Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The first two days

    It seems like forever since I've had the time to make a blog post. The past two weeks have been so crazy.  However the first two days are finished and things will start calming down a bit, hopefully.  The worst part of the first days are all the papers that have to be collected and recorded.  I feel more like a secretary lately than a teacher.  I still need to update my class website and enter parent email addresses when I finish this post so I'm going to make it quick.  Here is a brief picture tour of my first few days.

The first day I introduced myself with this video.  This took so much time to make so I plan on reusing it for a few years. I then played a game with my students where they had to write down 2 true facts and 1 false statement about themselves.  We then tried to guess which statement was the one not true about the student.

I started Whole Brain Teaching on the first day and introduced my scoreboard system for rewards.  It was fun watching my students do gestures and smile while learning the rules.  I am really hoping WBT will be a great way to teach this year.

This shows my learning targets for the first few days.  We are working on picking independent reading books and map skills in social studies.  

This is our first class bulletin board.  I took every students picture and they brought in pictures of something that was important to them.   I was able to get an idea of how their writing skills were by having them write a paragraph about their picture.

In language arts we have been talking about the importance of finding books to read.  We set up reading notebooks and then starting looking for books we wanted to read.  Some students knew of books they wanted to read but that I didn't have in my library.  We started a list on my board of books we would like to add to the classroom library.

The rest of this week we continue practicing our whole brain rules and procedures and setting up our reading notebooks.  I will be discussing expectations for reading response letters and discussing strategies for independent reading.  In social studies we are taking a pretest for our first unit and starting geography.

I hope everyone else is having a great start back to school.  I hate that my blogging time is more limited now, but I will try to post at least once or twice a week.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Classroom Tour

Today was my first teacher workday and I can honestly say that I am happy to be back. I work with some really great people and I'm excited to see what this year will bring. For the most part my classroom is finished, so here is a quick picture tour of my room.


These are the signs outside my door.  This year I am on the Grizzly Bear team! Last year I was a sea turtle but I'm liking the bear theme better. 

These are two filing cabinets pulled together to make a bulletin board. I am making this the space for my power pictures which is part of the Whole Brain Teaching model. 

My Instagram bulletin board which I am looking forward to displaying student work on.

Half of my classroom library.  This year I sorted by genre. I'll be interested in seeing how long they stay that way.

Posters above my library that describe the different literary genres. 

At the top of my wall is a timeline I will be using as we study ancient civilizations.

This is my front desk area for my laptop to connect with my smart board.  I also have an iHelp job chart posted.

This space will be used for student supplies. The drawers have everything from dry erase markers to scissors in them. 

I love this poster in my room. The kids use it all the time!  I haven't yet decided what to do with the magnet board I made beside of it. 

I used a small filing cabinet to make a little "office" in the back of my room.

I've already changed my room arrangement but I like that this allow me to have more space to walk around.

Tomorrow I have some more meetings and will start planning for the first quarter.  That is definitely what I am most excited for.  I like decorating my room but I'd much rather be prepared with what I'm teaching.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Winners Announced & Back to Work

  I would like to thank everyone who entered my 200 Follower Giveaway.  Winners have been contacted so congratulations toUrsula G. and Jk. H.  A big thank you as well to everyone who contributed to the giveaway.  I really appreciate all of my blogger friends who helped me out!
     I have not yet had the time to change my blog layout like I wanted to but hope to be able to do that soon enough. My first teacher workday is Tuesday but I will be going to school today to finish getting my room ready. When it comes times for meetings I like to be set with my classroom so that I don't have to sit there and stress through the meetings.

   While thinking about getting ready for sixth grade orientation I found some cute pins on Pinterest.  The first idea is of a Back to School party but I just love the decorations and am thinking about setting up a table like this in my room.

I'm also deciding how I want to give out contact information. There are so many cute magnet ideas floating around that people have made, but I'm not sure how permanent the information I give will be. I currently use the program our school has for a classroom website but I may decide to create my own class blog this year and then would have a different link to give out. I do love this idea of "Thanks for Popping in."
Good luck to everyone else starting back this week!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Giveaway Extended

   I am extending my 200 Follower Giveaway due to the fact that I had set it up to end last night when it wasn't supposed to end until tonight.  So I apologize if you found out about the giveaway through another blog and tried to enter today.  However, I have the Rafflecopter working and will continue to accept entries until Saturday at midnight. I will announce winners on Sunday.  Remember you can get extra entries by sharing the giveaway on your blog!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Thinking about next year - Professional Book Discussions

   I know several of my blogger friends have read many professional development books this Summer. The three I read were Teach Like a Pirate, The Book Whisperer and Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids.  Now that I know a little more about what I will be teaching next year, I'm really starting to think about how I will apply what I have learned.  I found out I will be teaching an EC class, which consists of standard students mixed with students with disabilities, and also an advanced class with AIG students mixed in, which are students who are intellectually gifted.   With such extreme differences in classes I really want to be prepared for differentiating my classes while keeping them both engaging.  If you have read any of the books I mentioned above please feel free to join in the discussion by commenting to this post.

    Teach like a Pirate makes me want to plan lessons that are so engaging students would rather come to class than stay at home.  Here are some things I'm pondering for next year:
   1.  How will I structure my class so that it can be engaging but orderly at the same time?
   2.  What structure lesson plan will I use that is predictable for my EC students but still flexible?
   3.  What lessons can I plan for teaching grammar and vocabulary that are much more fun than just taking notes and practicing with sentences?

    The Book Whisperer has already guided me in planning my classroom library.  I have so many more books this year and have arranged them by genre so students can hopefully find something they enjoy more quickly.  Some questions I'm still pondering for teaching Language Arts include:
    1. What requirements will I set up to assess that my students are growing as readers?
    2.  Will I stick with the 40 book goal Miller suggests?
    3.  How will I structure my LA class period to allow for plenty of SSR time and everything else I need to teach?

  Whole Brain Teaching makes me the most excited about teaching this year.  I can't wait to start using my new class rules and gestures.  I am a little concerned about how my advanced students will respond to the silliness of WBT.  I feel like I've researched WBT enough that I'm prepared to use it, my main concern is just how receptive my students will be.  I'm also deciding on if I will break out the Super Improver Team during the first week of school.

If you have read any of these books, please feel free to post about how you will be incorporating what you learned into your own class this year.  I'd also love any suggestions for the questions I posted!

Finally, don't forget tomorrow is the last day to enter my 200 follower Extravaganza! 


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Teacher Week- Classroom Tours

     I just saw the blog hop for teacher week so I had to join in.  Yesterday was Meet the teacher day so since I didn't post about this, you can learn all about me using the tab in my top bar. Today is dedicated to classroom tours.  I still have a LONG way to go with my classroom but I did take several pictures today of some finished projects in my room.

This is my agenda board where I will write I can statements and homework for each class period.
Here is a reading bulletin board my cheerleaders made for me.  I still need to laminate the words for it but I found this idea on Pinterest to hold reading beads.  The thumbtacks on the board will be holding string for each student to have their own necklace.  They will earn a bead for every book they finish.

I'm in love with these rule posters and signs that go along with Whole Brain Teaching. I found them for free on Teachers pay Teachers!

This is just a small look at my nonfiction section.  It is taking forever to scan all of my books into the classroom organizer app, even with the help of several cheerleaders.  I do love the labels I found for free on Teachers pay Teachers.

This is how much clutter I still have on my tables at the end of day 2.  I have my tables set up in 5 different groups and my new room has more space than my old one which I'm very excited about!

I still have so much to do but I'm very proud of all that we have accomplished in two days.  What is your classroom looking like so far?

Don't forget to enter to win a $10 Target giftcard and a Teachers pay Teachers bundle.  There are only two days left to get your entries in.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday Made It - Bulletin Boards & a Freebie

      Today was the first day working in my new classroom.  I first had to take everything out of my old room and move it to the new room.  I put my tables in groups and then started working on the walls and organizing my classroom library.  I had several of my cheerleaders helping me out today which was very nice.  There is no way I could have accomplished all that I did today without them.   So I'm linking up to Monday Made it to show how my room is going so far.

    I'm most excited about the filing cabinet bulletin board idea I saw on Pinterest.  It is simply two filing cabinets pushed together with bulletin board paper taped on it.  The magnets work great on it, so I am going to use it to display class and school news.

   I also made an Instagram bulletin board today.  This was another idea I found on Pinterest.  I couldn't find pictures of the exact buttons on Instagram so the bottom navigational bar I created using shapes in Pages. I plan on using this to showcase student work but for the first days of school I'm going to have students bring in their actual Instagram photos to put on the board as a way to get to know everyone.  I may even do a "Throwback Thursday" and have them bring in baby pictures.

   By the end of Day 1, my classroom looked like a tornado went through it.  However, I am completely reorganizing my classroom library so for now books have to be everywhere.  I am looking forward to getting my tables cleared off and being able to see clean floors again.

     Finally, don't forget to enter my 200 Follower extravaganza! Click here to go to the post where you can enter to win a $10 Target giftcard or a TpT bundle!  I have been adding free products to my Teachers pay Teachers store.  My newest addition is a worksheet to practice spelling with.  I will be laminating these for students to use during free time or homeroom to practice spelling words.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Five for Friday

I haven't linked up for Five for Friday in a while but this week was full of random things so I'm excited to join in on the fun.

{ one }

Cheer camp was this week and it was a lot of fun.  My girls learned a routine for competition and we played some games I hadn't heard of before.  Has anyone ever played the looking game? It is where you sit in a circle and some one counts to three.  On three everyone immediately looks at someone and if you are looking at the same person who is looking at you then you are both out.  The last 2 people in the circle are the winners.  It is much more fun than it sounds!

{ two }

On Tuesday I went to a Matchbox Twenty and Goo Goo Dolls concert.  They both were amazing in concert.  I've always loved their older music and they played almost all of my favorite songs.  Goo Goo Dolls has a new song called "Come to Me," that I fell in love with.  


{ three } 

I found a new app for devotions that I absolutely love.  It is called Word and everyday there is a new picture and then a short devotion that goes along with the picture.  I've been saving the pictures and using them as wallpaper for my phone.


{ four } 

I can finally run a mile without stopping! I know that doesn't sound very far but when I ran track in high school I was a sprinter and it took me forever to learn how to pace myself.  I have been running at least two miles every other day and am trying to get ready for another 5k. I hope I can keep this up when school starts back!

{ five }

I'm super excited about my 200 follower extravaganza!  Click the button below to take you to the post where you can enter to win a $10 giftcard or a bundle of Teacher pay Teacher products!  I have been adding more free items to my store so make sure you check that out as well.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

200 Follower Extravaganza!

I'm super excited to have reached 200 followers.  I have met so many great bloggers this Summer and have learned so much from you all.  To celebrate I will be revamping my blog, TPT store and having an awesome giveaway!  Some of my new blogger friends are helping with my giveaway so a special thanks to
Angela, Erin, Dawnn, Elizabeth, and Meredith for donating items from their store! 

 There will be two different giveaways. I will be donating a $10 Target giftcard to the first winner. I love Target for their Dollar Spot and buying things to make all the Pinterest ideas I find.  Even if you aren't a teacher, who wouldn't want a Target giftcard? The second winner will receive an awesome Reading Logs Combo Pack and there choice of an item from 4 different TPT stores!  To enter these giveaways use the Rafflecopter at the end of this post.  Make sure Rafflecopter has your correct email address for me to contact you with.  The giveaway will run until next Thursday and I will announce winners on Friday!

Keep checking back daily as I will be revamping my blog design and adding several free products to my TPT store.  I'd also love to have a few guest bloggers during the week if anyone would like to contribute a post about getting ready for back to school.  Please use the contact form in my right sidebar if you'd like to participate. Thanks again to all of my followers for stopping by, I look forward to getting to know you all.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Classroom Setup To-Do List

   I've been talking about needing a to-do list for when I go to set up my classroom next week so the time has come to actually sit down and make it.  So this post is dedicated to just what I need to do before my students arrive August 26th.  I'm included some pictures from Pinterest that link to ideas I want to do this year.

  1. Move personal furniture from my old room to my new room
  2. Arrange tables in groups and make tables even
  3. Put felt with rubberbands on the ends of chairs 

    4. Take two filing cabinets to turn into a magnetic bulletin board.

    5.  Move books from lockers into classroom.
    6.  Organize classroom library using Classroom Organizer.
    7.  Create genre labels, print and laminate for book baskets.
    8.  Create reading beads bulletin board. 
    9.  Create Instagram bulletin board and cut out hearts to use for likes.
    10. Create Whole Brain Teaching Rule Posters, print, laminate, hang up.
    11. Locate a new teacher chair or paint a wooden stool.
    12.  Organize art supplies with labels and baskets.
    13.  Hang magnet board by the door to hold hall passes.

    14.  Hang motivational posters.
    15.  Hang world map.
    16.  Create Spotlight on Reading bulletin board.

        This is all I can think of now for setting up my classroom. I'm sure I'll add more when I get in my new room. I will have another list later dedicated to planning and setting up for the first days!  Whats on your classroom setup list?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Introducing my first TpT product!

   I decided to jump on the Teachers pay Teachers train today with my very first product.  It is a set of 3 posters called "Check your grammar." Each one covers a different grammar topic including apostrophes, pronouns and punctuation. I created these because they are the things in writing my students miss the most and I want them to have something to always refer to. I'm very excited about learning how to make products for TpT so I will be unleashing many more things in the next few days, so be on the lookout.   Since I'm just starting out on TpT I would love any advice from those of you who have been making products for a while! To see my first product click the button below. I'd love any and all feedback!

 - TeachersPayTeachers.com 

     I'm also working on a few items that I will use for my 200 follower giveaway which I'm getting very close to!  If anyone else would like to donate something from their TpT store for the giveaway, please let me know as soon as possible.  Thanks so much.
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Friday, August 2, 2013

August Already!

Only a few more weeks until school starts.  I'm already back in school with cheerleading practices going on.  Next week starts our cheer camp and then the following week I can start setting up my classroom.  I'm ready for school to start back but I have a lot I want to get done before students come.  So today I'm linking up with Farley for this month's currently to talk about what is on my mind for August!

Listening- I'm currently listening to Dierks Bentley's song "When you gonna come around."  It's off his new album and I just love it, it's been on repeat.

Loving- Back to school sales have been pretty good at office stores lately.  Today starts Tax Free weekend in NC so I'm going to brave the crowd with a co-worker to get a few things.

Thinking- I'm still deciding how I want my students to check books in and out of my classroom library this year.  I think I'm going to go with the Classroom Library Organizer iPhone app.  I also need to decide if I'm going to group my books by genre and if so, will I put stickers on each of the books so that my students put them back in the right bins.  Any suggestions?

Wanting-  I am so badly wanting to take another fun trip before school starts but it doesn't look like it's going to be very possible with all I have coming up.  I may try to do a day trip to the Biltmore Estate or to Carowinds.

Needing- I need to make a list of all the things I need to do when I get in my classroom.  If I don't make a list I know I will just start one project, think of something else and start it. Right now, I probably don't want to see how many pages that list will end up being.

Back to School Must Haves- 1)  I need a new teacher chair to sit in while reading Read Alouds and to have near my smartboard.  Last year I had a stool and the plastic completely tore off over the cushion I used it so much. 2)  I also want some new comfy teaching shoes.  Yes, I probably have too many shoes already, but it just feels nice having a new pair to start the year.  3) I've seen so many cute teacher binders on Pinterest so another thing I want for school is my own personalized binder to organize all my class information with.

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Make sure you join in on the fun & link up with Farley for this month's currently. Don't forget about my 200 follower giveaway that will start as soon as I reach 200 followers.  I'm still accepting donations to the giveaway in exchanges for links back to your blog or tPt store.  Contact me if you are interested!

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