Monday, December 17, 2012

Running...just another initiative?

Okay. This is embarrassing. I don't even want to say it. But, I guess I'll admit it.  I. Haven't. Been. Running. Ahh!  I know... we've all been in times like this, but I've been really bad!  Anyway, as my husband and I rejoined our gym a couple of weeks ago, I was thinking about my running journey.

We often think of running, or working out for that matter, as an addition to our already hectic schedule. In education terms, dare we say it is an initiative?  Oooh, those forbidden words of a new initiative!! Frightful, frightful words.

As I was "treading" on the treadmill attempting to run a couple of miles, I was trying to distract my "I can't do this," "this is terrible," and "how did I get myself so out of shape" thoughts.  While doing this, I realized that I'm not really adding this to my calendar, but merely adjusting what I'd been doing with my time.  Instead of coming home and watching Wheel of Fortune, I'm at the gym.  Now, if Wheel of Fortune was extremely beneficial to my health or learning, then maybe I'd have a tougher decision, but let's be honest about that.  Good, classic game show? Yes!  Beneficial to my health and learning? No!

Then I started thinking about school initiatives.  These initiatives aren't to add something new, they are designed to adjust or alter old practices.  Let's look at an example.  Common Core standards.  As we learn about them, unpack them, study them, create assessments for them, and design tasks to match the rigor, this all seems like an addition.  A time-intensive initiative.  Isn't it really just altering our current practices.  What we learn, study, and do with the CCSS shouldn't be an addition to our already busy days, but a change in how we view student learning and achievement.

So what am I really saying?  I'm saying that working out and school initiatives shouldn't be a matter of time.  It should be changing current practices and making you better.  

On a Separate Note: Reflection from Friday's Tragic Event
I have always felt blessed to be in the education field.  No matter how bad I want to stay in bed in the morning, how much work I have to do, or the data I need to look at, the students always, always, make it worth it.  On Monday morning, the students are the ones walking down excited to see you.  Maybe I created an environment where they felt safe or where they knew they were going to be pushed, but it was all because of them.  This might be too honest, but I don't feel like a hero.  The students are the cause behind every teacher's effort.  They are the ones that make it worth it.  When they walked in the building this morning, they once again brought that sense of comfort, joy, and love back to school.  Without the students, our heroes are gone.

Peace and love to all who have been impacted so gravely by this act, and may we find our heroes everyday in the students we teach.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Elf on the Shelf Door Decorating Idea and Freebie!

Last year, my very first post on my blog was about a door decorating contest we had at our school during the month of December.  Now Pinterest was around, but I was being stubborn.  I wanted to win the competition, and I thought the only way to win was to tie it into my instruction and to make it unique.  Come to find out...everyone was a winner!  Lame if you ask me, but we still had a lot of fun!

With Elf on a Shelf becoming a hot item, I thought it would be a great way to pull student interest into the activity.  Now remember, it was my very first post, so I was not all camera crazy while the kids were hard at work!  Wah wah!  Anyway, we created a little elves shop, got out some supplies, and students started working on their elves for the door.  They could pick their colors and their theme, but the trick?  They were going to have to write about it, too!

My precious little elves got to work, and started creating their own friends.  We had a green monster, a pink princess, a few Colts elves, Christmas elves, Santa elves, and my favorite (the one on top with the red and white striped pants), an IU Hoosier elf!

Yes, I am aware that the quality of this pic is bad horrible!  
Remember...first post ever photo from 12 mos. ago! 

I'm sure you all can make this look SOOOO much better, but because of my stubbornness in creating something unique, I was a little late getting it up.  I used crumbled brown paper and rolled it to create the shelves.  

After they created their elf, they had to name their elf and then use descriptive words to see if others could guess which elf was theirs.  You could make the descriptive writing portion as detailed and intensive as you wish.  I put their descriptive writing on the other side of the doorway.  It would be great on a bulletin board if you could put the elves and the writing on the same board.  The students absolutely LOVED figuring out whose elf was whose based on the writing.  I had a really simple writing sheet last year, but here are some cuter ones you can use for your little elves!  Click here to download these writing sheet *FrEeBiEs* and pick the one that best fits your crew!

Also, wondering about the Elf template to help your students?  Use this link to find the templates I used from DLT-kids!  I made templates on card stock (sans the candy cane) for each table group and then let them trace them onto the colors they actually wanted.  The brads took the longest, so a parent helper would be great for putting helping to put them together! :)

I'd love to see what all of you can create with this.  Happy elfing!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Freebie Nonfiction Conventions Game, I Have...Who Has? games, and Cyber Monday!

My most-loved free item in my TpT store is my Nonfiction Conventions I have...Who Has? Game that reviews all of the conventions.  After a recent request to add more terms, I have revised the first one and added an "advanced" version!  The primary version (labeled PV on the cards) includes 14 cards.  The advanced version (labeled AV on the cards) includes 27 conventions.

Oh, and the best part?!  Both games are FREE!!  Yes. Free!!  

Here are few reasons why I love I have...Who has? games:
1. Every student is involved!
2. It's a game, so students love them, even if they are learning along the way.
3. They are perfect for a Sub Tub since all of my games come with a directions card that is the same size as the other cards.
4. Give groups of students a full set and have them work together to put the cards in the correct order.  Groups can race against each other, or just use it as practice.
5.  Leave it at a station or center for individual students to work through independently.
6. Students love to play beat the clock, so play as a class and try to beat your time each time you play.

Oh, and don't forget the Cyber Sale on TpT!!  I know, I would be hard to miss it with all of these great sellers!  Enjoy 20% off of my store, plus the extra % off from TpT just by using the code: CMT12!  Happy, happy shopping!

Have a great week...I need to go shop!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving, Black Friday (or Thursday), TpT Sale!

Well, I hope you have all been able to enjoy your Thanksgiving Break!  I can't believe it's already Sunday..wah wah!  Looking back, though, it's been a pretty great break!

Girl's Night, eating, shopping, and new games on TpT! Read on to hear about it all!

So, as many of you know, I switched jobs and schools this school year, but was pretty close with some of the great people I left at my old school.  We hadn't been able to all get together in a while, so we had a girls night on Tuesday!  It was A-W-E-SOME!! (you can hear the cheer in our head, can't you?  I hope so!)  We got a hotel room about 20 minutes away by some restaurants.  7 of us crammed into one room (we're cheap), talked, snacked, played games, and may have indulged in a few beverages.  It was so much fun to get together, just the girls, and hang out.  I would recommend it to everyone!

I wanted to share this pic of my dogs, Addie, a white German Shepherd, and Scout, a chocolate lab, at a local park.  There wasn't anyone in sight, so we let them off their leashes, and they just ran, and ran, and ran!  I loved how even though they had all the space they could possibly want, they still ran around together.

Then came Thanksgiving.  We start ours off at 8:30am with my husband's family for breakfast.  It's delicious, but you completely throw out the idea of "trying" to eat healthy.  Then, we're to my family (all 70 of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and their kids!!) lunch at a local church, because we don't fit in anyone's house anymore.  My mammaw is 92 and she just loves to see all of us together.  It reminds us all of the work THANKFUL!  After that, we head to my husband's extended family for a late lunch.  So by 3pm, we've had 3 full on meals...yep, call me the fat kid!

Meanwhile, I am in a food coma, but our washer had broken last weekend and we wanted to hit up a Doorbuster sale.  I've never waited in line to get into a store or woken up at 2am to start my shopping, and my husband does not like despises the whole idea of browsing.  He walks in, buys the item, and goes home.  He is not a browser.  So I did my research, caught him on a good day, and we stood in line at HH Gregg (I think it's a midwestern electronics chain) for an hour and a half for the doors to open at 10pm.  It's like Willy Wonka, meets crazy people, meets electronics!  The store employees came out at about 9:30pm to hand out Golden Tickets (yes, they are gold in color).  For someone who has never done this, I was out of my mind excited to get the 2 golden tickets for our washer and dryer!  We went from a Speed Queen circa 1980 to high efficiency with loads of options.  I have never been more pumped to do laundry.  Our old dryer took about 4-5 hours to dry a load, so a "day" of laundry meant maybe 2 loads.  I've already done 3 today...and it's only 1pm.

I headed to Kroger, exchanged my regular unused detergent for High Efficiency, and waited, and waited, and waited, and waited (okay, you get the point) until the delivery people came to set them up! :) I was a happy camper!  Oh, and did I mention we got them for 50% off!  We saved $800!! I'd say my first Black Friday experience was a success.

Now that I've divulged my fat-kid tendencies and black Friday madness, here is a new Math game that I have added to TpT.  In my store, I have several I have...Who has? games posted for addition and subtraction.  I've had many requests for multiplication and division games, so I've started with 2 games of basic facts.

My whole store is 20% starting TODAY, and will be up to 28% off with the TPT sale on Monday and Tuesday.  Stop by my store to pick out some things for your Shopping Cart!


I hope you all have a great week back, enjoy Cyber Monday, and think that in just a few short weeks we'll be back on break! Yay!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Boston! Engineering! Clam Chowder!

 It was an exciting week for me as I got to head to Boston for the first time ever!  Although the Nor'easter was coming, the trip was still a good time!  Way back in April I blogged about winning a grant from Raytheon to attend a workshop at the Museum of Science in Boston.  I was awarded $3,000 to pay for the training, my travel expenses, and to buy some of the products I would learn about.

Okay, so I was by myself...maybe not the most fun, but still a very worthwhile experience.  Below is a picture from a window in our training room.  Remember, I'm from Indiana and drive by cornfields to get to work, so to see this view for 2 days was A-mazing!  Can you say beautiful or what?  This is the Charles River.  The people at the Museum of Science said that in the warmer weather people are rowing and the water is busy.  How cool to see this on a daily basis!?

The one bad thing about Boston in November is that it gets dark REALLY in 4:45 or 5:00.  Traveling by myself, I didn't really want to be out and about in the dark but I had to see Harvard.  It was beautiful, as imagined, and I felt smarter just walking on campus! do I create this feel in my school?  How do I make my kids feel like they are walking into Harvard everyday?

Okay, so onto my teaching and learning adventures in Boston.  The program is called Engineering is Elementary.  They have 20 units ranging in content areas from rocks and minerals to solids and liquids. They aren't just science units, though, they involve engineering, a design process, and collaboration among classmates.

To begin, we discussed what technology is...anything that helps us solve a problem...and then we had to create a technology that would help us solve the problem of a dog statue (bean animal) needing a 24 inch pedestal.  The materials we could use?  One pack of notecards and 12 inches of tape.  Oh, and 18 minutes.  I have to say that the friends I met at the training were awesome...I do believe we created the best tower!  I know, I know, there is no right way to make it as long as it supports the statue.  Not all groups were successful in the height requirement, and not all designs could support the weight of the animal.  The last part of the engineering design process is to improve what we created.  This reflection piece is crucial, and when I've done this with students, it's the source of some really great conversations!

From here, we read a story book that introduced a character who fell in the woods and hurt his knee.  They needed to create a knee brace to help him get out of the woods.  Learning from a biomedical engineer, we looked at the range of motion of a healthy knee, and then created a knee brace out of different materials to limit the motion of an injured" knee.  Each unit starts with a storybook that states a problem, introduces a specific field of engineering (mechanical, green, biomedical, environmental, etc.), gives them background knowledge, and then presents them with materials to solve the problem with their group.  Below are some of the books from the units.

I can not wait to get our units to school so that we can begin engineering!  The best part, as you can see from the pic above, is that the characters from the books are a mix between boys and girls, ethnicities, continents, etc.  They really stress that engineers can be anyone!  If want to see the grant I wrote to be able to do all of this, click here to go to TPT and get them for free.

Oh, and the next best part of my trip?  The food! Clam Chowder!  I was told that Legal Sea Foods was a good place to go, so I walked from my hotel to the location on Long Wharf where you can see the boats and the coast, and all the pretty things I don't see in Indiana.  I had to get the New England Clam Chowder, and I'm glad I did.  Of course, it's accompanied by a class of wine, but it was a Friday night!

And now, I'm safely home with the hubs and the pups getting ready for the week.  Oh, and did I tell you I get to go back to Boston in 3 weeks for a different conference?!  

Giveaway Alert!
Oh, and one last thing...Lisa Mattes at Growing Firsties is having a Pete the Cat giveaway that also supports Hurricane Sandy!  She'll donate different amounts of money depending on how many followers she gets!  Not only will you get Pete the Cat and a gift card, you'll also boost her followers, which will boost her donation!  Thanks Lisa for a great giveaway.  
Growing Firsties


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Reading Incentive Chart and November Currently

As the ESL teacher in my building, I have always felt that my time is limited with these kids and I'm never able to do everything I want to do with them in just 30 minutes a day.  One large thing I have noticed is that many of my students are not reading at home.  The reason?  Many of their parents can't help them decode words or talk about their understanding.  I have wanted a way to encourage my students (grades 1-4) to read more.  More than the minimum requirement of their classroom.

As I've stepped into this role, there have been many things that I've wanted to go back and change in my previous classrooms, such as minimum reading requirements.  Why would I limit my readers to just 15 or 20 minutes a night if they would have read 30?  Why wouldn't I encourage my reluctant readers through high-interest text selection and work on finding good books for them rather than counting minutes?  So...I've taken one day during the week to talk about books we've read, do a book talk, and go to the library to find good fit books with high-interest levels.  Yes, this is an entire 30 minutes where the mini-lesson is directed toward determining the central message or theme, finding rhythm and rhyme in words, or responding to our reading through writing.

 To encourage reading, I of course, headed to Pinterest and blogs to see what other people had created for reading incentives.  I came across The Teacher Wife's reading incentive chart and liked the concept, but wasn't sure my 3rd and 4th grade boys would want necklaces.  From this, I started thinking what I could do that would visually encourage reading.  I made a tag for each of my ESL kiddos, bought some ribbon, and went to town.  The title of our board?  Real.Hard.Reading.Work.

First of all, they just love to see their name, and they all get their own ribbon.  I lined all of them up on the wall, and each time they get to another 100, they get a new card to put on their ribbon, but they also get a ticket in our school-wide positive behavior system.  Those tickets are like gold, so the kids are really excited!

Can you tell that I ran out of the wide ribbon?  Apparently when you get excited about the wide and thin grosgrain ribbon being the same price, you don't actually get the same length of it. Haha.  Since this picture, I have returned to Hobby Lobby (only of course when their ribbon is 50% off) to get more of the pink and orange.  The title above it looks much better in person, but the laminate doesn't help!

Lastly is my November Currently!  I can't believe it's already November, but then again, I think I say this every month. I hope you all will join Farley's Currently and enjoy the fun.  I love to see what other people are doing!  Click the link above or the image below to link up!

Happy Fall, and enjoy your extra hour of sleep tonight with Daylight Savings Time!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The 10 Minute Reading Challenge!

For part of our professional development, my principal and I had spoken about how much time our students are spending with their eyes-on-print during the day and at home.  During our PD today, we asked grade levels to determine the number of minutes their students spend with a book in their hand and eyes on the page.  We also are trying to align our at-home expectations to encourage reading, rather than set time limits, and up the ante for each grade level.  What was our motivation?  Lucy Calkins!!

This book is a great resource for the transition to common core standards, but Lucy also shares some pretty great things.  This is, of course, is status quo for Lucy (do you like how I'm referencing her on a first-name basis...I wish we were that close!).  One of the things she talks about is that all students should have 45 minutes of eyes-on-print at school and at home every day!

As we were discussing this, it made me think about how I apply this to my own learning.  Do I read 45 minutes every day between home and school? No.  Do I even open a book and read on my own every day?  Sadly, no.  How can I set an example for my students if I can't even make connections about my own current reading? So I presented myself with a challenge.  Read for 10 minutes, just 10 minutes everyday.

And here is your challenge: to join me!

Justification for the rules:
1. Setting a goal allows you to recognize that you are striving toward something to better yourself.
2. 10 minutes is a manageable amount of time that you could get done waiting for the doctor, waiting for the water to boil for your spaghetti noodles, or before going to bed.  Also, as I've noticed over the past few days of my own challenge, you might... just happen accident...unintentionally...not on purpose... by chance get really into your reading and spend more than 10 minutes reading!
3. Don't sweat it if you miss a day.  When you start adding time, it will make a day or two of built up time seem unmanageable.
4. It doesn't matter what you're reading...just read!
5. 10 minutes...simplify it!
6.  Yes, I would love to hear your stories and reflections about how the challenge is going for you.  Reflecting and thinking about our reading is important, just as we teach our kids to do. Spread the word of the reading challenge so that we can encourage our students through the reading we do ourselves, and to learn from each other!  So pay The 10 Minute Reading Challenge forward, tell others about it, and let's get reading!

Oh, and it was intentional that I waited until October 10th (10/10) to share my 10 Minute Reading Challenge!  I know I'm corny, but it just seemed to fit with all of the 10s.

My 10-minutes of reading on Monday and Tuesday have been with Lucy and the Pathways to the Common Core book.  Tonight, I read People magazine, but am hoping to get in some more time with Pathways.  It really is a good book!

Until my next update about my journey with the 10-Minute Reading Challenge

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Pete the Popcorn and the last day of my TpT Anniversary Sale!

On Friday, we had the two authors of Pete the Popcorn visit our school!  Although I had never heard of the book beforehand, we are always honored to have authors come visit and talk.  As most author visits go, the students really enjoy hearing from "real" authors and seeing that authors are just like us.  They are able to ask questions, see the writing and illustrating process, and see how a thought becomes a book.  
Our visit from Joe and Nick, the authors, wasn't only about their road to becoming an author and the writing process, but more about the message behind the book!  The character, Pete, is a popcorn kernel who wants to be popped some day and eaten.  The lesson is that through encouragement of others, we can all "pop" and become whoever we want to be.  It can fit in with any anti-bullying unit, too!  To make their visit even better, in their 4th and 5th grade presentation, they called up a pretty "cool" 4th grade boy and asked him to call someone else up to give this person a compliment and encourage them.    Unknown to the authors, the boy picked a girl with special needs who has always struggled making friends and hasn't had many peer encouragers.  For her to go up in front of all of our 4th and 5th graders and see this boy give her a compliment brought tears to many teachers' eyes.  

The authors also use alliteration throughout the whole book.  I can imagine the repeated readings and mini-lessons that this book could bring into a classroom!  They've already started writing more books that have encouraging themes and lessons as well.  It's definitely a book with multiple uses in any elementary classroom!

TpT Sale
It's the last day of my celebratory TpT Sale!  20% off of all products for my 1 year TpT anniversary.  Enjoy!

You can even come visit and check out some of my freebies!  The one below is a customer favorite, and easy to use!  Download it today and use later.

Enjoy your weekends!  I'll be back on Wednesday for a great 10-10 challenge!  Not sure what 10-10 is?  You'll have to wait. :)


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

ELL lessons, my TPT Anniversary, and Currently!!!

ELL Lesson Planning: Make your intro matter!
So I'm sure many of you have learned about the SIOP model, how to implement it in your classroom, and why it's best for your students, but I have really enjoyed being able to see this unfold with my ELL students this year.  With 1/2 of my job as an ELL teacher, I have really been able to see the effects of thoughtful and intentional lesson planning with SIOP in mind.  If you aren't familiar, however, here are the basic components. When I plan my lessons, I now use this as my format.

  • Lesson Preparation
  • Building Background
  • Comprehensible Input
  • Strategies
  • Interaction
  • Practice/Application
  • Lesson Delivery
  • Review/Assessment

My biggest aha, especially with small group reading, is that your anticipatory set, background knowledge, and preview of the text, may take more than one session.  With your "typical" students, your intro may be short and quick.  In order to make texts comprehensible, this is one of the greatest areas of impact to allow students to make meaning.  Don't forget to make your introduction matter!

TPT 1 Year Anniversary...and a sale!
I must first say thank you, thank you, thank you!  Today marks my 1st full year on TpT, and it has been an absolute ride!  Not only do I feel grateful to everyone for your comments, ratings, and purchases, but the personal notes about how it has helped your class or a specific student just warms my heart.

In honor of all of YOU...I'm having an Anniversary Party!

Come on by to visit the sale here!

October Currently
Well it's the beginning of a new month, so what else is to be expected, but Farley's monthly Currently!  I am always baffled with her creativity and the seasonal theme she integrates.  Another home run, Farley! Visit her site, and link up to share your own Currently.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Evaluations, Halloween Writing, and a Giveaway!

Well Fall is officially here, my jackets are out, and morning bus duty has been a bit chilly...I know it's only September.

Now that school is in full swing, my principal and I are beginning our observations as a part of our new evaluation system.  Indiana has put a a new evaluation plan in place, which is rather complex, but the teachers in my building are awesome, and are going along with ALL of it!  **Lucky me!**
As I begin entering classrooms, I hesitate a bit because I remember the feeling when someone walked into my room.  Sometimes I was ecstatic, because I wanted my principal to see the awesome things happening.  Other times, my thoughts were a bit different.  As I begin my routing of walk-throughs, observations, etc. I wanted to get your feedback.  In one word, how would reflect on your feelings when your evaluator walks in?  I'd love to read your comments, since I only know what my feelings were!

Halloween Writing!
My very first unit on TpT was created almost one year ago...and it was awful!  I didn't realize it was awful at the time.  I actually thought it was great, out of this world, first time to use licensed clipart.  Holy cow!  Ever since then I have improved, edited, and revised.  When I looked back at my Halloween Writing unit, I realized how far I've come.  When I say this, I don't mean that my cover looks better, or the pages are more creative, but they are designed for real, student work.  I revamped my writing unit to make it better for my students, and more thought out.  Click on the pic below, check it out, and see what you think!

Finally, my good friend Natalie over at Teachery Tidbits has hit 500 followers!  I know! She is awesome! She is having a week long giveaway with a winner everyday!  She has so many ways to enter that are easy and fast.  You can even win my Student Led Conference Binder for her Day 2 giveaway.  Head on over to her blog to show Natalie some love and congrats for getting to 500! Click Natalie's link below to go to rafflecopter and enter!

I hope you all have a great end to your week!!


Sunday, September 23, 2012

I placed 1st in my Age Group*!!!

Yep!  You read it right!  I placed 1st in my age group for a 5K I did yesterday! But let's go back a bit...

My school district has a foundation that supports educational grants and school initiatives.  They were holding a 5K as a fundraiser yesterday.  We were highly encouraged to participate in one of two ways. We could either volunteer at a water station or split timing location or we could run the 5K.  Well the choice seemed pretty obvious for me, especially when I heard that volunteers had to show up at 5:30am!  My start time wasn't until 8:00!

I called a friend to run it with me, and we headed for the start line.  As I looked around, it was a decent turnout, but definitely not the largest crowd I've run alongside.  My friend, Lindsey, and I finished the race, grabbed water and a banana and headed for the car.  Later that day, I received a text message that we had won our age group!

Okay, now I've run, but I'm not a great runner.  I've done a lot of different distances, but I'm not a sprinter by any means.  I was shocked!  I ran to my computer, pulled up the results, and this is what I saw:

Ha! Yes, go back and look at that.   Go on.  Study it.  Look really hard.  Yep, you got it!  There were only 4 in my age group! At a whopping pace of of 9:19/minute I placed 1st.  Notice the asterisk in the title of my post?  Well that's because there were only 4.  Since I left early I didn't get the trophy, but I'll be back later in the week to show off my hardware after beating 3 people!

Lesson of the run...and placing 1st:
If you ever need a confidence boost or something to reenergize your running (or teaching) efforts, sign up for something small and casual.  Sometimes going in without expectations makes both the task and the result even more enjoyable.

And yes, now you can laugh again about having only 4 people on my age group!

Enjoy your week, and set some small goals along the way!

Monday, August 27, 2012

My first two weeks as an Asst. Principal!

Seeing that it has been nearly two weeks since my last post, you can see how my first two weeks have gone!  I have been really busy with late nights and fast food drive-thru menus, but it's been great!  I wasn't really sure how I wanted to type up this post, but I know several of your are following me on my journey in pursuit of your own admin. career or just as a teacher looking through a different lens.  I thought I would do a pro/con list that could go on and on forever!

1.  Going into every classroom to read!  I wanted to get to know the 600+ students in my building, so I thought I'd start with a read aloud and introducing myself.  Although this took nearly an entire week to get to every classroom, I have to say it was time well spent.  Here are the books I read.
Kindergarten & 1st Grade                         2nd and 3rd Grade                                4th and 5th Grade

If you have not read The Junkyard Wonders, it is a MUST READ for you and your students this year.  pre-read it, though, because there will be a part that gets to you!  Promise!

The best part of this were the emails that I received from teachers afterward about my lesson.  Here is the one that made it worth it for me:

"I had my class write letters to their parents for Parent night tonight. As I'm going through them I noticed that most of my class "named" our classroom. They started these letters after you came in on Monday and read to them. Most of the class named our room "the fishbowl" (which I thought was very appropriate!). I did find it very sweet that one of my new students named our classroom "the junkyard." At the end of her letter she tells her parents "P.S. The Junkyard means full of different kinds of kids that are all special in their own way."

2. I'm one of the first faces they see when they get off of the bus.  I thought that bus duty would get old, but seeing those smiles ready to come in the building is so great!  I know that my reactions to them set the tone for the rest of their day.  What a great feeling to do this!

3. Kindergartners on the first day of school!  I've never really experienced the "pulling a child from their nervous, worried, scared to death parent" but it was actually good.  Although it was hard in the moment, making the phone call to mom or dad later in the day to reassure them that their child was eating next to their new friends and playing at recess with others was really fun.

4. I get to check in with students and be an extra motivator for students.  Compliments from the "office" go a long way for them and it never gets old for me.

5.  I am learning a range of things everyday.  This is everything from the need for a picture menu for our ENL students to retooling our dismissal procedures for safety to seeing how great my teachers are in action!  Going in and out of these various items keeps me on my toes but has increased my learning exponentially.

6. Flowers from some great friends on my first day of school saying how much they miss me, but how great I'll be in my new role.

1. Not having my "own" students.  I'll be honest, this has been really hard.  So much of what I have worked for in my life is to learn about education so that I can welcome a class on the first day of school and guide, motivate, and lead them to new learning for the next 180 days.  This has been a definite adjustment, and I may have shed some tears a few times about it.

2. Not knowing silly procedural things...such as how car riders work, how to do announcements, etc.  This sounds so minute, but when you have to ask questions all day long because you don't know how certain things work, it will make you feel incompetent at times.  I know it's a part of the process, knowing a new school, etc. but it's hard to swallow everyday when you are supposed to be guiding this staff.

3. The long hours at the beginning.  With three nights for meet the teacher night, a PTO executive committee meeting that went until 11pm, and an online virtual class on Wednesday nights, I have been tired exhausted!  The hubs has really stepped up, though, and made dinner, took care the washer that broke, and kept me together too!

4. Missing the "easiness" of my old building.  I knew everyone, a lot of the families, all of the procedures, and had that comfortable feel.

5. Nothing to wear for Sprit Day tomorrow!  I need to add to my repertoire of school spirit wear! :)

Well, thanks for reading all of my thoughts.  I'm out for the night!


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ready, Set, SALES!!!


TpT has geared up for one of their 3 HUGE sales of the year, and I've jumped on board!  With my whole store 20%, and TpT offering another 10% off, you get up to 28% off (after all the crazy math stuff that I don't understand) all of the products.  It's your lucky day!

Don't have time to get the units prepped now? Keep the items you buy in your purchased items section for when you are.  You'll be glad later that you did!

Farley from Oh' Boy, Fourth Grade created this great graphic, so I thought I'd do what great teachers do and steal, beg, borrow, give credit also!  Don't forget to enter BTS12 when you checkout out.  Click on the image above to connect to my store.

Here are some of my most popular items, and then some of my cheap and easies!  
Some are less than $1 with the sale!
A 78 page document with everything you could need for Data Binders and Student Led Conferences

A variety of options for many grade levels to adjust the level of difficulty/content in your study of weather. 

An all inclusive 2-week poetry unit with a variety of writing papers, types of poems, and options for publishing.

It's only $0.78 on sale!  What a steal!  
An easy game of I have, Who has for basic subtraction!  

This is only $1.08 on sale!  Another steal!  
These games are great for beginning of year review, subs, and extra practice!

Happy shopping, and don't forget to leave your ratings afterward, so that you get your TpT credits for future purchases!