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.



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

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...
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.

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.
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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


 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!) :)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Saturday Snapshots

Linking up with Ms. Nelson to show you my fur babies!

I have two kitties. Georgia was my first baby...

And then came Dakota...

Dakota is MUCH more photogenic than Georgia.

I think this one looks like a posed school photo. Makes me laugh.

Georgia is kind of a serious grumpy grump grump. Like me. Which is why I like her. But every so often she gets caught being silly, like here with the bubble wrap. Still, her face is like "you didn't see nothin."

Both ladies love this window looking out into the back yard.

That bird feeder might have something to do with it...

 Waiting patiently.


 And so now you know the truth. I am a crazy cat lady.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Haps, part 2

Since I posted about my non-school activities in May, and because I've been up to 5 million different things since school ended, AND mostly because I just did a huge photo dump from my phone, here for your reading enjoyment is "The Haps, part 2."

This is actually before school was over but goes along with the original theme of my "haps" in that it's about a SUPER COOL concert I went to with my brother and his wife. To impress on you exactly how cool this concert was let me tell you that it was on a Wednesday, as in a SCHOOLNIGHT, and I took the following day off. I don't have to tell you how precious personal days are. If you are a teacher, you understand. And if you are like me, you only get 2 a year. So yeah. It was cool.

Anyway... We went to see one of my absolute favorites, Manchester Orchestra. I'm not sure how many teachers are rockers like me but it was an amazing show!

Randy, Shannon, and Me.

At the Bastille concert I was OVERLY aware of how old I am. Manchester Orchestra was much less on the teeny-bopper side. Also there were *GASP* men there! Aside from my brother, I only saw one "man" at the Bastille concert and he didn't count because I'm pretty sure he was 12 and he was definitely wearing a Lana Del Ray shirt. Yeah.... not exactly my ideal dating candidate.


About a week after school was out, a local winery had a "free tasting for teachers day." Hells yes. All humidity aside, living in Virginia has its perks. I swear there has to be at least one winery for every 10 square miles. Yessssssssssss.

I used this winery visit to corrupt the Meekster into playing hooky from a class she was taking and come drink wine with me!

Wine + Bread + Cheese = Lunch

Another former teammate jumped at the opportunity to drink on a Wednesday afternoon. Miss working with these ladies so much!

Meekster had to "leave early" and in the process, stuck this wino stick figure onto Erin's new mini-van. I walked with her to her car and she didn't realize it was her van. "No, no. Mine doesn't have a stick--waaaaaaiiiiiittttt a minute...." 

Then it was off to Indiana for a family wedding. My YOUNGER cousin. Yep. Not bitter at all. The whole family stayed in this adorable bed and breakfast. I didn't take pictures inside but it was full of charm and character.

One of our day trips was to Indiana Dunes, on Lake Michigan. Doesn't look like a lake does it?

While the fam trekked out to the light house G-ma and I caught some rays. She forgot her sunglasses so she is stylin mine :)

Wedding time! This is my nephew Connor in his "tux" as he calls it. I couldn't get Chris to stand still for a photo.

Granddaddy fixing Chris' shirt and tie.

Chris was OUT by 7:30 so he slept on a total of 4 different laps. Connor took his turn while mom and dad were dancing.

And a little later Grandma took her turn. She said "he drooled on my dress..."

And the great part is that we will do it all over again in two weeks when my other cousin (also younger than me) get's married in Chicago. Chris is in the wedding. Hope he stays awake long enough to walk the ring down the aisle!

So as a re-cap:

  • I rocked out to Manchester Orchestra
  • Drank free wine with my teammies
  • I am officially the ONLY SINGLE cousin on BOTH SIDES of my ENTIRE family. Awesome.
Ahh... As always,