Monday, September 1, 2014

september currently

September is upon us, folks! Hopefully this means the weather will cool down ~ soon.  It's time for Farley's Currently.

Listening: I'm listening to my husband cook bacon. He's the best bacon chef in the house, with Heather coming in second place. I can cook bacon just fine, but they do it better.

Loving: Stephanie is on the JV volleyball team this year and her first game is on Friday. This year she plays in the regular gym (instead of the auxiliary gym), which is going to be a whole new level of excitement. I love watching her play.

Thinking: We've been in school a week and I'm still trying to figure my class out. They are a good class, but right now there's still a lot of sitting and staring at me.

Like I'm an alien.

Like they don't know what to think of me.


Wanting: I love my job and all, but let's be honest, who couldn't use a few more days off.

Needing: I have loads of laundry & other stuff around the house that needs to get done ~ that may or may not actually get done.

3 trips: My list is longer than three, but I'd love to go to New York, many countries in Europe, and New Orleans.

Go see what other teachers are up to on Farley's blog.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

the one where we bust out the paint

If you take a look, you will see that my last post was on the first day of school ~ in 2013. Uh...what happened there? Half of the summer is even over.

I have a project that I did with my class in the last days of the school year to share with you.  

I saw this painting from one of those wine & canvas group painting classes. It was actually a kids' project for Father's Day. I showed it to Greg and told him that I wanted to paint this to put in my class. He asked if I was going to have the students do it to. Good idea! I am rarely afraid of painting with kids, so why not!

Before we started on the canvas, I gave the students a piece of paper the same size as the canvas and we practiced drawing the owl. We went through the drawing process step by step so when it was time to draw the owl on the canvas there would be minimal erasing. I find that when you draw with kids, if you break the drawing up into basic shapes it helps them be more successful. For example, I told them the top of the head was a U shape that was stretched wide, then the left side was a J hooked onto it.

We painted on 5 x 7 canvas boards. Originally, I wanted to do a bigger painting, but in my last minute buying, the store didn't have the stock I needed.  This size turned out to be just fine.

Painting tip: I use old egg cartons as paint trays. Depending on the size of the project, they can be cut into fours or sixes, or even left whole. When we are done for the day, we just toss them in the trash.

Here are some of the finished products. I love how even though we all did the same painting, they turned out very individualized. I'm digging the mustache!

We worked on this in several paint sessions over the course of about three days. We went slowly, step by step. I painted my own and showed them tips and tricks as I projected it with the document camera.

The black outlining on the original was likely done with paint, but it was probably a much larger canvas, with the correct brushes for line work. Since ours were smaller canvases and our brushes a little bulky for that type of work with the inexperienced hands of the little people, we finished our details with a Sharpie. I think it worked well.

To completely finish the project, the students created a dedication card to go on the back to cover up the unsightly label. I also hot glued a piece of string on the back in a loop for hanging.

Here's my example. Like I said, I painted along with the kids. I did this with the intention of redoing the art on a bigger scale for a class decoration for this coming year. But I'm pretty pleased with the small version, so I will be incorporating this one into my classroom art.


Monday, August 26, 2013

first day

The first day is over and I survived.

I was so very nervous because I was unusually behind this year. And I changed grade levels. And my own children each started a new school ~ one middle school and one high school. Talk about heart wrenching.

We had rainy day schedule.

On the first day of school!

Not fair.

My class is pretty sweet. I'm already liking the fact that I moved to 3rd grade. Right now my husband is dancing the I-told-you-so cha cha.

I had a nap when I got home. And I'm ready for bed kinda early.

That's all for now.  Pictures to come.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

back to school sale

It's time for the TpT back to school sale. I've been putting lots of items on my wish list and waiting not so patiently for this sale! Since I am changing grade levels I need to beef up my pool of resources.

On August 18 & 19 you can get 20% off all the products in my shop. Enter the code BTS13 at checkout for an additional 10% off from TpT.  That comes to 28% off the original price!

And just for you, I've extended the sale in my shop for a third day. But if you want the biggest discount, shop early.


Monday, August 5, 2013

parent communication

I went to school today to shove furniture around. 

This is what greeted me when I opened the door.

Hello stuff.

This room is different shape than my room last year so I had to do some figuring out and extra furniture manhandling to figure out where I wanted to put things. Our rooms are so, so small!

Today I managed to finish moving the furniture around (I think), but there's still so much more work to do. That's for another day. I couldn't take the heat any longer ~ no air in our building yet.

I recently came across a parent communication tool that I think is going to be really helpful this year.

It's called Remind 101. Using this free website/app you can send parents text/email messages. I know what you are thinking ~ you don't want parents to have your cell phone number. No worries, they never see your number and you never see theirs. 

From time to time a Monday rolls around and passes that I don't manage to get the homework packet copied and stapled. In these cases I tell the kids their homework is to read a little extra for the night. With Remind 101, I can send a quick message letting parents know not to expect a homework packet that night. 

I can remind parents about book orders that are due or other special events in our room. 

It's super easy to use. You can even schedule future message to be sent. You can use the computer or your phone to send the message. 

At our Meet the Teacher before school starts I'm going to give the parents our class code so they can sign up to get messages right away. My first message will be the night before school starts letting the kids know how excited I am for school to start (I'm working into that attitude.)

I think this is going to be a great parent communication tool.


Monday, July 29, 2013

math tub labels freebie

Last year was the first year that I organized math centers into tubs. Before the centers were in folders or envelopes and the kids were responsible for getting all the supplies necessary for the center. Why didn't I use tubs before?! It was so much better!

The only thing I didn't really love was the fact that they were a little bigger than they needed to be and didn't really fit on the shelf well without manhandling them. 

So I recently bought this kind of tub. Its size should work better with the shelf and free up some room for other things since my classroom is the size of a closet. Even though they are smaller, I will still be able to fit the the paper and other supplies necessary for math centers very easily.

I got them at Walmart and they were about $4, I think.

The labels for my other tubs are too big to fit on these, so of course I had to make new ones with a fun chevron background pattern.

They are made to fit right here specifically on this container.

Pretty right?

As I was taking the picture I realized that after I laminated these labels they would be too wide to fit, so I made the labels narrower in width. Each label is 2" high and 2.75" wide.

I put these labels in my TpT shop for you for free! Click on the picture to get yours.

You're welcome.

I'm thinking I need some more of these containers for English/Language Arts centers.

And then, I'll need more labels. . .


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

the one where i met my teaching hero

Have you read The End of Molasses Classes? I read it two summers ago when it came out. If you haven't read it, you must put it on your list to read read it right now! You will not be sorry. I'm going to read it again this summer. I might even reread his first two books. 

I am even such a nerd that I preordered the book and waited impatiently until I could read it. 

I found out at the last minute that Ron Clark would be speaking near me and there were still tickets. Several years ago he came and spoke to all of the teachers in my district in a large stadium. This time the venue, while impressive, was quite a bit smaller.

And I was going to get to go!

I called my friend, Alana, to see if she wanted to go with me. Oddly enough, she had just gotten tickets and was about to call me to see if I wanted to go. 


We got there right when the doors opened because I wanted a good seat. We snagged seats in the second row!

This man is full of energy - which made getting a good picture a little bit of a challenge. He never stopped moving. He engaged the audience from the very beginning of his presentation.

He walked around the auditorium and even climbed on chairs. If you know anything about him, you already know he likes to climb on the desks in his classroom while teaching. At one point he stood on the arm rests of the empty seat right in front of me and spoke for a while.

Right in front of me.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't just a little bit worried about whether or not he would fall.

Afterwards, Alana and I got our books signed and we got to meet him.

He did not sit behind a table and smile fake pleasantries as he signed our books. Instead he used a stool and small table to sign the books, but not before he got up and gave me a big hug when I walked up ~ like he'd been waiting for me to finally get to the front of the line. He genuinely asked about what grade I teach and followed up with a few more questions based on the answers I gave. He paid attention and gave value to what I said ~ just like we need to remember to do for our students.

And we got a picture! Awesome!

Yeah, we were pretty much star-struck by the whole deal.

Alana and I have decided that we are going to print this picture to hang it up in our class to remind us all year of the kind of teachers we are supposed to be.

All the groupie talk aside, hearing him speak was a fabulous inspirational boost that every teacher needs mid-summer when the ambivalent feelings of affecting little lives by teaching versus wishing summers would last forever creep into our thoughts. Even though I'm nowhere near done with summer yet, I know this next school year is gonna be something great, something worth watching!


Saturday, July 13, 2013

favorite pins fri(satur)day

I'm joining Cara at The First Grade Parade for Favorite Pins Friday.

Some of these pins are older than this week, so I'm breaking the rules just a little bit. 

T E A C H E R    P I N S

4mula Fun! has a fun Math About Me assignment for the beginning of the year. The students tell 8 facts about themselves in mathematical format - using basic operations but can include parentheses and exponents. This is for sure on my list of first week activities. Third graders will not typically be able to use much past addition and subtraction, but it will be fun to see what they will come up with. It can give me a snapshot about what they know about math already.

Teaching with a Mountain View has some great visual ways to help students understand elapsed time. Elapsed time can be such a rough concept for some kids. She shows several different ways to help them  grasp the concept. She also has a packet of differentiated work on TpT that looks great.


I pinned these chimichangas a while ago from My Fridge Food. I tried them one Saturday for lunch. They were so easy to make and tasted muy bueno! And they are a little health conscious because they are baked instead of fried. I've tried several recipes that I've pinned that have turned out to be disasters or just so-so. You won't be sorry if you try these.

I need to make these again soon.

Doesn't this Loaded Baked Potato Salad look good?

It has bacon.

Need I say more?

And this Country Club Chicken Casserole? Yum!

L E T ' S    M A K E    S O M E T H I N G

I'm keeping my owl theme next year, but the room will need a few fun updates, of course. How would this guy look? Awesome, right?

And since I bought some extra burlap, how about this for the front door. The tutorial for this is at Live a Little Wilder.


I cannot go without a little humor.

You know it's true.

See you in the schoolyard. Wait! It's summer. See you at the pool.


Friday, July 5, 2013

currently ~ july

Here we are in July. The fireworks have been lit and and we have celebrated the freedoms this great country hold dear.

It's also time for Farley's Currently.

Listening - We have a serious bird gatherings in our back yard. These funny little black birds with longish tail feathers will gather in the grass below one of the trees. They are always pointed in the same direction as each other and seem focused on the same thing. We joke around that they are having church. With lots of birds comes lots of chirping. We like it.

Loving - Oh how I love summer days. Oh how I do not like excessive heat warnings. Blech! Even though the heat is unbearable where we live for most of the summer, I am hopelessly in love the with idea of summer. Flip flops, sun screen, daylight for hours and hours, and a carefree lifestyle ~ what's not to love?

Thinking - I have not done much in a tangible way for my new third grade position next year, but I have been thinking about it a lot. I'm keeping the same classroom theme next year - owls - with maybe some new fun decorating additions. But I'm contemplating how I want to manage my classroom with learning centers, incentives, behavior plans, etc. What tried and true things do I want to keep, what do I need to change. I am likely to have a few of my kids from last year, so I also want to change up some of my beginning of the year activities/assignments. I'm for sure thinking of doing this one from A Cupcake for the Teacher.

Wanting - Recently, we were able to spend a week with some family and friends beach-side. The temperatures were mild and lovely. I miss that. I could use more of that in my life, even if it comes with a little extra sand everywhere!

Needing - Summer won't last forever so I need to use my lazy days a little more wisely. is summer.

Blog Advice - Don't let blogging take over your life. My prolonged absence from this blog and my family blog is proof that I follow that advice. :) Live your life & be present for the people in your life. Blogging is a nice extra. It will be here when you have time. That being said, I do hope to be around a little more often in the future with some good ideas and good stories about the sweet kids I teach.

What are you doing this summer?


Sunday, May 19, 2013

spreading our wings

We had some visitors to our classroom this spring.

They arrived in a little cup and got bigger by the day. The kids were enthralled with these little guys. Before we knew it they had formed their chrysalides and then emerged as butterflies.

I felt sorry for my kids because all of the big events just so happened to take place over the weekend.  They never got to see the caterpillars in their J formation just before forming the chrysalis. They never got to see the chrysalis wiggle wildly with the emerging butterfly and examine them as they dried their wings. For both big events, we came back to school Monday and "ta-da!"

And somehow, I forgot to take pictures of any stage past the caterpillars.

When it came time to release the butterflies, this was the first class I did not have to spend a lot of time convincing that letting them go was the right thing to do. They seemed to understand right away what we had to do. The letting go ceremony was very sweet as they cheered for all 9 of the butterflies as they left the the cage one by one. One butterfly didn't make it because his chrysalis fell and the wings never formed properly.

In the midst of all of this, we created the butterfly life cycle with these materials.

The pasta represents the various stages.  I still need to take pictures of the final product, then I'll show you how we did it.

This spring also saw the return of the science fair projects. Our previous principal did not support teaching science or social studies as separate subjects, so we haven't had the science fair project around for a lot of years. Second graders are not required to submit an individual project, but we were supposed to do one as a class. We tested various liquids to see which will stay mixed with water. The kids enjoyed it! They are looking forward to next year when they will be doing their own at home. I'm sure their parents feel the same level of excitement. Ha!

And finally today, in the theme of spreading our wings. . .

I'm moving to third grade next year. This will be my third grade level move in three years, but I'm most excited about this move. I taught 3rd grade once, many moons ago, during my second year of teaching. Loved it. Various events since then have prevented me from being able to go back to 3rd grade. But now, the time is right. 

I am staring a LOT of work in the face right now. I'm going to be moving rooms (again!) so there's packing to do. I have to decide what of my 2nd grade stuff and what of my 4th grade stuff I will possibly need in my room and what will come home to storage. This is the tricky part, because I am not familiar with the Common Core Standards for third grade just yet.  

We only have 11 student days left of this school year, then my little 2nd graders will be spreading their wings toward 3rd grade as well. I hope they are ready! I know that all eyes are turned toward summer and getting their attention is trickier than ever! Who are we kidding - my eyes are turned toward summer too.

11 more days.