Sunday, July 29, 2012

"Vacation" In T-Minus 5 Days!

First of all, I would like to apologize for being M.I.A. with comments. I have gotten and read them, but have been awful and not replied to one in a week or so. I would like to acknowledge and thank those people for taking the time to visit, compliment, follow, and nominate for awards!! I am so, so grateful for you. I will properly post about the awards in the following week when camp is over. (As I have seen all of those require I go hunting for other well-deserving blogs.)

However, as camp is winding down/winding up simultaneously, I grow more tired and I've backed off the blogworld. I'm even 2 weeks behind in Monday Made-It! (Gasp, shock, awe!!)  I run a theatre camp, so come Thursday & Friday, we will be putting on our musical that we have been working on for the past three weeks. This week will be filled with shopping for props, set pieces, cast party goodies, and passing out in front of the TV. So I apologize for my lackluster status, but hopefully promise to pick it back up after it's all over. (But give me a grace period of a day or two in case I fail to report back here immediately haha)

I will so miss my 40 James Bond/Trash/Speed players. (And sadly, yes, that also includes my amazing 5 coworkers.) It will be my goal to introduce my new set of students to it so I can have 20 new players.  Moreover, I'm really intent on figuring out a way to make math games out of Trash & Speed like I intend to do with James Bond... Oop, I think I just figured one out for Trash using division!  It happened when I spaced out lol.

In any case, onto teachery business! I am SO excited to have received my copy of Guided Math so I can read along (or, rather, catch up) with the rest of you wise, wise bloggers out there! I'm really excited for it! I've already devoured most of Chapter 2 since Chapter 1 seemed to be mostly filler that outlined the rest of the book.  I really look forward to starting a rotation in math and improve the way I teach.  As a new teacher, it's nice to start changing my ways before I get too set in them. I consider math to be my strongest subject, so I think it will be the easiest change to make first.

I'm getting Debbie Diller's Making the Most of Small Groups because I hear good things about her, and I'm also aiming to improve my reading group instruction. I figure it may also (in a general sense) tie in nicely to the idea of Guided Math. I'm looking forward to bettering myself this upcoming year!

On that note, I have two requests:

  1. I shared Guided Math with a friend, and she inquired about any good books out there on teaching writing. I second this question!  Teachers, are there any resources out there you have found helpful in making the most of writing time?
  2. Then for myself, I'd really like to read up on any great books on inclusion or special education.  I had an inclusion classroom last year and I really don't feel like I did my kids justice. I really just don't know much about special education or anything that goes along with it. I only took 2 classes in college and they pretty much glossed over everything. I'm not entirely sure, but I don't think my principal will be giving me that class again this year (even though ironically I would love it because I've formed a pretty good bond with one of the students), but I'd still rather be ready in case she does!  I think the only possible reason I could get it again is because of the aforementioned bond.
Anyway, I'm off for another week!  Can't wait to get back into my classroom and start setting it up so that I can focus on the teaching aspect and not the aesthetic one. :)  This weekend I attended a former students' brother's birthday party and seeing him made me miss my little buggers. I hope they all come back to me at least once next year!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Newbie Blog Hop!

Well, isn't this just perfect!  I've been thinking about how to get myself out there, and lo and behold...this linky appears!!

1.  what state you are in 
2.  your current teaching position 
3.  your teaching experience
4.  when you started blogging
 5.  share a blogging tip / blogging resource

  1. Maryland
  2. I currently teach 5th grade, and I love it beyond belief! (Though I could definitely do without the copious tears at the end of the year when the realization that they'll be gone forEVAH hits.)
  3. I have been teaching for a year and a half, subbing for that first half.  I was a long-term in 2nd before I got my full-time position as a 5th grade teacher at the school. I have probably literally never been so happy as when I got that position!
  4. In general, I've been blogging for, oh, 10 years. Jeez. I wish I was kidding. That number sounds crazy! Teaching-wise, I recently started in the beginning of July.  Unfortunately, I'm not too terribly active quite yet for a few reasons.  The first being that it is summer, and I am currently in my summer job as a camp counselor.  Therefore, it keeps me busy and unable to get into my class to work on stuff.
  5. Hmm... I recently saw in another blog (and I'm so, so sorry... I can't remember which one! I do a LOT of hopping!) that if you want blog authors to reply to your comment, you should make sure your email address is available!  To do that, follow this link, which I found after googling.
In any case, I hope to start becoming more active and regular in two weeks or so - that's when camp ends, so I'll have nothing but free time! I have an entire board of summer projects to accomplish in my two free weeks before teachers report back, so I'm hoping that means lots of blog entries!

Please feel free to leave comments! And especially check out my previous entry... I'd really like some opinions on my James Bond math game. Some campers and parents told me it'd be cool. I'd like to hear from you!

Friday, July 13, 2012


Oh man, I wish I had cool stuff to post!  But right now I'm somewhat stuck in no-man's land... it may be the summertime, but I work in the summer.  It'll (sadly) be over in 3 weeks, so then I'll have two weeks until teachers have to report back for my school.

So in the 2nd week of August, this little blog might get a mite more exciting.  Sadly, until then, I expect it will be kind of dead.  But if you pop over by my Pinterest page (located to the right sidebar), I've pinned some things I want to work on in those two weeks.



The above is what I'm considering for first priority... This toolbox is FANTASTIC and fits me PERFECTLY. I can't believe it didn't occur to me before I made my hideous one!  I'm also now digging the whole make-your-own-seating craze.  I hated it at first... but the more I see it on the Made It Monday linky, the more I love it.  I think the bench is hands-down the coolest, but it would take some serious skill to pull off this perfectly.

The easiest one I'm considering right now is something I saw also on the Monday linky, slightly modified.  As a camp counselor, I get to learn my share of really REALLY fun, addicting card games.  My obsession every year is James Bond.  Only, we don't play quite so strictly. We totally trade more than 1 card at a time and flip over our piles whenever it's complete. No point in hiding it.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to take the idea below and adapt it to James Bond.
My thought was that, since the point of the game is to get 4-like cards together in a pile, instead of fill in the blank, I could put different multiplication facts that have the same answer and an answer card. For example, one pile could be filled with:
  • 8 x 3
  • 12 x 2
  • 24 x 1
  • twenty-four
But I'm not sure if that seems too difficult or not. So if by some miracle, there's someone out there in bloggy land reading this post - halp! Does this sound reasonable to expect from 5th graders?  I know the group I had this year, the game would've been really tough.  The problem is they just DON'T know their multiplication facts! I would be making this with the understanding that, unfortunately, most of them will struggle, and it will not be a game about speed.  My hope is, though, that that would only be at first. James Bond is SUCH a fun game that I hope it will encourage them to get better, faster, stronger with their facts.  I guess it's a matter of trial-and-error.

This is the idea I'm most secretly excited about. I absolutely love James Bond. In the words of Ke$ha, I've got a sick obsession...

Until next time, dears!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

1st Official Post, Introducing Me!

Bear with me, folks. This is bound to be a lengthy one!

As the "About Me" sidebar says, I'm still what I would consider to be a new teacher, despite having 2 classes under my belt.  Obviously, I still have a lot to learn about the craft of teaching.  I'm still not completely satisfied with the way it's been going, but word on the street is that one never I'll try not to be too hard on myself in that aspect.

But I do like to think that what I lack in skill and technique, I make up for in my passion for the kids.  I have loved, with my whole heart, every single group that I've ever had the privilege and pleasure to work with.  I call them my babies (and being COMPLETELY new to 5th grade this year, this was a shock to them. I was met with many cries of "I'M NOT A BABY!"  They soon learned fighting it was futile.)  Some frown upon that terminology, and I can understand why, but I think it worked nonetheless. I guess until my old babies return to me from big, bad middle school and tell me I shouldn't have babied them, I will continue it.

Now, it is summer time, which is usually considered to be a teacher's well-deserved period of rest (unless they're teaching summer school, of course - which, luckily, I am not!).  However, I fill my summers with working at the best summer camp my county has! No rest for the wicked, as they say. Since this crazy storm hit though, camp was canceled for 2 days because of power outages.  Therefore, I've been enjoying a peaceful 5-day weekend.

In this 5-day weekend, I've been blog stalking (stalking is such a harsh word... I prefer intense research) numerous teachers and their beautiful blogs, their lessons, their freebies, their classrooms, and already I feel like I've learned so much more.  It's overwhelming, really!  One of the first things I learned (and actually well before this weekend, but it's just that this was the weekend I decided to get off my butt and make a blog!) is a principle I am flagrantly disobeying.  What is this thing you call a "color scheme"? I love bright, vibrant colors WAY too much to obey that!  Therefore, my color scheme is the rainbow.  As you can clearly see. *gestures around to the color-crazy blog*

Hopefully that fact isn't too terribly bothersome to you, the visitor.  But the thing of it is, all the colors are so bright and happy... and it makes me feel warm inside! I love looking at it.  And in the end, that's all that really matters, isn't it?  My classroom is decidedly the same. Each bulletin board is covered with the most vivid colors money could buy at the local fabric store. Despite the fact that I lack any real organizational skill (and thank GOD it isn't just me!  Papers get so overwhelming during each busy school day, and then you get distracted by one thing or another and it's just never-ending!), I do make sure to try and enforce one for my babies.  Each subject gets its own color, and naturally the colors end up being those of the rainbow! Thusly, I tried to match my boards to the colors of the folders. Last year, many, many things got in the way of that, however. Too many to bother naming. I'll look into fixing that this upcoming year. We'll see.

I suppose, without further ado, I should introduce the few pictures I took of my room that will give you any real sense of it.  Unfortunately, these pictures were all taken around the start of the year.  I am still kicking myself for never getting updated ones or even a panoramic one (my camera has that delightfully nifty feature, you know).  But one of the things I do as a teacher who loves her babies and memories, is create a memory video. Therefore all my pictures were of my little minions doing what they do best....making me smile.

Coming Soon! :)

This is a test for the blog. It is currently under construction.