Sunday, July 29, 2012

Teachers Notebook

I'm sure you've seen this on other blogs, but Teachers Notebook is running a large Back to School Bonanza to help raise money for teachers, so that they may purchase great school items from fellow teachers. I recently opened up a shop on Teachers Notebook, with both free and items for sale... and I've bought several things from other teachers' shops. It's a great marketplace for teachers!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sign Up Genius

I may be late to the party on this one, but... have you guys seen Sign Up Genius? How fabulous is this site?

If you're like me, you're probably already thinking about all of the various things you need to have ready for your Back to School Night. Usually I have several clipboards floating around my room where I ask parents to sign up for various activities, volunteers, conference times, the list goes on and on and on.

I also already made one for Parent Teacher Conferences which we have in November. I've always liked to allow parents to sign up ahead of time, simply because if they can get it on the calendar early, their more likely to remember to come!

Another thing I love about this site... you can send automatic reminders to your parents, a select amount of days before they are scheduled to be there! I'm sure we've all sat in our classroom when a parent forgot about a scheduled conference, so to have the site handle it for you... without you having to remember! What a relief!

You can also use it for parties, letting parents sign up for certain food or drinks to bring in. Your room parent can also utilize the site, if you want them to be in charge of important events. The possibilities are endless... Needless to say, I'm a huge fan.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Linky Party

So this is my first Linky Party! I decided to jump on the one started by Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies because we all have so much to do before school starts! I've been in my classroom this week, so I've accomplished a few on my list, but there is always more!

  1. Finish setting up my teacher binder
  2. Order my lesson plan book. I keep waffling on whether or not I want to purchase one from Erin Condren. Thoughts?
  3. Setup my classroom Elmo and projector
  4. Get Back to School stuff ready
  5. Finish my classroom website
  6. Set up class blog (about 50% done)
  7. Year at a Glance planning
  8. Set up Writer's Notebook mini lessons and layout
  9. Organize students' supplies 
  10. Anchor chart binder (Pinterest)
  11. Set up homework section of white board
  12. Set up class schedule
  13. Meet with fellow 5th grade teachers to plan 
  14. Wilcox Crew sign for front door
I'm sure there is more that I'm forgetting but those are the ones looming large in my head!
Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies

Work in Progress

I finally was able to get into my classroom this week! I moved grade levels from kindergarten, back up to 5th grade! So I wasn't necessarily looking forward to unpacking all of my belongings. One nice thing was... my classroom was empty all last year so my principal let me keep up all my paper and borders! What a time saver that was! So the paper you see is the same fadeless paper I've had up since the 2009-2010 school year! I do love fadeless paper, especially because my classroom has such huge walls.

While I'm no where close to being done, I've at least made progress. My main focus was unpacking all the boxes and getting them put away.

Once I did that I was able to work on setting up my class library (a huge undertaking every year!), class supply area, and homework area. I love the look of it so far, the labels really make the area look organized and put together!

I've also discovered some of the letters had an abundance of books, like "R" and "M", while others like "I" had zero. I ended up combining quite a few so that I could utilize more space. I still have a lot of books that I didn't even have room to put out, but I figure I can switch some out around the holidays so my class can have more choices.
I'm so glad I found those labels at Ladybug's Teacher Files... she has great stuff!

I had to adapt and add some of my own, like Rick Riordan and JK Rowling. Their series, Harry Potter and Percy Jackson are hugely popular in 5th grade and I try to have multiple copies so students can read them. I also included a couple of bins for storybooks, because I know sometimes my students just want to relax with a quick read, rather than a chapter book.

I still have quite a bit to do, but it's slowly coming together. Between putting my classroom back together, and working on finishing my Masters, I'm busy but it's worth it!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Teacher's Notebook

I've recently opened my own shop at Teacher's Notebook. I only have a few things up so far, some are free and some are fora small fee. I'd love you to check it out! Hopefully you'll find something on there that you can use.

I just downloaded the trial version of Microsoft Powerpoint 2010, so I could work on making new items, giving them a more professional feel, as well as easily converting them to PDFs. I only have the trial for 2 months, so I'm trying to get my use out of it. Overall I really like the way Microsoft has updated everything. Makes it very user friendly. It's fun to redesign some of my old files to make them more appealing.

Who ever said teacher's have summers off?

Also, I finally ventured to my classroom today for the first time since I moved classrooms. I'm slowly working on unpacking boxes and getting it set up the way I'd like. My mom is coming with me tomorrow to help. Every year she helps organize my desk... what a way to start the year off! Thank goodness!

Once the classroom is all set up, I'll post some before and afters. I've discovered that after teaching for 8 years, and 4 different levels, I've accumulated a ton of stuff. The one good part of moving classrooms so often, I have a chance to downsize a lot, but unfortunately since I'm still not set in my grade level, I can't throw everything from lower grade levels away... because I know when I do, I'll be back there and wishing I had it again.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Versatile Blogger Award

Wow! What a return to my blog after a very successful two days at the Google Apps for Education Summit! Ms. G in Grade 3 has awarded me the Versatile Blogger award.

There are 7 rules that go along with it. 

1)  Thank the blogger who nominated you!  
2)  Include a link to their site.  
Thank you so much, Ms. G in Grade 3

3)  Include the award image in your post.

4)  Give 7 random facts about yourself.

#1- I am a huge hockey fan. My brother played hockey growing up and many of my weekends as a kid were spent at hockey tournaments. As such, I am a huge San Jose Sharks fan, even when it's painful!

#2- I know tons of useful pop trivia. If my area had a good pub trivia league, I'd be there in a heartbeat.
#3- I come from a really small family. My entire extended family is 17 people. I only have 3 first cousins.
#4- I'm almost through with my masters program. When I graduated in September, I'll have a Masters in Teaching with a specialization in Educational Technology from National University
#5- I have a Diet Coke addiction, like many do with coffee. If I don't have a DC by lunchtime, it'll be a rough day.
#6- My first car in high school was my dad's '66 mustang. When he sold it a couple of years ago, I was heartbroken. Now I drive a 2004 mustang instead!
#7- I have a serious sweet tooth... but mainly for fruit candies. My house always has skittles or starbursts or mambas.

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.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cricut Confessions

About a year ago I inherited a Cricut from one of my friends after she won it as a prize at a craft and scrapbooking party. She had never used it, so she passed it along to me! Now, since I'm not really a scrapbooker, I never found a good use for it.

I've come to realize how short sighted I was! Every since I started checking out all these wonderful teacher blog sites I see how useful it could be to a teacher!

There's only one problem... I don't really know how to use it. I know, I know... it's crazy!

So that's one of my goals for this summer. Learning to use my cricut so that I can find fun ways to use it in setting up my classroom.

Cricut Craft Room

Have any tips or ideas for me? Please let me know! I welcome any suggestions!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Thank You to Ladybug Files

Since I've started working on my blog, I have become hugely indebited to Kristen over at! She is such a tremendous help to a first time blogger as she explains things so well, and her overall design of her own blog gives you something to strive for!

In my Free Files page you'll see I've incorporated her lesson on creating thumbnail galleries. Her steps are easy to follow and the finished product makes your blog much more appealing to the eye! I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so this is right up my alley!

Check our her site if you haven't yet! It's amazing!

Google Apps in Education

One of the best parts of living in the Bay Area is the abundant amount of technology all around. This Thursday and Friday I am attending the First Annual Google Apps in Education conference in Santa Clara, California. I'll be heading down with a colleague, and it's set to be 2 days of lectures and workshops to find ways to utilize all the technology Google has to offer in the classroom.

Since I'm kind of a technology nerd, I'm beyond excited to get to learn new ideas and see the best ways to use them in my classroom. There are 8 different sessions, and we get to choose from a wide variety of topics. Some of the sessions are even being presented by colleagues from my school district. We have two teachers who are Google certified teachers, so they are constantly doing things with Blogger, Picasa, etc. It will be a thrill to learn from them.

I'm teaching 5th grade this year, and I'm always looking for new ideas to get my students more involved. I'll be starting a class blog with my students, which I've been contemplating for some time, and I know this conference will give me a great amount to choose from.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

My intro to blogging

I'm brand new to the world of teacher blogging, but I've become so inspired by everyone's exciting ideas. Even though it's summer time I find myself online looking at new ideas and creating my own to-do lists for the upcoming school year. I'd love to hear feedback!