Monday, September 2, 2013

September Currently

Not that I can believe it's September already, but it must be because it's time for a Currently link up.

listening: The NFL regular season needs to start soon. My son is watching last year's Super Bowl--and it doesn't even have the good commercials!

loving: We've finished our first week. My new bunch is a larger class than last year, but they are precious! Can't wait to get to know everyone better.

thinking: As I always do at the start of the year, I have great expectations for my growth as a teacher. This is the year I stay ahead of my piles.

wanting: It's too easy to get distracted by what is urgent. I want to remember to focus on the growth of my students and me as a professional.

needing: I need to send in feedback for next year's calendar when it's asked for during second semester. Five full days the first week is just a lot to expect of teachers, students, and families in 95-100 degree heat.

Love myself: I did a great job losing weight during the first half of 2013. 40 pounds! Over the summer, I did a great job of maintaining. Now, I need to get back to tracking my food and activity so I can reach my goal weight. I ordered Debbie Diller's small groups book, and I need to make time to read it. I loved her math stations book, and I hope to get as much out of this one. Lastly, I'd love to make time for two date nights with my husband this month.

Hope your Labor Day has been labor-free!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Taking Care of Teammates

We started our first official week back on Monday, and I was all set for taking care of my teammates. We've added a teacher on our grade level this year. I'm team leader, so I really wanted to set the tone for taking care of each other and having fun while doing a great job teaching first grade.

I spent some (ok, TOO much) time this summer going through pinterest finding cute, inexpensive gifts to give my 6 teammates. The first one I showed you as a Monday Made It!, a handy post it note holder. I made one for myself, too, because I am always losing those little pads under my stacks of to do's. My teammates were surprised and thankful. Turns out--the holders are cute, but if you plan to write on the post it while it's still on the holder you'll want to spend more than a dollar on the acrylic frame. Otherwise, when you put any weight on the pad, the frame is easily pushed down making the pad wobble up and down as you write. Oh well. At least my team knows I was thinking about them, and I can find those little notes when I need one.

On Tuesday we had district training, and I didn't get to see anyone from my team that day.

We were back at our own school on Wednesday, and I gave my teammates this:

It was a hit! Woohoo! Even if my friends didn't like the peach tea packet, they could still have a bottle of water for drinking in one of the many meetings we had this week or while working in their rooms.

On Thursday I gave them this:

(Thanks go to where I found the free printable to go with the popcorn packets and the inspiration for the water bottles.)

Another hit! I was feeling like I'd really gotten our year off to a happy start until one of my dear teammates said, "I can't wait to see what we get tomorrow!" Which really is very sweet except I had made those little gifts during the summer when it seemed like I had endless time to get all of my grand projects completed before the new school year started. I searched for just the right ideas, I bought the supplies for five projects, and then I managed to follow through on completing three projects for all of us. I always have things I meant to do during the summer that are still undone as the new year starts. But this time, I'd set up expectations in my teammates that each day we saw each other this week I'd have a little something for them. Oh no. SO, despite the fact that I was dog-tired after this week's meetings, trainings, meetings, ARD's, meetings, trainings, ARD's, calling parents to tell them I'm their child's teacher, and a few more meetings, I got up extra early on Friday to pull together the supplies to make these:

I don't even know how everyone liked these because by the time I got to school Friday morning and just left them by everyone's door, I was D-O-N-E, (My husband reminded me last night that I hit this point every back to school season.) and I still had a day full of meetings, prepping for and having Meet the Teacher at the end of the day. There was WAY too much still to be done for me to be in show-off mode. And then, a few hours into the morning, that team spirit I'd been working so hard to foster with the gifts, came out just when I needed it most. Seeing how overwhelmed I was, my dear teammates started copying and cutting, stapling and stuffing, and anything else that I wasn't caught up on. By the time families arrived in the afternoon, I was smiling and ready to welcome them to my room. So a week that started out as me wanting to do for them ended with them doing for me. And after all, isn't that the whole point of working in teams. Looks like my plan was successful!

A big thank you to the cooperative learning group known as my first grade team. It's going to be a great year!

(**A note--I started this post last Friday evening, but it's taken a week to get it done. I have now survived five straight days of school with my new sweeties. I love them, but must we have five whole days in week1?! It's just too big a shock to all of us to go from summer speed to 75 m.p.h. like that.)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday Made It!

I'm linking up today with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics to show you something I made this week. It's a present for my fabulous teammates as a welcome back gift. (If you know my teammates personally, SHHH, don't tell them they have gifts coming.) It's a sticky note holder.

I used a 5x7 acrylic frame, a piece of white cardstock, a polka dot pattern from Powerpoint, a free border from Krista of Creative Clips, a tag shaped punch, a black pen (to write "Take Note"), a pack of sticky notes, and a glue gun. I didn't use the glue gun at first. I tried just sticking the sticky notes on the frame, but they came off when I tried to pull a page. It's on there now. I hope when we run out of the first notepad that it won't be too hard to put on a new one. I'm counting on the fact that as a low temp glue it hasn't melted the acrylic, and the glue will just pull off cleanly. If you've made something like this, let me know how you attached the notepad.

Here's a pic of sticky note holders for the whole team. I want to do something special for my fabulous first grade teachers each day our first official week back. I have a few ideas I'll post about as they get done, but I could use a few more ideas. Let me know if you've given or received something useful (and inexpensive!) that I could do.

I also need to give a big shout-out to my friend, Megan, at I Teach. What's Your Superpower? and her Blog Baby Blog section. She has compiled a great collection of helpful things to know as you get started blogging, and it has been an invaluable resource to me. Thank you!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August Currently

I'm joining the beginning of the month fun with the August Currently from Oh' Boy 4th Grade.

Listening-My teenager and I have spent many hours together this summer watching NCIS marathons. Sometimes while we're watching she even stops texting friends and I quit blog hopping to discuss who done it.

Loving-In addition to all of the NCIS episode bonding, I've also played a lot of basketball with my preteen, and I spent 3,400 miles in a minivan with our family foursome earlier in the summer.

Thinking-My literal B2S dreams usually start this time of year. I dream about room arrangements, I dream about disasters (especially after training in first aid, sexual harassment, child abuse, allergy awareness, etc.), I dream about planning, but mostly I dream about the children that are headed my way in just a few weeks. I have no idea who is in my class yet, but my dreams fill in those desks with all kinds of cuties! My other kinds of dreams begin now, too. Each end of summer they sound something like this... "This year I'm going to ( fill in the blank goal) unlike last year." This summer it's taking the form of my "wanting" comment below.

Wanting-This summer has been so great. It reminds me that I need to prioritize my family and myself during the school year. Working 10+ hour days and still taking home work should not be my norm!

Needing-I've found so many fabulous things to buy on TPT this summer that I need more ink!

B2S must haves- 1. laminator-see "needing" above
                            2. had lunch with my fabulous teammates this week-They make B2S time so fun.
                            3. Yes, we have electronic gradebooks now, but I still have to buy a paper gradebook      that matches my classroom decor a) because I like having a back up in case anything gets messed up in the electronic version and b) because it makes me smile every time I pick it up.

Here's hoping your August and mine are full of balance!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Time to join in the fun!

I can't be the only one who has felt this way.

I LOVE reading teaching blogs. They have by FAR been the best buy in professional development I have ever had. I started following blogs two summers ago and have grown so much as a teacher by getting to travel across the world (and even just down the hall) to learn from other fabulous teachers. THANK YOU to all of you who have virtually invited me into your classrooms to grow.

I spent the past school year thinking maybe I should start blogging. But as many things go in a teacher's life, I kept putting it off until after beginning of the year literacy testing, then after parent conferences, perhaps over Christmas break, no, Spring Break, and finally-might as well wait until summer now. Oh my, it's now July (and halfway through July at that). My dear friend Megan designed this beautiful blog for me, and it's about time I put it to good use!

I look forward to taking this leap into the teacher blogging world and sharing my growth as a professional with you. I hope you'll join me.

Hop on in and follow my little pocket of the internet. I'm glad you're here.