Saturday, August 11, 2012

George Washington Teacher Institute

I had the privilege to attend the George Washington Teacher Institute this summer at Mount Vernon. It a week-long program in which you stay on the grounds at Mount Vernon and learn about all things George Washington. We did all sorts of fun things like tour the mansion, meet Mrs. Washington, travel to the gristmill and distillery, as well as, walk around the grounds to see everything they have to offer there. If you have never been, I highly recommend it! It is such a neat experience, especially the teacher institute. I even got up early enough to see the sunrise over the Potomac River.

I tried to choose 5 things that I learned about that I would want to share with my colleagues and class. So, here they are:

1. George Washington had so many different jobs! He was a surveyor, farmer, president, general, owned a distillery and gristmill, as well as cared for his family and country!

2. He was quite the inventor! He constructed a 16-sided barn to aid in the process of threshing grain. It is a sight to see for sure!

3. Anyone who knows me, knows that I LOVE all things chocolate. Well, chocolate was apart of the Washington's life as well. We learned the process of how chocolate was made then, as well as having a taste test. (It was prepared much differently then.) I think I will turn this into a chocolate unit with my kids this year! Anyone have any great chocolate lessons? I think I will include a chocolate tasting party with a variety of different chocolates.

4. Math! Math is everywhere at Mount Vernon! I can tie in the 16-sided barn, the layout of the mansion, the fact that he was a surveyor, the crop rotation schedule, etc.

5. Martha Washington! She is one of my favorite women of history. She played such a role in the formation of our country. I want to bring her alive to my students! I especially respect all of the hardships that she lived through including the death of all of her children, as well as her husband.

So, as you can see, Mount Vernon has so much to offer! I just loved my time spent there.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Classroom Progress in Pictures

I have been working on my room for a couple of weeks now. We start school a week from today! Summer goes by way too fast. Here are some pictures of my progress. I still have a few finishing touches to do.

Here is the view from my door:

I have student desks placed in groups of 7-8. This is my favorite desk arrangement. It makes my room feel like we have more space than when they are all spread out or in small groups of 4-5.

I also added bulletin boards (outlines anyway) on the back wall for each subject area to put my anchor charts on.

Here is my take on the Boggle board I have seen all over Pinterest:

I used the "Dots on Turquoise" line of letters and shapes. I got the printable alphabet from: Mrs. Rojas Teaches.

Here is picture of my whiteboard I added a pennant banner to, my "Brownie Points" pan (I found here), and a first day of 5th grade frame the kids are going to hold for a picture I take of them.

This is just a cart that another teacher was throwing out. I put some scrapbook paper on top and in the drawers to pretty it up a bit. I will use it to store the Boggle letters, brownie pieces, notebooks and such. (Please excuse the trash.)

Classroom Library and Cafe bulletin board:

Another library picture:

 You can read more about my classroom library here.

Here you can see my library, storage, station materials, word wall, and construction paper.

Well, that is all I have done so far. I hope that the kids like it. I just love this part of back-to-school! I have really enjoyed seeing everyone else's photos on their blogs of their classrooms. I always get great ideas!