Thursday, August 4, 2011

My Classroom!

This won't be a long blog post at all! I promised pictures of my classroom so here they are! It's not anything super extravagant, but I like it :-)

as stated in my previous blog, I LOVE color! You'll probably notice that in the pictures.

I have my standard mastery charts where students put a sticker up for each objective that they master. (Mastery means that they got at least 80% of the test questions right on that particular objective.) It's fun for the students to put up stickers and its an easy way to tell at a glance which objectives I need to reteach.

This year I will have a "Wall of Fame" where I will display exemplary student work. I decided to hot glue clothes pins to the wall so that I can easily hang student work without all the hassle of tape/glue etc...

You'll also notice my class "pet" Lizzy the Lizard (obviously named after my sister). I have had that lizard in my classroom in the past but this year I decided to use it to give students advice and reminders. For example, on test days, Lizzy might remind the students of some important test taking strategies. Or on a project week, Lizzy might remind them that the project is due on Friday. I think Lizzy the Lizard will be a fun way to handle reminders.

I look forward to adding more fun and exciting decorations to my classroom as the year progresses but for now, this is what I'm working with.

Tomorrow's the first day with students....wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ready or Not...Here They Come!

The students are coming! The students are coming!

Friday August 5th is the first day of school with students. I've spent the past week making Wal-Mart runs, setting up my classroom and trying to make it look fun and inviting. I used my typical color scheme...LOTS OF COLORS! I like for my classroom to be bright and cheery so the more colors the better :-) I have decided to color coordinate my classes. Everything 1st period is green, second is pink, third is purple, fourth is red and fifth is blue. (Told you I like lots of color!)

I will post pictures of my room very soon (there are a few finishing touches I need to add. Our school's lamanating machine is down and thus I have not been able to lamanate some posters that I will be hanging on the walls).

My fun, bright and cheerful classroom did not come cheap though! I had to spend a lot of money out of my pocket this year in order to get just the essentials for my classroom. I needed to buy lots of things to decorate with as well as things that I will need everyday such as pens, clipboards, paperclips etc... I also spent a good deal of money on buying supplies for my students. In the past I have had many students come to school without any supplies. I always try to keep extra notebooks, pencils, notebook paper and binders on hand so that I can help students who are unable to get supplies. Afterall, a student cannot be successful without the proper school supplies. I also bought a class set of markers, crayons, and conctruction paper because I try to make my class and fun and interactive as possible. Oh and did I mention that I'm a science teacher so I have and will continue to buy items to use in labs!

Even though I have spent a lot of money on my classroom I am glad that I am able to do it. School gets a bad and boring reputation these days and it is my mission to make learning as fun and painless as possible while still teaching the kids everything they need to know to be successful. I cannot make learning fun without spending money on the supplies that make fun happen. It does make you think though... in order to be a good teacher, teachers must spend money on essential school supplies. Yet, teachers are among the lowest paid professionals. Should we really have to front hundreds of dollars out of our already low pay checks? Some schools do give "classroom spending money" to teachers but a lot of that has dwindled due to budget cuts.

If you are a parent or just a caring person, the next time you encounter a teacher (even if he/she doesn't teach your child) ask if they need anything? It's amazing how small contributions can put a smile on our faces! 1 box of tissues or 1 bottle of hand sanitizer is a WONDERFUL gift that will definitely be used!

As a teacher, I will continue to spend the money on my classroom because I want my students to have the best school experience possible. However, not all teachers are able to afford to spend this money. Is it fair that their students suffer?

I found a newscast about how much money teachers spend on their classrooms. Take a peek :-)
Teachers cover cost of extra school supplies - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

After all the spending, decorating, cutting, coloring, hot glueing and color coordinating I am excited and ready for this new batch of students! Let's hope they are as excited as I am :-)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Southern Hospitality

I am currently waiting for my flight to Greenville, SC. This flight was delayed by about 2 hours so thank goodness I brought my favorite reading material... Southern Living magazine! As I was reading to pass the time, I encountered an article about the people involved in the terrible Alabama tornados. The article contained the following quote "as southerners we know that... There is no hurt in this world, even in the storm of the century, that cannot be comforted with a casserole". It also went into more serious detail about how faith cannot be knocked down. I read the casserole line and smiled! Only in the south do folks help heal others with casseroles. Whenever there is a death in the family or when bad times are upon you, your southern friends will be there with a casserole and a hug. This is just one of many reasons why I love the south. Everyone is friendly and hospitable and they truly care about their neighbors. When I think of the true small town, old school south I think of my Glenn Springs,SC. This is the town where my grandparents lived during my childhood. This town doesn't even have 1 stoplight! (it does have 1 intersection that has a constant flashing yellow caution light but That's it!) All of my memories of Glenn Springs involve family, friends, food and fellowship. I have been there during celebrations such as weddings andfamily reunions and I've been there for funerals too. However, one thing is always constant no matter the mood.the food! It's amazing how chicken pot pie and macaroni and cheese can bring people together! If you're ever near upstate South Carolina I encourage you to explore Glenn Springs. There is something to be said for the folks that live there and in every other small southern town! Their friendliness is unrivaled and they really do show that they care with casseroles!

Friday, July 15, 2011

jing, pandora and

Jing is a program that you can download for free. It makes it easy to record videos and screen shots of your computer screen. I really liked using jing. It was fairly easy. The only thing I had trouble with was figuring out how to get the url for my jing movies. However, once I figured out how to use, I was good to go. This would definitely come in handy for use in a school. If someone needed help fixing their computer or using the online grade book this would be a great tool. Here is my jing movie.

I love Pandora! I listen to it on my phone while I'm doing chores, I listen to it by the pool and I use it in my classroom to play music during certain tasks.The Motown station has become one of my favorites because it plays lots of upbeat and happy songs.  Here is a screenshot of what pandora looks like. is a place full of fun games. I had never been to this site before but now that I know it exists I will return :-) I like how there are so many games that you can paly for free. I chose to play super mario brothers because like any child of the 80's it used to be my favorite game! I use to spend hours and hours playing that game on my nintendo. I played on and it turns out I am not neraly as good as I used to be! Here is a screen shot of me playing on

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Positivity :-)

Positivity is what keeps me going in life (well, that and upbeat music). Everyone has bad days and everyone is going to encounter some obstacles at some point. However, it is how you handle these bad days and obstacles that determines your character. Now, I am by NO MEANS perfect at this whole always look on the bright side/positivity thing but if there is one thing I have learned in my short time on this planet it's that whining and complaining is not going to help any circumstance. You are better off looking at everything with a positive attitude, even the bad stuff. For example, it really stinks that my husband is deployed this year, but on the positive side, this deployment has truly made me cherish our time together even more so than I ever did before. I am positive that this deployment is strengthening our marriage.

I have chosen to embed this youtube video because this little girl is the most positive person I've ever seen. If you're ever having a bad day, try doing what she does and remind yourself that there ARE great things in your life. If nothing else, it will make you smile.

I really enjoy using youtube for many different reasons. I go to youtube to find videos that make me laugh. I have also used youtube to find clips of "Bill Nye the Science Guy" and other educational videos to show my students. Since CMCSS blocks youtube, I guess I won't be able to do that anymore. I think youtube is a great resource but because there are bad things on it too, it is not appropriate for student use in school.

Ok, just for the heck of it, I'm going to embed one more video. This video shows students from my alma mater, Furman University (otherwise known as FU - yes, they use that as a play on words often). Furman is a liberal arts school in Greenville, SC. The students there organized a flash mob in the public park in downtown Greenville. This is one of those videos that ALWAYS brings a smile to my face so in the name of positivity, I'm posting it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

More About Me (and my current graduate work)

As stated in my previous post (and as made obvious by my url address) I am a teacher. I did not always know I wanted to be a teacher. My undergraduate degree is in communication studies! I thought I was going to be the next Katie Couric or Meredith Veira. But, my senior year of college I was introduced to the program Teach For America. Teach For America is a two year program that takes college graduates who show great leadership skills. They believe that those who are great leaders (and are motivated to help others) will be great teachers. Teach For America places their accepted members into low income schools who are in great need of excellent teachers. My mom was a teacher in a low income school for most of her life. She loved her job and cared so much about her students. I guess the apple didn't fall to far from the tree because I felt called to Teach For America's mission. I applied, got accepted and became 2007 Teach For America corps member. I was placed at a middle school in rural North Carolina where I taught 8th grade science. I truly enjoyed my two years as a corps member and decided to stay on and teach for a third year at my placement school. After my third year of teaching, I decided that I wanted to continue working in education for my career.

I had to leave my original school because the army relocated my husband. His new assignment brought us to Tennesee. I was recently hired at a middle school here in TN where I will continue to teach science. Because I know I want to be in education, I decided this past January to pursue a masters degree in Educational Leadership. I love teaching but because of my strong leadership skills (or what my sister refers to as my "bossy nature") I definitely want to become an administrator of a school some day. This masters degree will give me the knowledge and certification I need to fulfill my goal of becoming a principal or assistant principal. This masters program is definitely keeping me busy but I'm learning a lot.

For more information about Teach For America please visit their website:

Hello blogosphere!

My name is Meredith and I am a true southerner! I grew up in the south, went to college in the south, and I now teach school in the south. I am very proud of my husband who curently serves in the US army. I take my role as both teacher and army wife seriously! Within both of these roles a postive attitude definiely comes in handy! By day, I try my best to inspire young minds and let them know that hard work is the key to success. By night (and on the weekends) I try to stay positive and offer support to the other army wives that surround me. Many of our husbands are deployed over seas this year. Because of this, we need all the support and positivity we can get! It's not always easy, but at the end of the day, I love my life (and all of the stress that comes with it).

I recently read this article and thought it was very well written. I also love that it was written by another teacher and military wife :-)

I definitely relate to the woman who wrote the article above. It is very hard to understand what military life is like if you are not involved with the military. I would love to hear others' thoughts on this article and how they feel that they relate to and understand military life. I just married into the military lifestyle a year ago and I definitely did NOT know what I was getting in to. At first I hated it! I didn't like to be told what to do, where to go and when! But, now that I've gotten used to it, I really enjoy the military lifestyle (for the most part). Crazy right???  YES, this deployment stinks, YES, I miss my husband terribly and NO, I'm not too fond of moving around all the time but the bonds and friendships that I have formed with the other army wives during this deployment are so strong. I am thankful for being put into a situation to become so close with so many other strong and supportive women.

I hope to use this blog as a way to keep you posted about what's happening in my classroom, how the army wives and me are dealing with the current deployment and keep you updated about interesting articles and internet finds.