Friday, September 30, 2011

My Week in Review what did I do this week?

Well, it started with me getting married! We had such a great day on Sunday, with all of our family and friends. It was supposed to rain, but it turned out that we didn't get a drop! So thankful that we were able to have our ceremony outside as planned (the rehearsal was inside due to a downpour). Here is a picture of our bridal party:

I took Monday and Tuesday off to spend time with my new hubby. We spent the two days in beautiful Newport. So awesome and relaxing! I'm still looking forward to our real honeymoon next summer.

However, I also missed my new kiddos so much! I'm happy to be back to school and to be able to completely focus on my class. Side note: I lost my girly-girl gene somewhere along the way and was getting realllyy sick of wedding planning!

When I got back, I started to introduce my students to our classroom Book Nooks. I got the idea from Beth Newingham's website. She has great ideas - go check her out! During Reader's Workshop, my students rotate through a variety of stations. Each day they visit a different station. They listen to books on the Ipod, tape player, CD player or computer. I also have special "reading spots" in the room, such as bean bag chairs, beach chairs, and pillows. Here is a picture of the rotation schedule right now (sorry for the horrible picture):
Each clothespin has one student's number on it. The classroom librarian rotates the clips every morning. I would upload the document to share, but I can't figure out google docs!! Every time I try to upload, my document comes out all funky and not the way I made it. Help! are some classroom pictures of my Book Nook spots:

This is the listening center. It holds the CD player and the books on CD (green basket). It also has 2 tape players. The headphones are in the blue basket. The pink bin holds the Ipod and all the corresponding books.

Below is the shelf that holds all the books on tape. Each basket has a different book.
Two view of my classroom library (my favorite part of my room!). There are bean bag chairs, a black comfy chair and a pillow chair.

And, finally some of my classroom computers. These ones are actually kinda illegally in my room, but shhh. (I have 2 others in my room) The students listen to books at Storyline, a website that has celebrities reading books aloud. (Notice the math board in the background created by Clutter-Free Classroom!)

Ok, so this is a really long post so I won't go into everything else I did this week!
Happy Weekend :)

I linked up with Clutter-Free Classroom's Peek in my Planbook.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Inside My School Bag

Loving The Inspired Apple's Linky Party! ( I think I just like linky parties in general...) It's all about your teacher bag! I'm not a girl who loves shoes, jewelry or clothes. But I am obsessedddd with bags of any kind!

Here's my teacher bag. Its pink (my favorite color) Land's End bag. It's awesome! It is so durable and strong, it doesn't tip over and it's so easy to carry. It has my initials on it too. However, my initials are changing this weekend! Trying to convince the (almost) hubby that I just neeeeed a new one with my new initials on it ;)

Inside my bag you won't find much tonight! T-4 days until my wedding means not a lot of school work is getting done when I get home at night! Here's what I have though:

My Vera lunchbox! I just thought this was so cute. Kinda takes up a lot of room though. I tend to use my other Vera lunch box more often. It's not as cute, but saves some room.

Camelbak waterbottle. I don't ever leave home without this thing! This one has two layers to keep your drink colder and to reduce condensation. It definitely keeps my water colder, but there's still a lot of condensation. Love the colors too!

I worked at Staples for 7 years. This was the first summer that I didn't run the Teacher Appreciation Day, but a colleague picked up a bag for me. Not sure why it's still in my bag (it's empty)!

My old Ipod that I use in my classroom's listening center. I've downloaded a bunch of books from Itunes. I put the Ipod and the copies of the books in my listening center. The kids love it! I have to bring it home to charge every night though.

I get great ideas from this catalog! Some I order, some I try to re-create myself.

We are launching Writer's Workshop this year. Lucy Calkins has some great ideas!

Told you it was a little empty tonight! Hop on over to the Inspired Apple to join her linky party! I'm always looking for new bag ideas :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Peek in My Planbook

I'm joining up with Clutter-Free Classroom's Linky Party! Here is what we did this week: Routines! Routines! Routines! It's only our second week of school so we are working on making sure our classroom operates smoothly. I have a lot of students who receive extra services so there is a lot of coming and going (of teachers and students)! It makes the day more complicated so establishing those routines and behaviors is crucial at this time of the year.

We worked on:
- how to sit correctly on the rug
- how to walk quietly in the wall
- how to stay in our seats (that's a big one this year!)
- how to use the computer (ooo that was a difficult one!)
- and more!

We also started to launch Reader's and Writer's Workshop. So much fun! We made heart maps in Writer's Workshop. These are tools to help students when they are having a writers block. In Reader's Workshop, the students were introduced to our classroom library and their brand new bookbags! It was a busy but fun week.

Join the linky party!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Adding Excitement to Anchor Charts

We started using the Reading Workshop model 2 years ago in our district. I love Reading Workshop! It makes it so much easier to modify work to fit each student's needs. This year we are starting Writing Workshop too. My least favorite part of the Workshop model is the anchor charts. Not because I don't think they are useful, but because mine were sooo boring! Just words on a piece of paper, I didn't even want to hang them up in my own classroom. Let me add that I have no artistic ability whatsoever. I tried jazzing them up with different colored markers but to no avail. Still very very boring. I started to think that maybe anchor charts were just meant to be boring.

Then I came across Mrs. Carroll over at The First Grade Parade. Wow! She is an amazing artist. She inspired me to create more exciting anchor charts. But wait...I still have no artistic ability.

Enter technology. Last year I purchased PrintShop for my computer, but it was starting to collect dust. I decided to give it another go. I finally figured out how to make a poster that was larger than 8 1/2 x 11 in size (turns out it wasn't that hard). And wa-la! Here is my first anchor chart:

I'm so excited to hang it in my room and to make many more throughout the school year!

Monday, September 5, 2011

My New Furniture!

The other day I decided I wanted something new for my classroom. Something different. However, I didn't want to go a teacher store to pay lots and lots of $$. I thought I would give thrift shopping a try. One of my best friends is really crafty and I knew she could make something old look new (and fun) again! When we set out, I was looking for a small table to use as a partner reading station. However, I fully planned on not finding anything (I didn't want to be tooo disappointed if I didn't find anything!).

Our first stop was a yard sale and I found this old, child-size writing desk. All I could think was that it was perfect for a writing center! I walked away, knowing it wasn't what I was looking for. But, I just kept coming back to it. I knew I had to have it! And for $15, this is what I got:

How cool is that??

Then, we went to a thrift store and I found exactly what I was looking for when I started out - a simple, small table! And it was only $6!

Okay, okay, I know you're thinking these look a little boring for a second grade classroom, right? But wait till you see what my wonderful, talented friend did to them!

Here is a picture of the writing desk, closed:

And open:
I plan to use this snazzy writing desk as my writing center. I haven't figured out how quite yet, but I will!

And here is the boring old table:
I plan on using the table for a partner reading station during Reading Workshop. I got the idea from Christina Bainbridge's blog (and snagged some freebies while I was there!). I found a little basket to put on the table (only $0.69), which my friend decorated as well. I'll post that picture once it's in my room.

How awesome does my new furniture look?!? And how excited am I to have them in my classroom?!? Thank you thank you to my friend for doing such a wonderful job! I can't wait to bring them into school tomorrow. Now I just need to find a place to put them!

And a thank you to Christina Bainbridge for inspiring me to start this project!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Currently September...

My first linky party! My apologies if I don't do it right - I'm still learning! (and it's getting past my bedtime). Here goes my September edition of Currently hosted by Farley...

Go join her linky party too!

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Ask any one of my friends or colleagues to describe me in one word, they're sure to answer "organized." I have a place for everything and everything in it's place! I get teased endlessly, but I don't mind because being organized makes me happy. I cure a bad day by cleaning (at which point, people always say "come clean my house/room/etc!").

So when I saw this post by Create-Teach-Share

I knew that I wanted to make one for myself! She even posted some freebie labels. Mine is a little bit simpler. I'm thinking of adding stickers to spice it up, what do you think?

While I was purchasing my new Teacher Toolbox at Lowes (click the link to see the box), I also found another organizational tool that I could use! I've been constantly looking for a way to store my overhead math materials (I don't have a fancy smartboard), but couldn't find anything to fit my needs. Then I came across this, also from Lowes (again, click the link):

It's all labeled and ready to go on my overhead cart! I'm so excited to have all my tools organized! I definitely get to teach more when I'm not searching for my stuff. Thank you again, Create-Teach-Share! (Head over to her blog, she has sooo much great stuff!)

Still can't get into my classroom due to the hurricane, but I'm hoping tomorrow will be the day. Then I'll post pictures before the kids arrive!


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