August 30, 2015

Move Your Bus, Y'all

Hi, friends! It's been a while! I am 4 weeks in at my new school, and things are going... well, it's going!

As I try to stay afloat and survive the back-to-school chaos in addition to getting acclimated at my new home away from home, I've been trying to stay positive. 

A happy teacher is a good teacher. 

Well, that may not be exactly true, but you get the idea. 

I've been reflecting on a book that I read over the summer written by the truly incredible Ron Clark.

I was able to download the book for free with my free Audible trial. I listened to it while I was packing for my move. A lot of the stories in the book were the same stories that Ron Clark told when I went to visit RCA in May, but I still loved the book, especially because it was in his own voice! I plan to add a hardback to my bookshelf soon. 


My Biggest Move Your Bus Takeaways:

  • Don't get caught up in negativity. I know we hear this all the time, but it's imperative. Some people thrive on negativity and will try to drag you down with them. 
  • "Runners" don't "run" for the sake of competition or to receive credit. They "run" because they genuinely believe in what they are doing, and they find motivation intrinsically without seeking affirmation from others. 
  • As a "driver," there is nothing more detrimental than killing the spirit of the "runners." Morale is important. Morale is especially important in a field like education, where lots of little lives are involved and impacted by our emotional well-being.
  • Even "runners" make mistakes. And that's okay. "Dear Runners, it is okay to allow yourself to make a mistake. Give yourself permission to forgive yourself and move on. You can’t run with a mistake on your heart. Let it go. And, don’t be afraid to ask for help. We think we have to prove ourselves by having all the answers, doing things well, and independently, but we don’t."

Take a minute to let that last one sink in.

August 11, 2015

Meet the (Overwhelmed) Teacher

Day two is in the books for me. As always, the back to school season has been crazy and I've been running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

Hmm. I didn't realize how strange that expression was until I typed it out.

Anyways, we had "Sneak Peek" on Thursday of last week. It went well! Almost all of my families showed up. I love meeting the kids ahead of time and putting a face to parents' names.

If a family walked in with hands full of supplies, I went ahead and directed them to the buckets in the back of the room. If not, I directed them to the screen. Visual instructions are important for students AND parents!


My table this year wasn't as pretty as last year. I didn't have the time to create or print or laminate signs, so whiteboards worked just fine. 

Parents signed in (and provided email addresses) and completed the transportation form while my new students found the scavenger hunt paper and began. 

I love to do scavenger hunts on open house nights! It helps the students become familiar with the important places in classroom. It's basically a checklist with "find the restroom" and "find two trash cans" and "find the classroom library." 

While in the classroom library, students are instructed to pick out 2 books for Monday and to put them on their desks. This is great for so many reasons! First, it gives them something comfortable to do on the first morning that they are familiar with, since they picked the books out themselves. Second, it gives me as the teacher an idea of what kinds of books a child is interested in. Third, juuuuuust maybe, a child might pick books around his or her reading level. Maybe. Don't hold your breath.



Again, I ran out of time. I felt like Cinderella as she hurried to be back before midnight. She left a shoe behind, and I left the idea of flipbooks behind. 

I made AWESOME flipbooks last year for Meet the Teacher. They were a HIT! Naturally I wanted to make them again, but the clock struck midnight before I knew it. I had to settle with a one-page handout. At least I got to use my Astrobrights for one thing. 

In the folder are all of the forms that are not time-sensitive. I would rather have parents take them home and send them back when they have been completed instead of taking up room at all of my desks while they fill them out. It's just my personal preference. I typically write the child's name on the folder for easy reference when they were returned, but again... #Cinderella 


On top, I left a goldfish snack for the kids with the tried and true "o-FISH-ally" expression. You can go ahead and grab this FREEBIE on TPT now!

Shoutout to Patty for taping these babies together while I panicked about getting everything done in time. (This whole new school thing has been TOUGH!)


This isn't the best picture, but here are my supply bins. I couldn't find my cute labels and didn't have time to make more, so I ended up using Post-It notes. (Spoiler: They worked just as well.) #realtalk

Also in this picture is my word wall. I made sure to have all of the kids' names already written on the word wall before they came for Sneak Peek. Part of the scavenger hunt was to find their names! 



Last, I put a spin on a fun anchor chart idea that I saw on Pinterest and used last year. This year, I made it more of a flip chart so that students could check their answers. Underneath each blue sheet of paper is the number answer and a sentence about that fact. I have to admit, it didn't get the attention it deserved from parents and students at Sneak Peek. 


What are your favorite things to do at open house or Meet the Teacher? I'll add them to my list for next year! 

Check back soon for my classroom reveal/tour and first week of school activities. 

Best wishes to you all as you begin the new school year!!

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