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.