Friday, August 10, 2012

Our First Day

We had a wonderful first day of school.  Our group of sixth graders are fantastic.  We had to take care of lots of paperwork and procedures the first day, and they really hung in there and got the job done!  Today we are taking our 2019 photos for our classroom display.  I am excited to see our students in their graduation cap!  We had one new student first thing in the morning - she was nervous, but the kids helped her feel okay.  We played Graffiti-Tag You're It on the white board to help us break the ice. Only our markers were allowed to talk, and wow, did they tell some kind of story together as a class. All I can say is stay away from unicorns and llamas!  We also played four truths and a lie.  I stumped them all with my lie that my dog's name is Jake (it's really Jack).  For some reason they did not believe that I was 41 years old, had a daughter who just got back from a trip to Alaska, or that I am a black belt in Kung Fu.  Hmmm....

Everyone have a great weekend, get lots of rest, and see you Monday!
Mrs. O

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

First Two Days

#1 Priority:  Find out how is everyone getting home 
those first two days!!
  • Fill out Facebook interest inventory.
  • Fill out learning style inventory.
  • Whole class instant write fictional story on the white board.
  • Watch the "Welcome to Sixth Grade" presentation.
  • Practice and learn classroom procedures.
  • One-word-to-describe-yourself speech bubbles to hang above desks.
  • Collect forms from students and mark off on spreadsheet.
  • Play four truths and a lie to introduce myself.
  • Begin work on the 7 Habits - Be Proactive Activity.
  • Post schedule in hall and create student data spreadsheet.
  • Put together data notebooks.
  • Decorate covers for take home folders.
  • Review and apply for leadership jobs.
  • Take Class of 2019 individual photos.
  • Classroom pet writing contest.
  • Create Parts of Speech foldable for notebook.
  • Finish finger print tree.
  • Begin Class Mission Statement

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sign up for text reminders

Parents can easily sign up for text messages.  I can instantly send reminders about homework, permission slips, tests, assignments and more!

1. Send a text to (614) 335-7771

2. With the message: @onan

from remind101

Monday, July 23, 2012

Our Writing Block Schedule

Sample Writing Prompt:  How is writing like Pizza?

Daily Language and Writing Centers
Each box has all the necessary tools to accomplish the tasks
Excerpts from popular books with writing response
         Our daily block schedule allows for one hour of instruction in writing and language.

1. Each day we will begin our block with 10 minutes of writing in our composition books.  These assignments will be posted prior to students entering the room, so that students may come in and immediately begin writing.  This will be a consistent part of our daily routine.  Some of the assignments will include the following:

  • Writing in 1 of 30 different themed books.  These themes will be determined by students at the beginning of the year (see previous post).  Students will then write in a different themed journal each week. This process will also include peer editing.  Students may look forward to taking home one of these journals at the end of the year. 
  • Writing in response to current events, pertinent social issues, videos, guest speakers, art work, science assignments, and social studies topics. 
  • Free writing on topic of choice.

2.The next portion of our class will be language and writing centers.  Students will work in one of four centers each day, Monday-Thursday.  Language and writing centers will provide students with various language arts challenges that support our current on-demand writing pieces, spelling/vocabulary practice, and response to reading.  These centers will be differentiated for learners.  Students will receive weekly homework assignments related to center tasks and skills.

3. The last segment of our writing block will be dedicated to working on our on-demand writing pieces.  These pieces will include narrative, informational, and argument.  With each new writing piece, students will be introduced to a specific time-line for the piece, tools for writing the piece, collaboration time, writing, peer editing, teacher conferencing, revision, publishing, and presentation.  We will use the Writing Rubric board to narrow our focus and practice different writing skills with each piece.  Students will fill out sentence strips related to the requirements of the piece and place them on the rubric to use as a tool throughout the piece development.  Topics will vary over the year but will be interesting and relevant to sixth graders.  Students should expect to write letters, editorials, reports, personal narratives, argument pieces, poems, and much more!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Off-Line Messaging and Attendance

"Tweet" a message on a sticky note!

I left them a "Tweet"

Always THINK before you "tweet"
This is another way for students to practice writing and communication skills.  Students may "tweet" each other or me each morning as they come into the classroom.  Students only have to follow the THINK guideline before leaving messages.

This area also serves as a reminder that students need to retrieve their clip from their locker handles and place along the ribbon.  This helps me easily see who has arrived for the day just by glancing at the ribbon or lockers.  Students will return their clips to their lockers each afternoon.  My attendance leader will collect tweets for me and let me know who is absent.

Since sixth graders are involved in so many early morning activities outside the classroom, this clip system should come in very handy.  Of course, we will practice this procedure many times!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Theme Journals - Best Idea Yet!

Okay - I am absolutely doing this for one of my writing warm up times at the beginning of block.
Each block has a set of notebooks with a different writing prompt on the front = 30 distinct journals.  Students then take turns writing a prompt in a different journal each week.  After 30 weeks, you have 30 entries in each journal.  I think it would be AWESOME to have a writing auction at the end of the school year, so that each student could take home a classroom book.

I think a nice extension would be to have students peer edit (in color pencil) the previous entry before they  begin their own writing. This would give students a chance to read other writing, practice improving their editing skills, and fully immerse them in the writing process.

Now, I just need 100 more journals...WAIT!  I just returned from Walmart with 100 journals. To make this even more fun for my students, I am going to let each of them determine one of the themes for the journals.  I will guide them through some ideas, but ultimately they will create the prompt theme!

Here are our class journals

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Amazingly enough, my classroom is almost finished.  I have been working in my room everyday, for hours. I certainly have an entirely new appreciation for teachers who go the extra mile to create phenomenal learning environments for their students.

I must admit there were a few moments where I just wanted to throw in the towel because the job can be truly overwhelming.  At the same time, it is extremely exciting and rewarding.  Good, good work.  I am tired and satisfied.  There are only a few final touches that remain. I will post some pictures soon.



Conference Table

Our Classroom

Social Studies Bulletin Board and Student Research

Teacher Area

Writing Table and Student Organization Area

Our Classroom Rules Painted By: Dianne Kinser

Our Writing Board

Friday, July 6, 2012

If You Want Them To Act Like Leaders, Then Treat Them Like Leaders

Video Sample of Student Led Conference
Link to more student led ideas

One of the things I will be working on next week is my students' data notebooks.  I am completely sold on this approach.  Kids take complete ownership and responsibility for themselves.

Team leader evaluating the use of the artifact.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Seven Habits Tree - Finished

Facebook Thief

  • So I just borrowed this post from Facebook because it has so many good books listed on it for my kids! Ha ha.

    The Chronicles of Vladamir Tod by Heather Brewer would make a great Halloween unit. I *LOVE* the Fablehaven series by B. Mull that I let Cullen borrow the first of a while back. The Red Pyramid is the first book in Rick Riordan's (Percy Jackson author) new series. It's all about Egyptian mythology, very cool and could be an awesome crossover with a geography unit or something.
    9 hours ago · 

  • That's a tough age group because their reading levels are probably all over the map. However, here are some possibilities:

    I really enjoyed Kristin Tubb's SELLING HOPE and I think it would be easy to integrate into both Science and Social Studies curriculum. I have a copy at the house if you want to read it. (I could probably get you a classroom set of these too. Let me know if you decide to do it.)

    Both Cate and Jon loved MANIAC MAGEE, and although I haven't read it yet, I think any book that they BOTH like indicates a broad appeal. Cate lost her copy so many times, I may have an actual classroom set in my house. ;)

    THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM, 1963 would be another great one for the classroom if you want to look at the Civil Rights era.

    HATCHET by Gary Paulson is a fantastic book that all of my kids have read and loved.

    I know you did one of Patricia Reilly Giff's books. PICTURES OF HOLLIS WOODS would be another good one by her for that age group.

    THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS and THE BOOK THIEF are excellent books that look at the Holocaust.

    I'll keep thinking...

  •  I have so many... Probably my absolute favorite is The Giver by Lois Lowry. The idealistic life Jonas has, as compared to the weight he'll have to shoulder is heartbreaking. It gives a sharp contrast as to the price he has to pay for the secrets he has to keep.

    Other than that... Lord of the Flies. Fahrenheit 451. Catcher in the Rye. The Princess Bride. The Handmaid's Tale (although probably not really YA or appropriate for 5th and 6th graders. I read it in high school).

    My daughter would backup Wayne's mention of the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull. She's addicted to them. Katy would also want me to mention the Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare. And The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins

  •  My favorite is Diary of an Absolute Part Time Indian but I'm not sure you could get by with the language at Oakland. Great life lessons though. My second would be the Witch and Wizard series by James Patterson (which also comes in graphic novel form). Oh, and the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil ??? I used this for 4-6 bookclub last year and they loved it.

    Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. It offers an interesting perspective of the holocaust. Many Thomas kids have read and enjoyed it.

  •  Slake's Limbo, by Felice Holman and Beauty, by Robin Mckinley

  • Wrinkle in Time was my absolute favorite growing up and it's pretty timeless

  •  I'll second Maniac Magee, The Hatchet, and Wrinkle in Time. All very good books with ideas that have stuck with me. I also like The Phantom Tollbooth, and the Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper. Love that series. Hmm, why? I guess I like the epic-struggle-of-good-vs-evil, and that series made it easy to vividly imagine a life in a very different setting from mine, but still a real setting. Now I want to go re-read those!
  • I havent read The Boy In The Striped Pajamas but I have seen the movie. It disturbed me greatly as an adult!!!!

  •  Island of the Blue Dolphins,and Witch of blackbird Pond are my favorites. Recently read the White Giraffe and think its whole series would be awesome for this age group.
    6 hours ago via mobile ·  · 1

  • Trouble River, Number the Stars, The Hundred Dresses, Rules, Julie of the Wolves, Shh We're Writing the Constitution, James and the Giant Peach, Charlotte's Web, Indian in the Cupboard, Castle in the Attic, and The Nest Christmas Pageant ever!
    These were some of the titles we use to read when taught LA!!
    5 hours ago via mobile · 

  • Oh and one that is rarely-mentioned but is fantastic is "Diamond in the Window". Amazing book that combines adventure, fantasy, history, and deep thinking about the Boston Transcendentalist movement.

  • Anne of Green Gables series. The Runaway Robot. (I can't stop...)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

So I Never Forget Why

Excellent: Classroom Economics

Link to classroom economics

Everything is included. This is just fantastic.  Can I pull this off? I really want to try.

Breathe In

“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” 
― Socrates

“Study the past if you would define the future.” 
― Confucius

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
Theodore Roosevelt

“I am not a teacher, but an awakener.” 
― Robert Frost

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” 
― Benjamin Franklin

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” 
― Dr. SeussI Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

And From Helen Keller:

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.

Never bend your head. Hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye.

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure.

Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.

One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.

No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars or sailed an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.

Helen Keller with Anne Sullivan
From Her Teacher

My heart is singing for joy this morning! A miracle has happened! The light of understanding has shone upon my little pupil's mind, and behold, all things are changed!
Anne Sullivan

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."
- spoken by Atticus Finch, by Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird

"The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."
- spoken by Atticus Finch, by Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird

"Courage is not a man with a gun in his hand. It's knowing you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do."
- spoken by Atticus Finch, by Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird


Friday, June 29, 2012

Persuasive - Hard Rock Cafe

Link to a project based learning lesson plan

Everything is included in this lesson plan - it just needs to be modified for my students.  GREAT project.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Primary Resources

Click here to research

This website is amazing.  Federal resources for educational excellence. Great for student research in areas of social studies and science.

Vaudville - Primary Resource

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My 7 Habits Bulletin Board

This will be in the hallway as you come into my classroom.
 I did a test run at home to see how it will look. I am writing this down, so I don't forget how to set it up at school.  I will post a picture of the finished product next week.
The title will be:  We S.O.A.R with the 7 Habits or Sixth Grade can SOAR with the 7 Habits
The idea was to create a visual bridge for students who are used to following SOAR, while at the same time, merging those ideas with the principles of the habits.
- Show a Positive Attitude
- Own Your Actions
- Always Do Your Best
- Respect Others & Yourself

Each large circle will have a habit written on it.  Example: 1. Be Proactive
Next smallest circle will have the habit in "kid speak."  Example: You're in Charge

The smallest circles will each have one of my home room student's name on it. (I have 32 in case some move away or some move in)
Around the tree I am going to display quality student work.

I love it.
Everything is made from scrapbook paper, which happens to be reversible, so I can slowly flip the circles over in the fall to create an Autumn tree!!  Notice there are a few bluebirds also, which is the school mascot.

Pennsylvania Website

Click this link for lesson plans and interactive websites.

Amazing resource for lesson plans aligned with common core and websites to use.

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Nice List of Literature

Scroll down to view sixth grade

Actually, click on the link that allows you to view the full document, and then scroll down to sixth grade.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Every Coin Tells a Story - Writing Prompt

Social Studies/Writing 
A Penny for Your Thoughts

Hand out an assortment of money.

Where has this money been? What has it been used for?
What about the year it was created?  What were the current events that year?
What is it made from? Where are those resources found? Who lives in that place? Who mined the materials for the coin?
Why is the coin scratched, edges worn, different color?

Tell the story of the coin from it's perspective (personification).
Tell the story from someone who held the coin and why the money was significant.
Tell the story from someone who helped make the coin.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Themes? Maybe.

I borrowed these theme ideas from another teacher's blog and tweaked them. I like the idea of having an overarching goal each month.  As I move forward in planning, I will add my core content goals to these as well. 

6th Grade Themes

August/September: Back to School/Leader in Me

October: Goal Setting/Teamwork

November/December: Traditions

January/February: In the News

March: Fine Arts 

April/May: The Future

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Link to Music for the Classroom

Music for transitions, ending writing, welcoming, and sending off.  I like it.

I would add Weird Science for Science.

Friday, June 8, 2012

7 Habits Bulletin Board

Link for On the Road to Middle School Bulletin Board

I might use this idea (and make it my own) for my 7 Habits Board.  The habits become like stepping stones or road signs to help us become the leaders we need to be. I will use the winding path idea, but through the woods instead. I will include this poem:

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 
Robert Frost

Start Off On The Right Foot

Below is another great idea for the first of the year. I like the idea of giving each student a color circle and letting them fill the circle with information about themselves!  That way no matter how many students in the room, everyone would have a circle. I'm thinking a white $1 plastic table cloth?  A great getting to know each other bulletin board.  Credit below for the great idea!

By: Kayla Johnson on Bulletin Board Ideas

Twister® Bulletin Board

  • Background: Cover the bulletin board with the game mat. If you have any space left over, cover it with white bulletin board paper.
  • Title: “Right Foot, _______________ [Sixth Grade, Mrs. Nelson's Class, etc]” – We love how this captures the spirit of the game as players usually follow directions like, “Right foot, Green!” from the spinner.
  • Border: Brightly colored pattern trimmer.
  • Decoration: Use a black permanent marker to script your kiddos’ names onto the colored circles of the game mat. If you have space, mount the game spinner to the bulletin board as well.

Supplies for this bulletin board…

Over-Used Words Bulletin Board

 I love her idea! Tombstones...fall and Halloween, but not just for show.
All my bulletin boards MUST have a real purpose.

Fri Jul 07, 2006 12:54 pm    Post subject: Variation on word walls
Reply with quote

Another variation the word wall is the "dead" or "retired" word wall. The concept allows you to take all the worn-out, overused, and boring words students use and display them to help students *eliminate* them from their writing. Of course, using a tombstone motif won't really go over too well in some schools, so you might put the words "out to pasture" instead.


A Teacher's Journey

The Hero Journey - Joseph Campbell

Part of our final assignment for our trip to L.A. was to create an outline of our journey using Joseph Campbell's archetype of the hero format.  

Last Day in L.A.

Pacific Ocean Study Away in L.A. 2012

Rafe Esquith's Room 56 Hobart Elementary

Study Away in L.A. Summer 2012

The Before Pictures

Welcome to Room 213
Teacher's Desk

Computers and Reading Area

More Bulletin Boards

Student Lockers

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Teaching a Themed Unit: Pinterest to the Rescue

I am combining my love of Pinterest with my love of planning and organization.  Now, I am creating boards and treating them as folders to hold all my resources for teaching any given unit.  I can include books, videos, blogs, websites, photos, maps, travel brochures, scanned primary source material, etc.  I know many people may already be doing this, but it just occurred to me.  I can spend 15-30 minutes gathering resources from the web, and have MORE than enough material to teach any given unit.  For example, one of my boards is called The School of Athens.  This simple little unit can actually cover art, history, science, math, literature, writing and drama.  For example, the chemistry involved in preparing lime for fresco is quite high level (and dangerous!) and extremely interesting.  Not to mention, many of the scholars that appear in the painting are early scientists and mathematicians. The painting holds the unit together, with endless instructional possibilities spanning across the curriculum.

link to School of Athens Board

Friday, May 25, 2012

[W]e have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god. And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. Where we had thought to travel outward, we will come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we will be with all the world.
-- Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth, 1988, p. 123.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"Yes, and let's..."

     Often our first reaction to new situations, people, and concepts is a big knee-jerk, "No!"  In the drama portion of my graduate course, David Young taught us a very useful life tool. My goal is to practice this in my daily life and especially in my profession.  The idea is to train yourself to automatically respond with a yes to anything life hands you, and then simply adjust to it by adding the and let's so that it works in your life. For example, my teacher said to me, "Why, don't you drive us in L.A.?"  I responded, "Yes, and let's make sure I have a really good co-pilot!"  I mean, I can still say no anytime I wish, but how fantastic to respond first with a genuine openness and willingness to hop out of our comfort zone and just go for it, whatever it is!

Editing Resource

Click Here For Peer Edit Form

I will probably tweak this, but it is a great start.  There are some examples on how to model peer editing as well.  I feel this is such a crucial part of the writing process.  One of the most important elements to make this successful is the culture of the classroom. Without a safe space, kids will not take this seriously.

I Love School

My class is amazing. I had no idea it would be this much fun, and so intense.   I am going to be able to immediately apply so much of what I've learned.  More to come.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Day Someday Arrived

...and she flung herself down upon her favorite rock and cried as the relief and disbelief intertwined within her soul.  Flipping over onto her back, she stared up, past the gnarled leafy branches, at the blue sky beyond.  Sun-kissed butterflies, full of promise, flitted around her head and then skipped happily in her guts. Finally, she was a teacher.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Memory Makers and Honesty

Remember that day when Dr. Evans gave me my first pink slip?  I do. The date was May 9, 2012.  Of course, I wasn't upset; I knew my contract was ending.  I felt bad for her, and told her so.  What an awful way to end the school year, passing out pink slips.  She asked me to check my letter because some of them were misprinted.  I opened my letter in front of her and sighed with disappointment.  She asked me what was wrong.  I explained to her that I wanted to frame my first pink slip and truly felt disappointed that the paper was white. I wanted PINK!  She smiled.  I hope it cheered her up a bit.

Later that day when I checked my voice mail, I was dismayed upon hearing a message inviting me to my very first interview for a teaching position.  Wow.  Timing is everything.  Protected and cared for that is how I felt.  A quiet nod of reassurance that I am still stepping on all the correct stepping stones as I make my way quietly forward on my teaching journey.

Now the honesty part:  First graders and I just do not click.  They will NEVER know that truth by the way.  They only believe I love them with all my heart, which I do.  However, let me just say that there is some unknown element mixed in that particular age group that causes me to privately lose my patience to the MAX.  Like I said, THEY WILL NEVER know that truth because I keep it completely hidden from them at all times.  It cracks me up so much that I LOVE kindergarten and second grade, but struggle in first grade.  Funny.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Waiting and Working

One method for dealing with the stress of waiting for the results of my interview is to WORK as if the position is already mine.  I am particularly fond of this technique, and if the position were indeed offered to me - who has time to sit around and wait for the phone call to confirm it?  I mean, I have an entire 6th grade school year to plan.  I know, I am crazy, but at least I am busy working on something meaningful. I suppose if I do not get offered the position, I may regret this burst of ambitious creativity and meticulous attention to detail (school year schedule, end of the year testing, core content requirements, daily schedule, weekly schedule, classroom expectations, procedures, writing pieces, target skills, writing prompts, etc.)

However, for now, it is keeping me moving forward on what promises to be a most exciting journey, if only the telephone call would come.

There is a compartment in my head that whispers, "Forward all these plans on to him, so that he can see for himself what you can accomplish in such a small amount of time."  The email reads something like this:

Dear Mr. Wise and Best Principal EVER,
As you move forward in your decision making process regarding the 6th grade position, I humbly submit to you a tentative syllabus, schedule, list of topics, grade distribution schedule, parent letter, and classroom expectations and procedures list that I created specifically for this particular teaching position.  My only hope is to demonstrate my commitment to excellence if I were to be offered this position in your school.
Very Sincerely Yours,
Teacher Who Would Work for No Pay to Land this DREAM Job!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Interview

Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work.
-William Arthur Ward

The last few days have been a blur of excitement, lack of sleep and dizzying work. I received an invitation to interview at Alvaton for a 6th grade position. My interview is tomorrow, and I am enjoying every minute of the nervousness and anticipation. I realize that I am not alone in this process, and every new teacher has to start with the interview. Realizing that all I have to do is be the person I am and do my best is taking most of the pressure off of me. A teacher taught me to think like that many, many, MANY years ago.

I feel it is important to be as prepared as possible so I've been devouring six grade standards, interviewing CT 6th grade teachers, visiting with former 6th grade teachers and making mental notes of all my experience working with this age group. After reviewing, I was pleased at how many opportunities I've had that make me extremely qualified for the position. If the position is indeed a writing position, not only will I be THRILLED, but I may not be able to leave without offering to work without pay. Truly, when I contemplate the possibility of teaching 6th grade, I find myself astonished and quite pleased at how amazing the prospect feels in my heart and guts.

My principal and cooperative teacher are AMAZING. They both met with me today and conducted a mock interview and provided me with feedback. During the interview, I had the opportunity to tell them the story about why I wanted to become a teacher in the first place. I made myself cry on the spot, and the simple fact that the whole story goes back to my teacher at Alvaton is pure synchronicity. I do not fancy the idea of crying during an interview, so I hope the tears stay put tomorrow. :)

I found that making a list of my experiences that related to the position helped me focus and articulate my responses. Some things I came up with that do not appear on my resume:
4 year volunteer leader for support group for teens.
Peer tutor at the Learning Center at WKU's South Campus - helped students revise and edit their papers - research, personal narratives, letters, argument/persuasion.
Degree in Social Studies - Extensive writing for every course, including a senior thesis, research, and secondary education classes (helps to see where students are headed).

My goal for today is to rest, study the standards some more and sleep like a baby.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pizza Box Organization

So last night, I had this huge explosion of creativity at 11:00 pm, while trying to fall asleep. This explosion involved pizza boxes. I decided that I would use pizza boxes in various ways in my classroom! I love the idea of storing everything necessary for teaching a particular unit in one compact box: books, games, activities, and resources. The box can easily be labeled on any and all sides and stacked neatly ANYWHERE I need to store things in my classroom.

Also, I am very excited about creating learning centers for my classroom that are quick and easy to pull out and use, and then put away and replace with new centers. The boxes could be decorated on the outside with laminated pictures, and laminated directions could be placed under the lid for the students. All necessary center items would be enclosed within the box! I am toying with the idea of creating one new learning center a week, so that I end up with over 50 organized centers at my fingertips.

Another idea I found to use the pizza box is to create a portfolio for each student. The boxes would hold work for the entire year, and could easily be pulled out for parent teacher conferences.

My favorite part about pizza boxes (besides their low cost) is that they come in three sizes and can be stored horizontally or vertically. Pizza boxes of course can also be converted into awesome student solar ovens and green houses for science. I want to be as organized as possible, so I can dedicate my best energy to my students.