Monday, August 17, 2015
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
I spent the majority of my day writing math curriculum, so I needed something mindless to do on the muggy New York day. So, I lounged on my couch with the breeze coming through the window (completely neglecting the dozens of other things I should be doing) and read.
I'm not entirely sure what I think of this book. I chose it because everyone seems to have read it, but I also long to be that organized person - both at home and work. I guess being told that my classroom is a giant mess because the cleaners stacked everything up also gave me some motivation to read this book. I was tempted to go in today, but convinced myself that I need to take a break from school...even if my eyes are twitching at the thought of putting that room together!
I digress, I like the message - a tidy space equals a tidy mind. I have been thinking about how much time I spend cleaning. My classroom, my home, my car. I also spend a lot of time putting away, shopping for, and picking out my clothes. Is this time well spent? The more I seek out a simple life, the more I think that it isn't. Don't get me wrong, I love clothes and choosing unique pieces, but I want to spent my time differently. Or at least balance my time differently.
I did find the whole talking to your things to tell them how helpful or good they are to be a bit much. I also have mixed feeling about only keeping things that you truly love. I have lots of things that I like, especially clothes. If I get rid of everything I just like or are just useful, I don't think I would be able to make any outfits. I also like home décor. Not that I love everything I have, but I put up/out things because they suit by design aesthetic.
While I feel the tone of the book is a bit too out there, I generally think that the author has many good points. I am glad that I read the book. I am also glad that it was a pretty quick read. Am I going to begin the process, as the author outlines? Probably not, but I am working hard to cut back on spending and clean out this summer!
A few of my favorite quotes:
"In essence, tidying ought to be the act of restoring balance among people, their possessions, and the house they live in."p. 190
"...pour your time and passion into what brings you the most joy, your mission in life." p. 204
So, if you are looking for inspiration to simplify or get your home in order, check out this fast read! What are you reading this summer?
Sunday, July 5, 2015
1. Room Set-up
I am soooo happy to be replacing old desks with brand new tables and chairs! Part of me cringes at the thought of now having to deal with all of the kids' things that went in the desks and the fear that I can not regroup kiddos based on groups that work well together. The other part of my knows that I will have more space and the classroom will be more streamlined with tables.
Generally, figuring out where all my stuff should go shouldn't be too hard since the set-up of the room is about the same. However, now that I will have tables, I have to think about managing everything that went in the kids' desks. Here's what I'm thinking, based on how I used tables way back when I taught first grade:
- Book boxes/Writing boxes - I had book boxes this last year and stopped using them around mid-year. I did this because most of my students were reading a chapter book or two, making the book boxes a bit much for such small books. However, I realized that I could not check up on what the kids were reading as easily. Even thought the kids said they did not feel I should use book boxes when I poled the class at the end of the year, I think I will bring them back for teacher reasons.
- I would also like to add student writing folders and notebooks to these boxes. We started with Lucy Calkins this year and reading and writing felt very unconnected. It may also be because I taught reading and my co-teacher taught writing, so they really were separated. I hesitated to pull writing into reading time because the kids were on writing overload by the time they finished with their hour. I would like to bring reading and writing back together when I begin to teach on my own again next year.
- Table Baskets - I used to have a basket in the center of the tables to hold student Finish and WIP folders. I am not sure if I can fit tool boxes in here as well or if I need a separate storage area.
- Math Baskets - to store our two math books and folders.
- Folder containers - I think that I will have specific containers for content area folders, since we use them so rarely.
- Ugh - Spelling books - maybe another basket? An cursive books? Maybe the Finish Folders? I have to think about this a bit more. It may come to me in the moment the first week of school.
2. Classroom Library
Ahh! My long-suffering library. Moving between grades and moving classroom has taken its toll on my poor book collection. In first and second grade, I had a leveled library and a class library with picture books that I did not feel it was necessary to level. When I first moved to third grade, I didn't have time nor did I think it was a good idea to level my books. After bumping down to second grade, where I was again using level books, I had a different take when I returned to third grade this past year and leveled all the chapter books. This caused more issues that I ever thought. Mainly, students and parents became *way* too focused on levels. After poling the kids, I have decided to regroup my books by interest and remove many of the books that were either too young or were not of interest - the kids helped me with this during the last week. I want to make book choice a strong focus the first week of school in the next year. Now, I just need to re-label the books and baskets and maybe decide on some different ways to store the books.
3. Daily 5 Update
I let go of much of D5 over the last two years and regret it big time! I would like to restructure my classroom and storage so that it is conducive to this framework again. I want to set up space for spelling materials, instead of relying on the spelling workbooks. I want to set up a writing area instead of only focusing on Calkins. Most of all, I want to have my decor reflect the principles of D5 again - bulletin boards, center board organizer, student materials.
What are your classroom improvements? Check out this great link up!
Friday, June 26, 2015
I'm linking with Sparkling in Second, Teach Create Motivate, Third in Hollywood, and the Peppy Zesty Teacherista for Week 2 of the TpT Seller Challenge: Dare to Dream! What a fantastic idea!!! In this week's challenge, we are asked to blog about our hopes and dreams for our TpT Store. (Last week was a product makeover challenge. Since we just ended school Thursday and I am still packing my room, there just hasn’t been enough time in the day . Maybe next week!) Here are my hopes and dreams:
1. My Doctorate! - Yes, I am almost there!!! I have been committed to doing this in the most sane way possible. The tuition bills are pretty big, but so far my very sllllooooowwww progress has helped this to work! I would love to be able to put some of my TPT money towards this life goal.
2. My Little House – My husband and I have lived in our little house for 13 years this fall. We have paid down half of our loan (ugh! That interest!) and ideally, I would love to put more funds towards that. I yearn for financial freedom!
3. Shopping Addition! – This is actually what I use most of my TPT earnings for. I know that I have a little bit on my PayPal account and usually support other TPTers. Occasionally, I make purchases of gently used clothing from my favorite online consignment store – ThredUp (This is my referral link: http://www.thredup.com/r/CRUBFE. If you use it to make a purchase, we both get $10!).
My store have been a bit neglected this year. Hopefully I will find some time this summer to make updates and add some fun new products that I have started!
Have a great one!
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Lori, over at Conversations in Literacy, wrote a post about what she will be readign this summer! I am sure there are a few blog-book clubs out there, but to be honest, I just can’t keep up with them. They usually start while I am still in school and then I feel guilty for getting behind…so I think it is best to just work at my own pace.
Here’s what I’m reading this summer:
Lucy Calkins Units of Study for 3rd Grade - My district adopted Calkins this year and it was a rough start. These books are PACKED with lesson models and resources. I don’t think we even scraped the surface with what we were able to try due to the sheer volume of content and change to our program. My goal is to REALLY read through the units and block out some long-range plans
Oh, Daily 5, how I missed you this year! I bought the second edition of the book and especially wanted to update my math system. I have yet to read it ! I team taught this year and had a couple student teachers and a variety of other circumstances that changed how I typically do things. I found that my classroom just didn’t work the way I wanted it to this year and my instruction and management suffered in my opinion. I am returning to D5 next year, as I found that my classroom just didn’t “work” without having it firmly in place. Sometimes, what works works and change is not necessary. You live, you learn!
I have wanted to read this book FOREVER! I saw the author at a workshop last year and loved the premise. It is very similar to the Calkins apporach for writing and I am excited about finding some new ideas.
This is ANOTHER book I bought this year and have not even cracked yet! The premise is that centers are great, but what is realistic. Again, looking forward to expanding my thinking.
These are the professional books I really want to read this summer. I could add a dozen or so to the list, but that would stress me out, so I won’t!
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Listening – Weather has been crazy in NY this year. We had many very hot days and it was getting really dry. Now there is a lot of rain and flooding in certain areas. I love listening to the rain on our metal roof! It is so comforting! I am also into a 21 Jump Street marathon! I remember it being on when I was a kid, but it was not exactly my kind of show. It is corny and silly, but I am enjoying watching this 80’s throw-back! Next up is Quantum Leap!
Loving – I have been into Bloggers and YouTubers that focus on the simple life. Recently, there have been a few book clubs on the KonMarie Method and Loving the Home You Have. They have inspired me to stop thinking about what I don’t have and think about the home that I do have. There is nothing as nice as being comfortable in your own home. I am enjoying it more and more, and am looking forward to those summer days when I can stay home allllll day!
Thinking – Yikes! We have 2 1/2 more weeks of school and two days to pack our rooms. Aaaannnnddd I may be moving classrooms again. My choice this time! One of my colleagues is retiring and she has an amazing room. Hopefully I got dibs on it! I am also taking a summer course – which means 14 weeks of content in 7 weeks – during the busiest season for teachers. I did it last year, but am still recovering from the burnout. Perhaps the fact that it is pass/fail and I did a lot of prep work will help!
Wanting – I am super into good-old-fashioned ice cream sandwiches lately! I try not to eat dairy base ice cream, but these little guys are just sucking me in! I have also been having a tough time with just wanting to stay home (I feel like one of the kids!) Work is just such a rat race day-after-day and the stress is crazy. Compared to my uber-zen house, the contrast is making me want to hang at home more and more.
Needing – I have been on a purging kick. Not quite on the level of KonMarie, but getting there. I have been purging clothes, books, personal teaching materials. I am planning to have at least one gigantic yard sale this summer to see what I can clear out! The space is so freeing!
Summer Lovin’ – Three weeks and I am free! I will be doing some curriculum writing and working on my comprehensive exams this summer, but I am so looking forward to the freedom of time and the lower pace. Can’t wait!!!
Hopefully I can get blogging again – I miss it, but my time is so limited right now. Hope to be back soon!
Monday, April 6, 2015
Sorry for no post last week – it was SPRINGBREAK! Well, at least that was what the calendar said. Here in NY, that meant snow and ice with a short bit of nice, sunny weather in the middle.
This week, I was thinking about the décor I would like to have next year. I have been using the Dots on Black Pattern this year and I have been liking it, but might change it up for something lighter next year. For the previous two years, I used Dots on Turquoise and loved that even more! At any rate, as my décor changes I find that some of my classroom items no longer match and I just don’t want to spend my budget or my own money on replacing perfectly good things that just don’t match my momentary décor choices.
Spray paint is the answer! I am astounded at how many colors Lowes, Walmart, and Home Depot carry! I spray paint my cardboard organizers almost every year to match my décor. The other important thing is that the spray paint can totally transform cardboard quickly!
A great example is my cardboard mailbox unit that I bought (myself) for my classroom 13 years ago!!! Yes, 13 years ago. It started out blue and faded in spots after a year of use. Since then it has been painted black, red, sky blue, and now teal. Not only does it look brand new, but the coats of paint have protected the cardboard that can easily become shabby after a year in an elementary classroom. One of my good friends replaces her mailboxes every year – a significant use of our small budgets. I snag her cast offs and paint them to match, creating all sorts of organized goodness!
Next time you think of throwing something away – especially cardboard organizers – try applying some spray paint and see how beautiful it looks!
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
AMAZING! I found a new resources that I am loving in my classroom! I was looking for a way to extend out reading and science work on the topic of plants and wanted to use our classroom computers more often. In my search, I found this AMAZING website! DK Publishers has created an interactive website that includes SO MANY topics in the elementary curriculum. The quality and choice is as incredible as it is with the books put out by this publisher!
It looks like you can sign up for the site, but my class was able to navigate it without signing in. There is a search page – just like an online encyclopedia.
My class explored plants, but this is an image from the solar system page.
Almost everything is a clickable link. Students can access definitions to vocabulary, read, access maps and diagrams, and so much more! I have just started to explore this site, but it seems like it addresses so many of the CCSS that address technology use in ELA. It would have great to access on a digital whiteboard!
Check out this amazing resource!
***This post is in no-way sponsored by or affiliated with the company/companies mentioned***