Friday, August 31, 2012

Freebie Friday!

Most of you have already had a chance to look at all the fun new Word Work activities I'm adding to my classroom this year.  But, just in case you haven't, I'm linking up with Teaching Blog Addict for their Freebie Friday.

If you are need of some new Word Work activities check out my blog post from a few weeks ago.  There are 5 new activities complete with worksheets! 

If you've seen them head on over to Teaching Blog Addict and checkout all the other awesomely coolistic freebies!!!

Happy, happy Friday all!!!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

It's Thursday????

How on earth is it Thursday?  I haven't have a single second to breathe let alone blog.  I'm missing my leisurely summer mornings with plenty of time to create and blog.  This week has had very little leisure and zero creating or blogging.

Monday night I gave a parent orientation and went to a parent orientation, Tuesday night I came home from school at 5pm, but then continued working until 9pm, last night I did enjoy a little relaxation at bunco, but unfortunately it was another night away from home.  Tonight I've got another hour of school work to do before I start to make a plan on this disaster of a house.

Is anyone else as overwhelmed at this time of the school year as I am?  I know it's just the beginning of the school year and it will all come together and slow down, but tonight I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed.

I'm so very thankful for this 3 day weekend.  I'll get two days to relax, and a whole day alone in my classroom to get caught up and ready for next week.   I promise to have a decent post with some actual lesson plans and a review of what we did during the first full week of school, but for tonight....I think I'll just give my brain a rest and tuck myself in for an early bedtime!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Made It and a little Fall decorating

Can't believe I actually had time to make something this weekend and link up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics.  This is my 6th year of teaching (5th year in 4th grade), and I finally think I have it.....I was even able to enjoy the majority of my weekend and not spend it at school!!!

This week we are working on a genre study.  I use the activities in Laura Candler's Power Reading Workshop book, and add a few I've gotten other places.  One of the activities we will complete is a Genre Mystery Bag.  I got this idea from Mailbox Magazine.  I will put 3 or 4 books from the same genre in a bag and give each group a different bag.  They will look at the books and try to determine the genre of the books.  They will then fill out this graphic organizer with their group members.

You can get a copy here.  We will then discuss the various genres they had and then the student will get a random pile of books and attempt to sort them by genre.  I love this lesson and this year it is especially helpful since I had so little time to get my classroom ready due to construction.  The students will be learning about genre and putting together out classroom library at the same time!

I also have time for a little home made it!  I am so ready for fall it's crazy!  Yesterday after I finished all of my lesson plans I put some orange peels, a 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon and some water in a pot and put it on the oh' man did my house smell yummy.  I then set to work on our Fall Bucket List.  I simply changed out our Summer Bucket List and added some free scrapbooking paper I got from Activity Village and some fabulously fun fall ideas I got from Come Together Kids.

Next weekend I'm gonna bring a little of the fall action to the front porch!!
Don't forget to check out all the other awesomely amazing Monday Made It projects at 4th Grade Frolics!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

10 things I learned....

10. No matter how prepared I try to be for the beginning of the school year it never fails to take me down!
I spent countless hours this summer making things for my classroom and getting ready for the first day of school, but I was still caught off guard by how exhausting it was.  Nothing like going from relax-all-day-without-a-care-in-the-world to on-nonstop-for-6-straight-hours-teaching-68-kids-in-a-day.  I know it will get easier as the weeks go on, but this week truly kicked my tush!!!

9. Indoor recess on the 4th day of school and a 15 minute lunch break are not the very best way to end the first week of school.....nuf said!

8. 4th graders are equally as excited after the first balloon pops as they are after the 23rd balloon pops!
We played a get-to-know-you game where each student wrote three things about themselves on a strip of paper and then put it into a balloon.  They blew up the balloon, tied it off, then took turns popping them and trying to guess the mystery person.  It was loud, but you would've thought this was the most exciting thing they'd ever done in their lives....hilarious!!!

7. Getting a gummy worm from the top of a cup, tipping the cup over, and putting the worm and a peach ring into the cup using only paper clips is easier than it looks, and about as exciting as popping balloons.

6.  It is absolutely amazing what you learn about individuals when they are left to put a 100 piece puzzle together with three other people.

5. I might actually be okay with the idea of my son driving.
He drove to school all week, picked up Katie from school, and went to the college basketball court to play basketball with a group of friends.....and I didn't have a panic attack.  I just might survive this!

6. My daughter is becoming a young lady and it is causing about as much stress as her brother driving!
We went to pay dance fees and realized she needed new dance shoes.  She had to get a size 7....last year she was a 4.5!!!!  Then we went to Target to spend the $20 gift card she got from a teacher friend of mine and she purchased a XS from the women's department!!!  Growing pains are hard on moms!

5. Something furry was under my deck yesterday trying to escape the two straight days of rain we had and it was driving Charlie NUTS!
I sure hope whatever it is doesn't plan to stay all winter....I'm pretty sure it was a mouse :(

4. My new group of 4th graders are the sweetest little things ever, and more chatty than I am.....if you know me, you know that's saying ALOT :)
They are always talking about the topic at hand, but they like to talk about it for a good long time.  We'll have to find a creative way to cut down on our discussion time.....I'm thinking writing :)

3. Saturday mornings just might be the greatest thing that occurs during my work week!
I so needed that slow morning yesterday, with my coffee, my laptop, my doggie snuggled up next to me, and no place to be....almost felt like summer again!

2. I'm ready for fall!
I've been pinning fall decorating ideas on Pinterest like a mad woman and I'm already mentally planning our Fall Fun List (to replace the Summer Bucket list) and my fall porch decorations....I know what Katie and I are doing during our long weekend next week!

1. KSU Football season starts this coming Saturday and I couldn't be happier!
Purple Power Play on Poyntz and the first MHS football game are Friday night and the Cats play Saturday.  I'm dusting off my K-State purple and my MHS red and blue and prepping my cheering voice for many weekends of football....EMAW!!!!!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

I survived the first week....

Is anyone else as out of shape for this as I am?  I completely forgot how exhausting this ol' teaching thing is.  I don't think I would be nearly as tired if we hadn't had to put an entire school together in 4 days, host Open House on the evening of the 4th day and begin school on the 5th day.....holy cow, am I thankful for a Saturday!

Any who, here's a peek at my adorable new 4th graders and all the fun we've been having during the first two days of school.

On the first day we completed the puzzle activity featured on Lorraine's blog, Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies.  We changed ours up a little and took the 100 piece puzzle and gave each person in the group 25 pieces.  The could only touch their pieces unless they were adding them to the puzzle itself.  This ensured that everyone was engaged and participating and that no one individual was running the show.  I still had 2 little peeps who sorta opted out and just sat there and watched, but we just kept encouraging them!

On the second day we completed another activity featured in the same post by Lorraine.  This one was just too much fun!!!  I think my fourth graders will be talking about this all year!!!

We ended our second day with a Recipe for Success activity that I found on Pinterest.  The original idea came from Eating Abroad, The Adventures of a Traveling Teacher. Oh, and the cute little recipe card and snack bowl labels....freebie on her blog!!! Look how stinkin' cute these photos are!!!  I will definitely be doing this one next year!  We had the best little discussion about success, and since we have already defined these words and they are so important I may just use them to introduce Word Work next week.

I teach reading to all the 4th graders in our building in 3 different sections.  On Thursday I got to meet the other two sections.  They completed a scavenger hunt in my classroom to locate all the supplies we will use during the year.  Then we worked on a Reading Inventory that got from Laura Candler.  I absolutely LOVE reading about their thoughts on reading!!!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The first full day of school!

Today is the first full day of school!  After spending a half day with my new little 4th graders yesterday I think we are going to have a great (maybe chatty :) year! 

Jacob got his school supplies last night and packed his backpack....he's driving to school today for the first time....YIKES!!!  I will have to have a text when he arrives in the school parking lot and when he gets home.  He's also picking up Katie from school today so that I can stay and work until 5pm and hopefully not have to bring any work home....BONUS!  Katie packed her first sack lunch of the school year last night and picked out her clothes, and I faithfully (although completely exhausted) completed last nights task on our weekly cleaning list.  I'm doing this to avoid the every-Saturday-cleaning ritual.  Happy first full day of school to all my friends and happy 2012-2013 school year!!!

Now if I could just stop waking up at 4:45 a.m. I might have enough energy to make it all the way to 10 p.m. :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Big Classroom Reveal!!!!

I'm finally done! I think it turned out pretty well and I hope my kiddos love it.  I know there are still little things I need to finish (ran out of time), but I'm hoping to have them all done by the end of the month!!  Please prepare yourself for a little picture overload :)

 The welcome sign that greets my students every morning!

 Those windows will get some little curtains eventually....

 That boring beige cabinet is getting something, I just don't know what yet.

 These letters I painted my first year of teaching and they used to hang on the wall behind my desk in my old room.  My desk now faces the door and I think this makes a nicer welcome than a boring beige desk front.

Word Work, Work on Writing, Read to Someone , the classroom library and my new "I'm Done Now What" bored!!

 Jobs and my cute birthday goodies!

My adorable new alphabet from Ladybug Teaching Files

The pom poms my daughter and I made this summer, and the little curtain I made in a hurry to cover the clutter on the top of the coat closet.

That's my room....I'm super happy with it.  You can find just about all of the projects I made for my room in the Teacher Tuesday section on my blog.  Wish me luck on my first day of school!!!  

I'm also linking up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics for her Made it Monday....this is one big ol' Made it!!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

You know it's Back to School when....

I'm linking up with Jeannie at Kindergarten Lifestyle with an adorable "You know it's Back to School when....." linky party! 

Okay, that second one really only applies to those people who live in a college town....if you do, you know exactly what I'm talking about!!!

Oh my goodness is my room looking cute.  It's finally coming along and I can't wait to show you all tomorrow!!  Tonight is Open House and tomorrow is the first day of school.....I'm extremely nervous and super duper excited!!!  Since I had such a short amount of time to get my room ready there will be little things I need to finish and tweak for about the next month or so, but I think I'm finally ready to welcome my new little peeps!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

10 things I learned....

 10. Doggies know when we are working to much and show it by pulling all the cleaning supplies out of the pantry and dragging them all over the living room.....if they're really depressed about your departure they will even eat a Clorox Toilet Wand refill  :(

9. All that hard work I put in this summer making stuff for my classroom is paying off!!

8. Only having 4 days to unpack a classroom, decorate, and get ready for a new school year is just simply not enough and causes a small amount of panic and 4 sleepless nights.

7. Jacob may have a fear of heights after standing on a 10 ft ladder and reaching high above his head to hang pom poms from the ceiling of my's worth it though because those things are so stinking cute!!!

6. Katie still needs a certain amount of "Mom time", and working 12-14 hours days isn't helping with glad we came home at 4 yesterday and relaxed and enjoyed a game night!

5. Menu planning a month in advance is a dream!!!  This week has been absolutely insane and having those menus planned out and all the supplies in the refrigerator has made dinner prep a cinch!

4. I'm very nervous to meet my new fourth graders and their parents on Monday night....every year the butterflies start a few days before the first day!

 3. The college students are back and this town just isn't the same.....only about 270 days until the next summer vacation and a quiet little town!

2. I am completely in love with these cool fallish (yeah it's a word) mornings and the fact that I have been able to have the A/C off for almost 3 whole days!!

1. My children are amazing, caring, giving, selfless individuals and I couldn't be prouder.  One of my teacher  friends had surgery about 10 days ago, and she too only has 4 short days to put her room together :(  My kiddies worked for almost 6 hours yesterday helping her get things ready.....I love those two little peeps!!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

A little before glimpse of my room....

I've been putting in some VERY long days at school trying desperately to get my room put together before Monday night.  It's coming along, but I still have a ton of work today.  Tonight I was able to leave at 7pm and only have one box left to unpack.  Tomorrow will be the fun task of decorating!

Isn't it a mess!  I can't wait to post pics on Tuesday when it's all done and ready for my new little crew of 4th graders!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I'm offically back to work!

I can already say that the change in morning routine is not a choice I would've made.  Why can't the work day start at 10 a.m.?  That would give me plenty of time to catch up on the blogs I follow, pin a bunch of stuff I don't need on Pinterest, walk the dog, take a nice long shower, and enjoy coffee and breakfast on the deck.  Being somewhere by 8 a.m. is gonna be rough!

On a positive note, we get to see our newly renovated building today.....come back tomorrow morning for some before pictures of my classroom! Off to make one more cup of coffee....a full day of meetings and the fact that my brain started making a to-do list at 4 a.m. is gonna make for a LONG day!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I can't believe it's last day of summer!

Yep, today is officially my last day of summer.  It doesn't feel like summer is over since I haven't been able to step foot in my classroom (it's been renovated so I have no idea how many bulletin boards I have, what kind of storage is there, how big my windows are....), have no clue what my schedule looks like, or any idea how many students I will have on Tuesday.  It's a strange end to summer and a strange beginning to a new school year.  My fingers are crossed that our building is done at the end of the day on Friday and that we can all spend our weekend there getting our rooms ready!!!

Lucky for me, my last day of summer forecasts sunny skies with a high of 95!!  I'm planning to spend the morning getting tags for my Jake's new car, the afternoon poolside with Sis and her friends, and the evening preparing a yummy dinner of Baskin Robbins (that was Kate's idea)

and a ladder ball tournament in the backyard!  It's looking like I'm going to get a pretty amazing last day of summer!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Welcoming back my students

So I won't officially be welcoming my students to the first day of school until next Tuesday, but I have been working on some little goodies for them.  I like to have something on their desks when they arrive that first morning that says, "Welcome, I'm so glad you're here!".  This year I chose the Welcome Bags that Tasha from Serenade to Second Grade featured in a post last year.  She has a free printable....check it out!

I purchased the bags at the Dollar Tree as well as the eraser tips, pencils, and most of the candy!

This is what their desk will look like when they arrive Tuesday morning.  The letter was an inspiration from Caroline at Tupelo Honey.  I created my own version using colors that match my classroom.  I also wanted an individual letter for each student (I plan to hand write their names on them as soon as I find out who's in my class :)  I think the handwritten name and individual letter makes it so much more personal.

I'm planning to upload a copy this morning to my Scribd account.  Check back a little later and pick up a copy for students!

Today I'm purchasing some inexpensive black fabric to cover all of my bulletin boards, going to the recyclers one last time on a weekday morning (seems silly to mention, but that place is PACKED on Saturday mornings during the school year....I will miss the quiet weekday mornings), and to stock up on some groceries before the craziness starts.  Lastly, we are off to the high school to help my son find his locker and his classes.  He is moving to the brand new huge building this year and I think it's going to take some getting used to.  I sure hope he has an AMAZING high school experience!!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

It was a Word Work week!

Let me start off with something that has nothing to do with school....Jacob got a car for his 16th birthday yesterday!!  His birthday is actually on the 21st (which is the first day of gross is that???), but he got his gift a little early.  His grandparents purchased a new car and were generous enough to give him their old one!!

This was a complete birthday surprise for him!  When his grandma handed him the keys in the restaurant he said, "Did I just get a car?".  I'm so nervous that he will be free to roam the streets without me, but super duper excited that he is making the transition into a young man......I absolutely love that boy!!!

This will be my last Monday Made It for a while!  We found out on Friday that we will be able to move into our classrooms on Friday the 17th after 4 p.m.  We have Open House on Monday and students start on Tuesday the 21st.  That means I have 3 days to unpack every single school thing I own, put it away in my new classroom, decorate my room, and prepare for Open House and the first week of pressure!  Since I will be in freak out mode next weekend and will be working round the clock I'm guessing I won't have time for a Monday Made it post......on with this weeks goodies!

Last year I had 6 Word Work activities that students could choose from during this time.  Most of my ideas came from Tara at 4th Grade Frolics, and Laura Candler at Corkboard Connections.  I even used Tara's idea for creating the folders to hold them in.....cute huh!

I made these new activities to add to the fun!  You can get a free copy of any of the worksheets here.

The Sand Scribes will use our new colored sand boxes!

Our typists will use our new colorful keyboards.  I had thought about using the laptop keyboards, but taking them out always seems to take forever, and with a simple keyboard we'll save time, and nobody will "accidentally" turn on a computer :)

This idea also came from 4th Grade Frolics! I found these little pouches in the school supply section at Target for only $0.97!  They hold all the Magnetic Words Supplies! The letters were also from Target near the college/dorm back to school stuff, and the magnetic white boards are from Dollar Tree.

I plan to add my new ideas to last year's choices:

Vocabulary Foldable (from Laura Candler)
Words Worth, Scrabble, Secret Code, and Stampin' It (from 4th Grade Frolics)

I even got two new ink pads in blue and red from the Dollar Spot at Target!

I also had time to create Poetry Pots (inspired by 4th Grade Frolics....again!)

I wrapped up this very busy week with a very simple Box Tops container (nothing special just a left over sand container some craft paper and some stickers)

new bins for the kids to turn their work in.  Since we departmentalize I made a bin for each teacher with folders in each bin for the most frequently turned in kinds of work.  I'm hoping this makes organizing and grading hundreds of paper each week MUCH easier! I had the folders and I got the bins at Walmart for $1 in the dish section.

And, last I made an "I'm Done, Now What?" board.  I'm loving this thing and I think it's going to make an awesome addition to my room.  I got the genius idea  from Shelley Gray of Teaching in the Early Years!!!

This little guy was really time consuming to put together, but I have a feeling it's going to be well worth the effort!

Oh, and I finished two weeks worth of lesson plans yesterday.....all that's left is to get that room put together!!!  If you haven't linked up with 4th Grade Frolics this summer you are missing out.  Head on over there and check out all the other AMAZING Monday Made it projects!!