Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sad Thoughts

I heard the news about the shooting at a school in Connecticut yesterday after school.

I actually overheard a few teachers in the hallway.

Then, I checked my email and had an email that mentioned it.

Of course, I figured it was a high school. Things like that don't happen at an elementary school. Elementary schools are filled with safety, love, belonging... markers, crayons, iPads, rulers... not guns. Not shootings.

When I found out it was an elementary school it broke my heart. To be honest, I couldn't even watch the news last night because I was afraid to hear it. Afraid to see it. Afraid to confirm that it is reality.

I watched the Today Show this morning. I cried.

When I heard it was an elementary school I immediately thought of my sweet babies... the ones I, just hours before, sent out the door with hugs and "have a great weekend!" We had a good day. We took a few quizzes, worked hard, had an extra recess we earned earlier this week, had a "dance party" (we dance to one song in the room) because one of my kids had selected it as his prize from the treasure box. They begged me to leave the music on while we packed up and I actually did. We sang and danced and laughed. We had a great day.

I spend my entire day, no, my entire life making sure that my kids feel safe, loved, and wanted. Ask any teacher- that is one of the biggest parts of our jobs. People think we only teach curriculum, but we do so much more. We love, protect, understand, and teach. We teach the curriculum given to us, but we also teach about acceptance, tolerance, and doing the right thing. We teach caring. We teach love. We do these things by example.

Some people have posted on facebook and elsewhere that it is in a teacher's DNA to protect their kids. You know, I have to say that I agree. I don't have any children of my own (unless you count my Dachshunds!) but I know that each year I am given a new set of children. I teach them, I love them, I comfort them, I protect them. Teachers are advocates for our children. We understand that every day people drop their children off at school and trust us to be there for them and do right by them. We take it seriously.

The teachers and staff who lost their lives in Connecticut are my heroes. The children killed by this senseless act... it just kills me. I will continue to pray for all those impacted by this horrible tragedy. I cannot imagine being in that situation. I do not know what I would have done, how I would have reacted. I know that my number one goal would have been to protect my babies. The teachers who died protecting their kids... they are truly amazing.

On Monday I will hug my kids tighter. I will listen to them more intently. I will continue to love them, make them feel safe. I will remember that each and every day is a gift and I should not take a single moment with them for granted. They are truly precious gifts in my life and I am thankful for each and every one of them.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

When You Enter...

I made this the other day and will be putting it in the hall between my room and a teammate's room. :)

It says:
When you enter our classrooms...
You are scientists.
You are explorers.
You are important.
You are loved.
You are mathematicians.
You are authors.
You are leaders.
You are respected.
You are the reason we are here.
Mrs. _______
Ms. ____________

I am thinking I may change the order of these things when I fix it all up on the wall with my neighbor. :)

Also- to give credit where credit is due- I got the idea from pinterest and changed it to suit us. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Third Year Teaching, Third Classroom

I believe I mentioned in an earlier post that I was asked to move rooms at the end of the school year. I happily said yes because I LOVE my job and will move where ever I need to if it means staying there. :)

Plus, I secretly LOVE new spaces and the challenge of new decorating ideas!

I went to school last week and worked some. This is what I was able to accomplish. 
I have decided to use this space to keep the kids on track with scheduling, etc. They will check here each day to see if it is their turn to use the ipod, go to the learning commons, etc. They will also find out what work station they will begin with in math station rotations.

This shows a close-up of the writing process tracking system. They will each have a button magnet with their number on it and move their magnet once they complete each step of the writing process. 

This is the beginnings of my part of the room where we will do guided reading and strategy groups as well as conferences.

This is the first half of the word wall. I haven't put my word wall so low before, but the kids make the word wall as we go through the year, so it is important that they be able to reach it. Last year I put it on 2 tall cabinets and that worked, but some of them couldn't reach the top letters.

This is the second half of the word wall and the "interesting words" wall. That's where kids put the words they see as they are reading that are interesting and can help them add voice to their writing.

This will be our math word wall. This is not something the kids build on. I add words as we go through out math units.

We are a Leader in Me school and we teach kids about leadership and encourage them to be leaders. I found this idea on Pinterest and fell in love. So, I made it a little more colorful and put it in our bathroom.

This is where we will store supplies. Last year the supplies were in cabinets and the kids could not easily access them. I thought this would be the perfect solution!

This is the beginnings of my classroom library. I like that I have been able to fit it in a small space, but I am a little concerned about how many kids will be able to use this area at the same time. I may have to have a rotation for that as well. That's ok, though.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

See the Leader!

We are a lighthouse school for Leader In Me. This lovely little inspirational quote will go above the mirror in the bathroom in my classroom. 
Too cute!

Friday, June 22, 2012


I used the Cricut and cut out these people and plan to hang them outside of my room with the quote about heroes. I think they turned out pretty cute!

The Writing Process

These are for our writing process. The kids each have a magnet with their number on it and they keep track of where they are in the writing process by moving their magnet to the correct pencil. It helps me to know who is where in the process.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Old Shelf Has New Life

Before I started teaching I came upon this AWESOME deal on this shelf at a yard sale. It was $5. Holy Cow I snatched it up and took it home.

I lived with it like that for 2 years... and I grew bored with it.

So I decided to paint it teal. (Teal Zeal, to be exact.)

But that wasn't enough.

So, I added quotes to each side. I LOVE it! I can't wait to take it back to my room.

Before you think I am crazy for putting quotes on a shelf that will be filled with books, let me explain how this shelf is used.
I go to the library (public and school) and check out Non-Fiction books on the topics we are currently covering in Science and Social Studies (and I'll admit that if I see a super cute fiction book I know they'd love, I'll get that, too.) and the books stay on this shelf when they are not being read.
My kids have book baskets where they store the books they are reading. However, because these books are checked out to me I do not allow them to store them in the book baskets. They keep them on this shelf. If they aren't finished they just put a sticky note with their name on it and the other kids know that that child has "first dibs" on the book the next time we read. 
So, when we don't have books on the shelf we will have super cute quotes! I am so excited!

Mrs. _____'s Heroes

This year I have decided we will be Mrs. _____________'s Heroes.
I found a quote online by Maya Angelou and cut it out using my Cricut. I plan to laminate it and put it in the hallway outside of my room. Too cute!

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Wow! I have not done a very good job at keeping up with this blog. (I do keep up with a blog- but it's the one my dogs have me type for them ;) and I fail miserably at keeping up with this one.)

Since I last posted I received a contract to stay in my current district (YES!) and at my current school (double YES!) and in my current grade (YES!!!). I am THRILLED! I did have to move classrooms due to some other changes at our school but I was totally ok with that.

I have been working this summer to get some ideas for next year. I have found a TON of stuff on Pinterest. I think a lot of it has come from other teacher bloggers. I don't know how y'all do it! Really, I don't.

I will say that I have a lot on my plate and that I have cut myself some slack on not being the best teacher blogger ever. I work on school stuff (obviously), take care of my 2 dogs, clean (sometimes. LOL!), work on home remodeling (this DIY stuff is really my passion), volunteer for an animal rescue group, and am now heading up Relay for Life at my school. I have a lot to do (not that other people don't). I understand that you make time for what is important. Blogging just isn't that important to me, but I am so thankful that it is important for others because I really enjoy reading other blogs and using the information provided by other teachers.

This year I am planning to try to share more of what I do in my room as I go. I'm not making any promises because I never promise something I know I darn well may not be able to keep... but I will try my best!

I hope everyone has a fabulous summer!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Happy Dance!

Well, I don't know about the programs and processes in other states, but here in SC we have a process that all teachers go through called SAFE-T using the ADEPT Standards for teaching. It is an evaluation process and SAFE-T is what you go through your first two years of teaching. Being a second year teacher, I have gone through SAFE-T this year and completed it. I passed with flying colors and am very proud of myself.

It really hit home yesterday when my principal walked into my classroom with my contract in her hand. That's right. I said contract. Now, the awesome thing about this contract is that at the top it says "continuing". Very exciting!!

Also, let me remind you that last year instead of being handed a contract to come back for another year I was handed a letter laying me off. My job (and all other induction teachers in the district's jobs) was cut due to budget cuts. I cried. I managed to make it out of the office and meeting, but I cried and cried. My heart was broken and I felt very helpless and hopeless. I had looked for a job for over a year before finding that one and I was being let go after only one year due to no fault of my own... silly budget.

Yesterday, though... yesterday was awesome. My principal walked in and handed me that contract. She said that it was my contract for next year and thanked me for all I do. I didn't cry. But, I wanted to. I wanted to cry tears of joy. I have worked so hard this year and I am so excited for next year.

I have found a school I love. I get to go to work everyday with awesome teachers and an awesome team. I get to spend my day with children I love and adore. Life cannot get any better!

I saw a quote that prompted this post. It said, "Lord, teach me to laugh again, but please don't let me forget I cried." (Unfortunately, I do not know the author of this awesome quote.) I am laughing again. I am smiling. I am breathing and not feeling like the ground might fall out from under me at any second. I assure you that being jobless is a horrible thing. It is hard. It makes you question your self worth. It makes you angry. It makes you sad. It makes you frustrated. However, at the end of it all, I have come out on top. Just as my Grandmama always says, "It'll all come out in the wash." And, you know what? It did.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Scoot! Game (Free)

If you haven't had your students play "Scoot!" you are missing out! I found it online somewhere and my kids LOVE it! We play it for review all the time. It is great because it involves movement and we all know how great it is for kids to be up and moving!

What you do it you give each kid a blank Scoot! sheet. Each box has a number that corresponds to a question somewhere in the room. The kids go to the question with that number and answer the question. You should make it a timed event. Once the time is up say, "3.2.1. Scoot!" and the kids scoot to the next question.

The one I have attached is multiplication Scoot! but I do have others and will post those later.

Again, let me know if you cannot access it and I will add your email to my google docs.

Poetry Powerpoint Free

This is a power point I used with my students earlier this year. You are welcome to it!

You can go HERE to get it.

Please let me know if you cannot access it and I will add you to my google docs if you will leave your email address in the comments.

Free Reading Log

I created a reading log today to share. It's nothing fancy, but it's free for the taking.
You can go here to get it. If you aren't able to access it, please leave your email in the comments and I will be happy to add you to my google docs.

I also created a reading response log to share. Again, it's nothing fancy but I feel like we need to all work together! I certainly get things from other teacher's blogs and love it when I find stuff for free!
You can go here to get it.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Getting Ideas

I am always on the internet on the weekends and over breaks looking for ideas for my classroom. I have found TONS of great ideas. The problem is that I have to figure out what works for me and my kids and how we do things and what doesn't. You know, every classroom has a style, a fit, a way of living so to speak and some things just don't work for everyone.

I have been thinking a lot about how to organize files. I hate filing. I am not a filer. I am awful at it. I end up stacking and stacking papers and then (to be brutally honest) I end up chunking most of it in the trash. I need to work on that. And I did. So the other week my school was open on a Saturday and I decided to tackle the STACK. I got out 4 binders and my 3-hole punch. I took out the STACK and separated it into 4 stacks. The 4 core subjects I teach are math, science, social studies, and language arts. I divided the stack into those 4 groups and then I decided that I would put the papers into the four notebooks. Then I decided that I will bring them home this summer and really get them organized into units, etc. I really need to work on being more organized with paper. One of my team teachers wants to scan everything and forget the filing cabinet all together. I like that idea. I could put it all on flash drives and back them up (of course) and that way I don't have to keep up with papers. I'm still figuring out how all that would work for me.