Sunday, September 29, 2013
Also...I replied to a tweet of Kevin Honeycutt's, and he is following me now! I know he follows a lot of people, but it's still pretty cool! Plus, I tweeted that I was excited to listen to him tomorrow afternoon (I AM!!! He was so fabulous to listen to at the MACUL conference!), but that I was nervous about presenting...and he tweeted me back. Ack...
I am going to post my Prezis on the bloggie here in just a minute...as an extra "back-up" of "let's be sure they are where I need them when I need them. Giving these presentations tomorrow is going to be quite a trip. I am really hoping they are the length they need to be. Though the first one may be a bit short, and the second a bit long...who knows? I guess we shall see tomorrow. Wish me luck, bloggie land!
Sunday, September 22, 2013
I've been busy with all of the beginning of the year stuff, and have been keeping up the blog for my classroom/students/parents better than I have this one!
Anyway...I thought I'd share some of the highs and lows of the first few weeks of kindergarten with all of you, who, I am sure, have gone through many of the same things.
Let's start with the lows, and get those bad boys out of the way...
The first one, and the biggest, is the amount of assessment I've had to do in the first three weeks of school. It is overwhelming, and it bugs me. I have to do: rote count, letter names, letter sounds (yes, letter sounds in the first three weeks of K), rhyme choice, rhyme supply, DIBELS Initial Sound Fluency and Letter Naming Fluency, and a writing sample, scored with a complex rubric (basically, all of my K students are guaranteed to NOT meet the criteria for success on this rubric). Oh, and we also had to spend time doing the online Early Star Literacy test. On top of this, I am supposed to be doing shapes, colors, and just taking stock of where my students are in general. I have spent the past three weeks feeling overwhelmed by assessment. I want to spend the beginning of the school year getting to know my students, getting to spend time with them, to put routines and procedures into place, and, more than anything else, to build relationships with my students, and to help them build relationships with one another. We've worked toward that, but we've also been bursting with assessments. Sigh.
Second...our new math series. We moved to My Math, by McGraw Hill, a Singapore math based program. I will say, in the interest of clarity, that I was one of the individuals who selected the program. I will also say...we were moving to Singapore math regardless of my choice, and My Math seemed like the best of the three programs we were presented with. That said...it is taking a crazy amount of time to do math lessons that I really believe my students could "get" better in different ways. However, we are implementing with fidelity this year...I love the sequence of it--our first few lessons were understanding what counting is, and being able to count and write the numbers 1, 2, 3. We are now working on 4 and 5. My problem is that trying to do this program in whole group is highly ineffective. My students who are on or above level are spending time sitting while I try to get my students who are struggling caught up. I think I need to do the math in small groups, but I have no idea where or how to structure it. I am NOT the best workshop or center-based learning teacher...and so this is killing me. I have to figure it out.
Speaking of center-based learning...we are being required to use Daily Five/literacy center based time during our "Panther Prowl" this year. This is the time when we deliver our interventions to students. We were given six weeks to implement Daily Five in our classrooms. I'm three weeks in, and I've implemented read to self...kind of. My students don't have book boxes/bags/bins, and have barely begun being allowed to select their own texts. I am overwhelmed by it all. To top it all off, I bought the D5 book two years ago, on my Kindle, and I somehow switched kindle accounts, and have no access to the actual book. WHAT? It's driving me crazy, but we are doing the best we can. On the plus side, my kinders built their stamina for read to self to almost seven minutes the other day. Then we had to take some time off to do Early Star during our D5 time, and THEN I had to break from D5 to finish assessments (and I still need to do so again tomorrow). Anyway...I have to work on building Read to Self more, and begin to introduce and implement the other parts of D5 I am going to do this year. We will do read with a partner, and word work, for sure. Work on Writing may come later in the year, as well as listen to reading. Listen to reading SOUNDS easy, but when you have NO books on tape/CD, and no way to really build a listening center...it's quite challenging.
The final "low"...just remembering how tough the management is at the beginning of the year. I LOVED doing Whole Brain Teaching last year, but I either haven't implemented it well this year, or it just isn't gelling with this class. I am keeping with it, and hoping it will work. I had an amazing class last year. This year's class is wonderful, but the personalities are very different from last year's group. Not in a bad way, just in a way that has different needs, so what worked last year may not be successful this year...which is what makes teaching an amazing challenge.
Now, really... there are highs this year, too!
First...I've been keeping up with blogging on our classroom blog! Yay! This is a big deal. There are other things I need to do better with it, but I've had a new blog post each week, which is amazing for me!
Second...I have two "new" paraprofessionals for our Title I time, and I feel like we will (sooner than later) work together well. I felt much better about my school day once I really went to using my Title I time the way it "should" be used.
Third...We really are getting into a routine, and learning our procedures more and more. Thank goodness! I'm getting that structure back together, and we are making progress.
Fourth...We have worked out many of our beginning of the year kinks. Yay!
Okay...my highs are kinda weak right now. They will strengthen and grow over the next few weeks, I know. Oh, and here is a HIGH. I have a GREAT group of students! They are going to be wonderful this year!!!
One final thought...I have been really inspired by the social media I follow...the teachers who are out there, sharing and creating, amaze me regularly. and keep me inspired to keep trying, even when things get hard, and the lows feel bigger than the highs. They also give me new places to go to read, learn, and build my strategies. Awesome!
Hope you all are having a good start of the year (or maybe you are already two months in, and feeling like things are FINALLY settling in). We always tell parents to give their child six weeks to adjust. I suppose I really need to give myself the same leeway! Wish me luck!
Monday, September 2, 2013
So, anyway...there I was...LOL. Yeah, you may not get that...but I was typing, and literally thinking, "So, anyway", because that's totally how I speak, and then it transitioned into the lyrics of the song I've been listening to on loop for the past 15 minutes. First off, I LOVE Beth Orton. One of my all-time favorite artists. If you have never heard of her...man, you should. I'd suggest Central Reservation as a great entrance point, though I came in earlier in her career, at Trailer Park, and both of those albums are complete favorites of mine. The song Sweetest Decline is off Central Reservation, and I adore it. I "like" Beth on Facebook, and tonight she (or whomever manages her FB, I have no idea), posted a link to this great cover Ryan Adams did of her song. I love it. I will admit I do not know Ryan Adams well, other than to know he's quite popular (yes, I'm one of those people who doesn't really follow "new" music anymore...I have what I love, and I stick to that..I'm lame, I know!). So, anyway, there I was...just listening to Ryan and doing...Farley's Currently...LOL.
Loving...this was an easy one today. From Friday evening till early this afternoon, I spent the most time I have in YEARS in my mom's hometown. I've gone every year, but haven't stayed overnight in almost three years, and that was in November, for my grandmother's funeral...so, while a meaningful and wonderful event, not really a happy, let's go hang at the beach kind of getaway. The hubs and kids and I spent our Labor Day weekend in a small house I share with my cousins (we are very blessed to have been given this gift by our auntie). This was "our" weekend, postponed from the weekend before (courtesy of car problems). The house is 3 blocks from the beach, and we had a perfect beach weekend--high 70s, low 80s and sunny! My kids LOVED the beach, and the water was warm enough to swim comfortably...any of you who have been to Lake Michigan know that is a rare thing! We walked all over town, did the tourist-y thing, visited the shop/pharmacy my grandpa used to own, and showed the girls his picture, still hanging on the wall...I think some other tourists thought I was crazy, standing in MacDonald's Pharmacy, tears in my eyes, as I told my kids that the man up there is your great-grandpa...but it was meaningful to me. Really, an amazing, great weekend. Yeah. Even herding the four and two year old everywhere for three days, it was worth it.
Thinking...school starts tomorrow. TO MOR ROW. No, really. Tomorrow. What the heck??? How did that happen? I am so not READY. And my baby...my little peanut...is a FIRST grader. We are now in to uncharted territory. Last year was easy. I know K inside and out. First grade??? What the heck are we doing? I don't know what happens in FIRST grade!!!
Wanting...Day One to be a breeze. We are doing a"transitional" day for students, coming for half a day. Parents have the option to stay, but do not HAVE to. This could get interesting. Plus, making that good first impression on parents, while working to build trust with students. It's a fine line to walk, and will be interesting. The kids come first, no matter what, so that's where my focus will be. I think we'll do well...it's just a bit overwhelming!
Needing...to go to bed...but first, to figure out what I am wearing tomorrow...and let's not think about the fact that I did not do much healthy eating over the weekend, and I think I gained about 47 pounds (my husband assures me this is not possible. I am questioning his sanity). Yeah. Picking out clothes. As soon as I get off the computer...
Which brings me to those goals...#1 unplug more regularly. While I want to be connected, and I am working to build my professional learning network, through this blog, through twitter, and instagram, and all the social media out there, I need to take more time to just be with my family. Another gift this past weekend gave me! This is going to be a challenge, because my online courses start up again in a couple of weeks, and balancing grad work with family is HARD for me. I will be very ready when December comes and I am DONE and really CAN turn off the computer whenever I want, because I don't HAVE to do anything!
Goal #2 will culminate at the end of September. I am signed up to lead not one but TWO presentations at an RESD-wide PD day at the end of the month. This is terrifying. First, because I've never done it before, and, like many of you, put me in front of a group of 50 five year olds, and I'm fine. A room full of my peers? You have got to be kidding. Second, because I don't feel like an expert at this! I feel like I am just keeping my head above water, or just learning to dog paddle in the shallow end. And I know there are people in the RESD who are WAY ahead of me at this. But I guess, then, the reality is that my session won't be for them, they'll go to something else. I'll be there to help the newbies, the people who are scared to death of all this tech, those who, like me, come with the desire, but not the knowledge of how to dive in, and I can just encourage them to do that, because, hey, I've done it. And it's not as scary as it seems. Really.
Sigh. I could add a #3 on there. And really, I need to...so let's pretend there was room, and I wrote "goal #3" on my currently card. Let's pretend it says Eat Better and Get in Shape...or at least START. Yep. I will admit, it was a bad weekend, I didn't drink as much water as I should, and I sure did not eat healthy foods...add some hormonal shifts over the weekend, and, well, let's just say it was an adventure prying my wedding ring off earlier today, and I have not yet tried to put it back on...So, yeah.
That's it. That's my September Currently. If I was good, I'd give ya a lot more photos. Yep. But I'm lazy, and hey, I still need to go pick out my clothes for tomorrow, so I guess I'll be off...and try to be back tomorrow with an update on the first day of school!
(p.s. I'll be doing my love-leaving on three blogs tomorrow...there is no way I can focus tonight...but if you are one of those three blogs, don't worry! I haven't forgotten you, and you are certainly on my must-visit list!)
Sunday, August 25, 2013
I apologize in advance if this post ends up garbled. we have been on a mini-va.cy all weekend! atg tnd I am doing this post from the car...and mobile blogger does not seem to leave spaces...and I am really unsure of how images will go...wish me luck!
Anyway...I participated in the Inaugeral month of the SLANT boxes educator exchange. I was paired up with two other teachers, one for whom I created a gift box, and one who created a gift box for me! I mailed my box on Friday, to an awesome first grade teacher named Tami. I am really hoping she loves her box...there were only a few items, but I tried to make them good ones!! I love the handmade item I did for her, and already have requests to do similar items for others-yay!
I got my box on Saturday (my hubs brought it to me from home). My partner, Tracy, is a fantastic third grade teacher. She sent me some great stuff! Tracy, no worries, you did an awesome job!!!
Okay, so I can't figure out how to put the images in where I want them...I may just be posting, then fixing this post later, when I am on a real computer! At any rate, the first image attached is the whole box. Looks great...and there is lots od turquoise, which is the main "color pop" in my classroom.
Monday, August 19, 2013
I ask this, because I've been convinced to present at our RESD-wide PD day at the end of September. I'm a bit terrified about it. Helped along by a large helping of "Kevin Honeycutt is going to be the keynote speaker, and he is AMAZING".
Okay, so I am aware that, even if I were a more experienced speaker to my teaching peers, I would still fall far short of the high bar set by Kevin Honeycutt and other professional speakers. However, I'd like to not look like a total idiot in comparison. Totally terrified, and I have been convinced to not only present one session, but TWO.
So...I'm hoping my strength lies in NOT being an expert, but instead, just being your average teacher, who is figuring stuff out one day, and one challenge, at a time.
Do you wonder what I am presenting about? Well...I am doing one session (it seems) in a lab setting, talking about how educators can use Pinterest to improve their educational practice, and giving tips, tricks, and ideas for making the most out of using Pinterest. Now, I'm far from an expert on this...so if you have any sure-fire, no-fail techniques, or information you think a pinning newbie should know...leave them in the comments...please!!!
The second session I am doing is about using Social Media to build your digital professional learining community...or learning network, depending on your point of view. So, I will be sharing ideas for how to become involved in the blogging world (and maybe share some information about how to read, leave a comment, follow a blog, etc), more about using Pinterest to find like-minded educators to follow, I thought I would touch on how Instagram can be used as a tool, and finally, on the use of Twitter for education. I'm slowly improving my skill at this, so I will certainly be approaching this part of the conversation as a slightly more skilled newbie. LOL. The goal is just to help teachers who may not be techie figure out some ways to become more techie. I just participated in my first twitterchat last week (and I've missed the two kinderchats since then...drat!!!), so I definitely have just a smidge more knowledge than my peers...
Anyway...PLEASE share any thoughts, ideas, encouragement, or whatever to help me think of exactly what I need to cover to make the PD awesome...
I need to go to bed now, before I fall asleep sitting here...I have a PD to attend (and NOT present at) tomorrow...oh boy...
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Oooh, classroom management...This is an area where I truly believe time is one of the best teachers! I have learned so much in eleven years working with kinders, and I continue to learn more and more!I'm joining in with everyone over at Blog-Hoppin' again today, for Thursday of Teacher Week '13!
Know the students! One of my first tasks as a teacher each year, once I get my class list, is to organize my students, alphabetically, by first name. I learn that list backward and forward. We do most of our lining up/dismissal for "stuff" in this order. Now, this does not mean that Adam always goes before Brittany. Nope, I move through the alphabet daily. So, last year, if I was starting in the middle of my list, I would have Kenadie, Kendall, Kevin, Lillian, Nina, Pierce, Riley, and Tanya...then I would move back to the beginning of the alphabet, with Aden, Aiden, Avianna, Brennan, Caylibe, Chase, etc. The students learn this order brilliantly. I have NO arguements, EVER, about who is supposed to be where and when with this system. Now, do I sometimes have to make changes and alterations due to personalities? Sure. But by the time I need to do this, we're usually far enough into the year that the students deal well with the little hiccup in their order. I use this system for high-demand centers during free play, and for so much more. The only time it gets me into trouble is when I have to go into our computerized system and the kids are ordered by last name. I get so mixed up about who is where! LOL, can't I just organize them in PowerSchool by first name? (Thank goodness, if I export anything to EXCEL, I can!). Also, if we ever have an emergency, and I have to leave the school WITHOUT my class list (or attendance book), I don't have any worries. I know that list backward and forward, and so does my class. If I count my kids, and I am missing one, you better bet I'll know exactly who it is inside of 20 seconds. I do not have consult my attendance book, and try to puzzle it out.
I also have a student sign-in/out area on the side of my file cabinet as the students enter the room. This is not wholly student directed, but we are working on it! Their names are written on sentence strips, laminated, and magneted to the cabinet, in the "In Class" spot. Anyone who is absent, I move to the "Absent" section. Then, anyone who leaves (for nurse, SRC, Speech, etc), has to move their card to "Out of the Room" before leaving, and move it back once they return. This was especially important last year, when I had a massive number of pull-out interventions happening. We are not doing pull-outs this year (yay!), so it won't be as difficult to keep track of who is where and when!
What else? Oh, just the biggie...I started using Whole Brain Teaching Strategies with my students last year, and they LOVED it. I found a modified version of the five rules, turning them into six, with FREE (we love that, don't we?) posters on TPT (you can find them here). More and more people seem to be tuning in to WBT, and I can tell you, there are definitely things about it I am loving. For one, I love the emphasis on talking about what our classroom rules are, on a regular basis in our classroom. SUCH a big deal. Just keeping it that clear and simple for kinders is amazing. I have incorporated a lot more interaction and movement into my classroom, in part, due to WBT. The students are much more engaged in all types of learning. Responsibilites and expectations are clear cut, and good golly, kids prefer that, don't they?
Anyway...there is a lot more to say, but this is already a really long post, WITHOUT any photos, again...so I'll stop typing...besides, my dinner is here, and orange chicken really does taste better when warm!
See you tomorrow for Day Five!!! Remember, tomorrow is Teacher Tips and Tricks...oooh, fun! Can't wait to read lots of posts tomorrow!
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Okay...so...organizing for instruction. Organization by itself is NOT my strongest point, but here are some things I do to keep myself together during the school year.
I use Pinterest ALL THE TIME. Literally. I have a "teacher" account, so that anything that I may want to pin that may not be appropriate for kindergarten eyes, does not get seen by those eyes, and I use Pinterest almost like a Symbaloo type page, for working with my students on our interactive whiteboard. I have a Pinterest Board for calendar, and many of our songs and videos are there, and I have another for Language Arts. I started a Grade Level Team board for our grade level, which some people pin to, and others don't, BUT we've put some great links there for our different ELA units, and I use those throughout every week to link to different activities, videos, games, images, etc. It is wonderful. Also, if you have never used Symbaloo, you totally should give it a try for organizing links and whatnot for your students. That is one of my "throughout the beginning of the year" activities, I need to start making symbaloos to access all of my "stuff" through, AND for the students to use on our classroom computers.
So, I used to be in "charge" of all classroom supplies. I just could not handle labeling everyone's scissors, and pencils, and crayons and glue...YUCK! Well, last year, I bought those skinny long baskets, and each of my students had one, in their cubby, to hold their crayons, pencils, scissors, gluestick, and sticker book (for "rewards" from games and activities during Title I time, and intensives...much each to have a "sticker book" than to have stickers stuck to their noses, hands, shirts, cheeks, my floor, etc). I had a bin of "extras" and any time something did not get put away in the right place, it ended up in the "Extras" bin, and the students had to go there if they found they did not have a necessary item. I refused to be responsible for their supplies. And you know what? They did better with that stuff than any class I've had, and I honestly believe, I went through LESS supplies than ever before, because they knew that stuff was theirs. They got to take everything but the scissors home at the end of the year, and they were so excited! I still had kids who were organizational messes...but...it's a process!
Let's see, what else? My groups for Title One are listed in a huge pocket chart, and, while they are sometimes "flexible" groups, they are, more often, ability groups, which the students move in and out of as my progress monitoring and observations dictates. I have a different "intensives" time of day when I will be using much more fluid skill groups this year. Anyway, their names go in the chart with their "group", and then I simply move the names of the teachers (paras) they will be working with that day. Easy peasy! The students loved it, and so did my paras. You can see the gigantic blue chart on the wall in this photo. You can also see the complete evidence of my lack of organization, helped along by my 3 wonderful children.
I am working on using binders and folders and whatnot to organize the rest of my life, my data, and all that...but that is a terrible work in progress for me. I have all of my info...just not nearly as well organized as it should be! That is definitely one of my goals for this year!I am also working on creating data binder/folders for my students, so that they can monitor their own progress as well. I am hoping to use the new version of my "intensive" time to help students with these, as well as doing some seriously targeted instruction, remediation, and extension.
Anyway...if you read all that, by golly, you are brave! Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon, and I'll try to have a more interesting post tomorrow...or at least, have some darn images! I'm off to the kick-off FAME group meeting for this year (Formative Assessment for Michigan Educators). I am excited to spend another year improving my formative assessment skills, becoming a better teacher, and sharing that knowledge with my peers!
Don't forget, tomorrow is Classroom Management...a few things today probably sneak into that category as well, but isn't kindergarten ALL about management, after all? Everything in K is management related, somehow!
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
But here is the thing...
My classroom is so far from finished right now! So grateful I still have some time to get things done. If you look closely at my photos, you will see the three lovely reasons why my room is as far behind as it is...every time I go out, I end up with three little girls to haul...and cleaning up is not their strong point.
So, here it is, in all it's totally disorganized glory, and maybe, just maybe, I can make someone else feel like "Hey, I'm not so far behind after all!".
Anyway...this is my classroom, the view from the front door. Feel better yet? Straight ahead, you see the doorway (open) to the bathroom area, and the doorway (closed) to my neighbor's classroom. Yep, you have to walk through my classroom to get to hers. It's always an interesting management challenge in a new school year, for both of us. To the left, with the piles of kindergarten readers on it, is my sensory table, my work desk, and the built in cubby monstrosity (and the trapezoid table, which does not live there). To the right, you can see my half-circle small group table...well, maybe you can, under all my stuff! You can also see my four and two year olds, playing with an umbrella. Stinkers. Oh, and you should also visualize really fine, silver, craft glitter EVERYWHERE on that stretch of floor courtesy of those two little girls.
Another view of my little work desk (the goal is to use it for planning), which faces out one of my large sets of windows into our schools little garden alcove.
Here are my built-in cubbies. Until last week, I had another cubby system on top of them. It had lived there the past 4 years, and I needed a change! That area feels much more open now! The trapezoid table is going to go live in it's normal home soon...it was helping me get the big cubbies down off the giant cubbies. LOL. The top of the cubbies is going to be home to math journals and writing folders...I think.
So...do you feel better about your room now? Mine is going to drive me crazy. I possibly have Friday to work on mine, and Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday next week. Then I get a smidgen of paid time (2 half days, I think) to work in my room, and then, POOF! It's Open House time!
No pressure, huh? I am so looking forward to getting out to my classroom without three little girls! Love my children, immensely...but they are NOT helpful with classroom set-up (yet).
Can't wait to check out all of your classrooms and get inspired to keep moving forward with my room!
Monday, August 12, 2013
Sorry to have been MIA all week...as I mentioned in my last post, my little sister's wedding is this week...like...TOMORROW. Yeah. It's been wedding craze, except for the one day I tried to go out and work on my classroom...that ended well...if, by well, you mean a two-year-old sprinkled half a container of that REALLY fine craft glitter ALL over my classroom floor, well, then, yes, it went fine. I am trying to be philosophical about it and say that she just wanted my room to SPARKLE for my new students...and it will ,because that glitter will NEVER come up.
Anyway...I started this post the other day, and just didn't finish, despite my excitement, so we will join my previously scheduled post, already in progress...
I was really excited to stop by my bloggie today and find that Melissa, from Teacher Abroad, had nominated me for a Liebster Award! So sweet of her to choose me! Thanks, Melissa!
For those who don't know, the Liebster Award is given to blogs with less than 200 followers (which would, most definitely, be me!). There are some specific things I need to do to accept this award...
1. Link back to the blog that nominated me
2. Nominate 5 - 11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers
3. Answer the questions posted by my nominator
4. Share 11 random facts about myself
5. Create 11 questions for my nominees
6. Contact my nominees to let them know I nominated them
So, this is going to be a busy evening of posting and blogging for me! I have already linked back to Melissa blog, so #1--check!
#2 Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers. Today, I am nominating:
1. Roxy at First Grade Fancies
2. Keri at Enchanted Kinder Garden
3. Bobbi at Bitty Bilinguals
4. Pam at Diary of a Second Grade Teacher
5. Rachel at A Little Bird in Third
One thing I do feel the need to say is that I tried to pick bloggers who are blogging for the love of blogging, and the desire to make connections with other educators, not just those who are blogging to sell their product. Some are experienced teachers, some are new to the profession, but all of them are working to make the teaching community better. Yay!
Anyway...I am supposed to do #3 and answer the questions posed to me by Melissa...
1. Who has inspired you in your career?
Unlike many others, I didn't have a teacher of my own who inspired me to teach. I grew up in a family full of educators. My great-grandmother was a teacher. My grandmother and two of my aunts worked as school secretaries. My uncle was a teacher/high school principal. Another aunt teaches secondary special education. My mom is an elementary librarian. They each inspired me in their own ways. Otherwise...I am inspired by the many amazing teachers I work with every day, and, most of all, by my students.
2. If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?
There are so many places I have not been...I think I would love to take a trip to Hawaii. It's cliche, but I've never been, and I'd love to go. Of course, I'd also love to take my girls to Disney World.
3. What’s one piece of advice you would give to a new teacher?
Keep learning. You don't want to just get in a routine and then have it become a rut. Be willing to experiment!
4. What inspired you to start your blog?
I have tried to create quite a few blogs in the past...it's almost comical, how I start them, then abandon them. What I really want to do with my blog is make connections and friendship, exchange thoughts and ideas with other educators, to build my "digital professional learning community", and just to share. :)
5. What’s the most embarrassing/funny thing that’s happened to you in the classroom?
I think the thing that cracks me up the most is the time we were walking down the hallway, I was walking backwards (which we know we are never supposed to do, because that is not the safe way to do things!), and I tripped and landed (behind first) right in our lost and found bucket! My kids thought it was hilarious! I turned it into one of those teachable moments...and we sure had a lesson on cause and effect!
6. What’s your favourite chocolate bar?
Yikes. I think it's still Ghiradelli's caramel filled chocolate. Delish.
7. If you could teach any grade, which would you choose? Why? Still kindergarten. Why? Because I love helping little people learn to love school. I love watching how much they learn and grow throughout the school year. It's hard as all get out, but amazing, too.
8. If you weren’t a teacher, what job do you think you’d do instead?
I would probably work in retail somehow. Or in food services. I did that all through college, and I'd like to think I was pretty good at it (I was an assistant manager of first, a fast food restaurant, and then, of a small convenience store). I don't really know, though.
9. What has your best success in the classroom been?
Oh, this is a tough one. In some ways, it has been helping those students who have so much difficulty separating from their parents in the first days (weeks) of school and helping them to feel at ease in the classroom setting. In other ways, it is that I have never given up trying new things in my classroom. There are things I do, and it's just how I do them, but I am always willing to try out something new, and see if it will help my students better. I think being willing to change is a huge classroom success!
10. In your opinion, what book should every teacher have on their shelves?
Again, YIKES. This is going to sound really random, but I think every teacher should read Elaine Wilmore's text, Teacher Leadership: Improving Teaching and Learning from Inside the Classroom. I, to be honest, read this text as assignments for one of my master's courses, but it has had a big impact on me, as a professional. It really is what has led me, over the past year, to strive to become a leader within my building, and to recognize the value of my point of view. I also really valued the message in the text about recognizing that, as important as our jobs as teachers are, we cannot do them well if we do not nurture ourselves as individuals, away from the school setting. Seriously. This is the only textbook that has ever brought me to tears. Great content, and really influenced my perspective as an educator.
I know there are countless other great texts out there...but this is the one that sprang to my mind.
11. What do you like to do outside of school (hobby, sport, etc.)
I digital scrapbook, when time allows. I am also a beginning gardener, and I spend lots of time with my family.
# 4--Eleven Random Facts about Me (aka 10 facts for the Get to Know the Teacher Linky, plus one):
1. Some of my favorite shows are Doctor Who, Sherlock, Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, How I Met Your Mother, and Big Bang Theory. Oh, and So You Think You Can Dance.
2. Whenever I talk about how many times something has happened, or I've said something to my kids, it's always the number 47. "I've asked you 47 times to take care of your trash". Yep.
3. The first dance song at my wedding was Norah Jones' version of Love Me Tender. If you have never heard it, you should. Love.
4. My dad made up a lullaby type of song he used to sing to my sisters and I. He made up a second verse when my girls were born, and it is the go-to lullaby for my now-4-year old. When she was tiny, the song would immediately relax her when she started to get agitated. It still helps her to wind down.
5. I have a TARDIS case on my phone. My husband picked it out for me. It's my favorite.
6. I love my mom's homemade macaroni and cheese.
7. I've only had two pedicures in my whole life, and one was last week. I'm planning #3 for right before school starts. It may be my new go-to pampering treat.
8. My husband and I love to play Trivial Pursuit. I think we have at least 10 different versions of the game! Yep, we're geeks.
9. I love warm weather, sunshine, no jacket, and flip flops...summer makes me happy.
10. I love taking pictures. I'm not at all great at it, but I love trying to catch those moments with my family.
11. My husband and I were married on my grandparents 64th wedding anniversary. It means a lot to me that we share our special day with them.
and #5-- 11 questions for my nominees:
1. Why did you want to become a teacher?
2. What story/activity do you love teaching with students, and why?
3. Do you have a theme for your classroom? If so, what is it, and why? If not, why not?
4. Do you have any pets? What are they?
5. What is one piece of advice you wish you had been given about teaching?
6. Why do you blog?
7. What is your favorite non-education related book?
8. What do you love to do to unwind and "get away from it all"?
9. What is your least favorite household chore?
10. If you watch TV, what is your favorite TV show?
11. What is your favorite snack food?
All righty...I'm off to let those I nominated KNOW I nominated them, and spend a bit of time learning some more about the other amazing teacher bloggers out there. Don't forget, there will be link-ups ALL week! Here's the schedule--I'm going to try to stick with it!
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Anyway...I was nominated by another great blogger for a "Liebster Award", and I started my post for that, oh, about a week ago...it's almost done...but not quite. Hoping to finish it tomorrow! I also get to run some errands with my kidlets, and head out to school for a meeting to discuss what Title I services might look like in our building this year (this is a definite nail-biter!).
I also joined in my first-ever Twitterchat tonight, which was a new experience for me. If you are on Twitter, and are interested, you can follow me, @BeccaAdkins3. I am working on growing in my Twitter skills, just like blogging and instagram...it's all building your digital PLC (or PLN....what is the difference, anyway??? A possible discussion for another day). More to share, but will do later. Totally tired, and ready for bed now! I think the hubs has been asleep for the past three hours...like I said, it's been a LONG weekend!
Monday, August 5, 2013
We also went to see The Heat, which I found hilarious...oh my goodness! I hadn't been to see a movie in the theater in a really long time either! Awesome!
Then, yesterday, my whole fam spent the day at my parents "helping" with last minute projects. (I say "helping" because I am sure you can imagine how much "help" a 6, 4, and 2 year old are...mmmhmmm.).
Today, I've been crossing a few more things off my to-do list. Bought my composition books to use as math journals...and looked like a total nutjob in Walmart, because I had to get notebooks that MATCHED. Yep. I bought 28 identical books. Tell me I am not the only one who does this? I only have 21 students on my list right now, but, in my district, at least, we always add a few more during the month of August...and then, you have to plan on a couple of move-out/move-in students, so extras were necessary. Yep. I'm crazy. I also picked up the individual gluesticks for 25 cents each...yeah...eight dollars worth of those (some are for my daughter's first grade teacher).
I also picked up a desk drawer organizer thing at Dollar Tree, and am in the process of spray painting it turquoise. Not obsessive at all. I also bought a pretty wall decal that I am hoping will stay up/look nice on my lovely cinder block wall.
Hmmm...what else? Just kind of chillin' and keeping my fingers crossed that I will win one of the amazing baskets in the Back to School Bash being hosted by some amazing bloggers/teachers/sellers...if you have not checked out their bash, you need to, especially with the final basket they posted today...over $800 worth of stuff in it! Someone is going to be VERY lucky...and if it's not me, I'll survive...but if it were??? How amazing would that be? Yeah...if you haven't seen it, GO:
Anyway...thanks for stopping by to read my ramble. I'm off to spray paint more of my desk organizer, and then pick the kidlets up from their day in child care (they love daycare Mondays!). Talk to you all again soon!
Saturday, August 3, 2013
Doodle Bugs Teaching has returned to hosting her Five for Friday linky, a chance for us to share five random things from our week. So, here are mine!
1. I got new glasses! Woohoo! Not my fave selfie, here, but I snapped a quick one to send my hubs after I picked them up. My favorite thing about them? There is just a bit of sparkle and glitter in that print. LOVE it. Yeah...I like sparkly things. And these are SO much cuter than the cheapie pair I got last year, after my darling daughter broke my glasses.
3. I love my oldest daughter's drawings. She's heading into first grade, and her artwork has come so far! She has always had an artistic streak, and she love to color on her doodle board...this is our family :) I got a bit erased before I could snap a photo...but I just had to save this one! She's so sweet (sometimes).
4. I "harvested" the first veggies from our little vegetable garden. It's not much, but given how late we started, it feels like success!
5. We've been busily (frantically) trying to finish up work in my parents backyard for my little sister's wedding. Thursday was spent, with both my sisters, my mom, all three of my girls, and my sister's two girls all busily trying to paint the back fence.
|The oldest two girls painting (they are headed into first grade and kindergarten). We definitely spent the day saying that putting paint on this fence was just "putting lipstick on a pig" (check out how it's leaning!).|
|Here is my two year old after a long afternoon of "helping" to paint. Yeah.|
|And the back stretch of fence once it was done. If you look closely, you can see we still had to do the sides...And yes, that is a mirror in the picture. My mom is putting lots of cool painted mirrors all over the back fence. I'll try to remember to post a pic, here, or on instagram (I'm becca372, come follow me!).|
Holy cow...did I just make it through a post with NO school references??? I'm sure that won't happen again any time soon! Thanks for stopping by and checking out my (late) Five for Friday!
Friday, August 2, 2013
So, I will be joining up with currently each month, from now on! I am totally digging this little snapshot of life! Here is my "currently" for August...and I'll share a bit more about it in my post, too!
So, here it is...I was filling out my "currently" while my girls were watching TV, so I was listening to one of their favorite Disney Junior shows, Sofia the First...now it's onto the Winnie the Pooh movie.
I am totally loving vintage bead necklaces...it's been my thing to collect this summer, and I just love them. I especially love when I find them for just a dollar or two at the antique stores or estate sales. They are my new fave...my girls are finally to an age where I can start wearing jewelry again!
I am thinking about...everything I want/need to do before school starts, and worrying that I won't get everything done. I know it will get done enough to start the year, but it's gotten done "enough" the past couple years, and I always feel super disorganized within a week or two. I have a teacher binder to create, tons of other new "kid" things to make, organizing and putting away to do, a new math program to figure out, and "new" writing units to make sense of...yep. Oh, and the Daily CAFE book to read, after I re-read Daily Five. Nope. Nothing much to do. Yikes.
In order to work on all of that, I want (and need) my class list. We were given our lists back in June. In the craze of packing up my classroom fast, I put it somewher to keep it "safe" and now I can't find it. I emailed our secretary to ask for it...she can't email it to me, but she can put a hard copy in my mailbox...but I shouldn't make anything based on that list, because the names might not be spelled correctly...I need to wait till next week when all the names are supposed to officially be in PowerSchool. Ugh.
I NEED to spend time in my classroom....it looks like a tornado went through it, courtesy of taking my girls out there on Wednesday...they got tons of "stuff" out, and didn't put anything away...I have about 12 boxes to unpack (and they are not necessarily nicely organized stuff, courtesy of throwing it all in boxes so our custodian could clean my room first this summer.
And my B2s "must-haves": First, supplies for anchor charts. I started following the Chartchums blog this summer, as well as reading their Smarter Charts K-2 book (awesome). So, chart paper, sticky notes of all kinds, markers, and repositionable glue sticks. Oh yeah!
Second, I am having a passionate love affair with gym floor tape...it is awesome on my tile floor, and it makes lining up SOOOO easy---put a line on the floor, and the kids know right where to stand...and since my line has to curve in order for us all to line up going out the door, a "line" to stand on is a necessity. It saved my butt last year! And the students LOVED it!
Third, coffee. I gave up Mt. Dew last March, and I need the caffeine. Mornings are not my friend, especially when I stay up waaay too late doing my own homework. Coffee, coffee, and more coffee...plus the whole "we can drink coffee in front of our students, but we can't drink soda/pop in front of them unless they can't tell what it is" business. Yeah. Coffee is good. I can carry that around the school without having to hide.
Thanks for stopping by my blog to read what I am "currently" up to. Be sure to stop by and check out the many, many other "currently"'s happening on Farley's blog!
Thursday, August 1, 2013
So, in order to get to know me a little bit better, she asked that we share at least 10 things our readers wouldn't already know about us...a bit easier for me, since I'm a newer blogger! She also asked for photos, as many as possible, so I will try my best!
1. When I met my husband (in college) he had a mohawk, a fu manchu mustache, he was drinking a 40 of beer out of a paper bag, and his fingernails were painted blue and black. NEVER in a million years did I realize I had met the person I was meant to spend the rest of my life with! Here he is (dressed up for a campus event, but you get the picture) back in the day, and then a picture from now (in May, at his mom's wedding, with our middle daughter), just so you can compare...LOL. In between, he gained weight, and lost even more! I've mentioned it once before, but in the past year and a half, he's lost over 130 pounds! He is amazing!
2. This story from my first year of teaching...so there is no photo...At my very first Open House, one of my new students came up to me, in all seriousness, and said "You taught my grandpa!". Well, obviously, I had not....however...my paternal great-grandmother had! I teach in the same district she did (I am the 4th generation of my family to live in this area), and she was the teacher for my little one's grandpa! She is a great girl, and I was blessed to have her as a student! She came back and helped in my room during our Fall Festival two years ago, and I didn't even recognize her at first--but she was as wonderful as ever!
3. My favorite dessert is Olive Garden's Lemon Cream Cake...I can't find an image of it that isn't copywritten..so...yeah. Lemon. Yum. I am SUPER excited, because we are FINALLY getting an Olive Garden in our area! The closest one, before, was a 45 minute drive...now, it'll be 15! Woohoo! Just keeping my fingers crossed they'll be done by my birthday!
4. I am FINALLY getting to read the last book in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. I started reading it when the first book was first published...I was 12. Twenty-some years later, the series has ended, and I finally have a break from reading texts for class, and can tackle this 909 page book! Hurray!
5. I am (very poorly) growing a garden...well, more like a random collection of garden type plants. We moved last fall, and I planted some veggies quite late in the growing season. I finally have some tomatoes growing, a pepper, and some cucumbers. I am going to attempt pickling...maybe. Yes, those are a ton of weeds growing underneath. Like I said, I am very poorly gardening.
6. I have been a sports fan for ages...I have a history as a basketball fan, hockey fan, and am growing as a baseball fan. I don't watch much basketball anymore, but I do still try to fit in some hockey, and we definitely watch a lot of baseball in our house nowadays...here's a layout of mine that will clue you in to what city's team we root for...
7. I have a teacher crush on Mr. Harry from Harry Kindergarten. I use his videos ALL THE TIME in my classroom, and my kiddos love them. I linked to his actual website, but if you haven't checked out his YouTube channel, you should! This is the video that got us started last year, and we used SO many of them as the year went on. Mr. Harry ROCKS!
8. I love salted caramels and salted caramel stuff. Yep, I fell victim to the trend. I started with a salted caramel ice cream at an ice cream parlor in my hometown, which, sadly was sold out when I went in less than a week later...sigh. Since then, I have been enjoying everything salted caramel I could get my hands on...which, sadly, is not enough.
9. I am really hoping I get a mother's necklace or bracelet or something like that for my birthday. If I don't I might have to get one for myself. I am in love with this bracelet, which I originally saw on Pinterest, but I AM linking you to the actual seller, BijouxbyMeg ... She has some really pretty stuff!
10. I love watching sunsets, and am blessed to have two amazing places to watch them from. The first is a cottage my grandparents bought on a small lake nearby. My parents own it now, and, as it's only 20 minutes away, we go pretty often. This is a photo from one of our overnights this summer.
So, there you go...ten random things about me. Hope you enjoyed getting to know me a little better! I will be back tonight to browse through everyone else's linkys! (don't hate...I get to go paint a fence in my mom's backyard...FUN).