Thursday, July 25, 2013

Best From the Midwest Blog Hop!

Last week a group of educators got together to talk blogging!  These educators were from Minnesota and our neighbor to the east, Wisconsin.  I was unable to attend, but I am excited to be a part of the blog hop!

A great part of this blog hop is all of the freebies!  Each stop will give you the chance to pick up a new item!

My give away is ideas for using the site : Wonderopolis!  It includes lesson plans and 2 forms for accompanying lesson ideas.  If you have any feedback I would love to hear it!  Click the graphic to access:

For my freebie I am giving away a document I created to help plan along with your special education teachers for the students you share.  I am going to use this template when meeting with my teams this year to better plan for and support my students.

To access visit this link: Peek at the Week

Your next stop on the hop is to:  Carolyn@ Wise Owl Factory .  She is giving away a Bossy R Word Sort Activity!

Each of the blogs are also offering up a product from their TPT store to one winner,  it is not just one product, but one of their best sellers!  To enter use the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here are what others are offering:

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Optimum Organization

Sponsored by Kristin and Elizabeth

This week I have spent a lot of time thinking about how to organize my books.  I love books and I am constantly looking for more to add to my classroom collection. I want my books to be organized and easy to access.  Right now they are organized by Lexile.  My students don't always look for books by Lexile, but it lets me easily recommend books.  The books are color coded to Lexile bands, so I can say hey you should pick out a white dot book.  This helps the kids not pick things to hard or to easy.  This year I am moving classrooms, so it has given me an excuse to see if there are better ways to organize it.

Here are is a before picutre:
I have two bookshelves this sizes filled with books, another bookshelf with nonfiction reads, and a bookshelf where I keep brand new books and books that I have purchased specially.  I am thinking this year of breaking things down into genres and series.  How do you keep yours?

This site has awesome ideas: 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tunes Tuesday 7/16

Today I worked on taking a song that I thought many of my students would enjoy from the movie Tangled. It is the song "When Will My Life Begin".

I took the lyrics and created a worksheet to go along with the song that would be good for review of nouns and verbs, along with tense.   I also included rhyming , vocabulary, and editing.

My worksheet can be found at this link: When Will My Life Begin

If this sort of activity interests you, hop on over to Nick's Blog...  Sweet Rhyme and Pure Reason

T-Shirt Tuesday

I am always on the look out for fun t-shirts to wear on Casual Fridays.  I love ones that are academic, teacher-y, or related to books.  I thought it would be fun today to share some ideas, if anyone else was looking for things.

Here are some fun designs from Lesson Plan Diva

I love these from Threadless

These come from Booklover Tshirts

The following are from Etsy Shops.  The picture links to their page...

If you have any favorite shirts or sites please share!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Goal 4. Revisit an Idea

I am slowly catching up on my #30goals for this school year.  Goal number 4 involves revisiting an idea.

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” - Henry Ford

I think the idea I need to revisit most in my classroom is student goal folders.  I did invididual goal folders with a few of my students and saw their engagement, but thought it was too much at the time for all students.  I kept data on goals, especially in relation to their IEPs, but did not involve them directly enough.

This year I my goal is to make goal folders for each student in relation to their IEP goals and allow them to monitor progress as we graph together achievment towards goals. I will also be having paraprofessionals in the classroom and teachers give feedback on goals via Google Forms so it can be timely and meaningful.

I think having my students familiar with their IEP goals and comfortable with graphing their progress well help to engage students and to motivate them to have high expectations for themselves.

I am hoping with the time I have this summer to really get the goal folders and Google forms ready to go from the beginning of the year.

Optimum Organization and Made it Monday 7/15

This past week I have been working hard to clean up my files on my computer.  I seem to have things all over the place.  I have been downloading like crazy, but not careful with saving things to the right place.  On my Mac things automatically go to the download folder, so my download folder was bursting with all of the great content and resources I have downloaded from fellow teachers while I have been on modified bed rest.  I spent time to organize things into elementary and middle school items.  I teach 5-6th grade and my students range in ability.  I also organized subjects by color.

This is how I have things set up for now:

I also work on organizing my Dropbox account.  I love Dropbox because it allows me to access things on all my devices.  I often leave my school lap top at school, but it is not a problem since I save things I will want to use to my Dropbox account.  If you do not have a Dropbox account I suggest you sign up for one.  Dropbox also allows me to share files or folders with others.  I find lots of free resources so I share a folder with my team that has these resources in it. You can also see I use it to help with my coaching.  The marching band staff shares Dropbox folders and we can all add resources to it.

The third thing I did while organizing was to organize my Google Drive.  I love how easy it is now to save things here.  We are a Google Apps school district, so I can easily access and share folders and documents with my coworkers in a secure and safe fashion.  I love that I will be able to increase my storage in Google Drive once I register my Chromebooks!

Since I am still stuck at home for the most part it has been hard to get to creative with Monday Made It. I did though work hard on my classroom blog. I am hoping to use this space with students and to communicate with parents.  I learned this weekend how to make and import my own header.  I made a header for back to school:
You can see all I have up on my blog so far at: Room 103

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Liebster Award

I was nominated this week for the Liebster Award, by three different bloggers.  I am going to link back to their blogs and answer their questions in this post. I am supposed to nominate more bloggers, but at this moment time is limited so I am going to just link to those who nominated me to show my appreciation :-).

This first was from Jamie at Sixth Grade Tales

Questions for my nominees:

1.  What is your best advice for starting a new school year?  be flexible. Be ready for start the year, but realize changes happen and to be reading to accept them.
2.  What is your favorite book for professional development and why?My 2 favorites are Teach Like a Pirate, which is inspiring and motivating.  It is a great read to get back to why many of us become teachers.  My second is Book Love  this is an amazing read about fostering a love for reading in all children.
3.  How do you deal with giving homework? Is it the same each week? I do not believe in giving tons of homework or homework that cannot be done at the independent level. My students each week are asked to read and review their spelling words.  I may give some math, but not more than can be completed during study hall.
4.  If you weren't a teacher, what profession would you be in?  I have always wanted to be a teacher so this is hard. I think it would be something in the technology field.
5.  What is your favorite thing to cook?  I am not much of a cook.  I can cook, but don't enjoy it.  
6.  Outside of teaching, what do you like to do for fun?  run, swim, bike, craft, scrap book, blog, play sand volleyball, travel, shop, read
7. What is your favorite place to shop? Target
8.  What is your favorite educational website?
9.  What kind of music do you like to listen to? a bit of everything, mainly pop or alternative
10.  What is your favorite television show? So You Think You Can Dance, Downton Abby
11. What book do you love reading with your students the most? Wonder or One and Only Ivan

The second person was Heather at A Special Kind of Place

  1. What is your favorite childhood memory? Probably the vacations my family took.  We always seemed to have an adventure
  2. If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be? I would love to have dinner with my dad and talk about my job as a teacher with him. I think he would have loved to hear the stories of my students
  3. What would you do if you won the lottery?  If it was enough we would move closer to our families
  4. What is your favorite movie? I am not much of a movie watcher, I will watch them but I don't think I have a favorite
  5. Who inspires you to do what you do?  my PLN in person and on Twitter, along with my amazing students
  6. How many different jobs have you had in your life?  Professionally 2 both teaching, total 7 or so
  7. If you could be a flavor of pie, what would you be? Peanut butter!
  8. How many countries have you visited? 1
  9. What is your best advice to a new teacher?  be flexible
  10. If you could live in any time era other than now, what would it be?  I love this era, but it would be fun to live in the early 1900's I think as well
  11. What is the best thing about teaching? Touching the future, inspiring students to be their best

Polka Dot Kinders
Last but not least Sara from Polka Dot Kinders
1.  How long have you been teaching and what do you teach? This is my 11th year I have taught elementary special Ed, but now teach middle school.  I love it!
 2.  What is your favorite thing about teaching? I love seeing kids make growth and take charge of their learning
 3.  What is your favorite dessert? anything with chocolate and peanutbutter!
 4.  What technology do you use in your classroom? I love technology.  In my room we use a Smarthboard, iPads, Chromebooks, and a desktop computer
 5.  How long have you been blogging? I have blogged for different topics since I was in high school.  I have had this blog a year.
 6.  Do you have a classroom theme?  What is it?  Not sure yet, I am thinking stars
 7.  What is the last good non-kids book you read? Our Fault in the Stars
 8.  What is your favorite children's book?  Why?Wonder, it is amazing! I love the lessons it teaches
 9.  What is your must-have school supply?  Why? I must have Sharpie pens!  They write wonderfully!
10.  If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?  right now I would love to travel to Ohio and see my family
11.  Where is your favorite place to shop? Target

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

New Room Updates

First things first I am in a contest to win free Idea Paint for my classroom.  This is amazing paint that turns any surface into a white board!  I can't wait to tackle my table and a few other spaces in my room.  I am guessing the kids will flip when I tell them they can write on the walls or furniture!  To win I need Facebook likes. If you would please:

Click below to vote! and if you don't mind sharing I would really appreciate it!  If you are willing to share on your Facebook Page or Blog please let me know.  I might have to make a better graphic up :-) and I can get you the link.  Thanks!

Click Here to Vote 

animated thank you photo: Animated Flower Pot thank you AnimatedFlowerPotthankyou.gif

I went into school to see how things were coming along in my new room and I was amazed! When I left for the summer there was a big black tube/door that led to an old photo developing room.  It was hard to be in my room and not look at it.  At first there were concerns about getting rid of it since a new school code door would have to be purchased and those are pricey.  We also were not sure of the damage the installation had caused to the floors and walls.  Today though I walked it and it was gone!  Along with being gone all of the equipment previously in it was gone!  The floor for the most part was perfect as well where it once had a metal ring on it supporting the door.  A small welcome mat time rug will cover and imperfections.  The custodians also were prepping the floor in my room for stripping and waxing.  The floor already looked a million times better as well.  I have amazing custodians in my building!  I really need to think of a gift for them at the start of the year. I know they will probably never read this, but a HUGE thank you to Terry, Jay, and Rueben!

Care to take a look at more before pictures of my room?  Keep on reading :-)

A ton of my supplies on the wall on the hallway side.  You can see all of my drawers and cabinets!  At the end of the counter is a sink.  This is the only bulletin board in the room currently.

 Here is more of my classroom supplies.  We had many people moving in the building so we had some interesting boxes to pack in.  You can see my beautiful pink containers from the Container Store.  I am hoping to paint this wall.  My awesome head custodian took down a bunch of brackets from old screens and patched all the holes in the wall.   YAH!  I am so happy my cabinets are gray so it goes with anything :-).  Many rooms in my building have 70's colored cabinets and closets.
The end of my cabinet going into the hallway.  All of my furniture and a bit more of my teaching materials are in the hallway.  Looking forward to moving my bookshelves into the new space.

This is the door and the only wall without permanent furniture on it currently.  I will probably put 2 book shelves here.  I love all of the outlets!  I might have to put a lamp here as well.

Lonely pencil sharpener on the wall.  I will probably take this down since I don't like this style.

Door number 2 in my room that leads out to the district copy center.  I am super close for copies!  I am excited because our copy center para will make a great neighbor :-)  You can see the phone as well.  I am not sure if I am going to leave it there or get a longer cord so I can move my desk elsewhere in the room.

 This is the front wall.  The whiteboard needs some attention, it should clean right up.  The blue at the top was a previous paint application that at one point for some reason was covered up with boards.  We took the boards down so my Smartboard could easily go up and not be in danger of coming down off the wall.  I can't wait for my Smartboard to be installed, I am glad it got to move with me.

 More of my whiteboard and showing where the Smartboard will be.
 Here you can see the chalkboard in the room.  I am going to use chalk markers on it to make it look like all of the retro chalk decorations going around.  I love that I have the real deal. I am hoping they don't install my Smartboard controls over it. I am not quite sure where they are going to be able to put these.
 On this wall you can see door number 3 that goes out to a garage area.  It will be nice during a fire drill since we are the only class going out this door and the garage.  I can also pull my car in if needed and unload easily into my clssroom! :-)  The open door in this picture used to be enclosed.  Now you can't even tell.  It is an awesome space through there.  You can also see my glass cabinet.  I will love fixing things up for that.  Currently it is just holding junk, but that will not be staying there.

 I have a closet in the main room as well.  On the inside are shelves and a nice place to hang coats in the winter.  I share my room with a few other adults so it will be nice to have tons of room in the closet.  I need to paint this wall for sure since you can see where a bookshelf used to be.
 Here is the "secret room" I have taught in this building for years and did not know this room had an addition.  This used to be the storage room before we needed the space so I have not been in the room much.  You can see the wall of closets in here!  It is about 2 big closets wide.  It does not have much light, but they did replace the bulbs in the regular fixtures.  Being a dark room it has red lights as well, which used to be the only ones that worked.  I am excited to have this room!
 This is another look inside this room, showing the space for a table or desk. I might put my 2 bookshelves back here as well.  I do not want to lose them in case I get moved again in the future :-).  I will not really need them with all of this space.  You can see the counters at the end.
 This is another picture of the additional room, which I should come up with a name for, you can how long the room is and the cabinets at the other end.
 The last picture is the 4th wall with upper and lower cabinets.   It has a sink, but we won't be using it at all. The ceiling panel that is damaged will be replaced.
 Here is a picture of the addition looking out the door to the room.  Again the ceiling tiles will be replaced.
I can't wait to be feeling well enough to tackle this.  I might have to a weekend party with friends to get everything done.  I am not sure when I will feel up to painting things on my own.