28 August 2012

When the cat's away...

the second graders play.

Isn't that how it goes?

Why is it that the second my littles leave my sight (or I leave theirs) they morph into these crazy, out of control creatures that I do not even recognize? I had to leave early today for an appointment and during the brief 2 hours and 10 minutes I was gone my kids apparently went bonkers.

Let me clarify that the afternoon went something like this:

1:00-2:00pm Kids in music
2:00-2:30pm Kids with counselor
2:30-3:10pm Special activity with ELD teacher (since I was gone)

So, they really only missed 40 minutes with me. But apparently they lost their minds. The music teacher said they were awful, the counselor said there was no way a single one of them could tell me what they talked about because they were too busy having their own conversations, and based on what one of the kids told me after school, their time with the ELD teacher did not go so well.

I don't get it. For the most part they are fine with me. Sure-I have a few naughties, but they straighten out usually.

Did I mention that my baby is due in a mere 8 weeks? Holy potential disaster Batman.

What do I do?

On one hand, I want to hold those responsible, well...responsible. On the other hand, I want to tell some of my consistently well behaved kiddos that when they see someone breaking rules they need to SAY SOMETHING!!! We are a team after all.

So this is my dilemma: I'm really wanting to hold the entire class accountable for behavior when I'm not around. In my mind, if you sit there and watch as your buddy is writing on his desk with a marker instead of listening and you say nothing, then you are at fault, too. Is that terrible thinking? It's not that I want them to screech at each other "Shhhhhhhh!!!!" or "You're going to get us in trouble!" I want them to point out the rule being broken and give the kid the opportunity to fix it or risk being "reported" to the teacher.

I don't know what to do.


27 August 2012

Monday Made It!

I have really taken an interest in the book Have You Filled a Bucket Today? this year. I've really been pushing it with my littles, and they seem to really understand what it means to fill someone's bucket and dip into someone else's bucket. I will be the first to admit that my bucket was pretty empty by the end of the day today. I have 21 kids, and 15 of them had some sort of color change today. Oh-and 2 were absent. Most of it was poor hallway behavior, but I'd had enough! I tried to explain that every time I give them a warning it is like dipping out of my bucket. By the end of the day we were all pretty miserable. Good thing is-we have tomorrow! As I shook each hand when they walked out the back door I reminded them...Tomorrow is a new day to make new choices! Let's be bucket fillers!

So, for Made it Monday, I decided to make some slips for the kids-and myself-to fill out when someone has filled our bucket. At the end of the week, we will pull out a few to share with the class. I'm trying to think of a goal of some kind to use in conjunction with the slips, but I'm still working on it. But for now, here it is! Click on the picture to download a copy from Google Docs.
My kiddos are also working on identifying vowels in words. I made this PowerPoint to use with my SMART board today. My kids have such a hard time seeing words on the board and spelling those words correctly on their whiteboards. It drives me crazy! So today I specifically made the lesson so that they would have to write the word correctly on their boards, circle the vowels, and write the total number of vowels. With each word we went faster and faster. I loved hearing their squeals when they saw that their answers matched the ones on the SMART board. I prefer to use my "clicker" to advance the slides, but you can use your SMART board capabilities, too. The slide presents the word first, then the word appears again with the vowels in a different color. Click on the picture to download your copy at Google docs.

Want to join in? Head on over to 4th Grade Frolics and link up!

Have a great week!

26 August 2012

My Favorite First Day of School Books

Today I'm linking up again to share my favorite books for the first day of school. Want to join in? Head on over to Blog Hoppin' and find out how you can link up and be eligible to win $50 in free books!

Here are a few of my favorite books! Click on the picture to go straight to The Clever Teacher to order.

Great book for learning how being kind to someone makes us feel better, too!

This book goes hand-in-hand with Have You Filled a Bucket Today? However, it is really great for a school setting.

I love this book because it teaches the students that it's okay to be "different" and that we are all special.

This is just a fun book! I would recommend reading it at Meet the Teacher if possible.

This was the book I read during snack time our first day. It's simple, but I like it!

Which books are your favorites?

24 August 2012

Teacher Week: Where I Work Wednesday, Therapeutic Thursday, and Freebie Friday!

So...the week got away from me rather quickly. Before I knew it, it was Friday! I'm not complaining about the quick week, but I feel like my days fly by with our new schedule at school. I also had my 31 week checkup today and it turns out that Baby E is a bit on the too small side, so we're having to have another ultrasound on Tuesday and then start more frequent appointments to check her growth. So, now I can add my new worry for her to my constant worry for my 2 boys and my 21 second graders. It's no wonder my time flies!!!

So here it goes...

Where I Work Wednesday (picture bonanza!): I love my classroom. I really do. There's not much to it, but I think it's snazzy. Our school is very purposeful on what we hang up, so there's not much in the sense of "decor" as much as it is a teaching resource. Of course the pictures didn't look this blurry when I took them, so I apologize!

This is my door! Exciting, right?!?!

This is to the left if you walked in. That is our student motto on the wall and the "12 Powerful Words" we teach our kids are on the left.

This is the front of my room. We use Secret Stories to teach phonics-that's what you see above the SMART board and whiteboard. My document camera also stays at the front.

This will eventually be a great writing wall. When they put up my SMART board, they swapped the chalkboard with the whiteboard and hung the chalkboard up here. I like it because not only is it magnetized, but I can also write on it!

This is the door to my teammate's room. I just made the giant question mark because they were having trouble with question words. I made the "Post-It Parking Lot" after seeing something like it on Pinterest. Each kiddo has a number and that is where they stick their post it. I love it because I can immediately tell who didn't turn one in.

This is where we have our class rules and behavior clips. I used to have a system of Unifex cubes, but I wanted to try something different this year. So far it is great! You might notice the random letters in some of the pictures. I have an A, B, C, and D posted on each wall that the kids go to show their answer sometimes. 

This rug is my pride and joy. My husband bought it for me for my birthday last year. I was devastated when a kid spilled a grape Capri Sun on it last year. You can still still the purple-ish stain. Sigh. See that white chair? I got it for free from IKEA for being one of the first 100 people in line when they opened their new store in Denver! I camped out for 3 days with 2 other teachers and we each got a chair. We all have them in our classrooms! This is also our math wall and literacy wall. 

Notice there is no desk for me! I typically just piled stuff up on it anyways and getting rid of it freed up a lot of space. I also have a great kidney table and shelves for literacy, but somehow I didn't manage to take a picture of that. 

Therapeutic Thursday: This always makes me feel better, especially after one of those days when I find myself questioning if I'm doing the right thing. 

Freebie Friday: My kiddos have been working on capitalizing the first letter in their sentence and including the correct punctuation mark on the end. I made these sentence strips for them to practice with. Of course, I laminated them and then cut them into strips. They would correct a sentence, compare with a buddy, and then trade. There are 20 sentence strips in two separate files. Click HERE for set 1 and HERE for set 2. If I wanted this to be self-checking, I would write the correct answer on the back. If you chose to laminate them, students could use Expo markers or Vis-a-Vis markers to write directly on them.

Hope you had a great week!

21 August 2012

Technology Tip Tuesday-Turning a Picture into a Direct Link!

Another day...another blog post! I'm still linking up with Blog Hoppin' to celebrate Teacher Week! Want to join in the fun? Click on the picture below and link up!

Did you notice how if you click on the teacher week picture above, it takes you directly to her blog? Now try to click on this one below and see what happens...

All you got was a nice blown up image, right? So here's how you can add a link to the image so when anyone clicks on it, it will take them directly to the page.

Step 1: Insert the picture you want to use.

Step 2: Find the link you want the picture to link to. Copy it.

Step 3: Change from your "compose" screen to the "html" screen where all the codes are.

Step 4: This is probably the most difficult part. You have to find the code that represents the picture you just just uploaded. I usually look for the words I typed around it. There will be 2 identical web address in the link to the picture. You want to highlight the FIRST address. Once highlighted, paste the address you want the picture to link to in its place. You'll notice that the original link is usually a .jpeg or .png or other image file. Once you change it, it should be a web address.

Find the first code and highlight it.

Paste the web address you want to link it to.

It should look something like this (but with the address you wanted) after the swap.

And that's it! You won't notice anything on your compose page, but you can test it out when you preview it. It's pretty easy after you do it a few times.

Hope this helps!

20 August 2012

Teacher Week...Must Have Monday!

Today I am linking up with Blog Hoppin for Teacher Week! Want to link up? Click on the picture below!

My first must have is my personal laminator. I learned the hard way that construction paper doesn't laminate well...but maybe I should add more black cardstock to my must have list, as well! But-I love having this at home for those late night amazing ideas that need to be laminated so kids won't destroy them they will last forever. The laminator cost me about $40 at Walmart and a refill of 50 laminate sheets is about $13.
I'll be honest. I loathe snack time. It's messy and no matter how many times I say no to Hot Cheetos, they bring them anyways. But, since I'm pregnant, this baby needs some food by 10 am or she gets grumpy. Well, I get grumpy. So snacks for everyone! Austin Peanut Butter are my favs. 

I love love love the clipart at Thistle Girl Designs. I highly recommend becoming a member and see all the fabulous things they have to offer. I espcially love the free calendars for members each month and the free collections you can download as a paid member. Click on the picture to find out more!

I recently came acorss this blog that is full of adorable fonts you can download for free! My favorite is Jumpin' Jack. Click on the picture to go to this website.

Ahhh, Scholastic. Thank you for your $1 monthly specials. They have helped build my classroom library and give me sets for my listening center without making me go broke.

And last-but not least-my Thirty-One thermal lunch tote. Mine actually looks different from this, but you get the idea. Packing your lunch has suddenly become cool again.

Hope you're having a great start to the week. Today was our first day of homework...so I'm anxious to see what I get back tomorrow!

15 August 2012

First Day of School...

I had to stop at 2 different gas stations to find Tylenol before settling for the $8(!!!!) off brand from Safeway. I thought this would help my headache while I was waiting for the overpriced, if I have to go to Walmart I will cry, miracle drug to kick in. I ate pretty much the whole thing.
Let me also say that since I'm pregnant, I'm off my regular allergy meds and Advil is a no-go, so I'm stuck with good 'ole Tylenol for the foreseeable future. The kids were pretty good for the first day, so I can't point the finger at anything but the weather for this headache!

I did something kind of sneaky today that I've never done...he he he! Instead of assigning seats, I pretty much let them find a spot to sit for today. Of course, friends flocked together-and somehow a few "we don't really get along" ended up neighbors. Now I have a GREAT idea of the seating arrangement starting tomorrow! I do use strategic seating, but it's nice to know who I should keep apart!

Thank goodness it's a short week!

13 August 2012

Monday Made It!

We had Meet the Teacher this afternoon at my school. I only had 7 kids out of 21 come, so I was a little bit sad. The time was odd (2-4), so I hope that or the rain was what kept people away. Last year I had 25 on my roster and only 15 actually showed the first day of school. We'll see what happens...

Last year I had to switch classrooms with a first grade teacher, so it was chaos for me up until the first day. This year, my room was fairly easy to put back together, which I was so happy about. It really gave me time to work on other things-like my Monday Made It! Link up and join in!

Here are a few things I managed to make today:

1. A Writing Conference Ribbon for the kids to clip their writing pins when they are ready for teacher edit. I got the idea from Pinterest. I made it in Power Point with a free font called Jumpin' Jack from Miss Tina's Fonts and I downloaded the free polka dot border from Ms. Fultz's Corner. I hot glued ribbon on the back and hung it to the shelf by my table.

2. A Homework Folder and Spiral Baskets for the kids to put their folders and spirals in each morning BEFORE they go to recess. The font is Janda Silly Monkey and can be downloaded for free at Fontspace. The clip art is from a collection called Superkids from Thistle Girl Designs. I love their clip art!

3. A Math Wall Banner for the wall at the back of my room. I have seen so many of these in pictures of other classrooms that I just had to make one myself. I don't have a fancy cutting machine (yet!), so I used some leftover letters I already had. I took regular cardstock, marked 4.25 inches in, turned it at an angle and used my cutter to cut the flags. 

I used a fine tip sharpie to make a nice border and glued the letters on.

One of my favorite things to have at home (besides a 3 hole punch and stapler!) is my laminator. It's perfect for smallish projects like this.

Here is the finished project. I punched holes and tied the flags together using rainbow ribbon that I found at Walmart for $1.97. I can't wait to hang it up tomorrow!

10 August 2012

My first day back surprise!

Look what was waiting for me in my classroom after lunch! I can't wait!!!