Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sept 11, Hair, Shedd, Twitter

DANG! It's been 17 days since I last blogged! I almost drowned in the sea of work!
But I made it to shore and all is well!
AND there is so much going on! So much to be excited about!

Let's start with September 11th.
When I moved to a new school in my district, my team came up with an activity to bring all the 3rd graders together. I've blogged about this before.
It was so strange to be teaching kids who weren't even born yet when the tragedy of 9/11 happened.
I gathered my students on the carpet and we discussed What makes us feel safe and made a chart.

We then read aloud September 12th We Knew Everything Would Be All Right 

After a little discussion about the book, we talked about heroes in our lives.
Each student then traced their hands on paper (my class was in charge of blue).

On the right hand, the students wrote "Thank you (name of hero)"
On the left hand, students wrote "My hero is (name of hero)"
They cut out their hands and all five 3rd grade classes gathered in the cafeteria so teachers could hang the hands as an American Flag.
While teachers hung hands, the students worked on cards for our LOCAL HEROES! They were able to choose from a police officer, fire fighter, or EMT (kept it easy for delivery purposes).
After hands were all hung, we all gathered outside for a big photo opportunity!
Next up...HAIR
My youngest daughter had beautiful, long, blonde with strawberry hi-lites hair. I wanted to trim the ends and she refused! She said she needed it as long as possible to donate to Locks of Love, which turns the hair into wigs for children with cancer.
Sooooo, my hairdresser came over to my house and chopped Lil' Kid's hair off!
She cut 10 inches for us to send in.
Here's the before and after...

She looks so grown up to me now with the short bob! I LOVE IT! And
I'm sooooo proud of her for wanting to do this... ALL ON HER OWN!

Students who completed their summer learning were able to join teachers on a Field Trip to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. We had a blast! All I heard was
Mrs. 'Autumn' check this out!
Look over here!
WOW! Did you see this?
I was being pulled in all directions by excited students!
However, I noticed that a couple of my students didn't really look at anything alive! I was SHOCKED. I couldn't quite understand how you can't look at Ginormous fish looking at you or swimming right by your face! These two students played on the technology/info thing-a-ma-bobs... BUT they weren't using them to find out more info about the fish they were seeing, they were just messing around.
It made me so sad that they'd rather play with those (and not accomplishing anything) than check out a shark up close.
But the rest of us had a blast! The new section was AMAZING...Wild Reef (I think it was called).
I am LOVING that I actually know how to use it to my advantage!
I've been on Twitter for years...but thought it wasn't valuable...
OMG! You should do it!
At first, I just hung out and watched the magic happen.
My first was #tlap (Teach Like A Pirate)
There are moderators who pose questions for discussion with a Q1, Q2, etc.
Then people (including yourself) jump in and respond to the questions with answers A1, A2, etc.
The ideas that are thrown around by REAL authors and Fantastic educators are UNBELIEVABLE!
AND you "walk" away feeling FABULOUS! Just wait til you join one and someone clicks the star and makes YOUR TWEET a favorite! Or replies! Or FOLLOWS you back!
How honored am I to have Dave Burgess (author of Teach Like A Pirate) following little ol' me?!?!? And Superintendents of schools from all over! It's so wonderful!
When the hour goes by (that's how long they usually last) are totally PUMPED to walk into work the next day! Your mind is going crazy with new ideas and things to try OR just the pride that you contribute to others!
With that... I am starting something NEW in my class SOON. AND I'M SO EXCITED about it!
You will hear alllll about it... But I need to work out a few things.
Happy much deserved almost weekend!
Enjoy your Friday!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Currently, Five for Friday, Swoon

Can not believe it's already September!
And I'm linking up with Farley's Currently...

LISTENING- The girls are downstairs and I can hear them discussing some kind of strategies on a game they are playing. Sounds cute...and they aren't arguing.

LOVING- After work Friday, I stopped at the bar with friends. It was sooo nice to de-stress and chit chat. Stayed a couple hours just talking and laughing and talking and laughing...Then went home and went out to a nice dinner with hubby and 2 of the kids. It was a great end to the week.

THINKING- I have LOTS to do today. Plans, groceries, trace guitars (wait-that's what my kids are for), find some mentor texts for Signposts... We had a cold front go through last night and it's beautiful out...I just want to hang out in the hammock...I'll for sure take a break out there!

WANTING- Just want to get my plans done. It's another inconsistent crazy week.

NEEDING- Grocery Shopping. I HATE grocery shopping!

LOVE YOURSELF-  This was a difficult category for me.
1. I have been missing my hubby. We are so busy with the kids' schedules and me back to work and his work hours suck. So it'll be difficult (he works Fri Nights, Sat Nights, Sun Nights)...but I need to have at least 2 nights this month for just us.
2. I really want and need to get walking. I keep saying I'm going to do it and I make excuses.
3. It makes me happy when laundry is done. I hate going into the basement and seeing all that laundry pile up. So I'm going to try to keep up. With 3 girls and changing for sports and out of school clothes...and a hubby who changes a million times a makes keeping up difficult.
(that's really all I could come up with-and it was a struggle...I put myself last...but I'm ok with it...I keep up with the things I truly want to keep up with)

AND I'm late, but I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday (which is going to turn into more than 5)
Since I blogged last...I got my Frixion ERASABLE Markers! AND I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THEM!
I can write in my plan book in MARKER! And it doesn't bleed through and it ERASES! I've never had such a colorful plan book! LOVE! Got them on Amazon and they shipped from Japan... Shipped right away, but took a couple weeks to get here.

Back to School and a local church sent over a custom cake and cupcakes! HOW SWEET! Isn't this ADORABLE! What a way to put a smile on everyone's faces!!! Look at those cutie cupcakes! They are little apples!

Sharp Students-At the beginning of the year I tend to focus a lot on goals and what the kids are good at...
So with Sharp Students...the kids pick whatever they are "Sharp" at...home or school. Here's the finished bulletin board.
Found this AWESOME corner table at Dollar General for $12. It's EXACTLY what I was looking for! It's a cheapy table, but will last and I LOVE IT! Since I've taken the pic, I've added a couple of things to the shelves...
And here are some students silent reading the way it's supposed to look

We have AWFUL Triangular shaped desks. They are so hard to group and just an overall pain in the tooshy. I have the kids make "offices" for privacy for tests or for times they want to use them.
I have them decorate manilla folders to their liking.
Then I laminate all the folders and cut...
The kids keep them in their desks and they last all year long. They don't fall over (lamination keeps them stiff).
Yes, I have a class set of the fancy privacy shields from Really Good Stuff...but they don't work on the desks.
Curriculum Night... We have an open house before school starts where the kids and parents check out the classroom...and there's Curriculum Night when the parents come in and learn about specific classroom procedures...
I give a Power Point Presentation about everything Mrs. Autumn 3rd Grade...
Before parents come in, I have the students write to their parents. I don't give too much guidance except...the first paragraph has to talk about something they enjoyed doing with their family over the summer, the second paragraph has to be about goals for 3rd grade, and the last paragraph invites the parents to help with organization, homework, and behavior.
Then...the parents respond on the back of the letter. The kids and the parents crack me up! Some were soooo funny and some were just sweet...
Here's ONE example of what a student wrote to her parents and TWO examples of parent responses...

I thought it was so sweet of a parent to call me "pretty"!!! I've been teaching 16 years and just thought this was super sweet.

I'm a huge fan of Dave Burgess, the author of Teach Like a Pirate.
I got the blinking notification on my phone that "Dave Burgess is now following you on Twitter"! WHAT?! How exciting! He's like a celebrity! I told my friends that I feel like I have to say something intelligent on Twitter...
If you haven't read Teach Like a Pirate...READ IT. It's inspirational... no matter how long or short you've been teaching. There's lots in the book I feel like I already do in my classroom (like-I'm crazy and enthusiastic) it was a confirmation of what I'm doing is good...AND I got lots of great new ideas or things to ponder. LOVE IT! READ IT! It's a super easy read...I'm on my second reading (first time was in I'm revisiting now).

WOW. This was a looong post... And I'm so happy I was able to stick to only 5... HAHAHA.
Later! Enjoy your work-free Labor Day (who am I kidding, really).