Thursday, September 15, 2011

Holy Cr@p!!

Ok, I know!  It’s been forever since I have written anything.  I have been so busy.

The craziness is starting to die down.  We are doing parent/teacher conferences this week and all day Monday.  I’ve only been able to do them yesterday, but the 6 I did went pretty well. 

This year I have so much more parent interaction than last year.  It’s nice to see parents involved in their children’s success. 

New curriculum is not going so well.  We still don’t have all the materials we need and are now being told we should get everything by the end of this month…  we’ll see! 

My class is doing well.  They are such a wild bunch but are great kids.   The worst problem I’m having with them is talking.  This class as a whole talks a lot!  They are a fun bunch though.  I heard from a few parents yesterday that their children are loving me as a teacher.  One parent told me her daughter said she doesn’t teach math the same way Mr. Michelbook does.  That made me laugh.

This student also brings me apples a few days a week.  I think it’s so sweet.  They’re good apples, too!

As a grade level, we have decided to start doing Daily 5.  Our books just came in yesterday but I forgot my book at school today.  I really want to read it.  It looks so interesting and I’m really hoping it will fix my problem with centers. 

Centers are getting better but they are still kind of rocky.  We’ve been practicing a lot on getting the routines down but it seems like they are not very well organized.  I also don’t have a lot of time to get them fixed. 

I’m hoping Daily 5 will give the students more responsibility and let me work more on small groups.  I know it will take some time to get it started and everything, but I think it will be well worth it.

Well, I better start getting stuff finished for tomorrow and find a little time to relax before going to be.  “Friends” is on right now on Nick@Nite and I love me some “Friends”!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

What a week!

The first week of school is done. It was a pretty hectic week.  We've been working on our classroom routines and rules.
I'm trying Whole Brain Teaching for classroom management and the kids love it. It's so simple, too.  We will be getting down to our curriculum this up coming week.  I've posted before about our district getting new reading curriculum.  It's a good curriculum but there is so much stuff to learn about it.  We just got our teacher editions on Friday so I'm spending my weekend looking through it to get ready for Monday. 
We are still missing a lot of the stuff we were supposed to have before school started but they said we should get it all before the end of the month.
It's making it a little difficult for my planning because I have to make some of the materials they tell us to use. Hopefully, the craziness will subside some once we get all of our materials.
I'm a very anal person and I like to have everything planned and organized the week before but this is making it a little difficult to do.  It's driving me crazy not being able to really do that.
I have a pretty great class this year. Minimal behavior problems. Mostly, just talking. I can deal with this compared to the disrespect and major behavior problems I had last year.  Plus, I only have 20 students.  Last year, I had 26! 
Im really excited about this year and I think after these bumps in the road we've been starting with, it's going to get so much better.
I'm posting this from my cell so sorry if there are any errors. Lol.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Day One is Done

I made it through day one.  It was a very exhausting day.

My new class seems like they’re going to be pretty great.  I have 21 kids, however only 20 showed up.  I have a few talkers but nothing too severe.

The morning started off pretty rough.  I picked up the kids at 7:55 and walked them into our room.  I had them get started on their morning work and had them take out all their supplies.  I decided to keep their scissors, glue sticks, glue, and pencils.

Last year, I had a major problem with scissors and glue sticks so that’s why I decided to keep them this year.  Last year I had kids making confetti out of the papers in their desks and gluing everything together.

Our school is a Title 1 school so all the students are on a free breakfast and lunch program.  Last year the district started a breakfast in the classroom program.  I have a love/hate relationship with it.

Once I got all the kids seated and working, I start to get their breakfasts to them.  I have parents in my room wanting to talk to me and I realize I have no breakfast.  I had to call the secretary to find out where the breakfasts are at.

We also had an assembly at 8:30 so by the time I get breakfast, it’s 8:15.  I had the kids eat quickly and get to the assembly on time.  It was a very rushed morning but the students handled it well.

After that, the day felt off but it all went pretty well.  I got everything I needed done so I can’t really complain.  I’m excited for tomorrow because I feel things should go a lot smoother.

I have a few things to get done for tomorrow but I’m ready for it.  Bring it on!!!  LOL

Well, I’m super exhausted and I probably should get things done so I can hit the hay!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Room’s pretty much done…

What a week!

I did get my room pretty much finished.  There are still a few things I need to finish before the first day.  Which is Monday!

I will probably go in tomorrow to clean up the small things I still have left.  I also need to make copies and get everything ready for the first day. 

Well, I promised you all photos of my room, so without further ado:

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So, there it all is.  I’m really liking it.  I still need to tape down their name tags.  I also need to get the computers hooked up.  I need a little box (called a switch, apparently) to connect them all to the network.  We won’t be using them for a few days so I have a little time for that. 

We’re still missing a lot of things for our new reading curriculum but we got what we had unpacked and put away.  One of the other first grade teachers was picking up a box out in the hallway and felt this on her hand (be prepared to be shocked)

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Gross, right!?  Living in the desert of New Mexico we have these little guys sometimes in our classrooms.  This is actually only the second one we’ve found, but still!

Last year on the playground the kids found a small tarantula.  They loved it.  I thought it was pretty scary.  I hate spiders and I’m always afraid that they just want to eat my face off.  I know they do, they’re sneaky little creatures!

Well, that is all for now.  I'm so happy that I get to sleep in tomorrow.  I really need it!

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Long time, no write

I have been so busy this week.  I've been trying to get my room completed along with staff meetings, trainings, and grade level meetings.  It’s been a crazy week.

Today was our building work day.  Our district doesn’t have our open house until the end of August (we start Monday).  We decided as a grade level to hold a Meet the Teacher Night.  We decided to do it today.

So, even though today was a building work day for us to work in our classroom.  I spent my day getting ready for Meet the Teacher Night.  Not a lot got done in my room.  On top of it all, I had only 5 out of my 21 students parents show up. 

My room is pretty much done except for piles of papers and a bunch of small things to get done.  The bad thing is, the small things always add up to be a lot.  Luckily, the furniture is in place and bulletin boards are done.

I’m loving the way I have it set-up.  I’m really glad I decided to do a color scheme because it makes everything come together.  I meant to take pictures but I forgot with the craziness.  I will try to get some tomorrow.

I am so exhausted.  I can’t even imagine how I’m going to feel after Monday is done.  I am really excited to get the year started.  We’ve had so many changes to things this year.  I’ve been racking my brain to make sure I’ve got it all covered.

We got new reading curriculum.  We had a ton of boxes to empty and sort this week.  After all the unpacking, we have no teacher editions, testing materials, or a bunch of small things we need to do a full on lesson.  It’s horrible.  Hopefully, they’ll get it all straightened out soon.  They want us to do a baseline test (which I’ve mentioned we don’t have the stuff for) by the end of next week.

Then we need to start the curriculum on the 22nd (did I mention we have no teacher editions).  AHHHH!

They have also decided to make all the specials (P.E., computers, art, music, etc.) in the mornings.  They’ve changed our start time to 7:55 a.m.  Oh, they’ve also increased our reading block to 2 hours (previously 1 1/2 hours) and math to 90 minutes (previously 60 minutes).  I’m having so much trouble trying to fit it all in.

I’m so tired! Lol

Well, I guess I should start getting ready for bed and worry about it all tomorrow. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Last day of freedom

Today is my last day of summer vacation.  We go back tomorrow to start the busy week of meetings.  I have a day or so of working in my classroom, too.  I can’t believe it’s over.  I am excited though to get the year started.

I got my enrollment for this year and so far I have 19 kids.  That’s pretty great because last year I had 25!  I’m looking forward to less bodies in the room.

I got a crazy idea today to change my word wall.  I know I had it all done but I wasn’t really liking it.  I didn’t match my color scheme very well. 

So, I went to the teacher store (and also treated myself to a Caramel Frappuccino from Starbucks) and bought new borders.  I tried to get ones that had the avocado-ish green color I am doing.  I found two I liked so tomorrow when I go in I have to take down the old borders and put up the new ones.

Then I need to decide how I am going to do the colors for the word wall themselves.  If you look at my older posts with my word wall, I had red, orange, and yellow stripes.  I’m trying to think of a way to incorporate the colors for my theme. 

If you remember, I was unable to locate the green construction paper.  Hopefully, tomorrow when I go in I will be able to locate it.  Cross your fingers! 

Another idea I had is heading down to Hobby Lobby and buying some scrapbook paper.  I might still do that.  Decisions, decisions!

I will post pics when I get it all figured out. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Word Wall and Calendar

I was able to get a lot more done yesterday in my classroom.  Besides tons of little things I was able to get done, I also got my word wall finished.  Thanks to Reagan at Tunstall’s Teaching Tidbits for posting her word wall.  I have borrowed the idea for my own word wall. 

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I changed the color scheme a bit.  I used precut letters from the teaching store.  I wanted to do a green theme with it but I couldn’t find the green construction paper.  Our school has been moving around the storage closets and who knows where they put everything!

I also did my math wrong… it’s summer and my brain hasn’t been working to full capacity yet.  I had to double up a few of them so I could get them all up.  I may redo it to fit more on it.  We’ll see…

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I also finished the first part of my calendar board.  I put up money, my “yesterday was, today is, and tomorrow will be” that I got from Target’s Dollar Spot, and the months of the year I got from Dollar Tree.  I finished it all off with a cute robot border I also got from Dollar Tree.  Oh, and  I got the blue magnetic holder that holds the days of the week we are not using at Dollar Tree.

Notice the clock!  I had no where to hang it for the time (no pun intended) being.  After taking the picture I put a nail in higher up so it’s out of the way.  I just put it there so I can see what time it was while I was working.

I’m pretty excited. Not too much more to go!  My todo list is getting smaller each time I redo it.  Of course, I keep adding new stuff to it as I’m crossing off other things.  It’s a never ending process, I guess!

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

From cans to pencil holders

I’m sure you all have seen this done before.  I took some old vegetable cans and made them into pencil holders for my classroom.

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Here’s what you will need.

  • Soup or vegetable can
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Pencil
  • Invisible tape
  • Ruler
  • Scissors

What to do:

First I pick my scrapbook paper that will match with the theme in my room.  I’m doing a green theme this year so I chose paper that had the same color green I was using.  Take the ruler and measure the can from top ring to the bottom ring.  Mark your scrapbook paper on both sides with this measurement.  Draw lines to connect the two sides and cut it out.  I taped one side to the can then wrapped it around then taped the seam down.  Easy, right?

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You can also take some acrylic paint and paint the top lip and the bottom of the can to match.  I did that on two cans and the other two I left the way they were.  Make sure to paint them before taping the paper on.

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More done and more to go!

Well, I went in today for 3 hours.  I seems like the more I go in the less I get done.  I was able to get some bulletin boards done though. 

I got half of my large bulletin board done when I realized my AC is leaking… again!  Grrr!  Which reminds me, I need to put a work order in for that. 

I got my birthday board done.  Here’s a pic.

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The green thing next to the birthday board is a shoe holder that’s meant to go on a door.  I’m using it to hold the ActivExpression voter dealies that go with my Promethean Board.  I’m going to put numbers on the backs of them and then I can see if one is missing after the students put them away.

In my room, I have these weird little bulletin board areas that are above the whiteboards.  They run the whole length of the wall and are about a foot tall.  So I got this crazy idea to jazz them up with some wrapping paper.  I got it from Target’s Dollar Spot.  I love the way it looks up there.

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It’s hard to tell in the picture but it’s a red background with yellow, green, and blue polka dots.  I looks busy but it really isn’t. 

I’ll post some more pics when I get more done. 

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day 2 of Classroom Setup… With Photos

I went in for 2 hours today.  I got quite a bit done.  I went through more stuff trying to organize.  Unfortunately, they are still working on my A/C so I can’t work on my library and small group area.

Now I’m thinking about it, I moved my small group area over to the back corner.  See in the picture.

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I think I will move the bookcase I was going to use for small groups over to that side.  I also got my student desks put into groups.  I was going to do 4 groups of 5 desks but then changed my mind because I didn’t like the way it looked.

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This is a photo of my desk and all the crap I still have to get put away and organized.  I cleaned up the shelves and I’m putting my teacher editions there.  I figured it would be easier to get to them when I doing lesson plans and things.

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This is my carpet area.  Notice the green chair I blogged about before?  I love that chair.  I can’t wait to sit in it and read to the kiddos. 

I still have a lot to do, but I thought I would show you the progress thus far.  I’m pretty proud of how far I’ve gotten.  I also like the changes I’ve made to the room. 

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Monday, August 1, 2011

Day 1 of Classroom Set-up

I started unpacking my room today.  It was all so overwhelming!

I started my day by making an iced coffee and heading out to the school.  Got to my classroom around 10 and just didn’t know where to start.  Moving classrooms sucks!

First off, my first thought was “Wow, the last teacher in this room really cleaned it up.”  Then I opened my cupboards and there was a ton of random useless stuff in there.  Then I open up the desk and guess what was in there!?  More random useless stuff.  That’s where I decided I needed start.

I pulled everything out of every drawer, cupboard, and cabinet in the room.  I put it all on my desk and spent forever going through it all. 

After all that crud, I unpacked all the boxes in the room.  I put everything in it’s general location that I want it to be.  As I’m putting things where I want them, I notice the top of one of my bookcases is wet.  I look up and see the A/C is leaking water.  

FAN-TAS-TIC!

Then, I have people on my room on a ladder and their tools everywhere trying to fix my A/C.  On top of that, they were not able to fix it today, so they have to come back tomorrow.

On an exciting note, I got to play with my Promethean Board.  It’s been almost 2 months since I took training for it.  I had so much trouble getting it turned on and I could not figure out how to calibrate the screen.  I did a quick Google search and figured it out. 

I still have so much to do and maybe tomorrow I will get some pictures once I get more done.  I have yet to get one area completely done.

I guess we’ll see how tomorrow goes!

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Chalkboard Clothes Pins

Here’s another crafty idea that I borrowed from someone else.  LOL.  I’m in the process of getting some of my own ideas up here, too.

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As you can tell from my picture, I have changed them just a bit.  I wanted a square boarder.  It was easier to do and when I tried to use the template for the fancy design the paint bled. 

I have decided to use them for my “Classroom Helpers” chart… Of which, I have yet to make.  It’s the next thing on my list.

I got this idea again from Tara at Create-Share-Inspire.  I again left the magnets off.  I really don’t have places to stick them to.  My whiteboards in my classroom are shower wall material and not magnetized.

Anyway, thanks again to Tara for another great idea. 

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Letter Beads

Thanks to Tara at Create-Share-Inspire for the great idea for these letter beads.  She calls them Letter Puddles.  I wanted to use them for small groups and for a center to make words.  I thought maybe I could use them to spell spelling words or sight words.  It was such a clever idea.  I chose to leave off the magnets so the students can move them around on the desk or table.

You can head on over to her blog to find out how it’s done.  I’ll post brief instructions, too.

Materials:

  • Letter stickers (from Target’s Dollar Spot)
  • Glass beads (from Dollar Tree)
  • Mod Podge
  • A small paint brush
  • wax paper

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The rest is pretty easy.  Just paint the back of a glass bead with some Mod Podge, then put a sticker face down on to the bead and apply a little more Mod Podge to seal it in place.

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I laid them on the wax paper to dry. 

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A little word of advice… since these are stickers (and they’re pretty darn sticky), I used the bristle part of my brush to hold it to the bead while I removed my finger.  It’s all pretty easy and they look so cool.  I love them and I think the kids will too!

Thanks Tara for the wonderful idea!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Testing Windows Live Writer

I read on a blog that they used Windows Live Write to write posts on their blog.  So I figured I would download it and give it a try.  So for, it’s not too bad.  It’s a little different because it’s not showing up as the font I had already chosen on my blog template.  I may have to change that.  Not sure yet.

If you are interested in trying it, here’s a link to it: Windows Live Writer.  You should check it out if you like writing blogs. 

I’ve tried writing blogs before but then it got sort of boring so I stopped.  Now, doing a blog about teaching seems to be something I’m staying interested in.  I love teaching so why not document it. 

There are some great blogs out there regarding teaching and looking at these blogs is becoming one of my new hobbies.  These teachers put so much effort into what they post.  Some have wonderful ideas on organization, crafts, and other things to make for your classroom.  Others are humorous and tell day to day happening in a teacher’s life.

If you haven’t visited many blogs, get out there and look at them.  Some are really awesome.  I have some listed under Favorite Websites & BlogsCheck them out!

Monday, July 25, 2011

I did it!

Well, I finally went and visited my classroom. I wanted to pick up my books from my classroom library so I can get them organized. Of course, I mixed up one of the two boxes and brought home part of the math center instead of books.

Oh well. I took some pics of the room and let me show them to you all.




I know you are thinking, "Man, that classroom is huge!" Well, it's not. I found out though that my Promethean Board is portable so I can move it where ever I like.

I went in to get my books but ended up staying and moving some furniture around. I moved my desk, the Promethean Board, a small bookshelf (next to my desk), and a long book shelf.

I also set up my stereo so I can listen to music. I went through a few boxes and started setting them where I would need them at.

I only stayed for an hour, and part of that was talking to the teacher across the hall, but I got some things done so I'm feeling a bit better. I might go in tomorrow, too. Now I think about it, I more than likely will, because I need to get the other box of books I mistakenly forgot.

I'll post more pics are my classroom as it progresses.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O, and Bingo was his name-o

Well, I haven't written in a couple days. I was having a few lazy days. I did a little bit of shopping and getting some things I needed for my classroom.

I bought a file crate and a desk lamp. I am still trying to figure out ways to get organized. I know last year keeping student portfolios up-to-date was something I was bad at doing. I saw on a blog (one I don't remember at this very moment) of a teacher that used the file crate to keep student work in. I usually kept them in my desk file drawer but I would always just throw their paper in there and then would spend FOREVER getting them filed and organized whenever I got around to it.

So this way with the file crate, they will be in plain view and I can simple find the tab with the student's name and slide the work, or whatever, into their file. Easy right? I'll let you know how it all works out.

I absolutely hate clutter but as a first year teacher, there was so much going on it was hard to stay on top of everything. I'm trying to change that now.

Besides doing a little shopping and laying around watching t.v., I also went and played bingo with my parents. It was a lot of fun. It was free and we could win prizes! Ok, the prizes weren't much... mostly crochet tissue box covers (of which, I didn't win).

I might play bingo more often. It was very relaxing and a lot of fun. I have never played bingo in a bingo hall but I might now.

Well, I probably should be getting some cleaning done. Since I was having my lazy days the last two days, I have a lot of stuff to do.

Monday, July 18, 2011

What to do!?

Well, I've been trying to figure out how to configure my new classroom. I moved to the room next door to the one I was in last year. I picked it because the power supply for the computers is on the back wall, right where I want them. I have all my stuff packed in boxes. I have not been in my classroom since the last day of school. I don't know where they put my Promethean Board. I was told they were going to get a hold of me to let them know where to put it. Well, the teacher next door to me (which is my old classroom) already had her's installed. She couldn't see where they put mine because my door was locked. I'm hoping they put it on the wall I wanted it on and not on the wall with the computer power supply. Those are the only two walls they could put it on. I'm crossing my fingers that they put it on the correct wall, otherwise, they are going to have to move it or move the power supply. It's all so mind boggling.
So I've been spending some time trying to figure out a few different ideas to set-up my classroom. He's a picture of an idea I have to set up my classroom. I made this on the classroom set-up tool on Scholastic.com
It's kind of hard to tell what exactly everything is in the picture but let me explain. On the right side wall is where I'm planning to have my Promethean Board and carpet for carpet time. On the top (back) wall is going to be my desk and the computer center. The left wall has the kids coat hooks and shelves on the top (I don't think I added this to the pic). The bottom wall has a large bulletin board and a very long, low shelving unit. It will hold my library and stuff for small group work. I think I explained all of that well enough.
I didn't put the students desk in yet because I'm still trying to figure that part out. I'm thinking of putting them in five groups of four. At this point, I have 20 students in my class. I haven't really decided desk placement because,as many of you know, class size will fluctuate a little at the beginning of school.
It's hard with this classroom because there is not a lot of storage and the room is small. It's pretty much a large box. Nothing too special. I've been searching the web for clever and neat storage ideas. Littlest Learners blog (link on the bottom right of my blog) has some great ideas. I also need to work on getting my classroom library set up into baskets. I'm going to check Dollar Tree for some cheap plastic baskets. The dollar stores are a great place to get cheap storage. Once I get that part all figured out, I will post some pictures.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Getting Ready...

Well, summer vacation is almost over. It's sad to think that in less than a month summer vacation will be just a memory. Don't get me wrong I love what I do, but I also enjoy having so much free time. I have started thinking about how I did things last year and planning how I would like to change them if they didn't work. This next school year is going to have a lot of changes. I'm redoing my whole classroom management plan and incorporating Whole Brain Teaching. It is such a cool way of do things in the classroom. I've added a link to the website under "Favorite Websites" on the bottom right of my blog.
I am also getting a Promethean Board this year, of which I'm super excited about. I've spent time this summer going to trainings for it and finding/making flipcharts to be used. I haven't actually gotten to play with my new toy, but I will get some time when I go in to work on my room in two weeks. I've been hitting the back-to-school sales at WalMart, Target, and the dollar stores. I've found some cool stuff. Such as: Whiteboard sentence strips found in Target's dollar section.
At WalMart I found this cool chair for me to sit on during carpet time for $18.
I'm just trying to find ways to make my classroom more homey and more me. Last year was my first year teaching and it was a whirlwind of chaos. It seemed like no matter how prepared I felt, I wasn't. Of course, as the year progressed it all got easier. No matter how well college prepared me during student teaching, it is so much different when your first year rolls around. I've learned a lot during last school year and have a notebook that I wrote down things that needed to be changed for the next year.
Even though summer vacation is coming to an end, I am really excited about this new school year and the changes I'm making.
It's going to be a great year!