This Page

has moved to a new address:

Sorry for the inconvenience…

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
body { background:#aba; margin:0; padding:20px 10px; text-align:center; font:x-small/1.5em "Trebuchet MS",Verdana,Arial,Sans-serif; color:#333; font-size/* */:/**/small; font-size: /**/small; } /* Page Structure ----------------------------------------------- */ /* The images which help create rounded corners depend on the following widths and measurements. If you want to change these measurements, the images will also need to change. */ @media all { #content { width:740px; margin:0 auto; text-align:left; } #main { width:485px; float:left; background:#fff url("") no-repeat left bottom; margin:15px 0 0; padding:0 0 10px; color:#000; font-size:97%; line-height:1.5em; } #main2 { float:left; width:100%; background:url("") no-repeat left top; padding:10px 0 0; } #main3 { background:url("") repeat-y; padding:0; } #sidebar { width:240px; float:right; margin:15px 0 0; font-size:97%; line-height:1.5em; } } @media handheld { #content { width:90%; } #main { width:100%; float:none; background:#fff; } #main2 { float:none; background:none; } #main3 { background:none; padding:0; } #sidebar { width:100%; float:none; } } /* Links ----------------------------------------------- */ a:link { color:#258; } a:visited { color:#666; } a:hover { color:#c63; } a img { border-width:0; } /* Blog Header ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #header { background:#456 url("") no-repeat left top; margin:0 0 0; padding:8px 0 0; color:#fff; } #header div { background:url("") no-repeat left bottom; padding:0 15px 8px; } } @media handheld { #header { background:#456; } #header div { background:none; } } #blog-title { margin:0; padding:10px 30px 5px; font-size:200%; line-height:1.2em; } #blog-title a { text-decoration:none; color:#fff; } #description { margin:0; padding:5px 30px 10px; font-size:94%; line-height:1.5em; } /* Posts ----------------------------------------------- */ .date-header { margin:0 28px 0 43px; font-size:85%; line-height:2em; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; color:#357; } .post { margin:.3em 0 25px; padding:0 13px; border:1px dotted #bbb; border-width:1px 0; } .post-title { margin:0; font-size:135%; line-height:1.5em; background:url("") no-repeat 10px .5em; display:block; border:1px dotted #bbb; border-width:0 1px 1px; padding:2px 14px 2px 29px; color:#333; } a.title-link, .post-title strong { text-decoration:none; display:block; } a.title-link:hover { background-color:#ded; color:#000; } .post-body { border:1px dotted #bbb; border-width:0 1px 1px; border-bottom-color:#fff; padding:10px 14px 1px 29px; } html>body .post-body { border-bottom-width:0; } .post p { margin:0 0 .75em; } { background:#ded; margin:0; padding:2px 14px 2px 29px; border:1px dotted #bbb; border-width:1px; border-bottom:1px solid #eee; font-size:100%; line-height:1.5em; color:#666; text-align:right; } html>body { border-bottom-color:transparent; } em { display:block; float:left; text-align:left; font-style:normal; } a.comment-link { /* IE5.0/Win doesn't apply padding to inline elements, so we hide these two declarations from it */ background/* */:/**/url("") no-repeat 0 45%; padding-left:14px; } html>body a.comment-link { /* Respecified, for IE5/Mac's benefit */ background:url("") no-repeat 0 45%; padding-left:14px; } .post img { margin:0 0 5px 0; padding:4px; border:1px solid #ccc; } blockquote { margin:.75em 0; border:1px dotted #ccc; border-width:1px 0; padding:5px 15px; color:#666; } .post blockquote p { margin:.5em 0; } /* Comments ----------------------------------------------- */ #comments { margin:-25px 13px 0; border:1px dotted #ccc; border-width:0 1px 1px; padding:20px 0 15px 0; } #comments h4 { margin:0 0 10px; padding:0 14px 2px 29px; border-bottom:1px dotted #ccc; font-size:120%; line-height:1.4em; color:#333; } #comments-block { margin:0 15px 0 9px; } .comment-data { background:url("") no-repeat 2px .3em; margin:.5em 0; padding:0 0 0 20px; color:#666; } .comment-poster { font-weight:bold; } .comment-body { margin:0 0 1.25em; padding:0 0 0 20px; } .comment-body p { margin:0 0 .5em; } .comment-timestamp { margin:0 0 .5em; padding:0 0 .75em 20px; color:#666; } .comment-timestamp a:link { color:#666; } .deleted-comment { font-style:italic; color:gray; } .paging-control-container { float: right; margin: 0px 6px 0px 0px; font-size: 80%; } .unneeded-paging-control { visibility: hidden; } /* Profile ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #profile-container { background:#cdc url("") no-repeat left bottom; margin:0 0 15px; padding:0 0 10px; color:#345; } #profile-container h2 { background:url("") no-repeat left top; padding:10px 15px .2em; margin:0; border-width:0; font-size:115%; line-height:1.5em; color:#234; } } @media handheld { #profile-container { background:#cdc; } #profile-container h2 { background:none; } } .profile-datablock { margin:0 15px .5em; border-top:1px dotted #aba; padding-top:8px; } .profile-img {display:inline;} .profile-img img { float:left; margin:0 10px 5px 0; border:4px solid #fff; } .profile-data strong { display:block; } #profile-container p { margin:0 15px .5em; } #profile-container .profile-textblock { clear:left; } #profile-container a { color:#258; } .profile-link a { background:url("") no-repeat 0 .1em; padding-left:15px; font-weight:bold; } ul.profile-datablock { list-style-type:none; } /* Sidebar Boxes ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { .box { background:#fff url("") no-repeat left top; margin:0 0 15px; padding:10px 0 0; color:#666; } .box2 { background:url("") no-repeat left bottom; padding:0 13px 8px; } } @media handheld { .box { background:#fff; } .box2 { background:none; } } .sidebar-title { margin:0; padding:0 0 .2em; border-bottom:1px dotted #9b9; font-size:115%; line-height:1.5em; color:#333; } .box ul { margin:.5em 0 1.25em; padding:0 0px; list-style:none; } .box ul li { background:url("") no-repeat 2px .25em; margin:0; padding:0 0 3px 16px; margin-bottom:3px; border-bottom:1px dotted #eee; line-height:1.4em; } .box p { margin:0 0 .6em; } /* Footer ----------------------------------------------- */ #footer { clear:both; margin:0; padding:15px 0 0; } @media all { #footer div { background:#456 url("") no-repeat left top; padding:8px 0 0; color:#fff; } #footer div div { background:url("") no-repeat left bottom; padding:0 15px 8px; } } @media handheld { #footer div { background:#456; } #footer div div { background:none; } } #footer hr {display:none;} #footer p {margin:0;} #footer a {color:#fff;} /* Feeds ----------------------------------------------- */ #blogfeeds { } #postfeeds { padding:0 15px 0; }

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Clip Behavior Management

Have you heard about the Clip Board Behavior Management system? I totally love this idea and it meets the requirement of my school AND goes so well with Conscious Discipline!

I started to create my own using this awesome glitter card stalk and hated it! It just did not go with my classroom at all. Then I saw this picture on Pinterest from Journals From the Jungle and bingo... and idea came to me!

I totally love the black and white background with the color accents. Zebra print has a special meaning in my class so totally would not work for me BUT I could do a different patter and use the glitter to outline it. =) I can't wait to get started on this new idea but it will have to wait until I have more time.

In the classroom I am currently in, we use this all the time. This is what it looks like in our class, a sports themed one:

I am really liking the sports theme but not sure I could rock it year round. Now football season is coming and I can rock that one but not so much the other sports. =) Sorry about the glare the tiny windows directly across from this are sometimes a pain.

I love how I can tell my students to "clip up" when they are doing something right. It is amazing the power of those two words. I was teaching a small group lesson the other day and most of my kiddos were getting antsy as recess was 3 minutes away. One little friend quietly did as I asked. I asked him to clip up. Immediately, I see students sitting taller, concentrating harder, and pens writing!

I love that by looking for the positive that I do not have to focus on the negative. I did not have to say "give me your best for 3 more minutes." Or "I do not see students who are using their learning time wisely." Instead two words gave me their best efforts for those last few minutes.


Check out the new management website - there is a lot of great information there and if you don't want to create your own clip chart you can purchase one from them. Also TpT has a lot of versions available for sale. There is also information on variations of this chart.

I am looking for some more pictures/ideas on how to create one of these in my black, red, and white theme. If you made one or no of a link to one. Please leave it in the comments. Or just share your creative ideas. I would love to hear them. 

How do you use this in your class? If you use something else, what do you do and how does it work for you?

Labels: ,

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Community Bulletin Board

A few days ago, I shared chapter 2 with all of you from Conscious Discipline. In case you missed it... I LOVE this style of classroom management. I am finding similar ideals in my favorite teaching resources and it is all starting to blend together into one seamless foundation. At last!!

Do you remember my community board?

I have had many comments and questions about this.While many of you seemed to love it, I was struggling to feel the same way. In fact, all those stripes were driving me batty.

Inspiration finally struck when this banner arrived in the mail. I purchased matching fabric but soon found out that the black print would just not work for what I had envisioned so I used it on another project and it came out perfect!

Armed with these fabrics - I redid my cork boards on my community board. I created this:

I love this look so much better. Please ignore the dust on my quotes. I should have dusted prior to taking the picture! This was taken on my living room floor. I can't wait to hang this in my classroom!

You cant see it clearly in this picture - but the red fabric is actually a red and white polka dot and the black and white is a damask. Here is what the fabric looks like up close:

The black school print fabric was not used in the design but since I am using black magnetic chalk boards with quotes in white - it is a close match.

Question: Is each board separate or is it one big piece?
Answer: Each board is separate. In the new picture I made two long strips instead of a square with the pieces.

Question: What size is each square and how much fabric did you use?
Answer: Each square is 14x14. I purchased them at Joann's Fabric when they were on sale for $8 a piece. There are 8 cork boards and 8 magnetic whiteboards that I made into chalkboards. 1 yard of fabric covers approximately 4 boards. To complete this entire project, I used just less than 2 yards of fabric. Yes, I have a plan for the scraps. =)

Question: Are the chalkboards glittery?
Answer:  Yes (giggles)!! I have a love affair with glitter hairspray. I have found many many uses for it. Prior to putting on a clear coat to seal the boards I sprayed them with glitter hairspray and let them dry. It applies and even coat of glitter that is subtle but still catches the light. I love how it works.

Question: What quotes did you use and why?
Answer: I looked for quotes that had character traits that I wanted to see emulated in my classroom and also by people my students should recognize. I also wanted a variety of people so that every student could perhaps find someone to connect with. I wanted the quotes to have meaning to my students.

Efforts and courage 
are not enough without 
purpose and direction. 
~ John F. Kennedy

Try not. do or do not. 
There is no try. 
~ Master Yoda

All of our dreams can come true - 
If we have the courage
to pursue them. 
~ Walt Disney

In the middle of 
lies opportunity. 
~ Albert Einstein

Nothing great was ever
achieved without enthusiasm.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The dictionary is the only place
where success comes before hard work. 
Hard work is the price we must
pay for success. 
~ Vince Lombardi

The more that you read,
the more things you know. 
The more that you learn, 
the more places you'll go. 
~ Dr. Seuss

No legacy is as 
rich as honesty. 
~ William Shakespeare

Question: Do you change out the quotes?
Answer: I have contemplated changing out the quotes to ones with more meaning for my students and may do so at some time in the future. I had a long list of ideas to use but with the help of my children narrowed it down to these 8. I have also contemplated changing out the cork boards seasonally but I think this maybe more work than the impact of the board will warrant. Besides - now it matches my classroom perfectly.

Question: How will you use this board?
Answer:  I originally designed this to go behind my desk but quick realized it was probably too large to do so. Instead, I will either hang it above eye level but still reachable along a wall or perhaps even split it into multiple areas of my room. The cork boards will hold pictures of our school community. My students, their families, and other people we encounter throughout the year.

This is an idea that I had when asked to create a way to celebrate diversity in my classroom. It was always made to hold pictures of our class from the beginning even when I was going to put it behind my desk. The change has been to the made as I found a similar idea in Conscious Discipline.

So what am I gonna do with the stripe fabric? I am not sure to be honest. I am saving it for that one day when I will have another ah ha moment! And find the exact thing that it will work on. =)

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Red & Black Erin Condren Planner

At the beginning of the month I was surprised by winning an Erin Condren Lesson Planner! Thanks again so much to Ashley at Just Reed!

Just Reed!

I had been thinking of purchasing one of these but they are so stinkin' expensive!! I didn't want to buy one and then think later that I had wasted all of that money. I have been all over the site dozens of times. Should I or shouldn't I? Should I or shouldn't I?

It took about 3 weeks to arrive. It came in the mail so beautiful wrapped! Look the tissue paper is RED! Please ignore the white square in the first photo, didn't want the whole world to have access to my address. =)

I discovered that some of the designs let you choose your own colors and so that is what I did with the Candy Lace design. It is red lace with black dots. I may switch it next time. Isn't it pretty? Bet ya didn't know you could make it in my favorite colors?

This is the inside of my lesson planner. I love how the additional stickers were created to match (top right) and that there is a pouch to hold these in.

The cover appears to be a hard laminate over card stock. The inside back cover (top left) has a 2012 and 2013 yearly calendar. Inside front cover is just the lace design same as outside back.

Middle Left shows the colored lesson planner pages. I use a wide popsicle stick to create additional columns (for example lunch, recess, morning routine) to add to this and personalize it for me. The one thing I do not like about this is the cute owl at the top. Remember my "no owls allowed post" - I would have to cover each and every owl or never let my students see it (which is not an option).

Middle right - there are 4 pages of stickers to use in the planner. Cute addition but I would like some more cutesy graphics but that is just me. I love that 2 of the 4 pages is blank so I can add in my own things.

Bottom Left - monthly calendar and notes page. I use this notes section as a checklist of things I want to accomplish this month. Goals to reach. Etc... It is more "personal" than school related but it does include crafts I want to create. =)

Bottom Right - LOVE this! It is a checklist for students and each line is a different color. This would help make sure that grades are recorded in the right spot. Or you can use it for forms to be turned in or whatever you are needing.

The Pros!
I love the colors of this, the fact that I can personalize it, and it appears that it would be very sturdy! And I can wipe it clean if something spills on it. 

The Cons!
The price and the owls. As weird as this sounds, I think I would like it 3 whole punched as well. A lot of my lesson plans are done electronically as it has to have objectives included which are required by my university and the state.  

How I Use My Planner:
Do to the requirements of my lesson plans, a week's lesson plans are insanely long. My mentor teacher printed hers out last week... 19 pages! It did not even have all of the requirements that I have to meet for school. As a result, I have a printed copy that goes into a 3 ring binder for the state that is sorted by quarter and week.  

My planner is my go-to guide. It is a "checklist" of things that I want to accomplish that day. I says things like "DOL Wk 3 Mon" or "TM H432" or "Nouns PP" - these small notes fit perfectly on the page and remind me of what the big one says. It is also what I carry with me to team meetings. I plan in this book and I finalize on the computer.

Pens or Pencils?
When I have used a paper planner in the past, I always used colored pens for it. I was able to keep track of things easier with this. Paydays listed in green. Each child was a certain color, family things in another. I tried that with my planner but it did not work so well.  Pencil is working much better for me as I can change this as I need to. My computer plans are in color. 

My planner came with colored pens! I LOVE me some colored pens. They said they were not to be included on the invoice but alas here they are as a free gift! 

I have to admit that I am disappointed by this product after the high quality of the planner. These are sold for $7 but I recommend not getting them. The colors are nice but the pens are so cheaply made that it is not worth the money. The first time I used one I thought it was gonna break. =(

So there is my newest toy. I have already begun using it and can't wait to make my final decision after a year of using it.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, August 27, 2012

Student Teaching Confirmed!

I submitted my application last week and it was approved. I met with my principal this week and we picked a class together for my student teaching.

Hahaha -- this t-shirt cracks me up!

Drumroll... Please... 
I am going to 3rd Grade! This is where I really wanted to be and I am. My new mentor is super nice. I will actually be starting in her class in November to finish up the last 15 hours of my practicum. So I will be there for all of the holiday fun-ness on through the end of the year. I am her first ever student teacher.

Her classroom is caddy-corner to my sons. I love his teacher but she is brand new this year and an intern (alternate certification - has two years to become a teacher but can still teach). She keeps me up to date on policies whenever I miss anything like the new bathroom policy I missed on Friday. My son is very happy that I am gonna be part of his grade level team. 

So I am all set to finish my degree and graduate. I LOVE my principal and she is already talking about open positions for the 13-14 school year. =)  So now the challenge is to see if I can truly make it to graduation with a 4.0.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Classroom Photos & Schedule

I haven't told ya all about what I am up to now that I have left Kindergarten. For the next 16 weeks, I am completing practicum in an ELD (English Language Development) 1/2 combo classroom.

This is the writing process, the CAFE board, and the I PICK bulletin board by the library. These items are located in 3 different areas of the classroom. Notice the colors - yellow and green. The entire classroom is done this way. She even painted (yep found out we CAN paint!) 2 walls yellow and 2 walls are green. Anyone wanna guess what school she went to?

Give me 5 and the Scientific process. These are on the same bulletin board. I am thinking of recreating these for my own room so I have close ups of what they say. =) School: University of Oregon. She even found UoO duct tape! I gotta show you that.

This is two walls combined. I was trying to get the strategies for writing and the journal rules. see the wall colors? Oh and there is here clip chart. Sports style. The motto of the classroom is Win the day! also the motto of UoO.

See the fan -- It is DESPERATELY needed in the classroom.  Our AC is set at 86 degrees; its 115 outside. The classroom is always warm. It is directed to blow on the students as they work in front of the board. We have a project that uses this board and on Friday everyone got a document camera. HAPPY DANCE!

Can I have a smart board too???

I took a bunch of pictures of the things pertaining to my current course: reading and assessment. I need to take pictures of the classroom as a whole. I will try and remember to do that on Monday. My mentor is amazing!! She just mailed off her National Board Certification Package. She missed it by 2 points last time but she will nail it this time.

I have learned soooo much from her! She describes her classroom style as a game of double dutch. Daily 5 and stamina building is the key to success.

As there are 2 grades they are learning 2 separate things. 4 hours a day is English and 2 hours is math. We are not required to teach anything other than those two items.  While one grade is working independently the other is working at the carpet near some board getting instruction from the teacher. They switch off constantly throughout the day.

Our schedule looks like this:
7:55-8:15 morning routine
8:15-9:15 DOL & Grammar
9:15-10:15 Writing
10:15-11:15 Reading
11:15-11:55 Lunch
11:55-12:00 Read Aloud
12:00 - 1:00 Oral English
1:00-1:20 Calendar
1:20-2:10 Math
2:10-2:25 Number Talks
2:30-3:00 Specials

Everything has to be in blocks due to the type of students in the class. Number Talks is A~MAZ~ING! But I will share that with you in another post.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A sad day & lessons learned

I don't share a lot of personal things on my site but today I decided to make an exception.

This is my cousin. Isn't she beautiful?? She was the closest thing I had to a sister growing up. She was 10 years younger than me a just started her second year at a local university. Overwhelmed by her course load and other commitments, she decided to take the edge off as recommended by a friend. It was suppose to be harmless but she didn't survive. That was yesterday, today we are planning her funeral.

I know that I am guilty of taking on too much. Of stressing about overwhelming commitments and a never ending to do list. Today I keep thinking of all the things that I should be doing but I just can't stop thinking about her. So I decided to share - nothing is worth risking your own life and happiness over. Not even a degree.

Friday, August 24, 2012

CD Chap 2: The School Family

It has taken me forever to get to writing this next chapter. I had so much fun with and learned so much about myself on multiple levels. I have been wanting to get to the second chapter of Conscious Discipline but alas I have been overwhelmed with other things.


This chapter is about how to create a school family! I was so excited about this chapter. During the first month of school, I feel that creating a school family is just as essential as setting up rules and procedures. This chapter talks about how routines and rituals are the heart of the school family.

Principle 1: 
We are all in this together!

Routines create predictability. It supports the school family like our skeleton supports our bodies. I love that analogy! Rituals creating a caring culture with a common goal. They do take some time away from learning but are the most important part of establishing a school family. Rituals help build trust!

 There is a long list of types of different types of rituals and attitudes about them. Rituals including caring for all members of the classroom and include classroom jobs,

This is the song we sing each morning with the students in my current classroom which is a grade 1-2 combo class. There are actually several songs and chats that we do/use as part of our routine. I wonder if my mentor teacher has ever heard of Conscious Discipline? I will have to ask.

Teacher:Good Morning To You 
(students repeat)
Teacher: And how do you do? 
(students repeat)
Together: We are all in our places
With bright shining faces
And this is the WAAAAAY
We start off our Day

I love this absent routine from Heather's Heart. Have you seen it?

 Principle 2: 
Contributing to the welfare of others

This section talks about how everyone wants to feel needed. It has a great list of classroom jobs and why they are important. It suggests that you should have a job available for everyone to do. HEY! That is what I said before! LOL! I really like some of the "specialty" jobs and maybe mixing up some of the jobs I use to add these in. 

It also talks about the importance of community service, valuing others contributions, and helping parents become involved. All things I highly recommend!

Principle 3: 
How you see others defines who you are

This  section hit home with me on such a personal level. It asks you to simply answer "Who am I?" and then talks about how the answers color our interactions. This is SO TRUE! The tips in this section are AMAZING! I need to re read it. I need to really learn to retrain myself on what I am noticing. 

Principle 4: 
We are all unique NOT special

I laughed so hard when I saw this! One of my pet peeves is people thinking they are special. They are not special. Special implies you are better than someone else. I do not believe I am special. I am not better than everyone else. I am simply unique. My own person with my own unique strengths and weaknesses. I will save you all from my soapbox moment!

Principle 5: 
Some forms of praise can be discouraging. 

This section was also very interesting to me as I have heard my professors say "Never praise a student. You can notice what they are doing but never praise. Praise is making a judgment about the person. It is not helpful!"

Oh how I struggle with this one! 

My favorite part is when it says you should act like a football fan when you are encouraging students. Are you sure about that? Have you ever seen me during a Bears game? I might scare my kiddos!

Praise is a judgment. It tells a child who you think they should be and is a sign of conditional love. Instead we are to notice and describe behavior. There are some great tips to help you notice rather than praise. 

Principle 6: 
Children need encouragement especially
when they have made a poor choice. 

I LOVE LOVE LOVE how discipline issues are handled. This is truly the type of teacher I want to be. A lot of open questions, a lot of solutions, and discipline that is done with love and understanding!

So once again, I feel like have not done any justice to this chapter at all. There truly is so much in each one that you really have to read it to understand.

Here is the next video in the series. I hope you enjoy!

So are you reading this book with me? If so, what are your thoughts on Chapter 2? If not, what are your thoughts on this anyways?

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bathroom Rules


The things one learns in Kindergarten and needs to be taught during the first week of school amazes me! Did you know that you have to explicitly tell students how to use a bathroom? I didn't!


There is a bathroom in the classroom. I taught them to raise their hand to ask to go to the bathroom and that only one can go at a time. Students learned this procedure and quickly raises their hands to ask. (Pats self on back.)

Child raises hand to ask to go. I give permission. Student goes to the bathroom and LEAVES THE DOOR OPEN! Oy!

Ah... class, when you go to the restroom please make sure you close the bathroom door. Make sure the light is on before you close the door. When you leave the bathroom please turn off the light and leave the door open. If the door is closed, knock and wait for an answer to be sure no one is in there. 

There fixed that right up.

Later that day -- student comes out of the bathroom half dressed. Ah... students you must put on all of your clothes and make sure they are buttoned before leaving the bathroom.

A friend of mine sent me her list of bathroom rules and procedures for Kindergarten but says she has used it in third grade as well. Things she includes: how to sit on a toilet, how to use a urinal, how to open and close bathroom stalls, how to flush a toilet, how much toilet paper to use, how to wash your hands, how to dry your hands, how many paper towels to use, throwing away your trash, no messes, belt buckles and buttons: a challenging obstacle.

REALLY?? Don't parents teach their kids these things?

Moving on... how do you manage the question of how to use the bathroom in your classroom? If a student asks do you let him go?

This past week we had an incident with one of my special needs sons. He needed to use the restroom. The teacher said not until lunch in 20 minutes. Said son couldn't wait. Teacher said no to an emergency. Son had an accident. The kids laughed. He went to the nurse to change and came home crying. He is in 4th grade.

This is part of his brain thing but they will not do his IEP until he goes through SAT first as it is a private recommendation and they need to have proof. MRIs, CTs, and neurological exams are not proof. I will digress on that one for now.

I understand the teacher needs to teach and the student needs to be in the room. I understand this is especially important for special needs kids as they need the added support. But where is the line on this issue?

My third grader is also having issues with this topic.

My husband is an EMT. I had heat stroke this week from being out in 115+ temps when I shouldn't have been. I got the lecture from hubby's friends that in this weather you should be going to the bathroom every hour or you are dehydrated and will have issues.  I know this but I was teaching that day and teachers can't go every hour. I am sorry. We can't. They argued as this is what I get for not listening. Humpf!

Back to my third grader... he believes his daddy can walk on water. (Ask him he will swear it is true. I have failed to convince him otherwise.) So he does as daddy does. Everything that daddy does even the things I wish daddy wouldn't do he does. So daddy says drink lots of water. He does and as a result has to go potty all the time. His teacher is annoyed. I would be too!!

So now I am getting emails like "your son went to the bathroom 4 times today prior to 11:30 (our lunch) and 3 times after 11:50 (when lunch ends)." This is on a daily basis. It is better it was 6 times before lunch! He cut it down by half but that is still a lot. He is academically advanced so there is not a concern he is missing something that he needs to learn. It is just that he is setting a bad example.

Hubby and the EMTs say it is healthy. His pediatrician says it is healthy. The school says its against policy. So now what? He is getting his card turned to yellow as he is out of the room too much. I don't know what to do.

Then I have my eighth grader who as 2 minutes between classes to "use the restroom" or he has a 12 passes he can utilize in a quarter to go. So he is severely dehydrated as he refuses to drink water as there is no time to go to the restroom. My hubby is ticked on that one.

So my question is... where is the bathroom line? Are the school rules fair to teachers and students? What do you do when it is over 100 degrees outside? What do I tell my children's teachers and school?

Sigh..... who knew a bathroom could cause so many questions or issues!

Labels: , ,

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Power of Picture Books

I LOVE using picture books to explain confusing concepts to students. One of the things that I have taught my oldest son is to never be afraid to access a lower-level book to understand a tough concept. He is in eighth-grade this year and sometimes the information in the textbook makes ya go "huh??"

That's when you need a picture book! I especially like to go to picture books for social studies and science; sometimes even math.  I struggle finding good math books that I like. I want them to explain more of the how to not just application to life.

For example, my son has a chemistry test coming up. He was just not getting the Periodic Table. So I found this great picture book all about it. He read it and suddenly the complex vocabulary of his textbook made sense. 

That's the power of a picture book!

I will admit it, I even use this same concept for my college courses or anything that I want to know about but don't understand. Sometimes those picture books give me just the write word to google to open up the flood gates to knowledge!

Plus the visuals help me remember! And I like the colors! Oh and the rhymes. It sticks in my brain that way. See why I am a teacher? I will not grow up and give up my picture books!! You can't make me!!


This is another one of my textbooks for my current class. I have mixed feelings about this book but maybe that is just because I love books and this seems like common-sense to me.

If you have ever thought about adding more picture books but weren't sure how or if you just don't understand what all the fuss is about, the introduction of this book gives some great arguments for using literature across the curriculum spectrum.

The book is written for grades PK-8 and would make a great resource.

It has sections broken down in later chapters by grade levels and then stories. It gives a summary, standards addressed, objectives, key concepts, materials lists, ideas for discussion and activities, assessments, connections to real life, a list of similar books, and websites.

How do you use picture books in your classroom?

Labels: ,

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Reading & Language Assessments

At the start of every school year, teachers welcome back students and then they begin assessing what they can and cannot due in order to create an instructional plan. For the most part, I have not shared reviews of textbooks with all of you, as well... most textbooks are pretty useless once the class is over.


This one is different though. I have A LOT of textbooks for my current class and a TON of homework to go with it. When I met with my new mentor teacher to discuss my practicum requirements, I was surprised that she still has and uses this textbook EVERY year.

This book helps allows you to assess students in grades PK-adult. I love how I can cover all ages in one book. Mine is spiral bound and it comes with a DVD of videos that show how the assessments are completed. My mentor and I tweaked the assessments to meet our needs.

Many of the assessments we gave as a whole-group assignment and then broke down the student into smaller groups to continue assessing them until we got to the point where we HAD to do 1-1 testing in order to find the final answer. It worked great!

There were some assessments that we HAD to do 1-1 such as oral reading but what I really liked about this is that it also had basic "get-to-know" the student forms too. It even has special ELL forms and asks questions I would have never thought to ask but are in deed essential that the student knows.

Each assessment is extremely quick. When we were testing phonics skills, it took us about 10 minutes to give the exam to all students. During planning time, we took the students papers, stapled them to the assessment sheet and recorded how the student did. Easy peasy! Another 10-15 minutes later we knew who needed help and where and who was ready to move onto something harder.

If you are looking for an easy way to assess reading and language abilities - I would recommend this book. My mentor has been using it for the last 4 years as both a beginning and ending assessment for students. She also said it was recommend when she was doing her National Teacher Certification stuff.

What do you use to assess your students with at the beginning of the school year?

Labels: , ,

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Pete the Cat: Confession & Freebie

I have been meaning to share with all of you some of the things that I did and used for my time in Kindergarten. Below are the materials I uploaded to SCRIBD as a thank you for all of your support!!

Melonheadz Illustrating did all of the graphics for this. Thanks Nikki!! Please do not copy the graphics from this for use with other items - it is in violation of Nikki's copyright on these materials.


Confession: When everyone started raving about Pete the Cat I thought "what's the big deal? Its another story about a cat. Sounds like a Dr. Seuss wanna be to me." So I ignored Pete the Cat until last week. Then I read one page of the book and was sold.

I was making up my own "rocking in my school shoes" versus all the way home from the bookstore while my hubby was wondering why he married someone so crazy. Poor hubby! I was singing "I am riding home in my school shoes, I am riding home in my school shoes." Hubby was not impressed with my song.

Then when I got home my kids saw the Barnes and Noble bag and went cuckoo cuckoo - a normal reaction around here when new books are spotted. So we sat down to read the book only to figure out some of "my" song lyrics are in the book! All the boys loved it even the 8th grader!

The song can still be heard around my home "I am doing the dishes in my bare feet, I am doing the dishes in my bare feet." Poor hubby wants to know why it is so contagious and how not to catch it. I created a few things to go with the book. There are 2 pages for the student to draw themselves on the first day of school and then a color matching game.

I am trying our SCRIBD for the first time as these items can no longer be uploaded to TpT or TN. We will see how this works.  I am hoping to make a few more items when I have more time but that is not now.

I hope you enjoy!

I think I may need this little guy for my classroom. Isn't he cute? Wouldn't he look nice in my library?

I will be "reading my textbook in my pjs, reading my textbook in my pjs, reading my textbook in my pjs" today.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, August 10, 2012

Parent Communication

How does one convey all the information that is needed to parents? Do you use a website, emails, phone calls, letters home, texting, home visits, or a combination? How do you keep track of the communication going back and forth? These are the questions that have been posed time and again in my graduate classes. I have researched and found a lot of talk on the importance of parent communication but very few examples of it.

I am planning on using a combination of things. I have currently set up a classroom website as a primary means of communication to parents. In the future I am hoping to create some postcards that I can quickly fill in as well.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Back to School Cuteness

School started back on Monday for all of us but with all the drama going on... you missed the cute parts.

Here are my youngest two sons on the first day of school trying to convince me that Miss Piggy wanted and needed to go to school, too. The one holding "the pig" is in third grade and the one "introducing the idea" is my fourth grader. See how close in size they are? They are actually wearing the same size clothes. No wonder everyone thinks their twins.

This is the oldest one at home and is in 8th grade. He claims he is too old for first day of school pictures but I caught him making fun of his brother as he still had 2 more days of summer.

Take a good look... this is the cleanest I have ever seen these children. It is not likely to reoccur any time soon. AND look... no one is injured. That hasn't happened since that middle trouble-maker was.... no! IT HAS NEVER HAPPENED! Said middle one is always up to something even as an infant.

He is the one that got sick on the third day of school! Geesh!

Isn't this adorable!! I am in total love with this. I won it! It is a burlap sign custom made for my class. I am going to use it for my writing center. Stop in and visit Nicole to see what other signs she has made.

Rowdy in Room 300

And remember my friend Jessica over at Dandelions and Dragonflies?

Yep... the one where I drool over her classroom and steal... err borrow... pictures of her class for use in my grad class assignments. I received a box in the mail yesterday from her full of stuff for my own classroom. SUPER HAPPY DANCE!!

Remember the caddies I bought but then I couldn't figure out how to make them cute like Jessica's? Well she helped me out and sent me all of the pieces to assemble them and make them perfect. Aren't they cute? Doesn't my ruler holders look cute in them? Perfect fit. The hand sanitizer is in there too ya just can't see it!

And look! She made me trash cans! I am so excited about these little guys. The kids getting up to walk across the room to throw away scraps of whatever all day long drives me crazy. I want you there in your little area, not wondering the rooms. This was one of the things I thought of making but after my last fiasco with the polka dots that became epic faces... I was not relishing the idea of attempting another polka dot project. Problem solved!!

Jessica is now selling the trash cans in addition to the caddies as so many of us have asked for them. Not just me. I am not the only crazy neat freak teacher. So she is adding it to her collection of items for sale.

So any new cuteness on your side of the world?

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Day 3 - The End

This morning, I dragged myself out of bed and got dressed for another day. Lesson plans were written and ready to go. I hugged 2 kids goodbye and wished them a good day at school. I turned to hug the third one when he said my tummy doesn't feel so good. I tried to quickly step away... I knew what was coming. BUT he still managed to vomit all over me.

First thought: "YAY! I don't have to go to work today!"
Second thought: "Poor baby! Does he have a fever?"
Third thought: "What are my kinders gonna do without me? Another new teacher will only add to the chaos!"

Okay so that was probably the wrong first thought to have. I did call to see if I had any backups who could take a sick little boy. None available. I probably shouldn't be happy about it but I was. Kinda - I miss the kinders. I worried about them.

I called in sick only to find my child dressed and ready for school. Ummm... why are you going to school?? "I LOVE my teacher! I can't stay home, I will miss multiplication!" He begged to go so I let him.

It was a good thing I did not go to work today as my little two left to walk to school they were attacked by the neighbors dogs. AGAIN! Ugh! I saved them before they got bit  but they were really scared. I don't blame them.

It seems like incident #4 is the magic number as EVERYONE has been at my house today. The police. The sheriff.  Animal Control. They have been interviewing all the neighbors, pulling all the records (this is #9 if you add in all the reports from all the neighbors), and preparing a criminal case.

It has been quite the adventure today.

The police department says the kids should not walk to or from school until the situation has been neutralized.  Which means I can't work if I have to drive them to and from school. So I was gonna have to call and say "I can't work the rest of the week" when I got an email saying the position has been cancelled and the teacher is FINALLY taking over her own class.

So now that the saga has ended... tomorrow I will have some new posts about some exciting things! Oh and I will have all day tomorrow to catch up on the homework I am behind on.

I will miss my students. I truly LOVE being in the classroom but I am NOT an early-childhood kinda girl. =)

Lesson learned!

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Day 2 - At a loss for words

I worried all night about my lost kid only to find out he DID get on the right bus but the bus driver let him off at the wrong spot. Somehow this is my fault.

Today, I sent a kid to parent pickup per the tag on his backpack. He was lost for awhile as no parent came to pick him up. He was suppose to walk home. No note came from the office or parent. Thankfully he never left campus just was at the wrong pickup spot.

I would just like to point out I did not lose the child who showed up in my class today with no paperwork, no last name, no backpack, and no tag to tell me how she goes home. I asked her. And then sent her that direction. She got home perfectly fine. 

I was told that this is unacceptable. I have lost a child each day for the past two says. Yep this is also my fault. They called an emergency staff meeting to discuss this issue, I was not invited as I am not a teacher.  I will be informed tomorrow of what happens next.

I woke up at 4 am to make lesson plans. What sub wakes up at 4 am to make lesson plans? I got to school at 7:30 to clean my room for the day and to cool it off. My room is not authorized for air conditioning so when I arrive each day it is over 90 degrees inside. My room is not authorized for janitorial services or maintenance or pest control.

We had ants and a spider and a coach roach visit today. Did I mention one of my kids is deathly afraid of spiders? His scream was heard by several others who came running to see the issue and found him cowering in the corner while I cleaned up dead spider guts.

Shortly thereafter a woman appeared in my room and said she was to be in my class the entire day to observe the children. She just didn't know which child she was observing. Funny how she had a teacher observation sheet she was completing when she was observing the children.

She never left my side. She was suppose to go to lunch but surprisingly (NOT!) she was taken off of lunch early to meet with me. When she wasn't with me... the principal, speech therapist, and OT just suddenly happened to not be doing anything and were available to help.

Of course, that is when my kinders who had been doing so well suddenly completely forgot everything I taught them. And then the rest of the day was chaos. Complete chaos.

I cried when I got home. I am sore and tired and I don't want to move. AND I have had enough. I don't want to go back. Not ever. Not to this class or any other class. I am tired of being taken advantage of and disrespected.

I am a teacher not a babysitter.

It is not my fault if the attendance is not turned in by 9 am when I asked for a roster 4 times and did not get one until 2:30 pm. It is not my fault that the attendance turned in is missing the last names of 5 children. I do not know their last names. You should be thankful that I know all their first names after only 1 day.

I am tired of writing "lesson plans" that teach nothing. I am not allowed to teach anything specific. I have no rules (they got nixed first thing this morning). I have no discipline plan (I am not the teacher). I have no student information. I cannot send home notes with the students - even to tell the parents that they need to send in a snack each day for their child. I have no access to any curriculum materials.

So we read, we color, we sing songs, we redirect constantly, and then we start all over. Sometime this week, all the classes will be restructured and new kids will be sent into my room and others moved to another room.

So maybe I am not at a loss for words. I am tired, sore, and in tears.  THE END!

Labels: ,

Monday, August 6, 2012

I passed & survived Kindergarten!

This SHOULD be a short post as I am beyond exhausted. Kindergarten teachers are now my heroes. OH MY WORD! The stories I can tell

Up first though... as many of you predicted
<insert happy dance here>

And not just barely but with a 293/300!
I ROCKED that test!

Only 1 more to go!

Kindergarten... oh where to begin! I am in a temporary classroom. It is normally a storage room that had tables, some chairs, and a desk thrown into it to make it look like a classroom but yea.. its not. The parents all know that both the room and I are temporary. 

The kids know it to and that is where the trouble began. Plus EVERYONE was in my room today to make sure I could handle it. By everyone I mean... the guidance counselor, the social worker, the special education teacher, the academic coach, the principal, the deputy superintendent, and a few volunteers. 

They hired a teacher over the weekend and even SHE was in and out of the room. She will be all week long. She is on campus just not teaching. I have some thoughts on this but I will behave. I will keep those locked in my head and not type. 

With soooo many people trying to tell the kids what to do it was hard to get them to do anything. I am not suppose to teach them any specific rules just generic ones that can be changed. I am not to set a schedule or routine. The kids have no cubbies, no belongings, no place of their own, etc... and it resulted in utter chaos. 

Complete CHAOS!

It was so bad the new teacher is scared to take over. I gave up after lunch and said we are doing things my way. Six hours later my kids can stand and sit quietly. We cannot work at tables. Oh and lunch was 10 minutes! Kinders eat with their teacher the first week. So an aid walks them to the playground afterwards for recess and that is our quick lunch break. 

Lesson plans were a flop. 

Magic playdoh no good with these kinders. My boys at home love it and Miss Piggy ate some and wanted more. My middle tried it and spit it out so evidently edible playdoh is only good for dogs.

Kissing Hand failed miserably. Too long for these kids. Went to No David (it was in the room thankfully!) and that worked well. Pete the Cat was a success. Self portraits failed. Music failed. Songs and movement failed. 

Playing with manipulatives FAILED! One kid is deathly afraid of spiders and what are the manipulatives in the room? SPIDERS! I ended up teaching them the WBT rules anyways. SHHHH! Don't tell!

Oh and one of my kids didn't make it off the bus. I put him on but he didn't get off and the bus driver lost him. The mom was frantic, the police was called, I was sent home. I am the temporary teacher so was not needed for the situation. If I was the teacher, I wouldn't have left. I am hoping he is okay. We shall see tomorrow. 

Speaking of lost kids, mine got lost walking home and had to ask a police officer to direct them in the right direction. Sigh... Does this mean I am a horrible mom? I sent 2 teenagers to help walk them home and all 4 boys got lost. Kind of ironic that my own kids were lost and needed the help of the police. 

There are police officers assigned to every school on the first day to deal with lost kids here. I guess this happens a lot! SCARY!

My feet hurt, my body hurts, and I am tired. I need to buy new shoes. Comfy ones. 

I still have to write lesson plans for tomorrow But I think I will do that in the morning. We are primarily going to learn how to walk in a line. That should only take another 6 hours to accomplish!

Labels: ,

Sunday, August 5, 2012

First Day of Kindergarten Plans

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! To each and every one of you who left such amazing comments full of experience and wisdom! I read every one... several times and then formulated a plan.

First stop Wal-Mart. I figured I would spend about $50 on some "essential items" for the first week. Then I went to Barnes and Noble for a few new books as I doubted I would be able to find any "Back to School" books in our local library or the school library.  About $150 later....

What I bought at Wal-Mart: Desk Plates, Name tags, pencils, erasers, a jump rope, playdoh, pencils, sentence strips, file folders, goldfish crackers, band-aids, sandwich bags, folders, black ink, and postcards.

What I bought at Barnes & Noble: The Kissing Hand, Pete the Cat Rocking his School Shoes, and Miss Smith's Incredible Storybook. Just a note here.... book in the store cost DOUBLE what they cost online. I was SOOOO not happy!

I pulled somethings I had from home... air freshener, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Chicka Chicka 123, and tempera paint.

I made cake mix playdoh AFTER I bought some cuz I heard about magic playdoh. But then as I was bagging the playdoh I recalled the "must be store bought rule" - I am gonna go with the theory that since they aren't eating it and it shouldn't be leaving the plastic bags, we are good!

This is my "going home tri-fold board" made out of a file folder and duct tape. The last column is for daycare riders but most kids I know hate this term so I am debating what to call it. I was so tempted to write "other" until my youngest said "does that mean I can fly home?" Ummm... nope! Still not possible.

So many of you recommended this linky party and I can't thank you enough! Seriously, if you are looking for some FAB-U-LOUS ideas for any level of elementary school classroom I recommend you check out this site. My third and fourth graders have been LOVING everything that I have come up with for my tiny Kindergarteners. They have also insisted upon trying out every book, coloring page etc...

So my first day (two days!) lesson plans are below. I made mine in a checklist format as I have no clue what our schedule will look like. When do we go to lunch? Do the kids have a rest period? How many times a day for recess? So... this is the best I could do with the given circumstances.

This is basically a list of all the great ideas I received in the comments yesterday and from the various blogs I stalked. Clicking on any of the pictures will take you directly to their site for expert advice!

~ Greet Parents & Students at the door
~ Name tags – names and how std is going home
~ Stack supplies on back counter (will deal with at lunch or after school)
~ Backpacks go on back of chairs.
~ Stds can pick a seat anywhere (first day only)
~ Magic Playdoh – Did yours turn colors? It did?! Wow! That only happens if the person using it is going to have a great year.
~ Attendance
~ Announcements
~ Lunch Count
~ Teach morning routine – how to come into class, what to do, where to go. Practice ala Daily 5. Go out and come in.
~ Hickety Pickety Get to Know You Movement/Song

Hickety pickety bumblebee, 
won't you say your name for me? 
(Child says name.) 
Let's whisper it! 
Let's clap it! 
Let's cheer it! 
Repeat with next student. 

~ Teach signals for being quiet
~ Teach WBT Classroom rules
~ Teach bathroom procedure - Bathroom Breaks
~ Coloring Page

~ Teach lineup procedure
~ Snack
~ Teach how to come to the carpet and sit during storytime
~ Read Pete the Cat Rocking my School Shoes

~ Teach how to use crayons and pencils
~ 2 options – draw yourself rocking your school shoes or draw yourself doing something at school while rocking your school shoes
~ Teach how to put away supplies
~ School Tour – Find Pete?
~ Classroom Tour
~ Guidance Counselor visit? Principal visit?
~ Read the Kissing Hand
 ~ Make Heart handprints
~ Lunch/Recess
~ Rest
~ How to ask for help
~ Read Desk Fairy
~ Talk about how to keep desks clean
~ Read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
 ~ Make first name letters 

~ Take First day of school pictures

So this is an insanely long post already and I have things to do to get ready for tomorrow. I promise to be back with my Pete the Cat freebies that I made as a Thank You!

More tomorrow if I am still alive!

Labels: ,