Monday, September 3, 2012


As teachers and moms, we naturally improvise and think outside the box throughout our day.  Doing so allows us to problem solve, to trouble-shoot, and to be productive, successful, and efficient.  My husband is brilliant when it comes to improvising and thinking creatively to repair, to build things, and to problem solve.

Right before school started, I was in search of a a chart paper and pocket chart stand.  In my Internet travels, I ran across how to make a pocket chart from a clothing/garment rack (on Pinterest- of course!).  I shared the idea with my husband who said that he would figure something out for me.  He made a trip to Lowe's and when I came home from my first day of in-service, this is what he had bought (I took the picture after I had started to decorate it):

He bought a wooden lattice frame that is used for growing tomatoes!  I used sticky tac to attach the border at the top.  He took metal hooks and screwed them into the top board on either side.  On this side, I hung my chart paper.  Clever!  It's unique, can fold out like an easel, be used on both sides, and then folds flat for easy storage!

Here's the back, which I am currently using to display posters with clothes pins:

I love it!  When I need to, I will hang my pocket chart on this side. I like that I can use the clothes pins to hang mini-posters and student work.  YAY!  for such practical improvising!

Speaking of improvising, our second grade teacher had to unexpectedly be out the first week of school. I taught the writing lessons all last week; I took an idea the teacher left and added to it to include brainstorming, collaboration, and Whole Brain Teaching. I taught them "Class? Yes!" and "Classity Class".  They loved it and responded so well on the first day of school!

The activity included having students write a "snap shot" of their summer and then decorate a camera template.  Using chart paper, I wrote questions such as "How would you describe your summer?" (with a mini-lesson on adjectives), "Where did you go on vacation?", "What was the best part of summer vacation?", and "What did you learn this summer?" I then gave students sticky notes and they wrote answers to the questions and placed on the appropriate piece of chart paper.

This got students up and moving around and they were able to gather even more ideas for their writing by reading what their friends had brainstormed.

The next day, they retrieved the sticky notes and began to write their summer snap shot writing.  They placed their sticky notes on their desk and got to work!

Students had fun reflecting on their summer and I was impressed with how much they had retained over the summer!  Here is a final product with their camera template decorated!

We all had fun listening to the authors share and recount their summers, and we learned a little about our friends!  Once again, I am reminded that sometimes my most successful teaching days are one those in which I have to improvise, take a risk, and try something new!

I had another opportunity to improvise last Friday, and I will share that next time!

Happy Labor Day!  Rest, have fun, and enjoy your day off!

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