Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Skeleton forms....

Shell of room done.  All the bells and whistles not done.  But that's ok.  Way ahead of the game from last year.  I'm ready to do a  show and tell.

You can get the gist of my color scheme here.  This is going to be where I will be putting my data wall.  We are a Baldrige school, and so all our data is displayed out in the open.  Yep, yep.  This is where it will be. I'll put the quality student/teacher class mission on the squares above (they are magnetic- so super bonus there) and then the other data on the foam board beneath.  I covered it in some scrap duck cloth I had and added an extra strip of ribbon from Flamingo Fabulous. The sweetie hemmed up all my cloth and stitched the ribbon border on for my built-ins.

There are my curtains.  They are hiding teacher things that kids don't need to look at all day, and will always look cluttery no matter how many shoeboxes I use.  Now my lovelies.  I'm going with a neutral brown as a base to calm the room down.  I believe I am going to use this space as my mathematics wall.  So I can put my mathematicians vocabulary here, and student samples, and anything else that might be handy.  I am not planning on putting the hundred chart or number line here, only because it's higher than the kids can reach, and those two things in particular really need to be manipulated to be of any use.  Clearly, you can see the work that is yet to be done.  Those cubbies have to be emptied for instance.  Which is a library project I am working on, but might not get finished until next week sometime.  And then on the floor is a bunch of stuff I need to put away/get rid of.  A lot of it is actually empty containers- so I don't feel too bad about it.

I'm really excited about this area.  It's going to be the library.  I'm working on a book display idea though, so I can ditch the baskets.  OMG! Ditch the baskets?  Well, they aren't holding up well, and I've noticed that the kids like to get books off the leveled display case more- and I really think it's because they can see the covers.  So I'm trying to design a little something to assist me with that. 

What's the dealio with the branch?  I'm making it into a collaborative art project.  I'm going to write the kids' names on ribbon attached to a pipe cleaner first.  Then they can choose a couple of glass beads to decorate their stem with, and we'll hook it to the branch.  The next step is that as people visit our classroom- parents, administrators, teachers, they can write a wish or a hope for the children's future on ribbons and tie them to the branch.  I'll change the colors of ribbon seasonally, so at the end of the year it'll be lots of different colors.  I'll also add special ribbons on birthdays- or major achievements.  Since the majority of my parents will not be native English speakers, I am going to ask them to write their wishes and hopes in their native languages.  That will be quite splendid, if I do say so myself.

That wall is magnetic, so things are easy to shift around.  I also have my global hello art from Hobby Lobby, but I'm thinking I'm going to center it, bring the branch down and the art up.  Still plenty of blank space- and I'd like to fill it with blank wooden letters for the first names of everyone in the class, and when their birthday rolls around, I'll take down their letter and have them decorate it and put it back up.  I am seriously considering ditching the filing cabinet.  I hate it and it serves no purpose for me.  Things just go there to die.

This is next to the library and is a short space of wall and then the computer counter starts.  I believe I will turn my desk to face the wall.  And I'm not putting anything in there except for stuff the kids use.  I thought about it for this past week, and realized that all the things I had in it last year I never took out.  Not even once.  So right now it just has band aids in it.  I'll put zip-locs down in there too now that I think about it so the kids can put their lunch money in them.  I'd get rid of it completely, but I know that will not fly.  Plus, I have to put my teacher computer somewhere.  As far as the bulletin board goes- I have decided after a convo with Flamingo Fabulous, I think I will be putting my word wall here.  But I will be revamping it from the traditional word wall where all the words are up there and staring at you.  I'm only going to be putting up the ones we are mastering at the moment- one section for reading mastery the other for spelling mastery.  And then content specific words. 
But what about all the other words????? Hey, chillax folks.  I always put a word wall in their writer's notebooks- so there it will be.

The window end of the room.  Ok, and right now, it's a bit too knick knackered. So I'm going to have to make some decisions.  I will need this windowsill for science experiments, and I have left myself no space.  I am charged with making sure those photo frames get filled with pictures of my children though.  I would like to add one of those bird houses that you attach to a window so you can see inside it- and I also want to be able to see some sort of weather station through the window since we are charged with observing the weather on a daily basis in second grade.

That blue thing with the mouse on top?  No, I will not be going crazy and decorating it.  It's blue, it works for me.  But this is where I'll store the kids' ear buds and password books in it.  And the green box in front of the printer holds my printer paper.  It's just tidier that throwing the pack of paper down.
Aren't my birdies cute, though?
The blue bins on top hold all of my PYP planner materials.  When we start a planner, I just have to pull down the box and sort through it to see what I want to use.  I also put content related books in the boxes.
The green circles are placemats I found at the Dollar Tree.  the have concentric circles inside of them- so I'm putting my objectives here.  I'll put reading, writing, math, and inquiry in the centers, and then other strips of paper moving outward form the circle for what we're working on that quarter.  Then you can see the beginning of the next curtain that starts my small group meeting area.
 Which is here. Generally, I meet with reading groups here, and math groups on the carpet.  So the curtains will be holding information for becoming better readers and writers, as well as any Daily Five and CAFE materials I'll be using.  Like those stripes above the board.  Flamingo Fabulous got the lines just right for me.  Love that girl!  What was she doing in my room anyway?  She got classroom withdrawl.  A horrible condition, I must say.  Good thing I was there with the antidote.

Goofy looking bear, huh?  It holds my iPad.  Found it at Toys'R'Us.  Too ridiculously cute.

 Carpet area.  I have two crate benches in this area.  And I've got to bring down my math manipulatives to store in the benches.  This is going to free up lots of space on my shelves.  I'm considering getting rid of the white board.  It's blocking the gray board, which is a large section that I can use for other things.  Not sure where else to put it though.  and why shouldn't I just keep it there?  Well, I've got that massive promethean board, so why do I need a little whiteboard?  I don't know yet.  Having trouble with the idea of letting it go...

I got the blue ottoman seat at Hobby Lobby.  I can store stuff inside, but a this point have it empty.  I meet with math groups at the table in the center.  I would like to move the maps.  Another idea from Flamingo Fabulous, to put it over at the window so it can even double as a shade.  Not sure if I can make that work.

My class mail area.  Over there with the mirror- I'm going to cover that up and put my WBT Super Improvers wall.

Last one.  I still need two more shelf units this size for my other two tables.  The other ones are too tall.  This size is perfect.  Each little group has their own moose, and I'll be putting their table supplies on the shelves, and they can also keep their folders and what-not here.  I will either put their individual book baskets on the bottom shelf, or have them keep them in their cubby.  Undecided.

Oh, and over there by the door, that's where I'm putting my science/nature/research/sensory table.  Two chairs will fit there so it can be a center, or a retreat.  I'll use the board behind it for vocab and tasks.

So, whatcha thinkin? What else does this skeleton need?

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Cue the trumpets!

And then make them be quiet because I am super tired and still have one more five am wakeup call.

But folks, I just wanted to let all my kittens know that everything at the TPT store is going to be for sale for the Big Back to School shindig TPT is throwing.

Here's a little advertisement Octavia Jones at Ink n Little Things made up for everybody:

Have you heard of Ink n Little Things? Aside from having the most awesome name ever- Octavia Jones- I could only wish to have a name like that... if you click her button there you will be magically transported to the greatest dachshund clipart pack EVER- which I purchased as soon as I saw it.  I dearly hope she makes a dachshund set for every holiday of the year, even obscure ones like Juan Ponce de Leon day.  I will be waiting...

Thanks for making advertisements for everybody- much appreciated!
Coming up though- so that this isn't a complete dud of an ad post- I did get in four hours in my room on Wednesday.  And GUESS WHAT??? I actually got everything put away and even started decorating.  Yeppers!  That's right, kittens- getting rid of 3/4 of my stuff turned out to be AWESOME!  I have (cue Taylor) never, ever, Eeeevvvvvvaaaaahhhh! had such an easy "unpacking" experience.  I am ready to roll on Monday with some other d├ęcor touches- maybe Tuesday also- but that's all I'll need and then three glorious days ahead of me in which I can do nothing but PLAN- whoop whoop!  Also, never experience that before.  And it won't even be teacher workdays yet!  So I don't even have to technically go in all of those days- and honey beans! I  just might not! (insert evil finger drumming- exxxxcellent)
Sneaky peeky, yeah? Ok.  But it's NOT FINISHED. 
A taste- that's it.  One chocolate chip for today.  I got rid of desks and moved to tables.  I've got a book case at the end of each one ( but I am attempting to trade for two-shelvers instead of three so that it's flush with the table).  Each case has a moosey on top.  Each table has a shelf liner running the length to separate personal space.  Each moosey is sitting on a bamboo mat.  The book cases are going to hold their "supplies" of limited quantities mind you- cause we are going to be super organized by force!  And also, I am going to ask them to bring in family photos no bigger than 4X6 to put in frames to go on either side of the moose.  I'm making this place look pretty, comfy, homey, and not too crazy with the sensory overload.  More on that next week.
I have some paper to put up, and curtains on my cabinets. Which I will be operating a glue gun for- so look out! (might be headed for the emergency room with my luck)
Ok, one more chip- I made this little guy to go on the windowsill:
I've impressed you- I can tell- so we've got to set this straight:

Still in the running for mother of the year- fussed at him for walking so slow until I turned around and saw this.  Now, look closely.  Yep.  That's right.  I am that AWESOME. Or blind.  Take your pick.
nighty night!

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Monday, August 12, 2013

The DIY that Tried to Kill Me - A Monday "Meh"de It & Teacher Week '13

Admittedly, I am a Pinterest-a-holic.  And somehow in my many pinning travels I saw something about making your own wikki stix.  And why I got all into the idea I do not know.  My kids used wikki stix, maybe one time last year, and then I got all bunched up about it because one of them fell on the floor and got mushed in.  And should I have gotten upset?  No.  The floor is tile.  Who gives a cranky?  It'll come off.  But noooo- I put away the stix like they were Kinder-eggs attempting to be smuggled over the Canadian line.  And then this summer I got to thinking about maybe using them again.  So I went a hunting through blogland and found many, many, many BASIC instructions.  And I say basic because pretty much they only give the ingredients. It seemed that all you needed was a bit of the following:
Yarn, paraffin wax, a wax toilet bowl ring (yeah, weird).  I added in scissors and a ruler- because sometimes I am THAT way.  I wrapped the yarn along the ruler end-to-end so I could cut a bunch of 12-inch strands in one silly go.  Apparently, you can't use just paraffin (of which I have 18 million boxes for some unknown reason) or your stick would snap like a sad, sickly birthday candle.  You combine the paraffin with the wax toilet ring because it is waxy, and yet moldable.  So it makes your stick all bendy fun.  Personally, I didn't enjoy the odor of the toilet wax ring, but it disappeared after I melted them together.  Which is where I got really special and nearly killed myself.

18 million boxes of paraffin, but no double boiler.  Go figure.  So I invented my own.  What could possibly go wrong in that scenario?  Glass bowl floating in boiling water of great big metal pot.  Clearly, I was choosing to not make any connection to the fact that I had busted a glass lid the other day.  Again, that mean I be special.  Anyhow- boil boil boil. Melt melt melt.  Stir stir stir.  Remove black lining from toilet wax ring and chuck it.  Then, ever so gingerly go to remove glass bowl from big metal pot and have boiling water ERUPT as if from Vesuvius and burn my face.  Snort and snarf all you want, kittens, but I'm going to say it- damn did it hurt.  And also manage to pretty much ruin my mood for making these stupid stix.

An HOUR later I have four wax paper sheets of drying yarn strings. I guess there's about 100 there.  My fingers are coated in a weird wax mess.  My face pulses.  And my lovely daughter Squirt meanders on over, pokes at one of them and says "What do they do?" Shiiiii-oooot, I don't know! (Yeppers, I'm running for mother of the year- don't forget to vote!) Huff huff huff. "What's wrong with your face?" I burnt it, ok? "Hmmmmmm.  Ma?" WHAT? "Why don't you just buy these things?" !#$%^&&*()@

 Yes, America.  Go BUY THEM.  Almost 500 stix for $30 and you won't burn off your face.

My apologies to the true fans of Monday Made It to be so disappointing in my DIY tom-foolery.  I will try to make up for it next week. To read about REAL projects that were successful, or brag about your own, please go see Tara at 4th Grade Frolics.
I hate to leave you on that note however.  I saw this cute linky today and decided I too would like to talk endlessly about myself.  Because that's my thing.  This one is being hosted by Blog Hoppin', and they have a whole week of fun planned.  Go check it out!

Without further ado- here are 10 weirdo fantastic facts about me- that I haven't gotten around to mentioning before for some reason...
1. As sarcastic as I can tend to be- I am a horrible push-over mush.  I left my two-year old for the first time this morning with a babysitter that was NOT my mother and I cried for the first forty miles down the road.  Even though my friend was gracious to text me pictures of his giggling smiling happy face every few miles.  Turns out I was more traumatized by the event than he was.
2. I think I enjoy the kid's Netflix TV more than they do.  Current passions:
extremely catchy theme song

Ponty Pandy is so much fun to say!

3.  I video taped myself teaching once, because I really wanted to be able to critique the video and look for my teaching strengths and weaknesses, but all I could think about while watching it was "Are they really seeing my big butt like that all day?  How often do I turn my back to them when I'm teaching?  Seriously- they are staring at the back of an elephant all.day.long."  I have no idea what lesson I even taped.
4. Sometimes I miss Prell Shampoo. I used to hide out in the bathroom when I was younger and pretend in the mirror that I was in a Prell commercial.  I also used to try to mix Caladryl lotion with Elmer's glue to make peel off android skin- so yeah.  Think about that for a bit.
5.  I have a hard time resisting funny shaped erasers.  But then if I get them, I can't make myself erase anything with them, because it would mess them up. So then it's just a hoard.  I have the same problem with sharpening fancy pencils, or using scrapbook paper. I apparently do not have this same problem with cookies...
6. I can't stand it when my legs touch when I'm sleeping- so I have to wear pajamas.  And I can't wear socks if I'm sleeping, and I have to have my whole body covered up with a blanket except my face because I want to be warm but breathing cold air.  Therefore, it's probably a good thing that I'm single...
7.  My recurring nightmares when it comes to school stress is always a triple whammy combo of:
- No matter what I do, the kids won't listen
- I'm never fully dressed, I'm always missing my shirt, but never notice until half-way through the school day
- And I can't find a bathroom with the appropriate amount of privacy, whether it be a stall door that is too high or too low or not there at all
8. I miss my therapist...
9. I miss having stamps that you had to lick to put on envelopes.
10. Sometimes I think I should have never graduated college, just kept being a perpetual student.  But then, I'd be that weird creepy lady in ceramics class, and that's no good.

Five am wake up call again tomorrow... Sweet dreams everybody!
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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Clipart Winners, Determining Importance, and sheesh- Alarm Clocks

Congratulations to Caitlyn Delaney and Cheryl Hoff for winning a custom color football kids set!  Caitlyn correctly guessed that my favorite team is the Philadelphia Eagles.  There were seven other folks who made a guess, and I had my daughter, La Squirt, draw a name for a second winner.  These two ladies will get to choose custom colors of their choice and I will make a pack up for them.

Some Custom Color Packs we already have made

Can I tell you that I appreciate the comments?  I appreciate that you read all the way through my posts.  Because those of you that do- get to take advantage when I offer a freebie.  Which, I do, whenever I release something new......just saying. 

And before anybody gets upset about football loyalties - and I hope we won't - I enjoy the game enough to enjoy watching any team play.  I actually think it would be pretty neat to have a jersey from each one. But that will take some time, and cash, let me tell you. I did write to a bunch of NFL teams last year asking for non-fiction donations for my classroom, just a pamphlet or stadium map- no fan gear- just paper product.  It was pretty surprising who responded, who did not- who asked for money- who did not- who sent gracious gifts.  I'll start off by saying that the Eagles DID send something, but the package arrived torn asunder, and somebody STOLE whatever they sent.

But, kudos to the Saints, who sent a hard-back photo book of winning the super bowl- a beautiful book that my boys LOVE to read during independent reading time. Thank you to the Bills, and Jaguars who sent fan fun stuff- stickers, and little plastic helmets, and pins and the like (along with some cool team photos that listed each player, so it is a bit like a map). And the Seahawks sent a great big giant poster hot off the presses!  They even sent a letter ahead of time saying they would be sending it as soon as it was printed, and they remembered!  My class DID send thank you notes.

I had an easier time reading Chapter Seven: Determining Importance.  Maybe it was because I was ignoring the ex-boyfriend and it was irritating him which made me happy. (Yes, I can be childish and vindictive when pressed.  Remember, I fully admit to being a FLAWED woman.  He deserves it though, trust me.)  But, perhaps it was an easier idea for me to grab ahold of and see how I could model this in the classroom.  Laney grabbed me from the get go in likening determining importance to cooking.  When you cook- you know what elements you can change in a recipe to enhance or alter the flavor- but what you can't change without ruining the dish.  Kids need to be able to pull out what is important in order to solve problems.

There is also a moment where Laney brings up how students who highlight entire pages when they are studying are failing to determine importance.  I can totally relate to that.  I can't tell you how often in college I saw text books look like that- and even know, as I teach and I hand over that highlighter- everything goes sunny yellow.

On page 201 she talks about how students can learn to determine importance by learning the general structure of word problems- that "quite often" the first sentence is just setting.  It's the middle where the information is, and the last sentence that asks the question.  But she warns not to teach this as a shortcut, because then kids stop critically thinking and just try to follow the formula.  That was a real "huh" moment for me.  Because that's exactly what teachers have done in my experience- given me a shortcut formula to follow.  And then I in turn, have thought that's what I was supposed to be doing as well.  There is another habit I'm going to have to break.

She also warns on page 206 not to spend too much time "focused on practicing the strategy to the exclusion of actually employing it in a worthwhile way". Huh again!  How much time do we spend practicing and not doing?  This is when I start thinking about engineering experiences and all that goes in to STEM projects as where the real math is getting taught. Another huge area I need to work on.

I've been listening to lots of Whole Brain Teaching Webinars by Chris Biffle in the past days.  Even ones where I thought "I will never do that", now I'm all thinking, "hmmmm, I think I should give that a shot."  On page 209 Laney discusses a technique of read a little, think a little when you're modeling strategies.  And this works in perfectly to the whole brain teaching model where you put things in small chunks for the kids.  Eliminate the lecture- cut it up.

I loved the visual example of brains determining importance by draining wet pasta in front of the kids.  All the pasta you catch in the strainer is what was important, all the water that flows out into the other pot is what you didn't need.  I am so doing that!  And it even links back to the cooking example at the beginning of her chapter.

And, per usual, Laney also links the strategy up with some math stretches.  I liked her example of "What's Important" because it was similar to a stretch used when teaching questioning, but the focus changes.  When you're teaching questioning, you set up all the information in a problem but don't give the question so that the kids can come up with their own sets of questions.  When you're teaching determining importance- you can set up the same situation- but instead give them different questions to work on where they have to use different parts of the information to answer it.  This way- as the kids share their work with the whole group in a math huddle- they see that what's important changes based on the question they were asked.  It sounds like a lot of fun, and I love how it's connected to another math stretch you teach earlier on.

Alright! Only three more chapters to go!
I linked this post to the book study hosted by Primary Inspired.

So, tomorrow I have to get back in the groove of waking up early to go to a literacy training for the week.  But, the school where the training is being held is FARTHER down the road than my normal commute- so in order to get all three kids packed up and off and myself on the road- I have to hit that alarm at 5am.  Soooooo not looking forward to that!

Night, kittens!

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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Reading Between the Lines

1. Burned face with boiling water
2. Sliced open palm on a wet paper towel
3. Burnt pointer finger on lava
4. Burst glass pot lid whilst watering above finger with cold water
5. Sliced open tip of "tall man"
6. Broke out in pimples

So, perhaps you can infer from the above that I am a hot mess, clutzy, prone to accident, not a good choice for a cooking partner, ridiculous, not faring well without the parents...*sigh*

Aside from trying to meet my maker, I've been reading Laney Sammons, working on my ecourses with Sally,  listening to an audio book about happiness, watching Whole Brain Teaching videos (which have been making me happy since Chris Biffle reminds me of my dad), and connecting with another teacher with some expertise in class town building. 

One more week before I get to work in my classroom. Another week after that until teacher workdays. I am getting exxxxxxxcited!

Again, I'll be linking this post to the book study that Primary Inspired hosted this summer.  They are already done with the book- so you don't have to wait on me to read the next chapter.

Can I say that Chapter Six - Making Inferences and Predictions did not get me excited?  And I don't think it has to do with Laney.  My apologies.  I think it's me.  Teaching inference in reading doesn't get me excited either.  In fact, it makes me whiny. I don't wanna!  Because it sooooo hard, and they don't get it fast enough, and wahhhhhhhh.  I think that is the root of my problem here.  I am sort of glad to have come across the reference to how children do, for the most part, make great inferences when dealing with people's facial expressions, tones, and moods.  But they aren't translating this over to reading- or mathematics for that matter.  And this points to that visualization piece, don't you think?  If they can visualize what they are reading, they would be able to make better inferences.

On page 174 Laney says "making an inference requires considering new or unfamiliar information in light of what is already known."  So it's a matter of being able to make distinctions- another thing eight year olds aren't super groovy at.  But this points towards that safe risk-free environments where kids can try things out and not be afraid of being incorrect.  They have to make that inference, or  prediction and be ok if it turns out to be wrong- or if it turns out to not be answered at all.  There is a lot of discussion about encouraging the kids to think of themselves as mathematicians.  Makes me think of this pin I ran across a couple of months ago:

I've really got to make the point of calling them mathematicians anytime we are talking about math.  If I treat them like they are mathematicians, they will feel like they are mathematicians, and they will be mathematicians.  It's going to be so much to keep all in my head it seems.  Maybe I am biting off more than I can chew.  Or maybe I just need to breathe, and try not to cut my finger for a second, and relax.  I can do this.

You know, I've been teaching probability and data for eleven years, and it has never occurred to me that I am really teaching prediction and inference lessons.  This is a good place to take those baby steps in teaching the reading strategies within the math class.  I already teach this unit.  I already show graphs ALL.YEAR.LONG, so it will only take a second or two to point out "Hey, we're inferring here!"  Or, instead of "what does this data tell you?" I can say "What can you infer from this set of data?"  Perhaps the answer is still Ms. Meek's class brought in the most canned items for the food drive - but we've added that higher level vocabulary.  It's a small teeny step in the right direction.

When we do the probability games- have them decide if it's fair or not before they play.  And then explain why it was or wasn't afterwards.  There's a great dialogue in the book when it comes to even and odd numbers and how they add together in the context of problem solving on page 191.

I already announced that I wanted to take on expanding vocabulary this year.  The math stretch "word splash" on page 186 would go along great with this.  Throw the topic word of what you're teaching up on a piece of chart paper, and have them add in all the other words or phrases they can think of that goes with that topic.  You're activating prior knowledge, discovering misconceptions, getting some valuable feedback that can be used to adjust your teaching focus.

Another thing mentioned in the chapter is taking time for one-on-one conferences.  To really talk to them about their thinking and ask them to talk MORE.  I made a note to myself that it would be important to tell the kids from the very first day that if I ask them "what do you mean?" or "why do you think that?" it doesn't mean they are wrong.  Which most assume.  It just means I want to know more.  Everyone of these chapters talks about the importance of modeling and doing the think aloud, and I realize that we have become so rushed by the pressure of "getting all of this done"- that we are neglecting our professional calling.

I was pondering this statement earlier today while I braved washing dishes:

Being a teacher defines me as a person.
I have heard people say this. I am trying to visualize their face when they say it.  It's not really an expression of joy- more like, sheer determination.  Commitment maybe.
I have also heard people vehemently exclaim that they will not let teaching define them as a person and when they go home they go home and teaching isn't coming with them. I haven't decided how I feel about that yet.  Sometimes it makes me feel sad.  Other times, sort of ashamed that I do bring teaching home with me. Lots of times I struggle with trying to decide what the right sort of viewpoint to take is.  Or if there even is one.
But as I scalded myself (instead of paying attention to the temperature of the water I was filling the sink with, and leveling it out with a bit of cold I was, quite frankly, talking to myself), I tried the sentence in the other direction.
I define what it means to be a teacher.
If you looked in a dictionary, would your face be next to the word teacher?  And if it were- what would that mean about the word, teacher?  Would it be a positive or a negative term?  Would people use it as a form of praise, or an insult?
Sounds like some pressure- but it is, in fact, a bit of a reality.  Kids determine what a teacher is by the example they have before them.  It is this one experience that takes up 180 days, 1440 hours of their lives each year that gives them the definition of teacher.  It is in fact, YOU, who are creating the definition. 
What definition have I been creating? Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts...

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Embracing my teacher values - Monday Made It

I mowed today for the first time in probably eight years:

It took three hours, but at least the view was good.  So that's made it number one - a lawn mown in the style of Jackson Pollack. ( Which is probably not "in" when it comes to landscaping)
But after that was over, I got to work on a wall art project for my classroom.  I've been working for the past month on my Curriculum map.  Here's a quick peek of the unfinished product:
I'm using colored "manila" folders for separating the quarters, so here's the inside of first quarter- done up in Crayola.  Which I love.  Crayola makes me happy.  But anyway...
I've been taking a bunch of courses offered by Sally at Fairy Dust Teaching.  Even though she is an early education teacher- everything I've learned so far is going to translate beautifully into my second grade classroom.  So I'm super excited.  One of the things we did when we began mapping was look at who we are as teachers, and what we valued.  I ended up picking five values I wanted to focus on in my classroom this year.  Love, commitment, enthusiasm, creativity, and humor.  And then I went and found quotes that went along with those values that I felt fit into teaching.
I've put the values in an order- Love is first because it is everything.  And then commitment, since it is the demonstration of love.  And Enthusiasm is the face of love.  Creativity is the passionate response to love, and finally humor is the expressive joy of love.  Here are the little posters I made up today:

Isn't that font fantastic?  It's called Iced Coffee and it is by the Fabulous Deniece at This Little Piggy Reads.  I LOVE her fonts.  And she gives them away for free!
I have these quotes written in my curriculum map binder- but I wanted them to be visible in my classroom.  I wanted to be able to see them daily, and I wanted people who visited my room to be able to see them as well.  I don't want them to be just thoughts I'm carrying around, but something that actually becomes part of my room.
Next stop, my favorite teacher store- The Dollar Tree.
I found these silver trays there.  I got only one circle, but two each of the oval and rectangle.  Originally I had in mind that I wanted a clear tray- but they didn't have any- but then I saw these and decided it would work.  Then scrounging around in my daughter's craft drawer (gasp- yes- Mommy "borrowed" some scrapbook paper) and came across this little cutie:
I picked out some pages that I liked and I thought would fit my color scheme, and then went to work fitting them to the inside of the trays.  I had to paste the together to make them big enough- but the nice thing about the paper booklet is that it gives you two pages of each design.

Then I printed the little posters I made on cardstock and cut them out.  All that's left to do is to glue them down permanently and brush them over with some modge podge.
I just can't decide how I want to arrange them now.  Whether I want them in a strip, in the order I was thinking, or something more congealed.  It might even have to wait until I get back in the room and see where it will fit best.

All I know is that I want it up.  Thoughts anyone?
If you made something, or want to see more made-its, head over to Tara at 4th Grade Frolics and link up!
And I know how much you love freebies!  Did you make it through the Virginia is for Bloggers blog hop?  It's 20+ freebies, kittens!  I was impressed with what everyone came up with. I am giving out a card game for practicing quick tens, and holding a little contest for custom football kids clipart.  You can check out my post here, or start at the beginning of the hop over at Nikki's Teaching in Progress.
And if you liked those quote posters I made- have a set!  Go ahead and click on my lovely little butterfly lady:
If you do happen to pick up a set, would you mind leaving me a message?  Dropbox doesn't tell me how many people download, and I'm just curious as to how many people are actually interested.  Thank you much, kittens!
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