Thursday, August 25, 2011

Three for Thursday

It's Day Four of Teacher Week!

My Favorite Font
I have a hundred favorite fonts! I'm going to take the cop-out answer and say my favorite fonts are Kevin & Amanda fonts, especially her Fonts for Peas line.

I get the cutest scrapbooking fonts at Free Scrapbook Fonts!

My Favorite Blog
I have so many teacher blogs that I now follow! I guess if I *have* to choose a favorite, I'll pick two. I love Mrs. Bainbridge's blog (and site). It's awesome that we both teach a combined 1st/2nd grade class! I can't even express how useful it's been for me, as a new 1st/2nd grade teacher, to see ideas she uses with her class!
Mrs. Bainbridge's Class
I also love Mrs. Lemon's blog! She comes up with the most adorable stuff - she cute-sifies things! :o) My last post included many of her creations in my classroom!

My Favorite Online Resource
I'd have to say that Google Reader is my favorite. I follow so many teacher blogs, it would be hard to keep track of them without my dear Google Reader. I also love my Pinterest, but Google Reader is a daily necessity to house all of my amazing super {internet} colleagues' resources.

Where it All Goes Down Wednesday

Today (err, yesterday!) is Day 3 of Teacher Week!

I have been busy, busy, busy in my new classroom! Michigan schools don't go back until after Labor Day, so I have a little less than two weeks to wrap up my classroom and finish up begin and finish lesson plans. I've been working hard and reading up all summer, but there's so much to learn about (two) new grade levels! :o)

I'm only featuring a few finished areas today:
My storage closet and clip chart. The clip chart was an idea from Mrs. Bainbridge:
This was a present from Mr. Lopac last Christmas (before we were married). I didn't take the wrapping off until after the wedding, but I sure did show it off. I'm proud to have it hanging up sans wrapping this year! :o) He bought it on etsy, but I don't know from which seller. I could find out if anyone's interested:
My 100 Club banner - idea from Mrs. Bainbridge and banner from Vista Print. It's an optional reading club!:
These drawers are to the left of the closet and to the right of my small group table. I've used file folders for each day of the week and they worked well in my 5th/6th class. I'm expecting I'll have more materials this year and will need more than a file folder:
Close up:

Jobs! Below this bulletin board is the Writing Center (unfinished), so I'm leaving room on the bulletin board for anchor charts for writing. I used job cards from Mrs. Lemons:
A close up:
This is my moveable word wall! I'm so excited how this turned out. This hangs in the front of the room under the board. Words are velcro-ed onto the ribbon so that students can easily bring them to where they're working. Letter cards came from Mrs. Lemons. I shrunk them half-size so they would work on my word wall:
Close up.... Telula is my dog / our class pet. I've been able to bring Telula to school several days a week in the past. She truly calmed my 5th/6th graders and our classroom, and I know she'll do the same with my 1st/2nd graders:
Here is my CAFE menu*. The next picture is the CAFE menu I made a few days ago. I decided it looked tacky (I didn't like the  Easter-colored border or the yellow separators that were made out of tissue paper), so I took the whole thing down and created the one above. I think it looks much better!:
*I downloaded the CAFE headings from somewhere, but I can't figure out where! I'm sorry! If anyone knows who I got them from, I'd love to give her credit!

The "tacky" CAFE menu that is no longer!:     :o)
This chair will be for the Star of the Week (or VIP...or whatever I end up calling it!). I found it in our new house's basement! I repainted it and made a pillow. I love it:
This is where it sits in the classroom:

The outside of my door. Cupcake idea was also from Mrs. Lemons! The PAWS are our school-wide management system:

Without further ado, here are a few unfinished (and downright messy!) areas. These are the areas I probably should have been tackling instead of redoing my CAFE menu, yes? Oh well... :o)

This will be my calendar/math bulletin board:
My math supplies and games. Oh and yes, that was my wedding slip. I borrowed it from someone in town and I'm waiting to schedule a time to drop it off:    :o)
The library... eek!:

That's all I have to show for now. More classroom pictures will come soon! I'm off to school to keep working!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Meet the Teacher - Monday

After reading some of the other "Meet the Teachers," I decided to update mine. I'm one of those people that rewrites To Do lists if I didn't write them neatly... so here goes:

Tell us a little something about you...
I'm Angela, and I blog here at Mrs. Lopac Teaches... I am a newlywed (4-30-11!) and new homeowner. My husband and I are updating and fixing up our house before we move in. It's exciting!

How long have you been teaching?
This is my fifth year teaching. I graduated with my undergrad in December 2006. I subbed that last semester. I taught preschool half days for the 2007-2008 school year. I even picked up a half day kindergarten class the last quarter of school, because the teacher moved. The next three years, I taught a combined fifth/sixth grade class. I had always said I would never teach middle school, but let me say I found out I loved it! This past spring when a teacher at my school retired, I decided to move down the grades to my *dream* job - a first/second grade combined class! I will miss my fifth graders that I would have had as sixth graders this year, but I can't wait to work with my little students!

You might not know...
I'm really shy. I'm not shy with my students, but with most people I appear quiet. I've tried to be more outgoing for years, but I'm starting to realize I'm not going to change. :o)

What are you looking most forward to this school year?
I'm most looking forward to working with my little first and second graders! I can't wait for read alouds, Daily Five, and projects (academic of course :o) ).

What do you need to improve?
Since it'll be my first year teaching first and second grade, I'm so nervous! I have so many things to learn and improve on! It'll be my first year incorporating the Daily Five and CAFE into my schedule. I know it'll be awesome, but I just want to make sure I do it right so my students can really benefit. It'll be my first time teaching students how to read and improve as readers. When I got my fifth and sixth graders, they could all read. I helped them grow as readers, but obviously first and second grade will be much, much different in that aspect!

I would also like to use Debbie Diller's Math Work Stations, but I just haven't had time to work on that this summer. Right now, there are Scott Foresman workbooks for math that the previous teacher supplemented with Everyday Math games and activities. I've never used Everyday Math, so I would like to rely mostly on the Math Work Stations and be able to teach both grade levels together.

 As always, I need to improve on time management. Last year, as a fourth year teacher, I was at school late all the time. I need to better manage my time so I can get everything done and leave at a reasonable time. I've got a family (husband) now waiting for me at home! :o)

What teaching supplies can you *not* live without?
Glue. My fifth and sixth graders couldn't believe how much glue I had them use. I used individual notebooks for almost every subject and had my students glue everything into them. They couldn't lose worksheets or notes unless they lost their whole notebook (which only happened once...). I'm not sure how I'll work this with my first and second graders, though I do know they'll have a poetry notebook that will require gluing.

Coffee. I love it.

New whiteboard markers.

Teacher books. I'm a nerd and totally read teacher books outside of classes and school. I'm currently re-reading The Daily Five and CAFE before school begins. I'm also trying to finish The Nuts & Bolts of Writing Workshop and About the Authors.

Children's books. Even at the middle school level, we read many children's books together to use as mentor texts. I also love chapter books. I'm trying to figure out some good ones for the lower level.

Chart paper. I use them for anchor charts (though I didn't call them anchor charts in the past).

... so much more. I'll have to see what I can't live without this year! 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Writing Folders --- Freebie

Using Ms. M's idea, I made writing folders for my 1st/2nd graders. Follow the link to her post to see how it's done!
Ms. M said she used colored dots to label each pocket. I didn't have any with me at home last night, so I created labels for my pockets out of address labels. I used return address labels (3M 3300-R.... on the package it says it's the same size as Avery 18167 / 5167).
If you'd like the pocket labels, head to the document I created here on Google Docs. Please leave a comment if you take them, so I know they're useful to someone else! :o)

I also created some folder covers.
The covers can be found here on Google Docs. Please leave a comment if you take them, so I know they're useful to someone else! :o)

Thanks Ms. M for this idea! I know these folders will work well this year!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Can I say this?

I dislike posters.

I said it. I meant it. I love charts we create together (hello, connections!) as well as student work being hung around the room. Posters... no, I'll pass.

There's many reasons for this aversion, but here are a few:
- I can never find the one I need when I need it.
- I can never remember the ones I have in my classroom.
- If I put them up before school begins or after school, the kids have no connection to them.
- I tune out posters around me, so I'm willing to bet the kids do as well (again, no connection).
- They take up valuable wall space.

As I've been cleaning out my room, I've been getting rid of a lot of old posters. When I come across one I like and want to use in the future, I take a picture of it before getting rid of it. Here are two poems I want to use, but posters I don't want to store:
I saved the pictures in corresponding files on my computer and recycled the posters. Now, when I am teaching solids, liquids, and gases, I'll know that poem is in the file with the rest of the 'stuff' I have on that subject. We'll (re)write the poem together in class. Likewise, when I want a poem about winter, I'll find "Winter is Coming" in my winter folder inside my poetry folder on my computer.

Are my kids missing out on anything in my posterless classroom? Thoughts?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Two days of setup and counting...

It's still a little overwhelming, but I'm actually enjoying going through everything in my new classroom. I'm getting rid of a ton of stuff! As suggested by Debbie Diller in Spaces & Places, I started with one spot and worked my way around. I began here next to the doorway with the closet and cabinets. I took everything out, and certainly did not put everything back in! All the stuff above the cabinets was taken down and only minimal things have been replaced. I don't like the look of stacked 'stuff' up there.
Around 7:00p.m. one of the nights, my husband called to see if I could go with friends for pizza. I sent him this picture, telling him this was only one little corner of stuff I have to work on. He replied, "See you tomorrow!" :o)
I didn't return today because it was supposed to be in the 80s. In our school (sans AC), it gets rather toasty. I plan to go back this weekend to keep sorting, organizing, giving away, and tossing. Once I have that done, I'll start working on the actual setting up of the different classroom areas. I can't wait!

Monday, August 8, 2011

A green and gold mess

Without further ado, here is my new green and gold classroom in all of its unorganized glory:

The green area along the back is actually lockers. Any tips on how to best use that space would be welcomed. The last three years, I've felt the in-classroom lockers make for a lot of dead (unused) space throughout the day.

I think I might take the number line down. When I was in first grade, I remember making our own number line (as a class) with a roll of receipt paper. I was the lucky one to win it at the end of the year. I might do this with my own class.

Yes, the bright yellow is pretty... but I sure miss my turquoise walls. At least I'm a Green Bay Packers' fan! :-)