Friday, August 19, 2011

I apologize!

I have been horrible about posting actual ideas lately. I will admit that I have been trying to relax and enjoy the last few days of my summer break :) Today I plan to go through all of my documents from last school year, and hopefully I will find a few original things to share with you!

I know that many of you are back in school. I hope that your year has started off FANTASTICALLY!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

We have a date!!!

I am so excited! I finally know when I will get to start with my wonderful 4th graders! We were scheduled to begin on September 1st, but they have pushed our start date to September 6th so that they have time to install all of the computers, furniture, etc. According to our principal, we should be able to get into our classrooms to start setting up on August 29th. Now I feel like I can finally start planning a bit! We will have a week with our school faculty to start working on school improvement plans, getting to know each other, and planning before we can even get into the building since we head back to work on August 22. This year will definitely be stressful, but also very exciting!

Also, we are hoping to do 2-person teams this year if our principal will allow it. We are looking at one teacher taking care of Reading/LA and Social Studies, and the other teaching Math and Science/Health. If we do this, I will be doing the Math & Science. I am a little nervous about this, since I have always just naturally felt stronger teaching Reading/LA (probably because I started my teaching career as a 7th grade Language Arts teacher). I am looking forward to possibly being able to focus on a few subjects vs. all of the subjects. Does anyone out there "departmentalize", and if so, do you have any words of wisdom???

Sunday, August 14, 2011


One of my fellow teachers took some pictures of our new school. This is what the classrooms looked like about 10 days ago. They have been working at lightning speed, and hopefully we will be in and ready to start on September 1st. I have no idea what furniture we will have or anything, so I can't even begin to wrap my brain around room set-up at the moment. Hopefully when teachers return on August 22nd, we will get some information :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Student Binders

I have decided to try to implement a student binder system this year. Last year, my students had a great deal of difficulty staying organized, and it really impacted so many aspects of the classroom. We were unable to give suggestions for the supply list this year, but I managed to find some binders at Sam's Club...6 for $8.58. I picked up four packs, and will go back for more if I get more than 24 students. The name is pretty basic. I am calling it our HERO binder after our school Heroes Elementary. Another poster on A to Z Teacher Stuff gave me the idea for the acronym Have Everything Ready and Organized...which fits perfectly! I found some adorable clip art from Clementine Digitals. Students will be required to keep their homework folder, planner, and "take home" folder in the binder. I am hopeful that this will help with organization, and that the binders will hold up :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Back to School Ideas

Since I am unable to get into a classroom to start setting things up, I have decided to spend some time each day coming up with some engaging, educational ideas for the first few days of the new school year. I will share a few with you today (and I hope you will do the same in the comments section). I wish I could remember exactly where I found these ideas, but I am pretty sure not one of them was my original idea. So, THANK YOU to the creative minds that got me started :)

*Early on during the first day, I play the Eraser Game (Instructions here: Eraser Game ). It is a fun, hands-on way for the students to understand the importance of having rules and knowing the rules/expectations ahead of time. We then have a great class discussion about what would happen in the classroom if they did not know my rules/expectations/procedures. This is a great segue into modeling of some of the procedures.

*For Social Studies, I developed a scavenger hunt that matched our text book. This was a great way for me to assess my students' map skills and other prior knowledge of our social studies concepts. Students were required to completed a set of  "challenges" such as locating a particular place on a map within the book using latitude/longitude, solving riddles about states, etc. We have a new text book this year, so I will be working on the newest scavenger hunt this week. I have also used scavenger hunts to allow students to "peek" through their other textbooks, but overall, I think the Social Studies hunt is the most authentic because they are, in a sense, being explorers! I will post my finished work very soon!

On a different note, I had the chance to attend a potluck that was held by my new principal and assistant principal today. Several of the teachers who are moving to our brand-new school were able to attend. I have met many throughout my time in the school system, and I am VERY excited to be working with such an awesome group of educators. As of noon today, we are still on track to get to move into the building sometime after August 25th, and our start date is still slated for September 1st. Hopefully none of that will change :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Top Ten Reasons I Know It Is BACK TO SCHOOL Time!

Head on over to the linky party on Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits!

Here is my top 10 list:

10. My garage is filled with all of my boxes ready to move into my new school....whenever it is finally complete!

9. I have a 10-mile long "TO DO" list, and the stress is on when I realize I only have 2 weeks to get it all done!

8. I am going through my closets to see which outfits still fit and will work for the 90+ degree temps we inevitably have during the first month of school.

7. I am dreading giving up my sandals and flip flops for my ultra-comfy (but not as cute) Dansko shoes!

6. I spend about 5 hours each day browsing all of the awesome teacher blogs and Pinterest for new ideas for my classroom.

5. Since I am going to a new school, I am feeling like a brand-new teacher...I will have new teammates, new administration, a new school. It is scary! I am sure the back to school nightmares will start soon :)

4. I am starting to plan our menus for the month after I go back to work. Between getting into the swing of working and my daughter's 3 nights of gymnastics each week...I need a plan!

3. I am trying to adjust my water drinking to match when/how much I drink while at school. Sounds silly, I know, but I need to get back into the swing of no "potty" time during class time. EEK!

2. I am thinking about everything I planned to do this summer, and kicking myself for only doing some of those things.

1. While all of my non-teacher friends are EXTREMELY excited about getting their crazy kids back to school, I am extremely excited to get back into the classroom with all of those crazy kids :) (Even though I will miss my 2 babies while they are in school/daycare).

Friday, August 5, 2011


 Meet the Dubiens

Ok, so I am not really crafty AT ALL, but I saw this on Pinterest and I have to make one for my desk. I also plan to make one for my daughter's 2nd grade teacher. It is just sooooo cute! I got regular terracotta pots that we will decorate, and I think mine will be smaller, but I am excited!

Thursday, August 4, 2011


After my stress of yesterday, I managed to calm myself a little. The contractors are swearing that our school will be ready for us to move into so that we can start the year there. So, today I went to gather my personal books, supplies, resources, etc. from my current school (all 15 bins...eek!). It made me sad, but also excited. I plan to spend the next few weeks going through everything and only moving the really great stuff back to school. I think I will either have a "teacher yard sale" or post things on eBay. I hope to have time to search for and develop more ideas very soon :) Thank you for following me!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


I know that I should not listen to rumors and I should wait to hear the official word, but today I heard that we might not get into our school (which is currently under construction) at the beginning of the year. This means that we will probably have to double up, squeeze into odd spaces, and try to start the year off in a very abnormal way in a variety of buildings. I am terrified! I have always had that safe cocoon of a classroom every year. I have so many ideas and plans, and I honestly don't think many of them can be done if I am not in a classroom. I plan to organize my "stuff" the best I can and get things ready to go. This is not the kind of start I had hoped to get :(