Monday, August 24, 2015

Monday Made It

So I realized as I was typing this post that the Monday Made It linky party is now over for the summer, but I am too stinking proud of these boxes for them not to get their own post!
I'm starting Daily Five this year, and I knew that I would be needing book boxes. Ideally I wanted ones that matched my classroom, but my #1 was that they needed to be plastic not cardboard. After the sticker shock of looking at some teacher stores, I decided to go with ice buckets from Walmart. I brought them into my room and let them sit for a few days before taking them back home to paint! Since my room is teal and read, I went with doing 10 teal and 10 red. After talking to the very helpful man at Lowes, I went with a primer and then my color of choice. Now all I had to do was wait for it to cool down! We were having a heat wave, so I waited until it cooled down a bit. Finally, about two weeks after making up my mind to paint the boxes, I had a perfect, 85 degree day! I did all of my painting outside on the picnic table that I covered with a dollar plastic sheet. Next time I would also use gloves since my hands ended up a total mess!

Ready to get started. 

The future teal boxes out on the table. I primed them, let them sit for about an hour, and then spray painted them. 

The teal boxes are done and the red are primed and ready to paint! 

My finished boxes! I love the way they turned out. I let them cure at home for about a week before I brought them to school and filled them with books.

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The finished product! I made the numbers to match, though cutting out circles was a nightmare. I'm sticking to squares from now on! They were a lot of work, but I think they look great and really help tie the room together. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

End of an Era

I've been meaning to write this for a while. The last two years have been by far the most difficult and rewarding years of my life. I moved to a new state, went to grad school, started teaching, and grew in my faith and profession. Along the way I cried plenty, laughed even more, and was so touched by my little people I worked with every day.  

Some random pictures from the last few weeks of school. 
A sweet kiddo from my last class. He was so proud of himself and his growth this year! 

Last week of school fun. We "cleaned" our desks with shaving cream. A VERY messy endeavor, but a lot of fun! 

Getting flowers in the last week of school. This little one cried so hard when I announced I was leaving. It broke my heart. 

My grad program mentor came in to teach the kids yoga. We showed her our Maximo moves after she did a lesson with us! 

One of my absolute favorite students. She was not always the most focused, but she was so honest and kind! 

My fab 5 from my first year of teaching. Even after they left my class, they came in to help, talk, and hang out with me every morning. Two of the girls wrote me letters every week giving me an update! 

A mixture of my first and second classes with our thumbprint tree. I love these kiddos and all they taught me!

At graduation! The stress and hard work was worth it! 

 Although I am excited for my next chapter, a piece of my heart will always be with the people I worked with in Memphis. I only hope I touched them even half as much as they did me. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Currently May

It amazes me how fast time is flying...I feel like life is on fast forward right now! We only have three weeks left, and there is still so much to learn before I send my students to third grade. At the end of the year I tend to get more reflective, which means that it is the perfect time to link up with Oh Boy 4th Grade for a currently! 

I have loved country for years, but only recently have I focused on Reba. I love her new ballads! On another not, Spotify is basically the best thing ever for exploring new music.

I have been looking for milk alternatives for a while now. I like milk in my coffee and oatmeal, but I never finish milk fast enough. I've tried soy milk before, but it isn't my favorite. Last week I tried unsweetened almond milk, and I absolutely love it! 

I guess now that I have signed my contract for next year it is official that I am moving to first grade! I adore second grade, but I'm excited for the new challenge. 

The weather has been so beautiful here in Memphis that all I want to do is spend time outside! Today I went on a walk and then to the pool. The only problem is that it makes planning and grading a little difficult. If only I had a few more hours (in the dark if I want to be productive). 

We are about to start our third week in a row of standardized testing. I am so sick of it! By Wednesday we should be done and can get back to learning! 

As part of moving to first grade, I am also moving to St. Louis! I'm really excited to experience a new city and grade. My hope is to start regularly working out more than just once a week, which goes back to all of those weddings this summer! A dream for the summer is to have just one week off with nothing planned, which at this point is not looking very likely. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Day in The Life

I thought I would link up with Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits to share what a day in my life looks like! We have an extended day and year, so our school hours are 8:00-3:30. My school network encourages us to utilize the purchased curriculum daily, so much of my day is defined by Saxon and Superkids, but we are allowed flexibility in how we incorporate it. 

Although it is not specifically on my schedule, we brain break with GoNoodle pretty often throughout the day! I can't remember what my teaching life was like without it!

Before School
My alarm goes off at 5:20. I get ready for the day and am out the door by 6:00 for my thirty minute commute. I am not a high maintenance person, so 40 minutes is more than enough time for me. I usually pack my lunch and lay out clothes the night before.

6:30-7:30 Prep Time
This is my most productive hour of the day! I love coming to school before anyone else. I grade, prepare anchor charts, lesson plan and prep for the following week, pray, eat, and read the news. At 7:15 two of my kiddos from last year come in to sweep, sharpen pencils, and talk my ear off! :)

7:30-8:00 Morning Duty
I am usually in the gym or cafeteria. Our school is Prek3-6th, so there are lots of little people to help get breakfast! In the gym, students may read, write, or study. I also sometimes am at the door greeting parents and doing uniform checks.

8:00-8:10 School Assembly 
Prayer and morning announcements. One of my favorite parts of teaching in a Catholic school is that all students and teachers come together in the morning to pray. We pray, say the pledge of allegiance and our school pledge, and practice the "Principal tip of the day" which is usually a character trait.

8:10-8:30 Morning Work
We quickly unpack and start working! While the kids work on calendar math (which is a freebie in my TPT store) I check their blue folders, take attendance, and talk to students about their homework.

8:30-8:40 Morning Meeting
We go to the bathroom and come back for morning meeting. I use the morning meeting packet from Third Grade Thoughts. It is one of my favorite moments of the day. Our school is primarily students living at or below the poverty line, and this is our chance to discuss social and emotional issues. No matter what craziness is going on that day, we always have morning meeting!

8:40-9:45  Math
Our math block is pretty similar every day. We do fact practice using Super Speed Math, do a mini-lesson (or not so mini-lesson depending on the content!), and use our Saxon pages for spiraling review. Our entire school uses Saxon, and I really like how it is always reviewing. My principal lets us be really flexible with the mini-lesson, so sometimes it is what Saxon wants and sometimes it is something that we are struggling with. What I really love is the daily spiraling review pages. So great for repetition!

9:45-10:15 Phonics and Grammar
This block always begins with what Superkids calls the "Daily Routine". Decoding practice on the rule of the week, spelling practice and review, and editing sentences. This takes about half of the block. The last fifteen minutes is either a phonics or grammar lesson that I teach, we practice, and then they work on independently during reading.

10:15-10:30 Read Aloud  
Every day we read a poem and discuss it, then I read a chapter or two of a book. I tend to read fiction, but occasionally I'll read a non-fiction book. At the beginning of the year I read a lot of first books in a series (the first Magic Tree House and Calendar Mystery), but then I move on to the classics or just my own favorites. Right now we are reading Clementine by Sara Pennypacker, which we are loving!

10:30-11:30 Reading
One of the best parts of Superkids is book club. We alternate weeks of non-fiction magazines and fiction trade books. The magazines are from the curriculum and so beautifully done! Very colorful and engaging. Depending on the week we read alone, in pairs, with small groups, or as a class. If we read in anything other than small groups, then we always have some time to discuss as a class and with a partner. After discussion, we work on the reading skill. The program spirals most skills through every two week unit, but I try to pick an over-arcing skill for the week to emphasize.

11:30-12:30 Lunch, Recess, and Bathroom
Since I teach at a small school with few aides, we do our own lunch and recess with the kids. We eat with first grade and have recess with either first or third grade depending on the day.

12:30-1:30 Title I/Enrichment
This time is where all of my students are in small groups and get either intervention or extension. The lowest two groups go to Title I, the highest to the Liberian for novel studies, and the middle group stays with me to extend our lessons from the morning. It is awesome that each group is no bigger than 6, so all of the students really have a chance to shine.

1:30-2:15 Specials
This year we have PE, Health, Spanish, Art, and Library. Our Spanish and Art teacher is out on Maternity leave for the rest of the year, so I take my students to do computer lab at that time, which means these days I have a planning period three days a week. One of those days I meet with the two first year teachers I am mentoring.

2:15-3:15 Science/Social Studies/Religion
After specials (and a bathroom break!), we hit our non-tested subjects of the day. I alternate between science and social studies every week or two. I primarily teach them through reading informational texts. We also have religion in this block. I also incorporate a lot of reading into religion, mostly through reading Bible stories and Saint biographies.

3:15-3:30 Handwriting/Packing
Last semester we worked on printing and this semester we are starting cursive. I love using this time for handwriting because their little brains are so dead by this point in the day! It is also a nice way to unwind and keeps them occupied while I prepare for dismissal. While students are working on handwriting, we rotate through going to the hall to pack up and get their agendas signed.

3:30-3:45 Dismissal 
We dismiss from our classrooms, so after prayer, parents come inside and pick up their children from the classroom. It is nice because I see a adult for about 75% of my kids every day, so I can update them on any issues. My students can read, eat a snack, or do an end of day job. at 3:45 any leftover students go to after care. Mondays we have faculty meetings, Tuesday-Thursday I tutor for an hour, and Friday I fly out the door with the kids :) 

When I get home I eat dinner, work on grad school assignments, and spend time with friends. By 9:00 I am exhausted and heading to bed to start it all over again! 

Friday, February 20, 2015

100s Day and Valentines Fun

They say as you get older, time seems to go faster. I hope that I am peeking at 23, because time is going too fast! This year still has plenty of challenges, but is going so much more smoothly than last year! I am so much more confident and creative. I am also almost done with my MEd! I finished my thesis and just have to finish the class I am in, then I am done! I am excited to finish an really be able to focus on teaching. 
Recently I have fallen in love with Instagram. It is so easy to post a quick picture and continue with my day! But I would like to try to get back into to the blogging swing. While waiting for me to (finally) blog, you can always see my latest pics by following me

We had such a blast on 100's day! We have about a hour and fifteen minutes between specials and the end of the day, which is the perfect time for fun. Our morning was pretty routine, but after specials we got to work! Each pair got 100 of something and had to make arrays, skip count by 2s, 4s, 5s, 10s, and measure the length of our items using feet and inches. 

Measuring cubes.

These cuties were very into making their line as straight as possible. 

Sorting pennies into groups of five. 

Counting dice! 

Making groups of four. 

After we finished measuring, I brought out the goldfish! Each group had to estimate how many goldfish they had, then count their fish and see if their estimate was close. 

We tried and failed to take a nice picture, so silly picture it is! School spirit dress out day and fun activities was the perfect way to celebrate! 

The next day we were back to uniform, but still having fun. We have been learning about arctic animals, so we had to try blubber out for ourselves! I had bags of crisco for everyone to put their hands in, but at the end of the experiment, the birthday boy asked if we could cover his hand in the "blubber", and I couldn't refuse! 

Our next big day was Valentines day. We were not allowed to have parties this year, so instead we had fun with conversation heart math and science. It went really well! The kids had a blast and were sad when the day ended. 
Graphing candy hearts. Notice her improvisation for a pencil with no eraser. 

So focused! 

We also tried stacking our hearts to see how how we could stack. It is an adorable freebie from Sweet Integrations

This sweetie is stacking, and you can also see the cups in the middle. We did an experiment with candy hearts in vinegar, water, sprite, and mouthwash. We made notes about the first minute, twenty minutes, and forty minutes. They were amazed! My recording sheet can be found here

The joy of learning! 

Again here you can see stacking and the cups. Lots of learning and lots of fun! 

Two of my favorite little cuties. I love both of their reactions to her stack! 

We continue our inability to simply smile for a picture. I guess it is the age! 

I was absolutely astounded by the outpouring of love from my students and former students! Their generosity was so humbling. I teach in an impoverished area, so I know it took a lot for some of these families to buy gifts. So touching! 

Today is yet another snow day. We only went to school one day this week. It has been nice to have a surprise February break! As a Texas girl, this cold and ice has been quite a shock! Thank goodness I have been able to spend most of this cold weather inside with coffee and a book. Now I am ready to get back into the classroom to see these precious faces!