Thursday, January 8, 2015

One Little Word for 2015

I have seen several people sharing their one little word for 2015 instead of making resolutions. I love this idea! I think this is a great way to keep me motivated and encouraged throughout the year.

This year my word is:

I want to work on being brave this year. I sometimes feel like I have allowed my self to get walked all over mainly because I am a people pleaser. I want everyone to be happy all the time. I would still love everyone to be happy all the time, but I am realizing it's not always my responsibility if they aren't.

I want to be brave enough to try new things (different activities, new foods, new adventures, etc.) On my birthday I actually tried shrimp for the first time ever! This was huge because for the longest time I swore off eating anything that lives in the sea.

I want to be brave enough to say no. I am realizing I can't do everything all the time and I definitely can't do everything all the time well. I need to learn to say no to other things so I can focus on what is important to me. I recently said no to something that was causing me to spend less time focusing on my students. While I had doubts at first as well as second guesses, I am glad I said no. It was the right thing for me, my family and my students.

I want to be brave enough to accept who I am. Over the years I have struggled with insecurity more than I care to admit. I am lucky enough to have a wonderful husband and amazing family and friends that already accept who I am. This year I want to work on being brave enough to stand up to those annoying insecure voices in my brain.

Thanks for reading! :)

Do you have one little word for 2015? If so, what is it and why did you pick that word?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Organizing Most Used Resources

I am linking up with The Elementary Entourage today to share one way I stayed organized in my classroom!

They are having a few different link ups to share ideas throughout January! Make sure you head over to their blog and check it out!

In my classroom and school, we have a 40 minute no new teaching block. This is a time for students to practice and reinforce skills we've already learned. My students usually have a choice board based on the Daily 5 to work on during this time.

Since students get to pick which activity they want to work on, they all might need a lot of different materials and resources each day. This is where my rainbow cart comes in!

This cart has 10 drawers that I can fill with the materials students might need. I use this cart to store notebook paper, white paper, construction paper, National Geographic magazines, storyboard mats, reading task cards, word work activities. My students can go and grab what materials they need instead of asking me for it. They know where the materials is and I labeled most of the drawers to help them out! This allows me to focus more on working with small groups instead of managing materials. I also have a clear cart by my desk that helps me organize all the materials I need for the week (copies, books, etc). 

This is a close up of three labeled drawers! I would also recommend investing in a label maker, it will be your best friend I promise! 

I bought my rainbow cart at Michaels, they had a storage sale and I used my teacher id to get 15% off! I know you can also find them at Sams and maybe other craft stores. Click here to see one on Amazon but I know you can find it cheaper than that. 

This cart is also wonderful since I am very limited on space in my mobile classroom. 

How do you stay organized?

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Teaching Math Through Reading

Math is probably one of my favorite subjects to teach mostly because it is more black and white than reading and writing. I love to watch my students when their lightbulb goes off and they finally get a math concept!

One way that I love to teach math is by using books! This has really helped me the past few years because I had students that loved to read and hated math. We started to read about math and they began to enjoy it more! We would use math reading books during our read alouds or before starting a new concept in math! (click on each picture to take you to that resource)

We recently used Even Steven and Odd Todd as a read aloud when we reviewed even and odd numbers! My students love this book, not only does it make them laugh but it really makes them pay attention to the characters and their actions! Reviewing math concepts and practicing reading strategies all at the same time? Yes please! 

Have you read Actual Size? If not you should check it out! The pictures of the animals in the book are the actual size of the animal! My students love to compare the size of their hand to the gorilla's. This book is the perfect way to incorporate measurement! We are actually going to do this in 2 weeks as we finish up our measurement unit. Students go outside and use chalk to measure the different sizes of the animals. Then they used the worksheet included to compare the different lengths! My students last year loved this activity. Can't wait to do it again this year! 

We also used the book How Big is a Foot? before starting our measurement unit. This book really makes students think about why it is important that we have standard units of measure. This book also makes them giggle a lot. 

Do you use literature to teach math? What are some of your favorite books or resources to use? 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Craft Room Pegboard

For my birthday this year (I guess technically last year) instead of a gift, I asked hubby to help me out with creating a pegboard for my craft room! If you follow me on Instagram (@mrsjoy2) you saw the project as I was working on it. Let's just say I am officially obsessed and loving the new pegboard. It helps encourage creativity!

I bought a pegboard at Lowes (about $8) and had them cut it to 2.5x4. Then came home and spray painted it! It was raining so I actually spray painted it on our front porch and now part of our porch is green (oops!). I was too excited to wait for the rain to stop.

I patiently waited for the pegboard to dry so we could hang it on the wall. Hubby did most of the hard work here. We used spacers to have the pegboard stick out from the wall. Once it was hung, the only thing I could put on it was my scissors and a hole punch. 

Looking at this picture now, it looks pretty sad and pitiful. At the time I was really excited! My mom and I went shopping at Ikea, Lowes, and Target so that I could hang more supplies up!

Now my pegboard looks like this: 

I love it! I am excited to use craft supplies now since I don't have to dig through tubs and drawers to find what I am looking for. This also makes clean up much easier as well! I love being able to see all my washi tape on display (I'm addicted). I have really enjoyed my craft space the past few days and using a lot of new craft tools that I will share later this week! 

What do you put in your work space to help encourage and inspire you?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Currently January 2015

I am linking up with the wonderful Farley to get a start on blogging in 2015! 

Listening: I am listening to Spotify on shuffle. I can usually find great playlists to match every mood and to increase motivation! 

Loving: I am loving my new Erin Condren teacher planner! I now know why everyone is obsessed. I am also loving my updated craft room, for my birthday hubby helped me put up a pegboard to keep all my supplies organized (hope to share it on here soon). It is definitely inspiring me to be creative!

Thinking: Do we really have to go back to school? This winter break has made me excited for summer to get here. I'm really good at being lazy. :)

Wanting: Another week of break! We are also hoping to buy our first set of living room furniture soon (no more hand-me downs).

Needing: To get organized for school as well as cleaning our home and putting away all of the Christmas decorations. 

Yes to being brave and trying new things this year. This includes being brave enough to say no as well as stand up for myself. 

Maybe we will have some fun new adventures this year! 

I wish for 2015 to be a wonderful year. 2014 brought on it's fair share of challenges, especially during the last few months. Here's to hoping this year will be better! 

Make sure you link up with Oh Boy 4th Grade!