Today I had my first day of new teacher orientation for my new school district. As I sat there, among the newbies fresh out of college, I couldn't help but feel excited at the school year that lies ahead of me! Sure, the day was exhausting. I had more information thrown at me and I have no idea how to process it yet (and tonight I plan on relaxing since I've done nothing this week but work in my classroom-pictures soon,promise). I'm incredibly tired, emotionally exhausted, and my brain is fried. But...it reminded me why I'm making the switch to elementary and to a different district.
I'm ready for NEW. New challenges, a new building, a new grade level...everything. It was so refreshing being around new teachers and meeting the amazing new teachers from my building. It was energizing and challenging to learn about the new expectations that I'm going to have in this exciting new adventure in my life. Now, more than ever, I'm glad I took the leap to make this transition back to elementary!!
I promise next week I will put up pictures of my classroom. I am ALMOST finished. I still have quite a few minor details left to adjust before it's ready for all of you.
Today I'm taking a break from stressing out about my unfinished classroom and am linking up with Miss Kindergarten for a "10 Things I've Learned from Teaching" linky party. I love reflecting back on what teaching had taught me over the past five years!
1. No matter how many times I try and stop myself, I will always, always, always pick up more supplies from the Target Dollar Spot for my students. How many pencils/erasers/notepads do my students really need?
2. At the middle school level, it is absolutely guaranteed that you will have at least two kids cry over opening their locker on the first day of school. You will also have at least two kids who are lost and wander into your classroom at the wrong time. :)
3. There is never enough glue! Glue sticks...glue bottles...there is never enough!
4. I've learned that Panera Bread Company soup cures most Open House/Parent-Teacher conference jitters for me. Something about warm soup makes me feel less nervous!
5. It's important to laugh with your students. Last year, my students and I got into a laughing fit over the word, "Uranus." We all couldn't stop laughing! (I mean, come on, the planet's name is absolutely hysterical!) It's important to not take yourself too seriously.
6. I always seem to be losing black Sharpies...I think my students eat them.
7. If you throw in a One Direction reference into any lesson you immediately engage everyone. The girls: "Ahhh, oh my gosh!!" The boys: "Gross Mrs. Tackett they're dumb!"
8. Sometimes you have to turn the light off in your classroom and pretend you're not in there so that you can actually accomplish something during your plan time. There would be days that I would hide out in the back corner of my classroom just so no one would bother me!
9. I have Lifesaver wintergreen mints on my desk during the first week of school. I eat them constantly so I don't lose my voice! It really works!
10. Smelly stickers motivate anyone. Any age, anytime. :)
What have you learned from teaching? Link up and share!
This week has been interesting.
I usually have dreams (and nightmares hehe) about the school year during the month of August, but never, NEVER have they started in July. For the past week, I've been waking up throughout the night (and struggling to fall asleep) because my brain is stuck in "school-mode." Last night I woke up at 1:00 AM because I had an idea for a bulletin board. Seriously?
I've even tried listening to my iPOD again to help me fall asleep. Usually a little Harry Potter audio book does the trick, but no sir-ee. Not this time.
I guess my brain is really ready to start this new school year! However, I would like some sleep before said school year officially begins.
Since I'm up, I suppose I may as well print some more resources from TpT...the cycle never ends! :)
Slowly but surely, my classroom is coming along. There is still a TON left to accomplish, but I thought I'd show you the progress I have made so far!
It's taken forever to organize everything...and I'm still not done! These pictures don't show my cabinets, where I plan on posting student birthdays, etc. I might even move my WOOT Wall from behind the computers to the cabinets and make it a "Wall of Fame." Who knows? :)
What do you all think so far? I need feedback!
I've been receiving tons of comments and questions about my Scientists of the Month, Sub Tub, and new library system lately. :) It has made me a pretty happy camper to share my ideas with others.
I recently received an email from a new teacher, asking me a few advice questions. I thought these were worth posting, since a LOT of new teachers have these same questions! Thanks for the great questions Jessica!
1) What is your advice for dressing as a science teacher? What is a typical outfit that you would wear?
This question made me smile for a couple of reasons. I remember during my first year of teaching when I wore heels every single day! Never again! I also smiled because I wore pretty...unconventional outfits to school on more than one occasion. I dressed up as Sir Isaac Newton, a superhero, an astronaut, a paleontologist, you name it. I only dressed up when it went along with my objective for that day though. :) I have found that cute flats from Target have become my teaching go-to shoes of choice. They are comfortable, I can move around in them, and they are perfect for those long lab days where I was standing on my feet for six plus hours. I usually wore slacks with a top, and last year I wore a scarf to make my outfit a little more fancy most days. You will find that even if you look young (or are young) that wearing slacks help you stand out from the kids...but don't be surprised if a teacher yells at you to, "Walk!" as you're running to the copy room last minute one morning. That happened to me MANY times. True story. :)
I also think wearing school spirit wear is important, especially on field trips and special assembly days. My middle school team had t-shirts made that we wore on several Fridays. I also made a bunch of cute science shirts that helped show my enthusiasm for teaching science. The kids picked up on that enthusiasm when they saw me wearing my nerdy shirts!
2) When it was your first year, how did you answer questions (from students/parents) about how long you have been teaching? Did you tell your students when it was your first year?
During my first year of teaching, I told my students and parents that I had previously worked with first graders (since that is the grade I student taught). I told them that it was my first year at the middle school building. I don't really remember if anyone asked me if it was my first year of teaching, but if they did I'm sure I told them it was. You never want to lie to parents or your students, and as long as you are confident, you have nothing to worry about. :)
3) How do you come up with a classroom theme?
I never really had a classroom theme at the middle school level. I always just stuck to a color scheme. Last year, it was black, lime, and blue. This year, it's black, pink, lime, and teal. I think sticking to consistent colors really brings a classroom together. When I walk into classrooms with rainbow bulletin boards everywhere with tons of different borders, it always looks more messy to me (but that's probably just my OCD tendencies). I liked to hang up current scientists too (since most kids think of all scientists as "dead guys") and I even hung up funny science memes I found online.
I hope these answers helped you and other new teachers Jessica! Beginning your first year of teaching is so exciting!
I really love the blog community. It's like a professional PLN that always brings you up. I wish all school faculties felt the love that I feel from my fellow bloggers.
Last night I received an email stating that Emily from The Absolutely True Blog of an Almost Teacher nominated me for the Liebster Award, which is given to new blogs. Even though I've been blogging for a while, this IS a new blog. :)
To accept this award, I must:
1. Link back to the blog(s) that nominated me
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers
3. Answer the questions posted by my nominator
4. Create 11 questions for my nominees
5. Share 11 random facts about yourself
6. Contact my nominees and let them know I nominated them
Here are my eleven random facts about myself:
1. I have an strange obsession with the Target Dollar Spot section (like most teachers). I just can't stay away!
2. I can never seem to purchase enough post-its.
3. I won my fifth grade class spelling bee by correctly spelling the word, "representative."
4. I have developed a fear of snakes as an adult.
5. I like my cheeseburgers completely plain with just ketchup...like a five year old.
6. I was afraid to drive until I was eighteen. My parents pretty much had to force me to learn.
7. I could listen to Broadway musical showtunes all day.
8. I met my husband through theatre in high school.
9. I hate mowing the lawn...with a passion!
10. I cracked my head open at school during a presentation about Austria.
11. I spoke at my high school graduation.
Now, for the questions for me to answer:
1. How/why did you become an Edublogger?
I became a blogger to share my passion for teaching and to learn from others. At my old school, there wasn't a lot of collaboration (except between my sixth grade science teachers and I). I always felt a little out of place, and some teachers seemed to shut out other teachers and not share positive ideas about teaching. I decided to create my own sunshine through blogging, and it has been great!
2. What is your favorite subject/topic to teach and why?
I think this one is obvious...science! :)
3. What is your favorite book?
My favorite teaching book is The End of Molasses Classes by Ron Clark, and my favorite non-teaching book is Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows.
4. School lunch or brown bag?
Brown bag all the way!
5. What’s the first thing you do after a long day of teaching?
I unwind best when I'm busy believe it or not. I usually find something to organize or clean, and then my mind is cleared after a day of teaching. Sometimes all I need is a little hot chocolate and some of my favorite T.V. shows to help me relax too!
6. How do you feel about heels in the classroom?
HA! I wore heels my entire first year...never again! My feet were killing me by the end of the day!
7. How do you keep track of your planning for the semester?
I have a desk calendar where I write deadlines and dates to help me stay on track. This year I can't wait to make my new teacher binder! I get a thrill out of teacher binders. :)
8. What is your favorite tech resource for teaching?
I like Edmodo. It is a great tool to communicate with students and parents!
9. Classroom pets: yes or no?
YES! Sadly, our class fish Einstein died over the summer, so I will buy a new fish or hermit crab to replace him when the new school year starts.
10. Do you realllly plan on your planning period?
I actually really, really do. :)
11. What is your favorite first week of school activity?
My friend Missy (and Space Camp homie) taught me how to give my students color personality tests! They are so much fun, and I can't wait to do them with my fifth graders!
Here are my nominees for the Liebster Award:
Shasta from The Loop
Sarah at Teaching is Colorful
Stephanie at Fifth Grade Dugout
Elizabeth at Hodge's Herald
Darleen at Third Grade Love
Here are your questions ladies:
1. When did you know that you wanted to become a teacher?
2. What's the funniest thing a kiddo has ever said to you?
3. What is your favorite "teacher" item?
4. Do you have a classroom theme? If so, what is it?
5. What are three things you always must have in your teacher bag?
6. Speaking of teacher bags, do you have a favorite that you'd recommend?
7. What is your least favorite subject to teach?
8. What is your best organizational tip for teachers?
9. Do you have a class mascot or class pet?
10. What is your favorite memory from the last school year?
11. What are you most looking forward to about the upcoming school year?
Well, another week begins in my life after space camp (LASC). I truly feel like a kid missing all of the fantastic people I met while there. But...life must go on!
Ever since I came back, I've been crazy busy. My Master's Classes will finally be finished (HOORAY!!) at the end of this month and the workload for these two courses I'm in has been insane. Plus, I've been trying to get in to my new classroom as much as possible. Oh, and did I mention that my husband and I bought a new car? It's the perfect size to haul school supplies to my new classroom! :)
Today I'm linking up with The Applicious Teacher to share some ideas about homework!
Last year, when I was at the middle school level, I used my No Homework Binder to help keep kiddos accountable (this became my most famous blog entry to date from my old blog).
Basically, when a kiddo didn't have their assignment, they would fill out the assignment name, date, and the reason the assignment was incomplete in their page in the binder. The pages were organized by class hour. Then, when I entered in grades, I entered the student's reason for in completion in the comments section of my grade book. This system was fantastic, but as the year went on, students forgot to fill in the binder more times than not, and then I had to track them down.
Recently, I've been receiving many emails (thanks to Pinterest) requesting my "Scientist of the Month" files that I used in my 6th grade science classroom last year.
I changed these posters out every month, and I even included a few "non scientists" like Kari Byron and Adam Savage since my students were very into Mythbusters. :)
I thought I'd share these docs with all of you via Google Docs! Click on the link below to download! Enjoy!
Teacher of leaders. Life-long learner. Space geek. Lover of all things color-coordinated, organized, and cutesy.