Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Teaching while Pregnant...

Hello again!

I know, I know... It's been awhile. However, I have some exciting news! My husband and I recently welcomed our first born into the world! I will take a step back.

Teaching while 8 months pregnant is DRAINING! I could barely keep myself afloat let alone blog about it. Although I wish I would have, looking back on it now. I had many new obstacles to face. I wasn't new to working with ELL students, but I was new to working with ones that had such an extensive traumatic history. However, my year progressively got better as my belly grew bigger. The responses and comments I got from my students were anywhere in range from hilarious to concerning. 

Here are a few examples:

"Do you know how they get the baby out?... They cut you from here to here, (student using one finger to draw a line from one side of his stomach to the other) then take the baby out and give it to you."

"Do you know how bad it hurts when they take the baby out? My mom said it is THE WORST!" (THE WORST was said with flattened serious eyebrows and a stern voice.)

One student to another teacher, "Did you know Mrs. B has two hearts? (6 year old student places his hand on the teachers chest) One here, (then moves had to her belly) and one here."

After first telling my students I was pregnant, which was on a Friday. I come back to school on Monday and one of my students got very serious and mad, then said, "I thought you said you were having a baby? Where is he?!"

Needless to say, there was never a dull moment! They also enjoyed meeting him when I brought him in at the end of the year. Now, this year they are in second grade and they are all asking me how he is doing. They even remembered his name.

So, even during the stress I built relationships and learning took place.

Now, our baby boy is 5 months old and I am into my another year of teaching! Although it is so hard to leave my little one to go back to work, I love what I do and I am excited to see what another year has in store.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Getting Organized in 2014!

Well, I am not sure about you, but I surely enjoyed this 'extended' winter break! Since Gov. Dayton closed Minnesota schools on Monday due to dangerously cold temps and our district decided to close today as well. We got an extra two days tacked on to our already lovely break! Well yesterday and today, even though I am at home, are back to reality. I have been getting things ready to go for the new year and getting organized!

Here are some things I have been doing to stay organized in the classroom:

This idea I got from a co-worker last year and let me tell you- it is a LIFESAVER! 
Instead of doing a filing cabinet with each student having a file folder or other filing systems that are hard to take with you and not very practical. Take a large 3-ring binder and the plastic, folder dividers and give each student their own. (Plastic for durability and folder to hold the important papers.) I print out a small roster and tape their name on each tab in alphabetical order. 
 I can now take it with me easily where ever I need to go- IEP Meetings, Home to Grade, Parent Meetings. It is wonderful! 

Organization Tip #2-
Since the 3-ring binder organizer is for important papers such as F&Ps and benchmark assessments and other important documents, you still need a place for the student's wonderful works of art and other amazing classwork! (Some teachers just send it home after each quarter and some keep special things for an end of the year portfolio.) Either way, this next organizational tip keeps all these items in one easy place and it actually fits the larger projects we make in the younger grades!
Take a plastic crate from any store and turn it sideways- now get the LEGAL size of the file folders- these are longer then the standard file folder. They fit perfect in the crate when it is horizontal. Now, each student has a place to keep and hold their 'special' projects and works of art until the end of the year! 


Monday, November 18, 2013

Science- Circuits

This has to be one of my favorite science activities!! CIRCUITS!  The first graders love the "light bulb" moment... literally, when their light bulb turns on for the first time! Although, circuits is a difficult topic to teach first graders- I found this is actually one of the easier concepts for them to understand, even my lower EL students really flourished!

I started by giving them the three tools they needed and asked them to simply light the bulb... after 15 minutes of frustration- I gave a few hints. After a few students got it, most followed shortly after!

If you haven't done this in your classroom- I highly recommend it!

The next day, I gave them a worksheet from our focused instruction guide that gave them pictures of different circuits they needed to try. If it worked, they circled it- if it didn't, the crossed it out. Another extremely engaging activity that challenged the students at their level.


Exploring Shapes!

Our Math Focus is SHAPES!
Last week I had students explore shapes and how different shapes can be composed of other shapes.

I love the different results each student had! 

This was an extremely engaging lesson for the students! They loved the hands on activity and how each result could be different... and that's okay!

I hope this helps you with your shape lessons! 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Owls Shapes and The Shape of Things :)

The math unit we are working on is on SHAPES!

To kick it off we did this awesome Freebie Silly Shaped Owls from Classroom Freebies.

We started off last week by making the owls and later this week we will be filling out the owl shape packet.

Since my room is owl themed, I couldn't resist this awesome intro to shapes! 

They turned out great!

To kick off this week we read:

It is a cute book the takes shapes and makes them into everyday objects. 
An example is:
A square is just a square until you add some windows and a door. Then, it is a house. 

So, I had my students replicate this themselves. 
I made a template of each shape on Word and typed up a sentence starter that the students just needed to fill in. 

It let students use their imagination and also identify shapes in everyday objects. 

Here is their completed work:

I really enjoyed combining these two ideas to introduce shapes to my class! 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

PALS- Reading

My district purchased the PALS- Reading Strategies Program to assist students to gain an overall better understanding of decoding and be more confident independent readers. Best of all it is mainly peer lead.

Here is a link if you are unfamiliar with the program and want it at your school:

 Here are some of my students doing their PALS reading!

I pair partners with a high and low- the high reads first. It is a coach/student approach and the students are very found of it. They love when it is time for PALS reading!


Monday, November 4, 2013

A Little Halloween Fun!

Since I have so many students who do not celebrate Halloween in my classroom, we had a Harvest party instead- celebrating all things Fall!

However, the students really enjoyed a few activities we did, that were geared more toward the Halloween holiday.

The first was the poem, 5 Little Pumpkins, we made a chart together first and the students got to make their own to take home after. It was a huge hit! They loved it!

Here is the chart we made:

I found the Freebie template for the words and pumpkins from another Awesome blogger here:

Here is the link to the Freebie the students made to take home:

Another easy activity that we did was read Scaredy-Cat, Splat! I added my own jack-o lantern and I hot glued both his pet mouse and the spider he finds in the book on it. (I also filled it with small candies that I gave out at the end) and the students Loved It!

Easy ways to add some festive cheer!! Enjoy!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Just Another Manic Monday

I found this poster floating around on FB...

Felt it was fitting for this lovely Monday! HA