Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pockets in Science Notebooks

Sometimes when we work on things in science, they don't get completely done. Pockets in science notebooks are an easy way to store things for that purpose. Or to store a cardstock ruler, or some vocabulary cards. Or a candy bar. Whatever.

This one requires no extra product. Take two sheets of paper. Fold one over diagonally, glue the side and bottom to the second page. And eureka! there's a pocket.


 For this one, you could use an envelope or a sheet of paper folded over. Just glue it to an inside cover or a sheet of paper. 

This envelope is cut up the side and has the flap cut off. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Science Tools in the Science Notebook

I have said it before. I love Science Notebooks. I have used every year I have taught science (that would be, count it, 2 whole years) and I am excited to use them again this year.

I want to do a lot more with the science notebook this year and have a lot more information in it. Sometimes it is like pulling teeth with 5th graders to get them to care about the science notebooks as much as I do, but it is worth it in the end.

This is an activity I am doing this week. One awesome part of G-camp was getting to talk to Jr. High and High School Science teachers. I asked them what they think us elementary teachers need to hit on better. 

They mentioned science tools. Students don't really know how to use them or what they are. So I am going to try to be better at it this year.

So I have collected all the science tools that the Great State of Texas says my 5th graders need to know by the end of the year. The students will work in a groups and I will give them a few of the tools at a time. As they go through each tool, they will name it, draw a picture, and write a brief description of what it does.

Because they are working in groups, someone is bound to know at least what each tool does. But if by chance nobody knows, their instructions are to draw a picture and leave everything else blank.

Throughout the year as we use each tool in class, we will go back to these pages and fill in the blanks. 

These are my example pages. I learned this format in a workshop I went to this summer. It is an easy way to give the students a limited space for each tool. Because you know some students will go crazy on the pages. They still might.



Monday, August 27, 2012

First Day of School




I survived my first day of school for the year! My legs almost didn't survive unfortunately. I wore my comfortable pair of shoes but I guess I am not that used to walking around that much. I took the summer off from any work out.

I look kind of ridiculous, but at 6:30 this morning, I was pretty excited to be going to meet the kiddos. 
 

My husband also teaches. Today was his first day with kids at a new school and new grade level. (He made the jump from 3rd grade to High school.) He thought I was joking when I said I was going to take his picture.

And this was my desk by the end of the day. I just can't get organized very much. I need to find some kind of system that works for me. Or just get rid of all the "excess" paper.


Good luck to everyone on the first days back to school!

What Teachers Make

I watch this every year several times before and after school starts. I still get a bit nervous walking into a classroom with dozens of eyes staring at me. It is a bit nerve-wracking knowing that I can change what a child thinks about learning. I can help them see how fun and life changing it is, or I can turn them off of it forever.

So, knowing that I can influence so many children every year just by teaching, is scary. But I love doing it and wouldn't want any other job in the world.

Most people have probably seen this, but if you haven't watch it. It will get you pumped to walk into your classroom.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

My Finished Classroom

I am sure that there are some more things that I could do in here, but it is what it is. It is already cleaner and more organized than it will be all year long. The students will just have to get used to it.

Front of the classroom. I love my ginormous Smartboard. It is gorgeous. I hung up my tissue poms again this year and almost killed myself climbing on all the desks to do it. 


This it he poem everyone has probably seen on Pinterest. I think it is adorable. My favorite parts are "You are scientists" and "you are explorers".

This is the whiteboard space with the banner I made. I love it and kind of want them all over my room.

Close up on CHAMPs. Another teacher introduced them to me this year and I love the visual students will have so they know exactly what is expected of them.

All my bulletin boards. It took me forever to decide what I wanted to do here. And it isn't completely done.

This is my favorite part. I got the quote from a Calvin and Hobbes strip where Calvin said "It's a big world, Hobbes Ole' Buddy, let's go exploring." My sister made the world for me, which I was extremely grateful for.

My classroom jobs pocket. I have enough classroom jobs for everyone in my class to have. 

And my personal wall with all my information including my 5th grade report card. Which the students like to see. 


I am very ready for school tomorrow! More excited and less nervous than I was my first two years.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Meet the Teacher

We had Meet the Teacher this week, along with almost every elementary school in the state of Texas.

It was the best Meet the Teacher I've been to (out of 3 total)

Last year, I think I had 8 parents from my homeroom show up, this year it was 16! Out of 20. And all of them seems so willing to volunteer and help out.

It is one of my goals this year to call parents more and ask them for help more. And it seems like all of my student's parents would be less scary to call. Or maybe I am just more confident. Or maybe it is a little bit of both.

Either way, I am ready for school.

I am going to take pictures of my classroom today and I'll post pictures of it tomorrow.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

My Unorganized Mess

This is where the real test of blogging comes in. Can I blog while I am working at the same time?

It appears that during inservice, I cannot.

But this is what I am working with everyday after 8 hours of sitting.


The room is coming together slowly. But it is coming together. I have 5 days until Meet the Teacher Night. It either gets done, or everything gets shoved into a closet.

It doesn't help that every night I browse Pinterest and come up with new things to add to my to do list. Plus, my mom and sisters are coming to help me next week and I need to have something for them to do!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

I need help!

I am asking for you help!

Because I only have two years of teaching under belt, both years at the same campus and under the same principal, I don't have much to compare anything to.

I would like to know how you 4th or 5th grade teachers handle reporting conduct to the parents. Specifically, do you send home a weekly conduct chart or a daily conduct chart. Or do you do something completely different. If you work at a school with very low parental involvement, I would love to hear from you!

If you send a daily conduct chart home, how does that work?  What are the daily steps involved. I am trying to collect ideas and I want to hear some ideas on what might potentially work and want might not work.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Summer is Over and Posters

I have had a professional/staff development everyday this week. Three were voluntary, and then Thursday and Friday were the first days back for my campus. And we still have two weeks before school starts. This is a lot of inservice.

I was excited to see all our teachers and meet the new teachers on our campus. I love being around groups of teachers. We are just so funny.

We wrote songs, we team built, we dug in some data and mostly enjoyed each other's company. I am hopeful/excited for the new year. I think it is going to be awesome.

I found this blog Venspired Learning. She has so much great stuff on her website but what I love most are the free posters she has created.

This is on of my mottos for the year in my classroom.


It is hard to get students to understand that anything worth having only comes through hard work. They want immediate responses, instant results, and sometimes give up too easily. It is a hard lesson to learn, but when they do work hard, I love seeing them realize how good it feels. It is one of my favorite parts of teaching.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Nightmares Begin...

Ever since I was in school, I have always had back-to-school nightmares. I would show up to school without any supplies, forgetting my name, with no friends... anything horrible.

This "tradition" has not stopped now that I am a teacher. And I had my first nightmare this week.

I show up to school the first day with all my desks still in a corner, no copies made and my principal informing me that I will now be self-contained.

I have also had the dream where all of my more spirited students are back for their second time in my classroom.

Or the one where I have horrible classroom management, my classroom is at the temple ruins from Lost, and all the administration is in my "classroom" to observe.

To prevent any of these from actually happening (especially the no copies on the first day of school) I have started actually looking at what I want to do the First Day of School. It is such an important day and so much pressure is put on it, that I tend procrastinate my planning for it. I can have the first month of school planned out, but not that first day.

I work better under pressure anyways.

I'm not the only one who has nightmares, right? I think I have always just been so excited for the first day of school, my brain channels that excitement into crazy stories.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Bulletin Boards

 I think I am getting better at this bulletin board stuff.  I spent a part of my Saturday making these because I was so excited about them. I only live 5 minutes from my school, so it is easy for me to run up and do something.


This is the board outside of my classroom. I cut out all those letters by hand. It says "Let's Shine This Year." (Because I was working on a Saturday, the hallway lights were not on. So the only light is from the sun.) I went a baby shower recently and my friend mentioned she felt bad wasting all the tissue paper from the bags. Well, I told her I would take it all and use it for my classroom somehow. Which is what I did for the sun here. 

I saw this tutorial on Pinterest for a Ruffle Border and loved it. At first, I was really unsure of how it was going to look, but as a finished product I love it.



The only supplies you need are butcher paper, scissors and staples. And the more staple you use, I think the better. Now I need to find something extra special to put inside this border.


I am putting off the really hard stuff on my to-do list, the stuff that requires a lot of thinking. My brain is not just ready for summer to be over quite yet.

Friday, August 3, 2012

My New Classroom

This is my new classroom. I volunteered to move rooms so that everyone could be near their partner teachers in our 5th grade hallway.

But also because I wanted that awesome new smartboard and a window not blocked by a bush. (Amazing what I get excited about)

So I have three weeks to make this classroom my own. We are playing musical classrooms at our school and everyone has to wait for the last person to move out of the room. So I really can't start moving in until next week.

Which is buying me time because I have no idea what to do. This is a chance to start fresh!

I am going to buy new sheets, which I use to cover the bulletin boards. It is cheaper than fabric and comes in so many colors. But that's all I've got. I am going to spend some time today doing something, but I don't know yet.

Does anyone see this room and think, "If I had that room I would..." Tell me what you would do, please? I am pitiful when it comes to this stuff.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Top of My List

School starts this month! I have realized the my to-do list will probably not get finished by the time school starts, so I am prioritizing this morning.

First up, new clothes.

My husband and I have decided to use our extra money from summer school to buy new clothes. So I have been scouring Pinterest for my new wardrobe. I am not a shopper. I go straight to the clearance rack and pick something that mostly fits.

But I have recently decided that I have a real career now and I should get to buy clothes that are awesome.

Based on what I have been pinning, I love cardigans, belts and ruffles.





I know that Ann Taylor and J.Crew give teacher discounts, although I haven't tried them out yet. Does anyone know of other stores with great deals?