Sunday, August 25, 2013

Oh. My. Word...and Some Classroom Management Tips

Wow...what a CRAZY two weeks this has been.  I have now been officially initiated into the whirlwind of setting up your own do you do this year after year?!?  I know that it was my first classroom, and that I won't have to do some of these things every year, but I feel like I still have so many things I want to do, and no more time to do it.  I talked to a couple of veteran teachers and they said that even after fill in the blank years they still feel this way.  I guess this is just part of being a teacher.

I'M A TEACHER!!!  I HAVE MY VERY OWN CLASSROOM!!!  (Can you hear me shouting from the rooftops?)  I don't feel at all nervous about school starting tomorrow, just really excited, and SO ready to begin this journey :)

And I have to tell you, I'm already IN LOVE with my new school and new colleagues!  If I had designed my own school I couldn't have made one that would be a better fit for me.  I know there will be things I don't like...there always are...but right now I feel like this is exactly where I'm supposed to be.  God is good!

We had Open House on Thursday night and I met most of my kiddos and their parents.  The kids are so sweet (one girl told me that she wished my classroom could be her bedroom...I'll post pictures later today) and the parents are WONDERFUL and very supportive...yay!

I'm going in to school to get a few last minute things done this afternoon, and then HOPEFULLY, I'll feel settled and ready for tomorrow.  AND I'll remember to take pictures of my classroom!  In all the madness I keep forgetting :(  Too much going on in my's been a blizzard in there this it's slowed down to a steadily falling's that for a metaphor?)

OK...switching gears to classroom management.  I have written incredibly detailed plans for the first week of school, because I don't want to forget any of the steps that I want to take to teach my kids routines and procedures.  I know how important that is during the first weeks of school (and feel like I botched it when I did my 1st grade interim last year).  This time I want to make sure I get it right!

Has anyone read either of these books?

Both of them are on my Amazon wishlist.  I subscribed to Michael Linsin's emails last spring, and every week when it shows up in my inbox, it's always GREAT advice that is practical and doable.  This week's post is about taking the time to teach those routines and procedures...don't rush it!  Click here to read his latest post, click here to subscribe to his emails, or follow Smart Classroom Management on Bloglovin'.  You'll be glad you did!

I'll be back later today with a classroom tour...see you then!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Social Studies Linky

Happy Saturday!
With only a week before teacher workdays begin, I've been busy trying to wrap up the things I wanted to do at home before the school year starts, including putting together my Long Range Plans.

I spent much of the past week mapping out my Social Studies plans for 4th and 5th grade, and I'm so excited to get started!  My school uses the Core Knowledge curriculum, which is a little different from what most public schools use, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out what a great curriculum it is :)   However, when Diane from Fifth in the Middle posted on Facebook that she was having trouble finding things to go along with her Social Studies units, I had to agree. 

Now, we know that teachers are problem solvers, and when we see a problem, like a lack of resources, we come up with a solution.  And so, the Social Studies Linky is coming to our rescue!

Diane did an informal poll and found that most of us begin the year with either Native Americans, the American Revolution, or Reconstruction.  So, she's hosting a linky party that will help us pool our resources!


( worked!!!  This was my first time using the code that will put pictures side by side)

Pull out your favorite lesson plans, books, and other resources that fit into one of these categories, head over to Fifth in the Middle, and link up!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Student Teaching Linky Party

I'm linking up with Ash at The Polished Teacher for her 'A Tale of Student Teaching' Linky...what a great idea! 

There's nothing like student teaching, huh?  Paying someone (a LOT of money) so you can work a more-than-full-time job...ugh.  And it can be a great experience, or one you'd rather forget.  I'm sure we all know teachers who had one extreme or the other during their student teaching.  Fortunately, I had WON-DER-FUL co-operating teachers and learned SO much from both of them!

I did my student teaching in Wisconsin., and with an elementary ed. license we were required to student teach for 9 weeks at the high end of our license, and 9 weeks at the low end (ie. If you have a K-6 license, you'd spend 9 weeks in K-2 and 9 weeks in 3-6).  Here in NC, the student teachers I've met stay in one grade level/classroom the whole time. 

Anyway, I ended up doing 9 weeks in 6th grade at the school I worked at during that time, and 9 weeks in Kindergarten with a teacher I'd worked with during one of my field assignments (in my program we had to spend 40 hours each semester in a classroom observing and teaching a specified amount of lessons).  As I said, both of my co-operating teachers were great! 

My 6th grade co-operating teacher, Mrs. Bladow, amazed me with her creativity.  She could take the content from a ho-hum language arts worksheet and turn it into an interactive, fun lesson that really engaged her students.  It was a wonder to watch her!  I think the most important lesson that I learned from her was to trust yourself enough to teach in the way you know will work best for your students. 

My Kindergarten co-operating teacher, Mrs. King, was the most loving and genuine person!  Her classroom always had such a sense of could feel it the moment you walked into the room.  She had so much fun with the children, and was so nurturing and loving toward them.  When we walked down the halls, her former students would all reach out to hug her :)  Without a doubt, the most important thing that she taught me was that children thrive in environments where they feel loved and accepted.   

So, here's my 'best of times' and 'worst of times' from my student teaching, along with a little advice!

 Don't forget to go and read some other student teaching stories at The Polished Teacher.  That's where I'm headed!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday Made It w/Freebie Links

I'm linking up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It!

I was VERY busy yesterday afternoon...printing, laminating, cutting!!!

All summer I've been finding goodies I want to use in my classroom, and saving them in a B2S folder on my laptop.  Well, yesterday I went through and printed, laminated, and cut out quite a few of them.  And now, I'm going to share them with you.  So even though I didn't create any of my MMI's, I did make them :)

Check out all of this classroom goodness...

Just looking at the picture makes me want to jump in my car and go to school to get my room set up, BUT...
I can't get in until the 19th...
Believe it or not, every single one of these printables was a FREEBIE from some of our favorite blogger friends!  If you'd like to use any of them in your classroom, I'll be sharing the links below.  When you go and grab these freebies from TPT or TN, don't forget to leave some feedback for the sellers :)
 Tada!!!  My sharpened/unsharpened pencils containers!  I LOVE these flipped labels from Ladybug's Teacher cute!!!  I found the little buckets at Ikea (by the planters)...79 cents people!  I printed, laminated and cut out the labels, then attached them to the containers with hot glue.  Click HERE if you'd like to grab these labels for your classroom :)

Another use for a cute little bucket...I've been seeing similar signs all over Pinterest, and had to put one together for my classroom.  I'm hoping it will cut down on the number of no-name papers (fingers crossed!!!).  This cute freebie is from Amazing Documents.  She's got a lot of cute stuff in her TPT store...go and check it out...and get the 'Highlight Your Name' freebie HERE
These little cuties are my effort to stop my students from coming to me for help when I'm busy working with another student.  The pencils have numbers on them (which you can't see in the pic...sorry!).  When a student needs your help, but you're busy, he or she can grab a numbered pencil, place it on their desk, and you'll know who to go to next (like at the deli counter..."Now serving...number 3").  Genius!!!  These are from Valerie at All Students Can Shine.  You can find them HERE (scroll to the bottom of the blog post and click the picture to download from Google Docs). 

Oh. My.  The brilliance of vocabulary combined with classroom management.  Love it!!!  The 'Today's Password' file is from The 2 Teaching Divas and can be found HERE.  I'm planning to use these to help my students become familiar with our Social Studies vocabulary words for each week (you could use these for anything you want your kiddos to practice...sight words, state capitals, etc).  We'll talk about the password during Morning Meeting and make sure everyone understands the definition.  Then, throughout the day, when I'm giving directions I'll say things like, "When I say today's password, please push in your chairs and line up quietly at the door."

Tara at 4th Grade Frolics has been instrumental in helping me decorate my classroom this year.  I'm SO grateful that she's using the same colors as me in her classroom AND that she's so creative and generous!  I love these Showing Your Understanding posters.  They're great for either a quick self-assessment after a mini-lesson ("Show me your understanding by putting up 1, 2, 3, or 4 fingers"), or for a more thoughtful, written self-assessment following an assignment.  This is Tara's current Fan Freebie on her Facebook page.  You can get your copy HERE, but only if you 'like' her page ;)
Another fabulous freebie from Tara at 4th Grade Frolics!  I'm going to be using a modified version of Daily 5 and CAFE in my classroom this year (I'm going to call it Reading Rotations).  And, I'll be using the 'Rotation Board and Daily 5 Posters' printables for my rotation pocket chart.  Click the link to get your free download from Tara's TPT store!  BTW, I'm not using the 'Listen to Reading' cards because I'm going to use my class read aloud as our 'Listen to Reading' time.
Are you still with me???  Only two more to go...
Like I said, I'll be using Daily 5 and CAFE in my classroom.  I LOVE this version of CAFE for the upper grades called CRAFT.  As you can see in the picture, CRAFT stands for Comprehension, Respond to Text, Accuracy, Fluency, and Text Features. This freebie is from Kristen at Ladybug's Teacher Files and can be found HERE.  I'll have these up on a bulletin board, and as we learn a new strategy, we'll post it under the appropriate header.
In my Writing Workshop I'm going to use the VOICES acronym to teach six of the 6 + 1 Writing Traits.  This is also from Kristen at Ladybug's Teacher Files and can be found HERE.  Just like with CRAFT, I'll have these up on a bulletin board, and as we learn a new strategy, we'll post it under the appropriate header. 
I hope you can use some of these awesome freebies in your classroom...don't forget to leave feedback for these generous and creative ladies!!!  Then head over to 4th Grade Frolics to check out some more Monday Made Its :)

Friday, August 2, 2013

August Currently

Hi!  We just got back from our visit to WI...we had such a GREAT time!!!  We got to spend time with lots of people that we love, and it began to feel like home again.

I have to admit, this time I was a little teary as we drove down the road, away from so many of our nearest and dearest.  I'm a person who likes change, so our move to NC was a big adventure for me, and I was really excited about it!  At the time, I don't know if I really let myself feel the pain of leaving behind almost everyone that I know. 

And we've been loving it in NC...we've met so many awesome people and discovered so many beautiful places! 

But this time when we left...I felt the pain.  I miss everyone already :(

OK...on to happier August Currently:

We spent 14 1/2 hours in the car yesterday driving back to NC from WI.  Why is it so exhausting to SIT AND DO NOTHING for so long???  Besides that, my kids are all teenagers, so they sleep until noon on a normal day.

Don't get me wrong, I love my brother, and the bed at his house is perfectly comfortable, but there's NOTHING like sleeping in your own bed after being away for a couple of weeks.  AAHHHH!!!

'nuf said...

I'm SO excited to go to the Carolina bloggers meet up later today.  I can't wait to meet all of these talented ladies!  We're going out to dinner tonight, and then to a dueling piano bar...HOW FUN IS THAT?!?!?!  BTW, the new outfit isn't going to time or $$ for that right now.

I SO want to get into my classroom (my FIRST classroom...yay!!!) and start puttering around.  BUT, the school I teach at runs summer camps all summer long, and uses the classrooms, so I can't get in until our first teacher day on the 19th.  I guess I'm just going to have to make really good use of my time that first week back :)

B2S Must Haves
1.  I LOVE the Papermate Flair felt tip markers in all of the fun colors.  I even color code my days so I know which day I wrote whichever note/comment/grade I'm looking at.

2.  It's hot in NC until late September-early October, so I'll be wearing sandals as much as possible.  I love my b.o.c. by Born because they're SO comfy and cute!  And they have a back strap, so I won't walk out of my sandals while I'm teaching.  I have two I found on clearance at Belk's for a really good price, and one I ordered off of the Internet because the first pair was so awesome.
3.  I love my Teacher Binder from Little Lovely Leaders!!!  I used it last year, and it has all of the dividers and pages that I needed.  I love the chevron backgrounds, and the cute fonts and clip-art.  I had several teachers ask me about it last year because they thought it was so cute.  Bridget has updated the calendars for the 2013-14 school year, so I just need to print those out, and I'll be ready to go again.  Go check it out!
Don't forget to go and check out all of the other Currently's at Oh Boy 4th Grade!
OK...I'm off to the grocery store!  Have a great day!