Friday, August 30, 2013

Five for Friday

Today chewed me up and spit me back out.  I won’t go into it, but I’ve decided to take the afternoon for myself. I’m looking at Pinterest and reading blogs. I haven’t done either of those things in a while. I miss it!

So, I am determined to post my Five for Friday ON Friday this time. Here goes nothing…

Today was my first day teaching art. While the rest of my day was rough, I enjoyed my classes. (For those who may be new to my blog, I am in a STEAM lab this year. I teach 6 classes a day K-5 on a three day rotating schedule.) I was a little nervous about it. My first two classes were a little crazy, but by the end of the day I managed to finish projects AND clean up before they left me. With only two minutes between classes it is a bit hectic!
Speaking of Art, my first project was based on The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. I started with the story:

I’ve already had several students complain that they are not good at art, so I thought it would be a good starting ground.

I gave each student frames to fill with their dot creation. They got 4-8 frames depending on the grade level. I had stations set up around the room for them to create using crayons, markers, paper/glue, and watercolor.


After they completed their dot art, they put it together into their own dot gallery. They look fantastic!


It wasn’t the most technical of lessons, but they were really creative and even the fifth grade boys who rolled their eyes when I started the lesson got into it in the end.

My next step is to sign up for International Dot Day. It just so happens to be on my birthday.

International Dot Day

I want to get each student to design one more dot that we will hang up on the GIANT bulletin boards outside my room. With 18 classes K-5, it will be a lot of dots. 

Earlier this week I did some more with the Common Core Digital Citizenship Curriculum. I printed these in poster size.

I found with the number of our students on Instagram, I was using the middle school poster starting in third grade. Crazy! It is a great resource though!

My own two little ones have requested a picnic in the living room the last two nights. No picnic is complete without popcorn and a movie.


After a long day at work, I can’t complain!
I knew Monday was Labor Day, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I realized we are off on Thursday as well. Many of the schools in South Florida don’t have school on the major Jewish holidays. I am not Jewish myself, so I didn’t realize it was next week. Talk about a welcome surprise! I won’t turn down a three day week!


Enjoy your long weekend!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Five for Friday…Late again

**I actually wrote this on Friday night and it has taken me all weekend to find time to post it. Such is life!**

The first week of school. There is nothing quite like it! My husband had to work late tonight. I sat down with the kids after work watching Curious George. I woke when my husband called at 7 to say he was on his way home. Thank goodness the kids had snacked and dinner was only leftovers!

I hope to get into a more regular blogging routine again, but right now I’m just trying to figure out life as a specialist.


I had fun teaching this week. I’m exhausted, but I enjoyed teaching. Teaching in the lab is completely different from third grade. I have 6 preps on a three day rotation. 


It was half way through the first day that it dawned on me that I have to learn names for 18 classes. On the plus side, I feel like a movie star walking down the halls. I teach every kid in K-5, so everyone wants to say hi or give me a hug.

Kindergarten kicked my rear. Our school does a staggered start for K, so there were only six kids for each of the first three days. 

“I’m hungry. When’s lunch? I like art. You’re pretty. Where’s my teacher? Is it lunch time yet? I have to go potty. When do we eat lunch? I have a cat. I’m hungry. Can I go potty now? I have a lunch box. Is it time for lunch yet? I have a sister. When do we go to lunch?”

It was a full 50 minutes of talk. Seriously. Can you tell that I have them right before lunch? 

I had a Kindergarten rotation during my student teaching, but it was November. August is a completely different ball game. They were nonstop. 

Thankfully it is already improving. A little.

The computers they ordered for my room are here, but the electricity and data ports still have not been upgraded, so they cannot be used yet. There was a mistake in the work order or something like that. They *might* be in over the weekend to work on it. There is a pretty good chance I will have to teach in the media center all next week, but no one knows for sure yet. I’m all about being flexible this year!


The picture is the hallway outside my room. I made these posters spelling out The Science Technology Engineering Art Math Lab. I love the way my room has come together so far and cannot wait until all the updated furniture and technology is in place! 

I’ve started with the digital citizenship curriculum from Common Sense Media. It has been eye opening! I looked at the first lesson in the 3-5 curriculum and was worried that it was going to be boring. Not at all! The conversations it has led to with the fifth graders has been a bit scary. So many of these kids already have Instagram and Facebook accounts, but they had no idea of the potential dangers or potential repercussions from irresponsible actions online. They have been completely wide eyed as we talk. I felt strongly about starting with this unit. We’re only one lesson in I’m sold already.

I’ve made some awesome connections this week. Several years ago I worked on the South Florida Arts and Early Literacy Research Project with the Music in Education National Consortium through the New England Conservatory. I’ve contacted several of the university partners from that project this week and have promising leads for help integrating art into the STEAM lab. I also had a parent express an interest in partnering with engineering projects. I think it has lots of potential!


For now the kids are in bed and my husband just brought home some take out for a date night at home. 

Enjoy your weekend!

(Or what’s left of it! I wrote that on Friday when the weekend was still ahead of us. Now I have a serious case of the Sunday night blues and ironing to do instead of date night. Sigh.)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Before, After, and Pin-it-to-win-it

I’m exhausted. Seriously exhausted.

I haven’t read a single blog since Monday. I haven’t even looked at Bloglovin’ to see how many unread posts I have now.

Monday was a rough day back. I was overwhelmed by my classroom. The computers are here, but the tables I picked won’t come in until the end of September. The work order to update the electric sockets and data ports was put in back in June, but they haven’t done it yet. Without electricity, I have iMacs waiting in boxes. We were still sorting out the SMART board, so it obviously wasn’t ordered yet.

Monday night I baked cookies and decided that Tuesday was going to be a better day.

I couldn’t change furniture/technology that was not going to be there on time, so I decided to focus on what I could do. Up first was the purple cabinets. I could not live with the purple cabinets.

New Room5

The picture does not tell the tale of just how bad they were before. The blue makes me happy. The polka dots help hide the imperfections in these very old doors.

New Room1

On the other side of the room is the kiln in a metal cage. I won’t even tell you how many people asked which kids I’d planned to keep in there.

New Room2

I used a bungee cord and curtains I already owned to take care of the cage-like doors. The cart holds crayons. I found it on clearance for $31 at Michaels. I used my color cards to label the drawers. I also have the world’s largest tub of old crayons in my room. I had some students help start to sort the crayons by color. It did not even start to make a dent in the world’s largest tub of old crayons.

New Room6

I brought my kids with me two nights last week. The first night I was coating the cabinets in Mod Podge. I sent my pint-sized helpers outside to paint the stools with water. My oldest also helped sort crayons. The second night they made wood bead necklaces. I kept the wood beads around just for that purpose!

Here are a few more ‘Before and After’ shots.

New Room3

On either side of the board will a big table with 12 iMacs each. You will have to use your imagination for now.

New Room

The GIANT blue cabinet was too big to fit out the door. It must have been assembled in the room. I SO was happy to see it go! I have my owl rug in place and am just waiting for the SMART board to arrive.

Looking back at all the “Before and After” pictures I can tell just why I am so exhausted!
I’d planned to take final pictures of my room on Friday when I left, but they’d just moved in a giant laser color printer. It is a monster, but a monster I’m thrilled to have in my room! It won’t be set up until Monday. For now, I have a giant box.

For now it is family fun for the weekend. Miraculously everyone is napping, so I have time to look at TpT and to plan for the big sale tomorrow. I’m giving feedback and looking back at my wish list.
I recently updated my “Who am I?” pack. I’m happy with how it turned out!


As a reward for making it through the longest post ever, let’s play pin-it-to-win-it. Here’s how we’ll play. Pin any of my products to Pinterest and leave the link to the pin below. Monday night after my kids go to bed I will use a random number generator to pick a number and that person will win the prize they pinned. You may pin as many as you want and each will count as a different entry.

Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Learning Goals and Scales

I’d planned to go into school today, but we had a new AC unit installed. I watched them use a crane to move the old unit down and the new unit up on top of our two story townhouse. Watching the $4,000 unit lifted past our new car was more than a little nerve wrecking. It has been an expensive two weeks!

Once the unit was on the roof I went back inside and started working on school work. I managed to type up the learning goals and scales for the year.

My plan is to focus on the three Common Core standards related to technology/accessing and organizing information/research. I used this book for the scales.

Using Common Core Standards to Enhance Classroom Instruction & Assessment

I love this book. You can really see how the expectations change at each grade level. Teaching K-5, this was perfect for me.

I used the sample scales for those three standards to type up a double sided sheet for each grade for each standard.


The front of the page has the learning goal and space for students to write the goal in his or her own words. I also included the Common Core Standards related to the goal.


On the back of the page is the learning goal. I have students track progress here. in the left column I have students write the date to show where they think they are at that time. We do this periodically throughout the unit. Each student has a copy of this double sided page kept in his/her folder.

I did one of these for each grade level (K-5) for each of the three technology standards. I am going to add some clip art, but I’m happy to have this much finished.


I thought I was going to school tomorrow for Edmodocon. Then I checked my e-mail and noticed I had the date wrong. Edmodocon is Wednesday.

I am planning on using the digital citizenship curriculum from Common Sense with my classes this year. There is a session about this planned for Wednesday. I watched the sessions last year in my classroom while working on my classroom. It was a great free resource.

I used Edmodo in my classroom last year for reading logs, spelling packets through Spelling City, and more. If you haven’t explored this yet, I would highly recommend it!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Currently and Time Travel…Err…Tuesday

Where has the summer gone? I broke down yesterday and checked the calendar for the back to school date. I have another week before teachers report back. So much to do, so little time!

It is a new month, so I’m linking up with Farley for Currently.


Listening: The Irishman and I are working our way through The Good Wife on Amazon Prime. We are in the middle of season 3. I felt bad about working through the episode, but my husband was snoring away so we will watch it again tomorrow!

Loving: We have had a lot of great family time lately. The Irishman is back at work this week after our two week family stay-cation, but the kids and I are still having fun.

After a summer of looking, we bought a new-to-us car last week. Our old car was a 1999 Ford Escort. It still had a tape deck. I was a little sad to see it go, but I got over it quickly. We are now minivan people and loving it! The color is “beach sand” so my daughter calls it “The Golden One.”

Thinking: Today was my little guy’s second birthday! He is growing up WAY too fast!

Wanting: I am having nightmares about starting school and not having all my furniture/technology/supplies. Seriously. It is keeping me up at night. Things have been ordered, but it may take a while.

Needing: I’m trying to balance time with the family and a couple of days in school (see above). I was hoping to take the kids back to the zoo and children’s museum this week, but my little guy was under the weather. Hopefully next week we can fit it all in!

Back to School: I’m the queen of folders with brads. I haven’t made my stock up purchases yet this year. I’ve also become a fan of printable labels. Nothing is better than a new dress to start the year!


Earlier this week I read Jessica’s post with her fifth grade picture. All my pictures are back at my mom’s house in Texas. Then I remembered this little gem I had under my bed.


I’m the one on the left. I’m sure my siblings will love me for sharing this picture. It is a picture of an old framed picture that was hanging in my late grandmother’s house.

I have taught third grade for a decade, but next year I will be teaching in a K-5 STEAM lab.  For the Time Travel Tuesday linky you are supposed to link up with a picture from the grade you teach. This picture was taken in the summer just after third grade. It seems appropriate! This was the outfit I wore on the first day of school. I LOVED it. It was all-in-one. I'd picked out pink earrings to go with it. I thought I was hot stuff!

Grade:  Fourth grade
Year: 1989
School: Landolt Elementary School
Teacher: Mrs. Woodruff
Favorites: Full House, funky earrings, ballet class, Little Caesars Pizza, sleep overs, slouchy socks in multiple colors
Memories:  We had just moved to Houston and discovering all the wonderful things to love about the city. When this picture was taken we were still waiting for our house to be built. I remember thinking how cool it was that it was about to be a new decade. I lost my voice in fourth grade and my teacher made me hot drinks and gave me hard candy to help. She also had us memorize several poems. I can still recite Daffodils by William Wordsworth.

Fun times!