Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Summer To-Do List

My previous post stated that one of my things on my summer to-do list consists of some things related to the changes for reading next year. That got me thinking about all the things I have to do over my break to prep for next school year. I have to admit, I feel like I've been kind of a slacker teacher this year and haven't done as much of my fun "above and beyond" things that I've done in years past. I've already resolved that it's not going to be that way next year and that I'm going to put in a lot of time during June and July to get off on the right foot. That said, I figured what better place than on here to write out my to-do list... I figured if I post it on here maybe there'll be some accountability and I'm sure not to lose the list in a random notebook or a slip of paper. Plus, if I put this out there for others I figure I may also want to show off what I've accommplished later on when I actually get these things done.

*sigh* I actually wish I was as motivated to finish off this school year on a fantastic note as I am to start next year... Don't get me wrong, though, my summer will be filled with tons of non-school activities (and chores)!

  1. assemble and organize literacy center activities

  2. figure out what the heck to do about math centers next year since we do Everyday Math now

  3. label and organize my classroom library

  4. label and organize the new grade level non-fiction books

  5. weed out the junk in my classroom that I don't use or need

  6. revamp and organize my word wall materials

  7. revamp and organize my focus wall materials

  8. create new lunch and library pocket charts

  9. shop and blow my summer school budget at Lakeshore

  10. find cool sports themed materials and ideas


That's all I've come up with for now... I'm sure I'll think of more things later! ; )

Folder Games, Folder Games Everywhere!

We're in for a lot of changes in how we teach reading next year and I've been trying to reorganize and add to my collection of reading, language, phonics, and writing folder games for work stations (or centers, if that's what you want to call them). From what I've been told so far (I have yet to attend 5 days of literacy training this summer), I will be doing going from doing work stations once a day to twice a day. If I've done my math correctly that means I will need about twice as much material for my students so as not to repeat things through the year. I really am all about what's easy for me and the kids to run, but still challenges them with the skills they need. You can see in the picture above how I currently have them organized. The majority of my activities are Evan Moor Take It To Your Seat Centers. I have a handfull of others that I've found and downloaded from the internet, created on my own, or have purchased at the always wonderful Dollar Tree. I've been searching around online today for more free goodies or other resources that I can purchase and add to my collection. (This is all in addition to my Lakeshore wish list and the items that I will probably purchase there when I make a trip this summer.) Now it's up to me to to print these things off, put them together, laminate them, and get them all organized.

So, this is another thing I shall add to my summer to do list... The ever-growing list that it is...

Anyone have any brilliant ideas on organization? I have them sorted into these baskets, but I am planning on adding nice little labels to the top corner with the specific skill for easier access. I'm also planning on creating some short of checklist or spreadsheet so that I can mark off the ones I've used already for that year.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Attention Shopaholics!

Okay, while this isn't totally school related, it's still a resource for teachers and I have to share it.

Loft (Ann Taylor's slightly cheaper and trendier child) has become one of my favorite stores in the past year or so since I first discovered it out in Colorado Springs. Unfortunately (or fortunately for my bank account) we don't have a Loft store within less then 2 1/2 hours from where I live, so I do a lot of my shopping online or when I'm on vacation. My super cute Easter dress and jacket were Loft purchases. (The jacket was purchased at their Times Square store! :) )

Enough rambling... Anyway, the link above is to register for the new and improved Loft Loves Teachers program. It offers a 15% off discount in stores anytime and for registering they'll send you a $10 off reward right now as well. The only thing that stinks is that the 15% off is only in store, so those of us who don't live near a store are kinda outta luck on that one. The program is free and it looks like they're offering some other perks as well. If you haven't shopped at Loft before, you should at least check out their website. They have a great selection of good "teacher clothes" and if you're a bargain shopper like me you'll also enjoy the fact that they usually offer some pretty good sales and specials. (That helps the whole 15% off in store thing not suck quite so much.)

Happy shopping!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

School Theme-- Sports and Teamwork

Over the past three years, my school has selected a theme for the school year. Over the past couple years we've let the kids vote on themes and we get them involved in the theme selection process for the next school year. Rumor has it, next year's theme will be a sports / teamwork theme. This was actually an idea that I submitted and was my favorite out of the choices we came up with. I don't usually do a whole lot inside my classroom with the school theme, but sports and teamwork is such an easy on to incorporate that I'm considering doing a little bit more than usual. Here are some ideas I've found online that go with this *possible* (and hopeful) theme for next year.


http://sportsbooksforkidsandteens.blogspot.com/2009/09/sports-theme-ideas-for-classroom.html http://johnston.k12.nc.us/education/staff/staff.php?sectiondetailid=7756&


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring Cleaning!

I couldn't take it any longer!

I had to do some spring cleaning in my classroom. Yes, I gave up an absolutely gorgeous Saturday afternoon to be inside with a dusty, cluttered mess. But, in my opinion, it's soooooo worth it and will make my life a lot easier later on.

I don't claim to be the most clean and organized teacher in the world, but I try my best to keep things at least looking in order. I'm usually pretty good with that.

You know how a lot of us walk into our classrooms when we first start and we've been left with a bunch of junk that we don't know if we'll need or not? I seem to go through my stuff every year or so and I'm still finding things that I've NEVER used. Well, I've decided this is the time to try to get rid of the last of the useless junk that's cluttering up my storage space and it's time to get organized for real. I'm in the mood to buy some nice new (and matching) storage containers to finish off the closet "remodel."

If I'd thought about it, I would have taken before and after pics, but I don't have my camera today. Maybe next week I'll remember it and I can at least post some after pics to show off my hard work!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Okay so here goes...

Okay, so I'm kinda new to this whole blogging thing. I have a class website on Shutterfly and I'm horrible about making updates this year. I learned about Blogger last year when I was taking classes at Baker University when I worked with a group to create a first year teacher's survival guide blog. Well, fast forward about eight months and I'm preparing to teach a workshop about technology in the classroom. I knew I was going to use Blogger as one of my tools to show people, but I got to thinking that I should probably have a (somewhat exciting and attractive) blog of my own to show off. Even better, I should use my blog to share the other resources I'll be covering in the workshop. So, here goes. I've been looking at other awesome teacher blogs all week and finally decided to kick this thing off. We'll just have to see how it goes... :)

Wish List

It's at about this point in the school year that I get really ready for summer vacation to roll around. Now, believe me, I love relaxing during the summer and NOT worrying about school stuff, but I do tend to get a burst of motivation to get prepared for the new school year. I recently was given the opportunity to fill out a "Wish List" of items that I would like for my classroom for next year, so this kind of kicked off my desire to get some new items and brainstorm some new ideas of things that I might enjoy. Enter Lakeshore's new catalog... If you're a teacher and you don't know Lakeshore, you need to get to know their catalog / website. It's probably my top store as far as teacher stuff. Unfortunately, the closest store is almost three hours away. I've only shopped in the store once last summer, but I usually do online purchases. If I posted everything I wanted, it'd be several thousand dollars worth of items. Here are a few of my top "wishes."