Wednesday, September 18, 2013


School. Is. BUSY!!! Holy moly. I know every teacher knows this and could have told me this, but it is very different figuring it out myself! I'm loving it though! Tons of great days. But BUSY! 

Here are some things I've been doing lately:

My teammate (& friend!) and I copied and got these ready several weeks ago, but just now got around to getting them bound. Turns out, it takes an HOUR at Kinkos, so we treated ourselves to dinner while we waited! It was wonderful. Anyway, we made these Reading & Writing Workshop conference logs:
I downloaded the covers from here, printed them on cardstock, then laminated both covers as well as black cardstock for the back covers. Then I stuck in the tabs- I have since written each student's name on a tab. This is how I will keep track of my conferences with them over time!

I love having all of one student's notes in one place- it helps me see if they have been stuck on one book or one piece of writing for a long time, and lets me reiterate important teaching points, or introduce new ideas to them easily. I "stole" the idea to make this type of log from my awesome mentor teacher. She is a rock star at workshop!

I'm so excited to start using these on a regular basis! So far, I've kept conference notes on my iPad, and while that's fine, I'm more of a written-note-jotter type of girl. 

Today our 5th graders had job interviews for an upcoming field trip to a mock community in our area that students visit and function in for a day. My students worked so hard preparing for their interviews- nice clothes, firm handshakes, eye contact, everything! So proud. Staff from all over the school (plus my dad!) volunteered to help us interview all the 5th graders, which was so great. My sweet teammate made all our volunteers lemon muffins, and I gave them one of these: 
So corny, I know! But we really appreciate them taking time from their busy schedules to give our kids valuable, real life experience! 

The book fair was here last week! My kids were SO excited to get in there and buy BOOKS (and pencils, and erasers, and posters) but also BOOKS! A few sweethearts even bought me a book to add to our classroom library! 5th grade had the most students attend our Back to School night last week, so each 5th grade teacher got $15 to spend at the book fair! I'm pretty pumped about my haul:

I can't wait to get them into my classroom library! 

Wellllll I guess I should go home since it is 6:15 on a Wednesday and all.... Good night!


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Back to School...After Labor Day!

Today was our first day back after a 4 day break! Whew! The best part of today was when I taught my class how to play my Multiplication game, BUMP! (for sale in my TpT store!). It was kind of a crazy day getting back into the swing of things, but during the time they played this game, things were perfect! I just walked around smiling at them all, because they were interacting positively with each other, practicing multiplication, and having fun!! It was such a great 30 minutes. And now they know how to play and can pick it up whenever they have extra time. Love it.

Tomorrow I have my first sub ever and I'm freaking out a little! My sub plans are VERY detailed. But it's only for a half day, and I will literally be in the hallway the entire time. Haha, I'm sure I'm overreacting, but I can't help it! I want my class to do a great job like I know they can, and still have plenty of learning opportunities. I feel like that will happen if most of the little routine things are the same as always, even if I'm not there.
I'll be in the hallway finishing up all of the reading and literacy assessments! I've leveled almost all of my class, but I still have other assessments that need to be done. I'm looking forward to having a big block of uninterrupted progress!

I'll finish up by showing a few fun things we've done since school started:

Here's what's on a cabinet right outside my door. 
My students traced their arms on a long piece of construction paper. Then they wrote a goal for the school year on each finger. I asked them to write two academic goals, one behavior goal, one personal goal, and one goal from the category of their choice. 
I think they turned out so great! I think it's important for 5th graders to be responsible for themselves and for their own success in school and life. Setting a goal is the first step! 
This is the first thing they see coming in every morning (besides my smiling face!) and I hope they get just a little reminder of what they decided they wanted to accomplish. 

Here are some adorable sunflower glyphs my class made! I made templates for them to trace, but they did the rest of the work!
Brown center: no pets
Black center: has pets
Number of petals: how old they are
Number of leaves: number of siblings
(You can't see them, but there are sunflower seeds glued in the center of each flower)
Seeds: represent the month they were born

Pretty straightforward, but it was a fun activity to do the first week because it gave them a chance to chat with people at their tables while they worked. Plus they turned it so cute!

Here's an update on my birthday ribbons! I put their pictures in order on the ribbons. Lots of July birthdays, huh? I used Glue Dots to adhere the pictures, and I'm a little worried because I tried to move one and it kind of messed up the ribbon...I guess I can't use the same ribbons next year! Oh well, cute for now. 

Welllllll it's definitely past my bedtime. I have to get to school extra early tomorrow to clip everything together and set everything up for the sub! And the kids come at 7:35, so early for me is for real EARLY! 


Monday, September 2, 2013

September Currently!

I'm participating in my first ever Currently Linky Party! So exciting. I love reading these every month, and am so psyched to post my first one. I hope I do it right!

Listening: The Mindy Project is so smart, cute, and funny. One of my favorite new shows. Chris Messina (Danny) is pretty dreamy too....

Loving: Labor Day weekend treated me so well! Visited friends from college, relaxed, and had my weekly dinner with my family at my parents' house. Gotta love homemade dinner and leftovers!

Thinking: I'm glad tomorrow is a Professional Day! I'm looking forward to sitting down with my team and really getting ready to launch the Reader's and Writer's Workshops. Bonus: 3 day week! What!!!

Wanting: My landlord says the air conditioner works just fine but clearly it doesn't! It doesn't actually get to the right temperature until around 9pm on super hot days :(

Needing: I know I need to spend less time at school, but I am feeling good and enjoying my time there. 6:45am to 6:45pm workdays might not be healthiest in the long run though... Hey, I'm a first year teacher.

Finally: This one goes along with needing to balance school better. I can't live off of Lean Cuisines forever! I actually love to cook, I just haven't had the time!

Thanks for visiting! I follow some great blogs already, but I'd love to add some to my list! Comment and I'll check yours out!


Classroom Tour!

I've been a fan of teacher blogs for a LONG time. I'm so excited to finally start my own, because I'm finally a real teacher! I have just started my first year teaching 5th grade at a wonderful school in Oklahoma. I'm not sure how much time I'll have to keep up with this, but I'm looking forward to sharing and learning from others!

I guess the best place to start is with a classroom tour!

 Here is a panoramic shot of the whole thing standing in the doorway. It looks a lot bigger all stretched out like this!

Here's one of my cabinets with my Classroom Jobs and Daily Schedule on it. I printed the schedule cards and cut everything else out on my Cameo! I'll be putting my students' pictures in the job squares.

Here is my back counter. I'm bummed because the glare from the lamination makes it hard to read my nice posters and month circles! But the poster above the sink says, "I'm Done! Now What?" I made it and printed it at Staples.
I made all of the month circles and had them printed at Staples as well. I love the chalkboard look, but definitely don't want to use that much of my own color ink! I have since hung my students' pictures on the ribbons. I took their picture holding a cute chalkboard with their birth date on it. 
(Sort of like this, but they are holding the chalkboard underneath their face. That's me by the way!)

Here is my desk area. I took these pictures before school started 2 weeks ago and man, my desk hasn't been this clean since then! Yikes! The hanging chevron file is from Mardel. I put copies and class sets of upcoming work by subject in each file. 
I painted the cork boards just using painter's tape and acrylic paint. I love how it came out!
You can sort of see my teacher's toolbox there under my lamp. It's been so handy so far, especially for tiny things!

Here's my desk from the other side. This is the teacher part of my meeting area. The chair and easel are from Ikea. The posters with numbers are to check for understanding- made and printed at Staples. 

View of my meeting area. Rugs are 2 medium sized rugs from Ikea. I couldn't find a black and white or non-primary themed classroom rug, and these were just $20 each! Love it. 
The posters above the Smart Board are the Rule posters from Hope King's Desire to Inspire package. Darn laminating!

There's my half circle table, which I love for conferencing and small groups, and my white board. I don't plan on using it for much besides our daily agenda. Everything on the white board was cut with my Cameo. Shout out to my awesome sister for hot gluing magnets on them for me!

Here is my pride and joy- my classroom library. I worked SO HARD this summer leveling and labeling all of my precious books. My mom is an elementary school librarian, and she's been graciously collecting books for me over the past 5 years. That plus books from used book stores, donations, and from my own childhood, and I've got lots for them to choose from! 
The clear book buckets are from Ikea. I had a hard time deciding what to use for my books, but these are PERFECT. They are sturdy, and not too big, so they won't crack when kids pick them up by one end. 
The white magazine files are my students' book boxes. They've since colored them to match their personality, and I added colored labels with their numbers. 

Here are the Desire to Inspire posters from Hope King. I love how these look, and can't wait to reference them throughout the year. 

Here's the side of a filing cabinet turned Where Are We? board! I used sparkly ribbon from Hobby Lobby and painted wooden circles from Michaels. This has been so helpful! I love being able to see where everyone is at a quick glance. 

Well I'll leave it at that today! Like I said, I took these before school started 2 weeks ago, and it looks so different with 23 kids in it! I'll be updating with some more pictures soon!