Thursday, October 14, 2010

Yeah for Break!

I haven't had a lot of time to blog lately, sorry about that!  I've been super sleepy, but that comes with being a teacher AND being pregnant, so blogging has been the furthest thing from my mind.  But the first 9 weeks of school have come and gone and fall break is already upon us (and almost over).

It's been a great 9 weeks!  My group of kiddo's is pretty amazing, very chatty, but amazing!  They make me laugh, and keep me on my toes.  Not to mention they are all very excited about the newest Jaguar to be.  When we took a poll, most of them thought girl and they were right!  K said that he thought it was a girl if the baby was moving a lot and a boy if the baby was sleeping a lot.  I loved that reasoning!  When I showed them the ultrasound I got 2 responses: it looks like Yoda and it looks like an armadillo.  From the mouths of babes!

So now I'm on fall break.  I've watched a lot of TV, went to some Dr's appointments, had lunch with out with my aunt and cousins and now here I am watching more TV!  I have a few more days to enjoy my time on the couch with my feet up, resting up for round 2 at school.

I will work harder at blogging more, but no guarantees!  Til quarter 2...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Lowdown

I'm back...sorry about the delay in writing, but the first three weeks of school have been a whirlwind!  It all started before the kids even came back...

We had our annual staff retreat, which was super fun, but started some controversy over grade levels and who would be teaching what and in what room.  Needless to say, this made for a very long 2 weeks leading up to school!  Emotions were high and tears were just a part of the everyday routine for some.

Class lists weren't finalized until the last moment with grade level changes still happening right up until meet the teacher day the Friday before school.  This made it difficult to get the tedious tasks of name tags and such done, knowing that they would be changed just as you were putting on the finishing touches.

Once school did start, it was an adjustment period.  I am teaching 1st/2nd and have 18 second graders and 8 firsts graders.  Not bad right, except for the fact that I must have the hardest group of first graders in the whole gleam! 

Here's the low down on my first graders...
One student who speaks, but you can't understand a word he is saying.  One student who can't seem to keep his hands to himself (but he is super sweet!).  One who thinks he is too cool for school (yes! A 1st grader!).  One who sucks her thumb and can't seem to focus on ANYTHING.  One who is so smart, she doesn't know how to cope, so she throws tantrums.  One who refuses to wear his glasses and has befriended the one kid in class that he shouldn't have. And one who cries when he can't get his work done in the time allotted.

So, even though I mostly have a class of 2nd graders, the 1st graders are taking up all of my time and energy thus far to try and keep them away from each other and on task.  Many of the 1st graders probably shouldn't even be in the same classroom!  Now you can see why I haven't posted yet! 

Until I have a moment to breathe and post again...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

You remember that Staples commercial from a while back where the dad was singing and dancing down the aisles of back to school supplies and the kids were not so excited?!?  Yeah...I'm that guy when I spot School Supplies in the stores...I'm a dork...I know!  There is nothing like buying new supplies for new little hands and a new year.  I love it :) is the commercial...

Staples Back To School

Believe it or not this is my last weekend of freedom until at least October.  That is when school will get a much needed 1 week break!  I really can't believe how fast this summer as gone and that I'll be back to the grind in less then 48 hours!

The past week has been a busy one.  Lots of time spent in my room getting ready and lots of hours not slept thinking about everything that had to and still needs to get done before 7:45 AM on Monday.  I really couldn't have done it without my mom!  She really is the one responsible for getting my room organized and in tip-top shape.  I've never been one to enjoy the tedious tasks such as pencil sharpening and folder stuffing.  I'm much better at seeing the bigger picture.  My mom spend countless hours this week filing, sorting, cleaning, sharpening, filling, stapling, cutting, and so much more.  THANK YOU!!!

Most of Thursday was spent in meetings about the upcoming year, but Friday I could finally sit down with my GLEAM (Grade Level tEAM) and plan.  We also got to meet some of the new kids coming into my room.  I will have 17 2nd graders and 9 1st graders.  Most of the 2nd graders I know from last year, but my 1st still seem to small.  Seeing them reminded me that I really did achieve my goal last year of creating independent learners.  Back to the drawing board I guess!  At least this year I know it is possible.

I'm excited to start the year.  Nervous, as I always am at the start of a new year, but excited.  It's a little daunting thinking about having to rebuild the community that was so strong by the end of the year last year.

Until I'm not too tired to blog again... 

Monday, July 19, 2010

It's Official...

...School is on my brain!  I woke up this AM and all that I could think was "OMG!  I have so much to do, and not much time to do it in!"  Just last week I felt like I had an eternity.  Ok, maybe not an eternity, but a lot longer then I feel like I have now. 

There is so much to do, first of all set up of my room.  Last time I left it, in the end of June, it was a disaster!  Everything was moved to one side of the room, piled high and I couldn't even handle the thought of starting to arrange the room.  Not only do I need to get the room put back together, I don't like to look at the same room set up for long so that means I become interior designer as well.

Then there is trying to wrap my head around the start of school.  Procedures, getting to know you games, what went right/wrong last year and theme for the year.  Just when I thought I had my act together, school begins to approach!

There is so much to do, so I'm going to stop blogging and start planning.

Wish me luck...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Easy come, easy go

It's over.  The school year as come to an end and I can't believe it!  I feel like I was just getting the news that I was going to be switching grade levels from 5th/6th to 1st/2nd and now it's done.  I totally survived it too!  I mostly have Jill to thank for that.  I don't know how I would have survived without her. 

Did I teach it all? No. 
Did I have all good days? No.
Did I enjoy every minute? Yes.

Surprising, I know!  But it's true.  Every single moment, good and bad, made me a better teacher.  The good were celebrated, the bad were reflected upon, the horrible were simply forgotten! 

So here I am, ready as ever for a relaxing summer vacation.

'Til I decide to think about school again...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mom's and Muffins

Who knew that in just a few days time one could plan a most fabulous Mother's Day Event?!  Well me, of course!

When I presented my Mom's and Muffins (borrowed from a lovely friend/teacher) idea to Jill on Monday her response was "ummm...No."  LOL!  Well I changed her mind and we started planning.  We picked a day and time, whipped up some fill in the blank invites for the kids to make and decided on food and drink.  There were even 2 homemade gifts that all got started and finished within the week.  It all came together really well.

I spent Thursday night at Costco, staring at muffins, just trying to pick some out.  Why was that so difficult?  Not sure!  I ended up with 1 dozen very large muffins and a package of small muffins.  Thank you to one mom that brought some goodies for us, what a huge help!  I also ended up with some daisies for the kids to give to their moms.  The perfect touch.

Well, needless to say that all (and when I say all, I mean every mom showed up!!!!) of the moms loved the homemade gifts.  Each kid made a book about their mom with various info like mom's age, favorite sport and favorite color.  We also made a class book "20 Uses for a Mom" in which every kiddo had their own page with their own "use."  It was really cute and the mom's all seemed to get a kick out of it.

So now we're on to the next event.  We couldn't possibly leave out the dads.  So upcoming will be Dad's and Donuts.  Jill, has said "no" for now!

I'll keep you posted...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pencils for Snack

I am pretty sure that every kid in my class eats pencils. There, I've said it!

I have handed out over 500 pencils this year, yes I said 500! Where in the world do they go? I've tried everything from keeping a flower pot of pencils with the take one/give one philosophy to giving each table 4 pencils with their table number on it to not giving out pencils at all. I've had the kids search the floor, under and behind shelves and inside cubbies.

It's to the point now, that I give one student a pencil to complete an assignment, we go out to recess and then for the next assignment, they ask me for another pencil. WHAT?!?!

When I taught 5/6 I would give them a pencil for a shoe. Then when they gave me the pencil back, they could get their shoe back. But, my 1/2's would be happy to go without shoes, in fact, most of my kids, at some point in the day, will be without shoes.

So...what to do? Do I not hand out any more pencils? Do I keep handing out pencils? I'm out of ideas so I'm putting it out there! Any and all ideas welcome...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Here We Go Again

Here we go again. After surviving last years RIF's (reduction in force) I really thought that I was in the clear. But just as I never know what the new day will bring me, I don't know what the new year will bring me. It's frustrating, wanting so bad to plan for the new year, to want to be excited to come back, to not know if I'll get another much needed year with some of my 1st graders. I just want one year, where I don't have to worry about the next!

But enough of that...

At this point, I'm pretty sure you are all aware that I have a hard time saying no. So I got myself into putting together the yearbook this year. It was all good, until teachers didn't turn in their pages, GLEAM's didn't take pictures of their kids and yearbook contact didn't know what she was doing. Thank goodness for Christy! I really couldn't have done it without her. Now that it's finished, I don't know what to do with myself. I think it will come out great and I really can't wait to see it hot off the press. 72 pages of beauty, a labor of love!

I love my job! What job can you name that you can see a kid break dance, hear a kid ask someone if they brush their teeth because their breath stinks, feel a kids fingers tap your arm insistently, and witness the "light bulb" moment. Not many, not any that I can think of.

I can't imagine doing anything else!

Short and sweet tonight...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Candy, Hearts and Hugs

Valentines Day, the day of love, and when you're a teacher, that love is multiplied by the number of students you have. It's a fun day filled with candy, hearts, hugs and of course a party. Not only was it Valentines day, it was also Exploration Friday.

A little on Exploration Friday first...
At ANLC there is a long standing tradition of community members coming to school 4 times a year to hold classes on different subjects. On these 4 Friday's each child gets to take 2, hour long classes. The kids love it, and I always enjoy seeing what the parents and community members come into teach. During this time, the teachers are in charge of supervising a class, usually in their own classroom, and get 1 Friday off a year. This quarters Exploration Friday landed on the same day as our Valentine's Party. Which made for quite the day!

I have the most amazing group of parents in my room this year. They have planned the BEST celebrations and this one was no exception. I knew that the parents would be there at lunch to set up, but I had a meeting. So I left the door open and hoped that they would know to go ahead and get going, they did!

When I walked in just minutes before the kids, I was in shock. It looked fantastic! They had snacks out, tablecloths, hearts all over and activities ready to go. We started by having the kids pass out valentines and go through all of their goodies. What major excitement that is when you're 8! I've never seen kids so excited about cards and candy.

Once they had a chance to peruse their goodies, we started on their project for the afternoon. They each made chocolate kiss rose buds. Super duper cute! I'll try and get pictures on here for you to see just how cute. They looked complicated, but they were really pretty simple. Once the kids saw how to make them, they were good to go. There was only one little guy who decided to eat the 6 chocolate kisses instead of making them into flowers. At least it was only 1!

That wasn't the end of it though. After some more eating of candy, we had root beer floats. Sugar to the MAX! The remaining part of the afternoon was spent running around on the playground. Hey, can you blame me?!?!

I got cute gifts too. M bought me a stuffed kitten that had chocolate around its neck because "I know you like cats and chocolate, and we were in Target and I told my mom, Mrs. Iaboni has to have that!" The little ones certainly don't only show their love to me on Valentine's Day, which is one of the reason's I enjoy teaching the younger ones. But on this day, it's multiplied...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Please, pretty please with a cherry on top, stop the rain! Rainy days, although welcome in AZ, are not so much welcome when you are a teacher. Feel free to rain anytime on the weekends and from 2:15 P.M. to 7:45 A.M. during the week. No joke, the rain is simply put a punishment to teachers everywhere. So what exactly do teachers do when it rains? Why, we put in a movie of course!

Jill and I would never just "put in a movie" for no reason whatsoever, well we might, but certainly not for days in a row. So, in went "The Little Mermaid". It's a movie with water, so we were tying it to the theme of the week, but we took it one step further. While they were watching the movie all of the kids, all 41 of them, were on the hunt for nouns and verbs. We tied it all together! We survived the rainy day. Or so we thought. Wake up and what's happening? Rain, more rain! So in to school I went, movie in hand, lesson ready. This time we watched "Monsters' Inc." and recorded adjectives. Mission accomplished. Stir crazy children were content, exhausted teachers were happy.

Not only did we watch movies though. My class made boats. S came to me and suggested we make boats to float in the puddle/pond that was our South Playground. Out came boxes, wrappers, everything in the recycle bin and they built boats. They were very creative, and I must say, watching them build their floating creations was pretty fabulous!

The kids were just itching to get outside by Friday afternoon, so once the rain stopped Jill and I planned on taking them to the North Field. It wasn't flooded like ours was. We didn't tell them until we were lined up, knowing that they would have been ecstatic for the 30 minutes we had left. Q came up to me and said "can I run around? I need to stretch!" as he stretched all around. Too cute. They just RAN to the playground. It was so nice for all of us to get some fresh air.

Our fun Friday wasn't over yet. We finally got a chance to float our boats. The sun was out and the puddles were waiting. Originally, I tried to keep them from walking, standing, splashing in the puddles, but whats the fun in that. So knowing that they were heading home in a mere 10 minutes, I gave up and they got wet. Most of the boats sailed, all of the kids splashed. A very fun way to end the week from you know where!

Well, just when we thought the rain was over, the following Wednesday came. Not only did I have a headache, it was also a half day (which are always nuts!). I couldn't wait for our 9:30 recess to come. Just as I walked out the door to go and pick them up from specials, which would directly lead to recess...the sky's opened! Seriously?!?!

My final thoughts: Movies can be used productively. Puddles are meant to be splashed in. Just as there are snow days back east, we should have rain days. Sunshine please, pretty please come back!

'Til next time...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ok, so my goal of writing at least one sentence a year has gone right out the door already! But with good reason...I was sick. It's one of the many perks of teaching. We came back from winter break on Monday and on Tuesday I had that scratchy throat thing going on. I sucked it up and went in on Wednesday, but knowing that I had a trip on the weekend, I stayed home on Thursday. A quick trip to the doctor turned up a diagnosis of bronchitis. Ick! Well a day of rest and then a half of a day on Friday and I was back in action.

Last week was a short week since I was out of town on Monday, but short weeks always feel longer then regular weeks! We got a lot accomplished though. We've learned all about verbs, which are easy for the kiddo's to pick out of a list, but not so easy to write. We'll continue to work on that for sure!

This next week will be a short week as well. No school because of MLK's Birthday. It's nice to have a day off. Seems that the days off come at just the right moment! You would think that after having a two week break for the Holiday's, we'd still be ready to roll...not so much! It's crazy, but this 3-Day weekend was heaven sent.

So for now, that's all. But I'll be back as we continue our trek through grammar. Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Halfway Point

Well, we made it. I made it! I survived the first half of the year teaching the little ones. And I have to admit I love it. I was pretty skeptical at first. So much prep work during the summer, so many tears in the beginning, but all of the hard work and we've made it through the first half of the year.

I've cried. Day one, after using the word "decipher", taking the whole lunch period to get the kids through the line and being asked a million questions about where they were supposed to go...I cried. I didn't want to do it anymore, did anyone want to switch grade levels? But I got through it. Jill and ALL of the admin was on my side and it turned out just fine. No tears since then!

I've laughed. If nothing else the kids have made me laugh on a daily basis! Everything from "I can touch my brain" to a mini MJ doing the moonwalk across the floor. I've seen it all! Not to mention that Jill and I have shared some great moments and laughs in the first 09 of the 09-10 school year.

I've taught. The biggest difference between the older and younger kids, is that I can see the learning as it happens with the little ones. I teach them to read a new word today, and tomorrow they read it to me! I show them how to spell "who" today, and tomorrow they write it in their story. I'm pretty sure I taught the 5/6's something, but I couldn't see it. This year it's different. I can see it pretty much immediately. Immediate gratification for me and for them.

Overall it's been a great first half. I have a lot of ideas in mind for the second half of the year. We'll see how that goes. I know I've fallen off the page with this blog. But I'm back now. My goal is to write here at least once a week, even if it's just a sentence. So for now...