Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Just a Little Something Inspired by Pinterest!

Happy Tuesday! I keep forgetting what day it is. Do you have that problem? I only figure out what day is it when I get to my workout class. We do different types of workouts each day and that's how I keep track of what day it is!

Anyway. On my way home, I decided to stop at Hobby Lobby and pick up a few things...
And this is what I created!
My students turned in many papers without names last year and I didn't know what to do about it. As I was spending one of my countless hours on Pinterest, I came across this pin. I made it using a canvas, some scrapbook boarders, stenciled letters, small clothes pins, and a little mod podge to make sure everything sticks! I painted the clothes pins with the same paint I used to make the letters. I thought it turned out pretty nicely and had fun making it!

Now I just have to decide where to put it when I get the motivation to get back into my classroom! What are some of the things you have made inspired by Pinterest? I have a few other things up my sleeves (wait, I'm not wearing sleeves since we've got record temps and are in a drought... but you catch my drift!) that I plan on making before the summer comes to an end!

Have a great evening!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Enjoying summer!

Apparently Obviously, I'm not doing a very good job of running a blog. I have been so busy with things toward the end of the school year and over the summer that I have neglected my blog completely!

Between finishing the school year/moving rooms and family happenings I have not had a whole weekend with nothing planned since early May! And that won't be changing until September. Some major points of the summer have included my mom having foot surgery and my playing chauffeur, packing and moving Sis-in-Law and her fam back home (Congrats again Phil on the promotion!!), and wedding things for many of our friends (one wedding a month through September-yep, I'm at "that age"). We also had a trip to St. Louis to watch two Cards games (sadly, they lost both and it was 103 during the first game and 98 during the second game, but we had a blast nonetheless!) I've also joined my second session of Next Level Extreme Fitness. You guys, I am addicted to it!  Kickboxing is so much fun and such a great workout! It's a 10 week class, 5 days a week and I get excited for it every single day.

I have also spend a large part of my summer going through all of the books that I inherited when I was hired. I have made a number system to help my kiddos get the books back where they belong and fixed some of the ones that have been loved a little too much. I have also found a few books from 1938 and decided that they were too torn up to salvage so I took them to the book graveyard... I'm also entering all of the books into an online classroom library organizational site/app so that I can keep track of which students are reading which books. (Check out the site here!) I've added 788 books to the site and still have a few baskets to go through. I'll have to remember to post pictures of my new classroom with my organized books once I get things settled!

Hubby is currently on vacation and went out to run errands with me. He wasn't as excited about my finds for the upcoming school year as I was (I just don't get it! I LOVE school supplies! Him, not so much!) So, I thought I'd share some pics of my recent purchases.

First, I went to Kohl's because I knew they had the Skippyjon Jones books for $5 each with all of the proceeds going to charity. I bought all four books that they had and the cute Skippyjon stuffed animal. :)

Then I needed to buy some things for the baby shower I have coming up this weekend and for the wedding Hubby and I are in next weekend. Of course, I can't go to Target without peeking in the dollar section... Sidenote- Target also has their school supplies out now! :)
So, here is all of the stuff I ended up buying for school:
  • 14 dry-erase boards at $.50 each
  • 4 packs of crazy straws at $.50 each
  • 10 "novelty pens" at $.50 each
  • 1 foam clock for $1.00
  • 2 decks of cards for $1.00
  • 1 pack of bookmarks for $1.00
  • 4 packs of Dr. Seuss pencils $1.00 each
  • 3 packs of Dr. Seuss stickers $1.00 each
  • 4 packs of Dr. Seuss bookmarks $1.00 each   28
  • 1 set of space themed window clings $2.50
  • 5 books at $1.00 each
Total: 49 items for $35.50. Not too shabby if I do say so myself!

So, how have you been enjoying your summer?! Staying cool I hope!

Til next time!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday Funday!

How is it Sunday already?!

I have been so busy, stressed, and exhausted the last two weeks.

At the beginning of the month, two of my co-workers and I joined a workout class that I am now obsessed with. It's a 10-week long class that combines kickboxing with cardio and strength workouts. Mondays and Wednesdays focus on kickboxing and cardio. Tuesdays and Thursday are all about cardio and strength training. On Fridays we have the Gauntlet. Sounds scary right? It's my favorite workout of the week! We go through an obstacle course and practice our kickboxing moves while the trainers cheer us on. They are the reason this program is so great! They are always positive and want every person to improve. I've always been an athletic person but I made excuses not to go to the gym to work out. I am now actively looking forward to my class everyday!

I was officially given my contract for next year!! Woohoo! I will be teaching second grade at my school again! Mrs.Taller-Second-Grade-Teacher has decided to move down to first grade for next year and they will be hiring a new second grade teacher. I'll definitely miss all of the time we spend together and all of the things we've come up with but I'm glad she'll still be on our team (assuming we are still one group after our room assignments and schedules all change next year). We get our room assignments tomorrow and I'm excited to start planning things/visualizing my room for next year!

The school I teach at is a private school and every year the Ultimate Auction is held to raise money for tuition assistance. Hubby and I attended with my parents this year and had a lot of fun bidding on things in the silent auction and listening to the live auction. Hubby is a huge Cubs fan (bleh!!) and my family and I are Cardinals fans (GOOOOO CARDINALS!!). One of the live auction items is a weekend away in St. Louis to a Cardinals game. We won! We ended up with 4 box seats to two consecutive games and two rooms in a 5 star hotel. I am so excited to go to the games and Hubby even said he doesn't mind going to see the Cards play!

Today I attended a baby shower for one of Hubby's cousins. Sis-in-Law and I made a diaper cake. We played the game where you had to guess how many diapers were included. This one was a little bit smaller than the one I made for Sis-in-Law's shower but we used the entire box of 136! I love making these!

Now it's time to get things ready for the week and head to bed. Have a fantastic week!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Really, REALLY long post!

Yes, I am still alive.
There has been so much that has happened recently. Let's rewind the month of March (and half of February) and examine, shall we?

Last time I posted was... ohhhh... Valentine's Day?! Wow.

I forgot to mention in my last post the meeting that we had to discuss our progress, re-evaluate the students that are in skills and discuss areas of growth and weakness. This meeting generally involves the two skills teachers, the school counselor, the other second grade teacher, and myself. This time, however, Mrs. Principal was involved. This wouldn't normally be a bad thing, but Mrs. Taller Second Grade Teacher was sick and I was still recovering. I sat down and it was like I was being interviewed for the job again! I felt like Mrs. Principal began grilling me with questions as soon as I closed the door! I began to sweat (it really was hot in there according to other teachers...) especially given the news of possible reductions... She was then called out to deal with a student and the whole room seemed to relax. We began having a conversation about the data and students, instead of me being interrogated.

Anyway, moving on. Shortly after we recovered from our sugar coma and rid ourselves of all the Valentine's candy, we began to do our quarterly data assessments. These involve two-minute timed math probes and Mastering Math Facts, which the students actually don't hate doing! We also have writing probes using the "official" rubric (which I hate detest wouldn't mind changing - and probably will next year). My students don't enjoy working on the writing probe as much. They would much rather be doing the Daily Five and choose what to write about.

Then, suddenly, BOOM! The bomb drops. Mrs. Principal decided that she needed to do my final observation the week before conferences and while we're trying to assess and gather all of our data. Not only do I have one observation, I have two. On the same day. First thing in the morning Thursday morning and last part of the day on Thursday afternoon. I have my pre-observation meeting Monday at 1:00. I find all of this out on Sunday at 8:00 at night. Every.single.Thursday at 9:00 we have a religion test. My kids expect it. They know our routine and prepare accordingly. Mrs. Principal didn't want to see my kiddos take a religion test. I had to change it. (This is the second time I have have to change my schedule because I had a test scheduled during our observation time and she doesn't want to see us give a test. She wants a lesson that makes us "shine"! Kinda hard to do when you are told to change your lesson at the last minute...) Anyway, we worked on our guidance lesson and had a really relaxing morning. 
Then came the afternoon part of the observation. I found a few different activities for the students to work on as they finished with their work. Overall, my lesson was okay. And I'm glad my observations are over with until next year and I should only have one formal observation...

Finally, all of our data was entered and we quickly moved on to preparing for conferences.

Parent-Teacher Conferences. This time I was a pro! This was my fourth time doing conferences and I have really gotten to know more of the parents this year. At our school, we are required to have a conference with the parents. I expect my students to come as well so that they can show off some of the great things they've accomplished. My first meeting was with a dad that had given me a hard time at the beginning of the year. Dad walked in and said "Why is it that I'm more nervous about this conference than he is?!" (somewhat joking). At that point, little Mr. had been pretty good third quarter and I had some really positive things to say and the conference went well.

We have conferences Monday 4-8 pm, Tuesday 4-8 pm, and 9:00-2:00 on Thursday. That gives us Friday off and Thursday with no kids. It is WONDERFUL! Sure we have long days on Monday and Tuesday but Thursday with only three conferences and Friday off with the following week being spring break? I'll take it! My kiddos needed a break from me as much as I needed one from them.

I had plans to go shopping with a friend and made hotel reservations at 8:00 Saturday night to stay in Sunday. Fast forward 3 hours and I have whatever Hubby had and spent the next 11 hours on my death bed and then 2 days after that recovering. Since I wasn't able to go shopping with my friend, Hubby had some time off as well and volunteered to take me! Hubby generally has tunnel vision for what he's out to buy. He spent more on our shopping spree than I did!

My new Coach Swingback! I have a tan one that I got for our honeymoon in Cozumel last spring break but I wear so much black that I needed this one too. :)

I finally found shoes for one of the weddings Hubby and I are in this summer! Aren't they amazing?! The heel is quite high but I am the shortest one in the wedding by at least a half a foot! Fun fact: I'm nearly 2 feet shorter than the Groom.

I also got a few other things as well but I still have quite a bit to write about. Are ya still with me?

Hubby usually goes to the college national wrestling tournament over spring break with a few friends, his dad, and some of his dad's buddies. They had a great time and I spent the last half of my break cleaning the house (getting rid of all of the germs and going through closets to get ready for a garage sale). It feels great to have a spotless house and all of the spring decor out.

Thursday was my baby brother's 21st birthday so we headed to Texas Roadhouse for dinner and then out to celebrate after! He'd be so proud to be featured on my blog. Sitting on the saddle! YEEHAW! :)

I had the cutest date on St. Patrick's Day! 
I volunteered to babysit my nephew (we'll call him LachMonster) Saturday night so that Sister-and-Brother-in-Law could go out and have some fun. LachMonster and I had a great time watching some NCAA basketball even though our team lost. (See picture above. He stopped paying attention to me to watch the game.) He ate and was out by 8:30. I did some work for school (my electronic portfolio that was due Monday when we got back... and we were told the Wednesday of conference week - the day before our spring break started. I was displeased to say the least.) and headed home to read and watch some TV to finish out my holiday.

The meeting about my portfolio went well and I'm glad that has been crossed off my "To-Do" list. Last Friday we had a meeting in my room (remember, no news given in my room is good news) after school. We knew it wasn't going to be good when Mrs. Principal called us all over the intercom to make sure we knew about the meeting right after school in my room. We never have meetings on Fridays - unless we're out for Happy Hour! Mrs. Principal was so upset that another coworker read the news for her. Our school district (private schools made up of 3 K-8 and 1 high school currently, new middle school opens next year and we will then have 3 elementary schools, 1 middle school and the high school) is facing some budget cuts. We have some people that are voluntarily taking a reduction or retiring. We also, unfortunately, have a few people that were recommended to the school board for reduction. Next Wednesday we will have a meeting that states why these choices were made and teachers that will be moving will be notified on Thursday. Our contracts will be issued April 9. I am getting nervous about where I'm going to end up next year. There are a lot of rumors but I will be happy the day my contract is issued and I know what classroom I will be moving to.

Now, I'm going to finish painting my nails and get ready for bed. Have a fantastic Friday and wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

First and foremost, I'm glad you're here and able to read this! That means you survived the Valentine party today! Mine was great! We have parents plan the whole thing and come in and do everything with the kiddos. I have a room parent that is the BEST! She planned everything for both second grade classrooms, organized the other parent volunteers and supplied all of the items for the party. I just had to hang out, help out and take lots of pictures!

I am finally back to normal and no longer feeling sick and exhausted. It took about a week for me to get over whatever I had. Mrs. Taller-Second-Grade-Teacher and Mrs. Terrific-First-Grade-Teacher both ended up with it, too. I have not had a full class in about 3 weeks. It seems like almost everyone (except those sweetest little darlings that know how to push every single button...) has come down with something. Yesterday I sent a little girl home because she had really red cheeks, a tummy ache and had one of those "something just isn't right" manner. (You know what I'm talking about...) She didn't have a fever but her mom came and picked her up because this has happened before. Mom made an appointment and got her in right away to be tested for strep. It came back positive. This is the fourth or fifth time she's had it. Poor thing!
So this week we have notes going home for strep. Last week (or was it two weeks ago?...) we had to send notes home for head lice. I am so ready for winter to be over so we can finally get rid of the hats and gloves and colds and cough and yuck!

Maybe tomorrow we'll have all of the kiddos back and I can have a normal day with them! Maybe I shouldn't get my hopes up...

Anyway, I hope you had a wonderful day and I'll try to blog more often now that things are getting back to normal around my house. :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

1st Blogging Award, Catholic Schools' Week, and I'm sick! (Beware: It's a long one!)

I have been so busy!! First, I want to thank Andrea over at Cheers to School for giving me the Versatile Blogger Award! This is the first blogging award I have received! I will be working on that post next! Thanks Andrea!!

Last week was so ridiculously busy that I am still exhausted from it. Or maybe it's because I came down with something... Thank you to my little darlings for coughing sneezing breathing on sharing their sickness with me!  I slept through the second half of the Super Bowl (and I normally don't go to bed until 11:30ish) but woke up enough to see the last play of the game. (Woo! I won the Super Bowl competition at work - More on that in a minute.)

Last week was Catholic Schools' Week. Basically, it's like a giant homecoming week celebration with all of the kids at school. Throughout the week we have special things planned for the kids.

Friday actually kicked off our week with Dance Marathon. College students from the University of Iowa came to help with our mini Dance Marathon. We wore different colored shirts to represent the various kinds of cancer and raised money for the University of Iowa Hospital. The kids had a blast!

On Monday we had our kickoff assembly in the gym where we honored a distinguished alumnus. We then had "Rock In Prevention" come in to talk about being in a safe and drug free community. The guys talked about bullying and performed using students from the high school as mentors. They left a cd of the songs they performed for each student. If you live in or around Iowa, I really recommend these guys! They were great! You can visit their website here!

This picture is of the high school mentors and all of the kindergarten through second grade students. They were so good!

On Tuesday we went bowling. We had planned on doing this last year but ended up with 3 snow days during the week and we were never able to reschedule. The people at the bowling alley were great! They entered all of the kids' names, allowed us to play more than one game if we had time, and provided apple juice and cookies! The kids had a great time!

Wednesday we celebrated Mass as a Catholic system at the high school. It was fun to see all of the students together in one place.

Thursday morning we watched "101 Dalmatians" (the animated one of course!) and had popcorn! Then we did a service project and created Valentines for people that may not otherwise get them. We sent them to the two hospitals in the city.

Friday was our last day of celebration and we invited all of the parents to join us for lunch. This meant our lunch was pushed back 25 minutes. My kiddos already complain that they are ready for lunch around 10:30! We weren't able to eat until 12 but they were excited to have their parents or other guests join them. However, we have recess right after lunch. Because it's too muddy to go outside to the playground and all of the guests' cars were parked where we play on the blacktop, we had to have inside recess. Most of the parents left right away, but I had a few that chose to stick around and gossip talk with each other. I only had to kick one parent out at the end of recess. After specials, we headed to the gym for the 8th grade vs. staff volleyball game! The kids were really excited since this was the last time we can play because the new middle school opens next year.

Fast forward to today. So, I went to work because I thought I was just fighting a cold and actually didn't feel too horrible this morning. Then I remembered that Mrs. Principal had called a meeting in my room at 8:20. She walked in and greeted me with "Well Kayla, we're going to taint your room again." (My room has been known as the room where the staff gather for bad news.) We received a note indicating that our school system MAY (she pointed out that this was not a definitely, just a maybe) be downsizing next year.

As everyone was leaving my room, Miss Wonderful 4th Grade Teacher came up to me to let me know that I had the closest guess as to what the final score would be in the Super Bowl, so I won a $10 gift certificate to Panera Bread and a half hour massage! (So needed!!) My guess: Giants 21 - Patriots 18. WHERE DID I COME UP WITH 18?! I know enough about football to know that 18 is not normally a score you see. Oh well, I had the closest guess! :)

Then, around 11:00, the aide walked in and told me she was going home because she had just thrown up in the 1st grade classroom. (Thanks for sharing!) So I took over her lunch duty. As I was standing in the lunch room, I had the overwhelming feeling that I was going to pass out or throw up. Luckily, I have the best coworkers ever (really though, I do!) and Mrs. Tall Second Grade Teacher told Mrs. Principal that I needed to go home for the afternoon. So, I quickly wrote out some sticky notes prepared lesson plans for the sub and headed home. I took a 4 hour nap and am starting to feel better. I just hope I feel better by tomorrow.

So, if you are still with me, thanks for sticking around! Stay healthy and have a wonderful night!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

100th Day!

Monday was our 100th day of school! It was supposed to be Friday but we had a major snowstorm instead. We ended up with a daily record of 7.1 inches of snow in 24 hours! Last year (my first year teaching), we had planned to switch rooms to do different activities in each room. We don't switch classrooms on a daily basis so it's fun to get to know the kiddos from the other second grade class and the first grade classes while doing a fun activity. However, something changed our plans last year so we had to do all of the activities in our own classrooms without switching.

Fast forward to this year's 100th Day activities. Our schedules are different on Mondays with specials so we had to do our activities in our rooms without switching again. I have to admit though, my kiddos were had a lot of fun with it and listened really well! Prior to the big day, we have the students bring in 100 edible things that will be shared with the rest of the class. The kids come up with some really interesting things! This year we had Goldfish, Twizzlers, Smarties, pretzels, marshmallows, Hershey's Kisses, and Tootsie Rolls, among other things. We started our celebration with a few handouts: one to make 100 Day crowns, a writing booklet that asks questions about 100 things, and a game board to color. As they worked on their handouts, I put out the 100 edible things each child brought. The kids also decorated bags to put their 100 edible things in. I have 20 students in my class. They walked in a line and were able to pick 5 items from each bag. If they didn't want the item, they could pass without taking any, but they wouldn't have 100 items in their bags. I had one student that was allergic to the strawberry Twizzlers so I gave her some extra Smarties (that I brought in case one of those little darlings didn't remember to bring their item). We worked on a lot of math (counting to 100, some were able to realize that 20x5=100, counting by 5s and 10s) and worked on writing in our booklets.

Anyway, here are some pictures from the day!

This is the booklet we used! It had things like "This is how I will look 100 years from now...", "If I had 100 _____ I would...", "I wish I had 100____" and "If I had 100 icky bugs, I would ___". The students were able to draw pictures to go along with their writing!

This was another page in our books: "I can write 100 words!" I told them they could not use names and they had to write 100 different words. One little stinker darling wrote the word "tank" 100 times. I made him go back and fix it because he didn't listen to directions. He wasn't too mad when I called him to get his 100 edible items first because he worked so hard on it.

And this last picture has driven me crazy trying to get it to show up the correct way and trying to figure out how you all get cute little smiley faces over the little darlings' faces. And that last sentence (^) took my computer about 5 minutes to catch up with my typing. I think it's a sign to stop blogging tonight and head to bed!

But before I go, a couple of questions about blogging.
1. How do you get those darling smiley faces on your pictures?
2. How do you get your blog address as a link in the comment box when you leave a comment?

I hope you all had (have) a wonderful 100th day and great rest of the week!