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Why You Should Teach Students About Fixed Vs. Growth Thoughts

Year after year, I try to instill in my students the concept of a Growth Mindset.  It is so important for them to realize the power their self-talk can have over their learning, the way their brain works, and that they have the ability to grow their intelligence.  We talk about Mindset daily in my classroom.  One of the activities I'm doing to reinforce the importance of a Growth Mindset is this set of cursive writing resources from Runde's Room:

Each Monday, my students work through a different Growth Mindset quote.  We discuss the quote and how they can apply it to their lives.  It's working nicely to set our week of on a positive note.  The prep is really easy and the discussion that comes out of each quote is so powerful!

A colleague of mine also teaches about Growth Mindset.  Last year, Crystal and I created this board with our classes. (If you click that link, you'll find a few other resources we use to teach about Mindset.)  We found that the board was not only a great reminder for our students, but it also served as a teaching tool for other students in the building.  Many EAs stopped by with their students and had conversations about the different mindsets.

This year, we knew we wanted to do something similar, but with a different twist.  We enjoy making bulletin boards and it gives us a chance to catch up while doing something crafty.  We decided to use chalk pastels to create this years board:

 This was after our work was done on the weekend. 

Our students have brainstormed many many thoughts that are considered Growth Mindset thoughts, and Fixed Mindset thoughts.  We collaborated a bit to make sure we didn't have any duplicates up on the board.  One by one, each student added a thought to the board.

The Fixed Mindset side.

And the Growth Mindset thoughts.

The whole board complete!  We sprayed this quite heavily with a fixatif, just in case curious fingers touched it.  So far we are doing okay!

Are you interested in even more bulletin board ideas? Do you want to save time by finding them all in one place? Follow the image or button below to grab your copy of my free bulletin board inspiration guide. 

Take me to the guide!

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Helping to inspire,
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Halloween Parties in the Classroom

Happy Halloween everyone!  Aren't you just lovin' that Halloween is on a Saturday this year?  I know I am!

We had a great day at school yesterday.  I wish I took more photos, but we were having too much fun!

First thing Friday mornings we have gym.  We played some fun Halloween themed tag games.  It was hilarious watching my kids turn into Zombies and wander about dragging a leg, moaning.

Afterward, students did a journal write with this picture a prompt:

I love hearing all the different perspectives about who this girl might be, where she is, and what big decisions she is making.

After recess, I carved pumpkins with my math crew.  We've been investigating the pumpkins for a few days now and it was fun to finally cut into them.  My mom asked me what pumpkins had to do with math.  Here is the list I sent her.  

- weighed them
- found height, circumference, radius, diameter
- measured thickness of shell and the distance between the ribs
- investigated why pumpkins float
- estimated seeds, debated the best way to count them, counted them
- weighed an individual seed
- figured out the percentage of one seed compared to entire pumpkin weight

That's a lot of math!

The best part of counting seeds is that I can take them home and roast them!  The kids will love that little snack on Monday.

Here's the pumpkins on my front steps.  I told the class that if they found me, I'd give them extra candy!  I've had 3 come by so far.  Don't you just love the freckles on the one pumpkin?

 At my school, we don't dress up until the afternoon.  I loved this costume!  He had the perfect old man walk too!  I dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood, but don't have any photos.  I need to get some from friends.

I was blown away by the snacks at the class party!  They were seriously amazing!

 How did your class celebrate Halloween?

Check out my Pinterest board for more ideas!

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Dia de los Muertos Sugar Skulls

Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, is a holiday celebrated on November 1 in Mexico.  The holiday honours the dead with lively festivals and celebrations.  Though I didn't have any Mexican or Latin students in my class last year, I felt it was important to share other cultures with my class.  Widen their horizons a bit.

After doing a small presentation on the holiday, we discussed one element in particular: Sugar Skulls.  Sugar Skulls are made of sugar as the name suggests.  They are highly decorated candy skulls that children buy and give to friends.  

I found several examples online of sugar skulls.

I printed one of each page and displayed them along the whiteboard.  Students came and took a close look at each.  When they returned to their seats, there was a blank piece of paper at each desk.

We folded the paper into 12 spaces.  I directed my students through drawing and labeling 15 line types (3 had to go on the back of the paper).  These included the basics (horizontal, vertical, diagonal) and some fancier line types (starburst, spiral, curled).

Once we had done all 15 types they had another close look at the sugar skull examples.  I asked them to tell me where they saw examples of each line type in the skulls.  We had quite a lengthy discussion and I was really impressed with how many they found!

Everyone got a blank skull template to create their own Sugar Skull.  They had to show me as many line types as they possibly could.  They fine lined their pencil lines and then coloured in with markers so they were really bold.

Here are three of my favourites:

This photo of my hallway bulletin board didn't turn out so great.  I didn't realize until it was too late....

This is a great project for teaching line type anywhere from grades 3-6.

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Welcome Back Bulletin Boards

At Alwin Holland, we love a little competitive spirit!  We all start the year with some super back to school boards.  It's all top secret, and we like to see what everyone else has unveiled.  Our hallway looks so inviting right from the start!  Here are some boards brightening our hallway this year:

2015/16 Classroom Reveal

I'm really excited to share this post with you all!  I've been working the past few weeks to get things ready so I could show you my classroom!
With the strike last year, I didn't really have the opportunity to do a proper class reveal.  We just got in and got rollin' last year!  It was very enjoyable to have a few weeks to go in here and there and just putter.  Much more relaxing.

I kept some things the same from last year (my owl theme, blue bins), and changed some others (added a rug, a proper technology station).  I'm very happy with it all and can't wait for my kiddos to come so we can share the space together.

Are you ready?



The view from my doorway.  I am so blessed to have these gorgeous large windows.  Often, I won't have the overhead lights on; we'll just use the natural light.

The front of my classroom and far wall.  The first bulletin board will be used to house anchor charts.  I haven't put any up yet because I like to teach to them first.  That board will slowly become full over the first few weeks.   Some things I put on it are my SMARTLearning posters, Whole Brain stuff, Zones of Regulation and growth mindset info.  The second board is reserved for student work.

A close up of my alphabet this year.  I used Little Lovely Leaders Math Alphabet.  I love the rainbow colours and the literacy/math integration!  I'm hoping it will serve as a bit of a math anchor chart as it has some great fractions, greater than less than, and shape references.

Below my math alphabet is part of my SMARTLearning jumbo goals strip.  Thanks Kim F. for blowing it up big for me!  We use it to teach goal setting and use large magnets to mark off goals.  Students have the small version at their desks.

Moving around the corner.... Not the most beautiful desk for my Tech Station.  I picked it because it is quite tall, and I'm hoping it can double as a standing work space.  The desktop computer is a thorn in my side, but it is mandatory we keep them in our rooms.  I hate all the wires below, but have decided that is a man job and I'm going to make Ryan come in and tack them all up. 

Beside the desktop is a dish rack containing my class iPads.  I am so very lucky to have them!!  We've done some amazing things with them, and I'm really pumped for a few new ideas for this year.  I created some iPad rules which are hanging on the wall above.

Let's not forget about my new rug!  I know, I know, it's really light in colour.  I Scotch Gard-ed the heck outta that thing, so hopefully it stays pretty.  If not, oh well.  We live here.  I snagged the reading pillows at Wal-Mart for $15 a piece.

You can see my Ketchup and Pickles pieces ready to go on the whiteboard too.

 Close up!  Love my owl buddy from Trend.  A favourite part of my room.  All the poms are from a new local party store, who even gives a teacher discount.  How awesome is that?!

My genre posters are from Ginger Snaps.  I teach to them as my class library is mainly organized by genre/series.  These posters are referred to by kiddos all year long.

Continuing on.... my area. Ryan bought me my tiny teal desk off a local Buy and Sell page.  I love it!  I hated how big and clunky the traditional teacher desk was, but still needed somewhere to store my pens, stapler and daybook.  This desk does that job quite nicely.

I'm hoping to get some Wobble Seats for around my rainbow table (I think my American friends call it a kidney table??).  It's hard to fit 6 kids around that thing when their chair legs are all smashing into each other.


♥ my teal desk.

I'm really fortunate to have so many cupboards and shelves for storage.  I use a few of them for a bit of decorating.  Hello Kitty watches over me (I collect them, and this one was a gift from a student, most are in my scrapbook room at home).  The Roll-a-Pencil was salvaged from a past principal.  He was going to throw it away!  A few rubons and painted wooden knobs and it was good to go.

Fidgets, Brain Break sticks and some books are on another shelf.

I have this shelving running all along under my window.  It is super storage!  The top shelf holds my class library, and the bottom holds all my tubs for duotangs and things.  The tub labels are cut with vinyl on my Cricut.

I have a book buying problem.  I have way too many.  My classroom library rotates often, I can't keep it all out at once.  I do have some picture books, but mostly novels.  I set this rack up with school library books, most with a social responsibility theme, but some favourites are mixed in there too!

Math manipulatives and Lego.  I love my new labels I made!


Recycling station. The labels are for sale in my TpT shop.  I've a huge paper bin on the floor too.

My Positive Notes board.  I made the title on my laptop, printed and cut out.  I've blogged about this before.  You can find the post here.

We use community supply bins in my classroom.  These are from Really Good Stuff.  I find it cuts down on mess in desks, pants being cut while I am teaching and pencil crayons rolling about the floor.  The Parent Handbook is from Amber Reed and I'm really excited to use it this year!  I'm hoping the interactive element makes it more engaging.

I cut this quote out of vinyl on my Cricut.  We aren't really supposed to have things on the door.  Rules are made to be broken, right?

Heading out into the hallway: my pencil wreath.  I made this a few years back.  Super easy and I get lots of compliments on it.  #hotglueismyfriend

My hallway bulletin board this year!  Ryan made me the handle out of cardboard.  The "bristles" are my trusty friend the Dollar Store plastic table cloth.  I saw many variations of this board on Pinterest.  I chose the saying because it projected a growth mindset, something I'm really big on.

Are you interested in even more bulletin board ideas? Do you want to save time by finding them all in one place? Follow the image or button below to grab your copy of my free bulletin board inspiration guide. 

Take me to the guide!

Helping to inspire,

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Getting Ready for Back to School!

Each year I look forward to getting back in my classroom.  I usually have so many new ideas I want to try!  I love starting the year fresh with a new look.  Of course, that's never easy.  It takes time.  But I tell you - it is SO worth it!

So far, I've spent two days back in my classroom.  I don't want to share too much, because I plan on doing a big reveal, but here are some tidbits of what I've been up to.

Ryan has been crafty.  He painted me up this paintbrush handle made from a cardboard box we stole from the bin at The Brick.  I'm loving what this has turned into!!

 I put up this alphabet from Little Lovely Leaders.  I love the rainbow colours and the math integration!  The space below is this weird gap between the top of the Smart Board and the top of the white boards.  I have a plan for what I'm putting in there.....

 My labels were fine.... really.  But, just fine.  I wanted awesome.  I created class library labels that match the genre posters I use as best I could.  Others are images for book series and real life pictures of math manipulatives etc for those bins.  I wanted to include a picture with the label.  I think this will help out my ELL students, but also hopefully help EVERYONE get things back where they belong.  

I laminated them with my home laminator so they are nice and thick and hot glued them on.  It was really speedy.  I didn't like the rings on my old labels. 

Something is happening here.... I don't know totally know what... You'll have to stay tuned.  But, don't you love my new carpet??

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