Saturday, August 11, 2012

Back to School. . .already?

I can't believe it's that time of year again.  I must say that I feel totally different this year than I have compared to the past 8 years!  Usually my classroom is set {or getting there. . .slowly but surely}, I'm preparing activities for those oh so important first days, and I'm buying up crayons, pencils, and glue like a crazy lady! This year since I'll be home with my three little guys, I have set up my classroom the playroom, purchased a few supplies, and planned activities for us to do this fall. I guess it's just in my blood-teacher at heart!  
                                                                                        There's a big blob of paint in the playroom. . .we finally decided on this color to try to keep it calm {as calm as possible with a 2 month old a 2 year old and a 4 1/2 year old}.  This has been my craftiest summer yet.   I have done more home projects and fix-ups than I have in a long while. It has been refreshing and so much fun to just paint, make fun stuff, and fix things up!  Craigslist, garage sales, and thrift shops are full of so much great stuff.  
We have kid art and kid stuff everywhere. . ."10 Black Dots" {by my 4 1/2 year old} is below.  Also tons of bins, containers, and organizers {I don't think I could live without them}!

Why does our playroom have a pocket chart calendar and a bulletin board?!?  I just couldn't resist!  I also made the "eat, play, love sign" for the playroom since those are the 3 things my boys do best!  I just need to add the ribbon and twine to the top of it and decide where to hang it.  
Don't get me wrong, we believe in prayer too!  Prayer is an absolute must for this stay at home mama with three active little ones!

I can't believe summer is coming to a close so soon.  This simple little schedule has helped me keep my sanity, and the boys LOVE it!  This is the same type of schedule that I used in my classroom for "morning work."  Each student had a morning work journal or they used tools that were in their seat pockets like manipulatives, dry erase boards, or playdough to work on a quick activity to help their brain "wake up."  We'll be doing something very similar this fall. . .more details soon!

 So to every amazing teacher who's putting the final touches on his or her classroom, stocking up on school supplies, and counting down the days before the fun begins with your new bunch of sweeties you're in my thoughts and prayers. . . I hope you have your most wonderful school year yet! Never forget how important you are in the lives of your little ones and how much you shape the future!


  1. I love reading your blog and hearing about the fun things you do as a mom for your boys! Thanks for your encouragement and I'm looking forward to another year in first! Also, I'm trying to do something different this year for "morning work" and I loved your little schedule you had. Could you explain that a little more to me? Like give an example for each day's theme?

    1. Absolutely! Here's an example that I did for the beginning of the school year. . .maybe this will give you an idea of some ways that you can begin the new year if you use a plan like this one.

      My district was very blessed to have Promethean Boards in every classroom so that made it really easy to display the "morning work" activity for the students as they entered the room. Before I had the boards, I displayed the information with PowerPoint slides via my television. Some days I didn't have to post anything at all because the students knew what day of the week it was and what they were expected to do, but that was during the second semester of school. I loved this schedule because it focused on the content areas, but it still allowed me to vary the types of activities that the students did from week to week.

      Here's a basic example with some ideas that I used in September. . .

      Math Monday-Students used their math journals or marker boards to solve a problem or practice math skills. Some times they worked with a partner to practice math facts using flashcards, and sometimes they glued a math problem into their journals to solve independently. They also worked on creating their own math problems (addition/subtraction) in their math journals (this was much later in the school year after a lot of modeling and practice). I also used this time to review concepts that we were working on or had previously covered in class such as measurement, time, addition, subtraction, place value, estimation, comparing and ordering numbers. . .Mystery number was a class favorite. An example for September might be to have students respond to the following statement in their journals: My apple tree has an odd number of apples on it. My apple tree has less than 20 apples. My apple has more than 5 apples. How many apples do you think are on the tree? The students would record their thoughts and ideas in their math journal and share them with a buddy. During calendar math/morning message I would call on 1-2 students to share their thinking and explain their answer.

    2. Terrific Art Tuesday or Book Talk Tuesday-We did TONS of directional art and craftivities. Sometimes I used this time to help students prep for these activities, and sometimes the project was totally student directed. Some days the students would draw a picture and add labels. Sometimes I asked students to draw a picture of something or create something that would be used during another time throughout the day. This was also a perfect time for self portraits (which I liked to do once per month for Mother's Day and student portfolios). Tuesday was also our library day so at least once a month I allowed the students to just share their books with friends at their table. They discussed favorite parts, read together, and made recommendations.

      Reading and Writing Wednesday-On Wednesday's the students did buddy reading, practiced word wall words, played "BOGGLE," wrote in their journals, completed word sorts, and completed all kinds of literacy activities. This was a good point in the week for students to practice spelling words and word wall words since the tests were on Friday. This was also a good time to use magnetic letters, playdough, and marker boards for hands on activities.

      Think Like a Scientist Thursday-On this day students used their science journals to review science concepts. Sometimes I would ask them questions. I also liked to use lots of thinking maps for this day so I could see how they organized their thoughts. For example, one day I asked the students to make a circle map and tell about "solids" with words and pictures. This was an excellent tool for me because I could see which concepts were still a bit hazy. I covered all kinds of topics such as temperature, weather, habitats, seasons, estimation, measurement, landforms, plants, water cycle, clouds. . .

      Follow Directions Friday/Free Choice Friday-This was really a fun day that usually had to do with art or creating something. I also liked to use this time for free choice activities. The students could read independently or with a friend, write, practice math facts, draw, review spelling words, use marker boards. . .

      It took about six weeks for the students to get the schedule down, but once they did it gave me time each morning to check binders, work with some of my students one on one or in small groups, check e-mail, and get set for the day!

  2. You are going to be the world's best stay at home mom! I wish that I was as intentional with my time as you are...but usually I'm just flying by the seat of my pants!

  3. Thank you so much for explaining each of your morning's routines!!!


Site Design By Designer Blogs
Blogging tips