Friday, August 31, 2012

Meet & Greet

Hi Bloggy Buds!

It's been a crazy few days! Let's go back to Wednesday. In the morning, I attended a Literacy By Design technology workshop. I am LOVING that most of the things are available online-from leveled readers, to the stories, and the kids can even take the theme tests online!

In the afternoon, I finished setting up my classroom (most of it was done before the parents came, but not all) and met all but two of my students for a meet and greet.

 Sweater: NY & Co
Dress: JC Penny
Shoes: DSW
I also gave the kids a 'Whale'come kit...  ; )

Everyone got bubbles, a bouncy ball and two pencils (one fishy one, and a 4th graders are # 1 one)

They seem to be a great group so far....Stay tuned for classroom pictures and day one!

Smiles and Sunshine,

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sharing Giveaways

Just a quick post to let you know about Tonya's Mega Giveaway....


 School starts tomorrow...I'm ready but tired. Going to bed early tonight, and I'll tell y'all everything sometime this weekend. Have a great rest of the week!

Smiles and Sunshine,

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Meetings 2

Hi Peeps!

I was hoping to spend the morning in my classroom, doing name tags and organizing their desks for the Meet & Greet tomorrow. Instead, we had another staff meeting. Yay! So, I only got about an hour and 15 minutes instead. Hopefully, everything will be done enough tomorrow before the kids come in.

So, this afternoon and tomorrow morning, I had/have Literacy By Design training, since it is our new literacy program. I like some things about it, like how it's scripted, and lets us know teaching points. I came from a 4 Blocks school last year, so having this is a huge relief from having to figure it all out by myself.

Tomorrow's workshop is all about the technology aspect of it, which I'm looking forward to, since I can use the SMART Board with the kids.

The presenter wasn't all that great today, she had us looking at the materials by ourselves for an hour and half while she sat and watched us (it wouldn't have been so bad if she had circulated and asked us questions, or gave us answers if we had questions), and then she started going through the teachings guides and things. Only 1 more day of meetings and then we start on Thursday!

So, what I wore today (an my glasses since my eyes were 'tired' today)

Shirt: Burlington Coat Factory
Tank: Target (you can't really see it since it's flesh colored, but the sequins itch :)
Capris: JC Penny

No shoe pic today, since I switched shoes a couple of times...and discovered that I need to throw some pairs out because my feet somehow grew 1/2 a size and they no longer fit :(

Smiles and Sunshine,

Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Made It & Meetings

Well, I made it through all the meetings today! It was a lot of sitting, and I'm glad it's over. Tomorrow and Wednesday I have a 1/2 day of Literacy By Design training (our new literacy program!), and 1/2 day at school with our grade level teams and PLC's. Here's what I wore today:

Pink Sweater: Maurices
Purple Shirt: NY & Co.
Tank: Target
Skirt: Old Navy 
Shoes: Famous Footwear

 Now onto Monday Made It!

These first two ideas I got from Amanda at The Teaching Thief. Click here to go to her post about it.
Exit Slips tracker

Guided Reading Levels Folder

The next two were more of 'I put them together'. The first one is the home/school folder. On the front is their name, number, and the sea animal I assigned to them (which is on every label I made...kind of like their personal mascot!) Right side is Return to School and Left side is Keep at Home.

I also labeled their notebooks (these are the extra's I made in case I get any newbies). They have Reader's Notebooks, Math Notebooks, Social Studies Notebooks and Writing Journals. My kids also have Writing Binders and an Unfinished Work folder.

Everything is almost all set, and I'll make sure to show y'all when everything is finished :)

Smiles and Sunshine,

P.S. Teaching, Life and Everything in Between is having a wicked cool Back to School Giveaway. Check it out!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Teacher's Survival Kit

Mrs. Allen is hosting a cool linky party to show what is in our survival kits.

Having moved desks, schools and grade levels a few times, I have refined my survival kit.

1. Chapstick. I buy these in mulitple packs and stash them everywhere. There is one in my purse, one in my vanity, one in my nightstand, at my desk, at my desk at get the idea! I  LOVE the classic cherry. I don't where lipstick or gloss (except on very special occasions) so this gives me enough color.

2. Zyrtec. I have really bad seasonal allergies, so I have a bottle stashed in my desk so I can take a second dose at school (I usually take one at night and one at snack time :). I'm good for at least two sinus infections every year, so I think this helps cut down on trips to the doctor!

3. Up & Up Ibuprofen. Good for headaches, general aches and pains, etc. I keep a small bottle (usually around 50 count) in my desk that I refill from my ginormus bottle at home.

4. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (or some form of chocolate). Makes me happy :) Most of the schools that I have worked in have had peanut free rooms...but mine hasn't been one of them yet. I always make sure to wash my hands after I enjoy the yummy goodness.

5. Aveeno Oatmeal Lotion. My legs get really dry and itchy in the winter, and this helps cut down on the dryness and the itch. Like the chapstick, I have bottles everywhere.

So, those are the top 5 things that I have in my survival kit. What's in yours? Go link up and check out others!

Smiles and Sushine,

New Teacher Workshops

So yesterday was new teacher orientation for my district. This one was much better than the last new teacher orientation I was at (which lasted 3 1/2 days!), with a 1/2 day in meetings with the whole district, and a 1/2 day at our school learning about things and talking. We did get some time to spend in our rooms, so mine is now looking cleaner and more organized! (I'll show you all pictures when it's all done:)

In the morning, we did the typical introduce yourself and then the superintendent talked for about 1/2 hour. (He did say that he would go more in depth on Monday, when it's all staff meeting). He talked a little about how in the 150 years, education has changed greatly and will continue to change. However, he told us that now, we should focus more on if the change we have wrought has brought improvement. In order to keep improving, we need to continually assess to make sure the changes we are doing improving student learning and ability.

After the superintendent talked, we have 45 minutes of dead time. Our union peeps were coming to talk to us, but they weren't supposed to be there until 9:30, so we spent some time chatting, and I pulled out my Kindle for a bit :)

After them, we had about 20 minutes of dead time before the Technology workshop. It was so super helpful and not at all a waste of time (sarcasm, anyone?). The tech guy had to reset my password because he input it wrong in the first place. He made an inference that my handwriting was sloppy and he couldn't read it (Really? 'Cause I'm a former K-1 Teacher, and many people have told me that my writing is really neat). Let's just say that I'm hoping that I don't have to go to him for anything.

In the afternoon, we talked a little about school procedures and got a tour. We'll get a lot more info on Monday, since my school has a new principal and a lot of things have changed (He wasn't there today because of an emergency).

So, now that you have listened to my ramblings :) Here is the outfit that I wore to make a good first impression. (and ignore the painters tape and landlord is repainting my living room)

What I looked like before I left for the day :)

Blue Sweater: Maurices
Mint Shirt: JC Penny
White Tank and Shoes: Target
Skirt: Old Navy

Now, it was really cold this morning when I left, so the sweater definitely came in handy. (I had to put the heat on in my car!). However, after spending some hours in non-air conditioned rooms, and organizing/moving stuff...this is what I looked like at the end of the day.

Sweater came off, and I look slightly more frazzled...although I did rebrush my hair for you before I snapped a picture :)

What do you like to wear when making a good impression?
Happy weekend!
Smiles and Sunshine,

Friday, August 24, 2012

Freebie Friday

Today I go back for a day of New Teacher Workshops. So, depending on when you are reading this, I'm either sitting in a meeting or passed out  from getting up so early! ;) Here are some freebies to make your Friday better.

You can pick up my binder covers here.

You can pick up ocean animals numbers here.

You can pick up ocean animals letters here.

Some new ones....

Jabberwocky Poem

Spring Pools Poem

Tomorrow I'll tell you all about my wonderful and awesome meetings, as well as share what one wears to a new teacher workshop. Hope you had a wonderful Friday!

Smiles and Sunshine,

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Therapeutic Thursday

We all have those days when nothing seems to go right. When that happens, we need to relax, take our mind off things and spend time with ourselves. Here are some of my favorite things to do:

Sleep! Sometimes a nap or going to bed early makes everything better.

Reading! I love to read and I have favorites (or parts of books) that I love to reread.

 Yoga. Helps me de-stress.

This next one I use when I've had a really bad day, or if I've gotten some bad news (like when my principal told me that one of my kindergarten friends had to have more testing done because it looked liked his cancer had come back....but it turned out that he was fine in the end :)...

Yahoo! Games.

I have a subscription, so every month I can get a new game. Dynomite is really good when I've had one of those days, I love crashing the eggs!

What are some things that help you?
Smiles and Sunshine,

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fashion Finds

So, you all know of my quest for more professional clothes after finding out that Jean Friday has passed on.

Well, yesterday I went back home to visit with my sister before she leaves to start her freshman year of college (she wants to be a High School Math Teacher!). Since I was in a good shopping area, I had to take advantage of it and do so more shopping :)

First stop: Marshall's. I had a gift card which had WAY more on it then I thought it did, so it actually cut my purchase in half.
I got two pairs of The Limited pants for under $20 each (score!) and this really cute green top (my sister got a matching one in blue:) Marshall's is usually a miss for me, but my sister brought her luck with her.

Second stop: Target. I also made a stop online, to pick up some things they didn't have in store.
Really cute fushia pencil skirt, which is LINED!  (online buy: the khaki one) , cute little tank with lace on it (online buy: pink), and a slip. To round out my online to get free shipping, I got these shoes:
And those tanks? Really comfortable and cute, with a little lace on the top to dress it up. I have them in many colors :)

Last stop: DSW.

I know they are the same pair of shoes. BUT, they are SO cute and comfortable I had to get two different colors (which I do a lot when I find things that fit! :). They are a kitten heel, and are Anne Klein iFlex. The ones on the left are a turquoise/teal color, and the ones on the right are a bluey-purple/navy color. I went over my budget with these, but I figured that I would wear them a lot, and if I didn't get them, I would totally regret it later (and my electric bill came and was only $20-three-quarters of that was a fee to turn on service, so even if it triples next month, I have a little extra :)

I now think I am ready for the challenge of creating professional teacher outfits for 5 days in a row. For now. Come November, I may need to rethink some needing more sweaters!

Smiles and Sunshine,

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tehnology Tip Tuesday

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' again for their Teacher Week.

This is the first year that I have had any sort of really good technology in my room, so even though I'm computer literate at home, I haven't brought it into the classroom as much. But I thought that I would share with you what I have done.

1. I have a Kindle. And I talked about it incessantly with my kids last year. I showed it to them, and demonstrated some of the fun features. I even had kids bring in their Kindles and Nooks to use for reading. I love that the new Kindles can be had for $79. Someone could write a grant to get some for their class ;), as I truly believe it made reading more fun for some of my kids.

2. Don't underestimate the power of Google. Google has so many features that are helpful, from Google Docs, where you can create surveys and forms for students to answer to Google Images, to show different pictures of things to Google Maps. Google even has a books site where you can search books, and even download or show books to your class (some of them will take you to Amazon or B & N to buy the book, but they do have free ones.)

3. Blogs! I have gotten so many ideas and things from blogs this year. And it saved my bacon when I was thrown from K-1 to 4th a day before school started (I found blogs Mid-October), and I think has made me a more creative teacher. Google has helped introduce me to the blog world (I was looking for more information/help on Four Blocks, and it took me to 4th Grade Frolics instead...and I've never looked back:)

4. Pinterest! I've been able to pin things for units that I knew were coming up, and been able to access the idea at school and do it with my kids. It's also helpful for my imaginary wardrobe :)

I hope that my techy tips have helped you out!

Smiles and Sunshine,

Monday, August 20, 2012

Must Haves Monday Made It

I'm linking up today with Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week.

Today is Must Have Monday.

My Must Haves are:

1. Post-its...I use them all the time and I try to teach the kids to use them as well.
2. Books...I love reading and can't live without books. I get almost all of my children's books from Scholastic, and I need to be surrounded by professional reading as well!
This is just part of my library...I have a slight problem :)
3. Coke...I don't drink coffee, or tea, so Coke is how I get my caffeine. It also helps on those long afternoons when I've stayed up late the night before blog stalking :)
4. Mr. Sketch markers...I use these for my morning messages as well as anchor charts. And they smell so yummy :)

5. A positive attitude. I come into work smiling each day, and try to put a bright spin on everything (let's put it this way, when I find out last year that I wasn't coming back, a lot of people told me they were impressed with my attitude and dedication...made me feel warm and fuzzy inside :)

It's also time for Monday Made It!
I got my craft on this week, getting ready for the first day of school next week.

Name placard for outside my door
Attendance/Lunch count...I also made the magnets :)
Class Bucket the idea from Stephanie at 3rd Grade Thoughts

Name Sticks bucket
Smiles and Sunshine,

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Making Rules

As I get closer and closer to going back to work (my sympathies if you're already there!), I start thinking about rules and classroom management. I know a lot of you are doing Whole Brain Teaching, which comes with own set of rules, and some of you already have rules in place, but I thought I would share what I do (after all, isn't that why we all started blogging?)

I may have mentioned this before, but I have been trained in Responsive Classroom (for free! There was a trainer in one of the districts I worked in, and you better believe that I was one of the first people to sign up for it!). I use their approach to help me create the classroom rules with my students. It is a multi-day process, but I find kids are usually really good the first few days (the honeymoon effect :), so we don't need them. The best part of the process (in my opinion) is that the kids create the rules. And they can never say that's not fair since they came up with them!

The first thing I do is to talk about what my Hopes and Dreams are for the school year. Hopes and Dreams are things that I want to accomplish, or what I really what to learn about this year. I find that if I talk about my expectations for what I want to learn about, I get better responses from the kids.  There are some books to help kids with understanding hopes and dream to give them a better example.

Then I have the kids create their own Hopes and Dreams, and we display them in the room for the whole year. I've used balloon cut-out the past few years, but this year I am either going to use clouds or stars. There are MANY different ways to display Hopes and Dreams, depending on your style, grade level and kids.

Creating Hopes and Dreams is a one to two day process. The next day after we create our Hopes and Dreams, I ask the kids to share them and ask them what kinds of rules they think we need to make sure that everyone can reach their Hope and Dreams. I write their suggestions down on chart paper or sentence strips. Last year, my kids came up with 60 + rules!

Now comes the fun part. The next day, (after you have cute apart all the rules...this is why you might want to use sentence strips!), tell the kids that we are going to sort the rules, and see if we can find some commonalities so we can come up with a couple of rules, instead of trying to remember all of them.

Amazingly, all the rules the rules they come up with will fit into 1 of 3 categories: Respect for self; Respect for others; Respect for School/Materials. I always add on an addtional one...To have fun and try our best while learning. I always try to frame them in the positive, as I think the kids respond better.

I also model the rules for them whenever we do something (That's a big part of Responsive Classroom, interactive modeling, and it's just good teaching practice!) and ask the kids to show me the right and wrong way of following the rules.

Last year my rules were: Be a Good Learner and Thinker; Be a Good Friend; Be Responsible for School and Materials and To Have Fun While Learning.

These cover a multitude of things. That kid who is throwing things...not being a good friend or respecting materials. The kid who keeps talking out? Not being a good learner/thinker or a good friend.  That kid who can't work in groups and is always arguing with partners (I had like 7 of those last year!)? Not being a good learner or a good friend.

I always type these up after they are agreed upon, and have the kids sign them. I then display it with our Hopes and Dreams around them. From time to time, I remind them that they came up with the rules, not me, so they can't be unhappy with them.

If you are interested in learning more, I highly reccomend that you get this book:

Clicking on the book will take you to its Amazon page.

I hope this helps some of you! Please, if you have any questions, let me know, or go check out the Responsive Classroom website. Please note that RC has not contacted me or that I am being compensated in any way...I just truly believe in their methods!

Smiles and Sunshine,

Friday, August 17, 2012

The End

Friends, I have some sad news.

While I was talking to my mentor, she mentioned that the new principal did not want us wearing jeans on Friday.

I KNOW! :( It's so very sad. Let us all take a moment of silence to mourn non-jean wearing on Friday, and to honor those teachers that have never had the opportunity to celebrate Jean Friday.

Okay. Deep breath. Since I now have to think about actually putting together an outfit for Friday, I realized I needed more clothes/options. So, I went shopping! :) (hey, something good had to come out of not wearing jeans on Friday, right?!)

First stop: JC Penny. I really like JC Penny for dress clothes. I love their new pricing, as it makes it easier for me to figure out how much I am spending before I get to the register :) Most of my bottoms are from there, and they have a fairly decent petite section (since at 5'2", I qualify as petite!).
 I got a pair of pants, a black pencil skirt, and a cute mint cowl neck sleeveless top. I was also looking at an emerald green pencil skirt, but I wasn't in love with it (although I may go back for it).

Next stop: Maurices. This is a new store for me. I pinned one of their sweater's on Pinterest, and I checked out their website and saw that they have a store in my area! They are a little more expensive than JCP, but they still had some cute stuff.
I got two wrap sweaters (one teal, one gray) and two open cardigans (the pink one is the one I pinned). I felt more comfortable getting tops from them, as I have a hard time finding bottoms (as I am short, and most of my weight is settled around my waist/stomach area), and I didn't like the way their bottoms fit me.

I still want to get a few more bottoms, and a couple pairs of new shoes. But I'll keep you updated on the progress :)

Smiles and Sunshine,

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Back To School Jitters and Classroom Pictures

There is this really cute linky party at A Turn To Learn. She is hosting a Back to School Jitters Party! I still have two weeks before the kids start, but the Jitters have their own timeline! :)
Back to School Jitters Linky Party
My Jitters:

   I also was in my classroom today and yesterday. Yesterday, I spent a lot of time with my mentor, asking questions and talking. Today I neaten up a little and did the bulletin boards. It's not 100% done yet, but it's done enough that if the kids came tomorrow, I would be okay with it.
View of shelves that need to be organized! (Monday's Project)

View from my desk, looking a door

View from desk, looking towards Small Group corner..also, probably one of few times my desk will be this clean! :)

Standards/Objectives...courtsey of Third Grade in the First State (free!)

Looking towards Word Wall/Library

Small Group Area...The dark blue board will be CRAFT (VOICES/CRAFT by Ladybug's Teacher Files) free!

View from door looking towards my desk

Smiles and Sunshine,