Monday, January 26, 2015

Power Outage

Today was an interesting day at school. We had no power for most of the day. I’m not sure what caused this to happen. We had a storm last night but we have storms all the time in Florida.

I came to campus early to get ready for the week and only half the lights were on in the hallways. When I went in my room all the lights turned on and one of my computers turned on too! The Internet wasn’t working but I thought this doesn’t seem so bad. Then we got news from our principals that the power was running on the generator and that would only last for two hours.

In my mind I’m thinking “Ahh oh no what do I do without technology!?!” Our whole day we use the smart board and computers!

Then in walks a new teacher. She tells me she is supposed to observe me for part of the morning and then observe other teachers. Didn’t Dr. Principal let you know? Umm nope! But I welcomed her all the same.

Since my computer that hooks up to my smart board was still working I decided to use that asap1 I knew my time was limited. We did our reading lesson and then started centers. In the middle of me explaining a word work center for the week all the lights went out.

No power.

We were now on emergency lights only. I had one light in my room on and the bathroom light. Thank goodness I have windows. Some classrooms don’t so they were really in the dark.

So we went on through our day and did literacy centers. We had several people in and out of the room all morning. On stated “No the power will not be coming back on” Another few times “ Can I have your attendance?, can you give me your lunch count? Food went bad and they needed to know how many lunches and make a list of those kids to charge later.

My kids did really well and went with the flow. Just like Pete the Cat ;) Love that little cool cat.

The afternoon was uneventful. We went through writing fine and my kids were shocked we could learn math without smart board. I’m glad it was a review lesson though. I allowed for a lot of extra time to use manipulatives (cubes and counters) during the lesson. Then I gave them plenty of time to finish their independent work and play math games.

Then the kids went to P.E. and the teachers all chatted because we didn’t have any e-mails to check, things to print, and data or grades to put in. I did get a chance to check math papers, write team meeting notes, and make of list of things I needed to do once I had Internet.

Then all of a sudden  the lights came on again! Yeah! Power! It was the end of the day at 2:30 but the power finally came back on! It puts things in perspective the things we sometimes take for granted.

We finished the day with snack and a book about polar animals. Some days are a little crazy and we have to be flexible to keep it all going!

Glad that everything is back up and working for tomorrow. Now this tired teacher is off to the gym to keep in shape!
Hope you had a more organized and productive Monday. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Talking about books on Tuesday

Hello there!

I’m sure many teachers are talking about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this week and I wanted to share with you a few books I love to read to teach about equality, understanding, and peace in my classroom.

Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  is an excellent  elementary school biography. It’s illustration come alive and young students are able to learn about the influential Dr. King. It is a great introduction to start conversation on segregation, racism, equality, boycotts, and how our world has changed today. My students enjoyed listening to me read about his life and had many questions about the Civil Rights movement.

A book I like to use to teach my students about equality and understanding the world around them is For Every Child a Better World This book is currently out of publication but you can still find it at used book stores and Amazon.

This book explains in simple sentences how some children are fortunate enough to have their needs met and others are not. For example it states some kids have books, a classroom, and a teacherothers do not. I then ask my students what we could do to help others and remind them of how lucky we are to have all our resources in our classroom. 

After reading the stories I have my kids write using a example from the book how we could help people in our own community. Some examples:
Some kids don’t have toys or games to play with. We should donate our toys to others so they can play with them.
I think this book helps them realize how they can help others and take a stand like Dr. King.

That’s all for talking about books! What are some books you love to use this time of year?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Five for Friday

Cheers to a four-day weekend! I had a teacher workday today.

Divider 1

 I got so much done in my classroom and got to leave half day. I got report card comments and grades in last night so I could focus on setting up new centers, new reading groups, getting ready for the next week, data, interventions, organizing, etc. The list was really long but I got it all accomplished.

I love having a teacher workday. We have one every marking period to get report cards done. Does your district give you teacher workdays?
Divider 2

 We did this winter writing last week and decorate mittens to go with our winter writing. I print two pages for kids that have larger handwriting.

Divider 3

Next up for writing we are starting polar animal research project. The kids are going to pick their favorite polar animal.
The first book in this stack will be great for our research projects. Some one was cleaning out their room and put all these books to take in the workroom.

Divider 4

Our PTA is wonderful and got each classroom in the school two of these “wiggle” balls for our students who could benefit from them. I have to say it makes a big difference with my kids that have problems sitting still during times they are working at their desk.. At first everyone wanted to use the ball. I explained that they are used for student’s that really need help focusing. Now everyone is used to seeing them and has tried it out during our center rotations. The novelty of the ball is over but it works so well for those students who need to bounce and move while sitting. It also has little legs on the bottom to stabilize the ball and not roll.

Divider 5

How do you hold up your anchor charts? I hold them up by using these hooks on my board. I use tacks and large binder clips to hold up anchor charts. It’s easy to change out and visible to all the students.

Hope you have a great MLK weekend! 

Monday, January 5, 2015

1st day back in the New Year!

I survived my first day back! Yeah! It was a really good day.

-The weather was cooler today. (65 degrees don’t hate please I know it’s super cold everywhere else!)
-   I was productive before school and everything was organized and ready to go!
-   My kids were super excited to be back and were well behaved.
-   I only had 14 out of 18 kids today in class.
-We got everything done we were supposed to in class! Whoa!!
-Everyone's writing was amazing today!
-   The morning went by really fast.
-   We changed up our schedule and it worked out really well!
-   I got so much work done after school and left before 5.

Today was just a great day all around. I had healthy meals and now I’m off to the gym!

 2015 is looking really good!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Goodbye Winter Break & Tips for Tomorrow

Tonight is the last night of winter break. I’m going to have a rude awakening tomorrow at 5:30 a.m. I didn’t get out of bed until 10:00 a.m. this morning!

All good things must come to an end and I am feeling ready for the second half of the school year. Thankfully before I left for break, I organized all my literacy and math centers. I think I’m ready for tomorrow but I’ll still be going in early to make sure.

Tips for tomorrow:
1. Give my kids HUGE hugs! I know we’ll be happy to see each other. I want them to feel loved.

2. Let my kids talk about their winter break. I know they’ll be super chatty so I should give them the opportunity to talk to each other in a structured way. I’ll do a team building activity with their tables.

3. Go over the rules! I know my kids will need a refresher on all the rules. I will go over the rules and play a class building game so they can talk about the rules with each other. Yeah for movement and talking. they are going to need that tomorrow.

4. Remember everything does NOT need to get done in one day! Often times the first day back from break I want to squeeze in so many activities. It is okay if it doesn’t all get done. Tomorrow is another day. This also goes for my work after school. It will still be there the next day.

5. Smile and take a deep breath. I’m back at work but that doesn’t mean I need to be stressed out. I enjoy teaching, my team mates, and love my kids. Data, observations, evaluations, testing, and negative co-workers DO NOT need to get me down. I make my own happiness. I will focus on the positives.