Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Character Building Books

Two weeks in and I'm doing a little silent scream - aaaack! 
It seems like all I'm doing is treading water.
Part of it is that I didn't get excited about school early enough.
Part of it is that College Girl was home - and I was trying to spend every minutes possible {or what she'd let me} with her.
Part of it (an enjoyable part) is I'm mentoring a newbie teacher - and I love helping her, but it does take time.
A BIG part of it is we are using Engage NY for math - and it is taking me a lot of time each day to figure out what I'm supposed to do there. 

So -- Deep Breath!

Here's a little of what we've been doing -

I was trying to read some character building books and these are two I used:

In Pigsty -a boy's mother tells him his room looks like a pigsty, and he decided he's OK with that... until, it really does become a pigsty. This book was recommended by Cooking Up a Great Year Together {a tasty back to school activity}By Fourth and Ten for responsibility.

In Lacey Walker - you guessed it, Lacey Walker is a nonstop talker. But then she loses her voice! I was using this book to show being a good friend.

I haven't done a very good job of tying the themes of the books into character traits. So my idea is - tomorrow and Friday - we will be discussing what makes a good friend and somebody we like to be around. 

And the worst possible thing happened today. I confiscated a little toy car from somebody who couldn't keep it out of sight - and now I can't find it! I even stayed after school and looked for it. Yikes!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

First Day - What we did

Hub-bub and I just got back from a whirlwind trip to take College Girl the rest of her stuff. She's sharing a university owned apartment with four other girls - and I think liking it very much. Mainly because they have a kitchen. Last year in the dorm, she was on the 10 meals in a week plan, and one week she texted me and said she had actually used all the meals in her plan. Ummm, thank you girly for using that which we have already paid for. 

Anyway, we got to see her a bit - OK, take her out for meals - between her shifts at her new job as a desk person at a dorm.

Anyway, anyway, I just realized, that after all my indecision - see here - about what to do on the first day of school, I never reported back on that.

I did go ahead and do my iPad version of Grover reading "There's a Monster at the End of the Book." It was perfect. Each student got to touch something on the iPad to make it do something - turn the page, untie ropes, bust down a wall - and they were relaxed and giggling during it. It just worked. 

And then, I gave them each a piece of paper, and had them make their own monster. I got my scrap box out, but I'm not sure that many used it. 

Well, I guess some did. This was a great activity, because it gave them some time to work and chat. And it gave me some time to go around the room and visit with each student - and go back around and visit again. And, most importantly of all, it was pretty stress-less for me! That's a win in my book. 

{Oh, by the way, I have more than 14 students - not everybody got done on the first day. Just so you're not all jealous or something :)}

And the nicest thing - I got a note from a boy's mom - she was telling me some things she was concerned about, but then she said that her son couldn't stop talking about our day, so she thought things would be OK. Yes! Yes! I think so, too!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Communicating with Families

I've made a personal goal for myself to try to do a better job of keeping parents informed about what's going on in our classroom. 

I started a class blog of Weebly - which you are more than welcome to go look at and laugh at - Because - I didn't realize it had a blog page - ack! I have been a little frustrated with this website, but I'm hoping now that I've figured that out, things will be easier. My hope is it will move from me doing all the writing, to kids dictating to me, to them doing their own writing. Here's the website, if you are interested: Class Website.

I've also been very brave and started a class instagram site. My thought was to take pictures of stories we are reading and art projects we've worked on. I don't plan on sharing any pictures that have students' faces in them. If you are interested in the few pics I added there, look on instagram at:
mrs.sanders2 .

My main drawback on both of these is I need to get that camera phone out and shooting. Never seem to remember to do that until I'm at home trying to put something together. I do think that will get better as we go along.

So these are my - well, I was going to say baby steps, but these might be teenager steps - LOL - to trying to keep my students' parents in the loop. Any hints, tips, suggestions are certainly welcome!

It's hump day!!! :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

New Year

Hello.  It's me.  I'm still here. 

And the new school year is kicking me in the behinny!

Tonight I asked my hub-bub if he still loved me 'cause I was feeling like an old lady! {He said Yes!}

I'm tired and stiff and by the time I get home, all I want to do is crash. {I know it will get better.}

I have to tell you, though, I'm liking these new little friends. I think I might have another good class. 

We've done routines, we've drawn and written, and started some math. We're practicing centers. And trying to remember expectations {even Mrs. S. has to remember - and not let those cutie pies start talking out of turn}. 

I was thinking tonight after I got home, it's so hard to remember all the teaching of behaviors - that's the best I can think of to call them - how we walk in the hall, how we talk to a buddy, how we raise our hand to share, how we don't talk when Mrs. S. is talking, etc. etc. But this is what makes the rest of the year work! 

This is what's on my door right now - 

This was a great first day activity I borrowed from the newbie teacher. I used a die cut and cut out the puzzle pieces, then let them draw whatever they wanted. I really like it - and it makes me smile every time I walk by it. 

If you've started back, I hope you are a happy camper. And if you haven't, well, enjoy those last days of summer!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Almost There

Today was the 3rd day of in-services for me. Tomorrow is a workday. And Wednesday morning, I  get to meet the kids that I'll spend the next 9 and 1/2 months with. I'm looking forward to that! 

Today's in-service was a bit of a downer - but that might just be my take on it. I felt like the presenter was telling us that our teaching isn't up-to-date, but he didn't talk to us at all about how to do better. Well, that was the morning. The afternoon guy was a little more optimistic. And the last part of his message was what we can do to make it a better year - Be Nice! Oh, I so hope I succeed in that this year!

I've spent this evening getting things ready, so I can put everything together tomorrow, so that Wednesday I do have everything together! My room is mostly there - just a few odds and ends to take care of. And my plans are mostly set - just need to get things together so I'm not digging around while kids are twiddling their thumbs! 

Ack, and it's 9 o'clock and I'm trying really hard not to stay up too late any more - so I've got to get myself off this computer and into "going to bed" mode. 

Good Night! And enjoy your Tuesday, whatever it is bringing!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

My Room

One of the first things the gal I'm mentoring asked me was, "What's your theme going to be?" Ummm, well, nothing? I'm doing colors - mostly blue.

Usually around this time of year, I start to see a bunch of wonderful, beautiful classroom pictures on blogs. They look so nice. And oh, my goodness - I just don't have that in me. So I have to say, I was a little happy to see this post by Second Grade Math Maniac where she "confesses" her classroom isn't cute. And then I read Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade where she says, "I'm Not an Interior Designer." Me either.

I know part of it's a time thing and part of it's a money thing.

So here's the real deal in my room for this year. 

 My new desk - which I'm really liking. I got all the important things in it - and the rest of the stuff is just inside my closet. The smaller size is going to work out great, I think.

Every time I leave school, I try to straighten up all my little messes. I usually get everything but this first set of desk cleaned off for some reason.

 College Girl put up my ABC letters - I like the zig zag way she did this. And she didn't have to measure - what a time saver! Haha!!
And we have these horrible orange walls on one side of the room - I just ignore mine and cover it up with lots of student work - some people cover it with paper completely - I can't even imagine!

 The other side of the room. I'll put out chairs on our work day - Tuesday.
I've made some stars that I'm going to put on the wall in the back of the room.

 My cute little animals - now that's decorating!

So that's it. In a week or so, the walls will be covered with kid work. And hopefully it will feel a little like a second home to my little friends that are coming on Wednesday!

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

How'd I do?

Today's my last day of summer. Let's all take a moment to mourn this sad passing of carefree days and stay-up-late nights.

At the beginning of summer, I made a list of things I wanted to get done this summer - so I thought I'd check and see - how'd I do?

1 - spend time with College Girl - Yes! Probably more than she wants, but hopefully enough to get this momma through 9 months of not getting to see her every day. OK, that's just silly. But we did enjoy quite a bit of time together. 

2Sleep, snooze, rest up - hmmm, just didn't happen for some reason. I'm still as tired as can be, but I'm trying hard to be a bit more regular about my going to bed time.

3 - Ack - scary basement - YES! got this cleaned up and looking good. We've got a small pile that College Girl was supposed to try to sell through a local FB trading page, and a little of that has happened. But all in all, it's looking good! So happy about that.

3 - {yes, there's 2 #3's because I couldn't count in my original post!} Painting projects - half and half here - if you saw this post, you saw me in my cute painting outfit, and you know we got our living room painted. We didn't get College Girl's room painted. I think she just didn't want to pick up all the stuff on the floor so we could move furniture - but I don't know for sure. 

4 - Kindle - YES! Lots of reading. And I love my Kindle. Fits right inside my purse, so while I'm waiting somewhere, I can just pull it out. So wonderful!

5 - Garden - Yes - if I don't take care of this, we don't get yummy cucumbers and tomatoes like we had last night. And College Girl told me she really like zinnias, so I planted some of them. They are beautiful, and they attract a lot of bees and butterflies, so it's a double bonus! 

6 - Math - no - and I don't want to talk about it.

7 - Vancouver - YES! because those prepaid tickets really set that in stone! We had a great time. We saw a lot of really cool things - we went out on the ocean and got to see whales, we went to a beautiful garden (for my birthday), we went to this wonderful market place that just made us drop our mouths because it was so big and varied.

At the Queen Victoria park

 8 - Piano - I picked just one song that would make me stretch a bit, and practiced it for the month. Not as much as I would have liked, but it's a start. 

 9 - Crafting - No, just didn't make this happen.

10 - Sit out on the patio - YES! We've had a cooler than usual summer here in my part of Kansas. Last summer, we had like 10 days over 100. I'm not sure we've even had 1 this year. So lots of evenings, I've gotten Bubby outside to just sit and enjoy. That has probably contributed to my being tired, cuz we stay up way to late out there.

So that's a little of how my summer looked. What about you? Do you still have time to enjoy, or are you back to work?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

It Happened

It happened. Thursday evening. What, you might ask. I got excited. About the new school year. How'd that happen, you might wonder. Two things.

First, my husband and I were driving somewhere, and I saw one of my kids from last year. I leaned out the window and said, "Hi, Carlos." And you know what he did? I bet you do. "Mrs. Sanders! Hi, Mrs. Sanders!" So excited! Ah, that's such a heart warmer.

Later that evening, I checked my schools online grading system. Remember how I wrote that it said "you have no classes." Well, that's changed. I had 21 students (and probably counting.) So I looked at everybody. Remember how I said I look at all those statistics and scary teacher things' until they become "my" kids. Yep did that.

The school year is becoming a little more real to me - and I'm happy with that. 

I spent a little time in my room this morning. I was hoping to be all ready by the time I left - but haha, the joke's on me. 

This is what things looked like when I walked in:
View from the door
 Ack! I mean, yes, I'm thankfully getting a new desk. So Thursday, when College Girl and I were up at school, we dumped everything out of the old desk. But they didn't quite have the new desk ready.
 It's like whoever was putting it together just stopped in the middle because it was 5 o'clock. Well, not that I blame them - I'd quit at 5 o'clock on Friday, too.

 All the stuff from my desk - I'm thinking it's not all going to fit in that smaller desk. Some adjustments will need to be made. {Eww, could that including tossing some unused stuff - I don't know - that's pretty radical!!}

 Yea! I got all my books out of those beautiful (not) Scholastic boxes that book orders come in and into plastic tubs. I'm liking it. OK, maybe need to turn a couple of them around.

 This side of the room looks great. All I need to do is add the chairs to the desks.

So, getting excited, have a bit to finish at school, need to firm up lesson plans {crossing my fingers I can get them done through Labor Day} and then it will be time for the kiddos to come! 

Happy Weekend!!