A Well-Organized Classroom

Do you need to get more organized in your classroom this year or do you have teachers that could use a bit more organization? I bet it is a yes.  I created this new product Create a Math Notebook. This will get you started on the right direction for the new school year.  I compiled a few pictures to show you how to get your third and fourth graders organized and stay organized.

 The first part of this packet comes with various math tool pages.  These are reference pages (math tools) for the students to continually refer to during math class or at home.  There are several items covered: even and odd, place value, coins, clocks, lines and angles, measurement, fractions, etc...  I tried to cover the big items.
 I created a cover for the boys and girls in your class.  I highly recommend using binders this year.  It is nice to load your binders by the week, month or by the grading period.  My teachers load the binders by the grading period.  This really is a life saver because you aren't constantly passing out papers. Students in third and fourth grade can help you load the notebooks.

Next you will find sections for the dividers.  We spend our math classes on basic facts, math term vocabulary and problem solving.  Students can also keep their tests for the reviews.


I really hope this helps you in your classroom and you find this product helpful.  

Here is a picture of a student's binder.  Since it is summer, I had to go back through my old pictures to located one.  



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New Reading Wall- Free Download

I redesigned a wall in the front entrance of the school.  This wall is super important because this is where I display the students who are on the Principal's Wall of Fame.  Every student wants their picture on this wall.  I actually had to touch the paint up because of all the staples all over it.  I had hundreds of pictures hanging on this wall by the end of the year.
 Principal's Wall of Fame- students who read an entire series of books from the library.  For example, a student reads the entire set of Clifford books or the entire set of Junie B. Jones has their picture taken and put on the wall.
 Millionaire's Club- A student who read a million words this year also had their picture taken.  I had one student who read 3 million words and had almost 500 points this year!
If you want to download the READ letters, here is the link.  It's free.  The frames were purchased at a local Wal-Mart and were under $10 each.

Background designs from: Erin Cobb- Lovin Lit
Font: KG Happy

The reason I push reading so much is because of these statistics.  

If you like reading Principal Principles, take a minute and follow along here:
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Build a Binder

I've been sharing a lot lately how I've created teacher binders and principal binders.  Today I'm sharing how we can help students be more organized in the classroom.  Students could keep one binder for all subjects.  The newest product Binder Covers for Academic Subjects is now available. These divider pages help students keep all important papers organized and at their fingertips.  


The best thing about Binder Covers for Academic Subjects is that it is created with boys and girls in mind.




Let's stop wasting valuable instructional time passing out papers, digging in desks, etc...  Build a binder for the students that last the grading period.  My teachers build the binder for the six weeks.  The papers are copied for the entire six weeks and then added to each section of the student binders.  Another great thing about this organizational tool is that every student has the same binder and set-up.  No matter what teacher...we all are doing the same thing in each classroom.  This helps with vertical alignment and sharing teaching strategies.  

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Creating a Culture of Achievement for 2014-15

This school year my campus will begin teaching students about going to college.  I had the opportunity to see Damen Lopez from No Excuses University speak at our community college about a year or more ago.  I was so inspired and so were my principal friends.  I came back to campus fired up but with the day-to-day tasks of a typical school year I put it on the back burner.  Even though we are not an official "No Excuses Campus", I am implementing Lopez's ideas this school year.  Small steps, right?


No Excuses University is based on the idea that "Every student deserves the opportunity to be educated in a way that prepares them for college if they so choose to attend." Systems are in place to help teachers and students prepare and believe they can attend college.  When teachers believe in their students, students start believing in themselves too.  
Wild About College- is our theme this year.  I created this bulletin board today.  Each teacher will post where they attended college, their major and words of advice to the students.  Each month we will designate a day to wear a college jersey.

I totally understand that not every student will go to college.  That's not the point.  The point is that we prepare them and then they decide.  This idea of going to college needs to begin early in their school years.  Since my campus is 2nd-4th grade, we are instilling a love of learning early.  Hopefully, I will be able to attend the full trainings so we can be an official No Excuses campus.

Here is a short video of Damen Lopez, founder of No Excuses University

To be an official No Excuses University school you must apply your campus.  It is not an easy process and requires the principal to attend several days of training.  It also requires 100% commitment of your staff, parents and students.  

Book:  No Excuses University: Hundreds of Schools - Thousands of Students One Big Dream

These are just a few ideas behind his movement.  However, to learn more about the 6 systems from No Excuses University, you can go to his website here.

The Six Exceptional Systems are: culture of universal achievement, collaboration, standards alignment, assessment, data management, and interventions.  While your school may have good practices framed around these ideals, it is known that great schools create and implement exceptional systems in which one system is built upon another.
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Getting Ready for 2014-15 School Year

While in Target (my favorite store), I found a few fabulous binders to go with my Principal binder!  The turquoise and gold matches it perfectly.  I can't wait to fill up the binders with all my calendars and get started planning for 2014-15.  



My new shirt arrived today.  If you are from Texas, you know we are not a Common Core state. We follow the TEKS.  Well, our lovely state decided to change the Math TEKS this year.  Did you know that some of the 7th grade math TEKS are now 4th grade TEKS?  That's right, crazy.  I'm trying to Keep Calm while trying to understand the reasons behind such a drastic change all awhile trying to learn the new standards.

I'm mentoring a few new principals through the marvelous internet.  I created a free e-book What Every First Year Principal Should Know to help a few blog friends out.  Last week, it was downloaded 180 times!  I have received so many emails about it and enjoyed reading all the fabulous comments last week.  



I have spent the last two days assembling 50 Teacher Binders for this coming school year!  I'm not even near finished but at least I have a big start on them.  It's been a very productive week.

Funny story:  I had an interview this week with an applicant who's interested in one of my teaching positions this year.  She walked in my office (AKA...command central) as I'm assembling the binders.  Just imagine all of the binders, copies, whole punch machine, etc... all over the room.  She stood there in pure amazement at all of the "stuff" all over the floor.  She said, "I want one of them ...your teachers are so lucky."

I love hearing comments like that and it made me feel so good.  I do love my teachers and that's why I work so hard.

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TEPSA conference

I have spent the last few days in Austin at the TEPSA conference.  It was such a blast.  I love getting together with my fellow Texas principals.  As soon as I checked into the hotel I ran into Cristi Parsons!  I couldn't help myself but I had to take a selfie with her.  Mrs. Parsons is the 2013 National Distinguished Principal Winner.  She represented Texas this school year.  I had the opportunity to go to one of her sessions No More Band-Aids...Transform the Early Years!  I loved it and learned so much from her.


Below is a picture I snapped from the conference catalog.  

At the reception, I was seated next to Alma.  Alma is one of the top 10 finalists too.  She is a principal in Georgetown ISD.

 A fabulous ending...I got to go up on stage and was honored with a congratulations from Cristi.  I received some fabulous gifts that night and had so many pictures made.

I took another selfie with Kimmie Etheredge.  She is the 2014 National Distinguished Principal and will represent all Texas Principals this year.  She gave such a powerful message at the opening ceremony.
I enjoyed all my sessions and loved getting to talk to other principals.  I came back inspired and loaded with new ideas for the 2014 school year.

Now that all the fun and glamour is over...it's time to clean house and do the laundry. :(
I hope you enjoyed the pictures.  Have a great weekend.
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What Every New Principal Should Know

Over the last year, I have had several new principals ask for advice as they begin their career as a school leader.  I decided to create an e-book for new principals to download.  It always helps to have someone you can email or contact when you need help.  Trust me I call a friend all the time too.  I am happy to help new principals in any way.  I don't have all the answers but I have probably had some experience with your situation over the last few years.  The e-book is called "What Every New Principal Should Know."  I hope we all stay in contact with each other this year and can help each other out when in need.


To download this free e-book, click on What Every New Principal Should Know.  I welcome your feedback.

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Five for Friday: Last Week of School

I'm linking up with Doodlebugs Teaching to bring you Five for Friday.  It has been a very long time since I last linked up.  It's the last week of school and today is the last day for students.  Monday is a teacher workday but it's not my last day for the summer.  Principals only get two weeks off in the summer.  I'm looking forward to my fabulous two weeks and a great trip with my husband.

 I attended awards program for my sweet nephew Jeremy.  He is officially a fourth grader.  My niece had her awards program yesterday too but I didn't get a picture of the two of us.
 Construction, Construction, what's your function?  This is an update of my 12 classroom addition!  I'm so excited to see the process each week.

 Mrs. Yantis' classroom awards-Bucket Style.  Love the creativity.  Several teachers used the runway in their classrooms.  It was like a day on the red carpet and students felt like Hollywood Stars.

 This sweet student was in the hall all suited up for the awards.  He looked so handsome in his suit that we took a selfie.
The pizza with the principal day was this week.  These students read a series of books or read a million words.  I must admit this year I had the most AR participation each week than previous years.  Here's the secret:
1.  Provide a love of reading.
2.  Goals that are attainable and rewards worth wanting!
We have a campus-wide AR program and I set the rewards each six weeks.  Two things students wanted each time were Pizza with the Principal and Bring Your Own Device Day.
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Restocked and Ready to Go!

This school year is not over yet but I am getting a head start on creating my teachers a new binder. My summer is going to be extra busy with a son getting married so I thought I should start now on my long to-do list.  The new design and look for this Teacher Binder is...BRIGHT.  I love all the bright colors of the design so I named it simply-"Bright"!  


I have had several emails from teachers saying they love this new binder!  The bright green notebooks look great with them.  Last year I made a big mistake and only ordered 1 inch binders.  Lesson learned...we need much bigger binders for the year.  We love having the information all in one binder so it is all at our fingertips.  Also, a big plus of using a binder is we can add all of our data as the year goes.


If you need a teacher binder, I think it is well worth $4!  

How do you keep organized?
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What starts here changes the world!

I have been inspired today by Admiral William H. McRaven.  Navy Seal McRaven is the 9th commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command.  He gave the commencement address at The University of Texas at Austin on May 17.  His speech is truly amazing and inspiring.  He explains 10 things he learned being a navy seal.  I loved it so much that I read the speech twice today and watched the video too.  I hope you like it as much as I did.

I would love to hear your comments after watching it.
University of Texas slogan- What starts here changes the world.


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