Sunday, November 4, 2012

Monday Made it

Hello friends!  It's actually Sunday night and I am contemplating my weekend and lack of photos for this month's Monday Made It. (Be thankful I didn't take a picture of my beginning crochet bowl!)  I didn't even get a post in last month!  I have no photos for you this month, but some thoughts.....

*I've been making our math curriculum from start to finish.  I decided to go ahead and try Guided Math and I love it.  Unfortunately, it's a lot more work for me.  I don't have a lot of our curriculum to guide me as most of my students do well in math.  I will say that it is completely worth the effort!  After teaching through Guided Reading for so many years, I can't believe I never thought of Guided Math.  It is so much more effective to teach to a small group instead of a whole class.

*I made it through the first quarter of the year.  I have a wonderful class this year and that has been great!  The politics, lack of curriculum and working without a contract haven't been as good!  This weekend I finally forced myself to totally look at things the way they really are.  I chose this job. I love this job. It involves extra work and effort. I will work hard to balance my life knowing that my job is not a typical 9 to 5!

*At home, I'm working hard on making my Christmas list smaller and smaller.  I hate the running around and craziness of last minute shopping.  I like to take the time to buy gifts that my family and friends will truly like.  I also want to have a January without extra bills:)  Here's to enjoying the season and the blessings that it brings.

*I will make Thanksgiving a priority for my students and my family.  We will work on being thankful every day in November.

Happy Fall!!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Trying something new...and a freebie!!

Learning never stops!  I'm trying to see if I can get a document from my Google Drive to my blog. It's a measurement freebie for you:)  The idea isn't mine; I got the idea researching for our 2nd Grade Common Core math measurement unit.  I decided to make it into a document so that my students could do it on their own during our math stations.

If you have the chance, please let me know if this works!  Thanks!  You'll be helping me learn:)
*I see now that the date line moved when I transferred the doc.  I'll have to work on that!!
**Yay!!  I fixed it:)  When you click on the document it should be correct:)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Tell Me Something Good

I found this awesome linky today!!  I have to link up even though it's a day late.
Something good about school:
I have an awesome class this year!  They know how to be good friends, work together and follow routines.  I am so excited for what is to come:)
Something good about home:
My husband made my mom's macaroni and cheese last night.  It was the perfect comfort food!!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Monday Made-It: Name tags and grouping

Happy Sunday/Monday!  Last Monday was my first full day of school, so I missed posting a Monday Made It.   I made sure to check out everyone's awesome ideas, though!  I've had my kids for 2 1/2 days.  I think it's going to be a great year:)  I have to say that this weekend was pretty much dedicated to school.  I have FIVE bags that I am going to be taking back with me tomorrow.  Don't call me a nerd, but I labeled them 1 - 5 so that I would know which bag needed to be attacked first Monday morning!

 My Monday Made It came from a teacher magazine a while ago.  This is a sample of a student nametag with the name covered up.  I start the year with temporary tags and then make these when I'm sure of the names.  The obvious part is the name and the number.  I don't use numbers a lot in the classroom, but I do use them for things that I don't want to label every year, such as hallway bins, book boxes and "calling on" sticks.

The stickers indicate groups that students are in.  The letter sticker is a partner sticker.  I have the kids  in partners with a student of the same/close reading ability.  I have the information from last year and from what I've observed so far.  The second sticker is for my groups of 4.  There are six different colored groups.  These groups are a mix of abilities.  I have a large pawprint in each of the colors.  When I want the kids to get in these groups, I just put the large pawprint where they need to meet.  Other years I've had other groups, but this is it for now.  I plan on laminating the tags and possibly velcroing them to the desks.  I just might leave them loose too.  Then the students can put them in their desk if the tags are in their way.

The first weeks of the year are crazy and fun.  It's great to meet all the wonderful personalities that I will be with for the whole year.  The amount of work is overwhelming!  Have a great start to your year!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Made It - Classroom Design

Happy Monday!!  My Monday Made-It today is my classroom design for the year. My first thoughts about my classroom design came from Melanie at Schoolgirl Style.  She has so many awesome ideas that I used to help me in my planning.  The book, Classroom Spaces That Work, helped me to really analyze my classroom and the message it sends to students.  As you journey through my photos, you'll see the projects that I've posted throughout the summer.  If you have any questions, please ask!!
My first picture is the pile of furniture that met me at the door last Monday.  Luckily my husband was there with a hand cart because we ended up moving one file cabinet, one teacher desk, and three tables from/to my room.
This first picture is my classroom library.  This summer my husband and I painted the bookshelves black.  My nephew, Doug, helped too!  The bookshelves were all different colors and needed to look more cohesive.  You can see the pennant that I made that is hanging on the window wall in my classroom.  I also made the curtains this year to hide my storage.  One of my good friends at school had curtains like this and I loved them!  On the chalkboard are the name magnets that I sweated over at the beginning of the summer.  Do you see the short table with the globe on it?  The table is a regular height table with the legs taken off.  Another great idea from another teacher friend!!
The next picture is of my meeting area and back bulletin boards.  My classroom doesn't get cleaned every day, so instead of a carpet, I have carpet squares that the students grab to sit on if they want.  You can see the green, fluffy pillow that is at one of my "safe places" in the classroom.  The thought behind this idea is from the book, Conscious Discipline.  I also used fabric to cover two tables in my room.  This helps hide the storage that goes under the tables.

Here is my back bulletin board.  The first two boards are anchor chart holders, an idea from The Clutter-Free Classroom.  She has lots of great ideas that I recommend you checking out!  The third board is my incomplete math board and the fourth board is my CAFE menu board for the daily five.

You may notice that I do not have a word wall board up.  After lots of thinking, I've decided that I am going to have my students use individual word walls at their desk.  They will have a special folder for them and will write in the new words each week.  There will also be room to add in math vocab when necessary.

Obviously I'm not finished!!!  I will try to get more pictures taken when I'm totally done.  I'm trying lots of new ideas this year and I can't wait to see how they work out.  I'm feeling pretty positive about the whole package!  School starts with meetings next Monday.  Wish me luck:)

Thanks again to Tara at Fourth Grade Frolics for hosting this linky.  Click on the icon at the top of the blog to go check out her post and all the other great links.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Back to School

Just a short post to share that today was my first day in my classroom!  I'm so lucky that my husband and nephew came to help me!!  We painted, fixed tables, cleaned boards, hung the alphabet, and MORE!!!  I couldn't have done it without either of them.
When I finally finish with my room I'll share pictures.  I was pleased today that many of the things that I made over the summer worked just as planned in my room.  Thank you to Monday Made It and  Pinterest:)

Monday Made-It

Thanks to Tara at Fourth Grade Frolics for hosting this awesome party all summer!  It's still going strong so be sure to click the link above to see everyone's awesome creations:)

This week I made curtains to cover the storage shelves underneath my windows at school.  Once I got started the project went well.  I'll admit to having the fabric awhile and being afraid to start!  The only sewing I did was to make the pocket at the top to put the tension rod through.  This is a sample hanging on a shelf in my house.  All together, I made six of them! Whew! 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Made-It

Happy Monday!  Next Monday I finally get into school to set up my classroom.  I can't wait!!  I have been busy with tons of different projects.  Here are a few:

I had to make the journals everyone is making!  I think they are such a fun idea and will be super popular with the students.  I purchased 6 different color notebooks from Target.  They were only 75 cents each!  Above is a close-up view of one.  Then I printed labels and stuck them right over the writing on the notebook.  I love that each journal is a different color.

 My next project is my new job hanging.  I got the idea from The Go To Teacher. Check her hanging out.  It's fantastic:)
Here's a closeup of the top of the chart.  I will be putting student names on clothespins.  I'll attach the clothespins under each job title.  I plan to have my students have quarterly jobs.  That helps the students to become proficient at the job they do.  All jobs are partner jobs.  I am going to explain the jobs to the students at the beginning of the year.  I will let them write down four that they would like to do and hopefully I'll be able to give everyone one of their choices.  We'll do the same thing the next quarter.

 My next project comes from the book Conscious Discipline that I read this summer.  One of the ideas is to have a safe place for kids to go when they are having a hard time and need a break.  It is NOT a punishment.  Below is my little kit for my safe place.  It will also have a fluffy pillow and carpet square to sit on.  My kit includes a squeeze ball from Target, a light up mini lava lamp and cards with helpful sayings on them.  Hopefully these will appeal to and help any student who needs a break during the day.

My husband and I did some painting this weekend too.  I'll have pictures next time.  I had all these different bookshelves for my classroom.  We painted them all black.  Super cool!!  This week I need to work on making my curtains to cover my open shelving.  I'm a little nervous about it, so we'll see what happens!!
I'm off to check out everybody's Monday Made-Its!  What a fabulous idea Tara at Fourth Grade Frolics had to set this up!  It's been a highlight of my summer:)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Daily Five - Chapter Seven

In Chapter 7 we learn about when to start choice in Daily Five and how to do it.  The sisters suggest starting choice in October. It was good for me to reread this.  Last year I looped with my first grade class to second grade, so they were ready for choice very early.  This year I think I would have started choice too early, forgetting about the time it takes to set the kids up for success in Daily Five.
When I do Daily Five choice, I use the check-in method suggested by the sisters.  I find that it helps focus students on their choice and it lets me know very quickly what they should be doing during Daily Five.  I also like the check-in model because it allows me to be sure that the students are doing all of the Daily Five.  I've found that even at the end of the year I have to remind some students what they've already chosen and what they have left to choose.
For those of you who haven't read The Cafe, I strongly suggest that you delve right in!  The ideas have helped me to be a more focused and thoughtful reading teacher.  I am also a member of the sisters website and have read lots of valuable information there.  They send out an email every week with tons of good information.  Even if you choose not to join their site, you can still get the email. (There will be some sections of the email that you won't have access to without joining.)
Good Luck to everyone who is starting or continuing the Daily Five this year!  It's been so fun to share ideas with all of you.  Thanks to Mel D from Suesstastic Classroom Inspirations and Nicole from Teaching with Style! for setting up this bookstudy.  Today's host is Corinna at Surfin' Through Second.  Be sure to check her blog for the linky!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Made-It

Happy Day!  Today I'm sharing a super cute idea that I found on the last Monday Made It!  It comes from Aimee at Primarily Speaking.

My made it today is Back to School Magic Confetti!!

There is a cute little poem that goes with this that talks about having jitters the night before school starts.  Here is a link to the free poem at TpT.  I simply made the confetti from scrapbook paper scraps.  I chose all colors and papers with polka dots.  Then I bought some dot confetti at Party City to add to each bag.  The little bags that I used are from Michaels.  They come with the cute silver twist tie.  There are a bunch of bags for very cheap!  I used the bags for an end of year gift last year and for these bags.  I still have more left!!!  All I had to buy was the confetti which was 4.99!  With all the money that I spend on school that's a great price for a cute gift.
Please be sure to check out all the other Monday Made Its by clinking the link above.  I have gotten SO MANY great ideas from others at this link:)  Thanks so much to Tara from Fourth Grade Frolics.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Daily Five - Chapter Six

I'll admit it...Work on Writing is sometimes a challenge for me!  I started teaching using Lucy Calkins' method of Writing Workshop.  I find Work on Writing to be very similar.  Some years I have classes that can write and write forever.  Other years, not so much.  I find myself giving out optional writing topics and doing more prescribed writing.  Last year I even felt the need to tell students that they must write at least one side of a page.   I've not done that before!  Although I've always taught specific lessons and brainstormed with the students topics for writing, I plan to do more of this next year.  I feel that it is important for children to have the choice of what they want to write about, but in second grade this seems too much for many of the children.  
I don't have enough time to do Work on Writing during my Daily Five block, so I am going to have writing be a separate block.  I will start with a mini-lesson or larger lesson each time.   One writing that we do every Monday is to write about the weekend.   Maybe later in the year the students will be better able to choose their own writing topic on other days. We'll see what happens; this is still a journey for me.  
Last year during Word Work I started with having 2 groups of students working on different words.  One group was working on first grade words that they still needed to master.  The other group was working to identify and record new words that they found in their reading.  They were WAY beyond the second grade word list.  A couple of times a week I used Work Work time for spelling practice.  This year our Word Wall Words will be different than our spelling words, so I am still mulling over how to handle the time.  It's definitely not a "one way fits all" time of day!!
On another note, I am looking forward to going back to school.  In our district, we can't go into our rooms during the summer.  The day we can go back is Aug 6th.  My husband is even taking off the day to help me!  I have to move rooms this year and lots of materials found their way home. Last weekend I spent time deep cleaning the microwave, dishwasher and washing machine.  That's a sure sign that I need to get back to work:)

OOPS!!  I completely forgot to link back to the blog roll and thank Jenn from Best Practices 4 Teaching for hosting this. You can find her HERE!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Made it!

Hello!  I have several projects to show you today.  I missed last week's Monday Made It:(  My first project to share is a fabric banner that I made for my classroom.  Instead of going with a theme this year, I went with colors: lime green, black and white.  There are TONS of ideas on Pinterest for banners and I used ideas from each one.

This is a section of the banner.  I used 7 different fabrics at 1/4 yard each.   That made four pennants of each fabric because I backed up each fabric.  That way it is sturdier and is also 2 sided.  I made a template for the triangles that was 7 3/4 inches across the top and 8 inches down to the point.

I used Heat n Bond to adhere the two sides of the fabric together.  Then I used a ribbon and more Heat n Bond to attach it across the tops of the triangles.  There is ribbon across the top on both sides to make it sturdier AND two sided.  I left about 14 inches of ribbon on each end of the banner to be able to tie it up.  
I have to admit that this project seemed a little daunting at first, but I'm happy with the results.  I'm glad I pushed myself to do it!
My next two projects are Modge Podge projects.  The first is a birthday wall hanging that I plan to use year after year.  I will tape a typed page of each month's  birthdays to the hanging square.  One caution I have for this project is to be careful what chipboard you use for the birthday months.  As I Modge Podged the papers on, the black color turned my Modge Podge PINK!!  In some cases it dried clear and in others there is a bit of pink showing.  It is what it is!!  The letters are from Michaels.  I typed up the words "Happy" and "Birthday" and added them to the letters.  

My last project is an easy one...or should have been.  I made one of those clipboards that everyone seems to be making with Modge Podge and scrapbook paper.  After these two projects, I'm not sure that Modge Podge is my friend!!  I had trouble keeping it smooth on the clipboard.
Be sure to check out everyone's amazing projects at Fourth Grade Frolics!  I absolutely LOVE seeing all the great ideas and inspiration!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Do you want a good laugh?  To remember the good and/or bad times in your school history?  Well jump on over to Simply Kinder to check out her great story and other peoples' too!
I have LOTS of memories of school!  One memory from Kindergarten is when someone got in trouble the teacher took them into the supply closet in our room and spanked them! (OK-I am 46!) One time she took a girl into the closet (usually it was boys) and the girl didn't come out crying like all the boys did.  I remember feeling so proud of her!  Awful to even imagine happening now, but it is funny to think about the story.
I also remember learning from my kindergarten teacher that the sun didn't go away at night; it just went around to the other part of the world.  I remember her describing just how it looks when the sun goes down!
I loved all my teachers, even the kindergarten one!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Daily Five-Chapter 5

I love the quotes that the sisters find!  They are always backed up by research and always seem to resonate with me.  At the beginning of the chapter the sisters quote Hopkins who basically says that we need to concern ourselves with what is going on at school.  We can spend time being upset about the home situations or lack of parental involvement, but we don't have control over that.  We need to focus our energies on is what is going on day to day IN OUR CLASSROOM!  We can make a difference for all kids!!
Read to Someone is always a favorite in my classroom.  I do find that certain students can get off track easily.  I go back and reteach whenever necessary.  I have questions for you!  Do you think that it's OK for partners to always choose the same people?  Part of me doesn't agree with that because I want them to experience different readers.  Also, those partners tend to get off task more easily.  So far I have let the children choose their own partners after we check-in.  What do YOU think?  Do I need to be more involved with their choices?  I'd love to hear your responses!
Listen to Reading is another favorite.  Many of my kids also choose to do this when they are done early with an assignment.  So far I've used a CD player with headsets and my computer.  I have a CD walkman that I would also like to use this year.  I've heard about teachers using mp3 players also.  If you have, I'd LOVE to hear how you did it and how it worked for you!
Thanks to Melissa at Dilly Dabbles and Mechele from Barrow’s Hodgepodge for hosting this chapter.  I can't wait to go read what everyone thinks:)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Daily FIve - Chapter 4

For this week's chapter on the Daily Five, I thought I'd pick out a quote that really inspired me and encompasses the whole chapter.  The following quote is from page 47:
"The tone for the entire year is established during the early weeks of school. When we take our time during this critically important period, moving slowly and thoughtfully to build a solid foundation, it pays off all year long."
As I am rereading The Daily Five I find myself re-energized and committed to starting the Daily Five with my new group.  The lessons in this chapter and others are ones that I've used to some degree and plan to implement more this year.  In the past I haven't specifically talked about stamina.  I want to this year.  I want the kids to know exactly what they are doing right and build on that.   I want to start even slower than in past years and build MORE modeling and checking in to what I do.  Don't get me wrong...I understand how jam-packed those first couple of weeks are with bus evacuation drills, review/learning of lunchroom, hallway and classroom procedures, ETC.  Those things are important but so is building the foundation of learners that you will build from throughout the year.  That's what it's really all about, isn't it?
Be sure to click on the picture above so that you can read everyone's great ideas from this chapter!

Monday, July 2, 2012

And the awards go to....

Thank you again to Kristi and Crystal from Teaching Little Miracles for giving me this award!  I would like to give this award to Building a House of Love, 4 the Love of Teaching, Smiles and Sunshine,  Sweet-n-Sassy in 2nd, and I Teach, What's Your Super Power?  Be sure to check out their blog loveliness:) Here are the directions for this award:

The purpose of this award is to highlight new bloggers with less than 200 followers.

Here are the rules:
1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
2. Thank the giver and link back to them.
3. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog. 

I was so excited to receive two more blog awards.  The teaching blog community is certainly making me feel special!  These awards were given to me by Tammy at The Resourceful Apple. Thank you so much!!
The rules for this award are as follows:
1.  Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2.  Include a link to their site.
3.  Include the award image in your post.
4.  Give 7 random facts about yourself
5. Nominate 15 other bloggers, include their link and let them know!

Now for Seven Random Facts about myself....
1.  This month I will be celebrating my 23rd anniversary with my wonderful husband.
2.  I love to read cozy mysteries.  Right now I am reading Aunt Dimity and the Village Witch by Nancy Atherton.
3. My terrific son will be a senior at NIU this year. 
4.  I love to plant container gardens!
5.  We put a small pond in our backyard and it is filled with plants and fish.  I love the soothing sound of running water.
6.  I LOVE to learn new things!!!
7.  I was a DJ at our college radio station in Valparaiso!

The rules for this award are as follows:
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 new bloggers.

I just joined the world of teaching blogs about 3 months ago.  Since then, I have found so much inspiration from so many bloggers.  I will be passing these awards on to the following blogs: Buntings, Books and Bainbridge, Clutter-Free Classroom, Schoolgirl Style, Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations, Teaching with Style, Step into Second Grade with Mrs. Lemons, Swimming into Second, Surfin' Through Second, Heather's Heart, Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher, Learning is Something to Treasure, Learning in Wonderland, and my nonteacher blogfriend, Lynn, at  Shabby Story

Monday Made It

Today I'm linking up with Monday Made it.  I LOVE all the great ideas that I've gotten from people, so be sure to check it out!
Create●Share●Inspire: Chalkboard Clothespins
Aren't these LOVELY?  They are from create-share-inspire!  She has a great tutorial there for you to follow.  I decided that I had to make them for my classroom.  They were a bit of a project. (Spray painting clothespins is not fun!)  I'm very happy with the results!  In a nutshell, the black paint is chalkboard paint.  The frame is drawn on with white paint.  I will write the kids' names in chalk and then I can erase them and use them year after year.  My plan is to set up a permanent spot in the classroom where students can post what they think is their best work.  A lot of teaching goes into what best work means, but it essentially has the kids choosing work that is THEIR best and not their neighbors.  Here is my take on the clips-

The clips are painted the light lime green that I used for my trashcan project.  For some reason the color doesn't photograph correctly.  I'm sure it's not my lack of photo-taking skills:)  Below is another project  that I used the spray paint on.  I bought the lamp at a garage sale.  The color was gold, but I wanted it to match my classroom.  I did have to buy a new lampshade.  The lamp itself was only $7 and the shade was the cheapest one I could find at Target.  I don't remember the cost.  The last photo is of a $2 lamp that I bought at a garage sale.  I decorated the lamp shade with ribbon.

I'll be coming back for a second post because this one is already so long.  I am so psyched that I got nominated for TWO more blog awards! I'll be writing about them next.

Friday, June 29, 2012


THANK YOU to everyone who has become new followers of my blog.   I look forward to conversations with you!  I've tried to email you personally, but blogger isn't working with me right now...

Totally Awesome!!

I just received my first blog award EVER!!!  Thank you so much to Teaching Little Miracles!! I can't tell you how much I appreciate this!  The fun part is that I get to give this award to other bloggers!!  Woohoo!

The purpose of this award is to highlight new bloggers with less than 200 followers.

Here are the rules:
1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
2. Thank the giver and link back to them.
3. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

 I will keep my blog stalking reading up and reveal those winners soon!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Daily Five - Chapter 3

Hello Friends!  I am really enjoying the chance to read about everyone's ideas about Daily Five! Be sure to check out their amazing ideas here.  Jana from Thinking Out Loud is hosting this week's chapter.

I've always found that a gathering place is important.  The students understand that when we are there focused learning and discussions are going to happen.  We do our daily greeting, read aloud, classroom meetings and lessons from all subjects there.  I find that having kids move throughout the day to come to the gathering place helps them get a movement break and keep their focus.  Because our rooms only get cleaned once a week, I've had to move from a carpeted area to carpet squares. You can get carpet samples for free or at a low price at most carpet places.  They stay stacked until kids are ready to use them.  That way no one is walking on them and getting them dirty!

The sisters' lesson on good fit books is excellent!  I've used it and it really helps give the students a concrete understanding about what good fit means.  Two books that go well with this lesson are Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts and Shoes for Me by Sue Fliess.  Some students seem to continually have a difficult time with choosing good fit books.  I have to do lots of one on one lessons with those students. Next year I want to have the kids model for the other students how they chose a good fit book.  I haven't done this before and I think it will be really helpful.

I have a funny story to share with you about good fit books.  A parent told me that I must really have taught them about good fit books.  She had been reading Thirty Shades of Grey on her Nook while her son was reading next to her.  He asked what she was reading and tried to look at it.  She explained that it was an adult book and not for him to look at.  He said, "Oh, it's not a good fit book for me." He understood the concept of I PICK and good fit books perfectly:)

I love using anchor charts with my students!  Last year I posted the charts on a large bulletin board after we made them.  Then I took pictures of the students involved in all the areas of Daily Five.  I posted their pictures next to the anchor chart that fit.  These served as visual reminders of what the Daily Five looked like in action.

I use chimes as a signal for the students. They are pleasant sounding and when the kids hear them they know to stop and listen.  It's such a nice alternative to me raising my voice to get their attention.

I could go on and on about this chapter!  It has so many significant ideas and procedures that help the Daily Five run successfully in the classroom.  I'll leave you with a quote that really hit me as I reread the book: "Richard Allington stated that the most current research indicates than an independent-level or good-fit book for children is one they can read with 99% accuracy."

Monday, June 25, 2012

Framing it up

I'm loving all the cool frame projects that I've found on Pinterest!  I have three to show you today.  Here are the inspiration photos I started with:

dry erase marker on dollar store frames.

Pinterest-source unknown

Keep Calm and Teach On
And here is what I made!  I was inspired by the many cute banners out there for the third project!

Edit: I've had people ask about where I got this frame!  Hobby Lobby with a coupon:)

It's so awesome to have time in the summer to craft:)  I'm linking up with 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Daily Five Book Study, Chapter Two

I love a good book study!!  Thanks for everyone's thoughts on Chapter One.  While I was reading Chapter Two I thought about these guiding questions from Mel at Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations.  I love the quote from Thoreau at the beginning of the chapter, "It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants.  The question is: What are we busy about?"  I want my students to be busy with meaningful activities and not "busy work."  I have found that the Daily Five does just that.  Even when I need time to work alone with a student outside of Daily Five time, I can pick a Daily Five and ask the students to do it for 10-15 minutes.  The kids know exactly what to do and are engaged much more meaningfully than by me throwing a worksheet at them!
1 .What goals do you have for your classroom as you work to implement the principles and foundations of the Daily 5 discussed in chapter 2? What support do you need to do this?
Creating a sense of community and trust are two aspects that I work on all year.  We start as a class brainstorming our Hopes and Dreams (The Responsive Classroom) for the new school year and use them as touch points to guide us through the year.  We are respectful and caring of others in the classroom.  From this foundation we work toward choice, stamina and a sense of urgency.  I would like to strengthen my use of a sense of urgency in my class next year.  
The support I need is administrators and reading specialists who understand my goal and are supportive in how I want to achieve it.  I am lucky to have that right now.  I also need the support of coworkers and online groups like this to grow, learn and change.
2. What stands out as the most significant aspects of this chapter? 
Using the beginning of the year to build a strong foundation that we all can rely on throughout the year.  Giving kids the respect and responsibility to make choices about their learning. 3. How do the foundational principles of the Daily 5 structure (trust, choice, community, sense of urgency, and stamina), align with your beliefs that support your teaching strategies and the decisions that you make about student learning?
I believe that a strong sense of community is the foundation for all other classroom learning.  Respect, trust and caring are essential if a child is to feel safe enough to learn, experiment and grow!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Loving Pinterest!

I am having so much fun with my Pinterest projects this summer!  My first project's inspiration came from Garnet Hill's polka dot trashcans.  Mine is definitely not as fab as theirs, but it was a DIY that I'm proud of.  We had an old can that had been used to hold dog food. I hosed it out and let it dry.  Then I went and got spray paint!  I've only used it once before and never on metal.  I spread out my old sheet and got to work.  I found that it was easy.  I'm so pleased that I'll be doing more spray paint projects this summer.  My garbage can redo is below.  The color is a pale, lime green.  The picture definitely doesn't do justice to the color!!  What am I going to use it for?  Perhaps storage.  Perhaps for a trashcan instead of the ugly plastic one in my room now.  Can you think of any ideas?

I'll be back with more completed projects this summer.  I'm doing a whole classroom decor redo for next year, so I'll be busy! I'd love to see any projects that you make, too!