Friday, July 30, 2010

New Dress for the First Day

I want this dress for the first day of school! It's from Anthropologie which means its way too expensive for me, but I love it anyways. I can imagine myself walking on air through the aisles of desks, bringing my students to tears of gratitude as I inform them of the rules and procedures they will always obey and follow. Then I remember what it's really like: I usually trip over someone's bag in the aisle, the kids' eyes glaze over about halfway through my presentation and I smear dry erase marker on my dress...probably, embarrassingly, too close to my bust. No Mr. Holland's Opus here. Only Mrs. McCall stumbling through the classroom in a more sensible $25 dress from Target.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I created this in my class today. I took the PowerPoint presentation I did last year for the beginning of the year and then made it into this presentation using Prezi. The questions "Who are you?" etc. will be answered by me during the presentation, so there are some holes...but you get the general idea. It snazzes up presentations a little, don't you think? I was most impressed by this website, but I will continue to share more in the coming days! You can get an educator account for free on or you can play around on a more basic level. Tomorrow I learn about SmartBoards!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Classroom Decor during the Weekend!

I will only allow myself one more week of classroom decoration, then I'm taking two weeks off. No classroom work, lesson plans, decoration...nothing. I need some time off before school starts. Plus I'm going to move into a new house and I want to focus my creativity on a new space for a while. This weekend I took sheer white curtain panels and sewed some fabric panels on them for the two windows in my classroom. I also covered a wooden board with some batting and fabric for my "media cart" (an overhead cart sans overhead). Both projects were not difficult, but I have not sewn in over a year. It took me over three hours to complete the panels, but I think the turned out well! I'm excited to hang them up in my classroom. I will show you the "after" pictures tomorrow! P.S. The photo is a little dark and the curtains look crooked because I couldn't reach the curtain rod!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Working for the Weekend!

I worked a few hours today on the decor of my classroom. The decal took about two hours to get up, but I think it was well worth it! I love the way it looks alongside everything else. I also finished the M-F folders on my wall. I found some Martha Stewart travel stickers at Michaels today, and put those alongside the folders. The stickers kind of look like exploding candy from far away, but I still like them. I was also pleased with the way the luggage tag "days" turned out.
I'm going to make signs tonight labeling one of the boxes "Bellwork" and another "No Names." I'm ready for all this decor to be finished, so I can focus on lesson planning and teaching in a few weeks!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Have fabric. Must Travel.

I bought this fabric today for my tv cart and table I put in my classroom. The television cart is multi-faceted (like Cover Girl lip gloss) it not only houses a lot of technology, but it can also be used as a dumping ground when properly covered. I also will use this to cover the science table I stole out of another teacher's classroom (she is not coming back) that is completely full of grafitti. I liked this fabric because there were (a) no people featured on the fabric, (b) it features no real specific mode of transportation and (c) it has Paul Bunyon with Babe. I have to represent my state! I will show you before and after, I promise! More work tomorrow!

Monday, July 19, 2010


I've decided to go with a travel theme this year in my classroom. I loved Social Studies as a student because it opened up new worlds I never thought I would see in my lifetime. I've been blessed to travel all over the world, but many of my students feel (or in most cases, are) stuck in the town in which they reside. I know many families choose to stay in their home towns, but I feel its important to travel and see different parts of the country, if not other parts of the world.
I'm going to start the school year off with a piece of luggage (figuratively) and they will have to choose what to put it in it throughout the school year. What they choose (homework, participation and behavior) to put in the luggage will determine their journey into the future (their grade).
Anyone have any ideas how I can incorporate the theme of travel and journeys into my classroom? I've already purchased this decal from WowWall on Etsy, but I would love more ideas!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Great Giveaway!

One of my best friends in Minnesota from Coming up Rosemary posted a link to this great giveaway. You have to scroll down a bit, but its for the Silhouette Digital Cutting Machine. I would love to win this machine. It could definitely help me with the little decor problem I'm having in my classroom!

Monday, July 5, 2010


These would be so fun to use on the students' daily Bellwork! Saying "Thanks" to my students goes a long way. If my students walk in the doorand take out their Bellwork sheets, I say "Thank You ___________ (insert name)!" Surprisingly, they love it. I have juniors and seniors holding up their papers in the air so they can show me they're working the second they get in the door and so they can be thanked. Should I get these stamps? I already have a handful I use, but I love the vintage feel of these!

File Folders

So much has happened! I went to Minnesota, attended clicker training and started collaborating with one of very good friends and colleagues. At clicker training there was only one more Social Studies teacher there and she was from Middle School. She was great to talk to though and I thought she had a great idea for students who miss work, so I'm going to steal her idea and use it for next year! This is what teachers do best! I love that it is understood that teachers will use your ideas in their classroom if it will work for them. Academia was very secretive, for good reason, but I didn't like the climate of suspicion and sense of ownership around every piece of research. Teachers collaborate...need to collaborate to be successful!
Here's the idea: Set up five folders labeled Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, staple them to the wall and whatever leftovers for worksheets, etc. the you have put them in the folders for students to take when needed. I'm setting them up in the front of my classroom where students can grab work on their way in, but that's it. They are not allowed to walk around the classroom once the bell rings. If they miss a test I will put a note into the folder saying, "You missed a test!" followed by a call to action: "I will take this test on _________ (insert date) Signed, ____________" That way if a parent calls and says their child (who never lies and is perfect in every way) did not receive a test I can pull out a record saying the date she/he agreed to take the test and did/did not show up.
Love it!? I will use one set of colors for M/W/F and another for T/Th. We are going to an A/B schedule next year so I will only have the little charmers either 3 or 2 days a week. So confusing, but if I can help the students make sense of it even with the little things I think it will help.
Any other organizational ideas?