Friday, June 15, 2012

Chicago Heat and Behavior Charts...

Good afternoon, friends!

It is super hot in Chicago right now. I am not a fan. Especially since I just got my hair washed and styled. This heat better not mess it up!!

I have been thinking a lot about my behavior management system that I have been doing since my first year of teaching Here's a picture of what it looks like:

This is a clip chart, my mom made  for me using foam board and acrylic paint. This picture is after being used for three years. It still has that bright colorE!The interesting thing about the clip chart is that I had no idea what it was or what it looked like until my first year of teaching. My entire first grade team uses this system, we just all have our own variation of it. Here's mine:

Green- All students start here. Green is good!
Yellow- Warning and a yellow note goes home. It's very brief, I just check off what the behavior was. For example, talking out, not following directions, etc.
Blue- Letter home. I write exactly what happened and the student has to sign and write a note to their parents on the letter. The letter has to be signed by the parent and returned the next day.
Red- Principal's Office
Students also have an opportunity to move up on the chart.
Orange- Is for "wow" behavior. Students get an orange note home (It says, "Wow, you made it to orange today!) and they get to pick a prize from the prize basket.
Purple- Above and Beyond behavior. Students get a purple note home, a prize from the basket, and a jewel on their clothespin! A jewel is just some stickers that are like little dots but they shine. Sorry, I don't have a picture! I actually got the idea for the jewel prize from another wonderful blogger...I am not sure who it was, if it was you please let me know so I can give you all the credit!!!

This behavior management system works. It works really well. The kids love to be able to move up. So much, that they sometimes are not happy about green. I have to constantly remind them that green is good! 
Yes, this system works, but I am wanting to try something different. I am kind of tired of the prize basket. I HATE replenishing it and I want the kids to want more than just prizes from the prize basket. 

I have been seeing ideas for classroom coupons and I am really thinking about going toward this idea instead of material things. Here's a link of what I am leaning toward:
Ms. Martin did a wonderful job with these. Go check them out!

Alright, I am heading to my parents house. I love spending time with my parents. They are so cute. :)

And..I'm kinda hoping they have dinner ready!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Reflections and Dollar Tree Deals

I apologize for the delay in posting. I am just getting used to this blogging thing. For some reason I am having a hard time getting my brain to settle down and actually post! 

On Wednesday, I got the opportunity to be on the interview team for an administrative position in my district. It was an amazing experience. There are some very talented people out there. Administration is not easy and you definitely have to be a special person to be one. I learned a ton from the candidates and it really motivated me...

I just recently graduated from an educational leadership program. I officially have my administrative certificate. It was a long and STRESSFUL two years. I was ambitious and decided to enter the program during my second year of teaching. Yes, my second year. Most leadership programs require you to have completed two years of teaching experience prior to starting the program. I was lucky and they allowed me to still enroll in the program. My thinking in deciding to start a master's program was that I need to start graduate school before other life blessings (such as marriage and babies :) get in the way. I am not sure if it was the best idea. I learned a lot from the program, but I did not have a lot of teaching experience to gain off of. I am still learning how to be a teacher. Last year, was the most stressful because I had to complete a 240 hour internship while TEACHING. It was insane. When I completed those 240 hours, it was a huge relief. I am so very proud of my self for having my masters at 25, but I am not sure I recommend it to a new teacher. It is just a lot to handle. 

Now, I am not the one who does a lot of regretting but, I do reflect. I do a lot of this. And after being a part of the administrative interview team, I know that I want to be a principal. Sooner than later. I may not have as much as experience as others which could definitely be looked at as a negative, but on a positive I have the passion and dedication. I plan to rock this fourth year of teaching and try to gain as much knowledge about teaching as I can. Perhaps, I will start looking at assistant principal positions in the spring. :)

After kickboxing and hip hop classes at the gym today, I decided to make a stop at the Dollar Tree. Like many teachers, I usually try to make it there every other week or so. I ALWAYS find SOMETHING. I actually don't think I have ever walked out of the store empty handed. 

Today I found some  awesome posters in the teaching section. 2 in a pack for one dollar. Learning charts like these usually go for about 2.50 at a teaching store such as The Chalkboard. Yes, you can make you're own, but sometimes I prefer to save time. My students actually use these charts. I am constantly telling my students, "Use your resources! Be responsible for your own learning!" The kids actually listen and use the resources we have in our class. I like these charts because they fit into our curriculum! 

Aren't they cute? If you have a Dollar Tree, please go check these out!

Alright, so I had planned to post about these really good recipes I made this week ( I am not a cook at all, but I am getting better!!). But I'll save that for later. 

Have a great's time for some Lifetime.

Monday, June 11, 2012


Okay, so last night I stayed up until 3:30 a.m. trying to add a little more personality to my blog. I searched and searched for cute blog templates and copied and pasted codes until my fingers were sore. I was eyelids got heavy, but I did not give up. I fully succeeded in getting my blog the way that I want.....FOR NOW.

Perhaps, I could have asked for some help with creating my blog. My boyfriend completed his undergraduate and graduate studies in a computer studies program. He would have been more than willing to help me. But, see I have a little problem.

I am extremely impatient. And I kind of like to do things myself.
I probably should work on that.

Moving on.

Garage sales. If there are a few things that make up my hobbies, garage sales are definitely one of them.
I am pretty sure I get it from my mother. Actually, I know I do. When  I was younger by mom dragged me with her to all of the possible garage sales she could find.
I hated them then, but I love them now.
Maybe it's because most of the decorating in my Condo comes from garage sales. I am very proud of my home. I think it is adorable. :)

As for the classroom...I have gotten TONS of wonderful things from garage sales. Books, baskets, stuffed animals, rugs, rocking chairs, YOU. NAME. IT.

I went to a few garage sales on Friday. It was a neighborhood garage sale. I had no intention of buying anything.

Okay, I'm lying.

Here are some things I got:

Paper trays. 
I seriously have a million of these. Okay, not a million. I think 20. Last year, I used these for organizing papers on my my desk. I also used about 8 of them for my writing center to organize student choices. I also used them for listening station response paper organization and write the room choice papers. Why did I buy these if I already have them? Well, I am all about COLOR. I think a classroom, especially a first grade classroom needs to be filled with lots of color. The ones I have currently are black and just a little boring. These are much better.

Beanie Babies!
 My wonderful first grade team uses the reading strategy beanie babies as part of our literacy time. If you search the internet for the reading strategies you will find tons of information about them. I can not take credit for this idea. If you haven't heard about it please look into it. The kiddos LOVE it. And they actually use the strategies!! The strategies actually work because they give kids a visual. Currently, my entire team has a bulletin board display of the decoding strategy posters with the corresponding beanie babies. I was looking into adding the comprehension beanie baby strategies, this year. I feel as if I just don't focus enough on comprehension in first grade. It is so hard when you are trying to teach them how to JUST READ. Well, I didn't think I would be able to find the beanie babies at a reasonable price, but I did! I only need one more! 

And so, do my first graders. I have so many of his books...but not all of them. And I got very lucky because these are the ones I don't have.
I love listening to them read Dr. Seuss books to their partners during buddy reading. It's so cute. :)

I seriously can't believe I found this. I drove past in my car, saw it, and hopped out SO FAST.
Five baskets. And they stack. They are actually from the Container Store!
I have a smaller version of this which the kids use to turn in homework, homework calendars, and their notes from home. 
This one is perfect because there are five baskets. I'm thinking I can label each basket for a day of the week. I can use it to store my copies, books, and other resources for that particular day. Currently, I use those Sterilite Drawers for my daily papers, but sometimes there just isn't enough room...what would you use this for?

OMG. This book is awesome. Yes, the title is correct. My kids and I love this book. I was a little hesitant to read it to my first graders. We did have a little talk about appropriate behavior before I read the book. Ironically, I read the book during Laughter Day on our end of the year ABC Countdown. It actually is a really cute story and has a little lesson behind it. Please check it out.
 (Guess, who's paws are in the picture? She just wouldn't move!!!)

So, I got a few more things, but this post is getting REALLY long. I will finish up by saying, I got all of this and more for 12 dollars.


So please, if you're looking to save money, try garage sales. You never know what you'll find!

I'm off to the gym. Second time today. I have to get myself energized and ready for some late night Pinterest pinning and a thousand games of Words with Friends.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

And so it begins...

I think it has always been my dream to start my own blog. I have been stalking blogs on my iPhone for the past year. What does "stalking" actually mean? It means lying in bed until past midnight when I have work the next day, searching teaching blogs for my next inspiration. It completely fascinates me to read about the ups and downs of fellow teachers like me. I tell you and I am sure you already know this...there are so many wonderful ideas out there. As a still fairly new teacher, the blogging world has become a HUGE life saver or should I say...blessing?

 And so it turn to contribute and FINALLY start my own blog. it goes. I am looking forward to sharing with you the many blessings of teaching and life in between. I hope that if you take anything from my adventures, you take some inspiration. Inspiration about teaching...inspiration about life. :) 

I am BEYOND excited about starting my own blog. I am pretty sure I have annoyed the mess out of my technology-smart-and-savvy boyfriend. IT IS ALL I HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT FOR THE PAST TWO WEEKS.

And to start off this blog, I will begin by sharing one of the many blessings in my life:

Meet Lexi. 

Yes, those are MY glasses. 
She is quite the animal. She is a North American Eskimo that I adopted in December of 2010. I am completely obsessed with her. She has put a lot of joy and stress in my life. True story.

One day, I will fill you in on the. puppy.she.had. that. I. had. no. idea. about. until. I. came. home. from. work. and. there. it. was.

 She puts up with me spending countless hours on my iPad, reading blogs and pinning to Pinterest. She doesn't say a word. Occasionally, she wants a belly rub. 

That's pretty typical.

I am now putting an end to my first blog post. I just came to the realization that I could spend hours on here posting.
I have an evening of fun ahead of me. I must get ready for a three mile walk for a good cause in the city of Chicago. And then dinner and drinks after. 

Oh, how I LOVE summer.....!