Monday, July 28, 2014

Covering Up the Ugly! - Shelf Makeover


Last year, I took over a classroom mid-year.  I didn't have much time to decorate, so I did a quick rearrange and change bulletin boards on a weekend.  I purged the rest of the year (read about the moldy play dough here) so that I could start off this year FRESH!

I'm linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It to show how I covered up my ugly shelves.


I decided that there was NO way I could look at these ugly shelves in my room anymore!


This one actually had wood grain contact paper on top of the ugly shelf.  :/


I didn't want to take the time to repaint them, so I made a quick trip to Target.  I bought contact paper (not my favorite pattern but beggars can't be choosers), duct tape, and a sheet.

I covered the shelves in contact paper.



To make sure the contact paper sticks, I applied duct tape along all the seams and corners.


I have a TON of velcro in my room, so I ran a strip of velcro across the front.


Then I cut the sheet to fit, hemmed the edges, and applied a strip of velcro to the sheet.

Now my shelves look better, the stuff in the shelves are hidden from sight, and it looks way better!



Best of all, I can easily take this off if I decide I don't like it anymore (or find a better contact paper pattern).  It was cheap.  I only used a little more than 1 roll of contact paper, less than a roll of duct tape, and 1 flat sheet.  And it was quick to do, took a couple of hours to do 3 shelves.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July Currently


July!!!!  Say what?!?!  Slow down summer, I don't want you over just yet.  Teachers go back to work on July 28th in Hawaii.  Wahhhhhh!!!  I don't even want to think about school yet.  But I guess the days will just keep on coming so I better enjoy the heck out of the last few weeks I have off!

I'm linking up with Oh Boy 4th Grade for her July Currently.


Listening: Hubby and I are trying to watch The Leftovers, new HBO series, but our cable is being super glitchy.  Ugh!  I'm undecided on whether I like it or not.

Loving: I've joined a new bootcamp class with some of my friends.  It's kicking my booty every morning, but I'm enjoying the heck out of it.  Plus, I'm feeling so much stronger!

Thinking: This has been a fabulous summer break.  I so don't want it to end!  My family went to Kauai in June.  It was AMAZING!  

It was beautiful!


We jumped into tide pools!


We jumped off piers!

And had the best quality time!


Seriously, go to Kauai if you can!  Best vacation ever!

Wanting: New workout gear.  I really need new stuff to wear.  Any favorites?

Needing: More clean eating recipes.  I'm trying to use summer to try more recipes and add some favorites to our usual rotation once I go back to work.  I've been collecting recipes on Pinterest {here}, but I'd love to hear some of yours.  

4th of July Plans: We'll be BBQing with our neighbors.  I'm gonna "try" to eat healthy but no promises.

How's your summer going?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Summer Reading List


I'm a HUGE reader.  It's seriously one of my favorite hobbies.  I always have at least one book (or more) that I'm reading.  I love hardback books, paperback books, books on my Nook, and books on the Nook app on my phone.  Honestly, most of the reading I do is on my phone. 

So when I saw The Hands-On Teacher in First was having a Summer Reading List linky, I knew I had to join up.


My New Years resolution this year is to read 52 books for the year.  I've read 24 so far, and I'm in the middle of 2 more at the moment.  I track my challenge on Good Reads.  I love Good Reads for tracking which books I've read and how I liked them.  If you're a reader, you should add me as a friend {here}.

Now onto the list of books I want to read this summer.

This is a new release that is first on my list.  I love Emily Giffin books for a light hearted read.


This one has been on my list for awhile.  I love emotionally powerful books, but sometimes I have to work up the energy to read them.


I saw the previews for Maze Runner when I went to watch The Fault in Our Stars (book and movie were soooooo good).  Now I must read this book before the movie comes out!


Here's another upcoming movie preview that I saw and realized I must read the book.  The movie looked great, and If I Stay has some pretty good reviews on Goodreads.


And finally, I always find true crime stories really interesting.  


What are you reading this summer?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Confessions of a Teacher

I'm linking up with Rowdy in First Grade for some teacher confessions.


1.  I'm secretly thankful that my daughter was sick and I needed to stay home with her today.  Does this make me a bad mother?

2.  Although giving the 27-page end-of-the-year math test is PAINFUL with my students, I'm relieved that I don't have to plan for math for at least a week.

3.  I've written an entire IEP the day of the meeting.  Maybe several times....

4.  I hate home projects and have done several of my own kids this year just to get them over with.

5.  I am seriously burned out right now.  Teaching, blogging, and TpT have become a huge chore that I just don't want to tackle right now.

6.  I cancelled our weekly fluency and spelling this week due to end-of-the-year testing and that made me super happy.

7.  I actually despise assigning, collecting, and checking homework.  I'm constantly debating whether homework is useful or not.

8.  I started the end-of-the-year countdown two months ago.  16 teaching days left!

9.  It's really sad how one person can completely make a job miserable.  :(

10.  Reading to my students is one of my favorite parts of the day.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Organizing Student Work for Portfolios

Hi everyone!  I'm super excited to link up for another Bright Ideas Blog Hop!  I love getting new ideas that make teaching easier.


Since I teach special education students, I need to keep student work to show how students are or are not progressing.  I've tried different ways to organize all their work for their student portfolios.  For a long time, I used 3-ring binders.  But they're bulky and honestly sometimes I don't want the work 3-hole punched.

I finally found this super easy (why didn't I think of it before) system just using a simple crate from Target.


For each student, I use 4 cheap folders.  One has their name on it and includes personal information like copies of their IEPs, their last IEP progress report, their contact information, and other random papers.  I make a folder for each area that I'm keeping data.  For me, that is reading, writing, and math.


This makes keeping work super easy and makes filing for each student super fast.  Once a quarter is complete, I take all of the work our and put it in a folder labeled __ quarter.  What I also like about this system is that it's super easy to change out if you have students who move or come in.  Since only one folder has the student's name on it, I can either white out the name and reuse it or throw it out.

There you go!  It's not genius by any means but I wish I had thought of it a few years ago.

Next up, you'll want to hop on over to Amanda from Around the Kampfire's blog to see how she makes the most of anchor charts in her classroom.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Public Service Announcement: Teacher Hoarders

I've taught in a few schools in a few different states (thanks Marine Corps!).  One thing I've noticed is that some teacher are HOARDERS!!  Oh man, do some teachers like to hold onto things for a long, long time.

I was just offered a 2nd grade SPED resource position, so I'm back full time again.  There might be only a few months left in the year, but I can't stand a cluttered classroom.  I've been slowly going through things and throwing junk away.  I'm pretty sure the custodian hates me already!  

So far I've found some interesting things.

This play dough with MOLD on it might be the most surprising thing yet!  Yikes!  How long does it take for play dough to grow mold?  Scary!

A rice cooker and a toaster oven is something you don't see in a classroom everyday.

This blast from the past that I found last year was pretty awesome though!  Man, I loved He-Man as a kid!  Too bad there wasn't a SheRa book though.

I also found some pretty outdated curriculum.  Do we need to keep work books that are almost 20 years old?  

And oh man the worksheets.  Tons and tons and tons of worksheets.  I'm sure there was good intent to use these worksheets, but it just didn't work out.  Please, recycle that paper!  And I have one word of advice to leaving, transferring, retiring teachers.  Throw the worksheets away.  I know you mean well but most teachers don't have time to dig through old worksheets and see what's useable.  Most of us will find our own thing that fits our teaching style anyway.

If you think you might be a teacher hoarder, look around your room and think about what you can throw away or donate.  I've only made a small dent in cleaning out my new room, but I will get it done!  I don't know if I should be scared or excited about the possible finds that are lurking in my 4 floor-to-ceiling cabinets!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Communicating With Gen Ed Teachers (Let's All Be Informed)

I'm super excited to be linking up for the Bright Idea Blogger Hop!


This hop is going to be an awesome way for you find all kinds of bright ideas for you to use in your classroom!

As an intervention teacher, I've found that it can be super hard to find the time to meet and discuss students' progress with the gen ed teachers.  I wanted the gen ed teachers to be able to know what skills I was working on and the progress of their students at any time even though they may not be able to actually meet with me very easily.

I keep all of my data in a 3-ring binder for each group.

 I keep a sort of lesson plan that lets the teachers know what skills I was working on that day.  And it helps me keep track of which students attend intervention group.


For each student in my reading groups, I take a weekly fluency check and a cold read comprehension check.  I keep the original fluency and comprehension quiz in the binder.

In front of those, I keep a fluency graph.  I LOVE graphs.  They can really can give you that visual about a student's progress.  Although this student is reading below grade level, she's really improving on her fluency!


Graphs can also really let you see when students just aren't making progress like this student.  This is one that I'm super worried about.  Even though he's in my most intense, smallest group, he's just not coming along like I think he should be.  :(


I also keep this form at the front of the binder for each group.  This gives the teachers a quick snapshot of how everyone in the group is doing.


To keep track of their weekly comprehension check, I use this simple form.  As you can tell, comprehension can be really tough.


I also have a math group that I see daily.  On Fridays, I give them a quick quiz that covers several skills.  By looking at their data like this, I can quickly tell which skills I need to keep remediating and which skills they seem to get.  Here's a really good week!  Usually, most of my students miss the word problem.


So there you go!  It may seem daunting to keep data, but honestly, it's really quick.  Once you get the forms set up and your binders organized, it takes no time to add the new information.

Now you should definitely hop on over to Teachable Moments to find out all about how she used Dollar Stores finds in her classroom.  And can I just add that it's really unfair there is no Dollar Store in Hawaii!  You can find her post {here}.