Saturday, November 19, 2011

Teaching Writing

    new school clipart image: pencil writing on a piece of paper to complete a homework assignmentWriting can be a difficult craft to teach, can't it? I have quite a few advanced writers in my class which allows me the chance to work in small groups with my more struggling writers. Well, the main reason I was prompted to write this post was because as I was searching YouTube for some writing ideas, I came across a video which demonstrates a technique called Four Square writing. I am so excited to try this with my own class next week. What it essentially is is a 4 squares grouped together with a rectangle in the middle. In the rectangle (number one) you write the topic. The 4 other squares are supporting reasons for the topic. Students can write in these squares (square 5 is the feelings square, so they write about their feelings on the topic there), and add more details if you teach them editing skills. When they are finished, they write these sentences together as a paragraph. This is so simple and so brilliant, and I am so excited. It's really not much different than the thinking maps I use, but I think the format just looks cleaner, and the numbering of the squares organizes the paragraph much easier.
  If any of you use the Four Square method for writing, I would love to hear about it. To view the video, click here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Weekly Menu

   I am definitely on a budget, and this week seems tighter than ever. You will see that reflected in this week's menu (please remember I only plan 5 dinners a week, as we tend to either eat out on the weekend, or figure something out last minute). I find stews and soups are the best when you are on a budget.

Remember, it's so much better making your own dinners. You have better control of what you are eating, and it tends to be so much healthier for you. I always create a menu for myself so when we do our grocery shopping, I know exactly what I am getting (which makes grocery shopping, something I hate, faster and less expensive).

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Monday: Tortas with Ham

     *This is fast, easy, and delicious. I like to make this when I low on energy, or short on time*

1 bagget per person
4 slices of ham per bagget
mayonnaise
Sliced tomatoes
Sliced onion
cheese (optional)
guacamole (optional)
Jalapenos (optional, for heat)

Directions:

Toast baggets in the oven
Spread baggets with mayonnaise and guacamole
Layer with ham and cheese
Top with tomatoes and onions and jalapenos

Directions for homemade guacamole:

Use 4-5 ripe avocados and smash with a fork
Add just a touch of mayonnaise, and sprinkle with salt and pepper
Use a squeeze of lime juice to keep it from browning


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Tuesday: Chicken noodle Soup

    *This is the best homemade chicken noodle soup. My family loves it. It's filling, hearty, and healthy. It's also a great dish for fall.*


4 Carrots (I like to dice them as they cook faster that way)
2 slices of onions chopped
4 celery stems (diced)
3 potatoes (diced)
3/4 small bag of noodles (I use fideo noodles)
2 chicken breasts
1/4 cup of tomato sauce
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3-4 garlic cloves minced
2-3 bay leaves
2-3 dried chili pepper for heat (optional, and some chilies are hotter than others, so you really need to know your chilies) 
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1) Dice all your vegetables
2) Put a pot of water to boil. Add bouillon cubles, and herbs and spices, tomato sauce, and garlic. Boil.
3) In a separate pot, put your chicken breasts to boil.
4) When the soup begins to boil, add your vegetables and bring to a simmer.
4) I typically allow my chicken soup to cook 1-2 hours because the longer it cooks, the more flavorful it becomes.
5) After chicken breasts have cook (about 30 minutes), place them in a bowl and use 2 forks to shred them. Wait until about your last 20 minutes of cooking the chicken soup to add the chicken.
6) Once you have added your chicken, and the soup is almost done, add the noodles (fideo noodles take about 3-5 minutes to cook), and then serve.
Fideo noodles













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Wednesday: Tuna Melt

 *Here is another fast and easy dinner*

Canned tuna (I use about 4 cans, but I have a family of 3)
onion (just a couple of slices, diced)
mayonnaise
salt and pepper
Sliced bread
Sliced cheese
French fries

I am sure we have all made tuna melts before, but here are the directions in any case:

Mix tuna, mayonnaise (just a touch, about a tablespoon, and depending on how much tuna you are using),  onion, and salt and pepper to taste. Layer with a slice of cheese.

Add the mixture in between your sliced bread, butter the outside of the bread, and toast.

I usually make french fries to go with this. Tomato soup is another nice side to have with it.

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Thursday: Lentil and vegetable soup

  * a new dish I have not yet made*

I plan on making this exactly the way I make the chicken soup, except I will not have chicken, and I will use pasta shells instead of fideo. I will, however, provide you with the link that inspired me to make this dish (its recipe is different than the way I plan on making mine).

Click here for the lentil recipe, or just follow my chicken noodle soup recipe instead



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Friday: Chicken tender loins
Pinned Image

* I have never made this dish before, but it looks delicious. I will include a link to it that explains all the ingredients needed, as well as provides the instructions*

I am making mine with a side of mashed potatoes and vegetables.

Click here for the recipe


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Embracing Fall

 Maple Leaves clip art  Fall really has come at a very opportune time for my class. We have been working on a unit of "Changes" since the second week of school. So many different topics fall under this focus, such as our bodies, intellect, our lives, and nature (which is where we are currently at). What a great lens from which to view fall: change! The leaves fall, the wind blows, the colors change. The weather becomes colder and cooler, and it's the perfect time to take out the sweaters and scarves and bundle up.
  It just so happens that fall really is my favorite season. Perhaps this is why I am so motivated to really vamp up my unit. I recently started to think about how I can create an even better unit, really embracing more of fall, like Harvest, Thanksgiving, seasons, etc. Since I teach internationally in Mexico, I have never really done thorough studies involving Thanksgiving with my students, but from a global, multicultural perspective, I think I really do have a duty to enlighten my students in this area. So, I would like to bring this into our focus on changes. In addition, since we have many Koreans at our school, I would also like to include the Korean harvest celebration, "Chusok".
  I am curious to know how all of you are embracing fall in your own classrooms. What activities will you be doing, or have done already, with your classes? I look forward to hearing from all of you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Teaching Focus

   school ruler

   I have often thought that as teachers, we really should have a focus, like a specialty area. I know many of us do. Some of us teach British lit., or chemistry, still others are special education teachers. Still, within those specialized areas, we still should have a focus. Not every doctor is a brain surgeon, after all, and so we too should specialize in some area of teaching. Perhaps this is more challenging for the elementary teacher of multiple subjects. Where does one begin?
  My area of focus has been creating and maintaining a positive classroom climate. This is an area that should be important in all classrooms, and for all teachers (and I am not suggesting it isn't). I have chosen, though, this area to be one in which I put much concentrated effort, thought, and practice into. As I have mentioned in previous posts, this was the area in which I studied and researched in graduate school. I chose this as a research area because I was very troubled as to how I would reach the students in my current district (at that time, many of the schools I was involved with were low-income, and I was presented with challenging students).
   After studying and researching this topic, I made a commitment to myself to continue this study. It wasn't enough to stop with it at graduate school, but I needed to further my understanding by continuing to actively pursue it in my own classroom. As such, this is what I do on a day-to-day basis. Since students cannot learn until they feel comfortable and safe, I feel this supersedes any other necessity in the classroom.
  During the summers I continue to read research on the topic, even going back to my own findings. In the classroom, I actively reach out to my students to build those ever-important relationships to ensure students feel safe and care for. I take time to listen to my students and hear their pleas. How quick are we to disregard what they have to say? With a tender heart, I try my best to always listen to each of my students. Is it draining? Yes. Time consuming? That too. Well worth it? Definitely.
  What about the rest of you? What do you focus on in your teaching? How do you actively work on that focus daily? I would love to hear from you.


Graphics by: www.countryclipart.com

Friday, October 14, 2011

What's Happening in the Classroom-This past week

    Click to viewThis past week (still this week, really, since today is Friday) was an extremely short week. With Tuesday and today off, we have 3 short days to finish our study on changes in nature. Last week's focus and this week's focus was on plot, visualization, ed words, and ar sounds in language arts. We examined our focus question (or big idea) through Frog and Toad, and other such literature that depicted nature.
    We also began our study on creation, which tied in oh-so-nicely with our focus question (I love integrating, especially when I can make it work!). We were able to look at all things in nature that God created, right as we were studying changes in nature. I found many wonderful songs and short videos that went right along with our study, which really helped to enhance student understanding on the topic.
    My kids also engaged in a week-long writing project (recall that our week-long consisted on three days), going through all steps of the writing process. They wrote a fictional story, set in a garden (anything goes with that assignment, the only requirement was the setting).
    This was essentially what we did this past week. It was a short, fast week, but we were able to tie up the study on our focus question, and we will be ready to start anew once we return from our two-week vacation.
   What about the rest of you? I would love to hear what you have been doing in your own classrooms. Click to view

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

In The Classroom Series

 Maple Tree clip art  I love sharing and hearing about what is going on in our classrooms. How true is it that as teachers we are so busy, in our own little world even, that we are somewhat clueless about what's happening in the classrooms around us? I know this is true for myself. I am even going to create this as a series, and would love it if you participated by creating your own so we can all all. If you do, just leave a comment saying you created your series, and I will be able to check it out (and so will others).
  This past week was a short week since Friday was an in-service day. We were able to pack in lots of learning in the meantime, however. For reading, we just finished our short study on theme, enveloped within our big idea of "changes that are exciting". I was so excited because my students were able to pull from their readings and connect to their own lives. It's not always easy for students to look beyond the text to the bigger meaning, but I really try to get students to think bigger than the literal text. With everything they read, I ask them to apply it to their own lives. In a way, I ask them to form a personal relationship with that text.
   We just started a new chapter in math where we are focusing on adding double digits, data, and graphs. It as been somewhat of a struggle for some of them as we have looked at different ways to make a number, asking them to make a ten into ten ones. Thankfully, only a few of them are still struggling with this concept, and I am continuing to work with those students in math centers to help them develop the concept.
    In Bible, we just finished learning all about families, how families are chosen by God, and how believers are part of God's family. My students worked really hard on being responsible and helping as good family members in their own homes.
    What about the rest of you? Since this week isn't over, you can share what your kids did last week.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Word Work Linky Party

    
    Rockin Teacher Materials is hosting a linky party on word work. Although the linky party asks to share one activity, I feel compelled to share my entire word work packet. The word work packet lists about 20 different word work activities for students to do (some include play-doh spelling, spelling art (where they write their words and make designs with the letters), and other such fun activities). The kids absolutely love the activities, and since there are 20 different activities, they are not always doing the same thing, so they don't get bored.
    I spent the first several weeks going through each word work activity with my students whole-class. About a month into school, I felt my students had a good enough grasp on the activities that they could be left to work on it alone. Now what I do (which was my initial plan all along) is pull a group to work on phonics during this time, and the other students work on their word work packet.
   Since we focus on spelling patterns in our spelling words, I find that the different study practices within the word work packet truly help the students in their identifying those patterns. On our last spelling test, every student got over 100% except just one student. I think that alone speaks for the success of the different word activities.

Get a copy of my Word work packet  for free.

Math Centers-What an Improvement

      Color Crayons The beginning of the year is always tricky when it comes to assessing. Most of the students have not been studying or thinking about anything school-related over the summer, and tend to assess lower than normal. My students started the first weeks of school very low in math. I was actually scared that I had so many low students, and without an aide in my class, I didn't know what I was going to do.
     I recently wrote a post commenting on the benefits of math centers, which really is my answer to helping meet student needs. Since we have now been doing math centers for several weeks, I thought I would comment on how much improvement I have already seen in my students. The benefit of doing centers is that you get to focus on small groups of students at a time. Depending on how much time you have alloted, you might get to work with anywhere from 2 to 4 small groups a day. My time contsraints allow me to work with only 2 small groups a day, so I work with my lowest group, and my middle group, but what a difference that time makes! I track student progress between quizzes and exams to see what they are struggling with, and where they need to go. Though many students tested very low at first, everyone has improved. Most students have improved by 30% or more. Those who have so far shown a lower percentage improvement are those who started pretty high initially.
   Girl with Books I am so pleased with the improvement of my students that I really wanted to share it with all of you, and use this as yet another reason to plead for math centers and small groups. Its effectiveness really is astounding.
 
   

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Teacher I'm Done...What do I do? Simple Solutions so you Don't Hear that Question.

 Click to view   Another blog post made me want to write about what I do on this current topic. As teachers we are well aware of how some students work at different speeds. Last year I had many students who worked quickly (and this year, well not so much). My whole classroom management system actually takes care of this issue wonderfully. To begin, students have an unfinished box where unfinished work goes. They know that once they finish something early, they check that box (work in that box goes home at the end of the day as homework). If there is nothing in there, they get to do whatever free-choice activity they are currently allowed to do. Let me explain:
   A fellow teacher at my school painted a tree on my classroom wall. Each student has a laminated monkey in which they begin their day on the green leaf on the tree. According to their behavior, the move up or down the tree. Each leaf allows them a new free-choice activity when they have completed all of their in-class work. Here are the leaves with their appropriate activity: first (sit anywhere-no extra activity so if all their work is finished, they can read); second (draw or color); third (play-doh and whiteboard); fourth (computer); fifth (certificate home).
   Since the placement of their monkeys on the tree dictates what they can do when all work is finished, there is no need to ask, "what do I do now?" This, of course, takes time for the kids to learn, but once they catch on to it, it is very helpful. The free-choice activities can obviously be modified to fit your class, but my kids love these activities. :)

Why is the Beginning of the School Year so Tough?

 Click to view     At the end of last year there was a discussion on a chat forum in which I participate about which is more difficult, the beginning of the school year, or the end? My vote: the beginning, hands down! Since I teach first grade, and my kids come from the campus across from us (it's still the same school), this whole transition to elementary is especially difficult (sometimes more so for the parents). The parents have to learn new rules and procedures (at the kinder campus they get away with bringing the kids late, at our campus the gate closes after the late bell and kids are not allowed to enter), meet new teachers, coordinators, and the whole process is just overwhelming for many.
    From a teacher's perspective, it's just very slow (sometimes) to establish those routines, and get the kids into the swing of things. For the first couple of weeks, the morning routine was just dreadful. The kids didn't grasp what they were doing, and I even had a couple of parents contact me about how upset their child was about not knowing what to do in the morning. My morning routine consists of 2 sentences to be written and corrected in their journal, and then read. Of course, the kids come in very nervous and unsure, but boy it sure was a painful process as we learn the routine together. Thankfully the kids understand the routine by now.
   Once the kids actually know the routines and have it down, things begin to move more smoothly. This is when we teachers get to enjoy what we are doing, and actually teach. This is why establishing routines from the very beginning is so important. That is also why I do the same thing at the same time everyday. Once the kids get into a routine, you don't want to steer away from it (sometimes we have to, for assemblies or any special event, but those are occasional and therefore can be managed). I do my Daily 3 (a modified version of the Daily 5) at the same time everyday, as with oral language, spelling, phonics, writing and grammar, math, etc. The kids know what to expect, and they end up being able to transition flawlessly for the most part.
   Now that I am in week 4, my kids have the routines down and I can begin to enjoy what I do, which is spend my day with great kiddos and guide them in their learning. The road traveled to get to this point, however, was very, very rough!
   How do all of you establish routines in your class?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Centering on Math Centers

   Children's Laptop Computer clip art  I love doing math centers with my kiddos! Comparing from years past when I did not do centers, and when I have done centers, I see such a huge difference in what the students can do. It is definitely worth it. For those who are new to centers or unsure how to set them up, here is a little of what I do to successfully make my centers work.

   First of all, I need to know how much time I have for math! My whole math time is very strategic and planned out, and I time everything I do in math. This helps me to stay on track.

  How many centers you offer are going to be based on how much time you have, and how many groups you have. I generally have 3 groups (A,B,C) with A being my lower ability group, and C the highest. Now, I also focus on specific skills, so groups can change on a weekly basis. I look at my target skills and group the students together based on similarities of needs among the students. To do this, I use a spiral review before every lesson which quickly shows me old concepts and new concepts, and whether or not students are getting those concepts. I will also use quizzes and math tests to group my students. Remember, groups are flexible, and are based on student needs.

  I have 3 centers, with only 2 rotations. These are the centers I use: 1) Teacher center, 2)Hands-on Center, and 3) Independent center. The teacher-center is exactly what it sounds like. I work with  small group of students at that time. The hands-on center includes math games, flashcards, and specific tasks that pertain to what we are learning (for example, my students are learning about grouping so one of the activities in the center asks them to make different numbers by grouping in tens and using numbers left over). The independent center consists of their math practice pages, and any extra work I put in their folder to help them work on whatever skills they need extra practice in.

  Since we only have 2 rotations a day, a math group does not get to do all 3 activities a day. Here is what a week typically looks like:

  R1 (rotation 1)                                 R2
A-Teacher Center                         A- Independent Center
B-Hands-On Center                     B- Independent Center
C-Independent-Center                  C- Hands-on Center

   This example would be for Day 1 of centers only. Day 2 I would start with group B. Groups A and  would meet with me more than group C as they are below or at level. To reach group C, you want to place more challenging work in the hands-on center.
    You will notice that during rotation 2 I am not with any small groups. I have my two lower groups practicing skills independently, so at this time I navigate the room and work one-on-one with students who need that help. I start my centers with the more capable group (C) doing their practice pages and independent work because they need less assistance from me (they aren't allowed to talk to me if I am working with a group).


My schedule: I keep my mini-lessons in all subjects to 10-15 minutes. This helps to keep the attention of my students, and lower misbehavior. It works miraculously.

10 min- spiral review
10 min- Calendar
10 min- mini lesson
20 min- Rotation 1 math centers
20 min- Rotation 2 math centers

  If you are not doing math centers, you might want to consider it. I enjoy it, even though it took me a while to get into the groove of it. Once I figured it out, it became exciting, and the kids are always excited to do math centers. Try it and see if you and your students don't fall in love with it as well.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

An Impossible Classroom: Constructing for Success

   Girl Reading a Book clip art One of my main concerns in the classroom is the construction of a positive classroom. There is a way to create an atmosphere where students will thrive, and a lot of it is common sense. Here are a few things I do:

1) Allow plenty of time for students to work in pairs or groups. They love to talk, don't you, and when they can learn socially their learning and attention increases. My kids actually sit in groups to make it very easy for them to interact.

2) Stop talking so much! So, your a teacher, but teaching doesn't equate to learning. Know the approximate attention span of your students and keep your mini-lessons to that time. You shouldn't be doing all the work, your students should. I do about 10-minute lessons, then students work. I rotate between mini-lessons and student activities. You won't have to keep asking your kids to listen to you if you keep it brief.

3) Build around the interests of your students. I look at what they want to learn in a lesson (typically when doing a KWL chart, or just through the process of knowing them and their interests) and construct lessons that way.

4) Give choices. My students get a lot of freedom in the classroom, and I can tell by their behavior that they enjoy the freedom.

   I would love to hear how you build your own positive classroom.

Busy, Busy, Busy!

  Stack of Books clip art  I know I am not alone. Alarm goes off at 5:30. After hitting snooze a couple of times I tumble out of bed and get ready for the day (thank goodness for coffee!). Get to school, get morning work ready, pick up copies, and as soon as the kids come in my madness begins! We have been in school for 2 weeks already, and it is really taking my group a long time to get used to morning work, and some other routines. Oh dear, I hope week 3 is more successful.
   Since the beginning of the school year I have had my parent meeting, a school-wide welcome in the evening, and one meeting with a parent, not to mention our regular department meetings on Thursday. Oh, and two days a week of tutoring. I am EXHAUSTED.
   While I do have a very active group this year, they are mostly very, very sweet. I love the life and energy that my kids bring into the room. As always, I still require a 2-hour nap every afternoon when I return home. Is there any other career as exhausting as teaching?

Themes this week:

Here's a bit of what I have been doing with my kiddos:

1)Changes-how our bodies change

2) Neighbors- how to be a good neighbor

3) Grouping numbers in 10

   It is very evident that I have a wide-range of abilities in my class. Many of them are spelling phonetically. One has extremely low English skills (the others speak English very well!), and one (a Korean boy) rarely talks at all (though he knows both English and Spanish, and Korean of course). We are practicing for the daily 3 (I do a modified version of the Daily 5), and will later do math centers. Until then, we are just getting used to the routines, expectations, etc.

Well, I would love to hear how your first weeks have gone. Drop me a note!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ending Week One

   Elephant clip art Okay, so I was given a very challenging group this year. Their energy is out of this world. It is literally nonstop from the minute they walk in until they leave. I am left passed out on the floor wondering what even happened. There are serious behavior issues in the class, but I am using all my tricks to make this successful. When I was earning my master's in teaching, I researched how to create a positive learning environment so that even the most challenging child can learn. Studying that area was wonderful! It taught me so many things I can do to help my kids feel comfortable and safe, which is my top priority.
    My classroom management system is proving to really help control the behavior. I have a tree painted on my wall, and each student as a monkey that he or she has decorated and written his or her name. The students move their monkeys up for good behavior, and down for misbehavior. Each space they move up allows them a free-choice activity in their free-time. Here are the choices:
      space 1: Sit anywhere (with some rules and regulations)
      Space 2: draw and color
      Space 3: play with play-doh and whiteboard
      Space 4: Use computer
      Space 5: Certificate home; go for water or bathroom 2X without it costing a group point

Let me tell, you, this system has worked wonders. The kiddos want to move their monkeys up. These are also all free things for me. I don't have to shovel out tons of money buying things for them. In addition to helping motivate them to behave well, it also motivates them to get their work done! They can't do any of the free-choice activities unless their work is done, so they want to work.

What about the rest of you? What interesting classroom management systems do you have set-up that really motivates and encourages positive behavior? I would love to hear.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Parent's Meeting Today

    We had our parent's meeting this afternoon. I don't know why, but I always get so nervous. I think it's partially because I do the whole thing in Spanish, which is not my native language, and when my nerves kick in, I stumble through my words, when typically I wouldn't (or at least, not like I do when I conducting a meeting a Spanish!).
    Over all, it was a good meeting. I do enjoy getting to know the parents and beginning to build that important relationship between themselves and me. I discussed the behavior management in my class, homework, reading logs, and snack time. Those really were my talking points. I only had about 20 minutes to speak since the Spanish teacher also needed time to speak, as did the disciplinarian. Tomorrow we have a school-wide general meeting as well, so this has been thus far a busy, busy, and exhausting week.
   I am just curious, but when do all of you meet your parents (in form of a meeting)?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Back in the Saddle Again

  bus01  It's official. School has started. What an adventure! I was entirely overwhelmed with all the supplies my kids brought in (I always am, as some of them literally come in with trash bags full of supplies). Some how I got everything organize, though. Two students were absent, and I hear I should be expecting another student tomorrow (a girl! Yay! Because I currently have only 3 girls), so there will be more bags of supplies to arrive.
   I am not sure how other teachers organize their things, but I only take a few supplies from my students as communal supplies, and let them keep the rest. I take pencils, some erasers, pencil sharpeners, whiteboard markers, whiteboards, and play-doh. My students simply do not have the space at their desks for all of this stuff.  Since most of my students have their names on their things, I try to give them their actual supplies, but sometimes that can be time consuming.
    What about the rest of you? How do you organize your supplies?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

How to draw/paint cute Figures on Your wall When you are not an Artist

    Giraffe clip art I am not a good artist. I can draw girls half-way decently, but that'sit. Nothing else I have ever drawn or attempted to draw has ever turned out the way I planned. This year I really wanted to do a safari theme in my classroom, but my lack of creative ability was going to be a hindrance, or so I thought. I had another teacher paint a tree on my wall (she was confident she could do it, and I was scared to ruin my walls, so this was good news that she was willing to do it), but the tree alone was not going to make my safari theme.
   What I did was print out some simple safari animal drawings, more cartoonish looking, and drew them with pencil on my wall. The cartoon-looking animals are easier to draw free-hand because the lines and curves are very simple and basic. Actually, I am realizing that if I continued to practice drawing them (um, no time for that though), I could probably get good enough so that I won't have to look at the picture first. After I have my figures penciled in, I use a thin paint brush and whatever color I using for that animal to outline it. Then, depending on the size and shape, I take a larger paint brush and start filling in the rest of my animal. Once it's all painted, it looks rather nice. I have definitely surprised myself. So, if you are not an artsy person like me, this could still be something you do. Others also use the projector trick (we only have one, and we share it, so it is quite a pain for me to mess with), which would probably be even better.
    While I didn't take any more pictures today, I added a lion, and two safari kids to my walls. It's looking really great, and I am so excited about what my kiddos will think about the room. I am sure they are going to love it. If you have any tricks you use to decorate and make your room your own, I would love to hear about it.

Friday, August 12, 2011

New pics of my Safari room



 Yesterday I posted the pictures of my safari room thus far. Well my dears, it has improved. The tree is complete, and I have painted an elephant and a giraffe print where my kids hang their backpacks. I will be working tomorrow and Sunday to continue on this safari theme. Please let me know what you all think.  Our new computers just came in today. Love it! 




 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My room: Before and After (but not done)




As I post my pictures, please remember I have a tiny, tiny room. My goal has always been to maximize space, and use it effectively. So, I really feel that the way I put my room this year has helped me to accomplish this. Also, I am doing a safari theme, which is coming along slowly, but coming along nevertheless. Here are the pictures: 











the soon-to-be safari tree


my messy desk





see that little guy? Yours truly painted him!

There's my little guy again!


    I am clearly not finished, but I am not stressed to finish everything before Monday. I have adopted the other first grade teacher' motto: "Ni modo", which means something like "Whatever". I still plan to pain an elephant, and a lion, maybe a zebra, but that seems a bit complicated. I was to bring some more safari colors into my room. I'll post more pictures later when the tree is finished.

Please let me know what you think of my room. I would love to hear suggestions as well. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My, My, It's all Coming Together

     Okay, so I have been keeping all of you updated on what's been going on in my room lately (since that's all I am really doing). Today, thank goodness, the computers in the teacher's lounge were finally connected to the printer, so I printed out a ton of things I needed for my room. I now have passes (we don't have a color printer, so I am coloring everything by hand), bulletin board border, safari animals to color and put somewhere in the room. The best news of all, however, is I am getting a safari tree painted on my wall tomorrow! Yay! My dear teacher friend (who is pregnant and not teaching this year, but is helping everyone else) agreed to do it. I am so excited, because I am actually a bit scared to paint the tree (I am not very artistic). So, I hope to have some pictures for you all soon. Oh this is exciting.
    How far is everyone else in their room?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Weekly Menu Series Week Three

                                                  

I am so sorry, but my husband had to work late last night, so I didn't bother with my menu until now. Here's what I am making this week. Feel free to use the menu.

Tuesday: Chicken Pipian

Chicken drumsticks (2 for each person)
Pipian sauce (check in the Mexican aisle for pre-made sauce)
Rice or fideo
Veggies or salad

Boil the chicken until it's cooked. Then, move the drumsticks to the stove in a pan, and add the pipian sauce (you'll want to use a lot). Since the chicken is cooked, you are essentially warming the sauce and getting the chicken nicely coated. During this process, get your rice going, and warm your vegetables. Serve.

Wednesday: Lasagna

Lasagna noodles (get the ones that don't have to be pre-cooked)
Cheese
Ground beef
Vegetables (carrots, mushrooms, corn and bell peppers are good ones to use)
Sauce (I just use hunts)

Brown your beef using whatever seasonings you like. I love to put garlic in mine. Oil your baking pan, and add a layer of noodles, sauce, beef, veggies, and then cheese. Repeat layers until you've used all ingredients, and tops with sauce and cheese. It takes me about 30 minutes for my oven to warm it all up, but I am using a weird oven that doesn't quite like me.

Thursday: Left over lasagna

We have enough to last us two days.


Friday: Sloppy Joes

Ground Beef
Tomato sauce and/or paste
Ketchup
Sugar
Hamburger buns

Brown the beef, using onion, salt and pepper. Add the tomato sauce, mixing it in well with the beef. Add a few pinches of sugar, and ketchup. Stir well, and add to your hamburger buns.


Parent-Teacher Conferences: Keeping the Humanity

         As I write this, it is currently parent-teacher conference season. We've been in school for a couple of months, and finall...