Monday, August 22, 2011

Meet the Teacher Monday

Hey y'all!  I am so excited to be participating in the Blog Hop (although I would much rather be heading to bed!)  So let's get it started!

Tell us a little something about you...
I am happily married to my high school sweetheart (we have been together 10 years!).  We both went to college locally.  He went to The Citadel and I went to the College of Charleston and we got married two years ago.  We both have a slight huge embarrassing obsession with our dog Gizmo.  He is the best dog ever and he’ll be 13 years old this year so we’re thinking of throwing him a birthday party.  Is that totally strange?  I mean, he’s our child, right?!
How long have you been teaching?
This is my fourth year teaching.  I taught 5th grade for two years and this will be my second year in 3rd grade.  I have only taught in Title I schools and I love it!
You might not know...
I am pretty shy and quiet until I get to know you.  This seems to contradict my teaching personality!  Also, I was always pretty good kid.  Is that strange?  I never had those knockdown, drag out fights with my mom that all my friends seemed to have and I was always very conscious of my choices.  It didn’t seem worth the punishment of being grounded for one night of “fun.”  I also never really partied that much in college; probably partially because I had to take my hubby back to The Citadel!  I also speak for my dog.  I think the hubby and I have more conversations for and with Gizmo than we do as adults...that's frightening! 
What are you looking most forward to this school year?
I am looking forward to staying in the same grade!  Last year I had to change grade levels, so that was a big adjustment.  This year, I feel more confident in the content I’m teaching and I am loving my schedule!

What do you need to improve?
My organization!  I am determined to be more organized this school year and not spend hours after school doing simple things I could have done throughout the day. 
Also, I feel the need to socialize during my planning instead of TCBing!
I would also like to work on Math & Science as those are the subjects my students struggled with last year.  I love science and so do my kiddos so I’m looking forward to this year!

What teaching supplies can you *not* live without?
My SMARTBoard.  I love it!
Colorful pens & markersI’m sure I’m the 548,678, 219 teacher to say this! :)
Coke Zero!  I’m trying to limit it to meetings, but we’ll see how that goes!
Chart Paper & dry erase cart.  I use it D-A-I-L-Y. 
My laminatorI’m afraid it’s on the fritz.  Surgery has already been performed once by the hubby and me.  It’s never a good sign when it goes in, but nothing comes out!
My behavior clipboardit stores supplies on the inside which is a must!
My badge lanyard.  I have a boring, dull one now, but I hang pens on it so I always have them handy.  I’ve also hung my timer on it, which may or may not have fallen off during our fire drill todayeekers!
This was a lot of fun, and didn't take too long!  I'm sure tomorrow I'll read this post and see a bazillion gramatical and spelling errors.  I'll blame it on the sleepiness!  See y'all later!

P.S.  Make sure you link up!  It might not be until December this weekend, but I can't wait to find even more teacher bloggers out there!

P.P.S.  I just realized I used my newest, favoritist font and I'm pretty sure unless you have this font installed, it won't show up nicely on your computer.  Please let me know if it looks all funky!  I'll try and fix it tomorrow after I get back from classes in the afternoon!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The First Couple of Days

Whew!  I made it through my second day with the kiddos.  I only have six students this year.  I am not a special education teacher, but I teach Third Grade Academy which provides interventions for students who are not reading on grade level.  Last year, I started off with 7 and then we lost our other 3rd grade teacher.  There's still some aprehension about that happening this year, but this year Title I is funding our program instead of the district, so we're keeping our fingers crossed.  With that said, I only have 6, but I have six active new friends!  One had a crying breakdown all afternoon yesterday, but today was fabulous!  I definitely feel like I need to go back to the neck is killing me!  However, I haven't been in over a year and I know I'd have to go 2-3 times a week, which I just don't think I can do once grad school starts back up next week.  Anyways, I took some pictures of my room to show you.  If I forgot to give you credit for your idea, please let me know in the comments section.  I stalk read so many blogs it's hard to remember where I saw everything! :)

My behavior chart.  I was inspired by the one here.

Our classroom jobs and reading strategies.  I got the signs here.  Someone else blogged about these as well, but I can't remember who.

This is our writing process chart.  I don't have them up yet, but students use clothespins with their number on it to move through the writing process.  I'm honestly not sure how much this will be used this year, as we don't have a formal writing block;  rather, it is integrated throughout the subject areas. 

This picture has a lot going on!  We have our clock times around our clock.  I modeled mine after Mrs. Lemons.  Check hers out here.  I've done this in past years, but just always used small post it notes.  I like this much better, even if it does crowd around our small clock!  I've seen a lot of people using the Important Times around the blogosphere then I saw Mrs. Lochel use the foam clocks from the Target Dollar Bin.  Genius!  I could do that...I wouldn't be good at drawing them though :)

This is our agenda for the day.  I am loving this and am so glad I did this this year.  Last year, I hand wrote everything (it looked just like the Wonderful Wednesday & Lunch/Recess).  However, I quickly realized how much that stunk, so I came up with this.  Today I made the days & Lunch/Recess so it will be concise.  However, I hate to admit that my laminator is on the brink of death (I think).  Our school laminator is broken so I was a laminating fool this past weekend.  Sunday afternoon, I looked over and realized a sheet was going in, but nothing was coming out.  I didn't react in time to get it back, so the hubby and I performed surgery on it.  It worked fine afterwards, but it just tried to eat my Lunch/Recess label...argh!  I really love my laminator and would hate to have to buy another one!  Okay, I got wayyyyyy off topic there!

We decided on our Class Rules Expectations together.  Then, we all signed!  Once our laminator is back up and working, it'll be laminated.

These are our community supplies.  Each student has supplies at their desk, but these are extras if they need them.

Bits and Pieces about me...I realize some of them are curling...oh well!

Okay, this post is certainly long enough and I am off to bed (at only 8:30!).  I hope everyone has had a great start to their school year or you're enjoying your last bit of summer :)  See you soon!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Calling All 3rd Grade Teachers!

I was so excited when I saw on my blog roll that Me and My Gang was expanding from 2nd grade to include other grades.  I jumped at the chance to be an author over there and am looking forward to making my first post after I get all of this stuff school stuff done.  I am so excited to be blogging with some of the most amazing bloggers out there!  Go check out the 3rd Grade Gang here and you can also check out the other Me and My Gangs they have.  See you over there :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Setting Up The Room Day ?

I guess technically I would be on day 7?  Who knows!  Today I actually felt pretty productive and I got LOTS of compliments on my room :)  I've never had what I would deem a cute, nice, organized classroom so I am really trying this year.  I thought I'd share some pictures of what I did today.

This is what I came up for my daily bins.  I'll put my copies in these expandable folders.  Each bin has two folders:  This Week & Next Week.

I don't have any bulletin boards in my room so I had to improvise and do this.  I'll be adding the word 'Wall', but I only had one capital W, and it would really bug me to have a lowercase W. 

I got my technology hooked up!  However, I can take zero credit for that, unless you give credit for stalking running down chatting up the media specialist and batting your eyes so she'll please please please set it up for you.  Oh, that doesn't count?  Didn't think so!  :)

My Birthday Cupcakes!  I am really pleased with how these turned out.  Again, I can take zero credit for this.  I got the templates from the lovely Mrs. Lemons over at Step Into 2nd Grade.  Can I just say I feel like I am losing my mind?  I s-w-e-a-r I pinned this so I could give credit when I put the picture up.  I couldn't find it in any of my pins!  Thank goodness for the search option on Pinterest!  Everyone that saw these loved them so kudos to Mrs. Lemons!  In looking at her beautiful display I realize mine would look decent cuter with the smile and squiggly eyes...add that to my list of to-do's for tomorrow.

I do not like the colors of the letters, but I felt I was pretty limited because I already had a lot of blue and I couldn't use my favorite color pink because there's no pink in the border!  Oh well, I'll just have to deal :)

Number line is up as is my saving grace in its new home.  I cannot stress how much this poster helped our class last year.  I am considering redoing it as we added in two new hand signals, but it may just have to work for now.

I also finished my jobs which was annoying, but I like it better now that they all share the same font.  I also met with my team today to discuss plans.  I feel like I've gotten so wrapped up in my room that I've forgotten about the teaching and prepping I need to do for next week!  Please tell me I'm not the only one.  I need to get to bed...PD tomorrow morning and then I'm heading into my room for the afternoon.  TGIF!

P.S.  The lighting in these pictures stink...sorry!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Okay, seriously, this is ridiculous!  Today was my first day back and I am just exhausted!  I know I can't be the only one!  Today we had a professional development in the morning where we went over procedures and met our new employees.  One really exciting thing was the data presentation.  They showed information on the Third Grade Academy (TGA), which I teach.  It showed their growth from 23% in the fall up to around 60-70% by the spring (don't remember the exact number)!  I was pretty excited :)  Then, we got to have lunch on our own (without children and more than 20 minutes...I'll take it!). 

This afternoon I worked in my classroom, but really only have one thing to show for it, my job board.  This job board is quickly becoming the bane of my existence.  So, here's the problem, I made this myself using plain library pockets and colored paper last year (see picture).

P.S.  I don't know why the light looks funky...

So anyways, last year I had to change a few jobs around so I just used a vis-a-vis marker to write on these.  Well, I wanted them to look nice so I went to type them up.  Unfortunately, I have no clue what font I used on the original and nothing matched.  So now, I'll be redoing all of these...ugh!  I'm not OCD about a lot of things, but this is definitely one of them!  These are not all of the job pockets, but these will be replaced as well. 

I'm sure those of you who have gone back will agree, I am exhausted and this is without kids.  I don't know how I'll do it next week!   I have loved all of the pictures of everyone's classrooms and hope everyone is having a great start to your school year!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

MAP Data Analysis

Yesterday I went to a refresher training for the Voyager program I teach.  Last year I was unable to teach the Math part in small groups and I really hope to do that this year.  I'm thinking of having an hour and half block to teach the Voyager program.  During the hour and a half, the students would rotate to three stations:  Reading, Math, and Computer.  Both the reading and math have an online component so they would be using Ticket to Read or VMath Live on the computer.  However, I do not know when we'll be going to special area, lunch, and recess so the schedule I mapped out yesterday may not happen, but as a teacher, we all know we have to remain flexible! 

I thought I would share with you what I used to track my student's MAP data last year.  I just modified it so that it's up to date for this school year.  I left off a year so that it can be used year after year. 

Math MAP Analysis:  Click here to view this.
Reading MAP Analysis:  Click here to view this.

These are great for determining small group instruction.  I plan to use this to group my students for differentiated math group instruction on Fridays.  I will also look at where my students fall for Reading to determine mini lessons with guided reading.  I hope you find this helpful!

UPDATE:  I found a picture of one that I filled out for one of my students last year.  This one also has their MAP scores from the previous grade.  The ones I attached are cuter (I think!).  Hopefully this is helpful :) 

I am off to lay out for my last day of summer then I have big plans to paint my nails!  Whoo hoo...I am kind of excited about going back.  I know I'll be regretting this in a few months though.  I'm also loving that college football is around the corner!  On a totally random note, we just bought this (not exact brand) for my husband to wear to the games we go to.  I'd love to find a girls version.  I have a jersey (as you can see in my header), but Alshon Jeffrey signed it!  I went to Steve Spurrier's Ladies Clinic this year and he signed my jersey, so my hubby says I can no longer wear it!

Wow, this is sad how quickly I got off topic.  This just goes to show how spaztastic my brain is lately.  Yes, I totally believe in spaztastic being a real word.  I will continue to use it :)  Hope everyone is enjoying their summer or start to the school year.  See you soon!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Setting Up the Room Day 5 & Currently I Am Linky

I went up to the school (again) and spent almost 8 hours there.  I am starting to feel like I live there!  I'm also starting to wonder how some people have their rooms set up in one day.  However, I just have to remind myself that I'm in a new room this year so I have a new set up and I really needed to weed through all of the supplies I had, since ya know, I didn't do that last year. 

My goal today was my classroom library.  Overall, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.  I had to weed through my books and am bringing home about 3 1/2 boxes of books.  Here's what it looks like now:

The seating is not fabulous, but it will just have to do.

These are my posters from last year.  They probably will not stay where they are, and I may update them, but I thought I would share.  The # system worked phenomenally.  I could be working with a group of students and know what a child needed just based on the number of fingers they were holding up.  We eventually added a fist in the air for a tissue and an 'e' (sign language) for eraser.  This was without a doubt a lifesaver for me this past year!
Thought you would like an updated view of my desk plus the new storage rack.  This thing was a real pain to put together.  I was going to put it together yesterday, but the directions suggested a rubber mallet so I had to wait until I got our rubber mallet from home.  I really like it though, and think it will be the perfect place to store my teaching essentials.

Now onto the Linky.  I actually made this yesterday.  However, I changed it for todays.  Farley, over at Oh Boy 4th Grade is having a Currently I Am Linky party.  I just LOVE Linky parties!  Here's what I'm currently up to:

You know you want to join in the fun...head on over to Oh Boy 4th Grade
P.S. If you scroll to the bottom she has a blank one you can fill out...awesome!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Setting Up The Room Days 3 & 4

So, I went to my room yesterday and took lots of pictures...and then I left my camera at school.  So I'll combine days 3 and 4 in this post.  I feel like I'm really starting to make progress although I have yet to tackle my library.  Just thinking of weeding through and sorting out the books gives me hives.  I had to bookshelves last year, but am down to one this year due to space constraints.  Here's the progress so far!

FYI, be prepared for lots of pictures

I added my new pretty labels to my Sunshine binder Folder.  I also took pictures of a few of the types of items I keep in here.  It really does make you smile!

I also revamped my communication log.  I'm sure you can probably guess which one is the new cover :)  If you look in the top, you can see my pencil cups.  I made the labels out of vinyl using my cricuit, but I think they're too big so I'm redoing them.

Can you guess what my theme is?!  We'll be the Delightful Dogs (again).  That's my writing sourcebook in the middle...obviously not part of my buys at the teacher store.  It just happened to be where I unloaded the dog stuff.

This is our bathroom sign.  I'm not 100% sure I'm happy with this set up, so we'll see!

I thought I would share this.  This is where I keep any important returned forms, nurse passes, and behavior sheets.  It's really helpful for conferences :)

I am not 100% I'm going to keep all of those stuffed animals there.  They are from past students, but I can only name one that I know who gave it to me.  I'm thinking I'll keep just that one.  I hate to give them up, but I also don't want to become the crazy stuffed animal lady!  This bookcase houses a lot of my things and can tend to get cluttered, so that's why I have a curtain over it.  However, my goal is to have no clutter this year!

This is the view from the door.  I guess it's probably about time to take the bags off the computer!

Our word wall.  All of the storage containers you see on the right will obviously not stay there.

Math center...slowly starting to come along...
Our writing center.  I'm not really too thrilled with this area yet. 

Storage cabinet...I consider this pretty organized, although I know not everyone would agree! :)

This will house our science center (on the counter) and already houses assorted paper and filing supplies.

Storage cabinet

Phew! I am exhausted.  The sad thing is, I took more pictures!  I'm off to get ready for another day, and am really dreading going through all of those books.  See you later!
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