Archives for August 2013

Back To School I Go

Tomorrow I go back to work after a nice summer break. I always wish I had “just ONE more week,” but I’m also sort of secretly excited. The beginning of the year is always full of anxiety, hope, excitement, nervousness, panic…did I miss any? 😉

I’m almost ready for my classroom reveal. This week is only for teachers, and we have some time to finish up our rooms before “Back to School Night,” so I spent my last few days of summer away from my classroom.

I will be posting pictures soon. Hint: I’ve incorporated my black, blue, and zebra “theme.” I’m not really a theme person, so I decided to stay simple. 😉

For all of you that go back to work tomorrow, may the force be with you!! And for those that are already teaching your hearts out, we are right behind ya! :)

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Teacher Week 2013: 5 Tips & Tricks of Teaching

I’m linking up with Blog Hoppin’ again for the last linky party of the week.

Teacher Week

Today’s topic is tips and tricks that teachers use to help get us through those first few weeks of school.  Some of these things last all year, of course, but others are implemented at the beginning of the year for the most part.

photo 11. Social Contracts:  On the first day of school, I always create a social contract with each group of students.  I don’t like to give rules to my students.  Instead, I let them set the rules, and social contracts make this go much smoother.  I’ve found that the students are actually harder on themselves than I ever would be, and they always come up with the same rules that I would give them, but just worded in their own words.  For more information on how to manage this activity and some of the thinking behind it, click here –> Social Contracts.

2. Build the Climate: I like to have several class building and team building activities for the first few weeks.  Even though these students have been in school together for awhile, there are always new students that move in and others that are very shy and need help getting to know the other students in the room.  Kagan is a WONDERFUL resource for these activities.  My favorites are inside/outside circle, 4 corners, and think-pair-share.  I try to sprinkle these throughout the day.

3. Hand Shakes: Many teachers (and the school nurse) think I am absolutely crazy for shaking my students’ hands when they walk into my room every day, but I don’t care.  Teaching in a school with 78% of students coming from a low socioeconomic background means teaching things that aren’t on “the list.”  Shaking hands is a lifelong skill that these kids need to learn.  I think it also helps build that positive climate that we are all wanting.20130731-174532.jpg  For more information about this and the workshop where the idea was presented, click here –> Capturing Kids’ Hearts.

4. The Safe Place: In the back of my room is a special place where students can always go if they are angry, sad, or upset.  It’s nothing fancy, but a place for students to be away from all other students when they need it the most.  There are several ways to go about setting this up in your own classroom, and you just have to do what works for you.  I choose to put a bed pillow on the floor with a seat cushion and lots of stuffed animals to hug.  For more information on how to manage and implement your own “Safe Place,” click here –> The Safe Place.

5. Organization: One of the BEST ways to waste less time and get more bang for your buck is by staying organized.  This is where I have the most trouble.  I don’t have a problem starting the year organized, it’s keeping it that way!  I’m getting better and better at it, and this year I WILL stay organized all year.

Oh, and one more thing: KEEP SMILING!! The best medicine for any situation is a smile.  Breathe, relax, and remember: “This, too, shall pass!”  :)

Do you have any additional thoughts?  I would love to hear from you!

I wish all of you the best of luck beginning a new school year!

teacherweek2Head over to Blog Hoppin‘ for additional tips and tricks!

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10 Fun Things About Me!

Today I’m linking up with Blog Hoppin’ for a fun linky party–10 Fun Things About Me!

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1. I’ve just recently found my new addiction: blog hopping!  I think it’s fun to peek in on other teachers and “steal” ideas to make my own.  There are SO MANY great blogs out there, and I know I haven’t found them all yet.  That’s what is so fun about it.  Every day I find new information and new teachers to follow.

2. I teach in Texas in a town just south of Austin.  I absolutely love what I do.  When I was first hired, I was actually scared of 4th graders!  Shhhhh, don’t tell anyone!  After just a few minutes around them, I knew that my fears were unrealistic.  They are still sweet, love their teacher, and they don’t stink too badly!  😉20130807-194258.jpg

3. I have a wonderful husband and a son that just turned 2 last week.  This “terrible two’s” thing might just kill me!  Where, oh where do they get so much energy?  I’m young and all, but WOW!  I have to take a break every now and then to survive.  LOL  I had to share a picture of my little man so that you can see my inspiration for everything I do.  😉

4. We have one dog.  A mutt named Jimi.  He is an old dog, but still demands his attention when he is feeling neglected!

5. My favorite band is The Dave Matthews Band.  I’ve been to several of their concerts and enjoy listening to them in the car and even in my classroom.  Too bad I wasn’t the one who saw him stranded on his bicycle on the way to his show and gave him a lift!  Did you read about that?  He’s so awesome!

6. Purple is my favorite color….for now, anyway.  It changes from time to time.  Anyone else that way?  I’m decorating my room in blue, and I’ve picked up quite a few new blue pieces that are hanging in my closet, but I still love purple!

7. My favorite TV shows are Suits, Mike & Molly, Two Broke Girls, and The Big Bang Theory.  Out of those, BBT is my overall favorite!!!  I could go on and on about that show, but I’ll save that for another time!

8. I enjoy DIY projects.  I may have quite a few coming up in my near future…

9. I’m learning more and more about technology every day.  Blogging has forced me to learn about even those little things that make a big difference.  Also seeing so many neat ideas from other teachers about how to use and implement technology into the classroom is encouraging me to go full force this year!

10. I am also a FREE health coach to those seeking to lose weight or embark upon a healthy lifestyle.  I won’t go on a rant about that, but I’m here for you, too!

Well, that’s it from me.  I’m heading over to Blog Hoppin’ now to read up on others!!  Ta ta for now!

teacherweek2

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Monday Made It: Back To School Finale

It’s time again for Monday Made It with 4th Grade Frolics!

Monday Made It

Made It #1: Pencil Dispenser

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So after seeing a few of these puppies on Pinterest and other blogs, I knew I just HAD to make one!! I’m already spending birthday money just to do this (my birthday isn’t until November!!). Yeah, I REALLY wanted one!! Anyway, I like to give love to my inspiration when I can, so here are some links to the pins and blogs that I searched. {Blog Posts: Ms. Third Grade, Teaching Maddeness, and The Resource(ful) Room; Pin by Melissa Resendez}

I’m more of a “simpleton,” I guess, so my pencil dispenser is just black with my signature zebra and blue ribbon across the front. This wasn’t hard to do at all. I took 2 pieces of scrapbook paper that I had from my scrapbooking days and cut it into 4 pieces (one piece for each of the front 3 sections, and then a larger piece for the bottom. I decorated the piece that goes in the front with ribbon and stickers that spelled out pencils, and then I actually just used clear tape to attach the paper to the dispenser. Since I used black paper, I was limited to the type of adhesive I could use without it being seen!

And there you have it! An awesome pencil dispenser that will make my life much easier….hopefully, anyway! :)

Made It #2: Clipboards

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My second MMI is a set of clipboards that I cutsified for my team members. As a welcome back gift, I decided to cover clipboards for my team members. They aren’t completely finished because I am going to personalize them once they make their picks. Instead of me choosing who each one belongs to, I’m going to let them choose.

These were super easy, and I’m sure you have seen them before. Most of you probably even have one! I just love school supplies and thought these would be a great way to welcome my team back to school. There will be 4 of us in 4th grade this year, and two of them are new, so may the force be with us! 😉

Thanks for stopping by! For more amazing ideas–and THE LAST MONDAY MADE IT OF THE SUMMER–head over to 4th Grade Frolics!

I’ve also linked up with Krafty Cards etc. for a linky party.

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Super Cute Fonts (Personal & Commercial Use–TOTALLY FREE!!)

Totally Free Fonts

I admit it.  I have a new addiction…other than blog stalking and Pinterest!  FONTS!!  I love fonts!!  I know, you’re probably thinking I’m crazy right about now!  That’s OK, you will find your font addiction soon, too, if you visit this website that I just found.

I know that there are lots of websites out there that offer “free” fonts, but many of them do not allow you to use their fonts on products that are not for personal use only.  So be careful!!  You don’t want to use a font on TpT or even on your website/blog that is for you only.  I just recently downloaded like…50 new fonts from www.fontsquirrel.com.  There is a plethora of fonts to choose from, and all of them allow you to use them commercially!

If you are looking for new fonts for back to school, head over to Font Squirrel for some awesome new fonts!!  I included the picture to show off a few of the new ones that I downloaded.

What is your favorite *FREE* font website?  I would love to hear from you!!  (It’s OK, if you admit you have an addiction, it’s not as bad….right??)  :)

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Back To School: Table Cubby Labels

Another FREEBIE for you today.  I’ve been working today on my labels for my table cubbies.  I haven’t ever used these types of labels, but after seeing so many of them on Pinterest and on other blogs, I had to make some for myself!  Here they are, in all their cuteness!

Table Cubbies

If you like black & white or zebra print, feel free to download the ones I made.  Click here –> Table Cubby Labels.

I will be posting a tutorial on how to make these bad boys, so be sure to check back soon!

What is the theme for your classroom this year?  I’d love to hear from you!  Leave a comment below and tell us all how you are decorating your classroom this year!!

 

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