Five for Friday: August 23, 2013

It's Friday!  Hooray!  Not only does that mean we have an entire glorious weekend to relax but it's time to link up for Five for Friday with Doodlebugs Teaching!

This is my first one of the new school year!

1. We've been learning about Independence and this example of being independent at home made me want to take this little guy home with me!  I wish I had a  6 year old that liked to clean dishes!

2.  I've started Writer's Workshop and the kiddos get their journals on Monday!  Hooray!  This brings back the stick people.  I get a kick out of drawing Mr. Langley and his facial hair!

3.  Fun Fridays are back so I can start progress monitoring my kiddos every week.  I did my first bit of monitoring yesterday and I'm already seeing progress!  Here is the math center they got to enjoy for Friday centers.  If you want to read more about Fun Friday Centers you can check out my post about it here: Applicious Teacher Link Up

4.  Warning: Not school related.  Honestly I have a ton to share about the first few weeks of school but I never have time to take pictures!  This was my great niece's birthday party last week....she already loves reading!  Isn't she a doll?

5.  And one last non school related:  My baby girl turned 14 yesterday.  She is the youngest of my 3 girls and it is slowly sinking in that my children will all be out of the house in a couple of years.  How on earth did I get this old?   
 Party time at our favorite Mexican food restaurant!  This is a long standing tradition in our familia :)

That's 5 for Friday!  Don't forget to go link up or if you don't have time to post your own atleast go check out what everyone else is up to.  And as always, don't forget to leave some bloggy love.  You just might make someone's day!

Happy Teaching! Heather

Back to School....Phew!

Well tomorrow is the 3 week mark for back to school and I am getting in my groove.  I have all the data I need to implement new instruction.  I have introduced all of our classroom expectations and procedures, and I have a student teacher that is eager and ready to start teaching lessons!  I think I'm all set!  Did I also mention that I am tired?  Really, really, tired!  On the plus side my own children  are also back to school and have made their high school teams (swim team and volleyball) so they practice until 6:00 p.m. every night.  I am the first one home every day for the first time in years!

All this extra time has given me time to reflect....not really!  I just catch up on Days of Our Lives (don't judge) and create new things for my Tpt store.  Being it is back to school time I have been busy making posters and such.  I teach at an IB school and I created a lot of back to school posters for my school.  After a few weeks back I realized I should be posting these on Tpt....duh!

Here are a few examples: 
and stickers to reward students each day!

I have been using these in the classroom and they are awesome!  Each day we have a "reflection" time with the whole class.  We talk about what attitudes we have seen displayed throughout the day.  I choose 4 or 5 students on Monday to receive a sticker that day and then the kids take over!  On Tuesday the same students are in charge of choosing the new students to receive the award.  The next day those students are in charge of deciding.  They have been super thoughtful about who they choose and everyone gets a sticker by the end of the week.  I have all the IB Attitudes covered in one easy step!

That is just about all I have going on in my room right now (yeah right!).  But seriously, this is helping to build my classroom community.   They are watching each other and noticing when others do the right thing. I love this!  

We are building our STAMINA in Daily 5 (9 minutes 28 seconds so far!) and working in our math journals and learning how to be a good partner.  It's a new year and there is a lot to learn!  I love this new group, they are eager to learn and excited to be back at school.  Aren't we all?  I hope your new year is going as great as mine!

Happy Teaching!

Weekend Catch Up!

Any of the rest of you back at school yet?

Are you exhausted?

I feel ya'!  I am doing a "catch up" post today because I have fallen short quite a few times in the past 2 weeks.  We started back the 1st of August and now it is the 17th. (I only know that off of the top of my head because tomorrow starts the big Tpt sale! Woohoo!)

It's officially on, so go visit your favorite Tpt sellers and clear out your wish lists!  Enter the code BTS13 to get 10% off from Tpt.
 But wait!  There's more!  I am participating for the very first time ever!  You can get up to 28% off of everything in my store because I am also hosting a sale.  Great timing huh?
You can visit my store at Learning with Mrs. Langley to get lots of great deals.  I just added these IB Attitudes Posters.  

Catch up time!  
I signed up for Covered in Glitter and Glue's Back to School Blogger exchange.  Let me just say, this was a total fail for me and I feel awful about it!  The deadline was August 4th for mailing and that fell right in the middle of my back to school time.  No excuses, I fell flat on my face, and my poor partner in Florida, Kristy @ Teachin' First had to suffer from my bad planning.  Keeping a lesson plan during the summer might be a good idea for me!

A couple of funny things about this match up.  When I got Kristy's name in the email I thought it was a mistake.  Only because I read "Teachin' First" first.  My Twitter name is Teachin' First!  

When I started blogging I tried and tried to use that name but it was already taken!  So funny that now I finally know who thought of it first!  I didn't tell her that in my letter so I hope she reads it here :) 

She sent me an awesome box of goodies and it literally showed up the evening of open house.  It was a treat to come home to a package after talking to parents all night and planning all day.  
   It was also wrapped up so beautifully (and included lotion, An Apple for the Teacher---so cute!) but it did not like the trip from Florida to Arizona.  The lotion had a literal "melt down", but that's ok cause I'm still using it!

Look closely at the pens...they are adorable!  Kristy made these out of regular pens (my favorite brand too) but they have scrapbook paper inside to make them all fancy!  I love having these in my desk and I think of my new bloggy friend every time I use one!  I also love having yummy soap at school to wash my hands with.  I'm a little OCD when it comes to washing my hands at school, aren't we all?

So now that I have spent my Saturday night blogging and lesson planning my weekend is almost over.  But you know what? That's ok!  I'm happy to be back into a routine and working with those kiddos again, I missed it!  My personal kiddos are also very busy high school kiddos now so there isn't much for me to do at home anyway, sigh.....Don't blink my friends, it goes by all too quickly!

Have a wonderful weekend, have fun shopping at Tpt, and have a great week relaxing or teaching. (whichever applies!)

Happy Teaching!

Teacher Week '13: Tips and Tricks


Tips and Tricks!
It's the final day of Teacher Week '13 and this is probably the most exciting post to talk about.  To make it "happen" in the classroom you need some helpful tips and just a few "tricks" up your sleeve.  I don't think I am sharing anything ground breaking here but this is what makes my room tick!

Plan, plan, plan!  Whatever works best for you; online plans, typed up plans, or hand written plans.  Always have a plan for your week.  I ALWAYS overplan because it doesn't hurt anything if I miss something but if you are left without a plan (even for 5 minutes) it will ruin your entire day!
Here are my lesson plans from last week.  NO EMPTY SPACES!


It just feels good to have these sitting on my desk!

It may be tempting (after all that planning), but don't let the little moments pass you by.  It may be a thoughtful question from a student, a disagreement on the playground, or just that comment that makes you stop and think, "This is why I teach!".  This week these were my little moments: 

A little boy came up to me in the cafeteria as we were lining up to go back to class and he asked, "May I have a moment with my sister?" It made my heart swell, knowing he loved his sister enough to just go say hello to her.  She's in Kindergarten, and having her "big 1st grade" brother come say hi! was probably pretty cool!

One little girl who is SUPER quiet took a moment to tell me she didn't like how disrespectful her table had been that day.  She said she wished they would listen better.  I almost missed this moment, I had to wait for it, like I said....she is super quiet!

We came across this little guy today: 
We could have just walked around him and said, "oh cool!" and then made it to our destination on time.  Instead, we were rushed the rest of the afternoon, I forgot to send home the important papers I was supposed to, and I made the class totally CRAY CRAY the rest of the day, but we took this little guy inside and checked him out under the doc cam.  I learned that my kiddos know a lot about bugs!  They taught me more than I taught them today!

Leave the door open, be yourself, and love your kids.  Even on the days I want to pull my hair out and the schedule isn't working and the papers are piling up I simply just love these kiddos.  They make me laugh, they make me cry, and they teach me more about life every day.  This may sound super sappy, but that's the best tip I can give.  

Go find more tips and tricks with lots of great bloggers! 
Click to link up!

Happy Teaching!

Teacher Week '13: Behavior Management

Teacher Week '13
If you are like me you have tried all types of classroom management systems.  I've taught different grade levels (very different....5th to Kinder!) and some things work better in different grades. I also will change things up a little after one system loses it UMPH!  So here are a few of my favorites. 

Clip Chart

I won't spend much time on this because it's EVERYWHERE!  (Thank you Pinterest!)  I, like everyone else, saw this 2 years ago on Pinterest and ran back to my classroom to make one.  I love how it uses positive reinforcement regularly to encourage our friends to follow the rules.  My chart was literally thrown together, so I was hoping to redo it this summer in something a little cuter, however, I never got around to that!  Seriously when I hung this up Monday my student teacher was like, "Really?"  She knows if it's not bright and shiny and new I won't use it.  I couldn't wait any longer, I had to get started, even if it is ugly. 

I started out my school year last year with this cute little poster using Erica Bohrer's classroom poster kit.  

Sorry about the pic quality, I thought I did a better job with this one!  It says:
"We are having a great day! We are following the rules!" 

Yellow=5 minutes off recess
Orange=10 minutes off recess
Purple=No recess

I really like this chart to start the year off when everyone is doing their best everyday to follow the rules.  However, I'm not a big believer in taking away recess and once the honeymoon is over, this chart does not work as well for me. Also...I don't send kids to the office unless it is an extreme case, so I usually have a little note over the red that says, "Note Home".  I will get to this in my next pic...


Calendars!  This is my no fail behavior tool!  I created these calendars 2 years ago after being inspired by a fellow teacher.  The calendars have our classroom expectations listed on the bottom and they go home in their homework folders everyday.  If they had a good day, they get a stamp on the calendar.  If they broke a rule or needed help remembering one of our expectations I write the number on the calendar.  This way parents know what we are struggling with.  I make sure they know it's just a reminder (because no one is perfect!) and tomorrow is always a new day.  If it is a serious problem I always let parents know with an individual note. 

Classroom Expectations: 
1.  Listen when others are talking.
2. Follow directions the first time. 
3.  Be kind! Keep hand, feet, and hurtful words to yourself. 
4. Take care of materials. 
5.  Talk quietly, without disturbing others.
These calendars are available in my store for free!  Click Here to grab them!

Disruption Chart

The last behavior management system I will share today came from a training we had in our district that we refer to as "L to J" presented by Lee Jenkins. I really liked Lee Jenkins and if you are interested in reading more about his philosophy you can visit his site, L to J Consulting  I used a lot of "L to J" strategies when I taught 5th grade but in first, I really only use this one.  

It's called a Disruption Chart and how it works is you keep track of disruptions for one entire day without the students knowing.  That gives you a baseline of what a typical day looks like.  After that, our daily goal is to beat the previous score.  Students work together to cut down on disruptions and get that "All time best!".  Everytime we get an "All time best" we celebrate.  Sometimes it's just 5 minutes of fun songs at the end of the day or a few extra minutes to color with our markers.  It's always voted on by the students and it's always a group activity we can enjoy together.  This system can be used in conjunction with any behavior system and it really comes in handy when your class becomes "super chatty" or when disruptions just start to take over your classroom all together!  Usually somewhere around January.... :) 

These are my most effective behavior management systems that I use in my classroom.  I could talk your ear off all day discussing other systems I have used in the past or may use again in the future but these are my fav's.  Remember to go link up with your tips too!

What a fun linky this has been this week!  If you want to link up check it out here: 

Happy Teaching! Heather 

Day 2-Teacher Week '13: Classroom Digs

It's time for Day 2 of Teacher Week '13!  Today's topic is all about the blood, sweat, and tears you put into decorating your space this summer....yes, it's a classroom tour!

Let me be honest here, I did not spend time in my classroom this summer!  Long ago just last year I learned that I needed to stop changing my 'theme' every year.  I was tearing my hair out looking for the cutest stuff, just to take it down 9 months later.  I don't have time for that!  I now stick with polka dots and chevron and I'm Happy, Happy, Happy! (who else is excited about a new season of Duck Dynasty? This girl!)

Ok, back on track.

Let's start out with the front of the room.

 This just looks like chaos to me.  I snapped this after Open House the other night. My desk is already messy...whatever!  This is an (honest) look at my room!  Front door, student cubbies, HUGE teacher desk, and Word Work center in front of my desk.  Way over on the left hand side is an antique desk my mom gave me years ago, it's one of my favorite items in my room.  I keep the bulletin board behind my desk for all my important papers and cute art work from my kiddos. 

 Closer look at my cubbies.
 And welcome sign. (Ashley Hughes)
 Job charts. (me!)
Next on the grand tour is my IB interactive board.  This is where we outline our current unit and post student inquiries.  This creation is 3 years in the making.  This year I created all my own signs as well as posters for the whole school. 
I love all my new Learner Profile, Attitide, Key Concepts, and Transdisciplinary Skills/themes posters!  Thank heavens to all the awesome bloggers out there that taught me how to make this stuff!

Also included in this pic is my student teacher's desk.  She was absolutely overjoyed when they delivered it!  It fit perfectly in this space!

Working clockwise around the room, the next pic is my rug area.  My hubby made me this great easel 5 or so years ago after I gave mine away....GASP!  I went to teach 5th and I didn't think I would need an easel.  I was WRONG!  Glad I married a handsome man that has skills. 
This was after the first day of school, we had already completed our Above the line/Below the line monster behavior chart and started our anchor charts for Daily 5.  Some of my classroom library is housed here and you can also see my crate benches.  I love these!  I recover them every summer and this year I went with plain ol' blue.  (1) $4 sheet at Wally World! Cheap is the way to go since they will probably get "wet" at some point this year.  Yes, it happens. 

Next up....more library.  Hello my name is Heather and I am a book hoarder.

I try to spread the library out so when students shop for books they are all over the room and not just in one spot.  This particular shelf holds all their favorites (Skippy Jon Jones, Biscuit, Franklin, Eric Carle, Noodles, Kevin Henkes, Arthur) so they shop here anyway! 
Next up, numbers!  I love these from Katie King at Queen of the First Grade Jungle.  I adore her stuff.  I am getting rid of the TV, we never use it anyway!
I also used the alphabet from Katie's decor pac.
I love how bright it is! 

Next up is more library and my old Learner Profile Posters.  Also some color posters I found in the lounge last year.  I nabbed them and never put them up.  I like how they look in this corner!

This is the back corner of my room.  It's a kitchen, yes, a fully functional kitchen.  Just go ahead and hate me now. :) 

 That's the 360 view, now here is what I see from my desk. 
 Please excuse my empty white board.  It won't look like that forever I'm just behind on getting my agenda and objective space up this year.   I love my primary tables, they are obviously my inspiration behind my room decor! 

I hope you enjoyed checking out my "Classroom Digs".  I truly enjoy this space.  It makes me happy to just to walk in the door. If you want to see some awesome classrooms, head over to the Teacher Week '13 link.  Have fun blog hopping!

Happy Teaching! Heather

Day 1-Teacher Week '13: Meet the Teacher!


I am super excited to be joining in @Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week '13.  Here are the topics for the week if you would like to join in too!

It's Monday, so it's all about ME!  One of my favorite topics :) 

My name is Heather Langley and I am in my 9th year of teaching. (yes, we started last week!)  I started my journey against my will excitedly in 5th grade in my hometown.  My "dream" was to be a Kindergarten teacher but you have to do what you have to do, right?  I LOVED 5th grade, my students, the experience, everything about it!  I will forever be thankful to my principal who believed in my abilities and gave me the opportunity.  After 1 short year in 5th I was presented with the chance to teach Kinder and I jumped in feet first!  Love Kinders!  I had so much fun teaching with a wonderful mentor and I learned so much about the art of teaching littles.

After 3 years in Kinder our school/town/state was in a little turmoil (budget woes with a failing economy in my state) and lots of teachers were being let go.  Luckily for me, I had that 5th grade experience and they NEEDED me!  Phew, so thankful again!  I got to teach 5th grade again for 2 years. My favorite part of this experience was our yearly San Diego trip. I have great memories of these kiddos on these trip!
 Hands on learning is the best,
that is a sting ray in my hands!

My next big opportunity came with the opening of an International Baccalaureate school within our district.  This has been the best experience I have had thus far in my teaching career.  I am currently teaching 1st grade and I am officially in love!  I love the Learner Profile and philosophy of learning outlined in the IB curriculum.  I also love that it is truly an inquiry based program and our teaching is driven by student inquiry.  I'm still getting the hang of it, but I love it!
(just realized I have said "love" about a thousand times in this post, I do have a certain passion for this job but really need to work on expanding my vocabulary!)

10 fun facts about me: 
   My oldest daughter's graduation last year.  Before you know it Mr. Langley and I will have an empty nest! Sniff, sniff.

I love coffee!  My morning is just not the same without it!

I have a huge list of pet peeves.  At the top are pencil sharpeners and technology that gives me fits. 

I am addicted to Big Brother....every matter how dumb it is. 

I live in the same town I grew up in and teach in the same district I went to school in.  Which means I have had the opportunity to work with teachers I had in elementary school.  It's surreal and awesome at the same time!

I just started the year with 24 firsties and found out I will have 25 by next week.  I'm a little frightened they will outnumber me in more way than one by the end of August. 

 I am quite addicting to blogging.  Not only do I love venting on my own blog, I love reading about the happenings in classrooms around the country (and world!).  Many of my teacher room conversations begin with, "I read on a blog..."

My family went on a road trip this summer and had a great time exploring!  We saw Crazy Horse, Mt. Rushmore, sis/brother/mother in law in Iowa, and corn.....lots and lots of corn!

My goal is to finish my Masters Degree.  I don't know in what though.  I have my reading endorsement and I have taken enough graduate credits to be pretty close, I just need to figure it out.  Can I finish my Masters in blogging?

I love my job!  Even though the thought of returning to that classroom on Monday morning makes my hands sweat I am so happy to be teaching littles every day.  They make me laugh, cry (yes, sometimes) and keep my heart full.  I am thankful to be a teacher. :)

That's just a little about me!  Now I can't wait to go and check out all of your posts in the Meet the Teacher link!

As always, Happy Teaching! Heather 


Currently August....GASP!

Ok, when I first typed this up I typed July.  Right?  It's only July?  Afterall we just got out of school a few weeks ago?  No my friends, it is August.  The smell of freshly sharpened pencils is in the air and we are heading back to school next Tuesday.  Tear, sniff, we go!

Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade is amazing and keeps us all "current" in the blogging world.  I am happy to link up with her on this 1st day of August.  You can link up up here.

August Currently: 
Listening:  Yes, my house is quiet...(I'm not counting the numbing television sound in the background).  My baby starts high school tomorrow and I will officially have nothing my high school kids and beyond in my life.  I never thought my little girls would ever grow up so fast.  I'm a little sad about that. 

Loving: My first grade team!  I am pleased to be teaching 1st grade next door to a teacher I have worked with for years. We've almost always been at the same school but not in the same grade level.  Last year I was lucky enough to have her join our 1st grade team at my school, this year she became my neighbor.  Feels like home :)  I'm also excited that we added a brand new teacher to our team and he is full of enthusiasm and knowledge!  It's great to kick start the year with a teacher that is so eager to get started!  I start to hyperventilate when I think about my first day as a teacher, but he is cool as a cucumber!

   Thinking:  Seriously, we had our first day back today (just a work day) but my brain is so fried after so much thinking and talking today!  Tomorrow is more training with a new reading series (Reading Street) and then Monday is one more work day.  I have so much to get done....I just can't think right now!

Wanting:  My girls need to go school shopping this weekend and I am gearing myself up for a lot of time sitting in fitting rooms.  I need to bring my patience with me.  You'd think with 3 daughters I'd be ready for this!

Needing:  A personal lamintor, yes.  A color printer, yes.  Unlimited laminated sheets, please.  I am super lucky that I can print and laminate at school (almost) as much as I want.  I always feel guilty for my over use of this privilege.  If I won the lottery, I would have my own at home :) 

B2S MUST HAVE's!  You have to have great pens to write with.  Why write with anything less?  I actually attended a meeting today and wrote in a PLAIN. BLACK. PEN.  It almost killed me. 

My lesson plan book is all set!  I've thought about it and worked on it all summer.  I have a section for my calendar, student info, grades, lesson plans, and parent info.  I've used it during my parent interviews this week and it is so handy!  I love it!

Friends to lean on.  I feel sorry for my friends.  Seriously.  I complain a lot....but only to them.  They are my sounding board and when I can't take one more thing they help me decompress.  I love them, and I couldn't teach without them.  We got to enjoy lunch together today and I loved every minute of it!

That's my currently.  I sound like a hot mess if this is all you've ever heard about me!  Go check out some really great blogs and link up with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade. Happy back to school time if you are headed back and enjoy the rest of your summer if you are still soaking up the sun! 
Happy Teaching! Heather