Five for Friday and a Glorious Three Day Weekend

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ONE

As all of the kids were lining up for recess, I noticed that one boy from our class was still on the playground.  You know that twisty thing that kids can climb up or down? It kind of looks like DNA?  Well, when he just looked at me after I told him to get in line with the rest of the kids, I realized he was stuck!  It took a few minutes, but I did get him out.   I have no idea how he did it and I don’t think I will be able to walk past that thing again without smiling.

TWO

This morning, while trying to get my son ready to drop off on my way to work, he spotted a frog on the living room window.  Crazy!  Can you say major distraction?

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THREE

We use Responsive Classroom, an integration of social and academic learning.  One aspect is logical consequences and positive time-outs.  We call them “breaks” and teach kids to use them to regain self control.  

While some kids are often in the break chair, others seldom if ever go there.  However, when we first introduce the concept, each child takes a turn in the chair.  (Just to experience it and practice expectations.)  And the kids with the most self control, the ones that never get in trouble and always obey the rules, are always super excited to go to the chair.  I absolutely love the huge smiles they have when they are sitting in the chair that first time!  They practically leap out of their chairs with smiles from ear to ear as soon as we say “Take a Break” to them.

 

FOUR

I think, other than time with my son, I might miss naps the most.  Summer is over and I can’t just lay on the couch and nap whenever I feel the least bit tired.  Why is it I thought they were so horrible as a kid?

 

FIVE

That brings me to the weekend, the three day weekend.  Time for naps, hanging with my favorite little man, and seeing Ghostbusters in the theater!  Yes, I know I can watch it on Netflix, but I am still excited to experience it in the theater.  With popcorn!  Thank goodness that my wonderful friend is also willing and eager to pay money to see it in the theater too!  With popcorn!  You can’t forget the movie theater popcorn!

 

 

“Our” Kids

The first day of the new year has come and gone.  That first day I kept looking out at the kids and feeling like I was a substitute for someone else’s kids.  These weren’t ours.  These weren’t the faces that were supposed to be looking back at us. 

It was a hard transition to a new group of kids, but each day I find more and more things to love about these new kids.  Last year’s group was very special, but these kids are special too.  I just need to give myself time to see it. 

 

These kids sit down on the carpet for a read aloud without making me claustrophobic.  They leave just enough room at my feet.

They can get ready to go home in less than 5 minutes!  (We keep forgetting that they can get ready so fast and start getting ready way to early.)

And, possibly most importantly, as they were walking out the door yesterday and I was laughing one girl said, “I love your laugh.”  This was a shocker for me because for the last five years kids have always said that I laugh like a witch.  (This idea was of course encouraged by the big black cauldron that I had in my closet until this year.)  I told her that kids always say I laugh like a witch and they all quickly assured me that my laugh was nothing like a witch.  (Awwww!) 

 

So, while I see last year’s group pass in the hallway and miss them dearly, I am feeling more attached to this group by the moment.  Slowly, they are becoming “our” kids.

 

Sunday Letters

I really enjoy writing these letters to inanimate objects, but today I am feeling lucky for all of the wonderful people in my life.

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Jill is on the left. I am on the right. Drawing is done by a former student.

Dear Marvelous Co-teacher,

You are a talented and dedicated teacher and I am lucky to be working with you again this year.

We are going to have a SUPER year.  I promise to try to keep my stuff off your table so that you don’t feel the need to cut it in half again!  (Ha ha!)

Your friend,

Jennie

 

 

 

Dear Son,

I love you more than words can say.  You are so smart, funny and considerate.  I can’t believe you are starting third grade soon, but I know you will be successful.  Don’t forget that it is alright to make mistakes and not everything you do needs to be perfect. 

Love,

Mom

 

 

20140814_183007 20140814_191310Dear Ma and Pops,

You are the best grandparents a girl could ask for!  I don’t know what I would do without you two.  You are wonderful role models and people. Thank you for always being there for me, even when that means a last minute adjustment to a very horrible shirt!

Love,
Your Granddaughter

You know you are a teacher approaching the beginning of a new school year when…

  • You spend way too much money and too many shopping trips to JoAnn’s, the Dollar Tree, and Walmart.
  • You buy 20+ of things that the average person never needs in bulk.  (ex:  yoga balls, clearance door knobs, various shaped containers)
  • Your TO DO list looks something like this, more things being added than crossed off.20140816_191533
  • You pull out your to do list at the movie theater during the previews of TMNT because things that need to be done keep popping into your head.
  • You get 2-3 hours of sleep a night because you head is swarming with things that need to be done and things that could go terrible wrong.

 

What else do you have?  Please share!

Ready or Not…The Kids Show up Monday!

Since the kids are coming, we had to be ready.  Our classroom reveal…Superhero theme.  I am a theme person and I love making the environment I spend 8+ hours a day in pleasant and inviting.  Crafting and Pinterest are my relaxation.

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Our classroom library has popcorn bins from last year’s Hollywood theme. However, there are so many superhero movies coming out lately that it still works! We have the wall straight ahead separated by levels and the shelves on the right of the picture organized by genre. The crate seats are also filled with books! We are book hoarders!
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Students will eventually write short book recommendations and staple them onto the bulletin board.
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Sorry the picture is a little blurry! The Incredible Hulk!

 

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Modge Podge + Clearance Comic Books = File Cabinet that is slightly less of an eye sore
More clearance comic book crafts!
More clearance comic book crafts!
I'm going to put up the Super Scientist of the Month for September and then hand off  the responsibility to select students.
I’m going to put up the Super Scientist of the Month for September and then hand off the responsibility to select students.

 

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Last, but certainly not least, we will be handing out these super cool super hero badges to the kids as they arrive Monday morning.

 

Here is the badge I made for myself.  We put their name, but they will get to pick their superhero name and super power.  The QR code will lead parents to our class Facebook page.  (The drawing was done by a former student.)  Hoping this will get the kids excited before the day starts!
Here is the badge I made for myself. We put their name, but they will get to pick their superhero name and super power. The QR code will lead parents to our class Facebook page. (The drawing was done by a former student. Students will draw their own pictures.) Hoping this will get the kids excited before the day starts!

New Year, New Beginning

Sitting in a PD the other day, the presenter said something about teaching being special because we get a “do-over” every year.  It is sticking with me because the kids will be back in less than two weeks, but it is a whole new group.  I have a chance to start over and do everything better.  What will I do differently/better this year?

  • Although we did a lot of interactive modeling regarding behavior during indoor recess, we didn’t focus enough on putting the games away.  Yesterday the game cabinet was a mess.  My son came to school to help, but after taking everything out he quit and started playing instead. I was left to tape up the boxes, sort through the games and reorganize by myself.  Not totally done, but I’m thinking we’ll add a picture of how it looks to remind the kids.

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  • More consistent conferring and small group work during writing workshop.  Last year was my first year with writing workshop.  Now that we have a better handle on the mini-lessons and units, I want to work on shorter more consistent conferring with students.  I also want to work on pulling small groups with similar needs to do reteaching/strategy work.  I found myself spending the whole work time with one student some days and I know I need to work on that.
  • Math!  After spending four years as a reading teacher, our reading block was pretty solid.  LC helped getting the writing workshop going.  However, math needs some work.  Throughout the year I gained more confidence with my math instruction, but I know this is the subject that I need to focus on the most.  My first step was to create this bulletin board (green one) where we will place clue words for word problems.  Each triangle will be for a different operation:  addition, subtraction, multiplication, division.  We will add words as we discover them as a class.
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I just need to add the labels for each section.

Sunday Morning Letters

Dear Dunkin Donuts,

Yesterday morning my sister texted me with a brilliant idea – coffee delivery truck!  You know like an ice cream truck, but the target would be mothers.  Mothers with sleeping children or housework that needs to get done.  Mothers that could really use some caffeine, preferable in the form of mocha iced coffee.  So, just think about it!

Sincerely,

Curious Customer

 

Dear Spell-check,

Considering the technology of today, I really think that the past tense of text, as in on a phone, should be in your dictionary.  No I don’t be tested or textured, I mean she sent me a text yesterday.  Please stop with the red dot dot dot under the word.

Thanks,

Me

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Dear Elusive Orange Folder,

I didn’t give up and I found you!  I couldn’t send my son to school without the complete supply list, exactly right.  How embarrassing for a teacher’s son to have incomplete or wrong school supplies!  You were a challenge plastic orange folder with prongs, but I found you.

Ha!

A Determined Mom