Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Home Free!

I made it!  I'm done!  Yippee!  (I feel like one of my kids!)

Today was AWESOME!  We wore our PJ's to school, watched the Polar Express, and ate junkfood, then I sent them home on their sugar high!

I did actually receive about 6 dozen cupcakes....I think next time I need to have a more specific sign up for food process!  We had SO much!  I gave each kiddo 2 big cupcakes, 1 mini cupcake, and 2 small chips ahoy cookies.  I sent 3 or 4 kids home with the entire box of cupcakes they brought!  Luckily my parents were very understanding.

On a not as exciting note- Somehow I got a yucky infection on my arm!  One of my kiddos siblings had a bout of ringworm, and now I have a circular itchy rash on my arm.  :(  I went to the local walk-in clinic and they gave me a cream to put on it.  Yuck, Yuck, double Yuck!  It would be just my luck to pick up something icky from a kid just before the holidays!

Anyone else gotten something icky from a kiddo?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Almost there!

Only a half day left with the kiddos!  I'm super excited for tomorrow.  It's our Polar Express Day!  We are wearing PJ's to school and hanging out in the gym to watch the movie Polar Express!  Then I'll bring them back to the classroom and we'll listen to the book read by Liam Nieson and we'll eat cupcakes and then I'll send them home on a sugar high for the next 2 weeks!!

Even though this week has only been 2 days so far, it feels like the longest week ever!  Monday was stressful.  My behavior kiddo, whose Mom finally agreed and signed off for us to do testing to get her a behavior IEP and some help, had a breakdown.  And then she hit me.  Yup.  Hit me!  Never thought I'd say that about one of my kids!  We were practicing walking in the halls correctly (because of course it's the week before Christmas and my kiddos have completely forgotten EVERYTHING), and she wouldn't walk with the rest of the class.  So I held her hand like I do about 75% of the time anyway.  And standing there watching the other children she suddenly smacked my hand as hard as she could!  Luckily she's only 7, so it didn't hurt much, but it caught me off guard!  I'm sad that she will be missing all of our fun Holiday Celebration.  This was the first big fun thing she's gotten to participate in (she wasn't allowed on our Field Trip).  :(

That poor baby stresses me out.  I'm really at my wits end to figure out what to do with her.  She's on a modified behavior plan with constant rewards (which works most of the time).  She is perfectly fine in all of her specials.  She just gets these moments and becomes completely defiant.  A couple of months ago she dismantled the Vice Principals desk!  That one I chuckled about....Shhh...don't tell him that!  I'm glad it's not just me being crazy and other people see the problems too, but holy cow, I don't know what to do for this poor baby!  She really just needs some major counseling and therapy, but I can't give her that.

Anyone ever had a kiddo like that?

Today went better, my kids are just tired and cranky.  I had 4 or 5 crying at one point!  And we were playing a game!  AND the tears were all unrelated!  Crazy.

Hopefully tomorrow will be awesome.  Actually, I know tomorrow will be awesome!  I'll wear my sweat pants and my santa shirt to school, we'll watch the movie, I'll fill them with cupcakes, and then I'll be FREE!  :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Currently December!

Linking up with Farley over at Oh Boy 4th Grade!  Love her Currently Linky Parties!

I know I mentioned A Cupcake in my last post, but ever since I've discovered her blog I'm hooked!

Craftiness Is Not Optional isn't a teaching blog, it's more of a craft/thrift/amazingness blog!  

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Oh My Wow!

I have TWO, yes TWO exciting things to blog about today!

First and possibly most exciting (though both things are REALLY exciting, so it's hard to pick!), I've gotten my first award!!  Woot!

Thank you so much to Sara over at Smiling In Second Grade!


She has given me the Liebster Award!

The goal of this award is to spotlight up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers.
(Hear that, I'm up-and-coming!  - guess that mean's I'd better get over this not blogging regularly thing!)
The rules are:
{1} Copy and paste the award on your blog. (check!)
{2} Thank the giver and link back to them. (double check!)
{3} Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

Number 3 is the hard/exciting part!

Flipping for First Grade!
Some great ideas over here!  Seriously her Dollar Tree pocket organizer idea has pretty much saved my sanity!  I use it to store all of my fabulous VistaPrint cards and it makes them SO easy to access!

Teacher of the Frickin' Year
Not exactly a full on teaching blog, but it's teaching related and pretty much the funniest blog EVER!  I've been following since the beginning and absolutely love it!  She throws in a few legit teaching ideas here and there, and they are useful!

Primary Paradise!

So many cute ideas, and Oh Em Gee, she has the cutest "teacher" bag in the whole wide world.  I'm jealous.

The Good Life

Lindsay has so many great crafts and ideas!  I've just recently discovered her blog, but it's a new favorite!

A Cupcake For The Teacher

A Cupcake for the Teacher

Ummm...Hello...Have you seen the name of my blog?  I think we might be destined to be BFF's (Blog Friends Forever!)

There we go!  Number 3, check!

Now for my other fun and exciting news!!  My Donor's choose project got funded!  I was only a few dollars away last time I posted, and apparently somehow Miss Lola Kitten got ahold of the boy's debit card, because she donated the last $36 to my project and helped get a new carpet for my classroom!  Oh my word, I am so excited!  I think my kids will be so over the moon to come back from break to a new, big, blue carpet!

The Lola Kitten in my school bag, she really wants to get a good education!

Only 3 1/2 more days until Winter Break!  I'm the little engine that could...I think I can...I think I can....I think I can!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Donor's Choose

So I really do stink at blogging apparently!  I've just been going crazy trying to get in the groove to finish out the holidays and get my kiddos through the next couple of weeks to winter break!

I just thought I would share my excitement!  After my last 3 donors choose projects expired, I'm excited that my newest project is almost funded!!  Thanks to a matching offer from the NEA foundation and a donation from a friend (Thanks Tiffany and family!!), I've only got $56 to go!  I'm excited beyond belief!!

The project is for a carpet for my classroom.  I'm the only primary classroom without a carpet!  My poor babies have been sitting on the cold tile for the last few months.  I'm so excited at the possibility of getting a carpet!!  My kids will go CRAZY if we get it!  It will also be nice if we end up getting the Promethean board we've been promised.

Here is a link to my project!  Cold Floors Are No Fun!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Well, Hello again!

I sure do stink at this!  It's been pretty busy lately, but really, thats not an excuse!

We haven't really done anything worthy of a blog post of its own in the last couple of weeks.  So sad I know!

We started our unit on American Symbols and I've been using the AMAZING worksheets/book suggestions from Kristin over at

A Teeny Tiny Teacher

I just have to say her blog is one of my very favorites to read.  Not only does she love Big Brother almost as much as I do, but she is so darn funny!  I always look forward to reading her posts for a good smile!

My very favorite post of hers is her Halloween Story.  Just FYI it's slightly graphic and there is some blood and gore (yes in the classroom!).  She basically lived through every teachers worst nightmare and came out laughing (years later of course).

So Kristin is basically my blog world hero.  I wish I could be like her.  I'm just really not that funny.

Hopefully there will be more/better updates to come!

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Yikes!  I've been gone for WAY too long!  This month has been CAH-RAZY!  I'll be back this week with some updates- PROMISE!  :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pumpkins and Spiders and Habitats, Oh My!

Haha.  Sorry, I made myself giggle.  My kids think I'm SO cheesy.  Who am I kidding, I am SO cheesy!

First:  Habitats!

So this week we started a unit on Habitats.  Super fun, I love teaching about animals and their habitats and their life cycles.  I think my kids really enjoyed this week too.  We started with reading about each habitat in our books (which was SUPER boring, but necessary to get our background info).  Then we made a graphic organizer about them!

Our awesome Graphic Organizer!  With my yucky chalk board in the background!

Day 2  we worked with our table buddies and each table was assigned a habitat to illustrate.  They did a great job!  Unfortunately I dropped the ball and didn't get any pictures.  :(

Day 3 we made Habitat books.  I've included the template- I printed it single sided so that on one side they could write the words about the habitat and on the other they could include an illustration.

Here is the Habitat Book.

I forgot to rotate this before uploading it and I'm feeling lazy at the moment, so it's sideways.

 I also sent home packets for them to complete for an end of unit Habitat Project.  I'll post that next week after I have some pictures.

Next up:  Spiders!

The awesome second grade teacher who "lives" across the hall from me put some super cute spider projects up in the of course I had to steal borrow her idea!  I adjusted it a bit - instead of it being a math project ours was rhyming!  We made word webs with rhyming words, then glued them in the middle of our spiders!  I think they came out pretty cute.  I didn't get any close-ups, but you can see them later in this post on my wall.

Last but not least:  Pumpkins!

I'm so excited.  Like squeal like a small child excited....Next week.  On Friday.  We are going to the Pumpkin Farm!  I've never been to a pumpkin farm!  They don't exist in SW Florida.  But here in Illinois- there are tons!  I'm a pumpkin nut.  Pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bars, pumpkin cupcakes....I hoard cans of pumpkin this time of year.  So needless to say I'm VERY excited for this field trip.

In order to prepare we've started reading about pumpkins and including pumpkin stories in our curriculum.

The first story we read was The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin by Joe Troiana.  I love this story, it's a great "it's good to be different" story.  We then made our own Spookley pumpkins and then wrote about them!

Some were square

Some were round.
And some are triangles!

Some even had hats and feet!
Here is one along with it's writing Project.
 The kiddos really enjoyed this!

The next Pumpkin story we read was Sixteen Runaway Pumpkins by Diane Ochiltree.

I used one of the math pages from this Halloween Unit by Rachelle over at What The Teacher Wants.  Her Halloween unit ROCKS definitely check out her TPT store.

Here is our finished products all posted in the hallway!

Our rhyming web spiders and some of our runaway pumpkin math problems.

Our Spookley pumpkins and more of our runaway pumpkin math!
It was a really fun week!  I'm excited that next week is a 4 day week and one of those days is our Field Trip!!

And just a quick photo update on Dexter!  He's getting big, and just shed for the first time!  His colors are really pretty.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Little Guy and Scheduling

So we chose a name for the little dude!  His name is Dexter!  Which means I can still call him LD for short,  (Little Dexter, or Lizard Dexter).  We are getting into a routine, and I think he's pretty happy!  I'll never get used to dealing with the crickets- Yuck!, but other than that he's a pretty easy going pet!

I guess he had a long day while I was at school, because after his bath and dinner he fell asleep standing up on my hand!

Such a cutie!

Now on to Scheduling- Christina over at Mrs. Bainbridge's Class is overhauling her schedule and started a Linky to get ideas of everyone else's schedules.

My schedule this year is strange- it's VERY different from previous schedules, but it actually works out REALLY well.  I like it alot so far.

8:30-9:15- Science/Social Studies
9:15-9:55- Specials
9:55-10:05- Clean up desks from Sci/SS and get reading books out
10:05-10:10- Bathroom Break
10:10-11:15- Reading
11:15-11:45- Lunch
11:45-12:00- Recess
12:00-12:30- Language Arts, Handwriting, Writing
12:30-12:35- Bathroom Break
12:35-2:00- Math
2:00-2:20- Drop Everything And Read
2:20-2:30- Pack-up and Dismissal

At first I was very hesitant about having Science/Social Studies first thing in the morning, but it's worked out well.  It's nice because in the past Sci/SS always got pushed when something else came up, and most days we never even got to it.  By having it first thing in the morning it never gets skipped or overlooked.

Math gets a little rough at the very end of the day, but as long as I keep them moving and use lots of manipulatives they do pretty well.

What is your schedule like?  Link up at Mrs. B's class and share!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Our Class Pet!

I'm so excited!  I received a grant from The Petcare Trust to teach my students responsibility through animal care in the classroom!  Well, it took us forever to decide what the best pet for us would be, us being the boyfriend and I, since it will live with us when not at school.  At first we chose a Leopard Gecko because I read wonderful things about them and had a lot of recommendations, plus they are just darn cute!  BUT then we went to a pet store and asked about them and were told that a Bearded Dragon would be a better choice.  And then we held each, and oh my did that little Leo squirm up a storm!  The Beardie was so calm and cool and adorable that we couldn't resist, our minds were made up!

Yesterday we headed to the store and picked out our aquarium, then headed over to the case of little guys, and one immediately stood out.  He was right up front trying to climb the glass front of the cage!  We were hooked!

Our little guy!

Then we saw that he seemed to have a broken tail.  We asked about it and were told that it wouldn't effect him, but that they weren't sure they could sell him to us since he was injured.  The associate went to check for us and man oh man was that stressful!  Not being sure we could have the little guy we fell in love with was rough!  We couldn't even pick a backup!

So after a LONG five minutes or so she came back and told us that we could adopt him!  And that because he was injured and they couldn't give us their normal 14 day guarantee that he would be FREE!

So our little guy came home with us yesterday and is TOTALLY at home!  And I think the cats are slowly accepting him.  Though Orca licks her lips every time she looks up there!

Orca can't keep her eyes off of him!

I'm going to print some photos of him (we actually aren't sure if it's a boy or girl, but we've been calling it him, so I'll stick with that until we know for sure) to take to school.  He won't actually get to come to the classroom until after January/February once he's bigger and once the weather is a bit more suitable for him to travel.

Close-up of our cutie!

His terrarium is HUGE and pretty much takes up half of our living room, but it doesn't look too bad.  Plus the shelves underneath give us storage to keep all of his things and the crickets we have to feed to him.

He came and hung out with me on the couch while I watched The Sing Off from the DVR.  I wonder if he'll like Jersey Shore too?

Now we just have to pick a name!  We originally planned on Norbert, but he just really isn't a Norbert.  We have also considered Dingo (because they are from Australia), and Benjamin Sisko (because the boy and I are big nerds).  For now I've just been calling him Little Dude.

Anyone have any great name suggestions?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Continent Song and the Moose Song

In my classroom I LOVE to use songs and music to support learning.  I also use songs to just kill time when I find something finishes faster than I expected!  Alot of the songs I use for content area learning are songs I've found on-line, or in books etc.  The songs for killing time are usually old girl scout camp songs, from when I was a girl scout camp counselor!

I think I'll try to upload at least 1 song a week, maybe it will be a Friday thing from now on (this week it's Saturday because it took me a while to figure out how to convert it all!).

*** Disclaimer- I am NOT by any means a singer so listen at your own risk!  :)

This week we began our Social Studies unit on maps and the world, so of course we had to learn the continent song!

This is a Dr. Jean song.  I don't have the CD but I used the lyrics.

The Continent Song

We've got the whole globe in our hands,
We've got the whole globe in our hands,
We've got the whole globe in our hands,
We've got the whole globe in our hands.

We've got North and South America,
In our hands.
We've got Europe, Asia, Africa,
In our hands.
We've got Australia, and Antarctica,
In our hands.
We've got the whole globe in our hands.

The other song my kiddos have learned and LOVE is the Moose Song.  It's a girl scout sing and repeat song.  Unfortunately my camera decided it was full before the song finished recording, so you don't get the whole thing, but you get a good portion of it.  I'll also include the lyrics to this one!

The Moose Song
(Teacher sings line, kids repeat)

There was a great big moose!  (make moose antlers with hands on head)
He liked to drink alot of juice. (make drinking from cup motion)
There was a great big moose
He liked to drink alot of juice

Singin' Way Oh                                       (wave arms from right to left)
Way Oh Way Oh Way Oh Way Oh        (wave arms back and forth)
Singin' Way Oh                                       (wave arms from left to right)
Way Oh Way Oh Way Oh Way Oh        (wave arms back and forth)

The moose's name was Fred.                   (make moose antlers)
He liked to drink his juice in bed.             (make drink motion then hands into pillow)
The moose's name was Fred.
He liked to drink his juice in bed.

Singin' Way Oh
Way Oh Way Oh Way Oh Way Oh
Singin' Way Oh
Way Oh Way Oh Way Oh Way Oh

The moose's juice was red.                          (make drinking motion)
He spilled that juice right on his head.         (make pouring on head motion)
The moose's juice was red.
He spilled that juice right on his head.

Singin' Way Oh
Way Oh Way Oh Way Oh Way Oh
Singin' Way Oh
Way Oh Way Oh Way Oh Way Oh

Now there's a sticky moose.                  (pinch fingers like they are sticky)
Full of juice and on the loose.                (make a full belly motion, then point over shoulder with thumbs)
Now there's a sticky moose.
Full of juice and on the loose.

Singin' Way Oh
Way Oh Way Oh Way Oh Way Oh
Singin' Way Oh
Way Oh Way Oh Way Oh Way Oh

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wow, Two in One Day!

So I was checking out my email to download the AMAZING units from What the Teacher Wants, and I had a surprise email from Christina over at

Mrs. Bainbridge's Class

She decided to send her Tally Freebie to EVERYONE who sent her their email address!  I can't tell you how excited I am to use her Star Wars Jedi Tally activity!!  I think my boys will LOVE that one!

If you missed the Freebie you can find them over at Teaching Oasis for $1 each!  Still a GREAT deal!

Such an exciting day to get 4 amazing units!  Definitely makes me smile.  :)


Oh my gosh I feel like the luckiest girl ever!  I just stopped by


to see what was new, and saw that they chose their winners for their MEGA Halloween giveaway!

And whose name should appear as one of the winners???  MINE!  I'm so excited!  Those girls have some amazing skill at designing units and now I have not 1, not 2, but THREE units from them!

That's a lot of exclamation points...can you tell I'm excited??  :)

If you'd like to own these here are some links to the ladies TPT stores!
Natalie's Halloween Writing Unit
Lesson Plan SOS's Halloween Unit!
Rachelle's Halloween Unit!

Can't wait to get down to planning for next month!  It's going to be so fun!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Short Day Wednesday!

On the third Wednesday of every month we have a half day for kiddos so we can have professional development...Oh yippee....

So we sat through an hour and a half learning about how to use technology in our classrooms....Which sounds awesome right?  Except we don't have any technology available in our classrooms....and we spent half the inservice playing a game of Power Point Jeopardy and arguing over what is a fact and what is an opinion....I think I'm going to bring THIS to the next might at least make it more entertaining!

So because it was a half day we did some tubbing!  I've never done tubbing before, but an AMAZING teacher friend from Florida - Miss Izzo does, so I stole the idea from her!  I took lots of math manipulative related sheets and put together 5 stations for my kiddos!  Here are some photos and descriptions, as well as a freebie (which is not so cute, mostly because I made it in about 5 minutes before school started!)

Filling in a 100's chart then coloring the 2's, 5's, and 10's, courtesy of Rachelle over at What The Teacher Wants.

Attribute Block Shapes from Making Learning Fun

Patterns with Connecting Cubes, I'll link to the freebie at the end of the post!

Greater than/Less than with dice from : Lesson Plan Diva

Geoboard Numbers and Shapes:  also from Making Learning Fun!

And because I <3 you all so much (and because I made the other sheet at school and forgot to email it to myself), here is a prettyfied version of my pattern worksheet!

You can find it HERE for free!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Presents make Mondays better!

Wow, I just have to say that if you ever need a teacher bag, go with Lands End!  They are AH-Mazing!

Here is a little background- A week or so ago my super sweet cat got sick on my lands end bag that I use to take stuff to and from school.  Oh no!  So I did what I always do when I have a question and want real life answers- I went to my buddies over at ProTeacher and asked for opinions on the best cleaning methods!

I got lots of great replies and THEN I got a reply from a Lands End associate....they said to try spot cleaning it and let them know if it worked, other wise they have a great return policy and would take care of it all for me!  Oh my!  But that's not all!  (I feel like a TV salesman!)  They also said they'd read my blog!!!  Little old me with my brand new blog!!  And that they saw my comment about my desk being messy and they would send me a surprise to help keep it clean!!!!  Woah!

So I spot cleaned the bag, and it is as good as new!!  Kitty gets to live another day.  :)

And then TODAY I got home to a big old box in the mail from Lands End.  I could barely wait to get upstairs to open it!  I'm sure I looked silly peeling back the tape in the elevator, but whatever...  So I open it up and find this ADORABLE storage tote!!  They also left a note saying they hope it helps in keeping my desk organized!!

Best Company EVER.  I will buy EVERY teacher bag from there from now on!

Editing this to make it more appropriate for Abby's Linky Party!

Here is my AH-Mazing Lands End tote I mentioned earlier:

 So that is my super cute tote that is now clean and good as new!

And here is the not so clean inside!

Inside are:
10000000000 writing utensils....Mostly Flair Pens
Hoodie for my chilly walk to the Train the the AM
Real Simple Magazine
10000 Kids papers that I either need to grade or return
Making the Most of Small Groups by Debbie Diller - Still need to either read this or return it to my super amazing Team Leader who let me borrow it.
And usually at least one TE if not more.

Oh, and if I'm at home, there is usually a kitten in my bag!  I don't know what it is about the bag, but she is ALWAYS curling up in it for a nap no matter how full it is!

If you want to check out what other teachers have in their bags, head over to The Inspired Apple and check out the Links!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Finally Friday!

It's finally Friday!  Yay!

I talked to my little challenge's mother on Thursday....she yes'd me to death and didn't care one bit that her darling is a behavior issue.  And then today her little one had a MELTDOWN.  She wouldn't take our Science Test, she got angry and colored on her desk with a pencil, once I took the pencil away she ripped up EVERY paper in her desk and left them on the floor, AND THEN she went and sat on the floor by her cubby and refused to go to specials with the rest of the class.  Luckily I am right down the hall from Spanish and was able to stand in the hallway and watch my kiddos walk there.  And I have to hand it to the rest of the class, they dealt with the crazyness with flying colors!  I called the school counselor in and she pulled her and talked to her for a while, and then the counselor and I had a chat about this child and the issues she's having at home.  We decided on a sticker chart behavior plan, where I'm looking for positives and adding stickers to her chart when I see them.  Little one and I had a sit on the floor and talk it out pow wow before the rest of the class came back from Spanish and we came up with some rewards for good behavior.  When she fills a row she gets to read a story to the class at the end of the day.  I asked her what prize she wanted when she filled up the whole chart and bless her heart her reply was "a lunch box."  So a pink sparkly lunch box it will be!  I think I'll go find one and keep it visible in the room as a reminder for her of the reward for her good behavior...and maybe i'll toss in a few treats for good measure.  :)  I always love the ones that are a challenge.

So on another note, Fridays mean Spelling Tests!  I got tired of the messy writing I couldn't read, so I created a fabulous spelling test template that has spots for all 15 of their words, plus their 5 bonus words. I also include dictation sentences on the back.  My favorite part though is at the bottom.  It has a handwriting rating!  It's great for giving them feedback and getting parents involved!

So here goes my first freebie- Hope it works!

Spelling Test Template 
Dictation Template

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


 So even though this week got off to a rough start with finding out my kiddos were terrible for the sub, it's definitely shown improvement as we've gone along!

I do have one kiddo who is going to be a she decided to put her chocolate milk in her water bottle (why the cafeteria supervisors let her do this I do not understand...) and then proceed to sit in my classroom and pour it into the cap and drink from the cap....Now of course I couldn't allow this, so I in my oh so sweetest teacher voice asked her to put it away....And was ignored...So then I tell her in my not so nice teacher voice her choice is to put it away or go to the office....and I still get ignored...SO I buzz the office and after waiting for 5 minutes for a response, they say they'll send someone to remove her....And so we go on learning and we just ignore her bad behavior, and eventually she brings me the bottle and begins participating....and then 20 minutes later our "safety coordinator" shows up and says, "You needed help?"....Oh yes, there is no exaggeration there, 20 minutes went by!  I'm glad it wasn't something super urgent!  So anyway, long story short, I guess I'll be conferencing with my little ones parents pretty soon to set up a behavior plan.

On to a more fun note, this week we learned about Greater Than and Less Than!  I LOVE this math topic!  I usually like it after we've, you know, learned our numbers...not on the third week of school, but I still love it non-the-less.  I've always taught GT and LT with the alligator or pac man, but somewhere on some wonderful blog I saw monsters!  I fell in LOVE!  So we practice with pac man monsters (the symbol, with a circle around it and then added some scary teeth), and we talked about how if Donovan had 5 cookies and Sukya had 2 cookies the monster was going to come after Donovan's cookies.  And then we all screamed like we were scared of the monster just for good measure!  After we practice we made Number Muncher Monsters!  It was so easy!  I just took a piece of construction paper and wrote two numbers on it....seriously, that easy!  Then the kiddos drew their GT or LT symbol, and then had free reign to decorate!  I got some seriously awesome monsters, its cool to see how higher level some of my kids were thinking, just from their drawings!  Here are a few:

Some of my more creative kiddos- the one on the right is my absolute favorite, there is a close-up of it a few down.

Another super cute one, this one didn't quite get the LT symbol, but did get the right direction!

This one is so cool!  The monster is holding the bigger number and if you look at its face you can see the GT symbol!

This one was just so neat!

My little one who was just transfered to me from the Bi-lingual class!  Pretty cool!

Monday, September 12, 2011

What a week!

I'm so sorry I haven't posted in a week!  Last week was a bit crazy.  I got a call on Monday saying that my sister's fiance has passed away.  It was very unexpected and I'm really still in shock.  So needless to say, my sub plans got tested last week!

Thanks to What The Teacher Wants for having her sub plans on her blog!  I took her advice and left a SUPER detailed schedule and lessons.  I also created a sub folder.  I'm super anxious when it comes to leaving my classroom in someone elses hands, so I always leave my worksheets out with post it labels and directions on them (on top of the detailed lesson plans).  I really wish I would have taken a picture of my Kidney Table, it was so organized and detailed!

And I came back to a MESS.  Yup, Capital M-E-S-S.  Not just a mess.  Apparently it was a new sub, who wasn't prepared to walk into a neighborhood like the one I teach in!  She had a horrible day on Thursday, and I guess my kids were pretty bad.  Another teacher had to come in and yell at them!  Eek!  How embarrassing!   Well then I guess she was so rattled that on Friday she didn't do half of the things I left...Like didn't teach Science at all.  And instead of using the reading worksheets I left, she skipped those and used the "if you are finished with EVERYTHING else" worksheets....

Oh and instead of using glue sticks like I specified (TWICE) in my plans....she gave the kids bottles of glue for a cut and paste activity....they've never used bottles of glue before!  Needless to say I ended up with a giant ball of paper stuck together...Guess we won't be grading those!

I think the kiddos missed me, but holy cow had they forgotten the rules!  I think we'll have to start over tomorrow and try this whole classroom management thing again!

On another note- How do you handle kiddos who just can't stay awake?!  I know they just got back from Summer break and are still getting back into routines, but oh my, at least 1 each day ends up with a head on the desk while I'm teaching and no matter how many times I walk over and tap them or call them out, they still fight those eyelids!  A few years ago I had one, but he had a rough home life and Mom took him to work with her overnight, I felt terrible waking him up, but usually sent him for a drink at the water fountain to at least keep him up for a bit.  I would LOVE to hear your ideas!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Where It All Goes Down!

I'm finally getting around to posting pictures of my classroom!  Yay!  As always I'm still finding things that need tweaking as the year begins and I get to know my kiddos, but this is how my room started the year!

Classroom view from my door.  Nothing really special to see there! 
My check-in area by the door and my number words display.

My ENI display.  Not super cute, but it covers what our school required.

My reading area!  Love the pillows, unfortunately they don't belong to me, and I think the Special Ed department is going to come steal them soon!

View from the reading corner, you can see my behavior chart and calendar area.

Word wall and student cubbies.  First year I've ever had cubbies, I'm excited about them!

Calendar area.  I've since added a set of date strips (that I found on Pintrest!), and my job pockets.

My makeshift easel.  I need to work on that!  And my rules.

Close up of the cubbies with their hardcover text books.

Yikes!  My desk area is already a mess!

My happy place.  Photos of my kiddos from previous years, and my VistaPrint stuff!  

My beautiful bulletin board outside of my room!  I love the animals, so cute!

Where I will display my students work in the Hallway!  I still need to put their names on Clothespins.

So there you have it!  I've added a few things and will take more photos as the year progresses, but I love it so far!