Saturday, October 5, 2013

Five for Something–What I’ve Learned

I intended to blog last night, but it was quite a day. My two-year-old was sent home sick 20 minutes after he got to day care. The Irishman picked him up and they had a great day napping at home together.

We’d planned a trip to the pumpkin patch and to the library this afternoon, but we decided to keep the little guy home for a good nap. He still isn’t quite 100%. My almost-four-year old headed off dressed up in her Ariel outfit for an afternoon of fun with her Daddy. My husband is a fantastic father!

During this nap time I was trying to decide the best way to update the blog. I’ve decided to share five things I’ve learned since moving from third grade to the STEAM lab.


When ordering giant computer tables, 2 bases and 2 sides means you ordered one table. I got the e-mail saying that the table we ordered August 5th would be delivered Tuesday. The singular “table” concerned me. Our purchasing director looked at the quote and tried to reassure me that it was two tables. Then she called to check.

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My ONE table was delivered on Thursday. In the middle of class. I had to make of last minute plan changes. Twice. It took longer than they thought to put it together. (The picture was taken after school on Friday, so the stools were already on the old tables so that they can clean the floors.)

The table is lovely. It should have 12 iMacs on it in the next week or so. My only complaint is that there is only one table. They are ordering a second one. I’m hoping it gets here before Christmas!


When ordering a SMART board, I’ve learned to pay attention to the size of the wall.
I’d barely recovered from the table-installation while trying to paint in the room episode when they told me the SMART board would be installed Friday.

They wheeled in the giant board and all the equipment at 9am during my planning period on Friday. They took a look at the wall and said it wouldn’t work.I watched as the equipment I’ve waited months for was wheeled back out of my classroom.

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Two hours later, in the middle of my first grade painting project the electrician showed up and removed a light bulb. He is going to come back next week to remove the light fixture so that the SMART board will fit. They will try again to install the SMART board a week from Monday.

Fingers crossed!

On the plus side, I’m learning how to organize things. I have six classes a day (one each for grades K-5) for 50 minutes each. There are two minutes between classes. My days fly!

I got this “Tasty Toppers” set from Really Good Stuff years ago. (I think it has been discontinued – I bought it on clearance) I used it when I taught third grade, but it has been a life saver in the lab!

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Now that I’ve explained the “May Do” options, they know exactly what they can do without me having to give instructions again.

LEGOs have saved me. In my third grade class, my students had a book in their desk. I had other activities for early finishers, but there was always that one to fall back on. After about a week I knew I needed to figure something out.

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All my classes, kindergarten through fifth grade, beg to play with the LEGOs. These three tubs belong to one of the middle school teachers. Her son is now in college, but his collection is still getting much love!

I’ve gotten wooden blocks and LEGOs from teachers with college age kids who have long outgrown them. My next project for tonight is to create a poster to ask for donations of old building toys.  We are a K-12 school. Our high school is a dual enrollment program with some amazing students. I suspect that there are more than a few of those kids with old collections of K’NEX or LEGOs or gears that my students would be thrilled to use. If that doesn’t work, I’ve started researching ideas for a Donor’s Choose project.

I’m spending hours researching art projects. Until my computers are set up, I’ve been a little more art heavy on the STEAM than I’d expected to be. I’ve learned to use Pinterest in ways I never expected. I’ve even surprised myself and created several of my own projects.

For example, I looked at looked for something to do with cutting practice with kindergarten. We spent time practicing with lines. The final activity was to cut on the lines and to turn the finished product into a rug.


Right now I’m working on a collaborative project with all 18 classes using old book pages. After 10 years of teaching I have a box of books with pages falling out. I couldn’t part with them, but now I’ve found a use for them.

Each grade level is working on a different part. K and 1 painted blue sheets for the background. Second grade painted colorful half sheets for the board border. My third, fourth, and fifth grade classes have all painted fall leaves.


I’ve painted “Fall into Learning” letters and a tree trunk. I hope to have it all put together this week. Expect pictures!


So there you have it. Five things I’ve learned so far this year. I’m enjoying the change, but I will be thrilled when all my technology is in place.

Enjoy your weekend!


  1. Sounds like a busy week! I think that is an understatement though:) Being flexible helps although it is not always the easiest. Here's to hoping your second table makes it to you much sooner than Christmas...Halloween perhaps:)

    The Resourceful Apple

  2. Looks like a cool project. I'm excited to see what it looks like finished!

    Carolina Teacher

  3. Love the idea of a STEAM lab! I think I fell in love when you said iMacs...and I don't even own one...yet!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'