Friday, December 28, 2012

Operation Organization!

Yay!  I'm linking up over at 2nd Grade Shenanigans with the Counting Our Blessings linky party!

I would really LOVE to get more organized this next year, especially at home!  (I'm pretty organized at school, except that my teacher desk drawers and big teacher closet are packed to the gills, though I know where everything is.)  (Oh, also--I haven't filed ANY papers since August, so there's that.  I'd take a picture of all the stacks of filing to be done in my classroom, but 1-I'm on vacation, and 2-I'd be too embarrassed.)  :D

Anywho, my house leaves much to be desired in the realm of organization/cleanliness.  My husband might use different words, haha.

Today I actually reorganized some of our kitchen cabinets and drawers.  Cleared out some of the bottles and infant spoons that little one isn't using anymore and reorganized what was left.

Next up is cleaning up all our lovely Christmas stuff, but then I'll move onto the pantry.  I found this on a great blog called Eat. Sleep. Decorate.

via Eat. Sleep. Decorate.
My pantry isn't that big, but I like a lot of the organization tools/ideas she used.  Click the link above to see the whole post and more pictures.

Here's how I organized my earrings and necklaces (a DIY project from a few years ago--I apologize for the awful pictures):

I got the frame at Goodwill for $4.00 and strung some twine on those little eyelet screws on the back.
I don't have a close-up for the necklace holder, but it's just a little 2x4 that I spray painted, drilled holes in, and then put in some crystal looking knobs from Hobby Lobby.  Good times!

TERRIBLE pictures!


Moving on...fave organization in my classroom:

Library--black bins new this year from Dollar General--
I've since made larger labels so that the kiddos don't have to squint to see them!

I love the narrow bins from Really Good Stuff to hold thin trade books!  I wish they were either all in one or 2 coordinating colors (anal retentive?  me?) but I believe they just come in multicolored packs.  My school bought them, though, so bonus there!


Love the matching labels on all my math manipulatives!!!  Made these this summer after being inspired by Kristen at Ladybug Teacher Files.  She is amaze-balls, no?

Pop Tops storage.  LOVE.  I have another jar and label already made for Box Tops but haven't gotten around to it...argh.

I LOVE THIS.  My notebook paper goes on the left, clipboards on the right, and papers are turned into the bin on top.  YAY.  I also love the basket to store whiteboards--they don't slip and slide all over the place!  Isn't it funny how something so simple can make you so happy?  :D

Well, I'm (finally) off to bed.  We just watched 2 episodes of The Wire.  (We just started the series--I bought it for Hubby for Christmas.  It's interesting & intense-ish but not TOO intense, which makes my anxiety-ridden self happy.)

Best of luck to you all in your organizing endeavors!  Here's hoping for a more organized, stress-free 2013!  I know we can do it!

Better yet, join in on the blogging fun over at 2nd Grade Shenanigans by clicking below:






Saturday, December 22, 2012

12 in 2012 Linky Party


I decided to link up with Miss Kindergarten AND A Teeny Tiny Teacher for their 12 in 12 Linky Party.  Better late than never, right?  

All you have to do is think back at your favorites in 2012 and add a few pictures. What a fun way to remember the year, huh!? You can use these prompts if you'd like, or just type up your 12 favorite things! 



12. Favorite movie you watched:
I NEVER go to the movies.  Like, ever.  I probably saw 2, MAYBE 3 movies this year.  I really liked the Hunger Games and the final Twilight movie.  And yes, I read both book series.



11. Favorite TV series:
My fave new series this year was Happy Endings.  I also love Up All Night.  Both are HILARIOUS.



10. Favorite restaurant:
I like food.  My fave restaurant is probably our local Anamia's OR 7 Salsas because they have the most amazing homemade tortillas that taste like my grandma's tortillas tasted.


9. Favorite new thing you tried:
I can't think of anything...maybe creating my own clip art borders?  I've only used them a couple of times because I've had NO extra time to create any lessons.  Hoping I'll get some more ideas on paper this coming year.

8. Favorite gift you got:
Massage gift certificate.

7. Favorite thing you pinned:
There are too many.  Who knows?


6. Favorite blog post:
My Classroom Tour (I spent a lot of time--and $$--completely changing my room this year).

5. Best accomplishment:
Selling my first product on Teachers Pay Teachers!  I had no idea if anyone would be interested, but apparently people are!  Yay.  

4. Favorite picture:
At Hudson's 1st Birthday Party, May 2012

3. Favorite memory:
LOTS!  So many memories with my sweet boy!  Love watching him DANCE!

2. Goals for 2013:
Become a better housekeeper, cook more, leave school earlier!


1. One Little Word:
Balance.  I feel like I haven't been balancing being a teacher and being a mommy very well.  I want to spend more time at home and less time at school.  As much as I love my students and what I do, I have to draw the line somewhere.  I will never get it all done, and I need to focus on my family more!  Also, I'd love to find some balance in staying healthy--hit the gym at least once a week!



LOVE this blessing.  I sung it in high school, and it was read at our wedding.  
I wish you all the best in 2013, fellow teachers!


Thank you so much for hosting this linky party, Miss K and Kristin!  Hop on over and join in the fun if you haven't already!  

Friday, December 21, 2012

My Christmas Gift!

Be forewarned:
You are about to experience jealousy in its purest form.  LOL.  Just kidding.  But seriously, folks!

Guess what I got for Christmas from my class???

Check out this video to see if you can tell what it is...

(My students guessed that it was a 1) microwave, and 2) a t.v.  LOL)



Did you see it?!

If you couldn't tell from the box, it's a... (drumroll, please)...




Yep.  Can you say generous?  I am very lucky to have amazing and supportive, generous parents where I work.  I am really excited to figure out how this amazing thing works and get creating!  YAY!

I hope all you amazing, hard working teachers out there in blogland have a wonderful Christmas and many blessings in the new year.  Here's to health and happiness!

XO,
Gayla





Sunday, December 2, 2012

Nominations (and more about me than anyone wants to know)!

Thanks to the awesome bloggers who (re)nominated me for the Liebster Award!  :)  I know I've been nominated in the past, but I thought I'd at least answer their fun questions!  Plus, it's a good reason to write a post since I've been so MIA lately.  :)

First thanks goes out to Sent From My iPad (great blog name, huh?)!
Here are her questions and my answers:

1. How long have you been blogging?  I started blogging personally when I moved to NYC back in 2002!  I started my classroom blog in April 2009, and I started this teaching blog in September 2011.
2. Why did you start a blog?  I started THIS particular blog because of all the amazing teaching blogs I had discovered.  It amazed me that I had never thought to use a blog that way before--to share ideas with fellow teachers.  Brilliant!
3. How did you come up with your blog name?  From the whole "Keep Calm and _____ On" phrase.  :)
4. What is your guilty pleasure?  Trashy tv.  My husband HATES all the shows I watch.  The only shows we watch together are Always Sunny, The League, and Louis.  I love the Vampire Diaries, reality tv, Parenthood, Modern Family...I could go on and on.
5. What is your "can't live without" teacher item? Smartboard and my Papermate Flair pens.  :)
6. Are your a morning person or night owl?  NIGHT OWL, big time.  It's a bit of a problem.
7. What is the funniest thing a kid has ever said in class or that you've overheard?  Me: "You look pretty in your make-up."  Student: "My dad says I look like a hooker."
8. If you had to pick one thing to eat for the rest of ever what would it be?  Chips and queso or nachos
9. What is your favorite iPad app? OR website?   Ooh, that's a hard one!  I LOVE Pinterest for discovering new ideas/blogs.  I love Educreations and Fotobabble for the iPad.  User-friendly for the kids!
10. How long have you been teaching?  This is my 6th year.
11. If you weren't teaching what would you be doing?  Performing musical theater, I hope.  :)

2nd Thank You goes out to Flamingos and Butterflies!  Here are her questions and my answers:


  1. What grade do you teach, and how long have you been teaching?  I teach 2nd.  This is my 6th year teaching--3 in 3rd and 3 in 2nd.  :)
  2. Where are you currently teaching?  Suburb of Dallas
  3. If you were not a teacher, what would be your dream job?  Being a musical theater performer or a writer or professional blogger
  4. What is your favorite adult book?  Just finished Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and it was AMAZING.
  5. What is your favorite kid book?  The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, The Wayside School books, and Skippyjon Jones books.  
  6. If you could meet any author, who would it be and why?  Anne Lamott.  She's just cool.  And has the most creative way of saying things.
  7. Why did you start blogging?  To record my experiences in New York.  (personal blogging)
  8. How did you come up with the name for your blog?  From the whole "Keep Calm and..." craze
  9. If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?  To fly!  Obvious reasons, right?  It would be AWESOME!
  10. Are you an early bird or night owl?  complete night owl!
  11. As you sit here blog hopping and answering questions from a random stranger, (just kidding) what are you thinking in the back of your mind you should really be doing right now?  Getting ready for bed.  :)
3rd and final Thank You goes out to Beach Lovin' Teach, who is obviously a kindred spirit of mine, what with the beach thing!  :)  

1. How long have you been blogging?  Personally since 2002!  As a teacher since 2009.  :)
2. What is your favorite type of music?  I like LOTS.  I'm not a big fan of country or rap.  I love musicals, relaxing stuff, singer stuff, vocal jazz, choral, some opera, some classical, some of the  top 20 stuff, a lot of the Indie stuff.  :)  I was a music major, so I could write a dissertation.
3. Where would you go on your dream vacation?  Back to the Virgin Islands, probably!  Maybe Hawaii.
4. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?  spending time with my hubs and baby boy, reading blogs, reading, watching tv
5. Do you have any siblings?  3 half siblings; I am the baby and somewhat of an only child, since I was the only kid by the time I was 10 years old.
6. What's your favorite type of dessert?  chocolate cream pie.  yellow cake w/chocolate frosting.  i like chocolate pie and candy, but I don't like chocolate cake much.  or chocolate ice cream.  ??
7. What would you do if you won a million dollars?  Invest some, buy a bigger house, put some away for baby boy's college, give some to funding for childhood cancer and for the Backpack Buddies program.
8. What is your favorite color?  Blue, Teal
9. Coffee or tea?  usually coffee with cream/suger --or iced tea with lots of lemon
10. What is the last book you read?  Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.  I'm almost done with The Birth Order Book, which has been really eye-opening.  
11. What is your most embarrassing moment teaching?  Probably the time one of my students said, "Mrs. Cockrell, will you please pull up your pants?  I can see your bottom."  LOL.  OR last year's formal observation when I went to pull up the Smart Notebook activity I created to realize I had emailed myself the WRONG file.  FUN!  Teaching is all about flexibility, right??


Thanks again, lovely ladies, and happy December!  :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ten Tally Marks!

When our class does a great job at following directions or at doing a nice job in the hallways so other classes can learn, we earn a tally mark.
When we get to ten tally marks, we earn a class reward!

Sometimes we get to take off our shoes for the day, sometimes we get free time to play or draw, and today we are having a popcorn party!

Here we are watching our video and chomping away happily:





Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I Did It!

I sold my first product on Teachers Pay Teachers!  Seriously, folks--that totally made my day, and it was a RUFF day.  (and yes, I spelled rough wrong on purpose, thanks for noticing.)  (And yes, I just started a sentence with the word 'and.')

But anyway, here's the product I sold if you're interested:

It's my Engineering Station.  I got the idea from a Sally Ride science workshop I attended back in September.  I asked parents to send in broken electronics, and we got things like old vcrs, dvd players, cd players, electric pencil sharpeners, remote controls, calculators, cell phones, etc.

My students use tools to take apart the electronics and record their observations of the parts and/or how the machines work.  Then their task is to use some of the parts they found to design their own machine or invention.  FUN.  Seriously, though--my kids are IN LOVE with this activity.  Kids that I've never seen get excited about anything have been running to me as soon as they finish an assignment to see if they can work in the Engineering Station.  GREAT critical thinking skills and creativity, people!  Not to mention it's funny when 7 year-olds say "engineering."

Here are some previews for you visual folks.  Click on any of the photos to check it out in my TpT store and to read more about it.  Thanks for stopping by!









http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Engineering-Station-Pack

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Spelling Task Chart Freebie

Hey there!

I whipped up a little chart to display in my classroom so that my kiddos will know which Word Work/Spelling activity to complete each day.  We have 4 differentiated spelling groups (we use Words Their Way-eh...), and we rotate on Mondays to introduce the new sorts and on Fridays to assess.  The rest of the week the students work on their word sorts/patterns independently, so I have changed our morning routine to ensure that all students get spelling practice daily.

Please feel free to download this chart if it would be helpful to you.  I included a chart with 3 groups and one with 4 groups.

I'd love to know if you are able to use this or if you have any ideas of how to improve it!

Hope you all are having a good week so far.  Can anyone else not believe that it's only TUESDAY?!  How am I already so tired??  :)


Please click on the screenshot to download this Freebie from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Thanks again!  (8 days till Turkey Break!...not that I'm counting...)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Currently in November


 Well, it's a good thing I posted October's Currently a few days ago.  Since it's November now.  LOL.  WHOOPS.  Yeah.  But anyway, yay for Farley's Currently!!  Thanks, Farley, as always!





How do you feel about It's Always Sunny?  Hubs loves it, but it's gotten a little hit or miss for me.  This week's episode was pretty funny.  Sometimes it's just too far out there.

Happy Hour.  Enough said.

Sleep.  I'll never take it for granted again.

I can't complain too much about not having a fall break since we get off the entire week of Thanksgiving.  Yeah buddy.

I do need sleep.  I do need a maid.  I do need lots of other things, like a secretary (yes, just like Farley!  My teamies and I talk about this all the time)!  Like a bigger house to hold all the toys!  :)  But I truly can't complain.  I am SO very blessed in my life.

Pandora is the best.  Sometimes I put it on the Ambient Music station or other soft music, but the Kids Music station is great.  Unless a dance song comes on, and your entire class stops working and starts dancing.  In which case you should change the station or simply skip to the next song.  

Now head over to Farley's blog to share your own Currently and to meet some new bloggers!!

Happy Friday!!



Friday, October 26, 2012

Currently: October (tho LATE, tho sad)

Dagnabit.  How is it already nearly NOVEMBER!?

*SIGH*

Yes, I literally just let out a big sigh.  *ding ding ding*  Sorry, "sigh" was one of our vocabulary words a few weeks ago, and we always *ding* when we hear or read one of our fab vocab words.

Is it just me, or am I exhausted, downtrodden, and beat down by this school year?  I am LOVING my students, even though they are quite the challenging bunch.  I LOVE teaching.  Problem?  I haven't been doing much quality teaching.  I'm too busy collecting data, progress monitoring, and trying to finish up district math assessments (that were started over a month ago) (yes, they have taken that long) (they are 6 pages long and to be administered individually) AND report card data since grades are due Tuesday morning.  *SIGH* *dingdingding*

Farley had a post that explained my feelings EXACTLY, and if you are feeling overwhelmed and beaten down, you should read it.     FARLEY'S POST

Anyway, so as not to be too big of a Debbie Downer, let's move on, shall we?

Some YAYS:

Yay #1:  Red Ribbon Week is over (yes, it's fun, but 3 special programs/assemblies in 1 week is TOO MANY for those of use who like the children to PAY ATTENTION when we talk).

Yay #2:  Fall Conferences are over.  Our district rocks b/c the kids get Columbus Day off and we do conferences the whole day.  Yes, I scheduled several on other days, but I still had 17 that day.  SEVENTEEN.  Yes, my voice hurt at the end of the day.  Yes, my mouth hurt from smiling.  But they went well.

Yay #3:  Even though I haven't blogged over here in AGES, I've been keeping up very well with my classroom blog.  If you'd like to see SOME of what we've been up to in my classroom (aside from the assessments, of course), visit us over at:  MRS. COCKRELL'S CLASS

Yay #4:  The Vampire Diaries is back on.  Holy Ian Somerhalder.  Jeezus Pete, do I love him, LOL.  But don't tell my hubs.  Wait.  I think my hubs already knows.  But don't like, rub it in.  ;)

Yay #5:  I'm working on some new Daily 5 Technology Choice Menus, and I'm pumped for when they're done!

Onto the best part!  Farley's CURRENTLY PARTAY!  (Thanks, Farley.  You rock.)


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Currently: September

Ah, Farley.

You give me an easy, fun way to post at least once a month, and I must thank you for that.  :)

I would totally write a more meaningful, detailed post, but I must go to bed immediately.  These kiddos are really gonna give me a run for my money, LOL!  I've got some hilarious little sweeties this year.  It usually takes a little while for most of them to really come out of their shells, you know?  Not so much this year!  HA!  I consider it payback for my own behavior when I was in school.  Yep--B in Citizenship on every. single. report card.  "Needs to learn to control her talking."  That was always the teacher comment.  :D  My friends and colleagues would NEVER guess this about me, HA.  (Yes they would; I still never shut my mouth.)

Anyway.

By the by, Brix wines are only $6.99, and I swear they are good, 
at least if you know nothing about wine other than the fact that you like it.


Be sure to holla at Farley over at Oh Boy 4th Grade.  


Link up, and remember the rule of 3.  You know you wanna.  Peace out, and get some sleep.  2 more weekdays.  And good luck with assessments if you're as bogged down in them as I am right now!  :D



Sunday, September 2, 2012

Classroom Tour

OK, a week into school, and I'm already exhausted beyond belief.  I got up with the baby at 5:00, but he took some milk and went back to sleep.  My hubs got up with him when he woke up and let me sleep till 10:30, God bless his soul.  Then, after doing dishes and cleaning the kitchen, I took a NAP during baby's naptime, too!  I'm not sure how long it's going to take me to recover from this week.

Monday and Friday were full days, but Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday the K-2 kiddos went home at noon while we did one-on-one assessments all afternoon.  We had no planning time and no duty-free lunch.  Monday & Friday I worked almost 12 hours.  So yeah.  Exhausted.  Not to mention my class...it's definitely going to be an interesting year.  I'll leave it at that.  :)

So anyway, I've been meaning to post a classroom tour all week, but you know...it just wasn't gonna happen.  ;)

Here we go.

I've since added white strips under the A and E on my CAFE board.  :)
Do you see the adorable Math Alphabet?  I got it from someone's blog but can't remember whose!  If it's yours, please tell me so I can give credit!  Sorry!


Book Boxes.  Got these at Hobby Lobby for 1.99 each, but they didn't have enough, so I have 6 of the cheap cardboard ones on the bottom shelf.  :(


The buckets are numbered and are inside an old pocket cd holder.  This way, the kids can slide their notes behind each bucket for their classmates.



Daily 5 storage.  Need to make a couple more labels.  
The colored bins on top hold my weekly papers.


Made the black vinyl letters on my Cricut.  LOVE.


I intended this to say "Spotted: Super 2nd Graders," but I didn't have enough letters.  And those glitter letters were $7.99/pack, so I gave up.  LOL.  Oh well.  I am planning (in all my spare time) to cut out a big peace sign from my black and white polka dot wrapping paper so the bottom of the door doesn't look so empty.  :)


View from my door.


Front of room.  We do whole group lessons here.  
Read alouds are done by the rocking chair over by my CAFE board.


Behavior chart I made for my team this year.  Love the clip chart, and even our 1st and 3rd grade teams decided to use my chart this year!  They felt that their system of "strikes" wasn't working that well, so they decided to try something new!  I think it's nice for the kiddos to have continuity like that.


Part of my library.  Love the bright neon bins from Really Good Stuff.  
My school bought these for me last year, and they work great to hold picture books!


Another view of the library.  Love my new black baskets and my green polka dotted cushions!


New black bins to hold math manipulatives!  My labels were inspired by the AMAZING Kristin over at Ladybug Teacher Files.  I loved her "flipped" labels, but I wanted to include one of my colors.  She is AWESOME.


Close up of the labels.


Vocabulary pocket chart for when we start "Text Talk" and our Must do/May do board.  Started that last year (saw the idea on Pinterest, of course), and when a kiddo says "what should I do now?" I just point at the board.  LOVE.



To the left of my desk: printer, newborn pic of baby boy, and my cute new Pop Top jar.


LOVE THE POUFS.  It's like a party every day, LOL.


Pencil area.  I put the "Quietest Classroom Sharpener" on my wish list, so I'm hoping and praying one of my parents will get it for our room!!  :)


Spotlight on board.  This will change out with the specific skills we're working on in reading/grammar.


Storage and Turn in basket with the ever popular "highlight your name" poster.  I found this on Pinterest last year and have told everyone at my school about it.  It literally CHANGED MY LIFE last year.  If you have not implemented the "highlight your name" procedure, do it.  Do it NOW.  You will thank me, I swear.  :D


I read Work Hard, Be Nice this summer (about the guys who started KIPP schools).  Great book, very inspiring.  These are 2 of our class rules this year.  (Gotta re-route that pesky cord.)


Well, that's all for now!  Hope you enjoyed my tour!

I missed some of the linky parties, but I'm linking up with:









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