Sunday, March 24, 2013

Beg, Steal and Borrow

Let me tell you something, friends. If you are not on twitter, you are MISSING OUT. And I don't mean for personal reasons. Let twitter become your (actually useful) Professional Learning Community/Network. (I don't know about you, but my current school doesn't do PLCs and I am so grateful. Every PLC meeting I went to at my last school was totally useless.) However, my #PLN on twitter has literally saved my teaching life. Yes, I am a first year teacher. But please remember, most new teachers burn out and quit by year three. I could feel myself on that slippery slope with no back up plan in sight. I was considering nursing school, daycares, having a million children and staying home with was getting bad. All I knew was that I had to get out of my school and fast. 

Wrong. Turns out the problem is not my school and not my students, the problem was me. I felt stuck, even though I have a great job with an excellent opportunity for next year. I was so beaten down by cscope and STAAR and everything else we have to do, that I had lost my joy of learning and teaching. I'm so grateful that I went to a round-table discussion on flipped classrooms and met Louise Morgan, a second grade teacher in my district. (You can view her blog here!) She announced that she was having a skype in the classroom training that Thursday and on a whim at noon that Thursday, I decided to go. 

Not only did I learn about skype in Louise's training, but I learned about mystery skype, and world read aloud day, and using twitter as a professional network. Since then I have learned about twitter chats (my favorites are #elempblchat, #geniushour and #flipclass), genius hour, and met some very resourceful and kind people. I spent the majority of my spring break on twitter, begging for help, stealing ideas, and borrowing resources. I came back to school ON FIRE

Sadly, that fire was dimmed by walking pneumonia and sinusitis, but I have had a steroid shot and am on a lot of medication. I predict a return to normalcy and FIRE tomorrow or Tuesday at the latest. :) 

Every teacher should have the opportunity to be as excited as I am now that I have "found" twitter. If you've been on the fence, let this push you over it. If you're already there, follow me! I am always looking for new connections and friends. 

Sincerely yours,

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Welcome back?

Well, it's spring break time for me. My very first post was a "currently" post, and my "wondering" question was "I wonder if I'll be able to keep up with this in the school year." Clearly, I failed. But after joining twitter (as a teacher, not a social network junkie), I was shamed to realize I had a blog and was failing to use it. 

There were several times during the year where I thought "oh, this would make a great blog post" and thought about pulling out my camera, but I just never got around to it. The first year of teaching is supposed to be the worst, and so far it has been FULL of ups and downs. I think I spent the entire first six weeks crying to my mom and hubs about how awful my life was. 

But I am pleased to report I have finally learned how to DEAL. And how to put up with the craziness that comes along with fifth graders. And even though I still hate testing and STAAR and want to move to a first or second grade classroom, I have been given an amazing opportunity at my own campus. 

Next year, another first year teacher and myself will be piloting a flipped classroom. I have taken this little idea and turned my ideal classroom into a flipped/PBL/genius hour/whole brain teaching mecca. You can't even believe how excited I am to implement all these ideas!! (I still have a long way to go...I haven't really figured out how to incorporate all of them into one classroom.) I plan to spend the rest of my spring break relaxing...I am on vacation with family...but also learning as much as humanly possible. 

Now: a very late "currently" post. 

For like, love, and hate, I had to use words that started with an L. I like being lazy on vacation...hate it in my kids or when it keeps me from working out. I LOVE learning. See above post :) I hate losers - sore losers, good losers, people who just give up. UGH. 

I hope you all have a lovely spring break, whenever yours happens to be! 


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Back to school!

It is so hard to believe that today is my last day of summer vacation! Tomorrow is the first day I can get into my classroom AND it's the first day of new hire training. The next two weeks are going to be crazy...and then the next 40 or so weeks after that!

I hope to have my classroom finished by Friday... Which I believe to be a totally unrealistic goal but who knows. My parents and the hubs have decided it's not unrealistic, and I'm certainly not allowed to argue with that! I'm excited to get going AND for Monday Made It tomorrow! Stay tuned! 

Side note: Who else starts back to work this week?? 


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Spaces and Places

I assume today that they are finishing up our classrooms, as we will FINALLY be allowed in this upcoming Monday!! I was able to take a peek on Tuesday afternoon and noticed that A) the previous teacher had finally removed all of their things, and B) there were two new tables in the room. That's all the furniture I'll be getting, so maybe the reason I couldn't come in this week is because they're going to set my computers up for me?? A girl can dream.

Here are a few pictures of my room from the first time I saw it in mid-July. Note the cabinets full of the previous teacher's things. All gone! And imagine that in addition to the desks just piled against the wall, there are also two tables in that tangle. And a teacher chair!

(Wow, it wasn't until I uploaded these pictures to the computer that I realized how awful they were. I have got to get my digital camera working!!) 

All gone!!

My room is pretty large! I'm excited. After spending a year in the tiny special ed pods and student teaching in two small classrooms, I have space!!

Speaking of space, have you all read Spaces and Places by Debbie Diller? You should!! I think it is especially helpful for previous teachers trying to declutter and redo, but it has also been helpful as a brand new teacher! (Side note- you can buy it cheaper at Barnes & Noble than on Amazon. Someone explain that to me.) Part of her book says to make a plan before you even think about moving furniture. Since I can't move furniture until Monday, this has been a great distraction!

The squiggly lines represent the separator between my classroom and the next. We're "curtain partners." Adorable.

For the rest of today I will be working on coming up with an ABC list that has to do with language arts, explicitly defining my procedures for the classroom, and doin' a little compliance training. I can tell you're jealous!

Until next time!

Monday, August 6, 2012

My First Monday Made It!

Monday Made It with Fourth Grade Frolics
Y'all, I have been looking forward to posing a Monday Made It ever since I first saw them on the internet. I'm so excited to show off a little of what I'm doing for my classroom. Sadly, I don't have a camera. (Well, I do, but it's on the floor of my bedroom and I'm not entirely certain it works, so please forgive my iphone pictures!) 

After seeing this ALL over Pinterest, I had to make my own. I feel like it's a pretty self-explanatory project for the kids to use to help me out! When the students arrive, they don't have to do anything. However, once class has started, I'll have my star boy and girl of the week check for absences and move those kids' numbers to the absent box. Then, as students leave class (during class), they can move their magnet to the location where they are headed. I might change "absent" to "other" but for now, I am going to test this out. 

After showing my mom, she insisted I make one for her classroom (she teaches 7th grade language arts) but with zebra print. Then I showed that to my friend Rachael (also a first year fifth grade language arts teacher!) and SHE insisted on having a zebra one as well. Now I'm out of cookie sheets, so thankfully no one else can beg for one without providing their own cookie sheet!!

 I found the idea on Mrs. Petite's Teaching Passion ... or rather on pinterest, which redirected me to her blog. ;) 

My next (and last) project is also from pinterest, and Mrs. Brown Dot Com. I got the back board from Michael's for $1.99 and the letters were in sets of two for 99 cents each. That wasn't the greatest deal... I only needed one of each except for the N's! So I made one for my friend Rachael. I forgot to take a picture of hers, but it's pretty much the same except using more of the green colors! 

I have found a looooot of great ideas on pinterest and through following blogs. I wish I could claim some of their products as my own! Haha oh well. My goal is to create some crate seats...but after reading about how expensive they can be, I am way thrown off on that idea. You would think something like that would be so much cheaper! 

Have you made crate seats or something similar? How much did that project cost you? Maybe I can be a better bargain hunter, because these seats would be so cute! 

**COMMENT UPDATE** - I can now comment on my own blog, but I can only comment on other blogs that also have pop-up comments. I've done a bit of research and apparently this happens randomly with blogger. Hopefully it will go away soon so I can thank you all for your support and great ideas!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

An appropriate first post

Once upon a time, I had a blog in college for my technology and education class. That was about four years ago, and I have since slept. But after a summer of reading teaching blogs, I finally decided to rejoin the blogging world and be less of a stalker non-participating member of teaching blogs. 

I figured the best way to do this was to join the "currently" linky party at Oh Boy, Fourth Grade! After seeing these on blogs all summer, I'm excited to post my own!

Check back later this weekend for an updated blog, actual information about myself, and so on. Until then, enjoy!!

- Laura

PS- I have tried commenting and it's not working...on any blogs. :( Is there some really easy trick that I am missing out on? Please help! 
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