Saturday, August 29, 2009

Technology and science

I'm not going to post about technology and science going together or something, though I could. I'm going to write about them separately.

First ~ Technology. I read a blog titled "What it's like on the inside". If you click the link it will take you to her entry on technology. She knows how we teachers feel about technology in our classrooms. Many of us are getting more and more upgrades in hardware, but so often our hands are tied when we actually want to use it. So we fight IT (and we know it's a losing battle) or we go commit acts that are nearly criminal just so our kids can write reports online, blog in the classroom, etc... Teachers, you know what I mean.

Yesterday we worked on posters for open house. I wanted to take pictures in the classroom with my digital camera and print them out from the computer so the kids could glue them on their posters. To do this I had to bring my Mac and my thumb drive to school. I take the pictures, load them to my Mac (because IT won't allow me to download pics from my camera) move the pics to my thumb drive and load them on the school computer. This I do not understand! Why am I allowed to download from the thumb drive but not my camera? How do they know my thumb drive isn't full of porn? Dumb!

I get seriously worried about our rights, not just as teachers but as people and citizens. Husband's employer is working on taking their rights to social networking away from them. Even if their myspace, facebook, twitter, etc... is personal and in no way work related they could get in big trouble or even fired for having it.

I did not mean to rant so much. Forgive me...

On to science!

We had an assembly yesterday and the kids loved this guy!

Monday, August 24, 2009

We're on fire!

Not really, just felt like it. Summer in Oklahoma is hot and teaching without air conditioning is next to impossible. The system broke today and the inside temps steadily rose. When the kids came in from recess it was sweltering and they were already hot. I threw out the lesson plans, allowed them to work in buddy pairs on vocabulary, and made sure everyone had a folder to use as a fan. We got through it.

When I got home my pool was finished. I said a little prayer of gratitude and jumped in...

Friday, August 21, 2009

And we're off!

What a whirlwind these two days have been! I have some really sweet, funny, and smart kids. I know every class gives you a honeymoon period, and these kids are no exception, but I will enjoy every minute of these first few weeks. They are being so very good, despite the fact they are a chatty and busy bunch. But they are not rude or loud....yet.

They have organized, gone through the text books and completed a writing assignment today. Math assessment is over, art project completed, and procedures practiced over and over again.

I have 24 students and our space is limited. We are so crowded, but these kids don't complain.

Missy 22 here is so smart and so sweet. I like how she wrote "Hi!" on her hand and...

she wore the coolest sneakers today!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Another crop

I met them; their sweet faces, shy smiles, and nervous anticipation of meeting me. The parents appeared motivated and involved. The children impressed me. I have one precious boy with a disability and he uses a voice amplifier, well, I have to use it. But he brought it and showed me how to use it and we found a place to charge it. I look forward to watching all these children grow and change through out this year.

I'm ready...

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Bandwagon

Today was my official return to work and the classroom. We spent the day in Professional Development. Our district is dipping its toes into the waters of PLC. Professional Learning Communities sounds like such a wonderful idea and I know we can do it. But will we? It seems so much is put on us teachers and PLC adds even more. The speaker today spoke of that issue and said his district practiced "addition by subtraction". They took something off the teachers' plates before they added something else. I hope our sensible leaders took note of "addition by subtraction".

I know some other teachers read this blog and I would love to hear your experience with PLC.

Tomorrow is "Meet the Teacher"...Oh boy!!!!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pictures of the classroom

I like looking at the classrooms of other teachers. I like getting ideas from them. I thought I'd share a few shots of my room. I posted some last week, but things have changed a lot.
Computer area for my students.

Small group table and my computer.

Our reading and relaxing space.

My desk and planning space.

My projector screen will fall in front of the hooks. Out of view, but to the right is a small chalkboard for lessons.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Donors Choose

I absolutely love this site. If you're not a teacher, then you might not have heard of it. Donors Choose is a site for teachers to post their needs for their classrooms. From anonymous donors I have received chess sets for my chess club and bean bag chairs for my classroom library. My need for individual whiteboards and markers for all my students has just been funded and will be shipped soon. My latest request is for three digital cameras for digital storytelling.

I encourage all teachers to participate here and I hope more and more people visit and donate to teachers.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What we will be reading

Sixth grade in my small town is part of the Upper Elementary and not middle school. We are pretty much trapped into a rigid reading curriculum but there is still wiggle room if you work it right and I can slide in some novel studies.
The first story we will study is one of my childhood favorites. It is a fast read but is meaty enough to really get some good discussions going.
I've never read this book so I am trying to finish it up before school begins. I look forward to teaching from it.
Probably one of my favorite books to teach as a novel study. I usually wait until the second half of the year because of some mature issues. I have found sixth graders can tackle the subject matter and their views always delight and surprise me.

Friday, August 7, 2009

I hate workbooks

I have spent all day splitting workbooks. I am nearly done with reading, so tomorrow I will work on language arts.

-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sixth graders are…

• Big enough to wipe their own noses, but not too big for hugs.

• Funny and they get your jokes too!

• Capable of understanding a lot of the world’s complexities but still innocent
enough to truly believe we can change all that is wrong with it.

• Big believers in justice and making things fair.

• Caring and when their teacher’s dad dies they promise they will be good for a week
and write her notes while she is gone on leave telling her how much they miss her
and never want a sub again.

• Serious when things get serious, like enduring five trips to the tornado shelter and
having to stay at school until 5:30 p.m. without too much complaining.

• My kind of people!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Classroom, how I have missed thee... Now where's my dadgum wastebasket!

Boy, do I ever have a lot of work to do! But that is ok, this is work I love doing. I met with my principal and assistant principal. I have to prepare for 24-25 kids. That's ok, more than I want but I can deal with it. Last year I have 20-22 and it was nice.

So, this is my desk area. It is messy and crowded. I hope to change that, but won't hold my breath. Don't hold yours either.

I found this when I got into my room. What is it? What does this mean? Well, it is a projector mount and it means I am getting a projector mounted on the ceiling. Whoohoo!!! We are very technology poor here so I am pretty excited.

I'm shooting from the doorway. Where all the chairs are stacked is where the students hang their backpacks. The projector screen will hang from the ceiling just in front of the window curtains. Odd place but they say it's the only solution.Trying to get most of the room in this shot. Like I said....I have a lot of work to do.

We did not stay long because you can tell by the body posture of small daughter that is was soooooooooo boring. I think I might go up tonight, ALONE, and I am definitely going on Thursday, ALONE!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Some of my favorite websites for teachers

I don't know about you but I am a bookmark junkie, especially when it comes to websites for teachers. I love looking for ideas and inspiration. So here is a very short list of some of my favorite sites.

* This place is crammed full of ideas and printable. I heart printables more than anything in the world...really! There are a lot freebies, but you might want to join to get access to entire books. Join or not, it's still a very useful site.

Education World
* I have probably used this site more than any other education site out there. I love their "Fact Monsters" and "Five Minute Fillers".

Laura Candler
* This site is actually called "Teaching Resources" but if you've been following Laura over the years and have watched her site evolve, you just just know it as "Laura's Awesome Site". Go to the "filing cabinet" for tons of printable and ideas.

Pro Teacher Community
* I love the forums at this site. This truly is a member driven community.

Well, that is the short list of some of my favorite sites.

School starts on the 20th and I plan to go in tomorrow. I will get some pictures of my room in its before stages. Stay tuned...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Let's get ready to rumble!

My title is some sports thing isn't it? Well, teaching can certainly be compared to a sporting event. There are coaches (teachers), participants (students), and fans (parents). You can even say school is a game, play it well and you will go places. Enough of the sports metaphors.

I'm ready to get back at it. I miss my classroom and the kids. I miss how teaching measures my days into increments that are so manageable for me. I need structure. I do love occasional days at home where nothing is planned, but too many and I get squirrely.

I'm going to pick up my keys on Tuesday and take all the things I have been collecting all summer to my classroom. I have books, new pillows, a new reading stool, a rug, a totally cool lamp, pages I've printed from websites, supplies, etc... I think I will get my room arranged too and paper the bulletin boards. Ahhh.....just thinking about it makes me want to be there NOW! Am I nuts?

I really do miss it.