Monday, May 26, 2014

Wrapping Up

Only one day left of school! I can't believe how quickly this first year is ending. We were supposed to go to the end of this week, but our air conditioner is not working, and it is almost 90 in the classrooms! While I am excited to start in-service early (and grateful to end the torture of trying to teach in a hot classroom), I am disappointed that I can't do all of the fun things I had planned for this week!

Snapshots from this week:
Our summer countdown chain! I got the sign from Mrs. Wheeler and made up our rewards for each day. We pull a chain each afternoon if we have had good conduct, and we get the reward the next day. So far the class favorite has by far been taking off shoes in the classroom! They have enjoyed everything (from chalk and painting to a movie), but on their end of week reflection on Friday, taking our shoes off Tuesday afternoon was the most discussed. It makes me laugh to realize what they love! 

We went outside on Friday afternoon and did addition and subtraction with regrouping on the sidewalk with chalk. Each student got a slip of paper with four problems on it, and once they had me check their answers, they were allowed to play with the chalk. One sweet kiddo wrote this and said I had to take a picture! So precious. 

Class compliment books. I have been doing class compliments from Across the Hall in Second Grade all year long, and have loved it. Usually we just draw one person's name and write one compliment, then share them with the class. Last week we as a class each writing a compliment to every student. It has taken a  lot of time, but now I have a booklet of compliments from each student and myself to give out on the last day. Compliments always make me smile, but these almost made me cry. It has been a really great way to finish out our class compliments for the year.

My lovely sister painted this tree for me on a canvas after I sent her this post. Thursday during independent work time I pulled students back to my table and had them put their fingerprint on the tree. I still need to add a few students, but it is exciting to have my first class on my tree! 

This is exactly how I feel! Grades, projects, meetings, clean-up, graduations, summer packets, the list keeps growing! 

Good luck with the last few days of teaching!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Enjoying the Moments

Well, I have utterly failed in posting more often. The first year of teaching really does hit you like a ton of bricks! I have a kind of long commute and will often spend the time planning blog posts that obviously never happen. They were great posts though, take my word for it! :) 
As part of my graduate program, we have to do daily reflections on the day. Each day, we have to list a high and a low. I enjoy doing these reflections, mostly because it forces me to look back at my day. I am an emotional person and sometimes (ok, more times than I would care to admit) my day flies up and down like a roller coaster. But I know at the end of the day I have to pick one high and one low, and having an ultimate high and an ultimate low each day written next to each other helps me remember that overall, my first year of teaching is going well. Is is perfect? Of course not! Nowhere near. However, it is going well. I have gotten my footing and have fallen in love with my class. Now to enjoy the last few weeks with these cuties before the end of the year! 
In other exciting news, I have finally joined the world of smart phone users! The first thing I downloaded is instagram, and I love now I always have a camera ready. 
View from this week:
This winter my entire school went to a Project Zero conference. Amazing! I love the thinking strategies and can't wait to incorporate more into my classroom.  As per a presenter's suggestion, I am sticking with one strategy at a time until it comes easily. Right now we are doing See, Think, Wonders. In my class we look at the picture for a minute, talk with our desk partner for a minute in complete sentences (I see ____.), then write on our sticky notes in sentences and share with the class. Repeat the process for think and wonder.  My kiddos LOVE it. They beg to do one every week and if we haven't gotten to it yet by Friday they insist we do one before the end of the day. It is so fun to see their brains working and soaking up the information from their partners and class sharing. But the best part is that there is no wrong answer! Even my lowest kids find success with STW. I strongly recommend reading the book or going to a conference!  

A poster from Scholastic book club this year. I have it right in front of the tissues station in my room. Now it has been there since before Christmas, but one very observant child asked me this week when we got the new poster and if we would ever read in the trees. I just had to laugh. We spend so much time decorating our classrooms and they just don't always notice. 

My classroom is sock monkey themed, and I have sock monkeys for a lot of different holidays. Students showing excellence get to read to one of my two original sock monkey during stamina reading time. It is always exciting to get to hold one of the regular sock monkeys, but if you are acting particularly amazing, I pull down the holiday one. Who know a monkey with bunny ears could hold so much power? 

We made these cute Earth Day Promises from KTP on TPT this week. Super fun and easy afternoon project! We labeled the continents and oceans on the globe, wrote on our hearts, and colored our hearts out, no pun intended. I let the kids write what they wanted to on their four hearts, as long as one started with "I promise" and another with "It is important to protect the Earth because". 

Some of my favorite responses:
"I promise to keep the Earth clean as long as I live on it."

"It is important to protect the Earth because God made it." 
So precious! 

Have a lovely rest of your weekend and remember to enjoy these last few weeks amid the craziness!