Wednesday, September 4, 2013

All's Fair In Love and 4th Grade?

Another first day down! Phew! Needless to say, I'm exhausted but I had a great day meeting my new 4th grade friends.

I decided to make another version of my tickets to 4th grade fun.

 It's just a fun way to start the day. My little guys wear them as necklaces the first day of school and many save them as bookmarks. You can find the template for this ticket and many more here. It is customizable and super easy to use! They would be great for invitations to any type of party, AND...they're FREE!

So, here is a quick glimpse of the view from my desk this year.  (Don't mind the laminator I left on the table.)

This can be found on the front of my desk. It's one of my favorite quotes by Roald Dahl.

I also found this adorable mustache freebie on Pinterest this summer. Grab it here!

One of the fun activities I did today focused on the difference between fair and equal. It's no surprise that my classroom is full of students with a wide range of abilities. The challenge is meeting the needs of each and every one of my students while simultaneously keeping them all engaged and entertained. This is not an easy task. That's where differentiated instruction comes into place. Often times children don't think it's fair that certain kids might get extra help or different assignments, and understandably so.

Today I tried to teach them that everyone learns differently and some students need accommodations to be successful.

I had my students close their eyes and imagine they just got a boo-boo on a certain part of their body. I called one student up and asked where he got his boo-boo.  When he told me it was on his hand, I kindly placed a Band-Aid on his hand and sent him on his merry way.

 I called the next student up and when she told me her "boo-boo" was on her elbow, I proceeded to put the Band-Aid on her hand, exactly like I did with the first student.

I did this yet again with several students. Of course I added the dramatic effect of sympathetic "awws" and baby talk to get some laughs from the crowd. No matter where they claimed they needed a Band-Aid, I put every single one on their hand. The look of confusion was priceless. 

I continued to play dumb saying things such as "What? I'm treating everyone the same. Don't you guys want to be treated fairly?" "If Bobby needs a Band-Aid on this hand to get better, isn't that what Jenny needs to get better?" This began a really great conversation among the class. The students were so animated and opinionated about how this wasn't working. I love when their little minds get reeling! 

I then put this quote up on the Smartboard and asked them to read it silently and think about what it meant.  

The light bulbs went off. 

I took time to discuss that fair doesn't mean the same. We are all different so what we need is not always the same. This is called differentiation. I also told them that when someone has a boo-boo or gets hurt when they are at school, we would help them and not make fun of them. So if someone has a different activity in class it is so they will get what they need and we won't make them feel like they aren't as smart as or smarter than someone else. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Giving It Another Go..

I'm sitting here the night before (or should I say, the morning of) my 5th "first" day of school as a teacher. It's hard to believe I have 4 years of teaching under my belt. It seems like just yesterday I was the nervous 4th grader worried about the first day of school. Not much has changed, except my evolution from student to teacher. On second thought, I believe I am still a student, constantly learning from those around me and my life experiences.

 It's just before 1am. I should be sound asleep. Instead, I find myself once again drawn to the light of my lap top, wondering if I should attempt this teaching blog once more.

A lot has changed in my life over the past few months and I find myself more driven than ever. I'm trying new things, embarking on exciting adventures and wanting to become a better person. I've been regretting my decision to stop writing this blog and decided that I should give it another chance. Why not? What have I got to lose?

I know I will be spending a lot of time over the next few days discussing the importance of respecting each other in the classroom. A few years ago, my class created this anti bullying video. I thought it would be a good way to start the first day with my new batch of kiddos tomorrow. Feel free to show it to your new class as well, or ever better, be inspired to create your own!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Crate Seat Chronicles

I was super excited to make the crate seats with my mommy today! Here is a glimpse into our adventure.


Attempting to pull out the foam...




 Adding backing so it looks "professional", as my mom says....

Scotch Guarding to protect them against dirty little hands...

And... Ta Da!!

Now, where was my dad this whole time....

Dreaming up my next project.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

"Arghh You Ready for 4th Grade?"

I can't claim this bulletin board idea as my own. I found it here.

I liked the idea, but Tom thought no pirate was complete without a parrot, patch, hook and peg leg. So here is what I came up with.

I found this stool laying around my grandfather's garage.

He was nice enough to let me take it. Clearly plain white just won't cut it in my classroom.

I had to jazz it up.

That's more like it.

Here's how the conversation between Tom and I went regarding the stool...

Tom-   "What the heck is that?  It's intense! "
Me-    "Do you like it?"
Tom- "I'm happy that you like it."

 Good thing this stool isn't for our apartment.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I'll "chalk" it Up to Beginner's Luck!

Today I had my first experience with chalkboard paint.  Surprisingly, it went well.

I decided to take my old, banged up, hand- me -down coffee table....

and turn it into this...

It will be perfect for game nights...

I sent Tom a picture message of the final product. His response...

                                  "We are so hip now."


Monday, August 6, 2012

Ditching the Desk

This upcoming school year (after much thought) I am deciding to go deskless. *GASP*

Here's why...

1. The desk is HUGE, therefore it takes up a ton of space.
2. My computer is on a smaller table, so the desk is not needed for that.
3. My desk just collected junk and was never very organized.
4.  I want more space.
5. Let's be serious, how often do you find yourself sitting at your desk???? NEVER.

No desk means my kidney reading table will be taking on more responsibilities. I plan on moving it up to the front where my desk used to be. That leaves the entire back of the classroom open and available for more reading nooks or places to accommodate the Daily Five and my math rotations. 

The only time I really sit at my desk is to correct papers, check emails or meet with students. All of these tasks can be completed at my reading table instead.

Where am I going to keep all of the supplies that were in my desk? I thought you'd never ask. I perused Pinterest for space saving organizational tips and was inspired to put my own twist on a combination of a few ideas. Here is what I came up with.

I started with an over the door clear plastic shoe organizer. You can find it super cheap at Walmart.

And with a little patience, duct tape, chalk and construction paper, I turned it into an over the door supply organizer.

It was tough to get a good picture without the glare of the plastic, but you get the idea.

This will be way more functional and space saving than my giant desk (or so I hope).
I won't lie, I'm a little apprehensive to go "deskless" but I figure the only way to find out if it will work, is to try! Here goes nothing.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Have You Filled A Bucket Today?

I (and many other fabulous teachers at my school) use the bucket filler system to reinforce positive and encouraging interactions among students. Not familiar with bucket fillers? Check out their website.

I introduce the concept of bucket filling by reading....

Throughout the year students write compliments to each other using use this...

They place the compliments in each others' buckets.

I have seen some teachers get really creative on what they use for buckets. This year I am having my "buckets" do double duty. They will be cubby name tags as well.

I started with these...

And turned them into these...

 In the process my apartment looked like this...

And my boyfriend looked like this...

At this point, I feel like this...

I think it's time for bed.