Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year New Me!



I am counting my blessing this year because it has been such a big one for me! I got engaged to my best friend and we're getting married in June 2013. I just looked back on my goals from last year and feel pretty good about myself.

One of my personal goals were to continue to work out to tone my arms and build abs. I have toned my arms but my abs are still in need of lots of work.
Resolution #1 Continue working out at least 5/6 days a week and focus on abs.

This also brings me to my next resolution which I did a pretty good job of this year-eating less junk food! This past year I totally cute out all chips and ice cream. It has been super hard but I going to keep it up.
Resolution #2 Eat super healthy and try to forget how good desserts taste.

I kinda laughed when I read back on my third resolution last year which was to make more money. I didn't really think that would happen but I started tutoring this summer and those jobs continued this school year. I now tutor after school 4 days a week and I'm actually making more money. I have been saving  all  of it for our honeymoon! Don't know where we are going yet just know we'll need some extra cash!
Resolution #3 Keep on saving money and plan a honeymoon with my fiancé.

Last year my professional goal was to stay organized which I have done a great job of ever since I de cluttered my classroom last year. I know when I go back in the new year I'll want to rearrange and reorganize some things but I think I've done a wonderful job maintaining this goal. My other professional goal I reached was implementing guided math into my every day math curriculum. I have kept up with this goal and feel like my students have benefited greatly from guided math.  So my new goal will have nothing to do either one of these...
Resolution #4 Focus on learning more about implementing the Common Core Standards and making fun, exciting lessons for my kids.

My last professional goal was to do a better job with enrichment time in my classroom. I still have not found my niche with enrichment but it has gotten a little better. I really want to focus on my struggling readers more during this time but my time with them is so limited.
Resolution #5 Help my struggling readers more during guided reading and RTI time.

This new year brings a lot of changes to my classroom. My student who I was struggling with so much because of his behavior and other issues has now left our class. It was a very bittersweet ending as I put so much effort and love towards helping this child but for the rest of the class it will be so much better. I will now be able to focus more time on my other students and maintain a calm, nurturing environment in my room. I also have high hopes that since this child got adopted by his grandparents he is in a loving, caring environment.

2012 you were a great year full of many exciting, wonderful, new, and challenging opportunities! 2013 I look forward to our wedding, honeymoon, first year of marriage, changing my name, finishing up with a great class and teaching new ones!

I hope you all have a Happy New Year!



Sunday, December 2, 2012

Gingerbread stories and decorating for Christmas

Good evening!

I hope that everyone has had a restful and wonderful weekend. I wanted to share with you some of the awesome activities we did this week involving the gingerbread stories. This week we were focusing on the CCSS of parts of a story: characters, setting, major events (problem and solution).



We created a parts of a story anchor chart using The Gingerbread Man, compared and contrast The Gingerbread Girl and Boy books, wrote our own gingerbread stories, and voted on our favorite gingerbread story. 


I wish I thought to take a picture of the anchor chart and my student writing in their reading response journals. They really rocked it this week with the gingerbread stories. We used the writing prompt if I were a gingerbread... and they filled in man, girl, boy, or baby. The stories came out super cute!

Our classes favorite gingerbread story was a tie between The Gingerbread Girl and The Gingerbread Baby. My students of course loved these stories because the gingerbread cookies get away! One little boy mentioned that in all the man or boy stories we read the gingerbread cookies were eaten but the girl and the baby were smarter. I'm glad he catches on that girls think a little more ;) just kidding guys-chill.

Sadly this week we said goodbye to our principal. As a school family we made this past week very special for her and on Friday we had her retirement party. This was one of the gifts that my co-worker made. It has all of the staff's fingerprints with their names written inside. It was bittersweet to see her go...now we are just hoping that the new principal that comes in January can halfway fill her shoes.




This weekend I decorated for Christmas at my house. It was so fun picking out the tree (in the middle of the SEC championship game-come on that was an awesome game football fans!) and decorating after the game was over. As we were decorating I picked out this wonderful ornament my class made me last year with all their thumbprints and initials and it said love your little pirates because I had a pirate theme last year. I thought back on what a great class they all were and what an awesome year we had together. Then later on I broke the ornament into a million little pieces. I was so upset I cried. They were my first class to make me a gift all together like that and they were my kids. I can't explain it well but I'm sure you'll understand. My fiancé picked up the pieces while I wiped away my tears. He put it all off to the side so he could make a new ornament for me and put the pieces inside. He is so thoughtful! We had a delightful time decorating and getting in the Christmas spirit this weekend.




Hope you have a productive week in school and remember: 




Tuesday, November 27, 2012

RTI Behavior Charts

If anyone has had a year like mine where they are wanting to pull their hair out and cry frequently because of a student(s) behavior in your room then please check out this awesome resource! 


Click on your student behavior and get started. It will take you through a series of useful behavior charts and helpful tips to work with your student. The RTI process of Tier 1 is supposed to last for 6 months but if your child is anything like mine you might want to go ahead and skip to Tier 2 and 3 for more specific behavior charts, data collection charts, and graphs.

If you want a glimpse into my everyday click on tantrums/out of control and read the list in it's entirety. That pretty much happens everyday multiple times a day. I am doing all the interventions listed while collecting all the data and I'm not seeing any progress which is why I've move to Tier 2 and 3.

They have a great forum where you can ask questions and receive advice from a behavior specialist who created the site. I've been on the site all night and thought I would share with you! Hope you are having a wonderful evening. 

Oh and just because I love you all here is a freebie!
It's a holiday around the world cover for a book I'm making with my kids the next few weeks. Just click on the picture below.












Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Do you LOVE a good savings? Check these blogging girls out!


Recently one of my sorority sisters that is an amazing first grade teacher started a wonderful new blog with her friend. If you love a good savings, shopping, first grade/primary, whole brain teaching, and freebies you MUST check these chicas out! Melissa is one of the most positive and passionate people I have ever met. I know you'll love her blog just as much as I love her!









What I'm LOVING Wednesday



1. I'm loving being on Thanksgiving break! I'm so thankful I get a week off!

2. I'm loving spending time with my parents in their new Atlanta home.

3. I'm loving being around my parents dog Lucy! She is just so adorable and brings a smile to my face!

4. I'm loving that my man is coming in town tonight to join in the festivities!

5. I'm loving that Thanksgiving is tomorrow and all I have to make is my apple pie!

6. I'm loving this gorgeous weather and fall foliage.






Monday, November 19, 2012

Opportunities


This year has been full of opportunities. I have wanted to blog-trust me I would love to be candid and tell you about my daily classroom. But legally it is best for me not to say anything other than I have an extremely challenging child. I've been through a lot already this year and each day find myself saying "Serenity now!" in my head. (Seinfeld friends you will find this funny.) I've learn to deal with unpredictable, ignore to the best of my ability, cry it out (almost everyday), and how much patience one really does need to be a teacher. As I look for the positives in each day and try to de-stress myself it has been hard to blog.

Another opportunity this year is that our principal is retiring. Her last official day is November 30th! She is leaving for personal family reasons and I understand that but at the same time feel extremely nervous about the schools near future. A new principal will be placed in our school the second week of December. The new principal will have big shoes to fill and will hopefully be great addition to our staff.

I have just started my Thanksgiving break and I'm finally relaxed and thinking about the joys of family and this holiday season. I hope that things will get easier in my classroom with time and that it will lead to more blogging.

Over this restful break I will be reflecting on what I'm thankful for and trying to create new, innovative materials for the month of December.

Hope all my bloggy friends are doing well! I'm just now catching up all on the wonderfulness of this half of the school year!


Friday, September 7, 2012

Highlights of my Week


I had a super Friday with my class! I just wanted to share some highlights of my week:

My students had good behavior for the most of the week and lots of lost teeth (3) in one week! My students are loving Erica Boher's Lost Tooth Club. One of my students even asked me where the club meets lol she was pretty excited. We are now reading Junie. B. Jones, Toothless Wonder as our chapter book during snack time. 


My students are loving Pete the Cat of course so if it gets them excited it is a highlight for me! They are really liking the listening center and doing well even though this is the first week we've started them. We have practiced for 2 1/2 weeks and this Thursday actually started rotating a little. I did 2 centers yesterday and 3 today. Usually we do all 5 in one day but I wanted to ease them into it and they are doing really well. We have stamina for about 12 minutes and then I usually get interrupted. I know with continued practice they will do fine with centers though. They are a quiet group for the most part but really love my attention sometimes at any cost. 

I saw this in a friend's classroom and knew I had to get it! What a wonderful tools for students! My students now don't have to ask me what to do when they are done. They can just choose on the the options.

I love using these awesome frames from Lakeshore! It is so easy to slide work in and out and the brighten up the room too! I just wanted to show you how they looked with writing actually in them.



 Another thing I love using in my class this year are poetry notebooks and reading response journals. I used poetry notebooks last year but I just love how my kids are taking their time with it this year and really doing an awesome job with highlighting, reading, and crafting a bit. I haven't used reading response journals before but I really like using them with first grade. Right now we are doing a shared reading response together on the board and then they copy it into their response journal. Later in the year I will have them response on their own after we've discussed the book. This is from a nonfiction book we read about Big Cats and Pet Cats today. This student is showing the similarities between pet cats and big cats.

Finally I am super happy to announce there were no fits thrown on Friday! Which has now made me day. I have one student who has crying/screaming/dangerous fits almost every day sometimes more than once a day. Thursday of last week he didn't have a fit and got extra computer time as a reward and today he got a trip to the treasure box because he didn't have a fit today! It makes everything better when the class doesn't have to listen to one of his fits. P.S. I have made a calming box with a special spot. He throws the items around and once it is finally worn out of crying (15-30 mins) will use the tools. Any other suggestions for calming down would be wonderful!

Well friends have an awesome weekend! Hope you can reflect on the highlights of your week with a smile.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday



I need to stick to the positives this year so I'm letting you all know what I'm loving this Wednesday!


1. I'm loving that I've got my plans done and ready for next week! Common core is starting to become a little easier in my planning.

2. I'm loving the rain pouring outside and the yellow glow from the sun setting. It's beautiful to see right  now and I need to step back and enjoy small beauties.

3. I'm loving that it is a short week! Only 2 more days of school left!

4. I'm loving that I'm done with running reading records and STAR testing!

5. I'm loving that So You Think You Can Dance is on tonight! Anyone else a huge fan? Go Tiffany!

6. I'm loving how supportive my team has been this year and how much we share! It makes such a difference to have a great team!



Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How to Choose A Good Book

Hey friends! Sorry I've been absent. My class is very needy this year and I've been staying late at work every night. I feel like I've been stretching myself thin and I haven't even blogged at all! Now I'm feeling a little sick and I'm taking the night off from the gym so I wanted to give you a guest post about choosing the good books. You can use this information for yourself and your students.



How to Choose the Right Book
There are thousands and thousands of books out there, with seemingly new ones coming out every day. Every politician, and person on television also seems to be writing a book as well. Not to mention all of the classic novels that are still popular to this day. There are even more options if you have an e-reader as there are many places to download eBooks for free or for nominal prices. So it can be difficult to actually find the one that you want. Luckily there are ways to narrow down your choices and find a book that will be enjoyable and suit your needs.

Follow Authors
Many people love to read books by the same author, even to the point of eagerly awaiting their next book. This is not always a solution for authors who write very few books, but for a lot it is. Generally an author that writes a lot of books will write in the same genre and style, so this would be a natural place to look.

Websites
The nice thing about websites that sell books is the review system. An easy way to find books that you may like is to go to Amazon. From there, you can look up books in the past that you have read, with that, it will show you other books that were purchased when this book was purchased. Basically, it shows similar relevant authors and books, which can be an easy way to find new books. Not only that, but the similar books will have reviews so you can see if it is something you would like.

Solicit Advice
It would be a good idea to ask around to friends and family if they have any recommendations. If someone knows you well enough they should know what type of books you enjoy reading. This can be very helpful, if they know a good book or author, they will jump at the chance to tell you. Not only this, but often they can lend you the book if they do own it themselves.

Top Books
Often at the local public libraries, there will be displays of popular books. Not only that, at times, the library will set up displays showing favorite books by library employees. This can be a godsend in finding a book that you will like. Once you find one you like, you could note which employee recommended it, and even ask them for more ideas. They certainly should be more than happy to help.

Read a Little
When you are looking at a book, if possible read the first chapter. This may not be necessary if you know the other. But if you are delving into a new author or genre of books, it is a good idea to look at the first few pages or ideally the whole chapter. You should have a good idea if you like the book or not.

It can be difficult choosing a new book as there are so many choices and opinions out there. Luckily there are a lot of resources to find the right book for you. When choosing a book to read, do not be afraid to look outside your normal interests in regards to authors or even genres. You may find something new that interests you.

Deborah Brock writes about literature, education & more at www.travelinsurance.org.

-- 
Guest Post U
The University of Great Content

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hurricane Ready Classroom & 2nd Week


My classroom is "hurricane ready" now according to the county because we have big plastic orange bags over our computers. It is so silly but they don't want any water leaks to get on the computer equipment so we had to do this to our computers Friday afternoon. 

Thankfully I don't think we'll have to worry to much about this hurricane because it isn't coming our way but I'm prepared just incase. You never know where they are going to turn and we'll be getting strong winds, storm effects, and potential tornados in the central Florida area. I'll have to review my tornado plan tomorrow just in case. I have to say though that the school is probably one of the safest places to be during a storm. It is a fairly new school and built with concrete blocks.

Tomorrow starts the 2nd week of school and I hope that my kids are finally getting into the routine of school and learning the ways of first graders! This week we will be focusing on the book Chrysanthemum, doing name activities, character development, continuing to work on read to self, starting work on writing, continuing with addition to 10, and reviewing our 5 senses. Here is to a great week hopefully filled with wonderful activities, little firsties, and no hurricanes! 

Hope your week is wonderful! 


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

2nd Day of School

Hey girl teacher

This morning I took Ryan's advice. I taught on and forgot about Monday!

Today was a much better day! Things went how they were supposed to and most of my little ones listened to me. I still had to move one clip but that little one is just going to be a piece of work this year. She is used to playing at school and not working, which is sad. Her Kindergarten teacher did her a disfavor by allowing her to write with a crayon and be lazy. She also did a disfavor to her by not starting her with RTI. She needs extra help and no one has ever given it to her. Little girl doesn't know her color words or sounds. It will be a challenging year with all my little different ones but I know they'll all come out smarter because I pushed them.

My students this year are good at math. They are doing great with beginning adding and seem to enjoy this subject the most. We will really need to work on reading this year though. We started learning about Read to Self today and read for 3 minutes. They got it but I have a lot of wiggly ones so I know it will take a lot of practice. I can't wait to see how the year progresses with this class.

Thank you for all of your positive comments yesterday! I love my blogging community and readers!

Monday, August 20, 2012

First Day



Ohh first day of school..we look forward to you, dread our summers end, worry about you and then finally you come up like a sneaky surprise! 

My first day with my students was today. I was super prepared for 18 students. Florida state law says we can only have 18 students. Two of my students didn't show up for meet the teacher which isn't normal for my school so I assumed being prepared for 18 was being super prepared. 

WRONG.

Always be prepared for more...why haven't I learned this after years of teaching?! 

8:45-17 students come in, sit down, and get ready for our morning routine. Everyone is listening nicely, I'm feeling great about the day, my students are all polite, nice and I'm thinking wow what a great start. 

9:55-Number 18 comes strolling in late with all of his supplies, parents, etc. wanting to talk (this is what meet the teacher is for...I called you about this) He gets into the routine of things though and I have time to set him up/prepare him for the day. I was expecting 18 so things are still going well, children are listening, we've already learned so much about reading, I'm feeling good about the day.

11:01- Number 19 comes in with a ruler in his shirt, some supplies, oh and parents want to talk of course but I have lunch at 11:03 and was getting my students ready to go. I get new student number 19 to put up his backpack and jump in line. I have 2 questions for the parents 1. Did you bring a lunch or set up an account for your kid at school to eat lunch? 2. How does he go home? Well guess what the child didn't have a lunch, the parents didn't set up an account, and ohh sorry I don't have any cash to give him to eat. (HOW ON EARTH CAN YOU SEND YOUR KID TO SCHOOL WITHOUT A PLAN FOR LUNCH!?) Well kids always get lunch at school we don't let them starve but really parents come on. Turns out they are foster parents but really people that should not be an excuse. Oh I also didn't have enough desks so during my lunch break I hunted down our custodians to get a desk and chair for my new little one.

11:38- Writing time where my little ones complain and ask when we're going to recess. I told them to look at our clocks and that it would be soon.
12:00 Recess everyone played nicely.

12:15 Math time where I didn't have 19 books only 16 and had to frantically print copies even though I had put in for copies to be made Friday. Apparently the copier broke because the office staff is usually super great about getting copies done. I'm kinda flustered about this because I thought I've have the copies ready at lunch time.

12:30 Still doing math but my kids are working independently now! I'm thinking things are starting to look up. The class is participating nicely, their engaged in our lesson, and they are learning! Then one of my kids throws up all over himself. Thankfully my wonderful para professional that works with him took care of him, got him to the bathroom, and then down the hall to the nurse. I really don't know what I would have done had she not been there. Probably thrown up too. So now I'm feeling relieved that I have a para that can take care of this situation so I can focus on my other students.

12:45 Lots of complaining from a few kids about how much work first grade math is and when are we going to do play centers. Hmm guess they zoned out during our talk about our schedule that day. I had to put on a tough face and tell them we don't do play centers and we work hard all day. At this point I then catch one of my students cheating. Yes, on the first day. She was copying answers from the student next to her and then just had him complete her work for her on her paper! She sat their smiling. I had to talk with both of them about how this is not okay and since she knew what she was up to she had to move her clip. I know this sounds super mean for the first day but she had already been given several reminders about following rules already and this just kinda did it for me. Hopefully that lesson is learned for her.

1:30- We are cleaning up from doing math puzzles, games, and flashcards. I didn't get to science...our math takes awhile especially when they are just starting out. Everyone is cleaning up well and getting to their seats. All except one student who thought it would be cool to run and jump on the beanbag. So yeah I had to move another clip down. Expectations have to be set and this is not going to fly in the class especially since most of our morning was spent going over rules.

1:40 Specials for my kids! I finally get a moment to check my email, write in binders, and get ready for dismissal.

2:25 Snack, going over dismissal. 

2:50 Dismissal. Somehow one of the bus riders that is supposed to come to me gets lost in the hallway and gets mixed in with 2nd grade bus riders. We didn't know that at the time and her teacher and I were frantically trying to find her in the hallways. Thankfully she knows what bus she rides and found her way to the line. Meanwhile my beanbag jumper from before starts hitting people with a ruler. I take away the ruler and put it back in our room. Then he throws a fit like a 2 year old screaming, crying, and throwing a fit while I'm trying to get 4 classes of first grad bus riders outside and to their bus safely. After gently coaxing this student by his backpack, because he sat down in the middle of the bus pavilion not wanting to move, he finally got to his bus. I did bus duty and went back to my room with a big sigh. 
Don't know if this was sigh of relief or what but it was a big sigh. The day was done. I put away more supplies, paper work, and suddenly is was 5:00. How does the time just fly like that? I had to toss in the towel for the day and remember tomorrow is another day.

I think this has to be my hardest first day besides my first year when I had to dismiss 16 Kindergarten students for a hurricane evacuation by 11 a.m. I feel pretty overwhelmed about my students right now and I'm longing for my old ones who seem so grown up and big. Were they ever this small? I'm sure they were. Does anyone else feel this way sometimes after the first day? I hope so.

I just have to keep telling myself these kids were put into my life for a reason. I'm to teach them all and they will all learn. Everything will not always be prefect.

Now a glass of wine, Chinese, and Pinterest are awaiting for me to start unwinding. Here's to an interesting start to the school year!


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Meet the Teacher & Photos


I had Meet the Teacher this past Thursday and these are the pictures of my room all ready for my 1st grade families. I have 18 students this year and I had 16 families come to Meet the Teacher. During Meet the Teacher I have the kids sort their supplies and get to know the classroom. I talk with each family to make sure they feel comfortable for the first day, have them fill out a transportation sheet so I know how their child is going home, and take a picture of each little new first grader.

Most of my kids were pretty excited but I have 6 kids that are new to the school and are very shy. I had one student who wouldn't talk to me at all or let me take a picture. Her sister got her to take a picture so we can have her smiling little face in our room. I love putting up the pictures so the kids feel like the room is theirs even on the first day.

I added lanterns above each desk.

Meet the Teacher goodie bags, books for students to view, and table numbers.

Book banner, leveled nonfiction library, and book boxes.

My lovely little reading corner.

View of meeting spot and desk area.

Meeting, calendar, and anchor chart area. First day books are ready to go! 

Calendar complete with rules and schedule!

Good work hangs out here! The baskets are to turn in work, homework, and hold today's work. I have highlighters for when the kids turn in their work and clipboards for any center work or when they need to move to sit on the floor. 

All my first grade planners ready to go and sharp pencils!

Writing area.

Daily jobs for kids (guess I should make a sign for that), lunch choices, and a chart to keep up with our monthly reading logs.

Happy Birthday banner (hard to see with the glare) and birthday months. I'll be taking pictures of my students tomorrow to add to this. All the kids will get together for a photo according to their birthday month.

My math games and word work carts.

Welcome to first grade sweet little birdies! 

Specials schedule, goodbye rhymes, and lunch/specials time.

Transportation chart, behavior chart, rules, storage, beanie baby strategies, para desk, and my fabulous kidney table complete with paperwork ready for Meet the Teacher.




 CAFE board, listening center, goals, and scales on the whiteboard.  

Another view of a table. I love the labels, ribbons, numbers, and lanterns!


Tomorrow is the first day of school and I'm super excited. I'm sure I feel similar to my students-anxious, nervous, excited, happy, a little shy, sleepy, but ready to go! I already have my outfit laid out and ready for the morning. Hoping it is a wonderful first day and a great year! Good luck to everyone out their getting ready, on their first day, and whole school year! You'll are such an inspiration to me and keep me loving my job!