Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Still No School

So Sandy made landfall last night at the Jersey shore at about 8:15pm. We had no school again today, and now we have a 2 hour delay tomorrow. In total, we've had 2 full days of school called off and a 2 hour delay. Insanity!  I JUST got my cable/internet/phone back about 30 min ago and my power back about 4 hours before that. Thankfully, I was only without power from midnight until about 2pm. To everyone who lives or has property at the jersey shore or in NYC, you are in my thoughts and prayers. Hang in there!

Check out some of my fav/most amazing pics of Sandy's destruction below!
Wawa in Avalon pre-landfall!

The pier/amusement ride in Seaside Heights before and after. Yes, you've seen some of these rides on The Jersey Shore. Some of them have now become one with the sea. :(

Connecticut! Talk about high winds...

As for me and my family, I'm counting my blessings. We have a few downed tree limbs, 1 storm cover that blew away and broke into pieces, and 1 neighborhood Obama sign that blew away and has yet to be recovered. The eye of Sandy was supposed to pass right over us, but the hurricane actually turned into a tropical storm when it made landfall and so, it moved much quicker over us than they originally predicted. We are blessed! 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hurricane Day!

So, I just got the call almost 2 hours ago...NO school tomorrow due to Hurricane Sandy. You know, living in PA I can't tell you when the last time was that we had school called off/out for a hurricane because it's NEVER happened before! Okay and seriously, people have been going crazy the last few days buying generators and all of the water and milk and eggs they can get. There are pictures of Wal-Mart and grocery stores with BARE shelves. Guess who decided not to shop (even though I need to anyways)??? ME! I mean, I've spent the past few days thinking..."this won't be so bad, a little rain won't hurt, people are silly!" Truthfully, I don't eat eggs/bread/milk daily and if we do lose power for a God awful amount of time, wouldn't that all go bad anyways? My thought process works like this: Wawa, Dunkin Donuts, or McDonald's WILL be open. Let's hope...

Now, let's move on from my lack of preparedness and pretend like everything is just peachy. :) So this year, I'm using a clip chart for my classroom management system. Yes, I've finally evolved from the traditional Green, Yellow, Red system. I always found this to be a bit negative...But, the clip chart has really changed the climate of the classroom because it just seems to really highlight the good choices that students are making. It took me a year to be brave enough to implement the system, because I thought it might be too complicated for parents and students. Last year, I piloted the clip chart with 2 boys that needed some personalized behavior plans and when it worked for them, I knew that it could work for everyone. Here's a pic of my clip chart (I grabbed it from another blogger, but I don't know who...eek, SORRY).

The original creator of this clip chart had red at the top and pink at the bottom. But since most of the students and parents in our school are used to red being associated with negative behaviors, I searched blogs until I found someone else who had a similar train of thought. You might be wondering why I have smiley faces or frowny ones to the left of the clip chart. There are faces that correlate with each color. Students draw them on a calendar at the end of the day to indicate where they finished their day. Parents must initial this calendar nightly.These smileys are quick and easy for the students to draw and it saves time from having to get out your crayons, find a certain color, color the calendar, etc.

My reward system this year is pretty simple too! Each time a student moves above green he/she earns a ticket. I have these simple reward tickets that I bought from Lakeshore in a cute box on my desk. Students just take a ticket and put it inside a zip-lock, labeled bag in their desk. (These baggies are kept inside pencil boxes). Students can "buy" things with their tickets. Above my clip chart is a simple sign that is titled:
 "What can I Buy?"
Lunch With Teacher.... 5 tickets
Switch My Seat........... 4 tickets
Homework Pass.......... 3 tickets
Job Choice.................. 2 tickets
Sticker......................... 1 ticket

Can I tell you that the MOST popular items are job choice and lunch with teacher! I schedule lunch with teacher about once weekly and on Mondays students can buy a classroom job for the week. They actually pay ME to WORK for ME. Sweet! And the best part of this system is that, there is no need for a prize bucket or Treasure box, which is saving me some money this year. All of my rewards cost me 0 dollars...gotta love saving money!

So, I'm super happy that I implemented the clip chart this year. My class loves it, it's working wonders, and 2 other teachers on my team have now adopted it! I love it because I can simply say "clip up" or "clip down" and I never really look too intently at the chart during the day because the students know that their choices move the clips. It's their responsibility to get their clip up by the end of the day. What's really neat though is to hear them setting goals for themselves on a daily and weekly basis. For many of them, green or "Ready To Learn" simply isn't good enough. We're setting high goals, awesome!

Alright back to preparing for Sandy and by preparing, I mean charging my macbook, kindle fire, and cell phone to the max...and downloading a few good kindle books. Stay tuned for hurricane updates!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Reasonable Commute?

Okay blogger friends,
I need some serious advice! I'm considering relocating to more an upbeat, young area mainly because I've lived in my district for well, 4 school years now, and I'm just not a fan of living where I teach. The grocery stores, restaurants, and malls are packed with current students, former students, relatives, etc. The longer I teacher, the worse it gets... I've come to the conclusion that this just isn't for me. This experience has made me understand just a smidgen anyways, of what it might be like to be a celebrity because whenever I'm spotted it's like front page news. What I'd give to go to the store in my sweats....

So, here's what I'm contemplating...an HOUR commute. I've done this before during student teaching. I know plenty of people in America do this every day. But, how feasible is it really? Do any of you commute 40 minutes or more? Feel free to share all experiences,  tips, and advice! 

In other news I always sing a little song I got from a Kindergarten teacher in my building to remind students to put their names on papers it goes like this:

The first thing you do is put your name on your paper,
name on your paper, name on your paper,
The first thing you do is put your name on your paper,
so we know whose it is, THE END!

**This year we added a 2nd verse**

The second thing you do is put your date on your paper,
date on your paper, date on your paper, 
The second thing you do is put your date on your paper,
so we know what date IT IS!

**Then last week, my kiddos kept going and made up a WHOLE new, 3rd verse**

The last thing you do is wait for directions,
wait for directions, wait for directions, 
The last thing you do is wait for directions,
so you know what to do, THE END!

You  know, I love their creativity and I'm keeping their lyrics. Looks like this year is shapin up to be a good one. :)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Currently October and a Fire Freebie

I'm linking up with Farley once again for her Currently linky party-my fav! I missed September due to all the back to school craziness, so I've literally been stalking Farley for the past 4 days hoping and waiting for the Currently October to be posted. Yes, I know I have things to do like laundry and dishes, but I don't like those kinds of things. It's much more fun to search, wait for, and participate in linky parties. :)

The Ugly Pumpkin

My favvv book is The Ugly Pumpkin. I actually found it last year after Abby over at The Inspired Apple blogged about it. It's about an ugly pumpkin that no one buys during October, so he goes out on his own searching for a place to fit in, and eventually learns that he's a squash and fits in much better at the Thanksgiving table. Heartwarming, cute, thought-provoking, just can't get enough of it and I can't wait to read it again this year!

In other news, in honor of National Fire Prevention week click HERE for a freebie! 

This is a template titled "My Fire Story" and includes the sentence starters First, Then, Next, After that, Then, and Last. I have an old, old picturing (sequencing) activity that I probably grabbed from a Mailbox Teacher's Helper catalog that I use in conjunction with this writing template. The  pictures depict a firefighter responding to a fire alarm, getting dressed, leaving the station, putting out a fire, etc. We cut them out, sequence them correctly, and then write one sentence to match each picture.  In the end we have our first FULL 1st grade story. Great way to introduce transition words and get 'em using 'em early on! I'd post the Mailbox handout, but I think that might violate copyright eek! Anyways, you can use the story template to write just about any fire story you'd like. It's simple, sweet, and straight forward. Hope you enjoy!