Friday, August 31, 2012

Behavior and Discipline


When I was thinking about writing this on Monday evening, argh...behavior was getting me down and discipline was getting them down. And we were only on Day 4 of the new school year!

As my teenage daughter has said on occasion (paraphrasing Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own): "There's no crying in 2nd grade!"
Well, apparently, two of my kiddos didn't get that memo :)
Because there WAS crying in second grade!
I started a behavior clip system. I thought it would be great, because if they moved down, there was opportunity to move up. My two little friends were annoying the heck out of me. Not following directions, not putting materials away when I asked (repeatedly), playing with said materials, not listening, not working. So I got to the point of, OK, I mean business! And that's where crying began - with moving their clip to Teacher's Choice.
And darn that Heather's Heart blog, she got me to thinking about my kids. She's written several posts about Conscious Discipline. But one thing Heather has said many times in different ways, is that we often don't realize the home life that these little ones come from.
And that got me to thinking. If I can gently correct and correct and correct and correct my little guy who blurts out because I don't think he's doing it on purpose, why can't I correct and correct and correct (gently!!) my pencil tapper; my one who is in love with her 5 big flower erasers and continues to put them on and off her pencil; my little friend who won't write anything on his paper, etc. etc. etc. Because maybe this is the best they can be right now.
So my bloggy friends, I prayed and prayed and prayed Monday night. I read some of Heather's Conscious Discipline posts. I thought about kids feeling like they are headed to the guillotine (something Heather describes). And it was like a switch had been thrown Tuesday morning. Was it me? Or was it them? I'm afraid to make an educated guess on that (me). I corrected and corrected and corrected. Nobody moved down on the clip chart, but if they did the right thing - Up They Went!
Let me tell you, on Monday, I was dreading the rest of the year. I didn't know how I would make it through and I was calculating how many sick days I had.
But do you know what happened? Things got better for ME! I wasn't as stressed. Oh, I got a little stressed today, but it wasn't terrible - to them or to me! I hope I can continue to be the stable one; the calm one; the one who has the place that's safe.
What's been your biggest challenge since school started?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Happy Friday

Good Morning - It is Very Early on this Friday morning. It's also the last day of my short week. Why am I so looking forward to the weekend? :)

Here are a couple pictures of some things I put up on my walls at the last minute. I am pleasantly pleased with the results.

Yes, yes, yes, the spider, flower, caterpillar and dragonfly are freehand. Didn't know I had it in me :) The month names are where I put my birthdays - they decorated candles yesterday and we stapled the candle by the month - I've got a lot of April birthdays!

My half day (Wednesday) - yuck - just didn't seem to go well. I didn't get to read my favorite first day book - "First Day Jitters" and I didn't get to do the fun bead activity I had seen on Sunny Days website. I started them drawing a picture of their family (like I have done in previous years) and it just didn't seem to work. All in all, I went home feeling pretty discouraged.

I was whining to my husband saying things like maybe I shouldn't even be a teacher, and he told me, yeah, right, the reason you spend so much time doing "teachy" things is because you aren't a very good teacher. (You've got to read that with a little sarcasm in your head :)

So I prayed. And decided to act like yesterday was my first day with my kiddos. I read "First Day Jitters." We did the Get To Know You bead necklace adapted from Sunny Days. We did singing and dancing. And I had a fun day. And hopefully, maybe they did, too. 

Joyce Meyer says it's not how you feel, it's what you know. I need to remember that on those days when I feel discouraged. I may not always feel like it, but I know I'm a pretty decent teacher. I bet YOU are, too! 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

2nd Day Back for Me

Today was my second day back. Both have been workdays, and my oh my, have I appreciated it! I've gotten so much done. Even got my desk cleaned out this afternoon.

First a little background. I'm just not the type who goes all out decorating. It truly amazes me - some of the creative, incredible stuff I see in my building. But for me, I just don't have the inclination to decorate the whole room. But when my male teammate next door decorated one whole wall with jungle trees, I knew I had to step up the game :)

So I did this:

Twist your head a little to see :)

And then I did this - but it's not blurry in my room :)

And he's also sideways because if you notice he has a little string of web holding him up.

Aw, if I do say so myself, they are so cute!

When I went in this morning (after visiting for 40 minutes :) I set my timer for 1 hour and then I worked like crazy. I did all these freehand (whoo hoo to me!), then scotch taped the parts together and hot glued them to the wall.
OK, tomorrow is inservice day - where we learn about Common Core Math and the new writing that we are taking on. I hope it's interesting.

a little later - whoopsie - my camera phone pictures appear to not be appearing. I'll have to figure out how to get them on here, or I'll take pictures with my real camera on Monday. Hold your breath until then :)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Made It - 2nd time for me!

Well, can I say I made it to Wal-Mart; I made it to Target; I made it to the public library; I made it to the grocery store; I made it to school and I made it to the school's central Make It and Take It center to laminate (and chat with some friends - yeah!)? No?? OK. I'll come up with something else :)

I made a behavior clip chart and laminated it today, but I don't have pictures. It's ready to hang in my room; just didn't get that far when I ran by there today. I laminated a bunch of things I bought at the TpT sale yesterday (and I'm trying Very Hard Not to look for anything else to buy!)

OK, here's a real Monday Made It:

I like to have a little 5x7 photo frame on my shelves behind my desk with one of my beautiful flower pictures (I love flowers!) and a Scripture on it. I've got the Scripture narrowed down; now I need to decide on the picture. I'm sort of leaning toward the top one - I think it fits my room colors a little better. Any thoughts from anyone?

To do this: take a close up picture of a flower. The top flowers - have no idea what they are. My husband and I went to the big city for our anniversary, and he was so sweet and took me to their botanical garden (or should that be gardens??) and this is one of the pictures I snapped. The bottom picture are the flowers of my redbud tree back in early spring.

Take your picture and open it with a photo editing program, such as Adobe Photoshop CS5. Add whatever text you want. Play around with the font, the size, the color. My daughter, the yearbook editor, likes to have a border around the words, so I did that, too.

Then save your picture as a JPEG, and I have mine printed at my neighborhood Walgreen's. (If you are interested in doing this and have questions, just send me an email.)

My week looks like this:
Today: trying to get as much done as I can.
Tomorrow: pajama day - whoo hoo! No School Stuff! I'm even going to try not to look at any school blogs. Can I do it? I'll let you know. 
Wednesday - da, da, da, dum - back to school for a workday.
Thursday is also a workday and Friday is an in-service day.

I feel pretty ready. I've got lesson plans done; I've got copies sent off; I've got my room roughly ready, just needs a few things done. So I think I'll be good.

Okay, Happy Monday Made It to you - hope you made something cute, or useful....or both :)
And happy pajama day to me, tomorrow!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday Made It

Whoo hoo - I'm going to join a Monday Made It! And why shouldn't I? It's only number 10! 

OK, whatever.

Here's my inspiration:

from Alyce at Mrs. Bartel's School Family who got the idea from Oh, Boy 4th Grade.
(ew, just realized I didn't have a good link to Mrs. Bartel, back when I first posted about this, here. So sorry, Alyce, I truly meant to give you credit!)

The ladies painted a canvas blue, added a sun and scrap paper rays along with the words. I loved the idea and had just the place in my room for them.

Alas and alack, I ran out of time and the task started to seem a bit daunting. So I thought about one of my hobbies - photography. And this is what I came up with:

We have a Wonderful zoo here in my little medium sized community - really exceptional for a city our size. So I ran down there as soon as they opened one day and snapped these pictures (plus a lot more LOL). Then I came home and photoshopped the words onto the pictures. My yearbook editor daughter helped a bit in that process - colors and a border around the letters. AND, it was so very nice of Walgreen's to be having a sale (40% off) on posters that very week!

I must admit I am quite happy with how these turned out. I have this dead space above my kiddos' coat hooks and that is where I'm planning on putting these.

OK, don't know about you, but I am realizing I need to get Serious about school, because it Will be starting soon. My hub-bub is going to go help me set up my room tonight, and I've gotten a start on lesson plans. It's all those things I just keep thinking off that add to my to do list :) 

I guess I have just enjoyed my summer a little too much this year because I am truly having difficulty getting back into the school groove. How about you? Are you ready for school, already started, not even thinking about it yet? :)

Have a great Monday! Sara

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August 1st

It is (insert dramatic music here) August 1st. About the middle of July, I decided to put off doing too much for school until this very day. Before this, I only did things I wants to do - like shopping for school things, or creating fun school things. If I started to get grumpy or pressured, I'd quit.

Well, the big day is here. I need to get going. So I've spent 2 (very distracted) hours and haven't gotten much done. I was trying to work on lesson plans. (I truly blame part of this on the Olympics that are going on in the background.) Why is it that my first day with students is only a half day, and yet I can't plan that in 2 hours, even looking at last year's plans?

So I mentioned in an earlier post that I plan to do an ocean theme to start off the year. I've got lots of good ideas swirling around - just can't seem to land on one to use for the first day.

I really want to read First Day Jitters - it's a tradition for me.

But I want a wow activity - something that they can't wait to tell mom and dad that they did on their first day. Any ideas? Any thoughts? Any help?

What are you doing on the first day? (I think there is a linky party I need to find for this :)

Well, happy Wednesday to you - my daughter and I are having spa time this afternoon - can't wait.