Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: My Dream Classroom

Courtney at Swimming into Second is having a Top Ten Linky on what a dream classroom would look or be like!  What an awesome idea for a linky!Swimming Into Second

I posted a wish list a couple days ago, but I can always add to it!  I have a relatively new room, and it is completely new to me this year.  However, it is the same layout as my room last year, so I have a good idea of the issues I face.
1. Classroom Carpet – I didn’t have a carpet last year with my third graders, but I still feel like second graders need a defined meeting space.  This is the one I am thinking of.  I love the great colors!


2. IKEA Stools – I was going to make the bucket stools after my ottomans from Big Lots died a quick death last year, but realized that it would be worth the money to order IKEA stools and have them delivered.  I started making the bucket stools and it would take days! I’m planning to buy these and paint them in bright colors to match my room. You can never have enough seating.

3. Tables!  - This is a hard one.  It is like the file folder versus binder debate for me.  Which is better?  Tables or desks?  I love the ability to move and regroup desks, but I love the clean lines of tables.  I think I miss tables. I love these small round one for 4 or 5 kids from Lakeshore.

4. Coat Storage – Preferably with doors that I can close on the mess!  I had cubbies in first grade, and they had their issues, but it was better than the open hooks I have now.  Ugh!  What a mess!

5. iPads – I would love to have a class set, or even a half class set of iPads.  They are so amazing to use in the classroom!

6. A Pretty View Smile - I had a view (and the sound) of the playground last year.  I think my shades were closed almost all day.  So sad!  This year I will have a view of a storage garage and the parking lot.  I miss my view of the woods from the other building!

7. Storage – I’m not sure what my ideal with be, but the metal cupboards with sliding doors that come of their track are just not workin’ for me. At one school I had a 12 foot wall of 4 deep cabinets that went floor to ceiling.  They drove me crazy then, but I did not have nearly enough stuff to fill them back in.  Now I love to have them!

8. Bright and Cheery D├ęcor – I would love to have a picture perfect room.  It is hard to keep up with all of those beautiful rooms you see on blogs.  I would love to have that decorators touch!

9. Organized and Beautiful Classroom Library – The library is the most challenging part of  the classroom for me to organize.  I would love to have a large and beautiful library with all the current books!

10. A Teacher Area – I would love to have a personal bathroom and little kitchenette type area.  I will be closer to the restrooms this year, but wouldn’t it be great to have your own little area. I have a little shelf with a kuerig and some snacks, but it would be lovely to have a little refrigerator and microwave for those long days, late nights, and weekend jam sessions!

I know I will think of a million things as I go about my day, but these are the things that would make a dream classroom for me!  Link up with Swimming into Second and share your dream room! 

I am off to teach a workshop on digital writing and publishing today!  Wish me luck!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted Linky Party

I'm linking up with Latoya for the Let's Get Acquainted Linky Party.  This week's topic is about about personal goals for the upcoming school year.

These are my goals:

  1. Conquer the Paper Piles – I am a piler!  I end up stacking paper everywhere and  sometimes, I hate to say it, but I have to move a pile so I can teach groups.  I end up stashing piles on shelves, in cabinets and other various places.  This bad habit quickly leads to feeling unorganized and sometimes not being able to find things. (How many times have I  made a new copy rather than try to find what I have?!?)  My goal is to prevent that paper pile from starting!
  2. Use my planning time!  I have been better at this the last two or three years, but my goal is to get more corrections done during this time and to not take that gigantic teacher bag home very night!
  3. Utilize parent volunteers!  I have never been great with having helpers in my room.  To be honest, it has been my experience that helpers want to hang out with the kids and not actually help them or teacher.  I plan to avoid the dance and let parents know that I need them to help with copies, hanging displays, and other specific tasks. (Here’s to being assertive – I think I’ve earned it after 13 years of teaching!) I teach my students to be independent and have never found the need to have adults help with centers and such.  I find I get distracted and sometimes the supported activity does not go as well as it would have if the kids were doing it on their own.  I also think it would be helpful to have parents in during technology time – 22 second graders and laptops is not a pretty!
  4. Leave work between 4:00 and 4:30!  I will continue my college courses this year, so I know that I can do this!  Here’s to not going to school on the weekends too!
  5. Get to work earlier!  I pushed my home time in the morning up to the very last minutes the last few years.  I hope to get in earlier and get started to reduce stress during the day.
  6. Spend less of my own moolah!  I have gotten a bit out of control the last few years. Part of me feels like if it makes my life easier, buy it.  However, I would hate to total what I spend on my classroom every year.  I also have tons of things stored in my home that I no longer need in the classroom. I want to think carefully about my spending and set a budget to limit what I buy.
  7. Eat better!  I am one of those teachers who works through lunch and inhales a bit of something while prepping.  I’m just not a person who packs a lunch and I avoid the teacher's lounge like the plague.  It just doesn’t help me to stay positive. However, I would like to eat more balanced and healthy “meals” at school – and not buy the student school lunches!
  8. Keep working on balance!  I have worked really hard the past few years at creating a life for myself outside of school.  I want to continue to do things that I enjoy and not let work take over every minute of my life.


What a list!  I could probably come up with a few more goals, but I’m a *little* OCD too!  I can’t wait to read more blogger goals.  Link up and share!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Smorgasbord



I'm linking up with Michelle from Fabulous in First for a Sunday Smorgasbord! I know that I’m just in time this evening!

I am about half way through summer and have been trying not to think too much about school and my classroom.  Summer Rec is happening in my room this summer and I have no hope of getting in for 2 more weeks!  The idea of setting up a new classroom is both exciting and daunting!  I have a bit of a wish list going:

IKEA Stools – I was going to make the bucket stools after my ottomans from Big Lots died a quick death last year, but realized that it would be worth the money to order IKEA stools and have them delivered.  I started making the bucket stools and it would take days! I’m planning to buy these stools and paint them in bright colors to match my room.

Classroom Carpet – I didn’t have a carpet last year with my third graders, but I still feel like second graders need a defined meeting space.  This is the one I am thinking of:


Chevron Borders – I have the Dots on Turquoise theme that was all the rage last year, but I am thinking of adding chevron to my decorations, using the same colors. These are from Creative Teaching Press – but there must be very popular, because they are all out of stock!


I don’t know about you, but I know that my spending habits when it comes to school related items has gone cra-zay! (Bad, bad Pinterest! Bad, bad Dollar Spot…need I go on???) One of my fav fashion/style bloggers, Franish, has a “Budgeting Bloggers” feature. 


What do folks think of doing a monthly link-up on teacher budgets – you know, those Dollar Spot cutesies, TPT items, and great decor items that you just can’t resist? The idea behind it is that you establish a budget and show what you buy each month. Who will join me?

Book Study Anyone?

Yes, a book study!  I completely spaced on the amazing books studies this summer.  Packing my 7th classroom and moving to my 8th, followed by the most challenging college course I have ever taken, I just couldn’t bring myself to do anything more than necessary the last few weeks.

So, I was thinking of reading Spaces and Places by Debbie Diller.  I bought it several years ago and never really read it.  I thought moving into that 8th classroom might provide me with an opportunity. There are 5 Chapters – anyone interested in hosting one?

Spaces & Places

Speaking of professional books, what do you do with all the books you don’t use?  I have been purging and Amazon ad Ebay just don’t seem like they would be worth my time. Some fashion bloggers do “Shop My Closet”, maybe I could do “Shop My Bookshelf.”  Or do you think TPT would be a good place to put collection of books (i.e. a set of sight word resources, a social studies collections, etc.)?

Please email me if you are interested in working on this book study!

Well, that was certainly a smorgasbord of topics!  Like up with Fabulous in First and share your randomness!

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I'm Still Here and Brain Dump Post

Sorry I have been out of the loop for a while. I had a test in the very challenging class I am taking and spent DAYS studying! The most frustrating part is so little of it was actually on the test.

I also have to share a story that all teachers will appreciate! We had some early finishers - as always. They wandered around the room, munched on chips, loudly ate their dinner, went in and out of the classroom not quieting the door, and printed on the very squeaky printer. The teacher in me was P.O.ed! I am a quiet worker (and in my old age, I need it to be silent when I  am trying to concentrate) and I wanted to use my teacher voice to tell them to sit down and be quiet while others are working! It was a close call!

The test was on Wednesday, but I have just felt out of it for a few days. I went on a little shopping spree Thursday to reward myself. Have you been to a Charming Charlie? It is a really neat accessory store. The store nearest to me is about 45 minutes away, but it is close to my college. I picked up a few necklaces at 50% of clearance.

I am presenting two workshops next weeks, so I have been working away on those power points and practicing my presentations. I'm excited to be doing some consultant work again. The prep work is endless, but I think I have some really good things to share!

On another note, I am seeing some teachers are going back to school! I am about half way through my summer. Still a month or so to go.  I am really resisting the desire to work on school things and to enjoy my moments of freedom.  I am in no hurry to start the year.  The idea of starting over in second grade and in yet another classroom is just a bit daunting to me right now.  Maybe it won't be after I am done with my summer class.

I have one thing that plaguing me about my new room! The entire back of the room, other than a set of cupboards, is covered by chalkboards. Don't ask me why anyone would put chalkboards above cabinets and shelving, but that's the case. My issue is that I don't know what to do with them. I think I will use the boards for my reading and writing cafe board. I use pocket charts, so once they are up, I probably won't move them much. Should I cover the boards in fabric? Using a glue gun could be a nightmare and then I'm not sure the hooks would stay on the fabric. Should I paint the boards? I just don't know. I'm torn! I thought about covering the board with cork, but after researching the price, decided to let go of my OCD and realize that I could spend that money on better things. Maybe I should use magnetic paint!  Then the board would look nice, but I could still put up magnets if I wanted to...hmmm...

I'll try to be better about posting something constructive soon!  I just have to finish this class and keep my sanity!