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!)