August 19, 2010

Where did the summer go?

I can't believe that it is already the end of August and I will have students in my classroom in a little less than a week. I feel so unprepared and scared. I was told today that I would have more students added to my class roster. Eep. I only have one extra set of books. Hmmm. Where will we put little Johnny and Suzie? Maybe in the closet.
I may sound a little stressed. But in reality, friends and family have been VERY supportive. Cutting out laminate, coloring file folder games, coming to school and rearranging the furniture. Assisting me in putting up bulletin boards, posters, papers and more. I think I might have broken into a million pieces and a bucket of tears without them. I never realised how hard it was to put up a bulletin board by one self until I tried to do it. Add a gimp hand into that equation and you get one frustrated teacher.
I also did not realize how much money went into fixing your own classroom up. I tried to make some things... But after that one incident with the tissue paper and the glue I decided life with a gimp hand qualifies a girl for added expenses. Staples and the Utah Idaho Map and Supply Store have grown accustomed to my face and my spending habits. But I consider my habits pretty tame considering most of the items I buy are on sale. I know another intern who has already spent $1500. Yikes!
Summer is fading and my freedom is fading with it. Time to get ready for a whole new adventure!

July 29, 2010

Literacy Ideas

I was browsing through a book I borrowed from a friend when I realized there were a lot of good ideas I could never remember. So I decided to document some of them on here.

  1. Book Cover - Title/Author Picture and one thing you learned.
  2. Bookmark - this book is about?
  3. Word Cards - write cards of unknown words and the sentences they were found in
  4. Picture Mural - Write the main theme in the middle and draw four pictures that relate to it.
  5. Word Graph - Pick 4 words, Graph how often they appear in the book. Determine which is used the most and which is used the least. (Can use a chapter for longer books)
  6. Add a page - try to copy the style of author and add a page into the story.
  7. Make a web - main topic and supporting details.
  8. Scrambled Sentences - Choose your favorite sentence, write it on a word strip, cut it up, scramble it. Have a friend unscramble it.
  9. Puppets - paperbag, paper plate, popscle stick
  10. Advertise a book poster
  11. Sentence Sequence Chart - Who, did what, rest of the sentence
  12. Flipbook - Main Character, Problem, Solution
  13. Story Questions - pick three, find the answers
  14. Parts of speech Fan - Different Colored Paper. Find examples in your story, write an example sentence.
  15. Letter to the Author
  16. Story Cube - Title/Name/Author, Character, Setting, Problem, Solution, Favorite Part
  17. Rhyming Chain - pick a word from the book, write as many rhyming words as you can on strips. Add a link with the title, author, and your name.

July 7, 2010

I'm so excited

and I just can't hide it! Summer is continuing. I am slowly accumulating stuff for my classroom. And I am loving every second of it. Target had some really cool stamps, stickers, pens, this week in the dollar section. I love cute things on sale. Doctor Seuss and stars. What is not to love? I have been accumulating books too. Roald Dahl, Amelia Bedelia, Frog and Toad, Amber Brown, and much much more. I have even worked on my management plan, all my procedures etc. It looks like this next year is going to be an adventure. 12 boys 6 girls!

May 26, 2010

Kindergarten adventures

I was chatting with a friend, and he mentioned that some of the stuff I told him about my class should be written down before it was forgotten. Smart man. My memory is not the best.

So many funny things have happened in my short kindergarten experience. The highlights:

*While cutting pre-painted paper for an authentic Eric Carle experience being told by a six year old that he would cut the paper, because it was too hard for a girl to do.

*Teaching the children "Deep and Wide" and having them ask me with confused looks on their faces what I was talking about. The lyrics go something like "Deep and wide, deep and wide, there's a fountain flowing deep and wide..." I dunno. I think it might be about a moose. Yup. I'm sure that is it.

*Kindergarten picnic - Objective of teachers: have children eat outside and complete fun activities. Objective of all students: Get the teachers as wet as possible. We had everything from sidewalk chalk to bubbles, to hula hoops to frisbees. Oh and we had water spray bottles. Whose idea this was, I don't know. I ended up sitting/crouching next to the park faucet for 20 minutes or so. I would fill the squirt bottles and pass them off to the children who would chase each other and spray until they were drenched or their bottle was empty. Well I was crouched down next to this faucet. Picture in your mind a drinking fountain with a faucet that sprays wide and another spigot below. Surround that with a lot of mud and wet grass and a few pieces of wood and you begin to get the picture. I was using the spigot, when a child decided he really needed a drink of water. Which would have been fine, if I had not been crouched on the other side of the fountain. I was soaked. I smothered a sudden word. "Shimata" One of my favorites. The kids were giggling and I was getting the death glare from a lil girl. I hastily tried to explain I was not using the common S word, I was using a Japanese word for "that is regrettable." Sadly I don't think she believed me. But I tried to explain as the water dribbled from the top of my head, down my face to fall onto my crouched knees. Have to love kindergarten.

*Dancing the Jello dance like no body was watching and then realizing they all were. I continue to try and model for my class but not as full out. Come visit me I would love to share it with you. There is bouncing, and rocking, and sliding, and melting. I love it.

*A birthday celebration where a well intentioned mother brought in chocolate cupcakes with plastic rings in the top as decoration. Take my words to heart. DON'T do it. The kids were bouncing off the walls. The crumbs were everywhere and I almost died. Though the fact she brought one for me too was appreciated. ;)

I'm sure more will come to mind. Stay tuned for more updates.

May 9, 2010

Life...

has a way of sneaking up on you.
So I survived finals and have moved on to the wonderful world of student teaching. I am in a kindergarten class just down the road. Morning and afternoon. Adorable children. They make me smile. But at times, oh my goodness it is like herding cats. I am extremely grateful for my mentor teacher. This is an excellent learning experience for me.
I keep gathering ideas and materials for my new class of second graders next year. I keep finding new books to read, new websites to investigate, and new ideas. I'm going to have no room in my room for me at this rate. But it is all good.
Still trying to figure out my philosophy, my routines, my management techniques. It is going to be interesting. AN ADVENTURE to be sure.

April 6, 2010

Seven Habits

I wanted to blog about was my thoughts Mr. Moon's presentation and he seven habits. He works with Steven Covey and had quite a bit to say. And a lot of fun examples to demonstrate his points. He also asked some thought provoking questions like, "Why are you here? Why are you doing the things you are doing?" Somethings that I think the average person (and teacher) forgets frequently.
So, like this post is titled, the seven habits and how they change your life.
The first point is being proactive. A must in any classroom or learning environment. An education is a two person job, the teacher and the learner. As the old proverb says "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." It is the same in the classroom.
The second, begin with the end in mind. Once we have a goal we can break it down until we can reach the end. But you need to have something to reach for.
The third, put first things first. Once you have a vision (goal in mind) you need to prioritize in order to reach that goal. If you buy tickets to a concert, and then get distracted playing video games or reading a book, you miss the concert. You need to put aside the video games and get in the car and drive there. Make an effort.
I love that the first three focus on developing independence. I feel that sometimes students are much too dependent on their teachers and parents.
The fourth, think win win. Students need to be taught to look for situations where everyone benefits. Often the focus in classrooms is competition. "I am smarter than you. I am faster." I believe a classroom should be less ego-centric and more task-centered. Every child should be able to achieve. It is not a competition.
The fifth, seek first to understand, then seek to be understood. Often people are so worried about what they are going to reply that they miss what is actually being said. People need to develop a common understanding before they can both be understood.
The sixth, synergize. Working together. A principle that needs to be taught on a grand-scale. There are soooo many people who are incapable of working together with another individual. So frustrating.
The seventh, sharpen the saw. This is a never ending process. You need to constantly be seeking to improve.

Not all complete thoughts. But something I enjoyed learning about and thought I would share.