Tuesday, June 25, 2013

BlogLovin' Linky Party

Like every other blogger out there, with the closure of Google Reader coming up, I have been trying out other alternatives to see what works for me. I had been using Feedly for the last month or so but recently joined BlogLovin' after seeing that many of my fellow bloggers were doing the same.

Well it seems that so many people have been joining BlogLovin' that there is now a linky party for it!

So if you're using BlogLovin', don't forget to link up! :)

P.S. I also got this cool BlogLovin' follow button (left sidebar) from Common Core & So Much More. So much prettier than the one that is offered by BlogLovin. Definitely go check it out! :)

Quick Summer Update: I am no longer in Singapore with the family but am now in Taiwan! Just as hot and humid here but at least the air quality is better! Also more mosquitoes though and they LOVE me. :( More to come later! :)

Friday, June 21, 2013

First Summer Five for Friday

Hello from Singapore! Has it really been a week since school ended? Seems like so long ago. But I'm very excited to share my first summer Five for Friday! :)

1. I officially turned in my classroom keys on Monday, marking the end of another school year.

Did I also mention that I'm moving grades and classrooms next year? Good thing I've only been teaching for two years! Haven't accumulated much stuff yet (emphasis on the yet). Packed up around 8 boxes which I have left in front of my new classroom. Most of those boxes have books from this classroom that were categorized by months so most likely I will be returning back to the classroom once I get a chance to see what my new classroom has to provide. 

2. Major news to share...

I am officially done with BTSA~! Woohoo! All I need to do now is turn in the final paperwork to HR and credential will finally be cleared! :D

3. On Tuesday, summer vacation officially began! What did I do? Leave on a jet plane (actually, two!) with my mother and brother to Singapore! Total travel time...20 hours! @@
First plane was United Airlines from SFO to Seoul. I had a window seat without a window! (~11 hour flight) 
Made it to the Seoul airport to transfer planes. (~1 hour wait)
Next plane from Seoul to Singapore. Was on Singapore Airlines this time so we had our own entertainment system. Their entertainment system has EVERYTHING. (~5.5 hour flight)
Finally made it to the Singapore airport at around 10pm!
4. One of my good friends from high school happened to also be in Singapore at the same time (her family lives in Singapore) so she has been taking us around Singapore for the last couple of days. It was good to see her since she has been working in Chicago since graduating from college so we rarely get to see each other.

Unfortunately, Singapore is suffering some major pollution due to uncontrollable forest fires in Indonesia. It's been super hazy every day and the air is basically not healthy for breathing. Most locals are staying inside but as tourists with only a limited number of days here we don't have a choice but to go out. So to keep from breathing in hazardous air we have to walk around looking like this.

Me and my lil bro looking like creepy tourists.
The haze at it's worst. Apparently this year's pollution is a record high.
5. Even with all the pollution, it still didn't keep us from doing some touristy things (mainly indoors, of course)! Below are some picture collages of food and places we have been to these last two days of touring.

The Merlion...national symbol of Singapore?
Panaroma picture of the Flower Dome inside Gardens by the Bay.
Gardens by the Bay - Cloud Forest
Some local dishes.
And that's my trip so far! Funny how this week started at one place and ended in another. 1.5 more full days of Singapore left before we head over to see the relatives in Taiwan! Can't wait! :D

Monday, June 17, 2013

Holy Spammers!!

So I'm sure it's normal to get occasional spam comments when you don't have the whole "security check" thing for commenters. But when I checked my email today, guess what I saw?? Thirteen comments made by Anonymous. THIRTEEN!!! That's quite a bit in one day.

So...does that mean I should turn that whole security check thing on again? Or are there other ways to get rid of spammers?

P.S. Leaving for Singapore tomorrow! Excites! :)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Five for Friday

Last Five for Friday of this school year because...Thursday was the last day of school! I have finally joined the "it's summer!" club! Don't have many pictures to share this week simply because I didn't really take many.

1. On Monday, we voted for our "fun awards". Last year, all the kids had strips of everyone's name and my friend, who was volunteering at that time, went around and gathered strips for each award category. Didn't have a friend volunteering this year so I opted for a paper "ballot". It seemed to work out pretty well.

2. On Tuesday, we had our awards ceremony. I used the awards made by Liz Fowler. The kids absolutely loved it!

3. Last week of school which also means clean, clean, clean! Sent the kids home with bags of stuff. But were also so happy to take it all home too! Along with everything that is in their desks, I also sent home a summer packet with suggested activities.

4. Fifth grade promotion was on the last day of school (Thursday). Our awesome fifth grade buddies were graduating so of course we had to make them cards to say congrats!

5. Once school was over on Thursday, it was Operation Clean and Pack Up the Classroom! I also have some news! I'm moving up to second grade next year and changing classrooms! Everyone looks at me crazy when I tell them I'm moving classrooms but I'm actually kind of excited! My new classroom's layout will allow me to take the spare Smartboard sitting in the Staff room so I'm super excited about that! Plus, I get to loop with some of my students. How exciting is that? Time to start following some second grade blogs and change my blog name?!?!

Anyways, I went off on a tangent. Back to Operation Clean and Pack Up the Classroom! My mom and brother came to help me out and we got quite a bit of stuff done! Spent 1.5 days packing and cleaning and this is what my classroom currently looks like.

Almost done! Still have some finishing touches left to do (all the crap on my desk and some other crap you don't see in the pictures) but I should be completely done and ready to turn in my keys on Monday. The classroom I'm moving to isn't ready for my move yet (retiring teacher leaving) so all I can do is box up my stuff and leave it in the hallway. My classroom will become a 1/2 combo classroom next year so I am also leaving a good amount of first grade stuff in there for the incoming teacher. 

But anyways, my last official work day is over and it's officially summer! How am I going to spend it? By starting off with a free seminar first thing in the morning! It's Rick Morris, who I have heard once and is a great speaker, so I'm looking forward to it. :)

Yay! Summer! :D

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

End of Year Student Gift: Memory Books

Okay, tomorrow's the last day of school and I'm trying my best to not freak out! It's always hard to say goodbye. But I will see the kids again next year when they come visit me (always the best part). :)

So yesterday's post was on end of year gifts to parent volunteers. Today's post is on end of year gifts to students! I found this idea while blog surfing last year and took on the project with only like 1.5 months of school left. Boy, was it time consuming and stressful. But the results were great! This year, I  knew I was going to make it again for my students this year so I planned ahead! What are they, you ask? Memory books aka a monthly collection of student artwork and writing all bound together! Some of these artworks and writing pieces have been mentioned in my blog in the past so I will try to link back to them so you can get more details on what they did.

And here is the book!

Beginning of year and end of year picture along with the name tag used during field trips and the cubby tag.

August - first day of school writing. Be prepared to be amazed at their growth!

September - "I have never seen a ____" writing as a follow-up to one of our Language Arts reading.

October - all about bats! Bats writing, diagram, and craft.

November - My train craft and writing. (Find in TpT store here.)
December - gingerbread craft and poem. (Poem template found for free here.) 
January - New Year's resolution craft and writing and weather haiku.
February - Love is... 
March - Dr. Seuss picture taken from an app I got on my iphone plus two different St. Patrick theme related writings.
April - "Spring is..." poem and Earth Day craft and writing.
May - Mary Mack comic. (Oops! I just realized that this was done in April. Oh well!)
A different version of May in most books. Self-portrait with acrostic poem underneath and a writing piece on what they learned about butterflies.
June - Letters to the kindergarteners about first grade and to the future second grade teacher.
There are two more pages after. One page had some class photos on it. The last page is for autographs. I plan to give everyone pens (Ink Pen Day for our balloon countdown) and we will have some time to sign everyone's books and leave a little message.

I'm excited for everyone to get their books tomorrow! Last year, I had quite a fiasco on the last day of school due to pizza not being delivered to my classroom on time that I didn't have a chance for the kids to enjoy the books. This year, I'm just giving it to them first thing in the morning so we can spend some quality time with them before they go home. They are all laid out on their desks ready for the kids to enjoy. 

Can't wait! :)

P.S. There are more things I give the kids. But I guess you'll just have to come back tomorrow to find out about them. :)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Gifts Galore!

End of the school year also means appreciating and showering all our parent volunteers with gifts! So, what lovely gifts did we come up with this year? :)

Fingerprint vase, flowers, and card for the awesome art mom

Notepads for our noteworthy volunteers...weekly reading group parents!
The one with the pen set goes to a special mom who does reading groups and helps during art.
A marvelous tote bag for a marvelous room mom!

Last but not least...

Thank you cards for our field trip drivers! (made via Vistaprint)

What do YOU give your parent volunteers??? I would love to hear your ideas! :)

Two more days left! Aah!