Marvelous Monday – My new room BEFORE!

Marvelous Monday – My new room BEFORE!

To say I was eager to start work in my classroom this morning was an understatement! My favorite things about this time of year include the fact that 1. I’m well rested! 2. I get to be creative! 3. I’m free to work in my room ……. or not……I love that it’s still optional….. I was so excited I could hardly sleep last night and it made waking up at 7:00 a.m. even more dreadful than it might have been after I’ve spent all summer reacquainting myself with the joys of being a night owl. I rushed around and finally made it around 9:30.  My new co-teacher and I did some exploring and set about putting our rooms in order. I started with my classroom library.  I have lots of books and last year I formalized the way that I organized them.  Here is the link for my post about how I organize my library called Buried in Books! .  There are even FREE downloads!   I got all of my books loaded on one of the book shelves by the door, but I’m not finished with it and so I forgot to take a picture….. The big victory for the morning is that both of us managed to wrestle our stereos into submission…..   This is my stereo!…..under the garbage bags…  The speakers are on the top of the cart!  Those speakers are literally the largest speakers I have ever seen!  They WORK!!!!!  You could literally fill the entire school with music with these!   Then I took time at lunch to run errands and swing by my parents house.  When...
6 personal essentials for your classroom – taking care of the teacher

6 personal essentials for your classroom – taking care of the teacher

We always teach our best when our own needs are taken care of so here is a list of things I like to make sure I keep in my room. 1. Water – Whether you purchase a case at SAMS, filter your own from home, or use the gallon in the teacher’s lounge, make sure that you always have water ready and available for yourself!  Drink it even when you aren’t thirsty! 2. A sweater or lightweight jacket – This sweater lives in my classroom.  I take it home on holidays to wash it, and it’s visiting my house over the summer, but it is my classroom sweater.  I like it because it is fleece and has a hood and zipper.  THIS way I can keep warm no matter the temperature. 3. An electric fan  –  Considering that I teach and live in Houston where we are BIG consumers of air conditioning, I have had to teach OFTEN and regularly in climates that I found to be too warm for my liking. My fan is my best friend and my students appreciate it too! Remember to label your fan so that when it goes to visit someone else’s classroom it always knows where to come home to! 4. Sunglasses and a hat or umbrella – Whether it’s morning, recess or after school duty it is almost certain that you will spend time in the sun.  Protecting yourself from the sun, even while you are standing by a bus, is an investment in the health of your skin, and will ensure that you wil feel your best when you are done....
Choir Attendance Tracking- Keeping it Simple, Keeping it REAL!

Choir Attendance Tracking- Keeping it Simple, Keeping it REAL!

  My after school choir is made up of volunteers.  The folks who have a good attendance record and who attend 80% of rehearsals get to go on our field trips. With that in mind, over the years I’ve spent a TON of time keeping track of choir attendance.  I’ve created spreadsheets, created weekly rosters, had students using rehearsal time hunting for their name and learning how to mark a check or highlight their name….and conferenced with students who are at risk of loosing their spot……  Tedious business that did not really help me keep track of much and made sure that I was working too hard! Good ideas happen in the strangest places! This year I had an epiphany at the dollar store. when I came across some cookie sheets.  I asked some student choir elves to help me out.   They labeled one cookie sheet with HERE and one cookie sheet with ABSENT.  Since I had a large group of students, both 4th and 5th grade had their own set.  5th grade blue, 4th grade green I typed everyone’s name like this: John Doe 5-7 (my example is missing the number). Then I laminated the green and blue sheets of paper that I printed onto.  I then had my choir elves cut out the tags and put magnets on the back. When “John” is absent, I put a hash mark on the tag.  “John” decided a few weeks ago that he didn’t want to come to choir anymore…. I can tell just by looking because the hash marks make it super easy to count the absences.  It’s past time for me and...
Terrific Tuesday! – My favorite sub folder organization tool

Terrific Tuesday! – My favorite sub folder organization tool

First let me say that on another day when I’m not home sick I’m going to write an entire series on my sub plans, how I organize them and keep them relevant.  But for now, let me tell you about my FAVORITE organizational tool for my sub plans. Plastic Dividers with Pockets I put all of my lesson plans into plastic sleeves.  I also put any copy “masters” in a plastic sleeve right behind the lesson plans.  I keep my sub folder stocked with all the copies a sub might need for one day.  The sub plans the copies go in the pockets for that grade level. My subs don’t have to hunt for papers any more. I’ve discovered that brand DOES matter!  My Avery pocket dividers have lasted for more than 5 years.  My  off brand pocket dividers aren’t going to make it through the year.   Please follow and like us:0 Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...
Terrific Tips for Tuesday – Organizing crayons

Terrific Tips for Tuesday – Organizing crayons

My grandmother was a teacher.  She taught music.  She taught art.  She taught reading.  She taught math, science and social studies. AND she taught me. I was in elementary school when she was invited to attend a professional development for art teachers using crayola crayons.  She must have really enjoyed it because she spoke of that experience often throughout the rest of her life. At this class she went to the very first thing they told her to do was to unwrap her entire set of crayons and break them into pieces. She loved “preaching” to me about crayons because as it turns out, I was and still am a little picky about my crayons.  I still prefer my crayons nice and wrapped, but let go of my need to fuss with keeping a neat box…. Imagine my horror when I started teaching.   I inherited an old mildewed corrugated cardboard  box full of crayons some of which were probably as old as I was.  When my students needed crayons for an activity, they just came and got a handful.   UHHGGHH!  I hated that box!  For the next few years I tried various configurations of crayon organizations.  I used baskets (with holes larger than the crayons they held)…. I used school boxes (with lids that would flop open and spill all of the crayons back on the floor) and then one day I found a 3-ring zipper bag like I had in middle school in my notebook and I haven’t used anything else since! Years later and I’m still happy with my bags.  My favorite place to find...
Organization and Procedures for Recorder

Organization and Procedures for Recorder

Purchasing recorders – I sell recorders every year.  At my old school, where I taught for 10 years, everyone purchased their own recorder…. Each year the school would provide a recorder for maybe 5-6 students who didn’t have the means to purchase their own.   At my current school where I have taught for 3 years, I have never had more than 30% of my students purchase recorders, which leaves the school to provide the other 70%.  I am glad to say that because of donorschoose.org I have been able to acquire 2 full grade levels worth of recorders.  This means that everyone in 4th and 5th grade can be assigned a recorder for their individual use throughout the entire school year and I don’t have to spend my time disinfecting recorders in between classes….. My older grades typically have 6 homerooms.  I am happy to say that this summer donorschoose.org provided an additional set of recorders so now instead of having 5 colors, I will have 6….. this will make things MUCH easier! When ordering recorders from donorschoose.org you are limited to the selection found with the woodwind brasswind company as they are the sole music vendor for donorschoose.org.  I am a big fan of both the Peripole Angel recorder and the Aulos soprano recorder, but in this case I will admit that the ease of organizing the recorders by color outweighed my preference in tone quality. Organization and Procedures   Assigning Recorders:   I have a Promethean board.  So, as soon as I get my class rosters in the fall  I put the names of my students into a...
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