Friday, December 30, 2011

Pinterest

I think another reason I haven't been blogging is because I have been PINNING!

Seriously, so many great ideas in one place is SO AWESOME!

So follow me on Pinterest, so I can follow you, and we can all share all these great ideas we find!

Twas the day before Christmas break...


And I was determined to do something FUN! Now, I tip my hat to my colleagues that ran reading groups that day, but not I, ladies and gentleman. We Polar Expressed our way into the classroom, courtesy of my train tracks. Oh, and I drew a lovely poster of a train :) Yep, that's about as good as my poster skills get. Thank goodness for Microsoft :)



One of our morning activities was a make your own snowperson. The kids were totally cute. A few of our reading coaches came in and "voted." I thought the kids did a great job working together and using their materials :)






We also did a make your own Polar Express train :) The privacy folders are up because I did NOT want to hear "He's cheating off me!" so I told the kids if they wanted to protect their ideas to put them up. We had some guest judges for this activity as well. Again, they did great, had fun, and got to eat their creations at the end :)



We finished the day after receiving their gift from me (books I order from Scholastic), cleaning up, watching the Polar Express, and going to our all-school sing along.

Phew! We made it to Christmas (and as I write this on Dec. 30th...the break is going by TOO fast!)

Layers of the Earth

In our most recent Lead21 unit, we've been learning about "the story of the Earth." Crazy brain led me to wanting to do this fun edible layers of the Earth activity with the kids. After a fight in the bathroom was sort of resolved (oh little boys), we got to work. They really enjoyed it, and I made it as educational as possible by having them draw a diagram of their layers :) We talked about plates shifting, and they got to use their graham crackers to make plates as the crust :)




Harvest Festival

This year, our school had a harvest festival, where our AWESOME PE teachers round up lots of help and put on a 90 minute party for our kids. This year, we teachers were encouraged to go hang out with them, so hang out we did :)

Yes, I did the Thriller dance with them, and no, there is no evidence :)


I got some tips from 3rd graders on how to throw a football :)



I think I got most of my "street cred" from this activity below. It was an obstacle course, and the kids thought it was so hilarious as another student and I raced. Needless to say, I lost, and was quite out of breath afterwards :)


I tried to do "Mystery Readers" at the beginning of the year. The kids loved it, and were always so well-behaved for a Friday afternoon. Eventually, I ran out of parent recruits and teacher recruits, but it was fun while it lasted!


On Halloween, we made spiders, but tied it into math by turning them into name-collection boxes. It had to be a number the kids could draw an array for, since we were doing multiplication in Everyday Math. They turned out really cute, and decorated our door during Halloween.

Yes, I am still teaching!

So after a long hiatus, here I am during break. Don't know when I will get back to regular posting, but here are some things we've been up to!


This year we have been using Lead21 as our reading curriculum....It's been interesting. It's great for our benchmark and advanced kids, but not great at all for our struggling readers.

Anyway, they do a project each unit. This unit, they wrote their own plays and acted them out. Even with tons of guidance (and I'm new at this too!), I'm always nervous about the final project. I need to give the kids credit, most of the groups were able to pull it off, adding in props and actions :) They even chose their own backgrounds on our smartboard :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

P/T Conferences

There is a light at the end of the tunnel...and usually when I say that, I have a really rough week with the kids. But last week they bounced back, and it ended on a positive note...which I love!

We just had conferences, and the one thing I like about conferences is the insight into the students' lives that I get. I don't see most of their parents until conferences...and a lot of them, not even then. That part is just sad. But the other good part I get to hear from their parents, is their interests. I know quite a few of their interests from building a relationship with them, but it is still fun to hear who really likes to dance, or who gets really embarassed when their mom comes to school :)

It's also a really good reminder that these kids are someone's children. I know it sounds like DUH but when those kids are really grating your very last nerve, it's so hard to remember that someone at homes loves them and wants you to treat them like their own. That's one of the things I love about elementary, that even when the kids bring on big attitudes or big conflicts, they are still really small people who need to be constantly reminded of how we do act, or handle conflicts, especially when we are mad! I think being 8 must be really hard, because you are not a baby anymore, and you want to be more grown up, but you're not yet!

Anyway, P/T conferences were great, and I got a lot of planning done (but its neverrrrrr enough!) Our first field trip is Monday, so I am VERY curious to see how that's going to go!

And double yay for a real post!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Look Different??

I love to bargain shop...I don't know, I just love wearing new things and keeping up with trends without breaking my very small piggy bank...oh, the salary of a teacher! (But it sure beats the 10 bucks an hour in college!)

It was time I gave some TLC to my blog too, so I enlisted the help of Leslie from Kindergarten Works. Doesn't it look great! It's cute but simple and much more bright and happy. So hopefully I will feel more bright and happy when I look at it!

Thanks Leslie!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Alive

Oh my, this year is eating me alive. With a handful of interesting kiddos, plus a new reading curriculum (which is a GIANT GIANT BEAST), I have had little motivation to think about blogging or work when I get home. Yep, it's one of those years!

I wish I could say things are settling down or getting easier, but it's October, and there are still days I come home and cry. This seems to be a theme with my teammates and podmates (and many of them are FIRST year teachers, poor things!)

Anyway, I read some classroom blogs for the first time in a while tonight, so maybe that's a good sign? I'm hoping by Christmas I'll be ready to jump back in full force to blogging again. Really, I love teaching and I love building relationships with kids...it's been a struggle this year since I have two or three students that totally suck the life out of me each day...each of them can be sweet but they have so.many.issues. Meanwhile, there are 20 other kiddoes in the classroom that need some attention too! I am figuring out the balance...I will get there!

Anyway, thanks for reading. And since it's been a while, what are some great new blogs I can read???

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

credit

I have to give the kids credit today.


There were moments when I am SURE they wanted to kill each other.
(I didn't have any of those feelings.ahem.)



But they didn't. Thank heavens. Oh, I know they WANTED to. But they didn't.


So thank you kids, for giving me that small break in the duration of a very long day!

Monday, August 29, 2011

VMA

Quote of the day:

Kid: Mrs. T, did you see the VMA's last night?
Me: Nope!
Kid: You DIDN'T? So you didn't see Lady Gaga. She looked like a BOY! I mean, so much like a boy! Oh man, I can't believe you didn't watch it!


It made me giggle inside :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Arguers

Yeah, I have one of those classes where the interventionists come in, and after they say, "Yeahhhhh (long pause). You have quite the class."

Yeahhhhh, is right!

So I need some suggestions.

They argue. With each other. Loudly.

"J just called me a name!" "No, I didn't!" "Yes, he did!"

"She kicked me under the table!" "No, I didn't!" "Yes, he did!"

This is me: "Please stop talking. I've already asked you once nicely."

"No, I wasn't talking!"

So, they argue with each other, they try to argue with me. I don't argue back--I'm trying to stay out of the power struggle. I've used "I'll argue with students before or after school" (Love and Logic). I've used, "if you continue to argue, there will be a consequence" (but then another argument breaks out 35 minutes later). We've had talks about what to say instead of arguing. However, they will get louder and louder unless there is some kind of immediate consequence, to which they turn around and whine and moan at ME because I am MEAN!! Same thing with sending them out of the room...plus their behavior is the same when they get back.

I'm trying to preserve some instruction time because if I stopped to take kids out of the room or call parents immediately, I would be stopping several times a day. I'm starting to wonder if doing that now more often will pay off later. But something is telling me it won't...

And what breaks my heart is the 18-19 kids that do what they are supposed to. I can't spend more time praising them or rewarding them because I'm putting out fires all day. My next door neighbor, my friend and mentor teacher said to me today, "I haven't seen you send so many kids out of the room so much in one day!" If they stay together, they will KILL each other!

Okay, so PLEASE let me know if you have any suggestions! I need some ideas and soon before I go CRAZY!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Isn't it funny...

the things you learn about yourself as a teacher?

For the past few days, I've realized this:

I LOVE teaching math so much more than reading.

I always thought I would be the opposite because I LOVE to read.

But it didn't translate.

I love the cut and dry of math...it's fun to teach and I'm better at it!

So I know where I need to keep growing though!

Positives

I know, WOE is me (speaking of the last post)! I always tell myself I need to be real on this blog here. I love teaching, but IT.IS.HARDperiod. I had a student scream in class today. Literally scream "IM ALREADY OWING MY RECESS TO THE ART TEACHER!!" (so you can imagine what I had just very calmly told her minutes before).

So I have been trying to notice some positives in the last few days. Here are some of my kiddos making me proud!


  • I heard another student say, "Are you okay? Can I help you?" to her shoulder partner. In a whisper. (We all know kids don't know how to whisper in August!)
  • I saw another student help his shoulder partner organize his things because he missed the first day of school.
  • Hugs. Usually they are given at the WORST times, like when everyone is supposed to be getting in line, but they always make me feel good :)
  • The kids thought I was hilarious today when I taught them maximum and minimum...we were flexing our arms and using our mini voices, and they were so cute (and silly). But they remembered it at the end of the day! WOO HOO!
  • And regarding my screamer I talked about earlier...I sent her into the hallway, and asked her to leave the room and calm down in the pod or to come in and work quietly. I thought for sure she would refuse. Nope, she came in, and wrote 3 or 4 paragraphs! Then, we had a nice conversation about how if she feels something is not fair, she needs to say "Mrs T., can we talk later?" instead of screaming. So we'll see what happens next time (pleasepleasepleasedon'tlettherebeanexttime!)

Phew, deep breath, six days down!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

It's Begun!

School has started...I have been going to bed by 9 every night! I'm so exhausted!!!

For the sake of being honest, I think I will have a lot of challenging students this year. Probably 4 or 5 out of my 24 have some form of behavior issue that will keep me on my toes. I do have a lot of sweet kids though...but they ALL sure love to chat!

I'm hoping that in time, students will see that I care and that I'm not going to abandon them. Some of them were removed from their original classrooms last year partway through the year and so they are distrustful of teachers...can't really blame them! I'm trying really hard to be positive and model how to handle situations appropriately. We have had lots of chats about how to treat each other and how to talk to each other nicely...a battle proving an uphill one!

Just have to remember in a few months they will be trained, and life will be a bit more smooth sailing!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Check THIS out!

My new teamie, Katie, is the queen of awesome classroom decoration. Check her work out! I'm sure it won't take you too long to figure out her theme :)





Classroom Pictures

Here are some pictures from my classroom. It's not complete by any means, but I'm glad I got done what I did because school starts Tuesday and its already almost Friday! We don't get our class lists until the Thursday before, and so the labeling begins ;)




This is part of my desk area. The computer HAS to be close to the wall because none of the cords go that far from the wall...or else I would put it over on my desk...but I don't like my desk there and I wanted to try something different. The Elmo also has to sit closer to the wall as well. I love having it on the cart, it's the right height!


  My desk area. After the zoo that was last year, I took the advice of some fellow teachers and put my desk by the window :)


My bulletin board space. This is basically it for space. I'll put up my Everyday Counts calendar, and probably the Lead 21 theme wall. I went with a patterned background this time and I know some people think it's too busy, but I kinda like it :)


My guided reading area and happy purple chairs :)


My schedule board. I got these cute schedule cards from somebody who shared them on a blog...and I can't remember who! If they are yours, I will add your name here if you let me know! Thanks! Oh, and don't get me started on schedule drama. We're being told that we don't have time to have an afternoon recess (the only recess we give outside of lunch and recess). Apparently, the compromise is having recess at 2:45 (we get out at 3:30). So anyway, it looks like we will have 3 reading groups, followed by our core math at 1:45, followed by centers, with no break in between any of that. ICKO!

Oh, and my job board is right next to the schedule board, as well as my Whole Brain Teaching rules. 




Our cubbies.



Thank goodness! I have desks! So happy :) I have two groups of 10, and one group of 5. So far, I have 23 students, but that number usually hits 25 by the day before school :)


Part of my classroom library, as well as my birthday chart, hat, and shirt.



Another view of my board, and this is my second year with a Smartboard.


A garland I made with some scrap paper and my circle cutter. It's pretty cute :)


So there it is...nothing fancy!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Job Strips

I am going from 16-17 class jobs to FIVE! I'm so HAPPY! I just found I had a lot of jobs I didn't use regularly, or kids were absent, and so on...So I've numbered off the groups, and each kid has a number 1-5 at their table. Their number will correspond to a job (and some other things probably). I'll rotate the numbers each day, to keep the jobs rotating. Here are the jobs that I'm using this year.


Job Strips

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Countdown

We have TWO days in Sao Paulo. TWO!!! The time has flown by.

We'll arrive back in the states on Saturday. We'll rest on Sunday, and I'll probably head back to the classroom Monday and Tuesday. Our inservice days start the 10th, and kids arrive the 16th!

It feels like the school year just ended and it's back again! Anyone feel that way??

Monday, August 1, 2011

Number Labels

I wanted to make some small number labels to be velcroed onto the student's desks this year. We group according to Kagan, and so each kid will have a number 1-5, depending on where they are sitting. Normally, Kagan groups have 4 students, but our rooms are small and odd-shaped and so five groups of 5 generally works better.

I also think that I will assign a group job according to their numbers...I will have five different jobs listed on a pocket chart, and I will rotate the numbers each day. So one day, student #1 may collect and pass out papers, and the next day, student #2 at each group will do it. I used to have about 15 or so class jobs, but this year I am going to have one "student teacher" a day and have groups jobs to take care of the other things. I'm hoping this will be easier for me to manage, and that way I can narrow jobs down to the most essential and most used.

You are welcome to download them if you think they will be helpful!

Number Labels

Attendance Log

This is an attendance log I created to try out this year. I wanted to add homework and behavior to it. I'm somebody who needs recording to be VERY SIMPLE. I've heard of other teachers coding their behavior and so I wanted to try it. Last year, I got away from greeting every kid at the door every morning like I did my first year--our schedule was wacky and ughhh last year--so when I greet them I can also check them off for attendance and grab their homework right then. So, this is kind of an experiment, I'll have to see how it works!

I started a key down at the bottom, but I may change as the year goes on to see if other codes may be more intuitive or useful.

Attendance Log

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Blog Design

This is my blog dilemma...I would really like to have a cute blog design, including a new background, header, and button. However, I don't use my blog to promote any products, and so I don't really want to spend a lot on it...or anything at all :) So, if you know anyone who is beginning a blog design business, and would like to "practice" on my blog, please let me know! I would be willing to pay a little bit, so if you do blog design, please leave a comment and I will contact you about prices (or if you have a webpage, direct me there).

I would like a nice, unified blog design, but I don't want to do it myself, and I see SO many teacher blogs that are just too cute!

Postcard Exchange

I recently joined a postcard exchange, and the ladies in charge are still looking for more states. I'm glad they needed Kansas because it seemed like so many of the postcard exchanges in bloggy land had Kansas already! (GO KANSAS TEACHERS!)



Anyway, here is the info on Proteacher.

Here are the states that are already participating:
Alabama
Connecticut
Florida
Illinois
Kansas
Louisiana
New Mexico
Pennsylvania
Tennessee
Texas
(and I think New Jersey is out too).

Leave me a comment if you'd like to join, and I will forward your email addresses and state name to Emily, who is in charge! Because I'm just helping out, there is a chance your state may be taken, but I'll let you know. You can login to Proteacher and see if you can find another one that needs your state!

Also, last year I struggled to find Kansas postcards that wouldn't gouge me in the pocketbook. I even asked for discounts, and the only ones I could find were $1 a piece. I really didn't want to spend that much, plus postage. I ended up printing out a template on cardstock. The kids decorated the front side themselves with Kansas-themed pictures, and then we came up with what we wanted to say together. I typed it up onto a label, and we stuck it to the postcards. It was all well and good until I got to the post office and learned they were oversized postcards and would cost extra! EESH!! I was so sick of those things I just said, GET THEM OUTTA HERE! However, the kids loved the activity, and receiving the postcards, so it was all worth it.

I didn't want to go through that again this year, and then one day inspiration struck! I have created and ordered many things from Vistaprint. I got their annual clearance email and I saw postcards were FREE (plus shipping), and then I KNEW!

DUH! I could create postcards on Vistaprint!! What was even more awesome is that because Kansas is the Sunflower State, I was able to find several ready-made templates with sunflowers on them. Then, I personalized them with the state name and our class name and WALA!! Much cheaper postcards for our exchange! I am still SO HAPPY that the thought occurred to my overworked brain :) So anyway, that might be an option for you all doing postcard exchanges!

Anyway, hope you can join!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I Survived Linky Party

I know I said I was on hiatus...but I couldn't resist posting in response to Life In Special Ed's Linky Party. Sometimes I feel like I teach in a circus...being in the neighborhood we are in, we often get some students who...hmmm...trying to put this nicely...haven't learned certain social skills, maybe?  Anyway, this story kept me laughing for weeks.

I teach third grade, and one afternoon while the kids were packing up, I was talking to a small group of students when a kid called out, "Mrs. T, why is THIS in my chair pocket?" With one finger delicately held up, he showed the whole class he was holding a TRAINING BRA!! The kids erupted into giggles, and the boys "BLECH"ed, and I couldn't help but just laugh. There was a parent in the room, and when we made eye contact, she looked at me bewildered because she had been standing behind this boy's desk and hadn't seen the training bra make its way into his chair pocket. I went and got it from him, and then half-jokingly told him that I would "cleanse" his chair pocket.

Part 2 came about a week later. Again, we were packing up and I heard one of my students say, "Here's ANOTHER ONE! In JACOB's CHAIR POCKET!" One of my shyest students had this look of complete disgust and confusion on his face as another training bra was pulled out of his chair pocket.

I never solved the mystery of the training bra...I think the first one may have been an accident, because some of the kids bring changes of clothes to school because they are going to grandma's after school etc. I'm guessing it just fell out of a backpack in the end of the day shuffle. The second one?? Well, maybe one of my students has a funny sense of humor :)

And there it is :) I survived the training bra incident (and didn't get any phone calls from parents, CHA CHING!)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hiatus

In case you are a new reader, I'm on a hiatus while my husband is in Brazil doing an internship for law school (and of course, I went with him!). However, I'm still able to read blogs, and I guess I could post if I wanted to, but I'm having a hard enough keeping up my "regular" blog! So this is my summer break from blogging...but I've been pinning ideas and checking and reading blogs everyday for new ideas!

Thanks for reading!

(the Teatro Municipal in Sao Paulo)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Duck, Duck, Goose

Today was our last day of summer school! Woo hoo! It was a lot of fun, but I'm ready for sleeping in! (Okay, really I only get like, two days to sleep in, but oh well!)

Here's what we have been up to the last few weeks:

Chasing flamingoes at the Topeka Zoo--



Turkey vulture at the zoo--

Pocket people biographies inspired by this blog post over at Primary Inspired--

Beach vs. Pool Glyphs and Acrostic Poems inspired by this blog post at Erica's Bohrer's First Grade--

This is why I love blogging...both of those projects were really enjoyable for the kids, plus they were EASY to differentiate for fourth graders.

We finished off today with a video about the American flag, a flag project, and a wet game of Duck, Duck, Goose.  While you are going around the circle saying duck, duck, goose, you also carry a splash ball that you drip over the kids' heads. When you get to the goose, you squeeze it nice and hard and yell "Goose!" It was a great way to stay cool in our 99 degree heat index today (it wasn't that hot then, don't worry!)


I'll be heading out for my husband's internship for five weeks and probably taking a break from this blog until August...I'll be excited to get back and see what you have come up with!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What Should I Do With This?

(picture from here...mine are green!)

These were one of my latest Dollar Tree finds...now I just need to decide what to do with them! I'm thinking maybe something fun during guided reading or math centers...OR something to do with Kagan, since we are a Kagan school and it seems to fit the 4-person model.

Any suggestions? Linking up at Ladybug's Teacher Files!

T2T Linky Party

I don't do too many linky parties, but this trash to treasure item fell into my lap thanks to one of my teaching friends.

You can find the linky party and giveaway here on Meghan's blog, Oh Boy 3rd Grade! (I guess she is 4th grade now!)

The great thing was I hardly had to do anything to it :) It needed cleaning and a cushion. With an extra pillow for comfort across the back, and the quilt made by my aunt for my graduation, this glider chair really is a treasure now!


  It went from this...








to this! Very cozy! I found the cushion on clearance at Target and loved the color and had to get it (much to the chagrin of my husband)!



Can't wait to see the other trash to treasure links! This wasn't bad for FREE +a $7 cushion!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer School

I've been working harrrrd this summer, so that July 1, my husband and I can do THIS!

Followers

Wow! I have 30 followers! That's pretty humbling for me. Honestly, I don't write this blog for followers. I started it at a point in the year last year where I needed a boost of positive energy. I had a difficult class last year, and things were constantly changing in our school and district. It was tough...and then I discovered teaching blogs! All those great ideas gave me the enthusiasm and encouragement to keep at it even when the job got me down sometimes. Now, I'm feeling so much better and REALLY looking forward to next year with all of the great resources I've found.

I probably won't have crazy giveaways or launch a TPT store, but I do want to document the things I've tried and my progress as a teacher. At the same time, I do love connecting with other teachers, and sharing ideas. I'm so thankful!

So, on that note, here are a few things I've worked on in the last few months.

I am soooo going to try Whole Brain Teaching...I think my kids need that infusion of energy, and I need a behavior system that isn't based on extrinsic rewards. We already do PBIS, and I felt like I was constantly bribing my students to act appropriately. I really want to get away from that this next school year, and this is where I'm going to start!

Whole Brain Rules Posters

Oh, and the reason the "Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat" poster has two hands on it is this: the kids show me a "one" for bathroom, and a "two" for tissues or garbage can. That way, I know exactly what they want to do, and I just nod yes or no. That also makes it nice for reading groups...I can just seem them and nod, and then they don't keep coming up to the table to interrupt.

These are labels I made for a bulletin board outside my room. It's from another idea I saw on blogland (shoutout if it was yours!), but I changed it to reflect our butterfly theme. Pictures of the board coming soon. Oh, and the font is cuter in real life, I didn't save it as a PDF first :)

Cocoon Labels


I borrowed this idea from Really Good Stuff. Last year I had the WORST tattlers. I tried tattle tickets, and lessons about tattling versus reporting. One student would tattle on EVERYONE, and then stand around and watch me, expecting me to DO SOMETHING right away. Drove me nuts. I have a stuffed bear with a butterfly headband who is going to be my tattle bear :) It's cheesy, but maybe it'll work. Again, cuter font on the real thing :)

Talk to Tattle Bear

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tangents

The funny thing about kids is that one minute you are talking about segregation and the next minute some kid is telling some real/fake story about how his uncle got a pistol in his back.

Or how someone threw a brick through a window because someone had been standing on somebody else's lawn and there was some graffiti about hating Mexicans (somehow those two things connected...I missed it!)

We went on a field trip to the Brown vs. Board of Ed (my school is two blocks down the street so we walked). The kids really enjoyed it.

The conversations above happened when we were talking about what kinds of things were done to the African Americans during segregation. Somehow the kids turned it into "Tell the scariest story I know and maybe embellish just a teeeeensy bit." The sad thing is that I wouldn't be surprised if there were more kernels of truth in them than untruth. Most of them don't come from fabulous homes or neighborhoods.

I guess the best case scenario is that they remember those feelings of fear or anxiety when they are tempted to treat someone unfairly or unkindly...maybe all of those "tall tales/real life experiences" will help them understand empathy.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pinterest

Have you guys been using Pinterest? I started out pinning crafting and style ideas and inspiration, but I've started branching out into classroom ideas and it's been fun! It helps me organize all of those fun things I see on blogs, plus it helps you directly link back to those sites.

This is me:

http://pinterest.com/methomason/

Come on over and see what it's about! Do you have boards?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My space

(These three bulletin boards are the ONLY bulletin boards I have in my room! Yes, tiny!)

These are some pictures from a few years ago when I first moved into my new classroom.

I write this post to say I'm so excited because we are getting DESKS!! I know a lot of you are probably happy with tables, but we have odd-shaped rooms to begin with, and these hideous trapezoid-shaped tables were just the right size to run into all the time! The one nice thing about them was that we could move them around and manipulate them a lot of different ways. However, the tables often had legs that would loosen up really easily, making them wobbly. Also, because we have 24-25 students, it got really cramped fitting them all in around the tables.

We do a lot of Kagan cooperative learning in our district, and whenever our presenters came, they would have to be invited to see our tables because they really don't work well for Kagan leveling. We definitely had to be more creative in our arrangements. So, I think we are excited to be able to do Kagan more easily.

So, out with tables and in with desks! I know desks come with their own sets of challenges, but the kids won't have to drag as many things back and forth between their tables and cubbies, and I think that will make it worth it right there!

Summer School



Whew! I haven't posted about summer school yet! With summer school, trying to get my classroom set up for next year before we leave in July, and just enjoying the rest of my lazy time, I haven't blogged about it!

I LOVE IT! I have six sweet kiddos...seriously, we fly through the material. The first day, I had to scramble to come up with something else for them to do in the afternoon because we had done EVERYTHING and I didn't think we would get to it all! So, it's really nice to be able to do everything we need to do. Plus, there are times when we just sit and chat for a minute, and I can get to know them better.
I have 4th graders, all of who are English proficient except for one. It's new territory for me, as I don't have an ELL endorsement, but we are getting along. I have the students for about 4 hours, and we follow a 20-day math program and an ELL reading curriculum from National Geographic. Now that I have gotten used to it, I'm at the point where I'm trying to spice it up a a bit :)

One of our vocabulary words was weave, and so we got to work on a weaving project that they seemed to really enjoy. Some of them did have trouble with the "over, under, over, under" pattern, but it wasn't TOO easy for them that they were bored or thought it was baby-ish. Doing art projects with 6 4th graders is so much more relaxed than 25 third-graders!

Anyway, that's the update so far. My real classroom is coming along. I am going with a butterfly theme for next year. I'm not a big theme person, but I do like to have something fun going on for the beginning of the year. I'm thinking we'll do those tie-dyed coffee filter butterflies to decorate my door. I also saw a cute bulletin board somewhere in blogland that had pics of the kids with "From the desk of..." to hang their work on. I'm thinking I might do "From the cocoon of..." hehehe...let me know if you have any other butterfly ideas for 3rd graders!

Megan

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Starting Up Again

So....I signed on to teach summer school. I went back and forth for a while, and then I figured since I wasn't doing anything else, and we aren't leaving for Brazil until July, that I could make a few extra bucks. Plus, the ladies at the interview sold me on it, so here I am! I am doing a Migrant/ELL summer school, and I only have 10 students! Needless to say, I am excited, and don't know what I will do with less than 25 students!

Any tips for a great summer school experience?

Tomorrow will be our getting the feet day, with getting to know you's, and routines, and all that. I really hope that I can get them excited enough to get through these next four weeks! I am teaching 4th grade, which will be fun and new for me (I'm going to have to relearn how to do long division, eeeek!)

Keep on posting those fabulous ideas, I know that I will be needing them!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

And That's It!

That's right, school is out! It was a whirlwind half week full of parties, LOTS of RAIN (boo!), crying (not me! my girly girls!), and trying to get everything done.

Now, I get to enjoy my four day weekend before SUMMER SCHOOL starts! So I'll def be reading all the blogs to keep my creative juices flowing through June!

Megan

Sunday, May 22, 2011

End of the Year Video

video

I always do an end of the year celebration for my students and their parents. We do class awards, and then I make a video of our pictures from the year. This is my favorite part, and the kids love seeing themselves on the big screen :) The parents get to see what we do all day, and its a great way to wrap up the year!

(I also noticed that most of the pictures I took were from the second half of the year...I can tell I was just trying to survive the first half! Okay, well I was trying to survive most of the second half too, let's be real!)

It's really long, so I don't expect any of you to watch the whole thing, but I am practicing getting my file sizes down enough so that Blogger can load them...I think I am getting the hang of it!

Yikes!

To read about yesterday's tornado scare, head to my personal blog here!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Cool Compliments






As an end of the year activity, I wanted to take an idea I saw on another blog, and combine it with something our teachers had to do at an inservice two years ago. I gave each kid a paper plate, and they had to place it on their backs using masking tape. Then they walked around, giving each other compliments, and having other kids sign their plates. It was ADORABLE! On their own, they ended up creating "trains" and they tried really hard to have everyone sign their plate. They kept asking me if I had one...I guess I should have but I was busy supervising and I tried to sign all of their plates. Super cute activity and they worked hard for 20 minutes!