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.