Sunday, August 2, 2015

Hi Ho! Hi Ho! It's Back to School We Go!

That is really my fake-it-til-you-make-it mentality for work. Don't get me wrong. I am always excited to go back to school, but it's only the beginning of August. I don't actually go back for a couple of more weeks. I would just like a little bit more downtime before the fast forward button is pressed. But, as we all know, the preparation starts long before the start of school. As an aside, I was thinking how funny it is when Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Spring Breaks all come, and 1-2 weeks seems like an eternity. Yet, when it's 1-2 weeks before the start of school, it feels like NOTHING! I guess that's relativity for you. Haha!

Anyway, as much or as little as we'd all like to think about it, it is time to think back-to-school. In fact, I know some of you are already there! I have done a little bit over the summer, but not nearly as much as I have the last few summers. Maybe it's because going into my fourth year of teaching as a seasoned veteran (bahahahaha), I am more guarded of that much-needed downtime.

My summer has been spent mostly focusing on my family. We had a 10-day vacation to see extended family in the New Orleans and Houston areas, and we coupled that with a few days on the beautiful white-sands beaches of the Emerald Coast in Florida. In between times, I have played tourist in my own city of San Antonio, visiting the Missions, seeing baseball games, touring museums, etc. It has been heavenly!

Now, I need to focus more on my classroom. I have another teaching assignment change this, although more minor than in year's past. I will still be fourth grade, but this year instead of being fully departmentalized, we will be teaming. I will be responsible for reading and writing, and my partner will teach math. We will both teach our own science and social studies. That itself is not much of a change since last year I was teaching writing and science/social studies. The biggest kicker is that my district is moving us to teaching reading by genre and pairing it with writing. Makes total sense! But, it is a change and something we all have to figure out. That has been my biggest challenge this summer... figuring out a structure for teaching reading by genre and gathering resources to do so.

Because I have been looking for resources, I am most grateful for the Teachers Pay Teachers site wide Back to School sale August 3-4!!!! I am also grateful to the Wise Guys for hosting a bomb-diggity linky party showcasing some awesome resources.

My Wish List is packed with resources, so I am ready to shop! If you are a TPTer, you know how awesome the sales are... most sellers put their stores on sale for 20% off, and TPT offers a Promo Code to get 10% more off, creating savings of up to 28%! So, fill up your Wish Lists and get ready to check out during the sale.

A word to the wise (and, unfortunately, I speak from experience here): don't forget to enter 
at checkout. Doh! How could I have done that?!?!

Need some ideas of what to shop for? For me, back-to-school is about setting the tone for year and making sure all the procedures are in place for each subject. Check out my Writing Workshop Teacher Toolbox for all the basic forms you need to get started in Writing Workshop. Included are Mentor Text Chart, Baseline Sample Analysis Form, What Are We Working On Form, I'm Ready for a Conference sign-up sheet, Conferencing Form, and Comments from the Reader slips.
Going along those lines of being prepared, make sure you have your Emergency Sub Plans for those unexpected days you have to be out. My emergency sub plans have been by-far my best-seller and have gotten lots of positive feedback from buyers.

I have two types: The Just Add Paper plans that little to no prep...just have a grade-appropriate picture book and paper available for your sub. These are in my store for grades K-5 and will save you added stress of needing something quick and easy to leave for your sub.

And I have the CCSS-aligned plans. These need slightly more prep. They are based on a specific picture book and come with ideas and printables for a day's worth of teaching. They are available for grades K-4.