Tuesday, July 21, 2015

DIY Pocket Folders

I am so excited to be sharing this nifty trick with you today! I can't believe how many of you liked, shared, and commented on this post on Facebook, so I figured I'd show you just how I make my sight word pocket folders! 
You can use these little folders for anything- sight words, math facts, letters, flash cards... anything you can think of! I start using them at the beginning of the year for sight words, and then toward the end of the year, we use new ones for math facts.
To get started, you'll need standard 2-pocket folders. I got mine at Walmart for 15 cents each... can't get much better than that! I recommend not using the shiny kind because they don't fold as well as the paper ones. I find that they hold up pretty well, and the flaps can always be reinforced with cute duct tape for your kiddos who are a little harder on their belongings.
Your first step is to get a 10" baking pan. You want to put it about 3/4 of the way up the folder. The folders that I bought have a little rectangle for a label, and it worked perfectly to line up the baking pan with the bottom of the label. Trace the baking pan on the folder so that you have drawn a semi-circle.
Next, take your scissors and cut on the line that you drew. You will end up with this shape.
Open up your folder and cut a slit down the middle of the two halves. This will make it easier for you to fold the flaps.
Next, fold down the two semi-circles to create your flaps. The slit that you cut in the last step will help your flaps be easier to fold.
Now it's time to make your folders pretty! I printed these labels on Avery 5163 shipping labels. They are 2"x4". 
Place labels on the flaps of your pocket folders so that students know what is stored in each pocket. In my class, students put their sight words in the "words I'm learning" pocket. When they have mastered those words, they move them to the "words I know pocket," and get new words for the "words I'm learning" side. I do not velcro down the flaps, but I do velcro the folder closed. As long as the folder stays closed, the flaps will stay closed as well. No need to over-velcro (and it's expensive!)
And that's it! Now you have a cute, durable, multi-purpose pocket folder! Enjoy!
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Monday, July 6, 2015

A Birthday Surprise For YOU!

Woohoo! It's my second favorite day of the year… MY BIRTHDAY! I am officially a quarter of a century old. Where did the time go?!
I figured it was fitting to blog about birthdays today in honor of my own. When I was in elementary school, I never got to celebrate my birthday in school because I {obviously} have a summer birthday. I was so jealous of my friends who got to wear the birthday crowns, bring in a birthday treat, and walk around to the other classrooms to see if other teachers wanted a treat too. 
I think that's why I take birthday celebrations so seriously in my classroom. I don't want any of my students to feel left out the way that I did! I am so happy to hear that many of you have a summer birthday celebration near the end of the year… 6 year old me thanks you!
We do the usual birthday things in my classroom- birthday hat, birthday sticker, birthday pencil, birthday treat. But this year, I started doing one more thing- a birthday book!
We worked a lot on using kind words and giving others compliments this year, so I thought, what would make someone feel amazing on their birthday? A whole book full of compliments from their classmates, that's what! I know that I feel great about myself when I receive a compliment, and this was a way to multiply that feeling by 16 for my students on their special day.
We didn't take hours of valuable learning time away by making these books either! Most of the time, I called a few students over to my desk during snack time to work on their pages when I knew there was a birthday coming up. {Yes, that takes a little bit of planning on your part, but trust me, it's worth it!} They come up with the best compliments- you are a great helper, you are a nice friend, you make people feel better when they are sad. Yes, five year olds! At the beginning of the year, I did the writing for my students. As they began to grow as writers, more and more did the writing themselves!
On the day of their birthday, the book got passed around for each student to read what they wrote to the birthday boy/girl. It was so heartwarming to see my students' faces when they received their birthday book, and heard all of the nice things that their classmates had to say about them.
Do you want to try this idea for yourself this year? You can grab it for FREE here! I hope you enjoy! I'm off to do some celebrating!
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