Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Party's Over...

We got Bixby in the beginning of October.
One of the things I'll miss most about the summer...

He is named after Bill Bixby, the original Bruce Banner, aka The Incredible Hulk!
That first night he fell asleep on my shoe!

Growing up!
You wouldn't like him when he's angry!
Summer haircut... we called him Bobblehead!
He is a sweet...sometimes naughty...puppy!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

3 Days of Summer

The Return of TILT, Things I Love Tuesday!

I found this on Pinterest and just had to make one!  You know how much I love organization tools!  So, it would actually count for Manic Monday as well.  This is my version of Mrs. Rojas' Teacher's Toolbox.
Many thanks to Create-Teach-ShareSo many great ideas!  This is just one of so many, and I'm in LOVE with it!

Monday, August 6, 2012

4 Days of Summer

What?  Four days?  Crazy!

On the way to my Six Traits "refresher" (which sadly turned out to be more about scoring than teaching), I heard something interesting on the radio...they were talking about being parents and the first day of school, and they started playing, "It's the most wonderful time of the year..."  Not really the song I'm playing in my head!  If I had a theme song, what would it be?  I'll have to think on that...

Recently I was wondering what to do about restroom passes for my new theme.  Then I saw some little wooden figures at Hobby Lobby that look like your traditional boys' and girls' restroom figures.  Aha! 

I painted them, added some felt capes and some leftover rickrack and...

made restroom passes!  There were smaller wooden figures in the package as well, so I had another great idea.  I attached them to wooden sticks and made pointers. 

I'm getting closer to being ready, but I still have SO much to do!

By the way, anyone out there have their own theme song?  I'm still searching...

Saturday, August 4, 2012

5 Days of Summer

Man, it's going fast!  I spent yesterday morning listening to Rick Wormeli, author of Fair Isn't Always Equal, give an informative and entertaining talk on grading.  I enjoyed it and agreed with much of what he said (Although it was really hard to sit that long after all summer off, a good reminder to have patience for the kids in a week or so!).

I've made a new welcome note to go with a First Day of First Grade gift bag.  In the past I have given a traditional one, and for the last few years have given the one found on Ms. Winston's site (she has so many great ideas!). theme, new bag, new note...

I got the gift bags from Wal-mart and the Super Kid Stickers from Office Max.  I found the pencils, erasers, and superhero silly bands at Target.  The Superman tattoos and bookmarks were free from the comic book store (Thank you, Krypton!  Free comic book day is the first Saturday in May!  Most comic book stores participate in this, so check one out in your area)!  Throw in some Spiderman fruit chews, and you've got yourself a SUPER welcome gift bag!

I decided not to get too scrunged up about a poem.  My kids tend not to read them, so I just made this:

With Thistlegirl's Superkidz graphics!

Click here to get my welcome note.
How do you welcome your students?

Friday, August 3, 2012

6 Days of Summer

I will be spending all morning at a district workshop on grading and all afternoon at a union function.  Since I am on the exec board of our union, it's pretty much mandatory.  So here's a quick idea for a SUPER birthday...

Our school district does not allow students to bring birthday treats from home.  Instead we celebrate on our own by wearing special birthday crowns and stickers, singing the traditional birthday song as well as Dr. Jean's birthday song, and I usually give a little birthday bag.
To coordinate with my theme and save me a little time, I decided to do a take on this cute birthday gift idea I saw on Turnstall's Teaching Tidbits.  I made a "Have a Super Birthday" sign to add to giant Pixy Stix which I found at The Old Time Candy Company (they have tons of retro candy for a very reasonable price!).  I'm going to copy them on yellow paper, laminate, cut, and staple them to the tops.  I am so appreciative of all the teachers who share their great ideas.  I've gained so much from them! 
Get my Super Birthday sign here!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

7 Days of Summer

Out for one of the final adult beverage evenings with old and new friends last night!  We all toasted to the end of summer... and the beginning of a new school year...

I've always used the standard pocket chart with green, yellow, and red cards for classroom management.  I know The 2 Sisters don't really approve of veteran teachers using this system, and I have tried starting the year without it, but it seems as though students this age need a visual.  I've seen behavior charts for years and have really thought about changing it up a little, and then I saw this one from Third Grade's a Hoot on Pinterest.  Perfect for my new theme!  So I made one of my own that would work for me.  I used the same bottom three colors they were accustomed to in Kindergarten, then I added two levels at the top, blue and purple,   I really like the idea of rewarding those with excellent behavior.  Students who stay on green or fly above will join our "Lunch Bunch" and eat in the classroom on Friday.  Those who are on blue or purple will get a stripe on their clip, five stripes will earn them an extra reward.  Students who move their clips to red will write a note home which must be signed and returned the next day.  This will be my first year trying this system out, so I'll let you know how it goes!  What kind of behavior management system has worked for you?

Click here to get my superhero behavior chart.

8 Days of Summer

Congratulations to ALL of the athletes at the Olympic Games!
August already?  Well, I am working on accomplishing all of the goals I've set for the remaining days of summer.  I already have four bags for Goodwill, so reorganizing is going well.  I am probably annoying people by posting every day for the last three days, but one of my goals was to catch up on my blog.   So, my apologies for overposting.  And I went in to school again the other night.  I worked on my class library, put labels on notebooks and folders, passed out books, and did some cleaning.  Do they really think we can get everything we need to get done in three days that are packed with meetings?  Crazy!

One thing I've been working on for my superhero themed classroom is an idea for a skyline.  I bought a black trifold, but was reluctant to actually start cutting on it.   Then Sam's daughter-in-law, Megan, told me about a shower curtain they got from Target with a skyline on it.  So I got one and cut it down for my front window.

Okay, so now I had half a shower curtain.  What am I going to do with that???  Our kindergarteners have a habit of peering into our back door to see what's going on in first grade.  Many times they even start knocking on it while we are working.  Needless to say, this is quite distracting for six and seven year olds.  So, I decided to cut the shower curtain panel in half and attach it to the top and bottom halves of the door to minimize some of these distractions.  Finally, Megan (smart girl!) gave me the idea of adding a searchlight signal (think Batman!).  I used a die-cut of a paw for our school mascot...leopards, attached it to some yellow cellophane, then placed it as though it was coming from one of the buildings (rediscovering in the process that cellophane is really hard to cut!).

Front window
Close-up view
Back door

Back to the trifold.  I decided that since I had it, I might as well give it a try.  I started to sketch a (horrible) skyline and was becoming incredibly frustrated, when Sam brought me a piece of paper.  He had quickly drawn a perfect skyline!  I knew marrying a comicbook geek would come in handy!  He knocked it out in no time, all I had to do was add a few windows.  I am going to use it when I call students to my table, and I don't want them peeking at each other's papers!  I've been thinking about using it as a backdrop for their first day pictures as well. 

I also found a Paris cityscape in the wall decor section of Target, but haven't decided whether or not to use it.  Too much?  Maybe so...

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

9 Days of Summer

If you checked out my Weebly, you know I've changed my classroom theme to Super Kids.  I have had a Super Kid "star of the week" theme for about seven or eight years, but have had either a frog or monkey theme in my classroom.  I wanted a change and decided to extend my star of the week theme into my classroom.  I've spend much of my summer making things for my new classroom.  I hope to share some of them here.  So, I'll start with what's been around star of the week program.

I always start my Super Kid program alphabetically, but backwards!  Students with names that start at the beginning of the alphabet *always* get to go first!  So we start at the end of the alphabet.  The Super Kid has the opportunity to take home our Super Kid backpack with our mascot, his journal, and a snack to share with him, along with a Super Kid adventure and dossier to fill out.  Of course, in the past our mascot has been a frog or a monkey, but this year they will have a choice between The Flash, Aquaman, and a Wonder Pet to take home.  The Super Kid is our class leader for the entire week, doing all of the classroom jobs, which eliminates the need for a classroom job chart.  However, she does get to pick a "sidekick" (a friend to help with all of the jobs).   We discuss the importance of choosing a sidekick wisely, someone who is not only a good friend, but who is also responsible, hardworking and trustworthy.  Each day our Super Kid helps us get to know them by sharing their adventure and dossier, photographs, their favorite book and a talent.  At the end of the week we make a book of fan letters we have written to them.  It is a fun week for them, and a great way to get to know each other.  And yes, I am the first Super Kid (just as a demonstration of what to do and what to expect for their special week)!

Click here to get the Super Kid letter I send home to parents.

And here to get my Super Kid Dossier, profile, and adventure.

Check back for more SUPER theme items coming soon!

Monday, July 30, 2012

10 Days of Summer

An homage to 500 Days of Summer, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's awesome dance number, and quirky movies that make you want to buy the soundtrack (those are my favorite kind of movies).

There are only ten days left until school (unofficially) begins.  And I have so much more vacation left in me!  It's been a weird summer and a very difficult year, which is why I have not posted in so long.  A new puppy, a marriage, a trip to Cancun, a wedding ceremony, a ROUGH school year, a LENGTHY bathroom/closet construction, a trip to Florida, another wedding, a trip to Colorado with a lot of family drama, a long overdue trip to Columbus to meet a beautiful young lady and catch up with some of the best friends someone could ever have...but no excuses.

Here are some things I'd like to accomplish in the next ten days...
  • Update my blog (good start, huh?)
  • Get the house cleaned and organized before starting school
  • Work on my Weebly for school and get it published to the school web site (check it out,
  • Finish up my classroom and get ready for my new students
  • Take pictures of my updated classroom
It's a lot to do in ten days.  "He believed that this time his expectations would align with reality..."  And we all know what happened to Tom...

Oh yeah, did I mention...I got married...  :)