make others feel important and show respect. In one classroom recently was an autistic child, who just three years earlier could not speak. This child was new to the school, so (while this child was not in the classroom) the teacher explained to the other children that this student would be learning differently and would need help with finding the classroom his way around, his supplies and materials, remembering items when exchanging classes, and help in the lunchroom, etc. Well, this amazing group of students knew the importance of making everyone feel important, and they went above and beyond! Not only did they help this sweet child each an everyday, they celebrated and applauded later in the year the first time he answered a question in a class discussion correctly! They applauded and celebrated his accomplishments when he was able to participate in a Smartboard activity, and they made his mother cry when they applauded and celebrated him receiving an award at an assembly....There were too many celebrations to list. Sometimes teachers learn from students, too, how to make each and every person feel important!

Make Improvements

We all make mitakes mistakes. (Yes. The typo was unintentional.) Let your students know that you are not perfect. I personally tell my students on day one that I am often not a morning person. Sometimes I am very quiet in the mornings. I am not mad or upset. I am just not talkative that early in the mornings. I also let them know that I mess up...often, but when I do, I'll apologize and try to do better and not make that same mistake again. They need to learn to do the same, take ownership of their mistakes, and improve upon them. Students need to see that teachers are human too, and how to graciously admit mistakes and make corrections. It is so difficult to be upset with a student who does something wrong, but after talking to him, he hugs you and lets you know he will try better the next time. Isn't that what we are there for? To help our students learn, grow, and improve in all areas.


I Believe In You

From day #1 students need to know that we believe they can do everything that we ask them to do. We believe in them as a student and as a person. Your precious students may not hear this at home. We as teachers may be the only people this year encouraging and believing in a child. What a difference we can make in this child's life. I firmly believe God has placed each and every child in my classroom for a reason. No matter how gifted, how chatty, or how challenging a child may be, there is a purpose for that child being in my classroom. I want to reach each and every child and help each and every child reach his/her potential because I believe in each child!
By instilling these 4 thoughts in your students beginning the first day and every day throughout the school year, we are helping our students to grow and develop good character that will benefit them not only this school year, but for a lifetime.
My first day starts this week! I hope that whenever your first day may be, that you have a blessed  and wonderful day!