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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Catching Up

So it's been a whirlwind this past month.  I was gone on vacation at Disney for 8 days, then went right into setting up my classroom, and then right into school starting, and I can now catch my breath for a bit for a 3-day weekend and tell you what's been going on!
So Disney was of course WONDERFUL!!  It was HOT, but we had a great time and didn't let that stop us.  We took afternoon breaks everyday where we could relax and cool off in the pool before heading back to the parks.  We also took a day off from the parks, and were able to sleep in.  Doing all of that definitely helped make our trip better.  We were also happy because we pretty much got everything done that we wanted to get done and had all of our MUST DOs done.  I think we also met every single character that there was to meet.  I think my niece got autographs from 50?  Our homemade autograph book was a hit.  All of the characters and handlers loved it and we actually got special treatment because of it.  One handler told us when the character was coming back so we could be near the front and many other characters were excited that they had their own page!  Goofy was uber excited and even wanted his picture taken with his page.  Naveen from The Princess and the Frog couldn't get over it and was funny.  Buzz who only stamps his autograph actually had his handler give him a pen and he hand wrote a note to my niece.  Phineas and Ferb danced and spent a lot of time with my niece.  I also think it helps that my niece is super cute AND everyone liked the outfits we customized and made that I showed on previous posts.  So it was definitely a hit!
Day 1 at Epcot.  I have a Disney VISA and they have a special meet and greet for card holders.  We probably spent 30 minutes with Minnie and Goofy.  They were dancing with Brynn and Minnie was very excited about my purse and mickey hair bow.  We got a lot of special attention.  
Day 2 Magic Kingdom, in front of the castle with Walt and Mickey.  
Day 7 Magic Kingdom, posing with the Fairy Godmother
Trying out the hyped up Dole Whip.  I enjoyed it, but didn't go nuts over it like everyone on the internet!  lol  
We came home on a Sunday and I took the Monday off from going into my room to relax, unwind, do laundry, and catch up on things at home.  Then I went into school on Tuesday and went in every day.  I was very thankful for getting the big stuff all done before my trip so I was able to get everything else done in less than a week.  
My revamped job board for this year.  I had green clothespins and I just used sharpie to write the kids' numbers but I didn't like it.  I had these tree frogs, so I glued them on and added the numbers and I like that SO much better.  In the past I had kids fill out job applications for the jobs they want, but they don't do a good job filling them out and they complain when they don't get the job they wanted (I can't have 18 board cleaners, I'm sorry).  So I went back to rotating the jobs.  I figure I'll rotate them bi-weekly (if I can remember!).  
I had Office Max print out some of the inspiration posters I found and framed them and put them on the top of my cabinets for something different.  I used the free birthday posters from THAT'S SO SECOND GRADE and decide to do the idea I've seen around of taking the kids pictures for that month.  So I made numbers for each kids birthday for them to decorate and then I called the students up by month and took their picture, then printed it out and put it on the birthday poster.  I'm really happy with how it turned out.  I usually just do an 8 1/2 by 11 chart of all of them, but I thought this was more fun.  I decided to put their number cards up too since they had spent time decorating them...
My reading area with the book boxes filled with "Just Right Books" for the students, that I had ready for them based on their reading levels from last year so they could practice Read to Self before I taught I-PICK.  Let me just say, I wish I could have the 2 Sisters come teach I-PICK.  I do the shoes lesson.  I model.  I explain.  I tell why it's important to take the time to do it, and they still just grab books based on the cover and do not do the I-PICK strategies or the 5 finger rule!  Oh well.  I try.  
You can see in the bottom picture my Daily 5 rubric that I made that you can find as a freebie in my TPT store.  I had Office Max enlarge it to poster size as a visual reminder for the class.  
Here you can see my CAFE board on the left.  Under it I plan on doing like a "parking lot" kind of thing where I will have students put index cards in the pocket that matches their number to show me their level of understanding on topics.  Kind of like an exit ticket.  I saw a pocket chart online that you could buy, that gave me the idea to do it, but I thought I'll just create my own with what I have and save money.  So I took 2 Target $1 pocket charts I had, put green masking tape down the middle to create 2 columns of pockets on each chart and then used my Cameo and adhesive vinyl to put their numbers on (Tip if you want to do something like this, use the outside vinyl.  I used regular vinyl and it did not stick very well to the pocket chart, so I put clear packing tape over it so the numbers wouldn't fall off).  There is also my WHO AM I? activity I do on the first day every year.  Students give clues about themselves on the top page and then on the page underneath, draw a self portrait and write their name to reveal themselves.  I also tape the pics I take of them on the first day on the self portrait page too.  These end up going in their writing portfolio and I love looking at them again at the end of the year.  Then on the far right is the pencil from TEACHER'S WIFE I believe, that I had Office Max print out for me along with the Be-GUMing Great Writer's, Writer's Workshop system Facebook freebie from SECOND GRADE SHENANIGANS.  That table and items to the right, not pictured, is my writing center area.  
And here is my team and myself with the awesome shirts I ordered for us from TEACHER T-SHIRT.  They loved them and it was fun to wear them all together.  We got A LOT of compliments.  
So those are all of the pictures I have taken of my room.  We started on Monday the 19th with inservice and actually had a really great speaker, Dave Weber.  He talked about how relationships are what cause us and the students to excel or fail.  He was funny, enthusiastic, and held our attention the whole 2 1/2 hours he talked.  I usually can't stand inservice speakers, but he was great and really got you thinking.  Definitely look him up.  Then it was meetings, meetings, meetings.  Wednesday the 21st was the first day, half-day with kids.  I have 25 second graders this year.  Two are autistic, but very high functioning (the highest I've had in a while) and I got THE CHILD from last year.  I knew I was getting him.  He got on meds at the end of last year and was a little better so I'm hoping for good things this year.  So far (8 days) we've had no issues, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.  As we move from review to things getting harder though I'm a little more worried.  He has shown extremely short flashes of what could come over the last 2 days when we started moving on a little.  I love my students and they are mine the second they walk through that door and they are mine forever.  My students always seem to love me too, but I do not put up with disrespect and am very strict when it comes to correct behavior because it's not fair to the other students if "little Johnny" can do whatever he wants because otherwise he has a meltdown and they can't.  So because of how well I work with the students (and it's not always easy) and get them to learn they can't do what they used to do, in my room, I always get THOSE students.  It can give me the reputation from some parents of being mean, but oh well.  They're not in my room so they don't realize I'm not mean.  I'm sticking up for the other 24 students.  I'm hoping that this year is a break and it stays fine.  As of the 8 days I've had them, I LOVE them.  They are a WONDERFUL class.  So sweet and polite!  I have 15 girls and 10 boys, and my girls are the best girls you could ever hope to have.  My boys are typical boys (sweet but squirrelly), but my girls are angels.  I think they built the class that way to give me some relief from the craziness they thought I might have. 
To start the year we did a lot of class building and getting to know you activities.  We've done a lot of partner activities and my students have loved the iPartners cell phones for picking partners.  There have been some kinks to work out each time I've told them to get with a certain contact (I have so and so, but so does this other person, and that other person), but we have been able to work it out each time so far.  It does help that I have to have a partner since I have an odd number of students, so I'm usually able to switch out my partner to make it work.  This past week I did my tattling vs. reporting lesson and read A BAD CASE OF TATTLE TONGUE and we did an emergency/not emergency sort.  I also had the social worker come in to remind them of how to handle situations besides tattling (SWAT, Stop, Walk Away, and then Tell).  We also did our germs lesson where I read GERMS, GERMS, GERMS and did the apple experiment.  Put a quarter of an apple in a container where only I have touched it, put a quarter of an apple in a separate container, this time where all of the students have touched it.  Then we leave them out.  I did this last year and let me tell you, the Germs apple got extremely gross so it really is a good lesson on germs.  We also did our Start Smart unit from Treasures and I used my TPT resources to help with it. 
Also this week, I had Back To School Night (BTSN).  20 of my 25 families showed up.  It went very well.  I got through everything I needed to in the short amount of time I had. Hopefully I didn't talk too fast and they were able to understand me.  I got a smart board (3 days before school started) so I was able to show them what my spelling lists look like and how I do them, what my homework packets look like, and our classroom website.  It was nice being able to show them that on a big screen.  I told my students how I'm new to the smart board and they have been patient with me and have even given me suggestions (myself and my teammate were the last ones in the school to get them, so the students have always had them).  
Next week we start our first story and spelling pattern for Treasures.  We also have NWEA MAP testing.  At least it's a short week!  
Today I pretty much vegged.  Tomorrow I have grocery shopping and dessert baking to do, and I think I'll print and laminate some more stuff now that my ink and laminating sheets have come in again.  Monday family BBQ.  
Hope everyone else has been doing well and if you have started school it's going great!  :)



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