Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Composting

Does your school compost food or paper towels?

I am looking forward to hearing all about it in the comments!

Monday, August 25, 2014

First Day and Classroom Tour

OOOOOOOOOHHHHHHH! Back to School, Back to School. Got to show....
You get the idea, or if you don't it is from Billy Madison. I have not seen that movie since I was in middle school, but the song still pops into my head every year around this time. Almost a sort of traditional trick that my brain plays on me.

Either way, today is the first day of school for me, and per usual I couldn't sleep leading up to it. So... I remembered that I took pictures of my room, but never shared them.

Now is as good a time as any, so here we go. In no particular order, here is our room!
 One of my goals this year is for students to keep as little in their desks as possible. I am trying to combat the, "Which journal is that again?" or the, "I can't find my math workbook!!!!" Instead, I am stashing the materials around the room sorted by table teams. In the picture above, the notebooks on the left are their science INBs, the workbooks in the middle belong to math where their math INBs will also go, and the folders on the right are their writing "notebooks." *(I will have more on the writing notebooks/folders in another post soon!)
 Next up is my teacher area. Which truly isn't all mine. I don't believe in having just a teacher area since the classroom really belongs to the students, so they use my desk all the time. I keep an extra stool (that you can see if you look really carefully under the desk) for students to sit on. That way, even if I am in my chair working with students at the table found right in front of my desk, another student or sometimes two will tuck themselves right in there and work on the computer or at my desk. You can also see my lovely toolbox and mishmash of other teachery stuff that is necessary to have close at hand.
 Our writing area is looking a little simple at the moment, but we have not started yet, so that is why. One thing I did was take the legs out of the table so that students sit on pillows on the floor while working on writing. Mostly, it is just a couple less chairs that I need to keep in the room which is pretty refreshing and opens the space up a bit.
 This incredibly difficult to read bulletin board says, "I Can Use a Chromebook to..." We are fortunate enough to have 8 Chromebooks in our classroom thanks to the generosity of Donor's Choose. Our district is also starting a bring your own device program this school year, so I wanted to make sure to have a place that lists many options for students to use their device or a Chromebook on. There are many times when we will all be doing the same thing with our devices, but there will also be times when students get to choose how they will be using it.
 Our entryway is probably the only part of our room that is for pure decor. I started off my first year with just a few license plates, but students have brought more to me throughout the years. It is just a fun part of the room.
 Here you can see a wider shot of the team materials, but also students' book boxes up top. This area is basically the material mecca of our classroom. Our side of our Texas History INBs everything will be found here.
 I struggle with word walls. I don't know why, but I have the hardest time keeping up with them. This is my newest way of giving the old college try. We shall see how it goes.
Finally, we have our CHAMPs expectations. I love being able to just move the magnet. I honestly only do it for the first couple of weeks and then have a student take over the job. They are much better at remembering it than I am. I do love though that at any given time I can send student eyes to it as a reminder. 

Well, that is that, I hope that everyone starting today has/had a great first day. For those of you that have already been in for some time, just think how much easier it is already becoming to get up in the morning. Finally, for those of you that I haven't started yet and are smiling because you slept past 5:30 this morning, I will have that same smile on my face when we get out before you! :P

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Little Bit About Me!

It has been a while since I have introduced/shared some information about myself, and since this is the time of year where I do that a lot, I figured I would share a little here too!
My name is Alyssa. Basic huh? I might give just a little more than that. I live with my sister in Austin, TX. She moved into my one bedroom apartment with me over the summer. It is a little rough at times, but mostly works.
Fear not though, we only have about two weeks left before we move into a bigger place and can hopefully have a little more space to ourselves.
While moving and packing is less than fun, it is more than a little entertaining to build kitty condos out of boxes for my cat, Birdie. She may look meek in that picture, but she is a force to be reckoned with.
This weekend is the last one before school starts, so I am staying away from the school and trying to get outdoors.
 This morning we went to Mount Bonnell and hiked around a bit. We really enjoyed it, but also decided we really need a dog to do these things with too.
Over the summer I got the absolute privilege of going to the TPT conference in Vegas and room with my friend Kady from The Teacher Trap. I had a blast spending time with her and at the conference.
Last weekend I had lunch with some other amazing Texas bloggers. A big thank you to Katie from KTP on TPT for organizing the whole shindig. She did a fabulous job. 

No that you know how I have been spending my time, I will get down to the teachery stuff. 
I am starting my sixth year teaching a fourth grade self-contained inclusion classroom in Hays CISD. (In Kyle, just south of Austin.) Last year we made amazing gains in writing, but are looking for more. I am really excited to be using a true writing workshop model. We also have a lot of work to do in math and reading. Math is a little worrisome for me this year with the new TEKS put into place. 

All that being said, I could not be more excited for this year! I can't wait to see how it goes!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Pencils

How do you handle pencils in your classroom?

Can't wait to hear from you in the comments!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

One Day Sale

Have you heard? TPT is having ANOTHER back to school sale! I for one am super excited, because of course I found about nineteen things I HAVE TO HAVE right after the last sale.

You know the drill! My whole store will be 20% off Wednesday only, and then enter promo code BOOST to save another 10% for a total of 28% off! 

What are you waiting for? Go fill up that cart!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Math Time Capsules

Woot woot! It is that time again! Time for another selection of 150 bright ideas from some seriously amazing bloggers. It is my privilege to be included in this fabulous group! 
This month my bright idea is math time capsules! This is a quick and easy way to evaluate students' growth throughout the year. 
 All you need to get started are a few materials. One folder for the class, a class set of blank multiplication charts, pencils, and rulers. I love this material list, because it is all stuff that I already have in my classroom.

**I use a multiplication chart because multiplication is our big struggle throughout the year, but you could use any concept that you will be working on throughout the year.**
 First, give each student about five minutes to complete what they can of your concept page. When time is up, flip it over! Students will then trace their shoe and hand on the back of the paper.

 Finally, have students measure their tracings.
Collect all the papers and place them in the folder or however you plan to store them.
We repeat this process the day we get back from winter break and the last week of school. When we are done with the third one, we break them all out and compare. When we have time we create graphs comparing our progress on the multiplication table and other measurements. 
Other ideas to include in your math time capsule could be height, weight, age, or number of family members. 
It is so much fun to pull them out at the end of the year and compare how far our students have come! 

If you liked this post, please consider following me with Bloglovin', on Facebook, or on Teachers Pay Teachers for more great ideas! 

For more amazing ideas, from fantastic bloggers check out the linky below. Items are listed by topic and grade level to make your search a little easier! 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Back to School Blues Giveaway

Okay, so I am going to be real honest here. Today is my first day back at work. Well, not my first day. I was here several times setting up my classroom, but that was all by choice. Today is the first day I am required to be here. 

I have a serious case of the Back to School Blues. Don't get me wrong, I am excited to meet my new class and get the year going, but there are a few things that just aren't that exciting, and honestly cause me a bit of anxiety. 
I have become used to using the restroom whenever the need arises. That ends now. There is no way around it. 

I have to prepare myself to be hungry ALL THE TIME. Over the summer I eat when I want, or even when I am just bored. I have a whole kitchen at my disposal, and even better a ton of places just a short drive away who are willing to cook for me. Again, it ends. I will pack my lunches (and lots of snacks) to bring to school. There will be no, "I would rather have something else," and certainly no, "I will just run to ___ and grab something quick." 

Something about becoming a teacher no one told me was that I would be so happy on days when I was able to sleep until 7:00. I used to think that was the crack of dawn. Over the summer I usually slept until 8:00... seriously living the dream there! Now I return to the days where I am at work BEFORE 7:00. I am not a morning person, and that is all I can say about that. 

Enough of the negativity though. I know you all feel the same way about similar things. Let's get something straight though, really I can't wait. I am looking forward to seeing coworkers I haven't seen all summer. I am loving the way my classroom turned out. I am exceptionally giddy about seeing my new class. I mean, seriously excited about that one! 

So really, the back to school blues only last a little while. Then they are replaced with giddiness, glee, and just being exhausted. 

To make sure they stay away, I am having a little giveaway. Starting today and going through next Friday you can enter the Rafflecopter below to win a $25 gift certificate to Teachers Pay Teachers! 

Here's to an absolutely fabulous school year! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway