Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Oh hey, little bloggy.

Let's just suffice to say that I've been very busy. Very, VERY busy. I'm making a solid attempt to be much more organized and on top of things this year, so it's caused me to have some late nights at work, as well as some late nights on the couch planning. Hopefully I will find a time to write a big catch-up post (because, well, we all survived an earthquake AND a hurricane last week here on the East Coast) later this week. Until then, enjoy your week!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teacher Talk Tuesday

It's time for Teacher Talk Tuesday! Once again I'm linking up with this blog for Teacher Week 2011.

Although I'm fairly new at this whole teaching thing, I can say that I was better prepared to start my first full year than I would have been, had I not been blessed with a great opportunity. That extra four months worth of work was definitely worth it! A few important lessons I learned in my first four months (and a few even in the first six days of this year)...

Communicate, communicate, communicate.
   Parents are much more open to "bad" phone calls once they've had a few good ones first. I send out a weekly newsletter, send a weekly email to my parents, and am required to make at least 3 good phone calls a week. I can already tell a difference in the communication with my parents from last year to this year!

Pick your battles.
  You have to learn to pick your battles. That was the biggest lesson I learned in my four months in fifth grade. Who cares if little Johnny wants to lay on the floor to read out of his book, if he's still doing his work, LET HIM DO IT! I was way too controlling with my kids the first year and it made my job that much harder. Let them do things for you. Let them clean the classroom. It's okay if someone needs to sharpen their pencil, let them do it.

Routines and procedures are KEY.
   This is something that I've picked up on this year. If you establish and practice those routines and procedures in the first few weeks, they'll remember them and follow them for the rest of the year. If they aren't tight in the first few weeks, then the class will slowly unravel in your hands...I speak from experience.

Wear comfortable shoes.
  ...this one is pretty self explanatory. I still struggle with heel pain, because I have very flat feet. I'm a sucker for cute shoes.

When you have the opportunity, use the bathroom!
  You don't wanna get stuck with a bladder infection or be doing the "ants in my pants" dance like I have so many times...I've started going right before school, during specials, and right after school. Makes for a happier teacher!

Always take time for you.
  I quickly learned in my first four months that teaching is a stressful job. I found myself trying to balance a full time job for the first time in my life with being a girlfriend and a sister/daughter. Try staying at school until 7pm and then coming home to cook dinner. Not fun. The number one thing that I did (and will still continue to do) to destress was leave school as soon as I was allowed one day a week--and I did something for myself. There are 6 more days in the week that you can stay at school as long as you need to. If you take time for yourself, you'll have time to take care of everything else, too.

And just a few random pieces of advice....

Always keep band aids handy.

If you depend on caffeine, make sure you always have extra.

Sharpen pencils before the day starts and let kids switch them out during the day if you can't stand the sound of a pencil sharpener while you're teaching.

Remember to take attendance...and make friends with the people in the office and the custodians! They come in handy in times of need.

Your grade level partners, veteran teachers, and the internet can be your best friends for resources and ideas. Collaborating is always a great option!

That's all I can think of at the moment. Stay tuned for Where It All Goes Down Wednesday...where I'll finally share the before and after pictures of my room!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meet The Teacher Monday!

We all know how much I looooove link up parties...so here I am linking up with a bunch of awesome teachers from this blog for 2011 Teacher Week! Today is Meet the Teacher Monday.

Tell Us a Little Something About you...
Well, let's see. I'm Katie, and I'm a 23 year old third grade teacher. I have lived in North Carolina for all 23 (and a half, this week) of the years that I have been alive, and all of them have been spent less than an hour away from home. Where is home, you ask? Good 'ole Durham, North Carolina. Bull City, baby! Yes, I am a huge Duke Fan. :) 
I spent my college years in Greensboro, where I attended UNCG. I moved home in July 2010 and spent my last semester (yes, it took me forever 4.5 years to finish college...blegh) commuting back and forth between Greensboro and Durham. Not a fun time, let me tell you. However, I would have to get used to a long drive...but I'll save that saga for the next question. 
I have the best significant other in the whole wide world, and he is known affectionately as boyfriend (how original) on this blog. We have a golden retriever and a fat, lazy, insane darling tabby cat. The combination of those two makes for fun times at our house! We currently live in Cary, NC. In my spare time I love reading, spending too much money at Target and the Limited, and catching up on blogs.

 Now I feel like I'm writing a dating ad..let's move on.

How Long Have You Been Teaching?
I am currently beginning my first FULL year of teaching this year. Because I graduated in December, I could only teach for half the year last year. Boy, are those jobs hard to come by! Luckily, I moved in with boyfriend right after graduation, and was offered a job at the school were I completed my student teaching. However...that job was in Graham. Yes, Graham. For those of you who are not familiar with North Carolina, Graham is about 45 minutes west of Cary. Every.single.stinking.day for 4 monhts I drive 45 minutes to work and 45 minutes home from work. Sometimes it was an hour or more for me to get home due to 5:00 traffic. After school (and my contract) ended, I decided it was time to move closer to home.
I'm currently employed with National Heritage Academies as a third grade teacher in Raleigh, NC, and I only have a 20 minute drive to and from work now! Hooray!

You Might Not Know...
I considered not pursuing a career in teaching (or even going to college, for that matter). 
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a teacher. I played school with my cousins when I was younger, as well as my barbies and stuffed animals. When my little sister came along in 1996, she became the victim of my teaching ways.

When it came time to go to college, I wasn't ready. I had a MAJOR panic attack the night before I was to move into my dorm room, and I told my mom I didn't want to leave. I refused to pack. I stayed up until about 3am the night before I left for college, regretting every letter of intent I had signed and every student loan that I had taken out. I was a momma's girl, who had never been away from her mom or sister for more than 3 or 4 days at a time, getting ready to leave for college. NO WAY, JOSE. 

...I guess we all know how that one turned out. My mother would have died had I decided not to go to college. And here we are, 6 years later. I don't regret my decision to get my college degree for one second.

What are you most looking forward to this school year?
School actually started last week for us! I attended a New Teacher Orientation in Michigan in the first week of August, professional development started the following week, and then school started last Tuesday. I've been a busy busy bee! Now that I've met my babies, I'm looking forward to getting lots of feedback from my dean and my principal, and getting to embark on a new journey with my babies. Learning new routines and procedures is exciting for me!

What do you need to improve?
The number one thing I need to work on right now is my classroom management. During my internships and student teaching, classroom management was a breeze. Now that I'm out on my own, it's not as easy as I thought it was. Turns out, a class behaves much better when there are two teachers in the room than they do when there is only one! My first class basically ran the show. The biggest lesson that I learned in my first half year of teaching was to go in and set rules and expectations! I'm working on that this year, and my little third grade babies are wonderful so far, after only 5 days!

I also have a weird habit of not being able to hold eye contact for very long. I have a very irrational theory and explanation for this. I'm currently trying to rid myself of this fear.

What teaching supplies can you *not* live without?
Last year and throughout my internship/student teaching experience, I relied heavily on my SMARTboard.  Now that I teach in a charter school, I have to live without the luxury of having one. I'm hoping that I can figure out how to use that projector thing that is currently accumulating dust on top of my cabinets....

I LOVE love love index cards. Crazy, I know. I can't function without them. I might have a slight obsession. I use index cards for EVERYTHING. Word wall words, exit tickets, notes to parents, notes to me...anything.

I keep a stash of caffeine and/or Monster Energy drinks in my illegal inherited refrigerator. I know they aren't really school supplies, but I can't function without them.

Clorox wipes are a must, especially now that we eat lunch in our classroom. I might be a neat freak.

I don't know what I would do without my mini paper cutter. It saves gobs and gobs of time!!! Do yourself a favor and go buy one. You're welcome.

That's me in a nutshell! 
Stay tuned for teacher talk Tuesday, where I remember the horrors joys of my first half year of teaching and give advice to those fresh newbie teachers, although I haven't quite achieved veteran status myself. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I love Sunday.

Yep. Sunday might be my favorite day of the week. Don't get me wrong, I love Saturday. But sometimes [like yesterday] my Saturdays are filled with errands, shopping, spending time with my family, or working on lesson plans. But Sunday...oh, Sunday.

Every Sunday is pancake Sunday in our house. Unless we're out of town. We always, always, always make chocolate chip pancakes and bacon. And then the griddle sits on the counter for days hours afterward, because on Sundays I don't feel the need to do the dishes immediately.

Sunday is a lazy day. Unless I have a ton of work to do and lesson plans to write (where I will end up at work), Sunday is a day to lounge around with my sweatpants and no makeup on, and catch up on blogs, read a book, spend an unhealthy amount of time on Facebook, or do other random things that would otherwise be considered taboo on the weekdays.

Sunday is a day that we don't ever rarely ever make any plans. You might find us snuggled up in bed together, watching tv together, or in separate rooms doing separate things. However, Sunday is OUR day. Whether it be our day together or our day to do things for us as separate people, it is still OUR day. Unless something really important comes up (like a baby shower, shopping with sissy, or falling behind on planning).

Sunday is sometimes a cleaning day...if I'm feeling motivated enough. Today, I have done two loads of laundry, run the dishwasher, and I might just go make up the bed. Cleaning up on Sunday means less time spent concentrating on cleaning during the week.

Here's to a fabulous Sunday. What is YOUR favorite day of the week?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

It's Okay Thursday

Today, I'm linking  up with Neely and Amber for It's Okay Thursday...I feel this is more than appropriate for the first week of school!!! I'll update all about my first "real" week this weekend :)

It's okay...
...that I took a nap and then went to bed at 9pm last night
... that my fried chicken wasn't really fried tonight
...to cry during Big Brother
...to buy wine at the drug store
...to relish in the fact that my drive to and from work is less than 20 minutes
...that I am overly excited about Friday
...to be jealous of your boyfriend who is having no trouble sleeping at night
[and it's okay...]
...to be dependent on Monster energy drinks the first week of school because of that lack of sleep (even though you've been to bed on time every night)
...to plan a weekend filled with NOTHING
...to fill up the dishwasher as full as you can get it because you're too lazy to wash dishes
...to watch an unhealthy amount of Reality TV every week

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Busy Busy Bee

There has been a definite lack of posting on my part in the last week...and I apologize!! I have been working like crazy in my classroom trying to get it ready for the new babies, and I'm nowhere near done. They come on TUESDAY!! I'm going to have to go up there tomorrow and get some major work done. I have most of the day Monday to work and then open house is Monday night from 4-6.

I can't believe it's all happened so fast. I'll find some time soon to post before and after pictures. Most of my classroom is all set up as of now...I just have to work on leveling books, plans, and logistics for the first week, which seems to be a very daunting task!!! I'm very overwhelmed right now. Hopefully everything will magically come together in the next two days...otherwise I feel I might be in trouble!

I'll update as soon as I get some time to breathe!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What I'm loving Wednesday

Happy Wednesday, folks!
This will actually be the first Wednesday in a few weeks that I have been able to sit down and catch a breath...I'm busy working on my classroom this week. We were supposed to have Lexile training ALL day today, but we got a nice surprise when it ended at lunch and we were given the rest of the day to work in our rooms. Unfortunately, I didn't bring any of my things with me from home, but I've been working on what I can. Hence, why I have time to sit here and blog.
 I'll post pictures and updates as soon as I can get home this afternoon! Anyway, today is Wednesday...and you know what that means! I'm linking up for What I love Wednesday.

I'm loving that I'm getting so much done in my classroom
I'm loving that today is Wednesday...this week is flying by!
I'm loving that in less than a week, I get to meet my new babies and start my first full year of teaching
I'm loving that I'm blessed to have a great circle of friends and family
and as always...
I'm loving my incredible Mr. Boyfriend!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Fill in the Blank Friday

Oh hey, again. 
Here I am, still waiting in the airport. To pass the time, I'm going to link up with Lauren again today to play Fill In the Blank Friday!

[photo credit to Caroline]

1.   My go to outfit for a dress-up occasion like a wedding is
my little black dress; either the one from Forever 21 or the one I wore in my best friend's wedding.

2.  This week has been
absolutely crazy. 
I'm exhausted, but it was well worth spending the week in Michigan learning all the new and wonderful things that I'm going to use in my classroom. I can't wait to meet my new babies!

3.  When it's dinnertime and I'm feeling lazy I'll usually eat  
yeah, we're awesome.
4.  My favorite pair of shoes is
my black rainbows and my gold sandals from Target.

5.  A random item that I own that is completely unnecessary, but that I could never part with is
the fleece blanket that my mom bought for me.
It is giant. And both kitty and I love it.

6.  My favorite person is
Don't make me choose just one.
That's mean.
I love boyfriend, mom, and sissy all the same.
But in different ways.

7.  If I were going to write my own blank it would say
The one thing I miss most when I am traveling is: home cooked meals.

True Life!

I'm linking up with Mrs. Monologues and Fabulous but Evil for their new True Life series!

I consider myself a general blogger. I started this blog to get my thoughts out for when I was frustrated, and to keep people updated on what's going on in our wonderful life! :) 

Since I've recently gotten my first full year teaching job, I'm hoping to network with teachers and share ideas. Being a first year teacher is difficult...and sometimes I feel as if I'm trying to reinvent the wheel, when really there are other ideas out there that I could be using. I'm hoping to make this year in the classroom more successful and less stressful than last year! I'm on my way home from my New Teacher Orientation in Michigan with National Heritage Academies, and I couldn't be more excited to start the year off on the right foot! 

It's almost time to board my airplane...I don't think I've ever missed North Carolina more in my entire life!! See you soon, Raleigh!