Classroom Simple

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Surprise Unbirthday Party

I did something I have wanted to do for a while in our classroom.  We had a surprise unbirthday party.  (Think "Alice in Wonderland".)  I hadn't distributed birthday pencils to the students on their birthdays, many which are in the summer, so I created little paper balloons with my Cruella Cricut and poked the pencils through the slots as the "strings".  (I've named my machine Cruella Cricut because she is evil and tortures me into spending my money and time with her.  Bahahaha!) Beings it is the end of the year, I'm not completely mentally sound, and forgot to take a picture of the pencil balloons.  The kids gave them the thumbs up, though.  Then I threw together the little banner pictured above (thanks, Cruella).

We had activity day and students brought in games to play, so we set those up and had popsicles. I'm not typically a fan of popsicles, except during that second pregnancy, but the Jolly Rancher popsicles are pretty amazing.  The kids had a great time and I enjoyed the look of bewilderment on their faces when I surprised them.

I'm off to fight Cruella and keep her quiet while I take on her evil opponent, Rucus Report Cards. Two and a half days......two and a half days.....two and a half days.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sit Like A Scholar

I am constantly amazed at what teachers come up with for management techniques and REALLY appreciate those who share their ideas.  While I feel I do a decent job in classroom management, there are challenges that arise unforeseen.  I try to stay a step ahead of the game and have different techniques to capture attention and help with transitions.  Here are my top three favorites:

1) Ms. Noonan's "Sit Like A Scholar" and "Word of the Day". (This little scholar technique impressed my parent volunteers today on our field trip and the presenter!)

2) Chris Biffle's Whole Brain Learning - The "Class, Class" is a favorite of my 2nd graders and effective.

3) Teacher Tipster - Great little "Silly-Brations" that are quick and easy to do.  I posted the list next to our smartboard to utilize.  (Side note:  I really wish Teacher Tipster would share exactly which energy drink he consumes, because I want what he's having. LOL)

So watch some quick clips and go get 'em!  Lord knows as we get closer to the end of the school year, we could all use some new tools in our toolbox to maintain our sanity!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Could We Get A Disco Ball?

A while back, I posted the idea for the Twitter Wall (which was shared by presenter Kevin Honeycutt). I found our classroom Twitter Wall photo pinned on pinterest, which for some crazy reason made me feel really special. (It's the little things in life that make me happy.)  Early this spring it came time to enter the Got 2B Safe contest.  Teachers, if you have not entered this contest before, you're missing out.  The application process is simple and you have a chance to win the grand prize of a $10,000 classroom makeover.  Or you could win one of the first place prizes of a $500 gift card (typically to Staples).  I have entered this contest for five of the past six years and have always won the gift card.  It's amazing how a $500 gift card can lift your spirits and make you think you can transform learning with that piece of plastic!  My classroom got a wireless printer, two ipod touches, the nice mailboxes (good-bye cardboard!), labels, discs, and many more basic supplies with those gift cards. My colleague across the hall, she won the big prize and got a fabulous looking classroom!  Amazing! All for teaching students four basic rules of safety.

Anywho, back to my original thought of entering the contest (Squirrel! If you have seen the movie "Up", you get this and if you haven't, you really should).  This year I really wanted to focus on digital citizenship and internet safety, so my submitted lesson included the Twitter Wall.  I will now be joining my colleague across the hall with a classroom makeover!  I was notified a few weeks ago and it has been a bit of whirlwind.  Fortunately, I had the head's up of what was to come (remember, my colleague had been through this).  In a couple weeks, my husband and I are being flown to Washington, D.C. for three days, all expenses paid trip.  The itinerary includes a black tie event called the HOPE awards which is sponsored by the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).  Awards are given to abduction survivors, actor/actress that has promoted the center, etc. I've been warned that it is emotional and I will come back a changed educator (too bad that change didn't include a tummy tuck, but I'm good with emotional change). We have the opportunity to meet with our congressmen, do some sight seeing, and will tour the NCMEC.  Not to mention, they are putting us up at The Willard Hotel

So amidst the dress shopping, buying extra deodorant (because the whole idea makes me a bit sweaty...was that TMI?), convincing my husband, the head track coach, that leaving the week of the sub-section track meet will be alright, and preparing my children for their parents being away from them for the longest time ever (no, we don't get out much).....I haven't even have time to dream about what my classroom should look like when this is all over.  I hope the interior designer they send out will be able to transform my rambling, random thoughts into something amazingly beautiful for my students.

Speaking of my students, who will get to loop to third grade with me and enjoy this little makeover, the first thing asked after the screaming subsided...."Could we get a disco ball?"

I think we will have to work that in somehow.  Stay tuned as I promise to blog about the whole process and the finished project. 

Thanks to all the new followers - you are encouraging me to actually try and do something with this blog.  Happy Teaching!