Category: teaching

You’re Off to Great Places, Today is Your Day!

My first week of school has officially ended and I’m so happy to say it went really well. I have been dreaming, no- nightmaring” about this week for months (I’m a worrier). So to finally have it behind me, with no major problems, is truly a thing to celebrate.

I honestly don’t think my first week would have went as well as it did had I not read, “The First Days of School” by Harry Wong. I wouldn’t have set up procedures and consequences and I wouldn’t have spent time practicing them. However, because I spent time this week on my classroom expectations and consequences, I can already feel a positive classroom culture growing. I’m a little hesitant to begin the “yay me’s!” because maybe the students are on their best behavior for the first week of school…but I’ll just keep my fingers crossed and stick to my behavior plan!

Here’s a quick rundown of my first week: 

On Wednesday morning I greeted the students at the door with a big smile that I hoped said, “I’m not nervous!” I introduced myself and included some things I like, such as chocolate ice cream (which seems to be the one thing everyone remembered) and traveling. I also showed them my embarrassing 5th grade photo that read “Future Goal: Teacher” (awwww). In the afternoon, I read the book, “Oh, The PlaIMG_8818ces You’ll Go”, explaining to the students that you can love Dr. Suess no matter how old you are, because his messages are relevant at any age. This book is one of my absolute favorites; it’s all about new beginnings, taking chances, and overcoming difficulties- perfect for the first day of school!

On Thursday, I gave the students a worksheet with questions like, “What color is the inbox?” and “What happens if you forget your passport?”, to see how much they remembered from the day before. They worked together in groups and I was pleased to see that they remembered almost everything. I then had them create a poster with their group showing what one of my Classroom Expectations (Respect, Responsibility, Participation, and Hard Work) would look like. If they didn’t remember the expectations before, I’m sure they will now!

On Wednesday, I had the students write a short story about a quick trip to their dream destination (we all had one picked from an ice breaker the day before). The kids came up with really interesting events, like a monster in the hotel room, that would happen on their trips unnamed. In the afternoon, we set reading goals and life goals for ourselves and then checked with a partner to make sure they were S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound). I really enjoyed hearing everyones life goals, they all have such big plans and great ideas! A few students made their reading goal “To like reading”, and we all agreed that while it wasn’t measurable, it was still a good goal to have. I really hope I can help them reach that goal!

Overall it was a great first week (err…three days), but my one complaint is how badly my feet hurt by the end of the day! Does anyone have any suggestions for comfortable, but work appropriate, shoes? S.O.S.!

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Every Kid Needs a Champion

This is a must watch before returning to school! If you think back to your favorite teacher, what do you remember most? Rita Pierson talks about the importance of building relationships with your students and how it can make a true difference.

 

 

 

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Classroom Decor

I am so excited to show you guys my classroom! I worked hard on it all week, and I’m really happy with the way it came out. If you’re looking for decorations on a budget, I suggest Dollar Tree; they have an entire aisle set aside for teaching supplies! I also found a lot of supplies and decor at The Christmas Tree Shop and in Target’s $1-$3 section (usually located at the entrance).
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I’m going to use this board for homework assignments. The placement is perfect because it’s in the students line of vision as they exit the room (no excuses!). I need to hang up the calendar ($12 at Christmas Tree Shop), which I will use for test and quiz dates, assemblies, and days off. The washi tape is from Michael’s, but can probably be found at any craft store.
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On the other side of the board I have a place to write the objectives. Don’t you love the tiny bucket for the markers?

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I bought a pack of colored paper tape at Target for $6 to categorize the classroom library. Each color corresponds to a different genre. I love how they serve a purpose, but also brighten up the space! If you’re going to use this method, I suggest putting scotch tape over the paper tape to prevent it from falling off throughout the year.

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I had these mini bulletin boards around my house, but I painted them for a pop of color. I will be pinning quotes from books on them, as well as my book recommendations for the students.
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How great are these posters for only $1?! The one on the left is the writing process and on the right is proofreading reminders. Thank you, Dollar Tree!
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I’m really excited about this one! I used pages from my old Lilly planner (yay for recycling)  to create my name. I simply traced each letter on a page in the planner, cut it out, and then laminated them!
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My desk is looking pretty empty right now, but I’m sure it will be filled with papers soon. I used command strips to put up the wrapping paper, which I bought at a party supply store.
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I purchased the file folders from Target for $5. They each have a different day of the week written on them, so when a student is absent they can easily find what they missed. The welcome board will eventually be used for important notices and articles.

Where is your favorite place to shop for school supplies/decor?

xx

 

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I Did it!

I have been working really hard to get my classroom ready for September (I can’t wait to show you the finished product!), but I have also been really stressed about the upcoming year. So, when I went in to school today to drop off a few books, I was excited to see that they put my name on the door. I have wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember, so to finally see my name on a classroom door, is completely overwhelming – in a good way! I have been so nervous lately, that I kind of lost sight of how much I have wanted this, and how hard I worked for it; to see that name plate was a small, but much needed, refresher.

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Back to School

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1. Colorful desk organizers. I got the ones in the picture from The Container Store– one of my favorite places. I could seriously spend hours in there. It is kind of pricy, but they have good sales, so keep an eye out!

2. A Lilly Pulitzer agenda. There was a time I tried to get into using iCal, but I just couldn’t do it. There’s just something about pen, paper, and real highlighters. The well known Pulitzer prints and colorful pages of the Lilly agendas make scheduling more fun- and a lot less intimating.

3. A tote bag. Before starting the maternity leave replacement last April I bought a tote bag and had it monogrammed. It was one of my best purchases because it really helped me to be organized at work and at home (it makes a great beach bag!). I purchased mine from Lands’ End (they’re having a sale right now!), but L.L. Bean also has a very similar one.

4. Luna Bars. My absolute favorite (healthy) on-the-go food! The company is geared towards women, and against dieting. The bars not only taste delicious, but they are packed with important nutrients that women specifically need. The company has a variety of flavors, from Peanut Butter Cookie to Blueberry Bliss, as well as specific bars for protein and fiber. They’re a great pick-me-up for in between meetings or a snack after lunch. My two favorites are the S’mores bar and the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough protein bar (can you tell I like chocolate?).

5. Thank you notes. I really love stationary- but it can be expensive ($12 for ten cards? No thank you!), which is why I buy all of my stationary from TJ Maxx. They have the cutest cards at very reasonable prices. A pack of twelve cards and envelopes is usually about $4-$5. I stock up on these before the school year starts and keep them in my desk, because you never know when you’ll need them. Whether a student gives you a gift or a coworker does you a favor- it’s always nice to send a handwritten note with a personalized thank you.

6. Reusable water bottle. I’m a firm believer in drinking 8 cups of water a day, but that can be hard to do when you’re busy teaching. I bought the 32oz Nalgene water bottle, so I don’t need to worry about running out of water during the day. I like the Nalgene bottles specifically because they’re BPA free and the wide mouth makes them easy to clean.

7. Dry-erase calendar. A helpful tool I learned from the teacher I replaced on maternity leave, this one is for the students. You can find these reasonably priced ($12-$15) in Target or The Christmas Shop. Hang one in the classroom where everyone can see it to record assemblies, tests, and days off. Since dates are constantly changing it helps to be able to erase and rewrite easily.

8. Travel cups. I have both the hot and cold cups from Starbucks and I use them all the time! You can fill them up with your coffee at home or bring them in to Starbucks and receive 10 cents off your purchase! That doesn’t sound like much, but it definitely adds up if you tend to stop for coffee every morning.

9. Post-it notes. These are life savers! It really helps to have different colors too. I’ve found that if I always use the same color my eyes get used to that color and I forget about notes on my desk.

10. A to-do list. This is another thing that I buy from TJ Maxx (the last one I bought was about $3). They have a lot of nice ones that make looking at a to-do list a bit easier.

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Planning

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I’m a very organized person so it’s important for me to have a good agenda. I came across Lily Pulitzer agendas about two years ago and I’ve been using them ever since. They come in three different sizes and many different prints (Lily’s genius designs!). Not only are they cute but there’s also a spot for everything: month view, weekly view, birthdays, notes, and even party planning! If you’re in the market for a planner, definitely give these a try; they’re a bit pricy but worth every penny.

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