Sunday, August 31, 2014

Austin Blogger Meet Up!

Well, back to school has really kicked my butt!  I've been meaning to post about our meet up, but the first week of school got in the way!  I didn't leave school before 6:30 pm this whole week!

Last Saturday, we had an Austin blogger meet up and it was a lot of fun!  About 20 of us met for lunch at a yummy place called Hyde Park Bar and Grill.  We had a nice time chatting about the upcoming school year.

After lunch, we headed over to Teacher Heaven to do a little Back to School shopping!!

I was excited, I got to meet two of my online friends In Real Life!

It was a lot of fun and it was great to meet so many wonderful teachers!

Thank you to GoNoodle, The Science Penguin and Teacher Heaven for donating to our giveaways!

Friday, August 15, 2014

My Wishlist for the New School Year (and a giveaway!!!)

Well, today's the day I head back to school for our first teacher prep day!!  Thankfully, we have a quick staff meeting and breakfast and then get the rest of the day to work in our classrooms!  With me moving into a new classroom, I definitely need all the time I can get!!  I made some good progress earlier this week, but it's nowhere near ready!!

As I do get ready for the new year, I thought I would blog about my Wishlist for the year.  This is going to be a year of change for me, with a new principal, a new classroom and a new grade level.  Thankfully, I am really excited about all of the changes!

 As I think all teachers will agree, your administration has a huge effect on your school life.  No, they are not the ones sitting on the carpet with my kiddos each day and passing out bandaids and reading new chapter books, but they do play a role in the community feeling of the school (or lack thereof).  I'm starting my 9th year of teaching this year.  I taught my first year at a private school and have been at my current school ever since.  So starting my 8th year at this school, I'm also starting on my 5th principal.  6th if you count the one who hired me initially and then left for an HR position before school started!  I have had my share of amazing principals and not-so-amazing principals and let me tell you, it does make a difference in how you feel, especially around 7:15 when you're driving into work!  Our new principal this year has impressed me so far with her decisiveness and her willingness to listen to the teachers.  It's an important balance (and probably hard to find) where a leader listens to the rest of the community and takes their thoughts into account, but also makes the decisions they need to make.  I am very hopeful for a quality admin experience this year!

 I think this one needs little explanation!  Nothing is more frustrating than preparing a lesson and using let's say a Brain Pop Jr. video in your plans, and then when it's time to play it, your lovely, ancient computer says "Network Error".  Ugh!  Makes me want to throw it out of the window!  Keeping my fingers crossed for us all that whatever level of technology is available on your campus (super jealous of all you iPad and SmartBoard schools out there!!), that it all actually works when it is supposed to!!
 This is another thing that I am excited about for this year.  I am blessed to get to loop up (from 1st grade to 2nd grade) with the majority of my class from last year!!  There was a time this summer when this wasn't going to happen, but my new principal believes in the benefits of looping and she made it happen!  I think that is going to be huge in terms of the relationships I have already built with those parents and those students.  I had a great crew last year and always had a nice turnout for events in my classroom.  I invited parents up in March to have a viewing party for our Animal Research Projects (read about those HERE) and they loved it!  I had parents telling me that they'd never been invited to something like this and they were so excited to be a part of it.  They also loved coming to our Reader's Theater show of The Great Kapok Tree, which is one of my favorite classroom traditions!  Having the support of your parents is so important!  Knowing that they trust me with their kiddos each day is huge and it's important to know that they will support me when I have to call home and tell them that their precious little Johnny was throwing yogurt in the cafeteria today!  Plus, who doesn't love having families that will send in a little movie gift card or box of chocolates every once and awhile?!  :)

 Going right along with #3, I am super pumped about having my class again this year!  I had some wonderful kiddos that really made my job easier each day!  I had some amazing helpers who would literally take the school newsletters and fliers out of my hands to go pass them out in the afternoons.  I had respectful sweeties who were very considerate of others and their own individual learning issues.  I had funny jokesters who kept me laughing every day at recess with the funny characters they played on the playground.  We really had a great little classroom family going on.  Now trust me, it's not all rainbows and butterflies; I will still have at least 2 students on behavior contracts and several that I know are reading below grade level, but I'm excited for the opportunity to work with them again and keep building on our progress from last year.

 This is another huge thing that I think most teachers will agree upon!  Your teammates are the ones you plan with each week, the ones you bounce ideas off of and the ones who watch your kiddos when you just HAVE to go to the bathroom during Math because you didn't get to go during lunch because you were making copies or meeting with a parent or entering test scores into the computer!  I am very excited about my new team.  We are all about the same age and pretty like-minded when it comes to pitching in and pulling our own weight with team responsibilities.  There are 6 of us, which I think is a nice number.  Not too small but not too big.  This is also the first year in six years that I will not be the team leader.  Part of me will really miss it and part of me is really excited to get a break from it!  I am already involving myself in other projects for this school year, like our Positive Behavior committee.  I'm also excited to have the time to concentrate more on my class and not have to be so focused on making sure everyone gets their DIBELs in on time or sends their attendance up to the front office!

Now that I've rambled on about the new year, let's get down to business- Giveaway time!!

A group of fabulous bloggers and I are getting together to each give away our most wishlisted item form our TPT stores!  We are so excited about this blog hop!!  If you've hopped over from amazing Angela's blog, thanks for visiting!

My most wishlisted item is my All About Me Math.  I really love doing this project with my classes each year!!  It's perfect for the beginning of the year, to get your kids excited about math!  With younger students, it's actually really fun to do at the end of the year!

Your kiddos will start out by filling in the Math About Me sheet with various ways that numbers are a part of their lives.  They fill in their birthdate, their favorite number, how many people are in their family, how many teeth they've lost, etc.  Then there are a couple of choices for turning it into a fabulous bulletin board display, perfect for Back to School Night or Open House!!  It's a lot of fun and it looks great out in the hall!

For your chance to win a copy of my All About Me Math, please check out the Rafflecopter below and then hop on over to my dear friend Marie's blog for another great giveaway!  There's 12 in all, which means 12 lucky winners will each get a fabulous product to kick their new year off right!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The Hands-On Teacher in First

If you'd like to start at the beginning of the hop, click over to Haley's blog here-
My Silly Firsties

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Goodbye Summer! Hello August!!

Hi Friends!!

Wow, I can't believe it is already August!!!  I go back for our first teacher prep day in 5 days- ahhh!!  I'm not ready!

I am really excited about this year, though.  I am moving to 2nd grade and I am excited to be a part of what is going to be a fabulous team!!  We also have new admin this year and from what I can tell, it's going to be a great year!!  I am very impressed with our new principal already!  Can't wait to see what the new year brings!

I had a wonderful summer and I'm a little sad that it's over!

I started off being maid of honor in my best friend's wedding!  It was wonderful!!

photo credit

Then I celebrated my 30th birthday!  Woo hoo!!

Then shortly after that, I left for Vegas!  That was an amazing trip and you can read all about it HERE!

Then I was back in Texas for about two weeks before we left on our road trip!!  If you follow me on Instagram, then you've probably seen these pictures already, so please bear with me!
Delicious dessert at The Wrecking Bar Brewpub in Atlanta

Me and Honest Abe!!

One of the 5 concerts we went to- 2 in Maryland, 2 in Portsmouth, VA and 1 in Alpharetta, GA

Amazing crab cake sandwich in Maryland
I only posted 4 pictures, when really I could have posted a lot more!  We had a great time in Washington DC, seeing the sights along the National Mall, eating pizza at 2 Mary's and eating chili dogs at the famous Ben's Chili Bowl.  We spent time in Portsmouth, VA and Charleston, SC too.  Then Atlanta/Alpharetta on the way home!  It was a great trip!!

Tomorrow's the first day our building will be open, so I'll be headed up to my classroom!  Since I'm moving grade levels, I'm moving to a different room, so I have to start from nothing!  I'm excited about the clean slate, but nervous about getting it all done in time!!  Plus my new room is smaller than my old room, doesn't have a sink and doesn't have a bathroom.  I'm a lot a bit bummed by everything in that last sentence.  :(  Oh well!  We're going to make it work!!

Then teachers start up on the 15th and kiddos join us on the 25th!!!  What about you?  When do you start?  Are you already back in school?