Friday, August 30, 2013

Personal logos, When can I start reading your books? and Week 1 is over!

Maybe it's because I'm 173 years old and I just forget.  Oh. My. Word.  The first week of school is SO exhausting!  

So I'm linking up with DoodlebugsTeaching to tell you how it went.

I tried something new this year with my students.  I liked the idea, but I wasn't sure if they'd get the whole concept.  Boy, was I wrong.  They LOVED it!  We looked a some corporate logos, starting with the Nike swoosh. I asked them what company it represented, and they all knew right away.  But when I asked them why Nike used that symbol, they really had to think.  I was impressed with the answers they came up with:  that the swoosh implied fast movement, that it looked like the oval of a track, even that it looked a little like the bottom of a shoe.  We spent some time looking at other ones:  AT&T, McDonalds, Coca-Cola, and Amazon, among others.  More kids joined in with ideas and they really seemed to get excited about it.  Then I told them they would create a personal log, based on the things that were important to them.  
Those kids worked so quietly you could have heard a pin drop.  It was really cool to see how invested they were in the project.

They put three crepe paper streams at the bottom, purple and gold for our school colors, and red because we're the Red Team.  Here are some of them hanging up in my room.  This project is in my TpT store if you're interested.
Few things make me happier than seeing my new students' faces when they see how many books they'll get the chance to read in my room.  It was hard telling them they wouldn't be able to check any out on the first day because we had so many other things going on, I wouldn't have time to go over my rules about how to check them out.

By Day 2, they were begging, even though I'd planned to hold off for another day.  But I gave in, went over the rules and how I have my books organized, talked about 25-30 different books, and then gave them time to look.  Here's a group of girls getting comfy.
Our school always goes over school rules in a series of ten rotations, spread across two days.  So that took up a lot of our mornings on Days 2 and 3.  This year, my partners and I talked about the Dress Code.  It was really interesting to see the difference between fifth and sixth graders. We decided we needed to be totally honest, so we told the kids we'd be using words like "bra" and "underwear".  The boys got smiles on their faces, but they were pretty cool about it.  Although they laughed when I said that girls needed to remember that they'd be working on the floor on some days, and if they were laying down on their bellies, reading a book, and three boys were sitting opposite them, not reading, it was probably because they could see down their shirts all the way to the belly buttons!  

But the fifth graders?  Oh my, no.  I really had to choose my words much more carefully.  They just are so much more innocent, and less inclined to try to stretch the Dress Code rules.  It was really something, how differently our presentation went with kids only one grade younger.
All in all, it was a fun week, getting to know my homeroom students, and meeting the other two classes on our team. They seem like a great group of kids, full of energy and eager to share their stories.  I'm looking forward to working with them this year!
Even though summer has ended for me, it hasn't ended everywhere.  This is about the millionth  tenth 
batch of green beans I've picked so far.  I know I'll appreciate it when winter comes!

I hope you have a nice, long weekend, filled with family and friends!  For those of you starting after Labor Day, have a great time!  The hardest part is the "not knowing."  Once you meet your kids, youll be good to go.

Friday, August 23, 2013

I'm tired and I haven't seen my kids yet!

I'm linking up with Doodlebugs Teaching and her wonderful Five for Friday.  I had planned to take pictures on Tuesday, when I came back to school officially, and today, just to show you the before and after.  But I was rushing around so much the first two days that I only took one.  But you get the general idea.
Continuing with the classroom theme - since that's where I all week....
The bulletin board on the right is filled with of pictures of book covers, a visual reminder for kids about all the good books that are waiting to be read.  The left side is for our anthology; computers are ready, and one of my two tubs of pillows - washed, dried in the sun, and smelling ever-so-fresh (the pillows, not the tub) - all waiting for Monday and many eager young 'uns!

I have to show this because I've posted about the many, many books which last year's students moved from my old classroom to this one.  They were left on the shelves, according to my directions - "Just put them anywhere you find space."  And so they did.

But the other reason is because I saw an idea on someone's blog?  on Pinterest?  about using big binder clips on each shelf to label the genre.  I liked that better than the signs I'd previously usedi, with arrows pointing to multiple shelves.  This way, each shelf has a label.  It makes returning the books a little easier for the kids, I hope.
My husband got a call at 4:15 a.m. yesterday morning.  His office had been hit by lightening and the fire department needed him to get there immediately.  So he got dressed and drove the 45 minutes to see what had happened.
I, on the other hand,  woke up early, wondered why he wasn't in bed, and wandered around the house looking for him.  When I couldn't find him, I went down to the garage to see if his car was still there. I thought that was odd that it was gone.  It was only when I walked back into the kitchen and saw the note he left me that I called him.  It turns out there was only a little smoke damage and everything was fine.  But we both got a laugh about me being back in "school" sleep mode.  I NEVER heard the phone call.  I NEVER heard him get out of bed.  I NEVER heard him get dressed or brush his teeth or tiptoe out of the room.  At this point, you could drive a truck through my bedroom and I'd never hear it.  Good thing I never told my kids when they were teenagers!

"My name is Marion, and I'm a Candy Crush addict."  I don't mean to make light of people who truly struggle with addictions, but what is it about this game?  I am NOT a gamer; I don't play video games (except when my son invites me, which is rare, because I'm not good).  I tried to play Words with Friends, but I kept forgetting to respond to my friends.  I don't have a Wii, an XBox, or a Play Station. But this game has me totally hooked!  And what is it?  A fancy version of Tic-Tac-Toe, with more colors and sounds.  Why should it be so tempting?  So hard to put down?

Anyone else feel like they need to get their daily fix?  C'mon, 'fess up!

And have a great weekend!

Friday, August 16, 2013

It's Back-to-School Sale Time!

Sale button from The 3AM teacher

This one's from Creative Chalkboard

Aren't these graphic artist-teachers amazing?  I'm really impressed with what they create normally - these sale buttons are just a glimpse into what they can do.  Click on their links to read their blogs, then go to their TpT stores and buy!

But while I'm promoting them, I want to let you know that I'll be joining the TpT sale.  Everything in my store is 20% off on August 18th and 19th, and if you type in the Promo Code: BTS 13 you'll get another 10% off. When you add everything together, you'll end up with 28% off, which is pretty amazing.

Click here to take a look at my store.  And don't forget to comment if you purchase something.  Every time you comment, you earn points towards future purchases.  Those really come in handy when your wish list is long!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bloggers helping bloggers

Diane, at Fifth in the Middle, has created an idea worth its weight in gold!
 How many times have you run into problems because you didn't know how to do something?  I remember being so impressed, when I first started blogging, with how teachers listed their blog after they commented on a post.  How did they do that?  It took several internet searches to find the answer, but now, thanks to Diane, you can just find the answer through someone who's "been there and done that."

So bring on the questions!  I'm no expert, but I'll do what I can to help you - or send you to someone who knows.  Just like at school!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

It's Blog Hoppin's Teacher Week and I'm Already Behind!

There's this wonderful blog-hopping that started on Monday and I was out of town.  So I'll start today and just add my name to the 400-some teachers who've already posted.  How cool is that?  Thank you Blog Hoppin!

1) Let's start at the beginning.  I am an enigma.  I believe very strongly that women are smart and shouldn't be afraid to show it. I also love to cook things from scratch, make my own bread, and "put up" things from our garden and local farms.  Here's some corncob jelly I made last week.  It tastes like honey!

2) My grandparents came from Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Germany.  My parents were born in Austria.  I was born in France, although my parents were American citizens by then.  So my children are the first generation in my family to be born in the U.S.

3)  My husband and I planned a short get-away this past weekend.  We decided to extend it by going to Cherry Springs State Park, the darkest spot in the United States, east of the Mississippi.  It's just a couple of hours from our house.  One of my daughters (who just happens to be a professional photographer) came with us for that night.  Here's a shot she took of the Milky Way.  As beautiful as this picture is, it doesn't even begin to capture how amazing it was to sit out under the many, many, many stars!  Talk about feeling like you're in the palm of God's hand.    

And then, to make things even cooler, Carly posted this picture on her tumblr blog, and it got picked to be the log-in page! (Yeah, momma's proud!)

4)  I love to read!  I generally have five or six books going at a time.  Three in my classroom for read-alouds, one with each class (more on that later) and one that I read silently when they do.  Then, usually one or two at home.  Works for me.

5)  I get bored easily.  The thought of reading the same books for read-aloud each year makes me cringe!  I can't even read the same book to each of my Cores.  So I always read one for each Core, based on what I think they would like/might need.  Sometimes I'll repeat a book from one year to the next, but it's rare that a book gets read a third year.  There are just too many good books out there.

6)  I am falling in love with British TV.  I really enjoyed Downton Abbey, even though we didn't start watching it until the third season (and stopped and watched DVD's to get caught up).  Then a friend lent us copies of Larkrise to Candleford, another a period piece.  Almost as good and "Mr. Bates" was in that one too.  We're almost finished watching the fourth and final season.  Need to get that done before I go back to school next week!

7)  I am a really slow runner.  But I can't explain it.  I just love to get outside and feel the air on my face.  Can't run on a treadmill unless I absolutely have to.  Put me outdoors at any time of year, and I'm a happy camper.

8)  Years ago, I had my palm read by a woman in Louisville, KY.  Everyone at this restaurant said she was amazing, and she did have some interesting things to say.  One of them was that she saw me living near the water.  I'm still waiting.  And no, my flooded basement doesn't count!

9)   If I had all the money in the world to spend, I'd travel.  And go to see live theater.  And have a getaway near the ocean.  And then, I'd give the rest of it away.  There's only so much you can spend on yourself before it gets tiring.  I think.  I don't know, cause I'm a teacher!

10)  I love watching my children turn into young adults!  Here's a picture of them that was taken just yesterday 12 years ago (!) hiking in the mountains.
I hope you enjoyed getting to know me a little better.  Now I'm off to read about some other great teachers in this blogiverse!


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Is there a time warp in my room?

Am I the only person who goes into her classroom with a list of things to do, and walk out hours later, having only accomplished a couple of them?  Now, I moved my room this year, so I knew I'd have some work to do.  But my, oh my!
At the end of the year, I just had my students carry down all the books and put them on shelves.  Just look at this!  This is my largest bookcase, which I am very, very grateful to have.  But it needs just a little organization, ya think?  I found this idea on Pinterest for using binder clips on each shelf, with a label noting the genre.  I forgot to take a picture, but I like the way it looks and works.

Then I got these up - I have about a dozen words that I'm just not going to allow students to misspell anymore. 

I thought I'd get to this bulletin board.  Not a chance.
But I did get a ton of laminating done, including these genre cards that I want to use with my students.

So....what was I reminded about?  Well, it always takes about five times longer to do things than I think.  Four hours in the classroom? Okay, some of it, catching up with other teachers in the building?  Yeah, barely made a dent.  In fact, I left the room messier than when I walked in.

Guess that means I'll be spending a few more days there in the next two weeks before we return to school!
How about you?  How are things looking in your room?  Do you get everything done on your list when you show up to work in your room?

Friday, August 2, 2013

Grammar Poster

I got the biggest kick out of this poster when I saw it on Pinterest.  But I wanted to make it a little more colorful.  Unfortunately, when I went back to try to credit the person who came up with the initial one, I couldn't find it anymore!

Here's my version:

The blue frame is from Leslie Whitaker and the wavy one is from Tracee Orman, both TpT sellers.

Download it for free by clicking here .

Now, go eat with your grandparents!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August and all that that means!

I've been away on vacation - there's nothing like hanging out at the beach to restore me.  That or being under a really huge, leafy tree.  That one does my soul some good, too.

August is here, and as teachers, we all know what that means.  A little dread (I have to get up...when?!) A little excitement (new faces, new attitudes) and a little nervousness (will I remember everything I want to do this year?)  But it also means that Farley, wonderful woman that she is, has a new Currently for us.  Bless her heart.  It is fun to do these each month.  And best of all, she remembers to post them on time each month!
I've had a lot of fun the last couple of days.  I came home from vacation with two of our three young adult children, and we had a blast.  We just chilled and laughed and ate and laughed some more.

And then I got to see some girlfriends that I've known for almost thirty years, and the next day some college friends that I've known for even longer!

I saw a poster - plain black text on white paper - that I loved.  And I want to "fun it up" a little.  Here's what it said:               Let's eat Grandpa.
                              Let's eat, Grandpa.
                 Correct punctuation can save a person's life.

On the down side, I tend to put on a few pounds as I come into the end of the year.  And then, with more time to rest over the summer, and more time to run or walk, I usually take it off.  But this summer, I've been a woman on a mission.  Eat all the desserts!  Have some chips!  WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?  So, now I need to get out the door.  I don't make myself crazy about this stuff, really.  I just like it when my clothes don't feel tight around my waist.

I'm slowly starting to comprehend that if I don't get my classroom unpacked, no one else will do it for me. They'll finish cleaning tomorrow.  And I need to get in there next week.   I'm eager to see my class list!

And finally, I read an article in the paper the other day that said that most of us don't get enough sleep.  Our bodies need 7 1/2 - 8 1/2 hours of sleep a night.  Are you getting that?  I want to try harder to get closer.

And, on that note, off to bed I go!