Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The One With The Tour

Well.  I have three days of this school year under my belt.  They've been chaotic, but good days.  I think I've got a great group of students again this year.  I'm really excited about getting to share my love of books with them this year.

I procrastinated a bit and didn't get my room finished until Saturday night.  I made sure to take pictures so that I could share with you.

You are hit with owls before you ever walk in the door.

  I made the wreath by hot gluing pompoms onto a Styrofoam wreath.
 The chalkboard owl was bought from
The welcome mat is from Lowe's.   

Sorry the pictures are dark.  The lights in our hallway were off as it was late Saturday night.

 This is the view when you walk in the door

 I absolutely love this canvas.  I found it at Kirklands for $20. It was perfect to fill this blank space that I still had left.

 Front of my room - my white board with my own two class rules and my stool painted by my incredibly talented cousin.  My rules are a pinterest find.  I even ended up using the same colors.

 I hate bulletin boards with a passion.  I guess that's a true sign that I'm not an elementary teacher. :)  I prefer to do things that I can use all year.  I am not one to change it out throughout the year.  This year I chose to use it as a place to display our agenda.  The boarder was another pinterest find.

 This is my area.  You can see my teacher toolbox there on the mini fridge.  The pink owl above it is a cork board that I found in the dollar bins at Target.  The blue owl is a picture frame.  Love it!!

 My reading corner.  I gave it an uplift with the purple paint this year.  I love this bit of color.  It really pops in my room.

 The back wall holds my bookshelves.  Each book has a color circle on the spine that lets students know the genre of the book.  The poster outlined in pink is a key for the genres.

 My sweet grandma sewed these little "curtains" to hide computer cables.  I love them!!  

 My reading tree.  You can see some close up pictures of it here

This might be my favorite pinterest find.  It was originally designed to display artist.  I'm using it to display different authors.  It's the one "bulletin board" that I'm excited to change out every month.  The pictures below Mr. Kinney's pictures are his "friends".  I chose to use authors that inspired him as his friends.  The middle is a few facts I found about him.  Some of his books are displayed on the right.  My students absolutely love this aspect of my room.  They are already guessing and requesting future authors.

My photo gallery.  These frames contain different pictures of owls and sayings.  I made the fabric bunting at the top.  There are more curtains.

Notice the saying above the door?  Here is a better picture.

Those letters are fabric that I ironed onto the wall.  Yet another pinterest find that I absolutely love.  You simply iron heatbond onto the back of your fabric and then iron it to the wall.  The possibilities are endless.  My friend and coteacher did a flamingo and a palm tree to iron on her wall.  It's really awesome.

So there you have it.  Thank you for touring my room.  

Friday, August 17, 2012

The One With the Parent Homework

We all have forms and letters that we always send home on the first day of school.  I honestly feel sorry for parents.  That first night of school must be pretty overwhelming for them.  I try to limit the amount of papers I send home on the first day of school.  I do this for a couple of reasons.  One is to help parents out, but the other is to keep it simple for myself.  I'm less likely to forget to have something ready to go that first day if I keep it to a minimum.

The most helpful paper I get from parents all year long is something I send home on the first day of school.  It is a simple form that ask for their name and contact information at the top.  I ask parents to email me if they prefer to be contacted by email.  This cuts down on the time I have to spend typing all their emails into my address book as well as the number of mistakes I might make trying to decipher handwriting.

On the bottom of the form is one open ended question.

"Is there anything I need to know about your child in order to make this a successful year?"

I learn so much from this little question.  By not asking several specific questions, I believe I learn more about the students.  The parents are not confined to certain perimeters.  They can share with me whatever it is they believe I need to know.  I get answers ranging from medical history to family issues.  Sometimes it is as simple as letting me know the child has always been a great student.

I've added this form to my TPT store.  Click here to download it for free.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The One With the Babbling

School starts a week from tomorrow.  If they saw how long my to do list still is, they'd postpone it and give me a couple more days.  It seems like every time I cross something off the list, I think of two more things that need to be added to the list.

Weekends are truly weekends again.  I'm in workshops all day everyday.  I have forgotten how much 6:00AM and I don't get a long.  I'm much happier with 9:00AM.

My goal is to finish my room Monday and Tuesday so that I can finalize lesson plans Wednesday and Thursday.  I don't have any workshops Friday so I plan to enjoy a three day weekend before school starts.

At least the important things have been done.

Hair Highlighted - Check
Manicure - Check
Pedicure - Check

Now I just need to decide on my "First Day" outfit.  Sometimes I think this is harder as a teacher than it ever was as a student. HA!

Friday, August 3, 2012

The One In August

Linking up with Farley again this month for another Currently... I love reading what everyone has to say each month.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The One With Preparation

I have 100 followers.  I never could have dreamed there would be that many people who cared about what I do in my classroom.  I'm humbled and honored beyond words.  I started this blog as a way to reflect for myself.  I thought it would be a great place to record what was going on in my classroom where I could go back and look to see what worked or didn't work.  I'm glad some of you have found something you like and can enjoy with your students.

Tomorrow is my first back to school workshop.  Though I knew it would, I can't believe how quickly this summer has gone by.  I feel like it has been a good one.  I've relaxed and had plenty of down time, but at the same time I've accomplished quite a bit for my classroom.

The past couple of days I have been preparing lab activities for Science.  It's pretty easy since we are doing the same set up as we did last year with students switching classes between my co-teacher and myself.  It seemed to work really well.  We doubled our test scores.  You can read more about what we did here.

Preparing is as simple as going back and deciding which lab activities I want to keep and which ones I want to toss.  I'm trying some new activities this year that I'm really excited about.  When it comes to searching for lab activities, there are two sites that are my go-to sites.  I don't know what I would do without them.  I'm sure you've known about them for years, but maybe you are new to the world of teaching science and you are lost the way I was several years ago.

The first site is and the second one is  They both have tons of lab activities and are organized by subject.  If you haven't already I encourage you to check them out.  You won't be sorry.