Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Peek At My Week

Labor Day Weekend, how do I love thee?  Please, let me count the ways!  Oh man, did I need a three day weekend!  It gives me just enough time to be a little lazy and not feel guilty about not grading papers!  Also, it gives me plenty of time to link up with Jennifer of Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for her A Peek At My Week linky.

Sunday:  The laundry is done, the yard work is almost done, and that just leaves cleaning the house and grocery shopping.  I managed to get most of the yard work done early last night, but my stupid lawn mower died again.  It just got back from spending a week in the shop, so I am not happy.  Before the grocery shopping, Hank and I are going to Petsmart for a little shopping/field trip.  Since starting work, we have been walking at 5am.  There are not any other people out walking dogs at that hour.  Consequently, Hank thinks he owns the world.  On our walk yesterday, he was not very nice when we encountered other dogs.  He needs a little reinforcement in a controlled environment.  After the shopping and cleaning is completed, then I want to get going with grading papers.  Later on, when it cools down, I will give my lawn mower another chance and try to finish the back yard - cross your fingers for me!

Monday:  We are going to be up early and go for a long walk!  Yesterday, we went way up past the park to the end of the street.
From my house, it was 1.7 miles and my according to my FitBit, 48 flights of stairs.  A few months ago I was afraid to even try the hike to the park, so I am pretty impressed with myself.
This was the view looking back, and it does not do the climb justice because it drops off steeply past those last trees.  Tomorrow, I want to it again and go up past the No Outlet sign and around the curve.  I think I am a lot more fit and stronger than I give myself credit for because I am not sore today at all.  I need to stop being afraid and challenge myself just a little bit more!  I am woman, hear me roar!

Tuesday: I get to go back to my classroom and see these adorable Mini-Me-Maroos hanging on the wall.

I am so glad that I made that frantic all over the town trip to get them the supplies to re-do them!  They were so happy when I told them that they could start over!  They were not happy with them either.  Parents were thrilled!
We put them up all over the back of the room.
One of my girls told me, "It makes me happy when I come in and see our Mini-Me-Maroos."  Well, it makes me happy that they feel that way about our room!  We are starting to research for our Otzi project, and while watching a video on Friday, I caught a group of them turning around and talking.  Just before I reminded them to watch the video, one of them said to me, "Our Mini-Me-Maroos are dressed like the Iceman!  We are dressed like the Iceman."  Connection made!  So, Otzi the Iceman projects are coming up!

Wednesday:  I need to prepare for a sub on Wednesday.  One of my sisters fell at work last week and broke her wrist and arm.  She is having surgery on Wednesday to put it back together with plates and screws.  I am taking her.  When I told my kids that I was going to be out and why, they all nodded, and one of the girls said, "Sisters come first."  That is kind of group I have this year:).  They asked for another packet like the last one - one of Lovin' Lit's sub day packets.

Thursday:  My Read 180 materials finally came, and the software is mostly up and running.  Hopefully, we will be starting to walk-through rotations for Read 180.  I plan on spending the whole morning doing just that along with lessons for finding the right Lexile level book for independent reading.  The afternoon will be spent working on our Otzi projects.

Friday:  More practice rotations and hopefully getting on the software for Read 180.  Greatest Common Denominator will be our math lesson.  And the afternoon will be split between Otzi and the Marshmallow Challenge idea that I am stealing from Joanne over at Heads Over Heels For Teaching.

More complete pictures of my room for Back to School Night can be found in my last Five for Friday post!  Don't forget to go over and check out what everyone else is planning for their week at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings!


Friday, August 29, 2014

Five For Friday: Back To School Night!

Since I survived my frantic week, I thought it was time to unwind and share a little.  Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching is a great way for me to process and unwind for the weekend.  My "five" is really more like a million and one, but I am not sure I can even manage to get "five" posted before collapsing!

1.  Or 101° is more like it!  And I doubt that is even the high for the day!  We are getting serious summer heat.  Hank and Lucy got treated to a doggie day spa - low budget style!
Please don't judge the state of the puppy yard.  It was so pretty and perfect, for about a day.  Then I had to leave Hank and Lucy in it.
2.  One of the things I love about teaching is hearing the things that kids say and messing with them, just a little.  After 28 years, you would think I would tire of responding to every "Can I go to the bathroom?" with, "I don't know, can you?"  It just never gets old, it cracks me up every time; I am evil that way.

3.  Our Read 180 Next Generation materials finally got delivered!  In a gazillion boxes.  Right before Back To School Night!  OMG!

Of course, I couldn't just cram them all into the closet.  OCD me had to unpack them all and find the appropriate place for the contents of each box.  I am pretty sure that type of behavior is on some mental health checklist.

4.  After being promised access to the software for two weeks, we finally got it yesterday.  Today, my kids were on the SRI all morning.  I only have two or three who might need to move out.  Still, I am sad about it.  They are such a great bunch!

5.  Back to School Night!  It worked out so well!  Their Mini-Me-Maroos turned out so well!  OMG!  They are so cute!  I was so glad that I went to Joann's Fabrics and got them some material to use.  They were so happy that they got to start over again, more like thrilled!  I just wanted to share some long promised pictures!
This was the view from the door!

We did these on the second day of school.  They weren't allowed to use scissors.  Before we put them up, they tore the edges off.  We decided that they look like they belong in a comic book.

The overhangs were covered with their cave paintings.


Along with their Mini-Me-Maroos, we did an in-depth close reading and response.  It was a serious wake-up call for some of the students to see their "mark-ups and questions" compared to their peers.  We did a walk-around the day before we put them up.  They were able to take them home and work on them some more.  Most grabbed the opportunity and came back with improved passages and responses.




I wish that you could see how adorable their pictures are, but I am very protective of my babies.  We used pre-cut "people" and there was a selection of fuzzy fake fur and felt fabric for them to choose from.  They did such a cute job!  Parents were floored!  They had to take pictures of their child with the matching Mini-Me-Maroo.
 A long view of the back of the room to close out the post.

Don't forget to hop over to Doodle Bugs Teaching to find out what other bloggers were up to this week!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Peek At My Week: Back to School Night!!!!

This is going to be a short and somewhat panicked post!  I didn't want to miss linking up with Jennifer (of Mrs. Laffin's Laughings) for her Peek At My Week linky, but I am running out of time!
It felt as if I brought home the contents of the entire classroom for grading and planning this weekend.  Of course, that means that I didn't get to the Social Studies or the actual planning part!  The thought of planning has me going into melt-down mode!
  • We were supposed to have access to our SRI and new Read 180 materials last Monday - still waiting!
  • Back To School Night is this Wednesday, and I still have cave paintings to hang, close reading passages with comprehension questions still need to be framed (and answers typed)...
  • My brilliant idea for them to make a Mini-Me-Maroo????? Total fail on Friday!  They look like the kid from Where the Wild Things Are, which would be cool if we weren't reading Maroo!
  • So, I made the decision to go out today to reprint their pictures, pick up some pre-cut kids (we tried tracing and cutting out on Friday - total fail!) from the local teacher supply store, and braved Joann's Fabrics on a weekend.  I rummaged through their sale piles, and remnants, used my coupons and my teacher discount card to get some "Maroo" type fabrics.  Tomorrow, we are rebooting the Mini-Me-Maroos, and nothing else until they are done!  I take total responsibility for Friday's fail; supervising cave painting and Mini-Me-Maroos on a Friday afternoon was not very smart!
Since I was building up to a serious anxiety attack, I have decided to thin out a few expectations for the week.
  • For example, lesson plans.  How can I lesson plan when everyday the SRI gets pushed back?  I just need to relax about it and go with the flow.  Lesson plans will happen when Read 180 happens.
  • Monday is all about being ready for Back To School Night on Wednesday.  I want all of their little projects done tomorrow.  I can turn into a raving lunatic on the days of those parent nights when I am stressed out.  We are going to do a Math lesson, and then finish up the loose ends.
  • Social Studies papers do not NEED to be graded tonight.  They can just as easily be worked on tomorrow night or the next.
  • I am going to bed and watch a little a Stargate:SG1(Richard Dean Anderson is my happy place).
  • I am going to leave for work at the same time, not compulsively early.  I am going to stick to my routine of doing my 40 minute walk with the dogs - endorphins, I need endorphins!
  • Tomorrow during prep, instead of making a new one, I will polish up my PowerPoint from last year for the parents, and make my handouts for Wednesday night.
  • And on Friday, I will NOT BRING HOME THE WHOLE CLASSROOM!
Good Night All!  Don't expect to hear from me until after Wednesday!  I promise pictures!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Five For Friday: Just a Few Things!

I promised myself that I would link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for the Five For Friday Linky all day.  It has been my little internal mantra!
This will be basic and quick.  Hank and Lucy are wrestling at my feet, begging for attention and a long walk.
1
I have been holding this inside me for over two weeks, afraid to say it aloud, but I LOVE MY CLASS!  Sweet and innocent, eager to please, with actual manners!  I have heard, "Thank you," and "Please."  Four or five boys argue daily over which one of them will "get to" hold the door for me.  All of them returned their information sheets, the next day!   Most of them managed to log in and change their password from the default, and the few who struggled were immediately helped by an eager classmate.  I was out for a training day, and they BEHAVED for the substitute.  I am in teacher heaven!  I know that some of you are thinking that the honeymoon will soon be over, but this is real and workable; this year is going to being awesome!

2
That is why I haven't had the time or energy to blog!  I am so into this year and this class, that I am SUPER TEACHER!  I move around the room constantly, we are doing activities, I am planning and revising as the week goes on.  Everything is ready and in the folder for the day!  We have actually done the morning warm-ups consistently for the last 2 weeks!  And I have them run off and ready for the whole first semester!  Interactive Notebooks?  All over those!  Close reading?  Their model reading passage is marked up, text-based answer written and ready for display at Back To School Night!  We did CAVE PAINTING today and they worked on their Mini-Me-Maroos (pictures next week).  Being Super Teacher is exhausting:).

3
Hank, Lucy, and I have been getting up at 4:30 a.m. and walking 2 miles before school.  Actually, I have cut back the walking time to 30 minutes, so it is closer to a mile and three-quarters.  Hank loves fetching, so we use the last 10 minutes to play before I jump in the shower.  Then I leave and worry all day about what he is up to at the house.  I can't even go into the shenanigans he got into the first week and half back at work.  Less loved dogs would have found themselves dumped at the pound.  This last week, we have reached a truce.  As part of the agreement, he gets treats hidden in a cardboard box before I leave.  He can shred it to bits, just not anything else.  He is happy, and I am happy.  However, it took a little trial and error to get to this point!

Honestly, he is an awesome dog.  He is just 8 months old, and he is a puppy.  All of his energy has been good for me.  This weekend, I made a walk that I had not done in several years.  
Instead of our normal and safe route around the neighborhood, last Saturday I dared the trek up the hill to the park a mile or so above me.  A year ago, there was no way I would have survived that walk.  Instead, 3 plus miles later I was happy and ready for the rest of the day.  This was the view I was rewarded with when we reached the park.  Very proud of myself:).  We are doing again this evening!

5
Finally, I have gotten a few questions regarding how I use the "I Can" Statements for Language Arts and Math.

 I put mine in 3-ring binders.

 I used the Bonus Checklists of standards and "I Can" statements as dividers.  The "I Can" statements are in plastic sheet protectors.
As I need them, I pull them out of the binder and put them up on my Homework and "I Can" board.  The little clipboards are hanging on nails, and I just clip them on.

Have a great weekend!  Don't forget to check out Doodle Bugs Teaching Five for Friday and see what everyone else is up to!



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!