Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Feeling So Overwhelmed!

I am so overwhelmed right now, but in a good way!  No, scratch that, a great way!  Remember my post in the middle of August about the RedditGifts Teacher Exchange??  Well, I received my gift recently.  Nope, scratch that, I received my gifts recently.  So many gifts I couldn't even believe it!  My "Santa" was so amazingly generous, I am in shock!  I hope that some of you participated in the program too; it really is wonderful!  Here's my story...

When my "Santa" and I were matched, I immediately received a message from him saying: "I got you everything on your Amazon wishlist that was shipped from Amazon. The only things I didn't include were those items that came from another vendor. My Mom's a high school teacher in Texas. You should be proud of what you're doing. Enjoy the school supplies!"

I could not believe my eyes!  My list was pretty extensive.  I was expecting just a couple of items from it, not every single thing that shipped from Amazon!!  But, sure enough, I started to receive box after box in the mail.  Everyday was like Christmas!!

I received so many essentials, including scissors for the kids, markers, Post-it notes, Post-it flags and tabs, binder dividers, highlighters, dry erase markers, and lead for pencils. I also received 6 packages of colored paper, which will help so much with my students' interactive notebooking! He also sent 3 different storage items for my classroom (including a colorful one on wheels which I am super excited about!!). Finally, I received 8 boxes of tissues, which should definitely last us through cold and flu season.  You can also read about my experience here.

Here's everything I got:

Isn't it amazing?!  Thank you so much to my Reddit "Santa"!  I am utterly grateful (and my students will be too)!  I wish I knew your Reddit user name to publicly thank you!!

My husband also participated in the gift exchange as a Santa.  He was matched with a music teacher and sent her lots of great music posters to decorate her room as well as tissues.  (He couldn't believe both she and I asked for them!  I told him there are never enough tissues in a classroom!)  I hope she was as happy with her gifts as I am!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

First Day

My students started today (I started yesterday) and boy I am exhausted!  My students have half.days the first 3 days, so I didn't get to see my classes for long.  I was with my homeroom for half of the day giving out what seemed literally like a billion forms (can't wait to collect them all tomorrow!).  I only got to meet with my math classes for 28 minutes each.  I went over my student contract with them and gave out their workbooks.  I'm only seeing them for tomorrow and Friday for the same amount of time too.  I hope to collect their contracts and give them their textbooks tomorrow.

I pretty much finished my room yesterday.  There are a few posters that I would still like to hang up.  I need to figure out where though.  Here's what my room looks like from my desk:

And here is what it looks like from my podium in the front:

(Ignore all of the boxes in the front.  They are my new books that I need to give out.)

After stumbling across this post via Pinterest, I decided to implement my own "Great Supply Challenge" this year.  I'm hoping it will help keep the supplies IN my classroom.  To start, I number each Seat Sack.

I also numbered all of the glue sticks and scissors inside of my black and white containers.

I found these very cute numbers on TpT (for free!) and am in the process of getting them laminated.  I will attach one to each container and each desk.  I explained to the kids today that they will basically be a "team" with the students who sit at the same desk in my other classes.  I will conduct periodic "check-ins".  As long as the only things in their containers at the time of the check are the correctly numbered supplies and the only thing in their Seat Sack is their Warm Up Notebooks, then they will win a small prize.

I'm excited about this idea and hope it will work.  I can't be replacing scissors all year!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Combining Like Terms Puzzles

I cannot believe that it is September!  I mean, where did August go?!  July was nice and slow, but August just flew by!

Anyway, I did a little work this weekend to help get back into the swing of things.  One of the things that I did was create yet another resource for combining like terms.  It's a skill that comes up in my first unit with 7th graders, and it's a really important one, so I feel the more resources you have, the better!

This puzzle is very similar to my Fraction, Decimal, and Percent Puzzles.  There are 21 puzzles, each containing 2 equivalent expressions and a simplified answer.  I made sure to use a variety of positive and negative terms so kids can practice adding and subtracting integers while they do this.  I also used a combination of two- and three-term expressions.  It will be a good center activity and/or game.  I created a recording sheet as well as an answer key.  I'm hoping my students will enjoy the activity.

Here are some pictures:

If you like the puzzles, they are available in both my TpT store and my TN store.

Enjoy the rest of your Labor Day Weekend!