August 29, 2013

Three Things Thursday: The Tired Teacher Edition

^Case in point as to how tired I am--the first time I typed that, I wrote, "The Tired Teacher Addition."  I swear I'm qualified for this job...

This week at school has been a whirlwind!  Unfortunately I have been super frustrated for a good chunk of it--we have had a reading intervention block in place in my district for the past few years, and this year we are adding a math intervention block to our day too.  Making groups across the entire grade level is always a nightmare for intervention groups (every kid needs to be in a group based on their level, mixing between the classes), and it's especially tricky in multi-grade classrooms.  We need every kiddo in an appropriate group, but it gets tricky when we're mixing 3rd graders and 4th graders--even if the kids are reading at the same level, they need to be pushed at different speeds to go through the levels.  Anyways, it's been a nightmare to make these groups.  For some reason they are taking more time and effort to get right this year.  We have spent upwards of three hours on them ALREADY this week--buh bye any plan time we might have had to actually, you know, PLAN.  And the worst of it is that it is always so frustrating trying to move kids around, assign teachers to groups, etc., that I always leave the meetings frustrated and with little patience left to actually TEACH!  My poor kids.  I've said it before and I'll say it again--the actually TEACHING part of this job is awesome.  The other stuff?  Not my fave...
This is the place I actually like to be during the school day!  
(Also I had no picture to go along with that one...and I really like my polka dot rug...)

We also had curriculum night this week.  I have a love/hate relationship with things like curriculum night and conferences.  Part of me absolutely loves getting to talk to the parents, get on the same page, and share the joy of their child's successes with them.  The other part of me dreads the long days.  Tuesday I was at school by 7 and didn't leave until 9!  Yikes!  My turnout wasn't the best, but I had a chance to touch base with all of the parents who did come, and they were all so supportive and excited about the year.  Love that!  I asked the parents to fill out a short information card that included a question about expectations and goals for their child this year.  This was one parent's response:
I love this so much.  I hope when I am a parent that this will be my biggest wish for my child.  Because really, what's more important?

Wednesday night I had 8 miles on the schedule.  Even though my legs are still feeling kind of jacked up, I'd skipped Tuesday's short run and last Wednesday's 8-miler, so I knew I had to drag myself to the trails and put in the work.  No one ever said training for a marathon was easy, yo!  Chicago has been experiencing a beautiful little heatwave this past week with temperatures rising up to 96 Tuesday and high 80s Wednesday.  My God.  I'm just praying things cool off before the marathon!  I decided that it was worth a short drive to be able to run at a forest preserve about 25 minutes away that has an almost completely shaded trail.  It's amazing, albeit hilly (by Illinois standards at least).
The run kind of sucked, but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other.  Some interesting (or uninteresting) stats from the run...
Number of times I had to pee in the woods: 1
Number of times I was almost hit by a mountain biker who did NOT say "on your left": 1
Number of times I took a wrong turn: 1
Number of times, after getting back on the correct trail, that I was convinced I was lost and would be stuck wandering the woods after dark: 1
Number of tiems I missed my turn on the (easy) drive home: 1
Trail running = dirty shoes.
(Actually, now that I look at this, my shoes don't look that dirty...I swear they are usually an even brighter shade of pink.)

I swear this whole back to school thing is depleting my brain cells.  On the drive home I literally had my signal on to turn, drove past the street, wondered a few minutes later why my signal was on, kept driving, realized later that it had been on because I was supposed to turn...Face. Palm.  To be fair, I didn't really fuel up for this run (unless stress eating animal crackers at my staff meeting after school counts?), forgot that because I was running through dinner time I would probably need some fuel on the run, and was just overall a tired mess.

One more day before a three day weekend--THANK GOODNESS!

August 28, 2013

What I'm Reading Wednesday Linky: A Tear-Jerker

What I'm Reading Wednesdays are back!  Sorry for taking last week off--not only was it the first day of school, but I hadn't finished a book since the previous week!  Yikes!  Now that school is cutting into my reading time (what's up with that??), I'm going to make What I'm Reading Wednesdays an every other week post.  I hope you will still link up when you have books to share!

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
Goodreads Summary1987. There’s only one person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus, and that’s her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can only be herself in Finn’s company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June’s world is turned upside down. But Finn’s death brings a surprise acquaintance into June’s life—someone who will help her to heal, and to question what she thinks she knows about Finn, her family, and even her own heart.

At Finn’s funeral, June notices a strange man lingering just beyond the crowd. A few days later, she receives a package in the mail. Inside is a beautiful teapot she recognizes from Finn’s apartment, and a note from Toby, the stranger, asking for an opportunity to meet. As the two begin to spend time together, June realizes she’s not the only one who misses Finn, and if she can bring herself to trust this unexpected friend, he just might be the one she needs the most.

My Thoughts:  As I was born in '87, I don't remember that time when AIDS was new and confusing.  Maybe make that new and terrifying.  By the time I was old enough to know what AIDS was, everyone knew that you couldn't get it by touching or coughing on someone the way you would get a cold.  However, at the time this book is set, '87, there were so many unknowns about AIDS.  As I read Tell the Wolves I'm Home, I found myself in a world where nothing was certain and where so many questions and fears were wrapped up in this "new" disease.  That in itself was interesting, but more compelling were the characters and their complicated relationships.  The narrator, June's, relationship with her uncle and with Toby, her Uncle Finn's long-time partner whom she never knew existed   June's tortured relationship with her sister, who she finds herself growing further and further from every day.  June's Mother's relationship with her brother, one that the narrator grows to understand throughout the book.  And so on.  My only complaint about the book was that it was a bit long--about 2/3s of the way through I was ready to give it 3 stars--but everything comes together so beautifully in the end that it earned that 4th star.  I cried and cried near the end of this book, not just because it was sad, but because the characters learn so much about themselves and each other.  Definitely recommend.

4/5 Stars

What have you been reading this week?  Share in the comments or link to your own WIRW post!

August 27, 2013

Training Tuesday: Sweet Sixteen

Week 11 of Chicago Marathon training--check!  I'm not going to lie, this marathon training thing is really starting to take a toll on my body!  Every since my 15 miler last week, my legs have been struggling a little bit.  In fact, it took me just about the entire last week to recover!  I remember feeling like that during my training for my very first half, when every single long run was a new and terrifying distance.  I guess I've finally reached those new and terrifying distances in marathon training!  My poor legs...
Loving my foam roller these days!
Last week I felt AWESOME after finishing 15 miles, but when I woke up Sunday morning I could barely get out of bed!  All week long my right leg was feeling tight and knotty--quad, hip, hammy, you name it!  I skipped my 8 mile run Wednesday afternoon in favor of some rest and foam rolling (and a late night at school followed by Panera if you want the truth...).  I hadn't skipped any runs because of aching legs this training cycle (only out of busyness or laziness...), so I figured missing this one would be just fine.   Friday night I relaxed with some pasta, gatorade, and Breaking Bad.  Do you watch that show?  It's uh.mazing.  I just finished the Netflix episodes--can't wait to get started on the current season!
Runner's Dinner :)
 By the time Saturday morning rolled around, my leg felt much better, although still not 100%.  I prayed to the running gods that everything would shake out and that I would be able to get through my 16 miler without terrible pain.  Definitely some anxiety going on on my drive to the running group at 5:30am!  (And some extreme tiredness...I will never get used to early mornings...)  The running gods must have been listening, though, because I did make it through the run.  It wasn't quite as smooth sailing as last week's 15, but luckily my leg did loosen up and I kept plugging along.  My pace group has been running 5/1 intervals during our training, but this week half way through the run we switched to 5/2.  I probably could have kept going with the 5/1s, but even so I was definitely grateful for the longer rest periods!  And for the group company that kept me going, especially one woman in her 60s who I dug deep with at the very end as we ran the final stretch back to our site.  (Yes, when you are in the back of the pack you will find yourself running with people more than twice your age.  I probably should be embarrassed that I can't keep up with the other 26 year olds, but I secretly love running with these ladies.  Or not-so-secretly. :)
Miraculously, my legs felt better the day after 16 after having been aching all week long than they did after my strong 15-miler.  Chalk it up to drinking some extra gatorade, taking some CalMagZinc, and stretching a bunch right after finishing, I guess?!
To remember these next few weeks!
I remarked to my pace group that I still can't believe I am running these distances.  I thought back to how, when I first started running half marathons, runs of seven and eight miles felt so long, and ten milers were an eternity.  I can't believe this is my "new normal"!  I love it. :)  Anyways, here's hoping my legs take less than a week to recover this time!  Next Saturday we step back to 12 miles--can't believe I'm saying this, but I can't wait to run ONLY 12!!

Tell me about your training!

August 26, 2013

What I Do the First Week of School

If you had a chance to read my post on Friday, you'll know that I am officially one week into the school year.  Not only did I survive, but the kids did too!  I wanted to take some time today to share some of the lessons I typically teach during the first week or two of school.  The most important things to me in these crucial weeks are building our classroom community and teaching those oh-so-important routines.  Routines are the MOST important part of classroom management IMHO!  Read a list of some of the routines I make a point to teach these first weeks here.

Anyways, I thought I would just share a list of some of my favorite beginning of the year lessons and activities...

Starting Out the First Day
The very first thing I do on the first day is have the kids just drop their supplies on their desks and join me at the carpet.  Here, I teach them our opening tradition.  We listen to (and sing!) a song--this year our first opening song is "Brave" by Sarah Barielles--while doing some sort of clapping routine to the beat.  Then, I teach our opening greeting (which I can now do in ASL!  hooray!).  Once we've had a chance to practice that a couple of times, I explain expectations for transitioning from the carpet to the desks.  Since I move back and forth between both many times a day, it's important to teach this transition!  We practice at least once or twice before heading to desks and labeling, organizing, and putting away supplies.

Since the first days can involve a lot of routine practice and presenting of information, I try to alternate each "seated activity" with some sort of game or movement break.  Those little bodies aren't used to sitting for very long yet!  These things games can be complicated or as simple as "touch all four walls and get in six high-fives."  

Getting to Know You + Team Building Activities
One of my favorite activities for the first day is one another teacher on my team shared last year.  We read aloud the story The Dunderheads--have you read this one?  It's about a class of misfits, each of whom has some crazy unique talent or gift.  They don't fit in at all, but they work together to combine their gifts and conquer a challenge during the story.  While reading, I kept a chart of each student's unique talent, and afterwards we talked about how this is like our class--each of us has something different to offer, but together we can do anything!  Each student took some time to write some of their special talents down on strips of paper, and we stapled them together to create a chain that I displayed in the classroom all year.

Last year's chain
Since I am in a multi-grade classroom, I couldn't repeat this same activity this year (half of the kids would have already done it!).  Instead, I decided to read aloud The Important Book.  After reading, we talked about the things that are important about each of us.  We drew symbols representing each of these things on a net of a cube, and then cut and folded the cubes.  An art activity like this on the first day is a great way to both get to know the kids AND start teaching your expectations for work time.
I also do a lesson called "Home Court Advantage" every year with my class.  This is a lesson I learned at my Quantum Learning training, and I love how it builds my classroom community.  I first start by having the kids visualize that they are on a pro-sports team--this year I chose the Chicago Blackhawks because we won the Stanley Cup here in Chicago this summer (yay!).  I had them picture looking out at the fans, all in Blackhawks colors, cheering for them.  I had them picture looking down at the ice with their mascot painted on it, and at their teammates, all supporting each other in matching jerseys.  We thought about how the teammates cheered and high-five-d and hugged when they scored goals, and how when they missed, their teammates encouraged them.  After visualizing all of this, we talked about what Home Court Advantage means--statistically, players are more likely to win on their home court because of three things: Safety, Support, and Belonging.  We talked about how this classroom is their home court, and we brainstormed ways we can contribute to the home court advantage in the classroom by helping classmates feel safe, supported, and like they belong.
Building Instructional Routines
On day two, I usually start my first Daily 5 lesson--introducing Read to Self and beginning stamina building.  Read more about this here.
The first week, I also introduce our Writing Workshop routine.  This year, I read aloud The Best Story Ever as a perfect segue into the Narrative Heart lesson.  I'm sure many of you are familiar with this lesson--we draw hearts in our writing journals and fill them in with all of the people, places, activities, and memories that are in our hearts.  Then, I have students pick something from their heart to write about in their journal.  This lesson is a perfect starting point to writing workshop.  It gives students a place to draw ideas from for future lessons, and it also introduces the mini-lesson, writing time, sharing time structure of Writing Workshop.
Before we start our literacy series, I like to also do some lessons about things that good readers do--visualizing, making connections, etc.  The first one I start with is a lesson on Metacognition that I got from the book Comprehension Connections.  I model reading a very challenging text and talk about how even though I was reading the words, I was actually "fake reading" because I wasn't thinking.  Then we practice think alouds while reading a picture book together.  This year, I chose The Boy who Grew Flowers.
We will dive into our math curriculum starting week two (today actually!), but we did our first classroom switch for math on Friday.  I introduced expectations for this transition and our math opening routine (another song) to my math class, did my very best to learn a few names, and then started introducing them to the Guided Math routine.  Read more about how I run Guided Math here.  This year, I had the kids practice transitioning from desks to carpet with their white boards, markers, and erasers.  We also practiced turns and talks with the kids "Brain Buddies."  Once at the carpet, I shared our math expectations with the kids.  Normally I would make an anchor chart of these on chart paper, but I decided to make them in ActivInspire, our interactive board program, so I could try revealing them one at a time.  With the new emphasis on critical thinking and "rigor" in the Common Core, I wanted to make sure the kids understand what it means to justify their solutions and critique those of their neighbors.
After attending an awesome math workshop with Greg Tang last year, I decided to use one of his great online (free!) picture books, The Grapes of Math, as another part of our shared lesson.  This book does a great job of encouraging mathematicla thinking and showing that there are many ways to solve a problem.  Kids worked through the problems with their Brain Buddies and shared their solutions.
After reading a few pages from the book, I wanted to review a simple math game with the kids from our Everyday Math series to make sure that when we start our guided math groups on Monday, they will have an activity to work on when they are independent.  I reviewed the rules to Addition Top-It, a game frmo the third grade curriculum, and gave them time to play with their brain buddies.  Easy peasy!

What are some lessons you love teaching the first week of school?

August 23, 2013

First Week Recap! New Challenges + Classroom Tour

Phew!  2 Institute Days, 1 Back to School Night, and 3 full days of teaching down!  I'm always amazed by how tough it is to get myself back in the school mindset at the end of summer, but how once that first bell rings on day 1, it's like I've never left!!  What a great, albeit exhausting, first week.  Since this is my second year teaching in a multigrade classroom (3rd + 4th), it's my first time having some of my kiddos for a second year.  While I'd MUCH prefer straight grades, I have to say that having half of the class come in on day 1 knowing my routines is pretty fantastic.  I was super worried about how I had barely any leaders in my 3rd grade bunch last year, but sure enough, some of those kiddos have stepped up to fill their new 4th grader roles!  I love seeing them help the 3rd graders with things and teach them our chants, cheers, and call backs that they remember from last year!

One of the things I was most worried about in the weeks leading up to the school year was the fact that not only do I have an ELL cluster in my room this year, but I also have three Deaf and Hard of Hearing students.  My school houses the DHH program for the district (actually for the neighboring districts too!), and this will be my first year with the DHH cluster.  I was sooo nervous about having three deaf children in my class this year--what a step outside of my comfort zone and into completely unfamiliar territory!  I was mostly just nervous that I would do a bad job with them and totally screw up this first week.  On top of that anxiety, I was trying hard to figure out how I'd be able to clip an FM system that sends my voice straight to hearing aids AND a battery pack for a headset mic to my person without having to give up wearing dresses.  Solution:  My SPI belt!
 I wear this baby for races sometimes to hold my energy gels.   It works great for that purpose!

See, you can see the little pouch by my hand in this race picture.  

I may, however, be the first teacher to wear a running belt on a daily basis.  Oh well, at least I can still wear my dresses!  (And carry Gus around in case I need a little boost of electrolytes and carbs during the day I guess???)
First Day!  Check out my belt of gadgets and my rock star headset mic.  
My neighbor teacher said I looked like I was ready to teach an aerobics class!

Luckily the DHH resource teachers and all of our sign language interpreters (the kids have one with them at all times) have been super helpful and assured me I won't mess up!!  I worked really hard Tuesday night to practice the kids' "name signs" (a special sign for their name instead of just finger spelling it) and to practice signing my morning greeting.  I can now sign "Good Morning, my most wonderful students!  How are you doing today?" :)  I was like a proud little kid going around and showing how I can sign my greeting to other teachers.  It was so awesome to see a gigantic smile on one of the kiddos' faces when I was able to sign, "Good morning, (his name sign)" on the first day of school!  Loving this new experience--it will be a challenge, but I can't wait to learn more!

Anyways, on to the classroom pics.  I got to move to a new classroom this year!  It is MUCH bigger than my old one, and it has an adjoining door to one of my friend's rooms--score!  It's a good thing I got to move, too, because our numbers are higher than ever this year!  I am at 26 and my teammates are all at 27--ouch.  I know that many of you are much higher than that, but our district usually doesn't pack classes that full!  I'm thinking we'll be adding another section next year...Besides moving rooms, I decided to keep my decor the same, sticking with my zen paper lanterns and blue and polka dot theme.  What can I say, I know what I like!
View frmo the hallway.  I have my morning check-in with clothes pins on the wall, and my restroom sign out clip board is on the desk.  (Read more about my restroom routine here.)

Here's a close up of the blue poster on the wall--the teachers in my building all displayed pictures of the covers of books we read over the summer.  Loved it!  It's been fun sharing with the kids and seeing what other staff read too!  Great conversation starter!

View from the door.  I love my hanging lanterns!  
This year my room is big enough for a second small group table--score!
Just inside the door--calendar, birthday chart, and shared supplies (including bins for paper, extra copies, and scratch paper).
Just inside the door--coat hooks, text book cubbies, and book boxes lined up underneath. 
Back table, bulletin board with rules and agreements, clip chart, and class boggle game 
My desk and Homework Assignment board 
The one itty bitty window in my room.  It faces a brick wall.  Oh well, I guess you can't have it all! 
Side counter--file crate, Friday Folder Files, Job Chart 
Cabinets along the side wall--trying this word wall again.  I laminated cardstock with the letters of the alphabet on each sheet and wrote our vocab words in vis-a-vis marker.  Sadly, I did not keep up with it...what else is new?!?  I'm giving it one more try this year! 
Supply totes and math focus board (in progress--see what it WILL look like here.) 
Library and bulletin board where we will display our Daily 3 anchor charts 
Front of the room/gathering place.  My library continues here in plastic crates.  I love my crazy polka dot rug that I got for a bargain at IKEA!  This is where I do 99% of my teaching, between the easel and the projector.  My board is actually interactive!  It's not a SMART board, but somehow I can magically interact on the regular white board using some sort of magic pens...I don't get it, but it's pretty cool! 
Guided reading area.  The black paper above it is where I will post our affirmations, one at a time.  Read more about those and see last year's affirmation wall here and here.
Writing Workshop board--I hang our anchor charts here and teach the kids to go up and flip through to find what they need.  I also have our Writing Process tracker.  This year I am planning to post student writing using the magnet clips under the "Writers in the Spotlight" sign. 
Word Work bin, Class Writing Journals, and Writing Reference Books.  Oh, and baskets overflowing with pillows... 

 Phew!  That's it!  Now it's time for pasta, gatorade, and mentally preparing myself for tomorrow's 16-miler (aka ignoring the knots in my right leg that have been plaguing my allll week...).  Have a great weekend!!

What new challenges are you facing in your classroom this year?

What do you have planned this weekend?

August 20, 2013

Training Tuesday: That time I set a new distance record!

You guys, this weekend I did it.  Ran further than I ever thought I could, that is.  So far marathon training has involved runs of 13 miles and below, all of which I've done many times during half marathons and the training for them.  That doesn't mean they were easy, but it does mean that I mentally knew I could do it!  Saturday, though, for the first time EVER, I ran 15 whole miles.  FIFTEEN miles!  And you know what?  It felt amazing.  I can't wait to tell you all about it!

I was less than thrilled to wake up at 4:50 Saturday morning in order to be at our training site by 6:15am, the new start time for us slow runners from now until the marathon.  (So. Early.)  It was really chilly that early, let me tell you!  As I stood around with the other back-of-the-packers trying to stay warm, it definitely seemed like the atmosphere was a little on the pessimistic side.  Two of my running buddies were feeling really anxious about the run, even though they are both marathon veterans.  I started wondering if maybe I should be more nervous, but to be honest, my usual nerves just weren't there!  I'm not saying I was all sorts of confident, but I honestly knew I would be able to power through the run one way or another, and I knew my pace group would not leave me behind.  I wasn't sure it'd be a pretty sight, but I knew in my heart that I would be running 15 miles that day!
It was a BEAUTIFUL day to be out running!  Not too hot (at the beginning at least), and plenty of sunshine!  I was a little worried about my right hip flexor/quad at the start.  It had been super tight all week, and I just prayed it would loosen up once we got moving.  15 miles of pain?  No thank you!  Luckily after about 2 miles I felt just fine.  The miles just clicked by, and the conversation took my mind off things like a charm.  One woman who was new to our pace group that week asked if me and one of the other girls I was chatting with were friends before the running group.  We said nope!  We had just met here!  Loving making new running friends.  I can't imagine making it through 15 miles with a smile on my own!
Everyone but me was a veteran marathoner, but this run was a new distance for novice marathoner me!  At mile 12, I asked the group if anyone had a medal to offer me after mile 13, because I'd gotten a medal every time I'd run 13.1 miles before then!  One of the buddies offered me a dollar. :)  They all cheered for me, and I did a little happy dance on the run.  By the last couple of miles, I'll be honest--my feet were hurting, my legs were hurting, and I was ready to lay down.  But at NO POINT did I want to stop--in fact, I felt so strong at the end!

After the run, I was rewarded with an awesome little surprise--the running group had a massage therapist giving short leg massages to runners!  PERFECTION!  As the therapist worked out the million knots in my IT bands, he remarked that he thought he'd massaged some serious knots, but then he came here--he said the runner with the least knots still beat his knottiest non-runner client!  Yikes!  I believe it. :)
One of the other runners and I also hit up the farmer's market for some fresh squeezed lemonade and a yummy treat.  When I spotted the chocolate croissant, I knew I had to have it.  Every bite was magical!
I couldn't believe how good my legs felt post-run.  Of course, I could barely get out of bed the next morning, but I still consider it a victory. :)

Did you run long this weekend??  Tell me all about it!

August 19, 2013

Management Monday: Routines I Teach the First Weeks

Back to school today!  Today and tomorrow we have Institute Days, with the official back to school day for kids being Wednesday.  Tonight, though, is our Back to School Picnic and Meet the Teacher night.  Translation: This is going to be a long day.  Anyways, it's also my last post in my Management Monday summer series.  Let's be real, who can keep up with regular weekly posts once the school year starts?  Anyways, onto something I've been thinking a lot about this week--classroom routines!

We all know that routines are the lifeblood of any successfully running classroom.  I have written already this summer about some of the routines I teach, including Morning, Restroom, and End of the Day.  The thing is, though, that in order to have a successfully running classroom, you need a routine for almost EVERYTHING.  More importantly, they have to be routines that work well for you and for your students.   You may even have to adjust or completely revamp routines part way through the year if it becomes clear that they are not working as well for this group as they did for last year's group.  Instead of detailing every single other routine I have in place (because who has time for that???), here's a no-frills list of routines I make a special point to teach right off the bat!
  • Morning Routine: Waiting in a line outside the door until I am ready to shake their hand in the doorway, unpacking procedure, carpet gathering, and opening tradition (music)
  • Transitioning from carpet to desks
  • Distributing and using dry erase boards, markers, and felt erasers appropriately and efficiently (I like to explain what "efficiently" means early on in the year, and I use the word frequently when I am explaining expectations.)
  • Using the restroom: How to signal to the teacher to ask to go, pass procedures, and sign out
  • Pencil Sharpening: When it's okay, how to ask, what to do if a pencil breaks mid-lesson
  • Getting a drink: Again, how to signal, how to sign out, etc.
  • Transitioning between classrooms for math: Materials to bring, where to line up, when it's okay to go, how to walk to math
  • Guided Reading expectations, including transitions and what to bring to the table.  (Read my detailed post on this here)
  • Transition to lunch time: room is clean, chairs are pushed in, where to line up
  • Lunch time expected behaviors
  • Transition after lunch: I make the kiddos line up outside the classroom door until they hear our quiet music come on in the room, the signal that they may silently enter the room, hang up their coats, and join me in our afternoon yoga.  (This one may deserve its own post!  Maybe next week...)
  • Walking in a line in the hallway
  • Using shared materials, and how they should look once they're put away (ahem, dry erase marker caps ON please...)
  • Taking books from the classroom library: When this is allowed, how to check them out (I personally do not have kids sign out books), where to keep them (My rule is book boxes only, not in desks)
  • What is expected during classroom discussions, including Turn and Talk
  • What to say if you don't know or didn't hear the question
Phew!  That is a long list!  I'm sure there are many that I'm forgetting too! 

What other routines do you teach in your classroom?

August 18, 2013

Weekend Wrap Up! Bye, Summer... :(

After my first year teaching, one of my friends asked me, "Do you miss your students sooo much??"  I looked at her like she was a crazy person!  Sometimes I think people outside of the profession expect teachers to just LOVE their jobs SO MUCH that they hate to say goodbye to the kids in summer!  You guys should know by now that I'm a tell-it-like-it-is kinda girl, so I'm going to be straight up honest.  I love teaching.  I love my students.  But I LOVE summer.  LOVE IT!
Oh summer...I love you.
This summer was the perfect combination of relaxing, reading, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.  I even got to spend over a week with my sweet little niece aka my favorite person in the world.  
However, it has FLOWN by, and here we are--another Sunday night, thinking ahead about how I'm going to have to set an early alarm tomorrow.  Don't get me wrong--part of me is excited for the year to come, to meet my new kiddos, and to get back into the routine, but a very real other part of me is bummed that my days of sleeping in past 8, morning hot yoga classes, and afternoons reading or at the pool are long gone for awhile!  I did squeeze in some fun things to celebrate my last weekend of summer.  

My Friday nights are less than eventful these days as my wake-up calls are bright and early for Saturday training runs.  I had to make a special trip to the grocery store Friday afternoon for pasta and bananas...going through a lot of those things these days!  Then I laid out my clothes and gear, cut my rock tape, and settled in with a good book.  I'm reading Tell the Wolves I'm Home right now, and I'm loving it.  Really beautiful, but kind of sad.  I don't think I'll have a book review ready for this Wednesday, but check back next week!
Saturday morning I set a new DISTANCE RECORD by running FIFTEEN FREAKIN' MILES!  Check back for a whole post detailing it on Training Tuesday!
After my amazing 15-miler and visit to a French Farmer's Market, I quickly showered, threw on a bathing suit, and met a couple friends for a day on a lake in Wisconsin.  Don't worry, I wore my compression sleeves...Obv.
I'm always hesitant to make plans for Saturday afternoons post-long run, but I'm glad I did!  It was the perfect day for tubing, sunshine, and of course some Goose Island.  Sweet summer. 
By the time I got home, I was completely ready to pass out and was in bed by 9:30.  I apparently moonlight as an elderly woman, hmm?  Oh well. :)

Sunday, I met my cousin for lunch and a movie.  We saw The Spectacular Now, which I liked but was kind of sad.  
Seems like Shailene Woodley is in everything these days, but to be honest I have a hard time seeing her and not seeing Amy Jergens from Secret Life of the American Teenager... 

That was followed up with some perusing of picture books, reviewing of lesson plans, and making a new affirmation sign to start my year off with.  I'm so excited to share this one with the kids this week!  I look forward to talking about "Being our Best Selves" all year long.  (Read more about my affirmations here.)
And now I'm off to pack up my gym bag for an early morning swim tomorrow before heading over to my parents' for dinner and the season premier of The Great Food Truck Race.   LOVE Food Network reality shows!  

Have a great week!  Good luck if you're heading back to school!

What did you do this weekend?

When do you go back to school?

Seen any great movies lately?
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