Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I have had the most wonderful past couple weeks. Things are really falling into place at school, I'm leaving on time, and I'm feeling like my students are really becoming invested in learning.

Yesterday we took a walking field trip to the library. 50 kindergarteners walking to the library after a month in school? It was amazing. They did so well! I wanted to share some of their wonderful thank you notes to our chaperones. I love these pictures, because we have been practicing drawing pictures that are big and detailed.
This is by one of my students who still tries to answer my questions in Spanish. All of my students are English Language learners, and most after a week realized they needed to answer my questions in English. I adore this student, and I am still working with him to speak more in English. I was so proud when he shared "My favorite part was when we read a book" and didn't need a prompt to speak in English. He really is showing courage by continuing to speak in English.

Big? Check. Detailed? Check. Love this.

I love the label...but even more so I love that this student drew another student who has some rockin' spiky hair in the picture. Her details really helped us understand what her story!
So now here's the nauseous part:
Child Struck, Killed Near Chase Crash

How is it possible to process this? I have a friend who works at the school the girl went to, and I feel so nauseous about it. This girl, a 2nd grader, was hit...and she died in front of her mom. I just can't even process it at all.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My new planner came today!

I was inspired by The Inspired Apple...

and I love my new planner!

Wow do I love how it makes me feel GOOD about being OCD. It's such a pretty and functional planner. I'm in love. With a planner. For real.

In other news, tomorrow I actually want to post a teacherly blog post. Keep your fingers crossed I leave work again on time (yup! 4:30 today!) so I have time to share.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

8 hours of teaching down, and I feel like Jack Bauer. Give me 16 more.

Well, friends, I survived day 1 of teaching from 7:50 to 3:50! I even am feeling pretty great! Last night I had a horrible time falling asleep, terrified at the prospect of teaching for so long. As most of you may know, I taught kindergarten the past two years...but I taught HALF day kindergarten. From 8:20 to 11:40. So I went from 3 hours and 20 minutes with my students to 8 hours with them.

When I finished teaching today, I felt like it should be about noon...but it was 4 o'clock! Craziness! Somehow I made it, and we did everything we had planned, with the exception of our math cut and paste. One of my goals this year is to be more self-aware so I can improve my practice in the classroom. One way I plan to do this is OUT of the classroom: reflecting daily! I have a great journal that I am using when I have time, but some days, like today I am going to opt for my blog.

For those of you wondering, "What on earth do you do with 25 4, 5, and 6 year olds from 8 hours?" well, allow me to elaborate.

7:40-7:55 a.m. Family Literacy--Right now, students quietly work at their tables on an activity. Next week families will come in and work with students.

7:55-8:15 a.m. Morning Meeting

8:15-9:15 a.m. Phonics/Centers/Guided Reading--We need to work on the rotations a bit more, but given how new this was to the class today, they did a great job!

9:15-9:35 a.m. Read Aloud--I was so pleased with how much Think Pair Share my students were able to do today.

9:35-9:50 a.m. Recess

9:50-10:20 a.m. Reading Comprehension--Our strategy for the next two weeks is making predictions. I need to do a better job modeling this, but overall, students did great today!

10:20-11 a.m. Writing--Success! Students used white boards, walked around the room without talking, and wrote down words they saw.

11-12 p.m. Math--Definitely a focus of mine tomorrow. How do I make math whole group more engaging and paced well?

12-12:05 p.m. Naptime set up (oh yes, we have naptime! woohoo!)

12:05-12:50 p.m. Lunch! This is my first break in the day from students, and today I actually ate some lunch!

12:50-1:15 p.m. Naptime. Right now, the sticker fairy is loving coming around and putting stickers on the shoes of students who fall asleep.

1:15-1:35 p.m. Message Time Plus--This is like Morning Message amplified...way more intense and far more purposeful than anything I've ever done like this.

1:35-2:15 p.m. Art/Spanish

2:15-2:35 p.m. Calendar Math--My calendar is up and looking snazzy! Will have to take photos of it.

2:35-2:40 p.m. Snack

2:40-3:05 p.m. SS/Tech--Right now this has been practicing a new center. Today we practiced Poetry center.

3:05-3:40 p.m. Values/Choice/Art/Spanish--Depending on the day, students may go to a class,  someone may come to us, or they may have more time in centers. Today we had a 2nd dose of art!

3:40-3:50 p.m. Values Circle

3:50 p.m. Dismissal

Phew. What a long day! I am starting to feel exhausted now (and will probably be asleep by 9), but I am feeling so much better about tomorrow!

My goals for tomorrow are:
1. Deliver content whole group more explicitly and clearly.

2. Make sure I am getting 100% participation and engagement so that the content actually is being processed!

3. Practice Poetry Center and Library activities to ensure students are actively participating during centers.

Where I need your help:

The paper trail! I have never had so much paper! For each day of the week I have (and we lesson plan a week at a time so there's a LOT of paper!):
1. GP materials for each lesson
2. IP materials for each lesson
3. Homework
4. Lesson plans

Here's what is most crazy about all this--I have lessons (so GP and IP materials for 25 students PLUS LPs) for:
1. Math
2. Writing
3. Reading Comp.
4. Phonics
5. Small Group Literacy

How do you manage it? I just brought in my stackable drawers, and they seem to be helping already, but I would love any thoughts you have!

Hoping everyone is having very wonderful starts to the school year!