Monday, November 26, 2012

Ho, Ho, Ho!

I foresee several Christmas blogs coming up in the near future, so please, bear with me with the cheesy titles.  They will only get better.

Today was our first day back from Thanksgiving break and it was nutso!  My second graders and I went on a field trip to see our local dance troupe's adaptation of The Nutcracker and I have to tell you, it was really, really good.  My favorite scene was when the nutcracker and Clara were given a larger than life present and when the dancers opened the box, out popped about 10 little children dressed in very festive tutus (and one baby blue overall jumper outfit)!  It was precious!  I loved it!

We came back and my second graders were squirrely, but my firsties had just come back from recess.  So we ate some snack and then, much to my second grader's great fortune, went back outside for more recess!  And good thing too, they needed it!

We then went to lunch!  And then more recess!  And then my firsties went to English (I teach dual immersion, remember?) while my second graders stayed with me and wrote about their favorite part from the ballet.  We came back and I had the kids help me decorate for Christmas.

"Why would you do that?" you may be asking yourself.  Well, the answer is really quite simple.  I try very hard to make sure the kids feel at home in our classroom, and they all love and cherish Christmas and Mr. Santa Claus, so I thought it very fitting for them to help me decorate for Christmas.  I also have a couple of students who don't have much at home and I figured that that lack of stuff probably extends to Christmas cheer, so I wanted to make sure they had a place where they could find as much cheer as they wanted.

We did a lot of decorating, but I was especially proud of the Christmas tree they put together!  I have one of those fake Target tabletop Christmas trees (the $8 one) and all I did was put the pegs on the bottom so it would stand by itself.  Look at how well decorated it is!
Isn't that just amazingly good?!  

So then when the kids left, I had a SmartBoard training (blog posts tracking my adventures in touch board land coming soon!) but after that, I decorated our classroom door.  As I have mentioned several times, we have a Dr. Seuss theme going on, so the Cat in the Hat is a permanent resident on our door.  But this time, the sneaky fellow disguised himself as a snowman!  The only reason you know it's him is because he's still wearing his hat!  
Sneaky fellow!

And of course, I couldn't leave out our house....

Just a sneak peak!  Hobby Lobby is my new best friend :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gobble till you wobble!

Hi everyone!

I know, I know, I haven't been very good about keeping up with this blog.  So that'll be my Thanksgiving resolution (who says it has to be New Years?) .  Blog.  More.  Often.

So let's start with, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  My husband and I unfortunately spent the, well week, at home with the stomach flu.  So Thanksgiving for us was very relaxed, laid back and un-Thanksgiving-esque.  We are thankful, however, that not only did we get to spend it together, but it was our first day stomach sick free!  Yay!  It's all recovery from here!

I wanted to take a moment to share some thoughts about marriage (and then I'll get to some teaching stuff).  Here are some things I would want every newlywed and/or newly engaged couple to know and to cherish.

1.  You have, or are about to, promise to love your other half through sickness and health.  And let me tell you, there is no better way to test that than when you BOTH have the stomach flu AT THE SAME TIME.  I don't know how to describe that love, honestly, but it's very deep and you will be amazed how far you are willing to go to help him regardless of how sick you feel.  It's amazing.

2. He wants a wife and a best friend.  Not a mom or a servant.  Stop nagging and cherish him.

3. I know it sounds silly, but even the little things like packing him a lunch will mean the world to you and to him.  It might take an extra 5 or 10 minutes, but it is so worth it.

4.  When you move into your first place together, if you haven't already, some of the best memories you will have will be made when you have no furniture.  Use moving boxes as tables and spend the night eating pizza and watching movies on your laptop.  Oh, and camping out in the place with sleeping bags.  You won't get the opportunity to camp indoors with him very often.

5. I cried the hardest at our wedding when I first saw him at the altar.  My brothers had to hold me up walking down the aisle and I could not look at my husband while we walked down.  I knew that if I stopped to look up at him, I was going to start crying harder.  But when I finally did look up at him, I was so full of love for him, and he was so full of love for me, that I was speechless.  That moment was priceless.

6.  Ok, last one.  6 is a weird number, but I HAVE to share this.  Our pastor, as well as some friends of ours, told us that the most important thing to do on your wedding day is take a minute or two where you isolate yourselves from everyone and just reflect on the ceremony and what you just did.  Our pastor told us to take 3 minutes in a room right after the ceremony to catch up.  We had our maid of honor and best man guard the door and set a timer.  Best advice ever.  Those three minutes lasted an eternity and no time at all.  And it was the last time we had any time to ourselves until after the ceremony.

Ok, school stuff.

We're doing the writing process and to make it even easier for the kids to follow along, my colleague/frieenddddd  and I made these pencils to track their progress.  She got the idea from a former colleague, I saw it on pinterest, we collaborated and voila!  Beautiful!

Mine is on my whiteboard and the kids move their magnets with their numbers to the correct step in the process.  Their writing, is awesome.  I am so proud of them!

Other than that, I got the coolest gift EVER from one of my kiddos!  Check out these AWESOME coupons made just for me! (I sense a theme, do you?)

Well, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  And please remember that it doesn't have to be Thanksgiving in order for you to be thankful.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I cannot believe it has been so long since I have posted on here.  Life definitely got in the way of a lot of things, including blogging, but here it goes!

A lot has happened in the past month and a half!  Mainly, I got a new student!  Ok ok, so that wasn't that long ago (he came to us on Wednesday).  But still, that is a major addition to our little room!  He's a first grader, and I think he's still in new classroom, new school, don't know anybody shock, but he's slowly coming around.

I had my students make him welcome cards the week before he got here, to get them all excited about having a new student with us (you know, kind of like the you're going to be a big sister/brother effect) and it worked!  They have been so welcoming with him!  I am so proud of my munchkins!

I made this really cool pencil to help the kids with the writing process.  I can't wait to use it!!  I decided to put it up on my white board so that I could use the custom magnets I ordered from ready made magnets on Rick Morris's website.  I went for the Dr. Seuss ones (given our classroom theme!).  I can't wait to get them and start writing with this pencil!!!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

1 week down!

Oh my gosh, I can't believe that the first week of school is already over!  And the best part of it is:  the kiddos are doing fantastically.  I thought it would be more difficult to get the second graders and the first graders feeling like they were on an even playing field with one another and that they are to help each other, not whatever else each other.  But luckily, they have completely proven me wrong!  The second graders are so good with the first graders, and not in a patronizing way either, just in a, "we know how Maestra's class runs, follow us and you'll be fine" sort of way.  It's really cute, and quite endearing.

Ok.  Now the nitty gritty.  I was ridiculously productive today and just feel the need to share with you guys everything that I did!  First off, I finalized my lesson planning pages.  I just made them on word, super easy.  But now I don't know have to pay $10 for a planning book (even though the Dr. Seuss one was SUPER cute.  C'est la vie).  So my morning was spent making DETAILED lesson plans.  It looks a little something like this:
Crazy, huh?  The post-its are on there because they're things I need accomplished right away - they are my priority.  Those things that are not a priority will be stickied below the pink line, and moved up on an as needed basis.
Then I went on to create my reading logs for their homework packets.  The second grade one looks like this:

Pretty nifty, huh?  I modified one for first grade to fit more first grade standards, but clearly as the year progresses and they need modifying to fit their learning needs, these will change.  If you want a copy of them, message me and we'll see what I can do to help you out.  I haven't figured out how to share documents on blogs from your Google Docs, and frankly, it's almost midnight and I am tired.  But I pinky promise I will look into it and post those as soon as I can!

Next, I made these really cool t-shirts for some of my kids to wear.  When I am running centers, etc. I need to make sure I spend as much time running the center as possible and as little time answers little questions and telling kids to stop sharpening their already razor sharp pencils as possible.  So to help alleviate this stress, I made two neon yellow t-shirts.  I will pick two kids (at first at least) to be my mini-maestras.  The other children not working with me will be required to ask my mini-maestras their question BEFORE bringing it to me.
They are nice and super bright so that you can't miss them!

Then finally, and this took the longest, I found these bilingual Brain Breaks here.  I printed them, cut them out, colored the letters, glued them on construction paper, cut those out with a little trim, laminated them, cut them out again, colored some Popsicle sticks and finally hot glued the breaks onto the sticks.  For the sake of getting a picture tonight, I put them in one of our mugs:
Super cute!  But you can't really see a clear example of them, so here is an example of each color:

And now this little teacher is very tired and is shocked that her husband hasn't called 5150 on her yet.  Hope everybody has a great night and a relaxing Sunday!

Friday, August 10, 2012

School Starts Monday!

Can you believe it?  School starts this Monday!  How CRAZY is that?  I feel like the summer literally just started, and now I'm married and starting school on Monday!  This is going to be a crazy and phenomenal year, you just wait and see.

I just found out yesterday that I get a student teacher this year.  Yes, yes, how cool!  I am very excited and I can't wait to meet her (yes, it is a her) and get the year started.  I'm hoping teaching the combo won't be TOO crazy and that she'll take some valuable tools with her by the end of the year.  I can't wait for her to see us in action!

Aside from that exciting news, the only other fun bits are that back to school night was a breeze and successful and that now I'm finally done setting up my room for the first day of school.  And I think it looks great.  I went for a Dr. Seuss theme this year and I think that it came out wonderfully.  If nothing else, the room definitely looks whimsical (you really have to be IN the classroom to see the full effect, but I figure the pictures I took will give you a rough idea.)  :)

This is a view of my desk area with the college wall behind me, our noise thermometer and our estrellita sonidos iniciales.  Nothing too Seussy here, but it's coming....

That big orange wall is going to be a Boggle board as we get further into the school year.  This will be part of the morning bell work for my kiddos.  I can't wait!  Right next to it on the white board is my language board and next to that is my string of instructions (pencil, colored pencils, scissors, glue.  PERIOD).  On the other side is my kidney table where I plan on doing small group interventions and my teacher run center.  Fun!

On the blackboard I have my daily routine pocket charts.  The green one, conveniently located next to the hall passes, is my "Where am I?" pocket chart.  There's a pocket for bathroom, one for office, one for nurse.  That's it.  The purple one is "What lunch do I have?" with a pocket for from home and another one for cafeteria.  My kids each have a number, so they will take their number and put it in the appropriate pocket.  Then is my most loved Rick Morris clip chart.  If you don't know what that is, check it out right here.  Then my apple is my classroom jobs chart.  Underneath that, you'll see that I have a posterboard with pockets on it.  Each pocket belongs to a child because the second week of school they will get sticker incentive charts on their desks (I'll post a picture once I make one, super simple!).  Each time they clip up on the clip chart they get a sticker.  They will have a sticker goal for the end of the month and if they reach it, to the treasure box they go (to pick a coupon that they can use).  If they clip down, their sticker chart goes into time out in their pocket.  Only once they get back on green and clip up from green do they get their sticker chart back and earn a sticker.  Each time they clip down from green, I write their offense on the back of their chart (PERFECT for P-T Conferences!).

This is my math board and next to that you find my very Seussy calendar.  That yellow wall will be a science board eventually....

My writing wall with Trufful trees!  Those cute little clouds are clothes pins glued to tacks with a little bubble of chalkboard paper with my kids' names on them.  And then there are my math manipulatives and classroom library.

My finished reading nook!  Each week my star of the week will be able to sit in the rocking chair to read and on the little crate where currently 1 Fish 2 Fish Red Fish Blue Fish is on display they will be able to put THEIR favorite book on display.  Next to that is another red poster board with pockets.  In those pockets are these cute library cards that I found at ObSEUSSed.  I am working on scanning my books into a QR reader that will upload the book to an online library database, so when my kids want to take one of my books home, I can scan it and know at all times where my books are.  Yes yes, I'm attempting to be tech savvy (or at least so I'd like to think.)

My outside parent information wall (I drew that Cat in the Hat, took me a LONG TIME, but I did it!).  On that little board with Thing 1 and Thing 2 I will write a word of the day.  Everyday, my students will not be allowed in the classroom until they say the word of the day.  Boom.

My outside bulletins for my kiddos' work.  Next week this will be a "Who's Who in Whoville" (in Spanish, "Quien es quien en Whoville").  With more Truffula Trees!

Woo!!!  That was a doozy of a post!  And I sure hope you got something out of it!  Happy First Day of School everybody!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Back to School Night??!!

I don't really have a whole lot to report.  These past couple of days have been spent in the classroom for countless hours organizing, decorating, and getting my head in the game.  But I have to admit, my room is coming along quite nicely!  I am SO excited about my Seussy theme this year!  Check out my little reading nook:
I painted the rocking chair last year for our school's annual Spring Fling.  My Truffula Tree I made using a pool noodle that I cut in half, some green colored duck tape and a red pom pom from a party store.  The pillows, my personal favorite find, are from WalMart!  The Dr. Seuss book covers and characters on the wall come from Michaels, a find from last year around Dr. Seuss's birthday.  Oh, and that curtain?  Yeah, that's my flat sheet from college.  :)
Tomorrow is back to school night, so once I have all those packets figured out and my classroom totally finished, I'll post again!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Welcome to the blogging world!

Hello everybody!  My name is, well, for the purposes of some sense of privacy on the world wide web, I'll just go by Maestra Williams.  That is what the kiddos call me, after all.  Last year i taught first grade in a first year dual immersion program.  This year, it will be a 1/2 combo class!  I am so excited to get this classroom going, and have then decided to share some of my gold nuggets with the world.

Unfortunately, today I am stuck at home without a car.  You see, my husband and I were coming back from a nice, short vacation in the mountains and we forgot to pick up his car along the way.  So, unfortunately, I don't have a car today.  But that means I have all day to work on the little details for my classroom.  So Across the Universe, scissors, glue and markers it is!

Right now I'm working on some magnet boards so that we will know at all times who is where, and another one for cafeteria versus home lunches.  I printed the numbers and the signs off of this awesome teaching website, A Cupcake for the Teacher.  I have magnetic whiteboards, so I think I'll be taping off squares on my whiteboard for these beauties.  Here they are so far, just printed out.  I'll post a picture of these beauties when they're totally done...  :)
I am also going for a Dr. Seuss theme in my classroom.  The font is called Grinched and I found it on Pinterest.  Wish I could remember which link it was, but I am sure if you search for it, something will come up.

Check out this other cute little sign I made!  

These are my hall passes!!  They will be hanging near the door the kiddos use to get in and out.  The idea is they'll move their number to where they are going to be on the whiteboard, and then they'll take the hall pass so that la directora (the principal) knows that they were ok'd to leave the classroom and do their thing.  I am so excited!!!

Ok, I think that's it for now, but I'll post more as more things come to mind!