Monday, December 31, 2012

Class List from Pinterest

I have been wanting to do this since I first saw this on Pinterest. I finally did it! I am hoping it will help with everyday "housekeeping" duties! My thoughts are: keeping up with returned progress reports, transportation forms, report cards, daily stuff in general. I would love to know your ideas! My plan is to use Visa-a-vie wet erase markers on it. I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful New Year's Eve!!!!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Semi-finished Podium :) here's the low-down on the podium: I'm officially obsessed with it! I was running around like a crazy woman looking for book jackets of books I really liked to include on it! I didn't stop last night until I looked down and saw that I had almost covered (a bit exaggerated) my fav yoga pants with Mod Podge!!! LOL I knew it was time for bed! I woke up to my daughter (a teacher as well...who is staying with me while her house is being built) hunting and gathering all the Christmas "stuff" into piles to pack away. I had to divert my attention temporarily to help her with that endeavor!  I finally got a sec to post my new here goes:
This is the front view. I have a few that wrap around to the sides a bit and my plan is to cover my sides as well. But I started thinking (ut-oh!!!).......I am going to ask my kids if they have any book jackets from their favorite stories that they might be willing to sacrifice for "the cause"...I thought they might feel a sense of pride seeing their favs on it!!??? What do you all think??? If they don't...I will continue as planned and just add at school. If they! What a treasure for me! Below I will add a couple of pics (close ups) so you can see a bit more detail on the books I have chosen. The beauty of it is.....I can cover up anything at any time with new ones if I so desire! My teacher daughter is considering doing this with classics (she teaches high school). I was honored that she liked it enough to consider it :)
Top part (of the front)
 Bottom part (of the front)

Please let me know what you think! Include your blog address so I can visit!!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Back in the Proverbial Saddle! :)

Hello all,
I am back and ready to get serious about my blog again! (About time...huh?) Number 1: I have realized that the most important thing in life is not to have a million is to share and learn from fellow bloggers and visitors and make the most out of it! Number 2: Good blogs...or really good blogs take time. That is something that is scarce and precious to me! I am going to do the best I can but with so many obligations....I may never compare to some of you that are simply AMAZING! I will learn from you and stop putting so much pressure on myself! (Who needs that???) Number 3: Blogging is an INCREDIBLE experience that I treasure and have made a pledge to myself to post at least once a week. It may not be much...but I need to touch base with the people who do follow me and that I follow. This is an amazing community!

Ok...enough rambling...I am getting crafty again! I bought a new (to me) podium on Craigslist today. I absolutely love it! It is exactly what I have been looking for! It is a great height...the shelves are awesome....and it is solid wood! Hard to find solid wood anymore! It has a few scratches but that's ok because I have a plan!!! My friend, the art teacher, gave me a box of old book jackets that someone gave her. (thoughtful, huh??!!) My plan is to cover the back and sides with these covers. I am known as the "Mod-Podge Queen" in certain circles and far be it for me to let my kingdom down!! LOL  Seriously, I have put a few of them on already and I am going to post what I have so far. It is still a work in progress and I will post as I work on it. I don't think I have taken a picture of the shelving (which I am not messing with) but its nice and I will show you that as well.

As Purchased:

Another View:

My Work so far....

It's kinda hard to tell...the lighting is off...but I am please so far! I love the idea of displaying book covers! If I get tired of any of these I can just Mod Podge another over the top of it! I would love to know your thoughts or suggestions!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

I am soooo sorry!

Wow! How did this happen? Has it really been 3-4 months since i've posted???? To say things have been hectic is an understatement!! I appreciate anyone who hasn't given up on me! Let me just start by saying I have the most wonderful class of my 5th grade career! They are the best behaved, most adorable, sweetest (and at times...the most pitiful) class I have ever had! I was a bit worried about this year because there was a possibility that I was going to get an autistic boy with quite a reputation in my class. Well....I DID and he is the biggest blessing in my life! My class is amazing and he leads the pack in the amazing department! Don't get me wrong....he has his moments! But overall...I wouldn't change places with anyone in my school! I can't wait to post more and tell you soooo much about my wonderful students! But this is Christmas night and my hubby has to work in the morning! LOL I can't wait to catch up on everybody's classrooms and lives in general! God Bless you all and Merry Christmas! It feels good to be back!!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Wow! It's been a while :) AKA Shamless Plug

First...I am very sorry! It has been FOREVER since I have posted! I hope that one or two of you are still with me! I am sure we are all in the same boat, so I will not bore you with how busy I have been :) It has been a crazy time, though! We have added a large deck onto our house, had some interior home repairs, and school starting all in one huge swoop! I am not sure we have had time to come up for air! Let me also say....I LOVE my new 5th graders! They are awesome (even the stinkers). I have a clearly divided class. I have about 5 students who are higher than any 5th graders I have ever taught...and then I have students about as low as I have ever taught. I can see that this year will really be a challenge! I hope I am up to it! It excites me to think about such a challenge! I would appreciate any and all comments/suggestions that you guys have! I have also been making myself crazy with Pinterest projects! I see sooooo many things I want to do/make/cook/post/try... I have really got to limit myself! But this stuff is sooooo cool! I have done a couple of things that I have pictures of (posted below). I also wanted to give you guys a look at my new deck. I am really excited about that as well! It has opened up a whole new world to our home! Please keep in touch and keep me motivated! Thank you all!

I found this awesome use for paint chips on Pinterest. I used it to keep usernames and passwords for my students' programs. We grab these on the way to the computer lab and hang them beside the computer (on a plastic hook) when we are in the room (in case of brain freeze :)...

This is the small side of our new deck! It's rough and unfinished but we love it! This is the small side (about 6 x 24)...if you round the corner, it goes around a dogwood tree and then expands to 24 x 24! We opted for 4 feet wide stairs on both ends (I would highly recommend!!) BTW....we've only lived here 12 years without anything on the back or side of the house!

Thanks for letting me boast :)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Together Teacher - Chapter 5

First...I am soooo sorry for taking so long to get back to my book talk! Shame on me! I have been very caught up in back-to-school preparations and crafty projects that my mind has drifted from this awesome book!
Without further ado....
  • Chapter 5 - A Week's Worth of Readiness...How to Look Ahead
In this chapter, Maia goes through the steps of creating a Weekly or Daily Worksheet.  She begins by making a connection that I bet we can all relate to: the totebag that comes home Friday evening and sits in one place until sometime Sunday when we go in to panic mode! It sure rings true to me! I have such good intentions. But life tends to get in the way and my tote full of "good intentions" sits patiently in the corner until I can put it off no more! This chapter's worksheet helps us schedule our time and is more of an hour to hour schedule of our day. This list needs to be portable and constantly reviewed. It is not a to-do list but rather a schedule of your time.
The weekly or daily worksheet should allow you to do:
  1. Capture incoming to-do's and thoughts...
  2. Do the work that needs to be done...
  3. Look ahead and review what still needs to be done...
  4. Plan how you will spend your upcoming time...
Maia gives several very cool examples of worksheets on her accompanying CD...I will try my hand at showing you in PDF form one of her examples...   o.k.  so I can't figure out how to attach ANYTHING but a picture to my blog! I tried....give me brownie points for trying please :P  If anyone out there would care to teach me how to add PDFs or Word Document to my blog...I would follow you forever!!! LOL Seriously...I could use some help from one of you awesome blogging buddies!

Basically you need to make sure you cover: Priorities, Deadlines, Upcoming to-dos, Phone calls/e-mails, personal duties, copies to make, and next week. (These are only a few examples).

You can check Maia's website for more examples:  The Together Teacher


Sunday, July 29, 2012

My "Prize" Box :)

O.k....I have been secretly working on a project for some time now! A couple of my besties are aware...but no more than that. This project has been top-secret for one major reason:  I am dipping my toe into the crafty pool! I do not normally consider myself very crafty, but I have been testing my oh-so-new skills. I absolutely LOVE crafty things. One of my biggest inspirations has been my friend and colleague, Kerri, from Ms. Kerri's and her Krazy Klass. She is VERY crafty. She has motivated me to at least try.  I decided to try my hand at making a new "prize box" for my classroom. I love to give out prizes! I have tried all kinds of containers and was not satisfied. Kerri pointed me in the direction of a plastic treasure chest-type bin in the home decor section of Wal-Mart.  They had 2 colors: blue and red.  I decided on the blue (not really sure why because I was going to cover it totally anyway!) This is what it looked like when I bought it:

I began this project with the thought of turning this box into a true treasure chest. I went immediately to the local craft store and the scrapbook superstore to look for paper and do-dads to make my new blue box into a gorgeous treasure chest. Well....that didn't happen! I couldn't find anything! Plan B...I began looking around and decided to go another route. I found some stickers, paper, and paint to turn my box into a steam chest that had the look of one that had been well-traveled. Here are a few things I picked up for it:
After covering the chest with brown tissue paper (which actually really worked out well...ended up really adding to the leather look)...and covering it with about a gallon (not really) of Mod Podge...I was able to paint the nobby things to look like brass buttons and the straps to look like leather carry straps. I added the state and country stickers and another coat of Mod Podge.  I am pleased with the way it turned out! I would love to hear what you think of it! Remember....I am a newbie crafter...Be nice :)

My New Prize Box

Friday, July 27, 2012

"Preparing for School" Linky Party

Join me at 6th Grade All-Stars for this GREAT linky!

1. Post about this linky party on your blog
2. Follow my blog (5th Grade Tomfoolery)
3. Answer the following 5 questions (include documents if you have them):
- What grade do you teach?
- What is the greatest advice you received during your 1st year of teaching?
- Do you have a checklist that you follow when preparing your classroom (include the checklist)?
- What are some must haves in your classroom that you cannot live without (ex. items, books, posters, management strategies)?
- What is something that all teachers should have in their classroom?

Don't forget to add your link and put your answers in a comment!! :)
  1. I teach 5th grade (this is my 3rd year, before that I taught 6th, 7th, and 8th - Literature)
  2. I didn't receive too much advice....kinda felt like a fish out of water! That is one reason I love blogging sooooo much! It is such a sharing/caring opportunity!
  3. I do have a checklist I follow....I add to it every year as I see things I can improve for the next. I will add it as soon as I convert it to PDF....check back with me later!
  4. Must-haves....lots of extra supplies....soooo many kids come unprepared! I have had them show up with no pencil! What are they expecting???? Jumping Jacks all day????  Also, lots of coffee and anxiety meds! Most of all....a sense of humor and love in your heart! You may be the only hug they get!!!
  5. The feeling that their classroom is a safe and secure environment! Make it so that they feel like they can be open, honest, and free to make mistakes and learn from them!
I can't wait to read everyone else's (more intelligent) answers :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

"To-Do" Linky :)

This should be an ongoing linky! LOL Thanks to Mrs. B's Best for hosting this! I ALWAYS have a to-do list going and most times there's more school "to-do"s on it than anything else! I will make this brief, though. I have tried to work on a bit at a time...minus the fact between blogging and Pinterest I am over-extended :)  ...I have already begun more than I can possibly complete before school begins! I have gotten quite crafty this summer and I'm in over my head! LOL  O.K....

Here's my top 10:
  1. Finish "Mod Podging" my new treasure box project (Check back with me because it is almost finished and I can't wait for feedback on it!!!)
  2. Organize my "Back-to-School" first week activities! What a mess! I have some new things to spice it up a bit this year! :)
  3. Get my hands on 3 more beanbags so that I have a class set!
  4. Weed-eat at my mom's house for is starting to look like a Honduran Jungle over there!!
  5. Work on Promethean lessons....something I have been putting off for some time now!
  6. Continue to organize my computer files...a bit worse looking than my mom's yard!!
  7. Have lunch with friends before the craziness starts back!
  8. Read up on successful grouping...sorry for the language but...I suck/stink at it! I hate doing it and feel like a failure when I try. I need to observe someone who does it well!
  9. Read something for pleasure...preferably a J.D. Robb novel...(I'm secretly in love with Roarke...please don't tell my hubby! LOL)
  10. Go many times as I can!
O.K....I could have easily kept going...but you get the idea! I can't wait to read everyone else's list!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Guilty Pleasures Linky

I am pleased to join this linky! We all have guilty are a few of mine:
  • Iced Coffee...addiction doesn't even begin to cover it!   
  • The ID Channel....I'm pretty sure my husband is on his best behavior because I am quite capable of forensic trickery! LOL (Stay away from the red carpet fibers! They will do you in every time!!! LOL)
  • Samoas...I could eat my weight in them! Darn those Girl Scouts!!!! :)
O.K....that's probably enough!! LOL Now I'm hungry and thirsty! Link up and join us!!!

Leibster Award!

Just a quick post to say "Thank You" to Inside the Book Blog for the new award! It means more than you know! I want to nominate awesome blogs as well!

(feel free to choose the button above or the pretty pink one on the right...thanks to Tamara at Teaching with TLC!!)


Coder's Talk  (super site for the "tech nerd" in you)

Check out these AWESOME Blogs!! Congrats, guys!

OK ladies, it's your turn!  Here are the rules:

1. Link back to the person who gave it to you.
2. Post the award to your blog.
3. Give the award to at least 5 bloggers with less than 200 followers.
4. Leave a comment on the 5 blogs to let them know that they have been offered this award.

East TN Meet-Up!

Hello again! I just ran across this meet-up ad for those of us close to Johnson City, TN and had to help advertise it! I cant wait to see everyone there!
Please contact Heather Shelton at if you are interested in coming!  Also...check out her Kindergarten blog:  Mrs. Shelton's Kindergarten!

A Few Classroom Pics :)

Hello all! I have been working in my classroom the last couple of days and snapped a few pics to share. This will just be a quick post, but I plan to get the next chapter of the book's summary posted later today! (A plumber is coming later to fix some "ünder the house" if I'm not living in a box under the bridge due to his bill...I will post later!)
This is my new box for my morning work. I have wanted one of these trays for some time now and this lovely green one was on clearance at Wal-Mart! I brought it home and ModPodged it. I am very pleased to replace my boring wire basket with this! :)

This is a sign I found at a store I am in LOVE with called Earthbound! I thought it fit!

My special class schedule...

One of my new signs this year....I used peace ribbon to border it! I found some cards at Books-A-Million (the hyperbole one is an example)...another fav card is one that says "I'm no Rocket Surgeon!" I say that to my kids all the time! I actually say..."Try it! It's not Rocket Surgery!"

I can't wait to stalk around and see everyone's classroom pics too!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

"How Do You Grade?" Linky

Hi Ya'll....decided to throw my Southern roots atcha for a minute! LOL I am joining a linky over at Totally Terrific Teaching dealing with grading. Here's my 2 cents worth on grading:

I wish we didn't have to do it! A good teacher knows a child's ability and potential in a very short amount of time spent with that child.  Having said is a reality in our world. I follow the school/county guidelines but with a twist. On major assignments or tests of any kind...I allow students to come in (after class) and re-take a test that they are not happy with the grade. I then average the two grades together to get a final grade and replace the original grade with this one.  For example...if a student made a 50 on a reading test and wanted to come in the same week after school and retake this test, I would allow them to do so. If that student then made a 100 on the same test...I would average the two grades leaving the student with a 75 as a final grade.  I feel like this is fair. Everyone has an "öff"day once in a while. I believe in second chances! If they feel strongly enough about it to come back to me (at my convenience after school) then they deserve another shot! Students who don't care will not take the time or effort to re-take the test. This method also discourages students from slacking and then thinking they can just re-take it after having some extra time to study for full credit. They know the grade will not be replaced...but averaged! I would love to know everyone else's methods/thoughts/opinions. :)

Come join us!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fun in Room 4B Linky: Fabulous Find Friday!

Hi all....I wanted to contribute to this awesome Fabulous Find Friday from Fun in Room 4B! Those gals over there really got it going on!!! What a great way to share things with each other! I hope to continue to participate in this awesome linky weekly! Fabulous Find is one that I am quite sure everyone else in the free world has discovered....Mod Podge!  I have been shellacking for wayyyyy too many years! (Sounds like a personal problem, huh?) But it's true! My awesome colleague and blogging buddy Ms. Kerri from Ms. Kerri's Krazy Kindergarten shared her enormous crafty knowledge with me and clued me in to this awesome product!  I have almost used a whole 16 oz. bottle in less than a week! I am becoming quite crafty! (I can't wait to show you my project....but it is in progress right stay tuned!!!) So....anyway....I MOD PODGED my thighs together the other day and didn't realize it until I tried to get up!!!'That happens to all newbies....right???? This stuff is available at lots of craft stores....even Walmart! I ordered it from the above hyperlink...but I had to pay shipping...(also couldn't wait to try it so ran to the local craft store and got some the same shipping.....but I guess I did use gas....I'll have to ponder that decision!) Anyway...I am about to need more! I love this stuff...looks like Elmer's glue and dries amazingly fast (I am quite impatient and want my projects complete yesterday!) So I am recommending MOD PODGE....(Try to keep it away from your thighs!!!) 
Is it just me....or have I had enough caffeine for today????????

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Quick Late-Night Post

I worked a bit at school today and as I was roaming around the room....trying to put off the inevitable...I had an idea. This is probably something that everyone in the free world is already goes:

We are required to display and refer to our objectives for each lesson. I decided to use a pocket chart with my "I can" statement at the tops and then write my objectives on sentence strips for each subject. I did that last year and went through a "butt ton" of sentence strips that were sloppily scrawled out and eventually thrown away because they didn't fit again or I couldn't stand their sloppiness. I had an epiphany! Like I said, everyone in the free world is probably doing this already....but why not laminate the sentence strips, write the daily objectives on each one with an Expo (a separate color per subject), and reuse the same ones????? You are free to let me know how far behind in the game I am :) Let me know what you think...either way :)

By the way...I changed the Ï Can..."statement to "We can...."It is important to me to let the kids know we are all in this together!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Chapter 4 - Thought Catchers

Heaven knows we need to catch and organize our thoughts! Maia describes "thought catchers" as basically a simple note-taking system where you divide a paper into 4 squares (like a 4-square writing model). You reserve each of these squares for a different person/topic/to-do. She describes situations where you may hurriedly launch e-mails to someone and forget half of what you wanted to tell them and have to spend even more time re-emailing them....dividing your thoughts and time. Makes sense to me! I have done that wayyyy more than once! She suggests that you keep one of these note-taking papers with you and jot notes to yourself down during the day, give yourself time to process those thoughts, and organize them into 1 e-mail or meeting. Thus saving many trips back and forth or many e-mails. She also suggests that this type of note-taking can be very helpful in PD or faculty meetings. Sort of a way to follow up on ideas that many times get lost in a paperwork mess or trashed. "Thought Catchers" can also be helpful for jotting down future ideas or ideas to adjust for the next time you teach that lesson.  Again, there are many ways to capture these thoughts...
  1. Paper I described before. This would be a simple sheet of paper divided into 4 sections. You could make a template on MS Word (Maia has several examples on her accompanying CD).
  2. Electronic Notes...Programs such as Outlook or Tasks....which sync easily to Smartphones/Computers.
  3. Web-Based...programs on your computer such as Sticky Notes.
A few general tips for making "Thought Catchers" work for you:

  • Thought Catchers should NOT be time sensitive.  Time sensitive things should go straight to your Comprehensive Calendar or your Up-coming To-Do List.
  • They need a trigger.  This means that you should make it so that when you re-read the thought catcher you are immediately reminded of the task.
  • Thought catchers should occur before an e-mail.  Gather all your thoughts together and give yourself time to review before sending that e-mail. (Rather than having to ammend the original one or sending a totally new one).
  • Take advantage of any extra minutes in your day. (I personally don't know who has these...) I try to make the most of my time, but I do realize there are ways I could streamline things I do.  This book is really helping me identify those!....Thanks, Maia!
Maia ends this chapter by saying "Thought catchers can free up brain space"! An who doesn't need that?????  I look forward to getting into the next chapter with you guys!

Monday, July 9, 2012

More Classroom Pics....

I went to school today to get some things done (mostly to get those things out of my living room floor and off my dresser!). While I was there I decided to take a few photos of the current mess I am in! I am working on de-cluttering and organizing and anyone who has had this idea knows you end up with a bigger mess before you complete this task! Certain areas are looking better while others....not so much yet! So....those are my excuses....and I am sticking to them! LOL

This is the state of my library area...the box to the right is full of books to add....but where??? I did get the new rug down! 

I still need to make new labels for my turn-in subject boxes....but its looking better!

I thought I better show some of my hippie spirit! (It's actually allllll over the room!)
The boxes below are full of Reader's Theater scripts and props.
This new sign actually looks better in person than this pic....I worked hard on it! LOL I looked everywhere for an arrow and finally found an arrow bookmark at Books-a-Million....Mod Podged "we are here" on it and covered it with sparkly silver/glittery fingernail polish....the arrow is a clip that can be moved :)

This is a gift from a student :) They know me oh-so-well! I stuck him down in a cinnamon apple candle :) He is sitting on my DVD player :)

O.K....enough for now! Comments/suggestions welcome!