Sunday, August 28, 2016

4 Fabulous 3D Bulletin Board Ideas

What do feather boas, pompom shakers, chain links, and tissue paper all have in common? Bulletin boards! That's what! I work with an amazing group of teachers. Not only are they amazing at teaching and working with our sweet kiddos, but they are pretty amazing decorators as well. and this year they have created some of the most colorful and creative bulletin boards for our school hallways! Today, I want to share 4 fabulous 3D bulletin board ideas from our school with you!
4 Fabulous 3D Bulletin Board Ideas!
 Bright, colorful, and creative would be how I would describe each of these bulletin boards, and boy, do they add a splash of color and a POP to our hallways!

The bright colors and tissue paper flower of this bulletin board definitively make it a stand-out in our hallways! It is absolutely gorgeous! Don't you just love these encouraging words? This bulletin board simply makes me smile!!
Now, you probably know that I love owls, and when our counselor put up this amazing owl bulletin board, I was so excited! Feather boas, pom-pom shakers, and a tissue paper tree make this bulletin board an absolute show-stopper!

I know that I have seen several versions of this 3D bulletin board floating around Pinterest, but our counselor's version of this paint brush bulletin board is just too cute to not share!

Under the sea themed bulletin boards are always cute, but this board is beautiful with all of its 3D effects! The octopus with chain link legs is simply adorable!!! Our hallways are looking good with all of these fabulous bulletin boards in our school! Today's post is short and sweet, but I hope you enjoyed these bulletin board beauties!
Have a blessed day!


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Using Chrysanthemum in Upper Elementary at the Beginning of School

One of my most visited blog post is Favorite Read Alouds for the First Week of School. In this blog post, I listed several picture books that I love to read during the first week. This list includes a few different titles that are usually not listed for the beginning of school. I did not, however,  list one of my favorite back to school books in this post. This year, I went back to that old favorite, Chrysanthemum! I love reading this book to my students partly because of the overwhelming response students have to the story. I'm always surprised by how many fourth graders are not familiar with this book.

This year, after reading the Chrysanthemum, I helped demonstrate how to draw a simple picture of the main character. Then on the left side of the paper, the students wrote words to describe how the students' cruel words made Chrysanthemum feel. On the right side, they wrote how Chrysanthemum's parents and Mrs. Twinkle's kind words made her feel. Next, on an index card, I had the students to write what they learned from the story about how to treat others.

Not only did the students' pictures turn out adorable, but I knew from the paragraphs that were written, that the class understood the message in the book. This helped to reinforce the ideas of classroom community that we have been establishing the first week of school.

These adorable drawings and writings made a perfect hall display for back to school!

Have a blessed day!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

My Classroom Reveal {2016}

Well, we all not only survived, but I truthfully fully enjoyed my first week of school. Our school district begins school on a Wednesday, which is fabulous. This way teachers can establish routines and have time to get to know the students. When next week comes, everyone is ready to dive in and begin a full week.

I have delayed sharing my classroom reveal because, room is not perfect. To be truthful, it never really quite is. There are always things I wish that I had had more time to do, and to be truthful, I spent this summer at home with my family instead of in my classroom. I must say, I don't regret that one bit! My room still came together, and it looks great (according to my daughters!)

If you have followed my blog (and by the way, you can now follow me on Instagram @teachingfourthwithkellyb), you know that I have decorated my room with an owl theme since the beginning of my blog. I have slowly moved away from the owls, and this year my theme is....(drumroll is playing here....) green and blue!!!??? I had a first year teacher/customer to respond that she had chosen an owl classroom theme because she was told that colors were not a theme. That got me to thinking, why not simply decorate with coordinating colors?  Well, that is exactly what I did, and here is my classroom reveal...

Teaching Fourth classroom reveal {2016}

The student chairs in our classrooms are green, and I painted my bookshelf wall bright green a few years ago, so naturally, green is part of my classroom color scheme. I personally like the look of turquoise blue with the green, so that is what I chose as our classroom color scheme. The bulletin boards are functional as well as pretty. Motivational posters are hung on one classroom bulletin board. This bulletin board and title were inspired by this bulletin board by Amy Lemons.

Motivational Posters Bulletin Board
Grammar parts of speech posters are hung on the second bulletin board.
Grammar Parts of Speech Posters Bulletin Board
 The front of the desk is covered in a pretty blue contact paper. Simple cut out letters decorate the front.
Blue contact paper lines the front of the desk.
Here is the student book nook reading area. Book bins have been replaced with simple book shelves. I was ready for a change. I want to focus on book authors this year, so my students at the end of last year helped me arrange books alphabetically by the author's last name. 
Reading Book Nook
I also covered my old, ugly filing cabinets with contact paper and turned them around so that the back is the only part that is seen. (I'll show you in just a bit why I did this.)  I did this just a few hours before our open house! I think they look so much better than before, and I love the way they turned out!!
Contact paper covers old filing cabinets.

Two final picture lets you know why I say that my classroom is not perfect.This summer, our old classrooms have undergone some renovation. The wall of old rusty windows have been replaced with a wall and two nice new windows. I love it! Now, my room will stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter! No more cold air blowing through the cracks in my window panes. We also are getting a wall of new shelves, but unfortunately, they are still working on these, so for now, I do not have countertops. This is what I have, but, hey, I'm happy to be getting countertops soon, and I simply decorated around them! I'm just so excited to be getting these in my classroom!

Also, I always have things that I need to organize later and just stash away and hide for the moment. I turned this bookshelf around backward so that  could have a place to stash away things. Do you remember I told you I would explain why I turned my filing cabinets around backwards? This is why. You can also see in this picture the front of the ugly filing cabinets. I only covered the back of them with contact paper. The front is turned so it cannot be seen.
I hoped you enjoyed my classroom tour, and I hope your first week of school has been or will be blessed!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

4 Fabulous Thoughts to Instill in Your Class Beginning the First Day of School

I am beginning a new series here on Teaching Fourth called "4 Fabs with Teaching Fourth." This series will highlight a variety of subjects, thoughts, strategies, and more for your classroom and school year. With the beginning of school starting or approaching for many of you, I am kicking off this series today with, "4 Fabulous Thoughts to Instill in Your Class Beginning the First Day of School."
We as teachers have the opportunity to touch so many young lives each and every day! Knowing this, here are four fabulous thoughts that we can instill in our students each and everyday beginning the first day of school.


Teacher's Pet??/You are Special

The first thought that we should instill is, "You are special!"  Admit it. We all want to feel important and special to others around us. Even as teachers, we want our principals to let us know that they notice our hard work and effort. Our students have a desire for this as well, so we should convey this to our kiddos beginning on day #1.  Recently, a story was shared about a teacher who made all of her students feel that they were the teacher's pet. One child went home and told her parents that she was the teacher's pet. Another child went home and shared the same thing with his parents. Eventually, the parents in this classroom talked with one another and realized that all of their children had come home and told the same story, that they were the teacher's pet, and they truly all felt that way! These parents realized that this teacher had made each child in her classroom feel so special that each and every child felt that he/she was truly the teacher's pet. How great is that? I want to do that! I want my kiddos to feel that special! Don't you know that because of that connection this teacher had with her students, that these students worked hard, learned, and performed to their best abilities all year long! Yes, this year I want all of my students to feel they are the teacher's pet.

Others are Important. Treat them with Respect.

While we want each child to feel special and important, we want to teach our children to always treat others with respect and in a way that will make others always feel important. As we model how to treat others with respect, our students will have the opportunity to see this in action. Also, provide opportunities for student to make others feel important and show respect. In one classroom recently was an autistic child, who just three years earlier could not speak. This child was new to the school, so (while this child was not in the classroom) the teacher explained to the other children that this student would be learning differently and would need help with finding the classroom his way around, his supplies and materials, remembering items when exchanging classes, and help in the lunchroom, etc. Well, this amazing group of students knew the importance of making everyone feel important, and they went above and beyond! Not only did they help this sweet child each an everyday, they celebrated and applauded later in the year the first time he answered a question in a class discussion correctly! They applauded and celebrated his accomplishments when he was able to participate in a Smartboard activity, and they made his mother cry when they applauded and celebrated him receiving an award at an assembly....There were too many celebrations to list. Sometimes teachers learn from students, too, how to make each and every person feel important!

Make Improvements

We all make mitakes mistakes. (Yes. The typo was unintentional.) Let your students know that you are not perfect. I personally tell my students on day one that I am often not a morning person. Sometimes I am very quiet in the mornings. I am not mad or upset. I am just not talkative that early in the mornings. I also let them know that I mess up...often, but when I do, I'll apologize and try to do better and not make that same mistake again. They need to learn to do the same, take ownership of their mistakes, and improve upon them. Students need to see that teachers are human too, and how to graciously admit mistakes and make corrections. It is so difficult to be upset with a student who does something wrong, but after talking to him, he hugs you and lets you know he will try better the next time. Isn't that what we are there for? To help our students learn, grow, and improve in all areas.


I Believe In You

From day #1 students need to know that we believe they can do everything that we ask them to do. We believe in them as a student and as a person. Your precious students may not hear this at home. We as teachers may be the only people this year encouraging and believing in a child. What a difference we can make in this child's life. I firmly believe God has placed each and every child in my classroom for a reason. No matter how gifted, how chatty, or how challenging a child may be, there is a purpose for that child being in my classroom. I want to reach each and every child and help each and every child reach his/her potential because I believe in each child!
By instilling these 4 thoughts in your students beginning the first day and every day throughout the school year, we are helping our students to grow and develop good character that will benefit them not only this school year, but for a lifetime.
My first day starts this week! I hope that whenever your first day may be, that you have a blessed  and wonderful day!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

How to Insert Borders/Clipart/Plus Enter to Win Some of My Borders!

I love borders! I love not only creating them, but also using them in my products. They are so fun to create because the possibilities are endless! I love combining lines, circles, and dots to create unique and fun borders.  I love using borders because they can be the perfect little touch to make a cover stand out, to separate areas on a worksheet, or to make fun and creative graphic organizers (which is another passion of mine!)

I have been in awe over the response that I have received from teachers on TpT who have purchased my borders! I never dreamed when I posted my first set of borders a couple of years ago, that anyone would like them, or that hundreds of teachers would purchase and love them! In fact, I remember after posting my first set on TpT  that I would just give them a couple of days, and if no one purchased them, I would simply remove them from my store. To my surprise, teachers not only purchased them, but left such sweet feedback, that I was inspired to create more. Well, now I have many sets available, and creating them has been so much fun!

I occasionally receive a question on TpT about how to use the borders or how to put them into a project, so I decided to create a tutorial to help anyone that is a little confused about how to use borders and to put them into a worksheet, PowerPoint, etc. I have also included instructions on how to add a background layer. Now as with any computer program, there are numerous ways to accomplish one task. You may have another way that you add backgrounds, but I like this way because you can use any size or shape background (square or rectangle) and make it fit your creation without altering the design of the background. It will still look like it was intended to look and not be stretched.

Step by step instructions for using borders and clipart in PowerPoint.

To begin, I create everything in PowerPoint. Even if I am just wanting a worksheet or a newsletter, I use PowerPoint because I can manipulate my clipart and text much easier.

To begin, open PowerPoint.

Next, go to "Design."

 Now, click "Page Setup." A box will pop up, and you can set up your page to paper size (see the red arrow). Set the size to 11" by 8.5" if you are creating something to print. If you are wanting to create a PowerPoint to use as a presentation, do not change the size.

 Choose "Portrait" or "Landscape" for you needs and click "OK."

The following steps are instructions for layering a background image. If you do not need a background, skip down to ***. You should still be under "Design."  In the right hand side, you will see "Background Styles." Click it.

A box will pop up. Choose "Format Background."

 Now choose "Picture."

Go to "File."

From there, go to your jump drive, folder, or where ever you have saved your digital papers. I like to store all of my papers and clipart on an external hard drive. I have organized all of my digital papers into one folder. Choose the paper that you want to use and double click or press "Insert."

The paper will appear on your page. It should appear  proportionally correct! :)

 If something about the design does not look exactly right or if you decide that you would like to make the design larger or smaller, you can choose "Tile Picture." You can play with the offset numbers to adjust the look of the design, to help center designs on your background, or change the alignment of the fill.
***Now, you are ready to insert your border. Of course, if you are creating a worksheet, newsletter, etc. you do not need a background. You could simply skip the above steps. Now, click the "Insert" tab.

 Go to your files on your computer, jump drive, etc. to find where you have saved your borders (or clipart). I like to save my clipart by designer. It helps me find the clipart I need quickly and it alswo helps me be able to credit the artists correctly. You will insert any clipart in the same way. Borders, like clipart are png images or pictures. You will need to insert the border. Fist, choose the folder where you saved the border.

Choose your border and double click or click once (the border will shade blue) and choose "open." 
The border will appear on your page! It is that easy!!! If it is not the size that you need, simply click on the circle in one of the corners and hold down. Drag the image the size that you want it.

You can insert text, add more clipart, and create away! When you are finished, save to a folder and print. It is really that easy! I hope this helps you with your creating!!!

The arrows that I used in this demo are from one of my newest Border Hoarders sets:


Update: Congratulations Garden Full of Learning! You are the winner of my borders!
I will be uploading the last set to this Border Hoarders and More Bundle  very soon, and  I will be giving away this entire bundle plus one border or clipart set from my TpT store of your choice (up to $4.50 in value) to one special person on July 25th. A prize of a value of $18.50.  To enter, simply follow my new Instagram @kelly_benefield, leave a comment below letting me know that you followed, and your email address.  It is that simple! 

Have a blessed day!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Children's Art Activity: Rainbow Art

This month has been a whirlwind! I know that you are probably feeling the same way, too. This time of year is always so busy and hectic. We have had softball games almost every night during April  (which have been a joy to watch my youngest play!). We have had testing (so glad that's over!), and this next week is not any less busy! We have a school-wide dance/music performance that has been taking place for over 50 years. In fact, I performed in these Spring Festivals when I attended this school in elementary. Each year is a different theme. Some themes I remember over the years include: the circus, holidays, Disney, music genres, fairy tales, and children's books. This year's theme is the Olympics, and each grade will perform a dance. It is a huge, school-wide event with all elementary students participating.

My crazy week ahead looks something like this: Monday we will be practicing all morning, and the program is Monday night. Tuesday is our only normal day this week. Wednesday we have our monthly 1/2 day. Students leave at 12:00 so that the teachers can have professional development, RTI meetings, etc. the rest of the day. (This day is super busy and like double-duty. I'm always exhausted after a 1/2 day.) Thursday is our field day, and Friday we have a field trip. Whew! I'm exhausted just thinking about it, but I'll just take one day at a time, and one step at a time and find the enjoyment in the small moments!

With all of the busyness at school, I've had little time to blog. I have had some things, however, that I have wanted to share with you. During testing week, I always like to do at least one art activity. It seems that there is little to no time for any type of art during the school year, so I always try to take advantage of the time after testing to do a fun project. This year we created rainbow art collages.


The first step was to create an interesting and unusual rainbow. I gave each student a piece of white paper, and asked them to draw a creatively shaped rainbow as large as the paper. I showed them how to start with one wavy line. Then they skipped a space and drew another wavy line following the same shape as the previous line. They did this until they had 8 wavy lines drawn. (You can see some of the creative shapes above and below.) Next, they colored their rainbows in he appropriate rainbow colors (ROYGBIV). This art project would go great with the study of light. We talked about how a rainbow is formed and how a rainbow is actually a circle, but we only see part of this circle. Our science teacher had already done a fabulous job covering light, so this was a fun review for my kiddos. They enjoyed sharing with me what they had learned in science.
After this, the students cut out cloud shapes from white paper.
Then they cut out raindrops from blue construction paper.

Finally, they glued all of the pieces onto a large piece of black construction paper. I chose the black construction paper because I thought it made all of the bright colors of the rainbows pop.

Sometimes, it is so nice to be able to do art! I think I want to be an art teacher when I grow up! ;)
With the end of the school year quickly approaching, be sure to check out all of the memory books in my store. I have my Owl Themed End of the Year Memory PagesHopping Through Memories of My School Year, or

I hope you have a very blessed weekend!