Sunday, October 26, 2014

First of all, all you moms out there who teach....I do NOT know how you do it.

This past week I had training until 5:00pm on Monday and parent conferences until 7:00pm on Tuesday and Thursday. Oh, and grades were due Monday morning. When Friday came around, I was literally pooped.

It was all I could do to come home, feed my dogs, feed myself, and then sit in front of the TV.

Thank goodness that last week is over. Hopefully the stress level will go down now.

Why did I ever think that starting to teach a month into school would be easy? My goodness gracious. It has not been easy in any way, shape, or form. Hopefully I will feel like I know what I'm doing by Thanksgiving. That's a good goal. Right?

Here's a little glimpse into my week.

I finally got some stuff up on the walls where I want it to be. Here are some pics:

I got tired really quickly of writing all the learning targets up every morning. So I am trying to type them up the week before.

I needed more wall space, so I moved my word wall from the big white board to my cabinets...which meant that my Say Something sentence stems had to move. So I moved them to my Blooming Tree. I like it!

All of our class jobs are picked!

When my students finished their assignments, I was having them just read. I wanted to try something different, something that was a little more challenging for my higher students. I have used Choice Boards a lot in my classroom and have several on TpT. You can check them out HERE.

So I decided to choose one Choice Board activity for each subject (I had to create a couple of them to fit the needs of my students) and let my students choose an activity to do after they complete an assignment. I introduced it to them on Friday. Several of them were really fired up about it. Hopefully it will work well!

In science, we have been learning about light. We created some gestures to learn that light travels in a straight line, it refracts or bends, and it also reflects or bounces. They really enjoy to act them out! I'm working on hopefully learning how to upload some videos of our gestures and actions. They are so cute when they do it. I love to hear it when they tell me that they went home and taught it to their parents.

We have also been practicing how to envision or create a mental movie in our heads as we read. We have been writing down our visions on sticky notes as we read. Our goal is to have 3-star sticky notes.

Little Miss Lola is doing great! She is such a little spitfire and love bug. Here are a couple of pictures that I took of her. Is she adorable or what? Right now she is curled up in a little ball right beside me on the couch. She is still up for adoption, but might be really hard to let her go.

How was your week? Were you as stressed as me?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Five for Friday - first week for me!

What. A. Week!

I first got my students last Friday. It was so cute. The principal, counselor, and instructional specialist, and I went to each 3rd grade classroom and made our big announcement. We went in cheering and playing musical instruments that I had. The kids were so excited. We did a drum roll as we called out each name, and all the students cheered. They joined us, and then we formed a conga line parade down the hallway to the next classroom. Everyone was all smiles and so excited. It was the cutest thing!

It's been a while since I taught all day long. In Korea, I had a LOT of down time. On Monday and Tuesday, I went home simply exhausted. And my feet were killing me.

I'm joining up with Doodle Bugs to share with you a little about my week.

I have been blessed that my principal gave me 5 days to get my classroom ready and observe my fellow 3rd grade teachers and their classrooms. It was such a blessing. Here are just a few pictures of my classroom. I will definitely post more later!

I introduced Whole Brain Teaching to my kiddos, and they LOVE it! Have you ever heard of it? If not, go to YouTube and search "whole brain teaching" or "power teaching", and you will find a number of videos on it. I plan on posting a few videos later, especially of my students acting out our rules. I first need to make sure all of my students can have their picture taken.

Here are our rules. I changed rule #3 from "raise your hand for permission to leave your seat" to "keep your hands, feet, and objects to yourself" since my students are always moving around. And man oh man, have we said our rule #3 over and over again because my students somehow do not like to keep their hands to themselves.

They are all a part of my Star Wars Themed Classroom Decor Pack.

I introduced the scoreboard too.

They LOVE LOVE LOVE beating me! And boy, they do not like it when I get a point. Of course, I play it up and do my dance moves when I win.

To tell you a little about the scoreboard, every time the class as a whole does something right, they get a point and say "oh yeah". Some examples are: coming into the room quietly, walking down the hall, lining up, standing up, everyone following directions, etc

And every time they do not do something right, I (the teacher) get a point and they all give a "mighty groan". Some examples are: talking when they shouldn't be, not following directions, lining up loudly, etc

At the end of the day whoever wins gets a one-minute party. If I win, I do a little victory dance and they sit quietly at their desks for one minute. If they win, they get a one-minute party where they can chat with friends, sit on their desks, dance, etc....whatever I want it to be.

I LOVE it!

If you know anything about me, then you know I love dogs. I have fostered several dogs throughout the years. I just love it when their forever families send me pictures or I see them on Facebook.

I was not looking for another dog. However, last week I saw a picture and story of a dog at my local shelter. She was found abandoned in a house. She was brought to the shelter and became severely much that she refused to eat. I just knew that I had to go get her. I wasn't sure if it was for just fostering or for a permanent home. 

This is a picture of her the day I got her at the shelter.

It hurt my heart to hold her because she was literally just skin and bones. 

This was her just after one day.

And this was her today laying on my lap because I don't feel well.

She is an absolute doll. There have been some minor scuffles as the dogs are figuring out their place in the pack. So far so good! She looks like a completely different dog.

Her name was Lois at the shelter, and I renamed her Lola Belle...Lola for short.

Years ago I took a class in graduate school called "Poetry in the Classroom". It was my favorite class. Ever. I still use what I learned in that class.

One of the things I learned is that you can sing poetry. Did you know that? Especially any of Jack Prelutsky's poems. I LOVE Jack Prelutsky's poems.

This poem is the absolute favorite of all my students. Including students that I had over 15 years ago! I posted this picture on Facebook, and several of my former students still remember singing it and can still sing it to this day. Now that's making an impact! It sure did make my heart smile!

This poem is sung to the tune of "I've Been Working on the Railroad". His poems can usually be sung to one of these songs:
I've Been Working on the Railroad
Are You Sleeping
On Top of Spaghetti
Twinkle Twinkle

There are more songs, but I need to look them up. Try it!

I also introduced one of my favorite reading strategies to my students. It's called "read and cover", and it can be used with ANY reading material. It improves comprehension, and that makes me a happy teacher. It can also be shown to parents as a simple way to work with their child in reading.

Basically, you read a paragraph, and then you cover the paragraph with your hand.

As you are covering the paragraph, you think about everything you read in that paragraph. I had my students tell their partners what they remembered. Then you uncover your hand and look at the paragraph, seeing what you remembered and what you forgot. They love seeing how much they remembered, and they got better each time.

Such a simple strategy, and it works!

Since this was the first time my students had ever done a reading passage, I wanted to make it somewhat interactive for them. They even came back the next day and told me that they showed their parents.

How was your week?

I am currently sitting on the couch with Lola. I have my box of Puff's Kleenex with lotion beside me. I feel like absolute crud. Head pounding, nose running, throat hurting, etc. What I thought was just allergies has now turned into an infection. Lovely. What a way to celebrate my three-day weekend.