Today I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for the weekly Five for Friday post! Here are my five random items from this week.
1. I am beyond happy to have a "lived in" classroom now. Having new anchor charts and student work on the walls makes me smile.
2. I finally finished my birthday board! I think these pictures of the kiddos look adorable. They are holding up whiteboards with their birth date on them!
3. I also finished my classroom door. I think that it looks fantastic!
4. We have been reading Because of Mr. Terupt for our first class read aloud. The kids are LOVING this book about a new fifth grade teacher and his class. The book is from the perspective of different students, and it is a great book to discuss point of view! Fifth grade teachers- I definitely recommend this book!
5. I made a hall of fame wall of my most memorable past students. I've been missing them like crazy lately. :)
How was your week? Link up and share!
One of the biggest obstacles I faced switching from middle school to elementary was classroom supplies. Where would they all be stored? Would I let kids keep supplies in their desks/cubbies or would we use community supplies?
I finally settled on a community supply system that put more responsibility on my students. Here is what I came up with:
I got these caddies for 0.98 at Wal-Mart. I added three plastic cubs to make the supplies more functional and organized. First, I sorted all of my students' supplies into the containers. I also used a small circle dot sticker to label each of the supplies, along with the "table" label on the front of the caddy. (I'm sorry you can't see the label in this picture-table 1 has a black sticker).
Then, on the back of the caddy, there is a description of every school supply item that should be in the caddy. It is the job of the supply manager at the end of the day to check each caddy and replace/relabel supplies as necessary.
So far, my students are LOVING this system! It keeps them from playing with school supplies inside their desks too!
I have been kicked in the booty by allergies since last Thursday. I am FINALLY feeling some relief, thanks to a prescription medication (thanks Mom!) and a weekend of rest. I tell you, I thought Friday I might physically faint/die/collapse in front of my fifth grade friends. I'm glad I survived!
At the end of each day, like any teacher in their first few weeks back, I am mentally and physically drained. I am so lucky to have a husband who helps me take care of the house and grocery shopping because if it weren't for him I'd be starving and sleeping in a disgusting house every night. Luckily, that isn't the case. :)
It's way more exhausting teaching elementary school than middle school, but the rewards are there, and there are more of them since I share memories with my same group of 23 leaders (that's what I refer to them as) each day. I was feeling creative this morning (maybe it's all of our writings in our Seed Notebooks) so I felt the need to express my life as an elementary school teacher in a poem. Oh yes, it is cheesy and ridiculous.
"Remember to make your lunch choice," I say.
"Today's a great day to learn and have fun!"
My little leaders are finishing up their morning routine when I hear
"Can I use the restroom?" "Yes, remember not to run."
After the pledge we gather on our class carpet.
Time for our morning classroom meeting.
"Leaders, remember, please do not pick the carpet."
Today's topic is hallway behavior and friendly greetings.
Next we have math, we feverishly measure
Circumference and diameter and pi
My little leaders are pros at using a protractor
And the ones who need practice? They still always try.
Time for a potty break-they're getting restless.
Sitting still for an hour is hard to do.
We walk safe straight and silent around the corner to the restroom
Playing quiet mouse, hallway expectations are nothing new.
Next up is word work, we work on our spelling.
Then time for a quick mini lesson on writing.
Afterwards, hooray! It's time for lunch.
But uh-oh, it looks like indoor recess-there's lightning.
After lunch we take a potty break-twice today so far.
Then it's time to write ideas in our seed notebooks.
We practice our stamina and write for an hour
And discuss how writers need to write good "hooks."
We line up for specials, today we have P.E.
My little active leaders, so excited, they're jumping.
We wait until everyone's ready for the hall.
I remind them KAHFOOTY (keep all hands, feet, other objects to yourself) and no bumping.
Now I have a little break.
I take a nice long sip of water from my cup.
I frantically organize, copy, plan, and grade.
Then, in a flash, time's up.
Time for a potty break, our read aloud and snack
Then's it's time for my favorite-reading workshop
We practice our reading routines and then move on to science
We fill in our planners and before we know it, it's time to stop.
"The day's already over?" one voice exclaims, shocked.
Our days are over in a flash
We have another class meeting to discuss our day
My leaders perform their class jobs and pick up our trash.
We high five each other on the way out the door.
I tell them what a great leader they were that day.
Some give me hugs and nearly all give me smiles
As they head out and are on their way.
I head home, exhausted, and plop down on my couch.
I look over tomorrow's plans and start to grin.
As tired, drained, and spent I am.
I can't wait for tomorrow to begin.
No, this post isn't about my severe allergies that decided to begin yesterday during my class read aloud. Who doesn't love a teacher with itchy eyes, a constant runny nose, and a puffy face eh? I was up all night blowing my nose-ugh! Help lol!
I love classroom jobs. I think they make a classroom run more smoothly, help a classroom feel like a community, and overall help us teachers with the day to day management of the "stuff" in the classroom.
I knew I wanted to make a trendy job bulletin board that would be age appropriate for my fifth graders, so I mimicked my bloggy pal Jordon's iHelp bulletin board!
The jobs will be changed each Monday. Here is my description of each job:
Class Captain- The Class Captain is in charge of checking lunch count at the beginning of the day and handing out lunch cards. He/she fills out any absent paperwork for absent students and places the work in the Absent folders. He/she is also in charge of wearing the, “Ask me!” lanyard during small groups and answering any questions students might have while Mrs. Tackett is working with groups. He/she is also in charge of helping any substitute teachers in our class. See the green clipboard for more details.
Assignment Sorter- Puts all homework and assignments in number order and makes sure that the paper stacks are neat and tidy. Checks the homework in the morning and records any missing homework in the “No Homework” binder.
Paper Passer- Hands out papers and helps the equipment guru hand out supplies throughout the day if necessary.
Board Cleaner- Cleans off boards at the end of the day.
Electrician- Turns of lights as we leave the room and turns the lights on when we enter.
Librarian- Keeps the library books organized and labels any new books we receive. Rotates book nook spots daily.
Messenger- Carries our lunch count and attendance to the office and any messages throughout the day.
Tech Geek- Turns on the computers at the beginning of the day and off at the end of the day. Helps with the SmartBoard and controls the remote.
Supply Manager- Helps pass out smaller supplies and materials throughout the day and re-stocks group supplies and labels them appropriately. Organizes the bookshelf of supplies in the front of the room.
Pencil Patrol- Sharpens pencils at the end of the day.
Equipment Guru- Helps pass out larger materials (indoor recess games, clipboards, whiteboards) and is responsible for managing the two door cabinet.
Housekeeper- Sprays down desks at the end of the day and makes sure the floor is clean. Organizes recycle bin.
Pet Patrol- Feeds our class fish daily and cleans out the bowl on Friday.
Bathroom Monitor- Monitors the bathroom and makes sure the Bathroom Expectations are being followed.
Substitute- Fills in for any student who is absent.
These descriptions are right next to the iHelp board on the wall.
My favorite job is our Class Captain. He/She even gets to hold a green clipboard throughout the day. See it sticking above the absent folders on the right of the shelf? :)
I especially love the idea of them wearing an "Ask Me" badge during small group time. They will be responsible for answering questions students might have while I am working with a small group!
Of course, I put the badge on a NASA lanyard. You can take a girl away from Space Camp, but you can't take the Space Camp away from the girl. :)
What are your class jobs? Any suggestions on jobs I should add? My kids line up in number order every time we line up, so I don't need a line leader.
Everyone at school has their "go-to" people. You have the person you lean on when you need a pick-me-up, the person who gives you great ideas for a lesson, and the person who can always make you laugh.
One of my favorite bloggers, Krissy Venosdale, said in her blog the following statement that really stuck with me the other day. She was blogging about "when your passion offends" and I felt like she was writing from my perspective:
"When you pour you heart into something, it can truly break it when someone doesn’t “get” it. But we’re all different. The very best thing we can do for our students is to live out loud. Be ourselves. Let our passions shine through. Never shining so they will blind others, but so they will light up learning in our schools and for our kids." www.venspired.com
Because negativity can exist everywhere, it's so important to find people that bring you up and feel the same way about their students. I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the people who really brought rays of sunshine to my days teaching over the past five years. Today, they start their school year, and even though I'm not right there with them, frantically making first day copies and gulping down my coffee, their passion inspires me every day!
I knew I could always count on my friend M to help calm me down and focus on what was really important. She was the first to say, "We work to live, we don't live to work," and would go to bat for me if someone was being hurtful about my enthusiasm in the classroom. She was my school "mama" and still is.
My friend S has the most positive and data-driven attitude of anyone I know. She is the person I joke I want to open a school with, because her attitude about kids (including her special education kids) is so positive. She believes the best of every student, and works harder than any teacher I know to make learning an engaging experience. She even makes kids a t-shirt to wear on their birthday!
My friend L always has a can-do attitude. She is constantly positive, reminding others why she cares about them. This past week, she called me just to give me an amazingly adorable chameleon tape dispenser that changes color. She told me she thought myself and my kids would love it. Those little reminders from her that she cared always brought a smile to my face.
My friend J was my shoulder. I could cry, laugh, anything in her office. She would always listen to me, no matter how busy she was. She has the kindest soul of anyone on the planet. She wants nothing but the best for her students and for her school. She was, and is, one of my closest friends who reminds me to always take the time to listen to others.
I could always sit with E and discuss concerns and questions. E would consistently try and make me see things from a different perspective. E taught me to not put so much pressure on myself and to let go once in a while. E also challenged me to learn and grow as an educator, and told me that the most important thing is always the kids. "If you focus on the kids, that's all that matters."
And finally, my friend A was with me from the beginning. She and I struggled through our first year together, learning where important things like the laminating machine were and more. she words hard and keeps to herself, and the amount of growth I saw in my students thanks to her was absolutely unbelievable. She was my rock, her room was a safe place, and she helped me survive during those overwhelming first few years.
There are many more people that helped me see the sunshine during my time in middle school, but these individuals really stand out in my mind. I'm so thankful to have them in my life still, even with switching to a new school. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Last week was my first official week as an elementary teacher! Wow...the difference between middle school and elementary school is incredible! The atmosphere feels so alive and exciting. I was blown away at how FAST my days went by teaching more than just one subject!
Last week we also had Open House. I wanted to share with you several ideas I used that were very successful at my first elementary Open House.
My room was set up to look very inviting and welcoming to my new little kiddos! I used purple stegosaurus dicuts for my wish list and had several stations set up throughout the classroom.
One of the coolest ideas (that I learned from a new teacher at my orientation) was to make a Purple Parent Folder. Anything that is copied on purple paper that comes from from school (newsletters, important reminders, etc.) stays in the purple parent folder at all times. This folder is just for parents, and my parents thought it was an awesome idea!
Inside the Purple Parent Folder was a magnetic business card with my contact information on it. I bought these adhesive cards for $7.99 at OfficeMax. Again, this was an idea from another teacher that was too awesome not to use! I love that my parents will have my email, phone number, and website all in one handy place!
To make sure that my students and parents explored my room and didn't just stay at their seats, I set up eight different stations throughout the room. The kids loved "bossing" their parents around to each station!
The last stations were my favorite. My students wrote a goal for themselves on a sticky note and placed it on a big piece of chart paper while their parents filled out the goals they had for their child this year. The last station reminded them to stop by and see me for a special surprise!
I'm going with a "bright" theme this year, so I bought them all glow bracelets! They were a huge hit!
What are your Open House ideas? Have you started school yet? I can't believe summer is over!
Today is my first day of school! Ahhh!! (Insert squeals of excitement and sounds of nervous-shaking here).
I am so excited to share my classroom tour with all of you....finally! I will share more about how I set up my Open House later this week.
So...without further ado...my 2013-2014 classroom!
This is my PBIS bulletin board. My schools is a PBIS school, so we have the same posters and expectations in every classroom!
This is my favorite bulletin board in the room! Students can post their favorite book recommendations using blue post-it notes on this board.
So there you have it! I will explain more details about my classroom and my organization later, but I couldn't wait to share pictures! Here's to a great school year!
Well I am ALMOST ready for a full reveal, but there still are a few little details to adjust in my classroom. In the meantime, here are some ideas (mostly from Pinterest of course) that I am planning on implementing this year.
I love this idea! When a student needs a writing conference, they just grab a cup and place it on their desk. It's a great visual for me to see who needs a conference! I'm all about quick and easy visuals.
These are my name calling popsicle sticks. The sticks have student numbers on them, and after I call on a kiddo, I just move the popsicle stick to the other side. Once all the names are called, I can just move the lid to the other side! I prettied up the Crystal Light containers with some ribbon. :)
My friend Laura gave me some amazing tubs this year, and I knew immediately what I wanted to do with the large, pretty, blue ones. I have five clipboards and whiteboards in each bin, and everything is numbered to coordinate with the student number. When the kiddos need to use a whiteboard or clipboard for an activity, they just head to their bin. I can easily identify when anything is missing with this system as well-bonus!
I'm big on positive reinforcement, and so is my new school! Every time our class earns a compliment or "Wags" as my school calls them, we will add a fuzzy to the jar. Once the jar is full, we will decide on a prize together!
Well, I'm off to another day at school! The work never ends! Ahhhhh!
It seems as though all I've done for the past few days is sit. I've sat in meetings. I've sat in my classroom wondering where to start. I've opened my lesson plan book, again, wondering where to begin. :) Oh, the joys of being a new teacher again!
I'm setting some goals for myself this year, and I'm not going to try and over-do it. I have to take things one step at a time and not take on too much. It's going to be overwhelming enough just starting over!
Today I'm linking up with Jess at I Heart Recess to complete her Back to School Goals. Here they are!
Personal: I want to keep working out at least thirty minutes daily. I am planning on switching to morning workouts next week, but so far I've been running and doing cardio every day! Woo hoo!
Organization: I am going to have a difficult time keeping everything organized this year-especially with all subjects! I am going to focus first quarter on guided reading and keeping everything in its place. One thing at a time. :)
Planning: My fifth grade team plans every week, so I hope to be at least one week ahead so I know what's coming up.
Professional: My new school district is AWESOME! They are so supportive of 21st Century Learning and other professional movements. I hope to expand my knowledge this year.
Motto: I chose this quote by John F. Kennedy for a few reasons. 1. It reminds me of Space Camp (hehe). 2. Changing districts and grades is not going to be easy; it's going to be hard. But I chose to switch for a reason, and I need to remember that when times get rough!
Have a great weekend everyone!
Teacher of leaders. Life-long learner. Space geek. Lover of all things color-coordinated, organized, and cutesy.