A Very Random Five for Friday

Friday, 24 July 2015

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching today for Five for Friday. Here's a quick (and very random) recap of my week!

I joined Periscope this week and am slightly addicted already. I've learned so much already from watching other teachers' scopes and am loving the sense of community on there. I already put my learning to use and spruced up my blog button using Amy Lemons' Periscope tutorial! So simple but it makes a huge difference! When I first joined I had no intentions of doing a scope, but I might do one eventually...maybe an outdoor one to share some of my island with other teachers. Well, once I get braver. Ha! Are you on Periscope? What do you think of it so far?

I am on vacation in the U.S. now! Here is an island picture taken from the airplane. I love the view from up in the air! I have been making trips to the U.S. each year since I was a kid and even though I love where I live, I always look forward to the time away. There is very limited shopping on my island, especially for teachers. No Walmart, no Target, no Dollar Tree, no IKEA... Do you want me to keep going? I have been drooling over pictures of other teacher's hauls on Instagram and on blogs for the last few months so I'm super excited to hit the stores! Hopefully, I will have some cute finds to share on Instagram and my blog soon!

Before I left for my vacation, I picked out some new glasses! Here is a picture of me trying them on at the clinic. I took a million and one selfies in different pairs to send to my sisters for a second opinion and this pair was the winner. I have not had a new pair of glasses in over 5 years since I wear contacts pretty much all the time. But it was long overdue. My old glasses were falling apart and the prescription was obviously super old. The style of glasses has changed so much in the past several years, so I'm going to have to get used to seeing myself in these. 

I saw this cute little area when I was getting my new glasses. Isn't that awesome? It's actually two bookshelves that are joined and painted to look like a book. There are some books on the shelves so I guess it's some sort of promotional thing from the nearby book store or possibly a donation area.

This is definitely the weirdest, most random thing you will ever see on this blog. My dad sent me a video last night of one of his friends boating to a nearby island with his goat. I took a screenshot of the video because it is just that unbelievable. A goat in a boat. Totally sounds like the next verse in "Down by the Bay." ;) And just in case you're wondering, yes, the goat was loving it!

Thanks for stopping by! Head back to Doodle Bugs Teaching to read more Five for Friday posts and join in on the fun!


Whole Group Super Improver Wall

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

I am linking up with Freebielicious to share an idea that I will be using in the upcoming school year. One of the areas I am always trying to improve in is classroom management, especially managing behavior. I love hearing about what other teachers do for behavior management and have to admit that sometimes I can get a bit carried away with new ideas. You know the teacher who sees an idea and says, "Oh my goodness, I'm gonna try that first thing tomorrow!" Yep, that's me. On the bright side, my enthusiasm for trying out new ideas has helped me to quickly learn what does and does not work for me.

My first year of teaching, I primarily used a clip chart and for that set of students, it worked really well. So I continued to use it my second year, but soon found myself wrestling with the public nature of it when students had to clip down. If you use a clip chart and are able to manage that aspect of it well, then kudos to you! :) I just had a hard time with it and realized it was time to say goodbye to my clip chart. Around the time that I got rid of my clip chart, I was starting to read up on Whole Brain Teaching and really liked the Super Improver Wall. I loved how it is all about goal setting and working towards meeting your specific goal. So I took the plunge. I set up a Super Improver Wall. And it worked great, at first. But soon it became hard to keep up with all the different goals (and I had a super small class!). I have read other blog posts about teachers with much larger classes doing the Super Improver Wall and I'm in awe of how they are able to keep up with it!
I knew I had to do something different, but I wasn't willing to give up on the Super Improver Wall just yet. One day, it hit me: Why not use it for whole group behavior management? We all have things that our classes need to work on - transitions, lining up, completing work on time, working quietly. I had just started using A Cupcake for the Teacher's Compliment Jar, so I combined the two. We set a class goal and each time I noticed the students working towards the goal, I added a star to the jar. When they reached 10 stars, it was time for a new goal and they moved up to Learner (the next level). I started this pretty late in the school year, so I unfortunately have no pictures of it, but I will definitely be using it this year with my new class. I will have to update this post when I have pictures. If you are considering using the Super Improver Wall for each student, I say go for it! But if you find the idea of keeping track of individual goals a little overwhelming, then I hope you'll consider using it whole group!

If you've stuck around to the end, thanks so much for reading! I hope you will find this idea helpful in your classroom. Be sure to head back to Freebielicious to read all of the other wonderful ideas!

All About Me

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Today, I'm linking up with the ladies of Freebielicious again for their Tell Us About You Tuesday linky. I always enjoy reading about other teachers and since this blog is super new, I thought it would be a good way for you all to get to know me better.

If you've read my past blog posts or follow me on Instagram, then you already know I live and teach in the Caribbean. I'm from the Cayman Islands and have lived there my whole life, with the exception of four years in North Carolina for college. I absolutely love my country, my island, the people, and the culture. There is no where else I would rather be!

This last picture was taken just steps away from my house. I feel truly blessed to live so close to the beach, even though I definitely don't take advantage of it as much as I should! 

One interesting fact about me is that I am a triplet! My two sisters, Staci and Suzanne, are my best friends and an awesome support system for me. I don't know what I would do without them! 

I also have an amazing boyfriend, Chase! He's from the Cayman Islands as well. (We actually grew up on the same island and went to high school together, but didn't become friends until I was in college.) We just celebrated four years together; I am truly blessed to have him in my life. He is super supportive of me and always puts up with my constant teacher talk and classroom projects. 

There are lots of reasons I love being a teacher and one of them is setting up and decorating my classroom each year! This school year will be my third year of teaching and my third time setting up in a different space. That's right, I've never stayed in the same room for more than one year. It can be exhausting moving, but the great thing about it is that it gives you the opportunity to try out new decor and set-up ideas. Here is a picture of me standing in the doorway of my classroom from last year: 

And since I know you're probably wondering, yes, I only had 10 students (which dropped to 9 soon after). The school I teach at has around 60 students total, so class sizes are super small. My first year, I only had 6 students! I will be welcoming 11 little sweeties into my class next month and I am so excited to set up my new, larger classroom! 

Thanks for sticking around and reading a little about me! I'm looking forward to browsing through the linky and reading all about the other teacher bloggers out there!

Must Have Monday and Monday Made It

Monday, 20 July 2015
Hey everyone! I was planning on linking up with Tara Eiken over at 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It, but then I saw that the ladies of Freebielicious were doing a linky too. So this is going to be one of those kill two birds with one stone posts. Is that allowed? I hope so. :) I'm still new to blogging so I might not have all the rules down just yet.

My must have classroom item is a teacher toolbox! For years, I've seen teacher toolboxes on Pinterest and really wanted one of my own. Organization does not come naturally to me and after I got rid of my teacher desk, I knew I needed a better way to organize my supplies. I finally ordered one from Amazon and labeled it using Learning in Wonderland's adorable labels. They are editable so I was able to customize the labels to fit my needs. I used mod podge to attach and seal the labels and I love how colorful they are. I've heard taping labels to the inside can cause them to look faded and the tape comes off easily. So far the mod podge is holding up, so I'm glad I went with that option. 

I am in love with how my teacher toolbox turned out and I know it will help me to stay organized this year. I think it's definitely a must have in the classroom for teachers who are looking for a way to organize supplies and have them at their fingertips! 

What do you think of teacher toolboxes? Do you use one in your classroom? 

Five for Friday!

Friday, 17 July 2015

Happy Friday! Today, I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for my first ever Five for Friday!

My dad's birthday was on Sunday. He lives on a nearby island for his work, so my family got together there this past weekend to spend some quality time together. While we were there, we took a walk on this beach. It's my favorite beach, so I always have to take a picture whenever I go there. And yes, the water is always that clear. :) We were short on time, so I didn't get to take a dip, but next time I will for sure!

One of my favorite things about growing up in the Caribbean is all of the island fruits. My grandparents live next door to me and have a bunch of fruit trees in their backyard. I spent many days there as a little girl picking and eating them straight from the trees. This week, I went over there and picked some guineps from one of their big guinep trees. Guineps are only ripe in the summer time, but they are worth the wait! They sort of look like limes, but once you crack the shell and open it, you can take out and eat the fruit inside. It has a large seed so you have to suck on it while biting the pulp from around the seed, but it's so good!

I created an Instagram for my blog a few days ago and am overwhelmed by the support it has gotten from people at home, college friends, and other teachers on Instagram. I only have 51 followers so far, but it's a start. If you are one of those people, thank you for following me! :) If you would like to become a follower, please click here!

This was the first picture I posted to my Instagram account this week. It's the view from my school! It's on a large bluff (like a cliff but flat on the top), so there's a great view of the Caribbean Sea from the windows in some of the rooms. I was in our office and staff room area when I took this picture, but I can see the water from the windows in my classroom as well.

This is another Instagram picture. Yesterday, I got my student work clothespins ready for the new school year. I made them last summer and my kiddos really loved them. They were so excited to put their work up on the wall with their own personalized clothespins! I was only able to reuse three from last year as the chalk marker was difficult to remove. Luckily, I had enough of the chalkboard circle tags left over and was able to replace the ones that couldn't be reused. I just removed the old tags, tied some ribbon on them and labeled them, then hot glued them to the clothespins. Such a simple but cute project and they look great with the scrapbook paper on the bulletin board!

Welcome to my blog!

Thursday, 16 July 2015
Well, hello! My name is Kristi and I teach Year 2 (also known as first grade) on a little island in the Caribbean. I have been stalking tons of teaching blogs for the past two years and am struck by how many amazing and dedicated teachers there are out there. You all inspire me every day and have inspired me to take the leap into the blogging world!

Through this blog, I hope to provide teachers with a different perspective and a glimpse into teaching outside of the U.S.A. I've noticed that most of the teacher bloggers out there are American and am excited to share my experiences teaching in the Caribbean. Most of all, I am looking forward to making connections with all of you wonderful teachers and growing to be the best teacher I can be. I hope you will join me on my journey!
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