Saturday, May 19, 2012

Teacher Talk

Somehow I've made it out of these last two weeks alive... let me tell you never in my life have I had such a strange combination of kids. Strange, but very funny- I've enjoyed spending my first year at my new school with them, even though they drain me of all mental and physical strength!! PASS testing is always tiring; there's nothing like staring at a group of kids for 3 hours without being able to do ANYTHING for fear of a testing violation.

This past week consisted of trying to rally my kiddos' brains long enough to complete our Cultural Night project. Lord have mercy!! You would think I was trying to convince them to do brain surgery. *Rolls eyes* Nonetheless that is done and over with and I'm super excited to do some fun ecology activities and labs (such as this one) and finish with a 'save the environment' movie such as Fern Gully (throwback to the 90's anyone??) or Wall-E. I'd be excited if I were my student, just sayin'. :)

The end of the school year always gets me excited for the next one to come! A fresh start with a new group of kids and a new chance to make an impact for good. Last year at this time I had been told that I would not be welcome back where I was teaching [ they told me it was because I wasn't a good teacher- truth be told someone ran their mouth about me expressing my opinions and they got rid of me- I hold no ill feelings toward anyone, I've just learned to be very careful about who I trust now. :) ]. At that time it was a hard pill to swallow; I was weeks away from getting married and had just bought my first house. Talk about pressure!! So the new start I got was very welcome but the result of days and days of tears (so many tears- I'm grateful my sweet, sweet Josh stuck with me and was my shoulder each and every time I broke down), fears (who's gonna want another school's sloppy seconds?), and working my you-know-what off to prove I'm not what they made me out to be.

This year- I'm more than welcome back. I have found where I belong; where God really wants me. And it makes me very excited to actually plan for my classroom. Because the teacher before me left SO much stuff, many of my things and ideas have sat in a box or on idle all school year. Most of the clutter resides in my lab closet. Need proof?

Insert scary music here...
 Poor custodians had to climb over boxes to check the fire extinguisher... I'm pretty sure the fire marshal wouldn't appreciate that. Not to worry though, because I took a whole planning period (90 minutes) one Friday and got to organizing! I'm not going to post another picture until it's completely finished, but just imagine that picture without about 80% of those boxes and that's what it looks like right now. Much better!!

I've wanted to learn how to put a 'mood board' together for a while now, and what better way to inspire me to enjoy these last two weeks of school than with a 'MY Classroom' mood board?

Using Picasa's collage function (because I am NOT a Photoshop pro like other bloggers such as Sherry and John at Young House Love and Katie Bower at Bower Power) I've created this mood board to reflect some things I already use and would like to incorporate into my classroom:

Click on the image to see full size!
All of these images came from my "In My Classroom" Pinterest board and I claim no credit, just appreciation, for these ideas!

1- If you're a teacher, you need to visit Schoolgirl Style! This pennant banner is from her Carnival collection and I love it! It would look great swagged over my white boards!

2- Our school has the coolest invention ever- a poster maker! I can take any image (legally marked for reuse, of course) and print it off as a full color poster for my classroom, and this image is a perfect example of the attitude I take in my classroom!

3- What an incredible bulletin board! A Middle School Survival Guide shared where this idea came from and even has a pdf link for the words! I love when teachers share!

4- Even though I teach seventh grade I get sick and tired of signing hall passes where students have written the wrong time. This would help my kiddos a lot!

5- More from the Schoolgirl Style Carnival collection. This teacher just can't get enough organizational labels, and these are so cute!

6- How neato is this? A crocheted frog dissection! If I can't find a pattern to do this myself I guess I'll just have to make one up!

7- I have 2 great file cabinets that need a serious makeover. Looking forward to using this tutorial to do just that this summer.

8- I used the poster maker earlier this school year to make this poster and I love this saying! What a good way to reinforce relevant contributions to class discussion.

9- Carnival collection table number pennants! So adorable!! My students are always asking me which table they are sitting at... these would remedy that for sure.

10- I already have some yellow and white paper lanterns hanging above my huge window and I'd love to add some bright polka dot ones to the mix!

11- This Stitches and Stripes border pulls all the bright colors of my classroom together!

12- I already use this border- it's called Sassy Sprockets! Awesome, or awesome?!

13- Melanie at Schoolgirl Style recommends layering your border to really make bulletin boards stand out. This simple lime green border will do just the trick!

14- My first project for my new classroom this year was a super cute pencil vase like this one for my desk. I'll have to take a picture of mine to share.

15- At Miss Kindergarten, she shares in this post how she organizes information at her desk. I can attest to the flood of papers that ends up piled up on my desk and can't wait to try this out!

16- A sub tub! How brilliant!! And she uses my froggies, too! I found the info for this project here.

17- Djinkers makes the funniest froggie and I've used many of her items to decorate my classroom with these cuties!

18- Dragonflies in First uses this frog hamper as 'Freddy the phoneme finder'. Cute as that is I have no need for a phoneme finder; however,  a 'lost and found' is a necessity with middle school kids who travel from class to class, and a Freddy the frog hamper would be perfect for that!

19- This was another one of the first projects I did for my classroom. I wasn't sure the kids would like it, but it really caught on and I go through about a sheet of these a week! They love picking up a smile on their way out the door. :)

20- Last but not least, I CAN'T WAIT to pick up a toolbox and create this neato box for all the odds and ends we teachers use all the time! Rebecca at Create Teach Share made this beauty!

So there you have it! A few ideas that I'm looking forward to tackling as this school year wraps up and sweet summertime takes over! What projects are you looking forward to tackling this summer? Maybe planning a vacation is as far as your project endeavors are going to go?

Until next time,

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