Monday, August 12, 2013

Whew...1 week down...sooo many to go!!

Wow...I have survived the first week.  My class of 24 kiddos has finally come together.  Also, my other class of 23 kiddos are coming along really well.  I am teaching Language Arts & Social Studies to the entire 6th grade at my school.  I am spending the first two weeks doing review.  Review of nouns, grammar, reading a map, and getting into the swing of things.  It amazes me how much being out of school for 8-9 weeks effects the motivation of these students.  It is almost like everything they have learned, management wise has completely left their brain & having to follow procedures is a foreign expectation.  OMG!!

Then to add to the never-ending to do list at my school the principal wants lesson plans submitted 1 week in advance.  I appreciate this requirement because this helps in planning, as well as if there is ever an emergency and you need a sub in the classroom.  Things can continue as usual without much disruption in the teaching/process.  Also having another set of eyes or two can make sure all avenues which need to be address can be edited and amended before you actually try to teach the lesson.  But, boy does it ever add to the endless amount of work that never seems to be accomplished.

On a more positive note, I finished my reading bingo packet (shameless plug) ...which is for sale on my TpT page.  Even better I have even sold a packet.  I was so stoked.  I am a new teacher so coming up with some somewhat original activities to include in my store is a work in progress, so to sell something I created is really cool.  Here is a look at what it includes.

Even better my friends my project on has been fully funded!!!  Woo Hoo!!  Thanks to my family and Wells Fargo my school will now be the proud owner of a 35 book class set of Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis.  I read this story with my kiddos during my student teaching tenure & they loved I am extremely excited to introduce my friend Bud to this group of students as well.  

Onward and upward...I am ready to conquer week 2 and the rest of the school year.  This week Galileo/Benchmark testing, two less days I have to plan & I get the necessary data to ensure I teach the needed skills and build off of the skills my students already show mastery on.

Good luck on the school year my friends...I will try to post as time allows.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Mentor Text Link Up

I found this Linky Party courtesy of Head over Heels for Teaching.

I have an amazing book my Lang. Arts teacher required us to read in my undergrad program that changed my life when I read & I WILL implement in my classroom this year.

The book I am talking about is Deeper Reading by Kelly Gallagher

It gives so many different strategies to help readers, young and older alike get more out of the text and content.  I really love the Snowglobe activity, it allows the reader to see the setting as an additional character to the story and thus see how relevant it is to the overall story.  After reading this book I found myself becoming a better reader, along with comprehending the text better.  I have always been a voracious reader, and now because of the strategies introduced in this book, I found myself enjoying reading even more.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

August Currently

First for something funny.  Our school district had a big Back to School Celebration for all the elementary school teachers this past Friday.  We met up at the school and were bused to the location of the event.  Click on the picture of the school bus below which is a link to a video of what happens when a group of elementary school teachers and administration get on a bus without any kiddos around....enjoy.

I love my new found blogging community.  Because of this I want to participate in this month's August Currently Linky Party, hosted by my friend at Oh' Boy 4th Grade.  So, with this being said here is my contribution to the festivities...

Listening:  My husband is loafing around and trying to drive me nuts by listening to Nationwide Racing very loudly on the TV.  But, basically it is sports in general.  I had to get up early this morning to get the brakes replaced on our SUV (you would think my hubby would do this, but alas it is left up to me).  I wanted to ensure my vehicle is in tip top shape before the school year started to ensure one less thing I would have to think about or keep track of during the busy season (hahaha!).

Loving: The fact my classroom is student ready.  As you all know I was faced with a mountain of 3rd grade items which had to be removed before I could begin setting my resources up.  But, as of 2pm on Thurs., Aug 1st it was done - just in time for Meet the Teacher night at my school.  I was so excited to share my hard work and meet some of my kiddos & their parents.  Only half of my parents/students showed up, but I got a chance to catch up with some of the students I worked with last year when I student taught 6th grade at the same school.

Thinking: I am always thinking of my classroom library.  I LOVE to read, that is the big reason I am so excited to teach Language Arts this year.  Because of this I want to encourage and create a desire and love for reading in my students as well.  Anytime I go to a store where there are books (i.e. thrift stores, book stores, Walmart, Target, etc) that is where you will find me.  I want to make sure great, engaging, and fun books are available to my students at all times.  Along with my library I really want to convince my Principal to subscribe to Time for Kids for my classroom.  A large focus in the common core is informational text, and this resource would help develop the skills the students need to gain the endurance and knowledge to use these skills.

Wanting: Being a teacher there is always something needed in the classroom.  This more true than ever, since I am teaching in a Title I school located in a low SES neighborhood.  I dread giving my students & parents the classroom supply list because to the tight finances a lot of the families find themselves in.  I wish I had the money to make sure they had all the supplies needed so there would be no additional things to buy, but I am as broke as they are.

Needing: Post-it chart paper so I can do a couple of great activities to build up my classroom community.  I want to have the students share their expectations of their community, school. classroom, and self.  Also, a great laid out plan to help the students understand the expectations & procedures that will be covered the first three days of school.  Thursday the students begin their normal schedule and the following week they have are given the first set of benchmark tests.

B2S Must Haves: 1. Pedicure - it is still sandal weather here in Arizona, so to make sure I have cute, presentable toes and feet I really need to get a pedicure.  Unfortunately this will not happen until next weekend, I'll let it be a surviving the first week of teaching reward.
2. Mr. Sketch marker set.  As a child school supplies have always been one of my favorite things to shop for.  I fondly remember being treated to a set of these wonderfully scented markers, and to commemorate my first teaching experience I want a set - an extended set - for my personal use.
3. A new Coach bag.  Every semester in college I treated myself to a Coach bag/purse, and I want to continue the tradition.  It is even easier to afford this luxury since there are 2 outlet stores within 30 minutes from my home, and a third an hour away.  The only caveat is figuring out a way to keep my husband from finding out, he is very budget minded, and doesn't see the necessity of a new purse, but ladies I know you can see my point of view.

I look forward to hearing about everyone's first days of school.  I know this is going to be the best one yet!!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

And so it begins...

Tonight was meet the teacher night.  I was able to see a few of my students I worked with in my student teaching classroom, and I met the parents & students of my class for the incoming year.  I am so excited.  It seemed like many of the parents were excited about the ensuing school year.  This year we are straying from the traditional classroom format than the school has been running these past few years and the sixth graders are switching classes two times a day.  Because of this it allows me to teach Language Arts & Social Studies.  So instead of the 22 students in my homeroom, I get to teach 44 students - which I am so looking forward to.

Now for my classroom.  When I first walked into it I wanted to burst into tears.  The previous teacher did not care to clean it our of the 3rd grade curriculum and manipulatives which are used and left it all for me.  On top of that the two sixth grade teacher I worked with last year while student teaching left me a TON of stuff they thought might be beneficial to me.  Needless to say it looked like a school storage room had exploded.  As of 2pm today - Aug. 1st - it was finished.  I mean everything on the walls, books in their rightful place, desks arranged, floors swept, garbage emptied - basically a place for everything, and everything in its place.  I am so happy for my bright, cheerful, and CLEAN/ORGANIZED classroom.  Here are the pictures of it.  I didn't think to take any of before...I just didn't want to relive the nightmare.  So, here is my home and paradise for the next 9 months.

My Language Arts Wall...covered with 6+ traits and literature features

My "Super Writer's Checklist" - I found the original on Pinterest, but tweaked & made it cute for my classroom.

My front board w/my objectives in a plastic frame to daily write with dry erase markers, my homework area, then finally my classroom management/noise moderator letters.

View from the door -- looking at my teacher corner, the darker area of the room.  I wanted to make sure the students were given the opportunity to work in the light.

My Social Studies wall...all set up for the first unit in Ancient Civilizations - Neolithic people & the Mayan, Aztec, and Incan peoples.

I can't get it to rotate...but this is my birthday theme is Owls (like you couldn't tell).  This is the only cutesy thing...the rest has been toned down because it is 6th grade after all.
I am so happy for the way it turned out.  I am ready and excited to meet the rest of my students on Monday morning and get the school year hoppin!!