Saturday, June 29, 2013

July Currently

WOW! I cannot believe it is already July. I go between feeling like I have been living in Memphis for forever and feeling like I just got here. As of Thursday I have been here a month. It is already a grand adventure and I have learned so much. This currently kinda snuck up on me. I was mindlessly on the computer and went over to check blogger only to see post after post of currentlys! Quickly I headed over to Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade to join in the fun! 

Listening: I have been into Country music for about a year now, and moving to Memphis has not helped to lessen the obsession! Right now I am listening to my Zac Brown Band playlist on repeat. Perfect for summer! 
Loving: For graduation I received a Cricut Mini from my aunt, and am really enjoying messing around with it. It is very easy to set up and use, and I appreciate is speed in cutting. I already have a list of things to cut on it for my classroom! 
Thinking: Although I really enjoyed going to SMILA all of June, the end of summer is rapidly approaching and I am nowhere near ready to school! I am able to go to school the second week of July and hopefully get my curriculum and start planning and decorating my classroom! 
Wanting: In college I used printers on campus for papers and projects. It was never an issue to only have an option to print in black and white. But now I would love to have the option to print in color for my classroom, but my room does not have a printer. My computer prints directly to the copier, which is great for making copies, but not so great for my color-loving heart. So now I hunt. If anyone has a printer recommendation, please let me know! 
Needing: Even though I moved in a month ago, I still don't feel totally settled. Part of that is because my room is a mess! Books, pocket charts, binders, and classroom decor everywhere. I really need to get it into my classroom so I can figure out how to organize my own things! Fortunately, my roommate has been wonderfully understanding of the boxes of early chapter books sitting in the living room. Only one more week! 
Tip: I feel like a lot of teachers I know spend their summer gearing up for the next year or taking care of their families. While that is well and good, taking so personal time is important too! Get a pedicure, read a non-school related book, go out with girlfriends, or watch a cheesy chick flick. Time spent on yourself is needed to be able to give to others! 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and make sure to link up with Farley for more Currently! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Multi-Sensory Magic

This month has been so long, but such an amazing learning opportunity. I have been in an in-service class called SMILA from 8am-3pm Monday through Friday for the last four weeks. SMILA stands for Simultaneous Multi-sensory Institute of Language Arts and is a method for teaching children with specific language deficiencies how to read or improve their reading. It was designed for work with dyslexic students, but can be used with any child.
Each day we have lecture, watch a SMILA teacher teach a whole group lesson to students, work in small groups with students, eat, have another lecture, then plan for the next day. A long day for sure, but broken up enough to keep you going. I love that we get to watch an experienced teacher use the steps with the whole group and then I get to try with my two students. Also, to be able to work with real students and watch them improve over the last four weeks has been amazing! One of my girls is an ELL entering 4th grader who went from not knowing all of her letter sounds to knowing all of her sounds and many of the blends and phonograms. I wouldn't have believed the improvement if I had not been a part of the process. 

The SMILA method's goal is for students to be independent readers and writers, but it gets there by starting with the basics and moving on from there. I have been coming home every night to my roommate so excited about this or that. My favorite parts of the method are the decoding and that it is a method, not a curriculum! I can take it to my school and use what I have learned within the curriculum I have to teach. 

To spend an entire month of the summer in summer school is not necessarily my idea of fun, but I am so thankful for the last month of learning. The teachers I have been working with have talked about children they regret not being able to reach that may have been helped with SMILA, so I am grateful that I am learning about it now! It is now in my tool belt of teaching strategies that engages students, helps a variety of students with different learning styles, and most importantly, helps every child learn to read! 

SMILA is mostly in the Tennessee and Mississippi area of the south, but it is based off of the Slingerland method. SMILA is also (soon to be) featured on if you school is a member (if not, see if you can convince your principle! The state of Virginia got a membership for every teacher in the state.)  

Now that SMILA is ending, hopefully I can start blogging more and start gearing up for my first year of teaching! 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A New Look

I am so excited about my new blog look! Tessa from Tales from Outside the Classroom designed the site. I love how willing she was to work with me and patient when I took a long time responding! I am still working on settling into the design, but I adore it already. It also gives you a peek into what I am working on for my classroom!

The in-service I am in this month is really great. I have already learned so much and it isn't even half over yet! But they are very instant on using cursive to teach children, which I haven't really encountered. Do schools still teach cursive? The school I student taught in didn't, nor did the rest of the district. If it is better for a child's memory to use connect letters, then why doesn't everyone do it? I still haven't made up my mind on that one. I need some more training and research before I make up my mind!

Monday, June 3, 2013

June Currently

June has snuck up on me. I am amazed it is here yet the first of May seems so long ago. I spent the day in my first grad class and this evening attempting to unpack my apartment. I broke down boxes and hung a lot of art! It is starting to feel like home.  Since it is the beginning of June that means that it is currently time! Link up with Farly for more currently fun!

I have only been in Memphis a week and am already saturated in country music. There really is something delightful about country music and summer. 

I haven't had time to unpack or decorate in the past week and it has been killing me. I finally spent about 5 hours today cleaning and hanging up all of my artwork. It is starting to feel like home! 

I am amazed by how much I need for me classroom. So much planning, prepping, decorating, and purchasing to do. 

I have had my eye on a laminator to keep at home, but haven't taken the plunge yet. Any suggestions or advice? 

A printer! I have had free printing all through college, but now that is gone and I have nowhere to print. My classroom doesn't come with a printer (it has wireless access to a copy machine) so I have no way to make color copies.

Vacation Essentials
1. Sunglasses. I love wearing sunglasses mostly because I hate bright or strong lights. 
2. A book. Anything that will catch my attention. I read a lot of young adult fiction because it is faster and has less bad language in it. 
3. Sunscreen. I am so incredibly pale that sunscreen is a must!  

Have a lovely week and don't forget to link up! 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

What a Whirlwind

What a crazy few weeks it has been! I graduated and moved to Memphis. This past week has been about exploring the city, but grad classes start tomorrow. I was able to see my new classroom this week and cannot wait to get started! Hopefully I will get back to a regular blogging schedule soon.