Sunday, August 9, 2015

Makeover Mania

It's that time again, BACK TO SCHOOL is among us, my friends. I am so happy to be able to link up with the awesome Tara from 4th Grade Frolics

This will be year two with my tables. I absolutely love tables instead of desks. That being said, I hated the look of my tables.

They were classic looking tables and the browns mismatched (which drove me bonkers). I saw on Pinterest a blog about chalkboard paint on tables. When I did a little more research, I found this blog from Sprout Classrooms about DIY: Whiteboard Tables. I thought that I could totally do this to my tables!

First, I went a bought a primer and the Rust-Oleum Dry Erase Paint. I bought both at Lowes. The primer was $8.00 and the Dry Erase Paint was $19.99 a box (I bought two boxes).

I also bought two FOAM rollers. This is a must with the Dry Erase Paint! Next, we started priming. I sweet talked the hubs into helping me. :)

Now, if I could do anything over it would be this: possibly buy white paint. I only bought primer and for sure took a chance with not sanding down the tables. It took six coats of primer to get the coverage that I was happy with. I wondered if I would have primed with a couple coats and then painted them white, would it have even came out better?

On to the Dry Erase Paint. It comes in two cans, Part A and Part B. The box says you have 60 minutes to use it once you have mixed the two. I was pretty nervous about this part and set a timer. I mixed the two and then poured it in the tray. I know it says 60 minutes, but once you get your groove going, I got through three coats on each table (seven tables) within 30 minutes. I used both boxes so I got a total of six coats on each table.

The most torturous part of this process was waiting three days for the tables to be marker ready. Pure Torture!!

While waiting for the paint to be marker ready, I decided to add a little duct tape to the edges to match my animal print theme. 

Hi, my name is Krista and I am a duct tape addict. 

Finally, it was test time. I absolutely LOVED the final look but would it hold up to markers?

*Spoiler Alert: It did!! Woohoo!!!!

So stinking happy with the final result! I cannot wait for my 2nd graders to use their tables!

This was my big makeover, but I did a few mini makeovers, too. 

My storage bins were the classic white bins. I have animal print and neon colors in my room so I picked up some spray paint from Lowes (they should know me by name by now) and went to work. Here's the final result: 
I love them! Such a great pop of color in my room. 

The next thing I tackled was my counter top. My very yellow and outdated counter top...

I tried to cover the cabinets with some black paper and give it a little pizazz. It did great for about three years, but it was time for a whole new look. Once again, I found myself on Pinterest ( I seem to find myself there a lot, ha ha). I saw where someone hot-glued fabric to painters tape to makeover a table. Light-bulb!!

I decided to give it a try on my counter top! The result makes me smile!

The Bubbly Blonde made these amazing subway art posters that were perfect for my area! I'm pretty happy with the final product. :)

Hopefully, I am done making things over for the year... Nah!! Not even close! Ha ha! 

Happy Makeover, friends! 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Fluency Fun

I am always looking for fun ways to get my kids reading. Especially my struggling readers. I have found a few things that I absolutely love to have them do!

The first up is choral reading.

I have found that choral reading has really helped the confidence of all my readers...even the reluctant ones. They love to partner up and read away with their buddy. For the first time through, I like to pair up my strong readers with my struggling readers. When my struggling readers follow my strong readers lead, they seem to find the confidence they are missing! Choral reading has really helped with my readers taking risks. I love it!!

The next thing I have found are Fluency Pyramids.

Fluency Pyramids provide sight word repetition, help improve fluency, help improve automaticity, and help recognize the difference between a word and a complete sentence. I love, love, love fluency pyramids! We use them as an intervention for RtI (Response to Intervention). The problem is that they are hard to find. So I decided to make my own. I have my struggling readers work on these once a day. I use them in small group work, center work, or even volunteer work. I have a mom that comes in twice a week and she works on these with the kids. However, I don't stop with just my struggling readers. I work these with all of my readers! This is how my setup looks in my room.

*Shout out to Falling into First's Fry Flash Fluency cards. I love using these with my readers, too!*

Each month we set reading goals together. I am a HUGE fan of group work. I meet with my groups daily and we work through our goals that we have set. The goals range from recognizing sight words in context to finding interesting words from our readings. I use fluency pyramids as a warm up for my advanced kiddos and I use them as a speed drill for my benchmark kiddos. My kids ask every single day if they can read "the pyramids." Have I mentioned how much I love these!

I hope this gives you some more ideas/activities to work on for fluency work. If you are interested in some fluency pyramids, go check them out in my TPT store. Above all else, just remember to:

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Just Believe

I have written this for almost a week now. I have cried and cried as the words appear on the screen. I have been second grade teacher for nine years and this past week was the first time I was blindsided. I found out that one of my students was diagnosed with Leukemia.

One of MY students. Not another class, not another grade, not another school, it was my sweet kiddo, in my class. One of my students who absolutely loved life.

She was the most bubbly little eight year old I have ever met. She loved hanging with the boys and she was more than happy to be the only girl at her table in class. She loved keeping those boys in line and she was one of the few that had a true wit to her. She had a laugh that you could hear throughout the building. I loved this laugh. It was one of those laughs that when you heard it, you found yourself laughing, too.

Now, she has a sickness that she has to battle. Her laugh started to fade as the sickness took over. I noticed some weight loss and how she was so pale that she was yellow. After some discussion with our PE teacher, I decided to talk to grandma. The next day was worse, a lot worse. She hadn't laughed or even cracked a smile all week. I had the nurse call mom and they took her to the ER. She was diagnosed Wednesday night. I found out Thursday morning.

I was out for morning duty and our secretary asked me to come in. She told me that the concerns were valid and that my sweet little giggly girl had Leukemia. My sweet girl had this disease. I lost it. For the first time in nine years, I was not able to keep it together. I cried and cried. I finally got it together just in time for the kids to come in and start our day.

I looked at every single one of them and just wanted to hug them and tell them that I loved them. Every. Single. One. The ones that were always on task, polite, and kind. The ones that struggled, got in trouble, and the ones that kept me on my toes. Every. Single. One. I wanted to hug them and never let them go.

I didn't want to do anything that day but cry and hug my kiddos. Obviously, I couldn't do that. My kids noticed right away that my eyes were flaming red. I told them it was allergies and that it would be ok. I went through so many excuses to tell them, this was the best one I could come up with.

I went about my morning, business as usual and then I would just cry. It would literally hit me out of the blue. I felt like I just got punched in the gut. At this time, we weren't allowed to talk about it. Only myself, the secretary, and our principal knew. I ended up having to take a half day. I just could not hold it together.

I got in my car and I cried. I cried all the way to my mom's house. My parents watch Champ for me during the day. Once I walked in, I told them and I lost it. Like, ugly cry lost it. I then put myself in that situation as a parent. I was devastated. This whole time I have been thinking about my sweet student. I haven't even begun to think about my sweet student's mom and grandma. I can't even imagine what they were and have been going through. Pure heartbreak.

On Friday, rumor spread that I had a "meltdown" the day before. I was fine with this, because my focus was on my kiddo. However, anytime someone would ask me how I was doing, I would cry. I would sit down and start to cry. I would go to put a Cd on and I would cry. I couldn't get away from the thought that my sweet kiddo was sick. Every time I thought that I had it together, I would lose it. Such random times, too. I would lose it walking in the hallway. I would lose it if I caught a glimpse of her empty seat. The thought of her losing her beautiful long curly hair was enough to push me over the edge.

That same day we told the class. I picked them up from Specials 10 minutes early (we have Specials at the end of the day). I sat them down and told them that our friend was sick. I told them that she had Leukemia and that she will be battling this and that we need to believe in her. I told them that we love her very much and that every night we need to just believe that she will be alright. My principal and I discussed on how to do this with my class. There was no easy way to do this. My class is very different this year. I have a class full of kiddos that are just full of good and love. They really do care about each other. Needless to say, there were a lot of tears. For the first time in nine years, I cried in front of a class.

I have always had a lot of pride in myself with keeping it together. I have gone through many things that would have broken some people. But this? I wasn't ready for this. I'm still struggling with this. I just want to ask why. Why is this happening to this sweet eight year old? A baby. A kind, sweet, little girl. Why?

I have learned in this short of time that I can't ask why. I'm not going to get the answer. All I can do is just believe. I have to just believe that she will battle this and win. I have to just believe that I will have enough strength to get through my days with a smile on my face, even though my heart is broken. I have to just believe that my students will carry her in their heart and give her the strength to beat this. I have to just believe that she can and that she will get though this.

This is all still so new and so raw that I wish I had the answers, but I don't, I have faith and I have to just believe. I am lucky enough that a teacher was suggested to me to contact. She went through a similar experience. I have been in contact with her and it has been a blessing to find someone who gets what you and your kiddos are going through. I can't thank A Teeny Tiny Teacher enough for taking the time to talk to me. This has meant the world to me.Thank you.

In the meantime, I am going to keep it together. It is my job to be strong. Be strong for my class and for my girl. It is my job to be the rock. I can and I will do this for my kiddo. I am going to try and setup a FaceTime with her every week. I plan on filming all of our parties and sending them to her. I am going to try and make her feel the love we have for her. I want her to still feel like she's part of our class, because she is! She is part of our class and will always be a part of my heart.

I have always loved this quote, but now it means even more to me.

So if you read this, please say a quick prayer for all the kiddos that are going through this. Also, remember to hug your kiddos tomorrow at school. I know I will. Thank you guys for taking the time to read this. I appreciate all of your good thoughts and prayers.