Thursday, July 31, 2014

Parent Communication

Ah, some of you wrote some sweet comments about me mentoring. Thanks for that!

Last year, I wanted to figure out some way to communicate better with parents. You know, to give them an idea what we do when I'm with their children for like 7 hours of the day. Our copies are limited, so I'm trying to find something that I can do online. I tried Remind - but only 5 parents signed up for it. I thought about doing Instragram for my class, but didn't do anything with that idea. 

This year, I've heard about two website deals. 

One is 

I set up an account for this, but it feels like I'm having trouble getting started with it. 

I, never one to go overboard - wait, I can hear my hubby chortling in the background over that one! - also found this and set up an account:

So weebly - seems to be more like a blog. I can design a website, add pictures and slideshows, and other things - some of which I don't know that I'll figure out until I play with it. 

And classhubz - almost seems more like FB - in that you add comments. You can also limit who can view it because it has an invitation feature. I can also share photos, documents and events.

So my question - do any of my readers use either of these? Do you like it? Why? Or do you use something else to let parents know about school? I'm just wondering and being indecisive!

Tomorrow is pajama day with my girl! Last day that I don't have something before I have to start my back to school. Hubby is making a donut run for us and we've already got some of this:

Oh, my goodness - this is heaven straight from the freezer!

So whatever your Friday brings, enjoy!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


I spent this morning at my school. I know, trying to get out of that procrastination mode. 

I spent a little time in my room - and then some time helping a co-teacher.

I'm excited that this year I'm going to be the mentor for our new 2nd grade teacher. 


She is a sweetie - excited, wanting to do everything, thinking things through - I think she's going to be a good teacher. 

She's moving into a classroom that has been empty - you know how those are. One closet shelf was full of kindergarten stuff - into the freebie bin it goes! And dictionaries - she probably had 30 of those. Give some of those away. Several boxes of division flash cards - not going to need those. Her students chairs don't all match - it doesn't seem to bother her.

I finally had to go. I felt like I was a tornado - just create a mess and I'm gone.

I do feel for her - she'd like to know her schedule - still a big secret. She'd like to know names of her students - still a big secret. 

Today, I realized I need to be careful not to overwhelm her. Which is hard, because it seems like there is so much she needs to know. So I'm trying to think, what can wait.

Anyway, wondering, what do you think a good mentor does? Is there any advice you'd like to share? What was the best thing your mentor teacher did or said? Help me make this a good year for my new co-teacher.
And Thanks!

Monday, July 28, 2014

No Classes

I don't know if you can read this, but it says, "You have no classes." 

I told my husband that I will certainly get a lot done this year if I don't have any students. LOL! Really, I mean it, Laugh Out Loud! 

I've been checking our online grading system, and they (the district) haven't officially assigned students to classes yet. {I'm betting somebody knows who my students are already, but it ain't me!} Well, it's not going to really matter - I don't know any of them yet. Which really, I think is a good thing.

I just want to know how many I'm going to have. I want an idea of reading levels. I want to see the boy/girl ratio. All that statistical stuff - that really sorta scares us, til they become "my kids."

I am heading into the home stretch on summer vacation. A week from Thursday, we start in-services. I'm betting that by then, my class roster doesn't say "You have no classes." 

I'm spending my days getting ready and procrastinating. Procrastinating and getting ready. 

I have lesson plans mostly done for the first short week (we go Wednesday morning, Thursday and Friday) and the first full week. 

Procedures, procedures, procedures. This is how we do it; this is how we do it; this is how we do it. Repeat, repeat, repeat. 

And try to keep it engaging.

And I'm still trying to make some decisions on what all I want to do. 

Tonight, I've convinced my hubby to go up and help me set up my room - well, the furniture. We have a teacher resource center with lots of die cuts that I need to go to yet this week.

So that's what my week's going to look like. Procrastinating, getting ready, moving furniture, finishing stuff that needs done at my house (not school stuff). Happy Monday!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Got to Remember

I should be working on lesson plans right now - I'm meeting with a newbie colleague tomorrow and I told her I'd share. 


I was going to say, this is more fun, but I'm pretty sure that's not it.

I was at the doctor's this morning. Only because my summer is almost over, and I want to spend time doing things like going to doctor's appointments. Who wouldn't?

And while I was standing in line, I overhead a mom say all of this, one right after another:

I hate the way you act
Shut up
Shut up
Shut up
Shut up
You are such brats.

My point here doesn't have much to do with this parent - I have no idea what's going on there.

My point is when I tried to casually look over, I saw two little huddle kids. Those could be kids in my class. 

And my thought was, I don't know, probably don't really have any idea, what some of my kids may be facing when they leave my room each day. So I want to make my room as good a place as I can for them, and really for all my little friends.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Lesson Plans

Yesterday College Girl was read, read, reading. She would hardly stop to answer a question or anything. But she did tell me she'd set a goal on Goodreads to read 100 books this year, and she's at about 50 right now. 

Then, I was looking at my blog, and I saw I had 48 posts this year. So I've made it my goal to have 100 by the end of the year. 

So here goes number 49!

I've been slowly working on lesson plans. Ack, I am so easily distracted. {College Girl told me yesterday that she thought I didn't like the actual thought of going back to school, but I like school once I get there. Personally, I think it's the having to get out of my pajamas and actually be somewhere every day by 8:00. But what do I know?} {Although dress code has been an issue here, and I think they should just tell us we have to wear scrubs. My nurse friends say they are so comfortable. But whatever - and see how easily I get distracted!!!}

Anyway, I'm going to be very brave and show you a little, bitty piece of some of my first week's lesson plans from last year:

{Phew - that wasn't so bad.}
I make pretty detailed plans for the first couple weeks - so I can remember everything that I want to remember!

Anyway, this is a little tip/ what I do. I mark these up pretty good with what worked, what didn't, what I might do differently next year, what we didn't actually get to. {I usually only make these notes for the first couple weeks, and then again for the last couple, when things are all crazy and a little unstructured.}

So as I'm making my plans for this year I can look back at last year's and I see that personally, I didn't like the Bucket Filling book. And that we didn't even get to math facts with dry erase boards; and I didn't get the story read that I wanted to do. And then I have where I wrote "yes." To me, that means that idea worked, so it's worth doing again. 

So this is a little way to make planning a little easier for myself, and to also remember what worked and didn't work previously. 

I have actually gotten the first day done. Well, in reality it's only a half day. But still. I'm on my way! 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Backyard Birds

This isn't really school related at all.

Last night, I thought I saw a blue colored bird in our tree out the living room window {the window actually looks out to the back yard} so I went to investigate. Didn't see anything, but I started thinking that the birds were being pretty noisy. Then I saw this guy:

So a little background - a few years ago, my dog was outside and I looked out and noticed these birds were dive bombing her! So I went out to  see what was going on. Well, my loving dog had thought she'd made a new friend. She'd found a baby birdy! {don't worry, this story has a happy ending!} There was this fledgling bird who was apparently taking the big first flight, and instead, ended up sort of fly-hopping along my yard, chased - no I think I should say, followed by my dog, who was being chased by the parent birds. I grabbed my dog's fur with both hands and hauled her into the house. {Which was a bit interesting, because she's like 60 pounds!} And then I watched out the window as the baby bird finally got on the low branch of a bush. The parent birds started doing a low flying swoop around the baby bird, as if to say, "Come on, you can do it. This is how." It was rather fun to watch. The baby bird eventually fluttered up to a higher branch on a tree. And eventually flew away.

Now back to last night - I looked over and saw about 3 birds on my fence and 3 more birds on this black thing I have in my yard. Then I saw some birds doing that low flying swoop and I started looking - and realized this guy was probably on his first flight. I called my hubby out and we watched for awhile. A long while. Then we went inside. And about 5 minutes later, my hubby looked outside and this guy was gone.

But now, I am realizing, I can connect this to school. I want to be like those parent birds. I don't want to do all the work for my kids. I don't want to push them before they are ready. But I DO want to swoop beside them and say, "Yes, you CAN do this. Come on, try!"

Thursday, July 17, 2014

First Day Planning

Yesterday, a teacher friend texted me something important:


Also, yesterday, my 2nd grade team got together. These three people are going to help this be a Great Year! I just know it! 

Somehow, I've become the teacher who's been around the longest - wow, how'd that happen? And my male co-teacher, who's been here two or three years. And a sweet gal who's moving up from 1st. And a newbie gal, who seems to be on top of things. 

So we met and got acquainted a bit and shared some ideas - and suddenly two hours had passed. How does that happen! 

But this all adds up to - - - I need to start doing some serious thinking about the first of the year. 

So yesterday afternoon, I got out some of my PD books I meant to read - - - and decided to watch Netflix with my daughter.

So this morning, I decided I'm super serious. And that's when the panic set in. 

Let me tell you that my whole goal in life for the first day of school is to have 1 - that's all, just one - activity that lets my kids go home and tell the grown up at their house this is going to be a great year. Or this was so much fun. Or I'm going to like 2nd grade. Or some variation on those. 

I have struggled mightily with this.

And as I was looking at Pinterest, and TpT, and just flat out googling - ack! Heart Palpitations. 

Why is this so hard? 

I tell myself - I'm smart. I'm creative. I can do this! {But still....}

I've done Sunny Days' necklace idea - with various tweaks and wasn't sure I wanted to do that again. {But after looking at it again, maybe I do.}

My co-teacher had an idea to read "Where the Wild Things Are" and have groups cooperatively make monsters. But I have to say, I LOVE "Where the Wild Things Are" but I'm not sure it's the tone I want to set on the first day of school. 

So, just brainstorming here with you all - I have "There's a Monster at the End of the Book" with Grover from Sesame Street on my iPad. I thought I could do that {it's narrated and animated} and maybe let them make monsters. And then a little brainstorm came to me, I could get my scrap box out, because it really seems like kids love using scraps from my scrap box. 

OK, so I'm seriously asking for help.

Please don't let me be like Calvin! What great activity do you do on the first day of school?