Friday, July 31, 2015

The Never Ending Journey of Getting the Classroom Ready

Creating your dream classroom can seem like the never ending journey!  There is always one more shelf to move, paper to cut, banner to hang or clothespin to hot glue!

We have been working since the 1st of July to make our rooms the best place for learning.  AND we are proud to say that the rooms are dusted, the desks are clean, the books are organized, the names are posted - we are ready!  August 3rd is Monday - the first day of school and we are excited to welcome 36 new 3rd graders into our rooms on that day.  

This is Mrs. Shelby's first classroom to decorate, set up and present to her first 3rd grade class!  

Mrs. Belinda's classroom is her 12th classroom to prepare.  

It doesn't matter if it is your 1st or your 12th classroom to prepare, the completion of the classroom is always a monumental moment.  It means that it is time for school.  It is time for the students to arrive.  It means that it is time to start the learning and the teaching.  It's a new beginning for the young and the old.  It's time to create Lollipop Moments - and that's what we intend to do.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Welcome to 3rd Grade Letters Mailed!

One of the great joys of teaching is the mailing of letters to your new students.  You spend hours pouring over your Meet the Teacher letter.  You make sure that you add the important pieces like 'I like dark chocolate with almonds'.  You make sure that you say the right thing so that your students know they are coming to a teacher who is ready for them.

You find ways to tell parents how grateful you are that their child is in your classroom.  You want the parents to know that you believe their child is important and deserves a phenomenal education.

You sit for hours with your partner, folding and refolding letters.  You make sure that the superheroes get in the letter and that each letter has everything it needs.  You talk across the room to other fantastic 3rd grade teachers to see if they know an address or have an extra stamp.  You check and recheck the address AND finally seal the envelope.  It's ready to be mailed!

You wear matching t-shirts and take pictures in the sun - you squint, use the selfie stick, laugh and then drop the letters in the mail.  When the letters go in the mail, you pause and finally take a breath. You hope you have put a stamp on every letter and written every address correct BECAUSE you want every student to enjoy opening THEIR 3rd grade letter!

The letters are in the mail! You wait in anticipation until you see signs of letters received on Facebook, text, or IG.  Then August 3rd the students walk into East Chester, down the hall and to your classroom.  And you hope that there was 1 thing in that envelope that causes that 1 student to be excited about school, about 3rd grade, about being part of your class.

You forever remember the value of the letter when the student who didn't like school begs to stay with you on the last day of school - he wants you to walk him out the door one last time and he tells you that you like chicken strips from that letter you sent at the beginning of the year.  
This is what teachers do.  I am proud to be called a teacher.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Sunday Scoop

Linking up with Teaching Trio for the Sunday Scoop!

My family took one last weekend vacay before school begins.  Wonderful weekend!  The boys fished and the girls shopped BUT that means clothes have to be washed, dried and folded before he leaves for camp today!  Love to be busy.  My hope is to begin looking at TPT and trying to start a store- we shall see - can you have a store with only 1 item ;)

The best part of the week is getting my hair colored on Tuesday!  Here's to the last few day of summer!  I can't wait to meet my bunch of 3rd graders.  Only 1 week before they walk through the doors! YAY!  See you at the edge,

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I'm Too Busy...

Tonight, I am sitting in my incredible work place at home cutting out my mailbox labels.  I love doing things for my classroom, my school, my students... I love making lists, marking off lists, making new lists.  I love to be busy!

So in the middle of my busy tonight, I texted a friend.  I needed some information so that I could continue with my busy.  I knew that she would have the answer for me.  AND she did.  Not only did she answer my question AND send visuals, she took the time to chat with me via Facebook.  All the while, she was putting 2 kids to bed and packing to go on a business trip.

After all that, I began to think.  How blessed am I that she was not too busy to help me with my need?  How blessed am I that she thought enough of me to stop her busy to brighten my night?

The beginning of the school year is always busy.  It should be.  Teachers are preparing to meet a new class.  Teachers are striving to make the room look inviting.  Teachers are planning that first great day so that their students will be excited about day 2.  Teachers are searching Pinterest for one more idea or sending Facebook posts to their tribe.  Teachers are tweeting, periscoping and IG-ing.  Busy.

What my friend reminded me of is this...'But only one thing is necessary'.  Martha was distracted by her many tasks, but Mary made the right choice. Luke 10:40-42 .

My aim, as this school year begins, is to stay focused on Him so that my busy is productive, useful and encouraging for a child, a parent or my East Chester family.  I'm never too busy to make a difference.  Thanks for inspiring me, Dawn!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Sunday Scoop

The Scoop from The Edge... thanks to Teaching Trio for creating the Linky...

Thanks to Cooking Up Success for inspiring me to do my first link!  We had 4-days of inservice last week and I am sad to say that I neglected my house.  I have to get some laundry done and get the dishes out of the dishwasher.  BUT I don't think either of those will get done - I have worn my body out this week and will need to see the doctor in the morning.  I am blessed to have a wonderful husband and son who have catered to my every need since I crawled into bed yesterday!  Maybe they will do my 'have to' list for me...

Being worn down means watching Disney movies (which have been on all day - how lucky am I?) and playing on the computer!  Our 3rd grade team does a tiered parent booklet and I need to adjust dates and times for this school year as well as update our new afternoon schedule.  I am very excited about the afternoons.  We have a 6 teacher team in 3rd grade and we work together for the success of all our 3rd graders.  This year, we are using our afternoon learning time in a different way and I am thrilled about the possibilities.

The thing I love to do is share!  AND today I get to share my Lollipop Moment packet with my friend Becky at Cooking Up Success.  One of the TedTalks we enjoyed during inservice was from Drew Dudley.  He speaks about being thankful for and watching for times to create Lollipop Moments.  A Lollipop Moment is when we make a difference in the lives of others!  That's the scoop for now!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Empowering Our Future...Riding the Crazy Train

Inservice in Chester County has lasted 4 days this week - we are tired but inspired.  We spent time discussing The Leader in Me and talking about what we wanted to see in our school.  Our teachers decided that we want to Empower Our Future.

Empowering Our Future means helping our students see the brightness of their future.

Memorable moments:

  • Selfie sticks are awesome.
  • 3rd grade is ready to ride on the crazy train.
  • Inspiring thinking requires thinking ahead of time.
  • We are going to do some emotional vomiting.  Let's be transparent.
  • Look at students as a +2 and not a -18.
  • Let the student lead the problem solving.
  • Stop. Smell the roses.  Blow out the candles.
  • Why not work together?
  • Your world and my world are different.  Use what works with you and your kids.
  • It takes all of us to empower our future!  Together we are better.
  • I am a chunker.  I'm a chunker, too.
  • It may be a no pass BUT I read 10 more words than last time.  Achievement vs. growth.
  • Leadership is a choice, not a position.
  • I don't read hard. BUT @TheLeaderInMe is really a good book.
  • Accountable talk.  No hogs.  No logs
  • What do I need to unlearn?
  • I make a difference!  I am a teacher!
  • Take what ideas you can use and flush the rest!

It was 4 days of learning, great teacher advice and memorable moments.  I wish you the best as you empower our future this school year!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Off to School I Go: Song by Me!

I love to sing.  I make up songs all the time in my classroom and my kids can be heard humming my creations during stations.  I thought the beginning of 2015-16 classroom decorating was worth a snippet of a song!

So I went to the classroom today.  My incredible husband and son went with me.  They patiently moved furniture, loaded in bags and moved out furniture.  I am blessed.

The classroom is a hot mess right now BUT soon it will be ready for my 3rd graders!  I can't wait!

Mrs. Becky @cookingupsuccess and I are going to do Room Reveals on Periscope!  So excited about that!  I have enjoyed the #periscopeteacherchallenge and getting to know everyone!  Be on the watch out for the room reveal!  See you on the edge!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Vacation: Many wonderful adventures - some new (Periscope) and some not so new...

I am blessed to be with my family and 2 extras (that are my boys just as much as my boy is my boy) on vacation.  So far vacation has been a wonderful adventure with many firsts.  Here they are in no particular order.

My first time...
  • vacationing with three 14 year old boys - thus the weird and wonderful picture tag.
  • to get a Donors Choose accepted and then mess it up when I changed the address.  I am thankful for Jeana at Customer Service!
  • to make PicLab photos and VidLab videos - there are some pretty funny ones from vacation.
  • to be on Periscope with Schroeder's Shenanigans and Lucky Little Learners.  They are in Vegas.  I am not.  They make me want to be in Vegas and not the beach - that's how cool they are!  How inspiring it is to watch two humble and energetic teachers who love sharing with others!
I am sure there are other firsts but that's enough for now!  I am trying to move from being obsessed with Twitter to making it a daily thing.  I have read Learn like a Pirate, The Writing Thief, and some romance novels.  Many wonderful adventures - some new, some not so new.  I love to try new things and am thrilled when friends encourage me to do so.  

Special shout out to Cathy Whitehead @readrunteach for saying 'Oh girl, you can do that Padlet or anything other techy thing' and for Becky Welch @mrsbeckysclassroom for saying 'Have you tried 'fill in the blank with any cool new teacher thing'?  You just have to try it'.  I am thankful for blogging friends who are next door neighbors in the teaching world!  

Here's to more adventures in the last days of vacation!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

From 240 - 65 in 1 night!

Just got word that my donors choose is approved and ready for donations.  This is turning into a grand adventure!  The project is a $480 project.  The Korein Family Foundation is matching half and that brought the needed amount down to $240.  AND then my family and friends took it to $65 overnight!  WOW!

This project is eligible for the SPARK match.  For the next 7 days, when someone donates to the project and enters the code SPARK, will match their donation dollar for dollar.    

If you want to check out the project, it is available at I like to move it, move it!  If you give $10 and then put SPARK in the promo code section then Donors Choose will match your $10 donation!

Thanks to all who have donated!  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Relax and Renew...

You need to relax!  What a difficult phrase for a teacher in the summer.  I have come to realize that relax means different things to different people.  For me, relaxing is thinking through the first two weeks of school, slowly digging through the dollar spot at Target or scanning Twitter for new ideas.  Relaxing is a clean house, laundry done and then time in the kitchen.  It is also sitting with a good book or enjoying an episode of Bones for the 100th time.

For one of my best teacher friends, she teaches summer school then takes 2 weeks for herself visiting family - she loves to drive!  For others, relaxing is staying in bed until whenever, reading books, cutting task cards, creating new stations or simply sitting and sipping coffee with mom.  Relaxing is what you need it to be.

It can be family, friends, cooking, quiet, studying, working, laughing, reading - it is what you need in order to renew yourself.  Summer time is a time to renew.

Summer is when I get excited about going back to school and I am ready for another year because I have visited my mom and dad, sat at the pool, read blog posts, laminated posters or bound my math curriculum at Office Max.  During summer, I am renewed.

I pray that my spirit is renewed so I can make a difference in the lives of the students who enter my classroom in August.  I promise I will continue to relax and renew my spirit with 'me time' that is just right for me.  Whether that is taking clothes to Plato's closet, writing a post or watching my son fish, I will remember that 'relax' is different for everyone.  What works for me may not work for another.  If relax and renew is the summer goal, then I am succeeding.