Classroom Sneak Peek

So as some of you may have read a couple posts ago, I have been trying to regularly go to my friend Cassie’s workout class on Tuesday and Thursday morning. Since we are using the gym next door to school, I figured after the workouts I might as well get my classroom set up and decorated sooner rather than later. This way, when it gets closer to the beginning of the 2017-2018 year, I can focus more on my lesson planning instead of decorating. So here is the first look at my room so far 🙂

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The first thing I ended up organizing was my desk. I loved hanging up the pictures/ doodles that my kiddos made me last year. Also, having pictures of my family and friends to look at daily makes me smile. The memes I have make the students laugh and this year I plan on doing a meme calendar (showcase the most popular -appropriate- meme of the month) for fun.

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One thing our team is excited for this year is our “phone lots”. Last year we had such an issue with cell phones being out in class and in the hallway and in the bathroom. It was absolutely absurd. Perhaps that will be another blog post in and of itself. Either way, this year each student will be assigned a number and if they have a cell phone it is to be turned off and placed in their numbered slot at the beginning of class.

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You’ll see in the next few pictures why I am so excited about this room…. whiteboards! I have so many this year and I couldn’t be more excited. This picture is the front of the room. The board on the left will be for important reminders and my motivational quotes. The center and right whiteboards will be for notes. One thing that I’m keeping from last year is the word “FOCUS” around the clock. It seems students are more preoccupied with ‘when is this class over?’ instead of the lesson, hopefully this helps keep them on task. The words underneath the board are a collection of language arts terms and I found them at the Dollar Tree.

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I’m excited for this front bulletin board and table, but I have to wait for my order to arrive from Oriental Trading. The board is covered with .99 plastic table cloths. When my order arrives the board will serve as a welcome station. It will have a large dry erase calendar on it. As well as any flyers for upcoming school or community events. This front table is also where the students will turn in their work and find any assignments if they are absent.

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I still need to find my orange computer chairs from last year, but this is the computer station! The bulletin board is covered in a green, sparkly fabric and the border is a combination of scalloped paper border and plastic table cloths. The counter off to the right is the home of the students’ mailboxes, where they can find anything that was handed back while they were out. This is also where the art items are as well (scissors, markers, crayons, colored pencils, etc.). Props to Shannon for helping me make the tissue paper poms.

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Have I mentioned how much whiteboard space I have?? This white board is where the student objectives, agenda, and focus for the day will be. It is split to show 8th Reading/ Writing, 7th Reading/ Writing, and Enrich. I haven’t had a chance to get my labels up yet.

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What’s that? MORE WHITEBOARD! I haven’t had a chance to put the tape up yet, but this board will be sectioned into 4 spaces and will showcase class test score averages. I think it’s important to have a visual of growth in the classroom for the students to see how they are doing. The purple and green bulletin board is unfinished and being moved and the boggle board below (hey, alliteration) will take it’s place. At a more manageable height, of course.

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Remember the unfinished purple board from the last picture? It is being moved to above my newly painted bookcase. Since it will be too tall for me to change often, I plan on having the Dr. Seuss quote, “You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.” In addition, I plan on starting a DonorsChoose project to fund a bigger classroom library so that my kiddos have more books to choose from.

So that’s what I’ve done so far, with a lot of help from my friends. Next week I need to finish up my boards, print off all my labels, hang the rest of my posters, and organize the desks. I have 44 in my room and only need 30-32. So that should be fun! Thanks for reading 😉

Proud Dog Mom

I am such a happy/ proud dog mom today. Some of you already know that Ruger has extreme separation anxiety. When we first got him, he destroyed any crate he was in and made a mess of Brian’s apartment once he got out. So then we had to tie him outside whenever we’d leave and although he had food, water, and shelter, we still felt really bad. Fast forward to when we all moved in with my parents and their two dogs and we decided to try crate training him again over the summer before the move to AZ. We had an old cell phone set up with a camera app that we could watch him from our phones with. Little by little all was going well. Eventually we could leave him for a full 8 to 10 hours with no accidents or episodes. 

Finally, when the time came to move to Arizona, we packed up his crate and drove for 3 days. Once here, we realized he had relapsed and his anxiety was back in full force. We left him in his crate while we went to get groceries and house supplies and came back to a bent crate and a dog with 3 chipped teeth. Of course we couldn’t bear to give him up. After all, it wasn’t his fault we moved across the country to a new place with no other dogs to keep him company. We also couldn’t get a companion for him because we ran the risk of it not helping and having another animal to care for. Finally, after months of not being able to leave the apartment together without the dog we decided to pay for dog sitters. People who we would drop him off with for work or while we went to get dinner or pretty much anything we needed to do that wasn’t dog friendly. That was our new normal. Budgeting to cover the cost as if it was childcare, planning days ahead to make sure we’d have someone to watch him. It wasn’t awful. I knew he was safe and we made some amazing friends because of it. 

It’s been almost a year of this. When school ended, I decided to use my summer to try to help Ruger overcome/ manage his anxiety. The whole reason I thought it would be possible came to us when we were enjoying an evening on the patio and decided to leave Ruger inside. Normally he would sit at the window where he could see us and cry. However, this time he watched us sitting there for a moment and then walked away to get on the couch and sleep. I’m assuming it has to do with him being almost 3 years old and having been here for a year it is feeling more like home to him. So my plan was to go to the complex pool every few days more and more until he felt comfortable. That way I could watch him on the camera and run home quickly if he started destroying anything or barking uncontrollably. The only hitch in my plan is that the pool won’t be open for a few more weeks, ugh.

Anyway, today we decide to use the apartment laundry facilities as a way to get out of the house to test him. He was a bit whiny at first, but eventually calmed down. We could see him on the camera, sitting on the couch staring out the window waiting. After we put the laundry in we decided to make a McDonald’s and bank run. The entire time checking the camera to make sure he hadn’t lost it. In total, we were gone for about an hour and a half today and he was quiet and calm the entire time. 

If you’ve made it this far in the blog, I ask that you just keep Ruger (and us) in your thoughts as we spend the summer trying to overcome his anxiety. If you read the whole thing and think we’re crazy… Well, you’re right. We are crazy in love with our dog and I see nothing wrong with that 👋

Summertime

It has been a wonderful beginning to summer break! So far I have soaked up as much sun as possible, rearranged the living room, and have thought about blogging multiple times. I just never wanted to stop to write. Today, however, being the lazy Sunday that it is seems like the perfect day to blog about my goals for the summer break. 

On Tuesday I am attending my friend Cassie’s first workout class and then spending the rest of the day starting the long process of reorganizing my new classroom. I looke forward to the weekly workouts and to preparing for the upcoming school year. I have been on a major Pinterest spree looking for cute and functional ideas to help me as I enter my second year. 

In addition to teaching 7th and 8th grade LA this year, I plan on being a co-instructor for a school drama club. It’s a pretty intimidating task, but I believe my froend and I will succeed. Our goal ia to do a production of Seussical Jr. by the end of the year. Well wishes on this journey are appreciated. 

I’ve also started a pretty difficult puzzle. That, when finished, I plan on framing for the downstairs bathroom. I have no reasoning other than its a dragonfly and the bathroom already houses a dragonfly painting I did at a craft night. It’s only in tne bathroom because it didn’t match anywhere else in the apartment. So no my guest bathroom theme is dragonflies. Okay.

That pretty much catches us up. Hopefully I will be free to write more now that I have a bit more time to breathe. 

Ta for now!