Kirsten Wilson.2014. Powered by Blogger.

A Mouse in My House

Last week I had an unwelcomed visitor stop by my lovely home… I was sitting in my living room when I heard a scratching sound coming from my dryer. At first I thought it might have just been in my head because when I would walk over to the dryer, it would stop…E.V.E.R.Y.T.I.M.E.
This was very frustrating and which resorted to me army crawling on the floor silently to confirm there actually was a noise and I was not crazy ((a debate my family and I have been having for years)).
Sure enough, there was a noise and when I peered to the back of the dryer I saw a hole in the vent hose. And yes, I did just google “dryer-tubing-to-vent” to figure out that fancy name, don’t judge me!
Clearly, there was a MOUSE in my home, violating my privacy and so I did the most logical thing… I called my parents who are approximately 464 miles from me. Clearly, despite the miles they would know what to do! And that they did! They told me I should call my brother, who lives approximately 3 miles from me.
Reluctantly, Kevin came over and sealed the dryer and the vent and assured me that there was no way a mouse would have came in…despite the fact that my dryer vent cap outside had fallen off (yes…I googled that too). He said I was hearing things, and that the hole was probably just from general use.
Well friends at about 2:00 a.m. I got to meet Stewart Little face to face as he was in my BEDROOM…right near my BED!
Say hello to Stewart Little.
Below is my snapchat of the events immediately following our first meeting…clearly I needed evidence to prove to Kevin that I was right and he was wrong and there WAS a mouse in my house…duh. That’s what all big sisters do.
**video coming soon**
Well, suffice it to say it was hard falling back to sleep…then impossible to do once he was in my bed. Yup, you read that right… ::IN MY BED!::
The next day after work the lovely people of Home Depot helped me pick out a trap and he was captured soon after. While I feel this experience only added to my strong, independent-ness it was an experience I clearly would not like to ever experience again.

Moral of the story:

Friends, make sure this winter you have a vent camp.
Second moral of the story, always have photographic/video evidence to prove you are right.

Behavior Contract

Happy Monday friends! We had a surprise 3 day weekend because we thought Joaquin would be making an appearance in my city. Luckily he didn't and we still got a day off to watch Netflix and do laundry  do lots of lesson planning and grading. However, I paid for it today as my kids were cra-cra. It's amazing how one day off makes them forget how to act like human beings. There was a lot of reteaching behavior today to say the least.

It was also the start of a new PRIDE sheet. I'll explain my schools behavior management plan in another post;  today I'm going to explain my Behavior Contract. The idea actually came from my principal, and I must say in all honesty without sounding like a suck up or "Principals Pet" she always has really good ideas that leave me thinking why didn't I think of that?!

Anyway, I have a student who is having trouble following classroom and school rules. <<I know, I know...I''m sure none of you teacher friends of mine have this problem so just let me vent and you can give me the sympathetic head nod and reassuring look>>

He was not earning treasure box because of his behaviors during the week, and they were starting to escalate. Together we sat down and looked at his PRIDE chart ((post on that coming soon)) and made a list of the 3 things he seemed to have the most trouble with. Then, together we made up a list of choices he could do instead. Ironically, the "choices" were things I had already been doing... BUT he liked that HE came up with these "great new ideas" and so I just rolled with it and agreed I had wished I had come up with them myself!

I then typed it up to make it look all pretty and we both signed it. He keeps a copy in his desk and I keep a copy in his file. When he starts to show one of "those" behaviors, I give him my best surprised/sympathetic "oh-my-goodness-you-cant-do-that-because-we-both-signed-a-contract" look, and gently remind him to take out his contract and choose one of the the things he can do instead. It really has worked beautifully! It's amazing what can happen when you give students the illusion power of choice. <<I say illusion because at first he thought extra recess was the answer and I did my best, "well... I don't know if that's safe for you to go outside alone..." response. Teachers really are the best actors :)>>

This is something that was very simple and has been SO effective! I hope it can help you out if you ever encounter a student who is having trouble following school and classroom rules...but I'm sure I'm all alone on this one :-P

P.S. The example below is one I made up for my younger brother who is a gym teacher and football coach at the middle school in my city...if I'm being honest I could have made his contract REALLY long...

Class of ...

Even though I teach 2nd grade, I always encourage my students to think about their future. Every year during the first week of school I ask my students what they want to be when they grow up. I explain to them the importance of school in reaching their future goals and how the work we do in 2nd grade will help them get to where they want to be.

The first week of school I put my students in my college graduation cap and gown. They look so adorable as it is HUGE on their little bodies. I have them hold up a whiteboard so I can type what they want to be when they grow up. I then print them out and send them home and put them on my door with their high school graduation year. I don't want to brag but in the past I have had a Future Tooth Fairy AND Future Santa Clause :)

Here is a picture of my classroom door! Their whiteboard says Future___________

What do you do to encourage kids to be thinking about their future? I would love some more ideas!

I Teach 2nd! Conference

This summer I attended the I Teach 2nd! conference in Las Vegas. I was able to attend this amazing conference through the wonderful, generous donors on Donors Choose. If you ever have an opportunity to attend a conference, I would highly recommend attending this conference hosted by the Staff Development for Educators. Some conferences are ok, and you pick up a tip here or there so you don't count it as a total loss... this conference...A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.! Every session was FILLED with amazing ideas to implement in my classroom.

Some of my FAVORITE speakers? I'll go in the order of the sessions since they're all my favorite :)

Janiel Wagstaff
This was the first time I heard of Janiel Wastaff and I am SO glad I did! I LOVED her ideas for teaching writing and spelling. Especially her word chunking wall. Janiel has even wrote a book series called "Stella Writes" to show kids how to do informative, narrative and opinion writing. My friend Melissa won the books & poster set in Vegas at the conference. After checking them out and falling in love with them,  the rest of us 2nd grade teachers bought them to use in our classrooms. Click the link below to get your set! You'll love them!

Danny Brassell
Danny Brassell & I
Oh my word! If you haven't heard Danny Brassell speak you need to! And lucky for you can listen to his TED Talk here. I was only signed up for one of his sessions but decided to camp out all day in his sessions because he was so inspirational and after a hard year I needed some encouragement! One of the things he suggested doing was displaying pictures of the students families in the classroom, and as the parents showed participation they earned stars or points. So far, I have implemented Step 1: getting family photos up. Next, I will ease into having the students earn stickers for parent participation. They will earn stickers for things like, if their paren eats lunch with them at school, volunteers to chaperone for a field trip, or volunteers to read to the class. I'm thinking of other ways parents who work or are in school (and don't have as much availability) can earn stickers. My only regret was not buying his bundle pack of his talks. It came with 4 CDs with his 3 top talks, songs and book of songs. I didn't want to spend the money but I wish I did! I WILL be purchasing this in Vegas next year to listen to after the conference when I need a pick me up :)

My Fantastic Families Board

Hope King
Hope King & I
If you read teacher blogs or shop on Teachers Pay Teachers I'm sure you've heard of Hope King. She writes at Elementary Shenanigans. I attended her sessions on math strategies and setting the stage to engage. Hope always has the most cute and adorable ideas to get students excited about learning. She shared so many amazing tips & tricks to organizing math stations, and how to run and manage them effectively. Please check out her blog! She's been on Periscope lately and usually uploads them to her blog so you'll want to check those out too :)

I will be attending the conference again this summer! I cannot wait and have a countdown in my phone :) I hope that you'll be able to join me! You will not regret it and will definitely walk away with  new ways to enhance your teaching! In case you need more convincing, here's a few snaps of my amazing experience!