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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Three for Thursday

Today I'm joining in all of the fun again over at Blog Hoppin'!  Everybody is sharing their favorite font, blog, and online resource.  This is an awesome way to learn about new websites!

Favorite Font
This is hard to pick just one...I'm a font-a-holic!  I'm always downloading new and super-cute fonts!  I would have to say that my favorite fonts come from the wonderful Kevin and Amanda!  I love that they are from Auburn (War Eagle!) and that their fonts are free!  One of these days I'm going to have my handwriting turned into a font by them!

Download Free Scrapbook Fonts
Download Free Scrapbook Fonts

Download Free Scrapbook Fonts
Download Free Scrapbook Fonts
Download Free Scrapbook Fonts

Favorite Blog
Wow!  This is SOOOO hard to pick just one favorite blog!  I have gotten so many creative and awesome ideas from ya'lls blogs....I don't know if I can just pick one!  I love Abby's blog at The Inspired Apple.  She is so funny with the way she writes and always has creative ideas to share!  I also love Christie's blog at Teaching in Flip Flops.  I love all of her zebra and polkadot stuff that she shares!  Kara at The First Grade Parade has an awesome blog, and all of her Hollywood themed ideas are so cute!  Amy Lemon's at Step Into Second Grade is also super cute!  I love how she is so generous with her printables and that she also creates a lot of stuff in Spanish.  My list could go on and on my friends!  Oh please don't make me choose just one!!!

Favorite Online Resources
I love Scholastic's Book Wizard.  The website is easy to use and I can quickly level all of my books by reading level with this website!  I also love DOGO News and used this when teaching science and social studies!  It touched on world events in a kid-friendly way.  Mathwire is an awesome website for all kinds of fun ways to teach and introduce math concepts!  I also hit up Laura Candler's website and click on her files for wonderful ideas.  Mandy Gregory's website has some awesome Writing Workshop ideas.  Mrs. Meacham's Classroom Snapshots  is another great resource!  And of course then there is Pinterest!  I love this website because you can "pin" all of your great teaching finds.  Pinterest has helped me to discover new teaching blogs, and has inspired me with all of the wonderful ideas from delish recipes to DIY projects to of course...teaching ideas!

Now hop on over to Blog Hoppin' to see what everyone else has posted and post your favorites!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teacher Talk Tuesday--Advice for New Teachers

Here it is day two of Teacher Week at I'm Blog Hoppin'.  The topic today is advice for "newbies".  Since I've only been teaching for two and a half years, so I guess I'm kind of still a "newbie".  This is what I've learned during my teaching experiences...and hopefully it will be useful advice for someone! :)

1.  Make friends with your grade level:  Get to know them personally, and don't be afraid to ask them questions or ask them for advice.  At my old school it was very obvious which grade levels did not work well with each other.  I was so blessed when I taught first grade last year because my grade level and I instantly became best friends!  We not only talked at school--we would text at night and go out to eat sometimes!  We worked together so well and it showed with our students' test scores!  I still consider all four of them my mentors!

2.  Make friends with the whole staff:  While it's important to get to know everyone at your school make sure you stay away from gossip!

3.  Ask a veteran teacher to sit in on parent conferences:  I asked a fellow first grade teacher to sit in on a conference with a very particular parent.  My cohort was more than happy to help me!  This not only benefitted me, but also the parent.  The parent was able to hear advice from two first grade teachers! 

4.  Stay organized:  If your organized then you will feel prepared.

5.  Classroom Management is SO important:  Establish your rules and procedures from day one and stick to them.  If you find that your behavior mangement system doesn't work well--change it!  I changed mine in the middle of the year last year and it worked wonders.  I love the clip chart system.

6.  Plan--Have a well thought out lesson plan, and always have extra copies just in case.  If you think the lesson will last 20 minutes plan for 30 or 40 just in case.  Anything you don't use can always be put into a sub folder or used for another day.  Keep calm and pretend this is on the lesson plan. I saw this quote on Pinterest.  It's so true!  Sometimes your lesson plans don't turn out how you planned...but I learned that you just need to go with the flow!  Once I was being observed by my principal for a math lesson and my well thought out lesson plan did not work as planned!  I had planned on using the ELMO, and my bulb was dead....so I just had to teach on and make my plan work.

7.  Stay true to your word:  If you tell your class you are going to do something do it.  Don't let them see that you can't follow through!  Kids pick up quickly on things like that!

8.  Parent communication is important:  Communicate with parents to let them know what is going on in their child's class.  Send home weekly grades, skills agendas or weekly newsletter, behavior charts, etc.  I like to send home little notes to students that are always good...and just brag on them.  I also like to send a little note to a student and his/her parents when I have seen improvement!

9.  Grading papers:  This was something I really struggled with my first year.  I thought "if I'm going to make them complete this two page math worksheet I need to grade it!".  What happened was that I was overloaded with papers to grade--classwork, homework, and then weekly tests on top of that!  That really stressed me out...and then I learned I didn't have to grade everything.  I liked having grades besides tests--but I didn't have to make everything a grade.  I finally got smart and made homework in math and reading due on Fridays.  Then I just checked to see that my students completed the work and gave them what I called "participation points". Which took a couple of minutes to put into the gradebook and I was done! 

10. ENJOY IT!!!  We are called to be teachers, so enjoy what you do!  Enjoy the hugs, the smiles, the funny things they say, the little "flowers" they bring you, their artwork.  If you enjoy what you do, then the students will enjoy learning!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meet the Teacher Monday!

Ya'll know that I love a good linky party, so with a name like "Teacher Week" over at Blog Hoppin'  I have to join in on the fun!

My dog Buddy and I ( He loves his Auburn bandana!)

Dutchess and I
Tell us a little something about you.
I'm Ashlee and I graduated in 2008 from the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL.  I am from a small town outside of Birmingham....you blink and you miss it!  I LOVE AUBURN FOOTBALL!!!  I have two furry babies:  a cat named Dutchess and a Black Lab named Buddy (A.K.A the Budster).  My mom is a teacher and I swore to myself that I wasn't going to go into teaching like my mother!!! So I started out in communications.  I wanted to be an investigative journalist just like Lisa Ling...and for those that know me...well they like to get a laugh out of that!  After many, many communications classes I realized that I was not cut out for the degree I was pursuing.  I decided that maybe I should be a teacher because everytime I would babysit I had a plan.  I would have a picture book with an art activity, and I loved planning things like that.  So I changed my major right around the same time as my bestest friend forever--Sarah did.  The crazy thing was that we were both in communications and didn't discuss the thought of changing our majors!  So we were both very happy when we found out that we were both going to be teachers and could still take classes together!  Best decision ever!!!

How long have you been teaching?
I have been teaching for two and a half years.  I graduated in December, and I was so excited when I landed a long-term sub leave where I completed my student teaching in 2009!  From 2009-2011 I taught third and first grades at a school in a rural area.  I miss my third graders, and I will never forget them since they were my very first *real* class!  I loved my sweet little first grade class, they were always making me laugh!   My school was one of the many areas affected from the April 27, 2011 tornadoes so I learned so much about kids resilience after that tragic time.  Sadly, with budget cuts and losing students after the tornadoes (moving to other areas) my unit was cut...so I've been looking for a teaching job all summer.  I'm optimistic that something will open up soon!!!  So say a little prayer for me!

You might not know...
I'm a shop-a-holic!  I can shop for hours on end and I love a good sale! I don't eat buffets or anything on a bone...the little blue part totally grosses me out! 

What are you looking most forward to this school year?
I guess that would be landing another teaching job and getting to know my new students!

What do you need to improve?
I believe that good teachers are always thinking of things that they need to change.  One thing I'm constantly changing is my behavior management system.  I love the clip chart that's all the rage on the blogs these days, and I created one this summer to use.  I also want to really focus on doing small groups more often with my higher students. 

What teaching supplies can you *not* live without?
I can't live without R2 Blast Neon Pens ( I love these!  You can only find them at the Dollar General :A.K.A:  The Little Yellow Boutique)  Post-It notes, Mr. Sketch markers, chart paper, the ELMO, my timer, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and Dr. Pepper!

So go link up with Blog Hoppin'!  I can't wait to read everyone else's posts!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Top 10 Teacher "Must Haves" for Back to School

Amanda over at the Teaching Thief is having a Top 10 Teacher Must Haves Linky Party!  Of course when we are getting ready to go back to school we think about what we need to have for our students.  What do we get ourselves?  Here are my top 10 things that I get for myself when it's time to get ready for back to school!
1.  R2 Blast Pens:  I love the way they write and the fun, bold, neon colors actually work!  I'm obsessed with these pens!  I only use these pens when I'm grading...never in red.  You can only find them at the Dollar General--which I call "The Little Yellow Boutique!"  I always pick up a pack when I'm there!
2. Mr. Sketch Markers:  These bring me back to yester-year!  I love using Mr. Sketch markers for anchor charts and bulletin board projects.  I need a new pack!
3.  Bic Mechanical Pencils:  I like the way that mechanical pencils write.  I guess you could call me a pencil snob because I only use mechanical pencils. 
4.  Dry Erase Markers:  I love the neon colored ones.  I hate that the black expo markers smear when you erase the board...anybody else notice that?!?  I'm also glad to hear that other teachers do not share their markers either!  I keep a sticker on mine too so I know which markers belong to me!  When my students come to the board they use one certain marker without a sticker...if it has a sticker they don't touch it!  LOL!
5.  Mr. Clean Magic Erasers:  I use these for cleaning anything and everything!  Did ya'll know that these will clean off Sharpie marks?!?
6. Sharpies:  I love Sharpies almost as much as Mr. Sketch markers!
7.  Wite-Out: I'm always making some kind of mistake!
8: Kleenex:  I'm what you would call a germ-a-phob...so I have my own pack of Kleenex behind my desk that my kids cannot reach.  Maybe that's a little mean...?
9.  Post-It Notes:  I use these bad boys for everything!  From reminder notes for me to using them in lesson plans! 

10..  Dr. Pepper and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups:  I always keep a case of Dr. Pepper in my fridge...which comes in handy when I'm working late after school!   I'm totally addicted to Reese's!  Who doesn't need a chocolate fix while the kids are a PE?  Of course I share with my cohorts!

So head on over to Amanda's blog to join the party and tell everybody what your Top 10 Teacher Must Haves are!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Go Check It Out!

Melissa over at Plug-n-Plan is having an awesome give away to celebrate reaching over 200 followers.  Today until 10:00 she has posted her newest unit called "French Fry Facts Flash" on Teachers Pay Teachers for...wait for it... FREE on Google Docs.  This is a math unit created to help students master their addition and subtraction facts.  Anything to make memorizing facts fun, right?!?  So head on over to Melissa's fab blog and help her celebrate!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Just Ramblin'

Hey friends!  I know it's been awhile since I have posted.  I have been reading so many blogs of teachers in the same boat as I am looking for a teaching job.  Low enrollment, budget cuts, bigger classrooms, and proration oh my!  It's so sad to hear about these teachers that I think are just FAB-U-LOUS also looking.  I know that something will open up soon for us and I'm praying for ya'll also every day! 

In the mean time to keep my mind off of everything (and to stop constantly eating Reese's Peanut Butter Cups!) I have been busy creating things that I plan to share with ya'll soon!  I sit by my phone hoping it will ring every day (and yes sometimes I call my phone just to make sure it can ring! LOL!)...so while I'm waiting for what I call my "Fantastical Phone Call" I work on ideas that I hope to use in my classroom next year!  I have had so much inspiration from my new blogging friends and Pinterest that I eat, sleep, and breathe new teaching ideas!  I know that because of ya'll I will have an even more awesome year of teaching...one day soon...ok hopefully this year!