Monday, July 21, 2014

Back to School Goals

I'm linking up with I {heart} Recess on my
2014/2015 Back to School Goals.
I find myself eating out a lot during the school week. I'll take food out to thaw, but then stay late at school so by the time I leave I'm starving and end up stopping at Wendy's or Chickfila or something. I want to wake up early enough to fix be a hot breakfast and leave school early enough to get home and cook dinner.
If you see my classroom set up now (I will be posting pics within the next two weeks) there is absolutely no room for a teacher desk! We don't have traditional desks so that contributes to the massive amount of space I need in my classroom for them. Unfortunately our class sizes aren't getting any smaller, they are putting 9 sections of 2nd graders into 6 sections of 3rd grade and we are busting at the seams. I always have my reading group table to sit at if needed, I just won't have my own desk space.
I posted about my long range lesson plans weeks ago. It's just an outline to keep me on track during the school year. For the last three years my team has been a revolving door. Only half of us remain from when I joined the team back in 2011. Now that we'll have the same team as last year and our newbies have got a year under their belt, I'm hoping to collaboratively plan with them this year. I know for a fact me and one teammate share two sets of twin siblings so it will be helpful for parents if we're on the same page.
I think I'm good with the Leader in Me program. I'm still reading Whole Brain Teaching and even if I don't implement the entire program the way it's written, I at least want to do parts of it.
When you hear 21st Century Learning Skills most people think of digital citizenship and technology but I think of leadership. Every child is a leader, whether positive or negative, I want to cultivate positive leadership within my students.
In the words of Ms. Sweet Brown... "Ain't Nobody Got Time for That!". I find myself saying this quite often during the school year, especially when the powers that be consistently place more and more demands on my time, none of which are or even have to do with the actual teaching of my students! 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Five for Friday

This is my first Five for Friday, which is ironic because during the summer I can't keep up with what day it is. 


I had the awesome opportunity to attend the VA Bloggers Meet Up in Richmond on Thursday. I meet an awesome blogger who works in the same district as I do so that was exciting, she actually works at the school 2 minutes from my house. Do you see me? I'm the brown one on the end...LOL!
So I got rid of my teacher desk in my classroom because there is not enough room for 30 student desks, that are in a funky triangle shape that only fit together in groups of four! If you've ever looked at my classroom tours you'd see what I was talking about. I found this awesome store on TpT, Learning in Wonderland, and bought her Melonheadz Organizing Set as well as her Mini Card Set. So basically, everything that was on or in my desk fit in all these organizing bins. My Teacher Toolbox is from Lowe's, I spray painted it black. The Steralite containers came from Walmart and the colorful bins came from the Container Store. I got them on sale, they were smaller than I envisioned, I wouldn't have paid full price for them.
So I think I'm finally going to take the plunge and purchase an Erin Condren lesson planner for this school. I completed 10 years of teaching in June and I think this is what I'll treat myself to. I have looked at the ones for sale on TpT but I also looked into the printing and binding at the local office store and I didn't see much price difference.

My creative juices have been flowing since being on vacation. I use to be a die hard Thistle Girl Design fan and her graphics were the only ones I'd use. But now I have two new favorite artists. Creative Clips and Melonheadz. I know... I know... I'm late.
Three weeks of summer school down and two more to go. Then my annual trip to Lakeshore. On August 4th I'll finally be having my surgery. I had a scare this week when I received a letter from the insurance company saying they weren't going to cover the surgery or the hospital stay or something, saying it wasn't medically necessary. Called my doctor in a panic and now everything has been approved. Looking forward to starting my 11th year of teaching PAIN FREE!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Library Book Bins

Last year I wanted to redo my classroom library but didn't want to spend the money on new baskets. So I put it off. So this year I did my shopping around and realized I still didn't want to spend the money. Then came Dollar You can buy just about anything from there by the case. I scoped out their "plastic bins" and settled on the bright rectangular plastic bins with handles. Now they aren't as sturdy as the bins from Really Good Stuff, but if students are using both hands to carry them then they should be okay. I spent $39 on 36 bins with free shipping to the store for pick up. My order took about a week to come in.  

I'm currently in the process of labeling my entire classroom library for Accelerated Reader and sorting them by AR Level as opposed to Genre/Author/Theme. The bins fit chapter books and picture books if turned the other way. Looking forward to sharing pictures of my revised library when it's finished, which will hopefully be by the end of next week!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Currently July

Listening- welp my husband's home which means he's watching FIFA on television.
Loving- most of you know that I'll be having surgery on August 4th to remove the uterine fibroids. The custodians were kind enough to clean my room first and put my furniture back where I wanted it. I've spent a few afternoons this week unpacking boxes and getting my room set up. It needs to be finished by the end of summer school just in case I'm not released to come back teacher work week, everything will be set for a sub.
Thinking- after working in my classroom I took a trip to Pearl's to get some cupcakes for my friends birthday tomorrow and got one for myself too... I've earned it.
Wanting- I was in pain when I woke up Saturday. While laying in the bed on Sunday my heating pad decided to quit on me, so I drug myself to Target to buy a new one... but seriously, that's the only time I left the bed this weekend. I'm having a pain free moment right now so I'm going to capitalize on it and get some work done on the computer.
Needing- I have a strict July schedule to finish all the things I want to create. This week... finish these last three units of these Treasures Interactive Notebook templates I've been working on.
4th of July- My husband's family is having a reunion in Raleigh this weekend. I'm more excited that we're near a Container Store. I don't have one where I live and there are some organizers I need for my classroom now that I got rid of my teacher desk at school.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Leadership Notebook

Covers for the students Leadership Notebooks
So I'm knee in this Whole Brain Teaching book which I'm lovin' so far! If you've been following me you know that I'll be incorporating Whole Brain Teaching practices as well as Leader in Me strategies in my classroom.

I want students to keep Leadership Notebooks this year as I implement these new strategies. I'm thinking a 1/2 inch binder with a clear sleeve will be just fine. I have a class set of binders left over but I'm thinking after three years I need to invest in some new ones. Sam's Club has them for a great price. $10 for 8 binders.

Below are some examples I'll have them keep in their binders.

I made these sheets for each month. Students will color in the square of the color they ended the day on.
Students will fill out the top section each Monday morning and fill out the bottom section every Friday afternoon. They will record their goals and action steps for each section. Then they're reflect on if their goals have been met, what leadership habit they practiced this week and any acts of kindness they performed or received.
I've been at my current school for 3 years now and never really implemented the AR Program. Mainly because my classroom computers didn't have the software. Our PTA has purchased the new online version so students will have access on all school computers and most of my classroom library books will not have assessments to go with them.
I figured students could track their weekly word study/spelling test scores fairly easy so I created this graph for them.
I also thought it would be fairly easy for students to track their reading level throughout the year.
I posted these just to give ideas of how I want students to set and reflect on goals in my classroom. Do your students track data in the classroom? What do you use?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Whole Brain Teaching Part 1
According to Amazon my professional reading books should be delivered today! I haven't had to create many resources for this because there are "tons" of free quality items out there for you to download. Here are my favorites so far...
I downloaded the Super Improver's Wall from Tonya's Treats for Teachers. I was going to make my own, but hers hit the nail on the head and I wondered, why reinvent the wheel! They're colorful and the clip art is adorable! It's from Melonheadz and I have this set on my wish list right now. I am going to purchase matching cardstock paper to cut up and use as the students cards for them to earn stars and level up.
I really like the rules from Amy Groesbeck. It has Chevron and the same Melonheadz clip art. So I printed these out and laminated them.
I chose Christie from First Grade Fever's Call Back Set. Love the Polka Dots and again, it has the Melonheadz clip art.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Behavior Clip Chart without the Clips

Wooden Numbers to match my Behavior Clip Chart

I've been a pretty busy bee this last week! At the end of the school year parents in my classroom chipped in and they gave me a $100 gift card to Michael's for one of my end of the year presents... they know me so well! First I went to Michael's and just walked the entire store, seeing what they had as opposed to my other go to craft store Hobby Lobby.

I've never really had a behavior management system before, never really needed one. But now that I'll be implementing Whole Brain Teaching and Leader in Me strategies I thought it was a great time to start one. I created my clip chart from scrapbook paper I got from Hobby Lobby.
sorry for the blurry picture
I intend to put magnets on the back of these and place them on my white board vertically. I'm not into the clothes pins idea so I took to Pinterest for ideas. I thought about making DIY Glass Magnets but then I went to Etsy to see what they had to offer and ran across this shop OCD by B they had some cute wooden magnet numbers but they were going to cost me $40. So I figured for that price I can make them myself.
materials from Michael's
I went to Michael's and purchased all the items I needed to make my own numbers.

*wooden 1 & 1/2in circles $3.49 for 22 shapes
*button magnets $1.79 for 12
*1 & 1/2 inch craft punch $9.99 (I could have cut out circles with my Cricut)
*Matte Mod Podge
*Foam Brushes
*E6000 Glue

I used the craft punch to punch out the circles from the leftover colored cardstock I used on my clip chart.

Then I used my Cricut Cherry Limade Font (shadow feature, 1 inch size) to cut out all the numbers.

While those were cutting I glued the magnets to the wooden circles with the E6000.

Then I carefully glued the numbers to the colored circles.

I used the mod podge to glue the colored circles to the wooden circles. Then brushed the matte mod podge over the colored circles with numbers to seal it all together.

It took about 3 hours to make 30 numbers.
my magnets on the fridge
Could I have found a cheaper, easier way to do these? Probably, but I enjoyed creating them... crafting is very calming for me. I'm going to put these next to the "Ready to Learn" section of the clip chart on the white board. Students will "move up" when good choices are made and will "move down" when poor choices are made.