Saturday, August 25, 2012

Week 1 is done!

How does everyone teach and blog? After Wednesday, the first day with students, I was wiped out! I wasn't sure how I would ever function, or stay awake after 8:00 pm! Luckily, the next days went better and I was able to stay up past 10! I did get my room ready in time for the open house on Tuesday night.
This is the view of my room as I come in. I love being able to look at trees and a grassy yard out the window, instead of the parking lot that my room overlooked last year!
The chalkboard with my rules, schedule, precision request procedure, and respect chart.
My wonderful cubbies! I labeled every box, and have since bought a couple of more boxes! I have all of my manipulatives like counters, pattern blocks, linking cubes, flash cards, dice, fidgets, magnetic letters and numbers, and even writing paper in each section. I also have several dictionaries in some of the sections.
View of my room from the front. Student work will be posted on the one board, not sure about the other board.
I added the numbers for around the clock. I just cut out circles and wrote the minutes on the circles.  I'm hoping this will help my students tell and learn how to tell time better.

I realize that my room is a little bare, but I do add things as the year goes by- anchor charts and student work. I like keeping the decorations to a minimum as a lot of my students get easily distracted or over stimulated with too many visuals. I wish I would have remembered to take a picture of my hallway bulletin board and door- I used the pinterest idea for my door of "when you enter this room..."

It was a good week, I'm loving my class! They make me laugh and enjoy teaching. I have 7 boys and 1 girl this year. I will be kept busy with teaching their different levels in math and reading. And hopefully, I'll get my energy back to blog more next week!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

We are All Special!
I'm linking up with Karlie over at  We are All Special! for the "before" classroom picture linky party! As I stated in a previous post, my room was used as storage over the summer for 2 other rooms! I forgot to take my camera, to take pictures before all the other furniture and items were moved out so just imagine this corner of items times 3!
At my school, we all help each other out with the moving in and out of classrooms! It goes rather quickly with everyone carrying the desks, chairs, and boxes! The reason we have to move everything into a couple of classrooms every year is that the school actually rents the space from the mental health facility. So the mental health facility uses four of the six classrooms during the summer for more intensive programs. I also had changed classrooms and grades- I lost my wonderful closet that could lock! I had to go through 3 file cabinets full of papers and other things! Some were mimeographed copies of worksheets. You can see the boxes of papers that I took to recycle or shread.
This is the view from my door of the classroom. I love the windows, but wish my room would be a bit bigger! I was amazed that I could get the whole wall in the pic!
The back corner of the room, with my interactive board, alcove (for a quiet place to calm down), sink and observation mirror. In front of the mirror are the 2 bookcases in my room! I have boxes waiting to be unpacked under the board full of books! My old room had 4 large shelves for reading books.
The front corner of the room, showing the door and cubbies for the students. Tomorrow is the last work day for in the rooms, so my paras and I will be arranging the tables and desks, figuring out what to do with the other things, and putting up the bulletin boards. Check back later for the after pictures!

I did manage to get my desk area somewhat organized at least the desk is clean!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

First Day Jitters, 4 days before school starts!

I'm linking up with Ms. Jessica over at A Turn to Learn  for her First Day Jitters linky party!
Back to School Jitters Linky Party
You can click on the picture above to go to her blog linky party!

So why do I have first day jitters? I mean, I've been teaching a long time... for 10, um.. 15 ... okay, okay, over 20 years. I shouldn't be nervous... I shouldn't have those crazy dreams where the students show up for school and I'm the only teacher there, and my room isn't set up! And then some student brings skunks in my room!! What did I eat before bed that night? Anyways, it just goes to show that everyone gets nervous before the first day of school. We wonder about our students, the other staff that is new, we wonder if we over planned or under planned, if the technology will work, what if it doesn't and so on. Here's some pictures of my room after I got 2 other classrooms things out of my room.
Imagine the items in this corner of my room times 5 or more! At least that's what it seems like. I had 7 teacher desks, 8 file cabinets, 6 tables, 24 student desks and I don't know how many chairs! Plus computer carts, bookshelves, boxes of things, and an aquarium! My room is storage for the summer and everything is stored- nothing is left in the other rooms.You see, in the summer, another program uses 4 of the 6 classrooms, so we move everything out and put it into one of the 2 storage classrooms. I wish I would have thought to take a picture of an empty room and my room full of items! These pictures -I'm ashamed to admit are after I worked for 5 hours in my room- I had to go through and purge 3 file cabinets and a desk of old stuff. I actually found those purple-y sheets from a mimeograph!
The view from the door, front of the room is on the left and the back wall is on the right! Notice the table top on the floor, waiting for legs!

Looking from the front to the back corner. My Promethean board, sink area, alcove behind the sink, the mirror is an observation window and in front of the mirror are the 2 lonely bookcases.The boxes by the board have my books that I need to find a place for- I ran out of bookcase shelves! This new room only has 2! I'm use to having 4!
View from the back corner to the front corner. Again the sink, observation window, then door and cubbies for students. The box by the chairs is filled with old worksheets that should have been tossed years ago! I also started a pile of items that I don't want, but thought someone else could use on a cart, by the file cabinets.
I did manage to get my desk area cleaned out and pretty much organized.I actually threw out granola bars and a brownie!  I still have some things that look to be of sentimental value on the shelf that need to go to the former teacher of the room, or thrown out!
I'll take more pictures on Monday after my paras and I get working on setting up the bulletin boards and arranging the furniture. Tuesday we have our annual training for descalating aggressive behaviors and restraining safely, as a last resort for those students that are physically harming themselves or endangering others. After the training then we have our open house, which not many parents come. Wednesday our doors open for the students to come and learn! Hopefully without any wild animals!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Final Monday of summer

This summer has flown by, I guess it's true when  people say "Time flies when you're having fun!" Starting this blog and reading other teaching blogs has kept me busy, especially Tara's Monday Made Its! I've made so many nice things for my room and seen a lot of inspiring posts for the upcoming year. I just can't believe my summer ends tomorrow! I had an early dentist appointment today, and Pepper wasn't happy about waking up before 7:30! I don't know how we will make it on Wednesday when I have to get up by 6. I also have to stop having my 2 hour breakfasts in the morning. Not that I eat a lot, but I have a cup of tea, read the paper, watch GMA, have another cup of tea, have something to eat, finish watching GMA, play Words With Friends, check email, check what Kelly is doing over at Live with Kelly. How will I cope with not knowing what happened to her? Somehow, I don't think I could work all of that in during morning meeting!!

I had a wonderful week end! First Mr. and I went and saw The Moving Wall. It was very impressive and gave me goosebumps.

Then I went to Cincinnati and visited my oldest son. We had a lot of fun talking and shopping and eating!
My son's living room, see the pics on the wall? I made those using canvas and photos! I also helped him clean!

Looking toward Cincinnati from Newport, KY

I found the cutest name placards for the table, not that Mr. and I don't know where to sit, but I love cows and couldn't resist these! They even came with chalk!!
Name Card!
When I got home, I received a wonderful surprise! A new printer! It scans, prints, and copies! And it's wireless! Mr. knew that I needed a new printer, since mine gave up last week.
Pepper just had to get in the pic, causing me to move.

I did  finish some projects for Monday Made It! Besides what is shown below, I typed and printed up my standard checklists for all the subjects and for grades 4 and 5 (I just found out that I won't have 6th grade). I printed up my sub emergency plans that I got from Sub Hub and organized a sub binder. I just have to wait for the class list and a few odds and ends before it will be complete! I didn't like my birthday poster, so I took it apart and made it into a pennant hanging! I like it a lot better.
My clipboards (for me and a few for the students)
pencil cups, signs made by April Walker from the ideabackpack blog
My updated birthday pennant!

I'm hoping that we can still use food as a motivator, but I think the state guidelines for nutrition will prevent me from having any food in the classroom that doesn't fit in with the health guidelines. I'd like to visit the rule makers' offices to see if they have any candy on their desks or treats in the break room!

Go over to check out Tara's blog, 4th Grade Frolics to see what everyone else has been doing and tell us what you made!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Charge, Cha-ching! Shopping Parties!

Adventures in Room 5 is hosting a linky party to go along with Teacher's Pay Teachers back to school sale!

In my cart are the following 4 items- and I have more, but rules are rules!

1.  Back-to-School-Activities-Starting-the-Year-off-Right in this packet, there are ice breaker activities where students interview each other and then write a newspaper article based on the interview. Also included is a scavenger hunt and questions about the procedures in the classroom, once they have been taught. A lot of my students have been in the same class for awhile, but they don't always know much about each other so I'm hoping the interview will help them. Plus, interviewing will be good for learning about social skills.

2. Sticky-Note-Research-Projects Even though this is for students in first grade, I think it would be good for my students to learn about the research process. I love the idea that the students write notes on sticky notes and then when I review the notes with them, we can remove any that don't belong. Most of my students hate to write and have poor organizational skills, so I think this would be a good fit.

3. Daily-Math-Notebook this looks like just what I need (and my students need) to keep organized. At this late date with school starting soon, I don't have time to think and design something like this on my  own! It has pages for centers, number of the day, and even timed tests! What more could I want?

4. Nursery-Rhyme-Re-Writes-Synonym-and-Thesaurus-Skills since some of my students haven't heard of some of the nursery rhymes, I thought this would be a good way to introduce them. We can practice reading the actual rhymes (good for fluency) and then use the thesauruses that I bought at Target and also brainstorm synonyms and re-write the nursery rhymes! Sounds like fun!

Jessica over at From Blood to Books! is hosting a linky party for fashion!

Here are the guidelines...
1. Tell me your favorite store(s) that you like to get your "teacher's fashion".
2. What are some of your favorite accessories?
3. What type of shoes do you teach in? (i.e. heels, flats, wedges, etc.)
4. Do you have a "go-to" item in your closet? (i.e. sweater you wear weekly, shoes you wear daily, etc.)
5. Have you ever had a fashion "uh-oh" at school? (i.e. heel broke, button popped off of blouse)

                        While at work, I would love to wear this type of outfit,                                          

Because of the possibility of chasing students back into the room and school, as well as restraining students the reality is I can't wear skirts or dresses that might show too much. I typically wear this type of outfit - cardigan, tee, khakis.


1. My favorite stores for teacher fashion are Kohl's and JCPenny. I have also bought clothing and shoes from Target.

2. My favorite accessories are scarves! I love wearing them to add color to my outfits. I also like wearing bracelets.

3. I wear flats to teach in. Some days I wear tennis shoes, usually the fashion styles.


4. My go to item would be a cardigan. I have about 15 (never really counted). I wear them over tank tops or tees, I never know what the temp. will be in my room so it's nice to have something to cover up!

5. The only thing I can think of that went wrong was when I wore my old slip on tennis shoes by mistake! I put them on in the morning to get the paper and forgot to change them before driving to school. Not a big deal, but I was embarassed by the grass stained shoes!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wednesday, whew and decisions, decisions!

I can't believe that I only have one week until school starts! Next Wednesday,is the back to school all day meeting, then the next day I have staff inservice at my school and the Friday I may be able to get into my room! Monday, the 20th of August, will be a work day in the classroom and the Tuesday is my training for how to deal with aggressive and disruptive students with an open house from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Wednesday, the 23rd will be the first day with students! I'm crossing off items on my to do list and adding other things (I need to stop!) Hopefully, I can get my printer working again! It has jammed up on me and I can't get it cleared!! I'm also trying to figure out all of my bulletin boards for the hallway and in the classroom so that I can make the letters. I think I have them all figured out and (this is where my adding to my list gets me in trouble) I might make a few extra sayings for later boards. I also need to stop looking at everyones' Monday Made It projects and Pinterest, I am addicted to both as my additions to my list can attest! I'm getting nervous about my decision to switch rooms and grade levels, why did I think it would be a good idea? I've lost a closet (that could lock) and a huge cabinet (that was bolted onto the wall). My boxes of teaching books, games, and other classroom items are still packed away in boxes and bins in my garage and basement. At least I labeled them with the subject matter so I can find things if I need them.

 So now I need to decide how I'm displaying my take on daily 5/reading workshop, the class rules and pledge, and the schedule (which I still have to figure out). I know a lot of people support the idea of having the students help make the rules and pledge, but with my students I need to set these up. We do talk about why they are important and what the classroom should look like and sound like in order for everyone to be able to learn in a safe environment. I have 5 basic rules that are all stated positively. Examples; Keep your hands and feet to self., Use appropriate language, Follow directions, Raise your hand to talk, and Work quietly. I'm thinking that while these rules were fine for my 6th and 7th graders, I might have to change them up for 4th and 5th graders. I've seen the Whole Brain Teaching rules, but can also see where some of my students would challenge the Keep your dear teacher happy rule! ("..gee, Mrs. Ashley, I thought you would laugh when I threw the milk on Tommy!").  I also have to think about the other staff in my room, so if I changed it to keep the staff happy, the other staff might take it the wrong way- even with guidelines! I'm hoping that by Friday I will have everything done. Then I can relax, go shopping for an outfit or 2, and get my haircut.

On a good note, we sold our camper within an hour of posting it for sale! While I'm sad that it's no longer ours, it was nice to be able to sell it so quickly! Now, does anyone want any bunnies? They are free! All you have to do is catch them! The picture shows 2, but we have about 6 of them (that I've seen) in our yard!

Friday, August 3, 2012

August currently and one kind of unhappy camper

I'm linking up with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade with her August currently, but I'm not happy about it!I thought about not acknowledging it, or even looking at it, because then August wouldn't really be here, right? Sadly, I couldn't resist the temptation to see what everyone else is doing.  It seems many bloggers are surprised and sad that August is here. We all are wondering where the time went. I did get many projects completed, but I have so much more to do!! I still have a list of things to get done and only a week to do them!Guess I can scratch getting a tan off my list!  I can't believe that in two weeks I will have to go to bed early and get up before the sun! My kitties are not going to be happy! They have been use to me being home, at their beck and meow (or so they think).

 My back to school must haves are my newly reinvented teacher binder to help keep me organized. I also couldn't have made it through the summer without my printer, hence the ink, and my laminator! I'm so glad that I replaced my old laminator last winter. I burned it out! I have the Scotch brand that everyone raves about. If it lasts as long as my old one did (about 13 years) I'll be happy! I should buy stock in ink and laminating sheets, or stop looking at everyones' blogs and downloading items from the blogs and their stores! And yes, it's my 16th wedding anniversary. We aren't celebrating tonight, Mr. had to work a 12 hour day today and goes back in at 5:30 a.m. tomorrow! Got to get those school supplies out on the shelves! And restock the Dollar Spot, too! I also found out that I start back Aug. 15 with a meeting for all staff, Aug. 16 with inservice for my building, nothing on that Friday (email said we might be able to get into the rooms to work on them!), Monday work day, Tuesday is our building's restraint/de-esculation training and open house (why do they schedule this after an afternoon of physical activity?) And then Wednesday, August 22 the students start! I hope I can get everything done! Guess I better write up a to do list to keep me on track and to let anyone who's around know what they can help me with! I'm hoping that I can relax with everything done (as much as I can at home) by Friday, August 10! Wonder if Mr. and the kitties really need me to serve them to eat? Cereal and popcorn casseroles for all!!! On a sad note, we decided to sell our camper. It was getting to the point that we just didn't have the time to use it.
 I will miss it, it was always so relaxing (once we got set up). But, I am looking forward to just going to various festivals and events around the area at the spur of the moment. Oh and the roasted marshmallows will also be missed, but Mr. said we could get a backyard fire ring so I can roast marshmallows!