Saturday, November 1, 2014

November Currently

Hi blogging friends! It's been a while. Why is it each year school starts and my blog seems to go dormant for about 3 months? 1st 9-weeks down and already almost half way through the 2nd! Guess I need to get back to blogging with my addition to Oh Boy 4th Grade blogger Farley's Currently!

Listening: Ah The Princess Diaries - such a nice movie. I got my 3 fur babies a set of those plastic ball cages that have a bell in them. Every so often one of them will go crazy and bat one around the house.

Loving: Finally, some cooler weather! We're under a freeze warning for a few hours tonight, but I'm enjoying not having a few days of duty that aren't sweltering with heat and humidity. The kitties and I will be cuddling tonight!

Thinking: Halloween this week was nothing compared to the schedule I have coming. A parent conference on both Monday and Tuesday, the first LSU womens' basketball game of the year on Wednesday night, and because of the football game with the school's crosstown rival on Friday, we have the annual "glow in the dark" pep rally. AND don't forget the regular art and library visits! Something tells me this is going to be a loooong week!

Wanting: This stretch of the year can be so tough. We haven't had a holiday break since Labor Day and won't have one until we're off the entire week of Thanksgiving. It can't get here soon enough or everyone.

Needing: So I always seem to have at least one crocheting project going. More than a year ago, I started making a chocolate and dark teal afghan for my queen bed. I haven't touched it for a while now. I'm thinking I'm going to make it smaller than what I had planned and turn it sideways on my bed as an accent. If I don't I'll never finish it. Then, I started a scarf for a fellow teacher as a little bit late birthday gift. It's still not finished! Besides that, I'm already getting ideas for small Christmas gifts. Guess I better get stitching!

Reading: I don't really read much these days. Instead, I spend time crocheting, playing games, or doing school related work. If looking at Facebook teacher groups counts, then I guess that's about all I'm reading.

Have a happy week, everyone!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Currently September!

September is here and while for many school will be starting this week, I've been on the ground running with students since August 13. Without further ado, here's my addition to the September Currently linky by Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade

Tomorrow, I've got to email my weekly newsletter to my parents, decide on a new desk arrangement and accompanying seating chart, and wash clothes. Speaking of clothes, I wear khakis pretty much every day and mine have just about had it. I need to head to our school uniform supplier in town and get some.

I have more than 1500 books in my classroom library collection. Because of the orientation of my room now, I haven't been able to bring them all back to school. Last week, I ordered a double sided book cart that was on sale at Really Good Stuff for 50% off! It's at the post office waiting for me! I wish I would have made it back from school Friday in time to check the mail and get it.

My 3 trips: Nebraska because members of my family settled there back in the early 1900's before moving to Louisiana, NYC just to see the big city and bright lights, and Colorado because I'd like the chance to see some real snow. This southern girl has seen snow, but not REAL snow!

Hope everyone has a safe and blessed Labor Day holiday and best wishes to those starting school this week!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Classroom Setup 2014 Part 3

The first 3 days of the school year have passed and I'm enjoying a nice Sunday doing some school work while washing clothes. I didn't have picture earlier to show how my desks are arranged, but now I do! Take a look.

My largest class has 18 students, so I made two rows of 9. I like this desk arrangement for several reasons. First all of my students are facing the front of the classroom. This is great since I use my projector for a lot of different things during the day. Secondly, it makes it very easy for students to find or be assigned a partner. I do have odd numbered rows, so there is one group of three students that are paired together in each. I can also have students in the front row turn around and pair up with the student directly behind them in the back row. 

This seating arrangement also allows for lots of movement. I am able to visit students without running into chairs, desks, or students. Students are able to move about the classrooms easily as well as long as they remember to push their chairs! Passing papers is a breeze with this setup as well.

Some teachers prefer to put their student desks in groups of 4 or more. I have in the past tried such a seating arrangement, but had little success. Some students had to turn their body to face the front of the classroom which made it difficult if they needed to write something down. Another problem that I discovered was that students were able to communicate with each other during times when that would not be appropriate.

We started using Power Pix during our first few days so I'll post soon showing our wall for those. I'm working on the slow reveal of the SIW and will begin using it this week. I'll try to remember to take some pictures of that to share as well! 

Hope everyone has a great upcoming week!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

First Day of 2014-15 Year!

Today was our first day of school, and things went great! We had a full day, so I was able to meet with both of my 3rd grade classes. For those interested, here's a list of Whole Brain Teaching pieces we covered.

5 Rules with gestures
It's cool!
3-peats for: Papers, Lines, Bodies Up (one group)
Ten finger woo (one group)

Amazing to think we got all that in plus PE, lunch, recess (I had duty!), sorting of supplies, and a slightly earlier end of day dismissal to ensure students got on the correct buses! Don't get me wrong, we do have some practicing to do with our rules recall as well as other procedures, but it's a good start.

I'm tired and I'd bet that some of my students are, too. No time to rest - I've got 34 notebooks tape the spirals on and that's just the first section!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

August Currently

August is here and school is less than a week away! Let's get to Farley's Augustly Currently!

Louisiana has a two day tax free holiday to help with back to school purchases. That along with B2S sales has helped me get some things I needed.  My room is almost ready but I still have some prep work to do with lessons and tests. I'm holding off on finishing labels for some pocket charts, desks and files because two students registered last week. All my cubbies are full and so is the extra shelf I set up, so any more students and I'm not sure where I'll put their belongings!

My WBT Wednesday post for this week will be made next week. A board in my classroom was painted to refresh the dry erase surface so I couldn't do some things I needed for that post. Next week will be the final review of my completed room before parent orientation on the 7th!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Classroom Setup 2014 Part 2

It's time to join in Mrs. Shipley's WBT Wednesday!

Last week, I showed some poster displays around my classroom and those are important little pieces. Let's look at more organizing with other Whole Brain Teaching components.

The Scoreboard is whole class motivation and management. When I have had 2 sections in the past, I actually had two side-by-side Scoreboards up in the classroom. This provided some motivation for each section because I left the score up for the other group to see. You can see pictures of that double Scoreboard version here.

This year, I will have two sections again, but I'm going to keep the Scoreboard on my front whiteboard. Most likely, I will split the area in half for the individual classes. (Sorry I don't have a picture! I forgot to take one today!)

Practice Cards:
In last week's post, one picture showed a red, numbered pocket chart. That chart will serve as my home for Practice Cards if they are needed later in the year. I can easily walk over the the chart, place the appropriate rule card into the child's numbered pocket and continue teaching. No need to scold the student or have them take a walk of shame to do it themselves! With numbers rather than names on the pockets, there's no need to worry about others knowing who received a card.

Super Improvers:
The final part of this week's peek into my room is how I plan to organize and display my SIW - or Super Improvers Wall.

The pocket chart above will be our SIW home. The various colors of index cards that are the student cards and the stickers for the cards are kept near my teaching area in a clear storage box.

Right now, I'm leaving it somewhat ordinary with no mention of SIW. During the first week of school. I will be adding components to build interest and curiosity. There will be blank white index cards, then one added on the side with Level 1 on it. Other colored cards will join the Level 1 card, but the level side will not be seen. A header near the top of the chart will replace Coming Soon with Super Improvers Wall written on it. The cards will be turned to reveal the students names last. The students will as, but I won't reveal anything until the 2nd week of school when the system is introduced.

Other WB teachers choose to put the completed wall up from day one rather than using a slow reveal. Do what works best for you, your classroom, and your students.

Next week, I'll talk about the area where I'll be displaying Power Pix and I'll show some pictures of my student desk arrangement. The count down for me has officially begun - 2 weeks from today is our teacher return and parent orientation day!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Classroom Setup 2014 Part 1

I'm linking up with Mrs. Shipley's WBT Wednesday, just a little delayed this week!

 WBT Wednesday with Mrs. Shipley

It's back to school time again! With the start of school just 3 short weeks away, I've been working to get my 3rd grade room ready for funtricity! This post starts a series of posts on parts of my classroom that I've set up related to Whole Brain Teaching.

Let's look at some displays around my classroom.

Front and center in my classroom are the 5 rules posters shown in the top half of the picture. I chose to use this version available for a small fee on the WBT website. In the past I've used the free ones from there as well as ones I've made myself. Teacher Pay Teachers has many options if you don't want to create your own, just know they should be FREE!

These rules aren't just to decorate our classroom! I have 2 sections of students and we will review the rules several times each day for a couple weeks, then 2-3 times a day or more often as needed as the year progresses.

Next to the clock are FREE signs with some of the most often used WBT techniques. Again, just as you can get other versions of the rules, you can find these out there in other themes as well. I placed them near the clock in my room so students have a reminder of them whenever they wander off to see how much time is left until the next happening of the day.

It's a little hard to see, but at the top of this bulletin board are some of the new Brainies! To help save space on my walls, I put two per page. I'm teaching math and social science (a mix of science and social studies throughout the year), so I did not print out all of the Brainies pertaining to very specific ELA skills like clauses and parts of speech. I've left some room to add a couple more later in the year. These "posters" include capital letter, end marks, commas, and, Help Me! and other Brainies that my students will be using frequently. This area is also in the from of my classroom to serve as visual reminders.

Next week, I'll focus on how I plan to work my Scoreboard with 2 classes as well as organizing for Super Improvers and possible Practice Cards later in the school year.

Until next time ~ Power to the teachers and students!

Monday, June 30, 2014

July Currently

Hello blogging friends! It's hard to believe how fast the summer is going. July is already here so it's time for this month's edition of Farley of Oh Boy 4th Grade's July Currently. I just missed getting in the top 10 of the link-up!

I've been able to get into my classroom whenever I want, so with moving rooms (again) I've tried to go at least once or twice a week. Since school starts in a little over a month, I'll probably be going a little more often. With that, there's been a lot of printing activities like task cards, making new binder covers, and the seemingly non-ending process of cut, laminate, cut, repeat....

A rock hit my windshield at one point several month ago. Everything was fine until the hot weather rolled in. Made that small crack go across most of the windshield. At least it isn't in my line of vision.

Whole Brain Teaching - If you haven't heard about it, check it out! I attended the WBT National Conference in Pineville, Louisiana for the 3rd year. Being that I'm a WBT Level 5 certified educator, I get to help by walking around and answering questions. Want to know more?

1) There's a Twitter chat on Tuesday night - #wbtchat
2) Facebook! Check out the main WBT page or the grade level pages (just search WBT and the grade level). There are individual pages for Kinder - 5th, middle school, high school, music, special education
3) The WBT website:, where you can get lots of FREE downloads, ask questions on the forum, and watch previous webcasts all by creating a FREE account.
4) Blogs: There are many WBT gurus who have blogs like mine. Below are just a few.
  Nancy Stolenberg, WBT Director of Certification -
  Sarah Meador, WBT middle school guru -
5) WBT Book on Amazon (paperback or ebook):

Hope you have an amazing 4th of July holiday!

Monday, June 2, 2014

June Currently

Hey everyone! It's been a while. I've had a year of ups and downs and it's going to be continuing as I'll be moving classrooms for the 6th time in my teaching career. I'll be trying to post more here, including details about the upcoming WBT national conference!  Here's my addition to the Currently link up!

Listening: I love Criminal Minds! There's an all day marathon on! Will be watching until Wen by ChazDean is on QVC! I love my Wen!

Loving: Summer is going to help me rest mentally and be ready for new challenges next year.

Thinking: With the move, I'll be setting up a different classroom. I'm pretty sure that I'll be using the Hollywood/movie theme I used in recent years.

Wanting: I've made a few TPT items in the last few months. Just a few days ago, I posted a glyph activity with the theme I plan on using. I'll probably make similar ones with other themes, so I'm up for suggestions on themes for them.

Needing: Maybe it's the summer thing, but I just seem not to have energy when I need it. Bedtime is later - midnightish, and wake ups are later and later.

Summer Bucket List: 1) Pineville, LA here I come! I'm so excited about the WBT national conference. This will be my 3rd time attending. There's nothing like a WBT conference, so if you get the chance, attend one!
2) One room in my house is almost completely taken over with all of my school materials! With the move up this year, the lower level things had to come home. They're really deep cleaning the rooms this summer, so what I did keep pretty much had to come, too. I'll be glad to move some of it back, but in the meantime, it's a big pile! At least my cats like sitting on top of the boxes!

Happy summer to all who are out. If you're not out yet, hang in there - summer is coming!

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Brainy Game Download

Hello WBT fans (and those who may not know about WBT)! I'm going to let you in on something new and exciting! Coach B has given FREE to all, the new Brainy Game information including the gesture page that can be copied for your students to refer to at any time during the day.

He made a link available in the chat to those watching the live webcast tonight, Monday, May 19. However, he gave permission for us to share the download. Click the link below to get yours!

WBT Brainy Game Webcast 579 Download

The webcast is available on the Whole Brain Teaching website and will probably be loaded to the WBT YouTube channel in the near future. I haven't been able to try this out yet as my school is letting out for summer soon, but I plan on using it next year, depending on my teaching position.

Anyone else out there going to the WBT National Convention in Pineville, Louisiana! I'll be there and hope to see some of you there, too.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

April Currently

It's April already! I'm so late on this month's currently, but better late than never, right?

Listening: Well, the race has been delayed by rain all afternoon, but I like seeing interviews with the drivers.

Loving: We have 2 weeks then we will be out for a whole week! I so need that time away from school.

Thinking: With my move to junior high this year, I have to deal with final exams. I'm nervous about giving them. My kids seem to have forgotten everything that we've covered this year!

Wanting: Things for next year are not decided yet. I'm still holding out hope that I can move back to an elementary grade.

Needing: I caught whatever the crud is that's going around. It's more cough than anything else.Teaching gets really interrupted when you have to cough up lung every 5 minutes!

Hours and Last Day: With bus/car duty every morning, I have to be at school a little earlier. I do my best to get everything done while I'm at school. If it doesn't get done, I just push it to the next day. My teaching fewer subjects this year has made that possible. Students will go until the last day with the teachers this year to make-up one of our snow days.

If you haven't yet, you can join in the currently, too. Click below to head to Farley's blog to learn more!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March Currently

It's hard to believe, but it's already March! Just about 3 months left in this school year. Here's my addition to the March Currently. A little late due to some technical issues with blogger. You can link up by visiting

Listening: I'm really waiting for The Young and the Restless to come on, so Price is Right for now.
Loving: Ah the perk of living in Louisiana during Mardi Gras! A 3 day holiday for my school, though others int he area are taking a full week!
Thinking: I've posted a couple of coordinate plane graphing picture activities, so I might make a few more for some upcoming holidays.
Wanting: It's raining and there are icicles hanging from my roof. Not exact great Mardi Gras or Louisiana weather.
Needing: I have a serious pile of dishes on my counter top. I think I'll wash them after making this post. :)
????????: Ok, there's my answer. You're welcome to make guesses in the comments!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

February Currently

It's time for the popular Currently blog link up! You can join in here

Listening: I'm a basketball fan, though more so women's NCAA than men's. Was great to see my alma mater LSU men win over Kentucky earlier this week with so many students braving the cold to attend. Tomorrow, it's the women playing at Kentucky. Geaux Tigers!

Loving: A few years ago, I started making YouTube videos for my 3rd graders to help them review math skills. More recently, I found the iPad app Educreations and have used it a little in making some for my middle schoolers. My trouble came in posting those creations to YouTube. Today, I found a program that should be able to use to help me do that. It's called Screen Recorder and it's free -

Thinking: I love the idea of sharing work on TPT, but I'm not as creative at coming up with products of my own. Though I'm teaching middle school, I find myself thinking about elementary products. My goal is to get at least 2 paid items loaded to my TPT store before the end of the school year.

Wanting: So I've been spending the day lounging in bed. While driving home yesterday, I began to get the worst headache of my life. After 4 Advil and some time in bed with my eyes covered, I started feeling a little better but I didn't sleep so well last night. No more headache today, just not much energy. It's hard to work on a laptop in my lap though - so I need a lap table!

Needing: This school year has put me in a place where I've let myself go. My friend and I are Beachbody coaches, but I haven't put any effort into getting in shape myself. This week, I'm going to try to work out using the first T25 session at least 3 times. Has to be done in early morning because I have 4 days of basketball games this week!

2 Truths and a Fib:
Truths - #1Yes, I've sung at some home football games for my school, though not recently. I just get way to nervous!
 #3 As of about a week ago, I'm now teaching with a student from my very first class as a teacher! I've also been teaching with some of my former elementary and high school teachers since I began teaching.  It is a little strange, but cool at the same time.
My fib is #2. It's been nice to be teaching some of my former students again, but this age group and this type of class rotation just isn't for me. I prefer younger students and hope to move back down next year.

Friday, January 3, 2014

January Currently

Happy New Year! It's hard to believe that it's 2014 already! I'm glad that the school year is already half over. This will be one that I will remember for its many changes and challenges.

To start the year off right, here's my January Currently link up with Oh Boy 4th Grade.

Most of my responses are self-explanatory this month. Here's a couple details.
Needing: I just got contacts last Saturday. I got fed up with cleaning eye glasses to get rid of spots or having them slide down my nose. It's been about 10 years since I last had them, so I'm still trying to master putting them in.

Memory/Tradition: When I was younger, we had gatherings at my parents' house on New Years. Friends and family would come for a night of food and fun. Since we've all grown up, I've mostly spend it at my home watching the count down shows. To help pass the time, I work on puzzles, which are usually a part of my Christmas gifts.