Monday, May 27, 2013


Please tell me I am not the only one with a class that has turned into a bunch of little monsters this last week of school? They started off they day as chatty monsters then transformed into giggle monsters then the next thing I know, they were full blown throwing-pencils-across-the-table-and-running-in-circles monsters. I had three students absent today leaving me with only 7... Yes, you read that correctly. I only have 10 students in my class... I am sure you have now lost all sympathy for me after reading that, but let me plead my case: the majority of the class is boys (7/10) and they all have big enough personalities to make it feel like a class three times the size on a normal day. On a day like today when we have all checked out and are ready for our summer holiday, it feels like a class 5 times the size! If you don't believe me, feel free to pay us a visit. :)

Because we were already acting like monsters, I thought a great way to get some of our energy out while still incorporating math was by reading the book Monster Musical Chairs. On each page, one monster is out of the game. After reading and discussing the book, we played our own game of musical chairs. As each child sat out, they helped me write the equation on the board. Once we played the game a couple of times, students went to math stations. When students came to work with me, they used these cute monsters pictures from First Grade Best to make up their own subtraction problems.

I couldn't believe they were capable of sitting still long enough for me to take this picture!
Another task I took on today was Step 2 of my library organization project. I gave my students the choice of either going to literacy stations or helping me sort through our library books. Only two chose to go to literacy stations and the rest were eager to help. I gave them each a box of books and told them to pick one book each. Those books were the start of our piles. Two students happened to both pick Dr. Seuss books which gave me the opportunity to show them how and why to put those two books together. Then the rest of us looked through our boxes to see if we had any other Dr. Seuss books to add. After we found all of the Dr. Seuss books, we moved on to alphabet books because another student had picked Chicka Chicka Boom Boom as their first book. It continued like this for awhile until we had most of the books sorted. There were a few that we couldn't decide where to put them. What do you do with the books that don't fit with any of the others? I may just put them in an unlabeled box for now until I build up more of a collection.

My floor after we were finished.
I realized I have A LOT more piles of books than I do book boxes, so I will be on the look out for some more. If only we had a Target here...

Storage Organization

I tried to post this yesterday, but my internet was down... Oh, the joys of the Philippines...

This weekend was my last weekend here before I leave for the summer. I wanted to take advantage of my time and make sure I have everything in my classroom organized so that when I return at the end of July I won't have any messes to clean up and can jump right into the new school year with a fresh start. I spent many hours trying to clean out and organize all of my (two) storage cabinets. Because of the limited space, I tend to try and cram way too much into way too small of an area. At the start of the year, both were neatly organized, but as the year progressed, I began to haphazardly add things anywhere I could fit them just to get them out of sight. The result:

Overflowing plastic containers, piles of different types of paper, bags of art supplies, games and puzzles hidden in the far corners... It wasn't pretty. I headed over to Ace Hardware and stocked up on some more storage containers to try and make sense of everything I have. I started from the top and worked my way down, and now it is looking so much better!

My top shelf is now dedicated to all office supplies, each in their own closable container! Imagine that.

On the shelf below I added a stackable paper tray that has white copy paper, white cardstock, colored copy paper, and colored cardstock. I left the rest of the shelf empty because I am going to add a set of three drawers for my guided reading supplies (one drawer for each group) along with all of my other guided reading materials. My guided reading table is right in front of this cabinet, giving me easy access to everything I will need when working with my guided reading groups.

The third shelf is all of my construction paper (arranged by colored) and cartolina paper. Construction paper doesn't exist here (I shipped mine from the States because I couldn't live without it. What teacher could?) and instead everyone uses what is called cartolina. It is comparable to very thin posterboard and comes rolled up very tightly making it difficult to flatten. I am not a big fan of the stuff when it comes to craft projects, but it is perfect for anchor charts.

The fourth shelf is home to all of my art supplies. The shelves go back further than they appear; there's a second row of containers behind what is visible. I have a large stock of pipe cleaners and googly eyes, both not sold here either.

Underneath has all of my math manipulatives and games that are not currently in math stations. I sorted everything by topic (addition/subtraction, number sense, time, and so on). Below that I stored all of my Language Arts materials.

The last two shelves holds some bulletin board materials, holiday items (Easter eggs and witches cauldrons) and a lot of empty baskets and plastic containers. Who knew I had so much extra space!

Once I have the momentum going, it is hard for me to stop, so I moved on to my file cabinet next. I do not have easy access to a printer so I like to keep master copies of most worksheets so that I can make copies if and when needed. I did have separate folders for different subjects and themes, but it was difficult to find particular folders because I never knew what color I was looking for. That's when I had my AH-HA moment and decided to color code by subject. Yellow is Language Arts, green is Math, blue is Science/S.S., red is thematic units, and orange is miscellaneous papers such as assessments and homework assignments.

The bottom drawer holds my Homeroom File, student portfolios, and scrap paper (arranged by color). I also cleaned off the top of the filing cabinet. I have a magazine box for each day of the week where I can put everything I need for the day in one place. The colored folders in each box also correspond to the different subject areas.

I am so relieved to have one less thing to worry about next year when I return. The last two years, I started in new classrooms and had to spend the days leading up to the first day of school de-cluttering all of the things the old teachers left behind. I feel so much better knowing that when I come back at the end of July this year, I will be all set to go!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Five for Friday

Although it is already Saturday where I live, it is still Friday in the U.S. so I figured it isn't too late to share my five random pictures from this week for the Five for Friday linky party hosted by Doodle Bugs Teaching. Here are my five for the week:

1. I donated to the fundraiser that Ashley from Teachers Treasure Chest organized to help the victims of the OK tornado. For a $25.00 Donation, you will receive over $250 worth of teaching products. All proceeds will go to the Red Cross of Oklahoma City. Click on the picture below to make your donation today.

2. After school, I went out to dinner with a group of teachers, locals and expats alike, to celebrate ALMOST being finished! We only have two more full teaching days next week and then one day for Faculty In-service and two half days for an end of the year Sports Assembly, Moving Up Day, and class parties. It's the final stretch, people!

2 1/2. When we first arrived, there was a brown out, so we enjoyed our appetizers by candlelight.

 3. On Monday, I finished two weeks of The Conscious Cleanse by celebrating with
a dinner of some of the foods I had to leave off of my plate during that time (tomatoes, wheat, and cheese). You have no idea how much I was looking forward to this meal!

4. Our final unit in Science is Sunshine and Shadows. We watched a Brain Pop Jr. video on the sun, wrote sun facts, and then painted suns. We swirled together red, yellow, and orange paint to represent the constantly moving gases of the sun.

5. With all of the sun and stars talk, some of my boys choose to work on a space puzzle during free choice time. It was so hard to get a picture that wasn't blurry because they were moving around so quickly trying to find the correct pieces. I loved watching their little minds at work trying to put it together. :)

Happy Weekend, Everyone!

Friday, May 24, 2013


Not only did I join the blogging world this week, but I have also decided to hop on the Instagram train! I stumbled upon Clutter Free Classroom's Photo a Day and thought it would be a fun way to get started and connect with other teachers using Instagram. Today's theme is the alphabet.

Come find me @heresthehoot!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Summer Bucket List Linky Party

My very first Linky Party! Miss KindergartenA Cupcake for the Teacher, and A Modern Teacher are hosting their second Summer Bucket List Linky Party. Link up and share your summer plans too!

My summer bucket list is way too long to post everything I want to do, so I am only going to share with you a few key things I have in store for my summer.

1. Travel

My goal this summer while home is to check off all of the places in Florida from the book 1,000 Places See Before You Die. I already have my first mini road trip planned that will make stops in Palm Beach, Miami, Key West, and the Everglades.

2. Make

I plan on making Travel Keepsake Kits for the different places I have been. I also want to make Photobooks of my travels using a website like Shutterfly or Mixbook. I haven't used either website before, so if you have a preference over one or the other, please share!

I want to make a hanger for my necklaces instead of leaving them in tangled piles on my shelf. This project seems easy enough as long as I can find some cute knobs.

3. Organize
I mentioned yesterday that I am organizing my classroom library; I want to make these from A Cupcake for the Teacher to help keep it organized next year.

Speaking of organization...

First I want to reorganize my Sub Folder. Living in a third world country, you never know when you'll get an icky stomach bug, so it is best to be prepared with emergency sub plans. Kindergarten Works has a bunch of great resources I plan to use to help me with this project.

I also want to fix up my Guided Reading Binder. Once again, Kindergarten Works has fantastic tips. I have already purchased her Guided Reading Pack and now I just need to put it all together to be ready for next year.

4. Read

I have recently become more conscious of my eating habits as I am currently reading Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food. Once I finish that, I want to read some of his other books including The Omnivores Dilemma and Food Rules.

5. Pursue Hobbies

Two things I want to spend a lot of time doing this summer are yoga and photography. I have a subscription to the website Yoga Download and practice yoga a few times a week on my own or with a friend, but while I am in the U.S. this summer, I would like to find a yoga studio and sign up for a summer membership.

I also recently bought a new DSLR camera and am so, so excited to start using it, but I have no idea how! I bought a Groupon for a photography course to get some pointers for a beginner like myself. I am quite the shutterbug already, but I want to be good at photography so that I can really capture moments how I see them.

Now it is your turn. What is on your summer bucket list?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Classroom Organizer App

I love to organize... and then reorganize... and then reorganize again. I make simple projects into step by step drawn out processes to make sure every little thing has its proper place, and if it doesn't belong somewhere, then I don't need it! That's my rationale anyway.

Lately, I have been on a bit of an organizing spree. So far I have tackled my computer documents, my Pinterest boards (See what I mean? Reorganizing already organized boards!), and my file cabinet. My latest project is my classroom library. As a newer teacher, I am still trying to build up a classroom library. Since I didn't have too many books before, I didn't feel the need to organize my library. I thought it would be a bit silly to have an entire box dedicated to shape books when I only had two books about shapes. Now that my collection has grown to over 150 titles (and is continuing to grow... here I come summer yard sales!), I think it is time to make sense of everything I have.

Step 1: Make a list of all classroom books. To do this, I used Booksource's Classroom Organizer. The website has a free app that I used to scan the titles of all of my books onto my account.

It was super simple and took no time at all. I now have an alphabetized list of all of my books available on my phone, my iPad, and on my computer.

I can add genres to help sort the books, and I can export the list to excel (which will both be part of Step 3). I will also be able to use the app in the future as a tool to keep track of students who have checked out books from the classroom library.

Another similar application that I found is The Classroom Library Company's Book Retriever, but it costs a whopping $0.99.

Tomorrow will be Step 2 of Project Library Organization. I am going to enlist the help of my kiddos in deciding which books go best together. I think this will be a great end of the year project for us to take on as a group. We are getting antsy for summer and this will engaged all of the students in a meaningful task. I will keep you posted on how it goes.

How do you organize the books in your classroom library? Did you allow your students to help in the organization process?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Grade 5 Tribute

Like I mentioned yesterday, today was our assembly presentation. On top of our required chapel presentation once a semester, every class also presents at one of our weekly Lower School Assemblies. Assemblies are usually an opportunity for each grade level to share with the rest of the school something they have been learning in their class. Students can do skits, a reader's theater, read reports, sing a song, do a dance, etcetera. During the second semester, the Pre Kindergarten and Kindergarten classes combine together to use our assembly time to give a tribute to the Grade 5 class before they head off to the big, scary world of Middle School (the mysterious building lurking across the playground).

Leading up to the tribute, all of the students in Pre K/Kinder are paired up with Grade 5 students. We got together a few times throughout the year to become well acquainted with our buddies. We read stories in the library, played on the playground, drew with sidewalk chalk... Our buddies even joined us for our volleyball lesson in P.E. We compiled all of our pictures from these events into an end of the year slideshow to share at the tribute. We also made a music video to's song "What I am" from Sesame Street (I've tried and tried to upload the video, but it keeps failing. Does anyone know why or how I could upload it differently?) Last, we danced to another Sesame Street song, this time "Believe in Yourself" by NSync. As we said our goodbyes, we gave our buddies a candy bar and butterfly cards with the message, "Keep on flying high" to match our song. We will miss our buddies when they head up to Middle School, but we will still see them around campus!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Peace Love Joy

I work at an Episcopal school and every semester each grade level is required to present at our weekly chapel service. If I have learned one thing about Filipinos while living here, it is they like to perform! I am taking this opportunity to proclaim the Philippines as the karaoke capital of the world. I promise you, you cannot attend a social event (including our faculty Christmas and End of the Year parties) without the karaoke machine coming out. And to be completely honest, everyone is an a m a z i n g singer. It must be in the genes. :) 

Anyway, most performances here are over the top and require weeks and weeks of preparation (just wait until you hear about our Christmas Production and Brent Day celebration next year). Somehow through unexpected days off and schedule changes, we ended up having our chapel presentation and our assembly presentation back to back! You can only imagine the amount of dancing we've been doing lately. Because this happened, we decided to keep our chapel presentation as simple as possible. Instead of the normal over the topness as mentioned before, we only performed a dance to the song I've Got Peace Like a River. It is a cute, easy song and the kids loved moving like surfers during the ocean part. I am still kicking myself for forgetting my camera, but you can check out a video of the song below. I will try my best to remember my camera for tomorrow's assembly presentation so that I can share some pictures of that.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Here's the Hoot!

I have regularly stalked teaching blogs for the last couple of years, and I have finally decided to take the plunge myself. With the school year winding down, I think it is the perfect time to begin sharing teaching successes from the past while also finding new ideas for the upcoming school year. Not to mention the summer will give me a good chance to get the hang of the whole blogging world that seems so daunting right now! Here it goes!