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.

This was before I had a camera with an easy sweep-panorama feature.  In any case, this was my hallway bulletin board in September.  I took the idea from the wonderful Beth Newmingham...and this is sadly pretty much where my "theme" ended.  I Photoshopped my kids into a concert scene, and had them all fill out Rock Star Bios!  It was really cute. :)  Plus, can't say no to a rainbow-music notes border!

Here is my science board & writing traits posters.  Lovin' the rainbow!!

Social Studies board, which covers my hideous door.  I ended up not really using this board... going to have to figure out a way to repurpose it.  The problem with having a Social Studies board is that it always gets shoved aside in our curriculum. When we do get to it, it's very rushed and minimal.  I loved, however, at the end of the year, when we were done with Science & testing, and got to leisurely (well, kind of. My class always seemed to fall behind the other 5th grade. So we rushed) teach some "extra" material... it was nice. We did some great interactive note taking, a strategy I picked up from Pinterest.  I highly rec it - my students were much more engaged.  I don't think reading from the book was wildly fascinating by any means for them, was a unanimous vote that the sheet was more fun than just straight out reading lol!

My reading board.  I liked the idea I had for the groups and their work... it just got hard to change it while keeping up with the guided groups. Going to have to figure that out as well. Thinking I'll just have a group member adjust it.  May also change to photo frames, because even laminated, the sheet was hard to erase and change! Very annoying, indeed.  Part of why I lost my zealousness for it.

I loved my Inspiration Station! It features a poster from Chris Van Allsburg's The Mysteries of Harris Burdrick, along with a miniature version in my little pocket chart-type thing for students to paste in their writing journals. Not to mention my Writing Process "board," which is a re-purposed easel board. I stole it, having just moved up from a primary grade and still wanting to write on chart paper. But the reality was, I have a Promethean. I didn't need it.  I felt bad for stealing this board, so I made sure to make use of it haha.  And you can kiiiiiiind of see my Math vocab board behind the computers.

The Wall of Fame was by far, my favorite. Again, please note the rainbow borders & alphabet strip. The students took such pride in hanging what they considered to be their best work. I especially loved when it wasn't a graded sheet, but rather a creative writing piece that no one had looked at.

My library (before I got all the add-ins: for a total of 3 disc chairs & 2 bean bags).  It includes the Book Rec board, as inspired by Beth Newmingham once again.  That one didn't work out so hot, either.  I need book suggestions! I need 5th-grade appropriate books to recommend to my students to keep it alive. My problem is, I just don't read those books because I don't know much about them.  Help?? Please?

Here is my own little "oasis."  As you can see, it looks absolutely atrocious. But it's home. Complete with the things that matter most to me. Around Spring Break, I was heavy into Pinterest, and finally created a "LAUGH" sign, because I believe very strongly in the importance of laughter and a good time.  My classroom quote was the frog poster - "A day without laughter is a day wasted." Truer worders, my friends. Truer words. (Also there's my hideous first attempt at a Teacher Toolbox, which I shall be redoing.)

Then closer to the end of the year, I decided to be more serious and made a "LEARN" sign to go on the other side.  The handful of babies I have that ride the typically "late" buses helped me make it.  They Mod Podged it on, and I cut it out with my handy-dandy Exacto knife! It was all great fun for us haha. :)  Oh, and that's my bday balloon from February. We kept it to see how long it would last.  I think by the last day it'd finally fallen.


  1. This is such a wonderful post Cindy! Your room is so bright and cheerful and so is your adorable blog! I can tell that you teach from the heart. I feel like I have made a new friend already. =)

    I am happy to be your newest follower. I would love for you to hop over and visit me when you get the chance. =)

    Heather's Heart

    1. Thank you so much for the sweet comment! It made me smile. <3 I will definitely be coming on over ASAP!