Sunday, June 28, 2015

Rock your 1st year of teaching; Tips for beginning teachers

I'm getting ready to start my 3rd year of teaching and I've definitely learned a few things along the way, especially this last year. So I'm linking up with Chandra from Teaching with Crayons and Curls for her linky to share some advice with first year teachers.

Set your rules and procedures and STICK to them: Make sure to follow through because as soon as you don't with one, then they all try to see if they can push you or what they can get away with. There's also always that kid that thinks they're better then the rules. For example, this year my co-teacher and I had the kids use hand signals to let us know when they needed to use the bathroom or get a drink or a tissue, etc. that way they didn't interrupt us with asking if they could do one of those things. We would see the hand signal and nod to them without ever having to stop teaching; however, we had one student who would constantly come up to use and ask to do these things instead of using the hand signal and we constantly had to send him back to his desk and remind him of the correct way to ask.

Get to know your colleagues: Chances are you have a colleague or two that is a veteran teacher, get to know them, ask them how they do something, maybe it'll work for you too. There's no sense in reinventing the wheel if someone is pedaling smoothly down the road. It may not work for you but tweak it for you and your kids.

Communicate with parents: Keep your parents up-to-date on what's happening in the class, whether it be with a newsletter or by keeping your website up-to-date. Giving your parents some tips & tricks for that tricky new math concept or a few books/series that seem to be a hit in the classroom, lets your parents know that you want them to be involved with their child's education and extended the classroom to the home.

Don't sweat the small stuff: In the world of education things are constantly changing, we all know this, and many times changes are happening on a state level and there's nothing that you can do about it. Just go with the flow and try your best. The past few years we've had a lot of changes with curriculum and observations, but everyone was going through it and there was nothing you could do about it, so try your best and give your kids all they deserve. There's no point in upsetting yourself and losing focus on what's most important...your kiddos.

Don't worry about what others are doing: Yes, get to know your colleagues and share resources, they might have something that works for you, BUT don't worry about how far they are in the curriculum guide or that their students are understanding the concept with flying colors and yours are still struggling. All classes are different, you know your kids best, and what works for them. Yes you can't get too far behind with the curriculum, but remember you can revisit concepts later. Do what works for you and your kids.

If it's not working, don't be afraid to change it: Everything you do might not work, if it isn't working don't be afraid to change it. Try to make big changes, if they need to be made, at natural stopping or changing points; the start of a new semester/tri-mester, marking period/etc. or after returning from a break. Kids are resilient and they will adapt to a new way of doing things.

I hope you found some of these tips useful and you have a great first year. Welcome to the world of teaching. Be sure to visit the other bloggers who have linked up!!!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

3-2-1 Teacher Bio {Weekend Warrior}

I'm so behind on my Bloglovin feed that I didn't even know about this linky. Good thing I was scrolling through Instagram. I love getting to know other bloggers, so I'm linking up with Primarily Speaking for her Weekend Warrior linky and this month's theme is 3-2-1 Teacher Bio.

So here we go....

My classroom library is my pride & joy. I've collected quite a collection of books since I was in college. Yard sales, library sales, & Scholastic book clubs are my best friend. By the end of the year I had a little guy, who started the year as a reluctant reader, devouring my classroom collection of Magic Treehouse books. He had improved his reading level throughout the year and found a series that interested him, I couldn't have been more happy.

Math never came easy for me growing up. Then once I started teaching math, it of course was easier for me to understand, and now it's my favorite thing to teach, even though I love to read. Maybe it's because I struggled so much that I understand what my student's are going through when they don't understand, and I'm researching ways to help them understand.

I'm very relaxed when it comes to where my kiddos sit to do their work. There is the library with a couple of chairs in it & clipboards for them to lean on, a carpet to lay on, and there are 4 of those little black IKEA tables with the fuzzy pillows under them from WalMart for students to sit at. Some of my kiddos even loved to stand at these pre-school cubbies. (My room last year used to be a pre-school room and the cubbies where left behind.) As long as they are working and doing so quietly, then they may sit where they are comfortable.

At the beginning of the fall I really got into the show The Affair on Showtime, and I really wished it was based on a book so I could read the book and find out what happened. My dad use to ask me all the time when I was a kid, with my nose in a book, if reading was like watching a movie for him. Yup!!! A book usually holds my interest better then t.v. or a movie.

Ever since we bought our house last May, I've had to reign my shopping addiction in. :( Now I mostly grocery shop :( which I hate or shopping for my son, which I love. In the summer I shop for my classroom, but most of the year now shopping for this homeowner.

I always want to be the best teach I can possible be and continue to push myself and I've always thought pursuing this certification would really push me to be the best and to constantly reflect on my practice.

Well now that you know you a little bit more about me, I can't wait to read me about all the fantastic bloggers out there.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Five for Friday 6/26/15

I'm linking up on this fabulous Friday with Kacey from Doodle Bugs Teaching. This Friday is so fabulous because this was my first full week of summer break.  

 We spent some time Saturday at a local, free zoo. My guys being silly, having their pictures taken in the cut-outs.

This was me Tuesday night. We had a big storm that knocked the power out, we were lucky to get ours back Wednesday morning, there are still some people that don't have theirs back yet. I'm so thankful we didn't go too long without ours. But since my house was eerily quiet Tuesday night, I had trouble falling asleep. This was me in bed....just laying there. But on a positive note, I managed to decorate all of the bulletin boards in my new classroom & the placement of each and began organizing my teacher corner (since I'll be sans desk this year :). Oh the things you can accomplishment in your head on a restless night.

While laying in bed Tuesday night I also thought about all the things I needed to do, like re-organize my sons room. We already had this fantastic organizer from IKEA in his room, I just did a little summer cleaning of stuff he doesn't play with anymore. I absolutely love this organizer. It's actually two pieces. When we bought it last summer, these were the only color buckets they had and I had to beg and plead to get enough of them. Luckily my son is 4 and likes all colors, but I imagine sometime in the future my husband will have to spray paint the pink ones...maybe.

The other bonus of no power...more time to read, since there was nothing else to do. Good thing I had gone to library on Monday. I'm currently reading Every Fifteen Minutes and almost done. These are just some of the books on my massively long summer reading list.

The best reason for summer break. Getting to spend time with my cutie. We were having a picnic lunch in the yard. I just love that little face.

Hope everyone had a great week this week and a good week next week. Have fun with your Fourth of July plans and be safe.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Five for Friday 6/19/15

Schools out for summer!!!! And maybe I'll become a better blogger and Tpt seller this summer (maybe....), baby steps...maybe a few linky's a week to get me back in the grove, so let's start with Doodle Bugs Teaching Five for Friday linky.

School is officially done for the summer. Wednesday was my last day. Now 2 weeks off until 5 weeks of summer school starts. I'm looking forward to going back in August to set up my room though, (isn't it sick that I'm thinking of it already? Aren't we all a little bit like this though?) my co-teacher and I are moving rooms and we made the leap to get rid of our desks, so I'm excited for the chance to reorganize.

All of our days this week (all 3 of them) were half days, so on Tuesday we played some Minute to Win It games. Here's myself, my co-teacher, and our assistant playing Scoop It Up, where you have to transfer the ping-pong balls from one bowl to the other, using only a spoon in your mouth. Definitely not as easy as it may look. I only got one ball transferred. Our assistant got all 4 transferred.

On the last day of school we handed out paper plate awards to all of our kiddos, here's a shot of a few of them. The kids really enjoyed them and many of them seemed to know who was getting the award before we called the student's name.

 The last day of school was also Superhero Day at my school, the students and staff were encouraged to represent their favorite superhero or come up with one of their own. I went with a simple Captain America t-shirt....
 And this is why. I knew my husband already had one and when I bought mine, I bought my son one, so we are now a whole supers family.
We spent a few days at the beach. This was my little guys first time on the beach and in the ocean, which he wasn't too thrilled with. The beach was fine but the ocean was too much for him.

Enjoy your weekend. If you're not already on summer break, I'm sure the end is near and when it gets here, enjoy some time for you before putting your teacher hat back on.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

June Currently

Oh boy it sure has been a loooooooong time since I blogged. My hubby's getting ready to go back on night shift, so hopefully when my little guy, who is not so little anymore, goes to be I'll have more time. But in honor of the end of the school year I'm linking up with Farley from Oh' Boy 4th Grade for her June Currently.

Listening to Jake and the Never Land Pirates...obviously I have a little one, who isn't so little anymore, he's 4. Who let that happen?

Loving my new summer shoes. So ok I may have gone a little crazy last week and bought 5 new pairs. But I really needed some new sumer shoes and I just love them.

Thinking about packing up my classroom. This year my school departmentalized, 3rd & 4th graders; however, my co-teacher and I were lucky enough to stay self-contained since there were an odd number of 3rd grades, but next year there will be 10 so we'll be switching with another teacher for math. Since we're switching we'll be moving our classroom to a room that is closer to the teacher who will be teaching math to our students. Now this is my 2nd year at this school, so I initially moved in, then last year I packed up my resource room and moved across the hall to co-teach 3rd grade, now we're packing again to move to a better location. It's a lot of moving, but I'm ok with it to get a different room. Maybe it'll help me declutter again. I'm also going to make the move to get rid of my desk when we move. Being a co-teaching classroom we have a lot of furniture. 2 teacher desks, 2 small group tables, plus we have a carpet area, and a classroom library. I'm unwilling to give up the areas for the kids, so good-bye desk.

Wanting to make a dent in my summer reading book list. I've somehow managed to make a notebook page, so far, list of books to read this summer. I just happened to be looking at one of those lists of best books to read this summer, then it turned into reading 3 or 4 more of those lists and my list has grown. Some of the ones I'm excited to read:

  • Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  • The Liar by Nora Roberts
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  • The Stranger by Harlan Coben
  • Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
  • Defending Jacob by William Landay
  • Before I Go by Colleen Oakley
Some of my colleagues and I have a book club and we plan on meeting this summer at another colleagues beach house, yay!!! So one of these books will be crossed off the list by the book club. And of course just about all of the titles on my list are relatively new and are unavailable at the library, so it'll be a waiting game this summer.

Who doesn't need more time in the day? My co-teacher and I are planning a food drive for this weekend, it's our first big event and I feel like every time I turn around there's something I'm forgetting. This end of the school year has just seemed to be crazy though. Just about every day on my desk calendar has something going on. I really can't wait for the laid back pace of 5 weeks of summer school half days. No IEP meetings, no meetings at all, no plans, just go with the flow. I really seem to come up with some of my best lessons on the fly. Is anyone else like that?

Summer Lovin.  Who does love extra money, especially in the summer. Hoping to put some of that towards a mini vacation for hubby and I, since it's our 5 year wedding anniversary this July. My sister is also having a baby at the end of September, so her shower is the end of July.
My nephew at 12 weeks
I'm SUPER excited to plan this shower. I never thought I would be an aunt. She never really wanted kids until she met her boyfriend and the love for him has changed her mind. He's a miracle and so is my little peanut of a nephew. I can't wait to meet him. This is the only picture I could find of him at 12 weeks, she's almost 24 weeks now, time's flying and before I know it he'll be here. :) So in the mean time I'll work my way through my reading list and enjoy the time off with my little guy.

Don't forget to link up with Farley!!!