Monday, July 30, 2012

And it starts...

First day back= exhausted, overwhelmed, and stressed. Also = haven't had a chance to read my blog list and reply to my comments :( but I will... soon. I have big plans of things I need to do before next week. (I was so proud of my shrunken to do list and here I am adding more things...) And I just today decided I am rearranging our reading series which changes a LOT of my plans. So it is back to the drawing board for me. I hope to be back soon! With classroom pictures this weekend! Cross your fingers for my sanity please :)

The final stretch...

While you are all reading this... I am at work for in service. I have decided to put the final things on my old to do list into a shortened version. I must say- in a week, I did pretty darn good! Thank you to my daughter for behaving and allowing me to get work done! Anyways, I hope you all are enjoying what is left of your summer...and if you are back to work already like me, I hope you are staying sane... I fear I won't be...

The revised to do list:
1. Type detailed plans for SS unit 1. Gather all materials and put in binder for future use.
2. Plan week 2 (all I have left are reading, math, and science- science is already planned, just need to fill in the plan book, and reading has a general outline)
3. Order closing circle and energizers book (as soon as closing circle book is available for shipping)
4. Make Blooms question cards (1 set for now, possibly another set later on for student use)
5. Make copies and prep the remaining first week stuff
6. Plan out homework pack for week 2
7. DL word problems and daily fix its for Aug don't need this until week 2 so will do that this weekend...
8. Prep materials for week 1
9. Make "teacher" cards for rotation schedule (I accidentally forgot those... they are pretty important)
10. Buy posterboard and create writing tips pencil
11. Homeworkopoly- cards
12. Make Labels for drawers of copies
13. Super spellers club display-print
14. Type up unit 1 spelling list (without story titles since we are going out of order)
15. Make unit 6 vocab Dr's orders
16. Get 100 chart for mystery person class behavior
17. How are you feeling about this topic charts- print
18. Print reading strategy posters

Not bad considering the original list went over 50 items!! (And I just added 7 of them onto here that weren't on the original list.) Does it ever end?!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

New (School) Year Resolutions Linky

I saw this link up with Amanda at Teaching Maddeness and I knew I had to join in on this one. I always make New Year's resolutions that are related to school... but doing it in January is halfway wasted because there are only 5 months of school left. So I am linking up to share my resolutions for this school year (and hoping to stick to them).

1. Take papers with me to grade when we have class restroom breaks and when I am going to pick my class up from their support classes. I try to do this all the time but sometimes forget. I can usually get a stack of simple (read: multiple choice, spelling tests, etc) papers graded at the restroom. And sometimes I get to picking up my class before the teacher is completely done with them and that is a perfect time to grade a couple papers. If I can keep to doing this, it is less I have to do on planning time or at home. And my goal is to not let the "grade this" stack get ginormous... because when that happens I get too overwhelmed.

2. Use my planning time to PLAN or PREP. Not do the ridiculous amount of other busy work we end up having to do. This one will be hard to do because we will end up with a lot of that kind of work, but if I use maybe my daily (assuming it stays this way) Chinese time to get that done, I shouldn't need the whole 30 minutes and I shouldn't need that time every day of the week. Maybe just once or twice. I have to work on not bringing as much home!

3. Do not do school work until the baby is in bed. I spent a lot of time this summer working and planning and coming up with ideas and I am not doing it from the hours of 4-8:30. Once the baby is in bed, I will do some work until my husband gets home from work and then be done. I need time with the baby and I need time with my husband. (Though maybe just once or twice a week I may end up working past when he gets home because he will have earlier hours and be home before the baby is in bed). Regardless, not more than 1.5 hours a day... by choice.

4. (This may not be completely school related) Read for enjoyment. It is one of the things that keeps me sane and even if I only read for 30 minutes, it is better than nothing and a good way to wind down. Same with watching some tv before bed.

5. Try not to get frustrated. The kids won't get everything. Do the best I can with the time I have. Stop stressing about the pacing guide. Teach so the kids learn, not so that I am on the correct page of the book.

I could probably go on and on... and on... but I will stop here. Thanks for such a great idea for a link up Amanda!

Time to accept the fact that summer is over...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The classroom debut that wasn't... {and a winner announced}

First- thank you to the people who entered into my little giveaway. The winner has been posted on the original post here and I have emailed the prize. Hopefully when I get to 100 I can do something even better :) Congratulations Lorraine!

I planned to post the before and after pictures of my classroom today. But I was so tired at the end of working in my room on Thursday that I forgot to take pictures of the actual room. I took pictures of the things that I have made so that you could see what was in each part of the room and what was on the shelves... but the room itself. I forgot. So since I will be back at work Monday (and I am not sure if there will even be a link up) I am doing an early weekend edition of "Monday Made It" and then if there is in fact a link up, I will just link to this post once I get home from work.

1. My writing center- I have my class journal (just one for now- the rest are under the table until needed). The green box is my "writer's block" where I printed cards from What the Teacher Wants so that students can get ideas for writing... The folder and binder are for my academic times that I got from Fourth Grade Frolics. Blank copies will be in the folder and once the students write one they can put it in the binder. The nonfiction writing activity I ordered last year. Then the story starters is going to be for free writing. In the basket are some pencils and index cards (I will probably add more things in here as we get started and I see what kids need). On the tray are prewriting papers and letter writing paper. The computer won't get used as a writing station activity because it is going to have to be used so students can rotate through mandatory computer programs. My only other computer the students will be using as a listening center. (See that hideous "wallpaper" ugh makes me sick haha)
2. My shake, write, learn jars. This idea also came from Fourth Grade Frolics, but I used the Fry Words list. There are only 4 jars out for now but I have 12 total. I put 100 words in each jar and used all 1200 Fry words. Students will never find all the words which means I will never have to change this activity... just add more jars. And if they find a word on more than one occasion... it's ok... just more practice.
3. My Boggle board. This idea has been floating all over pinterest so I am not sure who the original idea came from but I made my own letters and board. This isn't shown in my classroom but you will see that it is next to my bookshelf (when I post those pics). Behind it I have two sets of those sterlite plastic drawers full of all my copies and things I have prepped already or have left over from last year. I made 3 sets of A-Z so that letters can appear more than once on my boggle board. The letters are in a container that is hidden behind the board.
4. A Word's Worth and Spell It Text It. I have used A Word's Worth in my class as a homework assignment but never as a center. This year I am. In the basket are 2 rings of spelling lists (this way students can just pick the list we are on and work through it), the coin chart, and plastic money. I included the plastic money to help them counting. Hands on helps. In the Spell It Text It I also have 2 rings of spelling lists, the iPhone template that came from Dragonflies in First, and dry erase markers. Students will write the words on the iPhone (it is laminated), then "text" them.
5. Doctor's Orders- I created this myself to go with our Reading Street vocabulary. It is similar to vocabulary dominoes in that students have to match up the word with the definition. The words and definitions are on broken bones. I included little plastic tweezers (that I have had for a good 5 years- they came from a magnifying glass set from the dollar tree--- and for those of you wondering, yes they still have them- I was just there the other day and saw them) that students can use. They probably won't but it is still a cute accessory. I created a recording sheet to go with them too.
6. Next we decorated my filing cabinet. Again, found all over Pinterest. I had a terribly disgusting filing cabinet. I barely use the thing. The top drawer has all my construction paper sorted by color, one of the drawers has my folder games, and the other two are just a mess of stuff that I could probably throw away if I ever went through it. But at least now it looks cute. We had to take the handles off (which was a chore without a real screwdriver). Then I hot glued the paper (please please please let the glue hold up all year). Last I painted around the paper (because I wasn't thinking and should have kept the paper larger but didn't). After I did that, I was going to paint the whole thing black, but decided I didn't have the patience or the time. So instead, we added paper and border and I will hang student pictures there. Currently it has two pictures that my daughter "drew" while I was doing this project.

7. My rotation schedule- I have no idea where I got the cards from because I had them saved on my computer (if they are yours let me know). They have magnets on the back of them and are hanging on a magnetic board I found in the Target dollar spot. Next to them is a baggie of the remaining cards that aren't being used that day.

8. My welcome gift to my students- again I saw this idea on Pinterest and just made my own. The picture shows the front and back of the tags. My husband helped me stuff the starbursts into the bags last night during the Olympics opening ceremonies. And yes, every bag has alternating color like that. OCD a little...
9. And finally...
My daughter is ready for school... are you?!
Like I said earlier, I go back to work Monday so I will try to get some real pictures of my room and do a post. And for the record... my to do list started at 27.. went up to around 51... and I think I only have about 10 left!! I can do this!

Thursday, July 26, 2012


With all this great discussion going on in all these blogs I read, and even the comments I get on here (seriously you are all amazing people and make me feel so welcome!) I have been going back and forth with how to reply to people's comments. I never knew (in almost 2 years of having a personal blog) that you could reply in emails for people's comments (if they have their email shown). I don't get email alerts on my other blog so I guess that is why I never knew. I think this is great, but what I don't like is that it doesn't show up on the blog...and then I feel like it looks like I don't respond to my commenters. And believe me, I try to respond! So I comment right here on the blog. But if you are all like me, you can't remember what post you commented on and when in order to see if the poster replied. I want you to know that I am replying to your comments. The only thing I could figure out (again, in almost 2 years of blogging I never realized this until now...) is that after you comment you can hit subscribe by email and it will send you replies. Now the only thing is that anyone that comments will get emailed to you as well. But... once the original poster replies, you can unsubscribe.

So moral of the post... I reply to you. I do. You may not know it though because I do it on the blog. Please subscribe to replies until you see I replied to you and then unsubscribe. Am I late to the party just now figuring this out? Or is there a better solution?

{Side note... sometimes, I will go to the commenter's blog and comment back to them there if they are asking me a question that I am worried they may not see the response to.}

Tomorrow (hopefully) I will have a post with some substance. I am working hard in my classroom today and hope to have it done to show you and to show my word work centers... be on the look out. And don't forget about my giveaway!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

First Day Jitters Link up.... and a question for TpT sellers...

I am linking up with Fierce in Fourth for the First Day Jitters post. Now, I guess I live under a rock because I have never even heard of this book... but everyone knows what first day jitters are. I get them every.single.year the Sunday before school starts. I mean I can remember as far back as the brain can go and remember getting them as a kid, as a teen, and now as a teacher. You would think that it would go away, but it doesn't. And I promise you, next Sunday, when everyone is sleeping... I will be wide awake with the jitters. So what a perfect link up for me right!?

When you link up (which you should), share 3 things that give you the jitters on the first day of school.

1. I am always afraid I am going to send someone home the wrong way. I have a chart that I write down everyone's typical dismissal transportation but kids sometimes have a different way home on the first day and I am always afraid I will forget/lose the list/not write it down.

2. The first day is always so chaotic and I spend a lot of time trying to collect all of the supplies. I am afraid I will run out of things to keep the children entertained and busy. I am trying something a little different this year, so we will see if that helps. I actually tried to overplan each day of the first week so that students will keep busy and if I run out of time to finish something, it can carry over to a day where I run out of activities.

3. Well... in my teacher story post you found out that I am extremely shy. I have no problem meeting the students but when it comes to meeting the parents, I get very anxious. Especially because I try to spend enough time talking to them to let them know that I care about their child, but when they are all coming in at once to drop their child and things off, I get overwhelmed,

So what gives you the first day jitters??

And now for my TpT questions:
I have started (slowly) creating things to sell on TpT. What I want to know is...

1. what are the best places for clipart?
2. how do you make a preview file with all the pages stacked? I only know how to take a screen shot of each page and then paste the picture into word but it makes huge files that are too big to be used as a preview. So what are you all doing?
3. Any tips or advice?

If you could just leave a comment with any information you have to share I would so appreciate it :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Giveaways and Awards...

1. My giveaway for desk name cards can be found here. Very low entries!

2. Miss V's Busy Bees has reached 200 fans and is having a HUGE giveaway! Check it out here. There are a ton of great prizes and it is open until July 31.

Please excuse me.. I have to finish this post after my daughter stops being a mini crazy! I will do the awards part later on...

Ok onto the awards... I can't believe I have gotten awards already! Too sweet you all are :)
I was given this award by: Andi at Mommy, Teacher, and so much more... , Jessica at Tales of a First Grade Teacher, and Alex at The School Potato (she also gave me the...)

Ok so to accept the Versatile Blogger Award:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you... done
2. Include a link to their site... done
3. Include the award image in your post... done
4. Give 7 random facts about your self... see below
5. Nominate 5-10 other bloggers and let them know. (nominated... need to comment however little miss things that playing with kool aid drinks is a good idea, so I will have to do that later on).

and the Liebster Blog (can I say I love the title of this one since I took German in school...)
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their site... done
2. Present to 5 other bloggers who have less than 200 followers and let them know by commenting on their blog and linking to their site... see below

7 random facts about me....

1. I am terrified of things that fly. Living things that is. Birds, ladybugs, butterflies... anything that can fly I do not mesh well with. My students try to bring me ladybugs at recess and I have to shoo them away. And when wasps got in our classroom... good grief. It's a good thing I had some brave boys who handled that for me. It was a system we had down to a science and those boys got the wasps out of the room in under a minute without anyone (including the wasps) getting hurt.

2. I love Disney World. So much that we spent a 2 week honeymoon there. And given the chance, I would do it all over. I do not regret for one second not going somewhere romantic or tropical. Disney is the happiest place on Earth and I would go every year if I could. In fact, I went in 2006 with my friend when she graduated college, 2007 with the same friend, my husband, and our friend for my graduation (and got engaged that trip), with my best friend and MOH in the beginning of June 2009 and a bachelorette getaway (I am not the typical party girl so I didn't want a real party) and then at the end of June 2009 for our honeymoon (so yes, if you added that up I spent 3 weeks in Disney over the course of a month), and then in 2010 with our friends for our 1 year and their 3 year anniversary. I haven't gone since and won't be back until 2014...

3. I love to read. Love love love it. But hate that I can't do it as often as I would like to during the school year. My favorite genre is chick-lit. I don't have one favorite author but once I find an author I like, I will read every book they write. Some favorites- Meg Cabot, Emily Giffin, Erynn Mangum, Sarah Strohmeyer, Beth Harbison, Gemma Halliday (I am currently reading her high heel murder mysteries and they are hysterical), I could go on and on... I have 46 books on my nook library, 188 on the wishlist and probably about 70 on my shelf...

4. I also love to sew but that is another thing I don't have much time for. I started learning about 7 years ago and took a few years off but want to get back into it. I am really good at making pillowcase dresses for my daughter.

5. I am never sure where I will be in a few years. I change my mind constantly. Some days I want to be in Florida, others Atlanta, and other times back home in WNY. It is a battle all the time.

6. My husband and I have been together for 7 years (married 3). Before we moved, we had season tickets to the Buffalo Bills. Now we have to watch the games on tv and travel to a game each year. Last year we didn't go to any games because I was pregnant and this year I don't know that we will go because of the timing of the games we would want to go to. Someday the Bills will win the Super Bowl... hopefully it is in my lifetime.

7. I used to think that being a stay at home mom would be the best thing in the world. And last year when I went back to work after maternity leave, I crunched every number possible to figure out if it was possible. Luckily it wasn't because I am good at being a temporary SAHM but I realized that I am the type of person that has to work. I can't not have a job. I slack when I am not working. Even in college... my freshman year, no job, not a good year. My sophomore year, got a job, pulled all nighters, wrote 15 page papers the night before they were due, and got As in everything. I am just one of those people that can't handle having too much free time.

Now I am giving these awards to:

Liebster Blog I am nominating...
Andi from Mommy Teacher and So much more
Jessica from Tales of a First Grade Teacher
Tracey from Third Grade All Stars
Dray from Second Grade is Sweet
Ms. G in Grade Three

Versatile Blogger
Kate at EduKate and Inspire
Sara at Miss V's Busy Bees
Tracey from Third Grade All Stars
Aimee from Pencils, Books, and Dirty Looks

Ok I am breaking the rules and only giving the Versatile award to 4 people. I was trying really hard to make sure I gave it to new people. Thanks girls for all the love on this brand new adventure of mine!

My Teacher Story

I am linking up with Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes to share my teacher story...

Everyone has that one teacher that they will never forget. The teacher that put a smile on your face, made you feel great every day, helped you succeed and become who you are today. Me... I have an elementary school career's worth... except 1. I can tell you my teachers from grades 1-5. I would know them if I saw them. But me... I have two of those stupendous teachers. They are 75% of the reason I am a teacher today.

My first grade teacher was my hero (and at the age of 6 I don't think most kids say their teacher is their hero). But she was. I was new to the school after a very serious {bus driver wouldn't let me off the bus and my family thought I was kidnapped} incident. This teacher was AMAZING. Do I remember anything I learned in 1st grade? Not a clue. Do I remember her teaching style. Not at all. But what I do remember is that she had the most amazing heart and just cared so much for her students. And...she loved Chip and Dale.

I went on through elementary school- loving my second grade and fourth grade teachers (we will get back to my third grade teacher at a later point) and then I got to fifth grade. Once again I had a teacher as a hero. This woman... words can't describe her. She did everything and anything to help us learn. Again, do I remember what we learned? Not at all. But I very vividly remember our classroom, our coatroom even, and her purple people eater teacher's pet (because no STUDENT was the teacher's pet).

When I was in college I took a course that brought me back to my elementary school to work with some of the students. I honestly took the course because I knew that was the placement it put you in. By this time, my elementary school was nothing to be proud of (it was a good school when I was younger, but we all know how neighborhoods change). But to me, that school building, that was the reason I was going to school to become a teacher (after a short stint going for communications... more on that later too). Now, of all my 5 teachers I had there, only 1 still worked there. My first grade teacher. I visited, it was great. But in all honesty, my heart broke that my fifth grade teacher was no longer there. I knew she was long retired. But why did my heart break? Well, you see... my first year in college I was going for communications. I was off the teaching path and just wanted something else. I realized that path wasn't for me and that deep down all I wanted to do was teach. So switch my major I did. And then a year later, I transferred to a college back home. Still in the teaching program, I started to struggle with if I was making the right choice. I felt like I couldn't do it. I didn't know if I would be good at it. And I just felt like maybe seeing the people that inspired me, it might light the fire under me. I needed to see her. And then one day, here I am working with my kids and in walks my fifth grade teacher. To say I was happy would be an understatement. And do you know what... she saw MY name on the sign in sheet (she was coming to volunteer) and hunted ME down! 11 years after I had last seen her. Do you know how amazing that felt to me? And her words (though I don't remember them now) let me know that yes, I was making the right decision. Believe it or not, I recently looked up her address and had half a mind to write her an old fashioned- stick it in the mail with a stamp and everything- letter. And I still might. Because she is the reason I stuck it out.

Now I said those two teachers made up 75% of the reason I teach. So where is the other 25% you might wonder? Remember I said I would get back to my third grade teacher... well here she is. She is the one teacher that ruins school for some kids. Made me cry. Changed who I am. Just by being in her class, I changed... and not for the better. In that one year, I went from being extremely outgoing to completely closed off and shy because she allowed a boy to make fun of me for getting an answer wrong (I was smart, getting it wrong was bad enough to me... for him to make fun of me and nothing happen... it killed my spirit). In that same year, she called me brain dead. I had no idea what this meant... but I tell ya when I asked my parents and told them she called me that... my mom went right up to our over 6foot Native American principal and let him hear a piece of her mind. So do I hate the woman? Not really. I did when I was a kid. And I hate that I am so shy- that part of me has never changed and never will. But if it weren't for her, I may not have had that extra 25% push to teach... to be better than she was. And anytime I get fed up with one of my kids, I stop and think about her. Because really... I don't want to be that teacher. I want to be the hero teacher. And there are days I have to remind myself of that because I do get mad. But I can not be that teacher.

So what is your teacher story? Link up and share!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Busy Busy Busy...Monday Made It (my very first one!)

I have been really busy this past week. Especially the past two days. My parents took our daughter for a sleepover and after our date night I worked and worked and worked... and when I woke up Sunday morning... I worked and worked and worked. And if you look at my to do list, I got a lot done! So I decided I would blog about a couple things that I have done the past couple days.

1. Birthday Balloons

I saw this idea on pinterest a while ago and knew I had to do it. I decided to do the silly straw version. You can get 8 straws at the dollar tree in a pack. So for $4 I got 24 straws to turn into balloons. I printed the balloons from Once Upon a First Grade Adventure and taped them onto the straws. When I get into my classroom (because that is where my passes are) I am going to staple a homework pass to each balloon. And my students now have a birthday happy!

2. Lightbulb Moment
I have seen a lot of bloggers post about this and I was dying to get to Target to get these lightbulbs. Luckily ours still had a few when I went in. And I grabbed the cute container for them too. I got the label from There's No Place Like Second Grade. But I decided mine were going to be used as something different. It seems most people are using them as brain breaks. I decided to use them in my "time out" spot. In responsive classroom, one of the logical consequences is time out. I, of course, will not be calling it Time Out. I am going to tell children to take a lightbulb moment. They will go to the designated area of the room, get a lightbulb to squeeze out their emotions, and fill out a reflection form. This will then be taken home and signed by parents to alert them of their child's behavior. You can grab a copy for free here.

3. Put your name on it!
I also saw the idea on pinterest to have students highlight their name before turning their work in. My students turn work into the drawer with the coordinating subject. Whenever they have an assignment I take a pretyped slip of paper with all their names on it and write the assignment name on it (I usually have over 100 of these slips waiting on my desk) and stick it in the drawer. Students turn their paper in when they finish and cross their name off. But I can not tell you how many would forget their name. So adding this extra step will hopefully help.

4. Missing pieces bucket
We got a new math series last year and with it came all new manipulatives. No matter how hard I tried to make the students put the pieces in neat piles when using them and to only take out what was needed and even COUNT how many they had, somehow I magically ended up with pieces on the floor. So we had a ziploc bag that I kept putting the pieces in. This bucket makes life so much easier because when they find a piece they can just put it in the bucket themselves instead of having to give it to me to find the inevitably MIA ziploc bag.

See- I told you I have been busy!


Here I am crossing things off my to do list.. and swearing to myself that I would not blog until I crossed three new things off (which, just for the record, I crossed off two before seeing this)...and what do I see... I am at 20 followers already! I just posted on July 19 that once I got to 20 followers I would give away a set of my desk name cards. I did not think that just 3 days later I would be typing this post. Dare I say that teacher bloggers are amazing?! Yep I do... I say it! I love all 20 of you already! So.. who wants to enter my giveaway? Enter the rafflecopter below! This will be open for 5 days.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Calling all creative people...

I came up with the name Third Grade Tidbits on a quick spur of the moment decision. And I picked a random template from a design page. I do love my design, for now at least, but I am not sure I am a fan of my title. I need some help! Let me tell you a little about me so that maybe you could help me come up with a new name... and in the future, a new blog layout.

I love Disney... maybe some might even call it obsessed.
I teach 3rd grade obviously.
I love to read but my best subject is math (though I am not sure I want this included anywhere)
My last name starts with an S
My favorite quote is "If you can dream it, you can do it." ~ Walt Disney
My current classroom color scheme is pink, black, silver/gray, and damask (see my toolbox to get an idea)

I'd really like it to have some relation to Disney/Magic/Memories/Dreams... but at the moment my brain is fried... help a new blogger out!!

Checking things off my list...

I saw the idea of smart beads on pinterest and it links back to Dandelions and Dragonflies, who also isn't the original creator... but since that is all I can find, I am linking there. Anyways... I loved the idea and just had to do it. So the other night we went to the dollar tree and picked up some beads and a container to put them in. I could have been done right then and there. But no... little miss overachiever had to keep going. See we have a uniform and dress code at school and I didn't want to chance another teacher or substitute or visitor to get onto my kids for having a necklace on that they shouldn't. Plus I wanted them to be able to show off that they earned smart beads and weren't just wearing random beads. So I made little tags that I have hanging from the beads. If you want a copy, you can grab them here for free.

And here is a cell phone pic (sorry I was so excited I didn't want to wait for my camera to load to the computer) of my beads...

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Am I overloading you with posts today? I'm sorry but I just have so much to share.. and this one you will definitely want to read about...

I just found this blog today.... Teaching Maddeness and her lucky readers have a chance to win a $50 gift card to Amazon! Who doesn't want $50 to Amazon?! I can't think of anything that I can't get there! And I have a couple books I want for this school year on my wish list that I would definitely be buying. So hurry up... stop reading my millions of posts and go follow her and enter the giveaway before it is too late! Only one day left!

Blog Hop

One of my all time favorite teachers (as in, knew about her before I knew anything of all this blogging and TpT stuff) Christina Bainbridge joined a blog hop and I figured... hey I am a newbie to this (at least the teaching part of this) so why not link up right? And I can definitely find some new blogs to read from this... as if I need anything else to help me procrastinate right?! Anyways...

1. What state are you in?

2. What is your current teaching position?
          I teach 3rd grade all subjects. I have been in 3rd my entire time in TN (minus the first 20 days where I taught 2nd grade. I was switched to 3rd after the first attendance period when people were surplussed... that was all new and foreign to me so I was just grateful to have kept my job).

3. What is your teaching experience?
          Half a year subbing in 2 districts grades k-8. A year teaching 6-8 grade science, 8th math, and 7th religion in a Catholic school, and this is my 5th year in 3rd grade.

4. When did you start blogging?
          This blog was just started a week or so ago. I have a personal blog that I have had almost 2 years.

5. Share some blogging tips or a resource.
          I don't really have any tips but one thing I will say is that you should never get too big for yourself. It doesn't matter if you have 5 followers or 500 followers (or more). Try to take the time to respond to people that are interacting with your blog. Those people are the reason your blog got the size it did. It kills me when bloggers (mostly personal, I must say teaching bloggers are much more friendly and interactive) get too big for themselves and forget that at one time their blog was just a little page on the internet too.

We are heading out to date night but I can not wait to check out all these links!!

Class Journals

Tackling my to do list has been the one thing on my mind this past week... we are down to the wire here with just one full week before I have to head back. I have not read the Daily 5 but have seen a lot about it. I wanted to read it this summer but... time got the best of me. What I did decide to do was revamp my idea/thinking of centers and small groups. I used to hate despise centers because I always fell behind having to change them with every changing skill. I ended up giving up and sometimes would have nothing out and other times would have a ton of stuff just all over the place. I finally realized that my centers do not have to be skill specific. And so, I went on my way to searching pinterest for ideas. One idea I really liked was the idea of class journals to be placed in my writing center. I thought that 1. the kids would love to write in a class journal and 2. it would be a lot of fun to read again at the end of the year. I decided on some topics that I wanted to do and how I would use them. My plan is to pull out a new journal each month, all while keeping the prior journals out. Just because it is December doesn't mean kids won't want to write a back to school story. And to make the journals cute (because cute things make me happy) I decided to make cute covers for the notebooks. It didn't take me too long to finish and now all I have to do is print, laminate, cut, and glue them onto notebooks (which are in my class and I can't go there until next week). I will store the ones not being used in a crate under the table so that they are accessible to me but not in the way (and not in a place where I "won't lose them"... inevitably losing them). Since I went through all the work of making the covers I went ahead and listed them in my TpT store. They are listed for only $1 . 50. Here is an image of the covers for anyone interested...
Has anyone here done class journals before? What do you think of them? What do your students think of them? I am pretty excited so I sure hope my students are excited too!

And a quick cell phone pic of mine put together!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Plan Book Dilemma

I have never found the perfect plan book for my lessons. So this summer, I created my own simple pages to use as a plan book. And I was satisfied. Until I realized that I want to be able to type into it, which I can from home, but for some reason when I transfer it to my laptop the formatting is all wrong and I can't type into it without the boxes messing up. And I sure don't want to waste my precious planning time at work not planning. So then I thought, ok I will print the pages and make copies and have it bound at Fed Ex Office. But the thing is, I write too big and can fit more in the boxes when I type (I like to include a lot of details)... plus it just looks nicer typed. So here is my dilemma... do I use my own that I made? Type into it and pring it weekly or copy it, bind it, and write in it? Or do I buy one that isn't perfect? What do you do? Do you have a favorite or perfect plan book? I have 2 weeks to find the perfect solution! Here are my pages... nothing fancy. I created other pages to go with them (to do lists, contact logs, contact info, etc.) and those are all in my teacher binder waiting for school to start. The planning pages are my only dilemma!
Feel free to look at all the rest of the pages I included here... but really I just need some input!

To a week (maybe two)

Does anyone else have this problem? You are constantly crossing things off your to do list but it just isn't going anywhere?! I cross off one thing and I swear I add 3 more every time! I head back to work in a week and I feel like I am nowhere near ready...and I have spent a good majority of my summer trying to prevent that feeling!! I am a to-do list-aholic... I have lists of lists... and all over the place... Lists on post its, lists on cute Disney paper, lists on my phone... I sure hope all these lists and all this work makes me feel less stressed when the kiddos return to me in about 2 weeks! I go back to work on July 30... kiddos come in Aug 6... so that gives me 10-17 days to get all of my to do lists gone. And by all, I mean I have lists upon lists. It is no wonder I feel so overwhelmed! But instead of doing one of the millions of things on my to do list, I figured I would link up with Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies to share my to do list... and maybe, just maybe, putting it all in one place will help me get it done faster? Yea right... not when I keep adding things...

So here is my to do list...
1. Make small group planning sheet- I need a page for each week so I can put detailed plans in them for my groups, outside of my normal plan book
2. Create conference reminder sheets
3. Create a missing pieces bucket
4. Finish my word work centers
5. Create writing centers
6. Finish first unit of Social Studies plans
7. Type detailed plans and gather all unit 1 SS materials to put in binder for future years
8. Create, print, laminate new IB posters (idea- type descriptions on bottom of page, teach one a day during morning meeting, have students act it out and photograph, mount picture onto page and laminate.)
9. Organize my teacher binder
10. Create a What to do when through poster
11. Plan week 2
12. Make Birthday balloons on silly straws
13. Figure out how students will keep track of center activities
14. DL and prep math centers
15. Figure out what I will and won't collect from centers
16. Create first day bingo
17. Make 1st day treat bags
18. Make It's My Birthday badges and put on necklaces
19. Print PYP flower for my binder
20. Make dice for morning meeting activity--I changed my mind on this for now
21. Order closing circle book and energizers book (waiting for closing circle book to become available to ship)
22. Make "Ask me what I made on Mrs. S's test" buttons (I changed my mind on this.. I decided to use smart beads when kids make a 100)
23. Make Blooms questions cards (extra set to keep in my binder and a set for kids to use)
24. Make brain sprinkles
25. Make folder labels (hw, classwork, writing, IB)
26. Make copies of papers I need for the first week
27. Redo my intro letter, behavior plan, and homework letter
28. Smart Beads
29. Add parent communication file to binder (compliments of The School Potato)
30. Plan out homework packets for week 2 (get a notebook to designate for this)
31. Get a notebook to designate for preliminary plans.
32. Make it's my birthday necklaces (get more beads- different colored) this was duplicated so I get to cross off woohoo
33. Buy sheet protectors for student binders (if none are in my class) Found mine in my classroom SCORE!
34. Fix year at a glace
35. Make title page for lesson plans
36. Make binder cover
37. Decorate file folders (that ugly green isn't going to cut it anymore)
38. Prep center rotation signs and labels
39. Figure out center rotation schedule, type, and put in my binder
40. I found new binder dividers and cover page that I want to make... so adding that to the list now.
41. Print conduct sheets
42. Make number cards for computer rotation
43. Fix supply check list (can't do this until next week)
44. Print spelling handbook
45. Detailed plans for week 1
46. Print, laminate, and cut new word wall letters
47. Figure out how to fix word wall
48. DL word problems and daily fix its for August
49. Prep pages I need for week 1 duplicate!
50. Organize and set up the classroom (I am not putting each thing individually because I think it would take me to like 75 things...)
51. Morning messages on chart paper
52. Personal schedule (gotta have a daily to do list so that things get done around the house too)

I honestly think there is a lot more on another sheet of paper somewhere that I can't find but for now I think this will do...

(7/21- I may or may not have just added something to the list that I just made.... just so I could cross it off)
(7/22- This list started at 27... see what I mean.. it never goes away!)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Desk Tags

How many of us teachers just love cute stuff for our classroom. I know a lot of us do themes... I haven't ever done a theme so much as just a color scheme. I was going to do a Disney theme this year, but in all honesty, I just didn't have the time to get it all together. But what I did do was make some cute Mickey and Minnie color scheme desk name cards. I originally was going to just do Mickey colors but realized they didn't go with my pink, silver, and black color scheme I am going with. So I did the pink and gray and know that my boys will not be happy with that. So even though the "Mickey" colored ones don't match my color scheme, I love them just the same. And am selling them for only $1 each or $1 . 50 for the set. You can find the Mickey ones here, Minnie here, and combined set here.

(These are just little screen shots, the border is even all the way around, and when purchased there is no water mark)
For a dollar each, or $1 . 50 for the set, how can you resist. All it takes is a little printing and you are set for many years to come. Way cheaper than buying new ones each year! You could technically laminate them and write the names on with dry erase marker/vis a vis markers and reuse them each year if you really wanted to save some money. The kids may end up erasing their names though. Of course, it would help to rearrange desks that way because you could just erase the names and write new ones.... hmm things to consider for myself before the year starts! I will most likely write the students' names on them and tape them down with packaging tape instead of reusing them. We will see. 

So what do ya say we giveaway a set of these? As soon as this blog gets to 20 followers I will set up a rafflecopter to choose a winner to receive both the pink and black name cards. So follow along on this journey, encourage your friends to follow, and hopefully get to 20 people sooner rather than later so someone can win this freebie!

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