Monday, January 30, 2012

Tag? No chasing!

 My school has a strict no chasing policy and so that means NO TAG.
If you haven't heard there is a very lively game of tag going around some teaching blogs. I have been tagged by two lovely ladies. Now you all know I don't like sharing much of my private life, but here goes nothing.

Thank you Jennifer

and Sandra

For thinking of me. You are two of the sweetest ladies out there.

Now because I am such a rule breaker, I am going to changing it up a bit.
Here are the original rules...

1.  Post the rules (check)
2.  Post 12 fun facts about yourself on the blog post. (ummmm, no way)
3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post and then create 12 new questions for the people you tagged. (Ok, I'll bite)
4.  Tag 12 people and link them in your post. (Maybe)
5.  Let them know that they have been tagged. (will do)

I think that because I was tagged by two people if I just answer their 12 questions each, (24 if your keeping count) that should count for 2 and 3. So here goes.

Jennifer asked...
1. Are you married and do you have kids? No and no. Not something I am looking for. I am happy with my life as it is now.
2. What is your favorite children's book or series? This is HARD because I love so many. I think that at the moment I am in love with the Splat series from Rob Scotton.
3. If you didn't live in your current city where would you like to live? I think I would live somewhere that is next to a lot of water. I think if I miss anything about being on the coast is the easy access to water. I don't feel land locked here in the Midwest, but if I miss anything it would be jumping into a pool on a hot day.
4. Do you have any fun vacations planned? No, I am boring that way.
5. If you won a million dollars in the lottery today where would you shop first? Apple.com, Etsy, Target and the Container Store.
6. What was the last movie you saw? The Kings Speech and I absolutely LOVED it.
7. What theme do you have in your classroom? Usually I have an ocean theme, but this year I tried something new. School A has a school wide "wild" theme and in School B I tried a "surfing" theme.
8. At the end of a long day what do you do to unwind? Read both books and blogs. Then I watch TV.
9. What meal do you crave the most during a tough week? I am a Vegan and I love it. My fav meal is some spinach with some celery, green onion, some baked tofu, and a small bowl of chips.
10. What was your New Year resolution? To do more work at work and less work at home.
11. What's on your classroom wish list? A Nook for my class library. I would also love a little fairy to come in label and organize my classroom library.
12. What candy would you like to secretly stash in your desk drawer? Cadbury Bunny Eggs.

Sandra asked...
  1. What is your favorite fruit? Strawberries & Cara Cara oranges, not together.
  2. Do you prefer eating out or cooking? I like eating at home.
  3. Do you have an iPhone? Yes, and it is with me at all times. Although I don't think Siri likes me very much.
  4. What kind of car do you drive? VW Beetle
  5. What are your school hours? Do you have duty? Do you have a prep? 8:20-3:50, yes but it is included in that time. Prep? before school time? Yes, the kids don't start until 9:00.
  6. Do you have a Vera Bradley bag or what kind of bag do you use for your school things? I used to use an old United Colors of Benetton weekender bag, but this year I switched to a black and white Target bag with a damask print. I adore it.
  7. Do you prefer chocolate candy or sour candy? I prefer chips to candy, but if you twisted my arm I would pick chocolate. Although as a child and adolesant I alwas preferred sour.
  8. How do you organize class jobs? I don't have jobs anymore, however, when I taught Gen Ed I used to keep a check list so I could keep track of who had done what job.
  9. How long do your kiddos get to eat lunch? They get 15 minutes of recess, and 20 to eat lunch.
  10. What are the demographics of your school? Umm, I can't remember, but School A is a Title 1 school and very poor and mixed race population. School B is a school in a very affluent neighborhood that is not very mixed.
  11. What are you wearing right now? Fleece pants, long sleeve tee, a t-shirt on top, a hoodie (I adore hoodies) and some Ugg slippers.
  12. What is your hair routine? Blow dry, straighten, curl??? None, I have very short pixie hair cut. One of the things I love telling my students is that I don't have to brush my hair. :P
Wow, that was a lot about me.
Now because I like to be all inclusive, and I don't want to leave anyone out, I am tagging ALL of you. You have now been notified. :P

I hope to update tomorrow (I hope) with my students "The Jacket I wear in the Snow" activities.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Lips & Stashes

This will be a quickie post. 
A kiss just in time for Valentines day.
As an ELL/ ESL teacher I am always trying to find way to make my students talk more. This year I fell in love with the very popular lips and mustaches going around for the always popular photo booths.
One day I got a bright idea! Use them in my class with my students. At the start of the year I always teach my students to use different kinds of voices, loud voice, whisper voice, deep (Lion) voice, squeaky (mouse) voice, you get the drift right? It really helps the kids who are really shy get into whatever we are singing, chanting, or even talking about. It also helps to teach voice control.

Anyway this year I thought I would also add these lips and mustaches. I can't begin to tell you how big of a hit these were. The kids love them more than I like watching them use them.

All I did was print out the the free printable from Living Locurto or the Tip Junkie. Laminate, cut out, hot glue on to a Popsicle stick (I used two sizes) and I was done!

You could use them for reading centers, guided reading groups, reading around the room. Really anything where you want your students to read aloud. I mainly use them in my whole group when we are reading our charts and/or poems.

The best part is that when they stash or lips come off, which let's face it, they will, we are talking about kids here, I don't even have to bring out the hot glue gun again, because they are laminated all you do is hold it together for a few seconds and they are stuck on again. An unintended but welcomed side effect.

So here is a kiss and stash from me to you.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Organiation Project Wk4: The teacher desk...

I feel like I have a million things to post about and I never get a moment to sit and write it all out. Of course then I forget what they were. Very frustrating. Even more frustrating, Laryngitis when you are a teacher. I mean really, how am I supposed to do my job effectively?

Don't feel bad for me, I get this every few years. Weird part is that I normally get it in Aug, Sept, or Oct. I've never gotten it in Jan. The good thing is that my students know my class routines so well, all I do is point to items in my room and they know what to sing, say or do. This way I only have to use my scratchy/ whispering voice when I am introducing something new.

As I previously mentioned, I have lots of ideas and pictures to share but this post will be dedicated to the Decluttering of my mess. Now I don't have a traditional desk, but several tables around the room that are designated as "my area only", so I am considering them my desk. These areas are not a big problem in my life. They almost always look orderly. That is because I am good at hiding my mess. I make piles. Now THAT is a chronic problem in my life.

Here is what Jodi asked...

Here are a few before pictures.
This is my main teacher space. I love this space. I like that is is not only my teacher area but my guided reading & small group instruction area. It is where I have the bulk of my materials and I spend very little time running around looking for items. I also love how I can tuck the stools under the table and out of the way.
Side view.
Front of my desk.
 Guided Reading/ Sm. Group instruction side.
A view from where I sit.

 Piles of student work.
Messy guided reading & sm group inst materials.I like that I keep all my weekly GR materials in this basket. They are right at my finger tips. I just wish it weren't so messy.
Messy teacher supplies. I use most of these items. Just have to organize them better and remove items I don't use, like that candle a student gave me and pictures of students long gone. I can't keep saving them "just in case the student returns".
 I think it is safe to put the reindeer away!

Those horrible piles. They have got to go!
Piles, and piles!

These are my life and I like having them at my fingertip on my desk. My problem? They take up way too much room.

This area is kind of a teacher desk too. It is where I sit when I am using my doc cam and projector.
 My new paper sorters, doing their job.
I keep my own set of supplies so that I don't have to touch markers that have been in mouths and/ or noses. Yuck!
 More teacher supplies. These are the ones I use more often and don't want locked away in a box.
 My space.
This the area which I think requires the least amount of work and I don't think I will do anything to it.
 My students desks are right next to me in the shape of "H", or as my Kinder student corrected me, "I". It is all a matter or perspective.

This is my OLD desk. Last year, I had a much smaller room and I used to use this wonderful dorm room desk from Walmart. When I moved and used the two tables I wanted to keep it as counter & storage space. It works great... when it isn't a mess.

More piles! They are stinking everywhere.
I collect pencils, and this is their home.
I haven't touched this in years, I think it should find a new home.
Do you think I have enough bags? Some of these are only used on Fridays when I take stuff home and on Mondays when I bring them back. I have to find a better place for them.

Here is the after...
Much neater! I can actually find what I want.

Can you tell I was ready to go home when I realized I hadn't taken and after pictures? You have no idea how often that happens. My bags are packed and I have one foot out the door!

 Ok, so this is obviously still a work in progress, but I did get rid of some extra bags and papers that were just thrown around. I have got to get in those drawers. Right now they are a hot mess.
 So much neater.
This was a big deal. There were tons of papers recycled. I can't believe I can actually see and USE these desk organizers again.
I wanted to be artsie and take this shot askew but it is a bit odd now.
 Here is a regular shot.

So there it is, my desk & work spaces, my nests. Basicly I got rid of a lot of paper. I recycled it all, I love doing that. I have to just stop making piles. I added a gray tray to all of my teaching spaces to catch all of my papers. I think once a week, or more if I can, I will go through and empty them. I hope this will keep me from making piles.

Tips, I guess to make a home for everything. If it has got a home you are more likely to put it where it belongs and will be less likely to look cluttered.

Let's see what Jodi throws at us next. :P I am crossing my fingers and hoping it's not counters or drawers because boy do I have some work to do there.

Come back later this week/ weekend for some long over due students projects.