Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Scholastic Book Order Tips


Just hearing that makes me happy.  I LOVE book orders.  I have since I was 5 years old.  Today I'm going to tell you about my Scholastic story as a kid, about how I use them in my classroom, and how to get more families ordering so you can get more POINTS!

My childhood Scholastic story:
I loved when my teachers in elementary school would hand out the new monthly catalogs.  Before I got home I already knew what I was ordering.  My mom would always let me order what I wanted.  In reality she could have limited me to an amount...I don't remember.  I just remember I'd get quite the pile every month.  Sometimes the teacher would just let me carry them in the box when the bell rang to go home.  I love that my parents encouraged me to read and would spend their money on books.  

When I see those flyers every month, I still feel like a kid!  

My teacher Scholastic story:
Now that I am a teacher I still love them and I love them even more because we can earn points to go towards books and classroom items.  My first year of teaching I sent them home for a few months and not a single family ordered.  I was bummed out and I just gave up.  

Fast forward to my second year of teaching (this past year) and I had at least 3-4 kids order a month (sometimes more!).  Every month we were consistently getting about 500 points for our classroom.  Now don't get me wrong, you may try this and still have no one order...but the chances are slim. 

Now I am going to tell you what changed.  Yes, the group of kids changed but something else did too.  I completely changed how I did Scholastic Reading Club orders.

How to Use Scholastic:
When you are separating your flyers, make sure you write your class code and the due date.  I like to highlight it afterwards.  Yes this is time consuming but you could also have a parent volunteer do this for you.  

I like to then staple a tiny sheet of paper (maybe 1/4 the size of a normal paper) that tells parents when the orders are due by, the code, what books stand out to the kids, and a quick how to order.  I also include at the bottom a thank you for ordering and tell them that it gives us points to buy free books.  I usually tell them what kinds of books I'm going to buy with that months points and what I bought with them last month.  They like seeing what the points are going to.
Here are the small sheets I staple onto the flyer.

This is a little haul that I got from using bonus points!

The day I send the flyers home:
I pull up Scholastic's website, explain how to order to the kids, and we look through the flyer online.  The kids love seeing the flyer HUGE on the SmartBoard.  They squeal, they point at books, and they get really excited.  I also ask kids what they want to see.  Once one child said Legos.  So I typed Legos into the search bar and showed them that there are a TON of books online that your parents can find for you.  One girl wanted to see princesses, Frozen, cars, trucks...you name it.  I then ask them what kinds of books would they like to see me get with the points.  

I generally let the families look for 2 or 3 weeks and then I send off the checks and submit the online orders.  

My new general info sheet I'm sending home at the beginning of the year.

This year I am sending home a general info sheet about Scholastic orders.  You want a *FREEBIE*?  Well, click on the picture and it will take you to my freebie on my TPT store.  All you have to do is print them out and write your class code on it.

Oh, I almost forgot!  A really fun thing I love is that I tell parents that if they want to buy books as a gift for their child...give the order to me (or order online) and when the box arrives.  I'll put that order in a bag and I hand it to the parent when the child goes to put their backpack up in the morning, or afterschool when they pick them up I quickly hand it to them.  It's very secretive.  :)  I had quite a few order last year at Christmas and a few for birthdays.  

I hope this helped explain how I've seen awesome results with Scholastic book orders.  I absolutely love how it gets parents and students excited about books and at the same time it gives our classroom new/free books!  Feel free to share any tips that you do in the comments section.

Today I made my info sheet and already got September's flyers ready to go!

Happy reading!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Reading Posters

Good morning!  Today I want to share my new-ish Reading Posters.  Here they are in action, newly stuck on my white board.  
I love simple.  Do you?  If you teach K like me, you know they will be able to understand this wayyy better than lots of posters that are overwhelming with text.  A big graphic and a quick sentence is all they need.  I tried to make the graphics match so at the beginning of the year when we start reading, they can tell what it says without having to know all the words.  

These are the biggest things I want my kinders to think about and to do while they are reading.

This pack of Reading Strategy Posters has 4 different sets.  Each set is a different border: the white chevron (shown above), red chevron, black quatrefoil, & chalkboard.  I printed off on cardstock and laminated the white chevron version.  Somehow this year I've been drawn to plain and simple white chevron and it's on a lot of things now in my classroom.  

Here are the posters.  :)

Oh and how cute is the little gal on the front cover of my product?  She is my favorite clip art kid.  It's from Melonheadz.  I love it!  

Today I am getting to business at doing my first week's plans so they are done and out the way.  I may even get crazy and do a couple weeks worth.  My goal this year is to try to get them done not on Saturday or Sunday.  Being in a long distance relationship I am gone most weekends to Kansas so I need to better manage my lesson planning time to get it done before Friday.  :)  That's my goal!  

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


It's that time of year again.  Early August when you're in your classroom more.  Everything is getting very cute.  Your fingers are sore from cutting out laminate.  You're cleaning and putting your room back together (unless you're one of those lucky people who do not have to disassemble your room every summer). 

Also, you're also having those back to school dreams.  You know what I'm talking about.  They are a killer.  Usually.  Mine generally are pretty silly and funny.  Except the one dream I had before my first year of teaching where my new kindergarten class surrounded me and tied me up to a chair.  THAT WAS SCARY!  I woke up slightly panicked.  Sidenote: that didn't end up happening once the year started.  They were honestly a dream class!

The past few days mine has been about having a class of all boys.  We start on the 25th and currently I have only 4 girls.  Haha.  You betta believe that I'm making sure all my animal books/non-fiction books are out.  

I love reading non-fiction books, but this year I'm making sure I've doubled the amount I have in the kids' library.  Last year I learned that my kids LOVE these National Geographic books.  I mean, they were seriously obsessed.

I am taking a break from my room the rest of this week and I'll be back at it next week.  Here's what I accomplished on Monday and I learned a new trick!

Here is my new trick:  
I purchased some dry erase markers on sale at one of my favorite stores (they weren't Expo markers).  Unfortunately the kids used them the next day during RTI time and one interrupted my group (so I knew it had to be important) with a "Miss Millard, this is not coming off at all and I just wrote with it."  So I grabbed the marker, made a few scribbles...tried to erase.  It stained.  It didn't erase AT ALL.  I was disappointed.  So we immediately threw all those new sale markers away.  This happened in April so the boards have been stained since then.

Here it is.  See the lovely sight words stained onto the board.  I googled how to clean them.  I've heard of different things but the only thing I had right then in my room was hand sanitizer.  I also had a Magic Eraser that I scrubbed it with just because I didn't want to waste paper towels.

See the pink coming off!  I was thrilled!
Tada!  This was that same board and now it is crystal clear!

So: hand sanitizer helps!  I didn't have hairspray...plus I figured it'd leave that residue all over the table.  I was very pleased with all my clean boards!  They look almost brand new.

Next, I finally laminated and cut my Table Labels & Signs.  This is in my TPT store.  I picked the colors based off of my big rug.
Here are the labels in action on my tubs.  I put one tub on each table that holds their crayons, scissors, and glue.  It's worked great the last two years.

 I keep the scissors in the small metal bucket (from Target Dollar Spot), the glues go next to it, and the crayons in the small container.  I bought the containers from Target in the area that has the food leftovers containers.  I put a small blank white label on each with the student's name on it and we dump the crayons inside.  I can't stand when crayon boxes fall apart...which for kindergarten is about 2 days in.  I've used these for 2 years and I've only thrown one away.  Before each school year I just throw them in my dish washer.  

If you're interested in these labels (there are more, small square ones and 1/2 sheet signs in the pack as well), click on this link (Table Labels & Signs) or the picture.

Last but not least...here is the area around my door.  I have a great little, but tall, bulletin board next to the door so people in the hall can see it walking by.  This houses the lunch calendar, news, book order info, line leaders, and I staple up photos throughout the year.  It's pretty bare right now though.  Also, the other has my *FREEBIE* bathroom passes.  Remember, I use twine for the string...it's generally pretty strong.  

Would you be interested in my "near the door" items (those titles/headers, signs, no peanuts sign, specials (PE/Music, Art, Library) flip cards, and more?  Let me know down below in the comments.  I may post it to my store.  :)

Have a great day everyone!  Tomorrow I will post info about my new Reading Posters.  

**Don't forget to click "Follow Me" on TPT so you can see when I upload new items.  I've been uploading a few a day lately.