Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The tale of two pencils

I think everyone can agree something happens between elementary and middle school
The two sides are as different as night and day
Some prefer to avoid one or the other at all cost

To visualize this difference I give you two pencils

The first plain
If you saw it on the ground you would walk by and never look back
But do not let this plainness fool you. Behind the subtle wording lies a hot pink eraser not your average dull pink on any No. 2 this one is hot pink! It shouts look at me I'm different! This is middle school. One might think we are plain and lack cuteness, but we make up for it with attitude and  a little spunk! There is a chance that starring at something hot pink will give you a headache well the same can be said about middle schoolers unless you are used to all that brightness. Sure our students might be a little self-absorbed, but once you get to know them you will realize how amazing they truly are.  We can not be avoided even if you are trying to because after all we are a hot pink eraser!

The second adorable
There is not one centimeter on this pencil that is not covered in cuteness. It's bright and colorful everything that an elementary school student is. If pencils could move I'm pretty sure this one would be jumping up and down for no reason at all. This pencil begs to be picked first when solving a math equation and needs to be displayed on top of ones desk. Now all this cuteness can drain a person sure its nice for a couple of hours, but no one can compete with it.

I think it's safe to say we are either an overly cute pencil or one with a bright eraser. A person might change from one to another and if I were to pick one it would have one with a hot pink eraser.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Train like a teacher

Sweet summer time
There is nothing finer

Much to the general public thinking teachers do not get three months off...well at least I do not...Nor do we waste our summer away floating in water. Sure we relax and recharge for the up coming year, but doing nothing is not an option. 

I don't know about you, but I stress out a little if I accomplish nothing over the summer for the upcoming school year. It gets to the point where I am dreaming in my sleep of what I need to do. So what does a teacher do during the off season...they train for the upcoming year. 
 I am yet again teaching three grade levels...mark my words this will be the last year...
Anyways, I managed to complete a full year of vocabulary curriculum tests and all,  created my syllabus brochure style, found articles for students to use for text based writing as well as up load everything to my school website. Could I have done more...sure, but it was summer and the pool looked a little lonely.

 Yesterday started the first teacher day of the season and I am ready to give 110% to my soon to be students! I hope all the preparation will make the upcoming weeks go a little smoother. Now all I need to do is get into my classroom to prepare for open house on Saturday!!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

drip, drip, drip

A couple of weeks ago I volunteered for VBS with my mom which happened to be housed in an elementary school. While the students were singing their songs, which if you listen to them they will get stuck in your head for about a week, my mom and I decided to take a tour of the school to spy on some classroom decor! Half way through our adventure the janitor found us and let us in some locked classrooms as well!  I love peaking into classroom for inspiration. 

One of the classrooms had this magnetic board. With further examination we discovered that it is was a drip pan for oil to put under cars. The teacher drilled the pan into the wall and spray painted the pan lime green. The next day mom and I went out to find a drip pan for our own classroom. We went to Auto Zone and the pans were $13 not too bad and then we went to Wal-Mart and the pan was $9ish dollars...SOLD!
 My mom the art teacher took the more creative approach with her drip pan. She decoupaged the edges with various art pages from books. She started off with black and white pictures at the bottom and then the pictures slowly emerge into color...sort of like when Dorthy was in Kansas and then went to color to all color. She is planning on drilling her pan to the wall and displaying artists and their art work throughout the year. 
With my pan I spray painted it with a teal color. Then took ribbon and added to the pan to create rows and columns. I found black paper at hobby lobby and wrote out all the steps in the writing process (planning, drafting, peer editing, revising, teacher conference and publishing). The best thing about this pan is that if I decide to do anything else with it everything on it is attached with a magnet...ribbon and black labels!  I plan on putting students names on paper and placing a magnet on the back as they write their essay they will move their name down the drip pan...drip, drip, drip down the writing process they go. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Teacher board

I am revamping my teacher area this year. The look I am going for is clean and crisp. I have two teachers desks one contains my computer and the other is used as an area for my para or students that need to work away from others. I may be ditching the second desk this year and working with one. Possibly getting an Ikea shelf to house files and books.
Here are some of my inspirations
Here is what I came up with to put on the wall
My mom gave me an old cork board from her school. I somehow forgot to take a before and after shot, but I'm pretty sure everyone knows what a cork board looks like. All the supplies I found at Hobby Lobby. This DIY was pretty simple and did not take long to complete.

I have a few other ideas I am planning with this board, but you will have to wait until I hang it on the wall at school.  I am linking up with Tara from 4th grade Frolics for her Monday made it!

Saturday, July 13, 2013


I am revamping my teacher area this year
Nothing too major
Last year I made this sign.
The letter hung behind my desk

 I had great intentions and if I was an elementary school teacher it would of been a great addition to the classroom. Unfortunately, I teach middle school and given the fact that I am semi-sarcastic in nature this little letter was the source of some entertainment this past school year.

For example:
Within the first couple of weeks a few 8th graders made their own rendition of the letter. 1. I believe you will never do your homework. 2. I trust in you? 3. I might listen to you 4. Cared for...What? 5.... 6. You will succeed if you do what I say 7. Everything will be okay if you do what I say
Then came this:
I think this one happened in January. One of my students was completing an essay behind my desk and he looked up at the letter and asked "how long has this been here...seconds pass...number seven is a lie." My comment back to him "Well, depending on who you are seven is true, but for you it's not!"
and this one:
During a student activity on figurative language where students had to define various examples of similes, hyperbole and student was having difficulty even when given numerous support. In other words my next option was to complete his work for him. Ten minutes later not much has changed and he relocates behind my desk to improve his focus. He reads the letter and says aloud "Miss how can I succeed if you will not help me?" Me: "I did help you multiple times and now it is your turn to create your own success."...silence

 The last week of school I decided to ditch the letter. I gifted it to one of my favorite 8th graders and put her name in the place of students.  To top it off I signed the back and wrote a note to her...she loved it!! So now that this sign is no longer in my possession I have an open area to deal with. Tune in Monday to see what I have planned.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


As I mentioned before my creative juices are not running at full capacity
//I think something is broken\\
Here is my dilemma:
I bought these letters that spell out hopes I would display them in my classroom. I have had them for six days and they still remain in their original form....blank! As of right now I am 95% sure I am going to paint them with chalk board paint unless a better idea comes to mind. Perhaps hang a piece of chalk off one of the letters??
Then comes this fabric that I spotted at Jo-anns today. Its practically perfect...burlap, metallic and polka dots. I stared at them, went back and looked at them multiple times, took a picture and NOTHING is coming to mind as of what to create with this fabric....the only thing I thought of was to frame it...not creative at all!

Summer is winding down...various stores are threatening to put out their school supplies and I have made a total of four creative projects...two of which are half way complete

Monday, July 8, 2013

Well Hello there

I must admit I was worried for a while becuase it seemed like my creativity had vanished. Nothing was inspiring me and no amount of pinterest browsing was helping...I was concerned! Until last week when I came upon this darling hello sign and all of a sudden my creativity had returned...unfortunetly it was 9:30 at night and no craft stores were open.

This DIY required the use of super glue. Given the fact that I am a tad bit messy I managed to cover my fingers with the lovely liquid. I made my mom one of these signs for her classroom and I switched from super glue to a low temp glue gun....much better!!

I plan on making a goodbye sign as well...both signs will hang on either side of my classroom door.
I found the fabric (its performance fabric) at Jo-Anns and both Michaels and Jo-Anns had the wire needed for this project.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Intern oh Intern

I had the privilege of hosting my first intern this past spring
Mr. C in action

Since my first year of teaching I have been waiting until I could have my very own intern.  When I was in school interning was full of interesting experiences...both good and bad.  So, when the opportunity to have an intern came I volunteered! I really had no idea what to expect, I just knew I was going to go with the flow...because that's just what I do! To be honest on the day my intern was supposed to come in I some how forgot. Nonetheless Mr. C came in to set up a schedule and to get a feel for what would be expected of him. He was only coming one day a week for ten weeks so no full-time intern for me...I kind of get the feeling my school is anti full time intern...hopefully that changes!

The first two times Mr. C came in he observed and then he was ready to dive right into teaching. I gave him a couple of topics he could cover with either the 8th graders or 6th graders. He did a wonderful job modeling my method of teaching and applied it during his lessons. Mr. C incorporated smart board technology and used the student's interactive notebooks while he taught.

He taught lessons on:
editing essays
figurative language
tall tales

The students responded well with him and accomplished the objectives he laid out for them in the lesson. I enjoyed watching someone else teach my students and it was nice to sit back and take in how each one of them masterted the content Mr. C was teaching them. While he was teaching I sat in a desk in the back and quietly participated in his lesson.

After his lessons we would discuss what went well and what he could improve upon. He was very open to new ideas and to be honest I learned a couple of tricks from him as well. 

I hope that I will be able to hoast another intern this upcoming school year. I am not at all bothered with having someone in my classroom since I have a para a majority of the time in my room and its a way to keep me on my toes!

//Side note\\
In Florida or parts of Florida a teacher has to have three years of teaching experience and take a clinical education class in order to qualify for an intern.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A year in review

I must admit my fourth year of teaching was a breeze. There were as always a few ups and downs, but nothing too traumatic! 
As always IEPs consumes a good portion of my teaching career. If I am not in a meeting then I am prepping for an IEP. When I am conducting an IEP I typically schedule three in a row on one day that way I can knock them out. I hate being out of my classroom, but there is no solution to this problem!

Interactive notebooks
I dove head first into fully implementing interactive notebooks into the classroom and have loved every minute of it! These notebooks help stream line the whole process of teaching. I love how everything is organized and students have the ability to look back and recall what they have learned. I am going to be using interactive notebooks again next year as well.

A good friend of mine helped set my classes up to take their test via the smart board. I am not a fan of tests, but this new way of testing has completely changed my mind...much to my students dismay. 

The same friend that helped with the smart board tests also jazzed up the way vocabulary bellwork is conducted. Students used an interactive method to mastering their spelling and definition words for the week.
I am pleased with how my fourth year of teaching turned out and cannot wait to see what year five has to offer!