Thursday, August 30, 2012

First Day Jitters!....and some updated pics!

Warning: This post may be a little long and definitely pic heavy!

The first day of school has come and gone......and I couldn't be more TIRED! I don't know why I forgot how draining the first couple of days of school are.
I'm happy to report that I have NO behavior students in my class ( this point). I have a few busy bodies, but nothing I can't handle. My group of kiddoes are a talkative bunch! Really talkative! Like, allllllllllllllllllllllllllllll day long talkative (yeah, it's that bad). But again, NO behavior students!!!
We're starting to get into the groove of things. I've started the Jennifer Jacobson model of "Writer's Workshop" and we're up to 3 1/2 minutes of "Read to Self" in the Daily 5. I also forgot how hard it is to build stamina for "Read to Self" the first few days. Go figure.
I haven't done any of the fun things that I planned for the first couple of days (Jitter Juice, marshmellow fingers/toes, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Name Tree--just to name of few), but we've survived.

--------------------------------------------------Brain Break---------------------------------------------------------
  • Oh yeah...I have 26 kindergarteners. My teammates have 25+ as well and there are 9 kindergarten teachers (including me). Sooooooo, you do the math on that one.
  • Oh yeah....we still have a minimum of 25 students registering each day.
--------------------------------------------------End Break-----------------------------------------------------------

I promised to upload pics of my finished classroom last weekend. That didn't happen, so I'm doing it today. Students have been in my room for 4 days, so it may not be as clean as it was before they came.
Here it is:
A view from the door

Mailboxes for each student...that I don't have enough of
Seats for Read to self/buddy reading
 Classroom Calendar

"A Safe Place" spot for those students who need extra time to follow directions :-)
Small Group area with my crate seats. LUV them! I've gotten sooo many compliments on them.
Extra Supplies
Manipulatives and Decodable Readers
Colors and numbers...a color fell evidently
Word Wall
26 desks and chairs
Behavior Chart
Daily 5 chart
We've started Read to Self
My teacher board with important info...not too much info right now
Teacher Desk
 More manipulatives and Independent Learning Centers

Student Computers
Classroom sink area

Back Bulletin Board
And there you have it! My completed classroom! I'm very proud of it!!
Now....I'm ready for my 3 day weekend! Whoo-hoo for Labor Day! It's bittersweet though because we don't have another day off until Thanksgiving Break...11 weeks later. So there's that.
Anywho...Happy Blogging!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

To-do list, Trainings, & Students.....Oh My!!

I feel like I've been such a bad blogger! But with staff developments going on, school starting up, my to-do list that is STILL a mile long....there's just no time!

I did have a few minutes today because we have "Meet The Teacher" tonight. Since faculty is required to stay 2 additional hours for MTT, we have 2 hours of our day that we can do as we please. I elected to come in later ;-).

My classroom is mostly complete. Just a few things here and there and a good cleaning is all it needs.
I will be posting pictures of my completed classroom after MTT tonight. So look forward to that post by the weekend.

I'm excited to meet some new faces tonight and get a little glimpse into some of my students! This is also my first year that I haven't had a student come to me with a behavior intervention plan (BIP)!
So I'm very excited for that.

I'm off to start getting ready for my day, but as I leave, I want to ask a question:
Evidently, Office Depot has followed suit like Staples and started limiting teachers to the number of sale items they could purchase. Teachers were allowed to buy 30 of the penny deals and the 0.25 deals, etc. Now from what I understand the teachers can buy 2 extra of the items with a limit. (Spirals are .01 limit 3, teachers can get 5)
This change was just made within the last week or so. From what I've heard, parents and other customers were very upset that there were no supplies left for them to purchase by the time they came to shop because teachers had wiped the stores out. I even heard there was a fight between a parent and a teacher! Yikes!
So, with all that being said.....are we teachers REALLY that ruthless? To the point that a store has to change their policy in the middle of BTS season?? I know we always say "the supplies are not for us, they're for our students", but I really think we need to self reflect. Hearing all of this has been eye opening for me. I know what I'm guilty of when it comes to shopping for my students. I always have things left over at the end of each year and I always stock up at the beginning. And it's not necessary. Some parents actually buy supplies for their child.
I want to hear your thoughts on this. How do you feel about this change? Is it warranted because of complaints? Or is it just another store not supporting teachers?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Made It #2 & Classroom Update

Yay!! My 2nd "Monday Made It". It's coming a little late though. I woke up early this a.m. with a stomach bug and I am JUST now feeling better. :-/
Now...on to my made it!
I'm linking up again with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics !

They're finally done!!!!! I have put this craft off for WEEKS and now I'm beyond thrilled that they're done.
My crate seats!
I only took one picture, because for the life of me I cannot find my camera and I only have my iphone.

But, I made 6 of these seats for my crates that I currently have. The students will sit on these while they're at the small group table with me.

Now for updated classroom pictures.

I worked really hard last week and in 4 days time, I was able to get a lot accomplished.

In a few of my previous posts I uploaded a few of my before pictures. You can see them here and here.

This is what's going on in my room currently:
The view from my door, looking into the room.

My bulletin board on the center wall at the back of my room. It's cuurently unfinished because there is no brown butcher paper to make my tree.

My teacher area/desk. My computer will be hooked up later this week.
Back shelf with manipulatives and independent learning centers.
Computer area and file cabinet.

1/2 of my shelf housing more manipulatives.

Small group area and another bulletin board. I have no idea what I'm going to put on that bulletin board! Seriously, no ideas whatsoever.....also, my listening center is to the right of this pic

I am going to update these pictures (with a much better quality) once my room fully completed. I still have a few things to finish, and I hope to get it done this week.

Happy Blogging!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Deals & Steals....part 2!

I know I've been M.I.A for a few days, but I'm still on summer vacation and trying to milk it for every last drop!! Thursday I report back, but for now I'm relaxing.

A quick post today to let you know about a few deals.
Office Depot has rulers, plastic pencil pouches (say that 3 times fast), and 1 subject spiral notebooks all for .01!!!!! Limit 30 for teachers. I asked a manager today how they were able to allow teachers to get so many and not run out or change their policy, and he explained it as:

"In order for teachers to get 30, they have to have a STAR teachers reward card and scan it at the time of purchase. We track your purchase through your card. You are limited to 30 each day. So you can't go to another store and buy 30 at the sale price the same day, it's going to be the regular price."

Hmmm...why couldn't Staples other well known stores use this process, instead of changing their policy and subsequently losing business in the process??


JoAnn fabrics is also having teacher appreciation, but it ends today! (Sorry!) They are offering 25% off your total purchase. I was able to get fabric and some storage stuff for less than the cost of what the fabric would have been!

That's all for now!

Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

....And so it begins!

Well.....began is what I should say!

Yesterday was the first day that teachers could enter their classrooms at my school. Honestly, I expected shock and awe. Our custodians (such AWESOME people by the way) are notorious for leaving our classrooms in disarray once they've been cleaned. Which, I get. As I mentioned in a previous post, they take everything out of every room on a hallway and just go through to clean each room. Then they put everything back. Our custodians are not focused on where each item is supposed to be, they just want to get the stuff in a room and move on to their next task.

So needless to say, I expected furniture to be everywhere, broken items, and anything else imaginable.

Here's what my room looked like when I left:
Here's what it looked like when I arrived:
From the door, looking left.
From the door, looking straight ahead.
From a corner of the room, looking towards the entire room

Ignore the poor picture quality. I forgot my camera and I only had my cell phone. Plus the a/c hadn't been turned on, so I left the lights off to stay cool while working.

I'd forgotten that I got rid of a lot of stuff, you know "less is more." I was very surprised when I walked in. All of the small furniture was in the middle of the room, and all of my big furniture had been put BACK IN ITS PLACE!!! Our custodians did a wonderful job. I'll have to make sure to bring them something to say "Thanks" before school starts.

So here's what I'm working with.

I moved all of the furniture Monday and I was able to start decorating today. I was also able to clean out my closets with my manipulatives and put them on their respective shelves.

Look for more classroom updates coming soon!

Happy Blogging!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Made It Monday! -My very first one!

I'm still fairly new to blogging, so I hadn't had a chance to actually participate in some of the cool "linky" parties that have been going on during the summer.

This week though, I am able to participate in the Made It Monday link party! I'm linking up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics to display a few things that I have made this summer.

So here's what I've made so far:
I made a teacher binder using Teaching in Flip Flop's template from Teacher's Notebook.
I don't have anything in there just yet. I normally don't get school calendars until I go back for Staff Dev. and my district hasn't uploaded our TEKS or Focus Calendars yet. We just switched to 9 week reports from 6 week reports, so that may have something to do with it.

I made these cans to house my sharpies, extra pencils, pens, scissors, etc. I think I want to label them, but i'm not sure what type of letters/stickers to use just yet.

This picture isn't that great, but I've seen this idea a few times on pinterest. I went to Dollar Tree and bought 5 cheap picture frames and some letter stickers from Target. I gave each frame a different color of paper and used the stickers to display the subject. I had a frame for ELA/Reading, Sci/S.Stud, Writing, Math, and Daily 5. I hot glued the frames together in the style and shape that I wanted.

 Then this happened......
The frame for Daily 5 completely broke away from the top. (It was hot glued on the very bottom, and part of it is still attached.)
The good news: The frame was only $1, the paper was free because I have plenty at home, and I have plenty of stickers left over.
The bad news: I don't have such high hopes for the other four that are still together. They're already super "bendy" and I'm about 85% sure that I will be replacing these frames before they make it to my classroom. If they do break, I will keep them separated this time.
In other news, today was the first day that teachers were able to get into their classrooms at my school. So hopefully, as this posts, I'm working hard at trying to get my room together. That or I'm staring in disbelief at the current state of my room. I just hope I'm in my room!

Here's what my room looked like when I left on June 1st.

There was a class in my room for summer school for 4 weeks. I only taught summer school for 2 weeks, so I'm not sure what the state of my room will look like when I enter. I'm just hoping the teacher was courteous enough to put things back where they were. 
Everything in our room has to be labeled. When the custodians come to clean, they take EVERYTHING out to the hallway, clean the room & shine the floor, and just throw whatever is in the hallway into a room. It doesn't matter if it's the right room, the items just need to go into a room.
So we label our stuff with our room number in the hopes that it will get put in the right place, if not then the teacher knows where it goes and returns it to its rightful owners. Sometimes. (C'mon...we all have those know the ones!)

I'll make sure to document the progress I make with my room this week in a couple of posts. I plan to work in my room every day from 8:00-4:30, so that I can get it DONE! However, I am going to do another "stay"cation before I have to officially report back, so after Thursday, you may not see posts for a couple of days. Just FYI.

Happy Blogging!

Friday, August 3, 2012


My very first "Currently."
I'm linking up with Oh'Boy Fourth Grade... for this month's currently.

I have olympic fever (like most of the world) and Gabby Douglas is pulling at my heartstrings! I absolutely LOVE her and everything she represents!

I seriously have found awesome deals on school supplies.
~Crayola 24 pack crayons 4 for $1 @ Toys R Us (with NO limit)
~Penny deals at Office Depot (limit 30 of each item for teachers)
and of course
~Target Dollar Spot for pocket charts, buckets, and more!

Sooooo, my "to-do" list is 2 miles long. Seriously. I kinda don't wanna talk about it. It's that bad.

I'm kind of excited to get back in my classroom, but I don't want summer to end just yet. This lounging/relaxing/not waking up until noon lifestyle really suits me.

Crate seats are ALL the rage on pinterest and I can't wait to add mine to my classroom decor! If only I could stop procrastinating and get them done. They were supposed to be done by this weekend....
that's NOT going to happen. At all. So maybe by next week.

I have been wanting a professional series camera for a few months now. I plan on using pictures of my students in several crafts throughout the year, as well as in their day to day routine (weekly jobs, Daily 5 choices, etc). I've heard great things about the Canon Ti Rebel series, but I'm also looking at a few Nikons. Any tips or thoughts, please share them with me!

So that's where I am about you?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


...and in the blink of an eye, it's August.

Seriously, WHERE has the time gone?? My summer vacation is slipping away from me.

  •  I only have 15 days before I'm back at work for 36 weeks. 
  • My "to-do" list is 2 miles long and I'm no where near finished with all of the back to school shopping I need to do. 
  • I still have to make my crate seats!! (Note to self: that craft MUST get completed this weekend)

Excuse me while I go sulk under the covers.