Sunday, October 6, 2013

Education Nation: Teacher Town Hall

Once this school year began, I hit the ground running, and haven't had a chance to take a deep breath, let alone blog about it.  This year came with a broad range of challenges, more than I have the time to talk about today.  I'll have to set my DVR for the Teacher Town Hall, since lesson planning will take most of my day.  I'm longing for a weekend when I feel like planning is an event that takes a few hours of my time, not my ENTIRE day.  Enjoy the Teacher Town Hall if you're able! ☺

Sunday, September 1, 2013

End of Summer

Well, I just spent a relaxing week at the Jersey Shore.  I'm still in vacation mode, and I can hardly believe that I go back to work on Tuesday!  WOW!  

When I arrived home last night, I found this sweet little package waiting for me! YAY! My Erin Condren plan book.  It felt like Christmas morning!  

I am loving this planner.  If only I could get myself motivated enough to start planning! LOL

So, as I mentioned, I just spent a relaxing week at the Jersey Shore, down in Wildwood Crest and Cape May.  I took very few pictures.  However, one afternoon we were relegated to our hotel room when a wicked, heavy thunderstorm came through.  So, I snapped a few pictures of the flooded beach and the cops who were stationed on the beach near the cones.  When the storm let up, the cops were digging something up near the cones.  Hmmm, all I kept thinking was: I just hope it's not a body, or body parts!  LOL

Enjoy your Labor Day weekend everyone! ☺

Thursday, August 22, 2013

So, it's not completely done...Classroom Set-Up {PICTURES}

...but, it's pretty close.  I purged a bunch of junk, as I seem to do every single August, but there is never any more room after the purge than before it.  Hmmm?! Let's start with my BLANK SLATE pictures.  Every year when I get to school in August, I think: How on earth am I going to get this ready??!! And, the reason I say that is this:

So, you know how this goes.  After your initial shock upon arrival,  you start to haul things out of your closet, or other storage space.  I'm kinda mad I didn't get a picture of my closet when I arrived.  I always forget over the summer that I have to face that crazy closet when I come back in August.  When I'm packing up at the end of year, and I just want to get out of there, I shove things in in such a crazy, haphazard way, the stacks literally defy gravity.  Well, not all of the stacks, the first half of the closet is neat and tidy and orderly, just the way I want it...then about half way through packing it--I just want to get out of there....that's when the crazy stacks start!  Anyway, I digress.  So once I start unloading the closet and hauling things to the approximate location that they belong, then comes the RED HOT MESS STAGE:

I even have a panorama of the RED HOT MESS

Then, after blood, sweat, tears, a few broken nails, a couple new bruises, and a few choice words.  Some semblance of a classroom starts to take place.  The, OKAY, I THINK I CAN DO THIS stage: 

My calendar wall.
Morning calendar, section 1.
Morning calendar, section 2.
Also on the same wall as all of my calendar goodies, my lunch menu and order wall.  Behind the yellow paper there's a super old chalkboard, it's magnetic.  So the students each have a magnet with their name on that they use to order lunch when they arrive in the morning. 

Storage under the calendar wall.  

Above my calendar wall.

Next: One of my favorite spots in my whole classroom.  My classroom library.  It's got a couple colorful rugs, some comfy chairs, some soft stuffed animal reading buddies, and some nice lighting.  

Computer station.  I have 4 student computers.  
Bucket Fillers, new for me this year. I placed this on an UGLY closet door that I covered with black contact paper.  (Yes, I really did...{SIGH!}) 

My focus wall.
Math focus wall.

Writing focus wall.

My word wall is a bit atypical.  I have limited wall space after my focus wall and calendar wall and smart board wall and then a wall of windows.  So, I came up with a way to 
 place my word wall against the window without covering it.  I used 3 panels of black foam board.
My other favorite space in the classroom.  My teacher table.  I love working with small groups in reading and math, I spend a lot of my day at this table.  

Next to my teacher table: The bookshelf on the bottom holds small group bins for guided reading, and math manipulatives for math groups.  There's also a bunch of progress monitoring materials there too. The top portion is individual student mailboxes. 
This table is used for my writing station.  At the beginning of the year, I also place my Leap Desk there too. (Ignore the pile by the door...I did say I purged a bunch, right?)

My listening station.  I used a small white bookcase and added 3M hooks to hold the headphones.  

My desk.  I NEVER sit there.  I take attendance and check my email there, but I'm usually standing.  Who has time to sit in first grade?! ☺
Bookshelf behind my desk.  It holds picture books that I don't want kiddo's hands on, and a few cute stuffed animals that I occasionally allow students to read to.  
This is the least amount of "stuff" I will bring home all year long.  I always have multiple bags.  It's crazy!  A colleague of mine says: "Teachers, the original bag ladies!".  I agree.   

I hope you enjoyed the pics of my classroom.  I also took some videos.  (This is new for me! LOL) This was inspired by Jennifer White at First Grade Blue Skies.  I adore everything she does.  She has a video of her super sweet, adorable classroom on her blog.  You really have to check it out.  So, in Jennifer's video, you'll hear her sweet, southern accent.  In my video, you'll hear whatever music I had on my laptop that I could add to the video.  I was definitely not going to narrate with my crazy blended accent.  (Somewhere between Minnesota nice and New York angry! LOL  {Born and raised in Minnesota, but have lived in New York for 9 years.})  So, if you choose to watch my videos, you'll get to hear some Lumineers and some Emmylou Harris and Mark Knopfler (strange combo, I's what I had on my laptop at the moment!).
The vids are in my Google Drive: