Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Using Sequence Charts in Reading and Free Chart!

Student can utilize this organizer during reading for various selections. It is great for all subjects incorporating any type of reading. Teacher in all grade levels can implement this organizer in class, as students learn to process/recall sequential order and goal - action- outcome! Freebie TPT Download from A Smith Innovative Connections

Download this Free Student Printable Flow Chart for Sequential Order and Goal-Action-Outcome 

A. Smith

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Stretch Your Dollars During The Lesson Cloud Dollar Days Sale!

Innovative Connections Back to School! $1 and $2 Sale Items
JULY 30th!!! 
Find tons and tons of $1 and $2 items in The Lesson Cloud Authors' TPT Stores ONLY JULY 29th and 30th!!!! 
TpT Authors on the Cloud have selected fabulous teaching resources for the DOLLAR DAYS SALE for Back to School!  YES, BACK TO SCHOOL! Woah! It's hard to imagine, but, it is nearly time! :)  
I've included snippets of ten of my $1 / $2 sale items below! BUT, THERE ARE EVEN MORE ITEMS IN MY STORE PRICED FOR $1 AND $2
I hope you find lots of great things to get the year off to a well-organized start and to dive right into your curriculum and first unit of the year! 
If you want to really take advantage, make a "shopping list" for the YEAR and see just how much you can find to make your WHOLE YEAR new, fresh, exciting, and meaningful---not to mention EASIER! The more you get and plan now, the less work you are left with later! 
AND, There is a $75 Really Good Stuff Giveaway!!! Be sure to Enter!
Stretch Your Dollars

Innovative Connections The Lesson Cloud Dollar Days

Swing by my Facebook page and let me know what you ended up finding or leave a comment here to tell me what you like!! 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Grab a Few Bright Borders...Free!

Bright Borders from Innovative Connections
I made these to go along with the pink, lime, and white paper lanterns I grabbed from the Target $1 Bins!!! Plus, I had to make "something" on my Bamboo Create! Hope you like! I'm not sure if I'll load to TpT or not--grab them up while you can!
FOR WHATEVER REASON, the bottom pic will not link to the google doc but above title and cover thumb below work!

Bright Borders from innovative Connections
6 PNG Files: Borders/Frames
This is the first set of borders I've actually loaded for others to use. I hope you can use them! Included in the zip file are the individual PNG files and the Terms of Use.
I'd love to know how they turn out, should you decide to use them! :) 
Clip art borders by A. Smith

Freebie Fridays

Friday, July 20, 2012

No Homework?... Inform the Parents

As we get ready to go back to school, I spend the most time thinking about things that worked for me and my students last year and the things that didn't work as well as I had hoped.
One tactic that has worked well for several years (though I was blessed not to need it much last year) for me is notifying the parents of no homework....
I'm not a huge fan of homework, but as the students get older, it's harder to avoid ALL the time. So, when I assign it, I think it's something important! And, if it's an advanced class, it's an even bigger deal if a child shows up without homework.
I know it's not a perfect world, but in many cases, parents can and will be your #1 support system! Keep them informed!
So, I thought I would share the little note I send home. You can download it straight from Google docs! It's just a simple, basic form to keep on hand, should the need arise! Hopefully not! :)
Innovative Connections back to school notifying parents
Parent Information Document
Hope you are gearing up for a new school year!
Please tell us in a comment below...
WHAT IS your favorite tool, tip, or tactic you find very successful in your classroom?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Learn from Reading.Writing.Thinking.Sharing.

MsJordanRead: Reading Writing Thinking Sharing
Get to Know Kristin Jordan of 
Classroom Experience:
I have been a Literacy Specialist for four years, working with struggling readers and writers in grades 2-5.
Valuable things learned beneficial to teachers, teacher-authors, or bloggers:
     In both blogging and creating teaching resources, I've learned the power of Professional Learning Communities. 21st century tools and technology have created endless opportunities for collaboration and professional learning among teachers. I love being a part of these networks because I can stay "fresh" as my teaching evolves with current trends of best classroom practice. I'm amazed at how being a part of the teacher-author community has changed my teaching!
     I will admit though, I am often overwhelmed with the number of blogs, forums, and options for collaborative learning that are out there, and I always feel like I'm one step behind. (Seriously, how can we keep up with them all?!?) I try to manage reading all my favorite blogs, while marketing and keeping up with my own blog, but I'm still working on finding a better balance! 
     For teachers who are new to the blogging world, I would recommend starting small and not jumping in too fast. It can easily become overwhelming! I tend to be overzealous and bite off more than I can chew, but I've learned that even if you do that, you can always take a few steps back. For now, my goal is to learn ONE new thing a day, or connect with ONE new teacher a day. Although I'll probably never be able to read EVERYTHING or blog everyday, I feel like I'm constantly growing and learning. Be active at a level that works for you!
Advice for a beginning or veteran teacher?
My advice would be to never stop learning! There are always new strategies to try and ideas to explore. As the world changes around us, students evolve as learners. Teachers need to evolve too. Not only does it help us stay "fresh" in the world of teaching, but it provides a great model for students to become lifelong learners as well.
Great ideas, lessons, or pieces of advice learned from other blog(s):
Teaching blogs have opened up a whole new world to me! Reading about strategies and activities REAL teachers are integrating across the country is truly inspiring. I love learning about new ideas and trying them out in my own classroom. Of course, I can't just pick ONE!
Some of my favorite blogs recently are:
TWO Freebies Ms. Jordan Picked to Share! 

At what online marketplaces/vendors does this teacher-author have stores?
Helpful Hints for the Classroom:
I feel like I'm constantly saying, "Why didn't I think of that?!?" as I'm exploring Pinterest and teacher blogs. Some of my recent favorites for small groups...
Dice in small, clear containers for games and table work:

Thumbtacks glued to clothes pins for quickly hanging and displaying student work:
Source: etsy.com via Kristin on Pinterest

Taking pictures of anchor charts and putting in binder (saves wall space, and great when you have different charts for different groups you want to save!):
Check out my growing boards of additional Classroom Organization & Management ideas: 

              Classroom Management      Classroom Organization

Something cool, weird, or funny about you, OUTSIDE of the classroom:
     I love to travel! I've been to seven countries since 2005 and hope to explore more in the near future. Traveling allows me to continue learning and growing as a teacher and an individual. I'm always intrigued by new places and hope to one day write children's books from my experiences around the world.
I have an extremely fat cat named Zeus, who thinks he's 10 lb lap-cat (not the 20 lb tiger cat that he actually is!). Zeus keeps me company as I explore blogs, write posts, and create my products! Perhaps he's my muse?
Also, I just got engaged and am getting married in 2013! Hmmm... I wonder (and worry!) how I'm going to juggle wedding planning, teaching, blogging, selling, and learning! :)
Stay Connected with Kristin...
Google +


I would like to say THANKS to Kristin, for sharing her ideas and freebies with us!  Be sure to swing by her blog and/or her stores to see all of the other teaching resources she has! You can leave Kristin a comment below to let her know that you stopped by, and that you picked up some helpful info and her awesome free download! 
Have a great day!
Ann Marie

Friday, July 13, 2012

Back to School Project: Making Personalized Student Journals

Show Some Personality: Personalize a Student Journal for Using All Year and Present Your Journal to the Class!

CLASSMATES GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER Through the presentations!
Students Decorate a Journal to Display Everything About Their Personalities! This is like an "All About Me" project but in the decor on journal covers! It's fun, creative, and successful. This is a project my students do, and I even did it too...
This goes with any subject or grade that has any type of journal writing or literature response type writing. (It is Not limited to Language Arts!) 
Student Handouts also come with a Sample Journal Picture, Step by Step Instructions with Diagrams, A Suggestion List for Journal Decor, and requirements
This freebie is complete with instructions to make a journal or doing this project with a binder. 
The entire point of the homemade journal is for students to think about what makes them "Unique!" AND---to have a personalized journal to write in all year long!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Little People... Big Expectations!

Hello, ALL! I have the pleasure of welcoming Stephanie VanMeter of Primary Possibilities as a guest blogger on Innovative Connections today! She and two others, Kathi Berry and Stephany Dillon have graciously included three great feebies for you at the end! 


Guest post by Stephanie VanMeter on Innovative Connections!
Primary Possibilities is a combination of three primary teachers who want to share their everyday lives with you! Each of us teach in the same building; however, we all teach different grades and use different styles of teaching. Kathi Berry is a Title One teacher who teaches Reading Recovery to first graders and literacy groups and RTI groups with all grades. She really enjoys first and second grade students. Kathi usually works in small groups and creates hands-on lessons that challenge higher level thinking skills.
Stephany Dillon is a previous Reading Recovery teacher who teaches first grade students. She has an amazing approach to learning and implements literacy stations in her classroom. Stephany uses reading strategies with her students and creates an excellent atmosphere for learning. She utilizes the Accelerated Reaidng program to its fullest in her first grade classroom.
My name is Stephanie VanMeter. It was very easy to write about my colleagues, but I am having a hard time writing about myself. :) I began teaching first grade and was moved to kindergarten about 4 years ago. I was apprehensive at first, but soon discovered I loved kindergarten as I became more familiar with the curriculum. Kindergarten is almost the new first grade! It seems I am teaching the curriculum I taught in first grade when I began teaching.
I truly believe, children should know teachers have big expectations and they can achieve anything. Expectations are can be set in any subject, in behavior, rules, and in everyday life skills. 
Dreaming big has never hurt anyone! 
Our goal and mission at Primary Possibilities: Little people... Big expectations!
Three Freebies for you to Download from Primary Possibilities:
Our goal and mission at Primary Possibilities: Little people... Big expectations!
From Stephanie VanMeter
Cute Classroom Supply Labels
Little People... Big Expectations!
Cute Classroom Supply Labels from Stephany Dillon
Kathi Berry
From Kathi Berry
Thanks to Primary Possibilities and Stephanie VanMeter for being a guest blogger today!
Please take a moment to leave Stephanie a note telling her you stopped by, as I'm sure she'd love to know! And, by the way, Primary Possibilities is have 200 Followers Giveaway---you may like to swing by to enter the fun!! 
200 followers giveaway!
Be well and have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

A Series of Educational Sites: "G" BAM! Body and Mind™

BAM! Body and Mind™ is a cool site I landed on just today in fact! I didn't even realize it was out there--It was created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (agency of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). I liked what I saw, as there are a lot things any upper elementary and middle school students, even some high school students, face emotionally, physically, mentally, and socially...
interactive site for kids educational healthy lifestyle choicesAnd, besides how to face/handle situations in life, there are great tips, facts, advice, and more to be found on BAM! Body and Mind™-- So, if you have kids or teach upper elementary through high school, you will probably find it just as neat a site as I did. See the screenshot of a fraction of the index page so you'll recognize it! 
Kids can play a variety games in the game room, for example, that pertain to making healthy lifestyle choices. There are tons of topics, but
just to name a handful, this list give you an idea.
  1. How advertisements can manipulate people
  2. Stress
  3. Oral hygiene
  4. Peer pressure
  5. Bullying
  6. Nutrition
  7. Infections
  8. Disease
  9. Saying "no"
  10. Feeling left out
  11. Choices/consequences
  12. Safety
As I was going through one of the games, I noticed that when answering questions about a topic, an explanation is provided that gives further detail instead of just a "Right" or "Wrong" answer. 
Kiddos can learn a lot just from picking up tid bits of information here and there through a game. 
As a teacher or parent, you know kids retain information in different ways. Perhaps some just might tune in to the facts presented through the quiz games and other interactive features on this site when they aren't tuning in to what adults (you) are trying to explain. It's always worth a try!
I bet most any of us could pick up a thing or two even though it's designed  to be a children's interactive site! 
Go ahead....tell me what you think when you check it out! I'd love to hear which topic you found interesting!

In case you missed them, see previous posts of "A Series of Educational Sites" I've blogged about:
Educational Site A: Quizlet
Educational Site B: Arcademic Skill Builders
Educational Site C: Wonderopolis (Free Writing Printable included!)
Educational Site D: EZSchool
Educational Site E: The Problem Site
Educational Site F: PBS & PBS Kids
P.S. I forgot to mention there is also a page on the site for teachers! BAM! Classroom is available for teachers to incorporate BAM! topics into our classroom activities!
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