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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Five For Friday {September 27}

Good Morning Friends!
The weekend is here for us- how gracious of the week to think of us teachers and let us have these two days to {to grade papers and plan}.

It was a fantastic week- there were "Light bulbs" going on on and off everywhere in my room!
No. Really. There was a wiring problem so lights were going on and off, on and off, on and off.
Oh! You thought I meant metaphorical light bulbs----- silly people.

For real though- we did have a great week. After a few lessons at the beginning of the week, I asked our Media Specialist to pull 30 books on animals from the shelves. I placed them around the room {like obvious Easter eggs} and they had to move to the books.

They used their Text Features to determine where they could find the animal's diet in the book. And then they charted in their journals the type of animal and what type of consumer (carnivore, herbivore, omnivore) it is. They also had to chart the evidence from the text.

They loved it! They're expectation was to have 5 animals by the end of their Block. And rather than hearing "Is four enough?" or "I'm done!" I heard- "Do we have to stop at 5? Can we do more?" I may have to have it in my plans to extend this lesson a bit....

My first Fourth Grade Love Letter.

I always loved the sweet little notes from my firsties and I still have some of them- they were too precious to throw out misplace. I love the level of humor though- and the acorn with the stache is killing me!!!

This was me being a goofball at the stop sign in my neighborhood this Friday morning. You may have seen me do this before. My #shrekmobile .
Who could have known that I was documenting the shrek mobile's last unblemished picture????

Some Dumb Dumb Dummy Head pulled out in front of me! Because the guy in the right lane "waved him over and told him it was okay to go". Yep- that's what he told the officer too. The officer and I just looked at each other.
But that guy got the citation for the accident- so when I called our insurance they were pretty much like "Yeah- you! The other guy's gonna pay for all the damage!"

No one was hurt- although I was a little shaken. AND  I am a little achy today. AND Shrekmobile  will never be the same.

Barkley and Truman knew that I needed, a little extra lovin' last night- so they gathered 'round me to show their support. Of course, I had to coerce them to come over with the yummy juicy burger that was also consoling me.....

Well I must get ready to go to a play at the Public Library- several of my students are in it! Should be fun!

Stay safe out there!!!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

WTH Wednesday- There's a Bee in My Nose

Great Googly Moogly!!

Hello from the land of confusion....

Has your head stopped spinning from the beginning of the school year? Have you been able to see straight yet?
Tomorrow night is our first round of parent/teacher conference! That happens at the six week mark for us.....Did you hear that? SIX WEEKS!!!! ALREADY!

Can I just say
WHERE THE HECK did the time go?
One minute I was contemplating if a move to a new grade level was going to be a good fit for me (and for my family- cause they have to deal with me)- the next minute- I'm a fourth grade teacher!

One minute I am worried about what fabric to put on which board and the next minute I'm waiting for Benchmark tests to come!

One minute I am this crazy, frenzied, cuckoo bird squirrel and the next minute...nevermind- that one didn't change!
That's one thing that I think will remain a constant!

Seriously though- I guess time flies when you are having fun!
(I am also pretty confident that it flies when you lose track of what day it is)!

Since we are on WTHs- I put a "bee in your bonnet" last time about a post that was  about  a bee in my nose.
I know I have told this to a few friends- if you have already heard the story...too bad - you get to suffer through it again. Consider it a review. Retell it to some one and you have met a CCSS!

During our first full week of school I was walking my class back from the playground.
(If you have never rounded up a class of first graders and then rounded up a class of fourth graders- let me tell you that the experiences are completely different! We line up in NO TIME! Really!)
I counted all of my little cuties and we are walking the sidewalk back.

So that you can have the visual I did- I want you to imagine this scene:
It's a beautiful day outside. The sun is shining. The birds are chirping. The children are laughing.

Sounds wonderful, doesn't it???
It was.

I remember thinking to myself, "Self, you made the right choice. This is the place you need to be. It's going to be a great year."

All of those glorious thoughts were swimming through my head- and then out of nowhere
I had the MOST horrible pain I have ever felt in my life-
and let me preface that with: I've had three children. One was almost 10lbs and the other was over that. I've been in a pretty bad car accident. I've had 4 surgeries. I got nailed in the head with a line drive hit when I was 16, I almost broke my toe once when I ran down the hall and slid into the baseboard, and I fell off the monkey bars once when I was 6.

These are all pretty horrible experiences- but they in NO WAY compare to the pain that I felt.
What was the pain?
Well it was the  the biggest, most fiercest, deadliest flying object EVER KNOWN TO MAN!
It was a sweat bee!!!!
At first he was just a tickle- like a little particle of dust had floated into the ole schnoze and touched the inside.
That would not have been so bad- he actually could have flown in and out and I might be telling a different story. If I hadn't done what came next- they may not have been a story at all!!

When I raised my hand to my face to shoo the silly "dust" from my nose, I guess I pushed in a little bit and when I did- I trapped it! "It" being a bee!  Apparently, he didn't like it and
(At this point- I don't know that it was a bee. I have no idea. I just know that there has been a horrible stabbing pain in my head!!)

Our now picture perfect day at the playground has transformed into a class full of 9 year olds yelling, "Miss Squirrels! Miss Squirrels! Are you okay? What's wrong! "

I still can't speak- my nose is stinging, my eyes are watering- actually I was crying.
For realz- CRYING!
If you have ever seen my nails, you know that they are long- I poked my pinkie nail up there (still not knowing that I have AN INSECT IN MY HEAD!!!) and make a flicking motion.
Thank goodness I did! Because my nail caught him and it flicked him right out!
Then I was able to figure out what was going on.
It actually happened in this order:

poke > flick > exit > bounce.

The poke was my finger. The flick was my nail. The exit was the bee. The bounce? The bounce was the bee BOUNCING OFF THE HEAD OF ONE OF MY SWEETIES!!!! HA HA!

So I hand my keys to one of my girls and she lets us into the room. I go straight to the tissues. At this point I am still crying. And I am not talking "eyes-are-kind-of-watery" crying. Nope. I am "I-am-5-and-I-just-fell-off-my-bike-and-I-think-I'm-going-to-die" crying.

The kids are still in a tizzy and who walks by? Asst Pal, of course!! She starts freaking out a little, neighbor teacher across the hall is asking a ton of questions that I can't answer because I am doing that talk-between-breaths thing while crying. I was a hot mess!

And lucky for me- grade level recess is RIGHT before dismissal- so now I get to WALK THE HALLS with these great big tears and a line full of children who keep blurting out things in the hall like:
"A bee flew up her nose!" Miss Squirrels has a bee in her nose!"

WHAT THE HECK!?!?! Who else do you know that that could happen to? Okay, I know this one other girl...but really- it was crazy!
I had a "lump" in the inside of my nose for a week! And when it happened, everyone kept asking if I was allergic. I cannot remember (if ever) the last time I was stung by a bee. So my squirrely little brain starts thinking over time..... Oh my Goodness- I'm going to die! What if I have developed an allergy!
Thank goodness that didn't happen- but I swear the back of my throat was itchy and I may have felt like I couldn't breathe for a few hours!

On this same day I received my One Line a Day journal in the mail.....

Good Gravy.

Well, Where The Heck did the time go this evening?
I have a few more things to get ready for my day tomorrow.

I hope tomorrow brings you all the laughs and giggles you need to get through your day!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Happy New (School) Year !!

Happy New School Year! For those of you who have not started yet, please look away- you can come back later!
Just kidding- just stay here, but keep it down with all your non teacher related activities, the rest of us are trying to be serious!

I have officially been a fourth grade science teacher for 28 days!!!

It's funny because everyone I pass in the hall asks, "How's it going in fourth?" "Are you doing okay?" "Do you miss first?" "Do you like fourth?"

Of course, AINT NOBODY GOT TIME to stop and answer a question like that- so I answer "Yes" to everything! It's just the easier route.

There are trade offs for so many things. Remember, Littlest Little is in the fourth (so yes, I am his Science teacher)- but with having him at home and his friends in the neighborhood, I am kinda used to that age group.

I miss all the sweet little high pitched voices yelling "Miss Squirrels! Miss Squirrels!"- BUT these guys already know how to read!!

I miss the way those firsties used to mispronounce words- it's so cute BUT these guys already know how to write!

And in the last 28 days, no one has eaten glue, wet his pants, cut his hair, or cried for mommy, and everyone "gets" my jokes!

I have been "gettin' my learn on" in the evenings! All summer long inservices were offered for how to read the nomenclature for the CCSS, but we had NOTHING as far as Sci content went- so I am soaking in all I can! For some of this, it has been a lonnnnnnnnnngggg time!!!!

It is definitely going to keep me on my toes.

One thing that really kept me on my toes at the very beginning was getting my room ready. I still walk in each day and think to myself that I need to do a few more things,but then I grab ahold of my self and I say "Self! Are ya nuts???? You don't have any time in your schedule for that lil project!!!"

I do have a few pics of some of the projects I did to start of the year-
Remember, my room was originally designed to be the Science Lab for the whole school. One year (that I remember) we had a Science Lab teacher and  she would take classes in and do lessons with them.  She was sweet and young and pretty and all the children loved her- but then she got budgeted out of the system!!
I have ONE cabinet that is filled with stuff that I brought to the room. The rest of my stuff is at home either in the $100 worth of bins I purchased at the end of the year or in the office that is completely non-functional now and is starting to look like a commercial for the upcoming season of Hoarders!! And the room is FULL to the hilt with materials- new and old.

Here comes the room pics...
These cabinets have glass windows that show a variety of specimens that are very old and other equipment. There's just no neat way to store the stuff inside and use the space efficiently at the same time. So it is IN there like SWIMWEAR (think about that one) .

The patterned paper is "purdy" contact paper from Target. The black is chalkboard vinyl from Hobby Lobby. They both now have new jobs- not only are they storing all these materials, they are to look pretty and have a purpose. I have our class rules and the block schedules written in chalk on the chalkboard.

If you look in this 'before" shot you can see that there are four large rectangle bulletin boards on the other side of the cabinet.
Well at the beginning of the year last year, I redid my first grade room and I bought a ton and a half of fabric to do so.
When The Mr. found out I was moving to a new room for this year, he immediately imposed a fabric purchasing moratorium.  Lay terms? Fabric Restriction!!! 
So I had to make what I had from last year work. I covered the large four board area with Dollar General green wrapping paper and then I was able to put the large reg size bulletin squares of fabric up and make it look like there were originally only two boards!!! (I squished the after pic on accident...sorry Hadar)!

I used the laminated scrapbook paper with black clothes pins to put on the closet for student work. And I had The Mr. climb up there and arrange those tubs. (It is killing me that they are not all the same size, color, or kind- but they were already there and belong to the school- so I will not be color coding and replacing those)!

This is a Science Board on the wall that you push in the panels and different maniuplatives come out. Miss D. (my student teacher from last year) is a room in another building that was also the original science lab- so she was struggling to get these covered, too.
 I know that I will need some of these boards when we begin Physical Science, so I did not want to cover with paper or something semi-permanent. 

So I used 2 wooden dowels ($1.50 a piece) and 4 command strips.... and ....
 Viola! or is it Voila!
Anyway, I bought (yes, I purchased) 4 panels from Walmart to put on the dowels and now I have this area of the room that is little brighter and I can get to these boards when I need them!
You might be asking "Squirrels, how did you  get around the fabric purchasing moratorium??"
Technically not JUST fabric- but instead- already a curtain!
 (Don't look at the crates with with binders- stop looking- STOP!!! They are there now but look different)

This is my ONE place where I have some of my things- A very big switch from having stuff everywhere in the past.

Maybe this will be good for me!
I don't need as many containers because I don't have the tiny pieces for reading and math centers and such.
When our STEM activities and challenges begin soon, there will be plenty to keep up with-  I am looking forward to the fun we will have there.


I wish I would have had a recorder in the room these last few days so that I could remember every word of our conversations! It is amazing to see them put the last 4 years of school to work and apply their thinking to some very deep questions!

I can't stay up much longer- tomorrow is Friday and I am in a groove of being all prepped for the coming week  before I leave there. What a great feeling!!!

Be sure to check back in soon- for Posts like
WTH Wednesday- There's a Bee in My Nose
Step Right Up and Take a Tour
and the one I am currently working on-
My Weight Loss Plan is Really Less of a Plan and More of a Gamble

Hope everyone is off to a great start!!!

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