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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!!!


  1. I'm all stressed out because school starts monday, but I'm so glad that your blog is back from summer break and had to share that thought ;-)
    Have a great weekend!

  2. Ok Miss Squillels what's wrong? Are you ok? I was so happy that you are back and now silence! I think I read on facebook about a new WTH Wednesday (my absolut favourit) and nothing! I hope you are not in the middle of a mager crisis and just napping or something. But please come back!
    and excuse all spelling errors, it's friday night and I was too lazy to do the copy-past-spell check thing...

  3. Maybe Grade 4 is harder than we think? Should I be worried too? I am starting Grade 4 in January.


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