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!

Sunday, July 8, 2012


O.k.....gonna try my hand at this linky...not sure I know what I am doing....but gonna try!
Pics of my class, huh? Let's see what I can find :)

 My New Front-of-the-Room Teaching Chair :)

Still looking for ideas for these :) Had them 2 yrs now and still haven't had success with them :(

Side view when you first walk in the room. Desks and chairs piled in the middle of the room.

One of my 2 student computers (covered by my peace fabric) and my temp storage of my beanbags!
(I am 4 away from having enough for each student!!!!)

I basically have a combo theme of peace and the National Park....I know....weird!
My room is nowhere near ready and i'm still forming thoughts on what to do!
Suggestions/comments are MORE than welcome!

Come on over to 3-6 Free Resources to share and join us!

Chapter 3 - The Upcoming To-Do List

O.k.....First I must apologize for the time lapse between chapter 2 and 3. I got all giddy after the award nominations and lost my mind! :) I hope that I am back on track! I go!
  • What is it? It is a long-term sorted list of your to-dos that will lead to weekly or daily lists. It is a combination of deadlines and would-like-to-dos.  This list is for work that needs to happen at some point but not have a specific date to be completed by. I equate this to a yearly overview of your lessons or themes for the year (or a pacing guide of sorts). When you sit down with a large 12 month calendar and pencil in chapters to be covered or topics to be covered. I did this for the first time last year and it made a huge difference! I am embarrassed that it has taken me this long to begin doing that! Maia suggests that you pencil in things like PD or vacations in the dates when you want to BEGIN preparing for them. For example, if you know you are leading a PD in might pencil the begin to prepare date in mid-October. I am going to attach an (MS Word  Excel) 12 month calendar hopes that you can download it and begin setting your year in motion! The rest of the chapter gives examples of people's calendars who have set them up in various ways. Being teachers...we are pretty familiar with long-term planning. Hopefully the calendar link will work to give you something to begin with :) I have a calendar I like better than the one in this is in my own computer files...but I cant figure out how to attach it! If you know how...fill me in :) Thanks, once again, for listening to my ramblings!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Awards! Yay me! (so proud!)

Wow! I am sooooo honored....I can't even speak (type) properly! I was awarded 3 awards in one day! I am fairly new (just about 3 months) to blogging and I am in LOVE with it! To have someone think I deserve an award makes me all teary! I was jumping and hollering and telling everyone who would listen (and many who wouldn't...LOL). its my turn to pass it along! Bear with me while I figure this out!

My First Award is the "Versatile Blogger" from Shernika at Threadgill's Teaching Toolbox ! I can't thank Shernika enough! She is soooo sweet and has an awesome blog! Be sure to check it out!

OK....Here go the random facts:
  • I have 9 tattoos....I am addicted :) (My students have no idea :))
  • I went into labor on the 4th of July....22 years ago :)
  • Everyone in my family has a tiny base clef tattoo (except my 12 yr old daughter, of course) We are a very musical family :)
  • 3 of my 4 awesome children have college degrees!! (and 1 is a teacher!!)
  • I make a veggie lasagna that is to die for!! :)
  • We buried our pet hamster, Stewie, with pieces of dark chocolate (they were his fav....long story...but that didn't kill him)
  • My fav candy is Hot Tamales....not the fire ones...just the regular ones :)
Shernika also nominated me for the "One Lovely Blog" Award :)  Like I said....the girl is TOO MUCH! (And this was even before my swanky new look!!!) I hope she still likes me with the new one :)

Hilary over at Fifth Grade Fancy also nominated me for these award!s Let me just say about this woman....she has been here for me from the start! She is the sweetest thing! She comments on my pitiful posts and is always willing to give me her feedback on my ideas! She is a goddess among women! Check out her beautiful blog!!! turn to nominate...
Here are some of my favs:










Enjoy these blogs....they are AWESOME!

Now....your part: :)

The Versatile Blogger Award:

1) Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2) Include a link to their site.
3) Include the award image on your post.
4) Give 7 random facts about yourself.
5) Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.
6) When nominating, include a link to their site.
7) Let other bloggers know they've been nominated.
One Lovely Blog Award:
1) Link back to the person who gave you the award.
2) Follow the person who gave you the award.
3) Pass the award on to 15 new bloggers!