Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Joys of Teaching

So with it only being the first few weeks of school, I have needed to have a sub for various reasons already!  Illness, meetings, assessments . . . Having to retrain Kinders to get them back on task and making smart choices after being gone is definitely a task in itself!  I am hoping they remember our classroom rules and expectations and are easy on our guest teachers!  Anyone else have tips or tricks to use with kiddos during these transition times?  Bribery always works well!!  :)
Monday, September 16, 2013

National Boards and Start of the School Year!

Well, we have officially started our school year and are into the start of our second full week.  I have two wonderful groups of kiddos 23 in my morning class and 24 in my afternoon.  I forgot how little in size they are at the start of the year and how much guidance they need just to do the simple things that my kiddos were able to do automatically by the end of last year!  DIBELS testing has been done, now time to start on figuring out Reading Groups!  We are still working on introducing each letter and letter sound and working on our best BEST handwriting!

We are also starting our journey through the National Board Certification process.  Our first meeting with our wonderful school district's very own Cadre' is tonight after school and BOY to I feel unprepared!  I have just started collecting materials for my professional development entry and have only thought about the other entries in passing!  I have my timeline and standards posted on my teacher board right next to my desk just inches from my nose!!!  I really want to make sure that I know these and encompass these standards into my daily teaching and interactions with children and parents and peers.  I feel like I am putting a lot . . a TON of stress on myself this year along with being a mom to my wonderful two year old, middle schooler, and high schooler!!!  I will think about the rewards not only for myself professionally but also personally and to make my family proud!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Almost there . . .

So I have been working on getting my classroom ready since last week, through the weekend in the dark . . . yes, the power was out on Saturday and I was still there!  I finished (well, are we ever really finished?) up today.  Today was details and orgainizing.  Putting binders together with cutie little typed up spines for all my precious National Board information . . . yes, I made the leap to keep the binders at school as I've downloaded all the same information onto my iPad.  It's not as cute on the iPad, but I am forcing myself into giving up the old pencil/paper habits of highlighting and going all online.  Our submissions are all electronic, why not read the standards and entry requirements electronically right?? 

Anyway, back to getting organized.  I feel GREAT!  I am doing an owl theme with polka dots!  My teaching partner, Jessica, also chose polka dots! 

What can we say?  Great minds think alike!  I am so excited to have a fresh outlook on EVERYTHING!

Hubby refinished my desk . . . with cool orange chalkboard paint! I picked up a great new chair at Big Lots for 40 bucks!


 I have been printing a ton of the cutie owl things from TPT and supporting my fellow teachers and totally not having to reinvent the wheel!  My word wall header I did myself though!  :) 

So now . . . we wait.  Wait for those kiddos to finish registering for Kindergarten so I can find out all the wonderful little boys and girls who will make up this year's Kindergarteners!  I even put a board together awaiting their amazing student work!

NEXT. . . it's onto name tags, cubby labels, transportation boards, birthday boards, writing folders, homework folders, etc!  What more do we all put names on??!!!  I am probably missing something, but I want to make sure I am ready!  NOW, to focus on family.  My kiddos have soccer and we have the in-laws coming in from Nova Scotia to visit for ten days!  This Summer has flown by quickly!   Here are some snapshots of my classroom!  Glad I'm "almost there"!!!  :)
Wednesday, August 7, 2013

an Award? For me?!

Susan at Teachin' H.A. (high ability), shared the Liebster Award with me! 

The Liebster Award is an award given to new bloggers to help encourage and promote them in the bloggy world. Just what I am in need of! As you can see I am so new to the blogging world that my posts haven't even reached the double digits yet! I couldn't thank Susan enough at . . .

So, after checking out Susan's blog and what this Liebster Award is all about, I am ready to get started!
Here are the rules:
1. Link back to the blog that nominated me. (Yay!  Successfully done!)
2. Answer the questions posted for me by my nominator.
3. Share 11 random facts about myself.
4. Create 11 questions for my nominees.
5. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers.
6. Contact my nominees to let them know that I nominated them.

#2.  Here are Susan's ?'s for me . . .

1. What inspired you to begin blogging?  Blogging is something that I've always wanted to try.  I am constantly challenging myself to learn new things and LOVE LOVE LOVE technology.  I just wish I had more time to play and learn!!  I love reaching out to other teachers and collaborate on ideas and ways to continue to improve my teaching environment so my students can be successful!

2. What are 3 of your favorite strategies you use in your classroom?  For behavior management, I love to use "if you can hear me, put your finger on your nose . . . if you can hear me, put your right hand in the air . . ." or anything else you can think of!  It allows the kiddos who are still catching up to catch onto what you are doing in getting their attention. Since I teach Kinders, for voice/print tracking, it's fun to draw a happy face on their index finger to keep their focus and attention on the text and saying the words.  It's silly, but it WORKS!  Another strategy I use often is making use of downtime or transitional time and practicing those rote memory tasks such as counting from 1-100!  Any ANY time we have available is being used to practice something . . . singing color word songs, speaking our ABCs, counting by tens . . . anything we can think of we do!

3. What are you most interested in learning about High Ability education?  With my upcoming Kinders, I will have a few who are H.A.!  What are some simple things aside from the academics that I can do to continue to keep them challenged and not get "bored".

4. They say it is a good idea to make positive phone calls home to parents. What are some things you like to call home about?  I love to share when a student has done something nice for another student.  I love to show the parents that compassionate side of them!  It's always easy to celebrate the academic success, but the social and empathetic side is always heartwarming!

5. I am going to have my very 1st student teacher in the fall. What are 3 tips I should give her about teaching? Or what are 3 tips for me about having a student teacher?  3 tips to give . . . 1.  Don't feel you have to reinvent the wheel!  The best teacher ideas are always borrowed!  Use those resources . . . TPT, blog sites, etc.  2.  Don't be afraid to ask questions!  Even the most silliest question!!  There are a lot of student teacher's out there who are seemingly intimidated to ask questions . . . ASK AWAY!  3.   Learn how to lesson plan!  WHAT is your purpose for teaching this lesson.  How does what you are doing promote student growth and learning, or is it just a really good lesson that you thought was cute . . . how does it tie into the CCSS.   3 tips to share with a student teacher . . . 1.  Offer anything and everything!  Share, share, SHARE!   2.  Discuss behavior management tips and trick and what to do with those difficult students.  3.  Go over those buzz words with your student teacher that will help them have a successful interview as they move on in their teaching careers!  Why are they doing what they are doing . . . are they teaching to the WHOLE CHILD, are they using Formative Assessments, what type of ongoing assessments are they going to use to drive their instruction.

6. What blogs to you follow religiously?
The Quirky Apple
Chalk Talk

7. What is the one classroom item you could not teach without?  Hands down my document camera . . . if I had a Smartboard, I'd say that!  But since we are a technology poor school, at least I have a document camera and not an overhead projector!

8. What is your favorite non-school related book?  The Hunger Games!  Can't wait for the next movie too!

9. If you could live anywhere, where would you live? Why?  I would love to live on some small tropical island somewhere . . . Give me a sandy beach and sun any day!

10. What is your go to recipe when answering the dreaded question "What's for dinner?"  Lasagna!

11. How do you spend your summer breaks?  With my WoNDerFuL kiddos!!  Love spending the first week of Summer Break with them, then I am ready to send them back to school!  LOL!! 

#3. Share 11 random facts about myself.
  Ok . . . here goes . . .
1.  I've had many a name change!  Next time, I'll stick to Frodo and have that be that!
2.  This will be the start of my 17th year teaching, but because of the move to Washington State, it only shows up as 15.something though I have taught every year I have been here, it hasn't been full years!
3.  I've had way too many pets in my lifetime and really, don't want any more!  I love my dog, but hate cleaning my floors!
4.  I used to be a ballerina!  Though I love tap, ballet was my passion. When I retire from teaching I'd love to open a dance studio.
5.  I love Gerber (or gerbera) daisies . . . specifically orange.
6.  I drink some type of caffeine all day long! 
7.  My side job is a Jewel Kade stylist!  I am a horrible sales person though!  I have only had one party in the year I've signed on . . . mostly I buy as gifts and for myself!!  Visit my website at !
8.  I would love to go to Europe someday.
9.  I secretly wish I was a better soccer player so I can keep up with my boys!
10.  I love love love my job!  School is my happy place!

#4.  Create 11 questions for my nominees . . .
1.  What would you do if you couldn't teach?
2.  What is your "go to" plan for behavior management?
3.  What is your favorite subject/lesson to teach and why?
4.  What is your favorite web-site to use in the classroom?
5.  Do you sing in the classroom and if so, what is your favorite song to sing?
6.  Who inspired you to become a teacher or who inspired you to be a better teacher?
7.  What are your favorite blogs to find inspirational ideas from?
8.  What is your go to resource book for teaching and why?
9.  What do you do to unwind after a long school day?
10.  What has been your most inspirational teaching moment thus far?
11.  What is your preferred or favorite method of parent/teacher communication and why?

#5.  Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers.
The Quirky Apple

and the rest is not so easy for me as I am still new to the blogging world myself!  Still working on a few more!! 

6. Contact my nominees to let them know that I nominated them.  Here's to hoping I've done that part right and that my nominees have time to participate as well!  :)

Goodnight blogging world!! 
Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Am I crazy?

So, this school year starts the journey towards National Board Certification in addition to implementing the Danielson Framework for Teacher's Evaluations and a new year in Kindergarten.  I am beginning to think I am crazy super excited to start a new journey!  Anyone can tell you that National Board Certification is rewarding and will change your life and the way you view yourself as a teacher.  I believe they are correct in every way!  Right now, after attending the "official" Jump Start classes, I am realizing the value of documentation and saving every piece of paper, email, student work, or whatever else you deem valuable over the past five years of your career!  Save Save Save teachers!!!  Aside from the professional growth daunting Entry #4, the National Board experience allows you to view yourself as a student centered teacher.  What do you do to show student growth, achievement, and how do you guide your instruction to promote student success.  I am looking forward to this process and believe that even though my personal life is crazy busy with two boys (one in high school and one in middle school) and an almost two year old daughter, I CAN do this and I WILL pass the first time . . . or I will cry!  I have the pleasure of going through this experience with two AMAZING ladies and teachers who I will be spending TONS of time stressing cheering each other on!!  I will keep you all up-dated on the experience and how I'm balancing home, teaching, and this amazing opportunity pursuing National Board Certification!  Wish us luck! 

Friday, June 21, 2013
So the school year came to a close and truth be told, I'm quite sad!  It was a year full of ups and downs . . . happy and sad . . . but REJOICING that I will be back at the same school next year teaching Kindergarten now until I decide to retire or they kick me out!  I have a wonderful teaching partner and am blessed to be in a building full of wonderful teachers I am happy to call friends.  Look for changes to my blog over the Summer as I tailor it to Kindergarten.  I already have my brain spinning over all the CCSS alligned Math curriculum I want to work on over the break and post to TPT!  ALSO . . . working on National Boards next year!  Wish me luck . . . I'm going to need it!  That and some  LOTS of Starbucks coffee!