Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Boost of Encouragement As You Head Back to School

I have a sneaking suspicion that not all teachers are excited to go back to school.  Maybe I'm wrong.  But I don't think I am.  For those of you who are insanely excited and giddy to head back, some teachers envy you.  They wish for those days where heading back to school was thrilling and invigorating.  But some years...some years are just hard to go back.  It's not that you hate teaching.  If you did, you probably wouldn't go back.

Maybe you had a baby recently and will be heading back after a glorious summer with your little infant.

Maybe you have a baby and toddler at home (like I do) and you hate to see those precious moments go.

Maybe the morale is down at your school.  Nobody wants to be there.  Your admin is tough, they don't understand, they put too much pressure on you, they don't understand you, nor do they care...about any of it.  Just test scores.

Maybe your district is struggling.  Financially, they've hit rock bottom.  You're dealing with bare bones for staff.  Your plate is full.  You don't know what the year will bring.  Will you even have a job at the end of the year?  So much is riding on levies, bond issues, whatever you call them.

Maybe you've recently lost a loved one.  It's too soon.  It's all you can think about.  The last thing you're thinking about is school.  All you can think about is someone that's no longer with you.  And it's hard.

Maybe you just sent your child(ren) off to college.  Your house will never be the same.  It will be so quiet.  You'll wonder and worry about them.  You'll miss them.  You can't wait until the next time they're home.

Maybe your teaching team is tough.  You don't always see eye to eye and they don't want to listen to you.  You feel left out.  You try to be nice, but for some reason you feel like an outcast.

Maybe you're going through a divorce.  Life is just upside down.  You don't know what to think or feel.  You're frustrated, upset, angry, depressed, and so heartbroken.

Maybe your best friend at school took a job somewhere else.  Maybe they retired.  Maybe they left teaching.  You feel lonely stepping back into your school.

Maybe you're dreading the busy schedules.  The packed planner.  The grading.  The meetings.  The events.

Maybe you're broke.  Summer utilities, vacations, school supplies, and unexpected things that chewed up every single penny.  You feel like you can't get off on the right foot because you can't afford anything you need for your classroom, let alone treating yourself to a new first day outfit.

Maybe you look at your class roster and know that your class will be a challenge.  You're tired just thinking about it.

Maybe there's just too much left to do at home.  Too much summer to be had.  Too much time to enjoy with those you rarely get to spend time with (or not enough time) when school is in session.

Maybe, just maybe, you aren't ready to go back.  If you're like me, you might even still be worn out from last year!  ;)  You feel terrible about it and you *WISH* you could hype yourself up for what's to come.  But you just...can't.

Friends, it's OK.  No, really.  Every year brings something new to the table.  Some years you're eager with anticipation, other years you're filled with dread and sorrow.  It happens.  Don't beat yourself up over the fact that you aren't "into it" yet.  It might take going into your classroom and working, it might take looking around on Pinterest and some blogs, or it might just take showing up and doing the thing.  I'm hoping and praying that we all find our niche this year and are truly blessed.  We honestly have one of the most incredible jobs.  Let it be your safe place.  Let it be a time where you focus your thoughts and energy elsewhere.  I'm not saying that life might not be hard anymore, but sometimes when we do something else, we forget (even if just for a little bit) our struggles outside the walls of the school.  And if your struggles are INSIDE the walls of the school, it might take YOU being the light in a dark place.  Not an easy task (and quite honestly, it can be harder than anything else), but I'm a true believer that we are placed where we are for a reason.  No one ever said it would be easy.  But it's where we are called, at least for a season.

I was talking to some friends who were feeling down and negative (um, my life story a lot of times, let's be honest).  In a rare moment of positive thoughts, I was encouraged to make a set of teacher notecards to keep on our desks to lift us up throughout the year.  It was a glorious idea and I whipped it up within a couple days.  So if you need an extra boost of encouragement, head on over to see my Positive and Encouraging Teacher Notecards.  There are 100 notecards (60 positive and uplifting quotes, 20 Bible verses, and 20 Christian quotes) for you to print and keep near in your room.  I have mine sitting right by my computer.  I got a $0.95 acrylic frame from Wal-Mart and it works perfectly!  You can even use a fun or pretty 4x6 frame (hello, Hobby Lobby!!!!).

Another idea is to print them off and pass them out throughout the year.  You might notice when someone else needs a little boost.  Just cut one out and write a little note on the back. 

Or you could go REALLY crazy and tape them all over your desk area!  If you do that, I'll need a pic.  ;)

Teachers, you've got this.  Just take a deep breath and know that it WILL be ok.  Don't feel guilty if you're not ready.  You will be.  :)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Quick, Easy Way to Line 'Em Up!

I'm linking up with Bright Ideas today to bring you a really simple way to line up your students.

This year I will be using numbers for the first time.  I feel like numbers are everywhere in my room now!  Including...my floor!

I don't know about you, but my students argue ALL. THE. TIME about where they stand in line.  I've tried line leaders, I've tried cabooses, I've tried special helpers.  My students have fought with each other over where to stand in line.  They cut each other, tattle, cry...I even had students MISS RECESS because they wanted to be first in line, so they'd line up on the playground and just sit there to ensure that they got the spot they wanted!  I don't know what it is.  My famous line is, "We're all going to the same place and we'll all get there at about the same time.  IT DOESN'T MATTER."  Sound familiar?

So this year I though, "I'm done."  No more arguing.

I bought calendar numbers from Lakeshore Learning and used clear contact paper to stick them to the floor.  Easy peasy!

Now there's no more reason to fight and miss recess!  They each have their own spot.  It's visible in the classroom to help them learn where to go.  It should be so easy for them to find their number and stand there.  I teach 1st graders, so we won't have to waste any time trying to line up in numerical order and figure out who is in front of each kid and who is behind.  I'm so excited to see how smooth these transition periods go when they have a specific spot in line!

Be sure to follow me on Instagram if you don't already!  I'm constantly posting pictures each day!  :)  You can follow me at "sarahlynnkirby".

There are TONS of bright ideas out there today!  Make sure you take a look around and visit the other blogs to see their tips and tricks!  I *LOVE* reading these and find so many easy, fantastic ideas!  Happy Saturday and Happy Reading! ;)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Using Formula Canisters for Storage

Y'all.  This is my FIRST Monday Made It.  Seriously.  I can't believe it took me this long to link up.  So are you ready to see what I made?  I'm linking up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics!  If you need some good ideas on getting thrifty/crafty/artsy, check out all the links!

I'm a mom of 2 sweet, darling boys.  My oldest son is 3 and my youngest just turned 9 months.  Sweet. as. pie.  A little biased?  Probably, but they seriously melt my heart.  I nursed my youngest for the first 5 months.  After that, we switched to formula.  If you use formula you know 1.) how expensive it is and 2.) how often you buy it!  So I figured I might as well get some use out of all these canisters that keep piling up!  Hello, reuse!

I have an atrocious cabinet full of random craft items in my classroom.  There is so much stuff in there and half of it is still in little bags or spilling into drawers.  I decided to keep my formula canisters and use them as storage!  So here's how to do it...

1.  Grab as many formula canisters as you can or need.  Select your color spray paint.  I got this spray paint from Walmart in Sea Glass.

2.  Peel off the labels.

3.  If you use the Similac canisters, the lids were kind of tricky to get off.  I found the best way to do it is to lay it on it's side on the counter and push down.  Pull the lid off.

4.  To remove any leftover stickiness from the labels, smear some peanut butter over it!  It works like a charm.  Let it set for a few hours and then just wipe it off with a paper towel!

5.  Lay out all the lids and canisters outside in a well-ventilated area and spray a couple coats on until you have your desired look.  I decided to spray paint the lids and canisters different colors, just to make them a little more fun.  :)

6.  I used my Silhouette Portrait to cut out vinyl letters to stick to the front of the canisters.  You could also use a Cricut or simple letter stickers.

7.  Then I stuck the letters on once the canisters were dry and put them together!

I filled all of my canisters with all sorts of little odds and ends!  They turned out so pretty!  :)

I'll be back on Saturday with a bright idea post!  ;)