Friday, 23 August 2013

Do What You Can.... A Rollercoaster of Emotions

Well, Summer is dwindling to its end. New beginnings, new goals, new pencils, new books...... A new start to a whole new year.

Yesterday I got word that after 7 years of teaching, and some reorganization in June, that there are no System Positions available this school year. Heartbreaking, to say the least. I was asked to take a long term occasional position, instead. With a VERY LONG day spent at our board office, I decided to accept a long term position until December in a grade 7/8 classroom. I will be covering the maternity leave of a VERY dear friend of mine. It has been a very emotionally exhausting 2 days.......BUT I do know that I chose this career because I was called to it. And I love my job because I LOVE what I do-- I love teaching kids and making learning fun (not for the money and the benefits). I also realize that I am in a better position than other colleagues and friends, who have also been laid off and have not been called back yet.....and I don't take that for granted for one second.

 What would I do without my friends? Last night 2 friends stopped by my house to reassure me that everything was going to be ok and brought resources along to help me. Today I ventured to my new school (which I taught at 7 years ago) and two of my good friends immediately came to my rescue and assisted me right away (one being the teacher I am covering for and the other, an amazing friend that will drop everything to help--always)! 
I decided to make a few changes to the room and the teacher I am in for gave me the green light and said "It's your room now, you do what you want. Change it up!" Fortunately she is Type A and is very organized and neat. We revamped her room, changed boards and colours and reorganized some of her materials-- which is not a normal scenario, but SO AWESOME! The planning and organization will continue throughout the upcoming week, but my nerves and emotions are slowly beginning to calm.

Here are a couple before and after pictures of a few boards in her room. I will share the rest of our 9 hour venture when I wrap my head completely around this new move and new path.



The awesome part is I get to run my ideas by the fabulous teacher I am covering, and she is so open to anything. I am going to work my butt off making sure she comes back from Mat Leave with ease.

I do believe things happen for a reason....I am sure I will discover the reason all in time...

Stay Tuned... 

Saturday, 17 August 2013


Out with the old, In with the New
In July I posted that I was going through my classroom and organizing all my books and cupboards.  It took about a week to tidy up the mess I created throughout one school year.  What a failed to mention was I haven't really gone through my teaching supplies that I keep at home. As I tackle organizing my basement, what I have left till the end is the daunting task of going through all the teaching supplies that I haven't touched in 4 years. I really need to focus on whether I use the stuff I have at home or not.  I know some of the things at home I keep just in case my grade changes.  Which I know is smart with all the chaos that is happening with jobs right now in Ontario. The problem is that all this old stuff takes up tons of space. Things are moving towards the digital stage, I have so much that is already obsolete.  What I love about TeachersPayTeachers is that everything is on my laptop, ready to use when I need it. It doesn't fill a basement, classroom, shed, and there is no searching through boxes.
So with the sale starting tomorrow, I am hoping to inspire others to clean out your basements and get rid of the old and take advantage of the sale to welcome the
Here are some pictures of the clutter and mess in my basement .When I am done, I am hoping to have only a couple of bins of things I love and a laptop full of lessons I can't wait to use.

Don't let the sale pass you by!!!!!

Click HERE to head to our store :)

Happy Shopping!

 Kaitlin and Christine

Monday, 12 August 2013

Student Writing Portfolios for the New School Year!


Today was "Tutoring Monday" in the Edmunds household! We continued on with last weeks writing and officially put our writing portfolios together.

The boys began with a revising activity. I had one read each sentence of their paragraph out loud and the other had to tell them if a word in their sentence needed to be "bumped up" with a better word or if something needed to be added. They would highlight the word that needed to be changed and continue reading. Once their reading was complete, they would go through their paragraph changing words.
Once the revised their work, I had them use an editing mark sheet and checklist.
This editing sheet and checklist can be found in our new Writing Portfolio Pack :)
Then the boys chose a monthly writing sheet for their good copy
(which can also be found in our Writing Portfolio Pack).
I then had the boys rate their work. We discussed what "5 Stars" meant and we built a verbal 'success criteria'. They attached these rating tags to their work and put it in their portfolio binders
 *you could use duotangs, binders, folders etc. to keep their writing*
Next week we will be using the writing response sheets from our pack to take their writing a step further. It's quite a rewarding process that we often rush through in school.

We also worked on some reading strategies. Using a book called "Wink! The Ninja Who Wanted to be Noticed", we worked at taking jot notes while we read. I used these flapbook freebies by Amy Lemons.

The boys jotted down all of the characters that came into the story and the multiple settings.
By the way-- I used the "We Give Books" site to find this super cute book!

If you would like to pick a copy of our Writing Portfolio Pack you can grab it {HERE}!

I will leave you with this quote....I am thinking about making it poster size and keeping it up in my room this year.
Have a great week :)


Friday, 9 August 2013

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!

Thank you for helping us celebrate our ONE YEAR Blog and Store Anniversary!
Here are the winners from our draw! Congratulations!!
Happy Friday!! :)

Monday, 5 August 2013

A Marvelous Monday.....Plus our Blog and Shop Turn 1!

Well, it's Monday again! In Canada, it's a Civic Holiday, so my husband and I used the weekend to head to a Detroit Tigers game, catch up with good friends in London, Ontario and hit the links.

 This morning (before our afternoon of golf), I tutored 2 darling boys. As I mentioned in my last post, we have been focusing on Language and Math. Today we continued with paragraph writing..... and taught them the fine art of REVISING & EDITING.

I used this chart that I found on Pinterest. We went over each Letter A-R-M-S as we looked at each of their sentences.
We have also started a Writing Portfolio, which the boys are very excited about. This paragraph will be one of the pieces we will put in the portfolio.
I have created a summer sheet for their good copy. I am currently working on a writing portfolio pack, but I am going to make sure I am completely happy with it before I post it :)

For Math Warm Up today, we played Roll & Remove. The boys put cubes on each number. I used an addition and subtraction dice along with 2 dice with numbers (but you can just use 'regular-joe' dice.... and have the kids either add or subtract the numbers). The answer is the cube that is removed from their board.
Pick up a game board freebie {HERE}.

We also used one of the brain break activities from our new DRAMA IN A JAR pack!
All year long I have taken pictures and written notes on the Drama and Brain Break Activities I did with my class this past school year. I decided to use the summer to put them together into one bundle so that I have them on hand when I need them.
AND FINALLY......... 
I can't believe it's been a year since Christine and I decided to blog our journey through teaching!
We have loved sharing our ideas and lessons with so many people. We have learned sooo much from so many other teachers and love how our blog has become a scrapbook of our daily adventures!

A Special Thank You to our friends, colleagues, family & fans, who continue to support us as friends, teachers & bloggers! We truly appreciate your support!

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Thursday, 1 August 2013

A Keeper for Next Year... A Book Tasting Party!


I hope everyone is having a great summer.  Things were so busy in June, that I wanted to share how great this "Book Tasting" activity was and never got a chance to. It was such an incredible idea and the students just loved it. I plan on doing a couple of them this year.  I found this Idea on Teacher Pay Teacher and it happen to be one of the gems that are for free by Kim Pawlyk.

I ended up making my own personalized invitations for the students to take home {HERE}, and we worked on portraits using paint texture as the link to their books.  The students then had a week to work on a book talk report using the guidelines in the free package. On the day of the book tasting we decided that they could dress up as characters from their books. During the presentations we walked around with fancy "Shirley Temples" to drink and had small finger foods. 
Here are some picture of what the classroom looked like.
It looked and felt like a gallery opening. 
Cupcakes by The Bookish Baker!

The way this worked in my class, was the students began with helping themselves to a refreshment and some finger foods , as they volunteered one at a time to stand in front of their masterpiece and present their book talk.  The rest of us, gathered around listening. We then mingled and talked about what we just saw.  The conversations were very engaging and on topic. I did find that my students who are usually very nervous about any type of presentation were far more relaxed to be up in front of the class. It felt informal with us standing and listening, but you could have heard a pin drop during their presentations.
Enjoy your weekend!