Thursday, August 30, 2012

I looked at the calendar this morning and realized that we're already at the end of August!   Is it too early to say that this school year is just flying by? I thought I should post a few pictures of what my room looks like now, at the beginning of the school year, because who knows what it will look a few months down the road.

Our Windows

I'm not very crafty.  I'm even less crafty with one arm in a sling, but my daughter insisted something be up on the window.  This was her creation.  Those are little surfboards in the waves.  I had the kids create their own.  My teaching partner took it a step further and had her students write acrostics on their surfboards.  They came out really cute, so I'm filing that idea away for next year.

My daughter taking a much needed break.
This was the year for the old paper to come down (LOVE fadeless paper) and a new brighter look to go up on the walls.  I'm waiting for someone to tell me to take down the pom-poms in the corner.  Surely they are against some sort of fire code or else they are likely to set off the motion detectors, but for now they're up.  One of the kids said it made the room look like we were having a party.  I agreed and said we were celebrating all the learning that happens in Room 24.  

Desks ready for Back to School Night

Back to School Night went fairly well.  We don't usually have a great turnout, but I did have almost half of my families show up.  On the desks: student writing folders,  "Thanks for Popping In!" popcorn, a few announcements, my business card, and a cute piece of note paper for parents to leave their child a special note.

The pennants are hanging in the back of my room.  From day one, I tell my students that I'm not getting them ready for 6th grade.  I'm getting them ready for college.  Somehow this always seems to make them sit up a bit straighter in their seats.  Later in the year, I have my students start researching schools that they might be interested in.  I know, they are only 10 years old, but many of these kiddos don't believe they CAN go to college.   Why not change that thinking?

Here are a few more pictures of Room 24:

Our Job Chart
Our Writing Wall.  
Our shared journals are a big hit!

That's it for now....time to get ready for another day in Room 24!

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Okay, so Week One wasn't really a week at all.  It was only 3 days long, but it's done!  I have a great class this year.  Academically they are probably one of the lower classes I've had in a long time.  This is fifth grade and only a small handful are reading at grade level.  Most hover somewhere around mid second grade level.  Some, I found out quickly, can't write a complete sentence.  When completing a 3-2-1 writing activity, "J" wrote that his one worry for the year was "my tech ram".  I'm usually pretty quick at figuring out inventive spelling, but I had to sit and think about that one for a while.  It turns out that "J" is worried about his teacher's arm (I've been in a sling for almost 4 weeks and I have 6 more to go!).  The same child also wondered, "wt i my tech las nam?" He wants to know what his teacher's last name is. I guess he thinks Tanner is my first name?  Obviously, "J" and I will be spending a bit of quality time together as we take this journey through fifth grade.

On a lighter note, I have a student with a rather heavy South African sounding accent.  On his registration, it says his name is David, but when I greeted him at the door, he introduced himself as "Dah-veed".  I am very careful to make note of exactly how students' names are pronounced.  I've had some tough ones over the years and I think it's important to take the time to get it right.  But by the time I had greeted everyone, I had forgotten exactly how he had pronounced it.  Dah-veed?  Dah-vid?  So I knelt down by his desk and asked him to pronounce it for me again so I could say it correctly.  He said, "My name is Dah-veed."  "Dah-veed?"  I repeated.  He looked at me like I was hard of hearing.  "No, it is Dahhhhh-veeeeed."  "Dahhhhh-veeeeed?"  "No. Daaaaaahhhhhhh-veeeeeeeed."  We continued to go back and forth like this several more times.  At this point I'm feeling bad, but I am not willing to give up.   So I try again, "In English, I would pronounce your name as David."  His face lit up in an enormous smile!  "Yes!  That's it!  It is Dah-veed!"  "Thank-you David, I think I've got it now."

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Last Weekend!

Wow, is this really the last weekend before heading back to work?  Hard to believe that summer has come and gone, but it has.  It seems like I ran out of time long before I ran out of things on my 'To Do' list.  That said, I got busy this weekend.

I've gotten some great ideas for my classroom from all of you out there in teacher blog land and from Pinterest of course.  I'm not crafty in the least, but I am now the proud owner of two paper punches!

The birthday bouquet is something I've seen on blogs and on Pinterest.  I just had to have one!  I haven't finished it yet, but it's almost done. I need to jazz up the bucket a bit and add something to cover the styrofoam.

Next on my list were Brain Break sticks that I saw on Pinterest.  This was quick and easy.  Don't ask me why I didn't just get colored craft sticks.  Instead, my daughter and I colored them with Mr. Sketch markers...if nothing else, they smell great!

After that, I tackled my dismissal poster, again, an idea I borrowed!

I got my class list on Friday, so I got my job chart cards finished.  I've shown just a sample of what my cards look like.  And yes, I really do have an Atlantis and a Diesel in my classroom this year!  The cards fit perfectly in the $1 pocket charts I picked up at Target.  I took the scraps of laminated paper that I've trimmed off of various projects and decided to keep them as bookmarks for my students.  They LOVE bookmarks!  I just need to punch a hole in the top of each one and add a ribbon.

Another thing I did this weekend was get my students' names on labels.  I give each student a sheet of ten preprinted labels to stick on all of their consumable books, notebooks, and folders.

So that was my weekend.  Of course I fit a lot more into it than what I've shown you.  I got some shopping done, spent Saturday at the lake, watched the Olympics, hung out at the dog park for a bit, and relaxed as much as I could.  So long Summer!  It was good while it lasted!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

An Amazing Give-Away

Check it out!
Wow, I came across the most amazing give-away over at Fancy Free in Fourth's blog.  Layla is celebrating her 300th follower in a BIG, BIG way.  Go check out her blog and jump in on the chance to win some great prizes!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

New {School} Year Resolutions Link Up

I'm linking up with Amanda Madden over at Teaching Maddeness to make my New School Year resolutions.  I am resolution challenged so this will be interesting.  I guess it's good that I'm typing it up in my blog.  Maybe I'll be more likely to stick to them that way?  Time will tell!

I resolve to:

1.  Build 'ME' time into my day.  Sounds a bit selfish starting out with that doesn't it?  Hear me out on this one.  During the school year, 'ME' time is the very first thing I wipe off my schedule.  If I make the time to exercise, eat right, and relax doing the things I love to do, it will definitely make me a happier human.  Happy Human = Happier Teacher.  Win-Win for all who have to spend time with me.

2.  Be more consistent with my classroom management.  Our school has a great plan in place.  I know that if I follow it faithfully, I will very few problems in my classroom.  The last year I was so distracted dealing with health issues that I let it slide and the difference was amazing. So consistency is going to be my middle name this year!

3.  Have More Fun!  We're a Title One Program Improvement school. Last year we felt pressured to do an incredible amount of drill and kill.  It's not teaching and it's not fun for anyone involved. I know that I can't possibly make every lesson I teach wildly fun and wonderfully engaging, but isn't that a great goal to strive towards?

I'm going to be realistic and cut my list off there.  How about you?  What are your New {School} Year resolutions?  Link up and let us know!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Free Stuff for School with

We all love a good deal and most of us are hitting our local stores for their back to school sales.  There's another resource that I use throughout the year to get some great supplies for my classroom.  Some of you may already know about it and I'm sure it has already been blogged about.  Freecycle!

Such a great resouce for 'stuff'

When I'm in need of something that I'd rather not spend money on, I turn to  If you aren't familiar with it, it's an online resource that connects people who either need/want a particular item or are looking to get rid of something.  Think of the old saying "one man's trash is another man's treasure."  I won't go into the details of how it works.  If you're interested, you can get that info online.  Just know that it's incredibly easy!  Here are just a few of the things I've asked for and received:

*a barely used telescope and books about space for one budding 5th grade astronomer in my class
*enough scrapbooking materials that we were able to do a class book without buying anything
*an ongoing relationship with several freecyclers who routinely drop off Boxtops for Education
*an incredible assortment of knick knacks and treasures for the Santa Shop I have every year
*several sets of oil pastels
*a new globe for a little guy in my class who was obsessed with geography
*almost a class set of 3 ring binders in near new condition
*puzzles and games
*enough childrens' books to stock a fellow teacher's bookshelves when she switched grade levels
*one freecyler anonymously dropped off (in the cloak of darkness) a class set of felt scarves that she made for my kiddos
*sports equipment
*a Habitrail hamster set up for one of my students who needed a bigger cage for his critters.
*a sturdy bookcase

Those are just a few of the great things I've gotten for FREE.  It's definitely worth checking out!  I've even managed to find a home for a few things that have been hanging out in my garage for too long.

Go check it out.  What's the worst that could happen?  You mght find a home for some of your junk and get some treasures for your classroom in return.

Love, Love, Love My New Bag

The great give-aways are just one of the many perks of reading through teacher blogs.  I speak from experience because I entered a contest in May and WON!  The contest was sponsored by Charity Preston at The Organized Classroom Blog.  Charity was reviewing an organizing utility tote from Tara Mulvany, a Thirty-One Gifts consultant.  The give-away?  You guessed it!  An organizing utility tote.

My customized tote arrived yesterday and I can't say enough about it.  It's a great teacher bag! I'm amazed at how much I was able to fit in the main part of the bag. But if that's not enough room for you,  there are 5 additional pockets on the sides of the bag and a mesh pocket on either end!

My fabulous new bag!

Being the mom that I am, I had MY bag customized for my daughter who just graduated from her credential program.  So I guess that means it isn't MY bag anymore. If only we had the same monogram!  I guess I'll just have to order one for myself.

Thanks so much to both Charity and Tara!

P.S.  Now that my daughter has a great teacher's bag, all she needs now is a job!