Saturday, August 18, 2012

2012-2013, Here We Come!

I am heading back to school this Monday for the teachers' week back. As I stated in my last post, I have not and do not plan on purchasing a lot of new materials for my room this year. I am going to make a few things (one of which includes a neat Boggle bulletin board) and change up my set up a bit, but other than that not much room decorating going on this leas that's the plan for now! My real focus during the next week is going to be planning the first week back and making some changes to the way my classroom will be run.

I am tired of giving my students a bunch of busy work on the first day/during the first week. I know this time should be spent teaching routines and such, but I know there has to be a more enjoyable and productive way. I want to hook them in the first week! I have a found a few ideas, but I am looking for more and I am sure that other teachers out there are, too! So...let's share! 

Here are some things I found that I may want to try during the first week:

This site is GREAT! There are tons of activities that you can use to help build team spirit in your classroom. What better way to start off the year than to challenge kids to work together and get to know one another in a positive way. I really like the idea of our classroom becoming a family, and I think activities like these are the ticket! 

2. R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Last year, our school implemented a school-wide "respect project." I would not describe our school as one with a great deal of behavior challenges, but there is always room for improvement, right? We felt that by encouraging our kids to be more respectful, we were setting them up for life-long success. I think talking about respect and creating an anchor chart like this one will help set the tone for the year. Some of the ideas we covered as a school last year came from The Essential 55 by Ron Clark. These are basically behaviors that should be expected of all students. We did not do all 55, but selected 10 that we felt were the most important. I found a shortened version of these expectations here

3. Find out THEIR expectations
I like the ideas I found on Mrs. Robinson's Classroom Blog, specifically her activity that asked students to think about their ides to help their classroom run smoothly. I love the charts she created with her students in this team activity. 

That's all I have so far. Please let us all know what you are doing for the first week back by linking your blog below, or just leave a comment! The more ideas the better! 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Summer in a Nutshell

Wow! This has been a busy summer for yours truly. I am officially on my last week of freedom summer vacation. I cannot believe how fast it always goes. I am happy to say that I did make a dent in My Summer Bucket List, though. Here is one of the crocheted creations I made (for my husband):
It's a Narwhal!
My husband is quite the collector of random things.
Mr. Narwhal got a prime spot, though!
I didn't do as much reading as I wanted to, but I did read a few books. My students,on the other hand, did a great job with the online book club. Or course I did not get 100% participation, but the fact that a good handful frequently posted and kept me up-to-date on their reading is more than I could have asked for. Hopefully if I hype it up more at the end of this school year it will be even more successful! 

My husband and I took a fun trip to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. I simply LOVE that zoo. We had a blast! And...I found some friends to create a book display for one of my favorite books from last year, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (the author we skyped with!).
It's Ivan and Ruby!

I tried a lot of new recipes, but here are some favorites that will work their way into the school year, too:
Southwestern Stuffed Chicken
Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
 Both were SUPER easy and pretty healthy. Bonus: My husband liked them! That is not an easy thing to accomplish!

I spent a lot of time with friends, and am actually having one last "hurrah" before going back to school. What are we doing, you ask? We're having a Pinterest dinner party! Each of us is bringing a dish we found on our beloved Pinterest. I encouraged the girls to bring things that they wanted to try, but knew hubbies might not like. Mine is Mac and Cheese with Roasted Chicken, Goat Cheese, and Rosemary. I cannot wait!

Now that summer has come to an end, I promise you will see more of me. I had a hard time thinking of what to blog about when I didn't do anything teacher related. Speaking of which, what are some things you would like to see more posts about? Knowing what you like reading will help me make my blog more of a valuable resource to you, my readers.

By the way...I have officially been a blogger for one year! Woo-hoo!!! Bring on the 2012-2013 school year!

Stay tuned for a post about first week of school ideas!