Friday, August 29, 2014

Goodbye Job Chart and Hello Music Room!

Happy Friday!

I am sooooo exhausted. I have made it through the first full week of school--or I will if I make it until 3:00 this afternoon. Ha!

I'm popping in to share pictures of my music room (as promised). 

These cabinets used to be bright red, green, and blue. I knew I wanted to paint them black, but I was afraid it would be too much black. Then I had the idea of using black chalkboard paint. I *love* how they turned out. The kids were so excited to make their mark on the music room by writing their names. :-)

This is the view from the door. Notice the red arrow pointing to my stuffed dog, Duke. He happens to be the best classroom management tip I have for teaching music (not that I claim to be an expert at all). 

Last year with my first year teaching music, the management part of it was definitely the biggest challenge for me. It is just so different than how I handle my second grade classroom. Kids are in and out in 20 minutes and I just didn't feel like I had the time needed to really bond with students to promote good behavior (other than my 2nd graders). 

Duke watches every day for a student making good choices who he can sit with during each music class. The kids also enjoy the stories I tell them about how ornery Duke is when they aren't around...swinging from the ceiling fan, dumping out my markers, etc. The idea is he has to sit with someone who can help him be good. :-) I wasn't sure using Duke like this (similar to how I used him when I taught 1st grade) for music would work, but for now he is definitely a keeper! 

This is the view from the other side of the room.

I only use the music room for 1 hour each day (20 minutes each for K, 1, and 2), so in the mornings it will be used for reading groups. I set up this little area for the teacher who will be working in here.

And finally...goodbye job chart!

Last year I got tired of swapping jobs and trying to remember who had which jobs. I knew I was going to one special helper a week, but I hadn't figured out how exactly I would make that work.

I was talking it over with another teacher and she gave me the BEST idea!

I use an assigned line (I know Kristi talked about this before...of course, I learned it from her) and in the past I have left it exactly the same all year long (except for the line leader). Sometimes I would feel bad that those in the back were always the last to lunch...and everywhere really. 

So my teacher friend's suggestion solved both my problems. Rotate my assigned line and have the first person in line do all the jobs. The next week, that person goes to the back and I have a new special helper. The line is really the same (so no getting confused on the order)--just rotating it. LOVE IT!

My first special helper has done an amazing job. I posted these pictures by the door to help him remember all the things he is in charge of doing.

This system, along with the colored dots on the desks being used to help out with team jobs, is working wonderfully for our class.

Have a wonderful long weekend! 
I know I have big plans to rest up on Monday. :-)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wisdom for Wednesday-Words Spoken

Welcome to another week of:

Research has shown that we speak around 17,000 words a day!  They say that some days it is around 60,000 words a day!  Wow that is a lot of words.  Our words can either tear down or build up.  It really made me think that every single word that I say can make a difference and with just a word, I can please and glorify the Lord.

 As teachers, I think it is important to remember this research as well because as we speak to the students, I believe it is important to remember that our words can build them up or tear them down.  I need to remember to always think before I speak and make sure that my words will glorify the lord.  

Luke 6:45

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

Have a great day!

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Wiblets-Demanding Dudley Review

I was very excited to be contacted by Diana Rissett to do a book review over The Wiblets Demanding Dudley.    

The Wiblets are loving monsters that were born from the imagination and heart of a mom who learned firsthand how to lovingly raise children to be polite and respectful.

The book that I received was Demanding Dudley.  In the book Dudley is an impatient little monster who demands apple juice from his mother without using the “magic words.”  His loving mom uses the chance to teach him that being polite and grateful is always the way to go.

I love reading books to kids that help show good character.  This book did exactly what I would want a book to do.  First, the illustrations were very colorful and caught the attention of all the students.  Second, it taught the students the concept of using manners saying please and thank you.  Finally, it made the students laugh and they loved it and even asked if I would read it to them again.  :-)

I was really excited that after reading the book to the students, many of them started to use their "magic words" and referred back to Demanding Dudley and how they were going to remember their "magic words" just like he did in the book.  

If you aren't familiar with these books, please go and check them out because they are definitely good ones to have for your story time. 


Have a great day!


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Who, Where, Why, When, What???

Happy Saturday everyone! 

I just finished my first week back to work--and wow--I am tired! 

So glad Kristi picked up the slack and blogged EVERY day. 
Can you believe it?

I'm going to chime in here (and link up with Blog Hoppin') with what may be picture overload, but hey...I know I love picture-filled posts so here goes...

This is me and hubby--attempting to take a selfie. We need a little work, I think. :-)

We've been married almost 18 years! We were "high-school sweethearts" except we didn't go to the same high school. We met at church. We have lived in the same small-town area all of our lives--except when we went to Phoenix, AZ for hubby to go to school at UTI. Talk about culture shock! Still miss the weather there though--loved it!

Here's our kids on the first day of school:

Last year, I started teaching at the elementary school I attended for K-6. One of the things I love about it is how close I am to work...

Now for a peek in my classroom...

Now remember I said this is where I went to elementary school...SMALL classrooms. When I went here, we had combo classes (1st/2nd, 3rd/4th, and 5th/6th) and there were only 6-8 kids in a classroom! Now the two towns that make up our district combine for K-2 here in my town and 3-12 in the other town.

I only have 16 students this year! Hooray!
Last year with 23 it was so crowded!

Here's just a couple close ups because I really didn't change a whole lot this year. You may have seen these birthday cupcakes that took Pinterest by storm last year...

These are the same ones! All I did was swap out the candles. If you want directions on how I made them, see this post from last year. Weird Side Note--my class has no summer birthdays (the one in July is mine) and I have two different sets of two students with the same birthdays.

As far as decorations go, this is really it. I added "Seuss Club" which is really Mastery Club. I found the editable documents in the pack were not very user-friendly--but here is what I came up with...

I will put stars on their name tags as they complete a challenge. When they get 16 stars, we will move their name tag below the Hall of Fame words and add their picture. I love the idea of this, and I really think my kids are going to enjoy it. 

For the why of my post, glance back up at the pictures with my desk groups. Each group is a color team. You will notice the blue team has blue book boxes, but down below they also have a team tub of supplies and a math tub. I started this last year and it works so much better for me. There is less waiting to get out supplies. This year, I also added dots to my desks inspired by this pin (click the pick to go to Owl-ways Be Inspired and read about them):

I love these dots! In two days of school, I have already used them several times. For example, I might say, "Green dots get your team's supply bucket out," or "Yellow dots please come help me pass these out." LOVE IT!!!!
Also loving that I got rid of my job chart, but I'll post more about that later.

Now here's a peek at my schedule:
All I can say is that I can't wait to actually be using this schedule! The first two days were...well, you know. Basically a list of things I hoped to accomplish! 

Finally, what I love to teach...I don't even know how to pick just one thing! I absolutely love teaching--and I love my new class! Thursday was by far my easiest first day--ever. :-)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Blog Hoppin Friday-What I love to teach

What do you love to teach?

This is the Friday's Back to School Blog Hoppin Linky.

I love teaching reading!  I think that I like it so much because in first grade you see them grow a lot as readers.  It is so fun to see them get excited because they begin to read bigger books.  One game that I have started having my students play is connect four with words.  I made up some connect four boards and the student roll the dice.  They find that number on their board and read the word.  The words have the vowel sound that we are working on for the week in them.  If they read it right then they get to cover it.  If they don't read it right then they don't cover it.  Whoever gets 4 in a row wins the game.  

They always beg me to play this game and I love it because they are practicing reading words.  You can get it for free through the weekend.  Just click on the picture and download it.  This is the one that we will be doing next week that works on short a.  

Connect Four Game with short a words

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thursday-Back to School-Teacher Linky

Welcome to Thursdays link up with Blog Hoppin Back to School:

Today's topic is when......your schedule and a look into your day.  The following is my schedule:

8:10-8:40-Morning Duties-Students come in and hang up backpacks, do lunch count/milk count, change shoes for PE, write their name on their desk.  We will then go over our rules (whole brain) and start our day.

8:40-9:00-First Reading Lesson-Daily 5 group 1-I work with a group while the others do either read to self, word work, work on writing or listen to reading.   I work with groups on skills in the Treasures Reading book.

9:00-9:30-Reading Groups-We are a Title 1 school and our title reading teachers will help us during this time.  I break students into groups and with the help of our Title 1 teachers, we do pathways to reading during this time.  

9:30-9:50-Second Reading Session-Daily 5 round 2

9:50-10:10-Third Reading Session-Daily 5 round 3

10:10-10:20-Clean up/Restroom




11:55-1:00-Math-I teach a whole group lesson with Everyday Math and then we break up into 2 groups.  One group will be working on their math book page and the other group works on Mountain Math.  Then we switch.  If they finish early, they work on fact practice with games or on the computer.  

1:00-1:30-Computer Lab-Half of the class goes to computer class and does Connect Ed (Treasures Reading) on one day and on the other day they do Everyday Math games.  The 1/2 of the class that doesn't go to computer stays with me to work on skills that they may need help with.

1:40-2:10-MTSS (Reading)-We work on reading skills that they may need reinforcement in.


2:30-2:50- Milk/Story/Pack Up

2:50-3:20-Science/S.S./Writing-This is the time that I will use weekly readers as well.


Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wednesday-Back to School-Teacher Week Linky

Welcome to day 3 of  Back to School-Teacher Week Linky!

Today is to tell your best tip for organization.  

I decided a couple of years ago that I find that my mind seems to spin after school thinking of all the things I need to do.  So, I would start on one thing and think....."Oh I need to do this" and would stop and go to something else.  In the end, it seemed like nothing got completely done and I was staying very late after school.  The other thing that would happen would I would sit there and try to come up with all the things that I needed to get done.  I wasted a lot of time doing this because after teaching all brain was on slow mode.  I finally decided that I needed a daily checklist that I could have out and do each thing and cross it off as I finished each task.  (I really needed one that I kept in one spot because I would make them on paper and would lose them :-( LOL!)  

I made up a list of things to do every day of the week and put them in a clear pocket.  I use them every day of the week and can just mark off each task with an expo marker when I get it done.  After using them I erase and use it again the next week.  This way I don't have to run a copy of it every week.  Having this daily check list has saved me a lot of time and wasted minutes.  I do have to admit that I haven't used them yet this year because I don't have a routine down yet, but I will definitely start using them when my routine and schedule at school is consistent.

Here is a picture of what it looks like (I will have to change it for this year-these are from last year) as soon as I get into my schedule and routine.  

Have a great day!

Wisdom for Wednesday - Swamped

Good morning! 

Tonight I will be meeting my kiddos as they bring in their school supplies and tomorrow will be it--first day with my kiddos!


That's why I thought this would be the perfect bit of wisdom for me today!

Can I get an amen?

I know this quote goes with many others I have posted about priorities, embracing the day, and keeping things in perspective, but that is because it is one of my biggest personal challenges.

I can't help it! 

When I see a quote that reminds me not to be overwhelmed with the here and now, it speaks to me every. single. time.
(By the way, where did that period in the middle of a sentence thing start? It must be a bloggy thing because I have found myself wanting to do it lately, and it must be from reading blogs. I've resisted until now because it is not grammatically correct and I am a perfectionist, you know...)

This is a perfect reminder for me as I begin this school year. I love the way it is worded. The word refuse implies that I have a choice (and I do). I also like the word fitting for how I feel much of the time.

I wonder...

In order to refuse to be swamped...could it mean that I might have to say "no" more often? 

And as for those things that I don't have an option to say "no" to, could it be that I can choose not to be swamped by them?

I think if I keep my focus on the Lord where it should be, the answer to both questions is yes. 

What about you?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tuesday's Where Back to School-Teacher Week Linky

Welcome to day 2 of  Back to School-Teacher Week Linky!

Remember that I said that this year I was so excited because in 17 years, I have a brand new, newly constructed classroom!  Welcome to my classroom!  

This is the area where the kids come in and do his/her lunch count.  They find their stick and put it in the basket.....sack lunch, school lunch or alternate lunch.

This is the sticks where they choose what milk they want at snack time.

This is the behavior clip chart.  On this side they start on green and will move down for breaking a rule. 

This is the other side of the behavior clip chart.  If they demonstrate positive behaviors, they get to move their clip up to this area and we celebrate!

My walk in closet!!!   I love it......I am still organizing it as you can tell.  :-)

Sink area to wash hands after using the bathroom.

YAY!  I have bathrooms in the room.  I love having bathrooms in the classroom!  This saves a lot of time!  I had them one year and then moved to another room the next year where there weren't any bathrooms and I definately missed them!

My reading group and math group table.  

My whiteboard with a nice projector that hangs from the ceiling.

Lots of cabinet and counter space!

My desk area with beautiful windows!

Kids new desks and chairs!  The really cool thing is that you can write on them with an expo marker.  :-)

Prize chart-After 10 good days, kids get to choose a reward and will get their clip and clip it on their choice.

Rules and Calendar

Word Wall

Job Chart

There it is.....I'm loving my new room!  

Have a great day!

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