Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring Break!

Yeahhh! My Spring Break starts tonight! I don't have to go to school tomorrow because it is a teacher work day and I got all of report cards finished today! I'm super excited about my Spring Break because I'm relaxing with my girlfriends this weekend at the beach for one my good friends bachlorette parties, then chilling at home for a few days catching up on laundry, blogging, and bad TV, and then the later half of the week I'm going to see my family in Delaware for my cousin's wedding!

My students were so cute today. They were very sad about Spring Break did not want to go. I had kids telling me that 10 days was too many days not to go to school and be away from me and their friends. I told them to enjoy the time. I also gave them some homework over the break and guess what? They were excited...totally pumped and thrilled. I was shocked...are my kiddos going crazy?

We read Flat Stanley today and then my kids made their own Flat Stanley to take home with them over break with a journal to write down their adventures with their Flat Stanley. While they were decorating their Flat Stanley's my kids were talking about how excited they were to write down their adventures and all the fun things they would do with him over break. I had students ask if they had enough paper in their journals for each day. I told them they did but if they wanted to write more they could add paper. Some of my students exclaimed after learning about this home project that I was the best first grade teacher ever! (I won't let them know all the first grade teachers are doing this project lol.) 

Anyways it was a great ending to a beautiful beginning of Spring Break! I hope to be posting some cute new games early next week! 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Field Day Frenzy


Today we had our field day and it was a frenzy of activity. The kids were so excited when they came in and were all hyped up. Thankfully we started first thing in the morning at 9:00! Our field day theme was Alice in Wonderland which was such a fun theme for all the games. My kids were split into teams of four to participate in various games around the schools field all morning. 

 We went around to 20 different stations including "Pin the smile to the cheshire cat" (pin the tale on the donkey) "Down the rabbit hole" (race on scooters) "Eat me, Drink me" (snack and water break), " Painting the roses red" (sidewalk chalk) "You're late you're late!" (running obstacle course), Tweedle Dee's (3 legged race), "Mad Hatter's tea party race" (water game that required students to fill up tea cups and pass on to their team mates), etc. The Mad Hatter's tea party was their favorite game because they got wet from a sprinkler hose and cooled off! 

Field day lasted until 11:45 and my students really did well playing and being great sports but it was a long morning. My students are used to their routine and were super hungry since we usually have lunch at 11:00 and tired from being outside. I don't think I've ever seen them so tuckered out. 

At 11:45 we went back inside to cool down, eat a snack, and read. Then we went to lunch at 12:30 and made a field day book that was super cute! I know I got it off a blog but I have it on my school computer and can't share with you right now (sorry!). Then we got to watch the movie Alice in Wonderland for the rest of the afternoon. I had a few really sleepy friends but everyone managed to stay awake...they needed a would have been a very hard day without one. 

It ended up being a great day but I'm so happy it is done with-it exhausts me to be outside for half the day chasing around 18 kids! Props to P.E. teachers! 

2 days left until SPRING BREAK! Yes, I need a count down! :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Observation & Pre-Post Conferences

I feel like a gigantic weight has been lifted off my formal observation is done! I feel like I should have a grand celebration..instead I'm blogging!

My pre-conference consisted of a ton of questions about my lesson plan for my formal observation including accommodations for ESOL and ESE students, standards, etc. I really felt like I was being tested. The questions were part of Marzano's Art and Science of teaching iobservation evaluations so I don't blame my principal for these hard questions but it is a lot to answer. I won't get into all of it but if you are a Florida teacher you know what I'm talking about. So during this pre-conference I had to answer all questions pertaining to my lesson and domain #2 which is planning and preparing.  I felt frusterated because some of the information about tracking had not been mentioned to me previously and my principal wanted me do it in my lesson with my kids that day in formal observation. I had approximately one hour and thirty minutes to introduce to my kids a new way to track their own learning (insert sarcastic cheers). Needless to say I left the meeting scrambling back to my room to try and implement this in my room.

Once I initially freaked out and calmed down. I decided to put sticky notes on my students desk so they could track their learning using their scales each time the learning goal was said and they showed their understanding on their learning scale. It sounds like a lot to do but my kids had already been showing me their understanding by using their fingers 4-I can teach a friend 3-I understand 2-I understand most of it but need more help and 1-I'm trying but I don't understand yet. So all they had to do was write this down on the sticky note during the beginning, middle, and end of the lesson. It worked out well (thank goodness, I must have a teacher guardian angel) and the lesson ran smoothly. My students enjoyed working together in cooperative groups and making the foldable. My students behaved and did a wonderful job with the lesson. My principal loved how I had differentiate activities for all types of learners. Yeah, go me! She gave me a high five on the way out and said great job. Seconds later I got an e-mail already from iObservation telling me what I got on my observation which was applying.

I worked diligently on my post conference reflection and conference that afternoon while my students watched the cutest Reading Rainbow video on If You Give A Mouse a Cookie and cause and effect and went to specials. Who would have thought all these years later Reading Rainbow would still be a hit? Well it certainly was! No, I'm not a teacher that lets my kids watch movies all the time but it was Friday, St. Patrick's Day, I had my formal observation for 45 minutes, and we're all really ready for Spring Break so yes I took a "break" and worked on my teacher paperwork.

Then this morning I worked hard to make sure I had all the questions prepared, my individual professional plan, data notebook, and lesson plans all ready for my post conference. I went in prepared and I felt so much better about the post conference! My principal coached me through some of the harder domain questions and was super complimentary of my lesson. She said she was very confident in me as a teacher and liked how I engaged my students. She also let me know that she is most likely putting a student with special needs in my class next year who has a para professional. He is currently in a K-1 class but is staying another year in first grade. She said she think I would be the best teacher for him next year and already wants him to visit my class at the end of the year. To ease the transition to a new teacher and create less anxiety. She said she cannot say yet if I will for sure be in first grade because this would be preferential treatment and she has to continue to look at her numbers but it looks like I'll most likely be staying in 1st grade next year! Now I still have to meet one last time for my entire evaluation and to see what my assignment for next year will be. I'm so glad it's mostly done!

For other Florida/Marzano teachers:
Cheat sheet for Domain 1

Celebrate success by:          
                                    - Show of hands
-       Certificates
-       Parent notification
-       Applause
-       Pat on the back
-       Stickers on a chart
-   High fiving a friend

Track student progress            - chart/graph progress
- thumbs up or down for understanding
      - point to faces chart of understanding
      - number over heart for understanding
      -track on paper

Learning Goals           - Goal posted on board
- Refer to statement
                                    - Clear statement
                                    -Restated in students' own words

Establish Classroom Routine:
Review rules
Remind students of rules
Signal students when to use rules

Layout of the classroom:
Clear traffic pattern
Decorated to enhance learning
Learning centers
Easily move about

Up next Field Day and 2 more days until SPRING BREAK!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

President's Day Flashback!

I know President's Day was so last month...but I haven't had time to do anything more than quick posts here and there so I wanted to share with you my student's writing.

It is very adorable! We read a lot of books about being president and talked about how hard a of job it would be and what we would like to change in the good old U.S.A. Then my kids wrote about what they would do if they were president. They are so creative and came up with so many great ideas! Some of their ideas were to have better security, safer roads, and homes for everyone. Such sweeties thinking of others!

We also compared and contrast Abe Lincoln and George Washington after reading a few biography on each president and watching Brain Pop Jr. videos on them. The kids did a super job on this and created a George and Abe craft!

Before I have to run to do a million other things check out this adorable hallway decor my neighbor had! This is the only Seussy picture I have! I totally forgot to take pictures of all the cutesy stuff we did. Bummer! But most of it was found from Pinterest anyways so it is technically saved!  

Enjoy your night! We're halfway through the week! 

Nightmare on School Street

Between trying to close on our house, my observation looming on Friday, a reading night at school on Thursday, the book fair this week, field day next week, a baby shower today, report cards, and spring break around the corner my mind has been going CRAZY! Now this week it has been crossing over to my dreams. I had a crazy dream that I actually moved into school. I had a loft above my classroom where I lived so I could always be working. (You know Kindergarten kids actually do believe you live there? Hehe) Then I had a dream my kids were standing on their chairs and desks when my principal came into for my observation. Last night I had a dream that my principal, reading coach, and two assistant principals all came in for my observation and I played a magic school bus video. My principal final turned it off going "I've had a enough of this. When are you going to get started with your actual lesson?" To which I was scrambling around on my computer looking for a powerpoint presentation while my kids were going nuts! Then I woke up heart beating and wanting to cry from disappointment- thanks goodness it was only a dream!

I can't wait for this Friday and formal observation to just get here so I can be done! I feel like this will take away a lot of the stress I've obviously been harboring! I guess I'm bottling it up and not letting it out enough either because I keep having these crazy dreams. Any suggestions on how to de-stress your body? I already do yoga 3 times a week and work out the other 4. I talk with my friends, co-workers, and my significant other about my day to de-stress. I'll have a glass of wine, write a million to do lists, and even got a massage last week. I mean how much more could I try to relax! Does anyone else ever feel like they have a million and one things on their plate?

P.S. Sorry for being so whining lately...I have so many things I want to share I'm just waiting to actually have time to upload pictures and documents.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Teachers Taking Care of Teachers

On March 2nd there were 44 tornadoes across 5 different states and many people were left without homes and schools. Let's band together as the great community of teachers that we are to help out these teachers that have lost all of their supplies, books, materials that they have lost due to this catastrophe! Kreative in Kinder is having a bloggers link up to donate anything to help out. I'm going to be donating some new spring TPT products and school supplies to help these teachers and communities get back on their feet. Please spread that word and link up! I'm also taking this quote from Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics who inspired me to link up and write this post this morning! Thanks for posting about a great cause and helping me reflect on the important things in life!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Observation {Seeking Advice}

I have my formal observation next week and I'm getting pretty worked up about it already-obviously since I'm writing about in on Friday night and it's not until next Friday. I feel like I have prepared but the observation evaluation has changed, I'm new to the school, I know my principal has had a lot on her plate and everyone staff and kids are ready for spring break! Eeek! What on earth was I thinking schedule this observation on a Friday just four days away from spring break and 2 days away from field day?! Well I actually didn't want it to be so late but since my principal is so busy this was the only time available.

Okay okay enough with the ranting... I know it has got to get done and it will all work out! But since you'll are fabulous teachers with wonderful advice I decided I would post my lesson plan for my formal observation on here and hope that you will give me some feedback on what you think I could add or take away! I apologize in advance for the lengthiness but it has to be done like a "college" type lesson plan.

 Oh yeah and also there are some that have to be in there because of Marazno and his new evaluation system for our county. When I say "students will show their understanding" I mean that they will hold up their fingers 4, 3, 2,1 using a scale to show me that they understand. 4 meaning I understand and can teach a friend, 3 I understand but need more time to work on it, 2 I understand some but still need more information, 1 I am trying but I don't understand. Then I have to track their understanding on the board next to the scale and celebrate their success. I know it sounds crazy but I feel like that part is what I'm being evaluated most on.

If anything else seems weird just ask...don't be afraid to hurt my feelings...I would like honest feedback! Oooh and a big thanks in advance if you actually read and leave a comment!

Reading 9:30-10:00
Realism and Fantasy
Friday, March 16, 2012

Learning goal: Students will be able to understand the difference between realism and fantasy.

Benchmarks: L.A.
ESOL: 1, 2, 3

Materials: Houghton Mifflin reading book, anchor charts of realism and fantasy, books that show examples of both realism and fantasy, foldable paper, examples of fantasy and realism from the book, chart paper

1.    Read the learning goal and have students re-state the learning goal in their own words. Have children explain what they think both fantasy and realism means. Have children show their understanding, track their learning, and encourage them that after the lesson they will meet their goal.

2.    Refer to the anchor chart of what the difference is between realism and fantasy. Show examples of books that show fantasy and realism and ask guiding questions as to why the book is fantasy or realism.  After modeling and showing examples ask the children to re-state the learning goal again and show their understanding.

3.    Have one student from each table get a book box that has six books and two sentence strips for each category. Tell the students they will now determine the differences of fantasy and realism in cooperative groups with their table. Tell the students they will sort the books into fantasy or realism. They should take out their sentence strips and place them on the table then place the books under the correct heading. Tell the students they should discuss why each book is fantasy or realism and then place it under the correct heading. I will circle around to guide students on their decision making. When students are done sorting their books I will have one person from each table share their results as to why the book is realism or fantasy. I will ask the students after learning in groups how their understanding of fantasy and realism has changed.

4.    Students will then get out their reading books and turn to the story If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff and tell them we will now be determining the difference between what is real and fantasy in the story. Remind the students that this story is make-believe and things happen that could no happen in real life, and character do things that real people or animals cannot do.  Explain that even in make believe stories character sometimes do things that real people or animals can do. Make a chart with heading Real Life and Fantasy/Make Believe. Give an example of a story detail in each column explaining why the details belong in the columns. Real-A girl feeds a pig a pancake. Fantasy- A pig talks. Have students flip to pages and ask if what the pig or girl is doing could be real. Think aloud with the students without filling in the chart. Ask students again what the learning goal is and have them show their understanding after making a chart.

5.    Remind the students that we  re-read stories for fluency and comprehension. Read the story online and have the students follow along in their books reading aloud with the story.
6.    Show the students an example of the foldable.( Should have took a picture of my example! Sorry!) Pass out the foldables and readings strips with real life and fantasy examples from the book. Have students write the headings Real Life and Fantasy on their foldable and tell them this is their own chart to determine realism and fantasy.  Have the students use their books as a reference for what is real and fantasy in the story. Have the students read each strip and put it under the correct category. Extend the activity for students by having them write down other examples of fantasy and realism from the book. Read the strips with struggling students to help them fill out their chart. When most students seem finish discuss what they have on their chart and why they put it under that category. Add each example to the class chart.

7.    Wrap up the lesson with asking the student the learning goal and difference between fantasy and realism. Track their success are they state the goal, ask students why their understanding changed. Celebrate their success with power words and high fives! Tell the student that we will continue to determine and find realism and fantasy in all the books that we read. We will also continue to work on this in small groups and centers. (Show example of center activity of real and fantasy sentences)

Enter big sigh of relief from this teacher when the observation is over then more franticing over the weekend as I'm thinking about my post observation where I have to reflect and I find out how I did.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What's Up on Wednesday

Hey bloggers! I'm trying to slowly ease myself back into blogging on a regular basis! Sooo what's up with me on Wednesday:

1. I just started tutoring math two days a week! I can't believe I'm actually tutoring math because I have my Masters in reading and feel like that is my stronger subject. I feel like it is going well though. The student has so much potential and it is wonderful to work with a student one-on-one. It adds to my already crazy schedule but the work never really ends for teachers!

2. I have started St. Patrick's Day activities in my class already but probably won't be continuing to many next week. Our reading series story next week is "If You Give A Pig A Pancake" and there are just so many great activities I have for that week I can't possible fit St. Patrick's Day in too!  I will be posting all of our cute St. Patrick's Day activities at the end of this week!

3. I have my formal observation next Friday--send good thoughts my way! I'll be posting about the process of having a pre-conference observation,  formal observation, and post conference observation. Yes, I'm already stressed/worried about things but I can only do my best!

4. My future hubby and I just bought our house! We have been renting it for awhile now and we just bought it! We close on March 14th and are super excited about being home owners! I love the fact that we don't have to move too!

5. This weekend I will be doing a lot of printing, laminating, and creating so look out for a new spring unit! I finally have some time this weekend to get school stuff done!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Lovely Blog Award

Somehow I still have followers even though I've been super bad about posting lately. Thank you for or all still following! I feel like I haven't had a moment to breathe in the past couple of weeks. It was my man's birthday, picture day, we had a Teddy Bear Clinic, and a huge carnival at school. This week I start tutoring two days a week, we have a school play, and I need to prepare for my formal observation which is the following week. I'm sure everyone is just as busy but with all my personal life things too I just haven't found the time to blog! 

Now that I am back to blogging. I'm super excited  to have been nominated for the lovely blog award by Jessica from Apples and Papers. Thanks Jessica! You should follower her super cute blog! 

The rules of this blog award: 
1. Link back to the blogger who gave it to you. (check) 
2. Pass this award on to 10 other lovely bloggers! (working on it!) 
3. Follow the person who sent it to you. (check) 

Bloggers with lovely blogs: