Friday, September 21, 2012

Stepping into First Grade

I have never had a classroom theme before, but after seeing so many cute classrooms on pinterest and teaching blogs I decided I wanted one this year.   I went with a shoe theme because I bought this cute banner on clearance a few years ago:

It came with the cute shoes cutouts that I used to label my students' lockers. 

To go with this theme we did a lot of Pete the Cat activities the first week of school, more on this soon, and we made these cute shoes.  This was created by The Bubbly Blonde  and looks really great in the hall outside my classroom.  I don't know that I will make them the same next year though because I did all of the laces myself and it took a very long time.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Peek into my Classroom

My first week of first grade went pretty well.  We have been spending a lot of time learning rules, routines and expectations.  This is not my favorite time of year, but I know that all of the practice will make the rest of the year go much more smoothly.  Starting a new grade has been tricky though because I am not as sure about the routines and expectations as I was with kindergarten.  With first grade should my expectations be a lot higher?  What rules do we need for desks?  In kindergarten we had tables. Now they have individual supplies instead of shared supplies - when do they sharpen their pencils?  How do we keep the desks from getting too crazy?  I am slowly figuring these things out, but I would love to hear your suggestions.

I did get some time to take a few photos of my classroom:

Calendar Corner

Reading Corner - my mom made the cute Curious George for me
 and student names are written on the balloons.
I was pretty happy with how things were set up at the beginning of last week, but I have already made some changes.  My desk area has been adjusted slightly so that my computer is not so high up and the students' desk are now in small rows facing the front of the room.  It was just too hard to move around the room with desks in groups.

Front of room

Back of room

That is it for tonight.  When I first started this blog I was worried about having things to post about, but now I am full of ideas.  Planned for this week is a post about my shoe theme, Pete the Cat, taking photos of students and more!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Last Day of Summer

It is Labor Day which in Michigan (for most schools) means that school starts tomorrow!  So instead of enjoying the day I am wrapping up a lot of last minute things.  One of those last minute things is to blog about my summer.  I had two big highlights of my summer that I am eager to share:

The first is that I fostered puppies for Hearts of Hope Dog Rescue.  I love dogs and have two spoiled pit bull mixes of my own, Jack and Jilly. 
Puppies are really fun and cute, but a lot of work.  Too much work for during the school year, but I have a lot of extra time in the summer!  So I fostered a total of five puppies throughout the summer.  First I had these three cuties for about two weeks:
Petey, Lulu and George
A few weeks after those three were adopted and I was feeling some crazy puppy withdrawals.  Luckily someone found this sweetheart in the parking lot of a vet clinic and I got to care for her for two weeks.  We called her Sophie.
My last foster was a sweet puppy named Lily.  She came all the way from Lebanon where she had no hope of being adopted.  A group called Animals Lebanon sent her over to the United States with her mom and siblings.  They were even on the local news.   I had her for three weeks and was getting very attached, but school was starting soon so I was very happy when she was adopted by a wonderful couple.  Here is one of my favorite photos of Lily. 
If you are looking to add a pet to your family please consider adoption.  Petfinder is a great place to look because it connects you to available dogs from local shelters and rescue groups.
The second highlight of my summer is a quick trip to Cedar Point amusement park that I took with my mom, dad, sister-in-law and brother.  We did not take any photos on the trip, but we did discuss creating a list of visitor tips for others who are going to Cedar Point.  My brother, sister-in-law, sister, cousin and I all spent a summer or more working at Cedar Point and we have also visited many times.  Through the years we have learned some things that make our trips a little easier and now I am sharing those with you. 
Here are our top ten Cedar Point trip tips:
1.  Ask for water - if you go up to a vendor that has fountain pop they will give you ice water for free!  Bottled water is $3.50!
2.  Stay at a Cedar Point Hotel - you get discount tickets, early entry, free parking, a courtesy van and they are clean.
3.  Avoid the cheap hotels near Cedar Point - they tend to be old and dirty.  This did not bother me when I was a poor college student, but it does bother me now.
4.  Eat local - Chet and Matt's Pizza and Berardi's Family Kitchen are great local places to eat.  Chet and Matt's offers crazy pizzas like macaroni and cheese pizza, plus normal pizza.  Berardi's has great service, good food and will accomodate gluten free diners.
5.  You can find information about gluten free food and other special dietary needs at Cedar Point by visiting their website.  My dad found out last year that he has celiac disease so this was really important for us this summer.
6.  Pack only what you need - a few of the big coasters will not let you wear anything extra like sunglasses, glasses, hats, earrings, etc. and on the Millennium Force you have to put your belongings in a locker or have a nonrider hold them for you.
7.  Don't carry around your purchases - for an extra $1 you can have your purchases sent to your hotel (if you are staying at Cedar Point) or to the main gate.  The cashier will give you a claim ticket for you to pick up your stuff on the way out.
8.  Wear sunscreen and comfortable shoes that won't fly off.  On the Raptor and Wicked Twister your legs are dangling during the ride and if you are wearing flipflops you have to take them off and store them in the bins or sit on them.
9.  Try a different route when driving to the park.  250 is the main route and is very busy.  I recommend coming in from the other direction using Cleveland Road, but it isn't as straight forward so use a map.
10.  Go early or late in the season - the month of May and the end of August are the least busy.  Saturdays and holidays are the busiest.