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Saturday, July 29, 2017


At summer camp I am always trying to come up new ideas that are fun (because it is summer after all) and will continue to teach the students something new. I wanted to work on idioms with the upper elementary school group of kids because it is slowly becoming a lost art form! For 3 days straight we read an idiom book, the Parts series by Tedd Arnold are one of my favorite! The books are: Parts, More Parts and Even More Parts.

After we read a book each day we played my Idiom Game. This is a card game that I created many years ago, it isn't perfect and there are plenty of others that can be added but it is a great starting point. To play the game I would say an idiom out loud and the first person that could accurately describe the idiom got the card and in the end the student with the most cards wins. Unfortunately, what the assistants and I quickly learned is the students didn't really know any of the idioms! We were constantly describing and acting out idioms to help them understand. So, my Idiom Dictionary by Scholastic came in handy every once in a while when we couldn't figure out enough ways to describe something for them to understand. 

At the end of each 30 minute group each day I would ask the students to pick an idiom in the pile of earned Idiom Game cards that they could remember and put that card on top. The next day I would say the top card idiom out loud to have the students get their decks of cards back. After the 3 days of Parts idiom books and playing the card game the kids were finally getting it! WOOHOO! 

The next step of idioms wasn't originally planned but I wanted to do another extension activity to really help them understand some idioms a little bit more. So I had each student pick 2 idioms that they truly knew the meaning of and then folded 2 pieces of white paper in half for each of them.  On one side of the paper the students were going to draw the literal meaning of the words in the idiom and on the other side of the paper students were instructed to draw the actual meaning of the idiom. For instance, for the idiom Catching Some Z's the literal side would have a person catching a bunch of the letter Z in their hands and the other side would have the person sleeping. I gave the students 3 days to work on their drawings. Some students took more time because they were really enjoying the illustration aspect of this activity! Below is an example of some of the students' art work, they did such a great job! I made a color copy of their artwork and laminated it so I can hang them up next school year.

The Idiom Game card game is now a free resource on my TpT store! As I mentioned before the card game isn't perfect but it works and I added a page of blank cards for your to add your own additions. I hope you find it useful!

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Book Giveaway!

I am so happy to announce my first book giveaway of Mrs. Joyce Gives the Best High-Fives by Erainna Winnett! Below is her guest post and at the very bottom is how to entry to win one of five signed copies! The giveaway runs from Tuesday, July 25th until Monday, July 31st. What a great resource to have in your hands to start of the next school year!

First, thank you so much for having me as a guest blogger, I am honored to share my story with your readers. I've been in education for the past twenty-two years. After fifteen years in the classroom, I felt a calling for something more - a deeper way to connect with and help children, which is how I discovered school counseling.

I moved from classroom teacher to school counselor in 2011 and absolutely fell in love. However, I soon discovered there weren’t a lot of up-to-date resources available for school counselors. After hearing me gripe about it for months my husband finally told me to write my own resources. Isn’t it nice to have someone who knows what you need before you do?

And so, I began researching self-publishing and taught myself the basics of publishing a book. To be honest, there were some costly mistakes: the cover for Mrs. Joyce Gives the Best High-Fives was redesigned five times—YIKES—before I found one that I felt was ‘right’. Most students didn’t even know their school had a counselor, much less how one could help them.

The first week of school during my second year as a counselor I went into every classroom and read the Mrs. Joyce book. The children loved it and I received many thank-yous from teachers. Needless to say, the following week my office was constantly busy.

I continued listening to my students and knew that I needed to write other books to address individual needs. This launched me into the Helping Kids Heals therapeutic activity book set. I’m thrilled with how well all of these books have been received. Just last week, I woke up to an email from Ireland requesting copies of my books. Who would have ever thought a small-town Texas counselor-author could reach professionals across the ocean?
As educators, counselors are often the least familiar to parents, students and sometimes teachers. I hope my efforts have offered you some tools and helped you appreciate the power of your roles in our children’s lives. And I invite you to continue to add to our community. I wish you luck in the giveaway and hope you are having a relaxing, restful summer. All the best and Happy Counseling. 
- Erainna

To enter for a chance to win 1 of 5 signed copies:

  • Leave a comment on my blog about your favorite beginning of the school year activity.
  • Tag a fellow school counselor or educator on my Facebook page post about the giveaway to help let others know.
For each of the above your name will be entered in the drawing and I will randomly select 5 winners at the end. So if you comment on my blog post and tag a fellow school counselor or educator your name will be entered twice!
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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Animal Prints!

So yesterday I noticed that was having their huge 50% off sale, this is when I order my What You Say In Here, Stays In Here banner each year. Therefore, I needed to get working on creating my banner and other items! My theme for the upcoming school year is Zebra Print and Polka Dots from Teacher Created Resources.

I found an amazing artist, PrettyGrafik, that had some great animal print graphics that I could use with my polka dots.  So far I have made my What You Say in Here, Stays in Here confidentiality banner and my Where is the Counselor? door sign. The zebra prints are totally out of my comfort zone, but I think I am liking them so far! 

This week I will be working on the rest of my items - bin labels, binder covers, etc. and will post all of them on TpT once they are done. TpT also came out with a cool new 'Custom Category' option so last night I sat down and categorized all my products to make it much more user friendly!

I then went to town with all of the other animal prints I now had at my disposal thanks to PrettyGrafik and made this cool animal print Where is the Classroom sign for one of my co-workers!

 Hope everyone is having a great summer!
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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Hello Summer!

Yesterday was our last day of school, so today is officially my first day of summer! Although I have already been peaking at catalogs and at websites for some inspiration as to how I want to decorate my office next school year! Then I realized that I never got around to posting pictures of my office this past school year, once the school year starts I get so busy and don't post too much on my blog (Sorry!). On my TpT site, if you search Color Me Bright you can find all the different items I have available to purchase. Below is a glimpse into my office. I purchased my Color Me Bright borders at my local teacher store (Lakeshore Learning) and Staples however, you can also purchase many items directly through Carson-Dellosa

Doorway into my office. I LOVE the character sign that I found!

Entry into my office 

I found the red "dots" on Amazon and use them to write the recess times and lunch times for the four grade levels. They are peel and stick and dry erase so they are perfect! One of my friends puts them around the round table in her 4th grade classroom and the kids do their math work on them during small group.

I have a slight problem coordinating everything, whoops!

My UR Bulletin Board is available on TpT, it makes for a quick and easy bulletin board. My students look at it frequently for different ways to describe things. The quote printouts are from Technology Rocks Seriously.

 I label all my bins too, but it helps keep me organized. This year I took it to a whole new level and even labels all the bins within my cabinet, we will just have to talk about that another time!

I find this sign (What you Say in Her, Stays in Here) so helpful each year. It helps remind students about their confidentiality while they are talking to me.  The coloring pages of great quotes are from Doodle Art Alley, students color them with me sometimes as we talk. My filing cabinet is now full of them as the year progressed!
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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Around School ...

This year I let some of my creative juices flow outside of my office and helped some of my fellow teachers at my school create some items for their classrooms and offices.

One of the 3rd grade teachers was inspired by a fellow 3rd grade teacher to distribute and display her classroom jobs a little differently this year. So we worked together to create this fun Job Wheel for her class. Each student's name is labeled on the outside of the 14" wheel and each week she turns the wheel to assign new jobs to the students. The job wheel has 21 spots (she has 21 students), I also created a smaller circle with the numbers 1 through 21 listed that could be used as the spinner if you prefer that option.

Job Wheel in Mrs. McFadden's class

I also made a fun Where is the Classroom sign for her class as well to coordinate with her Boho Birds borders.
Where is the Classroom sign on Mrs. McFadden's 3rd grade classroom door

In Miss Binette's class she wanted to make some fun and bright class schedule cards. Miss Binette and I both love color in our room at school! The schedule cards fit in a pocket chart for easy use and storage. Additionally, another teacher was able to use the some cards as her name tags on the desks in her classroom! It turned out to be a great multi-purpose item!
Class Schedule cards in Miss Binette's 4th grade classroom

We also made a Where is the Classroom sign for Miss Binette's door to coordinate with her theme this year, which was Monkey Mischief borders.
Where is the Classroom sign on Miss Binette's door

Mrs. Cochrane has a beach theme in her 5th grade classroom so we created this Where is the Classroom sign to keep the water theme going on her door as well.
Where is the Classroom sign on Mrs. Cochrane's door

Mrs. Fontes, who is our reading specialist decorated her room with a Dr. Seuss theme this year so we created this fun polka-dotted Where is the Specialist sign to help students and staff be able to find her when she wasn't in her classroom.

Mrs. Fonte's sign outside her Developmental Reading classroom

Mrs. Tucceri, who is our Technology Integration Specialist, is also not always in her office so we created this fun Where is the Specialist sign to help staff and students know where she is.
Mrs. Tucceri's sign on her office door

Finally, Miss Moore has a fun animal print theme in her classroom so we created this Where is the Classroom sign for her.
Miss Moore's sign on her 5th grade classroom door

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Sunday, July 31, 2016

TpT Back to School Sale!

Teachers Pay Teachers is having their huge back to school sale starting tomorrow! My entire store will be 15% off and if you enter the code BESTYEAR at checkout you will also receive an additional 10% off. 

Have fun shopping!

Don't forget I also have a selection of "Where is the Classroom signs!" Please let your classroom teacher friends know! 

And my new theme this year is Color Me Bright!

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Pin the Tongue on the Josh

I love all of Julia Cook's books, they are just awesome! I recently read A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue with my upper elementary boys during summer camp. In this book Josh, who is a perpetual tattler, develops a case of Tattle Tongue in which his tongue gets longer and longer and becomes yellow with purple spots! The Tattle Prince teaches him about tattling and reporting and he is soon able to get rid of his Tattle Tongue and make friends at school too!

We then played a game I called "Pin the Tongue on the Josh!". I came up with this idea from a lesson in Youth Light's Classroom Guidance Games called Pin the Face on the Tattle. However, I decided to make it more directly related to the book we all just read. So I copied 2 faces of Josh out of the Bad Case of Tattle Tongue: Activity Book and colored them in. I then hand drew some tongues and colored some in yellow with purple spots and others in pink or red. 

For the game I read the situation cards from the Youth Light activity and the students had to decide if the scenario was tattling or reporting and choose the appropriate tongue. I then blindfolded them and spun them around a couple times and they needed to find the appropriate Josh to pin the tongue on. I would always tell them that the tattle tongue is on the left and regular or reporting tongue is on the left.

I also had the students complete this FREE worksheet I found on TpT from Bringing Back MayBerry. The students had to recall a tattling scenario from the book and draw it and then draw a tattling situation that happens in school.

The kids loved this activity so much we did it for 3 group meetings!!! I LOVED it too, such fun and they were still learning about the differences between tattling and reporting.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I Can't Imagine Life Without ...

I was trying to find a fun get to know you activity for the first day of our summer camp here at school and was lucky enough to stumble across Jenna Smith's blog Musings from the Middle School. She had a writing activity that I easily was able to make into a fun and low key get to know you activity. I drew a cloud like shape in the middle and then rays out from it. In each ray the students (and staff because it was so much fun) wrote or drew the things in life that they can't imagine living with out. It was a great way to see what each kid (and staff member) loves and is important to them.

We then pinned each group's artwork up on my bulletin board and the kids took turns guessing whose was whose based on what they already knew about each other. I then had the kids tell us a little more about what they wrote or drew about.

One suggestion I learned along the way of doing this though is I would have the kids first write their ideas in pencil and then go over them in marker. I originally just used marker but one or two students got frustrated when they made a mistake and couldn't change it.
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