Rest? What Is This ‘Rest’ You Speak Of?

Busy busy, as ever.  It’s not necessarily bad, but I’m feeling it.

So let’s see…just finished the penpal letters, and all the students at our school have been working on a composition of sorts on the topic “My Hero”.  (If I hear the word “Hero” again after this week, my head is going to burst and fizzle.)
All of the students wrote on the topic about 2 weeks back, but some were going to be entered into a contest so they were a bit longer than the others (100 words to be exact).  We had the other students write it, but it didn’t have to be as long.

Anyway, fast forward to this week…we learned that they now want everyone to enter the contest.  The thing is, some students took their papers home (ie: are now lost forever) and/or they weren’t long enough, so they (me) have to write/stretch it out to make it 100 words. Even the youngest kids.  Combined with the fact that some kids are MWF kids and some have missed days this week because they had a big test at their regular school.  So trying to get everyone finished has been a pain in the neck.
Alllllso, we have another contest that the kids are doing.  There are two reading books for the kids that include chapter comprehension worksheets.  There are 3 different non-fiction books for kids in grades 1-2, grades 3-4 and 5-6, and 3 more books but with fiction.  So, each kid does 2 books, 2 worksheets and then a workbook for each book as well.
I actually really like the books as they’re interesting and good reads for the kids, but it gets tough when you have kids from different grade levels in one class.
Combined again with the fact that kids miss class periodically throughout the week and/or are MWF kids.
I’m hoping that a lot of my kids aren’t absent tomorrow so I can finish the rest of that ‘My Hero’ business and move fully onto the new competition next week.

I’m thinking of putting them into groups (or solo, in some cases) and just rotating around and such…but with different spelling lists (for the different books) too…oi.
The ‘My Hero’ needs to be all finished by all students by next Wednesday and all of the book challenge/competition thing needs to be finished by the end of the month (or 12.19 for me).

I have it all fairly organized, but it just feels chaotic to me with all of these books going on…and my desk is a hot mess.  I also feel bad for the kids because of all of the workbooks and stuff we’re throwing at them this month.

Anyway, still teaching the different holidays (it’s short, so it’s not that big of a deal) and tomorrow/today/Friday, I’m planning on getting pizza for the first two classes.  My classes are small and I just got paid yesterday so I don’t mind.
I just want to reward them (and myself) for getting through a tough/busy-as-hell week.
We’re going to work our butts off the first part of class to finish as much as possible from this week and then have our movie Friday with pizza.  Sounds good to me 🙂
The first class (youngest kiddos) were super excited when I mentioned pizza for tomorrow, haha.
I didn’t say anything to the second class about it, but I mentioned it a few weeks (2 months? 1 month?) ago that they could get it if they start doing better on turning in their homework and working harder in class…and they’ve been doing so.  Plus…this week.  It would be a nice surprise for them too.
I was working with one kid (a few actually, but one in particular from that class) about not asking for your reward.  He was asking about the pizza nearly every day and saying “Teacher, Are we being good today?”  “Teacher, how is our homework today?”  “Teacher, can we get pizza today?”
I’ve nearly got him to stop asking about it so I think it’d be another good time to surprise them.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnd, I found another girl to be a sub (the first one fell through because of visa issues…not sure if I mentioned it), and she’s supposed to be coming by to meet front-desk-lady tomorrow evening.  She has a lot of teaching experience, so I think it should be good.  I haven’t met her in person, but I think it should be alright.  I’ll see her tomorrow and hopefully that goes well.

i also want to get all these competition things out of the way so when the sub comes I’ll have the kids back on their regular schedule and it’s less chaotic for her.  She can just pop in and teach and not have to worry about deadlines or who has finished what.

Movies planned for tomorrow:
Youngest kids: ‘Barney and the Backyard Gang–Waiting For Santa’  (I remember this clear as day from my childhood :D)
Next two classes: ‘Elf’

Movie time is also rest-time for me.  I’m planning to cancel their spelling test for tomorrow as well.  We’ve had a lot of students missing days this week because of their big test in elementary school on Wednesday and sick kids, so it’ll be a nice rest for everyone.

3 of my 5 kids in my last class (super tiny class, I know) are sick.  2 are coughing almost constantly and 1 lost his voice yesterday because of all the coughing.  I might get some cough drops and store them in my room…

**Oh, AND we only have 1 copy of each of the 6 books and workbooks, so I have to copy all the books and the coordinating workbook for each student.  Depending on their grade level.

Oh annnnnd I have one kindergarten student in my first class that can’t read at the same level the 1st/2nd grade kids are able to read at, much less do the workbook or book questions.

And, time to pass out.  2 weeks.  2 weeks.

Classroom Update

This is my latest classroom video update 🙂

I changed a few things since the last video a month or so ago.

I didn’t speak during the video because it was after school hours and I felt weird chatting away to myself in the quiet school when others were working…but anyway, I’ll give you a written tour 😀

0-20 seconds: My latest work 🙂
I found this on Pinterest–it’s called Tired Words and I thought it was an awesome way to get kids to use different words.
I hear “It is delicious.”  “No delicious” so many times a day…drives me crazy.
I also just moved the bookshelf again and I think it’s going to stay like this.  I like that it creates more of a reading nook than the way I had it before (flush against the wall).  I actually just bought two pillows (chair cushions turned pillows) at the dollar store (3,000W or about $3/each) and I had two pillows that I bought when I first arrived for whenever I got around to buying a futon, but that still hasn’t happened, so I’m bringing them to my room to get some use out of them.  Those will be added to that corner tomorrow.
Each student also has a good behavior sticker chart–good behavior only–and I have different colors for whenever they finish one.  I give them little prizes from Daiso (basically a dollar store) when they finish their chart.  The first one is cheap chocolate, one is a pencil with a fun animal eraser on top, another is a thing of bubbles (I found a bunch on sale in a bundle).  Anyway, I spend money, but it’s not much and it helps keep my sanity in the classroom and the kids get into it.  They like the stickers and seeing who has the most stickers and what color will be next.

:30–Another new thing I added on Friday.  This is a fake window in our classroom and I’ve decided to do a “Break Time Challenge” with fall vocab words that I found on Teachers Pay Teachers…for FREE.
I printed and laminated them and hope to change them out every few days so the kids get exposure to more words and get practice with ABC order.  In a fun way.  Heh…so sneaky.  🙂

Around :35 is basically the student station.  Kind of a catchy name that I just made up, but this area doesn’t have a real name.  The student’s work folders are here and extra pencils and erasers for students that forget (so I’m not driven crazy by the sounds of “I don’t have a pencil today” and me wondering why students leave the house without supplies.)  They all know to just grab a pencil when they need one.  We’re working on only sharpening pencils before class and at breaktime with some of the newer kids, but overall, this is pretty effective.  Kleenex/Tissue and hand sanitizer are also here.

Next up are the careers.  At the beginning of class, a student from each class chooses the next career and three photos to go with it.  I talked about this in the last post though.  I do this on Mondays and the students rotate.

I added the ordinal numbers on Friday and my desk is around :56.  Birthday wall is around :58.  Part of me wants to do something special for the kid’s birthdays, but then again…I dunno.  Maybe just a little certificate or something?  Still thinking…

Around 1:00 you can see the “Today is”, “Yesterday was” and “Tomorrow will be” section.  The kids in my last class help me change these out and they seem to enjoy helping.
Word Wall at 1:15…also new!  I love having this because it’s nice to have an organized place to put all the frequently asked spellings and that massive black shelf is finally gone.  Wahoo!  I also added these fall words to the word wall.

1:30–You can see the area where we have story time (sometimes…could be more, but the kids don’t seem to pay attention as much when they sit on the mat).  The red chair is also used for time-out.  I rarely do time-outs, but sometimes I just need to remove a kid from the situation and this is an easy way to do it.  We also have a magnet board with the abc letters.  I picked up the alphabet letters at Daiso for about 3000W (about $3) about a year ago and the kids love it.  My school bought the magnet board for us.  🙂
The colored bags under the long table in the back are for recycling.  The paper needs to go out…oi.  Not looking forward to that.

Anyway, that’s that!  🙂  Hope you enjoyed my (somewhat blurry) tour of my/our room!
Halloween decor to come in October!  Yay!

Side note:  I made a direct link to one of my main classroom Pinterest pages over there on the right >>