Sunday, October 23, 2011

iPad = Love

Dear Fellow Bloggers,

It is probably obvious to those of you that follow my blog (eek!) that I don't update regularly.  I apologize for that.  I'm not much of a talker and really don't have a lot to say; however, I do really love the blogging community and the ideas and experiences that are shared.  Having said that.. I have found the best most amazing software ever!

Here's the back story:

My district is so behind on technology it's not even funny.  Our technology department is more of a hinderance than a help as far as finding new avenues of technology to help us along in the classroom.  It's really annoying frustrating.  So I've taken it upon myself to get my classroom to where I want it to be technology-wise... or as least give myself a running head start.

I got an iPad for Christmas when it first came out.  And was very bummed when the iPad2 came out a few short months later.  Since then I've been trying to figure out how to best use it in my classroom.

And then this marvelous post on Facebook from Laura Candler at TeachingResources about how to use the iPad in the classroom caught my attention and someone responded about this incredible software called Doceri.

 I did some research.. downloaded the free trial on my computer at school and the free app from the app store.  I had to create my own wireless network in my classroom using this gem:
(we just won't tell my technology department) and it has been amazing.  I finally have the Interactive Whiteboard I've always dreamed of and I get to move around the classroom while working with it.   :)

I've only done a few runs with it in my classroom, but plan on using it more once I receive the GoodPoint Stylus that I ordered.  Cannot.Wait.

Next project:  Figure out how to use Smart files without a SmartBoard/IWB.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I Survived!

Week 1 is over! :) My two classes are great, each in their own way. My homeroom is well-behaved and eager to learn.. YAY! My 2nd class is.. well.. they need "reminders" about why they're at school, but we'll get there. They realized this week that I meant it when I said science could be boring (paper/pencil only) or fun (hands-on investigations + some paper/pencil). We tried fun Wednesday. Needless to say, we did boring Thursday. Then I put myself on a soapbox and talked for a good 15 minutes about what was expected of them. We tried fun again Friday and it went MUCH better.

Accomplished this week:
Math: geoboard rules, lines and angles learned, math journal entries (angles and lines), problem solving steps, multiplication facts 2s and 5s, review of place value to the thousands

Science: journals set up, safety contract signed by parents and students, guidelines pasted, two investigations on the physical properties of matter

Social Studies: read our first lesson "People Come to the Americas"


As we get faster and don't have to spend such a long time on rules/procedures/reminders, I'm hoping to get more social studies in. I'm a bit behind already in everything, but I'll catch up soon enough. Now I need to go find petri dishes and BBs. Renewed inspiration from Tales of Frogs & Cupcakes.


Tonight: Out for drinks and dinner (my friend is oddly craving steak) and a movie (Columbiana).

I love the weekends.
From Teaching 4th

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Library Labels

I've been M.I.A. for a while.  Busy doing nothing.  I have this tiny plaque on my desk at school that says "I have not yet begun to procrastinate" -- it fits me to the T.  I've gone to my classroom for for the past couple of days and have managed to make it look worse, not better.  Eh.  I have a love/hate relationship with the beginning of the school year and setting up my classroom.

I did finally manage to decide on a design for my library book labels.  I don't have tons of books, and I manage to lose books every year, something I have decided to just accept.  I teach math, science, and social studies, but still want my kiddos to have a selection of books to read in my room.  Feel free to use these labels if you find them useful.

Library Book Labels

On another note:

I went to two different WalMarts today looking for composition notebooks (I have students who don't come in with supplies every year, so I always have a few on the side) and both were sold-out :(
And after dealing with the mess disaster catastrophe that was WalMart's back-to-school section, I realized I should've just gone to Target.

I walked in to Target and it was like the Heavens opened up.  It was clean, quiet, peaceful.. everything WalMart wasn't.  And alas - I found my composition notebooks... thank goodness :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

World Cup and Impulse Shopping

So while I sit here and watch the World Cup Final (GO USA!!!) I realized that I forgot to mention my impulse buy!   I am so excited.. and nervous.  I was shopping with my mom on Wednesday at Wal-Mart and Hobby Lobby for my sister's baby shower and I was telling her all about the Cricut Imagine that I want.  (Again .. I'm not a crafty person... but I just need want it.)  So I woke up Thursday and got the urge to shop for the Imagine on Ebay.  And.There.It.Was.  The bidding was ending in 3 minutes and it was only at $150 (that's a steal!).  So I bid.  And got outbid.  And bid again.  It was all very exciting really.. It's like a game of chicken.  It got up to $183 with 15 seconds left.  I bid $185.  Outbid.  AHHH!!! With 5 seconds left I bid $200.  AND.I.WON!    So ::crossing fingers:: when it arrives on the 20th (it's already in transit) it works.  I really can't wait.  So Excited!

Lots of Stuff Going On

First of all.. soo excited to have new followers :)  Thanks guys!!

On Friday I went to my school and two.. no actually 3 things happened. 
  1. I turned in my revamped requisition for my science team.
  2. My room doesn't SMELL!! Soooo happy about that... (and that's a long story that would last forever so I'll skip it.. and just say that I'm glad I don't have to deal with it switch classrooms).
  3. I moved around the big furniture in my room and I think it's where I want it.

 This is the view from the door.  I have my desks in rows at the moment.  I don't like rows.. but I have a small classroom and fitting in groups and leaving walking room is difficult.  Also, I'm going to try and teach from the corner of the classroom instead of the front and I don't want kids to have their backs to me.  I'm going to teach them to group themselves at the beginning of the year for group work.  The blue cubbies should be mounted on the wall by the purple cubbies for my math manipulative storage.  The black cubbies will be cleaned out and store students' math, science, and social studies journals (I have 2 groups of kids, so the 6 cubbies are perfect.)  The kidney table will be both my teaching table and small group (which I want to make those super cute crate seats for). I have a colorful drawer system behind the kidney table which I'll put teaching supplies (pens, pencils, timer, etc) and small group folders and supplies in.

 This is another view from the entrance as you walk in and don't angle to the right.  My desk area, sink (which doesn't get used), turn in trays, and black cabinet that desperately needs to be sanded and repainted.  So I have options here.  At the moment I have a work order in with maintenance to remove the chalkboard and mount cubbies.. I'm thinking about canceling it and using the black cabinet as a makeshift cubby system - complete with shoeboxes to hold student supplies - they really don't need cubbies, but it would be nice to have the option.  If I leave the chalkboard, I could use it for a word wall.  Decisions. Decisions.

 Ok.. This is right by the entrance door to the left.  The rolling cart next to the filing cabinet doesn't have a use yet.. BUT I think I might leave it empty so I can cart things to and from the science lab.  The green shelves use to be my math manipulative storage, but is now going to be the library.. the shelves are too deep at the moment so I'm either going to put the books in organized baskets OR put styrofoam backing and shorten the depth that way. The wood bookshelf is for my teaching materials (binders, workbooks, etc) and the long table with the gray tubs will be for my two student computers.

This is a view from the front.  The wood cubbies near the door are going to be for student use.  Free time activities, extra glue, scissors.  That's my mom in blue, by the way.  She was done with work for the day and stopped by to help :)

So that's my room at this point in time.  I have a lot of work to do and not a whole lot of time to do it in.  I'll be out of town for my sister's baby shower this weekend (expect a post on that later today), and for my early birthday celebration (it's really August 14th, but I have to be at school that following Monday for professional development).  So that leaves me with three weeks to get my room prepared before kids show up!

Any comments or ideas are welcome!! :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Blog Mixer Linky Party

Yearn To Learn is having a Blog Mixer Linky Party and I hope by joining in I will get more followers... :)

1.  A blogger who is a "New Kid on the Blog"
(Let's say someone who has blogged 2 months or less and has less than 200 followers

This one would definitely go to me!  I know there are lots of other new bloggers out there... but I have to give this one to myself :)  (Selfish, I know.. I'm sorry.)

2.  Post a blogger in your same grade level

Also many to choose from, but I love following Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics.

3.  Post a blogger in a different grade level

Just found all the wonderful resources that Mrs. Lemons at Step Into Second Grade so generously posts!  Check out her great blog!

4.  It's all about the button. Find a cute blog button and post it.

I like that Fab in First has a button that isn't a square or a rectangle :)
Fab in First

Friday, July 15, 2011

Early Morning and a Drive to School

So after fighting bad sleeping habits insomnia for the entire summer, I finally managed to wake up to one of the alarms I set for 8am.  I need to turn in an altered requisition form for my science team and check on my classroom.  I'll be heading over to school once I've showered and I'm dressed (or in other words.. my laundry is dry).  I've been itching to get into my classroom for a while now, but am going to be really disappointed if I make the 35 minute drive and it's not ready for me to get into :(   

Here's hoping!!
From Teaching 4th

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pinterest Linky Party

I am by no means a crafty person.. BUT I've always wanted to be. I come from a crafty family.. my mom and grandmother both sew, and my grandmother and great-aunt make their own cards (by hand.. long before Provocraft came out with Cricut. They make them 3D, stamp, emboss, add texture.. it is quite honestly pretty amazing. I, however, truly believe in working smarter, not harder.. and one day wish to own a Cricut Imagine.. so that I, too, may jump on the crafty bandwagon.. but for now.. we're baby-stepping it. :)

My sister is having a baby in August. That's right! I get to be an aunt for the second time to a beautiful baby niece named Summer. (Hopefully we stick to that name.. because I absolutely love it.) She is actually due on my birthday, which for a Leo is.. well.. let's face it.. NOT ok. But I can be an adult and share the spotlight with the cutie, if it happens to all go as planned.

I'm in charge of the baby shower and I want everyone to be able to leave with a little parting gift, and since most of guests are teachers, I figured I'd start small with these:


My Version
I apologize the for the quality of the picture...
I took it with my phone and then tried to fix it in iPhoto

So there you have it folks.. my first.non-school-related.craft.ever.  I think they are super cute.. I have 15 of those puppies.. and only 15 more to go.  (I need to go to Hobby Lobby for more ribbon first though.)

Head on over to Life Isn't Always Frogs & Cupcakes to join in the party!
From Teaching 4th

Monday, July 11, 2011

Capacity Visual

I wanted to share a simple activity I use with my 4th graders during our capacity unit. We use math journals in our class and before/during/after the concept unit we add something to the journal. When we add to the journal depends on what we have time for fits the bill... I use these as a visual reminder of what each unit is.  They are made to be like windows.  They cut out on the solid lines of the words and put glue only above the dotted line and paste the corresponding picture underneath the word flap.  It works nicely as a reminder in case they ever forget.


 Please enjoy :)
From Teaching 4th

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Top 10 Things to Know About Me

Mrs. Owens is having a Linky Party :)

Here are the Top 10 things to know about me...

10.  My birth name is Lauren, but thanks to a head-strong older brother and his obsession with Inspector Gadget, my nickname is Penny

9.  I've lived in the same city my whole life.. minus my senior year in high school and my freshman year in college.

8.  I own a crazy, but oh so lovable St. Bernard named Bella and am taking care of my sister's St. Bernard, Ben.

7.  I absolutely LOVE The Real Housewives of ________ on Bravo.  I love them all... don't know why.

6.  My mom's side of the family is from South Africa.. and I love it!

5.  I am the baby of the family.. I have an older brother and an older sister.

4.  I am single with no human children (the dogs are my kids).

3.  I am a steak and potatoes kind of girl.

2.  Hockey is my absolute favorite sport.

1.  My favorite drinks are Diet Coke and Iced Tea.  :)

New to Blogging

I've been blog stalking for a while now.. and thanks to Kristen's videos over at Ladybug's Teacher Files, I've finally decided to bite the bullet.

I hope to be able to share the daily grind of school (which will be starting up again in August), and general resources.