Saturday, September 8, 2012

My Ever Nutty Life

Well the first three weeks of school have come and gone and I am still reeling from the continuous The three different schedules we were given and have had to adapt to. Though I think what I dislike the most is doing reading in the afternoon with the little ones. If any one has any good tips for dealing with teaching little ones reading right after lunch please add them below.
The craziness that is created when almost all grades are having lunch at the same time. My little ones being kicked out of their tables by third and fourth graders, so unfair, and still not fixed.
Having a special needs child in my classroom every blue moon (when his mom decides to bring him, but not the paper work that may get him the help he needs). He is a sweet little boy who is developmentally delayed due to cerebral palsy, has joint issues, was born with a cleft lip and is about two feet tall. My little ones call him our baby and treat him as such which makes me have to watch them like a hawk so he is not hurt by mistake (they always forget he is not a toy).
The children that just keep coming and coming (I am up to 25). The children themselves are not an issue for the most part they are the best group I have had at this crazy school. They are for the most part sweet, caring and kind to each other, completely unlike the aggressive and rude children I had last year (not all but so many it made the days last forever). I love seeing them each day and hearing the silly things they say....Sigh.... It is so different from last year. I love seeing their growth from day to day and being a part of their discoveries.
This was the first week with an extra hour added to the school day, which I have to admit that it makes the day seem sooo long. The extra hour added to the day my kids are supposed to be doing interventions but they have not been well planned (I am not allowed to choose what is done that is prescribed by our Reading coaches) and I have to make it function but it seems ridiculous to not allow me to plan it. I may be sneaky this week and plan it for it any way. ;)
I am going to be coming up with what materials I will need to get run off and done for my ABC Center, Handwriting Center, Playdough Center, Numbers Center, and Counting Centers. My kids will be CENTERED to death this year and I am really hoping that I can find a balanced and workable model that matches my students' needs and is differentiated and a million other requirements.
I will write more later....soooooo..sleey........................................................
My classroom is still not quite finished but soon I will post pictures.

Monday, August 20, 2012

I Survived the First Day of School!

Well I have been MIA in MIA for the past couple of weeks as I worked tirelessly on my classroom and gave some time to my about-to-be much neglected family and friends at the close of summer.

I will be posting some pics of my finished (or almost finished) classroom because centers are still unsettled and a couple of odds and ends still need to be rearranged and placed in new areas. I don't think my classroom is ever done. I change around furniture and move the kids to new tables at least three times a year. Oh well, today how I set up my classroom worked beautifully and my new little darlings are no where near as bad as the ones from last year (though I loved mine for the first month of school last year too).

I have had so many good things happen to me since the last time I posted about my bummed out mood. Thanks to all who wrote little bursts of encouragement I think it helped to refocus me and gave me a swift kick in the behind to stop moping and deal. I started turning negative thoughts to postive ones and happily a number of things went my way. I started selling some items on Teachers Pay Teachers!!! They were small items but selling them made me feel very proud of myself. I also ended up with a girl heavy class instead of a boy heavy one (I relate better to little girls than I do with little boys).

I met my new Kindergarten team. Two brand new teachers from the Teach for America program, their enthusiasm is helping me find more of my own and they are genuinely nice people which bodes well for the year and for me. I have only heard of the Teach for America program in broad terms before but I guess I will learn about it throughout the year. I already know that they have to have the kids learn a class oath and that kinda boggled my mind.

The last very happy and exciting thing is that I actually won a giveaway!!! That had never happened before. I won the 150 followers giveaway at Adventures in Teaching!!! So thank you Amy for the lovely prize!!! I got a $10 gift card to Amazon and got to pick five items from her great teacher store on Teachers Pay Teachers!

I picked the following:
Nursery Rhymes and Non-Fiction
Reading Strategies Task Cards
Literature Circles for Beginning Readers
Number Circles:Learning Through Movement

So excited with my winnings that I stareted using them from the very first day of school. Check out Amy's blog for some great ideas:
Adventures in Teaching

 Tomorrow I will post classroom pics, sadly I left my camera at home most of last week when I got the most done and today so my kiddos' first day of school pi

Friday, August 10, 2012

Tired, A Little Sad, but I must TEACH ON.....

Well I haven't had much time to blog lately getting ready for next week.
Yes folks, next week I go back in officially.
No more sneaking around.
No more waking up at 8, or 9, or 10.
Oh how I will miss it!

I have been creating a database listing ALL the books in my class library and my read alouds. (Which is crazy and time consuming cause I keep bringing them home.....I shouldn't bring them home I should just do it in my room but I would never leave). I found out I have about 8 boxes of books (picture books, wordless books) and then 3 more huge bins with chapter books from when I taught second, fourth and fifth. Just thinking about the fact that in the past week I have only gone through five of the boxes makes me want to cry and think I should have never started this. I have also been cutting and laminating (with contact paper) a bunch of different centers to use the first few weeks of school. Mind you I am still unsure as to how I am having centers or anything  else which makes me feel nuts.

I have found out this week that a lot of what I have known is changing at my school, though none of what I have found out is "official". They are adding an extra hour to our school day for interventions, which I may or may not be getting paid for or know how these interventions will work. As is I have no breaks during the school day except for lunch which I end up spending half of in the cafeteria helping my little ones get their lunches (I have no aide and the cafeteria really doesn't have anyone to help my kinders get lunch just a security person to watch over them as they eat). I teach every subject already (including P.E., art, and music) so I don't get breaks there and my only planning time happens at the end of the day.

I am sure there are others that have it worse than I do but right now it doesn't feel like it.

I also found out that I am losing all of my team in Kindergarten, I am the only one left. Both of them are going to different places to teach Pre-K. So next week I have to add meeting with new colleagues to my list of things to do. I am sad to lose them but they will be better off where they are going. I will miss them though.....Sigh.....

Well since I try not to dwell on things that I have no control over, I am going to make a list of all the things I have yet to do for next week and hope that once I put it out there.

- Buy borders for my word wall, towels, microwave, whiteboard, magic erasers, colored cardstock
- Print out letters for my word wall and finish printing other centers.
- Print out and cut out the first two months of my word wall words
- Print and copy materials for first two weeks of school
- Print and copy my beginning of the year parent information packet
- Print labels for notebooks, folders, and cubbies
- Put together labels and folders for students to use
- Type up labels for coloring pencils
- Finish up new posters and laminate them
- Set up math wall
- Print out math vocabulary cards and laminate them
- Make lesson plans for the first two weeks of school....
- Set up binders for Common Core standards, Lesson Plans, Pacing Guides, and copies used each month
- Make up home-learning packets for the first two weeks of school

I am tired just looking at this list!

The one upside to my kinda sad week my first Donors Choose project got funded!!! My kinders are going to get new science materials!!!! I am so excited! I love Loews Miami Beach Hotel!!!!

I am going out tonight and enjoying a fun time with friends and get a much needed cocktail....

Monday, August 6, 2012

August Currently...

There are T-minus 13 days until the first day of school.

And I am officially freaking out!! I am joining  Farley at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade... for her August Currently... Mine is pretty bare when compared to how busy so many others have been, but then again I have been in a procrastinating mood this summer.

While I have been enjoying the last of my vacation reading lovely books unrelated to education, watching Law and Order: SVU marathons, and organizing my home I know it is time to get in gear. I have spent a lot of my day working on my Fry words packet, which I have finally put on my TpT store. I was still not happy with the way the way the word wall cards looked so I changed them again... and again... and again... till I was finally happy. Go and check it out and please leave feedback!

I am trying to see what I can formulate to use as part of my home-learning packets. I saw a great format by another blogger who makes her home-learning only two sheets for the whole week. I am so thinking about creating something similar for mine this year. It would definitely save a lot of paper. Though it might be a little late to start that this summer.....unless I only work on the first month or so of school..... Any one have any advice on home-learning???

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Back to School Craziness!!

Oh goodness!!!

It's August! When did that happen??? I go back to work full time in 12 days!!! No more sleeping till 10 (or later!), no more lounging around the couch or the pool. It's so sad but also a little exciting. The ideas are running through my head about how to teach my new little ones all the skills needed to successfully complete kindergarten.

I took a blogging hiatus for the past couple of days knowing that I would start reading blogs and forget to relax and enjoy the end of my summer break. Reading what all you wonderful bloggers are working on makes me want to add this ..... or that.... as it is I started reading this morning (and have been doing so on and off till now) in between my household chores, which I have been seriously neglecting (there were layers of dust all over!), and I got ideas for making a new math poster for introducing the numbers 1 -10 (from Ms. Pasqua's Kinder)

 Ms. Pasqua's ten frames

For making a class set of number sense rings with my kiddos (from Herding Kats in Kindergarten)

And so many more that I may need to grab a notebook to keep them all straight!

I have also come across quite a few linky parties but I plan on only doing one on this post since I feel I am already running at the mouth. Jodi over at Fun in First Grade is having a great linky party so we can all share our favorite back to school activities.

I have taught so many grades that I have done many different first day or week activities.

In second grade my favorite activity was a Get to Know Your books hunt. I know it sounds a little boring but I would read aloud and give directions on note cards for a kind of scavenger hunt through their new books. (It would also help me figure out if they knew how to find pages in books and read simple directions like: Find a picture of a dragon.) At the end of the hunt each student would organize their books in their desks (timed of course) and then get treats like jelly beans or pretzels (depending ont he time of day).

In fifth, I loved having the students come up with interview questions to ask class mates and then picking five to use with an actual classmate. The next day they would interview that classmate and then introduce them to the class. It definitely breaks the ice and the better the students know one another the more interesting you can make the questions.

In first, we worked on a class book for all the things we learned during the first week of school. We would draw pictures to go along with different routines and complete a booklet a friend of mine found which reviewed the people we met, the things they liked, and their hopes for this year.

In kindergarten, my favorite activity involves drawing a self portrait using a hand mirror. I first model drawing my self portrait using the mirror (I point out drawing details you see in your face: like lashes on the eyes, eyebrows, eye color, etc.). We review rules for sharing the mirrors with our new buddies and then they create their first masterpieces! (I then repeat the activity at the end of the year so they can see how much they have grown over the year.) This year I am going to use a sheet from this packet to do the activity. :)

School Beginnings

I need to get that notebook out for when I go see all these awesome back to school ideas from everyone at this linky! Will be back with more ideas as they pop into my head (as they often do). Let's just hope they don't pop right back out before I get them down on paper.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

First Day Jitters Blog Hop

We all know that feeling. It's super early on the the first day of school (or the night before), and you are double checking everything on your list (and frankly remembering all the things not on your list if you are anything like me!) and your stomach is doing somersaults. Your throat tightens slightly and you look around and realize,

"Oh goodness! It's really the first day of school!"

In less than half and hour you will be bombarded with children, parents, school supplies, and paper work.

Are you ever completely ready for the first day of school?

Never. I have done first days of school for 7 years (I missed one due to changing jobs) and I have never seen it as just another day. Have you?

I am joining up with Ashley at Fierce in Fourth to add my two cents to her First Day Jitters Blog Hop and give the top three things that make me extra jittery for the beginning of this school year.

Fierce in Fourth

Here are my Top Three Jitters!

ONE -  Last year I had 28 students for almost have the year and very little assistance (I teach kindergarten mind you and they still need so much support, so I saw the situation as ridiculous) and I am afraid that the same thing will happen again. Frankly, I am still burnt out from last year's crop I don't know if I will handle it as well as I did last year.

TWO -  That I will never get my centers running in a way that truly works. I had so many issues with centers last year (the kids hated them, there were so many of them and I did not have enough materials, I had to fulfill certain criteria for centers imposed by my region, etc.) Everything that could make centers complicated happened to me last year.

THREE - That I will over do everything. I love extras! I am the queen of too much when it comes to decorating, planning, and expectations. This year I am hoping to curb that instead of enhacing it.

If anyone has any advice to calm my jitters please add it below! :/ 

Don't forget to join this excellent blog hop!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Hand Stitching and Another Lovely Award

I must be slightly nuts! I decided that I hated the ugly green curtains on a shelf I have at work so I should make new ones. Sounds simple right....well I also decided not to go for hot gluing (which is my tool of choice for fabric) and am hand stitching them... in the middle of the night....
Oh my lordy....and before you ask, well why aren't you using a sewing machine maybe I should give you some background about me and sewing machines. We don't click. I have had three different people attempt to teach me to use one and all I end up doing is wasting fabric and breaking the machine so when I sew, I sew by hand.

Since I think I am nuts for hand hemming curtains in the middle of the night I decided to take a break and give some over due thanks.

Being in the blogging world is definitely rewarding. I received a lovely blog award from two very lovely bloggers: Jackie at Crazy Daze in First Grade and Miss Pasqua at Miss Pasqua's Kinder. Thank you so very much for thinking of me for this award.
Here are the guidelines:
1. Follow the person who gave you the award
2. Link back to the person that gave you the award
3. Pass the award on to 15 people
Here are my awardees:

4. 1...2...3.. Teach With Me
5. The Silver Lining
6. Miss Kindergarten
7. Peace, Love and First Grade
8. Chalk Talk
9. A Cupcake for the Teacher
10. Just Wild About Teaching
11. Life in First Grade
12. Kindergarten is a Hoot
13. Sharing Kindergarten

(I know I am supposed to pick fifteen but once I started writing this blog I got sidetracked for hours reading through all these and other blogs that I found through these. I think I may need a 12 step program after all!!!)

:)  :)