Monday, August 20, 2012

Mounds of Laundry but an Organized Classroom

You know when you are driving, and your car starts to make weird sounds? My computer did that today, and now it won't turn on. Sigh. is great.  Thankfully I have one of my bestie's netbook, that I need to return, but for tonight it is becoming my blog station. 

I am so excited to say that I am finished with my room!  We won't mention that my house looks like the toddler threw a kiddy rager, the yard is starting to look like the house is abandoned, and I truly considered taking all the dirty laundry along with the clothes scattered here and there and having a big bon fire.  Seriously...does anyone have a match??

Oh well, at least this teacher has a color matching classroom. My child doesn't have diapers, but my room matches! LOL!  Here goes....(imagine a curtain being lifted and gasps of awe and delight from the audience.)

I used to think my little bulletin board was great until...

I now have an interactive wall!  Calendar, Learning Goals, Exit Slips, and Questions
This first wall I am using to help the students set and see the goals and to use exit slips to check for questions, miscues, etc.  The "Why" bulletin board is something I am very excited to try.  It was one of those 3 am ideas.  I always have students with so many great questions from their reading as they are tracking their thoughts, exploring Science and Social Studies, or as we have group discussion; we don't always have time to find the answers.  This year, students can write their question down on a post it, then towards the end of the week they can grab their question, or someone elses, and go research and explore those lingering questions.  Hoping it  works as well in real life as it does in my brain!

The back corner before...I used to have our workshop rug in this corner, along with...

this ugly yellow shelf. (It used to be cute, I promise.)

I now have a CAFE inspired CRAFT area. The CRAFT posters
are a Freebie from  LadyBug's Teacher Files.

 Finally, remember that table of junk useful supplies.....

It is now a writing/personal space/conferring/basket holding area. 
Notice my coffee pot in the back. Sigh, have I mentioned I like coffee??

I know I shared my desk, but I added labels on the file cabinet (thanks Dad!),
a great lamp, decorated an old kitchen utensil holder, and hung curtains! Whoo-who! I am finished! Well, actually I have another window that needs close...

The bad news is that now I have no excuse not to clean my own house.  However, the laundry bonfire still might happen.  S'mores anyone?

Don't forget to enter into my Starbucks/Organizer Giveaway.  You have until August 28, and I have to say that the odds are good. 


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Custom Made Freebie and Starbucks Card: A Procrastinators End of Summer Give Away

  I've sat at this computer typing and deleting...typing and deleting.  My sarcastic wit has deserted me, and left in its place is a caffeine deprived blogger.  However, I am enjoying one of my most favorite places in the world, the Big Horn Mountains, with some great family, so I guess that makes up for my lack of snarky and highly humorous intellectually stimulating comments today. 

  To ask forgiveness for this dry and boring post, I am teaming up with Life's Journey Scrapbooking to do a giveaway for all my teacher and non-teacher bloggy buddies! Drum roll please...We are going to give 1 lucky person a....
 $10 Starbucks card
I even promise not to use the $$ that is on the card!
and 2 lucky winners will receive....oh I can hear all of the deep breathes as everyone gears up in anticipation.....

Custom made Accordion Folders!!
(Ok, I thought about naming them the "Cute and Crafty Lifeline of Organization for Teachers and All Others Dohickey Thing-A-Maging Must Have Tool of Sucess", but decided I might get tired...or confused...when repeating it.)

The Outside of my Folder: Step 1 of Operation Organization! The front is under the plastic, so it won't get ruin when you reach across your desk and spill coffee..noth that I have ever done that!

Mine includes a calendar, spiral notebook and pocket to store stuff candy hidden from students or the toddler. Sorry, wine, coffee, or energy drinks won't fit.

Are you impressed yet?

I am going to use mine to store
 parent notes and messages until I can get them filed. 
What would you used this for?

This is a super cute example my friend Crystal made for her daughter.

Can you guess what her daughter loves?

Organize, photos, document, or store!

  These folders are adorable and can be used as a planner, organizer, or to hide the candy bars from the children. See? Multi use!  The 2 folder winners will get to pick color and/or theme and will receive a 1-of-a-kind file made by moi.  Now who needs Prada or Coach when you can have a Mrs. M original? 
 You can get up to 5 chances to win, and those that are blog experts can already guess how. 
1.) Go check out my buddy at Life's Journey Scrapbooking and make a comment on her current post. Make sure to let her know you found her through me.
2.) Follow her publicly. (She has some great ideas!)
3.) Leave a comment on my blog about how you would use the folder or your favorite coffee drink. :D  Don't forget to leave your email and that you have or already...
4.) Follow me publicly.
5.) Post a link to this blog post on your blog, and let me know by sharing that in your comment. (It is almost midnight and I am not about to being to figure out how to use the linky tools. Next time...)
6.)...Hey, it's my blog, I can add an extra chance if I want!  6.) I take bribes. The bigger, the better. Just saying.

I will alert and announce winners on August 28, which is the first day that our kiddos come back to school. Good luck all!

P.S. I am sharing 2 more photos of my color cordinated classroom.  It's getting there...slowly...and very expensively...If you missed my first picture and classroom ideas, check it out!

The one time this year, my desk will be this clean!

Lets pretend we didn't see this....

 I am off to enjoy the last few days of summer!
Good night all!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Great Expectations: Organizing a Classroom, Educational Filler Links, and a Broken Budget!

    Smug: (V) The feeling of superiority the night before going into your classroom, knowing that you are going to 1.)Complete a room full of bulletin boards, 2.) Move furniture, 3.) Empty summer boxes, 4.) Create Open House letters, gifts, etc, 5.) Create a new curriculum map (because hey, you are feeling superior so why not reinvent the wheel), 6.) Send ALL the projects to graphics, 7.) Have everything completed for not just the first day, but for the first 2 weeks of school, and knowing that you will do it in just 5 hours, and a whole 3 weeks before school starts.
            (Jeez, that wasn't a long and grammatically incorrect sentence, was it?!?)

Uh Duh: (V) The reality check that you are absolutely crazy to think that said plan will actually happen.

   Yep, you would think after all these years, I would have a firm grasp on reality.  I obviously didn't; I'm blaming the lack of coffee that day.  However, I am very excited to post the pictures of what I did get accomplished.  Everyone needs to promise to not ask what I spent to make it happen...
Can you guess the colors I picked this year? First year doing a color theme...
Same location as the first picture, but what a difference! I know I would curl up and read a good book there.  If I wasn't afraid that I'd never get up, I just might!
Starting to look like a room.  Sigh, lots of bulletin boards left to go...
Umm, let's pretend that this was a before picture and not the one that I snapped before walking out of the room.
     Now I know I mentioned sharing some super tech links, but 3-6 Free Resources is having a great sharing linky that talks about brain breaks, or those educational time fillers, so I thought I'd share three of my favorite ideas. 
1.) We keep a Jenga game going in the corner of the room.  The Jenga pieces have division facts on them.  If the student gets the problem right, he or she gets to keep the piece for their team.  Game over when it topples or they draw the Gotcha piece. 

2.) Timed ball toss. 1 small ball or stuffed animal (we used an Angry Birds that I found in the dog toy section). Our rules are that it can't be dropped, can't be passed around the same table, everyone plays, and no overhand.  We do a baseline on our time, then the kids keep a graph with the times.  Once in a while we analyze performance, possible changes, teamwork, etc.  Fun and Math rolled into one!

3.) Logic Puzzles and Division Wraps- Kiddos ALWAY have access to either of those items.

Well, now that I am completely done not close to finishing my room, but still feeling smug that I went in several weeks before, I am going to go enjoy a quiet house. The hubby took our Little Man to watch his first mutton bustin' so I am going to have a glass bottle of wine and do nothing. Absolutely nothing. Good night all!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Time Zones, Housekeeping, and a Differentiated Instruction Conference: Excuses for not Blogging

    So I feel that I should preface this post with the information that I have a really good reason for not blogging steadily the last few weeks months.  I have been a world US traveler the last 3 weeks, and truly didn't want the crazies (no, I'm not talking about us crazy educators..) knowing that I was away from my humble abode.  Seriously, someone might have stolen my milk and kool-aid stained couch or the desktop computer from 1862 or my stylish mom jeans or...
   I do have to say that I have been SO excited to share my trips with my fellow bloggy people though!  In the last 3 weeks I have traveled from my sweet home of Wyoming to Washington DC for an NEA assembly (which was amazing for this new delegate!) back to Wyoming for 1 day ( yes only 1day- gee, no time to clean the house that day) then I was off to Vegas with Hubby, Kiddo, and 3 amazing teacher friends for the Differentiated Instruction conference.  L.O.V.E.D. it!!  Got to meet Stephanie Harvey, and am super excited to see her again next week at a local reading conference.  (Yes, my name is Mrs. M and I roll with the Stephanie Harveys of the world.  Don't  you wish you were me?)  For those that are unfamiliar with Ms. Harvey, among other educational supports, she has written several books, including Strategies that Work.  Google her..I hope to be her, umm like her, when I grow up.
Crystal aka the new Mrs., myself (yes, I'm actually dressed up!), Stephanie Harvey, Brandie BBG the Softball Diva , and  our "I teach every grade" Sheila!

Wait...did anyone else go to either of those events?  Let me know!!

   Since I just spent a week listening to some great teachers speaking about everything from DI to technology, to sponges and warm-ups to poverty and beyond, I thought I'd share some ideas that they gave us throughout this next week. Wish I could claim these, because they are wonderful.  Tonight I'll stick with some classroom management/ brain break/positives, because seriously, clapping a pattern is SOOOO 2011.
1.) To the tune of Who Let the Dog's Out... "Who did a good job? You! You! You! You! You! Who did a good job? You! You! You!  You! You!" (Haha-don't blame me when that is stuck in  your head!!)
2.) Voice Chorus- As you raise/lower your hand students make a higher or lower pitched "ahhh" sound. Challenge them by splitting the group in half and "directing" using both hands.
3.) To allow time for thinkers to think, and blurters a chance to blurt instead of burst; simple count down from 5 silently with fingers.
4.) Keep in mind, " When our bottoms go numb, our brains get dumb." LOL!
5.) When someone does a "Great Job"  turn one hand into a cheese grater and the other into cheese then make those motions.

     Tomorrow I will share some, ok a lot, of technology sites for the classroom.  Disclaimer: some of these sites will force you to spend less time on Pinterest.  Now that I'm back in the real world, away from hotels, big cities, and long days of meetings, I have come to realize 1 important thing....there is no maid or room service where I live. Sigh. Can you guess what I'm going to be doing after I publish this post...yup, you got it.  Ignoring the laundry...still...and the dust bunnies...ahh, aren't they cute...and going to play with, umm professionally analyze, these sites for tomorrows blog post.  I'll leave off tonight with some pictures of what we accomplished after the meetings...
Baysocks game with far away family
hoping to see Long-Lost Nephew Play Ball!
4th Of July in DC-Amazing!
For my fellow Wyoming delegates:
"We Have Badgers!"
Hmm, I wonder if my toddler decorated
couch would look good in this house?
Happy to be touring our Nation's Capital
4th of July Week!
Enjoy the a/c at Hausbrauhaus!
Oye, Oye, Oye!
We swam..a lot!
We learned teamwork and
collaboration this week! 
Did I mention we swam?
Ready to Fly!

How I felt after almost 3 weeks of meetings
and 3 different time zones! Yikes!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Summer in Pictures

Ok, I feel like a student who doesn't have her homework.
Teacher, "Why haven't you blogged any high quality educator thoughts, tips, freebies, and ideas Young Lady?"
Me: "Umm, I was sick? Aliens abducted my brain? The dog ate my..Umm..USB cord?...I ran out of coffee??!?"
Ok, truth be told, it truly was the aliens. I've put in a lost and found ad, but no luck yet.
It has been a crazy and busy summer, so I thought I'd do this post in pictures.

A Rambling through Pics....
(I am doing this post on my iPhone, and it won't let me put captions under the pics, so as a resourceful teacher..and someone who doesn't want to retype... I created a caption list. I would say that I'll go back and fix it...but that would be a big fat whopper!! )
1. Water line broke down the street, but no worries! Little Man has his frog boots and diaper on to fix the water!
2. Desert from the most amazing dinner at Cuban Libre this summer. (Notice my pics seem to be about coffee and sweets? Geez, why don't my pants fit??!?)
3. Porch swing, coffee, ahhhh!
4. Designing scrapbook pages for Life's Journey Scrapbooking
5. Little Man shooting a 3D target: Bam bam bam!
6. High quality public education: an amazing group of educators that met in Washington DC.
7. Enough Said!
8. Have I mentioned I heart coffee?
9. Ok, so I don't have a picture, but I'm sure you have heard about all the wildfires in Wyoming, Colorado, etc. Well, it seems like our state is on fire, and I am so very proud of my sister, whom is a firefighter. She has spent the last 21 days fighting fires in 2 states. She is now home safe and sound as of today! So many homes and communities have been devastated, so please keep our states, firefighters, and families in your thoughts.

Well, I have procrastinated, I mean blogged long enough so good night all, and I hope your summer is worthy of many picture memories!

Have a great week, and enjoy your weekend blog friends!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Linky and Summer Sickies

Just a quick linky-uppy with Confessions of a Teaching Junkie; go check out her wonderful ideas. As for myself, I am on week 2 of bronchitis so it is off to bed for me. Cough, hack, hack, cough, cough!
Http:// (sorry, I am on my iPhone and it isn't letting my add hyperlinks! Promise to fix in the am)

Friday, June 8, 2012

49 Shades of Mauve: One Teacher's Summer Adventures

  I'm baaaccckkk!!  Summer is in full swing here, and like most teachers, I'm lounging around eating bon-bons and lazing the summer away. Yea, not so much.  My goal this summer was to get through my to-do list quickly..let's say 3 days to do the 9 months of work that hasn't happened...seems reasonable.  For all those that are on the edge of their seats with anticipation of what I will be accomplishing this summer, here it is.  I have also included a few revisions

Mrs. M's To-Do List

1.) Drink a complete latte without having to stop and grade papers, write lessons, or do anything besides focus on the liquid gold in the coffee mug.
2.) Teach the 2 year old to read at a 3rd grade reading level...ummm, read The Three Little Pigs for the umpteenth time.
3.) Organize every room in my house to look like a show house....Pick up enough of the junk so that I can drink at least 1 cup of joe in peace.
4.) Read and Create from every pin I've saved on Pinterest...Maybe start 1 project from Pinterest.
5.) Create original projects to post onto Pinterest....Never mind, see To-Do #1.
6.) Potty Train Said 2 year old in 48 hours or less...Again, never mind.  Again, see To-Do #1.
7.) Solve World Peace...Again, well, you know which To-Do to see.
8.) Design a Brilliant Accumulation of Activities from District Curriculum tied with the amazing ideas of my fellow bloggers and pinners...Still planning on that one...just need to finish that coffee first.
9.) Run Every Day...after the coffee.
10.) Enjoy full days with my little changes needed!
11.) Clean and Paint our deck...Completed, but with 50 Shades of Mauve

     Yes, that is correct, I said 50 Shades of Mauve!  Now, we all know about that naughty page turner that has made good (and bad) news lately, well my story is just as  not near as exciting or thrilling, nor is my hubby a Mr. Grey.  However, Mr."Not Grey" M and I spent the last two days trying to paint our deck. Not to mention several days sanding and sanding and sanding and... 

My nemasis and my friend this week!

      Many dollars later, we came home with a dark red with lovely brown tones paint to match what we already have on the deck.  We stirred, poured, and started to paint...and you guessed it...our lovely deck paint was mauve. Yes mauve as in the hot color choice for grandmothers and bathrooms everywhere in 1982. 
    We went back to the big box store that rhymes with mows, and spend almost 2 hours waiting for someone to help us and fix this color. You did not read wrong, 2 hours...2 hours...2 hours. We ended up with...a darker shade of mauve. See, it told you it was 50 shades of mauve.  Oh well, the deck looks nice and is more of a burgundy red (ahem purplish-red) then a barn red, but at least we aren't waiting at the paint counter anymore. 
    Tip for the day-if you do go to get home improvement supplies this summer, such as say...paint, bring along a latte, it'll make it much less painful! 

Yes, my 2 year old can
read a tape measure and
uses equivalent fractions...

The Best Part of MY Summer Vacation
     What are the other blogger, in bloggy land doing this summer?  I hope your summer is filled with fun, family, and at least a little relaxation!    

     I wanted to share a great review game that we did our last days of school, but right now I'm busy working on completing all at least 1 of my to-do list, but I promise to share next time. Which, I also promise will be sooner rather than later. 


Night all!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Pick Your Own Ending- A Graphic Organizer and A Conclusion to a Crazy Week

    Tonight's post is going to be short and sweet...but you'll have to choose the plot of this post.  If you want a happy ending, turn to page 6. For a mysterious disappearance, turn to page 12....
    Okay, so you can't actually turn my blog's pages, but you can FINALLY download your own graphic organizer to help your students create their own Choose Your Own Adventure story.  (Or as I call them: A Pick Your Own Ending story)  Yes, that is correct!  Our basement is once again a basement, not a wading pool; my laundry is done..sort of; and our yard is ground squirrel free...I wish! No matter, I had time today and just put the finishing touches on my TeachersPayTeachers store and wanted to share this graphic organizer with you today. In fact, I have it on sale just for my blog friends until Wednesday, which is the day we SHOULD be done with these adventures in my classroom!

   I have had previous classes write these stories before, but the process can be confusing and complex.  I created this graphic organizer, using color-coding to help make the process easier.  The end result is a story with a possible 6 different ending on a total of 11 pages.  Can you imagine the pride of your students as they share these masterpieces? 
    We are currently doing that in my classroom this week.  I grouped the students in teams of four based on genre preference. This year we had a range of students wanting to write sci-fi, mystery, realistic fiction, and a horror story. (The horror story involved parents and prom...oh the Horror! : D) The stories are written as a group or in teams except each student does one section individually so that I have yet another writing piece to assess the 6 Traits. 
   This week I am looking forward to reading their creative and imaginative stories, including a "realistic fiction" that has evolved into an elite team of teenage spies whom have been given the mission to invade Nazi Germany.  Can't wait to hear of the Pick Your Own Ending stories that your students create, should you choose this adventure in writing!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Baby Rodents, A Flooded Basement, and Another Linky Party: All Part of Plan B

   My goals this evening were the following...1.) Stop and Breathe 2.) Love on the toddler 3.) Blog about the AMAZING Choose Your Own Adventure stories my students are writing. (And sharing the graphic organizer for it.)
   However, life happens.  Remember my story about the mice eating all, yes ALL, the wires in my car?  Well, tonight I came home from an exec. board meeting and this is what I found on my front lawn... ground squirrels that were being born as we watched.  There were 6 babies total that were hanging out on our grass. We never did see the momma, but the babies were curious of my husband's iPhone that I had shoved near them.  Now part of me is absolutely cringing at the thought of more of these critters causing havoc in my yard and the field, but geez...they are babies!! Everybody say, "Ahhh! How cute!!" 
     I'm guessing we were a sight to see also.  I'm lying on the ground with the camera, Little Man is sitting on my back yelling at them to "Come 'ere now!", and my husband is watching with a shovel in his hands...
   Wait! A shovel you ask?  Oh yes, the other special treat that I came home to tonight...a flooded basement!  Yup, our front sprinkler box leaked and turned part of our basement into a kiddy pool.  Luckily the hubs is good with tools, and I can use a mop and carpet cleaner like a pro.  Needless to say, the Choose Your Own Adventure graphic organizer is still not done will have to wait.  However, plan B is a fun...
  Linky Party with

She is hosting her 1st linky (way to go!!)  and it is such a great idea!  The topic for tonight's linky is..
Here goes...

3 Amazing Things that Happened this School Year

1.) My students aka Maylians are A.W.E.S.O.M.E!
2.) I love Foldables! Math, Reading, Social Studies...I love Foldables!
3.) The Biography Bottle Buddies my Maylians created, along with their wax museum turned me into a proud Momma teacher!  Did I mention my students are awesome?!?
Can I do more? We had so many wonderful activities, people, and events this year!

3 Not-So-Amazing Things that Happened at School this Year

1.) I need a secretary!  I can only see the top of my desk every other week...or so...
2.) Not enough time to focus on "non-core curriculum". Sigh.
3.) Multiple new curriculum programs plus a more intensive GVC made for a stressful learning curve for myself. 
It is always amazing how trivial problems from the beginning become by the end of the school year.  I can honestly say that I will miss my Maylians, and if their parents would approve, I'd retain them in my classroom just to be selfish and keep these super kiddos! (Don't worry, I probably won't do it...)

   Ok, time to go check on how the carpet is drying, and possibly get a few minutes sleep before the start of another exciting day.  Stay tuned for the CYOAs I keep promising!  I will get them between the ground squirrels, swimming basements, and end-of-the-school-year excitment!  Good night!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

School Children vs. Family Children: A Teacher's Responsibilities

    Just like the many other dedicated teachers around the country, I spend many hours planning, plotting, and creating a wide variety of lessons and activities that are geared to engage, teach, and inspire students to want to learn.  (And I'm always thrilled when at least 1 or 2 of those ideas meet that goal! LOL!) Well, this weekend I wanted to show you the amazing classroom idea I had...

I am loving my purple and salmony orange wreath that I made today!   Sometimes I even impress myself! (Note: the adult male in my household was NOT as impressed with said wreath, nor was he as impressed
with his wife's super hero powers to craft, chat, and child watch at the same time.  Hmmm.)

Can you believe that Mrs. Anderson
wasn't super happy with this wreath?
 Really?? It is absolutely ADORABLE
and feminine with paper flowers. Just what
the 4th grade teacher and mom of 4,
yes 4!! boys needs at her house!
  OK, OK, you caught me!  No classroom idea on today's post. After spending every Sunday since September in my classroom: then coming home and working longer, I played hooky from my no-pay Sunday job to create monogram wreaths with two of my favorite people! Brandie and Tammy are both amazing teachers in our district, and I had a great time creating with them. 
We call it our Pinterest Day and we try to do it once a month...and in the year that we've tried we've managed...twice.  Did I mention spending Sundays at school?


Mrs. BBG aka the Softball Diva's
AMAZING Black, White,
and Hot Pink Wreath! WOW!
Now, you may be wondering why I titled my post the way that I did.  I felt that it was an important reflection that while I may joke about the extra hours I spend devoted to my classroom children, and I do consider them a gift that their parents have shared with me for the year, those school related extra hours are my choice.  I want to be the best teacher possible, and that means putting in the time.  However this weekend, I also made the important choice to make all daylight hours about family and friends. Home projects with the hubby, playing " 'atter up" with the toddler, snuggling,  family time, and crafting with friends came first this weekend.  As we become overwhelmed with end of the year testing, projects, and the thoughts of having to let go of our school children, remember to enjoy your springtime with both classroom families and home families! 

Well, it is time to "Close the door" on tonight's post.  My weekend of family is over, and the night of prepping for a wonderful week at school is about to commence. (I am creating a version of the Hungry Games, aka the Maylian Games, that doesn't involve killing but does involve reading strategies....I could make SO many sarcastic comments right now, but I won't... I know that as I am finishing blogging and starting to do school work, both crafty teacher friends: along with many other teachers, are also hard at work creating, reflecting, and agonizing over how to help their classroom children.  Good luck and have a GREAT week!