Sunday, July 27, 2014

Two Stars and A Wish

Today I am here to share with you some tips to start your school year off right, as well as to share one thing I am hoping to improve upon this year. You know, if you tell people it kind of holds you accountable right? :)

My two stars are all about how to handle a teacher's favorite thing...classroom supplies. We all love them. But, if you are like me and you don't have student desks ( I have tables), you have to figure out how to store them. 

However, my post is not about how to store them as I think this is very teacher specific depending on space, organization style, and amount and type of containers. :) But if you want some organizational ideas check out this post from last summer.  My two stars are how to deal with the sudden influx of 20+ notebooks, boxes of crayons, and scissors etc. 

At my school we do a Back To School/ Meet Your Teacher night the week before school starts. I send home a meet your teacher brochure before then to encourage the kids and their parents to attend. I also include this note: 

 I have found that about half of my students will bring everything in with them ahead of time. ( I make sure to say any they have. They get this note about 2 days beforehand and some families haven't gotten everything yet.)

I go communal on most of my supplies because of the whole no whole desks situation. I can sort through the supplies that are brought in ahead of time and get them labeled if need be and put away ahead of time. This really cuts down on the amount that needs to be taken care of the first day. 
 Now I don't get 100% of the supplies then, although that would awesome. :) So we do have to take care of some things on the first day. Confession ( Although for many of you I am sure it is nooooo surprise.) I HATE clutter. I hate mess. I hate when things are not in their place.

                I mean this picture pretty much sums it up folks. ;)

 So unloading the supplies time in my room used to just make me itch. It was a horrible way to start our very first day together. 

Here is my next tip on supplies. Spread it out throughout the morning and put away the supplies as you get them. Here is what I do. While my students are working on something else, usually morning work, I will call for supplies one at a time. For example, all the tissues. Students that didn't bring them in already will bring them to me and I will put them away where I store them. Then I will call for something else, like plastic baggies, and put those away before calling for a new item. 

This really works for me for three reasons. 

Reason #1: It keeps the piles of supplies to a minimum. Yes, our backpacks are in the room and they take up some space. But overall the "mess" is a lot more under control and it helps to keep me sane on a very insane morning!

Reason #2: I can point out acceptable behaviors and start conversations about what we act like in 2nd grade. I usually have someone model bringing me a supply first before I have others do it. 

Reason #3: It gets the kiddo's up and moving, something that is SO necessary in those first weeks of school!

OK, now to switch gears and on to my wish. This is the thing I am hoping to do better next year. 

I always have several areas that I want to work on each school year...who doesn't. But for this post I decided to focus on improving my character education. 

At my school we have a monthly character trait and at the end of the month we have an assembly where we award students who we feel demonstrated that character trait. We used to do an assembly at the beginning of the month where the students learned about the character trait. Each teacher was responsible for one months assembly. But that went by the wayside and it just became up to us to teach about the character traits in our room. 

Now, I'll be honest, sometimes teaching the character trait would get pushed off until the day before the assembly and I would scramble to find something to use to introduce the character trait. But I TRULY believe that as important as reading, writing, and arithmetic are, teaching our students to be good people is just as important if not more. 

So in order to help me be prepared for the character traits I created this little gem here:

Each of the character traits has a poster explaining the trait in kid friendly language, a list of books that help students to understand the trait, and then a writing response that includes space for students to write and draw about the topic. No more scrambling to find SOMETHING to do with them. This is ready to go and requires very little of our precious instructional time. You can check out the first month, respect and responsibility, HERE. 

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on Facebook or Instagram for more great ideas. 

For more star ideas more than 40 different bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic that interests you. Thanks for visiting!


Friday, July 11, 2014

Instagram and My Apologies

How true is that E-Card. Am I right?!

First off, I want to do the "I'm a horrible blogger song and dance," because I am. Until tonight I have been COMPLETELY unmotivated to do anything blogging or TPT related this summer. Mostly because at the very tip top of the ol' bucket list was to spend time with my Peanut this summer. She starts Kindergarten in the fall ( WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?!?!?!!?) and so I decided that this was going to be a Peanut and Mommy summer. We have had a great time so far. We did Vacation Bible School at my church. We have gone to the downtown theater every Thursday for their summer kids movies, gone on lots of bike rides and just basically enjoyed one another's company. 

Suddenly though, motivation has struck me again. You know something I can't stand is people having fun without me. Ha! Can you say social butterfly here?! I saw that Blog Hoppin was having a photo scavenger hunt on Instragram and since getting an Instagram account has been on my bloggy to do list since forever ago I decided now was the perfect time. My user name is robinsonj2004 if you want to follow me. 

In other creating news, I am going through my MAP/ NWEA Binders and starting on my list of things to make from that. I am also working on a massive post with how I prep for MAP that I am going to post closer to the start of school. 

Thanks for sticking around Diving Into 2nd Grade. I appreciate it!