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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Flamingo Fabulous gets "Moler'd"

My last name is Moler. My family has notoriously bad luck. Thankfully not when it comes to important things like health. Bad luck seems to strike us in very creative ways that other people usually have a good laugh about. When this happens we say that we have been "Moler'd." We laugh about it too but not until the sting has worn off.

My 10 year old nephew LOVES saying "you got Moler'd!!!"

He also likes to blame things on getting Moler'd when really it was just that he wasn't listening or following directions. We are working on sorting out the difference.

Yesterday I got Moler'd. Big time.

I walked out to my detached garage to start working on a spray painting project when I noticed something very strange...



Wait-- Is that....?


EGGS!!!!

At first I thought they must have fallen from a nest somewhere on the garage, but then I looked around...










Egglands Best?!? Those are expensive eggs! I'm almost flattered. Almost.

After I took my crime scene photos I got to hose all this mess down. I counted at least 7 eggs. Maybe more. While I was cleaning up, I heard the mom from next door (on the other side of the eggy fence) yelling at her kid.

GO TO YOUR ROOM AND I WANT ALL THE MONSTER HIGH DOLLS AND ACCESSORIES PUT AWAY NOW!!!!!

This was followed by the sounds of her sweeping off her deck and using the hose.... I think it's safe to say the case is closed.

So there you have it.

Moler'd

Monday, August 4, 2014

Summer Blues

Lately I have been overwhelmed by, just about everything in my virtual world.

My pinterest feed--overrun with product pins.
My facebook feed--when did my friends and family disappear?
And don't forget those 3,952 unread posts in my Bloglovin feed.

Just overwhelming I tell you.

Everytime I sit down to sort it all out, I get exhausted.

And that wasn't always the case. It used to be that I would loose track of time reading blogs. Hours would melt away like seconds because I was so engrossed in what I was reading. The only way I was aware of the passing of time was that all of a sudden, I wouldn't be able to see the keyboard on my laptop because the sun had gone down and I had never turned on the room light!

But lately, it seems like all I'm reading are... advertisements.

I know there are people out there who are making BANK selling on TPT. There are people who are even full-time TPTers, as in, no longer teaching. Not sure how I feel about that since this teacher (aka ME) is technically not paying another teacher for their products... Call me silly, but if you are no longer instructing children, you are no longer a teacher. Right? Now you are in the sales business. And your product placement blog posts are now akin to a telemarketer call in the middle of dinner.

Yada yada yada, whatever. I'm not boycotting these people who have been gifted with the work ethic and business sense that I clearly have not, but it troubles me. That is all.

I've even heard some people say that all they do now is Facebook. "Why bother with a blog?" were the actual words from the person's mouth. Well, I'm assuming the words came out of their mouth while typing... When I read blogs, I'm looking for ideas, new perspectives, humbling classroom experiences, the good, bad, and ugly included. Because if you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you'll notice I'm a little short on ideas as of late. That's why I need you people!

So I've been thinking and I've decided to go on a bit of a Blogger/TPT/Facebook diet. The deciding factor was when I finally put two and two together and realized that one of my absolute FAVORITE bloggers (who shall remain nameless) hasn't blogged even ONCE this summer about something not related to a product in their store. Not once. And this person posts every. single. day. I'm not against promoting one's products. I've done it before and I'm sure I'll do it again. But every post? And not even giving me something worth reading. Just "here's a product I created go buy it so I can become the next Deanna Jump."

Long story short (too late) I decided to unfollow about 75% of the blogs I follow. And many of those on the cut list were BIG NAME PEOPLE. Do I think unfollowing will make a difference in what they post? No. That's not my goal. I doubt any of those people will miss me anyway.

What is this all about?
INTEGRITY

I decided that I will no longer follow someone just for an entry to a giveaway unless I actually think I will enjoy reading their posts. Integrity. I know the main reason people participate in giveaways is to get their name out there and to reach an audience they may not have otherwise. And that's fine. But do they really want the followers number to rise but not have followers who actually read what they have to say?

I've decided I'm not going to share something on Facebook or "Like" it unless I actually do want to share it with others and genuinely LIKE it. Seems simple enough. Integrity.


The bottom line is that I've decided it's time to start blogging, selling, buying, and reading/following blogs with INTEGRITY. It's time at least for me. I don't know about anyone else... I'm realistic about my sales goals for TPT. Really, my goal is to come out even. I use my earnings on TPT to buy products from other sellers. I am not going to be a millionaire teacher.

And I'm OK with that. I'd be plenty happy with having something mildly interesting to say from time to time and having a handful of people who are semi-interested in what I have to say. Even if I only have something interesting to say once a month. Integrity.

Here's hoping my followers number doesn't do a stock market dive after I hit the "publish" button...

Friday, July 11, 2014

Five for Friday



Time for a little Friday re-cap...

On Sunday I went to see THE LION KING at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. with my mom. My parents have box season tickets and I get to fill-in when my dad is unable to go or out of town. It was AH-MAZE-ING. Like unreal. I cried during the opening number of "Circle of Life." Seriously. This movie was my EVERYTHING when I was 8 years old.

GO. SEE. IT.

NOW.




The Meekster was in town on Tuesday for professional development so we met at a little place called...
CUPCAKE HEAVEN.

The "Southern Red Velvet" with cream cheese icing is my favorite. They also have 4 rotating flavors that change each week. My favorite is "Maple Bacon." Imagine a sweet pancake-like cake, maple icing, and topped with real bacon crumbles and maple syrup drizzle. YES PLEASE.


I attended a P.D. session on Wednesday on our new literacy series (Benchmark Literacy). Because I had done some pre-reading I was the star student. But not that one that won't shut up. You know, they person who must be thinking, "Yeah, there's 50 people taking this class but it's OK if I monopolize the discussion because I am a KNOW-IT-ALL who gains some sort of self-importance from hearing myself talk while 49 people give me the stink eye." There may or may not have been someone like that at my session.



I had my first back to school nightmare on Wednesday night. NOT COOL. School doesn't start until September! I'm fairly certain it had to do with the fact that I had a meeting to sit-down with/meet my new principal. Turns out the nightmare was unwarranted though. He was amazing. I instantly felt at ease and have a really good feeling about the next year. I hope first impressions aren't his only special talent!



And this happened...


I posted it at the bottom of my last post about my new room but I'm pretty sure no one read to the bottom because I was a big whiner-pants. Not cool, self. Not cool.

And what are my Friday plans?

FINALLY getting my haircut. I am three weeks over-due because my hair stylist got married or something like that. Geesh people. Priorities.

I'm planning a little make-over that involves some fun COLORS.

Just in time for my (younger) cousin's wedding photos. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Small Room Solutions...

When I moved to my new school I moved into a smaller room but with a much larger closet. It wasn't too big of an adjustment but it always just felt "tight."

Next year, I will be moving into an even smaller room. Like, WAY smaller. With a teeny tiny closet. I know I will have to do a lot of problem solving to figure out how I can get all the things I want into this little room.

Bye bye old room :(

Before school ended, I took a few pictures of what will soon be my new room. The previous teacher's things are still in the room in these photos. I thought I took a from-the-door shot so you could get an idea of the general size but apparently that was too depressing I forgot.

So my plan here is to compare areas of my old and new rooms and hopefully in the process, work out what I will need to consider as I make plans about furniture placement, storage, etc. Where to start? How about storage...
STORAGE
The old room had one small built-in bookcase. Kinda stupid actually. Really annoying that I couldn't move it somewhere else, shelves not adjustable, and too small.

The new room has one built-in shelf as well. It is much bigger though and I like that it is tucked away behind the closet door. But look at all those text books! I loathe text books. I'm thinking of using this shelf to house all my guided reading materials and then putting a small round table here for reading groups. A horse-shoe or kidney table is out of the question. Just too big.


Let's move on to cubbies. In my old room I had 27 cubbies. But 4 of them were hidden behind the door and another 3 were too close to the floor. What was great about these cubbies was all that wonderful built-in shelving above! That's where I stored all my read-aloud books separated by theme, text books, binders, etc.

Here you can kinda see the 3 cubbies that were too low for my taste. It wasn't really a problem since my book baskets fit 2 to a cubby just fine.

Here is the cubby situation in the new room. Notice anything missing? How about all those beautiful shelves!? And in their place, I will get a bulletin board that is impossible to reach. Gee thanks. Who designs these rooms anyway? On the plus side, I'll have 30 cubbies, all usable. Which is good because I'm thinking of putting textbooks in the cubbies with the book baskets. I'd like this bulletin board to be a place to display student work but it's not easy to get to. So it will have to be something I won't need to change very often.

Here's some more storage comparisons....
Old room...

New room...
Now, it may look like more at first glance. But don't forget that I'm loosing all the space above the cubbies as well. See how the shelving in this picture is divided into 4 sections? In my old room I had 8 sections just like these. So my shelving is cut in half. I guess a little less than half if you take the taller bookcase into account. Which I don't.

STUDENT COMPUTERS
OK. Let's move on to technology. In my old room, I had this nice little computer nook. Every classroom in the building has a built-in desk like this. In fact, every elementary classroom I've seen in the COUNTY has a built-in desk like this.



...Except mine (and the 4 other rooms in the new addition to the building). The teacher who was using this room decided that this was the best solution. She didn't have room for another table and there was no designated area with extra plugs or seating, so she keeps her laptops on top of her classroom library shelves.

This. would. drive. me. nuts.
Bonkers.
Chairs blocking the books, feet in my book baskets.

Oh, the HORROR.

No offense to this lovely teacher who will be one of my new teammates. This worked for her, and I won't really understand what sacrifices I will have to make until I get into my room in late August. Who knows, maybe I will have to keep the laptops on the windowsill....
I'm pretty sure that's a fire hazard though.


TEACHER DESK AREA

I love my teacher area. Not too big, not too small, Desk not too crowded with wires and computer parts. All the cables and cords reach. The shortness of cables always seems to be a problem for me.

Here is my new teammate after a long day of administering state tests. Humoring me while I wallow in self-room pity. I'm such a brat. Anyway, her computer is on a small rolling cart (which I kinda like) and the desk is set up in an L shape with the cart.

I've already decided that I do not want a teacher desk next year. The rolling cart, one of my daddy's bookcases, and my little filing cabinet should be enough for me.

SMALL GROUP AREA

Here is the area I used for small reading groups and math groups last year. Pretty straight forward.

The current teacher in my new room uses this small rectangular table with bucket seats in one corner of the room. I'm thinking this might be where I put the computers next year and the small group area will be near the tall bookcase.

CLASSROOM LIBRARY

Love my old library. Since my daddy made these shelves they will definitely be moving to the new room. I have 4 of these shelves. One is back by my teacher desk.

Since I already showed you where this teacher had her library (underneath the laptops) then I will show you the area in the room where I think the library will be. I generally like the library to be at the front of the classroom and spread out in a line like above rather than in a "nook" shape. The reason being it gets crowded really fast. This way kids aren't pushing and shoving each other to find a book.

Since I've already decided that this is also where I want to put my small group table I may split the library and put some shelves on the other side of the promethean board.

...but then that will get crammed into the computer space. Ugh. I just don't know yet.

CLOSET SPACE

Old room...
Apparently I didn't take a picture of my closet for my room reveal. This was taken before I moved in. Look at all that glorious, glorious, space!

New room...
Poof! Magical shrinking closet trick.


I get one shelf now. The janitor is going to see if he can find an extra shelf somewhere in the building to put on the opposite side. But it may not fit. There has to be so much space between the shelving and the electrical box blah blah blah.

STUDENT SEATING



 There really wasn't a good way to get a shot of her seating arrangement. The room is so narrow it is difficult to photograph large areas. I'm definitely planning on switching to tables and getting rid of those desks.



So that's what I will be working with for the 2014-2015 school year. I would love to be visited by some magical "room fairy who could attack all these challenges for me and help me make my room beautiful.

Any pointers from fellow small room teachers? My extensive research on this issue (searching "small classroom solutions" on Pinterest) just turns up SMALL rooms. Like private schools and resource teachers who have small rooms because they have a small number of students. So that's not very helpful. I still need to find a way to accommodate 25-30 kiddos here.

There has to be some reality TV show about this right? A contest I can enter? Anything?

This brat is signing off. But before I go, let me leave you with these lovely images of Georgia snapped today (I couldn't choose just one!) :)



And since I have hardly even begun tacking my new room challenge I'm linking up with Just a Primary Girl in the hopes of getting some ideas to help me with this space!