Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Power of Positivity

Wow... Sorry all, it has been a crazy two weeks with my kiddos and I have been coming home completely exhausted! My group is a rough one this year and we've been dealing with some behavior issues, trying to perfect routines, and lots and lots of talking. 26 kiddos sure makes for a LOUD group! It is absolutely crazy how loud they can be...
There is another issue with this group, they do not respond well with any sort of negative focus when correcting their behavior (what kids do really?) That being said, one of my biggest goals for this year was to create a more positive environment overall and really focus on the positive aspects of my students. One of the biggest ways I have decided to implement these goals in my classroom was by introducing the clip chart:

This thing is really working wonders! It is something new for the majority of my kiddos and parents, but as I explain it to them I see them loving the idea as much as I do. :) Especially my parents, many of them have already expressed that they like that their child has the opportunity to be recognized for their good work and not just the bad choices. It is also amazing when I can call out two kids who are doing exactly what I asked and have them move their clip up. Immediately the whole class is doing what I would like them to do!

I am also really working on approaching things in a positive manner with my students. We are working on lots of incentives and I am making an extra effort to be really positive and encouraging when they do the right thing the first time! I am really noticing how much of a difference this is making with my kids and how well they are responding. Don't get me wrong. I wasn't a terribly mean and negative teacher last year (I realize that is what may be coming across, but that is definitely not my intention...) but I am just making an extra effort to add extra positivity to our classroom.

Earlier this week I picked up my kids from a special and they were having a rough time getting in line correctly. I was working with them with the procedures/positivity that I've been using from day 1 and the special teacher looked at me and said "Well, I just told them that they are the worst behaved class in the whole school!" Her comment really took me by surprise as I had felt that though they were not perfect by any means! That we had really been working on their behavior and being positive about the things they do well. And even I felt a little defeated by her comment as I'm sure the kids did as well. It's amazing how important positivity is even for us adults! Her attitude made me even more determined to remain positive with these kids!
Image Source

Sorry, this was so long and wordy. I am just trying to reflect and remain positive, even though sometimes it seems as if they will never catch on!!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Keep Calm...

Hello all....

Sorry I've dropped off the face of the earth this week. We started school on Monday and boy am I exhausted! I have the biggest class at my small school this year (26 kiddos!) it just feels like there are SO MANY kids! I can't believe how big that class size feels! We have had a busy couple of days getting to know each other and with some kids already testing their boundaries. I am sticking to my guns though and they are quickly finding out that they are not going to get away with much :) (at least that's what I hope that they are finding out ;)

It's also been so stinking hot here! We've been under a heat advisory and that means we haven't had recess ( indoor recess DOES NOT count!) So it's been a hectic day. But I am glad to say that I feel like today went much better (despite the problems we had) and that I will make it through the year. I am just nervous as I have a lot of dynamic personalities and some kids who coming in pretty far behind. It's going to be an interesting year, but I'm just hoping and praying that this year goes well and that I can manage to teach these kids all they need to know! I am hopefully optimistic, but we will see how it goes.

Hope those of you who have started this week that all is going well! I hope that you all have a fabulous year!

Here is a a great reminder :)
Photo Source

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Classroom Pictures!

Can I get a drumroll please?!?! The moment we've all been waiting for! I finally have some time to post the pictures of my finished classroom! We start school Monday and I have been crazy busy this week trying to make sure everything is done! I think I am just about ready, now I just need to get ready mentally ;)

Well without further to do here are the finished pictures of my second grade classroom!

 This is the view looking straight in from the door. You can see our whole group meeting area and the Grammar Wall (something my school requires, but its great for teaching and reviewing parts of speech!)
 View from the door looking across to the back door that leads to the playground.
 View from the door looking right. All of the stuff on the counter will get put away we were sorting school supplies that were brought in during Meet the Teacher night. (Oops... I just realized my flag is still rolled up from when they painted this summer, I need to fix that tomorrow!!)
 This is a view from my desk looking across the room. (I love my pennant banner!!)
 This is further down the wall that is directly across from my desk. I have my clip chart, literacy and math workstations rotation boards.
 This is my library and Word Wall. These are right along the wall before the door that goes outside.
 This is my teacher area... Excuse the mess please I was busy finishing up last minute details today :)
 This is a view of the front of the room.
And finally, this is what was on the desks for the kiddos to pick up on Meet the Teacher night :) They loved them! Meet the Teacher went pretty well, I had about 18/26 kids show up. So it was pretty good turn out :)

I can't believe that school starts on Monday! Crazy! I still feel like I have a lot to do, but I know I will get it done! :)

Hope those of you who have already started that everything is going well and those of you that haven't started yet I hope that you are enjoying your summer :)


Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday Made It- Crayon Art

Wow. What a busy week! I went back to school on Wednesday. We had a lot of meetings and got overwhelmed with the new expectations and such. Today we had a workday and since I have been already working in my room, it is almost finished! We have Meet the Teacher Night Wednesday so I'm glad to be almost finished :)

I am linking up with Fourth Grade Frolics for one last Monday Made It before school starts!

I had so much fun making this project. My best friend was staying the weekend with us so she and my husband both helped me! It was a team effort! But it was so much fun and I absolutely love it!

It really just makes me smile! I can't wait to go hang it in my classroom! Go check out all of the fabulous DYI stuff this week! 


PS- I will be taking pictures of my room on Wednesday so be on the lookout for my room reveal pictures! :D

Monday, July 30, 2012

Look What I Made: Classroom Pennant Banner

I am so excited to join my first Monday Made It! 4th Grade Frolics hosts this great linky every Monday and it is so much fun to explore and see what everyone is making! I wish I was craftier haha. I don't do a lot of crafting, but I am pretty pleased with this attempt :)

I'm sure that many of you have seen the cute pennant banners that have been floating around Pinterest lately. If not, here is an example of what inspired me to make my own.

First I went to Joann's (hello teacher discount!) and picked out a bunch of different scrapbook paper to coordinate with my classroom colors and in lots of fun patterns. ( I stuck with a blue, green, black, white, and gray theme. Those are the colors I am shooting for in my classroom as an attempt at a basic color theme.)

Then I traced triangles on the scrapbook paper, I was able to get 2-3 per 12X12 piece of paper.

After I cut out all of the triangles I hole punched the top of the triangle on both ends.

Then I arranged the patterns and strung them onto yarn.

And this is the finished product. It is hanging above my side whiteboard in my classroom. I totally love it! Isn't absolutely adorable?!? Easiest DYI ever! And it adds so much! :D

Do you have any Pinterest inspired projects that you have made for your classroom this summer?  I would love to hear about and see them! :)


Friday, July 27, 2012

First Day Jitters Linky!

I don't know about you, but my first day of school is coming up pretty quickly. I am getting more and more nervous as it approaches. I love reading the book "First Day Jitters" to my class on the first day (and it was very appropriate last year as I was a first year teacher and was probably more nervous than my kiddos! Well Ashley at Fierce in Fourth is having a First Day Jitters linky party for us all to share our jitters about the upcoming school year and to be able to give advice to others.

Since this is my second year teaching (at the same school) I do not have as many jitters as I did last year. However, a lot has changed and I still feel like I have so much to learn so I definitely have my share of the jitters!

These are the things that are making me have nightmares, keeping me up at night, taking over my thoughts... jittery:

1. I am nervous because I am going to be the only second grade teacher (our enrollment went down a bit and my team mate got promoted to Reading Specialist) it is kind of scary to think that I won't have a team mate to work with, bounce ideas off of, vent to, etc. But I do have a wonderful relationship with the teachers at my school and I know that everyone will still be there for me even if they aren't teaching the same grade.

2. I am getting a rougher group of kids this year ( I was blessed with an AMAZING class for my first year!!) I am nervous about keeping control and I really plan on working on and honing on my classroom management skills.

3. Since I am the only class my class will be larger this year, and since I work for a charter it dictates that if the class size is over a certain amount (but under the requirement to split) that I am guaranteed a full time aide. I know that this is a huge blessing that many never get! However, it is making me nervous, I will be someones superior. I get nervous when other adults are in the room as I feel as if I'm being judged. I know that that is not really true and that it will probably end up being a great thing and I will love having her. But it still makes me nervous. I just don't really know what to expect from a classroom aide. I am praying that our personalities mesh and that she will just be an excellent resource and partner.   It is just odd to me that I am going to be in charge of another adult. I'm sure that I am just over thinking everything and it will all work out. If any of you have any tips for what you have your aide do or for working with an aide I would LOVE to hear them!

Those are my biggest jitters (there are a lot of other ones, but I know that those will fade as I continue to set up my room and return for preservice.)

Go link up with Ashley and share your First Day Jitters!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

My Classroom the Before Pics!

Well, ready or not it's that time again... It's time to get my classroom ready for the new school year. Since last year was my first year teaching I definitely came across some things that didn't work the way I wanted them too. I will also have a much larger class this year so I am trying to accommodate more kiddos.

Our classrooms got painted this year so we had to take EVERYTHING down... While it was a pain, at least I was able to just get a fresh start. I have been working for a few hours each day this week. I have made a lot of progress, but still have a ways to go.

Here are a few of my before pics. Sorry, I was struck with a lot of motivation my first day there and I dove in and got quite a bit done before I remembered to snap a few pics... Haha. The painters made a mess of everything I had on the counters (so that has been half the battle is trying to reorganize everything...)

 This is a view from the door looking right. See all that stuff all over my horseshoe table and counters...

 From the door looking diagonally. They also moved a lot of my furniture to the opposite sides of the room...  I organized that blue shelf (where my library is housed) mostly before I remembered to take the pictures.

 From the door looking straight in. 

Up close look at the piles. Looking at these pictures makes me feel better about how much I already have done! haha. I'm heading back in this morning to try to get it mostly done! :D

Be on the lookout for the After Pics!