Saturday, August 24, 2013

A long overdue posting

Wow, I just realized that it has been way too long since I last posted. I'm not sure where the days weeks went, but I'm back in school. This year I'm teaching 3rd and 4th grade students with emotional and behavior disorders and they are keeping me on my toes! They really are so sweet. One of my students keeps insisting that he doesn't belong there and that mom will be picking him up to go home (this is after 45 minutes of school). Luckily, he has a one on one aide and she is wonderful with him. We have him use a visual schedule with modified work and a sensory break after each task. After the 5 minute break if he is ready to work within 2 prompts, he gets a star. After 3 stars, he has a reward time. He loves bubbles, Thomas the Tank engine coloring book, and an old Sponge Bob game. So far it's working. He really had a horrible school experience the last 3 years, so we have to break down his work in order for him to feel successful and start liking school. My other students are so tolerant of him too, I think they realize that he needs extra supports.

I've also tried Whole Brain Teaching in my room this year and love, love, love it! I wish I would have tried it sooner. My students really know the rules and hand motions, they love the scoreboard with the mighty groan and the Oh, yeahs! One of my little 3rd graders recites the rule, "Keep your dear teacher happy" after anyone says teacher! We even started the "teach, okay" in class. Several students told me that school is going to be fun this year (and they're learning without realizing it)!

I also have all new staff in my room and adore them! They are all positive and hard working. No one is sitting for very long, unless they are reading or helping a student with their academic work. It's so nice to work with positive and caring people. It makes my day go better and I love going to work to see my students and now also my paras!

Hopefully, I will be able to blog more as I get settled back into the school routine. So far, I've only had to teach for 3 days this past week, so I'm already behind on lesson planning. I always like to plan science and social studies on Wednesday nights, reading and language arts on Thursdays, and math on Fridays, but that didn't happen this week. I do have my social studies, science, and part of math done - it was done while my car was having the tires rotated and an oil change. I hope everyone has a great week!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Monday Made its!

I finally was able to get some things done to link up with Tara and her Monday Made It!

Monday Made It
 Let me tell you, my printer and laminator were getting a work out! I didn't make anything for my home, I hope to find something that I can make for another time. Anyways, here's what I've made so far.
Here is a closer look at all of my creations with credit to those creative people whose generosity is greatly appreciated!

 Calm Tool Kit- From the Tpt store of Lynn Hubbell Each card has a strategy that a student can look at and use when having a hard time dealing with something. I might put this in my calm down box or have on a hook on the wall in my alcove (where students go to cool down) in order to help the student use the strategies.
These are cards for students that need a visual cue to be quiet, use nice hands, stop, etc. I have several kids in my room that will benefit from this. These will definitely be on my lanyard so that I can show the student exactly what behavior I need them to show me. I bought them from Sasha Hallagan
I got all of the words from Mrs. Wheeler's First Graders for the centers on antonyms, synonyms, contractions, and compound words. I printed them out and went to the Dollar Tree to find the cute cutouts to use the words with!
This year, especially since I'm teaching 3rd and 4th graders, I'm focusing on fluency. I found these downloadable cards from I Love 2 Teach they are free to download and look like fun!
I love these line up cards! I got them from I Love 2 Teach I will have them on a hook by the door to use whenever we leave the room. I will be able to mix up the order of how kids line up to go to lunch, gym, recess, etc. Fun things like favorite ice cream flavors, type of pet, number of vowels or syllables in their names, and many more!
Finally, Easy, Peasy Prep math center task cards from found at Tpt in the store of Cynthia Vautrot to be used with dominoes, cards, or dice, not with cats- yes, my cat kept getting in the picture! I think she was feeling neglected! There are 10 total cards in the set and the students can use dominoes, cards, or dice and work on the cards.
Okay, I think I'm done with everything for this Monday! I've gotten a lot of great ideas from other bloggers this week, so I hope that I can find the time to make more things! I'm not sure where all the time has gone!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

An Early Currently and I'm still late!

Once again I'm joining up with Farley and her wonderful currently linky and I'm still one of the later entries! Oh, well, maybe I am always fashionably late!!

It is so nice to have the windows opened and the air off again, so I'm listening to the birds (and the neighbors dogs bark, but it's okay). My cats are happy that the windows are open, too!
I love Sunday afternoons when I don't have anything to do on Mondays! I'm trying to figure out how I can keep this going even during the school year.
I keep writing down ideas, creating materials, and trying to decide on a classroom theme. This week end I went to a behavior conference and learned some great ideas to try in my classroom. One of my co-workers also went and we talked about trying to change our level system and point sheets for the school, so my head has all this buzzing around in it!
I would love to take a vacation somewhere this summer, but it isn't looking promising. First, our bathroom ceiling leaked and has to be replaced, so then there will be repainting, and I have to figure out what to do with the border- I'm thinking it will go. Then I have a STEM class for 2 weeks that I signed up for to learn about the standards better since I'm switching grades (again). So, I think that leaves about 2 weeks of freedom for me before school actually starts! My husband is doing the ceiling himself, so there goes all of his free time!
I really need to go to the grocery store today! We need food! I have the list made out with the menu for the week, but I just need to actually get up and go! Well, first I should shower and get out of my pj's!
My tip is to join linky parties and make meaningful comments. I still consider myself a newbie to blogging (I think my 1st year anniversary will be here soon). I've gained followers from the linky parties and commenting when I have something to say on other blogs. I've learned a lot from other bloggers and always want to share my appreciation for them!
So go to Farley's blog and join in the fun!

Monday, June 3, 2013

June Goals, just what the teacher in me ordered!

I love this idea for a linky party! I need to be held accountable and set goals for each month of my summer! So I'm linking up with

I started cleaning, purging, and organizing the dreaded basement today. It has become a dumping ground for everything- not just my teachery items. I'm trying to get rid of things I haven't used in the past few years and organize it all by subject or category. This may take me all month! I also want to spend more time with my mom, sons, and husband doing fun things. We tend to get stuck on what has to be done or think that we can do fun stuff next week, which never comes. I've told my sons (ages 20 and 23) that I will be taking them out for lunch during the summer. 
On pinterest and other teacher blogs, I've seen some awesome ideas for organizing ideas with the common core. Since switching grades for next year, this is a good time to set up file folders with the standard number and description on them. Hmmmm, not sure what happened to my 4, in blog at least 4 times per month! I've slacked off during the school year, so I hope to get back in the swing of blogging!
I want to reread The Great Gatsby. I read it in high school (a long time ago) and with the movie coming out, I want to read the book before seeing the movie. I also have ordered Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids. I like the idea of whole brain teaching, but it needs tweaking for my students! Hopefully, this book will give me a lot of ideas. I've also joined the book club/discussion for this book with others through Chris Biffle's Whole Brain Teaching site, to help me along!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

June Shout Out to Vacation Time!!

It's June and everyone here knows what that means... Farley's June currently , school is out (or ending, hopefully) and summer flip flop time!! My school ended on Friday, so tomorrow is my first official day of vacation! I know I will be awake early, as it takes me awhile to turn off my internal alarm clock and retrain the kitties to wake up later!

I love HGTV and House Hunters, I love being able to see inside of different peoples' homes! As I wrote earlier, my school ended on Friday- kind of bittersweet as my classroom paraprofessional retired, our wonderful speech pathologist is moving to another state, AND two other teachers are going to other schools - I'm going to miss all of them!
I've decided that I need to plan out what I'm going to do this summer, so that I don't keep putting off what I want to get done, and then not do anything! I just need to make the plan and stick with it as I have several major projects in mind! I really need a space where I can create my classroom plans, centers, games, bulletin board cuteness, and anything else that I may need or want! Right now, I do my creating, printing, cutting, laminating in the living room or at the dining room table, which means I'm constantly getting things out, working, and then putting things away. This leads into my need of cleaning out the basement. It would be the perfect place to work in the summer. I just dread going to clean it out- over the past year  2 years maybe 4 years (yikes!) I've just carried down boxes from each school year to store when I've changed grades or themes. I need to organize it all and purge items! 
When I go on vacation I need the usual books and camera, but it is a family joke that any type of slope or uneven ground that I walk on, I tend to fall- especially if it is muddy. I keep trash bags in the car for me to sit on when I fall in mud, the times I've fallen I was covered in mud!
I hope everyone is enjoying their last few days of school, or their first few days of summer!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What would I do differently next year?

It's so much fun to join a linky party, so for my first of the summer, I'm linking up with Kim over at
Finding Joy in 6th Grade

So what would I do differently next year? Well, some of the things are easy to identify- I'm switching grades again going from a 4th and 5th grade room to a 3rd and 4th grade classroom!

This past school year, I used rotations for part of the year, but then switched back to whole group instruction, with different tasks for the students in order to meet their needs. I really like the rotations of working with teacher, practice, and apply skills, so I need to plan this out better for the next year. Some of the problems were with staff- I had 4 different people for one of my aides during the year, with varying experience and knowledge, so it was difficult to depend on them to help out.
I need to challenge my students to do more, take more chances, even fail at times! My students tend to be scared of making any mistakes, so they simply don't do the extra work. I need to keep them accountable and make sure that they are performing at their best level.

Working with students with various emotional and behavior challenges, I need to incorporate more multi-sensory activities in the school day. It may be by giving them a choice menu based on learning styles or through different activities that use their senses and motor skills.

I guess I have my summer planned with all that I hope to accomplish next year. I've kept a reflection journal this year, so I know what I need to change and what worked in my class this year. So what are you going to do differently or the same next year?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Finally May Currently!

It's finally here! Spring has arrived in Ohio! I'm loving the warmer weather and the ability to go outside more with my students! The trees and flowers are in  bloom, along with my allergies! The state testings for my students are done- I have students from 5 different schools, so I had various students testing over a 2 week period! And, last but certainly not least, it's time for May Currently! I'm hoping that now that all my IEP, ETR, and other meetings are done for the year, I can get back to blogging!  So I'm linking up with Farley and the other fantastic bloggers for the May Currently!
I'm listening to Ellen- I love her show, it's a great stress reliever, too!  Today was a day off for my school, because of election day in Ohio! I had a great time shopping at the Teachers Pay Teachers sale! It's so hard to limit my purchases, I wish I could learn how to create cute, creative items for my students, but in the meantime I'll keep buying from all the talented teachers out there! Of course, it would help to have a TpT fairy to print out, cut out and laminate all the items I bought! I wonder how many credits I would earn for renting a TpT fairy?  I have 15 days left of school and 2 of those are personal days! It's getting hard to stay motivated to develop my lesson plans and materials (thank you again to TpT). My students don't want to be in class working anymore than what I do! It really didn't help that we had today off, Mondays are hard enough without having another "Monday" tomorrow! Then on Thursday, we have our fun fitness day, barring any rain! This week is basically a wash to start or complete anything! This summer I'm hoping to paint my kitchen and my bedroom, not totally sure of the colors, yet! I also need to get in better shape- hoping to exercise more now that it is nicer outside! I also want to take several mini-vacations around the area and state.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fourth Grade Common Core Workbook

 Have you heard about this wonderful resource? If you teach 4th grade and need a good, quality resource for teaching using the new common core standards, this is for you! It has everything organized by subject. This workbook is a timesaver with so many activities to cover the new standards. Included in this workbook are graphic organizers for reading comprehension, center activities and materials to print out, laminate and use, worksheets for vocabulary, concepts, and practice skills. The materials are age appropriate with nice clip art and easy to read font. I just wish I would have had such a great resource like this when I first started teaching! It would have saved me so much money having all the activities offered by this one book, rather than the bookshelf of resources that I've bought throughout the years! Check out the  Fourth Grade Common Core Workbook and if you have a blog, you can enter the giveaway, if you hurry!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

The decorations are down and put away for another year. I didn't even set out my snowmen this year as I've been so busy with my mom. I've posted before how her cancer is spreading, well now it has gone into her spine. Right now she is in rehab, recovering from surgery. I've been going back and forth from my house, to her house, to rehab, and taking care of both houses is wearing me out! My own house hadn't really been cleaned for the past few weeks, so it was good to take down the tree and decorations and actually vacuum. The dusting will wait until another day! Tomorrow is my last day of vacation. On Thursday I have a work day and students come back on Friday! I don't know who set up this schedule! I also have a new student starting on Friday. He's autistic and will only attend half days at first. The administrators have told me that if he actually comes into the room, they will praise me! Not sure what I'll do if he doesn't come in.... I'm hoping they have given me the worst case scenario!   I'm trying to develop a snow day of learning for Friday. It will get us back into the routine slowly! Then next week is back to normal! While I'll miss my family and the ability to have 2 cups of tea and stay in pajamas in the morning, I'm looking forward to getting back to school.

I'm linking up with Farley for her January Currently....

My son and I are watching HGTV... we are footballed out! These people are actually buying an island in the Florida Keys! I love having my sons home. My oldest went back to his apartment in Cincy, but my youngest is home until Saturday. We've played games, watched movies, cooked meals together, and just plain hung out. I'll miss this when he leaves again for college.  I just realized that I never got a new calendar for 2013! I will have to go out tomorrow and look for one!  I also need to stop grazing cookies, candy, popcorn, crackers, chips..... throughout the day. Thursday when I go back my tummy will be in for a rude awakening!  My OLW is breathe. I need to remind myself to take a deep breath when I get frazzled or overwhelmed and either gather my thoughts and choose a plan of action or simply enjoy the moment! Happy 2013!