Sunday, August 25, 2013

Back in the Saddle Again...

Hi, everyone! I had FULL intentions of more than ONE contribution to Blog Hoppin's Teacher Week, but my GOODNESS, that week got away from me! Last minute room preparations, 2 days of mentor training, and my first "official" day back to school (meetings, meetings, meetings) left me wondering: "where did my summer go?" Next year I'll write my posts in advance & schedule them! 

Like many of you, I'm now officially BACK TO SCHOOL!
It's been a whirlwind week of district meetings, open house, shiny new firsties, new routines, fire drills, new crayons, a few tears, and a lot of laughs.
Fun like THAT is exhausting!

Here are a few of my week's highlights! I'm in LOVE with my welcome sign letters! They were a last-minute grab from the teacher's store in town and I'm glad I picked them up! 

 My jobs chart. I printed off a list of student names on cards that go beside the individual duties. Changing jobs will be a part of our Monday morning routine!

A cozy corner! This is where I do read-alouds, practice flash cards, and lead whole-group work. I guess it's kind of my stage! Ha! One of the classroom jobs this year is the "chair person", which really means that they get to sit in the rocking chair during Daily 5 Read to Self time. They're so excited for their turn!

Don't mind the boxes, they're all gone now (I took this photo before school began). This is the banner I made last year from book jackets. If I could do the project again, I would have laminated the book jackets before attaching the ribbon. Some of them are a little flimsy! This year I added big tissue-paper flowers at the corners.

I took this right before open house began. We had a great turnout & it was sweet to meet most of my new class. They are such sweethearts! Eager to learn & show me what they know. Who could ask for more?

How cool is THIS? Our FAB librarian made it for back to school & I love it! At our first staff-meeting she had us fill out the "screen" of our iPods with a favorite book, and then we put our names where the dial would be. Such a neat idea! As a kid I would have been thrilled to know that I shared a favorite book with a teacher. I hope our kiddos want make that connection!

I just love the "getting to know you" activities we do at the beginning of the school year! Learning each other's names, interests, birthdays, and ages is superfly exciting for first graders! 

We brainstormed words to describe their impressions of their first days of school. 
Difficult! Bless their hearts.

We decided on some classroom "gold coin goals" too! We award students with "gold coins" that go in to their class' count. When classes reach their individual goals, they bring the coins to the office where a "ring-a-ling-a-ling" goes over the intercom (so exciting!) and their names are read over the next day's announcements. We also have school-wide goals to reach. Our first goal is 1000 coins. We'll be getting cups with our school & year on them and a tasty orange juice treat! I have one of the cups on display in my room that's creating quite an excitement. What a fun motivator! 

We made friendship fruit salad! We read lots of books about friendship and had lengthy discussions about how to be a good friend. Of course, they had LOTS of stories to share about their experiences with friends. I try hard to foster a community of learners that CARE and RESPECT each other. I think it's such important stuff at the beginning of the year! 

The idea behind friendship fruit salad is that together, the ingredients symbolize the climate of the classroom you hope to create. The fact that there are marshmallows involved make it fun and appealing to the kiddos! 
You can make this as easy (canned fruit salad) or fancy (fresh fruit) as you like. I prepared this in front of the class and they were SO engaged! 

The first can of fruit symbolizes the kind students in the classroom
The second can of fruit symbolizes the hard workers in the room
The third can symbolizes the sharing between the students through the year.
The marshmallows stand for the kind words that will be spoken in the classroom. My class promised LOTS of kind words in exchange for extra marshmallows in their salad. How could I say no?

Next, I took out an old brown banana. I explained that it stood for mean words being said, not working hard, not working together, and bad attitudes. Before I could ask whether they thought it should go in our salad, they screamed "Ewwww! We don't want that in our classroom/salad!" 

We shared the salad together and the room buzzed with excitement. 
Mission accomplished!

I found a great set of back to school graphs on the Smart Exchange website. We've been doing one or two every day. It's been a nice review of some basic counting & relating numbers as well as a way to get to know each other. We've charted how we get to school, our favorite colors, and numbers of letters in our name. Hooray for Smartboards! 

It was such a successful week! I've been blessed with a sweet class & a stellar staff to work with. We're committed to working hard & making it fun! 

Blessings came in other ways, too! 
Check out our new laminator! Woot!
Quick, smooth, and just wonderful.
The previous model was easily over 30 years old. It took FOREVER to heat up and smelled like burning plastic (that's usually how you knew it was ready!) Resisting the urge to go all "Office Space" on the old one was hard! Ha! We also got a new color printer in our teacher's lounge, which was greatly needed! 
If you want to make a teacher squeal with delight, tell her she'll have a new printer & laminator to use! 

Also, my iPads arrived on Friday! I was stalking the window ALL day waiting for the UPS man!
These are the iPad Mini tablets I'm receiving as a result of my completed Donors Choose project. 
In 6 days, between my family and friends, this project went from start to finish.
Talk about blessed! I can't wait to buy cases for them and put them in the hands of my students!
This week we'll be learning about how to use them! Yippee!

Of course, a week like that deserves a little treat at the end. Actually, the whole weekend was pretty sweet! 
On Saturday, my husband and I headed to Columbus for lunch at the North Market which included dessert at Jeni's (a.k.a the BEST ice cream!) The seasonal flavor of Loveless Biscuits and Peach Jam was amazing. Having it in a sundae with salted caramel sauce, well, that was over the moon!

We also checked out Summerfest & saw some bands we'd not seen before. I really enjoyed the Cold War Kids! Bonus: I saw my SISTER in the crowd! Neither of us knew the other one would be there! 
Summer is certainly not over yet, regardless of what the school-year might say. 
It was a perfect weekend! Cheers to THAT!

Alas, now it's Sunday night.
Laundry has been done. Meals are planned for the week. Lesson plans have been sketched out.
A pile of laminating is staring at me from across the room. 
Math centers wait for no man, or woman, I suppose. 

Hope your week is filled with FUN!


  1. Love so much about this post! The fruit salad is great!! And there fun to read and look at! Thanks!!

    Curious Firsties

    1. Thanks, Em! You're sweet! Today I told them about how they were going to be AMAZED at how good their writing will be by the end of the year--they were genuinely excited about it! Woohoo!

      Have a great day! :)


Comments make me smile!