Friday, October 31, 2014

Five for Friday (Halloween, 2014)

Party Day Tired has hit me hard.

Halloween 2014 recap. 

1. All school parade down the four blocks to say "hi" to the community and fill our bags with candy. No pictures, cuz I was parading (and freezing) and couldn't take my hands out of my pockets.

2. Runway in the class where we got to show off our costumes while I provided the best color commentary ever. No pictures, again, I was commentating.

But the cool thing was that a handful of parents were able to be there and cheer and have fun with us.

(The runway idea came from Sprinkle Teaching Magic and it was a HIT.)

3. Party time. For the first time ever I planned a party. Yep, with four activities. Thank you pinterest and blog buddies!!

The activites were: Bingo using candy corn; Pumpkin ChuckingHandprint spiders--we made brown recluse, because I did not have black paint; and a writing activity. 

It was so much fun! Parents ran every activity and I got to see everyone having fun! Win-win.

4. After the party we ate. It was a mini-feast with crackers, cheese, and fruit.

Another idea I read about--after the eating, ask parents to clean up while I take the kids for a recess. Brilliant!

5. And now--catching up on Marvel's Agents of Shield with my boys and eating homemade pizza. No pictures, I'm too lazy to get one...

Happy weekend friends! If you need more Halloweeny/harvest/fall recaps, then head to Doodle Bugs Teaching and read all night long.

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Morning Letters (October 26, 2014)

Gratitude Makes the World Go Around

Dear Becki and Jan,
What an inspiring two weekends we spent together. Thank you for teaching me about how to differentiate (but not really) by incorporating the "Big 6" into my core teaching. I am excited to see how this makes the classroom fun, but rigorous and relevant. 
A Learning Junkie

Dear Students,
You make my heart sing. Thank you for being kind and helpful. For trusting me to guide you. And for encouraging me to be a better teacher every day.
Your First Grade Teacher

Dear Volunteer Grandpa,
You may (or may not) know how much your presence in our classroom means to all 23 of us. It is huge. Everyone wants to sit with you. You are a great addition to our afternoon. Thank you for coming in every day and working on sight words (or whatever else I may have for you).
A Blessed Teacher

Dear Blogland Friends,
Thanks for offering me a mini lesson each time I read your posts. You inspire me. You encourage me. Someday there has to be a HUGE meet up that lasts all summer long. So that I can glean from you. Plan with you. And enjoy your company.
Much love,

Have your own letters? Link up with Michelle at Big Time Literacy.

No letters? Tell me what you are grateful for today...

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Old is Relative

Thank you Mr. Classmate.

I finished up the class today. Except for the unit plan and lesson plan homework that is due in two weeks. I'll get to that later... 

But I had a moment today that just made me smile.

This class was BIG on using the strategies that we were being taught to teach us. 

It was good. It will help me differentiate. And I can leave my ponies and pudding and knives at home.

While we were working on a group project I mentioned my son and Mr. Classmate said, "You have a son in high school? You do not look old enough to have a son that old."

He was kind of quiet about it, but I'm just sure that is what I heard.

I'm not sure why this makes me so happy. But it does.

So, old is relative, and I guess my relative is young.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Five for Friday (October 24, 2014)

Just five? There is so much to share...

But I will narrow it down to my top five of the day...

1. I got another present today. Quite possibly I could be blinged out by Christmas...

2. My group during our 4-H time started learning about the lifecycle of a sunflower and wheat plant (by watching some short YouTube videos). They got a small bag of seeds to create patterns (a math standard for us--repeating patterns for K and growing patterns for 1st)

Thinking we've got the pattern thing. 

3. Jenny. She got moved to a new-to-her pen. With more green grass. This is how she felt about it. 

4. Jenny again. She is such a blessing to our school family.

5. This week I jumped into what so many do effortlessly... Facilitating research projects with first graders. Some day I may write about the process. For now, group photos are it.

Now, hop on over to Doodle Bugs Teaching and read what my friends are up to.

I'll be doing my homework--college class AGAIN this weekend. It's good stuff, but golly, I'm tired!

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Monday, October 20, 2014

What a Difference a Week Can Make

Not clockwork.

But oh, so nice.

Today had a great start...

1. A present from a sweet student.

A handmade necklace. A gift from his heart. I love it.

2. A message from one student to another. 

During instruction time--yuck, but with proper punctuation--yay!! Not chastised for not paying attention, rather I photographed the evidence.
(Translation for those of you who are not as fluent at reading first grade writing---"Kaydan do you want to play spiderman?"
I'm pretty sure they were surprised to not be in trouble...
Maybe they will learn a secret--make your writing/drawing meaningful by using new skills I have taught, and I will let you keep doing it!!

And a great ending...

1. The beginnings of a research project (special places in our school).

2. Children working together. 

Maybe our long weekend was good for ALL of us!
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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Teacher Quality and Preparedness

Words that strike fear into many teachers:

It doesn't matter how many students you have, what matters is your quality teaching.

So you will have 24 (give or take a few) first graders this year.

And your evaluation will be impacted by their scores on standardized tests.

But how? And with what? And who will support me when I have questions? And how am I going to organize it?

Lucky for me it is time to rack up some college hours so that I can renew my teaching license, and I found a class that is answering some of those questions.

Yesterday and today we poured over the research. We were taught using good teaching practices (do as I do--YES!). And I came home with some great ideas (and books to read).

Next weekend we will dive into 6 instructional tools that will magically transform me into a Quality Teacher who is Very Prepared.

Stay tuned...
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Monday, October 13, 2014


Isn't it grand when the day runs like clockwork?

Today was NOT that day.

Maybe I needed to have spent more time over the weekend in my classroom getting lessons and materials ready (I thought I was ready). But I really enjoyed my family, a soccer game, time with my friend on Sunday afternoon and watching some DVRed shows.

Maybe I needed to incorporate more play and fantasy into the day. I mean, they are six and seven. What do they do? Play pretend, and if I'm lucky, they learn something along the way. But I had a schedule. And they were not following it.

Maybe it was the rain and the anticipated indoor recess.

Maybe it was the promise of a short week (only teaching 2 days, then the kids have fall break).

Whatever "It" was, "It" threw my plans out the window by 10:00.

Maybe tomorrow will be a clockwork day...

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Occupational Hazard

OOOWWWWW that hurt!

My class has chores this week.

We were almost done. Chickens--check. Calf--check. Pigs--check. Hang up the hose--CRASH. 

Right into my thigh. I screamed (a little from pain, a little from surprise--nope, it was a LOT from pain). 

As I was doubled over I heard in the background--"I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry."

I kind of hollered back--"I accept your apology!" I didn't want to accept. Someone RAMMED a wheelbarrow straight into me, but youngsters were watching, and I had to be a good example.

She continued out of the barn to whatever job needed that wheelbarrow and I staggered, teary-eyed to a bench to sit down. 

A friend of mine who was helping chore saw me, and said that she thought it wasn't broken (perhaps that was a comment on how much I was describing my pain). But it REALLY hurt. 

Anyway, I'm ok.

But next time you or anyone is in the barn, watch out for eager youngsters who should not be driving wheelbarrows at high speeds.
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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It Was Fun

How do you know?

They told me it was fun.

Today Mrs. Jones and I were debriefing after school (like every day). What went well, what we want to do better, what flopped, what we LOVED.

Not even sure what she was talking about, but next out of her mouth was, "It was fun."

As soon as I had "H---" out of my mouth, she finished with, "I had a pony."

(I was about to say, "How do you know it was fun?")

And then we both busted up laughing.

It has got to be one of our favorite videos.

We quote it often.

Last week we had chocolate pudding, and it was fun. We also pay for classroom extras (folders, glue, and snacks) with kidney money.

(We don't have pudding or pay with kidney money--we are kidding.)

If you do not "get" what I'm talking about, watch this...


Yes, that was fun.

Pony rides, knife throwing and pudding.

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