Saturday, January 13, 2018

Saturday 6 for January 13

Hey all! We are linking up with Mrs. Wheeler again for Saturday 6.
We went back to school Monday. We had 17 days off for Winter Break. The kiddos had 18. It is an understatement to say we were all exhausted by Friday.
We started expository writing. Since penguins are always a first grade favorite, we started with them. This week we researched penguins. We started out reading a book together and adding the information we learned to a circle map. Later in the week the students worked with a partner to gather more information.
 Next week students will use information from the circle map to complete their writing organizer and begin their expository writing.

After about 18 weeks of school the kids are like a family.....
Families can get a little tired of each other's....
personality traits
Yes, lets go with quirks!

We tried Way To Go Wednesday and Thankful Thursday this week. At the end of the day students have a chance to give each other positive shout outs. 

Students are told each morning what to be on the lookout for. Wednesday they were told to look for something awesome another student did. We took a few minutes before dismissal to share our shout outs. 

We try to make sure each student only gets one shout out. We also try to make sure every student gets a shout out. They did a pretty good job for the first time! 

My favorite was, "X., way to go for not needing as many reminders to follow our expectations as you did yesterday!" 

Last week we complained about how COLD it was here in Florida. 
We did not handle it well. 
Our northern friends have no sympathy. 
We understand. (But we stand by our complaints.)

It warmed up here a little bit this week. Unfortunately the cold was replaced with rain. 
Not just a little rain. 
LOTS of rain!
Our campus floods when we get a lot of rain. The first grade hallway REALLY floods. (Notice the little stepping stones at the end on the left. They are moved into the hallway for students to walk on when it rains. They were placed there after the teachers had to carry each first grader across the "small pond" a few years ago.) 

The flooding was even worse by the time we left for the day. It was up past our ankles. Thank goodness most of the flooding happened after dismissal. 

Update: The rain has stopped but the cold came back. 

Due to the above mentioned weather we did a LOT of Go Noodles last week. We are so grateful for Go Noodles!

The Wild Card arrived this week!!! Only a few pages in, but it is safe to say it will be finished this weekend. If you want to find your creativity and increase student engagement it is a MUST read!  Click {here} to grab your copy!

We didn't want to keep the awesomeness to ourselves so we are hoping to host a Book Study with our colleagues. Check out our Donor's Choose Project {here}!
We have been working on organizing, recording, and interpreting data in math. What better way to end the week after returning from break than to use Skittles as our data! The kids absolutely LOVED it!

This is a FREEBIE in our store. Grab it {here}. It is an oldie, but a goodie so please ignore the un-cute font, etc. Maybe we need get around to updating it!

That is our Saturday 6. Make sure you check out Mrs. Wheeler's linky by clicking the picture below! Link up or just browse!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Saturday 6

Hey all! We are linking up with Mrs. Wheeler for Saturday 6.
We do not go back to school until Monday so our 6 this week are some throw backs and some look aheads! 
Throw back to our room transformation before Winter Break. We have implemented a lot of big ideas since our visits to The Ron Clark Academy.

Sparkle, Shimmer and Shine's Sweet Shop was our first big room transformation. Sparkle, Shimmer and Shine were the first grade elves.
 To save us time and money preparing we used an empty classroom. Each class took turns visiting the Sweet Shop. If you work with an awesome team, I recommend doing this for your first big room transformation. It really saved us time and money!

We already had a few of the things. Everything else came from The Dollar Tree or Amazon. The key is use things that you can repurpose or reuse!!!

Each kiddo got to wear an apron and chef's hat. They looked adorable!!!

We had 4 stations set up. Each station reviewed skills we had been working on.
Pie Pan Retell

Pie Face Punctuation
**A favorite!**

Baking Up Word Problems 
Muffin Match Up
Our #OneWord is THRIVE. Read all about it {here}. It was a very honest blog post. We would LOVE to hear your thoughts.
We are in Florida. It is COLD. We are not handling it well.
We have been busy preparing for our return to school next week. January means snowmen! (Even in Florida.) Three of our favorite snowmen stories are Snowmen at Night, Sneezy and Snowzilla. Click each book for a closer look at the story.
If you want easy print and go plans for these three stories, click the picture below!
January also means time for Winter Word Work! The kiddos especially love BUMP, Freeze and iSpy.
Click the picture below to grab them for your classroom.
The Wild Card arrives this week!!! We cannot wait to read it. How about you? Click {here} to grab your copy!

We didn't want to keep the awesomeness to ourselves so we are hoping to host a Book Study with our colleagues. Check out our Donor's Choose Project {here}!

Our team shares planning. We each do the major planning for one subject. Then we chat, collaborate and make adjustments.

We started using last year.

We can share, edit, add links, add documents, add standards with a click...I could really go on and on!
Click {here} to check out its awesomeness for yourself.

You can sign up for a free month. It is only $12 a year after that. TOALLY worth it!

That is our Saturday 6. Make sure you check out Mrs. Wheeler's linky by clicking the picture below! Link up or just browse!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2018 No Apologies

2018--The year I stop apologizing.

Meredith here! I have some things to say.

New Year! New Me!

I have been struggling with whether or not to write this post.

How will it be received?
How will it be perceived?
Will people in my life take it personally?
Will I offend someone?

See, I am a shy, practical, self conscious, conscious of others, rule follower. Those qualities don't always get you far in today's world.

I am also a perfectionist, a {bit} OCD and very driven. Those qualities can get you far.

However, my quiet, self conscious, rule follower qualities usually win out.

I have had big dreams and big goals for several years now. They are good dreams and goals. Problem is they have only been dreams and goals.

NOT ANY MORE! This year those dreams and goals become reality.

Achieving these goals means I have to be willing to step out of my comfort zone, stand up, speak up and stop apologizing.

The last one is a big one. Stop apologizing.

I feel like I am always apologizing. And not for things I SHOULD be apologizing for. Apologizing for those qualities I mentioned earlier. The ones that help you achieve your goals and dreams.

Here are the 5 things I am going to STOP apologizing for:

1. Loving the Classroom
In the past few years I have been asked this question (or similar ones) more times than I can count.

"Do you plan on staying in the classroom until you retire or do you want to do something more?"

My heart hurts when I say "be a classroom teacher" and get a look of shock or disappointment.

Something more? Why is being a classroom teacher not enough?

I LOVE teaching.
I LOVE my students.
I LOVE being in my classroom.
I LOVE planning. (Well the planning part, not the actual writing of lesson plans!)

I am not ready to leave the classroom.
Someday I might be, but not anytime in the near future.

I told you I have goals and dreams. My ultimate goal is to travel the country giving PD to teachers. I would like to share ideas with teachers as well as learn from them. I would also love to write curriculum. But here is the thing...I want to do these things while still being IN the classroom. It can be done. I know it can.

I am not going to apologize for wanting to keep being a classroom teacher.
2. Being Practical
I am very practical and rational. People perceive practical and rational as negative.

This is simply NOT true.

I just want to be prepared. I look at the whole picture. I want to know what can go wrong so I can plan for and/or prevent it.

I am not going to apologize for being practical.

3. Giving It My All
{Anyone else now singing Pete the Cat's Christmas song?}

I am OCD, a planner and want to do everything to my very best.
I cannot stand when things are thrown together (especially when it shows.)
It drives me nuts when details are overlooked.

If I do something, I am going to give it my all. Especially when giving a PD, planning something for my classroom or hosting an event.

I am constantly apologizing for this. (Or being given more responsibilities because of it.) Thankfully my two teammates are right there with me!

We love to go big.

Right before Winter Break we wanted to do a room transformation. To save time (and money) with the planning and decorating we transformed a room at the end of our hallway. Each class took turns visiting it. Now, it was not as big and as fancy as some I see out there on Social Media, but we worked hard. The students absolutely LOVED it and we had an absolute blast. {See the pics below!}

We were proud.
We were excited.
We wanted to share!

By the end of the day my smile was gone and I was apologizing.

Not to my students.
Not to my teammates.
Not to myself.

To the colleagues who started questioning us.

"Why can't anyone else use room 4 today?"
"How much money did you spend?"
"Are you going to have it all cleaned up before the end of the day?"
"How long did that take you?"

I know not all of my colleagues were being negative or hateful. Some were genuinely curious. But many were not and after the third comment of the day, it got to me and made me question if it was really too much. It did take a long time. It wasn't cheap. It wasn't super expensive and most things will be repurposed but things at the Dollar Tree add up, lol! I was questioning if it was worth it.

Enter the new me... No more apologies. (And after looking back at the pictures of the kid's pure happiness, the answer is YES, I will do it again!)

I am not going to apologize for going big in my classroom.
I am not going to apologize for making cute water bottle labels for a book study.
I am not going to apologize for making my classroom adorable.
I am not going to apologize for giving it my all!

4. Social Media
This one is tricky. And many of you might disagree with me.

I keep hearing:

Not everyone's life is like their Instagram account.
Don't compare yourself with others.
Strive to be the best you.
Don't show off.
Posts are not real life.

I get it! Really!!!

But I disagree. I think comparing ourselves to others can be positive.
I AM going to keep stalking following other teachers on social media. Especially those I admire. I am going to learn from those teachers.

Yes, I am going to compare myself to them and strive to be as amazing as they are. (And steal some fabulous ideas, of course!)

I am not going to apologize for comparing myself to others and making myself better (and happier!)

5. Having Fun
This one is personal but I am extending in to my classroom.
My sweet Siloh dog unexpectedly got very sick this fall. Saying goodbye to him was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. He was my first dog...ever! He was the sweetest, snuggliest little guy. He was also the happiest dog you will ever meet. He treated every single moment of every single day as an adventure, a party really.

A few weeks after he died my brother convinced me to get a tattoo. I have wanted one since college. But...well I already explained my practical, perfectionist, rule follower personality! Between that and my low pain tolerance, you understand why I never got one.

I chose a small paw print on my foot. It was to remind me of Siloh. Within 24 hours it had new meaning.

The next day I was at school and getting frustrated with my students for being absolutely silly while I was trying to teach something important. (I should mention I teach first grade and it was the day after Halloween.) I looked down and saw the paw print. I realized Siloh would have been having fun right along with those 6 year olds. It reminded me I should do the same.

That morning I had already apologized for and defended my tattoo to more than one colleague. Those colleagues may never know what that little tattoo means to me. And thats okay.  I like it and it is a daily reminder for me to have fun! Like Ron Clark says, "Take the slide!"

Let me tell you.....Having fun is not always easy for a shy, practical, rational perfectionist. But I am going to try!

I am not going to apologize for having fun and taking the slide!

I keep thinking of the song Thunder by Imagine Dragons.
"Who do you think you are? Dreaming 'bout being a big star."
"Now I'm smiling from the stage while you are clapping in the nose bleeds"

Let me be clear, I have no intention or desire of being a big star. But I do think I can do great things and achieve my goals. We all can.

So there it is! It is out there. It is printed. It is published. I have to stick with it!

New Year. New Me.

My #OneWord is THRIVE.
Don't apologize. 

Time to work on my goals! Hopefully in 365 days I can blog about achieving a few of my goals. Maybe you will even come to a PD I am hosting in the future!