Tuesday, February 19, 2013

School Year Flying By!

Here it is February and I am just now posting for the year. I have been working like crazy to get a handle on the Common Core for our math curriculum.  It has been hectic to say the least!  Our county allowed the math teachers to develop a pacing guide and decide what we were to teach each nine weeks.  This freedom is not something we have experienced in the last few years so it was a little nerve-wracking at the beginning.

Now, I am preparing for my student teacher in March and trying to keep a handle on the hormones that are a "gift" to most sixth graders during Christmas break! Busy, busy, busy!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Teacher's Natural High

I have gotten together my school supplies for the new school year and even though the year is two weeks away, I am totally stoked about it starting!  I get so excited about school beginning and cannot wait to meet the 64 (whew!) kids who will be with me for the next 180 days!

I have painted my room, hung new curtains and changed my decor. Totally a new room!  I am happy with the room so now I can focus on our new math book!  

I am glad we went ahead and chose a book to align with the Common Core, even though none of the teachers in my school have any idea what that means for our end of year testing.  We have heard the test will be totally new again after this past year's TOTALLY new test.   We will see.  Testing is too far away to worry right now!

Confession time: Who has those "back to school dreams/nightmares"? Mine involves kids who won't sit down and won't follow directions.  Don't tell me I am the only one!!!!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Testing, testing, is this thing on?

The countdown to testing has begun! We are working each day in class to review the math concepts that might have been forgotten over the course of the year. The best part about review is that I hear "I remember that!" often! Makes me glad that the kids were listening the first time around!

We test for five days in my state - a super version of last year's test. More than a LITTLE nervous about this test - the specs for it show things we have not covered at all. Do I teach those items before the test or let the kids go in blind, realizing that if I try to cram anything more into their minds, something else will fall out? Argh!

The math teachers in my building are each working their own review sessions. One teacher made a PowerPoint with problems for the kids to work. Another teacher is working the problems for the kids, explaining WHY she worked it that way. Another is just crossing her fingers and praying the kids will get a good enough score on the test with what she has already taught and not pushing the new stuff.

How do you get ready for testing?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Holidays, Holidaze!!!

These two weeks off have FLOWN by! I was blessed enough to spend the first week of Christmas break with 14 family members and friends in Walt Disney World, including my birthday! This week has been about taking the house back - Christmas being packed up, laundry being done and getting the house back to pre-Christmas break orderliness! We go back Monday and I start a new professional development series through my state's PD website. When I was working on my Master's, I went to class two nights a week and worked the other days at home at the computer.

I am thankful that I get to stay home and complete this PD course online. I am also thankful for the interaction with other teachers in the state who desire to know more about a topic I am interested in. Great conversations take place on the PD website.

What do other states do for teacher PD?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Am I doing all I can?

How do you make sure as a teacher you are doing all you can for each child? What if one child demands more attention than the other 26 kids in the class? How do you handle that?

I struggle with this. This year, I have students who demand so much more time than their classmates that I am beginning to feel guilty of the time I spend with the few. I work hard each day, often realizing that lunch is the first time i have sat in the day, and fall dead tired into bed at night.

I small group, one-on-one, pep talk, cajole, beg, wheel and deal my "demanding" students through their day. Am I teaching them? I wonder sometimes. I pray each night and each morning that my students gain something from my presence. Am I doing all I can?

Monday, August 29, 2011

I thought I was the only one!

Found a blog party that I could actually join!  It is for sixth grade teachers! I thought I was the the only blogger out there in sixth grade world!!!!

6th Grade Teaching Blogs Link Here!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Two Weeks Down.....

Is it too early to start counting down? My kids about fell over in their desks when I announced "Only 34 more Fridays until school is out." Needless to say, they never really know what is going to come out of my mouth.  Keeps them on their toes. 

Don't get me wrong. I still secretly long for a few more days off.  My laptop's background is still a gorgeous beach scene so I won't forget that the beach is less than 4 hours away and if Monday through Friday are too tough, then Saturday at the beach can fix all that!!!!

Hope your Monday through Fridays are treating you well. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I HEART my classroom!

Our recycling center.

Classroom library

Info board

My motto for this year!

Sixth graders don't tell time. They depend on their cell phones for the time. I added digital time to my class clock this year.

My sign on wall above my head while I am in small group.

How to head your paper. We do math fact of the week and all students write it on their paper.

Great saying.

Made this poster after seeing several teachers with something like this on Pinterest.

Graded paper storage. Love my colors!

My best purchase ever. Electric hole puncher. Enough said.

My pass area. It has a check out sheet and band-aids. I teach the kids that if it can't be fixed with a band-aid, you need to see the nurse. I am sure she does not appreciate that!
School starts tomorrow. TOMORROW!!! How about that? I am super excited about the idea of a new set of faces.  I have worked over the summer on lots of new ideas. I also got my classroom ready.  I am posting a few pics of my room below so I can brag about share my room with you!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bad Dreams...

My friend has dreams as school starts.  Bad ones. Students she wishes she could forget come to her room, take over and ignore her requests to behave.

When she starts dreaming, I know school is close.  She had one last night. School is a week away for teachers and two for students in our area. 

I have a daughter going into second grade.  Still amazes me to say/type that.  Second grade.  Seven years old.  Wow.  She is my life.  Gives me so much joy.   Asking me questions about the stuff her teacher will ask her to do, I realize: She is secretly nervous to start school. And I tell her that I am too.  I tell her that most kids are.  I tell her the biggest secret of all: that most teachers are.  I am nervous.  What if they don't like me? What if they are taller than me?  (a real possibility, even if they are ONLY in sixth grade)  What if they won't listen to me when I give directions?

So, she smiles a little smile and says they will listen to me if I give them the "teacher look" then we start talking about what she will have to do in second grade and start joking around and forget our nervous bellies. For now.   

That  first day, everyone entering the school building is a nervous as the next person from principal all the way down to the youngest student. We all want everyone to like us, listen to us and be friends.  Here's hoping you get exactly that no matter if you are returning to school or going to work Monday morning!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Things I am Liking

8x10 photos in an old window frame

a wreath made from spoons - I know right?!?!?!?

Daughter's present for the first day of school for her teacher. All at Target for a $1!!!
Fall hand print of my daughter

Spring handprint of my daughter

Sub tub - place to keep all my sub stuff

a little dark - my to do list in a glass frame so I can use dry erase markers
Here are several pictures of items I have made lately.  I find myself most creative in the summer when I have time to chew on an idea for a while before acting on it.  I hope you like these and feel free to use the ideas yourself!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

They say the first step is admitting you have a problem.

My name is Teresa and I am addicted to VistaPrint. Whew, that felt good.

I started several years ago with business cards to hand out to parents.  Since then, I have added in posters, stamps, postcards, and pens.  I find so many uses for these "business tools" in my class.

I am going to show off some of my favorites below!

If you are a fellow Vistaprint addict, I can help.  I just got a new email with some GREAT deals!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Technology and Nature Unite!

Finishing up my Lanark workshop, I sat down to look over my notes and see how technology can be brought into nature successfully.

The main idea I had is the one I am focusing on for next year:  I plan on letting students use cameras to take pictures of topics in nature and then develop PowerPoints.

I also plan to use skype to "class chat" (Is that a word? Did I just make up a new term?!?!?!) with a teacher in the next building - I think we will start by playing a scavenger hunt type of game to get to know each other.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Frustrated Scrapbooker

I wish I could scrapbook. Really I do. I have no patience for it.  I have watched friends go on great vacations, take tons of pictures and take five years to scrapbook about it. I have too much of a need to see the result immediately that I cannot make myself work on a book for five years.

For the simple fact that I am too lazy not motivated enough to scrapbook, I love Shutterfly! I made these cards today and they are perfect for my daughter to use to write her best friend who is moving to California.

In my classroom, I use Shutterfly to make books about our class field trips, including our 6th grade trip to Washington DC.   I plan to use the book this year to document our work in our outdoor classroom.

See the cards here!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Workshop World

Started a three day workshop today. I am a glutton for punishment, sometimes.  I know, taking this online class and then adding in a 3 day 8AM to 8 PM workshop at the same time sounds a little crazy. Three days of bug spray, sunscreen, hats and tired feet. 

This workshop is exactly the OPPOSITE from what this eLearning class is: Nature Journaling, Photography and the Arts! We are taking nature walks, collecting leaves and limbs, taking nature themed photographs and painting scenes from nature. 

Our school just received major help from a local corporation to put in an outdoor classroom and it is gorgeous!  I am so excited about taking what I learn from this nature workshop and bring it back to school.  The kids and I will take nature walks, photograph nature's beauty and bring back items to paint in the classroom. 

The whole time I was sitting in class today, listening to great speakers and trying a little painting of my own, I was thinking: How can I connect this to the eLearning technology workshop?  I am brainstorming and will post my thoughts at the end of the workshop.  I am kinda excited to some up with some ideas!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Adventures in Blogging

Reading what Ginger wrote on her blog about assigning a point a week for blog entries, I re-read the article on the Education World website and clicked over to the blogging evaluation (this link) and I like the idea of adding a graded portion to this process.

I plan on using the first nine weeks to get the kids used to blogging and after that, assigning a point for each week's post.  I have worked on a rubric to guide the kids through what is acceptable and unacceptable. I strive to make sure the style of writing in which they write is legible to anyone who walks in the door.  I have included in the rubric writing conventions and content.  The link is here for the rubric.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


I enjoy summer. As a teacher, I need to refresh myself and get ready to "do it all over again". I try to stay current by taking classes, usually from eLearning, to make sure I am up to date on what can be brought into my class for next year.

I have used blogs in the past with my students to post thoughts about their assigned readings during novel studies and in posted "questions of the week".

Our school system changed over to a new web-hosting company for our teacher websites and I lost my blog. I had yet to start one for my classroom so this will be the one I use next year!