Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Pre-Kids Room Tour!

This will be a post with many pictures and few words.  I wanted to share my "finished" room before school starts.  Of course, it is not really ever finished, especially without student work!

I updated the Read 180 Browser Notebooks to 2inch ones, and made fancy covers.  Of course, we are updating to New Generation (in a month) and I assume that there will be new books to include.
To accommodate the additional computers (to accommodate the additional kids) that I am getting, the library got shifted around and split into two sections.  The audio-book section is on the other side of my desk.  I think it will work out better this way.
It really opens it up and the flow will be better.
I made two large vertical number lines (click here if you want to buy your own).  It worked out better to put them on either side of the front boards.

Pano-shot of the front of the room.  Really not all that different from last year.  It works!
This is the background for my "I Can" and Homework board.
The "I Can" Statements will go on the clipboards.  My "I Can" Statements for 6th Grade Common Core Math, and my "I Can" Statements for 6th Grade Common Core Language Arts are available in my TPT store.
On the other side of the not-Smartboard, is the beginning of the Maroo giant storyboard.
I might have gotten a little carried away with the stars.
The trees took forever!  And they were worth it!
This part of the board represents the time they spent at the beach (the sun should be a dead giveaway).  I put Erin's (Lovin' Lit) Elements of Plot posters up because we will be hitting those the first week.  They will come down when student work starts going up.
Then there is the CLIFF!  Also, I spent a ridiculous amount of time on the clouds.
The mountains and the snow house!  After my one painting class with my sister, I was feeling pretty artsy, and painted the mountains freehand.  It took two days because the gray had to dry before I could paint the snow.  I am pretty impressed with myself - so be kind:).
The board ends with the descent down the mountains to the Fall Gathering - notice the bigger star?  Yep, it is Old Mother's star guiding her down.  The audio books on the other side of that bookcase, and the empty space is for the two additional computers (that have not materialized, yet).

My master plan is to use the board for Otzi the Iceman too.  Plus, when we move into narrative writing, I am going to hide a few Bigfoots up there to go along with our Bigfoot prompt.

We had orientation today, and when the little tour groups came around, they loved the board!  First impressions count!

Tomorrow is our first and only "teacher day," and while others are scrambling, I will be puttering around my room, laying things out for Thursday.  Whew!  It is good to be done, and ready to go!  Bring on the students! 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Bad Blogger

Bad Blogger!  I am so sorry, but I have been down the rabbit hole recently.  It happens every time I take a class.  I sit for hours at the computer with Stargate and Richard Dean Anderson playing in the background - don't judge me, it is my happy place.  My final meeting was this afternoon, and let me just say that I was a little over-prepared.  The people who presented after me were not happy.  Reflecting on it, I think that I might have been a little bit of an over-achiever with a dash of OCD. Anyhow, it is now over and I can take a breath.

As I was saying, I am a bad blogger because I should have been reminding you of the big SALE over at TPT!  Since I am pretty sure every other blogger was reminding you of it, I will let myself slide on that one!  However, I did want to let you know that my "I Can" Statements for 6th Grade Math - Common Core - are up finally and ready for you to buy!

115 "I Can" Statements broken down into kid and lesson friendly chunks.  This is the kind of stuff that sends me down the rabbit hole.
 I will share my finished room tomorrow!  I am so happy with it!  That is another reason why I have been down the rabbit hole lately.  Orientation is tomorrow, and I have to get some rest or my brain will explode.  I promise to share pictures of the classroom tomorrow! 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Five for Friday: Bulletin Board Peek and Back to Work!

The panic is definitely setting in!  I have one more week before school starts officially, and the list of things that I did not get down this summer is getting longer.  So, just to take a break from panicking and working, I thought I would link up with Five for Friday over at Doodle Bugs!


Last week, I went in to work just one day.  This week, I was there from 8 - 12ish.  
This is the look that Lucy gave me every morning.  After the first day, she could smell school on me and was not a happy dog.  Deep sigh...

This looks like a snow house, right?
  On the way to work the first day, I was praying to find the joy in teaching again.  Last year, it got lost in all the chaos.  So, once I got there and opened the room, I got inspired.  
 Maybe too inspired!  I think that God forgot how old I am getting, because this stuff used to be easier.  This is a panoramic picture (my first one!) of my Maroo wall.  It is a work in progress.  The paper is up, the tree trunks are up, the snow house is done, and most of the trees have their foliage.  Next week, finish up the trees, then start painting mountains and valleys.  I figured that it will go with Maroo as a giant plot map, the Iceman, and when we are moving into narrative writing, I will sneak in a few Bigfoots hiding behind the trees and mountains.  I promise to share some pictures of it when I finish, if I finish.
The empty space by the snow house is for the two new computers.  Part of the reason that I was having trouble finding the joy was that Read 180 was up in the air.  Would I be teaching it?  Was our district going to use it again?  If so, I agreed to take a few more kids.  So, the challenge was to find room for two new computers, and more kids - I think I found a way for it to work.
On Monday, I got the news that not only were we doing Read 180, but our district is FINALLY upgrading to New Generation! Whoopee!  So very happy about that little surprise!  At the conference last summer, it was so hard to listen to all the wonderful new writing and rigorous reading lessons, and know that we were stuck with the old Enterprise.  I realize that this may not mean anything to you if you are not a Read 180 teacher, but if you are....WHOOPEE, HOORAY, and YES!


This time of year, I am on the hunt for a good day planner.  Yes, I know that my iPhone will do everything, but I need it on paper.  Sometimes, I need to see the whole picture.  This week I found this one at Target.  I was a little upset and doing an emergency run to buy a new laundry hamper (Hank and I do not want to talk about it), and decided to make a detour to my "happy place," the planner aisle.

I doesn't look like much, but I love it!  The tan color is very professional, and the hot pink elastic band screams, "I am still a girl and I love pink!"  It flips up - totally cool.  There is plenty of room to write on the weekly calender, and above is a whole page for notes!  My OCD list-making heart went all pitter-patter!


Finally, going back to work, this is what I will miss...


Just sitting around and watching these two sweeties.  They do this about five times a day.  Lucy takes one of Hank's toys.  Hank whines, cries, and begs for it back.  Lucy makes him beg some more, and then gives in.

I hope this works, because it will be the first time I tried to insert a movie. Okay, it shows up on my desktop Mac, but not my iPad.  
Have a great weekend!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Peek At My Week: Paint, Notebooks, and Points!

Another Sunday is winding down, and I still have too many things to get done around the house before going back to school!  Regardless, it is time to start making "school" lists, rather than continuing to check off the "house" list of things to do!  So, here is a little Peek At My Week for Jennifer over at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings!

First off, I have to brag a little about my painting.  One of my sisters and I took a painting class yesterday.  The place is called The Purple Easel.  They take you step by step through recreating a famous masterpiece.  There about fifty people there and a pretty mixed group; sisters, couples, generational family groups, and one bunch of about twenty twenty-something cousins (doing shots).  Yes, they encourage you to bring your own refreshments!  Not being a drinker, I took a bottle of water and my sister had a Diet Coke, but I have to say it was fun watching and listening to party on the other side of the room.  They have franchises around the country, so if you are looking for a fun girls night out or a date night, I would highly suggest looking them up!
Not being an artist and being ridiculously hard on myself, I am still pretty proud of it.  However, I think I might have found my sibling white elephant gift exchange item for Christmas, ha!

Unfortunately, the rest of my painting is not so glamorous!  I have been painting lattice work fence panels forever!  After deciding that I was going to lose my mind using a brush, I went to Home Depot and got spray paint this morning.  It is going much faster.  It has to be done today because we are expected temperatures in hundreds this next week, and I do not want to be in the garage painting!  After that is done, I have to get it up on top of the brick wall before school starts!  Hank has not shown himself to be a jumper, but I want to make sure the yard is jump proof before going back.

Next, I will be going in to school tomorrow and working on reorganizing and replenishing my Read 180 QuickWrite/Graphic Organizer notebooks.  I need to make lots of copies and move them to larger binders.  I love them in the binders, that is not going to change!  It is just that last spring, I finally admitted that maybe the 1 inch binders were just too small for the job.  It should take me a couple of hours in the lounge, and since our carpets have not been shampooed yet(!!!!!), it gives me a chance to get to at least get some prep work done.  We are not going to be allowed in the classroom until next week!  Grrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!  Why does the carpet shampooing team run my district?

So, for the rest of the week, I will be going in for 4-5 hours and working in the lounge.  Primarily, setting up notebooks, cutting things for bulletin boards, and running off homework and the first week of school stuff.  Hopefully, everyone else will stay away and leave the copier to me!  

Finally, someone asked me to explain how I use my point system.  It is really pretty simple; I use it anyway I want to on that day.  
First, I made these "points" and ran off copies for multiple sets.  I glued them to different colors of construction paper and laminated them.  It was a lot of work, but I plan on using them for about 5 years.  Blue points are for Table 1, and pink points are for Table 2, and so on..., because in the past, they demonstrated a frustrating habit of stealing points from other tables.  I keep them in a pencil box on my front table, and any student near it sets off an cry of tattletales.
At the beginning of the year, we used this all the time.  We found that we were running out of time to use it to its full potential.  This year, I have the lucky little darlings for the WHOLE day!  We will have time to make it work.  Essentially, one point-keeper at each table has a clipboard with this sheet.  They mark down who has their agenda signed, homework, and tardies.  During the first ten minutes of class, while the others are doing their warm-up, I come around, double-check the tally sheet and award the morning points.  

After that, I giveth and I taketh!  They can get points for anything; being the first table ready, working quietly, awesome answers, good tries, being kind, and even for their grades on quizzes and tests.  To be honest, they lose points for anything that annoys me; talking and not working, not moving fast enough during clean-up, not paying attention, and a long list of other things.  Also, they have to use their points on Monday to buy bathroom tickets for the week - which leads to hilarious conversations.  For more information, check out my prior posts on how I use points in my classroom - Points: A Tale of Bribery or Motivation, and Monday Made It!

Don't forget to go to my TPT store and check out my "I Can" Statements for 6th Grade Language Arts!  I will be putting my mini-posters into my binder tonight!
 Alas, the washer machine is calling my name and I must paint the final side of the lattice work fence panel.  Have a great week and I will keep you updated on my school prep work!

I know this is crazy, but I am thinking about having a mythical creature themed year; Bigfoot, dragons, aliens from outer space, chupacabra.  I can just see them hiding behind bulletin boards and peeking around corners in the room.  I think they would make great argumentative pieces and projects.  What do you think?   Maybe I have been watching too much TV this summer:).

Don't forget to link up over at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Kid and Lesson Friendly "I Can" Statements!

I finally finished my "I Can" statements for 6th Grade Language Arts!  It took way longer than I expected it to take, but I am really proud of them.  I wanted them to not only be "kid friendly," but also "lesson friendly."  My printer is going right now, printing out my set of the 108 "I Can" statements in the packet! One hundred and eight pages...that is even a record for OCD me:).
I kept them simple and clean!  No silly graphics or "little kid stuff" on them! 
Included in the packet is the checklist that I used to make the posters.  Each standard with the matching "I Can" statements all on one list.  I am going to keep a copy of it in my lesson plan book and another in the "I Can" binder (yet to be made).
Be sure to go over and check out the list (full preview) at Middle School OCD @ TPT!

I am out of here!  My sister and I are taking a two hour painting class in just an hour!  She will kill me if I am late.  It will be interesting:)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday Made It: Craftsy

Linking up today with 4th Grade Frolics for the Monday Made It linky, and it will probably be my last one of the summer. 
This will probably be my last one of the summer.  School starts back up in just a few short weeks, and I need to get on it!  However, I am very pleased with myself this week.  I was very "domestic."

Yes, it is true!  I hemmed my curtains and finally hung my fancy mirror.


This was a mid-century tablecloth, with stains.  I found it during one of my antique trolling outings.  After much maneuvering, I was able to cut it and make a pillow - my bed needed a bit of color.


The smaller gray pillow was made this week too!  Last spring, I found these beautiful king size pillow cases with the embroidered border at Bed, Bath, And Beyond, in their sale bin.  I carefully ripped them apart, and turned them into smaller pillow cases.  The pink pillow is the first time I used piping!  There might be a reason why you are not seeing the bottom of the pillow...  I am pretty proud of it!  It is not perfect, but the next one will be better!

Since I had never used piping before, I looked it up on Craftsy.  Craftsy is a super wonderful website that has tutorials on just about everything "craftsy."  

They offer classes on quilting, sewing machine basics, tailoring, sewing with knits, not to mention a million others.  Their classes are a mix of free and paid ones.  They are online videos, which is awesome for me!  I really like being able to watch something new being done.  Once you buy the class, the video is available to you as many times as you need to see it.  

All together on the bed, I think they look really nice.   I still need to make a couple more.  Definitely another pink one, and I am thinking about making a light gray one to put behind the floral one.  Ignore the black and white fluffy one, it came with the bed:).

As for school, I have putting together a notebook for Common Core (not exactly picture worthy), and working on my "I Can" statements.  With school coming up fast, I need to shift out of "domestic mode" and move up to "school mode!"

Make sure to go on over to 4th Grade Frolics to see what everyone else has been up to!  Have a great week!

p.s.  Some of you were concerned about me walking considering there have been mountain lions spotted in the neighborhood (see yesterday's post).  I promise you that I am being very careful!  We are walking in well lit residential neighborhoods, not hiking trails.  Plus, Hank may be a puppy, but he is a 7 month old, 70lb, German Shepherd-Catahoula mix puppy, from an awesome set of "working parents." Any animal or human that tried to mess with me or Lucy, would find themselves in a world of hurt.  Not to mention, I have pepper spray, a whistle, and pointy walking stick (more of a staff), and I will not hesitate to use them any or all of them on animal or human.  And finally, I have been teaching middle school for 26 years; I laugh at mountain lions!:)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Peek At My (Last Lazy) Week (of Summer)

Summer is flying by!  I am getting more anxious with each Sunday.  It has been a wonderful lazy summer, and I will be sad to see it end in a few weeks.  That being said, I have a few things to get done this week!  So, here is a little Peek At My (Last Lazy) Week (of Summer) with Jennifer of Mrs. Laffin's Laughings!
First of all, I will be keeping a close eye on my mini-pack!  Since I put sod down in two sections, and seeded a small section of the little side-dog-yard, I have had it Hank-proof-fenced off.  That meant the gate into the big yard was left open at night, just in case they had to go.  Not anymore!  That big gate is closed and the Hank-proof-fence came down last night.  I decided that mountain lion spotted in the neighborhood beat perfect grass!
Pretty sure it will survive!
Yep, yesterday morning the Sheriff's department shot and killed a mountain lion (which is sad, but they were jumping from backyard to backyard in a very populated neighborhood) on the block just below my house!  There were actually two spotted, and they only got one. Pretty scary!  Really scary since I live between the mountains and the location where they were spotted.  That means they probably went through my neighborhood to get there!  Life in the foothills of the San Bernardino Nation Forest can be interesting, especially during a drought.

So this morning, when we went out for our walk, it was all I could do not to take the baseball bat with me.  Hank and Lucy told me that I was being ridiculous:).
"Open the gate, open the gate, open the gate..." I took their advice and we went on our walk.
They walk on a Y-yoke lead, but they have about 3ft of leash play between them and they walk this close the whole time.  They are so cute.  I slowed down to take this picture, usually they are to the left of me and slightly behind - I am the leader of this mini-pack!  We have been going on a 2mile-ish walk in the early morning, and then another leisurely 1 mile walk before bedtime.  I love our walks.  When school starts, we will have to do a boring, yet safe and well-lit, circuit around the block.  I have mapped out several safe early morning routes.  We will be doing laps, but since I will be walking them at 4:45a.m., safety comes first.

Aside from walking and babying the grass, I have been sewing pillow cases (check back tomorrow for a pictures!).  Last week, I hemmed curtains and made a few pillow cases for the master bedroom.
A few posts ago, I mentioned that I had been trolling antique stores.  Well, I found the floral tablecloth on the bottom.  I cut around the stains, and made a pillow.  The bedspread and shams are a dark gray, so I wanted a pop of color.  I got the solid pink to make a couple of smaller ones to help it pop!  Did I mention that I have been watching a lot of HGTV too?
These are the fabrics that I hope to be sewing up for a collection of pillows in the guest room.  The bedspreads are white, and the walls are a pretty taupe.  There is a tub of denim material (from my mom's stuff) that I plan to use with these pieces.  I am not so sure about the brown with swirls on the right...I love it, but not so sure I love it with the others...

Aside from walking and sewing, I have to get busy with school stuff!  I finally decided how to make my "I Can" statements.  It took a little bit, but I finally feel good about how I am organizing them.  Hopefully, they will be ready to share next week!

Usually, I am consumed with planning and creating stuff for school.  This summer, not so much.  This summer has been about de-stressing, relaxing, and getting healthy.  A little balance is a good thing, but I really have to step it up a little and get some school-related things done.  If not, I will be stressing before school actually starts, and that would defeat the purpose of the whole laid-back summer

Make sure to link up with Jennifer and see what other people are doing with their summer!