Saturday, September 14, 2013

So I have never been the teacher that is in love with their class on day one. The first few weeks of school I am mostly just trying to remember why I picked this profession and filling my shopping cart with large bottles of wine. You know, the ones that are so big they have to add a handle to the bottle? Yep. So I generally don't do much blogging and/or blog reading during the month of September because I don't really want to read everyone else's stories of sunshine and butterflies and mostly because I don't want to complain. And lets face it-- listening to me complain would be a big downer. Because I know that by mid October the kinks will be worked out, the kids will be settled into the routine, and I can finally start enjoying my job. I have a rough road ahead of me this year, but I can already start to see the light at the end of the tunnel that is paperwork and kids who are not used to spending a full day at school.

So I'm not going to say much about my class for a while. But I will reflect on the whole moving to a new school thing.

I know I'm not the only one to move schools. I've seen it mentioned on many blogs I read. But either those people are having an easier time with it or there is some unspoken blogging rule about not complaining about things like that because I haven't seen much written about other people's transitions to new buildings. Well we all know I am a reckless rule-breaker so lets get on with it:

  1. I feel like a brand. spanking. new. teacher. again. I completely underestimated how unsettling making this change would be. Maybe its because I've only been at one other school so I've never had to consider that there are different ways of doing things but wow am I out of sorts here.
  2. I knew leaving my team would be hard, but I didn't adequately prepare myself. My new team is lovely. Very nice supportive ladies. They answer all my questions and don't patronize me because I'm new. I already feel valued as I am the go-to girl for all things Promethean. BUT... They aren't my ladies. We don't have inside jokes, and I don't know their threshold for my inappropriate behavior yet. Mostly I miss the laughter. It takes time to build these kinds of relationships, I know.
  3. School-wide procedures. There are 3,692,301 of them and I am starting all over. "They can bring their water bottles to specials? I have to sign up for detention duty?? Second graders use agendas? Wait, whats the difference between this award and that one? You mean I have to keep track and pass out all their lunch cards and library cards? Who do I email to ask about ..." You get the idea.
  4. Resources. Where are they? How the heck do I teach guided reading without whiteboards, and magnetic letters, and I have to ration my copy paper???? In this respect, I went from one extreme to the other. At my old school, we had so many resources we didn't know what to do with it all. It packed every inch of our rooms. I was happy to be getting away from all that STUFF. But there are things I need and they aren't available :(. I am also used to getting at least $500 to spend on classroom resources (construction paper, books, instructional materials, etc.). The teachers at my new school are happy to get $50.
Sigh. It's a completely different world. And there are things that are way better than before, and things I don't like, and then things I haven't quite made up my mind about yet. Overall, I don't regret making the decision to leave.  I'll be back when I have my feet under me and more positive things to say.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Classroom Reveal 2013

Alright folks. I finally decided I was ready to take pictures of my room today. Of course there are a million more things to be done but you know how that goes I'm sure. As a bonus, I'll give away an item of choice from my TPT store to the person who correctly guesses the number of flamingos in my classroom (hint-not all flamingos shown).

My new "Best Work" signs for the hall display.

This is one of our grade-level bulletin boards. The smaller stars each have a second grade student name on them. They are supposed to look like the stripes of the flag.

My room!

Another view from the doorway

Behind the door

Classroom library featuring the wonderful shelves daddy made me. I decided I need one more bookshelf for another part of the room. Daddy thinks he'll be able to finish it before the kids arrive.

Job poster and part of my cute new ABC line (from Pink Cat Studio)

New curtains and student book bins.

Water bottle storage, as seen here!

New table caddies. I decided to try something new with the markers. They are in an ice cube tray for water bottles. I got the tray at Walmart. I haven't decided if I'm going to put out glue or scissors like last year yet.

Got this PERFECT wind chime on super clearance at Hobby Lobby.

Listening center. Not sure what will go on the pink polka dot board yet. Probably data stuff.

Need headphones?

I spray painted my construction paper sorter to match the room. Those aborable gnomes are from one of The Meek Moose's teacher free piles.

Computer area. I came from a school where we had at least 4-5 student computers. Now I have two. They look lonely.

New word wall. I know it is going to drive some of you nuts that the ABC headers are not all in a straight line. BUT it actually drives me nuts when I see those word walls that are perfectly spaced. It looks great when there are no words on it, yeah. But what happens when you have to try to squeeze the 17th w- word in the same size space as your zero x- words. I spent a long time measuring out the exact amount of space each letter would need.

Reading area. Complete with rolling crate seats, dry erase wall dots (I bought mine on Amazon), and file-tastics from Mardel for storing student data, running records, books, or what-have-you.

This beauty is sitting at the end of my desk. Wondering what's under there???

The world's ugliest filing cabinet. I whipped up the cover on my sewing machine with some left-over fabric.

My super improvers display for WBT.

Adding that little personal touch.

Water bottles close up.

Those little lanterns also were gifted to me by The Meek Moose. I just had to back up to give you the full effect.

I'm sure there is more to show you, and that I am missing tons of things I will discover I need when the little bodies arrive in 132 hours. But those things will just have to wait till I figure out what they are!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dog Tired and Happy

Wondering where I've been? Of course you have. I am FINALLY allowed to work in my classroom so I've been working sun-up to sun-down on my masterpiece. And I have to say, I LOVE how it is turning out. I'm not ready to show it off just yet but here's a little teaser for you just to prove that I have actually been doing something with my self for the past few days...

Now I took this with my phone camera and there was only so much even PicMonkey could do to save it so bear with me. You're looking at my collection of class photos from years past, and let me tell ya-- I was super excited to have this space so I didn't have to spend hours hanging all these and stressing over how they aren't perfectly straight. The door covers on the cabinets are from last year and they aren't a perfect match but I've decided not to worry about it.

That's all for now. Don't worry! The full reveal is coming soon!!! Back to the classroom....

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Back to School Sale!

Just a quick head's up that my ENTIRE store will be on sale starting tomorrow for this weekend only! Check it out HERE.

Crayon Containers and I'm Already In Trouble

My most-viewed post to date is my Classroom Reveal from last summer. And I seriously get at least 3 emails a day asking about items in this picture:

Even though I went back and added in links for all the products, I still get tons of questions about it. Mostly about the GladWare containers I use for the crayon boxes. Maybe that's because they have mysteriously disappeared from all the Target shelves and are nowhere to be found on amazon. Click the picture below to go to Glad's site and see for yourself.

This doesn't make me very GLAD...

Right about now I am kicking myself for allowing my students to take their crayon containers home with them at the end of last year. Soooo I gave up on finding these and started searching for an alternative. Like ALL SUMMER I have been looking for containers that fit my specifications.

Well, the planets must have aligned because I found these at the Dollar Tree! I had all but given up hope on finding anything and had gone into the dumpy Dollar Tree (you know, the one you avoid because they never have anything good) to waste time while waiting to meet up with a friend, and there they were!

They come in red, blue, and green and you get 2 for a dollar. Of course I just wanted the green ones to match everything else in my room but they only had 4 of those. I went to 6 other Dollar Trees looking for green but only one other store had them and they only had red. Not cute. So I went back today and bought the rest of them in blue and one or two in red (the red will be my last resort). If you find green and want to trade let me know.... Seriously. It will kill me if I have to use those red ones :(

They fit a pack of 24 crayons perfectly. 

They are skinnier than the other containers so they will take up less space in the caddies. Another bonus is that they are easier to open and close than the GladWare containers. A soap dish/container might be a good alternative but I couldn't find any that closed as tightly as I wanted.

(anyone else seen that annoying Western Sky commercial????)

In other news, I recently told you about how I have not been allowed to work in my classroom this week. The building was only open for "dropping stuff off." So I "dropped stuff off" for 2-3 hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and earlier today. Well, they finally caught on to me and kicked me out today. I totally would have gotten away with it too if the bookkeeper hadn't been delivering new workbooks to all the classrooms today. Way to make a good first impression...

"Who's the new second grade teacher?"
"Oh, she's that one who thinks the rules don't apply to her."

Whatever. It's better they figure out I am a trouble-maker up front. No use being someone I'm not... Here's what I managed to get done in my stolen time:
 These are my new book baskets. I used permanent vinyl to attach the student numbers. I don't know if I will store two to a cubby, but I kind of like that there isn't any room for extra junk. Plus that frees up more cubbies for me to use...

 I couldn't bring myself to throw away the numbers so I stuck them on the back of the baskets. They aren't perfect since I couldn't use the transfer paper to apply them but I'm happy with it.

 These are my new curtains. I gave my old flamingo curtains to a fellow flamingo-lover at my old school. I loved them, but I needed more and they no longer had the same fabric available.

 I'm using fabric for the first time on my bulletin boards this year. Still needs border.


 More stuff. See some of my cute new crate seats?!

My new bookshelves :) freshly stained. They are the perfect height to fit under the chalk tray and were specifically made for my book baskets. No wasted space!

Come Monday I will be in my room like a MANIAC and there is nothing they can do to stop me. So there.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Pictures can be deceiving...

Except this one:
While most of you are showing off your completed classrooms, I get to show you this. Because I am not "allowed" to start setting up my room until next Monday. The principal did say we could come in this week if we were "just planning on dropping stuff off." So I "dropped stuff off" for three hours today. Hopefully I will be able to "drop stuff off" again tomorrow.

Now the pictures coming up are definitely deceiving... I had a photographer friend of mine take some photos of my nieces and nephews. They look so sweet! (That is the deceiving part).

The first thing they all did was run straight for the cannons. 

Sweet Chris

 This was me trying to be fancy-wancy on Pic Monkey

More Cousins on the cannons action.

 This one is my favorite. I can't decide if I like it better B&W or in color.

 Connor and Chris, brothers.

 Alex and Olivia, sisters

By the time we threw me into the shots, Connor had had enough of all this and wasn't cooperating much.

 Again, my Pic Monkey edits.

The girls wanted individual shots. I thought this one of Alex was great. She is 11 going on 16.