Sunday, November 4, 2012


Hello! I am still alive over here in third grade land.  First of all, I love, love, love third grade!!  However, my blogging was brought to a standstill because I have been SOOO busy with my new grade level!
However, I am working on my Volcano unit to tie all kinds of objectives together.  In third grade science, we have volcanoes, mountains, valleys, canyons, caverns, and islands. In reading we are studying informational text, and working on comparing/contrasting scientific ideas.  My grade level decided to use the basal story about volcanoes to do this (since it is compare and contrast) and then also do volcano research. 
I do not focus my teaching in reading on one story like that because I use Guided Reading and Daily 5.  The volcano story is great for volcanoes, but it is also a 4.8 level... and we are only just starting the second quarter of third grade. It is definitely not appropriate for all students! 
But, I digress....
I am using other informational text in my reading groups, but for science we are going to focus on volcanoes like everyone else! We will be doing volcano research to create volcano books, where we focus on creating non-fiction text features, and having a clear topic sentence and supporting details for each paragraph.  I am going to post my templates to create a volcano book on my teachers pay teachers site!  If anyone actually reads this, and responds, I will send it to the first 5 people for free!  :)

Also, I am putting together a series of lab demonstrations and lab note sheets as well.  This is what made me most excited!  Here are my plans so far:

1.  Lava Lab - using chocolate and marshmellows to demonstrate how rock melts into magma, comes out of the earth as lava, and cools into rock.  Which of course.. then we get to eat!

2.  Viscosity of Lava Demonstration - This one was a tough one to think about.  I wanted my kids to understand that it is the amount of silica gas (and if they just know that it is the amount of gas, I will be happy) that determines how explosive the eruption would be.  So, I came up with the idea of using a soda bottle!
First, we will take a new, unopened 20 oz soda bottle and talk about how there is gas in it.  This is our example of a volcano where there is a lot of sillica, that traps the gas in the bottle which means it has a high viscosity. Then we will open it up and watch the explosion! 
Then, we will use a second 20 oz soda bottle, and talk about how in a low viscosity example there is not a lot of silica and that allows the gas to escape.  We will shake up our bottle, and then open it a little and close it back up.  Repeating that a few times to let the gas escape.  Then when we finally open it up, the soda will still come out the top... only not so explosively! 

3.  The age old volcano lab.. this one is not quite as exciting!

Any other ideas?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Help!! I need your help!

What do I need to have or do for a third grade room that is different from a fourth grade room???!!!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Big changes...

Well, it has been awhile since I've had time to post. This week, I haven't evenhad time to read other blogs!  It has been a rough week. First, we had curriculum night for parents on Tuesday. That went amazing. Great turnout, and I could tell the parents were feeling good. After, I was gathering my things to leave when my principal came in,

He had a very serious look on his face, and asked if he could talk to me for a few min. I thought I was in trouble! He explained that the 10day enrollment numbers had come in. Then I thought he was going to tell me I had to move schools!

Instead, our third grade numbers are too high. NC says we can only have max of 22 in K-3. 4th grade can have ip to 30 or 32!! So, he has to move a teacher from 4th to 3rd. He felt I was the best fit and most able to handle the change at this point in the year.

He asked me to sleep on it and get back to him.  After a lot of not sleeping and thinking, I decided that I really didn't have a choice because if no one else on my team wanted to, I was going to be chosen I'm the end anyway.

So, now I'm changing grade levels!! 3 weeks into school! I told my students yesterday, and there wre many tears, not just from the girls! My principal called each my parents to tell them personally. Now, I will keep my fourth graders through Friday. They will start their new class Monday, my new third graders will come to me next Thursday. This way, I will at least have a couple of days to flip my room and get ready.

I am very anxious, and nervous. But I've been assured that I'll be great. Only time will tell!!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First week, Monday Made It!, and Currently

Wow! I can't believe that the first we1ek is over, and the second week has started! I will post about the activities I used in the first week in more detail and with pictures tomorrow, but for now here are some of the things we did! What have you accomplished in your first days or week?

1.  Math:  We started teaching math on day 2, so we have actually gotten quite a bit done here.  They are decent math students this year but slow as molasses!   I swear we could teach math all day long and still not finish!  :) Ok, maybe not that long, but definitely we keep going over math block and into reading!
     Interactive Math Notebooks: These are amazing!  The kids love them, I love them, everyone loves them! Mostly though, I just love that this group can fold, cut, and glue paper....  It is fantastic!  We started with an entry I call "Math about Me" and then have done some pages on Place Value and Comparing numbers.
    Population Project: This was amazing!  They kids had so much fun, and they did such an amazing job on them. You can find the project on my Teacherspayteachers site for free! (that is my Monday Made it). After I created it, and used it myself, I touched it up and made it more complete to post.  It has everything you need to do it in your own classroom to practice writing large numbers in word, standard, and expanded forms.  Also, I am sure that you are also trying to find ways to increase global awareness as 21st century learners!

2.  Reading: We started Daily 5 with Read to Self.  I will post on that on Friday. I think I am going to make Friday my Daily 5 posting day.

3. Back to School Project - Personality Spheres - This is my favorite project.  The students create a sphere using 20 cut out circles and attaching them together. On each circle they answer a question about themselves. 

I think that was all of the exciting things we did in the last week.  I swear, it takes this group so long to do anything!  They do good work, but even just putting a heading on our paper takes several minutes.  I think I am going to have to start finding ways to motivate them to be quicker! Have you had groups like that?  What do you do?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Twas the night before school...

Twas the night before school.. and all through the house all the teachers were stirring, and planning, and thinking!  lol..
So, my roommate and I are both teachers, and both of us were sitting here going through all the things we still need to do for tomorrow.  Ready or not, here they come!
Not having access to a printer and copier at school really set me behind.  I have everything I need to print in a file on the server at school called (creatively) "to print."  Tomorrow morning I will have to print, and then find a copy code so I can copy things. If I only get my job application, and stuff for my math notebooks we will make it until enhancements when I can get the rest done.  I hate not being totally ready though! 
What did you, or are you doing, for the first day of school?
Here is what I have planned, but I am always looking for new ideas!
Morning Work: Apply for your favorite classroom job
Math Block: Welcome, procedures, tour of the room, basic expectations, blah blah blah...
Then.. Introduce our Interactive Math Notebooks! Thank you Janaye at Frogs and Cupcakes for her amazing inspiration here! Our first entry is going to be a lift the flap page of Math About Me.  I cut white computer paper into 7 x 9.5 in pieces that I will have the students fold into 8 boxes and cut them out.  They will put a line of glue with our glue sticks along the top to make them open, and write the topic on the outside using markers. 
All About Me: Write name, # of letters, # of different letters, and the value of their name if a=1 and z=26
My Birthday
My Address
My Family
My Favorite Sport (anything to do with their favorite sport and numbers)
My Favorite Number
How Old Am I? (Challenge - how many days old? or weeks?)
My Phone Number

I hope it turns out! I will post pictures tomorrow.
Reading: Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Pollaco.  I love this book! I read it every year! Tomorrow I will read it, and then we will discuss how to write a thank you card.  They will choose a former teacher to write a thank you card to.  We will also do a reading interest inventory.

Science/Social Studies block: Personality Spheres.  I love this project. It will take two days at least to complete.

For everyone who is starting tomorrow.. Good luck!! If you are already back in school, hope you have another great week!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Task Cards, Smart Boards, and a massage

Today was a very tiring but great day.  I was so happy this morning to play with my task cards that I made.  I laminated them with the fabulous personal laminator.  I really love that thing, but am out of the laminating sheets. I am hoping that one of my parents brings some in, although the wish fish was one that stayed on the board.  Anyway, I cut them out and put them in the containers!

What a great find those were! I found 4 x 6 plastic photo boxes at Micheals and JoAnn Fabrics for less than 2$ each.  They are perfect to hold the task cards!  I used clear plastic packing tape to tape the objective card on the outside, and the direction card inside the cover.  I also posted more of the task card sets to  I need more plastic photo boxes, but I think that I have a mom who is going to bring them in for me!  I am really excited about my common core task cards.

After playing with my task cards I was really busy doing lots of unexciting stuff.  Until the late afternoon, when they installed my SmartBoard!! Yay!!  I did a little SmartBoard dance in the hallway when they wheeled the stuff down to my room.  Sadly, the cords are too short to reach all the way over to where I want them to be permanently, but I have a place to make it work temporarily.

The final part of the awesomeness was that I came home and had the most amazing massage ever. Just what I needed!!  My roommate's girlfriend is a massage therapist.  She offered me a massage in exchange for me giving my bag of old tennis balls to him to use in his classroom.  I would have jsut given them to him, but I jumped at the chance for a massage! Ah.. relaxation!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Open House

I cannot believe how ready I was for Open House.  I have never been so ready and it was almost scary how smooth it went!  I had all of their packets of back to school forms and information in sheet protectors with their name on a sticker on the outside.  I am so rediculous, that I put a sticker on all of the forms that need to come back to school, and put them at the front.

Next, I set up stations with signs to show all the things that needed to be done during Open House.
I wanted to have the students occupied so that I could secretly ask the parents to write a sweet note to their child for me to leave on their desk for the first day of school.  :)

Here were my stations:
1.  Name plate: I have used white 2 x 7 in paper strips for students to make their names on their desk for the last few years.  Tonight I had the students decorate their name plate so that I could laminate them and have them ready for the desks for the first day.

2.  When I grow up...:  I made my bulletin board with quotes and pictures from Walt Disney.  Then I cut out fish shaped peices of scrapbook paper.  Each student wrote "When I grow up, I want to be a _____" (and filled in the blank of course with what they wanted)   They turned out pretty cute, but I will have to have some redo it because they wrote only the word of what they wanted to be.  Some interesting choices though. They ranged from Cop, to Marine Biologist, to BMXer.  There was one teacher, and my neice (2nd grade) said she wants to work at PetCo.

While the students were working on those things, I had the parents set up with all of their forms.  I pulled out the 3 they needed fill out for open house, and showed them the folders to turn them in to.  Then I explained the cards.  I am really excited about the cards for them on the first day.  I am going  to have them do that seeral times throughout the year I think.

Then I had the students find their writing composition notebook. This is their first assignment.  they are supposed to decorate the cover with anything they want that is flat.  Usuallty I do this the first week of school, but our open house was so early I thought it would be nice for them to have it done before school started.  I put their names on them with return address stickers.

My wish list was made up of scrapbook paper fish cutouts, and I called them our Wish Fish!  We also had sign ups to be room parents and help file papers for our Monday Folders.  I had 22 out off 23 families show up.  It was great! Tomorrow I will call the last one to see if they are still coming and let them know to come by and do the things we did tonight so that they don't feel left out on Monday. :)

Also, tomorrow we pick up our laptops! Our district has laptops for all teachers this year! Yay!

Monday, August 20, 2012

I don't think we are in Kansas anymore....

Ok, it is official.. I have landed in the teaching world of OZ. Today was our first day back as teachers, and it was totally different in so many ways.  It is not my intention to say that my former school was bad.  It is what it is, and it had a totally different set of circumstances.  Today was  a great first day, and I am excited about what is to come.  Tomorow I meet my kiddos and families for the first time.  I feel like I am so much farther ahead than usual at this point, and am just waiting for the shoe to drop on my head of what I am forgetting...  Do you ever feel that way?

Here are some things that are happening in the land of OZ:

1.  Our Data Manager is amazing, and just as OCD about things being done in a certain way as me.  She made us attendence binders with brightly colored cardstock pages that explain everything you could possibly need to know, including instructions for a sub so you don't ever have to worry about it.

2.  All of the papers that go home to parents were delivered today, including a checklist for parents to know what needs to be filled out and a color coded checklist for teachers that match the colors of the papers.

3.  PTO spent about 3 hours setting up for open house.  Including painting a mural on bulletin board paper,  and setting up 3 tables worth of information.

4.  Myclass this year is 23 students.  Of those 23, I only have 3 who did not pass their 3rd grade EOG.  Now, that doesn't mean this year will be easier because the focus is showing growth.  But, last year I think I only had 8 who started the year ON grade level!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Lists, lists and more lists!!

So, I decided to revisit the back to school checklist linky I joined and see if I had accomplished things that I said I needed to.  Good news is.... I went rom 25 items on my checklist to... drum roll please.... 12!  Of course, I have done lots of things that were not on that list (thank you Pinterest and all the awesome ideas out there!  Here is my updated list, and the other things I really want to get done that I have thought of since I made the original list:

1.  Finish labeling library for AR.  I totally thought I was finished with all of the chapter books today. I even put them in order neatly on the shelf when I went home for lunch and realized that there was a small box of books still to be labeled on my passenger seat AND a WHOLE FREAKING BUCKET of them at home!!!! AAHHHH!! I think that it is going to be the death of me!  I hope school is open tomorrow so that I can finish them!

2.  Print Labels and label student supplies.  Printing is not the easiest thing at the moment since there are no printers that want to talk to my room... This will have to be fixed soon or I may cry.

3.  Make my sign and area for Open Mic Friday signups!

4.  Make a giant pencil sign with clothespins for students to show what stage of the writing process they are in.  These clothespins will probably not get painted cutely like the behavior clips did.  I will need another craft day to do that....

5.  Wish Fish!  I need to make my wish fish with all the items that I want/need for the room!

6.  Organize my word work/listen to reading options.

7.  Organize Sub Binder (the lack of printing skills is definitely hindering this also)

8.  Organize Teacher Binder (see above! But, I have stickers to decorate all ready to go!)

.9.  Back to school forms

10.  Get first homework journal decorating assignment ready to give at open house.

11.  Create ACE strategy folders

12.  Keep making task cards

New items to the list....
13.  Start outlining some plans
14.  explore all the things I have pinned and see what else has to happen next!! :)

What is on your list of things to do?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Vacation, craft day, library, and new books...

Wow.. Since I went on vacation there are so many things I keep thinking I want to record!

First, Disney World was amazing as usual! I loved every minute, but was super exhausted! We saw all 4 parks, and had tons of food! This is the first time I have used the dining plan and boy was it worth it!

Next, yesterday was Craft Day in Miss Webb's room.  I painted my behavior clothespins, and used a circle punch to make the numbers to go on the ends. Then I mod podged both sides so they are smooth.  Then I started to make the letter things for word work using circle letter stickers and clear stones.  It is... Not so awesome... Has anyone else tried this? Maybe I'm not patient enough, but I am having a hard time getting them to stay stuck when I try to take thm off the paper.  I also made a calendar using paint chips and a 7$ frame fom Wal-Mart! I also hot glued ribbon into their math journals!

The other major project of this week has been creating, printing, and attaching labels for the books in my classroom library. It is taking FOREVER!!! Hopefully I will finish tomorrow.

The last thing to share today is that I was at the library i found two cute picture books I'm going to use at the beginning of school. The first is called Otto the Book Bear. It's about a bear in a book who leaves his book when no one is looking and ends up getting left behind. It's adorable!  The second is called Chester's Masterpiece.  It's about the cat of an author/illustrator who is the main character in her other books but decides he can make a better story so he hides her tools and takes over. There is some cute dialogue between them via sticky notes and is very creative.  It addresses elements that stories need in order to be complete!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

procrastination... curriculum thoughts... and linky

I should be packing.. but I am too busy watching last nights Olympics. I just love Olympic swimming. Well, I love watching swimming anytime, but this has been so exciting! My roommate laughs at me because I have to watch the daytime Olympics before the Primetime.  (Some sports get "watched" at x60 speed with regular speed at important moments.)  I think tha tthe swimmers are just awesome to watch and I just have to add that Nathan Adrian is the hottest swimmer... I can watch him all day long! :)  My other new facorite from yesterday is Trampline.  Really... They bounce on a trampoline.. It reminds me of Diving, only backwards.  It was super bouncy.. and flippy.  I loved it!  It left me wondering if trampoline gymnasts switch to trampoline because they are ADHD likeme??

I was thinking about commmon core this morning while watching the Olypmics. Did I mention I have ADHD?? Who else would think of things like curriculum which watching the freakin olypics???  Anyway, my thoughts are about the pace of the math curriculum.  For the last few years I have been developing the idea that we are not teaching skills in the order that will help the skills to really connect in students minds.  Without the connections they will never truly master the skills we need them to in order to be successful.  In fourth grade, my grade level and most others that I know of tend to start with Place Value.  Here is my problem... We teach Place Value, and in fourth grade that only means one more whole number place, plus 2 decimal places.  WHY do they still not know their whole number places???  Clearly there is a disconnect.  So whole numbers, decimal numbers, then comparing and ordering, and thenm my grade level has wanted to go to multiplication.  We don't come back t fractions until january!  We have just lost the opportunity to really cement both fractions and decimals together!  So, as we move to common core, I really think that it is important to really look at which skills need to come first as building blocks, and then determine a strong order of skills that takes cnnections between skills into consideration.

Where should we start then?  I am thinking that the best place o start is algebra.  In teachign rder of operations, they can already perform all of the operations becasue they are single digit operations.  Also, if we can teach them about expressions and equations in the context of problem solving then you can work on that ALL year by having them write the expression fr the word problem they are solving for other skills.  Then, wen it comes time for state tests, perhaps they will finally have a better and deeper understanding of how to interpret the word problems  I hate watching students add or subtract 2 digit numbers in fourth grade on a major assessment!  I am at a new schol this year, so perhaps my new grade level will appreciate my thinking.  What are your thoughs?  I would absolutely ove t hear them!!

The last thing for today is a linky of Kids say the Darndest things.  I think that one great moment was last year.   I am in between individual reading assessments and one of my girls comes up and has a question.  Seemingly out of nowhere she says, "Miss Webb, what is a jock strap? "  I looked at her.. and blinked.. and finally came up wtih, "why do you ask?"  I had fears of some conversation that should NOT have been happening during thier independent work time.  Thankfully, sort of, she replied that it was in her book.  Then I was thinking what on earth is this chick reading??!  I asked her to show me the context.  I was able to breathe a sigh of releif that the character (a boy)  had been super embarrassed in class by pulling a jock strap out of his backpack on accident.  phew... I was able to tell her he was embarrased because it was like pulling underwear out in front of the whole class!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Fabulous Finds and getting ready for vacation

I mentioned before that I am going on vacation next week. I don't know if I mentioned how incredibly super excited I am!! I love Disney World, and I haven't been in a few years. I am going with friends and as much fun as it is to go with kids (I've gone with my niece and the family I nannied for in college), it is way fun with just adult friends.

I started planning my packing... Does anyone else do this? I am so excited to go that I can't wait to pack. Only at the the other end of the trip I absolutely DETEST unpacking. So, I tend to not do it... for days.. until.. it becomes a huge problem... Anyway, we are still on the exciting end. This brings me to my two fab finds of the day:

1. For Vacation... I found Minnie Mouse ears at the Disney store for 7$ that are A-freakin-dorable!!! (see picture below) they sparkle and are just too fun. My friend Denise was just saying that she wants to get the Mickey ears at the park, and I just have no interest in that. These, I love!

2. A printer from Target:
I found an Epson Wireless printer/scanner for 35$. I saved 25$ PLUS the tax because it is Tax free weekend in NC. Of course... Because it is tax free weekend that means that EVERYONE was out. I saw at least 3 families from my former school. I tried to avoid most of them but there was on very memorable encounter. One of my students this past year was a student with Autism from the self contained Autism class. He came to me for Science and Social studies as a regular ed student. He was such an amazing kid. He was with his older brother when I past him. I said hello and continued on my way. HIs reaction was priceless. Most students have a hard time picturing their teacher outside of school, he was shocked and excited. About 5 minutes later, I see him and the whole family and his mom coming up the aisle. She tells me that he HAD to hunt me down and find me before they left. (thankfully I was still there!) She told me that she had to tell me what he had just said about me. His words, "Miss Webb is a little piece of Heaven." How sweet is that! He had the biggest grin on his face too. So sweet!! I melted, and then I had to tell his mom that I would not be at that school again. She was thankful that she has a heads up to prepare him for it, but was sad I wouldn't be there.

I almost forgot my other find!! At the Disney Store they have Pre-order offers for dvd's that are coming out. I had gotten these before but I thought they stopped doing it awhile ago. Not so much!! Right now it is for Cinderella! One of my favorite Princesses! The lithographs that came with it look so pretty! If you also love this idea, brave is next and the lady said they will most likely do the lithographs with it!

I also decided to link up with Oh Boy 4th Grades "currently". It looked fun and entertaining. Sorry for what ended up being a much longer post, but hopefully it was a fun journey!! Night!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I'm sorry...

I know I am breaking the "please don't blow up my feed with tons of needless posts all in the same day" rule.. but I just couldn't help it! I am too excited! I have been working feverishly all summer to create math task cards for common core objectives. (Ok... I have been working on them while sitting in front of the tv.... and since the Olympics started I have not done any of them!) 

Anyway, the thing that I am so excited about is that I borrowed my roommates laptop tonight so that I could update my teacher website since they finally moved my over to my new school and I realized that I could use HIS computer to upload my task cards to teacherspayteachers!! 

I just finished uploading the very first set, and I am stoked!  I will go back to uploading the rest of the sets for Operations and Algebraic Thinking.  The first 3 people who comment on here will get all 7 sets of task cards free!  Hooray! Happy task carding!

~on a side note... it does not work to touch the screen on a regular laptop. I keep trying to touch it and expecting something to happen like on my iPad.  Anyone else have a problem going back and forth?

Check out the task cards!


A feeling of success!

So, today was the last day that I can work on my room for a whole week.  I am certainly not sad about that because in the meantime I will be visiting family in Florida and then meeting up with friends at Disney World! I am super excited!!!

I managed to have a lot of focus today! I started with the cricuting and laminating center at home.  I do love cricuting but I will be glad when I get all my big projects complete!  I think I have about 50 little 2" circle charms to cut out from the laminating stuff still... and I want to make signs for each enhancement (special) so that I can put up which one they have each day.

Then I got lunch and went to my room! The goals for today were to finish unpacking my desk stuff, clear off the counter, put up bulletin boards, unpack the books that go in my teacher cabinet (the picture books I use to teach and some others), and put up the lantern lights.

When I got there, I discovered my cute curtains had fallen down.  I have got to figure out a way to keep them up!  I got all kinds of cute little containers to put my desk stuff in from the dollar section at Target.  They are little Dr. Suess square containers and circle ones with funny faces!  I also was excited because I found little pencils with cupcakes and matching erasers. I am going to actually make a point this year to do birthdays.  They will get their pencil with eraser, a birthday certificate, and get to wear a flashing birthday button.

I pretty much got everything on my list for today done! I am really happy with my bulletin boards for Daily 5.  I have the headings for the I-Charts. I got perfect little business card holders from staples for 1.99 each that I attached to the bottom of the bulletin board to hold their choice charms.    I started the CAFE board, and put up our schedule.  I really liked how the schedule colors look next to each other.  I will use a whiteboard marker to write the times for each thing on it.  I might end up moving it to the other whiteboard though, or maybe just the other side.

I am still waiting for the smartboard to be installed. Hopefully that will happen next week.  Then I can put up my word wall alphabet, and get my last bulletin board ready.  I am still working on task cards but now I get to pack for Disney!

I can't wait to go! I am the biggest kid ever when it comes to Disney, and a pin trading nerd! Whatare your major projects at this point?  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


I can't believe how much I got done in a very short time!!  I got a lot of the little things put away and some of the cute things taken care of.  Does anyone else just feel better inside when things start to look cute??
I got my curtains put up, and then I decided to go ahead and put up my Place Value chart.  I am still so excted about that place value chart!  It fits my theme AND the size of each place represents its value in relation to the other places.... I know.. I just raised my nerd points by a lot. :)
I also managed to figure out how the desk supply stuff will go in my 3 drawer organizer that will go under the table with the teacher computer.  The last exciting thing that I did was put the magnet strips on the back of  my laminated signs for each subject that I will write the essential objectives on with a dry erase marker.  I think I got pictures of all of the cute things I did.  I took a video of the Place Value chart so you can see the whole thing, but I don't know if I will be able to upload it from the iPad.

How are your rooms coming? Have you started yet? At my old school we wouldn't be allowed in yet, so I am VERY thankful I get this time before going on vacation next week.  Tomorrow will be my last room update for awhile! Stay tuned for the exciting part... decorating and bulletin boards! (I cant wait to get my Daily 5 stuff up!)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

More work in my room

I went back again this afternoon and actually felt like I got a lot done!  All but my library books are unpacked.. that is a major task that I am just not ready for.  I started out breaking down the boxes as I emptied them.  However, after slicing the top of my thumb open with the scissors while doing that, I got mad and decided to leave them in the middle of my room.  This led to a fun tower of boxes.  That is the only picture I took today.  My friend Kristin came by to help, and she was amazing because she did the job I was dreading.... cleaning the desks. They were disgusting.  In fact, she scrubbed them with a magic eraser, goo gone, and scrubbing bubbles lemon scent for about 2 hours and only cleaned 7 of them.  While she was doing that, I was organizing cabinets and got a lot of things put away.  Soon I will be able to do the fun stuff, like put up bulletin boards!  

Monday, July 30, 2012

A daunting task... Part 2

Ok, so if you saw the first post about the state of my new room you could see how much chaos and stuff was in there!! In the first pictures, the majority of the stuff everywhere was stuff that needed to be taken away. (including lots of big furniture)

Today I convinced a friend to help and was amazed at how much we got done!! The cabinets are all clean, the stuff that needed to go away is all gone, and I feel much better!! I have 4 student computers and one monitor.... Don't ask.. I still have to figure that one out... Anyway, it is way more than I had at my previous school. I found a nice little table for my teacher computer and will back my guided reading table up to it, so you can see how my corner is starting to shape up. The cabinets are all close too.

I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to have the students store their things. I think we may need their cubbies to be our library. There are hooks for backpacks but i don't live that idea either....

Anyway.. I'm ready to continue unpacking tomorrow after tutoring!

I almost forgot my Monday Made it!! I am making my headings for my daily 5 board on the cricut machine. I am using the Life is a Beach cartridge and the square card cut outs for the background. I made 2" charms of the same color patterns and pictures that I will use with the pocket charts I got from the target dollar section. Each student will have a row, and they will be divided into 6 columns. One for their number and then they will put their choice in the round column they want to do each thing! I will put the guided reading charm in the round they have guided reading!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Back to School Checklist

Lorraine at Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies is hosting a Linky Party about back to school checklists. Here is my challenge... I have a love/hate relationship with lists. I make them and they never end. I find myself constantly thinking of things to add to the stupid list faster than I can check things off! Or.. What I think is worse is to make lists and the lose the list so that you start over again. I am going to give this a shot though. At least it will put some of those words flying around my head and put them in one place. Also... if I typed it on my blog then I should not be able to misplace the list? In theory at least. :) 1.Cricut - Finish making Daily 5 headlines and charms for students choices, CAFE letters, Schedule, and Enhancements 2. Calendar - Need to get pocket chart for calendar 3. Get rid of all the stuff in my new room that doesnt belong there so I can unpack 4. Clean room - Inside cabinets, doors, and drawers (I am a little OCD...) 5. Upack Boxes 6. Change library over from SRI to AR 7. Labels for student supplies - folders, notebooks, and binders 8. Bulletin Boards 9. PDSA Chart 10. Open "Mic" Friday signup and poster 11. Behavior Chart - Make new color chart and put numbers on clothespins 12. Writing Chart - Giant Pencil with numbers on clothespins 13. Set up Listening Center 14. "Wish Fish" for classroom wish list 15. Figure out what on earth a room parent does.. 16. Sub Binder 17. Back to school forms and things in the folders - stickers on items that need to be returned, and make checklist to make sure they have everything 18. Write something up for first homework assignment - Decorate their writing journal covers and write journal entry - choice of "all about me", "The coolest thing I did this summer was.." or "Most excited about/Most nervous about fourth grade" 19. task Cards for common core and figure out how to get them loaded onto Teachers pay Teachers 20. ACE strategy problem solving folders 21. Math structure plan 22. Math outline plan 23. AR management system 24. Get olympic teaching stuff together 25. Behavior/reading log calenday AHHHHH!!!!.... It never ends!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Love, Love, Love the Olympics

I remember being a young child and how I was so fascinated by the Olympics. It is one of my most favorite things! From the opening ceremonies to the closing ceremonies they are simply filled with magic! One of my all time dreams is to be able to be at the Olympic Games. My stepbrother was actually working in Shanghai, China 4 years ago and was able to not only go to the games, but saw one of my favorite events... Swimming!! Part of me wants to hate him for it!! :) In 1996, my family had just moved to Charlotte a few months before the Summer games in Atlanta. I remember so clearly how we went downtown to the intersection of Trade and Tryon to watch the torch come through the city on its way to Atlanta. My dad held me on his shoulders so I could see past all of the people crowded in the square. There was cheering, and music, and people everywhere. When those runners came through in their white uniforms it was absolutely breathtaking! How awesome to be so close to a symbol of peace, and strength, and collaboration. I love the Olympics, and I am surprised at myself that as much as I love them, I have never used them as a tool in the classroom. What have I been thinking??!! Over the next few days I am going to be putting together resources to use in the classroom to teach with the Olympics. For now, I will leave you with some thoughts I had while watching the Opening Cerembony: 1. I recorded it, so my roommate saw it before I did. He said that he thought it was weird and strange. I disagree. It was not as flashy as the Beijing Opening Ceremony, but it was very moving! I loved the fact that they showcased the history and people. The music was fantastic. In fact I want to create a playlist of a lot of it to play when my students are working. I thought the childrens choirs were phenomenal, and the sequence of music through the decades fantastic and memorable. 2. I realized that there are some excellent stories of strength and overcoming obstacles in these games. I was inspired by the shortest clip in the very first segment. Oscar Pistorius, from South Africa. He has two prosthetic legs, and is competeing in this years 4x400 mens relay team. What a phenomenal story. I cannot wait to see what he does! 3. One of our other fourth grade teacher had a very interesting practice with putting student names on desks last year. Instead of putting their names, she put the name of a famous author. I am thinking of putting the names of gold medalists from this years games. This could be fun! 4. I am stoked for the sports to start! Swimming and Gymnastics tomorrow! Yay!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Adventures in Cricuting: Part 1

Ok, so the greastest thing to the classroom since the apple timer has got to be the cricut machine. It is so much fun to Cricut and so incredibly useful.If you don't have one, it is worth the cost. You can even go into it with a friend and then you not only have a Cricut for less money, but someone to Cricut with! :)So, since we got the Cricut (well, since Jess got the Cricut) I have been a Cricuting fool. My roommmate just joked that we might need to have an intervention. In my defense, I was only cleaning up from the cricuting adventure this morning and getting ready to write this post. Here are some things that I have made so far:1. I didn't have an alphabet strip so I made my alphabet for my word wall. My classroom is mostly fish themed, so I have been using the Life is Beach cartridge. For my alphabet, I made 5 1/2 inch Beach balls and Sand Pails. The beach balls are all consonants, and the Sand Pails are the Vowels. 2. Objective boards for each subject. I saw something on Pinterest where you could put cute paper into a cheap frame and write the objective on the plastic with a whiteboard marker. I never did find the cheap frame, but I am thinking the laminating plastic will work just the same. I will put these up on my whiteboard. I made one for Reading, Writing, Math, Science, and Social Studies. 3. Started the elements for Daily 5. I made the label for my daily 5 bulletin board in the shape of a super cute whale. Each choice will have a headline for the bulletin board and then small circle charms that match for students to make their choices for each round. I started Read to Self today. It has a turtle cut out, so its charms also have turtle cutouts. I am going to use the pocket charts from Targets dollar section for the students to make thier choices. What would you make for back to school? I have a pretty long list still, but I am always looking for new ideas!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Preparing For School

Since I finally figured out how this whole Linky Party works, I decided to link up with Mrs. Crouse at 6th Grade All-Stars. I am actually excited about this years back to school, though as I think I have said before my friends all think I am crazy. One of the things that I have always been interested in was finding ways to support new teachers, and this topic sounded like a good opportunity to reflect on what it is that I do all the time, and also ways that I have changed that back to school practice. - What grade do you teach? I teach fourth grade. I have taught 4th grade for 4 out of 5 years. One year I looped with my class up to 5th. One positive of upper elementary is that the beginning of the year can be very smooth as the students already know the basic expectations of a student. Unlike the earlier grades where they are still learning so much of what is expected of them. - What is the greatest advice you received during your 1st year of teaching? I don't remember the greatest advice that I received, but there are a couple of things that I would tell a new teacher to help guide their beginning. 1. Spend the time up front to really teach and practice and discuss any behavior that they are going to need in your room. From how to sharpen a pencil, to turning in homework. It may seem silly, and like you have too much curriculum to teach to spend that much time of behaviors but I gaurantee that the time will be well spent and learning much smoother throughout the year. 2. Classroom setup sets the tone for how your room will run. If you want the students to be really organized, we have to model that from the start. The more systems you can have in place the better. 3. There is always something else that can be done. Set a time limit, and leave when you reach that time. I always liked to set one afternoon that I could stay later, but you will be no good to your students if you get burned out because you have no life. - Do you have a checklist that you follow when preparing your classroom (include the checklist)? I wish that I was that organized.... I have multiple checklists. This year, I am moving schools and have a new room. So here is my basic plan: 1. Go through drawers and cabinets and get rid of stuff that I will not need in my room. 2. Clean. Thouroughly clean cabinet doors, shelves, counters, find a way to get the dried up sticker off of the window..... Make it fresh before putting my stuff away. 3. Organize my boxes by type of items (Luckily I was smart enough to label about 80% of the boxes, and I actually did this today when I was stuck between 1 and 2 while I waited for the stuff that needs to go away to leave. 4. Sticky notes! Label each cabinet and drawer with what you think you want to go in there. Leave and come back later. Think about it again before starting to unpack. 5. Unpack 6, Decorate!!! Actually I am working on this step all along since my best friend and I just got a Cricut. Seriously.. well worth the price. Everyone should have one. 7. Once the desks are in order and supplies are organized I will label everything. I am lucky at my school that we (the teachers) get the supplies and the parents bring in a donation. This means that I can have everything labeled exactly as I want it before school starts. 8. Get ready for open house. Find forms print them, put them places. Make my wish list. This year they will be on cut out fish. My "Wish Fish" will match my underwater theme. For some of the weird items I am putting on it I will print pictures. Try to have items that range in price. Anything that you think sounds too expensive you can list as a dream item. (ie: a Cricut machine. You never know who has one that they never use, or just updated to the new one but has the old one. Or who has the ability to get one for you somehow.) - What are some must haves in your classroom that you cannot live without (ex. items, books, posters, management strategies)? I cannot live without my Daily 5 organization stuff, My color chart for behavior, and my student library organized in book tubs. - What is something that all teachers should have in their classroom? A really good hole punch, a paper cutter if you can get your hands on a 12 x 12 one, a comfortable teacher chair at your small group table, and a Cricut. Well, maybe not a Cricut but it is pretty spectacular! :) Head over to {6th Grade} All-Stars to see how other people start their year! Good luck, and I will continue to post my journey from a room of chaos to what I hope will be the most fantastic 4th grade room ever. :)

A daunting task...

I went to my new school today to continue working in my room. It is a slightly overwhelming task. My first step was to go through all the stuff that is there and figure out what goes and what stays. The next thing I want to do is thoroughly clean it. Then I can deal with my own stuff and figure out how I want things to be. I stopped for a moment and looked around. I decided I should probably take some before pictures so that I have proof of how awesome I am when I am done. :) Where would you start???

Monday, July 23, 2012

My Teacher Story

I think I have always known I wanted to be a teacher! In high school, I was a teacher cadet and had the opportunity to student teach. I loved it! I met 2 awesome teachers, and worked with 2 really different 4th grade classes. I went to the University of North Carolina @ Asheville. Their education program is a little bit different than most places in the they require a 4 year degree and you can choose to go through the licensure program. I chose Psychology, and I really feel that this has helped tremendously in working in the classroom. When I finished, I ended up surprising everyone (including myself) by coming back home to teach! My first job was actually 4th grade at the same school I was a teacher cadet in. It was a great school with many challenges. I have been there for 5 years. It is a title 1 school, and has been a struggling school on standardized testing. I loved the kids and the families, but this past year was a really tough year and I decided that I needed a change. I am now starting at a new school that is 5 minutes from where I live, and less than a mile from both my sisters house and my parents house. It is very different from my former school in that it is smaller, and is not a title 1 school. I am so excited about this upcoming year! Another plus is that my niece and my nephew are both students there, and I am looking forward to being able to take a more active role in their education! I think that I did this right this time.... This is my first attempt to Link up with Janaye at Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes blog!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

My new favorite thing...

Yesterday, my be brought me her new Cricut machine so that I could play with it, and then teach her how to use it. It is by far the number one item I have wanted for years. There are so many things you can do with it in the classroom.

Right now, they are on sale for $199 on the Cricut website or at Michaels. Also, at JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts, they have 25% off of accessories, and you can use your teacher discount of 15% on cartridges. We are going to have fun Cricuting (verb meaning to be super awesome while using the Cricut machine) I have already made a couple of things to test it out.

Later, I will use the Life is a Beach cartridge to create tons of things for the classroom. I will post more when we have made them. For now, I will leave you with a fun idea. Get a couple of friends together and prep for a new year with a wine and cricut night!

What have you made with a Cricut or your classroom?