Sunday, August 2, 2015

Let's Talk Bulletin Boards

Bulletin Boards can be the bane of our existence or the best part of teaching.

I like making bulletin boards easy....cute...impressive to parents...useful to students.  Let's look at those four things.

I like to pick a paper or fabric that will get me through the whole year.  Blue and black are good choices, but when I go back I may try brown wrapping paper....Look for that in my reveal.  Get at least one extra set of hands to help hold the paper while you get it in place to be stapled.  Use push pins to hold the fabric in place while you are getting it straight.  Staple, when everything looks good.  Minimal words at the beginning of the year.  I like students to build up content for the boards.

You want your bulletin boards to tell people something about you like modern clean lines, or comfy cozy spaces?  Are you all business or a little more right-brained?  Keep your colors so they don't clash with each other.  Keep them all within the same color pallet, or have them complementing each other.  You could do one main color and then others that make things "pop".  Your color and pattern choices can tell your students a lot about you.  Things don't have to be perfect, but you do want to make a good first impression.  A minimal room can tell your students....we are going to work together in here.  This is your room too!

I hate to say it...but your bulletin boards are what people see first.  You want to make a good impression. Check out these from Katie King at Queen of the First Grade Jungle (now exploring 2nd grade)

The one below was a special door contest.  Notice how big the whale is compared to the ladybugs the students made.  3D can be awesome if your fire marshals will allow (we get away with more during certain celebrations, like this book fair).

If you have a word wall use it!!  Everyday...keep it growing.  If you have anchor charts, build them, use them, build another (storing or giving the old one to the students to keep for reference).

 You can use your walls and doors as bulletin boards too.  I like to attach things with hot glue or that super sticky foamy adhesive tape.  That stuff is strong (things won't fall down), but it leaves a mess.  Hot glue has become my adhesive of choice.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

HELP!! I am drowning in clutter!

I am a hoarder....There I said it.  I am not really proud of that fact, but I have a Bright Idea on how to fix it.

I searched high and low for ideas and a plan of action that would work for me.

I read blogs, checked pinterest, and ended up back where I started 30 years ago when I first realized that my kindergarten stuff wasn't fitting very well in file folders.  I kept my samples and stuff in paper boxes (have your custodian save them for you), then labeled them by months.

In the mean stuff has expanded and the boxes are gone (three schools, and two states ago).

True confessions....Do you have a mess like me?  Maybe not this bad, but teachers are notorious. We save things because we might need them.  You never know....projects, grade level changes, and just the money invested.

That is why I came up with this Plan of Action!!  Join me on this journey (it is not over yet).

It is hard.  I am not going to lie, this is not easy on me emotionally.  I have a lot invested.  I am afraid of changing grade levels.  I am afraid of not having something I need (or want).  But speaking those fears out loud, make them seem not so scary.  I am already getting psyched for this journey!!   I can do this!

Don't take too long on this step.  Don't think too much, there is more sorting to come.

But what about the things you don't use every day??  Set them aside for now....and when you are done with yes and no, group those seasonal things into categories that seem to make sense to you.

My thought is one tub for each month (right now my stuff is scattered in lots of different tubs and all mixed up), but I may need to add one for holidays that have lots of stuff (like Christmas, Halloween, Easter, and Thanksgiving).  I may also designate a tub for math and reading, so I can store things that do not fit a month or theme.  My tubs must fit along my garage wall, and I will bring them to school as I need them.  I do have a craft closet at home and my supplies will have to fit in there.   My space available will determine my limits.

Now comes the hard part.

Keep getting rid of those NOs

There in a nutshell is my plan of action.  And I am already getting started!!

Join me on this journey by following me on facebook or here on my blog.  I will be posting pictures of my progress.  Now that you all know my troubles.....I don't think I can quit.   I have someone watching me.  I can do this.

Check out these other amazing bloggers and their ideas.


Monday, July 13, 2015

What Happens in Vegas.....changes lives

Where did last week go?  It was a whirlwind!!  Inspirational people I now call friends....workshops filled with new ideas to try and old ones I had forgotten.  And everywhere people who are the very best in their field, changing the face of education and the lives of children.
Teaching is a superpower!  We can change lives, our impact can go beyond what we realize.

Is that a little over the top??  Maybe...but it is all true.

The SDE National conferences combined with the TpT conference brought together such talent.  The week went by in a flash.  Here are just a few snapshots.
I wanted to get pictures with all of my heroes, but I don't think I even came close.  So much talent!  It sure was fun trying (hope I wasn't too obnoxious).

So many amazing presenters....all week long.  If you have a chance to attend any of the SDE conferences in Las Vegas next year I say start saving is worth every penny!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Becoming UnShakable

I am so happy it is summer!
Happy for several reasons...First, there is just so much I like to do in the summer that I don't have for during the school year.  Things like hiking, camping, and playing outside, and reorganizing my stuff.

I also like to use my summers to recharge and refresh my spirit.   One way I do that is to join in on book study.  This way I learn new things and get new perspectives on my teaching.  This year was kind-of rough on me so I am particularly excited to read Unshakable by Angela Watson.

I got to meet Angela at a brunch with a few other teachers last year.  She is one of the most kind and incredibly insightful people I know.  We have chatted back and forth on email a bit and I find her to be the real deal....authentic.  She gave me some wonderful words of wisdom and helped me to think about all the things I love about teaching.  I am excited to read her latest book and join in on the discussions.

Along with her book, Angela is hosting an online book study group.  You can read more about it on her website, The Cornerstone.  All the information you need to join in, is right there.  She and Frankie Robinson will be sharing 20 ways to enjoy teaching in 20 days.  I am really looking forward to delving into this book and participating in the discussions.  Angela says, 

Don't wait for teaching to be fun again:  Plan on it!

Here's the BEST part....Angela has generously agreed to give away three digital copies of the book, Unshakeable, to three of my readers.  All you need to do is follow me on TpT, Facebook, or here at KinderKapers.  Enter in the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Are you ready to be an unshakeable teacher again?  I am!  I am planning on it!   I love teaching and I want to feel the joy in teaching again.  More Joy....Less Stress!  I am off to start reading so I am ready for the conversations.   Join me!!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Flip Flop Fun....A Bright Idea!

The dollar flip flop sale is over....but there are still plenty of places to get your flip flops for just a dollar.  The ones in the picture are actually from the dollar store, I bought a few more at Old Navy, and at Target too.  I figure I need 12 pair.  I recycle my old ones into the mix and use them again and again.

If you like this Bright Idea....consider following me here at KinderKapers, at my store on TpT, or on facebook.

For even more Bright Ideas check out the bloggers below:

Friday, June 19, 2015

Five for Friday....Mom is here!!

I just realized that today is Friday....isn't it wonderful that I didn't even realize that it is Friday!  Then it dawned on me that I should link up!  I am having so much fun, I need to take a minute and reflect.

So here I am....linking up with Doodle Bug Teaching and  sharing some of my already fun summer.

First my sweet class spoiled me with surprises the last week of school!  A few I am saving for September, a few I am using right away!

My room is packed for summer cleaning, but I know I will be going through my shelves carefully later this summer.  It was a long hard decision....but I am staying in second next year.  I am looking forward to some of my sweet kinder kids (I have already seen many of their names on my list) and to the view out my window, where I want to spend more of my teaching time.

June means my mom is here!!!!!  She lives in Pennsylvania and every summer she comes to Utah and Nevada to visit my sister and me.  This year my daughter planned a party for her 81st and 1/2 birthday.  All of my children and grandchildren and many (most) of my nieces and nephews and their children were able to come.  It was such a suprise and such a great visit to have everyone in the same place at the same time!!

I am having fun this year introducing my mom to blogging friends.  Yesterday we went to lunch with the fabulous Nikki from Melonheadz Illustrating.  I just love her to pieces and it was so fun to introduce her to mom.  Tuesday we are going to the Cheesecake Factory to hopefully meet up with more Utah blogging friends.

While my mom is here I have been taking advantage of her writing abilities (she is an author and teacher of writing, plus an editor for Marywood University), and getting her to edit a couple of projects I have been working on. 

I have been working on this non-fiction unit.  I think my definitions are too wordy, so it is not yet finished. 

I have been having her check over my Friendship Salad story and activity.  I love using this the first week of school, so I want to be sure it is the best it can be! You can check it out here.
Are you already having fun?  What fun things are you doing?  My mom is here for one more week...we are just getting started.  WooHoo!!  Yippee!! and Hoorah!