"You're off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So...get on your way! ~ Dr. Seuss

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Check Out the NEW Blog

Happy Sunday Everyone...
I recently discovered that I didn't have an original blog/TPT name like I thought. Sooo...I am no longer going to be using this blog. I have a new name, new blog, and new TPT store - all are called The Primary Schoolhouse. I hope you will hop over to my new blog and follow me there. I look forward to continued sharing and learning from y'all.





Happy Days...

Monday, January 6, 2014

Back to School - Part 2

I can't believe it has been almost 5 months since my last post! I took on two new challenges in 2013. First, I started working on a Master's Degree last April. Can anyone say Holy Lots of Work!!!  Second, I took on a new challenge at work where I truly felt I had gotten in over my head. 25 years of teaching did little to prepare me for the realities of teaching 14 five and six year old ESE students. Some days, I came home numb and wondered if I was doing more harm than good to these little ones. Other days, I felt like we were making progress. Gradually, the good days outweighed the rough ones. By the time Christmas break was here, I felt like I was getting a grip on how to best help my babies.  Plus, it brought almost three weeks off from school (the first break since April). I truly needed these last few weeks. I am rested and excited to be going back to work and starting the next class.

I don't usually do New Year's resolutions since I'm pretty sure they will only last a few weeks, or hours. But, this year, I am making some and here they are:

                                        1. Budget my time better.
                                        2. Work out at least 3 times a week.
                                        3. Blog at least once a week.
                                        4. Plan time with friends at least once a month ( a huge improvement
                                            over the complete absence of "play" for the last 8 months.)
                                        5. Keep up with lesson plans and grading.

If I can do these things, then 2014 will be a much better year.

Here's hoping I see a lot more of you this year.

Amy

Saturday, August 3, 2013

My Room is Ready!!

Can you believe we had our Open House today??  It's August 3rd.!  I am still shocked at how early we had to start back.  Actually, we started back the same time last year.  I think what has me discombobulated is the fact that we started back on Thursday and our students start next Thursday.  Who starts the school year on a Thursday - LOL.

Anyway, my room actually got finished before the first family arrived (thank goodness!)  Since this is the first time I set up a classroom for the beginning of the year since I started blogging, I just had to share a few pics.


Here's what parents saw when walking in the door.  I can't believe how large my classroom looks in this pic.  I wish is was this big, but alas, it is not. 


This is our circle time area.  See the brightly colored book baskets lined up?  Those are going to be the students' baskets for Read to Self.  I decided to take some advice and implement the Daily 5 slowly.  We are going to start with Read to Self and see how it goes.



I love how my word wall came out.  It is easily accessible for me so that I can add words without having to be an acrobat or contortionist!




I am really excited about my portable "stage".  Most of my students are language impaired and need lots of opportunities to speak.  However, I know that many times, children are uncomfortable speaking in front of others.  So, in my travels this summer, I found this pocket chart puppet stage at an awesome teacher supply store in Greensboro NC.  I put it on a chart stand and put "STARRING..." at the top. The plan is to bring it over to our carpet area whenever students will be speaking.  I'm hoping that being behind the "stage" will help them feel more comfortable when speaking in front of the class.



Next, is my birthday board and basket.  I found this idea on Pinterest (and as soon as I find it again, I will edit this post and give credit to the originator.) There is one gift bag for each month.  Student birthdays are written on candles at the tops of the bags.  I am in love with my birthday basket.  I found a white basket at a thrift store for $2.00.  Since I am unable to make a bow, I also spent $6.99 on a cool-looking bow from Micheals.  Inside the basket is Eric Carle's book, The Secret Birthday Message. I am going to be on the look out for other birthday stories.  Then, students will choose a book from the basket for me to read aloud to the class.  In addition, there are birthday crowns, bookmarks, stickers, and certificates.  Everything I need to celebrate these special days in one convenient spot. 




I found a great set of Line Up Songs from Mrs. Ricca's Kindergarten. They are available for free in her TPT store.  Here is the link if you want to check them out http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Line-Up-Songs-Cards-565582.  I decided to attach them together and hang them by our classroom door.  Now, I can grab the cards, choose a song, and help my students get ready to head out.

I found a second, awesome basket at the thrift store.  This one is silver.  It just screamed "Treasure Box". So, I brought it back to Fl from North Carolina and spruced it up.  It is up high enough that my little ones can't touch it, but they sure can see it! LOL





Finally, my favorite part of Open House.  First, I create tags with a short message on them.

Next, I attached them to colorful lunch bags with bright blue ribbon.  The finished products made the room look even more colorful.  The looks on the kids faces this afternoon when I told them they were getting a gift to celebrate the start of a new school year was fun.  Lots of smiles and giggles. Again, I can't take complete creative credit.  I modified a pin on Pinterest to work for me.  I found all of the items at Party City. I will admit I spent more money on the ingredients of the bag, but I thought it was so much fun, I didn't really care - LOL.  There is no candy or food in the bags. I wish I had the close-up of the finished bag, but for some reason that is the one pic that would not upload.  Anyway, you can see them on the desks in the first pic.





I hope you enjoyed the tour of my classroom.  I am really looking forward to sharing the different activities we do this year.

Happy Blogging!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

69 Days and a Spontaneous Give Away

69 days ago, I said good-bye to my students and colleagues and began the most anticipated (and needed) time in a teacher's life - SUMMER VACATION! It has been a wonderful summer filled with rest, naps, relaxing, more naps, a road trip, visiting with family, chillin' in the pool, shopping, going out to lunch, and even more naps. Most of all - I haven't heard the sound of an alarm clock going off earlier than any person should ever have to get out of bed. However, all of this is about to change.  Tomorrow is our first day back to work. Teachers in my district report to work Aug. 1.  Students begin on Aug. 8.

Over the summer, my position changed.  At the end of the year, I was scheduled to be the CT resource teacher for grades K, 1, and 3.  Exactly what I had done last year and wanted to continue.  Then, I attended a Train the Trainer training for implementing CCSS and our new reading series.  Every day I sat in class and felt sorry for myself because the education pendulum was finally swinging back to what I consider "Real" teaching - you know, thematic teaching with data-driven instruction rather than a prescribed number of pages required to prepare students for a series-specific test. I called my principal and she had just received an additional second grade unit, which she said I could take.  I was sooooo excited that I would have my own class and be able to implement all of the wonderful things coming up this year. My one regret was that I would miss working with my low babies. 

I spent a little over a week prepared to teach second grade when I learned that our K-1 Intensive Academics teacher had to move out of state.  I thought long and hard about whether or not I could (or wanted) to take on this challenge.  I decided to talk to my principal and leave the decision to her.  To make a long story short (or at least shorter), I am now teaching the K-1 IA class this year.  I love how everything worked out.  I get the best of both worlds.  First, I will have my own class and classroom again.  Plus, I get to keep working with my age and population I love.

I have spent hours searching the internet this summer for ideas and have found some amazing things.  I know that I am going to implement WBT.  From everything I have learned, it sounds like just what my students will need.  I want to start using Daily 5, although I still not quite sure how that is going to work.

My classroom is almost set up and ready for Open House this Saturday.  I have not been this excited about back to school in several years and can't wait to share how it goes.

Now, on to the give away.  I have been a very neglectful blogger this summer.  I started working on my master's, which consumed a lot more time than I anticipated.  Anyway, as I was writing this post, I decided that the first 5 people who respond to this post with their email address and the product they would like out of my store will receive it free.  Pick any product. I'll email it to you either tonight or first thing in the morning. (Unless it takes longer for 5 people to respond - LOL). Just go window shopping in my TPT store, pick out what you want and then leave the item name and your email below. 

I hope everyone enjoys their last few days of summer (or their early back to school start).

Happy Blogging!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Back to School Products Linky Party



Can you believe July is almost half over?  My district starts back to work on August 1.  That means I only have 17 vacation days left!  I've decided to join Jennifer over at Elementary School Garden in her Back 2 School Linky Parties.  Each week, Jennifer is hosting a different Linky party - all topics having to do with Back to School.  This week, we are featuring our favorite Back to School TPT products.  Here are a few of my faves.

First up is my Owl-Themed Classroom Essentials.


 
This product provides all of the items you need to set up your classroom.  It coordinates with my Math and ELA CCSS "I Can" Statements. The CCSS statements are available for K-2. 







The other product that I am happy is finally finished is my September Bell Work for 2nd Grade.  There is one for each month of the school year.






I hope you will check out these and my other products.  Be sure to visit Jennifer's blog and visit some other awesome TPT sellers.

Happy Blogging!














Sunday, July 7, 2013

Giveaway...Giveaway...Giveaway



Congratulations to Jen over at Diving Into Learning.  She is celebrating her one year "blog"versary by hosting an awesome giveaway.  Click on the link above to hop over and check out the amazing prizes she is offering.

Happy Blogging,

Monday, July 1, 2013

Math Picture Books - Linky Party #2




DeeAnne had such a great idea!  I love these linky parties.  I am "Going home" in the fall and teaching first grade for the first time in 15 years and I can't wait.  On top of that, I will also have some Kinders (First time for K).  It has been a long time since I've updated my personal library so these Linky Parties are a tremendous help.  I have so many books on my wish list on Amazon that I think I need a second job!  Anyway, this week's theme is Math Picture Books.  Thanks to Pinterest, I've found a ton of great books.  Common Core is going to allow us to go back to integrated theme teaching, which in my opinion, is the most effective style.  Of course, to do that, I need books - LOTS of books.  So, here are a few of the math picture books I am most excited to use.

The first three deal with addition and subtraction.  I love the way that the first two define the concepts of addition and subtraction.  The text will be readable for my young readers, and the great pictures and fun words should make them both Old Favorites.


 Tyrannosaurus Math should be an instant hit.I know that I have more boys than girls in my class - and what boy doesn't love dinosaurs. 




I am always looking for fun ways to help students learn to skip count.  I use songs, rhymes, etc.  Now, I will also these books.

Eggs and Legs: Counting by Twos.

Lots of Ladybugs: Counting by Fives


Toasty Toes: Counting by Tens



Next, I found Mouse Shapes.  I remember seeing this book in another classroom, but I've never used it.  It will be a great intro to the geometry CCSS.



 Finally, I found a book called The Great Graph Contest.  This is the first book I've come across that introduces graphing to primary students.  It even contains directions for students to make their own graphs.



I can't wait to see what other books I am going to have to add to my wish list.  Be sure to check out DeeAnne's blog, First Grade and Fabulous,  to follow other posts.

Happy Blogging!