Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Highs and Lows of Technology! Plus... A new product on sale!!

Boy oh boy do I love using technology to help me teach! Making printables, activities, and resources makes life so easy and everything looks good too. I'm going to keep this post short because technology has not made my life easy today. My school laptop has "lost" its operating system TWICE today and our school's internet went down as well! Oh well, thats why teachers have got to be flexible and roll with the punches. : ]

Any who, the whole point of writing this post was to introduce my newest product found in my TpT store. Last summer, I created a owl themed sub binder that I could use whenever I had a sub in my classroom. I have been told by my subs that the documents found in the binder are very helpful and make the day go by smoother! I have always had the intention of sharing this sub binder with others, but I wanted to find a way that I could make the binder look cute and be editable for my customers. That is how I came up with my Editable Sub Binder. When you download my binder, it will open in power point. From there, almost all of the text is editable. A few of the generic titles are not editable but everything else is. I've included some generic text to help spark ideas of what you might want to say but you can easily change it to meet you needs! Here are the page examples that you will find in this Editable Sub Binder!

 


Just because I love a good sale and I always like to kick off new products with something fun, hop on over to my store to recieve 20% off my Editable Sub Binder for today and tomorrow only!

What are your favorite sub resources that you use in your classroom? I would love some new ideas!
Megan

Sunday, February 24, 2013

HALL PASS it's a LINKY!

I absolutely LOVE linky parties. I have found, since I am new to the blogging world, that they really help bring bloggers together and help share the great ideas that teachers are doing in their classroom!

So here it is...
http://tunstalltimes.blogspot.com/2013/02/hall-pass-linky.html
This Linky Party can be found here. The important things that must be included:
http://tunstalltimes.blogspot.com/2013/02/hall-pass-linky.html

So here I go!!

Product:
My favorite product that I have created has not been put up for sell yet, but I absolutely LOVE it! Before my moving craziness began, I spent A LOT of time creating this precious owl sub tub. I have seen a lot of great ideas from other teachers and bloggers that help keep themselves sane when it comes time for a sub!

Although I have not been out of school for "personal reasons" very often, I have had to utilize a substitute teacher on days that our school graciously provides us with grade level planning days. On these days I am still in school, but I get to spend the day with my team members collaborating and planning the next six weeks. These planning days are invaluable to us because we are able to each plan a subject while everyone's voice is still being heard. It also helps us have a very cohesive grade level. I have found this sub tub to be very useful because it gives my sub a very good picture of how I run my classroom and also includes useful information that I usually wouldn't include in my lesson plans.

Area:
My favorite place in my classroom would have to be my reading corner. This reading space is not only loved by me, but it is well loved by my students too. It doesn't look quite as pretty as it does in the picture below, but I think that's because a lot of authentic independent reading has taken place here.



In my classroom, students are able to pull out my pillows and stuffed animals and find a comfy place around the room to independently read. Other students like to lay on my carpet here or utilize my awesome chevron milk crate bench! I love watching my students cuddle up in this cozy space and really dive into a good book. It's one of my favorite places to conference with students because the kids seem so comfortable and happy to be in a "fun" or "unusual" space while reading.

Signal:
My most utilized signal would have to be when I say, "Bah ba da da da" and my students say, "Dah da!" I find this to be very useful because it is unusual enough for students to hear in the middle of a conversation  but common enough that students are able to easily catch on. I typically only have to say this one to two times before I have everyone's attention and I am able to address my class clearly.

Sanity:
My school offers something called "extra specials" once every six days. When it is your day to have extra specials, your students will go to their block class for their regular 45 block and then they will go to specials AGAIN at the end of the day for an additional 45 minutes. During this time we will sometimes have a grade level meeting, meet with administrators, or we will have extra time to work in our classroom. I love having extra specials because it gives me time to talk and work with my AWESOME team and it gives me extra time to get those little things done that I need to take care of in my classroom.

Overall I feel very lucky to have the class I have, work with the team I have, and work at such a helpful and welcoming school. But like all jobs, I can almost always use a hall pass for a little break. : ]

What's your Hall Pass? Can't wait to hear!

Megan

Monday, February 18, 2013

Are you there blog? It's me, Megan.

I have been MIA for quite a while now... I'm blame it on my first year of teaching. This school year has brought me so many unexpected challenges. They always say that you learn more in your first year of teaching than you do in your entire college career. Well, I am only half way through with my first year and I absolutely believe it. Now that I am half way through the year and feel like I can actually survive through a week, I am going to try to revamp my blog and actually keep up on here. Like I've said many times before, I firmly believe that the blogging world is a great place for teachers to connect, collaborate, and get great ideas. To kick off getting back in the swing of things, I thought I would write to y'all about some of my challenges and things I have learned so far this year.

Challenges:
  • Not letting my heart get hurt by my students when they say hurtful things. Still working on this one but i am doing MUCH better.
  • Submitting my attendance on time!
  • At times, keeping my hand from falling off filling out ALL that paperwork.
  • Putting my TEKS on the wall each day... It's a district requirement and I just CAN'T seem to remember to do it. I state my objective to my students and they know what we are learning about, but those dang TEKS just always seem to be forgotten.
Things I have learned:
  • My coworkers and administration believe in me and support me at all times. This has been a huge booster in my confidence in the classroom.
  • Nothing will ever go the exact way I picture it in my mind, I can always do better.
  • Email is a great way to communicate with parents. It keeps you connected and in contact in an easy way.
  • My team has some great ideas that they love to share... Just ask!
  • I am very grateful for all-day planning teams with my grade level. It makes my life so much better and really helps me plan out each 6 weeks in an organized way.
  • Teaching is HARD. I love being with my students and seeing them grow, but there isn't a day that goes by that I don't face some kind of tough challenge.
Of course there are many more challenges and things that I have learned throughout this school year, I just thought I'd keep my list simple. What are some new challenges you have faced this year and how have you overcome them?

Glad to be back : ]
Megan 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hello Again! Classroom Pictures!!

I have been a really terrible blogger lately. Its been almost a month since my last post!! I feel really bad about not sharing the ideas I have incorporated into my classroom, but in the next couple of days I will definitely make it up to you with a GREAT freebie!

Our school was one of the last in the district to be cleaned so I had to wait a couple of weeks to get in there. I was finally able to move myself in and I was instantly overwhelmed by the mess my room had become! I was so embarrassed by everything in there so I hit my room hard and finally started to get things organized! Here is a before picture:
Over a three week period (with lots of trainings and in-services in between) I was finally able to get my room done! I am ready for the kids to come on Monday and can't wait to see all the learning that takes place! Here are a few of my after pictures. I'll go into more detail about where I found things later.











It has been very encouraging to see what I have learned during my experiences at ACU finally get to put to practice! I hope everyone has a great day at school on Monday, I am pumped for this year!

Megan

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bringing the Community into the Classroom

There hasn't been much for me to blog about when it comes to school things, since most of my life is in boxes right now. Each day I get more excited for our big move to Plano, TX and can't wait to get our life situated again!

As Derek and I have been trying to take advantage of our last weeks in Abilene, I have really started to take notice of some of the unique things Abilene has to offer both teachers and students. One of my favorite places to go in Abilene with kids is known as the NCCIL. The NCCIL is a small museum, only found in Abilene,  that features famous children's illustrators and authors by incorporating art exhibits, books, and activities throughout the museum. The NCCIL is also a free place to bring kids and is open Tuesday through Saturday, making it a great place for schools and families to bring children.

During the months of June through October, the NCCIL is featuring an exhibit about Dr. Seuss! I wish I could show you pictures of the exhibit (it is wonderful!) but it is against the rules. As part of this exhibit sorry for saying exhibit so many times, the NCCIL has a room full of Dr. Seuss' original color drawings and black line drawings of the book, The Lorax. It is so great! Luckily, I was able to get my husband to go with me on a "day date" and I was also able to get my little sister to go this week, so I was able to go twice! Here is a picture of my sweet little sister (who's notorious for taking pictures with her eyes closed) standing with a bronzed sculpture of The Lorax:
Although I love the NCCIL and wanted to tell you about it just because, the NCCIL has recently started hosting traveling exhibitions that go across the country to children everywhere! You can check out their touring exhibitions website here to see if any of their exhibits are coming to your area, or you can request an exhibit rental for up to ten weeks. These exhibits are great for fostering authentic reading, writing, an art experiences with children. They are also great ways to inspire students in their creativity, inform them about the lives of writing professionals, and introduce concepts in the classroom.

If anything, I hope this post has inspired you to think about different ways to bring the community into the classroom more and provide authentic learning experiences for students. What kinds of things do y'all do to bring the community into your classrooms? I would love to hear about them and bring some of your ideas in to my classroom.

I hope you're enjoying your last few weeks of summer!
Megan

Thursday, July 19, 2012

My To-Do List and a Freebie!!!

With the mess of moving and endless back to school shopping I haven't had much of an update on school stuff to share with y'all. Although, one thing that I HAVE to throw out there to you guys is: THANK YOU so much for your support and interest in my blog over the past few days. I have started joining linky parties to "get myself out there" since I don't know many people in the blogging world and I have been amazed at the supportive and encouraging people I have found! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

I have decided to join another linky party about my To-Do List since I honestly need to post this list somewhere where I can actually be held accountable for it! Before I get started on showing you my To-Do list, I have to show you this free printable that I just love.
I just love the chevron print and colors! You can find the free printable for this summer to-do list here. AND, if you really love the style of this to-do list you can find a very similar one on my TpT store! Sorry for breaking the "never put and at the beginning of a sentence" rule. The link to my store is over there in the right hand column and the best part is that this year round To-Do list is FREE! Here is a picture of what it looks like and here is the link:


So now on to my To-Do list.... It makes me sad thinking about how much I have to do!
1. Head home to Houston to have a weekend visit with my family and attend my sister-in-law's wedding shower.
2. Bring my sweet nine-year-old sister back to Abilene to spend a week with me!
3. MOVE
4. MOVE INTO MY CLASSROOM!!!!
5. Head to New Orleans for my sister-in-law's bachelorette party.
6. Attend our district's professional development institute (gotta get those thanksgiving days off!)
7. Get things in my classroom together, figure out things around my school, work with my team to start planning the new year!
8. Start my "official" first day of work.
9. Rock my first day of school!

I guess my list doesn't seem all that long... but some of those numbers have some pretty major things to do! Let hope I survive and have a smooth start to my teaching career. Even though I feel like I have so much on my plate, I couldn't be more excited! I have a really great team that I can't wait to get to know more, I'm starting my career in what I love, and all of my hard work and dreams are finally getting put to use. I'm so thankful for the opportunities that have been given to me and I can't wait to meet the sweet kids in my class!

What is on your To-Do lists? Let me know if you think there is anything I have forgotten as a first year teacher. Also, I would love to hear of some tips to help make my "August Experience" go as smoothly as possible!

Don't forget to check out Lorraine over at Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies and join her linky party!
Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies


Megan

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Made It!

This summer I have spent most of my time making little projects here and there for my classroom. Some have been things for students to use while others have been made to add a little bit of Megan to my room. Because I have absolutely fallen in love with linky parties, I thought I would share with you a little project I whipped up through Monday's Made It with 4th Grade Frolics. Click on her button below to check out her blog, it is full of great resources and project ideas!



So for my Monday Made It project, I created a cute cork board that I thought would go great behind my desk! I plan to put pictures and inspirational quotes on the board to help remind me of the great gift I have been given (teaching) and keep me encouraged to always pursue more as a teacher with my students.


This project turned out to be much easier than I expected, it only took me about an hour to make. I found some inspiration for the project here on pinterest and fell in love. I felt that the simple nature of the board with small amounts of detail would be perfect. As you can see, I didn't go with the burlap look (although I would have loved to) because I had some extra fabric left over from making my milk crate storage seats. I liked the idea of having matching things that I have made around my classroom!

So back to making this cork board...
1. I bought a cork board at Mardel for 20% off so it ended up being about $8.
2. Then I took my left over fabric, spread it out on the floor, face down, and placed the cork board on top of the fabric, face down as well.
3. Then, I stapled the fabric on the back of the frame so it looked nicely covered.
4. Lastly, using the frame as my guide I pushed upholstery tacks (found at hobby lobby for about $2) one inch apart around the perimeter of the cork board.

*I ended up finding out that the upholstery tack went completely through my cork board. To keep the tacks from poking anyone, I put a dab of hot glue on the point of each tack. The glue dried, leaving a thick, rubbery coating on the tip of each tack.
Total cost for the project: About $10!

I know this was a short tutorial on how to make a cork board like this, but it is very easy modify and adjust to your liking! If you have any questions or run in to any problems, please let me know and I will be happy to answer any of your questions. Have you made any cute projects lately? I'd love to hear what you have made and add some more projects to my list!

Megan
 
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