Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Child Grows Up

Last night I looked out the window and saw my man-child 
walking away from our house. 
He was with a friend that he met this summer
during school-related fun runs.

He looked so confident.

In August he will enter high school as a freshman. It helps me to know that he has
already made friends with kids that are not in his grade. 

This is the boy who used to be shy (and can still be), but now he knows how
to interact appropriately with people of all ages without my assistance.

My heart swells.

Is this was parenting an older child is??
     --Wondering at where the time has gone.
     --Marveling at the person he is becoming.
     --Feeling joy that I have the opportunity to know this person.

Even as much as he is growing up, I still love
watching him play with his brother and dad. That keeps us both young.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My Career

What is my favorite thing about my career?

Who can choose just one? Going with my top ten.

10. Summer vacation

9. Christmas vacation

8. Spring Break

7. Hugs from my first graders (present and past)

6. Creating reading comprehension units

5. Using colorful pens

4. A fancy planner

3. Friends (near and far) that share ideas, and their creations

2. Cards and letters written to me by my students

1. The first and last days of the school year

I love the first day of school for all the hopes and dreams and plans that I have. The promise of new things learned.

I love the last day of school for the memories and reflections and all things learned. 

What is your favorite thing about your career?

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My College Years

Share a story from my college years.

Well, let's see if I can remember a story from that long ago. It has been 20 years!! Where did that time go? Wedding. Two children. Four jobs for me. One job for my husband. Two houses.

Back to a story...

A funny story--I was an RA my sophomore year.  One activity that we had was a sleep over at our mod parent's house. We got bored with the movie, so we went back to the dorm, grabbed some toilet paper and TPed the boys dorm. I was the leader. I led my girls down this path. I felt very guilty about it. Now I feel better because I have confessed.

A scary story--as a junior I needed to drive 30 miles to another town to take some classes. My car was a bit old (and this was before car phones) and stranded me twice on the Interstate. Since I HAD to get to class, I accepted a ride from strangers on both occasions. They dropped me off at my class and I got a ride back with another person from my town. I do not recommend accepting a ride from strangers.

A sentimental story--I student taught in a first grade class. I loved those kids and pretended that I was the only teacher. On the last day, they made me a wonderful book (a shared reading and writing lesson with a BIG purpose). I cried a lot.

I may not remember all the details, but I do remember how I felt: guilty, scared and loved. 

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Celebrations in My Room

Day Nineteen and the Big Time Blogging Challenge

What holiday do I enjoy most celebrating with my students?

These past three years have been challenging, rewarding and full of celebrations. Each year the celebrations were different. Only one was consistent.


I love celebrating birthdays! My birthday, the people in my family, my friends, my students.

Growing old is not a right. It is a privilege that not everyone gets and needs to be celebrated.

And at least once a year I want to feel like the sun really does revolve around me (and maybe some other grown ups and kids do also), so having a birthday celebration is a MUST.

Here's what we did last year (it has evolved a bit):

**We all joined at the front of the class, with the birthday child sitting in the middle on a chair.

**In our best singing voices we sing a sweet birthday song called On the Day You Were Born by Red Grammer, from the album Hello World! The song seriously brings tears to my eyes.

**The kids head to their seats and work on birthday cards. I use this fun printable from Christina Bainbridge. Birthday Book While they work I play the whole Hello World! album. They love singing along and they sound so lovely! 

**The birthday child passes out the treats.

**After every one has been served, the birthday kid has the first bite, and then we can all enjoy the treat.

**When all the birthday cards are written and colored, I put them into a keepsake book for the birthday child to take home. (A really fun cover comes with the PDF from Mrs. Bainbridge.)

That's it! A fun 1/2 hour. Now, I'm off to read what other celebrations my friends have written about.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

My Must-Haves

Day Eighteen and another prompt from Michelle with the Big Time Blogging Challenge. What are my teaching must-haves that I buy before the school year begins?

I love this! School supplies make me so happy. If I had a different salary, I would buy A LOT of school supplies. For me at home and for at school. 

What do I love: binders, page protectors, pens, markers, paper, laminating sheets. There's more, but that is enough for now. 

What do I make sure to have before school?

1. New pens. Last summer I learned about Frixion pens (great for writing in my plan book) and Papermate Profile pens (such a smooth writing instrument, great for everyday writing).

2. Specially decorated composition notebook that holds notes from book studies or fancy meetings (not faculty meetings), plans, ideas, thoughts, etc. I make sure to put contact paper over it to make it really nice. 

3. A plan book. Last summer I got an Erin Condren Teacher Planner and LOVED it. What I used (besides the weekly planning boxes) were the checklists at the back (great for getting ready for report cards and recording who brought back their reading homework), graph paper to put on seating charts, the year-at-a-glance planning pages. Even Mrs. Jones got one. We loved it so much, that we got another one for this coming year. I figure, I could buy a cute one from TpT, but then I have to print it (in color) and have it bound, so this is cost (and time) effective to me.

What teacher necessities do you make sure are at the ready when school begins? What am I leaving out?

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Classroom Management and Tuesday

Day Seventeen and The Big Time Blogging Challenge. Today is Classroom Management Strategy.

I have two things to say about classroom management: 1. create a safe, and loving environment; 2. build relationships with ALL of the students and continue throughout the entire year.

Since I don't have much to say about classroom management, I am going to share some photos from Tuesday.

My friends and I agreed that we would go out to eat sometime this summer and maybe shop afterward. Usually that means a 30 mile drive to Wichita.

But we ended up road tripping all the way to Oklahoma City (180 miles south). Wonder why? Because there was a cool restaurant that we wanted to try out.

It is called Kitchen no. 324 and is a farm to plate concept.

I drove. Even downtown. And parked downtown. Not a big deal to some, but to me it was.

I really wanted to take photos in the restaurant, but it was too fancy and the people around us were so professional. I kind of felt like an imposter. What was a first grade teacher from rural Kansas doing in this place???

Two professional ladies with a company credit card on one side and two art guys on the other.

My salmon was delicious, and I tried brussel sprouts for the first time. Yummy.

Know what a cronut is? We got this restaurant's version. A Joenut. 

Apparently Mrs. Jones thought it was funny how I was eating this Joenut.

Next stop... A Lakeshore store! I wasn't that impressed when we walked in (and I might have said so), but by the time I had gone 1/4 through the store, I had changed my tune.

My focus was to find a pocket chart 100 chart. I have big plans for number sense and this is a necessary item. Found it. And a few other very important items.

4 posters,  an alphabet line, a new calendar set, 2 magna doodle type "toys," and a abacus (or Rekenrek).

Next time we go back we think we will stay overnight. And hopefully I can meet some of my Oklahoma bloggy friends. 

If you want more classroom management ideas, head over to Michelle's blog, Big Time Literacy and see what my friends have to say.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

More Favorites

Day 16 of the Big Time Literacy Blogging Challenge. The topic today is favorite movies or tv shows.

This can change as quickly as the weather. So, currently...

Favorite movie from childhood (and I still love it) is The Sound of Music. I could play any part. I can sing all the songs. My sister, mom and watched it a lot. And then when DVDs came out--now we can watch it any time we want.

Favorite movies recently are Safe Haven, Breaking Dawn and Thor 2.

Not quite sure what these movies say about me, but I'm sure someone could figure that out.

As for tv. I will just list what I currently like to watch/DVR: Scandal (binged on this series in June, so much that I felt like I was living it), HGTV (shows that are home related--renovation or buying), and  Friends.

There are a few more, but I'm not sure I want to divulge that information here. Maybe if we meet in person...

So, Thanks again Michelle for hosting this challenge. See you all tomorrow!!

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