Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Day in the Life

It was inevitable friends.  Did you see that big 16-wheeler pass you on the road?  Well, it ran over me.  Today is one of those days that I had TONS planned.  I mean I have two days of summer left.  I need to be living it up and doing something fun, right?  That was the plan, until I woke up at 6:45 achy, tired, and wanting my Mommy.  Just kidding on the last part, but when you feel whiney you usually want someone to take care of you, right?  I have a new type of virus/bug... it's called the Exhaustion bug.  It comes on when you think you are invincible and stay up until 2 a.m., get up early, and forget to take a nap.  So, this girl is taking it easy today because in two days I am back to a schedule - gasp!  What is that?

Anyway, now that I've whined a little bit it's time for one of my favorite link ups - A Day in the Life of a Teacher.

9:00 - 12:00 Math Training
Yesterday I went to training on our new math curriculum.  My county just adopted Scott Foresman.  It was crazy how much things have changed since the last time we adopted a math series.  A lot of this series focused on what we will be able to do online and with our Activboards.  Our kids can even take their tests online, which is great, but I'm not thinking I will do that with my first graders, at least not at the beginning of the year.

12:00 - 1:30 Lunch
After training, one of my sweet friends invited me to lunch.  My plan was to go to school, but seriously - lunch or school?  Lunches are about to be 15 minutes and I'm about to be at school ten to twelve hours a day.  Lunch with a friend sounded like fun!  I bet you can't guess what I chose for lunch?  Yep, Mexican!  It is a miracle that I haven't turned into a quesadilla or cheese dip bowl yet.

1:30 - 3:15 School
I know, I know.  I just told you I decided not to worry about school.  Well, I didn't.  I went with Laura to help her out for a few.  Her school building just had a total remodel and when I say total remodel, I mean they installed outlets, new lights, tile, paint, intercoms, etc.  Her school is one of the oldest in my county, so it was time to update it to the here and now.  Updating though meant that ALL their stuff had to be moved to the gym and pods for the summer.  Now that they are moving everything back, she's working to get her furniture put into place which is how I helped a little.

I also spotted this.  Our county does 6+1 Traits for writing and her principal made these for all of the teachers.  Aren't they cute?  They used teachers to be the different characters for each trait.  I so want to make these now!  I'm not sure how, but they are just adorable!

3:15 - 6:00 ?????
Yes, I put a ton of question marks.  I did that because I piddled around and burned time.  I played on Facebook, emailed, checked out my new kiddos heading my way, played games, and  thought about everything I needed to get done.  Here's one of my piddling photos.

6:00 - 7:00 Target Trip
Oh, how I love Target, let me count the ways... 1. They have the best lamps for classrooms.  2. Their ottomans make incredible storage areas.  3. Did I mention they now have Scentos?  4. Ours has a Starbucks. 5. Their Dollar Spot is more like a "Hit the jackpot!" spot.  6 - 9. They have EVERYTHING!  Well, everything except for the set of bookcases I needed, so what is a girl to do? 10. Check on the Internet to find the closest Target with bookcases and go grab bookcases there!

7:00 - 9:00 Dinner
We chose Outback.  When I was a kid, I loved eating there!  I had no idea that I liked steak at that time, so I always got the Alice Springs chicken.  It also is the place that my hubby and I first went out.  We were just friends then, but we still enjoy discussing that dinner.  So, since we had to run to Target, we decided to eat there.  It was a good dinner, but I didn't realize how much Longhorn trumps Outback.

9:00 - 12:00 ?????
More piddling, playing games, and wasting time... some days you create away and other days you just need to breathe for a second.  Yesterday, I decided to breathe.

Hope you guys all have a great day!  I will do my best to blog a few more times this week since I know next week will be cray cray with a side of cray cray!!!  Oh, I LOVE the first week of school.  There is something special about getting to start over and try new things.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Little Bit of This and That

It feels weird to realize this is my last Sunday off without having to go to work the next day.  It's funny because at the beginning of the summer, you feel like you have so much time.  At this point of the summer, I feel like I'm trying to hold on to every second, but the seconds are quickly falling through my fingers kind of like when you try to hold water.  Because of that feeling, I have been pushing as hard as I can to get several things prepped, get my room ready, and spend time with my friends and family.

Speaking of which, you know how people make comments that they have a pregnant brain or mommy brain?  Nope... I don't have one of those.  Sorry for getting your hopes up Mom!  I have what I call my back to school brain.  This is where you go to bed late, get up early, and you run so hard you forget where you put things.

For example, last week I started getting ready and went to put on my deodorant.  I know that there are people that smell pretty without it, but yeah, I'm not one of those people.  I am not kidding friends.  I have a place I put it EVERY day, but it wasn't to be found.  Yet, what do I find without trying?  The hubby's deodorant!  So, for two days (until I remembered to buy something that smelled powder fresh) I smelled like Old Spice mixed with baby powder because smelling like a guy was a little more appealing than smelling like a wet dog.  Oh, just so you know, I found my deodorant the morning after I bought new deodorant.  Where was it?  It was under a t-shirt and hat that was in my craft room.  Most people need to add finders to their keys.  Not me!  I need to apparently buy a deodorant buzzer.

Anyway, now that you know a little too much extra information about me, I want to give you two things.  First off, several fantabulous teachers put together eBooks for this coming school year.  They featured tons of teachers in each of them.  They have blog links, common core products, and freebies.  Oh, and the best part is the books are free!  Just in case you are wondering, I am in the language arts book :)  Thanks Deanna Jump and Rachelle Smith for putting together two awesome books of K-2 goodies :)  If you click on the language arts or math book, it will take you straight to the creators so you can download the books.   If you want to see ALL the books (K-12), you can check out Creativity in the Common Core Classroom.  There are links to each of the books.  I'm still amazed how many incredible people are linked up.  It is definitely time to do a little more back to school shopping.

Also, I promised a freebie and I am delivering.  My friend Kristen had this idea around a month ago.  She teaches middle schoolers and wanted to know if they truly are getting what she is teaching them.  So, she asked me if I could create "Exit Slips".  This way, she can see if she needs to keep covering the topic without the kids realizing who understood and who may need a little help.  Well, I have always called her idea "Tickets out the Door", so I made two versions.  Feel free to use however you want.

Have a great night... I mean morning!!!!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Black Pocket Charts and Calendar Math

Alright, if you have been following me on my Facebook page, I am sure that you are aware that I decided I wanted a black pocket chart.  My friends, I am not kidding, I searched and searched for a place to buy one and they were no where to be found.  However, during my search I stumbled onto a blog where the teacher had dyed her own pocket chart.

This is a warning.  This post is not for the faint of heart.  Oh, and know that you will laugh hysterically at me and you may even snort.

Thursday was Day 1 of creating a black pocket chart.  First, I ran to the store and grabbed two dye kits.  It only called for one, but you never know, right?  I also grabbed a container of salt, and some heavy duty cleaning gloves.  Sorry, but there was no way this girl was going to have dyed arms.

Once I got home, I grabbed a 5 gallon bucket and a plastic table cloth.  The blog post I read said to throw it in the washing machine.  I'm not sure why, but a 5 gallon bucket just sounded easier.  I took it to the tub and filled it halfway with hot water, placed the bucket on the plastic table cloth, poured the bottle of dye in and some salt (True fact - I never measure), stirred it up, and put my pocket chart in there.

In the beginning, my hubby and I spent a few minutes trying to figure out how to get it to stay under water.  I came up with fill up a milk jug with water, but once I fiddled with the chart I got it to stay under water.  I left the chart to soak overnight and went to work on something else.

Now, the next morning (Day 2) I took the bucket outside with the chart still in it and pulled the chart out.  People!  I'm not kidding it was black... well, black with a lot of blue splotches.  I would say it looked more like a camouflage shirt gone wrong.  As I'm holding it, my fingers are starting to turn black because this girl didn't think about the fact her gloves were in her craft room.  I tossed it in the washing machine so maybe the dye would move around.  Um, yeah that's not how it works.  I pulled it out and the chart was an epic failure.  I fell into the group that thought they could outsmart the chart and instead ended up with an ugly chart (see picture) and needing to order a new one, well at least that's what I thought.

Into my life enters an angel named Christina that sends me this link The Very Busy First Graders.  I mean I couldn't help but love this blog.  After all, it is all about first grade.  This blogger had done it slightly differently than me.  So what do I do?  I go in for round 2.  Since this round worked, here are the specifics.

Things Needed:
Pocket chart, 5 gallon bucket, plastic cloth, hot water, black dye (in a box), 1 cup of vinegar, gloves

Step 1:
Fill the 5 gallon bucket halfway with hot water.  Place on the plastic cloth.

Step 2:
Mix in dye and vinegar.  Place the pocket chart in the bucket.

Step 3:
Stir the pocket chart around in the dye for 15 minutes every 45 minutes to an hour.  Make sure you take your gloved hands and pull the plastic open so that the dyed water can get into all the crevices.  Flip it around, fold it differently, etc.  (Note - I did this probably 4 or 5 times within 3 hours)  Leave the pocket chart in the dye over night.  Be sure that the water is fully covering the chart.

Step 4:
Take the bucket to a big sink or to your bathtub.  Turn on the water where it is hot (Not to the point it burns you).  Put the pocket chart under the water and keep flipping it and running water over it until the water that is draining does not have any dye.  The water should be clear.

Step 5:
Hang your chart upside down to dry.  This allows the water in the pockets to run out of the pockets.  I put mine on a ladder under a fan.  I would suggest putting it on the plastic cloth you used earlier.

Now, you are all done!  Here's the one thing I learned from this.  Don't give up after one try.  It took my chart two times going through the process before it worked.  The thing that I think affected it the most the second time was taking the time to stir it.  Most of the blotches were around or in the pockets because the first time I stuck it in the water and just left it.

Alright, I know this is a long post, but here's my other good news!  My calendar math is finally done and posted!  I ended up creating all of my own clip art for it so that I could post it as a flip chart.  Since I know not everyone has a Promethean Activboard, I also posted it as an editable PowerPoint.  This should allow you to use it on other types of interactive whiteboards since most computers have PowerPoint.  The slides are the same as the last time, but since I changed backgrounds, here are new previews for you.  If you click on any of them, it will take you to my TPT store.  I also included live links and actions on many of the flip chart slides and slides for September-July at the end of the packet.

Make sure you check back tomorrow.  I'm going to try to make sure I have a freebie for you.  I will try to post a little more this week.  Between setting up my classroom and working on Calendar Math I haven't had much time.  Up next on my creative calendar is 1st grade morning work.

Have a great night!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Facebook Break and Back to School Packet

I'm not sure about you guys, but the last week or two have flown by.  I LOVE teaching, not that you would doubt that, but it is truly where my heart is, but for the first time ever I wish summer was just a few weeks longer.  You can ask my family, friends, or the people I work with - I have never ever said that!

I realized today I feel that way because summer is flying by and I still have so many things on my To Do List.  Yet, what do I do?  I keep adding more and more to my list, but then I spend the day piddling on Facebook or looking at pictures on Instagram.  I'm a blogger, so I love looking at these things!  They are entertaining!  Plus, it has connected me with so many new friends.  Yep, there's a but... BUT I am not getting any work done and I think I almost have a doctorate in being lazy and wasting time.  So, here's what I came up with yesterday.  I will blog, but for a few days, I am turning off my Facebook and Instagram and focusing on knocking out this forever long list.  Today was my first day without Facebook and it's funny, but when you intentionally avoid getting on it, you begin to realize just how many times a day you check it.  I have to say, I have gotten more done and I am definitely not as stressed.  I told my hubby that after my little hiatus, I may be very intentional about only checking it during a certain time frame a day and being done.  So, I said all of that to say, if your list is getting longer and longer and your summer is getting shorter and shorter, you aren't alone.  I feel your pain, friend!  This is my solution to lengthening my summer a little and to be honest, saving my naps because boy, do I LOVE my daily naps!

Now, I have news!  I am ALMOST done with my Calendar Math.  I went back and drew some of the graphics myself so that I don't have to worry about if they are locked down or not.  If I'm the clip art artist, then it's okay for some clip art not to be locked down, right?   I hope to get it posted tomorrow or Wednesday.

Until then, here is my other newest packet.  It completely slipped my mind that I forgot to share it.  The two top pages (Capitalization and Punctuation 1 and Categorize) are free in my preview.  Right now, it is only language arts, but I am planning to add math to it later.  If you get it now, when I add the math, I will add an update and make sure you know so you don't miss it.  You can click on any of the pictures and it will take you to my packet.  I am planning to use most of these sheets as my assessments, homework, or as review during the first nine weeks.

Hope you guys are enjoying your summer!  I'm off to watch "42" with the hubby!