Monday, August 29, 2011

First Day of School Postponed

So thanks to Irene, the first day of school for us has been postponed until tomorrow. It only made a few slight snags in our schedule for the week...but I think that the decision made was probably the right one. They announced Friday afternoon---I think, with the thought that people might lose power and not be able to find out one way or the other about school on Monday. A wise and thoughtful decision. Plus, it makes this school week a three day school week. Yup, you can be jealous now.
For us, the hurricane wasn't too bad. Some wind and rain, and a few trees and branches down, but we live over an hour inland. I have friends and coworkers who were without power for over 24 hours, and sent me pictures of a lot more damage. I'm thankful that none of them were hurt!
But, Friday afternoon, I left school at 2, because my room was done and I am ready for my little ones....well, as ready as I'll ever be! I'm starting to get really nervous about teaching kindergarten. I know I'll be fine once things get going but it's just this initial bit that has me super duper nervous. Confession....I've been nervous the last two years on the first day of school, so why should this year be any different?! :)
I'm sure you're all anxiously waiting by the computer, dying to see my classroom pictures they are!!! :)
This is at the front of my meeting spot. The calendar items are all underneath the chalkboard and whiteboard...I have my amazing easel, pocketchart, and all my whole group items together in a basket under the easel. My pillows for the kids will go along the edges of the rug...I was just waiting until next week to bring those in (after the first few days of orientation). I really wanted everything to be kid level and cozy, but still very instructional. 

Okay, this is next to the meeting spot. You can kinda see the edges of the easel along the far left of the picture. My kids are grouped at tables. I actually have 5 (but you can't see one because I took pictures on my cell), with four kids at every table, except for one. We added a desk to one table to make a group of 5...I have 21 kids so it didn't quite work out evenly. Each kid has a space built into the table for their workbooks and pencil box, and a chair cover with a spot for any papers, etc, and their name on it. I decided against putting down permanent name tags because I want to be free to move kids around. I may regret not having the reference point for them, but I'm still mulling that over. Along the wall, you can see my windows (shades are down because it was so hot) and my personal book collection.. all organized this year. On top of the shelves, I have my book characters and the corresponding books. I also have a book display rack with themed books for the kids to read. 

This is at the back of my classroom. The kids' bookbags and lunchboxes will go along the way where the blue and green tags are. There are hooks for them to hang things and space to stow under their book bags. You can see my dramatic play area, the various buckets with manipulatives, toys, and games, and the bean bag chair, globe, and the art/writing center. Towards the very front of the picture, you can see a chair next to a basket with a small blue tabletop pocket chart and whiteboards. That's my small group table (a kidney bean table)! so excited to finally have one!!! Like my curtains and fabric? behind the velcro fabric is all of our extra supplies and craft materials. It looked so icky that I had to do something, and this made me happy! :)

Okay, this is the other corner of the back of my classroom.  You can see the globe (as a reference point for where this is). It's basically taken at the end of my kidney bean table. I have a tv cart---which I hate---but since I have the biggest room out of the three of us sharing the tv, I got elected to give it a home. In front of it, I put a moving bulletin board...just to block all of the three boxes of dvds and vhs that are sitting on the cart. I need to get a clear plastic container for those but it's on my school wishlist. Hopefully a parent will want to help us out! Behind the tv, you can see some beige colored shelves...they're plastic units doors, holding my very disorganized construction paper (its on my list to organize here in the next two weeks). I have my cute little three door cart next to it, and some of my desk stuff on top of those items.On the blackboard (which for a while, I didn't think I was going to get to keep!!---thankfully, the teacher decided he wanted to to hold out for a whiteboard instead), I have my word wall, my  theme board, and my language arts board. Way above it (you can't see it...sorry) is my alphabet line Dr. Seuss and Zaner Bloser. :) My funky colored lamp made an appearance again this year, and my desk has some family pictures and fun tape dispenser on it! I'm ready to go there!

This is at the very front corner of my room. I have my prayer table, my "what we are learning" bulletin board, and my behavior chart. I love love love the rainbow clip chart that everyone seems to be using in the blog world, so I decided to hop on that train, too. I actually already have my kids' clips on it but I took this picture before that point. This is at the corner of my meeting rug at the front of the room. You can just barely see the corner of the blackboard in the bottom right of the picture.I also have my recess bag tucked under my prayer table. If it's not right by the door, I can guarantee that I'll forget to grab it on my way outside with the kids. 

So these two pictures are of the same area but one shows it without tall the boxes and clutter in front. I have my red pocket charts (for the kids to turn in their home folders every day), our morning work bin, our finished work bin, my small group boxes (the purple ones), writing portfolios, and all of our language arts materials. I also have our class mascot (the cute little zebra who the students will name) and my reading tubes (pvc tubes at Lowes.....59 cents apiece). Inside the cupboards are all of my curriculum stuff..... and there's a TON of it. 
Overall, I'm really pleased with how the room turned out. I think that it looks colorful, friendly, inviting, and very much an educational environment. there were things that I would have loved to have done as well, but space and time were definitely constraints. 
Thoughts and feedback??

I'll post again later this week, after I've survived my three orientation days with my kids (and their parents)! Next on my to do list, pick out what to wear tomorrow.....seriously, I think it's just as hard as putting my room together. Take care, yall!!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What A Week

I feel like I've started out every blog entry lately apologizing for my  lack of consistent blogging. I have a feeling like it might be the norm for me to only blog two or three times a week.... so sorry friends!!! It's been a crazy week around here. Thanks to my fabulous aide, my grade partner, her aide, and my husband, ...... my classroom is starting to look more and more like a kindergarten classroom. Major progress has been made but I'm still missing a few key pieces.... like student tables, my kidney bean small group table, oh, and removal of the rest of my two neighbor teachers' stuff. :) But here's a few more pictures so yall can see the progress we're making. This week, it all HAS to come together because the kids start in a week. :)
Covered my storage with velcro and fabric so it looks pretty and no quite so scary!!! :)

Morning meeting area is starting to come together.... still need a rug over here. 

The other side of my morning meeting area...with calendar stuff underneath

Look!!! It's starting to look information friendly!!! :) and colorful!
So, what do yall think!? Did you notice the HUGE rug that's in front of the storage area? It's so large. My kids' backpacks are going to get hung up there. Hubby was wonderful and evenly spaced them and moved them closer to the front so my little ones can reach easier. :) He also fixed a bookshelf for me!! :)
We went in yesterday for a few hours in the morning, then met my grade partner and friend, Lauren, and her boyfriend Andy for lunch! We ate at the yummy Iron Hill Brewery and ate outside on the deck. It was perfect weather, although just a tad warm!! We had such a great time!! We were both so full from our late lunch that we just picked up salad (and a panini for E) at Panera for dinner. Today, it's been chore day and relaxing before the craziness of this week. Tomorrow, all the teachers start back and we're beginning our week with a full day of internet policies.... :) Fun fun. I'm excited to start back but I'm not looking forward to waking up early again in the mornings. It's been nice sleeping till 7 every day. 5 am wakeups are going to be soooooo brutal.
Also, football season is just around the corner!! Who's excited?!!! I am!!! I've been browsing Pintererst for yummy recipes for tailgate (since this year, I get to help Mom plan tailgate for Navy games) and cute outfits. Although, I have more Navy gear than I could ever wear in one season but my Clemson side of stuff is a little weak.
Hope all my teacher friends out there are enjoying the first few weeks of school. Such a wonderful time of year, with so many interesting things going on ... :) Good luck!! I know yall will do great! :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Workday in the Classroom

Sigh. What a day. I was so excited to start in my classroom today but very apprehensive. After a warning email from a friend/co worker, E and I decided to wait to go in until the following weekend. I figured by then I would have a better idea of where / how I could use his help. Let me just show you the two pictures that I took when I got into my room this morning.

our cute bulletin board: for theme stuff
It looks so mild and unassuming, right?! Wrong. It's piled all the way back to the window. And the worst part is that my teacher's aide's desk wasn't in our room, my small group table wasn't there, and my kiddos TABLES weren't there. YIKES!!!! Oh, and all those yellow cabinets along the top picture, right hand side, ....yup. Stuffed full. Part of the problem is that with the construction going on (STILL) in the two classrooms next to mine, their stuff can't go in there yet. SO, I have a bunch of their stuff in my room. My wonderful aide and I spent the morning sorting through the big pile in the second picture and trying to figure out what goes to which room. We then proceeded to drag/move/grunt/carry much of it into the hallway. She unboxed several boxes of my personal books and put them onto shelves, and we put up one of the bulletin boards. Sadly, one of my chalkboards (barely visible in the top picture along the right side) is going to a recently updated classroom, leaving me with one chalkboard (with a big ol' whiteboard plopped right in the middle) at the front of my classroom. So, it's going to take a lot of creative work to make this classroom feel cozy, be instructional, and a good use of space.
Here's where we're at in the room when we left for the day:

It's starting to look much more organized!! Needless to say, we have a long long LONG way to go in the next two weeks. Oh, and on top of all of that, I have to put together all my orientation session plans and parent night stuff. Did I mention I was glad to be back to school??? Really and truly I am but I forget how much work the next few weeks are.... but, it was great to see lots of my fellow teachers and co workers and I can't WAIT to meet all of my kiddos!!
Take care yall!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Lazy Weekends

....are simply the best. We've been very very lazy all weekend, and it's been glorious! Of course, part of our laziness has been due to a much-needed rainy weekend. Friday night, my wonderful husband, took me out to eat at one of our favorite places around here, 'The Waterfront". The weather was perfect. We sat outside in a quiet corner table, had a beautiful view of the river, and had yummy food! I ordered crab cakes and E had a rib eye. Both were completely delicious!! It was a fun, impromptu date night. We slept in, and went outlet shopping yesterday. We bought four pairs of shoes---surprisingly, 2 for me and 2 for E. :) We did a little redbox and rented "The King's Speech" and "The Green Hornet" (Guess who picked which one?!). Loved loved loved "the King's Speech". Cannot believe we waited this long to see it but it was wonderful, and I'm not generally a big Colin Firth fan. Today, just hanging around, catching up on a few odds and ends.
Was going to head over to my classroom this weekend but an email from one of my fellow teachers had me waiting to take E until next week. I'm meeting my wonderful teacher's aide there tomorrow, so say a prayer for us. Imagine having three classrooms worth of stuff crammed in to your room. We'll see how it goes and much work we're actually able to do.
In the meantime, I'm browsing Pinterest and other blogs. Seriously, what else is a girl supposed to do on a rainy weekend?! Hope yall are having a great one! Be on the lookout for a mildly stressed out teacher this week!!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Missing In Action

My School!!!

Hey yall!! So sorry it's been another week where I haven't blogged as much!! But, I'm excited to hear that some of my friends are reading (and following) and some other bloggers are following too. Makes me very happy! :) Good news...found out that my room is ready! I can start working in there to get things ready for this fall. But, there's a slight caveat. The two classrooms next to mine---the other kindergarten room and the prek 4 room---aren't finished (they've been under construction all summer) and all their stuff is in my room. Which is totally okay but it does make setting up a bit more of a challenge. Thankfully, E is going over this weekend to school with me to help  me make a big ol' dent in prepping the room.

My classroom to do list is:
a. arrange furniture
b. set up kids' cubbies
c. small group table and prep work
d. my desk
e. bulletin boards
f. meeting rug area
g. word wall
h. prepare for parent night (although I'm halfway there on that one)
i. organize classroom library
j. sort math manipulatives
k. set up workstations
l. set up centers
m. decorate outside my classroom
n. decorate my door
o. sort through the science and social studies manipulatives and *stuff*
p. hang curtains over the windows
q. finalize schedule
r. put together calendar area
Cute binder

Cover page

Sigh. It's already making me feel really overwhelmed. Anyone else? So jealous of everyone who's already ready for the first day of school. On the plus side, my plan book is fairly organized and ready for lesson plans! I got an uber cute binder from Target (where else?!) to use to hold all my plans. Last year, I used the school provided plan book, which worked okay, but I felt like I really couldn't put long term plans in there along with state standards. So, this year, after reading and looking at examples from all these other fabulous bloggers, I decided to make and use my own plan book. I can't remember which blog I found the awesome calendar and cover page. I downloaded them and printed them out. I did add the school year and my name on the cover page. I used Avery Tabs to make sections with plastic page protectors to mark off each month, important papers, standards, assessment tools, etc. I already feel a lot more organized about all of, everything I need is in one location. I'm going to use a smaller binder for my small groups (both lesson plans and assessments).

Monthly calendars

In any event, I'm looking forward to having my classroom all set up and welcoming for the kids! I have a little over two weeks before the kids start. Sometime next week, I have a feeling my desperation is going to set in! To everyone who's started or is starting this upcoming week, good luck!! :)
On a personal note, I had a great time visiting my family in SC. I got my hair cut yesterday and I'm loving the style. It's a bit like Jennifer Aniston from her Friends' days....I'll post piotures of it on me soon! It's amazing how a new haircut can make you feel like a million bucks. :)
Take care, yalL!!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Fly, Fly, Fly Away

sample.jpgSo, I'm sitting here in GSP Airport....for all you non-Southerners out there, that's the Greenville-Spartanburg Airport, convienently located between (surprise) Greenville and Spartanburg, South Carolina. After a quick security screening, I'm comfortably working on my laptop on my FREE Wi-Fi at the airport. How awesome is free WiFi?! So many airports charge you to use the internet but this one has free internet and lots of outlets. Whoooo!! :) Makes me happy! As I'm sitting here, I've been blog hoppin' and people watchin'. Both make for a very interesting way to pass the time while I wait to board.
From people watching, I realize how many people come to the airport with absolutely nothing to do. Especially people with children. Now, maybe it's just because my parents did a great job planning for our ....oh, lets round down and say approx 200 flights in our lifetime....and trained us to bring things to do, but seriously?! Let's be honest. A three year cannot be expected to sit in an airport with nothing to do, sit on an airplane with nothing to do. Heaven forbid that there's a layover, because, yup, another airport with nothing to do....and you get the picture. How hard is it to plan  ahead? I have my  laptop (with loads to do both online and offline---like, sort through my hundreds of school files), three books, a notepad, my nook, and I have my iPod. I'm a set for a day of traveling. When I was a kid, we (my brother and I) both had to carry our own backpacks, and we usually got a couple games that we could play, new coloring book and crayons, and new book (s)---depending on the length of the trip. Other people around the airport are, like me, connecting to the world via technology. Offhand, I see several laptops, cell phones (in various stages of use), DSIs, iPods, and digital book devices. What an era we live in!
From blog hopping, I realize how many teachers are gearing up for the next school year. I'm constantly amazed by how many people assume that teachers spend the entire summer relaxing. Yes, relaxation is a part of our summer but not all of it. On average, I have probably spent at least ten hours a week preparing for the next school year. Recently, that number has gone up drastically, and will continue to go up until I'm working full time at school again. Which, for the record, I can't wait for! So excited to be heading back soon!! Some schools have already started, with many starting in the next week or two. We're a little behind the Southern schools up in Delaware, as we start the last week of August, but I know that further North, it's after Labor Day before school starts. Ohhhhhhh---speaking of school starting--anyone check out the back to school sales yet? We went to Target this week and I picked up a few goodies....not much, as I had to make sure that they fit into my suitcase but a few. I plan to hit up my local Target to pick up the rest of my list. Staples also looked like it had a few good sales!! My brain in starting to really head into school mode, and I'm ready for the daily interactions with my kiddos. But there's also a really big part of me that's going to miss sleeping past 5:00 a.m. and enjoying a cup of coffee in my p.j.s at home, rather than in my to go cup on my way to work.
On a personal note, I had a great week in South Carolina helping my parents settle in. They're really getting settled in, and the majority of the boxes are gone (minus the garage and bonus room). Mom's even talking of hanging pictures soon! But, the 100+ weather is getting old, and as Lancaster's weather is is the mid 80s today, I'm looking forward to that. I know that everyone is experiencing extreme heat this summer, and I'm not the only one who is anxious for some cooler weather. (especially since my classroom doesn't have a.c.!!!). Hope yall are having a great weekend!
Take care yall!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Power of Blogging World

We're at Starbucks utilizing their free internet---and enjoying a yummy cappacchino, too! I'm catching up on reading some of my favorite blogs out there and wanted to share with yall one today that caught my eye. As teachers, we are fortunate to help so many children in many many ways. Often, the children that we encounter are 'normal' healthy children who are entrusted to our care to learn. But some students are not healthy or have specific cares and concerns. Amanda, over at A Special Kind of Class, blogged about a student in her community who is fighting cancer and has a special request. He wants to have 1000 Facebook Followers. Let's help him get his wish and show him that there are people out there thinking of him and praying for him as he fights cancer!

Head on over to A Special Kind of Class to read Amanda's entry about it!

Click here to check out Allesio's facebook page!!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

South Carolina....

117 South Oak Pointe Drive, Seneca SC
Their new house!!! Isn't it pretty?!
Hi my blogging world---so sorry that I've M.I.A. lately! I've been down in South Carolina helping the parents move into their gorgeous new home!!! The movers came on Saturday and unloaded the big ol' truck and we spent the last three days unpacking some of the almost 900 boxes!! So far, we've accomplished quite a bit. Most of the downstairs is in order, the kitchen is set, and the family room upstairs is all set. We've got the furniture put together and the beds are all made. This is incredibly important when you're moving because you need a place to lay your head at the end of a long day. But, we've been without t.v. until last night, and they are still without internet. So, Mom and I made the trek to Starbucks in Clemson, where they have free Wi Fi!!! Thank goodness!! I was going into internet withdrawals!!!!  And, I of course, forgot to set up some automatic blog posts up ahead of time!! My apologies, friends!!
Last night, I had dinner with some of my wonderful friends from college--Emily, Amy, and Beth!! Nothing fancy, but we had a great time catching up! I'm looking forward to the next time we can all get together! I'm down here for the rest of the week, and fly home on Saturday! Then, one week of camp and I'm starting to get my classroom ready!
It's starting to hit me that my little kiddos will be coming to me at the end of the month, and I have a lot to do to get ready for them!! Like.... A TON!!!! But, in the meantime, I'm enjoying sunny, warm South Carolina!!! Hope yall are doing well and enjoying the last month of summertime!
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