Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Like Whoa

*EDIT: Okay, so my original title "like whoa" is totally appropriate - I wrote this last week and I thought I had pressed the "publish" button, but apparently I only pressed "save" and, a week later, I am just now figuring that out. So, while the below post is obviously now even more outdated and overdue, I can't not share it now because: it's been nearly a month since my last post; I'd rather focus on this than grades, which are due tomorrow; tomorrow is also our Living History Museum (see below) and ALSO our Camp Carnival (that's a whole 'nother post waiting to happen); and I found out this morning that my boyfriend's uncle passed away last night, so...this week is owning me, as will the weekend, as will next week since it's our last, and there you have it - more than enough reasons for this outdated, overdue post. I'll be back publish, not save!*

So...we have 10 days left, and I'll be lucky if I can make it until May 31st without going crazy first! Last week, after returning home from the wedding in Houston, I had to write three days of sub plans because I went camping with our school's fifth grade class - but, to make things harder, my sister's birthday was on Monday, and my boyfriend's birthday was on Tuesday, so by the time we left school on Wednesday for our three day camping trip, I was already exhausted. This is my third year to be a counselor with the fifth graders at their camp - the kids are split up into small groups and participate in team building and outdoor learning activities, like this one:
One of the perks of being a counselor = getting to climb the rock wall!

My fifth grade teacher friends and I.
S'mores for the teachers - this is just before the downpour!
But, as fun as being a camp counselor can be, making sub plans for three days at the end of the school year isn't exactly easy. Plus, the sub I thought I was going to have (one I knew and trusted and had already talked to about my plans and certain kiddos and their needs) ended up NOT being my sub, and the substitute I did have said something terrible to one of my students. Oh - and on Thursday, the rain gods decided to send a downpour to central Texas, and while we obviously need the rain, our outdoor activities at camp were canceled, and it made our day so much more tiring and stressful. And - as soon as I got home on Friday night, I got sick - like throat on fire, coughing, sneezing, heavy head sick - I guess that's what spending a day outside in the rain will do to you - so I spent the weekend in bed when I should have been catching up at school. (UPDATE: The sickness never fully went away, and now it's a sinus least, that's what I think. I don't have time to go to the doctor to verify, but since it's been two weeks and it's still not better, I'm guessing - sinus infection.)

Anyway, needless to say, when I got back to school on Monday, I had quite a few things to tend to. I wanted to share with y'all what my class did for Mother's Day before I left for the camping trip, but there was just no way that was going to happen. So, here's what we did: mom and me journals (inspired by this, found on Pinterest) and flower pens (this tutorial is close to how we make them). My mentor teacher taught me how to make these pens 5 years ago and they're still my go-to for Mother's Day because my kids can actually make them themselves, and the supplies don't cost an arm and a leg! Several moms have already told me that their kids have written them letters and notes a few times, which makes me SO happy!
The kids got to decorate the covers with scrapbook paper, construction paper, stickers, stamps, and whatever else I had! This is just the only one I remembered to take a picture of before it got wrapped up!
This student copied the sample letter I wrote, but the kids had the freedom to write whatever they wanted for their first letter, as long as they explained the reason behind the journal! I also added in ribbon "bookmarks" so they could keep their place in their journals. 

Then we wrapped up the journals with tissue paper and yarn, and they made sweet cards! Some of the kids had never wrapped a present before, so we had a little mini lesson on wrapping and bow tying!
 Now, my kids are knee deep in their Living History Museum projects, which is the big finale for our biography unit. My kids got to pick a famous historical person to research and learn about, and next Thursday, they will "become" that person in our Living History Museum. The kids have taken notes, made posters, and written speeches that showcase their person's life, and on Thursday, they'll dress up as that person, get a "button" (circle) drawn on their hand, and then the whole school/parents/teachers/etc. will come through our halls to press those buttons and watch/hear our kids come to "life" and present their speech, which will tell the audience all about their person's life. They write their speech in first person, as they are really pretending to "be" that person - it's kind of like a wax museum that's come alive, if you will. I'll take some pictures next week to show you how it all works out. The posters our kids make come from Scholastic, and you can find the outline we use to match the poster here, if you're interested. It makes the poster making so much easier, and then from there, the kids can easily write their speeches.

My class is also hard at work prepping for their student lead conferences - more info and files to share on that soon, I promise! 

Finally, I found out today at our staff meeting that we're going to have to spend a few days conducting interviews for the two third grade positions that are open at my school. One of my teammates, who got hired the same year as me, is moving to first grade next year, and it makes me so sad to think I won't see her every day. Her classroom is right next to mine, and she is the one person on my team that keeps me sane. So, with her leaving, and with the upcoming number of second graders, we need to hire two new teachers - I'm glad I get to be a part of the interviewing team, but to hold interviews right now just makes me more stressed out. (UPDATE: interviews are over and we have a few hopefuls, so I guess we'll see what comes of it!)

So, since the end of the year is kicking my butt, I just ordered myself an Erin Condren teacher planner - I've never had one or even seen one in person, but once I saw them pop up on Pinterest and on a few blogs, I couldn't stop thinking about them, and I can't wait to get mine in the mail!

Happy almost end of the year, y'all!

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