Friday, August 30, 2013

Am I Alive After This Week?

Pinch me... am I alive? Did  I survive this week? Yes, it's a random title for a post....but that is what I am feelin' people! Thank you Friday... Oh. My. Word... and here's the best part I haven't actually started school yet and I am feeling like this... uh-oh, what kind of a hot mess will I be next week?



So with all that being said... I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to give you my week in a nutshell...Five for five style:

1. I downloaded the BEST APP EVER {well, the best app for a teacher} and that would be Common Core Powered by Mastery Connect.... um, just search "Common Core" in the app store and it will be #1....

This app has all the Common Core Standards at your fingertips! I love this! P.S. It's free.

2. Anyway, I flew home from Europe last weekend and was thrown back in to reality very quickly. I knew it was cutting it close... but now I am feeling it. Look. At. This. This is what greeted me on Monday. Oh my! I've made progress... but have a ways to go still!
Whoa there... that picture causes me stress... let's look at this instead:
That is me two weeks ago in England for my husband's cousin's wedding... I'm pretending to be in Downton Abbey...which is fun...  Now, snap out of it and back in to reality {see the first picture of that classroom.}

3. I decided to create some chevron "Incredible Numbers" and just got them on Teachers Pay Teachers right {HERE} I posted about "Icredible Equations" HERE But let's be honest, when you see the above picture aren't you wondering about my choices? I mean let's prioritize. Well, when I just can't handle being in that room anymore...aka about 7:00pm...I come home and then WANT to create and play on the computer. Is that normal?



4. I made my playdough kit! Due to all the things listed above I wanted the quicker version this year and went old school with a paint pen to label. And now that it's done I like it! I remember back when I started teaching {in 1999} and everything had a little paint pen action. I blogged it about that {HERE} and you can get the recipe as a FREEBIE!

5. I mailed out my welcome letters to my 31 new little friends...in fact, I think it will be hitting their mailboxes today! Eek! Then I will meet them on Tuesday for Kinder Meet and Greet and next Wednesday will be the first day.... even at year 15 I get a little nervous for that first day!! I better run... I have a lot of work to still do!


Oh and before I forget... my GIVEAWAY of a $25 gift card ends tomorrow... so click {HERE} to go enter!!

Thank you for Kacey over at Doodlebugs for hosting such a fun linky! And Thank you Friday for finally arriving!
Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Teaching Abroad {Edition Six}

I have been sharing stories, memories and embarrassing stories of my time as a little American teacher abroad.

I have to say, it has been fun for me to re-read and remember this time in my life. I want to do it again and I would be honored to be part of the Fulbright Program, if they were to accept me for a second run through.

 Today's edition is from November 2004... I hope you enjoy:



Hello,
I can't believe it is only Wednesday! This has been the longest week. A tip to fellow teachers: don't go to Amsterdam the weekend before parent conference week!

Let's discuss Amsterdam- actually the place left me quite speechless. I visited the Van Gogh museum...

 ...and the Anne Frank House which is amazing and adds to my whole speechless thing. I've known her story, but it makes it "real" to be IN her house and honestly leaves me speechless.

The most jaw dropping part was the visit to the Red Light District…Everyone said you have to go check it out! Again... speechless. 

Also speechless is the beauty of this city. Ignore the funny looking American in her matching hat and scarf (I'm rethinking that choice) and look at how beautiful it is:

The best thing about Amsterdam is the giant fruit filled pancakes you can get everywhere- me, I had that twice in a 2 day visit! I was thrilled that on the table there was an entire powdered sugar dispenser at my disposal- that alone is enough to make me return!

At home I collect the "Love Is" from the comic section of the newspaper. Not sure if the comic section is the best fit for it, but that is where it is. My Nana cuts them out for me on days they said things she thinks my future husband should do, such as these:
They aren't all geared to be things the guy has to do for the girl... but those are the ones my Nana likes.

Anyway, in Amsterdam I bought a small ceramic bowl. The lady wrapped it in newspaper for me. I opened it up when I got back to Hereford and as I am about to throw the wrapping away I notice a Love is. I'd recognize those cute little characters anywhere! I have no idea what it says, but what are the chances of that? 



Before I go, a quick S#1 update: You know, the rubber thrower. Well, his mother was getting married this past weekend and he says to me on Friday, "I really wanted you to come with me to the wedding this weekend, but my mom said no because I will be busy being the ring bearer." 

I am thinking, is this really coming from S#1...really?

Then he goes on to tell me that on Monday he will bring a piece of the wedding cake. His mother later confirmed this story, saying he was very upset I couldn't come and the only bargain she could make with him included bringing me cake.  So, sure enough on Monday I was handed another fattening treat, which I didn't eat for a plethora of reasons... but why do so many people give me cake here? (This being said after I just confessed to two apple fruit pancakes in Amsterdam...oops!) 


But I need the cake to stop, so I had thought, if I am lucky he will just throw it at me. OK that was mean, especially because the whole story is a bit heart warming and makes me smile to see this side of him.

Good night – you know I miss you! If for any reason you would like to be removed from this subscription
just alert me, and you will promptly be deleted.



Jumping back to the present of 2013... Don't forget I have a giveaway for a $25 gift certificate going on until Saturday.... click {here] to enter!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Whippin' Up a Little Playdough {with a Freebie}

Ahhh playdough! I love playdough and I especially love the home-made stuff, but I just don't have the time to whip up a fresh batch that often.... problem solved with my Playdough Kit!

Ta-da!! This little tote has all the ingredients {except water and oil} needed to make playdough!

I tell the parents about it in the beginning of the year and they will take it home and whip it up for our class. And many times they make a little batch to keep at home, too! To be honest, the kids love taking this home that I end up having parents ask beg me to take the kit home when there is zero need for anymore dough...that's okay... Take it! Make some for your home!

Here is what you need:

-A caddy of some sort to hold everything {I got this one at Michael's"} and I went with the old school paint pen decorating option as opposed to some Cricut action {or Silhouette if you are one of the lucky ones!}
Then I added a little washi tape for good measure.
-salt
-cream of tartar {the most random ingredient}
-flour... and let me say- most people use their own flour and I rarely have to replenish this bag, but I keep it in there just in case
-food coloring {missing from the picture}
-Gallon size Ziploc bags or whatever container you want the parents to return the dough in
I don't include water or oil. Obviously people have water at home and to be honest, they have oil too and it is just too messy to be in the kit.
-the recipe itself

To get your free copy of the recipe just click {HERE} or click on the image below:

Later I will be sharing all the wonderful playdough activities that I use in the beginning of the school year!

Don't forget to enter my give away for a $25 gift card to TCR- click {here} to enter! Hurry up... it ends on Saturday!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Giveaway Time! Gift Card to TCR!

How is your classroom coming along? Have you started school already? Well, no matter which stage you are in you can always stock up on more for your classroom. Today I am happy to be giving away a $25 gift certificate to Teacher Created Resources

Here are some of my favorites from TCR:

Lime...everything...the famous lime polka dot border has been in my room a couple of years...so has the black polka dot.

{I've never tried the polka dot letters or the polka dot paper with apples, but I'm about to order some.}

Next up are these cute anchors. They have them as accents and as stickers too. I'm not sure what I want to do with them yet. I have an ocean theme and these may be a stretch for truly jiving with my theme, but I really like them!



Last up ....I'm also going to use their All About Me posters this year. I am just not good at it..that is the only problem! I either forget to send it home or even worse... I forget to have the student present it. Why am I so bad at remembering this stuff?!? And with 29 students there aren't too many extra weeks for my forgetfulness...as in there are 36 weeks of school....

Despite all of this...I'm giving it a go...

So now for the best part. Teacher Created Resources is teaming up with me to give one lucky follower a $25 gift certificate. So hurry up and enter below. Good luck!!

And hurry...this giveaway ends on Saturday, August 31st at midnight PST... a Rafflecopter giveaway Aaand... I have another giveaway coming right after this one... it will have a European theme to celebrate my recent time spent there!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Teaching Abroad {Edition Five}

It is my fifth time doing a Throwback Thursday sharing some stories from my experience teaching abroad....Hope you aren't sick of them yet...  I decided to try this out for the month of August after such positive feedback from my first post where I mentioned this part of my life that is so near and dear to my heart.

Sometimes when you read these you may think... Why does that crazy lady think I would want to have to deal with any of that? And the answer is, it will change you forever and make you stronger in many ways. But enough of me bullying you to teach abroad...


Today we have two entries from the end of November 2004:

Hello Everyone!

So I leave work at 4:45 today, but it could have been midnight if you were using both sunlight and activity on the streets to gauge your guess.  I have a 5:10 bus to catch and a short list of groceries to pick up… so I run into Tesco and begin my own version of Supermarket Sweep, except I don't even have a trolley (or what you may refer to as a cart).  The main reason I am trolley-less is time, but also there is a one pound deposit necessary for its use.  

One of the items on my list is baking soda. I have a plan to bake me up some Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookies (thanks to my mom and cousin who mailed me some chips!)  Well, there is no orange Arm and Hammer box! So I search and search…marmite, no, cream of tartar, no, mince meat, absolutely no…right when I am about to buy baking powder, which I know is wrong, but at least one word matched - I see something called bicarbonate of sodium. Although this sounds more like a science experiment item, I throw it in my hand basket and run toward the eggs. I reluctantly pull a batch of unrefrigerated eggs from the shelf and keep going. As upset as I still am over the lack of refrigeration of eggs in this country, there is no time to dwell on this, my bus comes in 7 minutes.  

I rush down the cereal aisle and see "Special K Peach and Apricot" this is new to me, so I do a small cheer (ahh, the little things that make me happy), grab it and run to the front.  I carefully calculate which till is moving the fastest and wait in line. As I am standing there I see a sign for the "Christmas Fayre" and for a brief time I was wondering who the Christmas Fairy is and then figured out that it is just another word that is spelled "wrong."  We all know about colour and theatre- but what about kerb, practise, dialling, tyre and more... oh my U.K. friends and I go round and round on this topic... and this little mention may upset some of them. I pay the lady and fumble to pack my own groceries; I still struggle with this one. I dash outside and was happy to see Bus 78 waiting for me in the darkness.

The making of the cookies was a disaster:
A. I can't cook, but usually can handle the OG chocolate chip cookie.
B. Too much "maths" (apparently you can never say the singular version of this word over here) involved. I had to do some cups to grams converting… then a little Fahrenheit to Celsius action.  At this point I am basically over it.
C. They don't really taste the same at all

So that was my past 2 hours for you in a nutshell. I had sat down to write about my weekend in Stratford-Upon-Avon, but instead that is what came out.

The quick Stratford story: It was a trip for all of us Fulbright American teachers spread around the U.K. to get together to commiserate, share and be in a group where you aren't the one with the accent.....Oh, I almost forgot... we also got to enjoy Shakespeare's hometown.

I saw Shakespeare's house, other houses of his relatives, his grave and two shows by the RSC (Royal Shakespeare Co.) Randomly, one of these shows was Beauty and the Beast, so not the Disney version (I like to say things like that because others say, "Oh, how American of you!")- instead the Beast was half Bob Marley and half Predator and he walked on stilts.  The singing teapot and candle never showed up, oh well.  The next night was Julius Caesar.  After the play, a few fellow Fulbrighters and myself ended up hanging out with the whole cast of Beauty (I can abbreviate it now, cuz I am in the "in crowd") We even hung out with the director. I got to meet Gary who plays the Bob Marley monster beast. 

If you want something educational to occupy your minds with, here it is: there is discussion among Shakespearian people about the similarities of the relationship of Caesar and Brutus to that of Bush and Blair… they go on to talk about the whole point of J. Caesar is to ponder whether a monarchy is a good idea… It was getting too late for such pensive topics.

So that is all for now.. enjoy your Thanksgiving! As for me, I will work all five days this week and on Friday present an assembly about Thanksgiving to the little Brits.  But don't fret, I am having Thanksgiving in Leeds on Saturday... the worrisome part is that I am to help with the cooking since I will be one of two Americans involved in the endeavor. Uh oh!

Until next time- I miss you all, still!  

Quick post from November 25, 2004 - Thanksgiving Day

Happy Thanksgiving. Today my class surprised me with a Thanksgiving celebration.


And then tonight was amazing! Emily and her crew made me a Thanksgiving dinner. Emily researched recipes for things like cornbread and stuffing which aren't the norm around here. She even made these special turkey cookies (and note balloons up in American colors). That is Emily on the left... and me :)



Too cute! And we had sparklers!! I am beyond shocked at the amount of planning everyone did to make today special. 
Tomorrow is the big assembly my little ones are doing for the rest of the school. It's kinda a tricky topic to teach that part of what the Pilgrims were thankful for was their new life in a new place (and sidenote: We are in the old place...Yikes!) Here are my cuties preparing their Native American vests. I wrote the whole skit myself...wish us luck!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Back to School Sale!!

I don't think it is any secret.... but the big Back to School Sale is going on now and today is the LAST day so get on over to Teachers pay Teachers right now....


Even though today is the last day you can enter BTS13 at check out for MORE savings... my products will be 20% off through the 20th!

I'm going to share just a few:


My Pattern Block Zoo Animal Pack ... did I mention there are four various levels of difficulty to use!




Next up is Get It Write!  It has everything needed to get that Writing Center up and running. 




Coming soon..... a giveaway to get your school year off to a great start!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Taming the Wild and Throwback Thursday

So Teacher Week '13 continues and I am happy to be linking up again with the ladies of Blog Hoppin... today is "Taming the Wild." I love that title :) Simply put, classroom management.

I think a common thing we are going to see on everyone's post today is Classroom Dojo. I {heart} it BIG time...

but I have decided that it isn't going to feature in my classroom.... in the fall....

You see, to me it is important to have a combination of stability and routine so the kids are clear of what the expectations are, but then at the same time variety is the spice of life....this is a tricky thing to balance....

So Classroom Dojo will come into play in January (or sooner or later depending on these "wild" ones I have yet to meet!)...as a new and exciting way to "tame" them.

If you are new to Dojo you can click on it above to go the site- they have a fab little video that gives you the low down... there's even a video for the parents to watch. I would explain it to you, but the site is awesome and my friend, Miss Kindergarten, has already done all the work - just click {here} and she will tell you all about how it free to sign up, how the kids love it and it is a great home-school connection because the parents can log in and check out how their little one is doing. Ooh I almost forgot...there are new monster avatars for the kids to choose from this year!

So for the beginning of the year I will be using the clip chart. Not that creative, but it is effective.

 To me, it must have at least  2 "jumps" up and 2 "jumps" down. I want them to be able to have just as much opportunity to rise to the top...as they do to come on down...Many charts have only "one" jump up... but two going down.

I currently use the ocean themed chart shown below. This is available {HERE} in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store:

So like I said... I like them to have many chances to move it on up...so you may see a child's clip on my clothes. Yep, if they make it to the star and are still being excellent then the clip is on me....and even more great behavior and that puppy is going in my hair. {They love this!} The only problem with this plan is that sometimes the clip ends up coming home with me at the end of the day.

Another trick I introduce after a few months of school is I let them paint their clip gold after reaching the TOP of the chart three times...and three more trips to the top and we add a little glitter. After it has been glittered we then "retire the clip" and they start fresh...BUT there is a ribbon with all the retired clips hanging.... just like you see retired jerseys in a sports arena!

I always have my rules posted and we review them often. In primary grades I set the rules, but when I taught 5th we established and wrote the rules {or class compact} together.

My rules are:
*Listen to the Teacher
*Make Good Choices
*Follow Directions
*Raise Your Hand to Speak
*Be Responsible, Be Respectful, Be Safe
*Be Honest and Kind

I have these for sale on Teachers Pay Teachers in an Ocean Theme, Farm Theme or Jungle/Zoo Theme: {You can click on any of the titles to go check them out}

Here is the Ocean Version:
Last year I posted some pictures of my classroom and if you click {here} you can see how I posted my rules!

Moving on... it is Thursday...so that means it is time for a Throwback Thursday post...somehow I am again combining two posts in one again!

Throwing it back to my teaching abroad experience for the 2004-2005 school year. Just check This Post out if you are stopping by for the first time....but for the month of August I am taking you back to my teaching abroad "memoirs" every Thursday.... And if you are so interested to get caught up on all the Throwbacks just click the "teaching abroad" label at the bottom of this post or on the sidebar. My purpose of doing this is to inspire someone else to have this experience.


Today's entry is from November 2004... it's a little less teaching and a little more traveling. In England most of the schools have half-term breaks which means a full week off in October, another in February and last one in May. {Plus 2 weeks for Christmas and 2...yes, that's right, 2 weeks for Easter} This does mean that you teach until July... but holy moly, did I love those half term breaks. I traveled internationally for each and every single one of them!

For my October half term I visited Italy with two other American teachers also on the Fulbright program. Here is the recap:


Buongiorno everyone!

I have just returned home from Italy and it was absolutely amazing! I won't bore you with all the details but will sum it up with this- I went to many museums and churches where I saw some art by Michelangelo, Leonardo and some other ninja turtles. I ate more pasta than necessary and climbed to the top of the Vatican, not for the
view, but for the exercise due to high levels of carbohydrate consumption.

The best night was probably in Venice when myself, the 2 girls I was traveling with and 3 recent American college grads from the east coast were given free reign of a Venetian restaurant once the owner went home. Marco, the bartender, says, "You can have whatever you want, just don't make too much confusion." When the owner called an hour later to make sure Marco was about finished with his work he whispers "shh!!! No confusion" and once the phone was hung up he announces "It's OK!"

I am voting Florence as most favorite location and Venice my least favorite, despite Marco's hospitality.  A big plus for Florence was the shopping- each of us bought a fine Italian leather coat- photographic proof of this provided (of course!)- I would be the one who still has the tag attached - in case you have forgotten me:(
{2013 note: I keep in touch with so many people from this whole shin-dig, but these 2 lovely ladies I don't keep in contact with. I didn't want to post their picture without permission... so you just get to see me}

Let's briefly discuss the Rome metro system, where some guy got behind the three of us and literally leaned to the side in some football-like position to push us on the train… we actually thanked him for this, or we would have never got on. It was pure insanity. We visited a pharmacy in Rome where Heather just wanted some lotion to put on insect bites and the guy says, "Do you trust me?" There seemed to be slight pressure to say yes, so we shrugged our shoulders and he sells us some super strong, not over the counter, hydrocortisone. So these stories may not make you dream of visiting Rome... but you already know how amazing it is!

The problem with Venice was the flooding that occurs daily during late October, November, and March.  People  lucky enough to come during this time get to walk in varying depths of water all over town.  The current cure to this is to set up tables for people to walk on. These, like the water, vary in height.  It is the most unsafe thing I have ever seen and allows you to go only a few places. I had to buy the temporary boots being sold to gullible tourists- it just looked like too much fun!
Let's briefly address this photo- it's main purpose is to give you a laugh at my expense! First off, it appears there is no water and that is because by the time I was calm enough to think a picture would be a fun idea the daily flood was almost over. Second of all, please notice how my sweater is buttoned wrong and I am wearing a scarf purchased the day before that I had intended as a gift- so one of you may see it again. If I am confessing- the same is true of a scarf in another photo.  And dear fashionista cousin- don't be mad about my hair- I was traveling!

A waiter in Venice refused to remove my plate until I ate everything- he then was upset with me for ordering a cafe latte with dessert (whether we ordered dessert or not was not an option).  Apparently a latte is only for breakfast- I asked if the restaurant was open for breakfast and when he said no- I then asked why is a latte on the menu.  Needless to say he did not like me, but I did get my latte. Also funny was when Heather ordered "a latte" and got a glass of milk- oh yeah, this isn't Starbucks. Stupid..I mean, Silly Americans. 

Being back at work is not so great. Today S#1 (as shared previously this is an anonymous name for one special student) told me his name is no longer "S#1," but instead is Malfroy (some distorted version of a Harry Potter character, I think).  He yelled at me and his classmates about six times for calling him S#1….after being very loud for very long the principal (I mean, headmaster) came by and he was removed from my classroom.  Arrivederci Malfroy!

That's all from Europe- now back to you in America
(Didn't I say I wasn't going to bore you with all the details - oops!)

P.S. What about I don't send one picture of me at the Coliseum or anything like that?


 {This quote I love...and yes, this is my 2nd time posting it... is anonymous and this image was uploaded to Pinterest by Kakai B}

I need to stop with this double posting business... it just seems that I can't help it lately. Sorry... and thanks for hanging in there if you are still reading.

See Edition Five of Throwback Thursday: Teaching Abroad HERE

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Did Ya Hear About This Giveaway?

Just a very quick post today. I just wanted to make sure you know all about the Bi-Coastal Back to School Bonanza being hosted by Deirdre at A Burst of First and Molly at Lucky to be in First!

There are a lot of bloggers who are participating so this would be pretty awesome to win. I have donated any one item {Winner's Choice!} from my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Check it out by clicking on either of their blog names above...hurry up because it ends this Friday... Good luck!

In other news... I am still on this lovely continent known as Europe....I just LOVE it! I am trying to stay off the computer as much as possible...which as you can see I am not that good at.... but I just can't help checking in on the blogging world...

But hey, this is me writing my posts... not too shabby!


Now go enter that awesome giveaway!!

P.S. Get ready from some more giveaway action from me once I am stateside :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Kicking Off Teacher Week With Ten Things About Me!

Well hello! It is Teacher Week 2013....


This is a week long extrravaganza people... check out the schedule:

Then head on over to Blog Hoppin so you can link up and/or read some fun stuff and great ideas from so many wonderful bloggers.

Today is...


Number 1 I'm coming to you live from Europe....Yep, that means I am in complete denial that school starts on September 4th. I mean seriously everyone else is in their classroom already...some actually teaching with students...and me, I am just not thinking about it yet.


Number 2:
I have the BEST husband in the world and last Wednesday was our 4 year anniversary {a main reason for the timing of this late summer adventure}... and I am proud to say we spent it in Aix-en-Provence, France which is where our wedding took place in 2009. It was our first time back there since then...
Okay I know... enough is enough... but let me just share one more with one of my most favorite stories. And let this be your warning should you choose to get married in France {although I highly recommend it} If you look at the picture below you can see me looking at my hubby and I am saying... "Did you know anything about this?" I mean, he is the one who speaks French... but no, he had no idea. Neither of us knew our cake would be brought out on a stretcher {yes, like a full sized one you would see paramedics holding...but we had two guys in full chef outfits including the very tall white hats}....neither of us knew about the fireworks or the sparklers... Here, you can see the sparklers...but there were fireworks, too. What?!?!  I would never have chosen that had anyone asked me, but no one did. And now it is just one of my favorite memories... I could share other adventures had while planning a wedding from California when you don't speak French and your fiancĂ© is in Europe, but not France ...but it was perfect.

Number 3:
I DID know my cake would be brown. A. I love chocolate and I'm not ashamed of it. B. There was enough white everywhere else and C. The wedding colors were brown and pink. However, I had no idea about that flower on top nor how it would look.


Number 4: 
I'm obsessed with traveling...hence #1 and #2 above... but I LOVE it. I spent a year teaching abroad and it was the BEST thing I ever did. I wrote a post about that {here} I am considering starting a traveling blog too.... stay tuned.


Number 5:
I love to eat soup! Random...yes, but today we arrived in Florence and I am on the look out for some good soup despite it being 90 degrees and cooling to 80 in the evening.

Number 6:
I play {or maybe "played" would be the more appropriate verb tense} the alto sax!

Number 7:
I work well under pressure.... I procrastinate like nobody's business.... and so when I arrive in the states in two weeks I will start the chaos of getting my classroom ready! And I will be ready for those 29 cute faces on September 4!

Number 8:
I love blogging! I mean....I'm in Europe, but I find me a little wi fi and still have to get my blog on!

Number 9:
I am about to start my 15th year of teaching. Hmm, how can that be... I must have been 10 when I started... Ahh, time flies, but in that time I have taught Kinder, 1st, 4th and 5th...and I will say, my favorites are K and 5th...the youngest and the oldest on our campus! Most people are shocked that the same teacher can have a love for those two... but I do. For now though I am thrilled to stay in kindergarten and am open to trying 2nd or 3rd which somehow just have never crossed my path.

Number 10:
I am goofy, silly and love to laugh...and am okay with people laughing at me. So here ya go.... this is me yesterday... you know with my very original idea of holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Only me and about other 800 people there thought of this...and I am sure we were the first tourists ever to do this, right?

Thanks for stopping by! Ciao! Adios! Au revoir! I'm hoping to be part of this fun filled teacher week more than just today, we'll see which days I can participate in from over here... but just know if I'm not posting, I'm sippin a caffe latte and reading everyone else's....and just FYI don't think I didn't order a "latte" yesterday and get a milk...because  I did...oops, no abbreviating that one here in Italy!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Line 'em Up! {Part Two}

Today's post is a random follow up to the last Line 'em Up Post. It is just a small, but useful little tip. We're going to discuss getting your kiddos in line ... not the walking part... but how they go from carpet or desk to the line itself. I think this concept can work for all elementary grades {I used it when I taught 5th.}

Sometimes I know teachers use behavior ... such as, "The table (or row) who is the quietest will line up first today." And that has it's place...oh yes it does.... But I try to keep it creative and even keep it tied in with our learning.

First of all, all my little friends have a classroom number. This is for organizational reasons more than anything else. You can read {this post} to learn more about the classroom numbers.

It takes my kinders a while to learn their number... and even longer to recognize it. So in September it is all about learning our personal number...not just for lining up purposes, but for all the other things we do where they need to know their own number.

I will just count slowly starting at 1 or sometimes starting at 29 and going backwards. I will point to each child as I say their number so they know. Some days I will silently just hold up flash cards or point to a number line...again, looking at each particular child {usually with a number list in my hand because I too, have to learn their numbers at the start of the year.} It's pretty cool... but they usually start writing their number on their work... I don't require this, I did when I taught the older ones, but it is cute to see the kinders writing their name AND number.

Once they know 'em {fingers crossed... but I would say most of them know it by the end of September... and there's always a few who need extra time} I start counting by twos to line them up...or fives...or tens.

You know what I love...when they say something like, "Why do you keep counting so high when no one has that number?" Valid point...because I will count by fives to fifty and by tens to one hundred...and Me Oh My I would hope I never get to a class size of 100! {Common Core Standards for kinder K.CC.A.1 asks them to count to 100 by ones and tens}

Another Common Core Standard is counting forwards from a given number (K.CC.A.2.) So I may draw a name at random or choose my "Catch of the Day" (aka Star of the Day) to stand up and announce his/her number and help me to keep counting from their number. This also helps so that numbers 1-5 aren't always in line first.

For 1st and 2nd graders... let's bring in some place value. 
Please line up if your number has a 2 in the tens place.
Please line up if your number is 10 more than 14 or 10 less than 15
Please line up if your number is 5 less than 7
Please line up if your number is even/odd

Since their number remains the same all year... you do need to spice it up. Some days you have 30 seconds to line up so you just count by ones... other days you need a filler...well, you can drag this out as long as you need to.

I also line up using their names. Some examples:
Please line up if your name has 2 syllables
Please line up if your name has the long a sound
Please line up if you name starts with /b/
Please line up if you have 2 vowels in your name
Please line up if you have 5 letters in your name

For younger students we can simplify even more:
Please line up if you are wearing blue.
Please line up if you have curly hair.

Or if you just finished reading a story:
Please line up if you liked the ending of the story we just read.
Please line up if you think the main character made a good choice when....etc...


The possibilities are endless and like I said... this is a random post because I know most of you probably do something that works already. I'm sharing this because when someone was visiting my room they commented on taking that idea back with them so I thought it was worth sharing.

I made a small "cheat sheet" that you can download print out and put up somewhere as just a quick reference of some line up ideas... it is just the tip of the iceberg for you though.

As for keeping them in line... well, that was in the last post Line 'em Up {Part One}

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Teaching Abroad {Edition Three}

Today it is time for another installment of my Teaching Abroad Throwback Thursday. It all started with  this post.  So for the month of August I am throwin' it back for you each Thursday....

This is an embarrassing one a  funny one from October 2004.... hope you enjoy {at my expense!}

Hi All-

Let's start with a little day in my life….
Tonight I spent about 2 hours trying to hook up broadband- I may live in a small town, drink tea and hang my clothes to dry, but I have no time for dial up.  OK, maybe I do have time for dial up, but please start working broadband!  I also started a fire tonight- small, but still a fire. The stove gas flame was no longer blue, but was clearly orange/red- also the fire alarm went off (that wasn't a first).  What was I making, you ask? It would be a quesadilla- which is a difficult thing for me. I am about as domesticated as a tiger (maybe one who comes by for tea) in the kitchen. So the idea of both combining ingredients and using the stove was just too much. I was thrilled to even have the materials needed for a quesadilla and had to go to a specialty store for flour tortillas. Sidenote: We may not want to mention the fire to Rachel (as in Rachel, the girl whose house I occupy)

So let me expand on the odd tiger in the kitchen reference above:  This past week in class I shared a book with my students named "The Tiger that Came for Tea" and this Tiger just eats and drinks everything in sight…then I read aloud "and the Tiger drank all of Daddy's beer."  I have to say that I don't believe this would be in
the U.S. version, although I don't think we would have any version about a tiger drinking tea, beer or anything.  Daddy did get a little "cross" with the tiger too... very in depth character development going on here. Just as an FYI, this wasn't a book I selected, it is one of the read alouds I am asked to use.

Anyway, the quesadilla fire was all preceded by my teaching day- I am covering money in class right now. Thank God their coins don't have names and are just called a 10p, 20p etc…. but here is me: "This is a one pound coin" and one little girl says "Gosh that looks a lot like a £2" Oops!

Also today, my friend S#1 and I had a chat about a few issues happening between him and others. He looks at me, shakes his head and says, "When are you ever going to learn." Good question.

TV still poses a problem for me. I am now just watching anything produced in America.  Sadly this means that sometimes I have to resort to watching Stargate- I'm not proud of this.  I am not sure why, but I am not loving British television. Luckily, I am too busy to get consumed by the "tele."

Last piece of fun for today, As I walked home from work on Tuesday in full coat and scarf (remember I am Cali through and through so maybe I'm a bit overly sensitive to the weather) I hear the ice cream truck driving down the street. Then as he gets near me he slows down in case I am interested. Is he serious? I wanted to explain to him that he needs to sell a different product for this time of year, possibly Hereford could be the worst place ever to own an ice cream truck, but I am not an economics teacher, so I just kept walking and shivering.  However I guess I should learn, at every moment over here there is an opportunity to eat or drink something fattening- and my walk home should not be an exception to this.

2013 note: I just found a YouTube for "The Tiger That Came for Tea" and if you listen carefully at 2:29 you will hear my "favourite" line. But not only did the tiger drink Daddy's beer, he also "drunk all the water in the tap" and I just started "LOL-ing" as I read a comment by another viewer.... worried about how the tiger may be over hydrated. Do you ever start laughing so hard at something that perhaps isn't that funny, but for whatever reason it IS funny at that moment. That is me right now :)

If you are dying to read more you can read the {first} or {second} throwback by clicking on them or just click the "teaching abroad" label below. Or click HERE to move forward and see the 4th edition!