If you are looking for some help integrating Common Core into your lesson plans, this book is just for you! It has tons of worksheets, activities, and posters that will have you teaching all the first grade common core standards in the English Language and Mathematics in no time! With over 550 pages, you will not want to take your eyes off this book.
Warning - This is a long post with a lot of catching up-to-do since I have been MIA.
I am sorry I have been missing in action. I have been staying up-to-date on reading everyone's blogs, but it just does not seem possible for me to sit down and write my own. I have been exhausted lately. Let me catch you up on what's been going on:
Two Weeks Ago -
The cheerleading squad I coached was asked to perform at the pregame show for the Tennessee Volunteers. We cheered that Friday night at a school an hour away, came home for about an hour, and boarded the school bus (YES, a school bus for a six plus hour drive) at midnight in the pouring down rain. We drove all night to get to Knoxville in time for them to practice with the other squads. The girls got to sleep, but the other coach and I had to stay awake in order to make sure the bus driver was OK. It was all worth it when the girls got to perform on the field before the game.
Yes, rain and all they had a good time.
We stayed over night in a hotel and boarded the bus to go back home bright and early the next morning. Let's just say I was so glad to get home and sleep.
Once we got back, I had to go into full power to prepare for homecoming. We had exactly a week in between, but it was full of planning PowderPuff, practicing for Pep Rally, planning for Homecoming Royalty, and much more. Our town takes homecoming very serious and everything is pretty much on the cheerleaders and their coaches.
This Week -
This week was homecoming. Here is a recap of our Tomcats Gone Wild week:
Monday - The Hunted and The Hunter (Animal Print and Camo Day); Cheerleading practice from 4 - 6
Tuesday - Color Day; Powderpuff Games starting at 6
Wednesday - Wildly Tacky Day; Homecoming Royalty Practice at 3:30
Thursday - Wild Wild West Day; Freshman Football Game at 6:00
Friday - Purple and White Day; Pep Rally at 10:30; All schools dismissed at 11:30; Parade at 1:00; Tailgating at 3:00; Varsity Game at 7:30; Crowning of Queen at Halftime
Although the other schools did not get to participate in the dress-up days, everyone participates in Friday's events. Pretty much the whole town shuts down.
One of my students and some crazy cheerleaders in the back before the parade. The coaches always get to drive John Deere gators while the cheerleaders walk and roller blade passing out goodies.
On top of all this, I gained a new student on Thursday. This makes 21 students. My classroom is only equipped for only 20 students so I have been having to figure out how to make it all work. One of my students needed make-up work for a whole week due to a family emergency. We had a fire drill due to the fire marshall visiting during my planning time so I missed it, and I received so many phone calls and visits from the community asking about homecoming stuff that I couldn't keep up with it. Even though it was a lot, it was well worth it in the end. Of course, I crashed Friday night after it was done!
I am still waiting to hear if the Fire Marshall approved my canopy entrance to the classroom. He is sometimes very picky about things, but my principal said she was going to fight for me. We will see how it goes. I would hate to take it all down:
I meant to share these pictures awhile back since they are from the first week of school, but most of the things have stayed the same. The monkeys are vines are gone to make room for student work, but the door still looks the same.
I have been missing in action the past couple of weeks due to total chaos. It is definitely football season. There are so many things going on with school and cheerleading. Hopefully, things will calm down soon. I apologize for not having Wednesday's Word of Wisdom last week. I had all intentions of doing so, but our weekly football game got changed to a different night due to storms and so I spent my night rearranging plans and making sure everything was set for a night earlier.
This devotion is definitely appropriate for how I am feeling today. My inspiration came from a Cornerstone devotion that I received a couple of weeks ago.
I am very overwhelmed this week! I have a Freshman Football game tomorrow night, a Varsity Football game Friday night that is about an hour away, and then the girls and I leave at midnight Friday night for Knoxville to cheer at a UT game on Saturday. On top of cheerleading, I just found out that the 1st and 2nd graders at our school will be taking the SAT-10 next week. We have to have everything taken down or covered in our rooms! I also have wife duties, grad school, and piano. It's crazy right now.
This has been my verse the past few weeks. I am overwhelmed, but my strength comes from the Lord. He knew all of this was coming before I did. As the teachers at my school has created as our theme quote for this year, "It is what it is." I have to take what I am given and count my blessings.
Are any of you feeling overwhelmed right now? How do you manage a blog and the craziness of life? (Obviously, I am not doing a great job right now.) What verse do you go to when you are overwhelmed?
I pray that you are able to keep from being overwhelmed this year. I pray that you keep God as your Rock. I pray that if you do become overwhelmed that your remember that God has a plan and He is your strength.
*Sorry this post is probably more for me than you, but I did want to share what was on my heart real quick.*
Have you started back to school? What is one thing you dread every year? Honestly, I can say I dread working with some of the other adults in my building. It is not that I have a problem working with others, but it some of their attitudes that drive me nuts. I take my job seriously and try to do the best I can to be the best teacher I can be. Don't get me wrong, we all have our days (even me). However, others can bring you down quickly with their attitude. I typically stay to myself, but I have to watch how I respond to certain adults' statements and/or questions. This is my verse for this:
We are in the profession of teaching to make a difference in children's lives. However, we can even make a difference in adult's life. You never know what the adult you may be talking to is going through in life. It is important to keep this in mind. When speaking to another adult, it is important to remain calm and keep some of your comments to yourself. This is sometimes easier said than done.
Sometimes I am asked why I keep to myself while at school. Usually it is because I have so much to do and my mind is on trying to get things accomplished. However, sometimes I keep to myself so that I don't say something that offends another person or should not be said. I am open to talk to anyone, but I use my work time to benefit the children. I stay away from the teacher's lunch room not because I don't think it's a great place to get ideas or a place to feel supported, but because I use that time to get myself ready for the rest of the day and to have a quiet time with God. This has been a blessing in my life that I have needed, and I realize that others may not need this.
Next time you are quick to make a response to a colleague or jump into one's conversation, think if you have a gentle answer or a harsh word. We want our words to be gentle and more Christ like each and every day. Sometimes I have to tell someone that I will get back with them so that I can think how I am going to respond. It is so easy to stick your foot in your mouth before you know it. It's OK to take time to figure out your response. I truly believe God likes it when we do, because it gives us a chance to ask him for guidance.
I pray that you are able to get along with your colleagues this year and remember why we are in this profession. I pray that you are able to respond to others with gentle responses. I pray that you seek God's guidance in tough situations. I pray that you are not only a positive influence on your student's lives but also your colleagues.
I officially should receive the worse blogger award. I have been meaning to get on here and catch up, but I have been so extremely busy since school starts back. It seems like when school starts back everything starts back. Football season is in full swing, and so my afternoons are busy getting cheer stuff together and my Friday nights are spent watching football. My husband is busy harvesting the fields. :) So he has not been much help around the house. Yes, my husband helps out a lot at home to help me out so it makes a world of difference when he's not around. I love my life busy, but it takes some getting use to after being off from the summer.
As my life feels up with meetings, lessons, games, and so much more, I have to remember that I have to take time for myself and my family. My husband just told me the other night that I need to learn a two letter word "N-O". I have gotten better than I use to be, but I still have trouble telling people no. I don't want to let anyone down. This verse helps me remember the importance of what I commit to:
When I get asked to do something now, I typically say I will get back with you after I pray about it and talk to my husband. This gives me time to think and pray about it to see if it is God's Will. I truly believe that we can get into things that aren't God's Will by being to quick to give a response. When we do get in these things, we aren't able to be the best we can.
There are so many duties of a teacher, and we have to know our limits. There are some things that have to be established such as the student's learning, our professional development, etc. However, there are some things that aren't mandatory like cooking snacks for the class, decorating our classrooms to look cute, having our students do crafts, or coaching a sport. These are all great and all, but only if done for the right reason.
If we commit to something and can't give it 110%, then I don't think it was meant for us to do. The Lord will help us with things that he has planned for our lives, but first we have to ask for his direction and then seek his guidance in helping us accomplish it. This not only allows us to have a sense of peace, but it also helps us accomplish great things.
I pray that you are able to learn the "two-letter word, N-O". I pray that you seek God's will before agreeing to extra activities this year. I pray that you put Christ first in all your duties. I pray that when times get rough that you seek God's guidance, because He is the answer to all of our problems.
First off, I feel bad because I did not get to write the blog post I had intended on yesterday. It was our first full day of school, and I was dead tired when I got home. I will try to have it up by tomorrow.
After a long week last week of meetings, students started school on Monday with a half day. The 2012 - 2013 school year is up and rolling! I am very excited about my class but nervous as well. I have quite a few ESL students. I am not worried about teaching these students, but I am worried about communicating with their parents. I strive to keep my parents informed and up-to-date on school matters, and I am afraid that I am going to leave these parents behind. You see, I have had two years of Spanish, but after I took Spanish I took two years of French. So needless to say, I do not speak very much Spanish. I can read Spanish fairly well though. Also in my class, I have a wide range of academic abilities. I have had this the past few years and have pretty much incorporated small group everything. I just always get nervous, because I want all students to have the ability to reach their fullest potential in first grade. With that being said this is the verse for the week:
I don't have to be nervous about anything, because God is with me. I remind myself daily that God wouldn't give me something that I couldn't handle or something that I couldn't learn from. I have to lay my desire to be perfect aside and do the work for Him. It gets hard, because we all have challenges in our classroom. However, we were put in this profession of teaching for a purpose and that purpose was to play an influential role in young children's lives.
Whenever your principal asks you to do something out of your comfort zone, remember that God is with you and He will guide you through it. Whenever you feel that a student is just never going to pick up a skill, remember that God is with you and He will help you through it. Whenever you feel that you cannot talk to one of your student's parents, remember that God is there to walk you through it.
I pray that you have peace knowing that God is with you every step of your way at home and at school. I pray that you do not get discouraged this year, but that you are encouraged by the impact you have on student's lives. I pray that you are able to show your courage by stepping out of your comfort zone and being a light for Him.
On Friday night, we met our students. For the most part, I have my classroom put together. There are a few small things that still need to be done, but I'm getting to them. Last week, my To Do list was getting bigger and bigger day by day, but I have almost got it all done now. A few of the other teachers and me worked until 1 o'clock Thursday night trying to get everything ready for Friday. I feel like I should have just made a bed up there and slept there this past week with as much work as I have done, but it will be worth it.
Since my classroom is pretty much completed, I thought it would be a good time to join Brigid's Classroom Tours Linky Party from Brigid's Daily Lesson Log.
Of course, the theme for my room is a jungle so I try to keep the theme throughout the space.
One side of the room
Classroom Library - Reading Rainforest
View from the side of the room (I forgot to take pictures of the other side, but I will post them tomorrow.) I still need to hang the green board, and label a few more things.
Promethean Board area
Computer Area with Top Toucan board (Student of the Week)
Kapok Corner for Science and Social Studies
Storage/Closet Area used from Behavior Chart and Word Wall
Small Group Area - I have another horseshoe table for my assistant, but I forgot to take a picture. I will post tomorrow.
Tables ready for students!
Check back tomorrow for some pictures of the classroom and pictures of the hallway.
This week has been super crazy. Faculty and staff went back to work on Monday, and we have been in meetings from 8-4 everyday. In the mean time, we are trying to get our rooms done for Curriculum Night (a Meet the Teacher night) that will be held on Friday from 5-7. I am actually just now getting home, and it's 9:30 here. I will be back up at 4 in the morning to do my daily routine again. With all the stress this week, I have been reminding myself of this verse:
One of my main concerns is of the children that I will be teaching. I do not know my students' names yet. I know this may sound crazy to some of you, but I live in a very small town. In a small town, word spreads like wildfires. If parents are not happy with their child's teacher, everyone and their mamas are going to know. This also causes chaos for principals. Additionally, if a teacher quits last minute (which seems to happen every year) or students are added at the end of the summer sometimes changes have to be made. So, we are getting our lists at noon on Friday when we meet the children and their parents at 5 that night. Let's just say I am going to be a mean, green, labeling machine from 1-5 Friday. :)
With this being said, I have been worrying about the students I am going to get. It's not that I am picky of who I teach, but I hope that I am able to teach them everything they need to know and allow them to get the most out of first grade. I hope that the parents and I get along well, and the year turns out to be amazing.
I have needed to remind myself that God already knows who is going to be in my class and he knows who is going to be in your class. He picked them out himself. When the going gets tough and we don't think we can handle "Billy Bob" anymore, we can go to God in prayer. There is no need to worry. He has made sure that we were equipped to do the right thing. All our actions are for His glory. He has blessed us with great years in the past and challenging years as well that has helped us become the teacher we are today. We not only need to pray to him when the going gets tough, but we also need to thank him for what he has done for us to prepare us for this day.
I challenge you this week or in the weeks to come in which you start back to work to sit down and pray for each and everyone of your students in your classroom. They were hand picked to be in your class. Pray that God's will be done. I take the Sunday before our first day of school to sit down in each of my student's chairs and pray for them specifically by name. Additionally, have others pray for you this year. We have church groups that come to our school on the same Sunday and pray for each of our teachers specifically. One group has already arranged a prayer meeting at each school's flag pole to pray for the school. There is power in prayer, because the Bible says:
"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done." - Philippians 4:6
I pray that you have peace about this upcoming school year. I pray that you are able to stray away from the stress that comes from teaching, and that you are able to receive comfort to do a job well done. I pray that when you first need help that you go to God in prayer. I pray that you have an amazing school year!
Teachers started back to school today in my district. We will be in meetings all week and finalizing touches in our classrooms. We will have a meet the teacher night on Friday night, and the students' first day will be Monday.
I thought today would be a good time to link up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics with her Monday Made It.
The toolbox has been all over the internet. I wanted to make one that worked for me. Well, I have a ton of pens, pencils, highlighters, markers, and sharpees that would not fit well in the toolbox that I wanted. I decided to do the toolbox for small items and have two big containers on each side. I already love it!
View of the whole thing
View of just the toolbox
Writing Station Bulletin Board
I wanted a bulletin board above my writing station that would not need to be changed much. I decided to go with this idea from Mrs. Phippen's blog.
I tweaked it just a little and came up with my own version.
I am not sure whose blog I got the signs from around the outside, but if I locate the source I will definitely give them credit. I created the question word cards for the middle.
I have had a blow up tree in the corner of my classroom library for 4 years now. The tree was an absolute headache by the end of the year, because it would always fall over and run out of air. I decided at the end of last year that I was going to throw it away no matter what. I decided that I needed to make a tree. I was excited when I saw this palm tree on Mrs. Jump's blog.
I just knew I had to make it, and I love how it turned out.
Well those are my top three things that I have made this summer for my classroom. I hope you liked them. Check back soon for pictures of my classroom. :)
I don't know about you, but I have been working nonstop in my classroom to get everything ready for school to start. In our district, teachers start Monday (July 30) and students start the following Monday (August 6) with a meet the teacher type of night the Friday before (August 3). Therefore, I have to have everything done in the classroom by August 3, and there is not much time to do it next week because they have it jammed pack full of meetings. So, I've been putting the final touches on things in my room this week.
Sometimes, work gets overwhelming especially when it comes to getting a classroom together. You want your room to look the best for first impressions, and you want others to like what they see. With the rise in blogs and sites like Pinterest, our minds are flooded with new ideas on things to do in our classrooms. Although these sites are excellent tools (and I use them a lot), sometimes I feel that we get sidetracked into making our classrooms look the best or competing with other teachers, and we forget about who we are doing our work for overall. This verse has weighed heavy on my heart this week as I have worked in my classroom:
The Lord has put each one of us in the teaching profession to have an impact on students' lives. Our classrooms should be decorated in order to bring the most function and educational experiences in the grade that we teach. It should be our home away from home, because we definitely spend lots of time there in the school year. It shouldn't be about which teacher spent the most money this summer on supplies, what teacher worked the most hours (We all know that there are some teachers that can spend tons of hours at school, but hardly get anything done.), or who has the cutest directions. It should be about what makes you happy in your classroom. We are all built different with different personalities so we aren't going to have classrooms that look the same nor are we going to work the same way.
When we are working especially in the days to come creating our classrooms, we need to remember why we are in the profession that we are in and who we are working for - the Lord. It's OK to go next door, talk, and get ideas. However, it's not OK to go next door and envy what another person has or has done in their room. Take what you have and make it work. Do it for the children not for your own glory.
I pray that the Lord will help us create a classroom that will meet the needs of the students we will be teaching this year. I pray that we are not envious of other teachers, but we are able to acknowledge others hard work and creativity in a positive way. I pray that we are not overwhelmed with too many ideas from the internet instead we are able to use the ideas to create the most use in our classroom. Finally, I pray that our works are done for the right reasons so that our students can see the Lord through us.
Before I go up to school today, I am joining in on Step into 2nd Grade's linky Tell Me More, Tell Me More!
Since many of you have just started following me, I thought it would be a great time to share some more about myself. So here it goes:
1. I went to school in the school I teach at. When I attended, it was K-3, but now it's only 1-3. I have actually taught with former teachers of mine. It has been a great experience.
2. I am an only child. I know some of you are thinking "you lucky dog". However, I have always wanted brothers and sisters. I am one of those people that gets bored easily so it drove me crazy growing up that I didn't have someone to play with all the time.
3. I dated my husband in high school. We broke up before my Senior year, because I wanted to enjoy my Senior year. (My husband is older, and I definitely broke his hear.) We went years without talking even though we both lived in the same town. (Yes, we attended some of the same events and did not speak. Crazy!) My grandmother passed away during my first year teaching which led me to text him, and it was happily ever after ever since. Check out this post on my personal blog to learn more.
4. My husband and I left the church after our wedding on a John Deere tractor. I had a vintage car all lined up, but my husband had this crazy idea to leave on a tractor since he was a farmer. The groomsmen spent all day before our wedding cleaning it up so it wouldn't get my dress dirty, and we hid the tractor up until the end of the wedding. It was a huge hit. We had people pulling over and honking the whole way to the reception. I am so glad that I gave in on this idea!
5. I completely remodeled my home. I bought my house before my husband and I got back together. My parents and I worked on the house for six months before I moved in. It was a foreclosure so it needed a lot of work. It is still a work in progress. Here's a post about some of the process.
6. I love water! My 2011 resolution was to drink only water. Before that, I was addicted to Dr. Pepper and Sweet Tea. I went the whole year drinking water. I was so excited to accomplish this! This hasn't been my resolution this year, but I have pretty much kept the same lifestyle. It is such a great feeling.
7. I teach private piano lessons. After school three days a week, I run home to teach private piano lessons. I have around 8-12 students every year. This side job started as a way to make money in college, and it has just continued. My first student is actually still taking lessons from me. I am so fortunate to have understanding parents and students, because occasionally I have to text and cancel due to last minute school meetings and events.
One of my students playing during a church service.
8. My monogram has never changed. Actually, the first 5 letters of my last name has never changed. My maiden name was Lovell, and my married name is Lovelace. It's all about Love in our family...haha. The joke in our house is that I just married my husband so I didn't have to change all the L items that I owe, but this is far from the truth.
9. I have a pet bird (Padro) and dog (Izzy) that does not live with me. I got the bird when I was in 3rd grade (over 15 years ago), but I never really wanted a bird. However, my mom fell in love with it so the bird stayed with her. I got the dog while I was remodeling my house. When it was time to move out from my parents, I didn't think they would do well loosing me from home and the dog so I left her with them. Plus, they had a better schedule to letting the dog out at lunch and such. Now, my house is just the vacation home.
10. I love to travel! We actually went to Hawaii for our honeymoon. I have also traveled to Honduras, Germany, Canada, and much more. However, due to time and money I don't get to travel as much as I would like.
Hope you have enjoyed getting to know me a little more!
We just got back from probably our final trip to our river house before school starts. Sad day! :( However, I am very excited to start back to school in a week. With that being said, I thought it would be great to join in Love of Teaching's Back to School Eve Linky.
1. What grade do you teach? - I teach 1st grade and absolutely love it!
2. How many years have you been teaching? - I am starting my 5th year teaching. All 5 years in 1st grade.
3. What is one thing you are doing different this year? - I am going to have an iPod station. I received an iPod last year, but I never used it in the classroom. I am excited to have this as part of my stations, and I think the kids will love it too.
4. What is something you do every year for your new students? - I always send a letter to my students. I not only do it for the new students in my classroom this year, but I also write letters to my former students. It takes a lot of time and some money, but it is so worth it!
5. What is your theme this year? - I can't seem to stray away from the theme I have had forever - the jungle! I love monkeys and it just fits.
6. How do you feel the night before school starts? - The night before school starts I am always excited. I don't sleep much, because I am scared that I will sleep through my alarm.
Looking forward to getting some more stuff done in my classroom tomorrow. I am hoping to have it all done this week. Teachers start back July 30, and students start back August 6. Check back to see how it goes.
1. What State You Are In - I live and work in West Tennessee in between Jackson and Memphis.
2. Your Current Teaching Position - I will be starting my 5th year teaching 1st grade in August.
3. Your Teaching Experience - I have only taught 1st grade and have loved every minute of it!
4. When You Started Blogging - I started blogging back in January. However, I didn't do so good keeping up with it. I just really got on board with it in June. I have loved every minute of it! Check out my first post to see why I started blogging.
5. Share a Blogging Tip / Blogging Resource - My blogging tip would be that it is not about how many followers you have so don't feel like you have to do things to gain more followers. Although it is great to know that many people are following you, it is about reaching out to others. My blogging resource would have to be Google, because you can Google how to do just about anything that you want to do.
I have been very lucky this year, because I have been able to be in my room since June. I had to be out at different times for various reasons, but I have had lots of time this summer to work in my room. This has been a first, because we typically do not get to work in our rooms until right before school starts. Let's just say that I took advantage of this extra time.
My goal this summer was to get extremely organized. Now for anyone that already knows me, they know that I am organized pretty much all the time. However, my classroom was never organized like I wanted it to be. I replaced a teacher who retired 5 years ago, and she left LOTS of things behind. Most of these things were great and useful. However, I did not know what I had, because I had never went through it all. So I got busy this summer. I can actually say that I have been through everything in my room. Take a look at my organization:
First step: Clean everything out!
Next: Designate a purpose for the storage. This one is now my Math cabinet. I still have some labels to make and a overview sheet to put on our Math box (top shelf).
I have another cabinet right beside this one that is devoted to Science and Social Studies materials, test-taking materials, technology stuff, and indoor and outdoor recess equipment. (I forgot to take a picture of this cabinet.)
Since I was able to devote a cabinet to Math, I was able to make my closet all about Reading. This will make it extremely easy to find materials.
When I started teaching, I was given this hideous, huge brown shelf. I mean this thing is gigantic, and it is very old. (If I move classrooms again, I don't think I could pay the other teachers to help me move this thing again. We have done it so many times, and I'm not even sure if it would hold up another move.) However, I am able to cover it up in the corner of my room by putting a curtain on the front. This is probably one of my favorite pieces of furniture that I own in my classroom, because on the outside it looks like this:
On the inside it looks like this:
That's right it holds bulletin board sets on the bottom as well as big books, charts, poster boards, etc. Whatever you can imagine, it probably holds. I took out some of the top boards so that I could use it for personal things that I use daily since I don't have a desk. (As you can see, I have a toolbox started but it doesn't have labels yet.) I love this piece of furniture! My kids thinks it cool, because I can hide things behind it. :)
Last I tackled all my notebooks. The previous teacher tore everything out of books and grouped them in notebooks with dividers. This has been very helpful, but I never use all the worksheets that she had. Plus, she had worksheets from the past two Reading series. Yes, sometimes these are very helpful, but I didn't need all this stuff. Do you have things like this?
I was able to get my notebooks all organized. This is just a picture of a few of the notebooks. There are plenty more! I am very excited to be able to go straight to worksheets and activities when I need them.
Well that's a look at the classroom organization that I have been working on. Check back next week for some sneak pictures of my classroom. I can't wait for school to start back!