Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Together Teacher Chapter 6 - A Week's Worth of Readiness

This week, Sara from 
dare to be different-teach
 is hosting chapter 6 from The Together Teacher which is all about creating routines and planning.  If you have missed my previous posts from this book study you can find them below:

                                                                             Chapter 5
                                                                             Chapter 4
                                                                             Chapter 3
                                                                             Chapter 2
                                                                             Chapter 1

Chapter 6

This chapter is all about your weekly or daily worksheet. This is a tool that allows you to create a clear view of your week or day, allowing you to plan ahead, get stuff done, and capture incoming work.  Maia emphasizes in this chapter that the process is more important than the product.  Just as in previous chapters, she says it doesn't matter whether you are a digital person or a paper person, as long as your system works for you.  The tool of your choice should allow you to:

* Plan the week or day in advance by mapping out how you will spend your time
* Look ahead at what is coming up
* Do the work by ensuring that it is clearly organized
* Capture incoming to-dos and thoughts

The Together Teacher Website features templates for both Daily or Weekly Worksheets.  You have to register to access them, but registration is free. Maia suggests using only one of the two, not both.  The Daily worksheet is for people who like more space.

I use a daily worksheet myself, but I use this one from Andrea Dekker.

Don't forget to enter to win a $25 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card if you haven't entered already!

Next week's host is Sarah from
Kovescence of the Mind
If you are following along with our book study, share your link below!

Monday, August 25, 2014

2014-2015 Classroom Reveal and $25 TpT Gift Card Giveaway!

We started school last Monday and it really knocked me out! I am finally *almost* back to feeling human again!  In all the mad rush of back to school I almost completely forgot this month's TpT giveaway!  Luckily I remembered and you can enter below.  Thank you for not throwing stones at me for being late!

I also wanted to share my room for the year - I was trying to match the blog a bit - do you think it comes close?

This is the view from the door.  Yes those are tables - adult sized tables.  I have had them for the past three years and I have grown used to them.  Not sure that I love them completely, but they work.  The best part is that they don't have messy desks to clean out.  Everything gets cleaned off each day before they leave.  They keep their things in buckets from Really Good Stuff.  (I just realized I didn't take a picture of those, so I will update the post when I do). The students sit on both sides of the tables, and we have a large whole group meeting area for mini-lessons.

I also don't have a desk, but instead work from my kidney table.  I have two drawers underneath where I keep my supplies.  You can see them along with my mess of bags and junk.  Don't judge - it's the first week of school craziness! 

A close-up shot of the shelves behind my desks (And another bag!  I swear I was a bag lady in a past life!)

Our very well loved library - along with reading buddies!

A close up of the READ sign - I painted the pics last year and couldn't take them down.  

The Whiteboard.

Whole Brain Teaching Rules.

Student computers.  I plan on using the hula hoops for giant venn diagrams - hubby thought that would be a good place to store them.  The fabric backgrounds are brown sheets from Wal-Mart.  I think they might look black in the picture, but they are brown.

Close- up of storage containers.  The OCD in me is irked that they aren't straight and not in alphabetical order - but at least they are ready to go!

I really love this color scheme!

I am linking this post up with:
Swimming into Second


Blog Hoppin'

And now, to the part you are waiting for!  The giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Together Teacher Chapter 5

This is my first week back at school with the kiddos and I am feeling anything but together!  Thank goodness we have been working on The Together Teacher Book Study!  Even though I physically feel as if I have been hit by a truck, I feel more prepared than I ever have at this time of year.  One example - we have to administer common assessments the first week.  Usually, I spend the night before the scores are due frantically grading them.  This week they have been administered and I have 80% of them graded and they aren't even due until Monday!  Woo hoo!  

Unfortunately, my blogging is seriously lagging, but luckily for me, Michele from Jackson in the Middle has done an amazing job as host for this week's chapter all about taking notes (and most importantly keeping track of them) during meetings.
Jackson In The Middle

Head over to view her post and hopefully I will be back to normal by this weekend.  I am enjoying my new little community of learners - I just forgot how little third graders are!

And, don't forget to visit Sara from Dare to Be Different - Teach next Wednesday for chapter 6!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Together Teacher Chapter 4 Never Forget! Capture Your Thoughts

Time for another chapter from our book study of The Together Teacher by Maia Heyck-Merlin. If you missed the previous chapters, you can find them here:

Today our guest host is Jenny from Owl Things First.    Head on over to see her take on chapter 4 and to enter to win a $20 Amazon gift card - perfect for buying those back to school organizational must haves!  In addition the winner will also win a set of stuffed elephants which will be perfect for classroom decor!  Even my older students love reading with a buddy!

My thoughts on chapter 4

As teachers, we have a million things a day coming at us from all directions!  Things we need to remember to do, things we need to remember to tell others (principal, school secretary, parents, etc.), things we need to copy, things we need to grade, and on and on and on!

Maia's solution to keeping it all together is through the use of a thought catcher.  It can be something as simple as a piece of paper divided into fours, or as complex as an electronic notepad or file for each section of our lives.

Prior to reading this book, my thoughts were often scattered everywhere - on sticky notes, scrawled on my calendar, scribbled in a notebook, or just swimming around my head.  The big problem with this is I can't always find these notes when I need them, or even worse, I forget about them altogether!

With thought catchers kept in your planner, you can keep track of them in one place!  You can set up your thought catchers by action (i.e. emails to send, calls to make, items to copy, etc), and or by person (principal, spouse, teammate, etc.).

You can find some free thought catcher forms on Maia's website here.  You will have to register for the site to access them, but registration is free.

Don't forget to visit next week's host, Michele from Jackson in the Middle!

Jackson In The Middle
If you are following along with us, be sure to link up below!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Together Teacher Chapter 3 - Create an Upcoming To Do List

We are already at Chapter 3 in our Book Study of Maia Heyck-Merlin's The Together Teacher.  It is phenomenal if you are looking at ways to become more organized!

If you missed our previous chapters, you can find them here:

Today our guest host is Laura from Luv My Kinders!

Head on over to read her take on chapter 3 and to enter to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

My take on chapter 3:

Do you ever feel like your to do list is scattered everywhere with scattered post-its, random lists, and stacks of papers to go through?  Yeah, me too, which is why I love that Maia has suggestions for us to corral our to-dos!

She says the first thing you need to do is create an Upcoming To-Do List which is a long-term, sorted list of all of your to-dos.  Throughout the chapter she gives various suggestions and ideas for how to create this to-do list from a list organized by month in Word to a more traditional to-do list in Excel. Once you have determined the best method for you, she gives you different ways to use your upcoming to-do list with examples for:

* Stuff we need to do eventually, but don't have the mind space to deal with now (PD book suggestions from your principal)
* Stuff we need to do that needs a longer lead time (think big projects)
* Stuff you may want to do someday but you can't assign it a month right now  (reorganizing your classroom library - as long as its not a hot mess on the floor).

Just like previous chapters, I love how she shares real world examples from other teachers at all levels.

So time to get started, slog through those post-its and get everything out of your head, and down on paper!  If you are following along with us, please link up or comment below.  If you don't have the book yet, you can order it on Amazon, or win a gift certificate to purchase it!  Enter below!

Don't forget to visit next week's host, Jenny from Owl Things First.

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