Saturday, August 24, 2013

School is Kicking My Butt...and 50 Followers Winner!

I was so excited to check my email and see the reminder from Rafflecopter that my giveaway had ended. I have been feeling kind of icky lately (there's a crud going around our school, and the kids have only been back 2 weeks!) so that cheered me up! So, after my Dayquill has kicked in - I have broken out the laptop to write a post, and pick a winner! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Amanda - Check your email! I am SO excited for her!! Since the new Thirty One fall catalog is coming out - I will do ANOTHER giveaway when I reach 100 followers -so spread the news people!

I feel like last week kicked my tail! The heels of my feet are STILL sore, laundry is piled sky high, my lesson plans for next week need to be written, and all I want to do is SLEEP! Seriously -- I logged in to Bloglovin' to catch up on my favorite blogs-- and I had like 40 entries I hadn't read! Say WHAT?! It was good though, because I made myself go to the gym and stay on the elliptical until I had read them all! I will lift weights all day, every day - but I hate hate hate cardio. I would rather be lifting some serious iron than run on the dread-mill any day of the week! Last week was our 2nd week of school, and the kids are settling into their routines - and their true behaviors are shining through! I know a lot of teachers have success with whole brain teaching (WBT), and one of our first grade teachers is trying it out this year-- it's so cool to see her in the hall with her kids doing the "Class Yes" to give them directions. They're so tiny, and it really does seem to be going GREAT for her! This is the first year our 3rd grade is not departmentalizing - so I actually get to keep my own kids for most of the day! It has been great to work on behavior - which is something that I spend a LOT of time on. There are SO many standards in 3rd grade to cover, that we just don't have time for students to not stay focused. I love to do as many hands on activities as I can (as in-- every single activity, somehow I try to make hands on), and classroom management is a MUST to make those transitions and activities go smoothly.

What have you found works in your classroom? I have a clipboard system that stays with the kids all day. If they go to library, it goes with them. Any behaviors that are not acceptable get marked RIGHT away. To be "marked on the chart" means next to your name, the number of the rule you broke gets written down. (The 5 rules are from SFA- our reading program. They are Team Goals, but we use them school wide as rules.)  You can grab it for free on one of my old post by clicking on the picture!
At the end of the day, in the student's planners, I write a smiley face for 0 or 1 marks (hey- everyone makes mistakes, and if students turn it around to make a great day - then that deserves a smiley face!). 2 marks gets a check mark, and then a note explaining what happened. 3 or more marks gets a sad face, and a note explaining. I very rarely have 3 marks in one day, because as you can see in the last column - there's a space for Freaky Friday. Students who have 3 marks or less by the end of the week get to participate in Freaky Friday - which is 15 minutes of extra recess. If it's raining on Freaky Friday- we have Maniac Monday- and the kiddos get so excited. They will do ANYTHING for extra recess - and 15 WHOLE minutes - on a day they have PE AND Music-- they think it's the best.  It's nice to positively reward the kids who always follow the rules, always have their homework completed, and are always prepared. On the other hand, it gives kids with no internal motivation something to look forward to and work toward. The specials teachers and substitutes LOVE it because it really holds the kids accountable throughout the WHOLE day. 

As much as I want this to be a lazy Saturday - the hubby just got off, and we are going to our Roanoke gym to lift. Have a great weekend!! 
Sunday, August 18, 2013

Late Night Snacks.....

So tonight my wonderful dog Angel, who isn't always one....went counter surfing! Her loot was the new bag of dog treats (which she shared with Yolo), and two chocolate cupcakes! (*Don't freak out - I fed her chicken and rice- and it wasn't enough chocolate to hurt her - just enough to give her an upset tummy and sending her running for the yard to use the bathroom a couple of times!).  She made off with the loot when I was writing lesson plans!

So - I have uploaded a  new product to my TpT store! Yay!! I uploaded my ENTIRE collection of spelling lists. One for each week, PLUS a cut and sort for each week, for the whole year. The list include a parent letter, and everything is EDITABLE!!!
Each list starts with a letter asking students to write 5 sentences. I will edit this for some of my students to say "Complete 3 menu items". There are pattern words,as well as sight words to spell. 
There are also two dictation sentences. One sentence that follows the pattern words, and a second sentence that throws in vocabulary words from across the curriculum. Bonus sentences are worth 5 points! 

For every list there is also this cut and sort list. Students practice cutting and sorting words into the correct columns. 

Do you love it? I know I would have loved finding the work already done! I saved each list over a years time, and put them all into a zip folder. This folder is my newest addition on TpT! Check it out HERE!

Don't forget about my giveaway!!!!! There are still 5 days left to enter! Go to this blog post for your chance to win!

Good luck to my teacher friends going back to school this week, and good luck to those of us returning. Those still on vacation - enjoy your time!! :)
Thursday, August 15, 2013

Pinterest Project Thursday! Organizing My Classroom Library

Don't tell me I'm the only one that made a "Things to do from Pinterest" B2S list!! I mean- there are just so many pins and so little time! Well, lately in Pin-land and blogger land I have been seeing all of these SUPER organized classroom bookshelves, and I think to myself - "Who are you and what kind of time do you have?!". Well.......the more I looked at those beautiful baskets with labels, the more I wanted them in my room. I stalked looked at about a million blogs and pins, and even looked at some labels on TpT, but couldn't find anything that was just quite right! Then, I kept looking at my shelf, and it just didn't seem organized enough. You can kind of see from this photo - there were just baskets of books. Some authors were together, but not all - and the kids were getting everything all mixed up when they try to put up their books. The more I looked at the shelf, the more my left eye started to twitch!!
Some authors were together, but not all - and the kids were getting everything all mixed up when they try to put up their books. The more I looked at the shelf, the more my left eye started to twitch!! 

I found the CUTEST chevron labels for FREE from this label blog (I just did a Google Search!) I didn't like the size, so I played around in publisher and did 4 per page. Then, throughout the day today as I was walking around monitoring students,  and after school for about an hour - I resorted my books. It actually a nice way to do inventory of my books. I used to have about 20 A to Z Mysteries- I'm down to 5!!! I also sent my 5th and 6th grade books down the hall to a friend -- I haven't been in 5th grade in a few years, and I  really like 3rd and want to stay here. She also hasn't been teaching as long, and was SUPER grateful for the books. I kept some of my books I just couldn't part with, and I organized what was left. (Still hundreds of books!!) 
Much better!! The top shelf are my Newberry Winners that I read to my reading group - and some of my advanced books are closer to the top- at the beginning of 3rd grade, I only let a few students pick those. 

Is anyone else obsessed with Beverly Cleary?! Timeless classics - I think I have every book she's ever written! I read them all as a child. 

I grouped together similar genres, such as Percy Jackson and the Guardians of Ga'Hoole -- both being fantasy and a similar reading level. 

I had a lot of books that didn't really fit into other categories- and I started looking. I bought these books because of the awesome characters -- so I created this category! 

Books about sports and books about animals always appeal to my boys - what could be better than reading about football!! 

On another note - today my students went on a "noun hunt" around the school. They had so much fun!!! It really made the activity come alive, and they were scrambling to finish their list. 

The students walked through the cafeteria as lunch was being fixed - they were impressed with the hustle and bustle they usually do not see! 

I told you I had a great group! Look at those kiddos working!! 

I was SUPER excited when I got home because my new Thirty One catalogs came (along with the goodies I ordered for my GIVEAWAY -- check out yesterday's blog to enter!! - None of these items are in the giveaway-because they're not even available yet! ) 

I am in LOVE with this new tablet case-- WANT ONE NOW! 

Check out the new option on the Lil' expressions!! I WANT IT ALL

LOVING the owl lunchbox!

Seriously-- are these not the cutest!?! If you want any of these bags- email my personal email - I'm a Thirty One consultant, and I can get you what you need! 

Hope everyone is having a great week back - whether with kiddos, in meetings and work days  or still in full swing summer! 
Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What Day is it?? It's the FIRST WEEK OF SCHOOL! Almost at 50 followers......A Giveaway to Celebrate!

Oh my goodness!! I am so exhausted and ready to crash? I know I'm not the only teacher who gets that "hit by a train" feeling on the first day week month of school. If you are a teacher, and you are not tired on the first week of school - you are lying. I felt like Monday I answered about two million questions. Monday and Tuesday, I woke up ready to go -- this morning I wanted to hit snooze! I am NOT a morning person! Even my dog was like, WHAT IS GOING ON!?
I imagine if she could speak - she would be a smart mouth like me and say something like "Draw me like one  of your french girls Jack." 
 I feel like supplies at the beginning of the year are pouring out of every crevice of my classroom! I do a mixture of community supplies, and personal supplies. Each table has a caddy for pencils, scissors, and glue. Pencil pouches hold only crayons. Glue, index cards, pencils, checking pens,dry erase markers, and notebook paper are all community. We all use the same amount - so we just put them all together! Crayons, scissors, and notebooks are personal supplies. I guess being married to a lefty, and my mom being a lefty - I always think about having to share left or right handed scissors. I know I'm not the only teacher with a crayola addiction/love-- the other crayons are just waxy and cheap and awful!!! I wouldn't want to subject a child with OCD tendencies like mine to using something that would REALLY REALLY bother them. (Yes - I am the teacher that puts on the supply list things like "Ticonderoga pencils last longer...... Zip Pencil pouches are the best......"I just know what holds up through a whole year - and I share that information with my parents! And DOUBLE YES to being the teacher that likes Crayola crayons, and cringes at the thought of using a subpar waxy crayon.)
So, I am SOOOOOO super excited that my group this year is SO sweet. I taught my first year and a half (I graduated in December - so my first year was only January til June) in Norfolk and Portsmouth - the heart of Hampton Roads. For a girl who grew up in the country - that was a culture shock. (Seriously - my county is known as the "Moonshine Capital of the World") So- after an experience in inner city schools -- all of our kids are sweet, but this year my group is sweeter than normal!!! ** As a side note -- I really MISS teaching in Portsmouth - they were some of my best students, even though they had a lot more going on at home, and came to school with some serious struggles most adults could never understand, they were still GREAT kids!*** I currently teach at the elementary school I went to (I teach 3rd grade in MY childhood 3rd grade classroom-- how cool is that?!) which means I teach the same families that have been in the area for years! This year, I'm teaching some of the kids of people I graduated high school with! (I'll be 28 this year-- it's UNHEARD of in my small southern town to have been married as long as I have --8 years this month-- with no babies of my own - but the time just isn't right yet!)
This is the view on my way to work - right before the school. Corn fields, tobacco fields, dairy farms, and rolling hills. It makes a peaceful drive, and I LOVE IT! 
We are a Title I school, and the recession has been hard on our community - but our school is lucky to have some great parents too! This year, I just feel like I got all the best kids! The kids in my partner's class are just as great - but I really am just so pleased. I am a stickler for rules, and this group has adjusted so quickly! Now - I know life is not all "Rose Colored Glasses"- and there are challenges in every group! I'm usually the teacher who gets ALL the "challenges" because I am very strict and keep a routine - but this year I don't have nearly as many. It's so exciting to have so many students who are eager and excited to be in my classroom and to learn new things! I told the kids about our spelling homework, and explained the menu - and they were upset the first menu isn't due until next week! They were asking, "Can we do it tonight?!?" I was SO excited! (PS- If you want a copy of this - email me - I would be HAPPY to share! I'm not the first person to make up a spelling menu, and I won't be the last - so if you would like to try one out - let me know!

Now - onto the EXCITING part! I have 35 followers on Blog Lovin- and 10 followers on Blogger....that's ALMOST 50!!!! So, to help me get to 50, I've decided to do a GIVEAWAY!! I am a Thirty One consultant - and I will have a few options for the winner to choose from! So - ENTER IN THIS GIVEAWAY!!!! I really want to treat a teacher to some cute Thirty One Things!!! (I have some zipper pouches, wristlet key fobs, a few different size caddys, and lots of other cutesy things!) a Rafflecopter giveaway
Sunday, August 11, 2013

Monday Made It (A Little Early), A Vocabulary Freebie and Other Weekend Things!

I'm posting my Monday Made It a little early because TOMORROW IS THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm going to talk about the made it first - because I know some people still have a few weeks left, and they may want to create one of these! 

Okay - so I've seen about 2.1 million "No Name" boards on pinterest. Several of my Pinterest Friends had pinned them, and I thought - I'm going to make one of those. At the end of last year - I still hadn't! I knew the hubs and I had planned a lazy Sunday, so on Saturday evening, we went out to a nice dinner, and I convinced him to go into AC Moore! He lasted about 2 minutes before he went wandering to the TJ Maxx next door to look for a new hat. 

I headed straight to the wood craft section and picked up these small letters to spell out "No Name". They were less than 50 cents a piece! 

 I painted  them on my super messy table (Really -- see it! The cereal box from that morning, the G2 I was drinking, and a binder of some things I had worked on earlier.) I picked up pink, blue and purple acrylic paint. I had some acrylic paint in my classroom, but I loved these bright colors, and they were on sale for around 40 cents each!
 I picked up the 40 pack of clothes pins for $2.99, because I only had one row left in my classroom, and they were on my list of things I needed. I also found this blank board for only $2. The hubby could have simply cut a piece off a 2X4, and he offered, but I liked the finished edge of this one.

 I painted the board black, and painted some of the clothes pins with the super bright colors I picked out. I also painted two coats onto the letters, so they would be even brighter! I used some Tacky Glue to put on the letters and pins, and this is the final product!

To hang it up in my room, I'm going to use some of the polka dot pink ribbon I have and hot glue two ends to the two corners. 

So, my sister called and told me she was headed over to our moms, and I decided to head over too. I'm very fortunate to live so close to both my mom and my sister- my niece even goes to the school I teach at! (Her 2nd grade classroom is RIGHT across the hall this year.) I had a great time visiting my nieces - they crack me up! This is my youngest niece: 

 Her sister and I were sitting on the couch together (Her sister was sitting on ME and I was sitting on the couch!) Yes - she is wearing her sunglasses upside down in the house. Yes, she is making a very important phone call on her Mickey Mouse phone. Apparently, it was very important because as soon as it was over, she picked up her purse and told us good bye! 

I left Mom's house and ran some errands. I had to pick up wasp spray because we have some VERY persistent bees that continue to build their nest in the corner of the roof over the front porch. Then, I took the truck through the car wash! 

Does anyone else LOVE the psychedelic look of the soap on the window?! This was the best part because the car wash TOTALLY missed each side of my truck :( Tomorrow I'll be taking my receipt back for another pass through. 

So, this year our school ordered planners - YAY! Less printing for me every week!! I'm REALLY hoping they came in so we can USE them starting the first day! We have also decided to stop printing our Journals for our SFA stories - and have students write their responses in a spiral notebook. We had a meeting, and we were concerned that writing down the vocabulary words would still take WAY too much time. So, being the OCD anal particular techie person that I am, I volunteered to make the recording sheet. Each week students get 8 new words, and they work with partners to study the words over 4 days. This could be used in any subject, and if you would like it free just click on the picture! 

If you are going back to school tomorrow, GOOD LUCK!! Drink lots of coffee, take deep breaths, and have a GREAT first day back! 
Saturday, August 10, 2013

Exciting Week Back at Work!

Last week was the teacher's first week back, and our school had SFA (Success for All) reading training for TWO of the days. FREAK-OUT! We have been doing SFA at our school for over 15 years, and I've been doing it since I was there, new changes are exciting. I love the program, and I know our success at our school in reading is because of this program. I am excited to get into the program and begin! So - we were in our room on Monday, training Tuesday and Wednesday, and then kiddos were coming in from 11-7 on Thursday for Business Day! The hubs picked up a new phone case for my iPhone for me on Wednesday. My otterbox broke at the end of last year- and I knew I needed one.

The hubs bought me this pink and black Griffin case @Best Buy -- It even matches my classroom! 

On Business Day, my sister came to register my niece, and since I didn't have any kiddos, I kept little niece in my room, and ate the delicious wendy's chicken she brought me (I was STARVING!) 

My teacher chair was her favorite. (Side note- I'm dying to recover that chair, and the file cabinets, but there are only so many hours in a day! 

She LOVED the pattern blocks too! 

So - most of my new students came in -and I'm SO excited because I have some super sweet kids! Several parents were very impressed by the organization and cleanliness of the room- and all I could think was "If you only knew how long....." It's ALL worth it though! 

Friday was Convocation. This is the bright idea that our county has to shove ALL our teachers into our High School Auditorium from 8:00-12:00. It gets hot and sweaty and sticky and miserable - but NOT this year! This year our county got it RIGHT!!! They brought in a motivational educational speaker - Tara Brown. WOW -- WOW -- WOW!! She was GREAT! She talked about how it is SO important to make our students feel safe, and decorating the room, and on and on and on. Check her out on YouTube, or check out her website HERE

Then, our county always gives out prizes to schools with the best attendance for the year - and our school won 3rd place! (That means we get $1,000 to spend on our students!) THEN - we received 3rd place for attendance at the Technology Professional Development - which is MORE $ to spend on Technology. Then- the BEST thing happened-- I was in the right place at the RIGHT time! my seat was the winner of a voucher for $100 worth of iPad apps! *Even though it says iPad on the envelope- it was just a voucher for apps* I was super excited about that - but then I got even MORE excited because I DID win an iPad for going to all the summer classes for Technology this summer!! It was VERY much worth giving up my summer for work and classes!! I was SO happy! I can think of about a MILLION things I'm going to do, and all the apps I want to buy for my classroom!!! 

Today, the hubs and I got up early, and hit the gym. We were done pretty early, and we swung by the new Big Lots that just opened over in Roanoke. It's about 25 minutes from our house- but much closer and nicer than any other. Holy Storage Batman!! They had EVERYTHING. I wanted to buy everything - but I just got a new clothes hamper for my bathroom (The youngest dog likes to go hamper diving for dirty socks, so I needed a taller one), a wax warmer (my living room is a lavender oasis right now!), a new broom for my classroom, some velcro for my classroom, and a few other small things. They also gave me 10% off with my teacher ID!! I was also excited to find the contact paper I had purchased from Dollar General there-- and it was HALF THE PRICE!! (I was a little annoyed at that!) 

I am super excited to be going back to school Monday - and I have about a MILLION things I should be doing. Instead- I'm, enjoying a movie on the couch with my pooches and doing some laundry! I hope you are all enjoying your weekend! 
PS-- look forward to a GIVEAWAY from my Thirty One Goody Bag when I reach 50 followers-- help get there faster by sharing my blog! 
Monday, August 5, 2013

Pass the coffee!!!

I'm by no means a "morning coffee" drinker. I love coffee later in the day - especially on days like today when I could use a pick me up! I got into my classroom WAY to early this morning and began setting up! I was REALLY excited to get my room set - I'll be in an inservice for the next TWO days, and upon returning I have parents and kiddos coming into my room to meet me for business day! I spent the day hanging up signs, posters and organizing things. I took some photos so those of you not in my little area of VA can see! *** This is VERY much still a work in progress- but it's getting there!

The computer/AR center: 

These signs say "I have met my 9 weeks goal", "I have met my year goal" and "I have 100 AR points." You can grab your copy at my TPT store! 

I collect all the supplies at the beginning of the year, and we have community supplies. This is where they will all be stored. 

This is my teacher corner! I have a quiet reading area right next to my desk. My cousin flies planes in the bush in Alaska -- I'm going to get some photos from him and decorate that corner and name it "Alaska"-- it will be a place for students to go to cool off! I'm also very excited about my chevron lamp - I'll be able to work when the lights are off for guidance/art for the students. 

The view from my small group table -- I can see the whole room! You can see my bookcase, my writing table, the paper station, the math cart, and all shelving things that keep me organized. 

Here you can see the paper station and writing table. I love, love, LOVE the pink tablecloth. It really perks up the whole area! 

Here you can see my printers, my computer, the students supply bookcase, and my bulletin board. I will be putting up center rotations there with the friendly reminder "C3B4ME" for students. 

I'm VERY excited about my morning math board -- the numbers will change each day, but the skills will repeat for great scaffolding! 

This is my SFA board and shelf. SFA requires a board with 3 stories of Vocabulary and praise for the winning teams. Here are the bins for my reading groups as well. 

I'm going to hang u my students "AR Charm" necklaces here -- the board says "3rd Swag". Third graders LOVE the word Swag-- it makes anything you give them extra cool! 

Whole room shot 1 

Whole room shot 2 

Check out my reading chair!! The white chair overflowing with books is a bookcase AND a chair. It's probably my favorite piece of furniture. 

I hope to finish organizing some things - but I feel good that my room looks mostly put together. Everything has a place- and that is SUPER important for an OCD type person :) 

Thanks for stopping by!! Hope those of you who have returned to work are enjoying your time in your classroom and getting things done!