Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Workin' On It Wednesday

Happy Wednesday! I've been working on reorganizing my classroom (again!)

What are you working on?

The Together Teacher - Create Stations

I wish I had started reading The Together Teacher earlier in the summer so I would have had more time to work on all the things that I needed to begin/restart/refresh, etc.
I'm reading along (for the most part!) with Kelly at An Apple for the Teacher to find new ways to become more organized (some of these ways, I have discovered, are strategies I used to use, but for some reason had forgotten about).  Chapter 10 focuses on creating stations to help the classroom run smoothly. This includes stations such as: your teaching station, entry and exit ways, student mailboxes, an anchor board, distribution center, the "paper pantry," the "materials pantry," classroom calendar, classroom libraries, and classroom jobs. The chapter even includes some organizational information for how to keep track of these types of things if you are a mobile teacher. There are quite a few helpful ideas in this chapter which make me want to run into my classroom and change things. I don't have time to change too many things right now, so I settled for working on a few.

The teaching station is the area in which you'd keep all the materials you need to teach your classes each day, so you have to be searching for things in the middle of a lesson. This station could be your desk, or a centrally located place in your room. Some suggested items for the teaching area are markers, pens, pencils baskets or folders for student work, tape, stapler, hole puncher, paper clips, binder clips, timer, stickers, incentive items, copies for the day, materials for the lesson. I worked on cleaning up/reorganizing the counter behind my desk to use as my teaching center. I have files needed for my classes, popsicle sticks, and some other supplies in the drawers. .....a work in progress.

The distribution center is an area in which you keep the copies needed for the week (suggestion is to keep them in a hanging folder labeled with the day of the week). I'm also working on this, but no pics to share yet:)

A helpful suggestion for a "paper pantry," where you would keep multiple copies of forms that are used often in the classroom, is to put the original in a sheet protector at the bottom of the stack so that when the original is reached, it can just be removed from the sheet protector and put into your copying folder. 

The "materials pantry" was the easiest for me to improve. It is an area I will use more often this year because of my increased use of "fold it ups." I organized my scissors, glue sticks, and rulers into 5 different bins so that when we need these items, I can just give a bin to a group (little need for student movement). My markers were already organized in a shoe holder (even though you can't really see them in the holder). I had another shoe holder on hand, so I used it to organize the calculators, putting 2 in each pocket and labeling the outside of the pocket with the calculator numbers.

Lots of good information in this chapter! I hope you get to check it out!


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Workin' On It Wednesday

Happy Wednesday!

An InLinkz Link-up

Sunday, September 14, 2014

"Organized Simplicity"

I tend to read a few books at a time, so while I'm reading The Together Teacher, I have also started rereading Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living by Tsh Oxenreider. The premise of this book is not that people should get rid of all belongings and live in a hut, but that people should create a life that is as simple as possible, so that all of their time is not spent running around and managing all of the things they possess. Instead, they should spend time enjoying relationships with loved ones and on the things that truly matter to them. It reinforces the idea that life should not be spent spinning our wheels, running to an unlimited number of events/commitments, or trying to make more money to be able to have more things.

This book has me thinking a lot more about the number of things I have in my house. Now, I don't go on shopping sprees, I don't buy lots of decorative-type stuff for my house....I don't even buy all that many clothes or shoes. But in spite of that, there is still SO much stuff in my house (belonging to the 5 of us). Even though I know I have gotten rid of some things when other things were purchased, I still feel like I don't throw anything away. I do give a lot of children's clothes away because someone could definitely use them, but I hold on to so many things, "just in case" they could be used again. I started to think about why that is, and it occurred to me that it could be because my mother never threw anything away. Throwing things away was wasteful. My parents were children during World War II, and I know they did not have a lot of possessions. So, what they had, they saved. But this idea of saving everything so as not to waste has just seemed to lead to so much clutter for me. My husband is the same way - he just does not want to get rid of ANYthing. So, even though we don't buy all that much, it's probably still so much more than our parents bought. And since we don't throw much away, it's starting to feel like we're hoarders (not REALLY, but kind of....or we will be if we continue to save everything!)

So, how do I get past the idea that everything should be saved, just because it COULD be used for something? What can I do with everything? Do I just fight these habits and throw things away (continuing to give away the items that could definitely be used by someone else)??

I do want to get rid of the clutter in my house and simplify things, but I don't want to waste things!

Saturday, September 13, 2014


Busy? Anyone else? It occurred to me this morning that I haven't posted on the blog in 10 days and I missed my Workin' On It Wednesday! The days just keep flying by and unexpected events keep popping up:(

I wrote a bog post almost a week ago, but haven't gone back to proofread it to see if it made sense! And this is all I can get written right now (because I'm supposed to be getting other things done and it's almost time to make dinner already)!!

One good thing from the school week - I decided to make Fridays my math "game" days, and the kids have really enjoyed playing 2-digit multiplication "Survivor." It's been a fun and easy way to brush up on those skills at the beginning of the year.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Workin on it Wednesday

This week (and last week, and next week, and the week after), I am working on being more healthy! This mostly applies to my food choices, because I do a good job of working out regularly (except for the couple of weeks this summer when various parts of my lower body took turns rebelling against me....I may have been working out too much...) Anyway, junk food always tempts me, so I'm working on making healthier choices, and I've been pretty successful during this past week. Wish me luck for the coming weeks and please link up below!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Math Practices "Thought Catcher"

In the "Thought Catcher" chapter of The Together Teacher (chapter 4), the author mentioned specific examples of using thought catchers in regards to students: to monitor/record feedback, which could then be used when writing progress reports, or to record thoughts targeting specific writing skills. 

This led me to think about using something like this for the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practices. 
So, I made a chart with student names and the math practices; but....I'm not entirely sure how I'll use it a check mark system or to jot notes (there's not a whole lot of room for that, unless I redo it with fewer students per page). But, I thought I'd share anyway:)
Click to download



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