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Monday, July 30, 2012

Things I Wish I Knew When I Was New to Teaching

Stephanie at Teaching in Room 6 is having a link-up for teachers to share their advice to new teachers.  She has some of the most wonderful advice in this post!

 Now, I am no veteran teacher (I'm only going into my fourth year), but I do remember how tough it can be.  So I feel like I still have some valuable information from that perspective.

  1. Use fabric for your bulletin boards and leave it up at the end of the year.  I've heard that some people use twin bed sheets, but you need to iron it before putting it up.  I bought 4 yards of fabric, tacked it up to make sure it was even, and then stapled it down.  It still looks fabulous a year later.
  2. Surround yourself with positive people, even if they are in another grade level.  Sit near them at staff meetings, lunch, and pep rallies.  Don't be afraid to politely excuse yourself if conversations become negative and you're not required to be there.
  3. Make 5 extra copies of class worksheets.  Someone will always lose one, and five is enough to cover that.
  4. Recycle those extra copies once you're done with them.  They usually end up as clutter if you don't.  Keep one copy for next year if you don't have a digital copy.  On that note...
  5. Try to make everything digital.  Then you won't have to worry about making extra copies because you can just print one out when you need one.      
  6. Force yourself to take a break.  You need at least one or two days a week on which you do nothing related to school after you leave school.  On those days, you need to leave at a reasonable time, too.  This might seem counter-productive, but your body and mind need a break to work at full capacity.  When you're tired and stressed, it will take you twice as long to get things done.
Now it's your turn to help pass on the good advice.  What do you wish you knew your first year?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Virginia Blogger Get-Together

Calling all Virginia bloggers!

Head over to Mrs. Stamp's Kindergarten to let Karen know you'd like to join us. 

Andrea from One Teacher's Take and I will be going.  Hope to see you there!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

School To-Do List Linky Party

Lorraine at Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies is hosting a linky party for all of us to share the loooong to-do lists we have for the beginning of the school year.

First, let me say that my list is much longer than most of the others that I've seen on the linky.  That probably means I'm stressing too much and my type A side needs to chill.  So there's benefit number one:  a perspective on how I can let some things go and just breath.

In that spirit, here is the must-do part of my to-do list.

To Do:

__ Work on/adapt Daily 5 PowerPoint
__ Correct/reprint first newsletter
__ Get cds/tapes for listening center
__ Update jobs bulletin board. 
__ Fill in lunch count/study hall/caught being good forms with new student names and reprint
__ Get behavior management system ready
__ Go over/set up bulletin board themes & posters
__ Write student names on Popsicle sticks
__ Write student names on birthday months
__ Make copies of “Room Parent Information” for meet the teacher night and back to school night
__ Class copies of math division/multiplication fact tests
__ Put math/SS textbooks, manila folders (incomplete folder), socks/markers, pencils, whiteboards on desks.
__ Put science/reading/grammar/reference books & book boxes on group shelves.  Fluency phones go in book boxes.
__ Back to school/welcome poster for door
__ Update School Center website/homework calendar
__ Write homework on agenda on the board.
__ Make copies of reading log.
__ Print several copies of “Buddy Reading Planning Sheet”. 
__ Plan/Print “First Week’s/Month’s Lesson Plans”
__ Set up “Miss Welsh’s Hot Reads” book display rack. 
__ Reserve dvds/materials from lesson plans
__ Set up plants in window.
__ Make several copies of “Buddy Book Sign Out Sheet” and place in basket at reading center.
__ Copy/laminate/tape to desk: “Test-Taking Checklist”
__ Put welcome gift (pencils) on desks
___ write in important dates in monthly lesson plans
___ make name tags for students
___ write morning message first day of school
___ hook up all computers
___ revise substitute folder (include new schedule, class roster, allergies of students, emergency plans)
___ confirm specials times with teachers
___ order reading/math/social studies books/workbooks for new students
___ review/revise the morning meeting PowerPoint
___ Go through student files to see special needs/behavior issues
___ stuff home folders with forms for the first day of school

Wow!  Still REALLY long, huh?   Do you do anything like this?  Is your "list" much shorter?  I'd love to know how much more I can probably cut out!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Teaching Figurative Language Through Poetry

One of my favorite writing units comes at the beginning of the year for me.  How lucky am I?  Actually, I make it that way so I'm kind of creating my own luck ;)

I love poetry, music, and figurative language.  When you put all those together, what do you get?  MUSIC!

I created an activity that involves looking at song lyrics to find figurative language.  It focuses on hyperbole, similes, metaphors, and personifications.  You can check it out by clicking here.

Do you explicitly teach figurative language using poetry or music?  I'd love to know how.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Daily 5 Chapter 5: Read to Someone and Listen to Reading

My post on Daily 5 Chapter 5: Read to Someone and Listen to Reading is up on We Read, We Blog, We Teach

Come read my tips and add your own suggetions.  All comments and suggestions are welcome and appreciated!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Lovely Blog Award

I have been given an award by the wonderfully creative Bayyinah, AKA: the Queen Bee, at On the Road to Accomplished Teaching.  Don't you just love her name? :) I am honored to be named as one of her 15 choices for this award because her list contains some truly accomplished bloggers.  Thank you, Queen Bee!

There are a few rules that go along with this award:

1. Follow the person who gave you the award
2. Link back to the person who gave you the award

3. Pass the award on to 15 bloggers

4. Highlight your favorite awarder’s blog post to share with others!

Now I get to name some of the bloggers that bring loveliness to my days.  I need to shorten the list to 5 because many of the blogs I follow (understandably so) have already been awarded with this.

Rachel at Sub Hub
Anna at Smarty Pants Teaching Resources
Sara at Smiling in Second Grade
at Jasztalville
Jordon at Life is Better Messy Anyway

I follow so many creative bloggers that inspire me to be better each day.  Come check out these wonderful blogs!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Versatile Blogger Award!

I want to thank Jackie at Third Grade's A Charm for giving me this award! 

How sweet it is to be chosen out of the big bloggy community for this!  I am extremely honored.

There are 7 rules you're supposed to follow when you get this award:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.  Done!  Shouldn't that always be first?

2. Include a link to their site. Done!  Only seems natural :)

3. Include the award image in your post. Yep.
And now.....

4. Give 7 random facts about yourself.
  • I'm double-jointed.  Makes yoga harder, if you can imagine that.
  • My cat has been missing for two days, and I'm in a tizzy about it. :(
  • I like the sand part of the beach, but not the water as much.
  • On the other hand, I like the water in a lake, but not the shore as much.
  • I love to cook.
  • I strongly dislike doing dishes.
  • I hated math as a student, but love teaching it now :)
5. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.  The tough part because there are so many good ones!
  1. Kayla at Fourth Grade Freebies from the High-Tech Teacher
  2. Mary at Artistry of Education
  3. Kristin at iTeach 1 to 1
  4. Sandy at Fearless in 5th
  5. Josh at Mr. B's Beach Brains
  6. Suzanne at Krazy Town
  7. Mrs. Wilson at Mrs. Wilson's 4th Graders Are on the Road to Success
  8. April at Wolfelicious
  9. Mary at Mrs. Lirette's Learning Detectives
  10. Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade
  11. Leslie at Engaging Learning in the Upper Grades
  12. Jessica at Mrs. Stanford's Class
  13. Jana at Thinking Out Loud
  14. Heather at Heather's Heart
  15. Britney at Mrs. V's Adventures in Teaching
6. When nominating, include a link to their site. Done!

7. Let other bloggers know they've been nominated.  Will do!
Today is a good day!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Upper Grades Daily 5 & CAFE Book Study

Calling all upper-grades teachers (that means you, third- through middle school teachers)!  The Daily 5 & CAFE Book Study blog is officially up and running as of today!  Click on the link and join us!

I am just getting into Daily 5 & CAFE for my reading and writing blocks, but I'm super excited about it!  In my humble opinion, the books are written more with a primary classroom in mind, but I also feel like they are easily adapted to suit the needs of upper grades teachers.  Thus, the upper-grades book study!

You can stop by just to pick up suggestions, or you can leave your own experiences in the comment lines.  All suggestions are appreciated and welcome!