Monday, 23 September 2013

Summer Scoops Bulletin Board

Yes, I realize I have been slacking on my blog posts.  While laziness has definitely played a part in this, I have also felt minimal motivation.  I began this blog mostly for myself - something for me to enjoy, hoping that others will gain inspiration from my enjoyment.  I don't want it to become simply work.  Today, I feel like that motivation has slightly returned!  :)

About two weeks ago I put up a bulletin board to display my students' writings about their summers.  The bulletin board was my welcome board at the beginning of the year, which I turned into the students' summer reflections. You can see both below!

You may notice I have a mere 7 students this year in my class :).

I had the students write their reflections on ice cream scoops.  This idea worked well as the students wanted to write more so that they could fill more scoops!  What a great motivation to keep them writing! :)  While it might be a little late to do this project in your classroom now, it could be a great one for the end of the year!  Leave a comment if you would like the template for the scoops!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

September Read Alouds

 The weather is getting cooler, I no longer have time for cooking 'exciting' meals, and I wake up with the sun once again - Ah, yes, it is September already! I have a wonderful new set of Grade 2's, eager to learn...(well, mostly) and a freshly decorated classroom ready for full use!  While I kind of disappeared for a while in August, I am back ready more than ever to blog! :)  By the end of this week I hope to have pictures up of my Safari Themed classroom.  While it may be too late to post these pictures for any of those who were itching for helpful ideas, you never know what you could add to your classroom in later weeks :).

As for today, I want to blog about the children's books that I have decided to use in my classroom for the beginning of this school year.  I found it difficult to know which books to chose, but after much research I think the ones I chose are working well.  While the first day book may no longer apply to you, the others will still work well for the month of September.

First Day

Back to School Rules by Laurie Friedman

This book is an excellent choice for the first day of school as it is a fun hook to talking about the classroom and school rules with the students.  Talking about rules can be 'a real drag' on the first day of school, so I am always looking for ways to spice it up a bit.  It was a fun way to start the talk and thinking about ways for a good student to act!

First Week

How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Mark Teague

I like to make a point of talking about the summer vacation with my students the first week (As I am sure many of you do)  As my students are writing journal entries about their summer vacations, I plan on reading this book to the class before the students share their journal entries with the class.  If nothing else, it is simply a great book for a laugh, and to get the students' imaginations rolling.

My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook

I have some wonderful, imaginative, and excitable talkers in my class this year.  This book is a great way to help students understand the importance of not speaking out when you are not supposed to.  As an activity to go with it, I found a great idea at Thank God It's First Grade .  

Beyond First Week

Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill

Recess is a time where bullying and mistreating others can happen easier than in the classroom.  To remind students the importance of treating each other with respect, this book is a great one to read.  It is not only good to to read at the beginning of school year, but any time it seems that there is some bullying during recess time.  Post-reading I would chose to do a type of group activity as opposed to a writing assignment, as I feel this would be most effective for such a book.  There are some great ideas found here for discussion and group activities.

You Are Special by Max Lucado

This is another book that is great to read both at the beginning of the year and if your class struggles with bullying or self-confidence.  This book can also be found on Youtube:  You Are Special by Max Lucado

Hope these helped you with some ideas and here's to a smooth, sailing year ahead! ;)

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Organized Binders

There are a ton of different ways to organize a teaching binder - many found on Pinterest :).  Instead of focusing on only one binder, I decided to use 3 different binders this year.  Last year, I felt very unorganized and all over the place with my binder so I'm hoping this will help.  Personally, I hate lugging around a massive binder with everything in it, which is my other reason for splitting up my information and notes.

This is how I decided to split it up:

Obviously, my teaching binder is my main, every day binder.  These are the sections I used in each binder:

Teaching Binder

1. Important Info - Where I place all the extra important information I need for the day or week.
2. Schedules - Where I place daily schedules, including AEA, and schedule changes.
3. Day Plans - The obvious
4. Monthly Plans - This is something new I am adding this year in order to help me see an overall view of the month ahead.
5. Class Lists - This is used for daily reminders, field trips, etc.  (This is not used for marking - see below at the student binder)
6. Long Range Plans
7. Meeting Info

Student Binder

1. Class Lists - This will be used for marking and assessment.  I believe having this in my student binder will help me, as it will be the binder I will take along with me when marking and will also have students' information in it.  A clip board will be added to the front of this binder so I always have that to take with me as well.
2. Parent Teacher Interviews - Any information I need for these.
3. Student Info - I will have a section for each student in my class to keep anecdotal notes, report cards, etc.

Idea Binder

 As stated in my Summer To Do post, I made an idea binder.  However I decided to add more sections then I had originally stated:

1. Overall Notes - General idea notes for the class
2. Management - Any ideas to improve classroom management
3. Language Arts
4. Mathematics
... And possibly to add other subjects I teach as well.

Hopefully this will make everyday chaos, into a bit more organized chaos :)

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Organized Read Aloud Books

I finally took the time today to put a dent into my Summer To Do list.  (Found here.)  Seeing as the weather is stifling and I already have a painfully, itchy burn from laying on the beach too long this past weekend, it's the perfect day to stay in my AC filled apartment.

I worked on organizing my read aloud books today.  I can already sense how much easier this organizing will make my teaching this coming year.  I heard somewhere the following quote:

 "Organization makes a good teacher into a great teacher"

That is my motivation for this long process of organizing :)

I went from a small basket of squished books to a filing box big enough for my books and many more:

Below is the end result of my organized children's books:

As you can see, I organized my books into months and then topics.  All I used to do so, was a filing box (found at Walmart), dividers, cardstock paper, and clear tape.  I covered my labels with tape as my at home lamination :)

I only ended up having 3 topics apart from my months.  These are Culture, Math, and Science.  (They are not alphabetical in the picture, but I have organized them alphabetically.)

While some books don't really fall into a specific time of year or those certain topics, I put them in the month that I plan on using them in.  As I get more books, I am sure I will need to add more specific topics.  However for now, this works perfectly for what I need.

I am now working on lesson plans and activities for each book.  I will put a copy of each plan in each book, and I will also make a binder of the plans.  Stay tuned for lesson plan ideas for read alouds!

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Friday, 5 July 2013

Blog Hop!

So, I joined Bloglovin', and as you can see, I now have an easy way for you to follow my blog!  Woohoo! :)  Please do consider following my blog!  I love to connect with other teachers, and I think this would be a great way to meet you all!  I simply love to share my ideas, will hopefully somehow inspire some of you, and also would love to learn from you with comments you write me! :)

I recently discovered a Blog Hop when reading The Perks of Teaching Primary.  This blog hop is found through the following blogs: 

Teaching is a Gift
Teaching is a Gift

Click on the link below to join the Blog Hop yourself!  

Teaching is a Gift

Thursday, 4 July 2013


Ps. Be sure to follow me on Bloglovin'! :)

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Language Arts Organization

Today is becoming an extremely productive day.  I guess that's what happens when my car is out of commission and it's pouring outside.  While I have not finished tackling one of my 'Summer To Dos' I decided to revamp my Language Arts binder today.  It is pretty simple and I thought I would share it with you to give some ideas in the sections of organizing it.  While these sections completely relate to what I teach for Language Arts, if you adjust them to your own program, they could work just as well!  Do keep in mind that these are only the worksheets and such used in the programs, whereas textbooks/workbooks are not included.

 Before I begin, I must warn you that my pictures are not spectacular.  Along with my non-functional car, I have a non-functional camera and therefore was forced to use my phone.  It does the trick though, and will give you the perfect idea as to how to create your own organized Language Arts binder.  Since this is pretty self-explanatory, this will mostly be a picture blogpost :)


( For public speaking competitions or reading records where students try to read enough pages to win a prize)

I especially like the Holidays section, as I always find I am wondering where my Thanksgiving or Christmas sheets and activities are.  Eventually, I would like to make a binder specific to Holiday activities.  

 Throughout the year, I also chose to make notes on specific worksheets or activities I used.  These notes were just made on post-it notes (as seen below) and simply stated what worked and what didn't work, what could be improved, and what to keep in mind.  I plan on updating this and to keep adding to it!

                                      These simple stickys are great, quick reminders!!

Happy Organizing!! :)

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Summer To Do

Ah summer... how I love thee.

While many fellow teachers of mine choose to have a summer job, go on extravagant trips, or take an AQ course, I chose to stay at home and simply relax.  For some reason...this isn't working out for me as well as I planned.  It's only been the second week of summer, and already I feel swamped with unpacking/cleaning our new apartment, sorting through mounds of teaching materials from the year (picture below), and catching up on appointments that were missed throughout the busy school year.  Suddenly, I realized, I only have four more weeks until I go on my personal 'extravagant' trip (to BC!).  And then, guess what!  It is basically time to go back to work.. ah, the summer is short.  Low and behold, I still have a Summer To Do List for teaching for these next four weeks.  Just some things I hope to get done before I begin a new year of teaching.  While these items are not detrimental for starting a new year of teaching, they are simply helpful ideas for organization.  Perhaps this will help me keep on track a little bit more this year...and perhaps it could help you too!

This weeks project

Summer To-Do List:

1. Pre-planned Supply Lessons

All throughout the year it was my plan to make supply lessons.  While I am thankful to say I had no days where I had to call in the morning sick, If I had, I would have been scrambling and stressing trying to come up with a supply plan.  It is just not worth that extra stress.  This summer, I plan on making these supply lessons for at least 3 days of classes.  While, of course they will have to be adjusted according to the time of year and what the students are currently learning, some good basic plans will still save so much time!

2.  A basket of children's books ready to read with lesson plans/activities.

Whether it be for creative writing, journal entries, a tie to a math or science lesson, or a start to an art project - books are your best friend (Especially in Grade 2!)  I already have a basket of books, separated into seasons and topics (Wait for future blog post to see how this was done!), which was very helpful for me throughout the year, to quickly pick up a book when I had the time to read one to the students.  The pre-made lessons/activities to go with it, would just be so much more helpful!  I plan on starting this soon, and will blog my ideas throughout.  Below is a picture of my current basket of books, which I also hope to fix up quite a bit!  (As you can see, the basket is a little small... :)

Basket of books (Could use some updating...:)

3.  Planned Bulletin Boards ideas

Most times, I've considered pinning an idea on Pinterest to be a planned bulletin board idea.  However, I want to take some time this summer to take those ideas (with my own creative spins) and actually get them ready to simply place on the bulletin board for when the time is right.  Bulletin boards can be an added stress during a busy time of report cards or grading.  I would love for that stress to be diminished, just a little.

4.  Organized Binder of Ideas

Not much to add here.  I hope to make an organized binder for Language Arts and Math.  While of course, the curriculum binders are already set, there are many times when some extra activities are needed for further learning.  This binder will be great to have throughout the year to also add any new ideas I come up with.

These four things will definitely keep my next four weeks busy. I plan to blog about each of them as I work through them.  This is my first step into getting over my procrastination.  Wish me luck, and maybe even join me! :)

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Marbles Management Break Down

(Before reading this post, you may want to look back on a past post from January: Classroom Management with Marbles )

A while ago I posted about how I began to use marbles in my classroom for management reasons and how at the beginning I believed it to be an easy strategy to keep up with and to be motivating for my students. Today, I want to re-cap on how it went for the rest of the year.  While it is a great management strategy, I don't believe I used it in the right way.  However, I do believe there are ways to use it efficiently.  I truly believe I had a great start with it, yet as things got busy it went down hill.

The following is what I did wrong:

1. I was inconsistent.  Sometimes I chose to give the students marbles when they had a really good morning or afternoon, other times I would forget.  Sometimes I gave marbles when I saw a student doing a kind act to another, whereas most times, I forgot.

2.  My goals were set too high.  I often found reasons to take away marbles rather than add marbles and when I did add marbles it was too little.  While the students were close to filling the jar, it never actually got full.  This was partly due to me forgetting it as well.

What I learned?  Well, while the importance of consistency can be so obvious, it is harder to accomplish than one would think.  So this is some advice I give to anyone thinking of starting this management strategy:

1.  Only use the marble jar for one reason.  Whether it be for when the students cooperate in class and show hard work, or whether you use it for acts of kindness.  Do not set your goals so high to use it for numerous reasons, or it will become forgotten, and inconsistent.

2.  Set goals in the morning for the marble jar, letting the students know the goal.  For example, you could tell students that if they show hard, quiet work all the way until recess they will get a big marble, or 5 marbles in their marble jar.  Or, if you are doing it for acts of kindness, you could tell students that if you see 5 special acts of kindness during the day, you will add 5 marbles to the jar.  This way, you are reminding yourself to add marbles, and you are reminding your students about the marble jar.

3.  Make the goals achievable so that the students WILL get that promised class party or treat if they fill the jar.  If they fill the jar once and get their prize, they may be even more keen to do it again.

Trial and error... the best way to eventually run the perfect classroom :)

Saturday, 8 June 2013

10 Musts to Have in Your Classroom.

My lack of blogging has been due largely to moving and loosing my camera cord. Therefore, leaving me with no pictures to post.  To try to explain art projects or bulletin boards without pictures would simply be pointless.  So, while I have a blog post today, I have no pictures and therefore must blog about something different than my 'great' lessons ;).

I want to talk about the things you absolutely need to have in the classroom at all times.  Okay, maybe not NEED, but will definitely help take away some stress in a day of teaching :).  Whether it be for emergency lessons, quick management strategies, a simple fill in, or just to make a teacher's job a tiny bit easier.

 Over my past year of teaching I have realized the importance of keeping certain things in my classroom at all times - I failed to do this most of the time and learned greatly from it.  There were numerous times when I needed something and didn't have it.  I'm going to skip the obvious ones (ie. tape, stapler, hole puncher, pens, etc.) because I am pretty sure we all know those.  I want to tell you about the ones that are not always thought of right away, yet can really make your days go that much smoother.  While some may seem obvious to you, as a new teacher, they weren't to me at the beginning of the year.

1. Jelly Beans.  

Jelly beans are KEY.  Whether it be for a math lesson, a review game, a reward, or just a regular Fun Friday afternoon, jelly beans are a must.

2.  Dice. 

 Primarily for need to explain much here.  (If you need some ideas for math games with dice, comment and I will blog them!)  Cards could also be added to this!

3.  Labels.  

At the beginning of the year, fellow teachers told me the importance of making labels - labels for each student's name (big and small), labels for each subject/book, and labels for your name.  While I saw the importance of making these for the students books and duotangs, I did not see these as important for much else so I ended up stuffing them some where quick when I was finished labelling the books at the beginning of the year.  Well little did I know how often they would become useful throughout the year.  Whether it was for the students' snacks on field trips, new notebooks when students' finished theirs, costumes for the school play, labelling projects, etc. etc., I needed htem all year long.  The amount of annoyance it is to run out of labels is underestimated.  Next year, I plan on making double the amount I did this year so I am sure not to run out.  

4.  Bandages.

This might be an obvious one.  Honestly, for some reason I just never had them in my classroom this year.  When students have a tiny hang nail or cut that they 'desperately' need a bandage for, it would just be so much easier to be able to give them one rather than having to send them to the office and wasting all that precious work time.  

5.  A box of random toys, prizes, etc.  

This could help with many of the same ways that the jelly beans could.  My school has a prize bin in the office for any reason a teacher chooses to send them there.  However, I think it is so nice to be able to have such a box in your own classroom as well.  I definitely have used the prize bin in the office, but I also would .like to seriously start one in my own classroom for more management plans.  (Perhaps to be blogged about in the future...)

6.  Birthday gifts.

This year for every student's birthday I gave a birthday pin and a sheet of stickers.  I also printed off a sign that said 'Happy Birthday _____!' and hung it up in front of the classroom for the day.  I chose to buy all of the gifts ahead of time, which worked really well for those days that I remembered it was a student's birthday 5 minutes before class started... guilty.  However, I chose to leave the sign printing until the last minute... every time - well how much easier it would have been had I printed them all at the beginning of the year and simply pulled them out the day of?!  

7. Empty jars.

Empty jars are needed more than one would think.  While I used them mainly for science experiments, they were also useful for things like my marble jar (found here), picking names for an activity and storing items.  I am sure you could find many more uses for them as well.

8.  Students' names on magnets.

I started this at the beginning of the year and it was helpful for numerous reasons.  I simply wrote the student's names on colourful cardstock, cut it out and glued a magnet strip to it.  I used it for two main reasons. First of all, every day the students had to hand in their agendas. Once they handed in their agenda they had to put their name on the chalk board to show me that it was handed in.  If their name wasn't on the chalkboard, I knew I didn't have their agenda yet.  Secondly, I used it occasionally for students who were misbehaving or who needed to stay in for recess to finish work.  Rather than writing their names on the board  I could just put their magnet up to remind them.  While this isn't necessarily a must, it definitely makes your life that much easier.

9.  Stickers, stickers, stickers!

Do not underestimate the importance of stickers.

10.  EXTRAS... of everything!!

Whether it be duotangs, pencils, erasers, notebooks, paper... Always have more than enough.  This year I failed on this with pencils and duotangs.  Two very key things in order to make your student's work go smoothly.  

These are just my top 10 things - while there are definitely plenty more.  If you have any more to add, please do comment!!

Summer is two weeks away for me.  In this spirit, stay tuned for a blog post about Summer To Do's as you spend a bit of time preparing for the next year! :)

Monday, 20 May 2013

Drawing to Music

Since my last post was about music in the classroom (found here) I figured it was appropriate to blog about a music art activity that I did with the Grade 4's that ended up working quite well! 

 I began by having students fold big pieces of scrap paper into about 6 sections.  I then played many different types of music (only Karaoke versions so that no lyrics were heard) and had students draw lines to the music.  It was their choice what to draw, but they had to be line drawings.  When we were finished, I went around to each student and together we picked the favourite, which they then made into a colourful oil pastel drawing.  Students were only allowed to use 3 colours in their pastel drawings.  

Here are some examples as to how they turned out:


Electric Rock

Electric Rock

This project was much like the Grade 4's Expressions with Line drawings (found here).  I found they really enjoyed both projects.  They also turn out to be wonderfully colourful art pieces!  

As for the last few weeks of art classes I plan on doing some fun end of the year projects.  I have specifically some great ideas from Art Mash blog.  I'm excited to use some of these ideas!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Music in the Classroom

As the year slowly comes to an end... I am starting to think about three main things:

1. The ideas and plans I did that worked really well this past year. 
2. Those 'awesome ideas I had' that definitely did not work.
3. All the ideas and plans I have for the future...some time....  

I decided I want to blog about all three of these things.  I already have blogged about what I liked that worked, however blogging about failed attempts and future ideas are not so common.  After all, it is always easier to talk and write about 'accomplishments' than failures and ideas that might not follow through.  However, I've realized by leaving those two out, a lot is missed out on.  The best way to learn is through failed attempts and hopeful wishes!

So, I will start with writing about both a failed attempt and an idea for next year:  Using music in the classroom.  

I did use music with my Grade 2's while doing quiet work or working on an art project this past year.  I also played music during my art classes quite regularly.  However, I had no real plan with it.  With my Grade 2's I usually played Christian worship music (since I work at a Christian school).  This worked well - as they would many times sing along and really enjoy it!  With my art students, I picked very random music to play.  Often I played Newsboys, Adele, Keane, some Mumford and Sons, Enya, and some Walk Off the Earth.  Many times the students would ask for requests (as I was playing from Grooveshark on my laptop) and at the beginning, being the naive teacher I was (and still am), I played whatever they asked as long as there was no swearing and I knew what the song was about.  Soon enough, I came to realize that this does not work well for classroom management.  One class, I accidentally played Mumford and Sons and forgot to take out the one song with swearing - lets just say students heard, and it wasn't the most spectacular teaching moment in my life - taught me a lesson of the importance of reviewing everything before playing it in class.  Coming to the end of the year I soon got tired of trying to pick the right music and many classes I just wouldn't play it anymore.  Or I would say absolutely no requests and simply stick with Christian worship music.  The problem with this, is that I had started off on the wrong foot with the music in my classroom and so students weren't so happy.

Next year, I want to have a plan for music in the classroom.  I want to know what I am going to play before I even set foot into the classroom.  (Seems obvious, but while planning all lessons I never took the time to do this.) So, recently I decided to search for ideas.  I found this website: Music to Manage Your Classroom, which has inspired me in many ways.  This teacher uses music for classroom management.  What a brilliant idea!  He plays a certain song when a transition is needed, certain music for when students enter the classroom and to end the day, music to introduce a new lesson, and music to set the tone.  Even his transition times are timed with the song playing.  This idea blows my mind!  Students will be able to hear a song and know what to do or know what is happening.  No longer would I as a teacher have to remind students, count from 10 to have students sitting in their seats, or urge students to hurry up.  I simply play a song, and students are aware.  Oh how I wish I had seen this idea at the beginning of this year! The teacher also gives great ideas for what songs to use in each situation. After hearing about this idea it seems so obvious to me.  Music is all around us all the time, why not use it for purpose in the classroom!

Since I have a SMARTboard in my classroom, easily enough this can be used.  Next year, I may not have a SMARTboard, but as long as you have a laptop and some speakers, you are set.

I cannot wait to use this idea next year!

Paper Mache Men

One thing (of many) I like about teaching art is that it is a really free subject to do fun and different projects.  I don't have a specific curriculum for art at my school, so I am free to teach the students projects that I think they would really enjoy.  I found the following project through Pinterest, on Blog K-12.  It was the perfect project to teach my Grade 4 students how to use paper mache, practice their fine motor skills, and just something different than the regular drawings, paintings, etc. I also love working with paper mache - every kid loves getting a bit messy sometimes! :)

We started with making the shape of a man out of tinfoil.  We then covered these with paper mache strips.  And lastly, after letting it dry we painted them.  This project took two classes - one for the tinfoil and paper mache, and one for painting.  Here are some pictures to show the process and results!

1. Covering tinfoil with paper mache:

2. Painting over our paper mache men:

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Stress Advice

Last week good friends of mine got hitched and I was so blessed to be apart of the wedding as a bridesmaid.  It was the absolute perfect day! (The weather thankfully as gorgeous as it was!)  They got married at a Yacht Club...the ceremony right on the water, and the reception in a gorgeous hall.  The wedding was in Ottawa, so hubby and I chose to take a few extra days off work and explore/vacation! I took three days off work, thinking it'd be no problem.  I've only taken one day off so far this year, and figured planning the sub plans wouldn't be too big of a deal. Well...I was a tad mistaken.  First of all, making supply plans is WAY more work than anyone who is not a teacher would think.  Second of all, coming back to try to figure out everything that was accomplished with the supply teacher is a headache in of itself.  And third of all, trying to catch up with marking WHILE report cards are due is so busy it's really just insane.  Bad timing?  I think so. Man is it tough coming back after "vacationing"!  Don't get me wrong, I love to teach.  But boy do I love weddings more.  Future wedding planner career.. perhaps.. :)    I also do not enjoy this crazy busy schedule.  It's been a busy year, but this by far is the worst it's been.  A fellow teacher of mine told me to just let some things go... well I am letting go reports cards getting in on time, marking getting finished before next class, and my lessons being fully planned.  Winging it is key at this moment.

So while I don't have a an art project, an interesting science lesson, or a writing idea to post today (Though I do assure you I have many pictures ready to post), I just have some small advice.

I thought since I am stressing with all this right now, I'd take a break, and blog a little bit with some advice for fellow overwhelmed teachers...or those who are just overwhelmed in general.  It's my first year - so I probably don't have near as much advice as someone who has been at this for 10..'s a start! You might also be thinking - why not stop blogging and get to work - well, my issue is that when I am as stressed as I am, I have an even harder time not procrastinating.

1.  Make lists.  And cross numbers off when done.  If you don't do this already, it is definitely worth a try.  The accomplishment I feel after crossing off something on my list is just an incredibly great feeling.  Even if it's as small as 'photocopy science sheets'.  Along with this...don't be discouraged when you don't get something done perfectly, or done on time.  *Life goes on..

2. Try a new environment.  After this blog, I plan on going to a coffee shop to write some report cards.  This forces myself so get something done - rather than being distracted with cleaning at home, or doing pointless things at the school.

3.  Always have a back up lesson for times like these.  When I am this stressed there are times when I will just completely forget to plan a period.  Having these back up plans ready to go gives me some leeway for such times.

4.   Take the breaks you need.  Whether it is a coffee date with a friend, a movie, reading a book, or going for a walk - do not give those up.  Whatever it is that energizes you and keeps you looking forward to something, it is just as important as finishing up that marking, or finishing the plan for that lesson.  You have to help yourself before you can help others right?

5.  Take a DAY for yourself.  Crazy, I know.  How can you possibly do that if you are SO busy!?  Well, it is possible.  It's all about prioritizing, which I know is tough.  But having that one day for yourself, may give you that release you need to come back the next day with full force.  I try my best not to work on the weekends at all.  This is hard at times (especially now), but it really helps me to have those days to focus on the other things that matter to me, other than teaching.  If everything I possibly do is about teaching,  I think I would go crazy and eventually start to not have enjoyment for it anymore.

6. VENT.  We all need to do this at times - don't hold it in!!  It's just not worth it.  The importance of letting it all out is underestimated.

7. Find an outlet...something else to put your focus on to get through your stress.  I am still learning the importance of this and even trying to find out what exactly mine is.  I lean towards cooking, sometimes drawing, or writing (which is why I am writing this blog post.)

8. Drink LOTS of water.  This honestly has helped me so much more than I would have thought.  It perks me up and gives me just a little more energy that I need.  Hate drinking water?  Here is a blog post with some great advice for drinking water that might help you: Tea Time with Bri   I put fruit in my water (otherwise I wouldn't drink it near as much) and this also helps me drink less coffee.  (Which really just gives me an hour boost, and then I am back to feeling low again.)

So this is not rocket science, and I am sure many of you can think of more ways to help while being overwhelmed, but these ideas may get you thinking what you can do for yourself, so that you can continue to do the best possible job set before you.  One last piece of advice that has really kept me going during this entire year...

**  Remind yourself that it is GOD who gave you this job, this calling in your life at this moment.  Your work is being done for HIM, no one else.  It is all about doing the best you can for God's glory.  Therefore, bring your stresses to God, take it one day at a time, and do it all for His name.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Colour Schemes

In both Grade 5 and Grade 6 I have recently decided to work on colour schemes.  In Grade 5 I only focused on complimentary colours and monochramatic colours.  For their project, I simply had them choose one of the schemes, and make an abstract shape drawing.  This project took most students two, 1-hour periods to finish.  I highly recommend this project for two reasons: 1) A great bulletin board display!, 2) No prep and even a great filler if you need a quick art project!.

Here are the results:

Complimentary Colours - Blue and Orange

Complimentary Colours - Purple and Yellow

Complimentary Colours - Green and Red

Monochromatic - Orange

Monochromatic - Blue

For the Grade 6's I made the study of colour schemes a much bigger project.  The reason for this, is simply because Grade 6's focus for art this year is colour, whereas, Grade 5's focus is shape.  

The Grade 6's learned about the following colour schemes: monochromatic, complimentary, tertiary (only secondary colours or only primary colours), and analogous (closest shades/tints of colour on colour wheel) colours.  I began with having the students draw any picture they wanted on a big piece of paper, making sure they knew that there had to be detail in all areas of the paper.  They then had to fold the paper into quadrants. Each quadrant was going to be a different colour scheme.  I went through each quadrant slowly with the students so that they would truly understand the different colour schemes.  This was the first of two projects worked on for exploring colour schemes.

Here are some results:

Their second project was to take one of the four colour schemes and make an abstract watercolour painting with shapes, using that colour scheme only.

Here are some of those results:



My favourite project of the three are definitely the watercolour paintings!  It was a great project to help students grow in their skills of mixing and blending colours with watercolour paints.  I am excited to brighten the art room with these paintings!  

Feel free to use any ideas, but please do leave a comment if you do!