Monday, June 30, 2014

Finally, a Monday Made It: Number Lines and Fences

Finally, a Monday Made It link up with 4th Grade Frolics!
It isn't as if I have been sitting around the whole month of June watching TV, but the things that have been getting done have not exactly been Monday Made It worthy!  Babying the front lawn back from being de-thatched, pulling weeds, organizing closets, antique shopping, trying to eat "clean," and training Hank...well, not exactly exciting.  The truth is that I am trying to find a balance between this blogging, school, family, and life.  So, I will not be blogging every day, and probably not every week, unless there is something important to share.  Balance, less stress, and more me...that will be my mantra going back into the school year.

These are the things that I have got ready for school this week:

1. I finally got going last week on polishing up my Argumentative Writing Organizer revised and polished up.  After using all Spring with my kids, I wanted to make a few changes before I shared it on TPT.
2.  For the last few evenings, I have been happily coloring and cutting out number lines from my Vertical Number Lines for Students.  I printed out one copy of each set I was going to use, and then took them to Office Depot.  They printed out all the copies I needed on cardstock for about $3.  That made me much happier than using up all my printer ink.  Yesterday, I made a trip to Lakeshore to laminate them.

These are made from the full page version.  They are approximately 18 inches long.  I "prettied" them up by coloring in the flowers.  This set will be replacing my 20 year old class set of horizontal number lines.
For their Interactive Notebooks, I made a set of smaller number lines.  By printing out two to a page, I was able to get these approximately 11 inches long.  I figure that we will tape them down and fold them to make them handy for quick reference.
Personally, I love sitting around coloring, gluing, and trimming things for the classroom.  However, I realize that there are people not so OCD inclined as myself; so, I updated the packet with a set of number lines that were smaller (approx. 10 inches), but just required single straight cuts.  Since I was doing it, I did the numbers in color.
Then I realized that not every kid would appreciate a beautiful little flower on the end of their number line, and included a set without.


3.  As for non-school crafty things, I have zilch!  I did find the perfect old tablecloth to make into pillow cases for my new bed.  Not only that, I figured out how to re-make some beautiful pillow cases that I got at a great bargain to fit my new throw pillows.  However, they are not actually made yet.  Hopefully, next week, I will have pictures to share of the finished products!

4.  Remember when I said that I had been busy, but I had not exactly "made" anything.  Well, this weekend the sod went down in the side yard.  And yes, I did it myself (tip: don't wear new shoes when putting sod down).  It is a narrow strip of grass off the master bath.  I have it fenced off for the dogs.  The existing grass had taken a beating with the remodel of the master bath, and after the little patio section was put down by my landscaper, I reseeded the small patch of grass and put sod down on either end.  This extended their grass area by 50 square feet.  More work than I anticipated, but nothing that I couldn't handle.  However, keeping my 6 month old, 60lb German Shepherd/Catahoula mix puppy off of it....
I present to you, the fence that finally kept Hank out!  The green garden fence kept him out for about 5 minutes.  So I went back to Home Depot for more stakes.  That solution lasted about 10 minutes before he managed to find a weak spot and was frolicking on the new sod.  Then I pulled every piece of wire, metal, and wood not currently being used to shore up the weak spots and to confuse him.   Not pretty, not pretty at all, but so far it is working.
But something about this look tells me that it won't be working for long!  Next time, remind me to not get a smart puppy.

Enjoy your 4th of July!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Peek At My Week: Argumentative Writing Organizer

Well, it has been forever since I linked up with Jennifer for her A Peek At My Week linky on Mrs. Laughin's Laughings. 

I have almost forgotten how to do it.

First of all, we got off to a great start this morning....
 ...after these giant paws prodded me awake at 5:30 a.m.  That is his "whatever it was, I didn't chew it" look.  We went for a nice training walk around the block a few times.  Hank and I are trying out collars and harnesses...there might have been an incident last week where he tried to save me from the scary stroller that some lady was pushing up our street.  Today went really well!  Lucy and Hank did well together, and we all survived.  After that I fed my poor de-thatched front lawn.

Then Hank and Lucy tried out their homemade yogurt-peanut butter popsicle treats.  Big hit!  I will share my recipe tomorrow.

I polished up my Argumentative Writing Organizer and put on Teachers Pay Teachers.  This spring, I made it and used with success with my Read 180 class.  My kids needed STRUCTURE!

I found that not only does this organizer help them stay on track and focused, but it made my editing and revising so much easier!  Being able to see what they thought they were writing, helped me redirect them without asking, "What the heck are you doing?"  Never a good teaching strategy.  They were happier because they could ask me questions like, "Does this evidence support this detail?"  So much better than, "I don't know what to write."

This is a true OCD writing organizer!  Each paragraph has its own page, but they can be printed out two to a page to save paper.  It starts off with a Brainstorm and Writing Plan page.
Included with the six page organizer are detailed lesson plans for a week and more of writing instruction.
This organizer is a starting point and guide for struggling writers or for grade level writers being introduced to a new writing genre.  It allows them focus on the writing.  Check it out in my TPT store for 20+% off today only!

The rest of the week is pretty loose!  The only thing that is planned is a trip to Ikea tomorrow with a friend.  I need to find some affordable picture frames for my new office.

Other than that, I plan on doing a little sewing, some planning work for school, painting my back fence (unless I can pull a Tom Sawyer on someone:), and watching my grass grow!  It is scary to think that this is the 4th week of my vacation...it is going by too fast!

Be sure to link up with Jennifer and see what other people are doing this week!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Office and Sewing Room Update!

Happy Thursday!

It is hard to believe that 3 weeks of my summer have already flown by!  Today is my sister's last day of school, and she has been hating on me for weeks now.  However, come August, it will be a different story!

I have been really busy.  Not exactly blogging or TPT busy, but very busy with homeowner stuff.  The yard is done, and today is the 2nd day of my vacation that there have not been landscapers wandering in and out of my yard.  I have learned quite a bit about irrigation, and how not to set up a sprinkler system.  The front lawn has been de-thatched and new sprinklers installed.  The parkway has been xeriscaped, and the side yard is vegetation free with gravel and two new drains. 

While the guys were working away and muttering about the stupid guys who installed the original sprinkler systems, I have been tutored on xeriscaping and trying to work inside.  Last week, I shared my before pictures of the office and sewing room.  It is finally done.  I have been wandering around looking at pictures and paintings, and not hammering anything on to the wall.  But today, I finally hung pictures in the master bathroom, and one in the hallway.  I am still not sure what to do with the office and sewing room.  I have several pictures and paintings that I know have to go up.  A couple of them are beautiful watercolor prints of Paris from the 1950's.  I found them at an antique store and am still looking for the perfect frames.

In the meantime, the office is workable and I wanted to share the layout.  I am pretty happy with how things have turned out.  A few finishing touches like the frames, and outlet plates, and I will be content.  Those are things I don't want to rush, the quest is always fun.

This is the computer desk, with the drawers and file cabinet tucked under an extra little work table.  I love how my work-bag fits under the little work table.  And of course, Hank could not stay out of the picture.
This is a slightly different angle showing the big cutting table.  The yet to be framed prints will go on this wall.
On the left is my yarn hutch.  On the right is big cutting table pulled out from the wall and perpendicular to the computer desk.  It slides out easily and at 36 inches high, I could not be happier with it as a cutting table for school and sewing projects.
 Next to the yarn hutch is my sewing desk.  It is the perfect size for the projects that I am capable of working on right now.  Those old jars were my grandmothers.  One is filled with my grandfather's old keys.  The other will be filled with buttons (and I love buttons!).  The hoop was my mother's quilting hoop.  I hung it there to get it out of the way, but now I love it there!  I am looking for some more hoops to fill with old material, and some to leave blank.
This is the closet.  The left side is all my sewing and knitting.  I went through and thinned out my mother's notions and gave them to my niece.  She was thrilled, and I was thrilled because I eliminated 3 boxes worth of stuff.  I wish it were prettier, but the containers all have handwritten labels done by my mother.  I just thought I would continue to use them.
The right hand side is for all of my school and office supplies.  This is just about everything that I brought home to work on!  The only stray basket is by the little work table.  This thrills me!  When I take all that stuff back to school, I will have so much room!
This is the workout room.  All done!  I am pretty sure that my butt got smaller just by setting it up. 

Starting work on stuff for my classroom this weekend.  Tomorrow, I have to finish my online traffic school.  I don't want to talk about.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Lockdown Kit!

Over the last few years, I have often wondered what would happen if our school experienced an extended lockdown.  Out here on the West coast, most of our schools are pods or buildings connected with covered walkways.  There is rarely a way to really secure the campus - most are pretty open, and surrounded by chain link.  Rarely are the classrooms connected to one another, and we are most certainly not connected to a restroom. 

After Sandy Hook, I started keeping the door locked at all times.  This is a daily pain in the neck, but I have stuck to it.  Nobody opens the door unless they know and can fully see the person.  It takes a little training, but usually one kid peeks through the blinds, and the other stands by the door for the all clear before opening it.  

I have planned out to the detail what I would do if an armed crazy person got into our classroom, and have had discussions like this with my kids every year since Columbine...

Me: If a crazy person comes in the door, I am going to tell you to duck and cover...cover your ears.

Students: Why do we duck and cover our ears?

Me: Because while I am running over the top of the desks and throwing everything I can at the crazy person, I will most likely be cussing.  I don't want you to hear your teacher cuss.

Students: (giggling, then they realize that I am serious) We can help you!

Me:  I can handle it.  I took four years of kickboxing, my brother has imparted some of his "special skills" to me, and I will have crazy teacher strength that God gives teachers when they need to protect their students.  I won't need your help until he is down on the ground and I am beating him senseless.  Then I will need you to bring me the extension cord.

Students:  Why?

Me:  TO TIE HIM UP???? After he is tied up, then we drag him away from the door, push all the desks up against him, and exit the room in an orderly fashion.

Students:  Can we do that?

Me: If a crazy person comes in this room, I will do anything I have to do to protect you. 

In addition to that little inspirational talk, I demand that they take all drills seriously.  The holy wrath of God will rain down upon them if they talk during a drill.  If they don't walk out in a straight line, I make them do it again, and again during the 8th grader lunch.  Every kid in the school knows that I am all business during drills.

That being said, we have never had an extended lockdown.  We have had drive by shootings, helicopters overhead, but those have happened after school.  Still it worries me, so I am putting together a Lockdown Kit.

So far, this is what I have on my list.

1. An emergency toilet, something like this one from LifeSecure
 2. Extra small garbage bags
3.  Hand santizer (have it)
4. Baby wipes
5. 36 small bottles of water
6. Fruit snacks (I almost always have a supply of granola bars and fruit snacks for the kids)
7. First aid kit with gloves (have it)
8.  And this beauty from Fighting Chance Solutions
It secures the door from the inside!  We can lock our doors from the inside, but some teachers cannot.  As Lauren from Life In Middle School shared on Facebook, "Just in case, some crazy person gets a hold of one of the master keys, I want this extra bit of security."

I want to be able to store all the smaller items in the bucket under my desk (I never actually sit at it), with the water and snacks in the big closet. 

What am I missing?  Please let me know if you can of anything that I have missed.  And please share what your school is doing to keep our kids safe!  We need to share ideas!




Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Update: Dog, Yard and Before Pictures Filled Post!

Well, school has been out for a week now and I have been busy.  Obviously, not blogging busy, but getting my house and life together busy!  Just to make sure you all know that I love you and truly plan on getting back on the blogosphere real soon, I thought I would take a few minutes and post some pictures of what has been going on this last week.

1st - Hank came home!
Lucy was so happy!

Remember this picture from Spring Break?

Well, here is a similar pose from the two of them earlier this week.

This adorable puppy?

Grew into this teenage troublemaker:)
 Lucy and I are both getting used to have a BIG and playful dog back in the house.  However, he is taking his protection duties seriously...

2nd - Security

...Which is a great thing!  Earlier this spring, one of my sweet neighbors had her door kicked in during the middle of the day!  Which led me to get my first non-canine security system.  I settled on one that I installed myself this week, and one that I can OCD myself happy by checking to see if I armed it just looking at my phone.  It is a nice feeling, but Hank greeting unwanted guests at the door would lead them to call 911.

3rd - Yard

Last week, my wonderful tree trimmer and all around big stuff yard guy came with his crew and took care of all those big things that I could not get to this winter.  Then I called my landscaper.  Last year, he took out the grass on the south side of the driveway and parkway and replaced it with xeriscaping.
This year, we are working on Phase 2 and 3.  Which includes pulling out all the vegetation on the south side of the house, putting in 2 new drains, and laying down weed cloth and gravel, and putting in a little paver/patio area in the little dog yard, and xeriscaping the rest of the parkway.

Along the way, he has to change some of the sprinklers to be more water efficient (we are in a huge drought out here), so we decided to de-thatch the front lawn.  That will allow me to mow and edge more easily until I have enough money for Phase 4 - removing the front lawn completely!
Of course, all of this means that baked treats must be provided daily for the guys.  And since I did it before, they are expecting it.

4th - Closets

Way back in December, right before I fell and cracked my sternum (again, not recommended), I was in the middle of switching up and moving rooms.  The treadmill cannot be moved out of the room it is in, so it will have to stay there.  This is what the workout room looks like right now.
Not very workouty:)

This is what the office/sewing room looks like right now.
That box on the table threw me for a loop a few days ago.  It is filled with mementos of my mom.  I made the mistake of opening it up, and had to walk away from the office for a bit.  Funny how it just washes over you like a wave out of nowhere.

Everything is shredded and filed, so actual progress has been made.  The closet is being switched out with the closet in the workout room, thus the boxes everywhere.  I have to go through the sewing boxes too, most of it was my mom's.  One of my nieces just got her first sewing machine, and I am going to pull some of my mom's notions and things for her to have.  My mom would have wanted that.

Today I am digging back in and setting things right!  My goal is to have the closets reorganized and done today, and hanging pictures the rest of the week.   I promise "After" pictures of both rooms.  I am anxious to get started on some planning and "products" for TPT.  I am sticking to my promise to only put items in the store that I am using in my classroom, so I have a few things to clean up for TPT.  Plus, so many more units and ideas to share, but I getting organized comes first!  More later!  I have an office to organize!