Open House and Classroom Pictures

Whew! I made it! I have been preparing my classroom for this night- trying to set a good first impression. I couldn't have done it without my boyfriend who came in and helped me this afternoon. He seriously was my life saver. I had 18 of my (now) 26 students show up, which is a pretty decent turn out! I met some very excited students which made me get so excited! I also met some pretty shy students and it got me thinking of a way to respect their shyness but help them also express themselves more. I tried a checklist activity to keep families and students busy while I was talking with others. It went ok- some really got into it, others just took it and left after 1 minute. The result was a bit expected, however. I've already found things I would have done differently, but I am happy with how my room looked and happy with how I interacted with my new students and families and hope to continue to build relationships with them! I have to say though, these 12 hour school days will need to stop come school year- I won't be able to survive. For all those people who give crap to teachers about working only 9 months out of the school year: don't worry- we make that time up... and then some (without pay)!

Anywho, here are a few pictures of my mostly completed classroom! It remains a bit bare, as I believe that the learning resources posted on the wall need to be meaningful and created by and with the students. So, that will come...

Here's a little tour!
Our door! I had to add another column of puzzle pieces after I got the news at 10pm last night that I would have another student. Cue crazy-getting-everying-ready-for-new-student mode. 

Here's our buzz board, lunch/attendance count, and student display clips. My students and families seemed really excited about the buzz board. Some got around to using the buzz board tonight where they wrote down 1 thing they are excited about for 3rd grade.

Here's our writing center (sorry about the ugly wall... it photographs weird). My wall moves, so it's really hard to post things on it without it getting crinkled and smooshed. So I have to hook everything with drapery hooks on only one curve. Anywho, here is where our writing goals will be displayed. Students will put their number under the goal they are working on. A close up of these are below. I also have two little trays to allow students to write in a different spot. They will also put their writing folders into the box that matches their stage.

Here is the material board and an example of a possible writing goal. I used whiteboard strips from the Target $1 section. (I love these) I got four in one pack!

Here's a close up of our writing stage boxes. 

Here's my finished classroom library- complete with bean bag! The bulletin board is temporary- I had to decorate at least 1 board so it wasn't SO bare. I also had students write down a book recommendation for me to purchase for the library. I had many boys already searching through the Goosebump books. They said they were so excited to read them (heart melting).

Here's a closer view

Front board complete with schedule (which isn't finalized yet) and objective board divided up!

This was my thrift store find! I've been looking for a little stool for students to use when sharing. I repainted the top with left over paint and it's done for under $4! 

Here's a better view of the back of the room. The students who didn't make it still have stuff on their desk.
Well- there's my room. I am excited about going to bed tonight and not doing anything related to school (besides blog about it). I need to start to refocus and shift to planning. It feel like after today, it should be the weekend!


Itty Bitty Sneak-a-poo

I'm going to give a little classroom tour once my room is mostly complete (hopefully by next Tuesday- Open House already?!?!) but in the mean time, here are a couple things that have kept me busy in my classroom while taking breaks from trainings.

(Click on the pictures for a bigger view)

Project #1: Materials Needed
I knew I wanted a space to post materials needed for each lesson/activity. Not only does it limit the amount of times I have to repeat myself, but it's a great visual for my ELs. I found these AMAZING mini-posters from Ashley at the School Supply Addict. I typically like to try to make my own stuff, but this was one project that I was willing to pay for a bit as opposed to spending countless time. They are simple, clean, crisp, and numerous!

I cut out each one of the mini-posters (there were larger ones in the set also so you can take your pick) and laminated them. Yay for being at school and laminating FO' FREE. Then, I put those handy, little, circle magnets from Lakeshore on the back. I cut out my own sign on the Cricut, applied some Modge Podge, and it's done!

Here's my little secret: I keep all mini-posters behind my Smartboard. That way, they are out of sight, but easy for me to pull and push around based on what is needed at that time.

If you like these, you should really check out Ashley's website/blog. She is very reasonably priced, and you aren't going to get products that are too fancy or grade specific, which means very versatile and will go with just about any theme.

 Project #2: Math Banner
Ugh. My first intentions did not go so well. I was going to post this on the top of one of my bulletin boards that is going to be just for math. But no matter how I hung it, I didn't like it. Then I remembered writing down a thought: "Think about what to put under the boards." I've got this weird cork strip under my whiteboard and Smartboard. I got the idea to put my math vocabulary under it, since it will still be near the other math stuff. That way, students can reference it during work time while they are sitting on the floor (if they choose).
I quickly cut out the word "Vocabulary" and glued it onto the same ribbon I used for the banner. The yellow ribbon looks like an odd color in this picture- I promise it isn't puke yellow.  We'll see if this idea lasts or if I have another plan for this space.

Project #3: Student Display Tags
I really wanted to create some space in the room to showcase student work. It's tricky with my lack of useable wall space. These little guys will be kinda high up (meaning I'll have to stick them up, but I will let them decide what they want showcased) but at least everyone will have a space. I'll hang student work in other aspects of the room too, but I just wanted to make sure that everyone equally got to shine!
I used my Cricut to cut out the black "notebook" squares. Then, I used Sharpie paint markers and made them look more like notebooks. I wrote the students' names on the top and left a space for their nicknames as well. Then, I stuck a clothespin on with the use of double sided tape!

Project #4: Clock Numbers
I've seen these all over. So naturally I had to make some too to match my color theme of yellow and teal. These are nothing special, but they do draw some focus and attention to the clock. I was shocked last year how many of my 4th graders could not read the clock. Hopefully, this will help.

Project #5: Job Board
This is one of my favorite projects. I love how it turned out. I took one bulletin board and split it with ribbon. This will be our 'command station' to run our classroom. My plans will be posted on the board (where you can't see right now because that side isn't done yet); our schedule will be posted there as well, and of course, our jobs. I went back and forth between how many jobs I wanted to have. I read and saw what other people did, and I decided that I was just going to try this out and modify it later in the year if need be. I made these library pockets myself by just making my own template. I cut the words out on my... you guessed it... Cricut. I glued the words onto the pockets with a little Modge Podge and plan to use popsicle sticks with student numbers on them. I have to still figure out how I am going to do rotations (I may have them sign up or just volunteer, or I may assign them- not sure yet) I plan also on changing the jobs throughout the year if I find some not being used or discover a need later on.

Well, there's a few things! I finally have my new teacher orientation tomorrow!! I am so excited to finally get some questions answered.

Also, I'm testing out some new 'blogging' adventures including linking up to awesome teacher blogs full of neat stuff. I've been following Tara at 4th grade Frolics for a bit now and thought I would attempt linking up with her Monday Made It (even though it is now Tuesday.. hey, I was 'making' a lot of this stuff yesterday.) I don't get this whole button thing yet... and I've got to get to Target still tonight so for now, I'll just put a link so you can go check her blog out at 4th Grade Frolics!

Until next time!


Spoke too soon

It was back in the classroom today. I was pumped- Nick was coming to help with some stuff I couldn't quite do alone, I was going to meet with my team and plan, and I was hoping to get some pictures up on this here blog since I thought I would get a lot done. However, the day started off a bit rough:

First, I arrived at my car and realized that the bean bag in the back seat had moved to the other side of the car. A closer look, and the glove compartment was open. Even more, my driver's side door was cracked open. Yup- someone was in my car last night looking to help themselves to my property. I always lock my car, so I don't know how I forgot to do that, but it didn't look like they had to try hard to get in. Luckily, they didn't take anything that I knew of (I don't keep valuables in my car) except for my safe state of mind. A little shook up, Nick and I left to head to school.

Once there, I started to piddle around with stuff while Nick hung things way up where I couldn't reach. I got some stuff done- but not nearly as much as I wanted to before I went to lunch with my team members to get to know each other better and start to discuss some logistics. We then spent at least an hour trying to figure out our schedule for the day and although we wish we had some more time (which teacher doesn't wish this) I'm excited about our schedule. My lack of expertise in our SASH time (Science, Art, Social Studies, Health) resulted in me getting health, which means I'll be teaching all 4 sections of 3rd grade health this year. I wasn't exactly excited, but it made the most sense since all the others had ties to the other subjects. One team member also suggested integrating some technology into health, which made me more interested. I went home and looked more closely at the standards for health, and I am excited to see what I can come up with! It'll be a challenge, since we have some curriculum (I swear its from the time when I was born), but I am excited to teach something other than the heavy math and reading instruction.

Another staff member came in and said hello during our meeting and asked, "Feeling overwhelmed yet?" I replied saying, "No, surprisingly not yet." Spoke too soon...

With my last 1.5 hours at school today, I was excited to get back to my projects. Never happened. More talking (about helpful stuff- just random stuff though) between some of us kept me from doing this. After talking, it also made me realize HOW much I still need to figure out..... OVERWHELMED NOW. Oh well- tomorrow afternoon I'll try again :) Hopefully I can get some pictures up then- No promises.


RC Training Day 1

I had RC training today. It's not a full week like usual, but it will give me some support until I do take the week long RC 1 and RC 2 trainings. However, a lot of it was review for me, which made me feel much more confident in some aspects of RC. I also found some trouble spots for myself and got to hear some great ideas to help! These trainings make me so excited to start working with my students. They are helping me shift my thinking away from the classroom environment I have been creating and begin to start the planning piece. I've wanted to do some planning, but since I'm not meeting with my team until Monday, I don't want to do too much work to then realize we are doing something different. I have started to think up some math centers to go along with the common core standards and have begin to plan out my morning meetings, while making a list of procedures and routines to model and teach the first week. I hope to have most of my classroom done by Tuesday... Friday at the absolute latest, so that I can fully focus on the planning and prep work involved to welcome my new third graders (not to mention get reacquainted with the SMARTboard- I haven't used one for a couple years now).

Funny little event happened tonight: I was suppose to do the dishes since the boyfriend made a delicious dinner. After dinner, I was finishing a project when I realized I had to do some reading for my training tomorrow. I shared this notion with Nick and how did he help? He pulled up a chair and sat by the sink to read out loud to me and to highlight. Why didn't he just offer to wash the dishes you ask?? Because he "enjoys reading out loud." Not to mention, he'll be working with my kiddos in P.E. this year so some of this stuff can translate right?? He is so helpful, though. What a keeper! It was a relaxing  time together :)



I forgots ma' camera!!

My classroom is coming along so nicely!! The more and more I do, the more and more I look forward to spending time in it- because let's face it, I'll be there probably more often than at my home. More importantly, I want this space to feel clean, crisp, and warm for my students and I think I'm getting closer to accomplishing this. I also feel very blessed to be able to have such great 'bones' to my room (nice big windows, lots of storage, large space) as well as having it available to me to work in it- one of my team members isn't so lucky. However, I hope that since I've gotten so much done in my room that I can lend a helping hand to him if need be next week! I was so excited about a few of the new additions but of course- I FORGOT MY CAMERA! Grrr. Oh well, I guess it will be more of a 'surprise' later on when even MORE stuff is done.

I probably forgot because I was in such a hurry to get to school today. My mind was racing as I got back from my very last day at my summer job (WOO HOO) and tried to finish some last Cricut Cutting stuff before I left for Lakeshore to get some 'stuff' laminated.

I won't be back into the classroom until Monday because I have RC training the rest of the week. GAAAAAAAAAAH that means it's the middle of August already. Which means in 2 weeks, its Open House! Slow down August, slow down.

(P.s. sorry for all the Caps Lock... its just one of those days) Until next time!


Buzz Board... and then some!

I got some time in my classroom this week. YAYY! I got a few projects done as well as some organization. I wanted to post pictures of some things I'm really excited about, but they aren't done yet and I'd rather wait until they are done. However, here's a few things I have been working on!!

Buzz Board
An idea I found on Pinterest ( (big shocker, huh?) was a buzz board. The original idea suggested using Post-it notes, however, I came up with a different idea that I am lovin'. Here's the concept:

Students always have so much to share. One way to showcase their lives and all the big (and little) moments is through the buzz board. Students can clip a piece of paper (which I have yet to make) onto a "buzz" clip and write their share. Also, students can bring photos to clip also. As students enter the room, they can check out each other's news. In addition, buzzes can be taken down and shared during Morning Meeting.

There are some other possible uses for this buzz board also. I hope to incorporate current events and have students bring in news that relates to things that we are studying or important events locally all the way to globally. Also, this could be a place for students to clip exit slips and such.

The idea seems really great, but we'll see how its executed this school year! Now- the how-to on how to make the buzz clips!

Your materials needed:
Mod Podge
Sponge Brush
Scrapbook paper of your choice

There are a few different ways to go about doing this. If my way seems difficult, test out some different ways that'll work for you!

1. Brush Mod Podge onto one side of the clothespin. Make sure that you try to keep the Mod Podge application even. 

2. Place the clothespin down onto the scrapbook paper- Mod Podge side down. Press down firmly and let stand for a minute or two.

3. Once the clothespin seems set (as in, doesn't wiggle around), carefully cut around the clothespin. You only have to do two cuts if you line it up nicely. Trim excess scraps if you find it too difficult to get to close. 

4. After you cut it out, cover the newly scrapbook-covered clothespin with another coat of Mod Podge. Make sure to apply it evenly and to brush the same stroke. It will dry clear, but if it is clumpy, it may not look as smooth.

Here is a set of 24. If you combined all the paper used, it was about 1/2 a sheet of 8.5 x 11 scrapbook paper. This little project would be great if you had a bunch of scrap pieces left over.

The next part is dependent upon if you have a Cricut or other cutting devices. Obviously you could use stickers or simply free hand it also. But, all I did was cut out the word "Buzz" and took the outline, glued it onto a white piece of paper and filled in the "B." I put a layer of Mod Podge over the labels and then added a bit more Mod-Podge to the back to stick the label onto the clothespin. (Sounds like a lot of Mod Podge, huh?)

Last step: Put two small, round magnets onto the back of the clothes-pin. 

(I got the little magnets from Lakeshore; $7.99 for 300.)

I cut out some letters on my Cricut to label the board and the Buzz Board was born!

A couple other projects I worked on (and completed) this past week:
Teacher Mailbox:  A place for students to put notes,  forms, etc. all in one place as opposed to littering my table.
Weekly Organizers: A place to put all my copies and books for each day of the week. I stuck the labels on these magazine boxes with velcro so that I can change them later on.
Filing System: A place to put all the papers I need copies of as well as a place to re-file them afterwards. Also, I have an outgoing tray for things that need to be sent to the office and such.
Well, those a just a few of the things I worked on! I also got to meet with one of my teammates for a bit and she answered a bunch of my questions!! 

On a slightly different note, I got my class roster today! I also got to see pictures of my students from last year. It was at that moment that I saw my name at the top of the page that it hit me that I would be the teacher to these 23 students for their 3rd grade year. I got somewhat terrified thinking about it! So much to do, so much responsibility. I began to think about what parents will think of the idea that their child is going to have a first year teacher. I hope that I don't let them, my students, or myself down...


Who's ready for a day or two of relaxing?? This lady.

oh. boy. We've spent the last 4 days moving and getting organized at our new apartment. I'm exhausted as I am also battling one of those nasty summer colds. However, it is amazing to be able to have our windows open and feel the cool breeze and warm sunshine on this perfect Sunday. It's the simple pleasures, like: to be able to have your windows open, or not hear your neighbor's every step, or being off of the ground level, etc. that is making this place feel like a home. And that is just what I need right now. Now if I could just have a day or two to relax and do nothing! Wishful thinking :) Back to work tomorrow (part time only so I really shouldn't be complaining) and I hope to return to my classroom and get going again on getting it ready! Although, after this moving weekend, I may wait until Tuesday- we'll see.

Currently, I am debating whether to get some work done, or take a nap. I'm going to continue this debate in my cozy bed....

I'll be posting more pictures of my room later this week!

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