Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Crazy week

All I can say is wow! It has been a week and it's only Wednesday. My teammate's dad passed away and the sub we have next door is a trip. I have been helping so much with that class, that I realized today that my own class has been suffering. I noticed that I was really negative today and that I just wanted the room to go away. When I am stressed, I like to clean and I was really wanting to clean and get rid of stuff. This, I realized is not the answer. I also realized that I need to close my door and not worry about what is going on next door because, although I feel bad for my teammate, I cannot worry about her kids. Anyway, so tonight, I need to regroup and refocus my energies. I need to get caught up and get stuff done. I need to get my head out of my b____t and do what I need to do. Did I also mention that my para has been done the past two days and I am also getting a new student tomorrow. ok, so that is my vent and I am moving on. I am actually falling in love with my students. It has been a hard first 9 weeks, but I look at each of them and love them.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I'm back

I can't believe it's been about a month since my last post. Things have been crazy around here...still. Conferences are next week so I have been busy getting portfolios ready to go. We have started having meetings like crazy through lunch, planning, mornings...anytime so that has take a lot of time. My kiddos are doing great. We have worked up to about 20 min of reading. I just finished assessments so now it's getting the routine down. I am starting visualization this week in reading.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Having a Hard time...sort of

We are about to start the third week of school and I am completely stressed out. Usually the amount of stuff on my calendar right now, doesn't happen until about Feb. We have a new principal this year who is bound and determined to get our school out of the red. If you don't know what that is...our district/state categorizes schools into the red (failing), yellow (getting better), green (good), and blue (fabulous). We have only been open for 2 years and started in the red so the saying "we can only go up from here" really does mean us. We have made great gains in our test scores, but that is not the only thing we are. We are an arts school. The district has yet to made a statement in out favor and is bound and determined to watch us fail. Anyway...we have a new principal who wants to have each foot in both sides. The art side to keep that going, and the district side to prove that we know what we are doing. Due to that...we have assessments every two weeks, running records every two weeks, data teams every week, learning communities every other week, monthly sped meetings, intervention meetings once a month, justifications needed for subs, field trips, and to be able to go to the bathroom. UGH!!! I have a new team mate this year which has been FABULOUS! She and I are like long lost sisters. We help each other, cover for each other...etc. It is amazing what can be done when you have a partner that supports you rather than digs the whole and pushes you in. (long story). In the last three weeks it has been amazing, but the new requirements that we have from this new P is stressing me out and putting my normally undercontrol OCD at a flipping out pace. Binders, dividers, sorting, centers, DRA, running records, etc are in my head at all times. I have meetings every day of the week, duty once a week, a para who is helpful but driving me crazy, and children who are fabulous but the most talkative group I have ever had! When is it going to slow down?

As I am writing this, my husband is peaking over my shoulder telling me to stop complaining. This is the happiest that I have been in a while! It is so true. I am loving this school year. I love knowing what is expected of me and when instead of being a mind reader and failing miserably.

So to add to all this stress...My hubby and I decided to get a dog...CRAZY!!!!!
The puppies were born Friday and we will get our little addition the first week in November. I am excited and hopeful that things settle down by then.

I also wanted to say a special thanks for all the blogs I follow for helping me with ideas and motivating me!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It's Been a While

Wow, I haven't written for a while. School started last Thursday and it has been so hot, I get home and I literally can't think. Today was one of the first days that I have felt like doing some work. I had my classroom all set up ready to go (except my desk area) and Monday when i started centers, I realized that it wouldn't work. There was no traffic pattern, I couldn't see some kiddos, it was not good. So I spent yesterday trying to figure out a better flow...which I did!!!! Things have literally been adding up and I don't think that I have felt this stressed the first week of school in since my first year of teaching.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A to do list a mile long

This starts the first full week back to work. We have staff stuff Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday is ours in our classroom and the kiddos start Thursday. There is a lot going through my mind right now. I have not even started planning because there hasn't been time. I have a new para who does not have the best reputation in the school. I am trying to put a positive spin on the situation and start the year positive. She is coming in on Tuesday and Wednesday to do some work in the classroom so that on Thursday and Friday when the kids are here, I have them all to myself.
I try to cross things off my to-do list, but instead, most of the day was adding things to it. The list is now 3 pages long...ugh. I need to get to school early tomorrow to get some work done before meetings begin...I would love to share with all of you the amazing things I have been doing, but alas, none of it is done...
Tonight, in an effort to feel accomplished about something, I reorganized my thumb drive...that only made me feel even more stressed because I didn't know how to organize. I finally just made a bunch of folders and separated them out and I will look at them later.
There is so much to do...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

We're Baaaaaaack

I spent Monday in an airport, making lists and lists of stuff that I need to get done.
Yesterday, I spent the morning in my classroom walking around, moving big piles into smaller piles...

Today, our first official day back was a lost day. We had meetings all morning (actually really productive) and then the afternoon was supposed to be work time, but it was also filled with impromptu meetings and helping new teachers figure out the ropes.

Feel like I have been slacking on the blog, but overwhelmed with school stuff.

I actually went to McDonald's for dinner tonight with the little guy and realized that I didn't have breakfast or lunch. While he was playing on the playset, I was again, adding to my to-do list. Right now, when we are supposed to be having "quiet time", I am writing this and thinking about my to do list....I brought home 2 bags and a milk crate full of things I need to get done tonight...we will see. I only have tomorrow...Friday is an out of the building staff retreat!

Wish me luck!

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Hi all, thanks for the updates and the messages that my pics aren't showing up...not sure what is up with that. I am at my parents house in Minnesota and up north with no cell or computer service. I will be heading home on Monday and get back to the classroom on Tuesday. Kiddos start August 18th! Let the craziness begin! I have already started having back to school dreams!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Classroom Job

I am guilty of being horrible at this...I always forget to switch jobs, call on those people to do the jobs. HORRIBLE. This year, I made it really close to our morning meeting area (I hope this helps). They are the green library pockets in one of the pics below. I have 19 of them and will have the students names on Popsicle sticks. It will be the person of the week's job to switch jobs! I try to have each child have a job. I have 19 so far...but 31 students so we will see

- line leaders
- caboose
- calendar
- student of the week
- helper
- center patrol
- center rugs
- whiteboards
- pencils
- workshop worker

I am sure there are more...Join the linky party with THE LESSON PLAN DIVA

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Where did the summer go?

I have been working like a mad woman all summer getting stuff ready for the new school year. I am down to the planning part of my summer and it hit me today like a ton of bricks...I LEAVE WEDNESDAY!!! One of my fellow teachers said the other day "I haven't done all my summer bucket list stuff yet". No kidding. As I was sitting at McDonalds with my little guy, I realized that I too have not done my bucket list. Ok, I haven't even made one, but still, there are things that I want to do. So I thought that I would make one and do some of it during the next 2 weeks that I am designating as vacation.

1. I want to crochet. My best friend is due in September with #3 and I want to make the baby a blanket
 I bought the yarn today and will be working on this! 
2. I would love to have a day that I just spend on the couch watching tv.
3. While on vacation - with my parents - I want a day at the beach to veg and read.
4. Clean out my car
5. figure out my Ipad - which I have been ignoring all summer
6. have a date with my hubby

Wow, I have a really lame bucket list...but I guess my point is that I have been too wrapped up in school work all summer that I need to put it away.

I will still be looking for great ideas on my favorite websites, but mini vacation here I come!

ps My husband is watching me type this and said "yeah right, you have teaching on the brain all the time, I bet you can't give it up for the next two weeks" We shall see.

Friday, July 22, 2011


If you haven't been, you have to go check it out!!!!! Here are some of my favs of today:

Rainbow rice. Like sand but less messy. I like it.
Rainbow Rice
Let it be...: Yet another place I'd like a tattoo.

I LOVE this tat!!!!

Flowers my favorite flower!
flowers simply beautiful

Haverhill Afghan Scarf - love this! I have always wanted to make an afghan with this design and colors!

Classroom Almost ready

I went in today, the last day before vacation. My goal was to get as much done as possible, even though it was 100 degrees. So as I got done with the areas, I took pictures of the final product. I have a really small room. Orginally, the school was a tech middle school so our classrooms were designed for 10 students, not 30. Anyway, rooms are tight. I can't get rid of tables, desk, or reading table...cram in a meeting rug, and you got my room.

Guided Reading/Math (small group)


This is my teaching area. The closet contains my guided reading, guided math, and blooms/Marzanos questionsing cards (see Tonya on BusyBoard - PT)

The Jaguar in the background was part of the mural that my students painted last year.
IMAG0199.jpg the bulletin board will have reading strategies and groups

IMAG0200.jpg I just bought this today - Michaels - will contain teaching materials for groups


This is my little guy with a cork board project I did for outside my classroom...

I always forget notes or lose them from parents...I put these clipboards on the door for me to remind myself and for parents to clip notes during the day.


IMAG0215.jpg The hutch is the writing area. On the doors are word work centers.

The following are views of the room from the meeting area and the reading area

IMAG0214.jpg the blue cart will be math baskets. the desk and blue chart is the listening center.

IMAG0212.jpg these pockets are for the writing workshop.


This is along the wall with the blue cart. It's my calendar bb and this new bulletin board. The two sections on top are the decoding and comprehension strategies. (I put them up so I could take the pic, but I start the year with a blank bb. The bottom library pockets are the jobs. I am hoping that with them that close to me in the meeting area, I will be better at them. In previous pictures, this whiteboard is the one above my phone, mailbox area.


Goal for the next two weeks: planning, get copying ready, gear up for the kids. I am leaving for vacation on Wednesday!!! I am hoping to get a lot done by them. We shall see.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Blog vs. Website

I have been thinking about my website lately...I need to revise it. Now that I am on the blog bandwagon, I am wondering if blogging is the way to go. I have had a website...but blogging seems to be a better way to go here are some of my thoughts:

I am on the blog anyway, it would take little time to update it
parents can respond immediately, don't have to send e-mail
parents can actually talk with each other through summaries
I can still have tabs for newsletters, calendars, etc...

What are your thoughts? I would love some feedback!

Saturday, July 16, 2011


The thorn in my side...the pain in my rear...aka homework. I hate correcting it, I hate dealing with it, I hate making it, I hate everything about it. My principal last year was confusing on this topic...assign it, but don't use copies. The students should have to do it, but don't punish them for not doing it. I tried everyday, I have tried once a month, I have tried once a week. UGH!!!! So I have decided that the first step in making this thorn a little better is to make it easier.
In my school, we have Thursday Folders. Why not send home all the notes and stuff AND homework. Goes home Thursday and due on Thursday. That way I only need one folder for home - notes and homework.
Second, I put my homework on a four week rotation. Each group has different spelling words, but the same assignments.
Reading will be a reading log and then a reading response that goes with the reading strategy from the last month.
Math will be Homelinks (Everyday math) from the last chapter.
Writing will also be a four block with final draft.

Here are my Reading and Spelling Assignments.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Ladybug Teacher Files

If you haven't already...make your way over to check out Ladybug Teacher Files. She is having a fabulous giveaway to celebrate 1000 followers!!!! Come on over and join the party!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Poems and other decisions

I had several goals today: organize my computer files, figure out Google docs, start printing stuff out, wash, vacuum, and clean my office. Only wash and vacuuming got done. Some would say that that was a productive day, but having more on my list that those two things, I did not get a lot instead, I am going to work on my poetry goal for the year.

Last year, I did a last end of the year ditch effort to fit in some poetry. I think I did well, we did a lot with them in the way of writing them, but not with reading them. This year, I really wanted to do a poem a day, a week, I don't know something that entails more than just the end of the year rush.

The problem is that I have these really great ideas, start them, and then never finish them. I hope I am not the only one out there who does this. So I need to pick a goal that is doable for me for the whole year...

I found this book in my pile of stuff tonight...A Poem A Day and thought...this is something that I can do. The first part of the school year we as a class can do this. It can then be transferred into a center. Each poem has an activity that the students can do. Something else I always did was make the students a poetry book for each of them to write the poems they like or write.

Some other decisions:

1. I was going to do Homeworkopoly with my students, in the realization that I am going to be trying to many things that are new this year, I just can't do it. Maybe next year. I feel that this would be one thing that does not really benefit my teaching and will eventually go to the wayside by the end of September.

2. I was also going to do some sort of economy system in my classroom. I found these awesome checkbooks at Hobby Lobby for $1 each, a bank donated check registers, but I don't think that I have thought this all the way through and therefore will not be beneficial to my students.

Since my initial goal was to improve my rigor and education for my students, I have to start asking myself if what I am doing is just for my own busy work, or really going to help the kids. Yes, I think I am really trying to convince myself of these things.

Off the to do list: Homeworkopoly and Economy System
On the to do list: Weekly poetry

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Stress and Fun

Happy Sunday!
When I am stressed, I usually move furniture. It's a crazy coping skill and it has killed me on more than one occasion, but it's what I do. So in an effort to not change things, I decided that I was going to put my stress and anger into getting some work done (there is some family stuff going on). I have been working like a mad woman and boy does it feel good!!! As soon as I can figure out how to put things on google docs and not have it change format, I will share!

I have most of the reading stuff in my to do pile done ( I still have a lot to do, but getting there).
I am going to be moving on to my math stuff and I was looking through my blog favorites and what was listed, but a bunch of documents and math stuff to share.

I am going to bravely try to make a link to the it goes

Sunny Days in Second Grade

I am definitely glad I ran across this and will be using everything on here for my math centers!!!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

a disappointing day

It has been one heck of a day. It started with the little guy and me going to breakfast together and then going to school. I was so excited about to get to school today and work some more, but...a sign that said "do not enter WAXING". I was so irritated. So I decided that I was going to go to Target to see what was new at the $1 section...My husband is going to kill me pretty soon. I bought bins for the kiddos lockers so they have a place to keep their checkbook and stuff. Oops, I just realized I didn't post yesterday, so I should share what happened yesterday.

My wonderful husband let me have the day to work in my classroom. I had a map and a plan ready to attack the room. My goal was to get the meeting area/library all done and the general set up of the room. I took pics so I could share some of the ideas I had on the way:


This is a mailbox my mom's friend painted. I didn't know what I wanted to do with it so I brought it to my classroom. I realized that it would be perfect for my para. When the flag is up, there is something in there to mail, copying, center work, something. It's cute and in a place where she will (hopefully) see it.


These are supposed to be mailboxes for the kids, but this year I am going to use the top as my area - telephone, radio, pointers, etc. The slots will contain their clipboard, mini office, dictionary...not really sure but I want it to contain tools that they can use NOT a clutter keeper.


So this will be my writing area. The yellow hutch is something my grandpa made for my mom when she was a little girl. I played house with it and the hope of my mom was that I would have a little girl, but alas, I had a boy. Instead, I will put writing materials in there, not sure what yet, but writing materials.


In the past I have used the card flipping behavior charts, my father in law made me a stop sign with the behavior colors. I have struggled with where to put it, how to deal with it, etc. So I saw this on a blog this week (one in my bad at remembering where). It's on a clipboard. Mini clips. I am going to try it this year and see how it goes.


This will be my math area. The bookshelves will have books about math in them. The tables will have tools that support the unit we are working on.


This is a work in calendar wall. The whiteboard to the left will be my objectives and "who are you" board. The one to the left will be - I have no idea - tossing around center groups, schedule of turning in work...still toying with that.


This is my awesome find in the basement. It's a two-sided bookshelf. This side has my nonfiction and chapter books.


I think this will be the hand in cart. Not sure yet, but I like it there so I will make it work.


The bottom shelf are the fairy tales and poetry boxes. The top shelf I am thinking might have paper support for the strategies we are for reading response journals


The rest of my library. The top colored bins are the book baskets.


I found these at Target! I am going to be doing "Words Their Way" and these are perfect for the spelling groups. The front will have the spelling words and the group  members. The back will have different activities for the groups to do.


my meeting, library area!

Now that I have been band from my classroom for the next week, I have no choice but to work on planning and paperwork!!! Tonight I had myself convinced that I was going to get all the reading stuff done, but that, I think, is not going to happen.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Back to My Old Ways

My husband had off all day today so I thought that I would spend the day quietly - by myself - in my classroom. I am hoping to get my classroom all set up before I leave for vacation in a couple of weeks. So I went in without a plan. I always go in with a map for my room. It makes life a lot easier, but of course, today I didn't have a plan. I think I flip flopped my room about 4 times. I so wanted to put my meeting rug somewhere new, but there were so many things against it...

- the rug would be on a tile which may cause accidents
- there were a 3 power boxes on the wall where I would like to hang my anchor charts
- my big bookshelf really closed off the room and
- I felt like there was a lot of wasted space.

Then, I moved it back to where I had it last year. It made so much more sense to have it there. My objectives board is there, my calendar wall would work better over there.

Before I moved my classroom for the last time - I hoped, I was kicked out so the janitors could do the floors. It was probably a blessing in disguise. I went home and made a map of the classroom and of course, I feel so much better!

I am feeling a little stressed about the time left before I leave for vacation and when school starts. I am leaving on the 28th and we have to officially report back on August 9th. I have yet to look at writing or content yet. Maybe if I get the room done, I can really focus on the rest...we will see.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Lesson Plans

I have been a teacher for 12 years and lesson plans have been a hot topic for me. Not for maybe the reasons you are thinking, but for the fact that I am really crazy :) I can write lesson plans, carry them through, but if something happens and throws them off a day, I HAVE to rewrite them ALL. So as you can see the traditional lesson plan books do not help me. I can't tell you how much money I have spent on those stupid lesson plan books. A few years ago, I had an awakening and realized that I can't use the typical lesson plans.I started developing my own templates that worked for me, but there again, I ran into my issues of having to rewrite, reconstruct, re everything about them. I seriously hope that I am not the only one with this issue...

Part of my renewal of teaching is to try something new - NOT CHANGE my lesson plan template and be faithful to it for the entire year.

That being said, I sat down last night with the goal to develop my lesson plan template for the upcoming school year. With the changes I needed to make due to district changes, the expectations of what my principal wants to see on them...the lesson plan needed to be on a huge poster piece of paper for just one day - in other words - I could not do it on one paper. So I changed it and tried something new...

I put each subject on a different template (I know that talked about that earlier and thought it wasn't going to work) and it seemed to really click with me. I finished two templates last night and my schedule.

Morning Meeting and Skills



I am having some issues with Google docs...the fonts and structure of the document gets changed...hopefully you get the idea.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Skills Work

I went to school yesterday with a friend to get going on setting up the classroom. The big surprise was that where I wanted to put the meeting area rug totally FIT!!! Then I ran into a problem...what to do with all the other stuff in the room. I guess I should go back to the drawing board on that one. Excited that something actually worked though.

So today...

I decided to work on some concrete projects to make myself feel like I am doing something. I worked on and completed my "catipillar word family". I found it in "Really Good Stuff" but didn't want to buy it so I made my own. Here is the completed picture:


I figured as long as I ma on the Skills Block kick, I should just finish planning it and that way it will be done. So here is my initial plan:

Daily Oral Language
  • Done as morning work, correcting it part of morning meeting
  • Monday through Friday

Handwriting without Tears Grammar 
  • Done within Skills block
  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Words Their Way
  • Done during Skills block
  • Tuesday, Thursday, TEST Friday
  • Since I will be doing Work on Words during Daily 5, I don't want to over do the words...I will be doing word families, spelling word review groups, etc 

I also reorganized my files so that everything is together and I can file things and ideas for each subject as I go.IMAG0153.jpg

Here are two garage sale finds that I painted for the classroom. The bat is going to be a pointer for calendar time. The Magazine rack is for my books that I use during whole group.



I also made a "who's next jar" for having helpers, choosing jobs, etc...


Then, from I this idea for my Lays Potato Chip containers... This one is for basic math facts, doubles, frequently used math facts. I plan on expanding these into other areas, but this was the only one in the house.


As I was reading blogs the other day, I ran across Keep Calm and Teach on (the link is in my blog favs) So I made myself a set of activity sticks...

Now for a little frustration...I made these cute word family books and bubbles to go with the Caterpillar...I tried to upload them to my Google docs to share and the whole format is messed up. I will upload those as soon as I can figure out what to do about it.

I think on one of my previous blogs, I had this brilliant idea to do a separate lesson plan for each subject. I got done with Math, Science, Social Studies and was working on Reading when I had a major meltdown about it.  I was looking forward to January and having a panic attack about bringing home all these separate binders because all my lesson plans were in them. I am rethinking the idea and will be working on it tonight. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Reading - last year I did a lot with Daily 5. I loved the structure and the kids did really well. They liked the choice time and knowing that they could do everything. I had six reading groups. I saw 3 everyday and my para saw 3 everyday. We did 4 rounds so everyone did a reading group and 3 of the daily 5 - read alone, writing, and word work. On Fridays we did read with partner. I also did centers, but sometimes I felt that I was forced and rushed. With Daily 5, I could be flexible with time. The only problem that I had with Daily 5 is that I wanted the kids to have time to put into practice what strategy that we were practicing and I found it difficult to monitor their success. In that aspect I wanted centers so that they would have practice time. 

A fellow teacher did a true reading workshop in the beginning to build up reading stamina and then slow introduced centers that were geared around the strategies. So the first part of her workshop was reading and response journals and then the second part was centers. I am not sure how I think that would work...It sounds a little too crazy for me...holding students accountable and also my self is important this year. 

Another teacher did something a little different. She had her mini lesson and then the students were dismissed to reading workshop. The students had to read 5 books, enter one of them into a reading log, respond to that one book in their reading response journal. Students would then get it checked by the para and then they could move onto centers. I can see myself doing this method, but I really don't want the para to be only sitting there and looking at work. I want her to be working with students and small groups during reading workshop/D5. See my problem...I can see Reading workshop working really well in my class, I can see D5 working, what do I do.

There are some non negotiables that I need to have in my classroom during reading...

Reading Response journals
Reading Log
Guided reading groups
Mini Lessons
Some sort of center...independent work

Maybe I should start with the non-negotiables...

Reading Response Journals and Reading Logs.
- students need to put at least one book in their reading log each day
- students need to have one entry in their reading response journal

How do I hold them accountable?
- weekly reading log in their folder?
- students need to turn in their logs and journals on Thursday. If their logs and journals are not completed to the standards on our anchor chart...they must work during read with partner and choice time?
- that seems like a lot of work for me on Thursdays...But it needs to be known that I will hold them accountable

Guided Reading Groups
- Last year it worked really well having 6 groups.
- my para this year has her teaching license so it will be a great thing having her with groups. I really want her with groups
- I am going to have weekly lesson plans for her as well as me to hold myself accountable with my instruction

Mini Lessons
- I already have 8 comprehension strategies that I want to teach this year
- I am planning to do one a month (which ends up to be about 3 weeks) each
- I want to have read alouds and each day progression planned 

- I will have word work stations
- I will have writing stations
- what about reading stations
      - I am just not sure what to do. is having work work and writing stations enough and then during reading time their journals are where they show me they understand?
     - guided reading - is this where students can show me and do some work with these strategies?
     - Friday reading stations?
     - what would be different in centers than what I would expect for reading response?
- What if...instead of reading centers, the area for maybe reading can be trays with reminder papers for each strategy that has been learned...ooohhh...I kind of like that idea. That way the students who are more independent can work in their reading response journals and the students who need more support have reminders and have that support.
- I also kind of like the idea of Friday Reading Centers

Who knows?

I am sitting here at the neighborhood pool watching my little guy learn to swim, thinking about what else, but school. I hope that I am not the only one with school on my brain all the time. Even now I am thinking about what's new at Target today that I can snatch up...what new downloads are there on Teachers Pay Teachers...any new ideas on Proteacher?...the list is endless. Blogs have been my new discovery this summer. I, myself, have been thinking about starting one so that I have a personal journey, but I had no idea that there were so many out there that were sharing the same struggles I am or that there were others out there who are...just out there!!!! It honestly has re-energized me and inspired me! So I have decided that I am not going to look at my to do list until next week. I am going to put it away and I am just going to get stuff done. As my grandma would say, I am going to keep chugging along and eventually it will get done.

Last night I did quite a few things...I would love to share them, but as I am still new to the whole blog thing, I am trying to figure out how. Any hits about that would be great. Today, I am just going to go into my make shift teacher room, grab a couple of things and just go do them...we will see how it works!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Where to Begin

Again, I have been thinking about where to start. School has been out for a month and I have been doing some work, but it doesn't seem to be organized and productive. I have made my countless to do lists, separated them into subjects, etc, but still not feeling productive. It doesn't help that my four year old is constantly asking me to build something, play a game, etc with him :)

My school is part of a large district, but we have been given the freedom to teach what we want, how we want. We are an arts integration school that uses an over arching theme to teach with. The school admin likes us to use backward design to complete our planning. I love teaching here, but sometimes the freedom to explore how to teach can be a little bit too much freedom for me so I would like to get more rigor back into my teaching.

There is a lot that I want to get done, so where do I begin? Lesson plans, year long curriculum planning, classroom map, ugh...have no idea.

The one goal I have is that I would like my room set up and organized before the last week in July when my family goes on vacation.Teachers have to return to school officially on August 10th and those days are filled with meetings, catching up, etc that I don't get a lot done. It would be fabulous to have most of all my big planning done before school starts. Just writing this gets me a little nervous. My heart is pumping and my head gets foggy...see this is the problem.

So I have about a month until my vacation (going to the lake with my parents). 30 do my to do list...

So the first thing on my list is the one that I have been putting off the longest:

  • Lesson plans/planning - 
    • I am thinking that I want to make a binder for each subject 
    • So each binder would contain - lesson plans for that subject, teaching materials, notes, etc
    • I would also like to have a general binder for daily routines, gradebook
    • curriculum map for the year
Did I also mention that I am taking a class this summer that is required by the district. I have been putting off the homework for that class as well. But for now, I am off to see Cars2 with the little guy...hope to get something done tonight!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A new beginning

So I am not sure what I am doing here. My husband asked me "who am I doing this for?" I guess I am doing this for myself. I have not been feeling that good for the past couple years - fibromyalsia, celiac's disease, thyroid issues. All of this has lead me to feel like a really crappy teacher. Recently I changed my meds and I am starting to feel like a brand new person. I have always wanted to journal, but haven't liked the paper pencil method. As a teacher, I am feeling like this is a new start to my career so I wanted to document what I am doing this year. There are a lot of changes that I want to make this year in my classroom, in my curriculum, and with my students so I am excited to have a history of my journey.

Thank you for joining me on my journey. Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be writing about my curriculum, school, etc.