Thursday, May 24, 2012

Absent Teacher

This teacher has been very absent from the blogging world.  Seems that everything gets CRAZY during May.  Lots of family stuff and school stuff. 

Well, now I'm ready to relax because yesterday was the last day of school.  This is what I've been up to:

My room yesterday...

...and my room today.  So bare looking!
Tomorrow is our last day of postplanning and then I'm outta here!  Mr. Biz and I are going on a much needed trip to visit friends.  We both need a break!  Because, of course, when I get back, I'll start thinking about school again...a teacher's job is never done!  :]

Happy summer, everyone!  And if you aren't done yet, you can make it! 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Count the Room freebie

Hi guys!  If you're reading this, then you probably survived one more Monday at school!  Only three more to go for me! 

Today I did a fun little activity with my Kindergarten kiddos that they loved.  I've been seeing this "Read Around the Room" activity all over blogland, and I really wanted to try it.  So, I modified it for my K ELL's, and came up with this "Count the Room" activity.  I stuck sticky notes all over the place (some easy to find, some more challenging) and they had to find as many as they could, then mark them on their paper.  I stuck the gameboards in page protectors so I can use them over and over.  (Sidenote: this really isn't a game, but the second I called their pages "gameboards," I could see all of them perk up and think, "OHH! A game!")


These are some examples of the sticky notes I put up.  The different ways to represent the numbers was fantastic...for my kiddos that struggle a bit more, they could find the numbers written regularly (like the 3), and then just match.  For the kiddos who needed a challenge, they could do the simple addition problems.  They all loved searching around the room to find as many of the numbers as possible.  We did this for about ten minutes and no one finished.  I think I'll leave the numbers up tonight so they can try again tomorrow.

So this really is a simple "game," but it was great for us (especially since one of their goals in K is to recognize the numbers to 30).  I've uploaded my little "gameboard" to share with ya'll.  I'd love to know if you use it and enjoy it!  Click here to download it for free.

Happy Monday, friends!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

It's CRCT time!

This week has been state testing in my school.  Tomorrow is the last day and I might be super excited about that.  :]  Anyways, I figured I'd share this little gem with ya'll.  My roommate and I made this while we were student teaching.  What better way to get the kiddos pumped up about the CRCT than to rap about it?  Don't worry, I'm not gonna quit my day job.  ;]

Happy testing!

P.S.- A friend of mine from another school wrote the rap...we just added a little bit to make it work for our kids.  I am totally not talented enough to write stuff like that.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Teach Teach Baby...

Super fast post today.  I'm about to run out and get supplies for FUN DAY tomorrow.  My kiddos have earned it, and I'm very excited to do a fun activity with them. 

Anyways, I read this on lamebook today and simply had to share.  This would be awesome to do...major props to the brillant teacher who thought of it!

via lamebook

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Power of the Squishy Ball

This, dear teacher friends, is the all-powerful squishy ball:

"Ohh, ahh!"
 This thing is amazing.  It has many powers, including the power to calm children and make them walk in a perfect, quiet line through the hallways.  It sat on my shelf for several weeks before it decided to show off its' abilities.  Then one day I handed it to a quiet kiddo and said, "Wow, ____, I love how you're standing.  Would you like to hold the squishy ball?"  And my life has never been the same.  I can grab this thing off the shelf, hand it to a kid, and the whole room gets quiet.  Amazing.

Of course, squishy ball has a weakness.  We can't pull on the strings or he goes to squishy ball heaven.  But that's ok, because I can get another one at the Dollar Store.  Though, the kids don't know that.  :]

Happy Thursday, and may the power of the squishy ball be with you all as you round out your week tomorrow. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Links I'm Loving

If you guys are anything like me, you are now terrified to use Pinterest because you think you may be jumping into a giant legal mess.  Now I have all of these links that are awesome, and nowhere to keep track of them.  Boo, Pinterest.  :[

Of course, I figured the best way to keep track of these links and share them with folks is to blog about them.  So, enjoy these great ideas and come back soon for more!

(P.S.- Update...I am getting so freaked out about the internet and copyright stuff.  Did you hear that there is a lawsuit from Seuss Enterprises because of Seuss-inspired clipart?  Stuff that is used by teachers on RAA day?  Crazy.  Seems like they are really picking on the little guy...but that's just my opinion.)

via Kindergarten Lifestyle

So those are the two things I'm loving right now...the things I would pin if I wasn't afraid of being sued.  ;] 

Now...go enjoy your weekend!  Happy Friday!  :]

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

St. Patty's Day

I'm normally not much for St. Patrick's Day, but I do like to do a little activity about it at school.  Since it falls on a Saturday this year I don't have to worry about wearing green (or keeping the kiddos from pinching kids who didn't wear green)--hooray!  We are going to do a little writing activity though.  I found this from the Teacher Wife and I knew it would be perfect.  Since I only see my kids for ~45 minutes we are going to skip the craft part of it and just do the printable. 

Anyways, I'm so thankful to Lindsey for offering this free activity.  It sure did help with my St. Patrick's Day planning!  :]  Click the picture to head over to her blog and snag the download for yourself. 

image via the teacher wife

Happy Tuesday!  Did everyone have a great weekend?  Mine was great...because it was three days!  I motion that every weekend is a three day weekend.  Who's with me?  ;]  And does anyone have a great idea for St. Patty's day lessons?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Oops...but thanks!

Confession time...some ladies out there in bloggy world have been so kind to me, but in return I have dropped the ball.  Oops!  Sorry ya'll!  I was awarded these two THREE(!) super sweet blog awards and I guess I just didn't know what to say.  I'm not really one to toot my own horn, so posting this on my lil' ol' blog kind of goes against the grain.  But that doesn't mean that the awards don't mean a lot to me!  I love hearing that folks like reading what I write...and more than one person said I'm funny.  Say what?!?  I've never ever thought I was funny!  Well, at least funny in the blog world.  I might be funny looking when I'm breaking it down in my car to Domino.  :]

Anyways, thanks so much to these lovely ladies for giving me these awards.  I really am humbled that people take the time to read my crazy rambling.  Make sure to go visit these ladies' blogs...they are all wonderful and fun bloggy friends! 

Once again, thanks so much to those three lovely ladies!  I will have to take a look later to see if there is anyone I can give these awards to since so many of the blogs I follow have already been blessed with them.  Seems I read a lot of great blogs!  :]

HAPPY FRIDAY!!! Wahoo!  We have Monday off, and even though it's a furlough day (meaning I don't get paid), I'm going to look at the silver lining and enjoy my extra day of weekend fun!  :]

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What I'm "Currently" Up To

Hi everyone!  Happy Tuesday!  :] 

I'm linking up again today with Farley for March Currently.  There's just something about this linky party that makes it my absolute favorite!  Perhaps it is because the graphics she uses are always so cute.  Anyways, without further ado, here is what's "currently" going on with me!

I bought that book on my Kindle last Friday and I've been reading it pretty regularly.  If you aren't familiar with Mindy Kaling, she plays Kelly Kapor on The Office.  On the show her character is incredibly self-centered and silly, but in real life, Mindy is a writer for the show (i.e.- very smart and talented).  The book is an easy, funny read (I mean, she is a comedy writer) and I've really enjoyed it.  I recommend checking it out sometime if you want a good laugh!

If you're just popping over from Farley's page, feel free to stick around for a while!  You can check out one of my favorite classroom management tools, read about my super brain, or just learn a bit about me.  Thanks for stopping by!

There are posts to come later this week about my current unit: the water cycle!  It has been really fun teaching this so far. 

Alright, now it's your turn to go link up!  :]

Monday, February 27, 2012

It's magnetizing!

Just last Friday my 1st grade kiddos finished up a unit on magnets.  I love teaching science at this age because they are so curious about everything!  This magnet unit was a great way to bring in some hands on science practice.  None of these lessons are super intense--all I'm looking for is a way to teach the content, but still keep the main focus on learning English.  So anyways, enjoy these magnet lesson plans and please let me know if you use them!  :]

I hope you've all had a pleasant Monday.  My Mondays are never that bad...Tuesday is when the weekend hits me and I feel exhausted all of the sudden.  Am I the only one, or do any of you guys deal with that Tuesday sleepiness, too?

Random notes:
1) I bought a Kindle Fire a couple weeks ago and I really like it.  So far I've read three different books on it.  For a long time I thought I'd never get one, but I like that it's an eReader and a tablet.  Anyone else biting the bullet and jumping on the eReader bandwagon?
2) Today and tomorrow are parent/teacher conferences!  My first ones ever...can you sense the little bit of nervousness?  :] 
3) Moe's Monday is the  Five dollars for a burrito, chips, and a drink?  Score!

Ok, enough randomness.  Have a marevelous rest of your Monday!  :]

Friday, February 24, 2012

Learnin' Letters

I have one small group of Kindergarteners that I serve each day after lunch.  They are quite a fun bunch, but WOW, they have a ton of energy!  *Side note: I'd like a little dose of their energy each morning!*

Anyways, with getting them after lunch, we barely have 30 minutes together before I have to take them back to class.  I had these grand ideas of doing all of these activities with them, but the reality is, if it can't be completed in less than 30 minutes, we probably won't do it. 

The main thing I'm working on with my littlest ones is letter recognition.  Each week we work on a different letter: we've just recently finished Q, R, and S, so on Monday we will start with T.  I've found some really good letter resources on the 'net and I'd love to share them with you.  :]  Enjoy, and let me know if you have any great resources you use!  I'm including stuff from when we did R last week.


Day 1: Watch Starfall video about the letter R and then talk about it using our pocket chart in the classroom.  Then we will go to our seats and do the writing worksheet from the Starfall website.  These are all great worksheets!  Once they finish the front, I have them "read" it to me...all very simple sight words (is, for) and pictures.  I find being able to read a page to me, even if it's mainly pictures, is a great confidence boost for my kiddos. 

Day 2: Start class by remembering the sound the letter R makes.  Watch YouTube video from "Have Fun Teaching."  In all honesty, these videos are super annoying--but since it's so repetitive the kids can sing along and they really start remembering the sound of R and words that begin with that letter.  Then we brainstorm words that start with R and make chart to go with it.  Each kid them picks some of the words to write and illustrate. 

Day 3: I like to start each class with a super short clip, so normally on day 3 I'll start it off with a short Sesame Street song (this week we watched a song about "Sammy the Snake").  Then we finish writing our words and illustrating them.

Day 4: Picture scavenger hunt!  We find a pictures in a magazine that start with the letter R and make a collage.  Very fun, and then we get to see it hanging up in the classroom!

Day 5: On day 5 I like to finish off the week with some games.  We play a version of Mother May I about letter sounds/words.  I call a kid, and they have to say a word that begins with a certain letter.  We can either just do "R" words, or we can go through the alphabet.  If they get it wrong or can't think of one, they go back to the beginning.  They love this game!


So, those are my Kindergarten plans that I tweak each week.  This particular week we only had four days, so I'm not doing the day 5 lesson.  We're going to finish off the week with our picture collage, instead.  These lessons are very simple, but the letter practice is so beneficial for my little Kinders.  Does anyone else have any favorite ways to teach letters?

Happy weekend!  :]

Thursday, February 16, 2012

SUPER Teacher Brain

So yesterday one of my groups finished their work early.  I definitely was not planning on that.  Normally we're rushing to get all of the work done in our little 40 minute timeslot.  And I know, "always plan more than you can get done," but then I get all worked up because I want to get everything done.  So I normally try to plan just enough.

But anways, enough rambling about that.  Long story short, one of my groups finished early.  I have to brag on my teacher brain for a second, because at that moment I had a serious "lightbulb moment."  I mean, it was like a 100 watt bulb going off in my head.  We all know that kiddos looooove games--call any activity a game and they're all over it.  I decided to take an old game and put a new twist on it AND THEY ATE IT UP. 

Did anyone ever play "never have I ever"?  We used to play it all the time in youth group (you know, a million years ago when I was in HS).  This game is loosely based on the concept.  My kids had picked four important facts about George Washington Carver and written/illustrated them on a piece of paper.  We all sat in a circle, and one at a time I let them stand up and share a fact they wrote.  If you wrote the same fact as the "sharer," then you stood up, too.  All the kids that were standing then had to switch spots with someone else.  SO SIMPLE, but they loved it!  I couldn't believe it! 

Needless to say, I was super proud of my teacher brain yesterday.  It seems that my brain is getting good at being sneaky about getting kiddos to learn and like it, too.  They had no idea that while they were playing the game, they were actually getting a great review. 

Two random things, because I hate uploading a post with zero pictures:

I invented a prize for the best partners.  I simply printed "Awesome Partners Award!" onto some return address labels and then gave it to the kids who worked together the best.  A very effective but simple reward!

Last Friday we did a science experiment and then filled out a worksheet about it.  If they finished early, they were supposed to write a sentence on the back about what we did.  I'm just glad this kiddo was honest.  :]

Sorry to rub it in, but today is my Friday!  We have a four day weekend!  WAHOO!  :]  I hope you guys have a fantastic Friday tomorrow and a wonderful weekend!  I'm gonna go live it up!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

You Might Be a Teacher If...

Who else out there loves a good "you might be a redneck if..." joke?  Well, in the same style of Foxworthy's hilarious one-liners, now we can all laugh about the little quirks that make us teachers.  I'm linking up with Jeannie over at Kindergarten Lifestyle for this fun linky party...go check it out! 

Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope you all survived with minimal damage done.  :]

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Testing is over!!!


That song was most definitely playing through my head this afternoon.  I am so ready to see my kiddos tomorrow.  These have been a loooong three weeks.

Until next year--see ya, testing!
See, I told you I was excited.  :]

Actually...I'll be doing more testing when the CRCT rolls around in April.  At least that's only five half-days.  Whew.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Hey everyone!

Today I have a very unique problem: I have too much money to spend.

Yikes--never thought I'd have the problem of too much money!  ;]  Actually, this isn't really my money.  This is the money allotted to me from the school to spend on stuff for my classroom.  But I'm having issues deciding what to get. 

See, I've only seen my students three times back in the third week of January.  So I'm not really sure what I'll need once I start really teaching.  This is where you guys come in!  :]  If you could get something for your classroom that would be super useful, what would you get?  I'm afraid that I'm going to end up spending my money on stuff I don't really need, and then in a month or so I think, "MAN I wish I'd known that ___ would be so useful!" 

Anyways...I officially have the problem of too much money and not knowing what to spend it on.  I don't think this will ever happen to me again--I'd better soak the feeling up.  :]

Please share your best advice...and I'll be sure to let you know what I end up purchasing. 

Have a tremendous Tuesday!

Monday, February 6, 2012

February Currently

Hi, everyone! 

This morning I'm linking up with Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for her Currently linky party.  Head over there to join in the fun!  :]

Have a marvelous Monday!  (yay, alliteration!)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Tag, I'm it!

I was tagged in this little game thing-y by Casey over at Cardigans and Curriculum.  I just started reading her blog and I'm really liking it.  Of course, I was an automatic follower because of her cute blog design and her love of cardi girls gotta stick together!  :]  But before I get into the questions, I have to share this video with you.  The title is NSFW, but I'm sure you'll identify with the video.  :]

Ok, now that you're smiling, lets get on to the game.
Rules of the Game:
1. Post the rules.
2. Post 12 fun facts about yourself in your blog post.
3. Answer the questions that the tagger has set for you in their post; then create 12 new questions for the people that you tag.
4. Tag 12 people and link them in your post.
5. Let them know that you've tagged them.

12 Things:
1. Chick-fil-A is my absolute favorite place to eat.  I get food from there at least two times a week…normally more.  Every Friday morning I get a chicken biscuit and a large sweet tea to celebrate making it through another week. 
2. I love flowers and the color pink.  I’m not a girly-girl when it comes to how I dress, but my tastes are very girly.  Tulips are my favorite flower…and if they’re pink, then that’s even better!
3. Working in special ed for several months  taught me the benefit of laminating EVERYTHING.  If it’s not laminated, it will get torn to pieces. 
4. I played the cello for six years in middle school and high school.  Sometimes I find myself wanting to pick it up again, but I just don’t think I have the time.  Plus, I was never good a tuning and if it was at my house, I couldn’t make someone else tune it like I did in high school.
5. I eat two packets of oatmeal with a cut up banana for lunch every day.  It’s delicious.  Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.  :]  (Really, I just don’t like dealing with the fridge at school).
6. I was born in Puerto Rico, but have lived in my current home in Georgia for 20 ½ years.
7. I could eat super smelly foods all day long…anything with garlic, onions, cumin, sauerkraut, or any other intense flavor.  But I don’t like spicy food.
8. My favorite Starbucks drink is the salted caramel mocha.  Technically a “seasonal” drink, but they have the stuff to make it all year long—all you need to do is ask!
9. I named my car Tonks, which is short for Nymphadora Tonks of Harry Potter fame.  My car is spunky and cute, so I thought the name fit well.  :]
10. I have a slight obsession with Vera Bradley school stuff.  I have a lanyard in the Watercolors patter that I wear with my ID, key, and hand sanitizer; a lunch tote in Symphony in Hue (my mom gave it to me to celebrate my student teaching a few years back); and a tote bag in Twirly Birds (navy).  I don’t use Vera in everyday life, but it is perfect for school.  But I only buy it on sale…it’s expensive!
11. I am a really bad singer, but I find nothing more fun than singing with my kiddos.  It is a great way to promote English learning!  They are learning and they don’t even know it (insert evil laughter).  :]
12. I dream of one day dressing like Ms. Frizzle for every new topic.  Lightning bolt earrings would be SO cool.

Casey's Questions for Me:
1. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I have this dream of going on a two week European tour through Rick Steves’ agency.  If you’ve never seen his TV show on PBS you are MISSING OUT.  That guy is awesome.  He’s so low key, but he shows you the best places to visit in Europe.  I would do one of the trips that takes you to Greece, Turkey, and Spain.
2. If you had to live in a city besides your own, what would your top choices be?
I’m starting to truly enjoy living near Atlanta, so at this point I wouldn’t move.   But if I had to go to a different city, I would really like to live in Greenville, SC, or Chattanooga, TN.  Both a great small-ish cities (not like the HUGE-ness of Atlanta) that are easy to get around and they have really awesome artsy stuff (restaurants, coffee shops).
3. Do you follow any sports teams?
HA.  I have more than one person who wishes I was a UGA fan, but I can’t do it.  I say that I’m a Clemson fan, but really it’s just because I had to pick a team back in college (I couldn’t stand watching all of the college football on TV without a team to root for).  Following sports is too much work.
4. What is one lesson/topic that you get REALLY excited about teaching?
ANYTHING about the environment.  When I was student teaching I did an awesome unit based around The Lorax by Dr. Seuss.  It had lots of elements of writing and environmentalism.  It fit so well into our third grade curriculum.  I also have a stuffed animal Lorax, the book, and the (original) movie—maybe that proves how obsessed I am with that particular Dr .Seuss story.
5. If you had to go back and get another degree, what would you pursue?
I'm pretty sure that I would get a degree in library science.  I have a dream of one day being an elementary school librarian.  But who knows--my educational goals change about once a month.  :]
6. What is your favorite dessert, or two?
I could eat chocolate chip cookies all day long…delicious.  At my old school the speech therapist we worked with made a MEAN chocolate chip cookie and gave us all large bags of them for Christmas.  I was in heaven.  I also die for Muddy Buddies (called Puppy Chow by some).  If you’ve never had these before, you are really missing out.  Rice chex, chocolate, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar—makin’ my mouth water!
7. If you could re-do any year in your life, which one would you choose and why?
Gosh, this is hard.  I would maybe re-do my senior year of HS.  I would have liked to spend more time with my BFF before we both left home for college.  Of course, there was a year of college I would like to re-do as well.  A lot of hurts came out of that year, but a lot of lessons, too.  I wouldn't want to lose the lessons learned, so I know the hurt had a purpose.
8. What do you like on your hamburger?
SALSA!  And actually, I don’t eat most meats (I’m like a chicken-itarian…I only eat chicken), so when I eat a “hamburger” it’s generally a Boca or MorningStar burger.  My current faveorite is the black bean burger by MorningStar.  I eat it with cheese, Peach & Mango salsa, a Claussen pickle, tomato, onion, and lettuce, all on a whole wheat tortilla.  Absolutely delicious!
9. What is your favorite type of marker or pen?
I used to be all about RSVP pens by Pentel, but I’m pretty sure the company went under a couple years ago because I haven’t been able to find them.  Sad day.  :[  It took me ages, but I finally found my new favorite pen: Sharpie pens.  I love how smoothly they write, and all the fun colors are great. 
10. What is your favorite recipe?
Probably chicken tortilla soup.  I have the recipe on my personal blog.  
11. Do you have a song that makes you cry? What is it?
"What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong makes me tear's just so beautiful!  Many songs at church make me get a little misty-eyed, too.  Last night at church we sang "Great I Am," which is probably my new favorite worship song.  I simply have to share it.

12. If you had to go on a reality show what show would you want to be a part of?
To be honest,  I really don’t like reality TV.  I feel like I go against all of female-kind when I gripe about The Bachelor every Monday night.  That show makes me feel like I’m gonna vomit.  But I digress…
There was a show on TV for a couple years called Here Come the Newlyweds.  That is the one reality TV show I can really get behind.  Each episode was very entertaining and fun.  I always said that I felt that I could win that show with my future spouse…I still think we could!  So maybe if they put it on the air when I’m a newlywed you guys will see me get my 15 minutes of fame.  :]

Ok, so now I have to come up with twelve questions.  Yikes!  Let's see if I can do it.

My Questions for You!:
1. When did you decide you wanted to be a teacher?

2. What is your favorite thing a kid has ever said to you?
3. What is your favorite thing to eat for school lunch?
4. Tell us about a couple of your favorite "pump-it-up" songs.
5. What is your favorite kind of peanut butter?
6. If you weren't a teacher, what would you do?
7. If you could take a week-long trip with one person each year, who would you go with and where would you go?
8. What is the last fiction book that you read and loved?
9. What is your favorite magazine?
10. What is your favorite thing to do on a Saturday night?
11. What is your favorite color?
12. Who is your favorite blogger?  And why should we follow them?  :]

Now I get to tag some folks.  Sorry, but I'm breaking the rules and I'm not going to tag 12 people (I'm so rebellious!).  I don't think I know that many people, haha!  I'm gonna go with some of my favorites: Jordyn @ Intangible Goodness, Kim @ A Pound of Thoughts, and Allyson @ Our Adventure Book (even though she hasn't blogged for a while).  And if you're just creepin' around and you'd like to answer, too, please do!  Just comment to let me know that I should come read your answers.  Enjoy, ladies!  :]

Friday, February 3, 2012

Valentine's Day Freebie!

In my personal life, Valentine's Day isn't such a big deal.  The man and I agree that if you only lavish love on your significant other one day a year, there might be a problem.  Why save it all for one day?  We choose to be loving every day.  But that's another post for another time... 

So anyways, in my personal life I don't really celebrate Valentine's, but at school it is a BIG DEAL.  I think that it is a 100% appropriate holiday for elementary schoolers.  It's a great time to teach them about love and acceptance of their peers--the world can only use more of that! 

I'm planning a little Valentine's lesson for my kiddos that focuses on some of the main tennants of the holiday.  Some of my kids are very new to the states, so they have never celebrated this holiday before.  We are going to talk about some of the big words associated with the day.  I created this little powerpoint to go be an intro to our lesson.  Nothing too fancy, but I wanted to share it with you guys.  :]  Let me know if you use it!  I'd love to hear about your Valentine's Day activities, too!

Valentine's Day Powerpoint

I'll be back soon to tell you about the rest of our Valentine's Day activities.  Random note: I just bought Valentine's for my kiddos at Kroger--super cheap and cute, too!  I got a box of Toy Story and a box of Disney princesses for $2 each!

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My Teaching Nightmare

Last night I had a bad dream.  Not just a bad dream…a nightmare. 

It isn’t too often that I can remember my dreams, but this one stuck with me like a piece of Velcro (I have been shopping for school supplies, can you tell?).

In this dream I had volunteered to be the club sponsor for a small group Chorus type activity.  So yes, I guess I was like Mr. Schuester in Glee.  Joy.  My motivation behind this was surely the goal of making myself “indispensable” at my school so they simply must keep me next year.  :] 

Unfortunately, the group was OUT OF CONTROL.  Like, full-out fighting.  I very much pride myself on not losing my temper, but I was actually yelling at the kids.  And they wouldn’t stop!  So the whole dream essentially consisted of kids yelling, me yelling, and the decibel level continually reaching new heights.

That's dream Abby losing her mind.

The dream ended as we were going to a performance and I felt 110% overwhelmed.  What a nasty, yucky dream.

Classroom management is not my strong point and I’m always working to improve it.  This dream hit a little too close to my real teaching fears—I definitely did not like it.  Hopefully it wasn’t a prophetic dream…

What is your teaching “nightmare”?  And how are you working on it?  I’m working on classroom management by reading all of these great teaching blogs, observing master teachers, and asking tons of questions.  My goal is to be great at classroom management in the next couple years (although I know I’ll always be able to learn and grow). 

picture source

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Day in My Shoes

So I am very late to this linky party, but it's still open so I am going to jump right in!  I'm writing about a typical school day for "A Day in My Shoes" hosted over at Adventures of a 6th Grade Teacher.

6:00AM- Alarm goes off.  I hit snooze an embarrassing number of times before I finally get up and shuffle around getting ready.  I shower at night because I am so not a morning person--if I waited to shower in the morning I would probably never be clean.  Disgusting, right?  So that's why I shower at night.

7:10AM- Rush to my car with my purse, school bag, lunch bag, and morning drink (OJ, coffee, Slim Fast, or a diet soda).  Pray that there isn't a lot of traffic.

7:15AM-7:50AM- Sit in rush hour Atlanta traffic and eat my breakfast...always a delicious Luna bar!

7:55AM- Roll into school right on time and head to my trailer.  Check my e-mail, finish breakfast, get stuff ready for the day.

8:30AM- Head to the cafeteria for morning duty.  Kids come with their class's breakfast order and I hand them the number of juices they need.

9:00AM- Pick up my testing materials, check my mailbox, and head back to my trailer.

9:15AM- Pick up a student for testing.  I'll test individuals til about 12:00.

12:00PM- Take about an hour for lunch and planning.  I head to the staff lunchroom to make my oatmeal, which I then take back to my trailer to enjoy.  It's very quiet and peaceful.  :]

1:00PM-3:00PM- Continue doing individual testing until the end of the day.

3:00PM-3:50PM-  I don't have afternoon duty, so I spend the last 50 minutes of the day getting stuff ready for the next day and checking my testing materials back in.  I normally don't stay too late, so at 3:50ish I'm right out the door!  If I stay past 4:30 I hit major afternoon rush hour.  Living and driving around Atlanta is a beast (but I love living and working here). 

Unfortunately, my current day-to-day isn't very interesting because of the testing.  My hope is to finish testing this week so I can start up with my students again next Monday.  They keep seeing me in the halls and asking, "Ms. S!  When are you going to get us for ESOL again?"  I miss those little kiddos.  :[  I'm definitely ready for us to get into a routine. 

Speaking of routine, next time I'm going to share how we start class every day.  We sing a super cute song that is geared towards ELL's (English Language Learners), but I can see it being used in K, 1, and Special Education classes.  Tune in later this week to see it!  :]

Have a wonderful Sabbath, and don't forget to go check out the linky party over at Adventures of a 6th Grade Teacher

Friday, January 27, 2012

My Very Important "Organization Spot"

One good thing about this testing is that it has given me plenty of time to work on my classroom.  As a new teacher, my decorations, etc., are pretty sparse.  I see all of these classrooms (at school and on blogs) that look AMAZING with all of the decorations, books, games, and so on, and then I wonder why my room doesn’t look like that.  Which has led to me spending tons of time trying to make my room look cuter.  With all of that said, I’m not too worried about the issue of not having enough stuff, simply because I know that having too much stuff will someday be my problem.  It seems that after a certain number of years, all teachers complain that they are drowning in resources.  One day that will be me, but not today!

Long story short, I am learning to be resourceful.  I’m taking what I have and using it to its’ full potential.  Today I want to show you one little area of my whiteboard.

I’ve been thinking about what to call this area…maybe just my “Organization Spot” for all of the little info tidbits I need.  I got the border secondhand from another teacher and it already had magnets on the back…perfect for my board!  Somehow I ended up using only red and blue in this area…totally not planned, but I love it!

Here are some different aspects of my Organization Spot:

Vocabulary for the week (or day).  I already have these on pieces of tape, so after we’re done with those words I can stick them straight to our word wall in the back of the room.

Essential Questions.  Do you use these at your school?  I put them on our intro activity on the computer, but I think it’s good to have them visible all the time.  Obviously there aren’t any questions up right now because we’re not having class!  Although, I guess I could write “How can I cope with testing?”  Seems like a good question!  :]

Love bots.  Valentine’s Day is in a couple weeks, and I just couldn’t resist these little love bots in the Target dollar section.  So cute!  And I love how the glare makes the boy bot look like he has angry eyebrows.  He has some angry love.

Schedule stuff.  I have my daily schedule, the specials schedule for a group that I take to specials, and the day of the specials rotation.  I could never keep track of where I was supposed to be if I didn’t have these up there.  I also have my name in this area because I know the kids can’t remember my name.  Maybe seeing it written will help (maybe).  :]

So there you have it—my Organization Spot!  How do you stay organized and on schedule?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Testing, Testing

So, I’ve been doing this job for three weeks, and right now we’re in the second week of testing.  Which means that I’ve seen my students a total of three whole times.  Goodness!  I am so ready for this testing to be over so that I can start really digging into our material.  Of course, the testing is very important, but I won’t be sad when it’s over.  :]

Here are some things I’ve been thinking about this week.  When testing is over, I am going to spend three days doing a review of two major topics: map skills and curiosity (in science).  I’m still thinking about how to do the map skills days, but I have curiosity down.  And I’d like to share with you.  :]

Back in college we did a project where everyone created a short science experiment that had an unexpected outcome.  We had a blast coming together as a class and checking out the really awesome experiments that everyone had found.  My friend Michaela did one called Dancing Raisins, and to this day it is one of my favorites.  Kids absolutely love it. 

To do this experiment, you need ginger ale (or another clear-ish soda), raisins, and a tall clear container.  Pour the ginger ale into the container and ask the kids for their hypothesis.  Do they think the raisins will sink or float?  When you drop the raisins in, they will sink at first, but then the bubbles will attach to the wrinkles, which makes them float back up to the top.  Once they reach the top, the bubbles burst, and the cycle happens all over again.  It will keep going for quite a while—for as long as the drink is still slightly fizzy. 

With my kiddos we are going to focus on one big word: hypothesis.  We will define it and talk about what it means.  Then after the experiment, they will complete this worksheet at their seats.  The statements are cloze statements.  I will provide a word bank on the board.  I have uploaded the worksheet I am using for you guys to “borrow.”  Let me know if you do this experiment!  I’m sure your kiddos would love it, too!