27 November, 2015

Christmas Crafts for Fifth Graders

I love making Christmas crafts with my fifth grades. We have been a little crazy in previous years. Here are some of the crafts we have done in just the last two years:

Construction paper wreaths

Paper ice cream cone ornaments

Gift box wreaths

Thumb print Christmas light cards

Woven paper ornament

Snowman in a jar

This year I am planning on doing most (or all of) these wonderful looking crafts (along with some I have done in past years):

Cinnamon ornaments

Monogramed felt ornaments

Sled ornaments

Shoebox Floats

This is the second year that I have given the assignment of a shoebox float along with the traditional state report to my students. They had fun making them and I loved looking at them. The assignment was simple: Create a float in a box the size of a shoebox. The only requirements are that the box needs to be entirely covered, the state name needs to be present, the state motto, and the state flag. The students could also decorate with other key features of that state. Look at some of my students' creations.

05 September, 2015


I am a little strange. (Yes, yes. Many of you think that about many aspects of my life, but I am only focusing on one for this post.) I need my life to be busy. I cannot have vast amounts of free time and live a leisure life of electronics and pedicures. I need to be doing stuff consistently. It's a need and while it drives me crazy, I crave a packed lifestyle. I just get more done.
Take this past week and upcoming week for example.
Monday I had my first Master's class of the semester.
Tuesday I stayed after school to help conduct a parent information meeting for an overnight camp I attended with my fifth graders and then participated in our school's open house night. Upon completing my duties at school at around 6:00, I speedily drove to my second Master's class, arriving just in time for the last five minutes. (I even contacted the professor to let her know what was going on. "I'll get there around 6:30. Do you think your class will go longer than that on the first day?" "We will definitely go longer than that. Please come by." I didn't think 5 minutes should have constituted my attendance, but hopefully I look awesome in the eyes of my professor now.)
Wednesday my tutoring appointment canceled on me which was a good thing because I was at school until the early evening, getting ready for our overnight camp.
Thursday and Friday I was at the overnight camp, wrangling eighty 10-year-olds.
Today I babysat, worked on all my homework, and still need to plan for next week.
Next week I am glad I have a day off because I have class on Tuesday, a meeting on Wednesday (that I have two hours of homework for) along with tutoring, and class on Thursday.
I leave home between 6:15-6:45 and arrive home--between 5:30 and 10:00 depending on the night.
In between all of this, I still need to eat, sleep, be a wife, clean a bit, exercise, do 6-9 hours of homework, and plan for school. (We started a new math and language arts program this year that I am still not 100% sure of, so it is sucking in more time than I would like).
This is how I thrive.
How on earth will I fill my time next year when I finish my Master's program?

Maybe become a sumo wrestler. (I look good with that much weight.)

29 August, 2015

Open House Invitations

In my school district, it is traditional to have a back to school night the day before school starts. I love it. I get to meet my kids and make sure I have all their names down. I get an idea of what their parents are like. I have volunteers sign up to be room parents and help out at class parties.
This year we did not have a traditional back to school night because we had just gotten into our classrooms less than a week prior to that date. Instead we had a launch party. It was fun and nice to see the kids, but it was also awkward. I don't have information on any of the kids, I don't know who my room mom will be, and no volunteers set up.
We will be holding an open house on Tuesday and I thought it would be fun for the kids to make invitations for their families.
Here's what I came up with:

I found the idea on Mr. Printables. They have the cutest ideas on that website. I used their template and turned it into a Silhouette file so that I could easily cut out the houses with my machine. The kids then wrote the information for the open house on the inside of the house and decorated. The houses turned out pretty perfectly (although I secretly like the plain white houses a lot better than decorated houses). They fold down flat and pop open.
You open the house and it's for an open house. How witty.

18 August, 2015

How to set up a classroom in six days: Day 6

Guys! I forgot to take pictures today because it was crazy, but I decided I needed to post anyway because I would forget later. I am fully planning on taking pictures of everything and doing a thorough blog post on my adorable classroom soon.
I showed up today at around 7:00 and thought I didn't have much to do, so I kept myself busy remaking my getting to know you beach ball. I had a small beach ball that I made last year covered with topics kids might like in order to get to know each other. They toss it from person to person, read the topic out loud and then answer it. Because I was under the belief that I did not have anything to do this morning, I pulled out a big beach ball so that there would be more topics and better conversation starters.
Oh my.
The old ball's topics covered just a small portion of the new ball. Like literally 1/8. I spent over an hour trying to think of more and more topics that could be written on my ball. After I was finished, I looked down and discovered that the sharpie from the beach ball had stained my white shirt. I was dying. My shirt is now lightly pink in the chest area and on the sleeves. My students had better like this ball.
I was stalling until the fire inspector toured the building and declared it good to go for tomorrow so that I could hang my decorations from the ceiling. As soon as the green light was given, I put up my hot air balloons and cursive alphabet. I still have my place value chart to adhere to the wall and then I am done.
We had a launch party from 3:00-5:00 this evening. Because we did not want to stress teachers and make them prepare for an all out open house, we dubbed the evening a behind the scenes look at the new school. The students took a self-guided tour of the premises and went around to their new classroom. I only had four students that did not show up, but everyone I met was wonderful. The parents seemed amazing and the students seem super eager and excited to be in my class. I cannot wait for tomorrow to come so I can really start to get to know those adorable kids.
I had a fun time laughing with the parents and talking with the kids.
I love fifth grade because you can treat them like adults. You don't need to talk down to them. (I honestly think it's demeaning when a fifth or sixth or sometimes fourth grade teacher talks down to their kids like they're talking to a two-year-old. If you treat them like they are older, they will act older. Kids are awesome like that.)

Well, that was my day. I left close to 6:00 and I am completely ready for tomorrow. I cannot wait!

17 August, 2015

How to set up a classroom in six days: Day 5

Guys! Tomorrow I get to meet my kiddos! In 24 hours, our "launch party" will be over and I will hopefully be home, resting for the first day of school.
So yesterday, Wolf and I went on a drive. We love going for drives on Sundays. We drove up to the place my sister will be married (in TWO MONTHS) and enjoyed getting out. I was a little bit stressed yesterday.
We saw a pretty awesome sunset. You get the phone-camera-througha-dirty-window-while-driving-on-a-freeway view.
I think it helps that we have had major haze the last couple days. (Thanks, California, for the smoke from your fires.)

Onto today!
Okay. It was super awkward. We had a major pep rally because my district turns 100 this year! They did a roll call for each of the (dozens of) schools. Everyone cheered us on because we're so cool (and maybe because they feel sorry for us because we're brand new). The rest was boring. And awkward.
The idea was to invite all the employees of the district. And apparently all the high school student counsels and cheerleaders. Weird. We show up to a local university and get to triumphantly walk up some stairs between rows of pompoms being waved by preppy cheerleaders. They were pretty stoked for us. "Go teachers!"
I was dying. I couldn't hold my laughter in and almost started crying. (Why does the district think that the teachers or the cheerleaders enjoy this?) There was a pretty sweet balloon arch that we went under too. And a marching band. (Granted, one of the high schools in the district is pretty cool and gets invited to the Macy's Day Parade on occasion.)
We arrived in the arena and had to wait until every single school arrived. One of my coworkers and I meandered over to our old school and chatted with our awesome friends. I think we were there for almost an hour before they started the meeting. We were entertained by the high school student counsels dancing and singing along to the music. And a random announcer thrusting his mic into people's space and telling them to sing along to karaoke.
The meeting was nice. The entire time I wished I wasn't there.

Once we got back, I worked hard on my classroom and got it just about perfect! I forgot to take pictures in between, but most of the organizing was the last, small things.

It's almost ready! I cannot wait.

Look at my previous, more stressful days:
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6