Saturday, August 25, 2012


I had a little visitor to come and spend some time in my classroom yesterday. My visitor, the daughter of two of my coworkers, is a little girl full of energy.  This kid is so inquisitive and can soak up information like a sponge!  Just precious! We spent some time looking over my Giant Microbes collection. She had tons of questions and I thoroughly enjoyed answering each one.  Until she stopped by for a visit I was feeling a little frustrated and overwhelmed with all the things I still needed to complete. Our discussion reminded me of how much I like just sitting back and talking to my students.  I sometimes spend too much time trying to create a lesson plan or activity but often lose focus of truly reaching my students and catering to their questions. This little girl helped me to refocus my energy.  It really is amazing how inspiration can sneak up on you.  

The Giant Microbes that were the focus of our conversation....

My portrait!  

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Look Inside My Classroom

As much as I hate saying goodbye to summer, I really do enjoy decorating and organizing my classroom.  Now getting up at 5:30 each morning is something I absolutely dislike!  But the students are coming in one week whether the room looks good or not!  So I decided to get a head start on the decorating and organizing.  I still have a lot of things to work on but this is my classroom as of today :) 

This is the welcome sign outside of my classroom. 

This is the back wall and lab station. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Zebra Themed BOGGLE Board!

Earlier today I posted a boggle board template.  That template doesn't exactly match my color scheme this school year.  So I created one with a zebra print theme!  Here is the creation:

Right now the letters are not stationary.  I think I will use velcro dots to hold the letters in place.  

Wild About Following Rules!

I sure hope my students don't get sick of seeing zebra print!  My classroom rules will be posted within a zebra frame and on animal print background paper.

Click the link to download and print your own copy of the zebra rules! 

Boggle Board

I always have students to finish their assignment early.  Many students will read a book or study vocabulary, but most will try to get away with doing nothing!  So adding a Boggle Board in my classroom may keep some students more engaged in learning once their assignment is complete.  I know many elementary level teachers use this strategy often.  But I would love some input on using it in middle school.

Boggle Board (in blue chevron design) Click the link to download your own Boggle Board!


Monday, August 13, 2012

Lots and Lots of Stuff!

This morning I woke up with a crazy idea to organize all of my recently purchased classroom supplies.  If I had not already organized the small items in my toolbox, this task would have been very daunting!  I have 28 organizer drawers full of stuff and lots of other stuff that wouldn't fit in the small spaces.  This stuff varies from USB flash drives, SD cards, fancy paper, plain paper, crayons, photo albums, ribbons, calendars, notebooks, bulletin board letters, hall passes, paper clips, binder clips, glue, markers, poster board, cleaning supplies, file folders, pocket folders, book covers, acrylic picture frames, pencils, pens, tape dispenser, paper punches, post-its, sentence strips, composition books, brads, duct tape, etc.!  The crazier part is that I still have other things to purchase and make and I haven't even started supply shopping for my own children! I just really hope my students appreciate the time and money I have spent to make my classroom inviting, organized and fun.  I also hope their parents take a few seconds to appreciate the efforts I've made.  

Now my next step is to transport this stuff to my classroom.  There I will re-organize all of the stuff left over from years past.  Talk about daunting!  Then I will attempt to make my classroom a place where my students enjoy learning. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Teacher's Toolbox: Take 2!

After comparing my previous toolbox to others I've seen online I decided to revamp mine.  There are many templates and free downloads available to make your own toolbox bright and colorful.  I still didn't find one that suited my style completely so I used the template I had previously made.  I also didn't like the blue color of the toolbox frame.  There were many options to choose from for changing the look.  One option I considered was spray painting the frame.  However, I was a little concerned about the paint scratching off easily.  I decided to go with duct tape to decorate the frame of mine I was relieved that the tape was much easier to use this time!



Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Formative Assessment Project

Formative assessment is so important in understanding what our students get or don't get.  As I've researched new assessment ideas, I came across yet another idea....yup, on Pinterest!  The original idea was used by an elementary teacher to keep up with her students' afternoon transportation home.  She created three posters each one titled with a different way of getting home; car rider, bus...  Then students were assigned their own personalized clothes pin and would pin their clothes pin on a ribbon connected to the correct poster.

I liked the idea for classroom organization but decided to take it in a different direction.  I created three posters depicting three different levels of understanding.  My goal is to assign all of my students a personal number and write that number on a clothes pin for them to use throughout the school year.  As I need to check the understanding of certain concepts, I'll have the students to pin their numbers onto a ribbon that will be attached to each sign. This is will give me an immediate visual of whole class understanding levels and also I can match up the individual numbers with student names.  This will help me to focus questioning and reteaching strategies.

This is a work in progress.  I know I will end up changing colors and possibly editing the signs later!  But this is what I have so far...

Formative Assessment "3-2-1" template

Science Pennant Banner

Another idea from Pinterest....

I absolutely love colorful pennant banners!  After seeing so many teachers creating their own, I had to give it a try.  It was a very easy crafting activity and I can see myself making lots of these.

1.  My first step was to purchase some colorful paper.  Michael's crafting store had a great sale on their scrapbook paper.  I bought a lot of prints and colors that I plan on using in my classroom.

2.  Next, I created a pennant template on Open Office (drawings).  Since I was using paper that already had a print on it I only used a pennant outline.  There are lots of amazing and colorful templates available as free downloads on sites like TpT and TN just in case you don't want to make your own.

3.  Then I carefully chose the patterns and colors for my banner.  I went with a zebra surprise to those who know me well!  I then printed the pennant outline on the chosen paper.

4.  I knew I wanted my sign to spell out the word science.  So I played around with a circular, 2.5 inch punch.  I then printed out the letters and cut them out using the punch. I used Action Is JL font in size 225 from Open Office.  This may not work for you or may not be your preferable font.  Just be sure and measure the pennant size and match it up with a good font.  You can also take the easier way out and just print your letters directly onto each pennant.  I was wanting a little more depth in my banner which is why I used the punch instead.

5.  Next step was to cut out the pennants and glue on the letters.

6.  Lastly, I needed to put the pennants together in order to create the banner.  I used a single-hole punch and punched the holes in both corners of each pennant.  I then used tulle ribbon and threaded it through the holes, tied the ends in a bow and voila!...and science pennant banner for my classroom!

Why does all this paper make me so happy???

2.5 inch circular punch

Example of tulle ribbon used to hold pennants together. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

When God Created Teachers...

All too often I tend to focus on negative aspects instead of counting my blessings.  Today as I was cleaning out my closet I came across a gift a former student gave me back in 2001.  The gift is a poem placed inside a picture frame.  Reading the poem today brought me to tears.  I have lost sight of why I became a teacher and this poem reminded me of what is really important in working with children.  I used to look at teaching as a calling.  It was something I loved doing more than anything.  But recently I've viewed teaching as nothing but a job.  I need to redirect my focus as a teacher.  Teaching isn't about how much or how little money I make.  It isn't about complaining because I didn't get the new smart board or that I have spent hundreds of dollars on school supplies.  It's about the children, their ability to try and learn and my ability to guide them in the best ways possible.  So I want to thank that former student for giving me such a special gift.  It isn't just a framed poem, it's a lesson in redirecting my focus and learning to be a special guide for every child who walks into my classroom!  

When God Created Teachers

When God created teachers,
He gave me special friends
To Help me understand His world
And truly comprehend
The beauty and the wonder
Of everything I see, 
And become a better person
With each discovery. 
When God created Mrs. Jacobs, 
He gave me a special guide
To show me ways in which to grow
So I can decide
How to live and how to do
What's right instead of wrong, 
To lead me so that I can lead
And learn how to be strong.
When God created teacher, 
In His wisdom and His grace, 
Was to help me learn to make our world
A better, wiser place. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Organizing A Teaching Notebook

One of my goals for this upcoming school year is to be organized.  I want all of my important forms and documents in one, easy to find place.  So I am creating a teaching notebook in hopes to reach this goal.  In this notebook will be lesson plan forms, essential standards checklist, parent contact forms, locker lists, differentiation and modification lists, class rosters, grade sheets, and many other things!  

This is a work in progress and I will be adding pictures and links to download as I move along with this project.  Please check back often for new additions.  

The Cover: 


Saturday, August 4, 2012

My Teaching Toolbox

After seeing so many people pin this idea on Pinterest, I just had to try it.  There are several free download templates available at TPT and TN.  I did notice that there wasn't one that matched my classroom decor as much as I'd like.  So I created my own template to match some of the posters I've recently created.

The toolbox can be purchased from Lowe's.  It's called the 22-Drawer Stack-On Storage Cabinet and costs around $16.47.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Polka Dots!

This school year I have decided to go with a polka dot theme!  To get started, I am creating titles for my word wall and poster sets for the NC Essential Standards for 8th grade science.  Here is what I have so far....

Word Wall Titles-
Because there are so many standards I decided to divide the words into three sections; Life, Physical and Earth Science.

Click on the link to download the document- Word Wall Titles- Earth, Life, Physical Science

NC Essential Standards Posters- Physical Science
Click here to download the document- NC Essential Standards- Physical Science