Thursday, February 12, 2015

Valentine's Day Plans

Holidays can be fun to celebrate, but also a headache in the class.  Add in a holiday where candy is a central focus and the words "Sugar", "Wild", " and "Constant talking" flash in your mind. In past years, I have just  setup a lovely buffet table of punch and cookies for my students, watched a movie, exchanged valentines and did minute to win it. This year I changed up the flow and am so glad I did.  The morning time from 9- 11:05 was spent doing rotating centers with my fellow teammates. Each room had a different activity that each class would rotate into for 25 minutes each cycle.  We have 5 classrooms total, with one in a completely different hallway. (Which was a concern with time of transition and monitoring students, but we planned out very distinct transitions). I will post the map that I made of our rotations and schedule when I take a picture of it.

Room 1: Science focus--- sweetheart experiment
Room 2: Just Dance room  and estimation activity
Room 3: Writing focus-- sweetheart writing
Room 4: Bingo
Room 5: (*my room)--  Lego Stem Heart challenge, and arts (heart animals and coloring)

I was so surprised how well all the students did within my room today. All students got involved in the lego heart project and were captivated. I first stumbled upon the Lego stem project via pinterest
See the link below to check it out.
Lego Stem Project

With 95 kids rotating through this station and with only 25 minutes, I revamped it a little. I had one half of my room working on the arts part and the other half the legos. After  a student would make a heart they would trade with a student over at the crafts section.  I made a heart last night and traced it on a piece of paper (just the outline). I then made copies of the outline and placed them on the student desks. I told them that the one hint I would give them to help them construct their heart was the outline. They had to problem solve how to make the the heart with the pieces they chose. I had separated out my brother's legos onto trays by color.  I would call a few students at a time up to grab a handful of any color, could mix colors as well and then once everyone had there pieces then they could come get more if they needed more.  This worked pretty well. I included doors and window legos and some odd shaped legos and the kids creativity really shined through. I told them that they couldn't use the lego people though. I loved it when I got to tie in metaphors into this experience when a student came up and said, "Look at the window to my heart." I asked her if she knew what type of figurative language she just used. The conversation went on from there and we came up with some  other metaphors. I had another wonderful discussion with some students when they noticed I had a lot of yellow legos. We started wondering if lego sets have a higher number of yellow legos than other colors and how we could design an experiment to test that and what we thought would be the results. Some really great things happened during those 25 minute cycles.
Once students created their heart they added it to the heart sculpture we made as a community.  It turned out really cool and the kids were so proud.  Some pictures of our final product are below.
Our sculpture made students think about balance, weight, support, and what would be pleasing to the eye  (engineering and architecture coming alive!).

During our time between lunch and specials (12:10-12:45) we had our valentine's exchange and packed out bags. We then moved our desks and chairs for our guests for our afternoon movie. After Specials we gathered all the kiddos into my room and watched Charlie and the Chocolate factory. Students weren't allowed to bring candy to the movie which helped keep trash down and student's attention on the movie (plus no wrappers rattling-- thank goodness!).
That took our full day. It was the cleanest--- and most calm valentine's day I have ever had with my class. These new plans are ones to keep!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sadako descriptive paragraph writing

At the end our reading of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes we worked our descriptive paragraph writing. Each student brainstormed how their kimono would look, feel, and sound. From there they colored their own kimono and started their drafts. We dissected the paragraph focusing on each piece. Topic sentence, detail sentences , and conclusion sentence were our focus. After peer editing we made our finals. To publish our work we placed them outside of our classroom and asked onlookers to try to match the kimono with its paragraph.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Winding down

As the year wraps up and my room remains in shambles....
my kiddos have been quite busy.

Today we did our "tie-dye" of  shirts which we plan on wearing as our swimsuit covers tomorrow at fun day. I must say the way I do Tie-dye is the easiest ever!

You need: (based on 27 students)

1. Rubbing alcohol-- I usually get 6-7 big bottles from walmart
2. white shirts- I usually ask the students to bring in one, old or new to use. I also buy a men's hanes pack for those that can't afford or forget their shirts.
3. Sharpies-- years past I have bought sharpie brand permanent markers.. but this year I went cheaper and got the target brand ones.. which were on sale and had a cartwheel coupon on them as well!. I only got 2 of the big packs. probably should have done 3 at least. But the kiddos did okay sharing.
4. rubber bands- just one package
5. spray bottles- i usually load up at least 4 of the mini spray bottles (got those at target, and use them for science during the year).
6. hangers or chairs.

A way better start to the new school year

My class this year is the best one I have had yet! I am so excited to actually be able to teach and not have to be dealing with tons of behavioral issues.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

classroom clean-up underway!

With the end of school approaching, my goal to get my room ready for next year looks to be unrealistic in the 2 days we have left.  I started about 2 weeks ago checking in all my classroom books and making sure there were no sly book thieves (which there totally were!).  

Today after school I had a couple goals: 
1) Roll down the library lamination machine and continue laminating my posters and the like that I still needed laminated from last year.
2)Clean out the cubby corner: fix lit. circle book sets (tub them and label them), dust, get sci tubs straighten, make science bulletin board area for next year.
3) get the desks into the cubby area to clear the floor.
4) move couch to better spot and put the cushions on. 
 needless to say I left the building around 8pm.. hungry and with swollen feet.

look at that mess....

my desk area is a disaster zone. That is tomorrow's mission. 

getting there.. still have to take down some decor from our tiki/summer themed end of year party today.

can't wait to get the couch all setup! score on free couch!! Can you spot Baywatch Frank? He is our newest classroom donation that is beyond totally cool! 

I will post some better pics of my sci cubby area later.
I decided that all the above cubby wall space would be dedicated to science. 

In lack of a better place for lit. circle book sets they now reside on top of my cabinets. 

The To-do list:
  1. Sand and paint base of spinning book rack and bring it with new bearing. 
  2. Put up books on floor on spinning case.
  3. Finish science wall posters.
  4. fix 3 awkward cubbies of extra storage space.
  5. Put contact paper down under sink... reorganized the now not flooded area
  6. get a couch cover and vacuum the couch.
  7. take down all signs on cabinet doors. wrap butcher paper.. recreate door fronts. 
  8. Setup classroom economy -- forms, money, etc.
  9. beautify filing cabinets
  10. finish laminating
  11. finish folder games
  12. setup native american bulletin board
  13. setup wall area above whiteboard
  14. organize game cabinet
  15. organize storage closet
  16. cut laminated pieces and sort them.
  17. setup hanging files
  18. re-develop reading nook.
  19. organize readers
  20. figure out better location of mailboxes.
  21. setup T.A. desk.
  22. Get poofs for the ceiling.
  23. finish unit binders and bring in.
  24. get electric pencil sharpener of awesomeness.
  25. Look into area rug for reading nook.
  26. more book bins
  27. lids for rest of lit. circl book tubs
  28. get writing process station setup
  29. Fix math game shelf.
  30. create laptop nook--
  31. straighten cubby island.

and the list continues....

Friday, March 28, 2014

Interesting story on Autism on NPR the other day.

It brings up the new research data that suggests that autism is linked to cells being unorganized in the cortex of the brain during development in the womb.. what causes that.... that's the question. Highly recommend listening to it. The listener comments are decent as well.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

New School Year = New Room

Since my mentor retired, another member of my team left for a different school district (Thank heavens!), and the harassment I received last year I got  a new team. I already love all my new teammates (so nice and welcoming!). I moved into my new room and had a stage 4 disaster going on. Over the past week I have managed to tame the piles. Tomorrow is the first contracted day.. can we say, no fun all together. Summer past too quickly! 

Summer Project:  Catalog ALL my classroom books.
Found out I have 993 titles in my library.
Here is a few of my books ready to go back to school.

 Disaster zone 4

Doesn't this look awful! Trust me it wasn't fun digging through this.

Still plain.. but getting there.
Welcome sign isn't mine. But I am proud of my privacy glass I installed with the help of my wonderful mother.

Pass hooks: target.
Passes: Oriental Trading

Checking out how my mood lighting is.

This is my new fave thing that I am incorporating into my room next year. Homeworkopoly!  Thank goodness that Mardel's also started to carry monopoly money borders. It was meant to be!!!

 My calendar usual is on my front bulletin board, but since I used a fabric background there was no way to attach it to the board. So, I now have it back by my desk. Since magnets work on it, it works as a bulletin board of sorts as well.. which will probably be its main purpose since I have a desk calendar, doubling as a desk pad to protect my pecan lady's writing desk. The blue, not so pretty plastic thing, will be my conferencing/ book group scheduler. 
my desk area- wall space.

 Sock Monkey Love. Gotta represent.
Papers already stacking up and school hasn't even started... not a good sign.

View from my desk. Kiddos can't be out of my line of sight... EVER! no more sneaky children stealing supplies or stealing things out of others' backpacks.

Look how clean and organized those cubbies look. Why can't these look like this when the kids get here and shove all their stuff in them.

Supply Center. Conveniently by my desk, so kids can't steal nor waste supplies without me tracking them.
Supply bookcase

 Had to do something to these ugly file cabinets.. Put contact paper over the whole face, was way to much work so I went with a simple strip method. When I bring in my plants to go on top it will be fantastical. After only having one last year and the luck of no one wanting this things anymore I snagged my second one. I plan on using the 1 on the right as the "student file" where they will keep their writing journals, math journals, and science notebooks. The left on will be my paper storage.
file cabinets

Decided to make my desk a conference area as well, using my 2 cubes from last year. Although I don't know how long the cube on the right has left. "Feet" liked to rock on them last year, regardless of the number of times I told him they weren't rocking chair cubes.

Gnomes have to be represented as well!

My spoon family. I used this in previous years to introduce my family. Can you guess who is who?
mom, shane, ryan, dad, me
 Safe seat. Isolated, calming, and still able to get instruction.

This was my biggest investment for this year. Bought it on Amazon using my prime account. Definitely worth it. Love that it has drawers. I still need to get a table skirt to hide some of my storage. 

My "OH NO" area where no name papers go to get claimed or be abandoned forever.
I was going to do a "black book", but I didn't want to have to spend the money on a black binder. Plus, the time to hole punch the papers to put them in it. Instead this uses things I already had and looks cute!

Have my lit. Sets above my cubbies. Partially so students can't reach them (they are shorties) and also I can still see what I have. 

Still had no clever way to hide the science totes. At least they aren't too much of an eye sore and all match. 

I used cork board squares on the end of the cubbies to open up another space to place things. I think it will be either a student work display or better yet the job board.

Word Wall above cubbies... takes up so much space. Hopefully it will be worth the while. 

Dismissal, AM routine, and birthday song.

Bought posters from scholastic's teacher catalog and framed them (target frames). There were random hooks in the wall and couldn't cover them, so I used them with twine to hang my posters. 

It's getting there.

I love my bookcase positions. Plus I can't have anything metal by the smartboard due to interference, so it all worked out. 

Still have a lot to do, but looks better then it did.