Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Moonlight Madness

Getting ready for back-to-school is crazy! At my school we start the with the kids the Wednesday after Labor Day and we have to report that Tuesday. So you can imagine how NUTS we were when the district told us that they were shutting down the power in the building for the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of the week before Labor Day to install a generator! Really?

Well, we took lemons and made some crazy lemonade. Piggybacking off of an idea that I had heard from a teacher friend of mine that works in another district, we decided to run a "Moonlight Madness" night on the Tuesday before the "blackout". (We originally called it Midnight Madness but we had to be out by 10pm).

The night ran from 6-10 and myself (MC Lori "Did I ever tell you the story about how Jon BonJovi touched my hand once" Faas and another teacher, MC Heather "I AM Jessie's Girl" Shaw were the MCs for the night.

We started off the night with a contest. It was to see who could produce a gift that a student had made for them. As we awaited contestants, we played "Hot For Teacher" over the speaker throughout the school. After running down the hall and taking out the competition, Elissa won with her personalized covered composition book. She won a mystery bag containing a candy bar, bandaids, hand sanitizer and an apple. We changed the rules for the next giveaway so as not to have anyone injured while sprinting! :)
Our next giveaway was "Come to the office wearing your tackiest holiday apparel". Our principal was the judge and the birthday cake hat worn by Becky was the winner!
At 8:00 we all met in the faculty room for some snacks and chatting (can you tell that we got a LOT of WORK done???) We never are at a loss for yummy snacks when we are together!
After our snacks we did a "walk about" tour of the school to see what everyone was doing in their classrooms. This was a great time! It is not often that the 3-5 grade teachers and the K-2 teachers get to see what is going on in each others' classrooms! There was a lot of ooooo-ing and aaahhhh-ing.
The last giveaway of the night was given to Kathie and Ellen who were able to produce items that are in their classrooms that were theirs as a child.
It was a fun night of laughs and bonding and a good way to get "back into the swing of things".

What do you do to bond as a faculty?

Bee the Change~

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Getting Ready

I have never been a classroom teacher that has not had kids of my own. I started teaching when my oldest was 2 so I have always battled the home/school tug-o-war. I have always wanted to find a way to make that 5pm transition from school to home a smoother one. Now that my kids are in 7th and 4th grade and homework is our main afternoon activity, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and do the project that I have always wanted to do.

I don't know about any of you but my house is a black hole for writing utensils. We can never find a pencil.....rrrgggg! While the school supplies are cheap I tend to buy them and stash them so that when we run out, I can re-supply. These little supply boxes made for each of my children are (hopefully) going to solve that problem. The boxes were found at Target for $3.99 each and they are about 4 inches high. Not too big at all! They also stack very nicely on top of one another. It makes homework supplies portable and right at their fingertips. Now I have a place to store the "extra" supplies!
(cricut machine and vinyl, in case you were wondering)
I think that I am going to post these pictures on my classroom blog for parents and also on my personal blog for all of my friends with children. If you follow more than this blog, sorry for the duplicate! If you make one of these boxes, let me know and send me a pic!!!!
~~ Lori~~

Friday, August 26, 2011

This is a test....

I have been exploring Scribd. today and am putting out this test post to see if I like it better than google docs. Any thoughts from those out there following me that use either/both?

Top Ten

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Three for Thursday

Ok..I made it to Thursday! So here it goes.......
Favorite Blog

I follow TONS of blogs. When you look at my blog list you will see either crafts/sewing or teaching blogs. It was hard to pick my favorite so I picked my first.

Favorite Font

My favorite font has to be Teacher’s Pet but for a classic font……

………….I have to go with chalkboard. I teach Ell students and sometimes the cute fonts are hard for them to read!

Favorite Online Resource


Blogger has to be my favorite. It has been the source of many late nights and many inspirational projects. It connected me to all of YOU!

Bee the Change ~~ Lori

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Free for All Friday

Phew.......this has been a challenge for me! Knowing that this day was coming and that I was going to have to share something original has been STRESSING me OUT! First of all, I have downloaded things from TpT and thought that there was NO WAY in the world that I could ever make something that cute. Second of all I had no idea at all how to get something on the blog to share it!

That being said, and after a self-taught Googledocs tutorial, I am sharing something that I have made that I use all the time in my classroom. It is my Top Ten Worksheet. I love having this printed up in bulk and it is a quick thing to use in any occasion.

At the beginning of the year I use it with friend's names, sight words etc. You can adapt it in any way to be a science (Top 10 mammals), math (number words or math wall words), ELA (book titles or characters). The possibilities are endless.

I have seen this done by many people in much cuter fonts and layouts but I like the half-sheet layout for saving trees. :) If this actually works when I post, then my new goal will be to "cute-ify" this form.....if it doesn't upload then you will not be reading this and I will have a goal to figure out how to get stuff here!

Thanks all for a great week! It was a great week for the premiere of "Bee the Change"!


Where it all goes down Wednesday.....part 1

Ok...the reason that I have Part 1 in the title is that I am still working on my classroom. (In NY, we don't start til after Labor Day and we are all jealous in June when you all are finishing up and we have 3 weeks left!) I am very jealous of the space that I am seeing in so many of the classrooms posted! My room feels SO small and there is not a lot of room for creative spaces! I also had to move to a new classroom this year so I am still figuring out what I am going to put where and getting used to things. I am going to post a few of my favorite spaces that I have somewhat finished!

This is a part of the room that I will put a few of my work areas. The space with the table and the green covered board is the writing center. The blue board is my dog-gone Great work board and the yellow board is where the calendar is going to go. Listening is on the shelves under the blue board. The fan is so that I don't melt until the snow starts. :)
This is the majority of my class library that is accessible to the children. The bins under the wooden cart are fiction by author's last name. The top of the cart is non-fiction animals (orange stickers) and non-fiction non-animals (pink stickers). The colored bins on the white shelves are specific authors/characters ( Arthur, Curious George, Dr. Seuss)
This is near my door and I suppose will be command central. I have my clip chart, lunch order, bathroom passes and supply area. the small blue sign on my wall in the upper left hand corner is my "Featured Author of the Month" area! Maybe I will post more about that at a later time! Fun!
The green owl board is right next to my desk and reading group area. The white board to the left has my magnetic letters thanks to a bored 9 year-old daughter and all of my books and supplies for reading are on the shelf under the white board.
These were made before I had my cricut but I do not love them any less! :)
Had to post this....
..... so that in a couple of weeks when my desk looks like a pig sty, I have something to look back at.

Well that is it for now. I plan to spend tomorrow night in the room so I am SURE that huge amounts of progress will be made then.

Lori (I need to make a signature)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teacher Talk Tuesday

I am participating in Teacher Week over at Blog Hoppin' and today's topic is advice for new teachers. Here is goes.....

1. Be prepared. Teaching is hard enough when you ARE prepared. Over-plan!

2. Remind yourself each day WHY you chose to be a teacher. There will be plenty of days when the paperwork, politics and craziness will try to consume you. Don't let it. I keep a folder in my desk drawer of all of the cards and letters that I have received from children and parents. When I read about how much I am appreciated, I forget about how much I hate data sheets.

3. I organize myself by month. I have a box for each month in my cabinet. In that box I keep my books that are related to that month, any room decor, crazy headband, craft project parts and a folder of worksheets all relating to things occurring in that month. That way I know where all my St. Patrick's Day books are and of course the shamrock deelie-bopper headband!

4. Your reputation is your most valuable asset. Protect it.

5. Children always remember their teachers. Good or bad. "They may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel." ~~Carl W. Buechner

Monday, August 22, 2011

Classroom Progress!

I have been working in my classroom a bunch this week and wanted to post some of the things that I have completed that I think are kind of fun. I guess at some point I better start planning what I am actually going to teach but there is PLENTY of time to do that! There will be more "after" pictures soon but here is a little teaser! Sorry for the poor picture quality. I only had my phone!

For all of the years that I have been teaching, I have used the traffic light system of behavior management. I have seen variations of the below behavior chart on many blogs and decided to try it. Mrs. Nichols from The Polka Dot Patch was kind enough to share this with me. I like the idea that the children that are making good choices have an opportunity to be rewarded. I worry about my abilty to manage it but will let you know how it goes!
I love my cricut machine. I had some yellow vinyl laying around and put this cute little greeting on my door at kid height.
For years I have always wanted to have a great work board and when I rediscovered the dog bone border in my calendar box, I broke out the cricut again (did I mention that I LOVE that thing?) and added some dogs and the "Dog-gone" GREAT work sign. It is the one board in my room that is done......but very inspiring!

Thanks for checking out my classroom. I also wanted to mention that I also have a blog (Mrs. Faas' First Grade) for my students and their families to see what is going on in my classroom. I have had some of my new students already leave me a message! Very EXCITING!

Meet the Teacher Monday!

As of this post, I have ZERO followers. Don't feel badly for me, I just created this blog today. I have a personal blog, a classroom blog and wanted to be MORE than just a blog stalker. I want to be a GIVER! I am participating in Teacher Week 2011 and am excited to see if I can collect any followers along the way! Here we go...........
Tell us a little bit about yourself.........

My name is Lori and I teach first grade in Spencerport, NY. I love teaching and I love first graders! I am Mom to a 7th grade son and a 4th grade daughter. They keep me busy in my "spare time".
I am married to David and have been for 13 years. He is a great Dad and husband and can fix just about anything. He also puts up with my crazy ideas and obsessions!
When I am not hanging with first graders or with my own kids, I love to read, garden and sew. I also scrapbook and am currently obsessed with my cricut machine.

How long have you been teaching?

I have been teaching for 10 years. Most of those years have been in first grade but have taught briefly in 4th grade and had a wild 3-year ride in kindergarten!

You might not know..............

..........that since I was in elementary school, I have wanted to be a teacher. My report cards used to state that I was always helping the other kids with their work! After college I could not find a teaching job so I worked as a case manager for the developmentally disabled adults in my community. I also worked in a group home with severely physically and mentally disabled senior citizens. I really enjoyed these jobs and they were the very essence of what teaching is about.

What are you looking forward to most this year?

Last year I looped with 10 of my students and I am kind of looking forward to a new "crop" of learners. I also relocated my classroom and am now in the same hallway as my other first grade colleagues. This is the first time that has happened. It will be nice to be with them. I am also going to try to incorporate technology into my classroom a little more this year and I have some goals for myself!

What do you need to improve?

I need to be a better record-keeper. I have set up several new systems to help me be a more reflective and more organized teacher!

What teaching supplies can you not live without?

I really do love the Mr. Sketch smelly markers....thick and thin......I also seem to have developed a bit of a crush on Command hooks. They are SO CONVENIENT! I also have a great apple print apron with big pockets that my Mom made for me when I started teaching. It is in my closet and ready for any messy project that may come along!

Bee the Change

I decided to start this, my 3rd blog, so that I can share my teaching information. I have a blog for personal use and one for my classroom communication with parents, but was always at a loss for where to post my teacher blog-hopping finds and sharing. Here it is.

The title is inspired by my favorite quote from Mahatma Gandhi "Be the change you want to see in the world". I think that this is a great quote to keep in mind in all aspects of life. I did, of course, take some creative license and changed the Be to Bee....what can I say? I wanted to "cute" it up!

My goal with this blog is to share things that I create and activities that I do as a teacher.

Please feel free to comment and visit often!

Lori Faas