Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Objective Wall

Today was my first day of the 2013-2014 school year. It was wonderful, as usual. My voice is very tired and my feet are very sore and I keep looking at the clock to see if it's acceptable to go to bed yet. But, I wouldn't trade these inconveniences for the world! I love my job wholeheartedly!

Over the summer I decided to create an objective wall to keep me accountable in creating meaningful lessons for my students and to keep track of how my students are progressing through the material. You can get a copy of it here in my TpT store.

I laminated them and hung them on my wall in the front of my classroom. The funny thing is, the 4th grade sister of one of my students suggested to me on Orientation Night that these were crooked. They are...slightly. But remember, I'm a lazy perfectionist...and this definitely falls into that category. :) My plan is to have the objectives up the night before...we'll see how it goes. So far I'm two for two!

I introduced this wall to my class today as we went through each subject. They did an excellent job with them. It was a great way for me to assess what they learned as we went along. The students seemed genuinely interested in what the plan was for the day. I have some students who struggle with motivation, so I'm hoping this helps them see the purpose in what I'm teaching them. We shall see.

Monday, September 2, 2013

September Currently


So I've been a little MIA lately. Last week was In-Service week, and it was brutal. I always get really stressed out when we go over rules and procedures because I'm an incurable rules-follower. I even had a great post ready about my classroom and what it looks like, but I freaked out about posting it because I was afraid I would get in trouble by the cops who are helping our school become safer in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy. See? I'm an incurable rules-follower/worst case scenario imaginer. Then we had to take out another loan to buy a new car because my husband's mode of transportation shucked out on him last minute. Ugh! It was a rough week. But, tomorrow starts a new school year...and I'm pumped!

Back to the September Currently...

1. My husband found out recently that the seminary he is attending in hopes of one day becoming a pastor is closing down after this school year. He has about two years of coursework left before he graduates with his Master's of Divinity (sounds weird and spooky, I know). But, with the school closing in a year, they are working with him/piling on the work so he can graduate in May. This is huge for us because it means we can move back to the Midwest to be near family a year sooner. However, he has to eat, breathe, sleep school for the next 9 months. Ahhhhh! Hence, he's translating ancient Greek on Labor Day. I actually find it kind of fascinating because I love languages and linguistics. He always tries to point out interesting translations to me, which I love!

2. I've been wanting a new school bag for a while now. I saw on another teaching blog how you can take the 31 Gifts utility tote and combine it with a file box to make the perfect teaching bag. I don't have any friends nearby who sell 31, and I didn't want to pay $50 for a teaching bag. So, I decided to concoct my own. I scoured several stores for something that would work, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Bed Bath and Beyond, and then I made it to Target. I found a nice leatherlike bag and a file pocket with a handle that fits perfectly. The best part of this bag is it has a section that perfectly fits my laptop, and a section that fits the file pocket. The two sections are separated by a GIANT zippered pocket where I can store all my other necessary supplies. It actually ended up costing $45 with tax, but I think I like it even better than the 31 bag!

3. Last night I left the grocery store so proud that I was all ready for school now that I had my meals planned and groceries purchased...and then I remembered I forgot toilet paper...and we were on our last roll...enough said. Sigh. Perfection is not within my grasp, I'm afraid.

4. I'm so excited for the first day of school, which is tomorrow. I.CAN'T.WAIT. This is the most prepared I've ever felt. Ahhhhh...(that's the contented sigh kind of "ahhh")

5. Well, I wrote this one before I came up with my brilliant idea of a pasta salad for this picnic. I always have the ingredients on hand for it. It's going to be fantastic. Here's the link to the recipe.

Love to Myself:

1. I really want to spend more of my free time reading quality books. I gravitate towards TV when I'm tired because reading requires effort on my part. I do love to read and want to inspire my students to read more. My "Mrs. Rhine is Currently Reading..." sign should help keep me accountable.

2. I really need to stop stress eating. I did a lot of this last week because it was an awful week. My husband does this too. We were doing really well on our diets, but need to get back on the wagon this week.

3. I tend to neglect the dishes when I'm tired and busy. I don't have a dishwasher, so I have to do them every day...but I don't always...gross I know. I started getting in better habits towards the end of last school year in this area, and have done an awesome job keeping up with the dishes this summer. I've already done two batches today. Yay me! I get really stressed when my house is messy, so if I keep it clean, I will be much happier!

Happy Labor Day!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Peek at My Week (8-25)


I'm linking up with the new linky party at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for A Peek at My Week.

1.) I'm starting in-service tomorrow. It's going to be a looooong day with teacher meetings in the morning and insurance meetings in the afternoon. Let's just say it's a good thing I now have a smart phone and we get free lunch. ; )

2.) My husband and I may have to buy a new car this week. The scooter he bought to replace his car in order to save on gas, insurance, inspections, etc. shucked out on his way to work tonight. Perfect timing, eh? We really must have two cars because we both live too far from work to walk, and our schedules never mesh. Sigh. Maybe I should move to China where cars aren't generally needed in the big cities. It has been one car problem after another this year. Good news is, I might have to beg off the insurance meetings so I can take my husband to work or he can drop me at home. Fingers crossed!

3.) My classroom is almost ready for Orientation Night on Tuesday. The main thing I have left is filling half of a bulletin board at the back of my room. I want it to be for Language Arts, but I really don't know what would be the most efficient use of the space. I was thinking of leaving space to hang anchor charts there because I don't have wall space for that, but that seems kind of boring. Any suggestions? I've been searching, but nothing has hit me over the head yet.

4.) I've also been trying to come up with a good back-to-school gift for my students. I did have an idea, but I was afraid this year's crop of students would misread the cutesy saying I was attaching to it. They tend to have less-than-innocent minds I'm afraid. :( Any suggestions?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Saturday Snapshots (8-24)


This is my last Saturday before forced responsibility sets in. Sigh. It's also the last Saturday where I wake up and don't feel like my day is evaporating before my very eyes. Sigh.

Here are a few glimpses into my week:

I made these little magnets for Orientation Night. I saw them on another blog, but can't remember which one. I didn't really follow a design or anything. It was a lot of fun, and hopefully they will help parents keep track of my contact info. I just know I will find at least one of them stuck to the side of a desk, though. Sigh.

My husband made these amazing sandwiches at like 11:30 last night. We were staying up late because he needs to finish this 25 page paper before Monday, and he must eat when he stays up late. I normally get incredibly sick when I eat that late, but miraculously I didn't! This sandwich consists of string cheese, cherry tomatoes from a friend's garden, and roast beef lunchmeat. He grilled them on the stove after he brushed them with olive oil mixed with Italian seasoning. They were to die for.

This morning I went through a massive pile of papers and threw away 90% of them. Why oh why do I save papers I don't need. If it weren't for my occasional "throw everything not nailed down away" binges, I would be a hoarder. Ugh. Anyways, I found my to-do list from the day of my wedding rehearsal on an unopened bank statement from over four years ago. I couldn't throw it away. It reminded me of how absolutely stressful that day was! Never again will I plan a wedding. Ugh! I am glad I married my husband, though. He's worth the stress. :)

My sweet mom mailed me this Little Bo Peep book this week. She found it at an antique store and remembered that I used to have a copy of this when I was a little girl. "Peep" is my dad's nickname for me, so it was extra special. I may or may not have gotten a little emotional when I opened it.

I love the illustrations and the rhyme scheme. I've already been thinking about whether or not this would work as a mentor text. :) Something tells me the boys in my class would be less than thrilled. I think I'll display it on my mantel until I put up my fall decor.

Speaking of fall decor, I already hung this on my wall at home. I had a fall craft night with some of my friends last night, and this is what I made. It's extremely simple-looking, but that's how I roll. (Hence "Simply Sixth Grade.") All I did was agonize over which scrapbook papers to choose and then cut out three ovals per pumpkin and affixed them to some tan scrapbook paper. I made little stems from scrapbook paper as well. I had another Pinstrosity in this frame already, so this project was FREE! I love free. Can I be considered thrifty if I just rarely spend money on decor? This might even be a good craft for my class...if I ever took time to do crafts with them. Most of my students have hated crafts and have art class every week, so I usually just don't do crafts with them.

Well, the laundry is done and the kitchen floor is probably dry now and the grocery store is calling my name. Better get going.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Five For Friday with a Freebie


I'm linking up with Doodle Bug's Five for Friday today. 

What a week! I don't really have many pictures to go with this, so bear with me. :)

 1.) I spent four out of the five days this work week working at school on school stuff even though in-service technically doesn't start till next week. Phew. I'm definitely out of shape for working everyday. It's going to be an adjustment!

2.) Last night I stayed up waaaaay too late helping my hubby stay awake to get a good chunk of his 25-30 page paper done before Monday. I'm getting a little too old to be staying up that late. I'm not a night owl! That's for sure!

3.) We went to a friend's for dinner on Tuesday, and she sent me home with leftovers, garden fresh cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and a fresh basil cutting! I love friends who share...especially friends with gardens. Tomorrow is going to be zucchini bread day. My husband hates all forms of zucchini, so I'm going to have to get creative to use it up without his knowledge. :)

4.) Tonight I had a fall craft night with some of my friends. It was so fun to be with only females and to prepare for our favorite season and to just talk about girly things. I'm not very social, but I always come away refreshed after hanging out with these girls.

5.) I started a Teachers Pay Teachers store this week. It's pretty empty right now, but I'm hoping to keep working on adding useful products. I have to get over my copyright infringement phobia first. Here's a glimpse of my latest product, which I'm planning to install in my classroom next week as soon as it's laminated:

Click here to find the product in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Here's a freebie poster set for teaching flat vs. round characters in cased you missed my earlier post.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

DIY Classroom Contact Information Magnets

As I mentioned earlier today, I have backtoschoolitis...aka I don't want summer to end.

So, instead of working on my reading curriculum binder, which is like top priority right now, I made some magnets I was planning to put on my students desks for Back to School Night. It has the school number (because I don't give out my cell phone number due some parents calling ALL the time about NOTHING) and the extension is actually the office extension because some parents call in the middle of my teaching time and expect me to tell them how Johnny is doing at that very moment, my school e-mail, and the class website/grading program we use and parents can access.

I can't remember where I saw this idea, but I thought it was great! I think the blog I found this idea on used the free magnets from Vista Print. I didn't want to use Vista Print because I already had magnet sheets at home leftover from a magnetic menu board I made last summer and blogged about here...and I didn't want a million magnets...and I'm stubborn and like to make things by myself.

So, I created a little box on Microsoft Word and messed around with fonts and colors and shadings until I liked it. Then I copied and pasted it about 19 times so I had a total of 20. Then I printed a sample copy to see how it turned out before I printed on my magnet sheets. Then I inserted the magnet sheet upside down in my printer because my printer flips the paper before it's done. Make sure you check out your printer carefully first. You better believe I printed backwards many, many times last year when I was making my menu board! Ugh.

Here's the final product:
So, I'm feeling a little less lethargic and a little more okay with school starting. Successful projects work well that way.

I Don't Want to Go Backtoschoolitis

Ugh! I was so motivated about the upcoming school year last week. I still have the last couple days of this week left and next week of teacher in-service. But......I'm starting to realize that my freedom is slipping away from me.

Yesterday I spent like eight hours in my classroom and was reminded that working that many hours at once is exhausting...and I almost never work just eight hours during the school year.

And there is this amazing thunderstorm raging right now and all I want to do is cuddle up in my bed with a book...but there is work to be done! Sigh.

Sometimes I forget that I'm a grown up and have been for a few years now and need to act like one. Sigh.

My lack of motivation may stem from looking through a friend's Europe pictures this morning. That may have caused me to...um...be a little dissatisfied with life. Sigh.

Must do work. Must do work. Must do work. Sigh.
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