Saturday, July 28, 2012

First Day Jitters Blog Hop

I am joining Ashley from Fierce in Fourth for her First Day Jitters blog hop.  Three things that I am nervous about for this school year are:

1.      New school – I should be used to being the new teacher on campus because this will be my 7th school in 8 years of teaching, but I am still nervous about getting used to a new school, staff, and school culture. I also found out that the other third grade teacher will be a new hire as well since the original teacher has decided to move and go back to grad school.

2.  Montessori – My new school is a public Montessori, and I have no official training in the Montessori methods.  I have been reading up as much as I can this summer, but I still do not feel prepared for this new learning model. I am excited to see how the students learn through the different methods.

3.  Common Core – Our school is implementing the Common Core standards a year earlier than the rest of the state, so we will not be attending any district training until next year.  I am so thankful to all the teachers who have posted their Common Core resources on TpT.  They will be a lifesaver during this first year.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Extreme Makeover: Classroom Edition

You may not see a dramatic change in the before and after pictures, but I feel like it is a huge difference.  I walked into someone else’s classroom, but now I feel like it is finally my classroom.  This is a great feeling since it will be my home away from home for the next nine months.

This is a closer look into the areas of my pretty tiny (500 square foot) classroom.  First, is the designated anchor chart space inspired by Jodi at Clutter-Free Classroom. I used a black sheet for the background and ribbon for the dividers.  I used the same ribbon to cover the clothespins.  I’m excited to have a space to put anchor charts at all times that are at the students’ eye level.
I created my own Whole Brain Teaching rule posters that fit with my classroom.  Since it is a Montessori environment, “raise your hand to stand” was an unnecessary rule.  I also use hand signals in my classroom for basic needs, so I used “Use hand signals to communicate” instead of “raise hand to speak.” You can see my hand signal posters below that are based on the sign language alphabet.
I love the effectiveness of the clip chart system, so I was thrilled to see this sports-themed clip chart by Cupcakes & Caterpillars.  I plan to reward students with a star on their clip when they reach the top, which allows them to earn a new colored clip after 5 stars.

My students will not have individual desks, so I was thankful to see these built-in cubbies.  This is where my students will keep their clipboards, journals, and folders.  Since it is a public Montessori school, we do not use textbooks.  I’m glad I do not need to find room for all those books, but nervous about planning all my lessons around hands-on manipulatives and real-life experiences. You can see a sampling of these materials below which are housed on eight bookshelves in my classroom, which were a challenge to arrange around.  The designated exit slip area was inspired by Erin's from Adventures in Third Grade.  I chose to use jerseys with students' numbers to designate each student's area to place his or her exit slip post-it note. 
 The final area is my reading nook.  I used two Expedit shelves from IKEA to make reading benches. The fabric drawers add extra storage for pillows and other items.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Destination: Summer Vacation Linky Party

I am joining Krista at The Second Grade Superkids in a linky party to celebrate her 300th follower.  These are my top 3 summer travel destinations:

1. International: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
My boyfriend and I had the opportunity to travel to Cabo for his cousin's wedding.  It was so beautiful and peaceful.  We all stayed at an all-inclusive resort, so we never had to leave the resort.  I want to go back soon.

2. National: Honolulu, Hawaii
My cousin lived in Hawaii for two years, and I had the opportunity to visit her two summers ago.  It definitely makes the trip a lot more affordable when you don't have to pay for a hotel room.  The weather is so amazing in Hawaii no matter when you go, but I could live in the summer sun there.  
Parasailing is an experience that I will never forget.  I was terrified in the boat, but once I was up in the air I didn't want the time to end.

 Hawaii will always hold a dear place in my heart because it is where I met my boyfriend.  I was only there for a week, but that trip changed my whole life.

3. Close to Home: New Orleans
Now that I live in Louisiana, I have been trying to explore my new state. I have been to some amazing places including Baton Rouge and Avery Island, but New Orleans definitely has the most to offer.  Whether you want to go on a historical tour of the French Quarter, walk through the haunted graveyards, or bar hop on Bourbon Street, there is something for everyone.  I am so excited to be going back to New Orleans when my teacher bestie from California comes for a visit.   

Monday, July 23, 2012

My First Monday Made It

I am linking up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for my first Monday Made It.

Monday Made It #1 (for the classroom): I found this great football-themed bulletin board paper at the teacher supply store.  We use Accelerated Reader at my school and I am going to use this board to track each student's AR points for the quarter.  I attached a ribbon to each "5-yard line" and the students will move their football clothespin at 5-point increments. The whole project cost less than 10 dollars and I hope that it will motivate my students to keep reading.
Monday Made It #2 (for the classroom): I have been using Rick Morris's (from New Management) classroom sign language posters in my classroom for the past two years and I love them! This year I decided to make my own posters based completely on the ASL alphabet. 

Monday Made It #3 (for home): I have pinned three different versions of a magnetic makeup board, and I finally decided to make my own.  I took a shortcut and bought a black magnetic dry erase board and just decorated the frame with ribbon.  II bought the board, ribbon, and monogrammed metal container at Michael's for a total of $15 by using their great 40% coupon.  I love that it keeps all of my makeup at arms-reach, organized, and looks pretty.

Transitioning from Blog-stalking to Blog-writing

This summer I have spent hours pinning, blog-stalking, and creating items for my classroom.  Now I am finally spending the time to sit down and begin writing my own blog.  I am a third grade teacher in Louisiana, but am a California-native.  I have a lot of experience setting up classrooms and learning new curriculums because over the past eight years I have taught 2 different grades (third and fourth) in seven different schools.  This school year I will be teaching third grade at a public Montessori school, so I have spent a good portion of my summer learning about the Montessori philosophy and methods.  My school is also transitioning to the Common Core standards this year, and I am so grateful for all the teachers out there who have shared their Common Core resources.  I hope to begin sharing my own Common Core resources soon...keep posted.



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