A Work In Progress…

That phrase is overused these days.  I categorize it with other such phrases, including “It’s all good!”  “No worries!” and “It is what it is!”  But my room is quite literally a work in progress.

Hollywood revamp ’15 continues.  In addition to last post’s lanterns, we now haveim1.shutterfly-1

pom poms.  Those yellow poms are supposed to represent popcorn above the popcorn alphabet boxes.  Schoolgirl Style says you should have a focal point in your room, and since I’ve joined her cult, I did just that.  You can’t tell here, but there are actually two slightly different shades of yellow and two sizes.

Another part of the focal point is the double daisy in turquoise and red.  Last year I went pennant-crazy.  This time, daisies are the new black.


But I didn’t forget about the pennants…they got an update too.  Turquoise chevron?  Yes, please.  You can see more of the border in those red bins, just waiting…


My #Hollywood pennant and another double daisy – this time in red and yellow.  The red curtain got an upgrade.  The old one was a dollar store plastic tablecloth.  This time I went fancy and used real fabric.   It’s all in the details – that’s one of our cult’s mantras.


And one on the otherwise hideous bathroom door.  It says “Dressing Room.”  I toyed with “Way to Go!” because it’s where you go to GO, but I stayed classy, San Diego.  #anchormanreference


Those torn labels on the black and red bins are taunting me.  But I’ll wait until August to replace those.  Or so I tell myself.


It’s in the Bag

It’s supposed to go like this.  In late April, you’re thinking about wrapping up the school year.  There are field trips, field days, year-end concerts and presentations.  The bulletin board displays that will go up will most likely be the last ones of the year, because in June it’s time to clean up, put away and close up shop.

What am I doing, now that it’s late April?  Revamping my classroom decor.

I can’t help it.  Once the inspiration hits, it’s go for broke.  Sure, I could plan, purchase and create, and then put everything away until August.  But I’m too impatient.  I’ve gotta see how it will look NOW.

Melanie at Schoolgirl Style created a new and improved Hollywood collection (see a previous post) that has literally kept me up at night.  Can you say obsessed?


Once I purchased the collection, I’ve been downloading the adorable cutouts. I’ve even discovered high gloss photo paper.  Because Melanie says to, I am now adding turquoise, chevron and lanterns to my classroom, bit by bit.  By Friday it looked like this:


After this weekend’s shopping, the transformation will continue.  So yes, in late April, I’ll be putting up NEW paper and border and pennants (oh my!).

And, since one thing ALWAYS leads to another, I started thinking about organizing, and THAT leads me to today’s post; more specifically, the BAG of the post title.

My teacher hack of the day is using Ziploc bags.  They don’t necessarily need to be the zippering kind.  I use them for everything.  I use the gallon size most often, but love the quart and sandwich size too.  Here are just a few ways:

*Book baggies.  So much better than book boxes, IMHO.  They don’t tip over and take up much less space.  Why doesn’t everyone do this?  (Ah, the eternal question).

*Bags to take books home in.  Cheap and easily replaced.

*Art smock storage.  I started using them for this when there was a lice problem years ago.  Lice are gone, but the bags remain.

*Storage of items such as dice, playing cards, puzzles, game pieces – you name it.  Boxes break and take up way too much space.

*Spelling word storage.  I display weekly spelling words on index cards in pocket charts.  Each week’s set fits in a numbered sandwich baggie.  Then they go in a bigger baggie!

*Files.  Yes, all of my files are in heavy duty gallon size bags.  I could never get the hang of hanging file folders.  They’d always come off the side rails, papers would fall out and get lost in the bottom of the file drawer – a big ol’ mess.  Now each category is in a separate plastic bag, which I can easily label.  I like to put a different colored xerox paper in the front of each bag according to category.  For example, all of my math files have a yellow paper on top, which can be seen through the plastic bag.  Makes it easier for me to find what I need.

I usually ask for donations of baggies with our back to school lists, and find I have enough to see me through most of the year.   Still have plenty left!

I’m Alone in This…

and I’m okay with it.

Today is a gorgeous, early spring day, with temperatures in the low 60s – just my type of temp.  Any higher, like the mid-70s of yesterday, and on comes the a/c.  The sun is bright and inviting, and after this past winter, its call is surely answered by all normal people, who are out basking in its appearance.


Notice the choice of word NORMAL.  That should’ve tipped you off.

So no, I haven’t joined the spring revelers outside.  Not that I don’t appreciate it…I’m enjoying the breeze blowing and the sunlight streaming through the windows, as I sit here at my desktop computer.  But I’m spending this delightful day doing something that delights me.  Two things, actually – or three, if you count this blog, which I suppose you should.

NUMBER ONE:  I’m in the third week of a non-credit online course examining the later works of pioneer author Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Dutifully, each Sunday I log on, watch the video lectures by Pamela Hill Smith of  the Missouri State University.  I respond to the questions and prompts, and take (and ace, thank you very much) the little quizzes.  But since this is a study of her later books, it means I missed the first half of the course last semester.  What to do?  Watch all of the lectures which are available on youtube.  That’s taking care of a big chunk of this lovely Sunday afternoon, making it even lovelier.


This is Carrie, Mary (seated) and Laura.  Its date has been debated.  Many believe it was taken after Mary went blind; I join a dissenting group that feel a) photographers wouldn’t put a book in a BLIND girl’s hand for a photo; b) the girls look too young for the date most ascribe to the photo and c) there exists another photo of Baby Grace, clearly around a year of age, that seems to have the same background.  If that photo was taken at the same time as this, the girls are younger and Mary still has her sight.

Not that you asked.

NUMBER TWO:  I may be “wasting” the sweet spring weather by remaining inside today, but I’m not wasting any time just listening to the lectures.  Not when I can open another tab (or twelve) and begin exploring new looks for next year’s classroom.

Yeah, you read that right.  Next year.  Deal with it.

I’m not changing my entire Hollywood theme and decor – too much time and money have been spent!  But, like last year, I will add some flourishes, courtesy of my decorating go-to site, Schoolgirl Style.  I simply can’t resist, not when her brand new collection looks like this:


So, I’ll add lanterns and chevron and lots of turquoise to the existing red, black and yellow that currently dominates.  Because Mrs. Schoolgirl said I should.  I just have to decide what I want and where I want it.  That’s the fun part.

 And perhaps, when I’ve completed the video lectures and tired of dreaming about decor, I’ll wander outside for a walk.


It’s Not a Bad Word…

Did that get your attention??!! No, the word I’m referencing isn’t a swear word, or swear-adjacent.  But it is a word that sometimes has landed me in trouble.  Well, maybe not trouble exactly, but hot water on occasion.

The word is passion.

I recently attended a lecture on a subject about which I am most passionate.  Always have been, always will be.  The lecturer, whom I admire greatly and am always star-struck by on the few occasions where I’ve seen him, began his presentation by acknowledging – nay, celebrating – the fact that all in attendance were there because of their passions.  It was the second time that week that that word moved me.

The first time it was uttered by an administrator who was discussing a lesson she observed me teaching.  She said my passion was evident in all that she’s seen me do.  That comment meant the world to me, because I do pride myself on my passionate approach to my career.  Honestly, I know of no other way to teach other than with passion.

But not everyone appreciates passion.  Or maybe they don’t understand it.   When I did a quick Google search for its definition, the first one that popped up was “a strong and barely controllable emotion.”  Yup, that’s the passion that can be hard to take/handle/witness/put up with.  Because it’s BARELY controllable.  And sometimes, it spins out of control.  And those that don’t respect it, or comprehend it, will dismiss it.  Or worse.

A passionate person cannot contain this emotion.  It will always find a way to display itself and make itself known.  And the passionate person has to learn to put up with the people who don’t get it.  Because it’s not going away.

For the last two weeks, we’ve had a passionate person in our midst.  She returns to our second grade each year, to bring her passion for performance, dance and multi-cultural experiences to our students.  And every child is the beneficiary of her passion.  Teachers too.


The residency culminates in two performances, the first of which was today.  Here were are representing Canada and performing Les Saluts.

I know it’s a wonderful thing to be exposed to and surrounded by passionate people.  If you’re not one of those, I’m sorry.  You’re really missing out.

For me, it’s so many passions, so little time.  Here’s an obvious one – Shirley with a CANADIAN Mountie!


And here’s another.  Thank you, JF, for sharing this one with me.


Ironically, PASSION (as in the perfume) is not one of my passions.  But I will admit that in the ’80s I was dousing myself with the stuff.  #whatwasithinking  #wasanyonethinkinginthe80s


But boy, do passions exhaust me!  No wonder my bedtime’s always 9:00!