Saturday, August 29, 2015

Five for Friday - A Day Late

So the last two and a half weeks have definitely kicked my butt!  I finally got my classroom moved - except for a filing cabinet and a few boxes that I'll be going in to unpack tomorrow.  My colleagues and I survived the first week of school in spite of broken air conditioners and new administrative mandates. And I'm loving my new class of second graders. I've missed posting to the blog for the last couple of weeks, so here's a bit of what's been going on.  Thanks always to Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting!

My classroom!

I love the way my reading center turned out. It's already become the workspace of choice for many of my students!

I worked hard to make it look welcoming for my kiddos. I was disappointed that I wasn't completely finished before Open House, or even for the first day of school. However, after 19 years of this, I know the most important thing is not how your classroom looks or how much you got done, but how you make those children and their families feel when they first meet you. Any new teachers out there, don't worry about perfection. Your room will always be a work in progress!

Speaking of Open House, one of my families surprised me with a gift - a basket full of teacher goodies.  How nice is that?! What a great way to start the year!

My Reading Center bench!  I've been eying these with envy on Pinterest for over a year. I finally made my own.

I started with a piece of shelving. I bought 2-inch foam from JoAnn's Fabrics and glued it to the shelf.

I also got the fabric from JoAnn's. I laid it over the top of the foam and then turned the whole thing over.

I hot-glued the fabric around the shelf. The hardest part was pulling it tight enough so it wasn't wrinkly.

It wasn't perfect, but it worked!

I zip-tied the crates together to secure everything 

It fit perfectly under the window in my reading corner.

I think it came out well. My kids are already enjoying it.

Lakeshore is a very dangerous place for me. I went there for three things: nametags for my desks, wooden people shapes for my helper chart, and cardboard people shapes for my class promise display.  An hour later, I walked out about $80 poorer. #teacherproblems
Never fails.

I got some great stuff!

We got our class promise written this week. I wrote about how I work with my class to create it in a previous post. You can read more about it here. I think it turned out very well. It always surprises me (in a very good way) how thoughtful the students are when we do this. They have very clearly defined ideas about what's right and what's wrong. They may not always make good behavior choices, but in their hearts, they want to.

Each class I teach gives me hope for the future. :)

So that's it for now. Stay tuned this next week for Math Tip Monday. On the first Monday of each month, K's Classroom Kreations and I host a Blog Hop filled with great ideas for teaching math. Next up: Number Sense. If you're a blogger and you'd like to join our hop, let me know!

Until then,

Friday, August 14, 2015

Five for Friday - Goodbye, Summer!

Summer is definitely over.  This week has been about having one last summer adventure and then getting as much done as I can before I officially start the first workday on Monday. Here's my Five for Friday for this week.  Thanks, as always, to Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting.

On Saturday, I took a road trip down to Charleston, SC to meet up with some fellow Teacher-Bloggers. We had a wonderful lunch at Leaf Restaurant. We spent some time getting to know one another and the similarities/differences between our school districts. Just so you know, teaching is a tough gig no matter where you work. But we all do it because we love it.

After the meetup, I had a wonderful (but very hot) time, walking around Charleston. It's such a beautiful place. I loved walking through Battery Park, where I happened upon a wedding photography shoot, and along the waterfront, where I had a brief and pleasant conversation with a local fisherman. Here are a few pictures. Wasn't it a beautiful day?

Recent events felt a little more personal as I came across this sign. My heart goes out to the city and to the family and friends of the victims of the Charleston shooting.

I worked a bit on my newest project. This summer, I've been writing a lot of poems. While I'm planning a larger product that will take me quite a bit more time to finish, I decided to group the math-related poems together in one smaller product.  I hope to have this one finished and in my store by this weekend. I'll offer it at a discounted price for the first 48 hours, so keep a watch on my Facebook page. Here's a sneak peak at the cover.

While I was moving my classroom this week, I ran across a center activity that my first grade students used to love. I may pull it out for some of my struggling second graders this year.  I can't claim credit for the idea, but I did type up the directions. I glued the directions and the work mat onto a file folder and then laminated it. Then, I set it in a center with magnetic letters and vis-a-vis markers. Since my kids all had their own sight word baggies, it was naturally differentiated. Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy! This is one of those ideas that I got from another teacher who got it from someone else who also got it from someone else, so I have no idea who deserves the credit. I just thought I'd pass it along. I don't have my original file, but I've duplicated it here if you'd like a copy.

So this is why my post is subtitled, "Goodbye, Summer!"  I've spent two and a half days at school this week trying to get all of my stuff moved to a new classroom. And I've got a lot of stuff!  In 18 years, you collect a few things - mostly books. And no, I don't want to purge some of it. I might need all of it. Really!

It's been a little difficult to move because the teacher who is moving out of my new room can't move yet. The portable classroom she is moving into just got cleared this afternoon. So I've had to pile most of my stuff in the middle of my new room. Here's a few pictures I took over the course of the week.

This is what my old classroom looked like when I started.

Here's what my new classroom looked like when I left today.

I'm exhausted all over again looking at the pictures.  Maybe next week, I'll be able to share some pictures of my finished classroom. Hopefully, I'll get it ready in time for Open House on Thursday. I'll let you know.

Oh, I haven't forgotten the post on Anchor Charts that I promised you last week. It's coming soon! In the meantime, you may want to check out my Pinterest board. I've pinned lots of great anchor charts there.

Until next time,

Friday, August 7, 2015

Five for Friday!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching again with my Five for Friday post.

On Sunday, I made the drive back home from my brother's house in Tennessee. If you have to drive for four hours, it's nice to have a view like this.

I'm lucky enough to work for a district that values professional development and invests in its teachers.  Monday through Wednesday, I attended six literacy workshops that really helped me to get my mind back in school mode.  I've got so many ideas that I can't wait to put into use in my classroom!  Not only that, I got some wonderful new resources that will help me put those ideas into action. Don't worry, I'll be sharing some of those tips throughout the year.

Pretty nice teacher swag, don't you think?

Anchor charts!!! One of the best parts of the workshops was getting to see all the great anchor charts the presenters displayed. I'll be sharing many of them with you in a post next week. Here's a preview:

Nothing says summer like indulging in a big bowl of ice cream.

This week, I braved the Ikea because I wanted some stools for my reading table. I say I braved the Ikea because it's such an ordeal for me to go there. Honestly, I don't know why so many people love that store.  Both times I've gone there, I found it confusing and hard to find things. I also had to wait in line for about 30 minutes to check out. Sigh. Anyway, back to the stools. They have these really cute ones for only $4.99.  I chose this picture because the red shows up better, but I got white ones. I think they will work better with my color scheme and I'm really trying not to make my room too busy. I also picked up a table for my listening center and some magazine files to use as student book boxes. Now to put everything together.  I'll share some pictures once I have everything set up in my classroom.

That's all for this week.  I can't believe I've only got 9 days left before my first workday!

Until next time,