Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Made It!

I'm super excited to share my first Monday Made It with 4th Grade Frolics!

Made It #1

My school focuses on one character trait a month. I decided these would look nice above my whiteboard. Traits include: caring, effort, responsibility, leadership, citizenship, respect, integrity, courage, cooperation, and honesty. I'll be putting these up in my TPT store for free soon!

Made It #2

With my impending move over to a clip chart, I decided I might as well make some adorable clips! I was totally inspired by Jen at Runde's Room.  I ventured into the world of Washi Tape, never to return.  That stuff is miraculous!!!

My wonderful daughter helped me (for about 20 minutes, LOL) with the taping. The last ones look way better than the first.

 When we were through, I did a layer of mod podge over the tape. I think I'll varnish too, as was suggested by a few bloggers.

So much left to do and not nearly enough time to do it all!  As my last summer hurrah, my daughter and I are going to Raging Waters tomorrow!  I can't wait to soak up some sun.  Hopefully my tan will last into November... hahahahah

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Reward for Myself

After spending two weeks trying to customize my blog to make it look as awesome as all the other ones out there, my husband told me about a little trick. He showed me how to look at the coding for each site. You know what I learned? I learned that EVERY single site that I love has been custom made. Here I was trying to replicate professional products. Sheesh! So I made myself a deal... If I could keep blogging for a month, not just let this be a passing fad, then I'd buy myself a custom design. I'm super excited!
Who did you use? Was it an easy experience? Advice?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted! Advice for First Year Teachers

This is my first Linky Party! Yay!

Today I am linking up with Latoya Reed from Flying into First for her:

This year, I am honored to have been asked to mentor/advise a few of our new teachers.  My mentor teacher filled me with all kinds of fabulous knowledge.  I hope I can provide the same level of support!

BUY a laminator!  It doesn't need to be expensive.  I've worked in 3 schools and even when we've started the year with a laminator, it usually wasn't working by November.  This is a great investment.  I purchased the Scotch laminator from Target. It was $25 and the pouches were $15. Year before last, I was the only one on campus with a laminator... it was one busy machine!

ALWAYS be kind.  This seems obvious, but it has many layers. (This is a long one...)

First, be kind to your kids.  No matter how much Ghandi-like zen you have, there will come a time when a kid (or whole class) gets on your very last scrap of a nerve.  It's sometimes hard to do, but it's important to remember that each child in your room is somebody's baby.  I like the phrase, "be kind, yet firm."

Second, be kind to your parents.  Be open and communicative!  During the school year, you spend more time with their little one than they do.  If they ask you how their pride and joy is doing, try to dig up an anecdote to share.  They'll really appreciate it!

Third, be kind to your fellow staff members - this especially includes the office/custodial staff! Most likely, your administrative assistant and custodian run your school.  Don't ever demand things from them, ask nicely (chocolate or coffee helps too!).

Lastly, and most important... be kind to yourself! Give yourself a break. Not every lesson is going to be perfect, your room is not always going to be clean, your kids are not always going to follow directions, your Principal will walk in during complete chaos, and IT'S OKAY. Remember that every day is a new day (and your Principal likes chocolate too!).

NEVER, ever, gossip to parents!  It will always come back to you.  Even if you really, really, really trust a parent, keep top secret details to yourself.  Remember, parents have all kinds of opportunities to talk to each other; baseball games, dance recitals, playdates... facebook.

FIND plenty of resources for your content.  (And make sure you know your content) As a parent, nothing is worse to hear from my child than, "Mr. Smith had to stop math today because he got confused." Do research, buy books, USE PINTEREST!  Learn about your content before you have to teach it.  If you aren't prepared, it's better to push the lesson a bit, than teach it incorrectly.
I once taught an entire class how a wind turbine worked... incorrectly. Even though I went back and corrected myself and we did an activity with the correct info, HALF of my kids got it wrong on the assessment, writing my original description. DOH!

 MAKE sure to ask for help!  When you start feeling overwhelmed, even a little, ask for help!  When you don't know what an acronym means, ask for help.  When you have a situation in your class that baffles you, ask for help! No one expects you to do everything on your own. = )

BE happy and flexible!  No one likes a complainer. If things aren't working out the way you'd like, find out how to change them (or just deal with it). Be flexible!  Remember, there will come a time when you'll need someone to take your recess duty too... 

That's it!  There are some of these that I still need to remember.  It's easier to hear them now, then have to learn them the hard way.

The Great Classroom Move

What a day! Our charter school just inherited the entire campus where we are located. It's a very exciting time! In order to get the most out of our site, many of us (6 + the library and office!) are moving rooms. Today was phase 1...

My classroom is moving to one of the empty "new" rooms. I had the first room move, so that others could move into my room, and so on, like one big domino track. Unfortunately, with a baby at home and a hard-working spouse, I haven't had as much time as I'd have liked to get in and pack. (It's amazing how much you feel like a hoarder when you have to pack your whole classroom!!!) Anyway, this morning, before the volunteers arrived it became "randomly throw stuff into boxes" time. Here's a quick picture of half of my "packed" room...
What a mess!!!

Our volunteers came, and in a HOUR my classroom was completely emptied! I have no idea how we they moved 30 desks and chairs and everything else in that time; miracle workers I guess. So now I have everything in my new room and the adventure starts.

See all those lovely under the counter drawers? I was lamenting their loss because the configuration in my new room is slightly different. However, I was beyond thrilled when I realized how much storage I have in my new room.

I normally don't do well with change, but I am so so so excited to set up and decorate my new room! If only I knew what was in each box...

Pictures to come of my new room!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

So much to learn!

The past two days I've spent a great deal of time learning about how to format my blog.  Man, is it time consuming!  I started working on it tonight around 8 and it's past 1 already!  I also learned how to create some more basic signage.  Here are my new CAFE signs. (Obviously my next lesson is how to appropriately add pictures to my blog without looking like a dork!)

Awesome frames by Ashley Hughes! If you're interested in a copy of the signs, feel free to comment and I'll send them to you. = )

*Also, I just saw this on my iPhone, not sure why it isn't formatting correctly... Boo!*

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Freebie Shout Outs!

I am a dedicated follower of  4th Grade Frolics. Her creativity and design aesthetic continuously amaze me!  So I decided to try my hand at making a few things myself.  I'm currently using powerpoint to create signage. Here's my first attempt:

(Does anyone know how to center a text box on ppt?)

This year I'm begrudgingly happily switching from cards to a clip chart to match the rest of my school.  Black is our highest level...

Over the past two days I have learned SO much about creating printables.  There are a few angels out there that offer their hard work for FREE.  Here are a few:
Kimberly offers all of her fonts FOR FREE!  They are incredible. The one above is called Strawberry Limeade. 

Another incredible site is
Mel generously has offered ALL of her digital paper/overlays for free.

The last that I've come across is Rachelle at LittleBigDesigns. Her collections are fab!  The background above is hers.

That's about it for now.  Off to play some more....!