Saturday, September 5, 2015

Teacher Week 2015: Favorite Subject

Here I am on Saturday trying to finish out #TeacherWeek2015 on a strong note. Sorry for the delay. There is no tired like Friday teacher tired! Plus I actually got to spend an evening with my boyfriend going out to dinner and FINALLY see AntMan. I couldn't believe it was still in theaters.

Anyway, Friday's link up was all about favorite subjects.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Teacher Week 2015: Sanity Savers

How is it Thursday already? And I can't believe it's September! I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' again for Teacher Week!


In the back to school craziness, it is necessary for me to stay organized so every moment of the day can be productive. I went through a few weeks of not leaving school until 7pm, which just isn't sustainable. I've really been prioritizing getting out of the building at 5 and here are some of the things that help make that happen:

This year I am using an Arc planner. I love it because I can use my punch to punch anything I need to keep organized and in one place. Each week, I type up my plan overview using Dragonflies in First amazing planning tool. I was able to customize it to fit my needs in Excel. I also bought these daily to do lists from Blair Turner Paper. I love them for creating organized and prioritized to do lists each day.
After I create my plans each week, I make a list of all the copies I need. I picked up these stacking baskets at the Container Store this summer and I am using them to organize my copies for each day. Every Friday, all my copies are stacked here for the following week. I use the bottom basket for any extras we don't get to in case I am out or need a quick activity.
Another time saver I use is organizing all of my student files in hanging file boxes. Each hanging folder has several manilla files where I file away any tests, quizzes, reading assessments, or parent communication that I may need to reference. It is very convenient when I need to prepare for a meeting or conference about a student. I just pull the file and I'm ready to go!
My final Sanity Saver is one I use to keep myself organized during the day. I'm sure by now you have all heard of GoNoodle and if you haven't, sign up IMMEDIATELY. My kids need the movement break throughout the day and those 2-3 minutes allow me to clean up the classroom, organize materials, or distribute anything we need for the next block. I love GoNoodle!
I hope that some of the Sanity Savers help you. I'm looking forward to stealing all kinds of ideas during today's link up!

Happy Almost Friday!


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Teacher Week and #2getherwearebetter: Classroom Reveal

Oh my. We have been in school for 5 weeks already and I'm just now doing a classroom reveal. Thank goodness for the kick in the pants from Blog Hoppin' Teacher Week and Ashley and Angie's #2GETHERWEAREBETTER linkies!


I am so excited to show you my space! This is my third year teaching in this room and I think I am finally figuring out how to maximize space
and use it to its full potential.

Without futher ado, here is my...

Welcome to the Jaguar Jungle! All of the first grade classrooms are named after rainforest animals. I love learning about Jaguars and building pride around our "mascot" throughout the year. My favorite part is when I see my former Jaguars in the hall and they still have that pride!

Here is the view from inside the front door (I have 2 doors!). This year I put a shelf on the edge of the carpet that is operating as my "home base." I keep my planner, giant water bottle (teacher essential!), and anything else I need frequently here. I am using an Arc planner this year. I love the "at a glance" plans typed using Dragonflies in First's templates.

Behind my door, I keep all of my extra books (I have so many that I swap them out to keep them fresh throughout the year) and all kinds of paper. My easel tucks away in this space and I can pull it out when needed.

The carpet is my favorite place to be. From stories to math discourse, I love the community feel of this space. My leveled books are on that "home base" shelf I mentioned before. The orange chair was from my grandmother's house. I love the retro feel of it.

Next to the carpet is my guided reading table/desk. I keep all of my supplies behind in within reach when I am teaching small groups. I love my new rolling drawers from IKEA to keep all of my teacher supplies.

Continuing around the room, I have my student mailboxes and 2 shelves full of materials and resources. I love how curtains keep everything "hidden." In several other pictures, you can see black poster board hanging from the ceiling. I have combined my letter line and word wall into one system this year using the letter headers from Maria at Kinder Craze. I am gluing our words from Jen Jones' Rainbow Words system each week we learn them so students can reference them for writing. I have a large air conditioning unit that I try and disguise. This year, it houses our brag tag system. I found those green stacking baskets at the Container Store this summer and use them to organize copies and materials for the week. 

If you turn around from this corner, here is what the view looks like. I started using these communal bins for certain supplies and I LOVE IT. We do Cognitively Guided Instruction for math at my school, so students need access to their own set of 100 cubes everyday. These drawers are the perfect storage.

Continuing around the room, I have shelves for center materials and a few cozy reading spaces. I am trying to create a "reading classroom" where reading happens everywhere, not just in one library space, so I have bins of books all around the room. You can see a few of them in these pictures. When I first started teaching, I had a hand me down futon as the couch in my apartment. After buying a "real couch" a few years ago, I put this futon in my room. It is a great place to plan and the kids love to read there. I am excited to fill the wall space with anchor charts and student work.

One amazing this about this room is all of the storage in the back. 

By the back door, I have a writing shelf where students can get additional crayons or writing paper to continue their stories.

The last wall is all windows that look out into the hallway, which is lined with more windows that look onto the courtyard (hence the terrible bright lighting in this picture). Students just pull up chairs when they use the computers. I have small cubby shelves along this wall that I use to store all of my math manipulatives (labels by the awesome Amy Groesbeck). See those orange vests? Those are our school wide hall passes that kids have to wear when they go to the office, bathroom, or anywhere else in the building.

Well, that's my space. I've loved looking at all of the classroom reveals and I'm so glad I finally got to share mine!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Teacher Week 2015: Make Ahead Meals

I'm linking up for a second day of Teacher Week 2015 with Blog Hoppin'


Today is all about Make Ahead Meals.


I will be honest. I am spoiled. My boyfriend is a chef and so I RARELY cook at home. And when I say rarely, I mean never. I used to cook and when I did it was usually in the slow cooker. So today I'm sharing two of my favorite slow cooker recipes. I love the convenience of throwing something in in the morning and coming home to a ready meal in the evening.


Photo from Pip and Eppy

Photo from Gimme Some Oven

I'm excited to find out some of your favorites!