Saturday, August 31, 2013

Food for Thought Saturday

Oh my goodness!  I have gained a whole new respect for all of you blogger-teachers who are so good about keeping up with your blogs!  As you may notice, the last time I posted was August 10- that is 20 whole days ago!!!  I can explain..... SCHOOL HAS STARTED!  Ok, not a good enough excuse, but I consider it a valid explanation at least..!  I promise to get better...

I had my first 2 weeks back (1 teacher week and 1 week with kiddos).  I can confidently say that this year may be the best year I've had yet.  My team is absolutely wonderfully fantastic- and my students, well they are even better than absolutely wonderfully fantastic!  It is funny to me all of the stories receiving teachers hear each year about groups of students moving up to that grade, and how many of those stories become an inaccurate description of those exact children.  I think that shows how important it is for us as educators to allow them to come into a new school year (school day, even!) with a clean slate-  we all make mistakes.  I think sometimes when we are in the throws of the school year it's easy to say that but not actually mean it.  We ALL really do make mistakes- even us teachers! :)

We spent the entire first week working on building our community, setting expectations, practicing reading stamina (my class read 28 minutes uninterrupted on Friday!!!!), and making our classroom our home for the year.  As part of our building a class community, we have had a Class Meeting each day at the end of the day where we Take Care of Business, and then play a Class Activity that is geared towards encouraging them to see that when we work as a team, we are so much more successful!  If you click this LINK, it will take you to my 4th grade Pinterest board, where you can find some of the activities we have done!

In addition to building a community, my students and I go through a 4 -day/step process to eventually agree on our class rules on day 5.  Here is the progression:

Day 1- Brainstorm things they loved about past teachers.
Day 2-  Brainstorm things they didn't love about past teachers. 
Day 3-  What should I expect of them as 4th graders?
Day 4-  What should they expect of me as their teacher?

It is absolutely amazing to me each year how beautifully they put the rules on day 5.  Here are the rules my 4th graders thought were important for this school year:

1. Follow the EES 3 (be safe, respectful, and responsible)
2.  Treat others the way you want to be treated, and they will do the same for you. 
3.  Be helpful and kind to each other.  

 I mean seriously!  I almost started crying.  These children already know the golden rule!!!!!!  If we all followed these rules a little more closely, this world would be such a better place..  

Just some food for thought from my amazing children.  

Happy Saturday,
~Miss McDonald :) 


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Short and Sweet Saturday

Today is day 2 of my attempt to begin something great!  Short and Sweet Saturday is upon us!! :)


 I am sharing with you a yummy Fall School Morning recipe I found online that I will be making every morning before school!  It is a "Clean Eating Pumpkin Spice" Recipe!  It's super simple to make, and tastes exactly like the Starbucks Pumpkin Latte.  Here is a link to the original recipe:

Here is the photo from her website.. which is exactly what it looks like... a real Latte!! 

Clean Eating Pumpkin Spice Latte
 (photo from: The Gracious Pantry)

I used:

2 cups pumpkin coffee (brewed with pumpkin spice if using a french press)
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk or 1 cup Skim Milk
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

I hope you enjoy this as much as I have!!!  I can't wait to see who links up today... Have fun!

Happy Saturday!
~Miss McDonald

Friday, August 9, 2013

Fabulous Find Friday- A steal!!!

Happy Friday!! I can't believe this week is almost over!! Ryan and I have a CRAZY weekend coming up.. Tomorrow one of my great friends from my Master's Cohort is getting married.. About 3 hours from our house. We had originally planned on staying the night, but soon realized that would not be the best option given that Ryan needs to go into work Sunday, and I have to do everything I can here to make sure that when we get back from our week at the Cape (staring Monday!!!!), everything is ready to go back to school. That means today is full of cleaning and errands..

AH! So, in telling you all of that, I was trying to get to the point that I spent this morning running errands. On my way home, I could just feel the dollar store calling to me... So, I stopped in real quickly, and that is where I discovered my Fabulous Find!!! I have been wanting to buy spray paint to brighten up my wooden clothes pins, but after today, that won't be necessary! I found these little guys for $1.00 a pack (I got 2 packs)!!!

Talk about a find.. and a steal! I couldn't have bought 4 cans of spray paint and 2 packs of wooden clips for under $2.00! Wahoo! I love a good deal. :)

I can't wait to use these colorful guys on my Classroom Behavior Clipchart!  It looks a lot like this one.. Chevron Behavior Clipchart by Miss Shoes from TPT.  It works well with my theme this year because I am doing black and white, and then splashes of color!

What did you find on this Fabulous Friday?  What do you think about me making this a weekly thing where we can all link up and share things we have found throughout the week?  Leave a comment and let me know what you think!! :)

~Miss McDonald :) 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Big Day!! and a Short Post.. :)

I had to get on here and celebrate because..... I HAVE REACHED 20 FOLLOWERS ON BLOGLOVIN'! Holy Cow!!!  It is amazing to me that 20 people find my blog interesting enough to follow and read every time I post an idea or ramble on about my teacher life! :)  I feel so blessed!  (20 may not sound like many to you veteran bloggers.. but to me, it is absolutely fantastic!). 

Here is the proof! 

And thanks to Molly Davis from the bookish advantage for being my #20!  :) You should go check out her page.. I started following her today.. she's got some great stuff on there!  Including her adorable "R E A D" wooden letter she made for this week's Monday Made It!! 

I hope your Tuesday is super fabulous... Mine has been super great! A Pedi with a great friend (whose baby is due any day now), lunch at Bertucci's, and some Five Below finds that I will share with you Friday!  And, my honey will be home early from work today!  Woo hoo!

Happy Tuesday!
~Miss McDonald :)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday Made It! and a Sneak Peek...

I can't believe it is already Monday... again! And time again for Monday Made It!  I am loving this blogging because it is motivating me to complete projects I have been wanting to do for a long time!  I am linking up again with 4th Grade Frolics!

 My first Monday Project is a revamped bookshelf for my classroom!  I have been wanting another bookshelf for my Reading Corner, but don't particularly like super tall, bulky shelves.  I prefer shorter, more petite book cases.  So today while perusing through Goodwill, I noticed this lonely, disheveled looking bookcase.. I immediately had an epiphany: spray paint fixes everything!  So I snatched that pitiful thing up, made my purchase, and headed over to Michael's (another terrible store for teachers!! $$$$$) where I purchased some Krylon Glossy White paint (my recent obsession), and materials for project #2. I'll get to that one next.  

Here is the original bookcase:

And here is the refinished version:

I can't wait to see it filled with colorful book baskets and all of the books I purchased at the Scholastic Warehouse Book Fair!! :) 

Onto Project #2.. I bought materials, sorted and put them all together, but am not ready to share the FINAL yet.. :)  I will, however, let you have a sneak peek.. I found this great idea on Pinterest to create a bulletin board using small bags for each month of the year, which will be designated Birthday Month Bags.  This will help make sure each child is recognized, while making sure I don't forget! :)  I bought tiny, bright gift bags from Michael's and fun stickers for each.  I used what we generally know and get excited about each month to buy themed stickers.. ex: April = Spring/Easter time, May = Flowers, June = Summertime, September = Back to School.. and so on.  I will eventually decorate each mini bag with the correct stickers, and create cute month name labels for each... Then, I will attach a decorative tag to each bag with the students names and actual date for each month.  

Here are my stickers (I am in love!)

And my mini bags..

Stay tuned for the final version!! 

What did you do today?  I can't wait to check out everyone else's Monday Made Its while I anxiously await the Bachelorette Finale! :)

Happy Monday,
~ Miss McDonald :)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Short and Sweet Saturday- A Linky Party!!!

Today is one of those Saturdays where I am wishing it was Fall...  I miss the feeling of waking up to cool mornings, snuggled in bed, with a week of school under my belt yet again, followed by a nice long run, coffee and breakfast, and some sort of Pumpkin recipe or candle hunting.  There is something about being in the swing of the school year that brings me such a simple form of joy.  I feel like people look at me like I am CRAZY when I tell them I can't wait for school to start...  But I really can't!  I love that I have the opportunity to try and help make the world a better place, one little person at a time.  It's so motivating!!

SO, in an attempt to help YOU get excited for the school year, I am starting my own Linky Party!  It will be every Saturday.  The goal will be to help keep you excited and motivated during the school year, and to remind us why we do what we do.  :)

This Link-Up will be called "Short and Sweet Saturday" and you can share anything you want!  A funny story from the week, a product you created and want to share, a creative idea you discovered or came up with, and so on.. The only rule is you may NOT link to a product on TPT or Teacher's Notebook that costs money!  The idea is for it to be "Short and Sweet".. and there's nothing sweet about forking over some cash-ola.. :)  I want us to have fun with it!

So, join me in my first ever linky party!  Today I am sharing my Two Stars and a Wish Writing Revision Post-It template.  2 Stars are things they "loved" about their partner's writing, and a "Wish" is something they "wish" was included.  My students loved the idea of anything being "printed" on post-its.  I hope your students will find them just as motivating!  I suggest that you have a parent volunteer or kiddos help you stick post-its onto papers so it can be quick and easy for you.    Here is the link to the Two Stars and a Wish document.  :)  This is a sneak peek at what they look like... :)

If you would like the blank word document with just the empty text boxes, leave a comment and I will get in touch with you! Enjoy!!

I can't wait to see where this goes, and who links up!!  Happy Saturday!!
~Miss McDonald :)

Link Up!! :)