Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A work in progress

I've been spending time in the classroom the last few weeks. I am reorganizing, clearing out, and rearranging.  Here are some pictures. Be warned, I am NOT finished. There is still a lot to do.  Most of the stuff you will see are NOT my original ideas. Like most teachers, I see something I like and then adapt it to fit my teaching style. 
My brother is a long distance truck driver.  He is going to text me each time he heads out for a new location.  We are going to track his route. I am going to use this to teach map skills,  estimation and averaging. I am real excited about this idea!  I will post what the students do and what all I use this information for. The possibilities are endless!  (NOT my original idea. I watched a movie a few years ago about a teacher who taught geography by tracking a truck drivers routes. I can not remember his name.)

We study explorers in History at the beginning of the school year.

I am really proud of this cabinet! I purchased storage containers from the Dollar Tree and labeled my art and math supplies.  The baskets on the top left contain class sets of chapter books. I don't have those labeled yet.  I have some empty space on the top left side. I am thinking  about hanging sentence strips from the pole.

This space is a work in progress. I am thinking about taking the left side down and making the entire board a math board.  My behavior chart is on the right.  Then next to that is the chart I am going to use to file the papers the students will take home.  I purchased it from Really Good Stuff when it was on sale during teacher appreciation week. I am looking forward to using it.  I think it is going to make life much easier. 

A view of the front of the room. A work in progress.  I am taking down the alphabet and putting up a different one; one that won't take up as much space. I am also moving the time line.  I usually start the year off with the desks in rows.  It makes it easier to teach my classroom procedures. Then about two or three weeks in, I change it to a U shape.  I LOVE having them in a U shape.  I would rather have the desk and chair separate, but these were given to us and I have to use them. :-)

Again, this area is NOT finished.  I am in the middle of re-doing my book baskets. I was given a bunch of "new" books and have to sort them. I am working on new book labels. I will post them when I get them done.  And yes, that is dinosaur (projector) you see. Hahaha. I'm just happy to have something! :-)

Well, there you go.  It's not finished. And it is small. I will post the finished product next week!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mrs. Bainbridge's Linky Party...Oh the things we say!

Mrs. Bainbridge says, "We've all got those "things" that we say.  What is something you always say to your students?  Maybe it's something cute that you love... or maybe it's something that you heard them start to say to each other that made you go "uh oh!".
Here's mine...

Two years ago I had a student new to our school. It was the second day. The students were working on a writing assignment. While walking around, I noticed she was trying so hard to write in cursive. I leaned down and whispered, "honey, it's ok, you can print."  I walk on to another child's desk. I then noticed the first child got out of her seat and walked to the back of the room and stopped in front of my PRINTER.  I went to her and asked her what she was doing. She said, "You told me to print it." I leaned down and whispered in her ear, "well aren't you precious."
And it stuck. So now when ever a child does something "odd" or even aggravating, my response is usually, "oh, you are precious."  It has become a school joke.  Last year, during our meet the teacher night, I had a parent come to me and say that I would probably be calling her child precious a lot! hahaha. And indeed, I did! :) Bless his heart.  :-)

The other thing I say a lot is "Do it with a happy heart."  AND, if it's worth doing, it's worth doing well.

Ok, your turn! Head on over to Mrs. Bainbridge's Class blog and post your link!

Favorite Books - linky party

Runde's Room is having a favorite book linky party.

My favorite childhood books that I read over and over was Baby Island by Carol Ryrie Brink and Socks by Beverly Cleary.

My favorite book I read to my daughter was Goodnight Moon.  There was also a set of Bible story books I read over and over to her as well, but I can't remember the name of the set. They are boxed up until my grandchildren start arriving. :).

I have too many professional and personal books to list. I am an avid reader and reread a lot of them. Too many to name. :-)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Math games for upper elementary

While on my new obsession, Pinterest, I stumbled across a great website.  I am always looking for math games for 4th grade. I hit the jackpot and found several card games.

Here they are. Click on the name and if I did this right, it will take you to the website. ENJOY! :-)

Bullseye! A mathematical card game.

Capture That Fraction

Staying Above Zero

Leftovers: A Division Card Game

Prime Time: a game dealing with prime numbers

Multiplication Math War

place value

Another activity for positive and negative numbers

A fraction game. Very challenging.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

10 things about me....linky party

Hi everyone. Mrs. Owens is hosting an about me linky party!

Here is my list:

10.  I never married and probably never will.

9.  Went to at least 13 different schools in grades K - 6th.

8.  I teach at a private Christian School.

7.  I have 3 cats and really want a 4th but don't want to be "that crazy cat lady", so I restrain myself. :-)

6.  I have been to Peru & Venezuela (mission trips).   My dream is to return to Peru and work in an orphanage or mission school.

5.  I LOVE college football. Roll Tide ROLL!!! During football season I arrange my Saturdays around the games. READY for the season to begin! :-)

4.  I LOVE to read. My house is over run with books. But not in a hoarder sort of way, they are neatly arranged/displayed or out of sight in a closet. :)

3.  I am a bit OCD when it comes to organization. I HAVE to have things "just so" or it makes me a bit nuts. ;)

2.  I LOVE to watch anything sci-fi...(but not the gory stuff...ick...)

1.  I have one child, a daughter who is almost 20 years old.  She will be moving into her own apartment in the next few months and I am dreading it. It may push me over the edge to get that 4th cat! haha ;)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The teacher that changed my life....

For some odd reason, I woke up this morning thinking about past teachers. I don't often do that. Mainly because I've had so many.  We were a very poor family. My daddy, for whatever reason, moved us often. I remember one such move occurring in the middle of the night with only the clothes on my back. I cried for days because I had to leave all of my precious dollies.  I've tried to count how many elementary teachers I've had over the years. Honestly, I cannot even remember most of my elementary years. But from what I do remember, I had 13 different teachers in grades K - 6. I think the number is higher than that but I don't remember all of them from the real early years.

I was the at risk child. The free lunch child. The child with dirty hair that was not washed often enough. The child that often had an odor because she was not made to bathe every night.  The child who ate everything she could get her hands on because she wasn't sure there would be food at home. The child whose family was visited by child protective services a few times, but nothing was ever proven.  The child who often times got bullied and beat up just because she was shy and mousy. 

The few memories I have of past teachers were mostly unpleasant. I remember the "looks", the harsh words, the impatience.  But in 5th grade all of that changed. I was headed down the wrong path in record time.  I was tired of getting beat all the time and was beginning to turn hard-hearted and fight back.  I hung with an older, rougher crowd. My language was edgy, my manners crude and my attitude harsh. I wasn't going to take it anymore.  Then entered Mrs. Brown. One day someone brought a prism to school. I was awe struck by it and wanted it. So, I stole it. The next day Mrs. Brown confronted the class. She asked the guilty to party to please put it on her desk; no questions asked.  I struggled all day. Finally, after class when every one else left, I went back to the room and put it on her desk. She caught me. But instead of a harsh word, I got words that forever changed me:  "I am proud of you. It took a big person to admit they were wrong."  I broke down and cried. She hugged me.   That was a turning point in my life. She showed me things could be different.  She took me to church with her a few times.  I will NEVER forget Mrs. Brown.  Because of her, I was set on a different path.

A year later, still struggling to "be good", I was sent to a Salvation Army Camp for underprivileged children. It was at that camp my life was forever changed.  Mrs. Brown planted the seeds and the Salvation Army counselor reaped the harvest. For it was at the camp, the summer I turned 12 years old that I became a Christ follower.  I remember on the bus ride home being terrified of going back to the old crowd. I didn't know what I was going to do. When I got home, I was hit with the news: we were moving!  Within 3 days, God had us out of that place and in another state entirely; far away from "the bad crowd".  My life changed dramatically. We moved 3 more times in the next 6 years of my life. Each time was within walking distance of a church. So I was able to go to church and grow in faith.  Our family situation also changed. Daddy was deemed disabled and we had a steady, monthly income. I was actually able to stay at the same high school for those awkward high school years.

Mrs. Brown was the turning point in my life. She doesn't know it, but she helped shape the teacher I am becoming. For as most of us, I am a work in progress.  I fell asleep last night reading yet another "teacher book".  Always trying to improve, like most of you.  Over the years I have tried to be Mrs. Brown.  Unfortunately, I am sure I have been the harsh, impatient one as well. But I pray that someday, one(or more) of my students will be blogging about how   "Miss Thompson changed my life."  Daily my prayer is "Lord, help me be slow to anger, slow to speak, but quick to hear and quick to love."
Orange Street Elementary Schoo(it now houses the St. John's County BOE), St. Augustine, Florida.  Where I went to school in 5th grade.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Books, books, and more books

Today our school received a huge blessing.  I teach at a private Christian school in Georgia.  Funds are very tight. We have a small library. Most of the elementary teachers also have classroom libraries.  Most of us are in need of new books. Our prayers have been answered. A teacher who has retired has given us her books. And what a wonderful gift! Boxes and boxes of books. I glanced through some of the boxes and got so excited. There are some really great novels in there. I cannot wait to go through and sort them.  I leave for vacation on Tuesday, so it will just have to wait. I am already in the process of reorganizing my class library. So I am really excited about adding some of these books to the collection. I am working on new book labels. I will post them when I get them made.  Here is a picture of some of the books we have been blessed with. This is only half!! The other half is in my friend's car.