dedicated to the 101a i LOVE

I am sad to say I am changing classrooms.
I was hired 13 years ago as a 3rd grade teacher and was assigned to 101a.
It might sound weird but 101a is like family.
I walk into her doors and I feel comfort...
I feel the love, magic, and security.

Her walls support the many treasures I have acquired through the years...
like the bulletin boards I dug out of the trash during renovation
or the vintage chalkboards that were doomed for the dump too.
Now they accessorize 101a..covered in the latest trendy fabrics and paper
showcasing educational elements like no other.
Her walls have been lovingly hand painted with reminders to shine,
she holds up our pledges, time pieces, and flags...
and let's not forget she
holds our adored class mascot Buck.
her brick walls have provided a blanket of security during lock downs... practice and real
more importantly those 4 walls contain a space that is the only safe haven some of 101a's occupants have had







101a has 4 lovely closets
these rare jewels hold my dwindling supply of tissue, baby wipes, baggies, and other endangered school supplies
2 of them have the perfect amount of space for a his and hers mountain of back packs
the 2 others are filled to the brim and busting at the seams with novelties, trinkets, and first editions of my own creating...
all 4 doors provide a nice veil of secrecy... hiding the unorganized chaos of it all



Her ceilings are adorned with delicate ways to display our knowledge,
beautiful sculptures of hearts and stars hang over my nest...
and my favorite,
her ceiling holds a kid made life sized narwhale from my teaching past..
and even though we have an occasional creature stir and
one time die up there... 101a is still magical


101a has 4 large windows that have the best view...
in my early years in 101a I covered the windows with curtains
but I quickly learned that 101a's view should be framed and not hidden because her view holds many lessons I couldn't teach...
I have been able to watch the ground come back to life after the renovation bulldozers nearly killed our little ecosystem...
our windows allow us
to become weather forecasters as we watch Mother Nature conjure up her
season changing spells... we had front row seats to cold front winds dropping the temperature, rattling our one fake plexiglass window pane, and swirl the natural grasses in a choreographed winter dance...
we cautiously watch spring storms making an electrical entrance, the thunder rattling our little pane, and  the clouds blacking out the Texas sun
101a's windows also give us a chance to see our fine feathered friends dine on our daily handouts
we have been blessed to serve pairs of blue jays, red birds, and even woodpeckers...
the windows have also supported our suction cup feeders
we have been up close and personal with a few doves, sparrows, finches, and an occasional silly squirrel
and one class was witness to the food chain in action as a red tailed hawk swooped in to grab its lunch





the tiled floors of 101a have been trampled on, slept on, glued, and splattered with paint
they have been sprinkled with the occasional  holes from the hole punches, failed papers, and rogue unused staples
glitter, empty shoes, and #2 pencils are its best friends
the tiles bare scratches in the wax where my acquired and mix matched shelves have been dragged  to new places and corners in an attempt to redesign the flow and magic
but it also supports the chairs and desks where learning takes place...
REAL LEARNING


I can't end this without mentioning the space, the volume, the air inside my class
before renovation, polar bears could easily be our guests and the narwhale would gently sway side to side as if she was swimming in her arctic waters
after reno.?.?. well let's just say it is hot as Hades and the only cool air and swaying comes from the trial and error placement of 3 tower fans purchased by my loving hubs
What's more important is what has happened inside 101a...
kids have learned to read, write, add, and multiply...
but more importantly they have learned to love one another, have ownership of their actions,
they have learned that giving is more important and more rewarding than receiving...
they have learned to accept one another and celebrate large and small accomplishments
they learned how to listen to one another and
there are some things that are just not worth getting upset about
they have learned that I didn't give them their first B they earned their first B
they have learned that fair is different for everyone
they leave 101a knowing the importance of a please and thank you
and they leave me knowing they were loved...


101a is my friend, she was my partner for 13 years in the most important job in the world,
she will be missed
and I can only pray that her new owner will look at her
with her holes, scratches, and scuffs...
and see the potential
and once again transform her into a magical place

and as I close the door to 101a
I open the door to 113d
and I too have to see her potential
113d has 3 bare walls
2 closets
3 windows with a view of the old gym and blacktop
and can't have feeders because of gym traffic
she has been a book room / science storage / pto storage room...
all at the same time
she hasn't seen a sparkle within her space in years and
now I have the responsibility of transforming her into my friend and magical partner
we will have to work cooperatively to create a place where 4th graders discover the magic of
having roots and wings

Bonding and Branding

Just a quick little note or NOT...to let you in on what I have been up to...

The FIRST round of testing is dunno and soon the 2nd round will be here...
I have felt like a mamma bird shoving knowledge and strategies down my poor little baby birds throats...
so we had to have a little fun...
what better way to break the monotony than to do a craftivity... HOLLA

I have a very hard time fitting in Texas History...
sooooooo... this year I do Texas Tuesday... and every Tuesday...
OKAY most Tuesdays... we do Texas History during our writing/reading block
it has worked well...
so we just finished cattle drives and the cattle industry in Texas...
we might be a little behind... we really liked the Alamo and may have spent a little too much time on that...
and now that I think of it... we lost at the Alamo so why we liked it so much not sure...
BUT we did spend and insane amount of time... or an insane amount of Tuesdays learning about the ALAMO...
when they leave me they will
REMEMBER THE ALAMO!!!


BUT... back to our cattle drives...
what goes hand in hand with cattle drives and the invention of barbed wire????
BRANDS...
the kiddos had to develop their own brands using 4 pipe cleaners...
after we looked at the Texas requirements and rules for creating a brand...
the kids took their brands and had to fill out a very generic application...
so generic... not gonna even show you...
they had to dip their brand in black paint and apply it to the application..
basically had to fit into the size of a post-it
they also had to ...
 name the rancher
the ranch name (brand is based on this)
location of ranch
meaning behind the brand...
and letters, numbers, and symbols used
anyways after getting their brand approved...
they made a cow rump and branded it....
THEY LOVED THIS...
 sorry it is blurry but I had recycled paper available for them to test out their brand before applying to their cow rump...
 little stinker... caught her filling in the gaps with her finger...
she is a perfectionist and that is ok

 we braided black yarn for a tail... they needed tails...
 she wanted to have utters on her cow...
and then others had to follow....


alrighty...
we might be
BEHIND in Texas History...
BUTT we had a COWabunga fun time
branding our cow rumps!!!


*********** squirrel ********

 My district started a wellness program where they challenged us to go get active...
my school started a walking group...
our first walk was on Monday...
yeppers...
we started off right after school and walked in the VERY HILLY neighborhood that feeds into our school
 do you see those storm clouds. in the above pic..
we really didn't think anything of it...
and then...
 about mile one in... we noticed the STORM was building...
and building... and building...
and then at mile 1.50
it started to RAIN...
and rain hard... BIG BIG BIG drops...
BIG DROPS...
I started running...
did I mention that thunderstorms freak me out...
I hate them!!!!
I was running faster than I have ever hauled my bootay...
I was a blurrrrrrr

 that is a selfie of me running in the RAIN... see I am a blurrrrr
mile 1.9
right before...
THUD...
something hit my head...
a tiny white ball of ICE....
 HAIL!!!!
it started off a little slow...
and then it just POURED HAIL!!!
NO LIE...
we got smart...
the pic below is a lot of the group hiding under a patio at the dentist's office
it was CRAY TO THE CRAY CRAZEEEEE
and seriously the school is right around the corner...
RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER

at the first thought the hail was letting up...
Shelley and I ran for it to the school
BUT...
was the hail over????
HAIL NO!!!!
it hailed on us all the way back to the school...
those that finished before us...
were on the patio of the school yelling and cheering us on!!!!
it was amazing!!!
it was heart-warming
and then of course...I had to take a pic of me and Shelley
that is us... wet and wild in the above pic...



and here we are...
not all of us...
but some of us...
all wet and BONDED...


this crazy experience really did create bonds
I mean how many people can say...
 one time my walking group at school
walked in a hail storm...
not many
I feel closer to these girls just because of that.
I can't wait for this Monday!!!

The fitness challenge has us competing against other schools in our district...
we are the tiniest school BY FAR
we are competing against the high schools and middle schools and other elementary schools...
but BUT BUT... HOLLA!!!!
as of right now we are in 4th place...
pretty good for our teeny tiny school
we are 200 miles behind the 1st place team...
BUT
we are pretty competitive so needless to say...
we are HAIL bent on moving up to 1st!!!

and tonight I did my part...
I did 3 miles with my crew!!!
I am at 8 miles for the week :)
OH YEAH!!!


TOODLES

head of the class

I saw this video on The Today Show
and then again on Facebook...
click here to see the video

It really touched my heart...
every year I have one or two kiddos that struggle to fit in...
they can't find a place in the crowd!!!
This is due to various reasons...
awkward socialization, new kid on the block, boys have cooties, sky high IQ, low functioning, behavior problem, and the list goes on and on!!!

I always try to help the "loners" fit in...
twisting and turning strategies, flip flopping groups, and social skills lessons
BUT it doesn't always work... and that is why I thought this video along with its simple idea
was a wonderful solution...
sooooooo I started doing it over a month ago.

so basically...
the kiddos get an index card
and on the index card they write the names of 3 classmates they would love to partner up with for the upcoming week...
they also draw a star on the card and nominate ONE student for head of the class...
I stress that this Head of the Class nomination needs to be based on who had a great week, who has been working hard, maybe this person had a big improvement from last week, they might have done several good deeds, etc... It really is a pathetic attempt to persuade their votes towards someone that they might not otherwise vote for... I want them to REALLY THINK who deserves it... not which FRIEND or cool kid they should vote for... now if their friend or the cool kid deserves it... then that is A OKAY... the first few weeks the popular kids were winning and now we are on our 3rd week of having a truly deserved Head of the Class and I owe this too....

THEIR PICKS...
yep
each week when they write down their 3 names...
I document their picks and try my hardest to make them happen...


here is my recoding system...
I didn't feel comfortable sharing my kiddos names so hope you can get over the blurry blurry

when they turn in their 3 picks I record their picks next to their name...
then as I group them, pair them up for partner work, or pick their groups for math games or rotations...
I highlight the names.

I use orange to indicate that they sit with each other already... (desk assignments)
we do a lot group work within our seating assignments so this is helpful to me
* I have also changed seating assignments... not a whole bunch maybe 2or 3 here or there for the week
this is HUGE for me because I am a teacher of comfort... I like to find an arrangement and grouping that works well together and leave it be... so changing these one or 2 desks around has me out of my comfort zone ... but I am doing it and the kids are loving it :)

I use pink to indicate they played a game together... it could be any type of game... last week we had a Yahtzee tournament and so there was a lot of pink going on

Yellow is used if they worked together on an academic assignment... maybe partner reading with comprehension questions or math problems... anything they might turn in for a grade.
I try my hardest all week long to grant every single kiddos' request

I look at this list all the time...
I look to see who gets picked a bunch and whose name doesn't show up at all...
it is the kids that don't show up that get the most attention from me...
I make sure I pair them up with their picks and few more...
they are my priority for the week!!!
for some reason the family is not including them or thinking of them...
this is where the vote section comes in handy...
I give 2 tally marks for being voted for head of class and then one tally for every time their name shows up as a request...
this gives me a good idea of who is being missed...
I call on this student more often during the week
I praise them more
I point out good things they do
I am trying to get them noticed...
NO-ONE is going to blend in to the surroundings...
this tends to work...
by looking at your votes each week you can see changes in the dynamics of the class...
cool kids are no longer the leaders... it is always changing... everyone is having a chance to be the
HEAD OF THE CLASS


before I pair up or group... I make sure to reiterate that if they are paired up with someone they didn't pick... their new partner might have picked them... OR I might have paired them up because I thought they would make a great team... THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED TO ASK which one it is...
I also warned them about reacting to their pair up... if someone requested to work with you and I pair you up and your response was a rolling eyes or a hmmmph... you are not only hurting the feelings of the person that picked you but you are also probably going to lose some requests for the next week...
and sure enough that happened to one of my little girls....
she got attitude when I would pair her or group her with kids that were not on her list...
she really did offend the kids that picked her and then others saw it too...
she is a popular pick... well she use to be... the rest of the kids saw her attitude and guess what no requests for her this week... this led me to a mini lesson about graciousness and selfishness...

this system has changed my classroom...
I always pride myself on having a "family" in my classroom and this has brought us closer...
they are more supportive of one another...
they celebrate triumphs and encourage one another...
they love it when I pull out the clipboard with the list on it because they KNOW they are about to work with someone special!!!

I cannot tell you
in this post
how great it is to see ALL of my kiddos be included...
we are a FAMILY!!!

as a thank you...
I have included blank templates of my list
and the Head of the Class Certificate
Oh I forgot to mention...
Head of the Class gets to give the Spelling Test on Friday... THEY LOVE THIS
and they are the line leader for the week too...
ok now for the freebies



CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THEM FROM DROPBOX

If you have any questions...
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE ask in the comments and I will try my hardest to respond....
I seriously have spent about 3 different days writing this...
because although it is simple in its concept it is complex in its use
I hope it makes sense...
if not let me know so I can clarify it!!!

toodles

currently crabby

Not really sure where to begin...
and I am not one of those...
gently peel off the bandaid kinda girls...
rip it off quick... plus I am allergic to adhesive so bandaids and FARLEY
are not friends...
so that metaphor is done...

and something else I am pretty sure I am allergic to... CATS
especially COPY CATS...
lots of them...
they seriously rub me the WRONG way...
I have said it, friends have said it, and many a blogger has said it...
if it wasn't your idea... STAY AWAY FROM IT!!!
it just isn't right it IS NOT!!!!
NO NO NO NO NO

a long time ago... I had a very good mentor warn me that teachers are like
CRABS in a bucket...
no crab will ever get out...
why??? because as soon as one attempts to escape over the edge...
another crab will pull them back down...
it is true...
oh boy that was another metaphor... oh no that was a simile... I used "LIKE"

even though I am joking this is only a way for me not to go FURIOUS FARLEY

You know it is one thing to have a product that is kinda a teacher essential copied...
like a parent survey or a building words activity...
those type of things are common  in our teaching field... SO unless it was a copy and paste issue...
I expect lots of other products out there like that....
BUT
BUT BUT
and I have a BIG BUTT...
FARLEY GOT BACK... jus sayin

BUT.... when someone SELLS something that is ORIGINAL BY ME...
I came up with it... I DID it... MY IDEA....
ORIGINAL BY ME... there I said it again...
that is just flat out... WRONG... why...
because it was down right copied...
you didn't come up with it...
you didn't really put hard work into developing it...
you just saw that it is popular
you saw that it was pinned a lot
and seriously you thought....
HEY I CAN MAKE A PRETTY PENNY!!!
(good luck with that... I haven't even hit a milestone yet... maybe because someone stole my pennies)

well how is that pretty penny
you might have a pretty penny in your hand...
BUT you have a tarnished view of what is right and wrong...

you might be saying....
you can't copyright ideas...
and well....
I really don't give a flying monkey poo
if you can't copyright IDEAS...
if you didn't think of it on your own...
it is not yours to make...
and it is definitely not yours to sell
and to not give credit...
that is just double monkey poo
it is just WRONG...

and my final thought on this situation is
do you know how you kill a crab...
you stab it in the back
hmmmmm....
and that is how I feel.
TpT is a community of teachers...
teachers should support one another...
not stab them in the back
by stealing ideas and selling them as your own...

oh and one more thing...
changing font, clipart, the title, or some other minuscule thing oh... like the original author's name...
still doesn't make it yours to sell!!!

thank you the end

ps