Elementary Teacher

Having fun in the classroom and "balancing" life!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

A trip to Disneyschool. I mean, Ron Clark Academy

Have you seen all the blog posts that are talking about their trip to RCA? I think it looks awesome. And at this point in my life, expensive. It would take me about a year to save up the money I would need for a trip like that.
My husband and Daughter at the Daddy Daughter Dance

And I think it's my husband who should really go. My husband is my principal, for those of you who don't know. He sacrifices being able to go to conferences the rest of us go to because he is either teaching, or working in the office, or at home with our own children. But with all the changes coming to our school, I think it's the perfect time and place to go visit. So  I asked our Board of Ed for help paying for a trip for him. And they're considering it!!!! I'm so excited. It's not a done deal, but just the fact that they're thinking about it is exciting to me!

Even if he can go, it won't be me going. But I don't even care (although I wish I could go with him) that it's him and not me. At least I can hear about it first hand. And it's payback time for me. He is a huge help to me, and lets me go to the annual conference with all our teachers in Palm Springs, CA. A beautiful place. Especially in November. It's a special time to see fellow teachers and relax without kids or stress. So now it's his turn.

I feel a little like I'm wanting to do what all the cool kids are doing. But what a place RCA seems to be! It's hard not to be curious! So in the mean time, I'm reading this:

Crash Course : The Life Lessons My Students Taught Me by Kim Bearden (2014, Hardcover) Image
So far, so good. An easy read, and good for me to read at this point in my year. And only $.75 at!!!
"Enjoy" your Sunday. Can a teacher really do that?
Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Tough Week

Last week was a toughie. "Requests" from parents and administration, kids wired up for our special Christian Schools Week with all of its dress up days and activities, kids with Fun Dip in their lunches, a computer that is dead. How many files do you have on your computer that you use on a daily/weekly/monthly basis that you totally rely upon? Well, mine are gone.

I got so distraught. I sent a lengthy email to my sister and she said "I'm fed up just reading this. Make sure you just enjoy the sweet ones."

This week that is my goal. I will enjoy the sweet ones. Aren't they all sweet? Of course. But is there ever a time where the sweetness is overcome with mischief or the need for attention, good or bad? Yes. Nobody's perfect. So this week, I will try to give those "sweet ones" (you know the ones- they are ALWAYS good, trying to please, doing what is right, making the best of choices) their due. Because, honestly, sometimes they get overlooked. And to those who don't always make good choices- are throwing pencils and paper instead of putting them where they belong, wrestling in the library, hitting others with a bean bag, etc.- they will get limited attention for those things, and I will praise them for their own "sweet times". Will I have a perfect classroom without any stresses? I doubt it. Sometimes I just say little short prayers throughout the day: "Lord, I don't like this kid right now. Help me. Give me Your love for him." or "Lord, it's a rough day and I am OUT of patience. Help me to remember I am here to serve You." or "Lord, I need you." It has really worked in those desperate times and He changes my attitude.

Pray with me and for me and I will remember all of you in prayer this week.

Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Monday, January 26, 2015

Roller coasters and cross-curricular learning

I think Science is a great way to go cross-curricular. It's automatically hands-on and what 6-7 year old doesn't LOVE science?!  Over the last few weeks we've been learning about balance and motion. This week and last especially we've been diving into rolling motion, specifically roller coasters. This is a great book:

The pictures are super cute and so full of richness that adds to the dimension of the story. There's also some great videos on youtube of how and what to teach using this story. You can find one here.

We are also planning our own amusement park in groups of 3. First we looked at some videos of roller coasters made on a Go camera that make it seem like you're on the roller coaster. A virtual field trip! Then we brainstormed some things you need to make an amusement park. After that we broke into groups and decided where we would put our parks. It was a great way to teach maps, too! We used this one:

Locations of US Amusement Parks
We divided the maps into N,S,E,W and then further into NW,SW,NE, and SE. We discussed which parts had the least and greatest amount of amusement parks, and the weather and landforms in each region. This led to discussions on cities vs. states, population, and the Midwest region.
Here we are choosing the region and state we want to plant our amusement park in:

This is my new phone!!! A Galaxy 5S!! What's with the blurriness? I thought it would be a good one!
Tomorrow we start planning and drawing the maps of the parks. I'll let you know how they turn out. So far, it's been some pretty engaged learning!  
Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Change

One of my favorite bloggers is Sara from Sara At School. I know I've talked about her a lot, and what I like about her is her honesty and real-ness. She's positive in an "It's a marathon, not a sprint" kind of way. She made it a goal to write 100 posts last year. I thought that was a great one. So I'm trying it. For better or for worse for you people.

Our school is going through some changes. I don't even know all of them yet. We are small, private and Christian. So you know what that =. Tuition-based. But we're not one of the biggies. We don't have a big budget. Money is always TIGHT. It's not because people don't pay their bills, it's because our size is so small. Small class sizes are a dream for all you public school teachers. I get it. I'm actually embarrassed to tell public school teachers how many kids I have. But at our level, it's a bane because it's too small. We lose kids a lot, especially in the upper and middle grades because there aren't enough kids. Which is just a vicious cycle, because to get more kids, you need more kids.

So we hired a marketing firm. I am so proud and thankful to the Powers That Be for making this happen. I'm not sure if that was the principal or the board or the church that is in partnership with the school. Probably all of the above.  But it's super exciting. The company is based out of Massachusetts (Ovus Ater)and the representative has been here interviewing staff and seeing the school. He has interviewed many of the parents and has been back a second time to meet with the principal to unveil the marketing plan and school concept. For little old us, this is huge. I don't know what it is yet, or which direction it will take us, but I am excited to be a part of it. Honestly, I worry about the life of our little school and I think this will be such a powerful and positive force in helping us grow and better ourselves. It's so exciting, I can't wait to share it with you.

Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Classroom Goal freebie

I've said it of my favorite parts of teaching is decorating my classroom. I also LOVE to decorate my home. We moved into a new home last year, and although I love it, I sometimes wonder if we made the right choice. Or really, if I made the right choice, because when I'm honest about it, it was me driving the decision to move. My husband would have been content to stay put. And now sometimes I think, "was he right?" So I'm working to make it our own, and have it feel like ours. And make some money on it when we sell it someday.

Anyway, I love all things decorating. So this summer I started reading decorating blogs. And now I'm more consistent in reading those than school blogs. Sometimes. One of my favorite is "The Inspired Room". One of the reasons I like it is because the woman (Melissa) who writes it is real, and realistic. She knows how life is, and how finances are a part of real life. Making a home (and classroom) what we want it to be takes time. Sometimes we have to take baby steps.

This year Melissa posted a goal sheet for decorating and/or organizing your home. I thought it was a great idea to help me get through my many unfinished projects. Maybe then my 2 second-hand end tables would actually get painted before I start (and not finish) my next project. So I made a classroom version, too. Here it is. You are welcome to it. Happy new year and good luck on Monday!!!
Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Friday, January 2, 2015

A new way to run my parties

Well, sigh. It's Friday night, the last real day of Christmas break. I'm the new mayor of Sadsville. But we're half way done! Hard to believe! And to celebrate, I'm watching the last Hallmark Christmas movie of the season with my one sick kid and 2 healthy ones.

So the classroom Christmas party was just that...a party! It was wild and loud and crazy! But I think the kids really had fun. I use this party plan:

Christmas Party with the Gang
It makes my life super simple at this time of year.
But here's the thing. I had TONS of parents at the party. Which is GREAT, don't get me wrong. Included in the party pack are invitations that we send out ( to practice writing our addresses) so of course parents are welcome. But they didn't really interact with their kids. And trust me, some of them NEEDED interaction.
So where did I go wrong? I had a party all planned with plenty of food, games, activities and parents to help. But the kids still got pretty outta hand. This is a wild bunch. And Valentine's Day is right around the corner. I have that party already planned, too. But this time, it will be under control. I'm planning HOW to use the parents that are on hand. At my Valentine's Day party, I generally play about 5-6 games. And this time, I'm assigning parents to each. All my job will be is to maintain control. The games will be played simultaneously like centers, and the parents will run them! I can't wait to give it a try. Plus, I LOVE Valentine's Day. And here's my party, all ready to go.
A Scrumpdillyicious Valentine's Party
I'm sure a lot of you already run your parties that way. I'm just a little late to the party, so to speak.
Happy New Year!
Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Monday, December 29, 2014


Have you ever wondered about one of your students being gifted? Did you know what to do about it?

I have a student that might be. We don't have a gifted program at our school. We're a small, private school that is lacking in funding. I think our curriculum is advanced enough for most kids that they are automatically challenged, but our principal is studying differentiated learning for gifted students, some of his research has me wondering.

I have a student who is immature socially, but very bright. She is also very distracted, and is OFTEN more focused on engaging other kids than paying attention to me or doing his work. But she's smart, and probably only needs a couple repetitions with a new concept to gain understanding. And she has a lot of prior knowledge about many things. She's an excellent reader and can read anything you give her.

But she struggles with independence, and cannot do challenge work that I give her because she is so distracted. She is also immature, and can be manipulative. I think she has a low self-concept and is so intent on making friends that she will do whatever it takes to achieve that goal. But she doesn't have the maturity to realize what that is. And all this time she is not doing her work, and I'm thinking it's because she is bored, and I am not giving her what she needs. Sigh. Do you ever feel just stumped?

And by the way, I don't like the term "gifted". I think all kids are gifted. It's a matter of how to find and nurture that gift. But I don't think society or the powers that be agree with me, because there sure is a lot of research out there written from a different perspective than mine.

Thanks for reading.
Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]