Saturday, December 28, 2013

Break from Reality

Can it really be that after 4 months of challenging reality...I desire to post
Seriously, I don't know how all of you teacher-mom-wives-bloggers do it!? A typical school day for me Wears Me Slap Out. This is coming from a gal who has no chil-ren of her own and who now lives only *25* minutes away from her job... But, of course, seeing as how I'm on Christmas Break...I'm actually getting the itch to be teacher-y. If only that would happen when I'm actually teaching. I have learned lots during this half year transition to a new school and new grade. I could probably list 100+ things but I think I'll stick to ten. 

1. Fifth grade is FULL of girl drama! 
Not really my cup of tea...The girl drama that is. I could write a rather lengthy book on the girl drama from this year alone. The boys all definitely have my favor this year, whereas, usually they're the goof balls, tattletales, and cheeky's definitely the girls this year. They're at that cycle starting (oh yes!), friend rivalry, boys are cute stage. A naturally good and very normal stage but its definitely taking some adjusting for me. I liken their trials to Disney's Mulan singing "Reflection". I sure hope they grow out of it. One of the other  5th grade teachers and I are even working on an optional Bible study to help the girls based off of Anne of Green Gables. We shall see and hopefully come the end of the year this will be my specialty age. Ha!  Here's hoping. 

2. Every school is different. No two are the same. Administrators, expectations, co-workers, programs,extra classes, dismissals, book fairs, fundraisers, lunch, etc... No two are the same. I'm very happy with where I'm at though every move has had its share of adjustments. I especially find that I have more time this year to grade and work on special assignments during the school day. For example, the bookmarks I made as Christmas presents for my kiddos... I was able to make those and wrap those during the school day and they took literally almost all day. Here they are:

3. Classroom organization, time management, and class decor all mean nothing if you don't love your students. Sometimes, that means asking God to help you love them like He loves them. 

4. There is a fine definite line between being teacher and being friend. Don't cross it. 

5. First impressions are NOT always what they seem. 

6. Parents think their children are perfect. I re-learn this every year. Good professional parent-teacher relationships are very important to a student's success in your classroom. 

7. Bathroom breaks are necessary...even though they are time consuming...I thought with older kiddos they could just go as they needed but nope...they need potty breaks, first grade style.

8. The best teacher teams are not when all the teachers think and do things similarly but when everyone has something special they bring to the table. 

9. When students want to help....let them help. many hands makes light work. 

10.Big kids are really little kids with bigger bodies and wiser minds.

Done.Blogged.Sweet Satisfaction. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Ready or it comes!

Ready or not...tomorrow is my first day! There are still several things in my classroom that I feel aren't ready but regardless... it's coming!

We had Meet and Greet/Open House/Orientation...whatever...last Thursday and I got to meet all but 3 of my kiddos...I have another good looking group! I took their pics in the photobooth with a mustache for my Question of the Day board and managed to snap a family photo and pic with student and Mom to use later in the year for Mother's Day.Here's the goody bag they got at Open House...I was excited to be able to use the UP2U gum.
 This is a pic of what their desks looked like: Books, Agenda, goody bag, and C.I.R.C.U.S. binder.
 I was super concerned about those bags toppling over as my car has been loaded down for the past 3 weeks but managed a pose...

They all took pics here...
 I also mailed postcards to all of my students on Friday morning! Hopefully they all got them Saturday!

I'm getting the First Day Jitters ;) and still have a lot to do so adios hippos!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Yesterday was a super long and dreaded kind of day and today I'm running on lack of sleep, diet mountain dew, and adrenaline. Tomorrow we have our Meet and Greet so I still have lots of papers to print to be ready for that at 8:30 in the am!!!! Have you ever heard of such?! We start with a breakfast for new parents and then returning parents come in later so here's a quick picture recap of the things that have been revamped and have come along in my classroom

This WELCOME sign has to be the best part about today! I LOVE it!

This is my favorite Uncle who every year makes or buys something for my class...usually both! This year I sent him some pics of some marquee like circus letters and expressed my want for them and why they were needed ;) He used black and red foam board, red poster board, and Christmas lights! He also provided me with some super duper comando hooks for hanging it on the brick wall and here's hoping it's still up tomorrow! I love the way this looks when you walk into my class! It's the first thing you see and I was definitely overexcited about it!
Here's the wonderful creator with a "why do you want to take my picture kind of grin"! Seriously, the most unselfish man I know and I love him much more than he knows!

 Though I'm missing four shelves this doesn't look too bad for now! I'm thankful every thing is OFF DA FLO! The other four shelves that I'm supposed to get will create a box look around the carpet and that is where I'll put my class library bins because they're way too high right now and then I will use these two shelves for games and manipulative stuff. I am in LOVE with the way this center tent and sofa area look right now!
 These are my bags for storing tickets. Again, not the place that I wanted them to go but it works for now! They earn tickets for so...many different things but also loose them each time they have to pull a card. I found these bags last year at Michaels, they are nice and thick and they are also what brought on my inspiration for decorating with a vintage circus theme last year! It works really well in my classroom. Each quarter those who have 30 or more tickets get to go to CARNIVAL (class party!)
 My finished door: "COME ONE COME ALL! Step Right Up and Meet Mrs. Stewart's Circus
Lastly, this would have been my post sweet friend Beck...completely made a new backing for my directors chair and I LOVED it and she came at the best time to pep me up and encourage me...seriously I was *100 kinds of happy* when I saw her and this amazing creation!

Now to get ready for Open House...

Monday, July 29, 2013

Big Top Love

  Today was my first official day of preplanning. We had a whole lotta meetings and were given a whole buncha information. 
I still do not have shelves :( or a roster :( or a computer :( or the promised ipad :( 
I am told it's all coming though. 

I did have a moment of beautiful bliss when I hung the Ikea circus canopy! The sign I made last year even worked out...and my sweet friend Beck was the highlight of my day! When I sent her the pic this was her response "I LOVE IT!!(yes I am yelling) it could not have been more perfect...the exact right size"

and I agree with her, I LOVE IT much more than the other attempt and it was definitely worth the 15 dollars!

I sure needed the encouragement today! 

Here's my canopy....:)

 I also worked on my door today...I think I want to add "Step Right Up and Meet the AMAZING 5th grade Circus" with their names on tickets but I kinda think that's too many words for the door...
 I found these today at Party City...I'm going to try to get my Uncle to make me some and then I'll chalkboard paint them and use them in the photobooth!

 That's it for tonight folks...I'm trying to work on this new schedule thingy and that requires me to go to bed at a normal hour and get up early :)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Bring on the Preplanning!

Preplanning officially starts tomorrow! Ah...bittersweet! I have soooooooooooo much to accomplish by noon on Thursday and I have to start getting up early and going to bed at some reasonable hour! Which prob. won't happen until week 2 or 3...I get the jitters like nobody's business! We visited Ikea's my new's pretty big and I think it will work out nicely so here's to "Out with the old and in with the new" tomorrow!
I also got a super cute new school bag with wheels that was 12 bucks clearance...I'm hoping it will be easier to pack and move... Guess I've been inducted into the "I have a rolling bag" dork club!
 This next pic was just too good not to post! I really do have an amazing hubby who understands me more than anyone this time of year! It was his idea to go to Ikea yesterday so we wouldn't be rushed today!
Love my Mr. <3
Happy Preplanning it is!

Friday, July 26, 2013

By George...there is a classroom in there after all!

I had an almost 3 hour new teacher meeting today and I LOVE my principal! She seemed so down to kind of person and she noticed my new hair cut! And I've only seen her a couple of times! ;)

I left after the meeting to get something for lunch and was on the phone while going through Truett's drive thru....I get to the window to pay with my card and realize...Oh.My.Soul. I drove past the order window without giving my order! Talk about hilarious! My hubby says this proves his point on female drivers :0

 Though I didn't accomplish as much as I wanted, I did manage to get my class looking somewhat like a classroom. I straightened things up and got an extra filing cabinet to store supplies real cabinet or even one of those metal cabinets with doors on the outside and shelving on the inside but this seemed to work out okay and got some of my junk off the floor. Here's just a bunch of random picks and though it's still semi unorganized, it's a whole lot better than what it was!
All of the things to the right of the red "photo booth" (which desperately needs curtains, signs and some organization are extras to be done away with) but the filing cab. fit perfectly and though it's not what I wanted,  I think it worked out a little better size wise. I'd of spray painted the filing cabinet if I had known I was going to have it...but it is what it is at this point.

 It's going to drive me crazy how blank the walls are up at the top :/

Just a random shot but it really shows how far I've come. I'm hoping to get a desk to replace the stubby little short one....and I heard today that I should only have 16 students :)
 My desk area still has a long way to go but hey, it looks like a desk area...and I left a lot of space in the corner for "hiding stuff" that I need to take home or set up.

 I do still have one pile of junk hopefully I'll get shelves Monday or Tuesday and this will be done away with!

This book case is for whatever theme/holiday/unit we are doing. Right now I have books out about the circus, fifth grade, and elephants. I don't really have a lot of back to school books fit for 5th grade, but I have a TON for first in my garage!

 The thing I am most excited about from today is this board below or rather wall space....last night I was up until the wee hours of the morning (which is norm for me right now until reality slaps me in the face next week!) and I found EXACTLY what I've been needing for morning work...more like routine. I've always had a morning work assignment but this year I've known that it was going to be tough because after the first 10 minutes of class my students will either go to band or chorus...kinda crazy if you ask me because their little voices are going through that awkward-want-to-go-through-puberty-but-not-there-yet-change...but anyway I get a nice 40 min. break first thing! I've been trying to figure something short and sweet out for Morning Work other than just copying homework. Well last night...I found this and it seriously caught my eyegate:

 It's a Question of the Day board that I'm going to use as part of my morning procedures and I already had the duck tape! Bam What!!!?!! (quick disney channel reference has been inserted)
I love this...def. my new fav thing in my class. I plan to take their pic in the photo booth at Open House with a stache and print their pics then use sticky magnets on the back of each of them. I'm not sure if I'll try to look for something magnetic or just hot glue small magnets for each one under yes and no. I even typed my first QOD...Are you excited about 5th grade?! On the one morning of the week that we don't have fine arts they will write about their answer and why it's a YES or NO and on the other mornings after we do pledges and prayer I'll just randomly call on a student to tell me why they chose yes or no. :)
Here is my mine: 
I'm gonna laminate a piece of blue paper to put the QOD on using STIKKI CLIPS. And it will be ever so cute once their pics are up! 

Click on the first pic of this board to go on over Ashley Reed's classroom! She has 180 questions already ready but included an editable template for typing your own on TPT for only four dollars and...she's a southern gal from the same part of Georgia as I am...and we know some of the same people...and she teaches in a Christian school also! How cool is that?! lower salaried peeps have game too!

Just another pic of this :) 

After I left school today I went to SchoolBox to get some new Stikki clips...they are now $4.99!!! Any of you ever seen these any where else?! Anywhoo...I bought some schtuff well kind of a lot...I'm thinking about ripping down that whole tent and making it a blue sky full of hot air balloons...anyway I saw these two adorable new lines and LOVE them.
Sock Monkey! My fave!!!!
Boho birds...adorable!

 Here's a final pic of what I bought:

Some hot air balloons, border, and the clips :) I'm thinking about putting the big balloon in the center of the wall above the sofa and then each time we read a book as a class write the name of it on the small ones and add it to the wall?! IDK...we shall see. 

 I do know that I've seriously got to start WORK so I'll stop shopping ;) but my how much therapy there is in spending that cash!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Coming Soon to a Classroom near you!

I know it's probably not cool to have more than one post in a day...but the more I think of this Big Top Circus Tent in my classroom...the more I don't Love it. I don't even like it. Actually I think it looks terrible! After collaborating with my hubby, neighbors, and friendo I've decided to destroy my hours of labor and thought and invest in one of these:
It's only 15 bucks from Ikea and I've kinda almost spent that in red and white table cloths!! Cray right?!
I plan to get it this weekend...Ikea is pretty close to our church and I really hope it gives me the factor I'm looking for.  I also wanted to whine about how much I miss my kiddos from last year. I connected with the mom of one of my students from last year and it hit me so fast how much I miss them! I've been sobbing for the last hour while looking through old pics while my hubby thinks I've really lost it and need some sleep. They really were precious. Seriously BEST.CLASS.EVER. and I love them dearly each and every one. I will be praying for them tonight!
This was Spirit Week and we had more spirit than the whole school!
Aren't they a good looking group?!

Crazy story Bro...

 So...I'm definitely "off my rocker" if that means not the norm. (I'm terrible at some of those idiomatic expressions!)  I've been staying up until 3-4-5 ish in the am and for the last 3 nights I've fallen asleep downstairs rather than going to bed with my hubby...which makes him a little crazy too and I feel terrible!
I worked in my class today from about 10-4 and don't feel very accomplished today either...though I did get to straighten things up a bit more. I got home around 5 this evening and upon laying on the sofa fell fast asleep! I've been having strange dreams full of decisions and me disappointing people...definitely not normal for me to even remember my dreams so I know I'm stressed right now!
I woke up around 6:45 and start yelling "Michael...get up! You're gonna be late!" I run upstairs to wake him up and he's not that's the "Crazy story bro.." was 6:45 pm not am. Yep, I'm off my rocker!

Today I worked on filing my tests and cleaning up my desk area...I didn't get a pic because it really wasn't a great accomplishment...I still have stuff everywhere! I worked on that STUBBORN. VISION-LESS. PLASTIC. circus tent. Yep, still determined so today I just started stapling and hot gluing it then lengthend the sides. I've gotta work on something else for the middle though because my "Read Under the Big Top" sign just isn't doing it for me. It looks pretty cheap and if I had the patience I would prob. add another stripe of white and red. but NOT GONNA HAPPEN. If I had the moolah I would just go buy lots and lots of fabric in the red and white stripes and make it work but Gotta move on...

I'm hoping once I GET my shelves that they will just make it look a whole lot better...

A shot from the very front of my room.

A shot from the side. When you walk in the door, this is on the right.

A shot from underneath.
 At this point....I'm just gonna work with what I've got. I do want to some kind of staggering with wording or hang something in the middle...I was thinking of using these stars...

or maybe this cute little guy...I love this sign..I got it at the paper source last year and hung it on my door. Any ideas on a phrase or saying...I was thinking about using brown paper to mute the brightness again and do something like "Big Top Stars...and write their names on all of the little stars!? But then on my door I was gonna use the same thing from last year "Come One Come All Step Right Up and Meet the Amazing 5th Grade Circus" and then put their names on tickets. I don't want to be overy namey...if that's even a concept. Any good quotes or sayings that will work for this?!

 Lastly, I'll share that the last two days I haven't had near as many visitors in my room at least while I'm there. I should be able to accomplish bunches but I haven't :/ I have the inkling that they're coming in to peep when I'm not there which doesn't bother me but comradery would be nicer:) I have decided that BIG GIRL PANTIES are a must this keep me from getting overwhelmed and crying and getting my feelings hurt and overthinking things. Last year I just had it made..."comparison IS the thief of joy"...and this year I'll be in and out in a jiffy right?! That's what I want anyway....I took this job so that I could be closer to home and spend more time at home during the school year and so that I could redefine my love for cooking dinner for my other half. Someone reassure me...

I also had the I.T. guy come in (I have this cute lil' closet looking door that is actually the server room :/  )
he asked me if I was an interior designer...bahahaha!!!! Not hardly. I also had someone else say that my room looks like a kids playroom and not a classroom....
Ahhh...never judge a book by its cover.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Moved in and Big Top Failure

 The best way to sum up today is with a whole bunch of pictures....
Job Helpers...Tame your Task!
 Here's the final close up of my jobs with everything except student names on the adorable chalkboard clips that I bought months ago on clearance from Michaels. (I'll have to buy one of those chalkboard pens for writing their names because they're a little small and I don't want to have to write them over and over. I knew they'd come in handy for something and I think they're cuter than the big blue clothespins...I also added my actual jobs across each circus animal. I'm trying  a new one this year...Homework Helper. Their job is to put homework in alphabetical (or numerical) order first thing in the morning and clip it together to put on my desk. They will also be responsible for following up on the ones who didn't turn in homework and writing their excuse on a no homework form and putting it in place of their homework. Make sense?! If not one of the blogs I read this week explained it super duper well and convinced me to do this...but I can't remember who it was :0 SORRY! Hopefully it will be one of those jobs that help save me some time in the mornings!
Ticket Behavior/Pull a Card/5 Chances/Behavior Incentive
 The above behavior board has many different names and forms. This is what the upper elementary teachers used last year at my school that we were required to keep consistent and it worked very well for me (it also went right along with my theme ;) so I LOVED it. It's a pull a card system but involves tickets. At the beginning of each quarter (I think my new school does semesters so I may be rethinking some of this when I find out) each student starts with 3 tickets and everyone starts each day on white. At the end of the day they those who stay on white earn a ticket but if they receive a warning throughout the day they are asked to pull to green and have to pay a ticket. The next color is yellow and they pay 2 tickets but have silent lunch, then red and they pay 3 tickets but are also required to step into the hall/doorway for a hall conference with me. If they go to orange, they pay 4 and get a phone made to their parents. The last color is blue and receives a trip to the principal's office and they pay 5 tickets.
I know it seems like a lot of chances but I really liked it last year. At the end of the quarter those who have earned 30 tickets in class get to participate in a "CARNIVAL" and they're always fun! Most students didn't make it past yellow last year and almost all of them were either on white or green for most of the year granted I had a super well behaved group. The one kiddo that made it to orange was one of those that make Jeff Foxworthy's "You know you're a Teacher" statement 21 true: You understand, instantaneously, why a child behaves in a certain way after meeting his/her parents.
It works for me and seems to work for the older ones too. 
My muscle man!
 My hubby was able to bring my BIG things to my class this afternoon. I am fully moved in now, if only I can get organized! Really this is one of the only things that I feel like was successful today. I was excited for him to bring this shelf because after a conversation with my admin. today I was told I might have shelves in my class on the first day of school!!!! Please pray that I get them before my OPEN HOUSE! I don't want my 'rents to see all that unorganized chaos! Shelves at least make it look organized!
Ignore the Big Top Circus Tent Attempt....notice my new SOFA and the ADORABLE pillows!
I put "DOTS" for names under their baskets and put all their books in subject order underneath until my desks are arranged.
This is my attempt at a BIG TOP...I planned to add more red and white stripes...but just didn't want to invest the time because I wasn't crazy about the way it was starting to look.

I even tried putting red in the background but still wasn't crazy about it. 

I'm gonna have to keep thinking on the circus tent. I know I want one because I need something to make others immediately relate my class to a circus...and I've never been to a circus without a big top! But I'm hubby suggested using a hula hoop but IDK...maybe I'll get inspired in the next couple of days but for's on the back burner.
Below is my Big TOP picture from last year...I had already started taking it down at the end of the year so I snapped my pic a little too late. My ceilings were a lot lower and I could staple to the walls so I was very happy with it and it was in a corner.

I ended the day with dollar and .50 cent finds from Target...with an exception to the bug spray! Mosquitoes LOVE me and this stuff is clearanced to $3.74 originally 8 bucks! I wish I could have stocked up on more!

I have two more days to get my class ready before preplanning! I want as much done before then as possible!Please pray for me :) I'm starting to face exhaustion and I don't want to get sick!