Saturday, August 25, 2012

Amazing Giveaway and Writing questions

Lindsay from My Life as a Third Grade Teacher  is having an AMAZING giveaway for reaching 600 followers.  

My Life as a 3rd Grade Teacher

Now I am not one to blog about other people's giveaways to earn credits but this one I would blog about even if I didn't get more credits!  I am excited about every, single item that is a part of this giveaway.... and that does not happen often.  You should definitely go check it out (even though it means less of a chance for me)! I hope that you find it as amazing as I do.  

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How many of you use the 6+1 Traits of Writing in your classrooms.  I have learned that the 3rd and 5th grades sort of use it so I am feeling the pressure to implement it in my class, even though I have little knowledge of it.  Any suggestions, any ideas, any thoughts, any advice? Currently the 4th grade just makes up whatever writing they want to do... sort of.  (I have learned that in International land we have a lot more wiggle room than I was anticipating!!) 

Let me know your thoughts and go check out the awesome giveaway at My Life as a Third Grade Teacher!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Classroom Photos

Today was long. But it ended on such a good note.  The new teachers all went out to dinner to relax and not talk about school!! It was wonderful and very much needed for a girl like me.

I know that I should have posted these pictures earlier but I never got around to it!  Also, I am not incredibly happy with my room design and layout still but for now it is what I have to work with.  So without further ado.....

Welcome to 4 B!

Super Summer Writing Activity from Coffee, Kids, and Compulsive Lists

freshly painted wall that will become our math stations

cubbies for back packs

classroom jobs above the white board

crazy desk area....
I did just get my Elmo today at the very end of the day.... BUT I can't wait to use it.  It does require me to rearrange my desk space so hopefully that area will be much more neat in a little while!

I am linking up with Swimming into Second

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Toothpaste Activity for watching our words

Last week I did a very fun activity with my class.  My class is very talkative and needs reminded often about watching their words.  Especially as ESL students they often do not realize what some things mean that they say!

Sooooooooooo. We did a group activity. For this activity you need a small bottle of toothpaste per group.  Honestly the other items are up to you!  The first time I saw this activity they used paper plates and toothpicks; one per group again.  But, I did not have paper plates so we used small plastic cups, 2 toothpicks, and a cotton ball.  

I used colgate because it was the cheapest here !

small cups (and you know what toothpicks and cotton balls look like!)

The first objective was to get all of the toothpaste out of its bottle into the plastic cup using only the materials provided.  I had the students brainstorm how they were going to do it.  Each group member had to participate.  I had them in groups of 4.  I also told them I was going to time them. (I did not tell them how to use the other materials... they had to decide themselves!) Then I set them off.  They did it in about 1 minute.  Easy stuff. Then we talked about what they had to do. 

I asked questions like:
- What was your strategy?
- Was this hard?
- Did you use teamwork?
- Did you need to communicate properly?

Then we moved on to the second goal which is to get all of the toothpaste back into the tube using only the materials provided.  The students had to brainstorm again.  Then I told them to begin.  I let them try it for 2 minutes and then stopped them.  Some were making some progress whereas others got no where.  With these materials, this is impossible to do!! (After I stopped them we threw everything away to get rid of the distractions and then chatted again)

I asked the same questions about strategy, teamwork, communication.  Then I asked if this was even possible to do.  They gave me lots of excuses and ways they could do it if they could change something.... but I always reminded them that they could not cut the toothpaste bottle open, or use a straw instead of a toothpick, or use a funnel or whatever else their brains came up with.  

Then I took the discussion much deeper.  We discussed how the toothpaste is just like our words.  Our words can easily fly out of our mouths just like this toothpaste. BUT putting our words back in is impossible. We also talked about how sometimes you only need a little toothpaste when you are brushing your teeth, just like sometimes you only need a few words.  We talked about using our words wisely and kindly to help others and not hurt them.  

All in all it was a fun activity that hopefully the kids will remember.  I can now remind them of the activity that we did and to watch their words.  It also helped them work on teamwork and problem solving skills!

** Just a couple notes if you are going to try it.  Make rules about not eating or putting on clothing.  Who knew that students would try to do this ;) Also, it might be good to put down paper or something on the desks. Again, who knew students could not get the toothpaste into the cup!**

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Made It #12

I am finally, for the second time, able to link up with Tara and 4th Grade Frolics.  I have loved looking over all the creations and seeing everyone's ideas.  This week I am sharing digital things that I have made for classroom.

Item #1 - Attendance signs.  We have magnets by the door that students move as they come into the class. They also move their magnets when they go to the restroom. I moved them together so it would fit in one picture, but you get the idea!

Item # 2 - Reward Cards.  For my Clip Chart the top is 'Star Student'.  My students are very motivated by rewards.  I know that is not the purpose of the clip chart, but I needed something for them.  We discussed as a class what some rewards can be that don't cost me money. They had so many ideas... I was Shocked!!

(Well I have been trying to make this a freebie for over an hour.  TPT must not like me this weekend. If it gets up soon I will share it with you all!)

Item # 3 - Subject signs.  I post our daily assignments here. Our white boards are not magnetic so I had to staple them to the border. It really bothers me that they are not even but I struggled putting them up so much that they are staying where they are!!


Oh my classroom jobs are sneaking in there too. Unfortunately, I dont have a better picture of them but you can see that I they are similar in design just black and white!

Well that is all for today.  More detailed pictures of the classroom will be coming soon.  

Adios from Thailand :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

First week of school!

I have officially made it through my first week of school as a teacher!! It was so much fun and I learned so much.  I am so blessed to be at this wonderful school. I LOVE having kids from all over the world.  It does make some things a little harder but overall it is wonderful! I have realized I need to talk slower so some of my ELL students can better understand me. I also need to talk clearer!

Anyway, I have so much to share that I dont know where to start!  I guess I will back track a few days to the TPT sale! I got some wonderful stuff.  I got  Ms. Fultz Community Building Activities.  I am excited to use this in the next couple weeks.

Additionally I bought an owl clipart set from Tracee Orman that I LOVE. It matches my owl and polka dot theme so brilliantly!  (more on that later)

I also purchased the Time Capsule from Fourth and Ten.

I did a much larger version of a time capsule when I was in 5th grade and loved it!  We did part of the activities last week and my kids loved it.  I told them they could bring in a picture or a small item to put in it for the year and they all got excited! We will finish them up and hide them away this week!

Finally, I purchased Super Summer Writing activity from Coffee Kids and Complusive Lists.  I did this with my students and they loved it as well! I had them write 2 paragraphs about their summer and then color, cut, and glue their super hero together.  It was great. I will post them on the walls this week!

(All items should be linked up to TPT now!)

So these are my first legitimate purchases from TPT that were specifically chosen for my classroom. I could not have been more thrilled.  Being on this side of the world has its advantages ;) I got to download my stuff right away because what seemed like no one else was on!

I will wrap this post up with my Sunday Encouragement.  Tomorrow (hopefully) I will post pictures of my classroom and some of the stuff we have done already.  The next day I will post about some dilemmas and questions I have experienced.  And then I hope to share and receive feedback from the new spelling program my school is doing.  Hope you all are enjoying your Sunday.

As teachers I feel like this is very important.  Work for a cause NOT for applause. mmmmm. Makes me think. I like it!!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sunday Encouragement

Today is Sunday. For me, the Sunday before school starts.  As the nerves set in and the anticipation builds I must remind myself of this one thing:

I may WILL mess up at some point during this first week and even more the following weeks, but those mistakes are proof of my existence.  They are proof that I am indeed trying. They are proof that I am human. A human trying to make a better life for myself and hopefully others as well.  I must remember these things.  I must focus on moving forward through everything.  This is my motto for the first week.  Maybe I should share this with my class as well!

Hope you all are encouraged to try new things and embrace the mistakes that come along the way.  Be blessed this week wherever you are in your teaching timeline and in life.  May you find reminders throughout the week that encourage you to continue doing what you do best!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

News flash!!

Today I found out the best news............................................................................

I found out that I get my very own DOCUMENT CAMERA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ahhhhhhhhhh! I am so frickin' excited.  I cant wait.  They just arrived so it will take a few days to get them ready, but still I can be patient for a few days!

Let me make this a little clearer for you.  When I interviewed for this position I asked about what technology they had in the classrooms.  They said they only had 1 computer and 1 projector per room.  I know at least there was that, but I was hoping for more.  ThEN I get here and here this wonderful news.

I am stoked, like really stoked.

Like I cant wait.

I am so blessed to be in my grade level! Only Grades 4, 5, and 6 are getting these things.  I just barely made the cut  ;)  YAY!!!!!!!!

p.s. I have been googling for quite some time to find/remember the brand that it is and I finally found it.  It is an AVerVision.  Im not certian that this is the actual camera I am getting but I just wanted a picture!!  yay.

clip art from their website :)
I am so excited.  Do you have a document camera in your room?  How do you use it?  What tips can you give me if you do?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Progress of room set-up

Today, I made a LOT of progress.  My classroom is not finished by any means but I have had some very good realizations.  (I must apologize that these last few and certainly next few blog posts will not be very enlightening to you all but are more of reflections on setting up my first classroom and getting through the entire process!) The first and most important thing I need to remember is that progress is something and I need to focus on areas that I have made progress.  Focusing only on my continually growing list of things to do is going to get me no where.

Secondly I have realized that when I dont feel comfortable or things aren't working for me I NEED to change them.  I probably rearranged parts of my room at least 10times to finally get it where I am pleased.  I decided that even though I am not totally sure on anything that I will be implementing in my classroom I still want to have a writing station and large reading or possibly work area for the students to move around in.  I also want the option of wall space which I had none of before.  So here is a general picture of my classroom from the front door.  Again this isnt finished and really is old furniture moved around.

You can't tell from this picture but there is another large bulletin board to the far left that is now easily accessible by the students which was my goal the whole time. Plus the area to the right is open wall space which will create my writing station... I think.  

I must mention that the desk set up is not staying.  No joke every single teacher in grades 3-6 has their desks set up in groups.  While yes I will be going to groups eventually I think that starting the year different and able to see everyone will be fun for all of us!  Also, thankfully those wonderful chair pockets (that is what they are called right? I had to google it but still am not my brain needs a break already!) were given to me. Each class has a set of them and they are beautiful!  

Anyway, the point is I made progress on my room set up.  Progress on planning and all of the other things.... I have not gotten there yet.

Oh ya back to my ORIGINAL point.  I also realized today that I need to focus on areas that I can fix in a matter of days... tomorrow is all staff day. Friday is new student orientation. Monday is first day of school!! I had to get over my classroom library.  While it is wonderful that I have all of those books, I want them to look like all the other fabulous libraries that I have seen.  Frankly that is not going to happen in the next 3 days.  Also, I had to realize that cabinets filled with things are going to have to wait.  I may need them later, I may not, but for now I cant worry about it.  

ok that is all for now.  Sorry I ranted about my learnings but it will help me remember!  Hope you all are having some successes in your classrooms! 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sunday Encouragement

Today's encouragement comes from a famous and favorite author Dr. Seuss.

Remember that you are you.  You were created with and for a purpose.  But you just have to be you.  That is all that matters.  Be confident in who you are.  

p.s. I'm thinking about posting this in my classroom.  I think it is important to instill this into young people, especially those who struggle with self esteem and confidence.  That is one of my goals this year to make sure that my class is confident in who they are.  

Enjoy your Sunday folks.  Be blessed!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

August Currently

Today I am linking up with Farley from Oh Boy 4th Grade.  I have wanted to join the fun for awhile now but hadn't gotten the courage but here I am today! 

B2S:  Post-its...duh.  Every year I need new ones! No matter what.  Sharpies are the same way.  I loved that Wal-Mart was selling them individually so I could buy the colors I needed wanted.  Last time I got a lovely teal and a lime green.  Finally, a new outfit.  I love starting the new year with a new outfit. It makes me feel new, refreshed, and ready to go!

Now, go link up with Farley and dont forget the rule of 3.  

Oh WAIT!!! One more thing.  I found out today that I only have 1 yes ONE surface in my entire classroom that is magnetic.... not a good thing for this girlie.  SO tomorrow I am off in hopes to find some bakery items that are magnetic to create some magic!  Just thought you might want to know another frustrating lovely thing about Thailand.  

Oh wait... AGAIN! I just remembered. Today I found Fourth Grade Flipper and Holly is having a wonderful giveaway for her 100 followers goal.  She is giving away an Amazon Giftcard.  I am still looking into if I can actually use this or not but most everyone CAN! Regardless you should check out her blog and follow her and then participate in this wonderful giveaway!  She would love that ;) 

4th Gr Flipper

Ok that is all for now.  I need to come up with a closing remark. For now I will say so-wat-dee-kha :)  (Goodbye in Thai!)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Stressed... New Teacher Questions

So today's post is not going to be informative but hopefully you can help inform me!  I have begun to freak-out and stress-out about everything.  I have 1 week from today for everything to be ready.  Next Friday is new student orientation and everything has to be ready by then.  The first day of school is Tuesday the 14th (with Monday being a holiday).  I also have New Teacher/All Staff Meetings everyday next week in the morning with classroom prep time in the afternoons (praise the Lord!).  I guess I need some direction from you because I feel a little lost!!

I have been able to get a few things done that I am excited about.  I have my bulletin boards covered in fabric and borders.  I have my calendar and jobs board up.  I have my management clip chart thingy ready as well as my hand signals... the only picture I took of my progress today... sorry.  Also, I do have my 'You fit right in' bulletin board things ready to be laminated and hung up.

p.s. this is the font I got from Laura at Will Grade for Coffee
Tonight I am working on my Welcome Letter and First Day of School activities.  What other things do I need to be doing.  I feel lost and without direction.  I guess I also need to explain that I am not terribly satisfied with my classroom layout but I am struggling with how to fix that.  (I know you cant help me there).  But what sorts of areas do you have in your room?  What kinds of things do I need to make sure that I have for the first day?  Where should I focus my energy this coming week?  Also, what sorts of things do I put on my bulletin boards for the first week?

I know I know, I should have be a little more prepared but I think the stress has hit me and made me forget everything I know or learned!

Also, blogger question:  How should I respond to comments?  When I reply on the blog to a person's comment does that person get an email?  Should I continue doing that or should I respond to the email I get about their comment with an email response?  What is proper etiquette?  I love getting comments and want to know what you all and everyone prefers!  I guess I hate when I have to search to see responses so I should probably send it over email right?!?

Ugh. so many things on my mind.  For now (remember its night time here!) I am watching NCIS and hoping to relax and sleep!  Tomorrow is grocery and school shopping, plus laminating... Have I mentioned that you cant get things laminated at school instantly.  They have to send it out so it is almost better for me to take it to a shop to get it laminated :( boo but such is life!

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