Thursday, May 30, 2013

Complete renovation of my classroom?!?

Thanks to my new found addiction to Pinterest I am going to attempt to renovate my poor classroom.  I will work on it over the summer and update my blog as I go.  I hope you will take the ride with me and allow me to pass down tips on "what not to do" or "wow, why didn't I do that first" as I begin this adventure.  I will have A LOT of before and after pictures, and I hope that I can spark your imagination as some of you have sparked mine.

New seats for my reading table:
I am going to make covers for milk crates as I've seen on Pinterest.  I'm having trouble finding crates as I've only been able to get 1 so far, but I found the best idea for covering them.  Rather than spending $4 or $5 a yard for cute fabric I spent $4 each and got table cloths that I LOVE and I'm going to use them for covers.  I like that they have similar covers but will be different too.  I'm not one to have EVERYTHING match.  It's great if you do, but I like a little mixing it up.

Stay tuned...

Ever start a project and then realize that you opened a HUGE can of worms???

I asked if I could pull the paneling off of my classroom wall.  Yes, you heard me correctly.  Almost 40 years ago when my school was built they put paneling over sheet rock.  And to add to the fun it was just tacked down...TONS and TONS of glue.
So, I pulled it down, ripped the sheet rock, and found a wet wall.

 I make a phone call and our head of maintenance shows up.  They are now going to hire someone to come in and fix the issues.  Catch?  Do I hear a catch?  I have to move EVERYTHING out of my room because he will be ready in 2 days.  I realize a lot of teachers have to move things from their rooms, but we're usually allowed to leave our bookshelves along the wall and just pile stuff up.  I can't do that because they are going to fix the walls and make a great mess while doing it.

Here's a little of the mess before I started working.  I had already moved the book bins off the shelf so I could pull the paneling off the wall.  That was the 2nd time I'd moved them.  :)

After 7 hours of moving EACH item out.

Stay tuned...

Today I got to go into my room (the floors finally dried from the wax) and put all my stuff back.  Next, I get to go through ALL of this stuff and put it where it actually belongs.  

This is the 3rd time I've moved this stuff.

My student computers will go back here eventually.

I found out yesterday that I WILL be getting a new water fountain soon.  That one is 30+ years old.  I also painted this wall a sage green as a focus wall.  The trim hasn't been put back yet, but I like it. 

What do you think?

This will be my reading area soon.  Wait until you see what I have planned!!

This is the place on my newly painted wall that I get to retouch because when they were putting my computer counter top back the wall was a casualty.

I'm not sure if you can tell but the wall that has my board is two shades darker than the rest of the room.  I read studies that said doing that would help ADHD/ADD students focus.

I got in there again today and hung some of my bulletin board (aka ceiling tiles) and I'm beginning to get excited about the progress.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Moore,Oklahoma Donation

My store entire store will be on sale tomorrow, and ALL profits will go to the victims of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado.
Click on the picture below to be taken to the SALE.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Last Monday

Over the next few days there will be so many lasts for them while they are in the 1st grade.  The kids are so excited by all of the end of the year activities they don't realize how close to the end of the year it is.  In the past I've noticed my kids don't really understand that it's over until the very last day.  They usually say "See ya' tomorrow" and that's when I remind them they won't see me until next school year.  At that moment a look comes over their face that says "Are you kidding me????"

This week I still have to work to finish the end of the year testing that never seems to end.  I know that testing is important so that we can then plan from those results, but my goodness it seems to be all I do anymore.

We honor our father's tomorrow during a program that my students are putting on for their favorite guy.  We'll have some grandfather's there too, and I can't wait to see the look on all of these tough faces when their baby is reading their writing to them.

We have an award's assembly on Thursday, and parents will be there anxiously awaiting to see what their baby receives for their hard work this year.

We will also do our handprints that I put up around my room each year.  They love this, and people from the community love to come in my room to see their child's handprint years after their baby has left 1st grade.

Finally, I will give them a little present to take with them.  I found the idea on Pinterest, but I'm going to change mine up a little.  I purchased a tumbler for each of them (6 for a $1.00 at Dollar Tree) so I can write them a message.

Click on the picture to see more great ideas on Pinterest for end of the year presents.

I'd love to hear what you and your students plan to do for the end of the year.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day Program

Yesterday my 1st graders put on a very special program for their mothers.  We had a wonderful time full of hugs, kisses, tears, and sweet memories. 
My students worked for a week on the program.  They made the invitations to the program themselves, made a project for their mom, and wrote about what their mom means to them through things she does with them and for them.  I read Love You Forever and made them cry.  Of course I cry everytime I read it too.

This is one of the tables that was decorated for the moms to sit at while they watched the program.  The students made the name tags so their mom knew where to sit.  They also made the "Flower Project" that is sitting by their moms name tag.  On either side of the center piece I had candles inside of beautiful glass containers.  All the lights were turned out other than one spot light on the student, the candles, and lights along the stage.  This gave us a very private and special feeling.

This is the "Flower Project" my students made.  They tore construction paper to decorate the pot.  The flower has their thumbprint as the petals. Click on the picture above for this and more project ideas.

These are the cupcakes that I made for the moms and the kids to eat after the program.  One of my little girls said "Oh, Ms. Pearson you did so good."  Cute!!!  Click on either picture for this and more cupcake ideas.

My students all sat together while one at a time they read their writings to their mom.  After they read their writing I read the book Love You Forever while each student was sittng in their mom's lap.  Sniffling and tears couldn't be helped.  The pictures on the wall were of the student and their mom.  No names are written on the pictures, and I make a kind of game out of it.  I challenge the moms to go and find their child's picture with no help.  The kids LOVE it!!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Time to Show Appreciation

Want to show your appreciation for someone?  Find out what their favorite flower is and put it in a vase of Lifesavers and 100 Grand candybars.  For so many of us their are people who are worth 100 Grand and are our Lifesavers.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Had some fun this week!!

One of the incentives to get kids to read and take Accelerated Reader Tests is to give them the opportunity to put a pie in the face of a teacher when they reach a certain amount of points.  Well, it was my turn.  This young man is a 1st grader who earned his points, made up a nice pie of cool whip, cake icing, and something green that ended up in my nose and ears.  It was great!!  I have at least 5 students put a pie in my face every year.  This was the first one this year, and yes, I put some pie right back in his face too.
For the last couple of weeks my students have learned about insects and plants.  I had them put this foldable together as their study guide for their test over plant parts and functions.  They had a blast and I had great feedback from their parents.  I was excited when I found left over cupcake holders from my daughters graduation party.  They worked wonderfully.
One of our high school class groups asked me to make some cupcakes for their bake sale tomorrow so I spent the last 4 hours playing Baker Smurf.  I love to bake and try new things.  These are no where close to being great, but I am proud of myself for trying something that I had never tried before.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Teacher Appreciation

Different people have different thoughts about teachers and teacher appreciation.  Maybe you appreciate a past teacher because she hugged you when you cried or helped you learn something that was exciting.  Maybe she was just the nicest part of your day.  For whatever reason every one of us can think back in cobwebbed filled memories and remember at least one teacher who inspired us to be better.
For me I have 2 inspirational teachers.  My mother taught school for years and was known as a compassionate, loving, caring, sweet teacher.  Kids loved her and still say hi to her years later when they see her at Wal-Mart.  I've always thought how wonderful it must be to be that loved that decades after teaching someone they'd want to come tell you about their life.  I hug my students and tell them I love them because she inspired me to be loving with my students.
My inspiration for my teaching comes from someone else also.  When I was in the 3rd grade my teacher was retiring.  She often yelled at us and I honestly have no recollection of her ever leaving her chair behind that big, metal, green desk.  (And now you all have an idea of how old I am based on the color of that desk.) When I left her class I was no better than when I entered. 
I went on the to the fourth grade where the teacher again never seemed to leave that desk at the top of the class full of rows of chairs.  She often had me rubbing her shoulders and grading papers for her.  I again was no better when I left that class than when I entered. 
 At this point I felt stupid and worthless.  I also felt terrified because I had been assigned to the math class of one Mrs. Sue Calaway.  She had a reputation of being the meanest teacher in the school.  Kids told me that I'd hate the class and that she hated kids.  I was so scared and wide eyed at the wonder of when she was going to yell and scream and tell me I was stupid.  None of that ever happened. 
I can't remember how she found out, but she quickly realized that I was a 5th grader who could not add or subtract, and she needed me to multiply.  I remember crying and telling her that I didn't know how.  I am 37 years old and can remember this statement like it was yesterday.  She looked at me and said "Well honey you will learn."  Even now as I think about this tears fill my eyes.
Mrs. Sue Calaway believed in me.  She pushed me and held high expectations for me.  She never let me quit and made me believe in myself.  I was never scared of her only scared I'd let her down.  I was on top of the world when every time I'd pass a timed multiplication test in her class.  I can still remember finishing before time was up, looking up at her face, and her wonderful smile that let me know she was proud of me.
Because of life and the way time goes by faster than we'd ever wish it to I lost track of her, and was never able to explain to her how much she meant to me.  27 years after she touched my heart and my life I was able to reach out and talk to her.  I told her how she was an inspiration to me and my teaching.
I push my students and hold great expectations for them.  I know what they are capable of and want them to feel that wonderful feeling of "I got it!"  Mrs. Sue Calaway is a lady who I put up on a pedestal for years, and after talking with her tonight for the first time in 27 years I remember why.
Thank you, Mrs. Calaway, for believing me and not letting me slip through the cracks.  Thank you for pushing me and helping to mold me into the person and teacher I am today.  I look forward to knowing you as an adult.