The Countdown is ON!

Wow!  I know that 3 weeks before standing in front of a classroom of new students may sound like a long time.....well, it's not!  I'm in the beginning stages of panic mode right now.  I have so much to do and am running out of time!

I've taught 3rd grade for the past 3 years and am moving up to 5th grade this year.  I'm so excited about the change.  I may be odd but I LOVE changing things up - it keeps things fun and interesting.  The change in grade level means a big move though and that's not so fun.  The good thing (actually, the really GREAT thing!) is that I got rid of a lot of junk that I've accumulated.  Teachers.  Are.  Hoarders.  They all are.  It's just a fact of life.  You never know when you might need 6 rolls of plastic wrap or 5,000 plastic spoons, or a jar full of shells - you get the picture.  If I hadn't used something in the past year, it was given or thrown away - it felt really, really good!

I spent some time in my new classroom unpacking and arranging things today.  My first priority was to set up the fish tank to get ready to bring in some new fishy friends.  My desk is almost functional.  I also started playing with the furniture arrangement.  I promise, next time I'll take some photos!

I'll try to update on my progress later in the week!   What is the progress in your classroom?

My Mind Is Racing!

I know it's summer but I can never turn my brain "off"! It seems like I'm always planning or at least thinking about school-related stuff.

(click the image to check it out)

I have been doing some things just for ME this summer though.  One thing I'm participating in is Teachers Write - sort of a summer writing camp for teachers.  Here's the thing.  As far back as I can remember, I loved to read and as far back as I can remember I loved to write as well.  In my now world, I still read a lot, but writing?  Not so much.  I've always dreamed of writing a novel and have bits and pieces of assorted stuff lying around.  This summer though, I've actually been writing.  I have an idea for a story and I'm having fun "playing" around with it.  The mentors, Kate Messner, Gae Polisner, and other assorted amazing visiting authors, have been soooooo supportive and helpful.  I've actually shared some of my writing and received helpful and encouraging feedback.  Most importantly, I feel good enough about my writing to keep on writing.  That's huge.  I may never finish my "novel" but you never know!  You should check it out. 

As a teacher though, I've come to realize how difficult the writing process actually can be and how important it is to feel good about what you're creating in order to keep at it.  I'm definitely going to be using my experience with Teachers Write to improve my writing instruction!

Number of the Day

I've been on a blogging hiatus but I'm back.  I'm tinkering with some new ideas for the next school year and going through all of my files.  I'm throwing out (er, deleting) what didn't work, saving what did, and tweaking some of the files that I loved.  One routine that I loved last year was the "Number of the Day".  Each student decorated a pronged folder at the beginning of the school year and each week I'd give each student enough "Number of the Day" copies (already hole-punched) for the week.  (Sidenote:  I spent a surprising amount of time teaching students how to use the prongs and put the papers in properly).  The number of the day was the the number of days we were in school.  My kiddos got the hang of it after several weeks and it was an easy daily morning work activity.  The kids and I both loved knowing how many days of school we had left!  Click the image to grab your copy!