Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A month in....

I have been teaching second grade for a little over a month now. It has truly been an amazing month. I feel revitalized as an educator. The difference between kindergarten and 2nd is crazy. I wouldn't change a thing!! My class rocks and learning something new has been just what I ordered! It is amazing how change makes someone feel. I am beyond blessed to teach with my best friends and have such a supportive family. What would I do without them? What motivates you as a teacher? How do you feel revitalized? I wake up happy every morning. A simple reminder that education is the right place for me!

Tonight also was our tenth reading night! I can't believe that my friend and I have been reading like crazy ladies for ten years! I was Pinkalicious and she was Silverlicious. If I had better pics I would share. Round I am. Lol  We truly put on a show. It is amazing. I could see doing that as a side job. Seriously.  It was another amazing family reading night. If you do reading night, how do you run it? Themes?  Next year is camping,....what can we be?!

Hugs from my sparkly self to you....

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I think we are D-O-N-E!

It has been an absolutely fantastic night.  I had the pleasure of spending the evening with my co-teacher.  She and I worked so hard to complete all of those finishing touches.  My new room is now D-O-N-E, thanks to her hard work!  I truly couldn't have gotten it all done tonight without her.  Well, I guess I say it's done, as in the set up and decorations.  Now the true work begins.  :)

Here is a picture of the "curtains" I made for our room.  The first ones are colorful because those are the main colors in the classroom!  They add a sense of warmth to the room!
The second set I made is simply green because it is our "reading forest."  The curtains look more like leaves hanging down than curtains.  :)  (although the shape is the same)  I guess that is what I was aiming for at least.  I love the way it looks!  :)

My co-teacher had the task of creating a bulletin board.  It was her first one, but look how cute it turned out!  Well done, my dear!  I am so proud of her.

I can just tell that this year is going to be a great year.  My co-teacher and I mesh well.  Our classroom looks awesome.  It truly feels like a place we want to be.  We had a long conversation today about feeling happy with where you spend most of your time.  I couldn't walk into a cold, white walled classroom everyday.  This classroom is me and I am it.  (isn't that a story called the Big Orange Splot?)  The way we feel in our classroom will definitely show nothing but positive energy.  

Lastly, I absolutely feel that a song is necessary to end the evening.  It is a theme song for the day!  And it truly should be a theme song for everyone, everyday!  


Smiles and heartfelt positivity being sent out to all of you!


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A teacher on a mission!

Who would have thought that I could blog twice in a week!  It's been a long time since I've done that!  I truly am loving it again!  Hooray!  I went to school tonight because usually night time is the best time...no one to chat with, right?  Well, I was WRONG.  ha!  My great friend was there too and we chatted for a while first, however I was very productive today!  She probably wasn't, but she was extremely helpful!  I owe her one or a million!  My change to second grade is truly making me remember why I love teaching.  Change is good.  It's bringing back that spark that must have dulled a little bit.  I didn't realize it until now.  I am thoroughly excited.  (in case I haven't said that yet!)

My goal today was to hang some border in places where I hadn't quite finished because I ran out.  Here are some pictures of my progress today!  
I've decided to utilize my big bulletin board as a focus wall.  I haven't quite determined what will be on it yet, but something.  What do YOU use your focus wall  for?  Please let me know!  I'd love to hear your feedback!

This is the wall directly behind my reading table.  I will use that as my DDI wall (data driven instruction) which is right next to my focus board.  I figured having information in similar locations is helpful!  Well for me, we'll find out!


I took a picture of my trays after painting. Don't they look fantastic!?!  I love it!  Now that I look at that picture, I realize that my words/letters are crooked on the top of that board.  Darn it for being short.  ha!  This board is going to temporarily be about my co-teacher and I, but will soon be about the students too.  It will be a student focus board!  Let's shine bright this year!


I couldn't go without adding color EVERYWHERE, so I hung colorful lanterns from the ceiling.  I have moved them three times in my room so far.  I think I've finally found their home.  

This is my reading area.  The only thing I'm missing right now are my bean bag chairs.  I didn't take those out yet because quite frankly, they're quite flat!  I'll work on that for the first day!  I took the leaf from IKEA and my owl rugs from Walmart and created a little reading forest.  I'm going to write the kids names on leaves and add to my tree.  I also have a bug lamp that I'm going to add to this space...who would have thought it didn't come with a light bulb!  ha ha!

Teaching is the best profession in the world.  I am feeling so blessed to have a job that I love.  Despite never having taught 2nd grade before, I feel that thrill and pure joy inside.  With that internal desire, I will accomplish anything.  Keep chugging along my dear friends.  



Thursday, July 17, 2014

A teacher gone wild!

Mid July has arrived and I have officially gone wild with starting a new classroom! Ha ha! I just can't get enough! I have spent a lot of time at school unpacking, moving things around again and again. I have found that I have a lot of things that can be repurposed. I used furniture differently in kindergarten! Soooo....with my new theme this year, I have needed to redesign some things.

First, I have shelves, a drawer system and trays that did not match at all. I could have kept them as is.... or not. See my pictures?! Oh my poor husband surely must think I have lost my mind. Perhaps I have!

I also purchased stools from Ikea and repainted them to match my theme! After I brought them to my classrom, my lovely pod friends all wanted them too! Ooohhhh I love being able to share ideas with my teammates!

Lastly, I found the cutest owl rugs at Walmart. They go with my theme too! Hooorayy for new beginnings!

Can you tell that I fully embrace change?!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

My new beginning starts....now!

Today was the day to close up one chapter of my kindergarten book, but now I begin a new novel. I packed and moved my classroom today. My 2nd grade seems so foreign right now. I have found my new blogging adventure too! I am going to bring you all on my journey to 2nd grade awesomeness! Here are my photos from today!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Goodbye Kindergarten, Hello Second Grade

I haven't been able to blog for quite some time. Life just seems to take over and time flies by! As of this week, I am considered a second grade teacher for next school year! Holy cow, big news! After 12 years of teaching kinders, I will have to say goodbye. Yes, of course I am sad about leaving kindergarten, but I am thoroughly excited to learn new things! I have the opportunity to see a progression of years of learning and not only one year! Exciting! My blog will be taking a temporary hiatus! Not that it is any different than not writing a post for 6 months! Ha ha!

Friday, October 4, 2013

A few funnies to lift the mood

My lovely kinders are hard at work! We celebrate all of the learning happening daily! The students are getting good at finding things to practice to become their best! I love it! I have also encouraged them to feel proud of all of their progress! As a result, I often hear cheering or a way to go !

So today, one of my little darlings came rushing over to my reading table yelling "Mrs. Brown, I am getting so good at rhyming! Witch and *itch rhyme! " with a very loud voice! Now how can I get upset when she was absolutely right and celebrating her progress! I loved it!

Another funny.... we were discussing all of our senses. Today we focused on the sense of touch. The kids were looking at a flip chart with a picture of teddy bears and other things to spark a discussion. One sweet girl raises her hand so politely and says "she feels crunchy under her dress." Uhhh....crickets chirping because I didn't know what to say. After what felt like an eternity, I asked for clarification. Turns out she was talking about the lace on the bottom of the dress, not anything under it. HA HA HA. To conclude our exploration of touch, I had the children use feely bags and describe what they felt. I caused a ruckus when, to their surprise, they reached in and touched some slimy fishing worms! What a great conversation starter!

What an amazing reminder of how awesome it is to teach kindergarten!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Teaching and Education are AMAZING!!

Twitter makes me depressed.  I looked at Twitter today and was finding some really good articles.  After about 20 minutes, I started finding depressing, teacher/education bashing articles.  I then started seeing hashtags that truly made me find sad things.  For example, I found the hashtag #firstdayofschoolthoughts (one that I would be replying SO EXCITED, CAN'T WAIT TO MEET MY NEW STUDENTS **and yes, in caps)  Nooo...I see "hate, hate hate."  "should I __(removed because it made me upset) them now or later?"  REALLY!?

Then I typed in #teachingisamazing.  How sad is it that the last post under that hashtag was in May of 2012?
I kept typing these kinds of hashtags and FINALLY found one that made me much happier.  #iloveteaching.  The reason and the hope for our profession.

Do you Twitter?  What do you gain from it or how do YOU use it?



Must reads for everyone

There are so many articles out there that people need to be reading.  Here are few that I have found interesting and reassuring!

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/leadership_360/2013/07/lead_the_common_core_with_an_open_mind.html

http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2013/07/29/social-video-offers-new-avenue-for-students-colleges-to-connect?src=usn_tw

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/on_innovation/2013/07/deeper_project_based_learning.html


A long time comin'

It has been a long time since posting...I realize that now.  I think I needed a mental break from everything.  I had to focus on myself and my husband for a little while.  My husband has had yet another surgery this summer.  It has caused a change of summertime plans for us.  We really haven't done many things, but I feel like I'm always running around with my head cut off.  Ugh.  What have you done this summer?  Have you been working on school stuff?

Last summer I focused really hard on my stations binders.  This year...nada.  Why?  I feel that there are so many changes all the time that cause instruction to change on the spot.  I am very proud of my binders and systems I have in place.  I feel that I am a more effective teacher than I have been in the past.  With all of these changes taking place from year to year, it's hard, I feel, to create new things that I may or may not be able to use.  Next year we will be going to tablet instruction for our students, which I think is awesome.  I've tried to switch from printing "morning work" worksheets and trying different things.  I could google and pinterest all of the worksheets in the world.

I'm seeking feedback.  PLEASE reply if you read this :)

What do you have your students do first thing when they arrive?  (aside from morning routine things)
How do you incorporate technology into your instruction?
How do you keep yourself from getting burnt out?


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Rainforest learning

I thought I would share what my class did today.  As were exploring the Hawaiian islands, we navigated our way through the rainforest.  The students and I read several rainforest books.  We also were researching on the internet.  The students then turned our classroom into a “rainforest” in their eyes.  In order to do that, they used the books we’ve read and several websites to develop their ideas.  The websites that they used were:

 http://the-rainforest.org/hawaiian-rainforest-plants/
(this one has AMAZING videos on it.  The students sat and watched independently the ones of their choosing to get ideas.  Hearing things like “Mrs. Brown, there is a bird!  I see different kinds of flowers” and then putting it into action with construction paper. )

 http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/photos/tropical-rainforests/#/riolos_16405_600x450.jpg
(the students searched through the different photographs to find a rainforest that they would like to copy…this one was not as interesting to them) 

http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/photos/rainforest-tropical-wildlife/#/young-piranha_75_600x450.jpg
(this shows the different animals that could potentially live in the rainforest.  They attempted to create these animals (even if they were purple instead of brown, etc) and apply the knowledge that they were finding.  

I was thoroughly impressed with their abilities to independently guide their thinking. I was simply there to hang it up.  Out of 21 students, 20 were right on task and able to drive their own learning and interests. I have taught this unot for years, but once again changed it up for more student driven instruction.

I would love to hear how your students guide instruction.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Online world

Good afternoon blogger world! Technology seems to be taking over every aspect of life these days. I have absolutely no fear of technology and embrace the possibilities. When I decided to earn my masters in educational leadership, I chose the online route. Honestly, I feel like I worked hard to earn my degree. I put in the hours, did research and collaborated with a wide variety of  professionals through a different modality.  No, I didnt meet with a class once a week.  No I didn't sit with other people face to face. I felt empowered to make my learning deeper because I wanted to get the most out of it.

My students are engaged in a wide variety of technological activities. They apply research skills using both physical copies and online resources. The students are beyond just going online to play a game (although from time to time they do), but rather make an academic choice to type a letter or sight words because they can. Students in my class create lists and sentences using clip art in smart notebook. I feel that students are engaged utilizing a variety of learning tools, including technology.

My question to the world is.... how do you feel about technology and or online learming? I know it is a hot topic and I am curious!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Cant believe it is May!

Last year I began the adveture of beginning my own teaching blog. I have to be honest... I have been slow on the posts. Let it be a lot of additional school work, personal things or just way too little time, I decided it is time to get back into the swing. There are so many things I want to post.

First, my students have shown me such interest in the dictionary and thesaurus this year. Yes. They choose to read it and find new words. Of course there are words in it that may not be appropriate, but I  am teaching the skill of vocabulary building, spelling, abc order and so much more! It amazes me. What amazes you this year? Kids never cease to amaze me!

Next, I cant believe it is May already. As always, May brings busy busy busy. My students are in the process of preparing for our end of year show for their parents! Today, I had the students decorate guitars I cut out of cardboard boxes. Yes, it was a lot of work to cut them out, but watching the pure joy and enthusiasm the students had today was.....priceless. They care about their work. This is just another reminder that students need to be engaged in their academics to get something out of it! As a teacher, what do you do to engage your students? What is YOUR students favorite activity....what makes it that way?

Lastly, has anyone been exploring student driven instruction in their classrooms? I find that when students engage in exploration of their own ideas, the learning gets deepened. Like the dictionary...by taking it upon themselves, they are not only deepening their own skills, but helping others as well!

Let's discuss! I would love some feedback!

Happy almost Friday!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Two days out...

As we are two days out from winter break, I know that the kids energy is pretty high.  Mine, however, is higher!  I having taken a personal goal this week to boost it up!  I'm throwing out the positives and just showing the kids that I care.  I know they realized it prior to this week, but why not show more?  It is absolutely amazing to see how the kids react when you show that you care even more!  I absolutely love it.  

In addition, I have been trying to bring some cheer to our building this week/last week too.  That is a harder feat sometimes because everyone is so busy.  Another teacher and I have taken it on to do positive staff incentives and fun!  This week I have been the bearer of delicious candy canes when we play "Guess Who I Am" everyday!  I write a couple of clues about a fellow teacher and the first one with the right answer wins a candy cane.  Did you know that candy canes are a simple joy?  I love to see happy faces on fellow teachers too.  :)  What does your building do for positivity?  These answers would help me too because I would love to be a successful administrator some day too.  

Here is a song that I seem to listen to if my mind isn't in the right mind set.  It always puts me at ease.  


Happy Holidays to everyone.  :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Where The Wild Things Are

When I first began teaching, I taught the holidays at this time of the year. After a few years, it seemed like celebrations started to dwindle and I taught the holidays less and less. So, I added a Gingerbread man unit, but it wasn't my favorite. (and still isn't) I thought, one year that it was time to have the children recreate a story. What more appropriate than Where the Wild Things Are. This seemed appropriate being that the children are a little "wild" right now. Perhaps this was my way of "taming" the wild ones. ha! All in all, I created activities to make the story come to life and interesting to the students. I have multiple different centers that I do with the children. First, I have the children use "monster feet" to measure things around the room. It was simple fun! The children love the non-standard measuring. It's so much more interesting that using a ruler, right? I thought so! This tied our math into our study. Here is a picture:
The next station is the book/listening station. The children got to enjoy the stories independently as well as a version I found on Learn360. (It was only 8 minutes long) They loved it! Sorry no pictures of that!


Next, we worked on understanding the characters and setting of the story. The children needed to identify the details of each character/wild thing as well as the setting. Afterwards, they chose the character/setting feature that they'd like to create. I put those pages/pictures onto overheads and the children re-created the characters/setting by tracing! Once they traced their character, I copied over with dark black lines. The students then were responsible for coloring it in! I didn't care what colors they ended up because I didn't want an exact replica of the story. I wanted our own interpretation of it! The children did a tremendous job! Here are pictures of them tracing and the final product! Of course I didn't add all pictures, it would have been a long list of pictures! I just chose a few.



All in all, this project made the students work together in a small group or partner to create a replica of Where the Wild Things Are. The students were very well behaved and "tamed" if you will. I love the details and effort they put into each character or setting piece. I already have students asking what the next book will be! Hooray!