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Soul: Striving for Simplicity

18 Jul

It is a blessing to have. To have shelter. To have the things needed for day-to-day life. To have the stuff that makes up life.  Sometimes I envy the carefree and simple life of creatures.

Carry_out_at__Chipotle_

They don’t have anything to carry around. They come and go as they please, picking up what they need as they go on. No stuff  to worry about. Just the usual grind of survival and fending off bully grackles.

I am carrying on with my task of organizing classroom materials. It is a little disconcerting today because when I look out into my living room, there is very little walking space. Just a small path between the boxes that create a maze from the walls to the middle of the room, or at least close. I keep telling myself there is reason to the piles. I have even finished the science materials. I am half way through the math. There is just so much.

Stuff Stuff2

To add insult to injury, throughout the school year not only have I allowed my classroom materials to get into disarray, but my home has suffered the same if not a worse fate. I just spent half a day looking for a medical report I knew I had but couldn’t find. In the end I prevailed, and now as a result I have “purged” the stacks of papers on my desk and moved them into the file cabinet. Something that has been needed for quite some time.

I think that is the key as I read pins on Pinterest and books, blogs and articles on organization. We need to purge. Not only physically purge, but internally as well. As we discard the old remnants of previous projects, bills, even lives in a sense, we remove them from our minds as well. I can not help but think of the “scandisk” function it seemed to be necessary to perform on computers from time to time to optimize performance. I am realizing how it translates into stuff both internal and external.

So I will carry on with the purging and reconfiguring in the hopes that soon I will have an efficient, attractive, accessible end product that will make all this drudgery worth it. I hope that this will be the year I am organized and can keep it that way and next year will be the year to play and enjoy life!

Like the little bird, adventures await, even if it means fending off a grackle or too.

by  Dinkum

by Dinkum

Body: Got wheels?

29 Nov

After lugging rocks for the Earth Science Unit, reams of paper for foldables, Teaching Editions for lesson planning, and much, much more on a daily basis, my little foldable crate collapsed before I made it to my classroom one day.

Office Depot® Brand Mobile

http://www.officedepot.com/catalog/search.do?Ntt=foldable+crate&orgNtt=foldable+crate&matchmode=matchallany&fkey=mfJDZOSFvh45rbPt6fA5SfM&Ntk=all

I had gotten my collapsible crate on special during the summer thinking it was sturdy enough to handle the job. Before we made it to lugging the pumpkin for pumpkin studies in October, the little plastic pin supporting the bottom flap of the collapsible carte broke. After trying unsuccessfully to find a way to rig the crate so I could still use it as a lightweight carrier, I laid it to rest with my recycling.

I’ve been in search for a replacement. After years of sporting back packs,  teacher bags (sometimes 3 per shoulder),  and at one time even one of those collapsible metallic grocery carts (untill the joints gave out and it would no longer keep its shape when loaded with objects) I started having back trouble last year. It became clear to me that I needed to be smarter about how I transported the “peripherals” for my lessons. Hence the search begins for the new best set of wheels to cart materials to the classroom.

I observed one of my peers has graduated to an actual cart. Taking into consideration that most crates on wheels will probably have a similar construction as the one pictured above, the platform cart actually makes a lot of sense. The small platform makes it possible to arrange boxes and bags of materials, and there is no crate to wear out. A small dolly such as this is made to handle more weight. While the durability is a big plus, the portability and the comfort of a box construction to keep things from rolling away is lost. Were it not for the hefty price, the durability and possibility of sustaining heavier cargo with less slippage would make this my first choice.

Rubbermaid Convertible Utility CartPlatform Truck BlackRed

http://www.officedepot.com/catalog/search.do?fkey=mfJDZOSFvh45rbPt6fA5SfM&Ntt=cart

Another one of the options I considered was the following cart:

Smart Cart Expandable Wheeled Carrying Case

http://www.amazon.com/dbest-01-018-Smart-Cart-BLACK/dp/B004BKK0Y6/ref=wl_it_dp_o_npd?ie=UTF8&coliid=I1IFO0WOH4I498&colid=1EK43I7PB1T7R

I like the fabric because then there would not be the issue with the plastic supporting pins. In addition, the cart looks collapsible. The problem here is that the cart does not seem sturdy enough to allow stacking given that the size is not generous.

Right now, I’m leaning towards the following option:

I like the flexibility this upright dolly offers. There is still the possibility of objects sliding out. At the same time, this dolly is versatile enough to allow stacking and moving plastic tubs back into the classroom after summer; carrying textbooks at the beginning of the school year when it is time to check out materials; and lugging miscellaneous objects in between. If there is only a heavy book bag or two, they could probably be strapped on with bungee cords. The protection from the rain that the collapsible cart offers is lost. What is not lost is the foldability as well as the affordability of the dolly.
Until classroom materials such as rocks, pumpkins and reams of paper fit nicely onto a flash drive or some other such device of the future, being proactive about protecting the back and shoulders will remain a priority. And as long as we use realia and hands-on lessons to help our students learn, we will be in dire need of an efficient, durable, reasonably priced, and preferably pretty means of packing and transporting all that stuff.

Teacher Mind….

26 Nov

What are some fun ways to help kindergarten students learn letter names and letter sounds in small group?

Ways we practice include matching letters (cards or magnetic) to their name or a friend’s name; fishing for magnetic letters; letter name or sound bingo; contests to see who can find a letter first on a chart, in a pile of letters, or in a text; or sounding out how to write the words in a sentence.

When these methods do not result in a dramatic increase in letter name/sound knowledge, it must be time to find some new  ideas. Any suggestions?