Friday, January 31, 2014

Five for Friday (January 31, 2014)

Hello weekend. I love that we have a standing date.

I had a great week and I am looking forward to sharing about it. My student teacher (Miss Janzen) started on Monday, and wow, we are getting some work done! These next 6 weeks are going to be lovely.

Without further adieu, here are my five random happenings.

Wednesday was Kansas Day. We had sugar cookies, frosting and chocolate chips brought in. The kids loved frosting their cookie and decorating it with the chocolate chips--our version of a sunflower (the Kansas state flower). They also loved eating them.

For the past two weeks, I have been training three kids for 20 minutes a day in Bal-a-vis-X. Next week we will start with the whole class. When I started, I thought, "what have I gotten myself into?!!??!"

It was so hard. But after these two weeks, I am glad I stuck it out and I am excited for what improvements I will see with my whole class.

I have been keeping a secret for several weeks. Finally today I am telling, because I cannot hold it in any longer.

My students are becoming people who sew (sewers?). Yep, all 20 of them love to sew! I bought bags and bags of plastic canvas shapes, and they sew with yarn. They do it during recess, some of them do it during class, and they all love it.

Seriously, at the beginning, only a few understood about the up, down, repeat process. Now, I think all of them get it. And their projects are becoming nicer to look at.

This week has been really good, because both Miss Janzen and I can get the knots tied, and needles threaded (wrapped with tape).

All smiles.

Yesterday at recess (inside because it was 20 degrees outside), I saw a group of students, in a circle, in a corner, having a grand time. They have established a "sewing club," my husband calls it the "first grade sewing circle." Whatever you call it, it is something to cherish. The club is not exclusive. It is inclusive. Every one has been in it at one time or another.

When we started sewing, I was not allowed to share about it. The kids wanted to keep it a surprise for their parents, they were creating presents. I questioned the "sewing club" today, and all their parents know about it, so, all bets are off. I'm telling also!

I have a plan for next week. To beef up our sewing. Perhaps I will have more pictures to show in one week.

Organization has been my focus in writing this week. And I was getting bored with our topics. What to do about that?

Create art. And write about it. 

Today I taught Miss Janzen about Art Projects for Kids. A directed drawing of a castle in the morning. And a time to write the story in the afternoon. So proud of what they created (both the pictures and the words).

One more picture. This one got facebook time. It is from today's recess.

Thanks Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting another week of Five for Friday!

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Five for Friday (Personal Day Edition)

Having a special day to anticipate, plan for, and then enjoy is just what happened for me yesterday.

Thanks Kacey for continuing this wonderful linky party! My good friend shared this special day with me. Here is what we did...

First stop--Kohl's. I found a great deal on a comforter for my basement. I needed something warm to be under while I watch tv (and take naps before I go to bed).

Also found some shoes. I go through a pair of tennis shoes every year, because I wear them almost every day. Love these new ones. My friend got some shoes also (see her feet in the background?).

Lunch. Cannot have a day out without a slow lunch where someone (a waitress) waits on me. Bringing me more napkins and refills on Dr. Pepper. It was wonderful. I sat on the sunny side, and by the time we were leaving, we both had sun, and the restaurant's name was shining on our table. It was pretty neat.

More shopping. On to Hobby Lobby. Only one aisle of Valentine's Day goodies.

I asked for help from an employee, and once he learned that I teach first grade he went on and on about how I really deserved a larger salary than I got. That I should probably get what a professional ball player makes. He was so serious I thought he might supplement my paycheck right there. 

And why did I not post this last night?

Because I was busy trying out my new comforter while my family watched Ocean's Twelve. I was snoozing away by 8 pm. So lovely. It's big enough for all of us to snuggle under together. In fact, I have to be careful right now, because I am under said comforter and if I'm not diligent I may fall asleep again!

I hope you all have an opportunity to have a day with your friend doing things that you enjoy and that rejuvenate you. It's hard work planning on being away. But yesterday was worth it.

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Friday, January 17, 2014

Two for Friday (1-17-14 Edition)

I had a lot of good intentions today.

I had my photo list set and ready. You know, the photos that I wanted to take to document my day.

But somehow my day got away from me.

It was a PD day.

Ane then in the evening I started a weekend class. It goes Friday night, all day Saturday (8:30 am to 6 pm) and again on Sunday (8 am to 1 pm). 

So all I have are two pictures. It will just have to do.

How do I like to begin a day? With a cheap, sugared coffee from the local convenience store.

My weekend class is called Bal-a-Vis-X. It was amazing tonight. It's about balance, vision, rhythm, and academic success. It was brain draining, but so worth it. I must go to sleep right now, so that I am rested. Because the presenter is very stern and I do not want to be called out for talking or misbehaving!!

Head over to Doodle Bugs Teaching and read the blogs that actually found FIVE things to showcase. I'll be back with five on another Friday.
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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Kids Say the Darndest Things Part 2

Another good one today. Apparently these first graders have forgotten what they learned last year about MLK Jr.

Today I was reading a wonderful picture book to them.

I mostly read straight through the book. But toward the end, I stopped. And tried to help them understand the injustice.

To illustrate my point I gave this example...

"It's like me saying the boys can't go out to recess today, because they are boys and I don't think they should have recess."

Well, before I could say my next statement a sweet, little girl had this to say...


And all of the boys were speechless.

Then she put her hands on her hips. stamped her foot and said this--"well, if you are not letting the boys go out, I don't even care, I will stay here with the boys!" 

Cheers from the girls. Applause from the boys.

And me--looking like a horrible teacher, because I just said that the boys couldn't have recess.

Thankfully we got it all worked out, but our hearts were racing after that.

What will next week bring?

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Five for Friday (January 10, 2014 edition)

Helloooooo Friday night! So glad to be seeing you again!!

I wish I could say that I have a lazy weekend planned, but I do not. I wish I could say that I will have as much time as I want to get prepared for next week, but I do not. 

But what I do have I will be joyful with and thankful for.

Time to blab about some randomness.

Hop on over to Doodle Bugs Teaching and  read what randomness my friends are sharing. After you read mine, of course.

1. Today was "send report cards home" day. I wasn't stressed, because I worked really hard in December and had them all assessed, recorded, and entered. They got printed on Monday and stuffed then. All I had to do today was make sure the correct child got the correct envelope. 

The morning message was a silly extension of it. But it was a learning opportunity in every case.

2. I surprised my kids with a game of Mind Soccer. It is a Whole Brain Teaching game. Boys Versus Girls. (Notice the appropriate use of the word versus.) They were tied at 2 each. I may have asked some questions that were not exactly easy to answer, like "What is Mr. Bartel's favorite color?" It was fun to watch them squirm, but it was all in good fun, and they were so sad when we had to stop for lunch.

One of the best parts was they had to answer the question with a complete sentence, if not, they were incorrect and the other team got to steal.

Know what? These first graders, every, single, one, can answer a question with a complete sentence. :)

3. We (the staff) got cake for lunch. A wonderful lady is leaving our school, after many years of assisting teachers and students. We (the staff) celebrated her by eating cake. The students were a BIT sad to not have cake as well.

4. In math we are learning about measuring. Today we began to measure with centimeter cubes. I love how this math leads the kids to the next thing gradually, but surely, and they are "getting" it. Like having to line up the endpoints!!!!!

5. My son had basketball practice this evening. He wanted me to stay and watch. The gym was cold. There were no chairs. I was tired. But I did it. I watched him be a leader.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you get to have a lazy weekend!
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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Kids Say the Darndest Things

I have no idea where the phrase originated. My own kids said it when they were young. But I did not teach it to them.

Today I learned that my first graders are saying it.


As in, "I am versing you in a game of Connect Four." Or, "Did you just vers Christy?"

Our computer lab teacher heard them today and told me about it.

Perhaps tomorrow a lesson on the phrase (and variations of it) "I am playing against you."

Or does it really matter?

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

It's Wednesday!!!

Where has the week gone?

It has been cold here, but not cold enough to call off (or delay) school. We have been back 3 days now. 

To be honest, over the weekend I got first day jitters. It had been 2 full weeks since I tried to teach a room full of 6 and 7 year-olds.

Could I still do it? Would we all like each other at the end of the day? Would we have fun? Would we learn anything?

I'm telling ya-I was nervous to go in on Monday.

But it went well. My kids seemed to not regress, but rather progress over the break. 

Lists are lovely. If it is a to do list, I get to cross items off. If it is a wish list, I get to add as much as I want.

Today I want to make a list of some wonderful WOWs.

1. We went outside for recess after lunch. This is a big deal! Snow is not a given in my neck of the woods, and we have some right now. The kids put on their chore boots and out we went. Such delighted squeals have never been heard.

2. We've been measuring in math. I know quiet does not mean working, but today it did. Each kid got a piece of yarn the length of their foot. Their task was to find 3 items longer and 3 items shorter than their foot in the classroom. Then we did some comparison writing. Joy. The kids need me so much, and when they don't I feel obsolete. But today, as I stood and watched, I felt content rather than obsolete. Instead of putting out fires, I was watching the fire grow and spark. More joy.

Guess two is all I have in me tonight. Thanks Em at Curious Firsties for keeping this weekly linky up and going. 

What make you go "WOW" today?

Remember, head over to Curious Firsties to link up or read more.

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Monday, January 6, 2014

A Positive Point

Well, a long time back, Sarah from Permanently Primary had this cute party to share a positive something on a Monday.

I don't think she is having a linky today, but sharing a positive about my day will be good (because I had school while many of my friends were home with coffee, pj, and tv).

My first graders are diving head first into informational reading this month. I wanted to do a close reading of a text today. 

But, I had no idea what that meant!! Haha!! Thanks to Google last night I found some ideas.

Here's how it went:
1. Tell the students they will be practicing reading like grown ups. Read to understand a topic.
2. Give out the current issue of National Geographic Young Explorer

3. Tell them to read the first "story." I think it was 6 pages long. On their own. In their table groups. Helpsies were spontaneously happening. 

*****Side note--my first graders were reading it. I know some of the kids can read, but seriously, more kids were using skills (like sounds, context, etc) and really reading!!! Will you jump for joy with me??

4. After five minutes, we came back together and I asked "What was the big idea of what you read?" And they got it!! "Teeth."
5. They helped me fill out a graphic organizer. Main Idea. Details (and every detail was indicated with a page number in the story to "prove" it--can you say Common Core?)

6. I had them read it once more, but we ran out of time to do much else with it.

That's enough, right? Hard stuff in the first hour back after a 2 week break, and minus degrees outside.

So, tomorrow Mrs. Jones is doing a version of this lesson (because she thinks I'm cool) and I will be doing a version of her writing and math lessons (because she is awesome at making lessons that first graders dig).

Interesting Stories:
A. Several weeks ago, Mrs. Jones and I were in a meeting, sitting across the room (or we may talk), when it came time for us to make a joint decision we made eye contact and decided. Just like that.
B. Later that same week, Mrs. Jones came into my room and did some hand motions along with mouthing of some words. I understood. A keen little girl noticed and asked--are you speaking sign language? YOU BET.
C. A teacher in our building says we have "first grade talk." That means, we finish each other's sentences.
D. Today we showed up wearing the exact.same.thing. Same blue t-shirt, same pink jacket, similar jeans and boots! So we took a selfie.

Wouldn't it be great if every Monday were this amazing?
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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

January 2014 Currently

Happy New Year Friends!! Welcome to 2014. I am super excited about this year. My plans: love my family, love my students, balance family/exercise/work. Not new, but definitely a work in progress.

Before I get busy with my plans for the day (which include sewing, watching parades/football, and eating black-eyed peas for dinner) I am linking up with the Famous Farley for her January CURRENTLY.

Some explanations:

Listening: I have this need to "watch" parades. Which basically means to have it on in the background while I "do" something else.

Loving: Great times of being together. Some families are glad to have school start again, because it is hard to entertain the kids, but my kids are getting big enough that I don't have to entertain them. So our time together is a mix of separate activities/games together/movies. Love our time, wishing for 3 more days.

Thinking: Kids are coming back on Monday and I ought to be prepared, or they will eat me alive!!

Wanting: I love the fabric I bought last week. I love the quilt pattern I chose. I love my husband's nephew that will be the recipient of the quilt when it is finished. I have time now, so getting it finished before going back to full-time, away-from-my-house work is a MUST.

Needing: Not getting any younger. In fact, I am getting older, and taking care of me is becoming more of a priority. So, time for me to get on the daily, healthy walk bandwagon.

Memory: My little family did not have extended family to be with on Christmas Day, so I had a GREAT idea. We traveled to the city and arrived at the luxurious movie theater at 11:30 am. bought tickets (for Saving Mr. Banks, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and Mandela) and HUGE tubs of popcorn and pop. We watched the first two movies, then ate supper in the diner at the restaurant in the theater, and then watched the last movie. We left the theater at 10:30 pm. What an amazing, long day. But a wonderful memory.


Hop on over to 

and read more CURRENTLY's, or link up with your own, and make new friends. 

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