Elementary Teacher

Having fun in the classroom and "balancing" life!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Saving time with lesson planning online!

I must not be efficient with my time.

I am not a teacher who gets their lesson plans done by Thursday for the upcoming week. Too much other stuff comes up! I have a 40 minute free period each day. So in theory, that is my time to plan a subject for the next week. But that time seems to get eaten up with:
*answering emails
*using the bathroom!
*running to the office (on the opposite side of a decent-sized campus)
*making copies
*correcting and entering grades
*prepping for the next class
*updating my classroom website
*writing my newsletter
and after school it's the same thing.

So my lesson plans have to wait. By the time I get home at 5:30, cook/clean up dinner, do family stuff, and then sit down to do some work, I am wiped out! I can hardly form a cohesive thought. So here I am, writing lesson plans on Sunday afternoon once again. Along with planning meals for the week and shopping for those meals. Sunday becomes a day that I dread instead of a day relaxing, enjoying my family, and finding some peaceful time to rejuvenate.

Life is SO BUSY!!!! I think it's time to move off to a remote island with some of those people on HGTV who are buying houses after selling all they own. Sigh. Maybe someday.

So here is what I'm excited about. My new school requires that teachers use it. It's a web-based lesson planner. They use it so that the Principal has easy access to all the teacher's lesson plans. At least that's one reason. I'm sure it's not the only one.

When I first started using it, I was writing my lesson plans on excel, after a never-ending search for an organized and efficient way to write thorough lesson plans. So I kept doing that, because I was getting used to it. I could still use Planbook, I would just attach the spreadsheet to my lesson plan template. But as I was working on my plans yesterday, I thought to myself, "When I use excel, I have to re-create the labels at the top of the spreadsheet for each week. This is not efficient, either. I'm getting sick of having to do this." Then I remembered the fabulous first grade teacher at school on Friday asking how I liked using Planbook, and telling me how much she loved it. So I thought: I wonder if I could do this easier on the website? Sure enough!! I played around and watched a tutorial, and you can do great things here!
 You can save plans from day to day and from week to week, just drag them down to the next day/week. You can set up templates to use for ease of writing, such as: objective, page, chapter, essential question, etc. You can color code your subjects. They are saved from year to year so you can re-use them with just a tweak or two! Once you set up your subjects, days off, and times, you're set for the year. So I never have to re-enter anything I don't want to re-write. I think we pay either $12 or $19 (I can't remember) per year to use it. But it's worth it! Now if I have to change schools, I can take it with me. It's still mine to use, and I don't have to worry about saving things on my portable hard drive, and I can do lesson plans wherever I am! You can also insert links and attach files, so that cute worksheet you made goes right into your plan, you just open and print it right from your planbook.

Check it out! It might save you some of your PRICELESS time.  Here's the link one more time. By the way, I am not getting any type of reimbursement. This company barely knows I exist. (: And that's fine with me. (:
Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Details of decorating

Ok, so here are some details that kicked my bulletin boards up a notch:
1. the ever popular tissue pom
2. multiple borders
3. multiple patterns (but within a common theme and color)
4. bows
5. streamers
6. border "extras"
7. Paisleys and dragonfly cut-outs

Going for a homey end table look. A real plant, wooden sign, a lamp. The blue and lime poofy things are pens from the dollar store. We use them to track our reading!

My phone's camera. Not good.

I took left over small pieces of border and just bent them to make little "flowers" and ribbon pieces.

Birthday bags

I later ran out of this border, but found some similar pennant border using the same colors, so integrated that as well. Use what ya got!

Next job- add cute bags/boxes/baskets to the top to cover up the yuck. Our budgets can only do so much, right? Baby steps.

A couple weeks into the school year I found the blue border. It's a little different hue than some of my other turquoise items, but shades and tints of a focal color are ok!

I also added this pennant and blue border to my desk:

And to add some "home" to the room in the calendar area:

Ok, so I think that's a pretty good look at my room. I tried to achieve a calm and homey space that still had some bling. I think we all feel comfortable, and the kids seem to enjoy it. I've also gotten some compliments from our neighboring 4th graders! Woohoo! Thanks for looking!

Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A Room Without a Theme: Before and some after

I usually am a themed classroom girl. Last year was Secret Agent.

The year before that was my favorite: Enchanted Forest.

This year I switched to 3rd grade and I wanted something that felt a little cozier, homier, and older. More 3rd grade chic.  So here are some before pictures.




A lot of great features! Besides being fairly new and well maintained, it had great space. And it really lent itself to a homey feeling. I didn't love the burgundy cabinets, but there was a lot of black that I really liked, and I loved the window with the space around it.

So here are some afters:
This little corner became a reading corner

I need a cute little chair for the corner.
This smart board wall became this:

The rules

A little gift for the first day! I wrap up all the books in curling ribbon like a gift. Then we open our gifts and go through each book one by one, discuss what it is for and what we will learn, and then put it away in our desks.
A space by the window went from this:
(I brought the pillows, lamp and rug in)
To this reading corner:



                                                          After: The birthday bags

So there's a little preview. I sometimes miss having a theme. But it's a very calming room. The blue is actually a teal color, not quite as blu-ish. On the first day one of my students told me it looked like a hotel!  I'm not sure if he meant it as a compliment, but I'll take it!

I always make all my own decorations. I had to completely change my plan this year because I didn't have access to colored ink, and couldn't afford to make a bunch of colored prints at Staples. So I did the best I could with black and white. I figured it was cheaper that way, and I could always just use the copier for some things.

I always say decorating is in the details. More details to come at a later time. Thank you for looking!

Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]