Sunday, August 12, 2012

Where Do You Cool Off in Alaska?

Per usual, I was perusing blogs the other night as I was trying to "sleep".  Some time in the wee hours of the morning, I found myself more than a little amused when I came across a post about "Alaska" on the One Extra Degree blog.  Then, as I later ventured on to Pinterest, I saw several other bloggers who have also created "Alaska" in their classrooms too.  I think the idea of sending the kiddos to "Alaska" to cool off is ingenious!

  I too, have been working on a place in my classroom where the kids can go to cool off. I would love to borrow the idea, but there's one slight problem...we actually live in Alaska.  As witnessed by the picture I've posted (which was taken in late June) of the kids and I, Alaska really is a great place to cool off even in the dog days of summer.  So my friends, my question to you is: Where should kids in Alaska go to cool off?  I'm thinking they just may need to go somewhere warm and tropical, where they can sunbathe their troubles away.  What do you think?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Newbie Bloggers Blog Hop

I've decided it would be fun to join the Newbie Bloggers Blog Hop, hosted by Janis at Grade Three is the Place For Me.  It's a quick and easy one and I thought it would be fun to link up.  Here are the questions that need to be answered:

    1.  what state you are in

    2.  your current teaching position
    3.  your teaching experience
    4.  when you started blogging
    5.  share a blogging tip / blogging  

    1.  I live in Alaska, the 49th state

    2.  I teach third grade 
    3.  This will be my second year officially teaching
    4.  I began a family blog when we first moved Alaska five   
         years ago, but I have only had my teacher blog for less 
         than a month.
    5.  I have learned the hard way that even though it would be 
         so super satisfying to do all my blog designing on my own, 
         sometimes it's just easier to pay a "professional".  

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Zen Moment

Once again, I'm linking up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics, for Monday Made It.  I have to say, I think this week's Pinterest inspired creation is my favorite so far.  Last year, I had a handful of kiddos who needed a little extra TLC in the behavior department, if you know what I mean.  With that in mind as I go into the new school year, I decided that we could all use a little more zen in our lives this year.  When I saw these cool time-out bottles on Pinterest, I knew I had to make a few for my classroom.  So, without further ado, here is my made-it for the week:
After Shaking
After Shaking
These fabulous time-out bottles were super simple to make!  I just filled up the bottles 3/4 of the way with hot tap water.  I then added a bottle of colored glitter glue and a small container of ultra fine glitter to each bottle.  The customization came next, compliments of clear gel glue.  I added the glue to slow down the speed at which the glitter falls.  Once I got everything just right, the caps were super glued on and the project was complete!  I don't know how much easier they could have been to make.

I figure regardless of what grade you teach or how fast-paced things are in the classroom, there is no doubt that somebody will need a little re-grouping at some point in time.  I don't have an exact plan for the bottles yet, but I know when the time comes, I'll be glad I made them.  If nothing else, I can always use them for a little personal time-out when the going gets tough.

Before Shaking

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Let The Freak Out Begin

This past week, I had a girlfriend in town from Southern California.  We worked hard and we played hard.  When we weren't playing tourist, we were crafting.  It was so fun for me to have another "girl" around to bounce ideas off of, and to keep me focused.  Amanda is leaving tonight (cue the tears and sappy goodbye music), so this week is going to be the start of the big push.  After all, we report back on the 16th, and my room still looks like this....

As you can see, the good news is that we didn't have to take the paper and fabric off of our bulletin boards for the summer, so I'm not totally starting over from scratch.  The other good news is that my classroom has BRAND NEW DESKS this year.  You read that correctly this age of "no money for education", I was lucky enough to get BRAND NEW DESKS!  Holla!  I will have to take a pic of the old desks, so you can all see how desperate we were for new ones.  For some reason, my classroom was the only one that still had desks from circa 1965!  You have no idea how much room I gained, just by kicking those old, ratty desks to the curb.  They were way bigger (and uglier) than these beautiful new ones.

After Amanda and I had a little party-for-two, because of the desks, we moved on to the daunting task of cataloging my classroom library.  Last year there was no rhyme or reason to my library.  The kids used the heck out of it, but I didn't feel like everyone knew what books I actually had.  It was always just kind of pot-luck when they'd go to look for a book.  This year, my goal is to have a system.  The problem is, I don't know exactly what I want that system to be.  I have seen various ideas on the blogs, but none of them suit me 100%.  I'm sure mine needs to be a hybrid of some sort, but I still don't know what I want it to look like ultimately.  In an effort to procrastinate, yet still be productive, we tried cataloging the books using the Book Retriever App.  It works great in theory, but I can't figure out how to sort my titles.  If I can't sort the titles, then the program is worthless to me, as they are currently listed in the order I am scanning them.  Can you say "pointless"?  If any of you out there in bloggyland are familiar with the app and know something I don't, please feel free to chime in.  I'd be forever grateful.

On that note, I'm off to get some breakfast and then back to the grindstone.  I'll be posting a very fun Monday Made It tomorrow, so be sure to check back.  After all, my crafting would be for not if I didn't have anyone to share all the fun with.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Getting My Craft On

As I was creating my stuff to link up with 4th Grade Frolics' Monday Made-It this week, crafting for the classroom became quite the family affair.  Our two boys arrived back from being out of town for a few weeks (spending quality time with my in-laws).  When my 13 year old son saw what I was working on, he quickly decided he needed a piece of the action.  Later, my husband decided he needed to get in on the action too. Add my visiting friend, Amanda, to the mix and you can only imagine the crafting extravaganza we had!

A few months ago, in an issue of Instructor Magazine, I was inspired by a free printable for reader's theater props.  I knew I needed them, instantly, but I needed to make the time to actually do it.  I downloaded the printable, laminated the amazing props, cut them out, and attached skewers to them with hot glue.  I hope my kiddos enjoy them as much as my family does.
Then, I took the plunge and made one of the crayon melting projects that are all over the blogs and Pinterest.  My personal touch was the vinyl decal.  I wanted writing of some sort at the bottom, but wasn't sure what.  Then, I remembered I had some vinyl decals with inspirational words on them.  I attached it, and Voila!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Teachery Things I Can't Live Without

As the summer winds down, my kids are out of town, and I have no access to school yet, I have been having a good time checking out a ton of blogs.  They are giving me a plethora o' ideas to help start the school year off right.  Now, if I can just remember whose blog I saw what on.

Speaking of blogs, the other day my real-life friend, Jaime, over at Bloom, stumbled across a fun Linky-Party being hosted by Teacher Idea Factory and suggested I join.  When I realized it was a list of my top 5 must haves for school, I was all over it!

There are no two ways about it, my number 1 is my number 1, but the rest of my must haves are in no specific order.  I wonder if any of you out there can relate....

1. My super amazing, incredibly handy husband.

I have found that many husbands act like a classroom is their wife's domain and it is not to be messed with.  They have no interest in coming within yards of the school, nonetheless into the classroom.  I am learning that my husband is a hot commodity in the world of teaching.  He builds things for me, he hangs things for me, he schleps to school to barbeque for my class, he even (bless his heart) brought a power washer to school one Saturday to help me clean up some grease I had spilled on a concrete pad.  Don't get me wrong, he's not perfect and he sometimes goes to school kicking and screaming, but he still goes.  I am grateful everyday to have a husband who is willing to help me out on this wild ride.

2. The Internet
O.K., I guess I lied earlier when I said my list was not in any special order.  My husband is still number 1, but the internet is a super close number 2.  I don't even want to begin trying to guess how many hours I spend online each night looking at blogs or shopping TPT/TN, as I figure out what on Earth I am going to be teaching my kiddos in the near future.  I also can't imagine being a teacher back before the internet and teacher blogs.  I knew there was a reason I had my kids first and a career later.

3. Vinyl wall decals

Last year, as I was getting ready to set up my room I came across some super cute vinyl wall decals.  I had no idea how they would work in my room or if they would actually stick to the walls.  They worked like a charm and have held up better than I could have asked.  I love how customized and inviting they make my room look.  The kids really enjoy the little extra something they add too.

4. Target/Michaels/Amazon

Need I say more????  Living in Alaska we do not have a Lake Shore, Hobby Lobby, Dollar Tree, etc., so we have to take what we can get.  I LOVE these three stores.
5. Mod Podge

Oh, my word, Mod Podge has changed my life.  I can't begin to list the countless items I have made for my classroom thanks to the power of Mod Podge. It seems like whenever I have a question about how to adhere something, the answer always seems to be Mod Podge.

What items do you swear by in your classroom?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

First Day Jitters

I am linking up with a fun blog hop that Fierce in Fourth is hosting.  This particular hop spoke to me, as this will only be my second year teaching.  The three things I am most jittery about are:

1. Classroom Management- Not only was last year my first year teaching, but I just had a tough class.  Before the year started I knew I needed to have my management act together and....I thought I did.  Little did I know, I had no idea what I was really in for.  I am still working on exactly how things are going to run in my classroom.  I think it is going to be a blend of CHAMPS and WBT.  Wish me luck!

2. Finding the balance between work and home is stressing my out quite a bit.  My career and family are two things that I want to be REALLY great at, which takes work on both fronts.  Luckily, I have been married for a number of years and my boys are getting older, but I still need to find that balance between being a mom, a wife, and a teacher.

3.  It sounds a little silly, but I am also a little jittery about our daily schedule.  Last year, we didn't find out our schedule for Specials, lunch, etc., until the day before school started.  It made it a little difficult to plan.  Then, I had several days with pull-outs first thing, followed by lunch at 10:50 (yes, 3rd graders with lunch at 10:50 makes for a long afternoon).  A schedule like that made it hard to plan a balanced day.  As I sit and type this, I can have a ton of grand ideas about my day, what I want to do and how I want to do it, but ultimately a lot of that is in the hands of my principal.

I must say though, that even with all of my jitters freshly off my chest and out in the open, I'm still super excited about the upcoming school year.  Now, if I could just get my keys back so I can really start getting my act together.