Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My Teacher's Bag

I was browsing through everybody's blogs today and saw Jen from Teacher by the Beach was showing her
new teacher's bag.  I have gone through so many different teacher's bags.  There were the boat bags, but you need a free hand, not always convenient.

Here is one of my boat bag/kiddo gifts.
This one is so old it has my "maiden" initials!
Now it holds my TPT stuff.

There were the bags that were gifts from the kiddos. This was one of my favorites until it was time to retire it a few years ago.  It was starting to show its age.

Now, I used to be a Creative Memories consultant and had many of their totes.  So I have been using one of their Daisy Totes for the last couple of years.  And I love it!

Tons of rooms and a nice outer pocket.
The clipboard sticking out the top is actually legal size.

Of course after looking at everyone else's blogs I now want a Thirty One tote.  However since my current one is still in good condition, and that new air conditioner out there (see this post) I have to curb my spending this summer.  So it will go on the Christmas list for now.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Five for Friday

It has been another lazy summer week.  Not as much rushing around, and not as many photos. Sorry.

1. The swim team season came to an end this week.  We had two last morning practices Monday and Tuesday, and one make-up relay meet Tuesday evening that was cancelled when the thunderstorms hit.  As K said "I can't wait til Wednesday!"  "Why?" I ask.  "We can sleep in -- no more practice"  and boy did we, at least for us.
The Swim Team

2.  We've been doing some cleaning up around the house, or at least trying to.  I don't know about you, but some how my house is messier in the summer when I'm actually home than in the winter.  So as soon as I start cleaning up, the mess just comes back.  I will admit, some of the mess is my "school projects" that are spreading out more than I intended.

3.   I looked at so many people's versions of their planners and binders and organization techniques that I sort of became obsessed. I searched and viewed tons. There were many that I  loved, but none of them would totally meet all my needs.  So I did what every teacher does... created my own.

Thanks Ashley Hughes for the paper and Scrappin Doodle for the label box.

4.   We've been catching up on Once Upon a Time.  Do any of you watch this series?  K got into it this spring and we bought the first season.  We've been watching this summer and now Hans is totally hooked as well.  So much so that Sunday I had to go out and search for season 2.  I absolutely love how they explore the fairy tales we all know, weave them together and teach us about love, loyalty and family.  What I love even more is watching K watch and explore these characters and worlds.  I'm thrilled every time she makes connections between the story lines and events and how she is able to predict.  I only hope she does this in school when she reads.  Love it, love it, love it, love it!

Snow White from "Once Upon a Time"

5.   A day spent with Nana.  Once a week we try to spend one day with my mother who lives about 20 minutes away.  She loves summer as much as we do because it means more time with her girls.  Not sure what is in the plans for today (Friday).  There has been talk of a movie.... maybe "How To Train Your Dragon?"  We will have to see what we all feel like doing.

K and Nana (taken a while ago...)

So that was our week.  We are loving summer.  I try to avoid looking at the calendar too frequently (are there really only 4 weeks left?)  How was yours?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

1800 and Counting

  Last year I was on a "center - gathering" mission.  Trying to meet with more small groups meant I needed something for the others to do.  So thanks to Teachers Pay Teachers I was able to get so many! (Although I find myself still looking for more...could this be an addiction?)  I quickly got the new centers laminated and ready to go for the kids.  And while the kids loved them and I was able to meet with more small groups, I didn't have a good system for storing and organizing them.  Some were in zipper bags, some in file folders and some in pocket folders.  I needed some consistency and organization!

So that became my summer goal.  I brought home all my centers -- 4 milk crates plus some. After much thought I decided to go with file folders.  But since things fall out the sides, I chose to staple the sides up.  I know... I could have gotten folder jackets.  I even researched it.  But they were more than I could afford and I could get the file folders from school.  Having 200 plus centers meant a lot of stapling!  In fact I have used 1800 staples since June.  (I know this because I bought a brand new box of staples before starting my project !!)
Three staples on each side = 1800 staples so far.

Evenings have been spent with me on the floor, stapling folders, printing out missing pages, pulling out what needs to be laminated, and in some cases throwing things out when I couldn't for the life of me figure out what it was or what it went with.

My little corner of the family room as I sorted.  You can see the mix of folders and storage.

Originally, I had kept extra copies of all the recording sheets in binders, one for ELA and  one for math.  At the time I thought it was a great idea.  I'd always have a clean sheet to make copies from.  However, it ended up just sitting there and I would forget to put the new ones in or copy the old ones.  Then, one day, I accidentally sent the record sheets off to be laminated with the games.  I decided to put them in the folder with the game.  That way the sheet was always with the game, but the kids couldn't "accidentally" use the last one.  So I took apart the binders, matched them up with the correct center, and added the needed ones to the laminate box.
My stack of "To Be Laminated"  I've got a lot of cutting in my future.

My binders waiting to be taken apart.
Next step in the process, organizing each box.  I haven't decided how to do that yet.  I've considered keeping them alphabetically - always a trusted way to organize, but some of the titles don't match the concept.  That would mean typing up a list of centers and the objective or skill it works on, which I'm not totally opposed to.  I've also considered organizing them by when I use them during the school year.  Which makes perfect sense...just go straight through the boxes.  But then there are those concepts that cycle through the year and I use more than once.

These are just the English/reading/language arts centers!
I'm am open to any other suggestions as well.  How do you organize your centers?  I'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback.  Now it is off to the swimming relay carnival!