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!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Thank you!

The sweet Angela at Hippo Hooray for Second Grade! has nominated me for the Versatile Blog award! So sweet of her! Thank you Angela! And I found another great second grade blog in the process!

To accept this award you must:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you
2. Include a link to their site
3. Include the award image in your post
4. Give 7 random facts about your self... see below
5. Nominate 5-10 other bloggers and let them know

My facts:
1. My husband has always loved frogs and his obsession is rubbing off on my. He actually breeds and raises dart frogs and they are just so neat! I love how colorful they are!
2. I am the oldest child in my family, but I am also the shortest. I am the only child of 3 who got my mom's side of the family genes ;)
3. I absolutely hate snakes. They freak me out. I've been known to have to leave the reptile house at the zoo, because I couldn't handle all of the snakes... Pathetic I know.
4. My biggest pet peeve is people who chew with their mouths open... Especially adults. I mean really? Come on!
5. I love Target! In fact, when we got home from our vacation I made up a reason to go because I missed it! :P
6. I love music. I have no musical talent (unfortunately) but I love listening to it and I am able to memorize lyrics around the second or third time of hearing a song.
7. I've always had a desire to travel to London. No specific reason, but it is just a place my heart longs to go. And I will get there one day!

My Nominations:

Christa at Sweet Life of Second Grade
Mrs. Goodwin at I Live 2 Learn I Love 2 Grow
Hope at Second Grade Shenanigans 
Kammy at Swimming in Second Grade
Heidi at My (Not So) Elementary Life

Thanks again Angela for the award!

I've been working in my classroom and on projects for my classroom all week. I still cannot believe that I have to go back for preservice days next Wednesday! AAHHH!!! Anyways, stay tuned for some posts about my classroom set up and my recent projects! 


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wow!! A blog award!

Pinch me... I must be dreaming. I just received a blog award! I can't believe it. The sweet Gina over at Third Grade Tidbits nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award. I am so excited!

Thanks again Gina!!

To accept this award you must:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their site (check)
2. Present the award to 5 other bloggers who have less than 200 followers and let them know by commenting on their blog and linking to their site (see below :))

I am giving this award to:

Thanks again Gina for the award! I am so excited to be a part of this blog land! :D


Monday, July 23, 2012

Tell Me More!

I know that I just linked up with a different linky party yesterday, but they are just so much fun! And a really great way to find new blogs to stalk follow! Grade 3 is the Place for Me is having a Newbie Blog Hop! Since I am very new at this blogging thing I figured this was a perfect one for me to join!

So here goes:
    1.  what state you are in  Arizona

    2.  your current teaching position  I teach 2nd Grade
    3.  your teaching experience  This will be my 2nd year. I am so excited to finally be doing what I love!
    4.  when you started blogging  Actually I just started blogging about a week and a half ago, July 12th! :)
    5.  share a blogging tip / blogging resource  Well I am new to the blogging experience, but I have been following blogs for at least two years! Some of my favorite blog resources are: ( She is 1st, but has a lot of resources for 2nd as well!)

There are a lot more, but these are a few favorites!

Second, Amy Lemons at Step Into Second Grade is having a Tell Me More Linky Party for everyone to share some interesting facts about themselves.  It has been so fun reading everyone's fun facts that I thought I would share some about me! 

1. I grew up in the same house my entire life, the first time I moved was when I got married and moved in with my hubby!

2. I married my hubby, and my best friend at age 20 on April 10, 2010. It is still the best day of my life this far :)

3. I graduated from college a year early (can you say Nerd alert?!)

4. Colorado has been a family vacation spot since I was a baby (in fact my first trip there I was 6 months old!) It continues to remain a tradition and my husband and I were lucky enough to join my family there this past week. 

5. I met my husband at church. The funny thing? His cousin was like a surrogate big brother to me! He was among the most surprised when my hubby moved into town and we eventually started dating :)

6. I have the two most adorable nephews in the whole world! Every time I see them they just fill me with so much joy! The only problem is they live so far away in NM.

7. I have always gotten giddy when the stores put out school supplies. Its a good thing I became a teacher :D

8. Just after our second anniversary, my husband and I signed the papers to purchase our very first house! We are getting a brand new home built just for us! I cannot wait for it to be finished! They should be starting any day now and the wait is killing me! :D

This is our land... 

Well that's enough for today! Be sure to check out the links above and check out these two fabulous linky parties! :D


Sunday, July 22, 2012

To Do List Linky Party!

Well, we are back from our relaxing week vacation in the Colorado mountains. Its so beautiful there and it is always nice to get away.

However, now that we are back reality is setting in. I have to report for preservice days August 1st! Where has my summer gone?!? Yikes, I am realizing that I still have tons to do! I will most likely be spending a good chunk of time this week in my classroom as it is pretty unlikely we will have much work time during inservice this year. 

So, I am linking up with Fabulous Fourth Grade Froggies' To-Do list linky party!

1. Put up Bulletin Boards and Displays on walls (we had to take EVERYTHING down so they could paint over the summer)
2. Set up desks (and try to find more since I have a larger class this year...)
3. Organize everything that was misplaced by the painters ( I went in to grab something really quick about a month ago and was met with the most disorganized mess, all of my stuff was everywhere)
4. Set up Math Centers
5. Organize all center materials (Reading and Math)
6 . Try to get rid of some of the old curriculum. (Last year, when I started there was a bunch of old curriculum filling up my cabinets, I was new so I wasn't sure what should be kept. Well, I haven't used any of it so I am going to beg my Principal to let me get rid of it or at least store it somewhere besides my room!!)
7. Cut out lamination
8. Make Clip Chart and Clothes Pins
9. Make Name Tags
10.Create Welcome Bulletin Board
11. Update Meet the Teacher brochure/policies
12. Update Curriculum Night Information
13. Plan out first two weeks
14. Make copies for the first two weeks
15. Make Pennant banner for the top of my white board
16. Make melted crayon canvas 
17. Buy a few last minute things for my room.
18. Create teacher binder 

Wow, I still feel like I have a lot to do! I can't believe summer is almost over... Head on over to Fabulous Fourth Grade Froggies to read everyone else's lists!


Friday, July 13, 2012

Summer Shopping

***Edit, I am linking up with  Ladybug's Teacher Files for her Summer Shopping Linky party ( I've been secretly hoping she would have one for July so I could join in!) Please go link up with her and share all of your great summer finds!***

So I don't know about the rest of you, but I have a serious addiction to buying school stuff! Anytime I am in Target I am looking for stuff for my classroom! I love when they bring their teaching stuff into the dollar section! Its like Christmas in July! :) Here are a few of my finds that I will be using in my classroom this fall!

Cards and dice to add in my math centers (there are SO many ways to use cards and dice to reinforce math skills!) I also found a two pack of classic games (Crazy 8s and Memory) I figure that these will make a great addition to our indoor recess/fun Friday activity bucket. And then I found these story cubes! I am so excited to use those in my writing center! I think the kids will love them!

Found these at Lakeshore. I will be using them in centers, guided reading and tutoring. The Beat the Clock games were on the clearance table and I got them for $5 a piece! :D

I'm sure you have seen these new Black and White borders! I absolutely love them! I am going to add them to my classroom. I am going for a color scheme of light blue and green, black and white with a little bit of yellow.  :)

Wow, sorry this picture came out so blurry (it was late last night when I was taking these pics). These are my first few teacher stuff finds from the Dollar Section at Target! A few pocket charts, frog and star erasers, super star reader bookmarks ( I bought a similar one last year and I gave them to my kids in guided reading groups halfway through the year-- they thought they were SO cool! :)), and isn't that little frog notepad ADORABLE?! I couldn't resist him!

Found these all marked 70% off in the dollar section. I figured they would make great prizes for 30 cents a piece!

Finally, these were also 30 cent finds. They were so cute, I figured for 30 cents that I could find a place for them! We are getting ready to move into our Brand New House ( I cannot wait for it to be done!) and I thought I would use these somewhere in the house :)

What great finds have you found this summer?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Joining BlogLand!

Hello all!

I have been stalking blogs since I before I began teaching. I am amazed at how many great ideas and resources are out there! I love reading the blogs, but I have decided to take the plunge and join the wonderful world of BlogLand as a blogger as well as a reader! I am looking forward to sharing my own classroom experiences and joining the blog community and learning from all of you wonderful teachers out there! Please bare with me as I learn the ins and outs of blogging! I am looking forward to joining this wonderful community! Any tips and suggestions are always welcome! Thanks for reading!