Thursday, July 24, 2014

My classroom.

First, I want to state the fact that every time I quit blogging it's because I type up a phenomenal post ans it it somehow gets deleted before I can post it. That happened again earlier this week and it just so discouraging because I've drained the energy I felt toward the topic by writing it the first time and I know I won't be able to put it all back into words the same way again. 

Now that I've vented, let's move on. Last we we receive an email saying our school had finally been cleaned and we could get into our rooms to start working. I've said before, I'm the kid that can't wait to go back to school, so I've been waiting for this news. 

My mom had taken the week off to spend with me and for us to get stuff done. We were planning to sneak out of town Tuesday and Wednesday so we planned to work in my room Thursday. We went on our mini vacation and got stuck in what felt like a tropical storm.

Thursday morning we were exhausted and by the time we got to the school we only had a few hours before it would close. It didn't matter since the teacher who's moving out and into another room, hadn't moved anything out yet. I did measure the room and my bulletin board though and made a list of cleaning supplies I would need before coming back. 

Monday I headed back, and after talking with my principal decided it would be ok for me to take down posters and bulletin boards that were still up in my room. She had a lot of decorations so I started making my way around the room, then I took down the bulletin board. 

I bought felt for my bulletin board because it was cheap but I didn't take into consideration how much it stretches...after struggling, I finally go it put up. I'm hoping the crease will slowly smooth out. 

I probably should have measured and cut before I put it up, but it worked out...

Then I cleaned my sink and fixed where the edge of the counter had peeled away. Duck tape truly fixes everything :)
Yesterday I moved all my stuff down to my new room and stacked it to one side. Then I found out there's only been one other teacher working on there room - come on people, I can't be the only one excited to organize my room. Right?

Hope you're enjoying your break!


Monday, July 7, 2014


Even as a kid, I was the one who almost dreaded summer break. I lived out of district and just didn't have the neighborhood friendships most people did so summer normally meant going months without hanging out with my friends. It's still very much like that, I don't get to see my work friends over the summer, and if I'm not careful it can become a very lonely, depressing time. So, while most of you are dragging your heels wishing summer would slow down, I secretly rejoiced when I saw back to school ads yesterday.

Don't get me wrong I like being able to take it easy, but I love a routine and summer break throws a big wrench in mine. 

One thing I've really come to appreciate about summer is the chance to spend time with my brother, sister-in-law and their kids. We only live about 8 miles from each other but the school year keeps us all so busy that it's sometimes hard to just spend time together. So far this summer we've taken a day trip to the beach, gone blueberry picking, and painted some pictures for my classroom. I have 4 nieces, ages 21,16, 12, and 9. I have two nephews Ages 8 and 3. And the newest addition to our family is my great nephew who just turned one. It's hard to find something they all enjoy but I seem to have hit on something last week with our art project. 

I had seen on Pinterest where an art teacher had students paint owls onto old encyclopedia pages and framed them. I really liked how each of the owls were different and thought this would be a great way for my family to contribute to my classroom decor.

I toyed with the idea of book pages but in the end, I just couldn't make myself destroy a book. So, I went to hobby lobby to stock up on scrapbook paper, I stuck mostly to 'paper' backgrounds, (maps, postcards, newspaper, dictionary, sheet music, etc.) except for the baby's I picked a baby blue and green background for him. 

They were given the option of sharpies or paints or both. Here's a picture of most of them - I was still waiting on two when I took this.

I LOVE how they turned out! I can't wait for the next project!


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Creating PDF Posters

When I found out I would be getting my own classroom this year I began picking a theme. I had a theme in my mind for a third grade classroom but it wouldn't work (at least not in my opinion) for the classroom I will be in. I finally decided on owls which was the theme I originally wanted before deciding to remain an assistant for a second year.

Of course after deciding on my theme my next step was to spend a few weeks on pinterest seeing what other people had created. I quickly had over 1,000 owl pins!!! Yes, I think i may have a slight pinterest problem. Last week I took to google image searches saving clip art and pictures that I thought I may use.

This week, I got to work. As I've said, I can start getting in my room next week and the more I have "ready" the better I will feel. I decided after all my internet searching that I wanted to create my own posters instead of paying for versions someone else had already made - I know, I know why reinvent the wheel. But why pay for something when I can make it myself. This way I can match the images I like and tweek any phrases that I may not have been completely satisfied with.

With all that being said, I'm not sure if I can share the poster's I've made...I used clipart and phrases from others that I've found online and I'd hate to infringe on anyone's property.

Have you ever made your one posters for your classroom? I used to use Microsoft Publisher for EVERYTHING I did, but when i bought my last lap top several years ago I opted not to pay for it. Publisher is still my program of choice when making things at school but now I use open office software at home.

I struggled with both of these programs because not many people have either. I would create flyers and send them out to a group only to receive 10 emails of frustrated people who couldn't open them. Then one day I discovered something that changed my life forever :) I'm probably the last person in the world to discover this so you are probably all thinking why is she taking the time to explain this to me, but did yall know you can save almost any file as a PDF, right from the program you are creating it in (word, publisher, openoffice, etc.) When you are ready to save your PDF click on the "File" button in the top left instead of clicking save look for an option that says PDF it may say export to PDF. Click this link and save away. Almost everyone has the option of opening PDF's and this also protects your work so others can't edit or change any of the details. Remember to also save the file (the normal way) in an editable format in case you need to edit it in the future.

So far I've created Can Do and Must Do, Recycling, Testing, Expectations and a few inspirational posters.

This afternoon I'll be getting "crafty" in a more hands on sense as my nieces and nephews and I sit down to paint some owls! They are so excited to help me decorate my classroom and I LOVE that they want to help. This is just step one, I'm sure at least a few of them will end up in my classroom helping me decorate. Since I'm not adding pictures of my PDFs, Here's a picture of two of my nieces helping me in my classroom last year :)


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Changes :)

Wow! I can't believe it's been over two years since I've posted. So much has happened in two years and I'm not even sure where to begin. I was getting ready for my Third year of subbing the last time i posted. In October of that year I was called to sub at a school I had only visited once before. A few weeks later I was called back and offered a long term position there. Over the next month I feel in love with this school and the Family I was making there. When time came for me to leave I sat in the principals office sobbing because I just didn't want to say goodbye.

In December I was called to come in for an interview for an assistant position in the ID Mild classroom. I was offered the Job In January. I'd always said it took a special person to work in special ed and I always followed that statement with "and i'm not that person."  I was scared that I wouldn't be what the kids needed. I quickly fell in love once again this time with 12 new faces who (most of them at least) adored me.

Subbing I had seen so many situations where teachers and there assistants had horrible relation ships and that was probably my biggest fear coming into this new job, but I was BLESSED with one of the best co-workers I ever could have asked for. She encouraged me, shared her classroom with me and quickly became one of my best friends.

I began to interview at other schools for a job for the following year (2013-2014) but I quickly realized I was right where God wanted me. At least for the time being. after subbing for 2.5 years and beginning this job in the middle of the year, I just wanted to stay in one place for a full year. So, I made the decision to stay put.

I knew this year would most likely be my last in this classroom, after all, I'm a certified teacher with LOTS of student loans and I really did need to move forward with my career. I enjoyed this year with my kids and I feel like being with the same class in a School I love helped me build my confidence in myself as a teacher.

The problem with my school and my certification is that I'm only certified for k-3rd and my school is 3rd-5th. The good thing is there are 6 third grade classrooms so chances are good that there would be some openings. In May, I sat down with my administration and 3 co-workers to interview for a third grade position in my school. I would much rather interview with complete strangers than with people who know me, but I made it through in one piece. A few days later I sat down with my Principal and AP as they gave me the bad news. I had done a WONDERFUL job in the interview, but they went with someone else. but they did have some good news....

I was offered a NEW position the school is creating for the coming year. I will be teaching using a computer program called Achieve3000. The program uses non-fiction articles that are leveled.The articles are accompanied by opinion questions, multiple choice questions, and a writing response. We used this program last year in each of our classes. A vital part of the program is that each class should complete a group lesson together each week focusing on a different skill area (note taking, responding to text, close reading, etc). students should also complete at least two lessons on their own a week. Unfortunately (or fortunately for me) the group lessons just weren't happening each week in each classroom. I will see all 400+ students in our school. It's a certified position and I'm thrilled and excited and a little nervous to be taking on this task. In addition to the group lessons, I will also be working with RTI groups.

I will not be on the related arts schedule. Teachers will schedule their time with me and will be in my classroom for parts of my lessons as I see necessary. I will not take the place of the computer lab.

Has anyone out there taught a class like this??? Or another related arts class? I would love to here your advice on scheduling, classroom management, etc.

The school is closed this week but I will be able to go in next week and start moving my stuff from my old room to my new room and start planning my classroom set up. I'll post pictures as I begin my move! Hopefully, Now that I'm settling in, I can get back in the habit of posting.


Friday, June 8, 2012

5th Grade Surprise

So, I was very fortunate to lat a LONG TERM sub position for the last 5 weeks of the school year. I have to admit I was nervous when I took it mainly because it was 5th grade and I'm Early Childhood, and partly because I had subbed in that classroom before and there were a few behavior issues. There was NO WAY I was going to turn it down though because the Principals had specifically requested ME!! This was my chance to prove myself.

It was a somewhat unusual situation in that there was NO contact with the classroom teacher and for all intents and purposes, the classroom was now mine. I was told I would be in there, most likely, for the duration of the year.

I was absolutly surprised at how much I ended up LOVING 5th grade. Most of this was probably due to my WONDERFUL team and how much they made me feel like in belonged. I hadn't realized just how much I missed planning until they gave me a class to plan for and set me loose. I was truely in my element. Hopefully I can get some photos uploaded soon. I truely looked at this as my time to shine and prove that I could hit the ground running no matter what situation I was put in. I think I did a good job. I know I have a lot of teachers pulling for me to get a permanent position there.

Now it's back to the game of checking the job postings every 5 minutes. But I'm going to use this summer to get organized and start planning even if i have no clue what grade I will be teaching. There are so many things I can be working on - organizing books for my library, working on a management plan, adding to my portfolio...

Happy Summer Break everyone!
- JoAnne

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


This morning I'm laying in bed feeling guilty for sleeping through two calls from the school. When I finally called back, I was already going to be late so I told her I wasn't available. Now as I lie here I can't help but think of all the things I should be doing on my morning off. I'm so busy lately that I actually feel guilty for resting. Do you ever feel this way? In a little while I will get up and I'm sure I will do something productive before going to work.

Hoping you all have a good Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Working World

So I'm sure all 9 of you have been going out of your mind wondering what happened to me.

Shortly a few weeks after school started back I still hadn't received any calls to sub. I was beginning to worry since my student loans were due. One afternoon I got a call from my aunt who is a guidance counselor at one of the schools in my district. Their after school daycare was looking for subs and she wanted to know if she could give them my name. After talking to the director I was booked for the following week. After that first week I was able to move to my school of choice for a permanent position. Then the calls started coming in for subbing. Even though I can only sub at the one school now I have been subbing several days a week. Last week I subbed 4.5 days and worked 15 hours at the daycare. It makes for some long weeks considering there are days I am at the school with kids in my care for 11 hours. But I am grateful to have a job and a way to pay my bills.

I've also been staying busy with Girl Scouts and we will be having our first sleepover in 1.5 weeks:-)

Well I've got to get ready to sub half a day, but I wanted to let you all know I'm still alive.