Monday, August 29, 2011


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


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 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's fun to teach and I'm better at it!

So I know where I need to keep growing though!


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


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