Sunday, August 24, 2014

Instaclass Freebie

Inspired by both Pinterest and Stephanie over at Teaching in Room 6, I spent some time this morning creating signage for one of the first week activities I plan on doing. She has a great post with ideas for using kids' awareness of social media as part of her "get to know you" plans for the beginning of the year.

I decided to stick with the Instagram idea exclusively, since it's the only social media I use. I'm feeling slightly off balance with starting a new grade, so I want to keep it simple and stick with at least something I already know!  I plan to use one of Stephanie's freebie Instagram pages per student, and then I'll create a simple "Instaclass" bulletin board with their "posts" and the signage I made. I love the template she made for the students to use. It gives kiddos the opportunity to draw and write about themselves in a format that a) most of them will think is cool and, b)  they will likely be familiar with already.

I'll post pics later this week after the kids have done it, but in the meantime, feel free to use the signage I made for your own bulletin board. It's nothing fancy, but my own 7th grader dubbed it awesome, so I'm going with that. Click on the pic below to download the file. It includes this icon and a simple "Instaclass" label for your bulletin board.
Than, click on this link to check it out Stephanie's iAM All About Me activity and download the freebie she made for all sorts of social media. It's awesome.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Is it back to school time? Excuse me, but I'm in denial. I'm also obsessed with planning. Denial + obsession = zero in the sleep department. In honor of the utter exhaustion generated by pretending it's mid-July while simultaneously setting up my new 6th grade room, everything in my TPT shop is 20% off tomorrow. Hopefully I can use this pin money to spruce up this situation:
Feeling better about your own classroom now? You're welcome!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Summer Reading 2

On this glorious Saturday morning, I thought I would share a few pics that make this teacher/mom crazy proud:
I've written before about my older son's struggles learning to read, so watching him with his nose in a book by choice never ceases to warm my heart. My younger guy learned to read in a snap, and though he isn't as voracious about it as his brother, he loves it enough for me. 

Either way, the fact that I rarely have to beg or prod them to pull out something to read is a huge relief. This morning, I found my little guy's summer reading log on his night stand, and I almost died. People--it was filled out and up to date. He did it. On his OWN. I can't even.

Speaking of summer reading, I started this one yesterday:
Did any of you read The Book Whisperer? I adore this woman, and I once again find myself highlighting and underlining all over Donalyn Miller's more recent book, Reading in the Wild. The focus this time is on ways to sustain the momentum we build in our classrooms, so that our students internalize a love of reading and become independent, "wild" readers. Readers who steal a page or two while waiting for their sister at soccer practice or while their brother is at the dentist. Readers who carry a book everywhere just in case.

Readers who read and re-read Archie and Jughead's Double Digest on the beach without their mom nagging. ;)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Changing Grade Levels

When I left school for summer break this June, I also said goodbye to teaching 5th grade. In just a few weeks, I will be a 6th grade teacher. What?! This will be a huge change for me on many levels. In my district, the elementary schools encompass grades K-6. This means that I will stay in my current school (yay!). I'll also move from teaching all subjects to one class, to teaching only ELA and Social Studies to three sections. I'm both excited and terrified.

In preparation for the changes ahead, I've had to rethink my entire summer planning process. It typically goes like this:

  1. Close the door to my classroom on the last teacher day.
  2. Drive away and forget about school.
  3. Enjoy traveling to the beach and relaxing with my family.
  4. Begin thinking about work the week before I have to go back.
Ahh, relaxing, yes?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Playing Around with Blog Design

So I decided to try my hand at tweaking the design of this blog, hence the new header, button, etc.  I'm not totally wild about this here version, but I'm enjoying the process. I anticipate changing it multiple times over the summer until I land on something I love.

Meanwhile, I'm turning to the interwebs to help me figure out how to customize things, so I want to give a shout out to some of the resources I'm using across the summer. First up, Megan from I Teach, What's Your Superpower? is doing a summer series on blog design that I highly recommend if you're interested:
Also? The Blog Baby, Blog link on her site is a fantastic resource. I'm particularly partial to this lady, as she designed the first two versions of Wild Rumpus, and exhibited incredible patience given my fickle ways. Plus? I got to meet her in person and she's awesome:
So go there, and if you don't feel like fiddling, have her design a blog for you! Check out her design site at A Bird in Hand Designs. She's amazing:
As I play around with it a bit more, I'll continue to share resources. Right now I'm trying to figure out how to reduce the space between the post title and the actual body of the post. I'd also like to eliminate the border around the main part of the page. I'll love you forever if you want to share tips. Meanwhile, if you have other suggestions for resources, please add them in the comments!