Sunday, June 24, 2012

5 Things You Need to Know About Me....

Holy cow! Two days in a row with a blog post?!

Actually, I wanted to post about this yesterday, but got all caught up in the bindery-goodness. And now, this is the perfect time for a teeny-tiny blog as I hydrate for a quick run :)

At the very end of the school year, in the midst of struggling to keep the attention of my class as well as keep quiet the fact that we were all moving up to third grade...I decided to adapt an assignment that many teachers do during the last week of school. The norm is that each student writes a letter to the up-and-coming kids for next year's _____Grade class...However, since next year will not be the same grade in my room, I had my class write down 5 things that next year's class needed to know about me.

The results were amazing!

Here is a smattering of some of them:

*Try to whisper when the door is open. (We are in a very cemented hallway that kinda echoes when the door is open)

*Have fun with art projects.

*Be a fantastic, excellent Stallion. (I now plan on telling everyone to "stay excellent" next year)

*Don't yell so loud that everyone can hear you. (yell quietly, please)

*She is super smart.

*She can see everything. (Remember that!)

*She pays attention to you.

*Be nice to each other.

*Don't be silly...but sometimes.

*Do not punch. (clearly kicking is okay)

*Never tell on other people, only if dead or dying in class. (HA!)

*Do not do things wrong on purpose. (only on accident is acceptable)

*Don't act like a first grader.

And my favorite.....

When you go to a play in the MPR, don't talk to your neighbor or else she will give you the eye.

I am indeed well known for "the eye."

Perhaps that is why this strange illustration appeared at the end of one note:

Saturday, June 23, 2012

How to Start Your Summer Vacation

Ok, let's see if we can get through this post without my computer getting all screwy!
(*UPDATE: By the end of this post, I had to hook up my laptop to my television so that I could use it as a monitor.)

Yes, I am terribly consistent at blogging (ha), but between the project I am about to share and Apple telling me that I need a new display for my laptop, it feels legitimate that I haven't blogged in two weeks.

Oh, and summer.
Let's not forget the pull to do nothing...that's a big factor too.

In any case, I have been in the midst of a massively gigantic project: organizing all of the master copies for second grade.

Two file boxes of papers have now been condensed down to two 3" binders. Hooray! I anticipated this job to be simple, as I already had my papers organized by month and subject. While typing the information for the labels and printing them took about an hour, the remainder of the project took somewhere in the neighborhood of 18-20 hours to complete.

Mind you, this is because (as we know) I am ridiculous and wanted to create all of the dividers myself.

Start by creating a circle design in powerpoint, and type the divider labels into the template.

Next, place post-it notes over the circles in whatever pattern you want. I color coded my binder so that each color reflected a subject.

Now for the fun part! Stick the post-it-noted paper back into your printer! Best idea ever! Thank you Ladybug's Teacher Files! Now all of my tabs matched in size and in handwriting.

At this point, the ridiculousness sort of began. I now had labels for months, as well as labels for every subject that we covered for the whole year. They were all printed nicely on post-its and looked beautiful....but all of these had to be cut out. Yay. The trusty circle cutter came out for this big job. Circle labels are my favorite. They turn out so consistently. Sometimes I have issues with my straight edge slide cutter because things don't line up properly and lines aren't entirely parallel.

From where I sit, I am about 20 minutes away from the nearest laminating machine. Cost of gas and cost of lamination taken into consideration, I had some HD Clear packing tape handy and opted for that cheap form of fake-laminating. It actually wound up working better than if I had laminated them because I was able to leave a strip of the sticky post-it exposed. This allowed me to store them neatly together until I was done, as well as to carefully position them onto the card stock divider sheets in perfect alignment.

Toss in a handy cover sheet, and now we are all ready to load it up!
That's right! Up until this point, the hours of organization were spent creating the framework to organize! Hooray!

From this point on, it was just a matter of sliding my masters into sheet protectors and placing them into their respective binder category. Which took a good amount of time sitting in front of the TV...practicing my multi-tasking...

In the end, one binder was not enough, and I had to make another trip to Staples to pick up a second....and if we're being realistic, I probably over-squeezed into both...because having a third binder that didn't match in size was not an option.

And, for all of you who are thinking, "Why not scan all of this?"

I thought of that.
About 3/4 of the way through making the dividers.

Plus...I would have to print out a master copy anyway when we got to needing that activity in the future. Ultimately, I am not teaching second grade next year, and my classroom doesn't have much storage. So now, instead of storing two file crates full of junk, I only need to find space for two binders stuffed with junk!

Now on to the next 125 hours of my 150 hour independent study! Bring on the grade level CHAMPS posters!...and some more circle cutter bonding.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Now For Some More Work!

What does one do with the first hours of summer.....hmm...go to lunch with friends? (check) Sit on the couch? (check) Watch kind of dumb television? (check) Get blog guilt when you realize you haven't blogged since March? (check) Start thinking about fonts for my focus wall?

Wait? What?

Having titled a blog something to the effect of "Why I Need to Teach Second Grade Next Year," I clearly jinxed my workload and am now moving up to teach third grade next year.

This will be a really good thing! Minus the fact that I will be spending some good quality time with my focus wall again - since now there is a whole new grade level to prepare for...and about ten seconds ago I realized I forgot my amazing magnet things in my classroom drawers. Sigh.

In any case, I brought all of my second grade files home...

which led me to consider what supplies I needed for creating a severely comprehensive and OCD binder detailing all of the aspects of this year in second grade in chronological order....which of course led me to This lovely blog that I have spoken about before.

I linked the page about a comprehensive binder because I love the idea, plus, it has exactly what I was looking for: circular tabs!

In addition to spending time with my focus wall this summer, I shall be spending time with my circle cutter!

Looking at the tabs set my brain on a ridiculous and untimely journey that has inhibited my laziness slightly. (only slightly, however, as I continue to sit on my butt....I have however moved from my couch to my deck - progress!) I noticed fonts that I wanted. Very seriously wanted.

I mean, when you're considering a focus wall that you have to look at all year long, the font better be fun, right?

The previous link mentioned this website as where the cute fonts for the tabs came from. It was amazing! I may have gone a bit overboard and had to walk away....but! If you're looking for cute new fonts for things this summer or for next school year, I highly recommend it!

I also recommend perusing Ladybug's Teacher Files too. Her ideas are marvelous.

And now, I leave you with a few pictures from when my classroom looked together and pretty: Open House. In an effort to walk away from my room as quickly as possible today, I did not take a picture of how blank and sad everything looks now (or the corpse of a freakish spider that is currently stuck to my big bulletin board thanks to my kids). Photos courtesy of my mom, as she and my dad came to visit my classroom that day!

Looking across the room. Desks stuffed full of portfolios, etc.

Painted Lady Butterfly Pictograph: When Did My Butterfly Emerge? (Oh, during STAR Testing Day big)

Finally, the completed Angry Verbs wall!