Author Archives: Kristin

Exciting Week

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This week is filled with many fun events

1) Monday- 100th Day of school

We celebrated the day discussing what we would want 100 of, what we would not 100 of…what we would look like when we are 100, and a few other things.  We also made a crown using color paper and sentence strips stating that we are “100 days Smarter.”  We read about called 100 Days cool.  We mixed in some math about counting by 2’s, 5’s and 10’s to 100 and did a few other cute activities related to this day.

2) Chinese New Year- I checked out a few books from the library and we discussed the holiday, traditions, decorations/costumes, crafts, and chinese calendar.  The students were really interested in the dragon and the animal signs, and also learning about Chinese Characters.  We made a craft where the students drew a character and then wrote what the character meant underneath.  We then glued them to red paper, which is a color that represents good luck, prosperity, and happiness.

3) President’s Day- Abraham Lincoln’s birthday was today, and we read a book about famous presidents.  The book primarily discussed George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, so we made a double bubble thinking map which compared and contrasted the two presidents.  Then we wrote a paper about Abraham Lincolns life.

4) Valentine’s Day!  Thursday is Love Day and I am looking forward to our class party.  We will do a few fun Valentine activities- Math graphing with candy hearts, an adorable Valentine read aloud, and a home-made Valentine for our parents.  We will then pass out valentine’s to our friends and celebrate the day of love and kindness over some juice and cookies!

February is a fun filled month, and I am happy to be celebrating these events with my firsties.

Wishing you all a week filled with love, happiness, positive reflection, and a piece of chocolate or two!

 

update

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Hello!

After some reflection, I decided to take down my previous post.  As most know, sometimes even the greatest of jobs can have their difficult moments.  It is healthy to vent and keep things in perspective, but I decided that it would be better to vent in private than on this blog.  I am beyond grateful that I am a teacher, and part of being a good teacher is having empathy, showing kindness, and being the person you hope your students will strive to grow up to be…it’s not about being frustrated, whether it is justified or not…so, just wanted to put that out there…

Craigslist Joe

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I watch movies all the time.  Sometimes I at the end of the movie I think, “That was a waste of 2 hours of my life.” Sometimes I say, “It was a cute movie, but not life changing or really that meaningful.” Then there are those movies that I walk away from saying, “I am so glad I watched that, I feel inspired,” or something along those lines.

I watched the movie, Craigslist Joe, this morning.  I had seen it as an option on Netflix many times, but today decided to actually push play.  I am all the better for doing so.  If you have ever doubted humanity, looked at people in general in a negative light, or simply been so let down by people that your faith in them is dwindling…then you need to watch this movie.  To summarize, it is about a guy who spends a month depending on Craigslist and the Craigslist community to be the means of his survival.  He will barter his time and services for food/shelter, and travel needs.  Ultimately, the root of the story is that people are trustworthy and inately good at their core.  We, as a humanity, do care about people and will and do help others.  We are not as selfish and competitive as we sometimes think we are as a human race.

What I took away from this movie is that people are good.  That when given an opportunity, more times than not, people will rise to the occassion and do what is right.  I think it was beautiful the connections Joe made throughout his journey, that people as well as he himself could show compassion and love.  I recommend watching this movie, if for nothing else than to be reminded of the above stated virtures of people.

There was a song in the movie, wasn’t sure the title/artist, but it was about how we are caught up in this rat race and that sometimes we forget and shouldn’t forget the true meaning of life.  At least that was what I took from the song, to not be distracted by all the mundane things that we do each day and to remember the things in our life that matter, our experiences, our connections with people, what we do with our time here, how we act and the differences we make.  There are endless things to get stressed out about, many of which are small details to the big picture of our life.

Stay positive, do your best each day, and learn from your mistakes.  Be kind, help others, and believe in the goodness of the human spirit.

Happy day to you, go out now and enjoy the sunshine and try and make another person smile.

Tragedy

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My heart hurts for what has happened in Newtown.  I don’t understand how something like this could happen and quite honestly, I don’t want to be able to make sense of this horrific event.

I first heard the news after walking my first graders to the lunch line and then headed into the teacher’s lounge where the TV was uncharacteristically on.  It was just me and the other first grade teachers, our hearts breaking as we heard the news.  We were all so high and positive two minutes prior, wearing PJ’s and celebrating the end of our school week and beginning of winter break by having a Polar Express Winter party.  Our spirits crashed and we were all in tears.

It’s been 5 days since the event and I still can’t get it out of my mind.  The heartache those parents must be feeling.  The beautiful stories about their little babies that they keep sharing, what a loss this world is suffering without them.  The teachers, the principal, and other staff members, it’s just horrible.

As a teacher, I can’t help but think that this could have easily been any school, any teacher and any set of innocent students.  How is this event going to change me, how can I be more prepared for something like this, do I want to be paranoid of something so evil happening?  I don’t have curtains in my room, I don’t always lock my door, those are little steps I plan on changing.  What about the office though, and the ease of hoping a low fence, the fact that people will get through if they want to, the fact that there are so many guns, and so many disturbed people in this world…it’s overwhelming and I wish I could stop thinking about it.  My husband told me last night that there has been over 270,000 gun-related deaths since 2001! I just don’t understand, life is precious and it’s not always easy but when will things change?

As we greet each day, let’s try to be kinder, patient, more compassionate, and live life with the understanding that it is a gift and we don’t know when our time will come.

Peace and Love

Red Ribbon Week

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This weeks theme for Red Ribbon Week was “The Best Me is Drug Free!” My teacher friend Natasha was in charge of the daily events and she did an awesome job at making the week really fun and meaningful.

Monday we wore red and got our red ribbon wristbands.

Tuesday we wore sunglasses because our “futures are so bright without drugs.”

Wednesday we dressed like a friend, which two of my students planned matching outfits to a T and looked absolutely adorable!

Thursday we wore crazy socks day, which I got excited about due to all the crazy socks I own.  I went with my knee high red/white striped socks with the Christmas faux fur on the top…I was known as Mrs. Claus for the day.

Friday was sports day, which my kids loved since most of them came to school in their soccer uniforms. 

We also made a cool door decoration with the theme in mind…One of the things I do on a regular basis is have the kiddos “kiss their brains” when they do something well.  I might say, “Kiss your brain, it’s working so hard for you” or “Kiss your brain, I am so proud of you…”  It’s really cute, they kiss their fingers and then touch their forehead. They get huge smiles on their faces too and I can literally see how good they feel inside.  Sometimes another kid will say “kiss your brain” if a student did something well and I forget to say it…

Obviously kids shouldn’t do drugs, and in First grade it isn’t a tough thing to try and convince them of avoiding.  They are innocent and impressionable and it’s awesome knowing we are planting little seeds of how to lead a positive healthy life.  The third thru sixth graders wrote essays, and the winners read theirs over the loud speaker yesterday.  They were so thoughtful and wise, reminding us that even in tough times we can do things such as journal, sit by a pretty place, go for a bike ride, talk to a friend or anyone willing to listen, and remember that we’ll get through it and that we are too important to waste our life on doing drugs.

Latest happenings in room 15…

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Hello All,

I have been working on my work/life balance, and it’s been a bit out of whack…I have a hard time leaving school stuff at school, I tend to have school on my mind all the time…so when I am not actually doing classroom work, I try to be present and attentive to my family time.  But the boys are at Disneyland, the house is straightened up for the most part, and the laundry is in the dryer…so I have a little time to squeeze in a long over due post…

First off, I must say I absolutely LOVE having my own classroom.  Seeing the same kids everyday and working with them on a regular basis is very rewarding.  It’s been almost 2 months since school started and I am seeing so much progress that I am literally jumping for joy.  I am so proud of my kiddos. 

GRIP-We are a GRIP school which stands for Gang Reduction Intervention Program.  We have many students who are related to past/present gang members or who are overall connected to gang relations…The program consists of police officers/gang unit team and teachers working together to create a positive image of cops/school and the like and to let students know that they have someone who cares and wants them to lead a positive successful life.  I volunteered to be a mentor, as did about 25 other teachers and staff members.  Next week I will meet my mentee and from then one we will have weekly informal meetings where I provide a safe place for her to talk/for me to mentor her and be a role model for her.  I am very excited to meet her and help be a positive guiding force in her life, I already know she is special and worthy of my attention and time, so it’ll  be great.

We went on a field trip last week to Tanaka Farms.  It is a family owned farm that grows veggies, fruit, pumpkins, and has a corn maze and petting zoo.  It was a blast!  We all had such a great day petting animals, walking in circles around the corn maze, enjoying a wagon ride throughout the farm, picking our own veggies, and choosing a special pumpkin.  My kids were very well behaved and I was pleased to see how respectful they were. 

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Another fun event was McTeacher Night.  There was 8 teachers and our Principal all “working” at McDonalds for the evening.  It was a fundraiser where we earned 20% of the profits from 5-8pm.  The turnout was fantastic, the line was to the door most of the night.  I worked in the front, next to the cashiers.  It was actually really fun.  I got the cups ready and then called out the numbers when the order was ready.  The atmosphere was very positive and energetic, and the time flew by…We had a tip jar and made a big fuss with cheering and clapping when we got a tip.  I love being part of my school’s staff, I am lucky to work with some really awesome people.

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To kick of Red Ribbon Week, we had a police officer and his K-9 german shephard come and demonstrate how a drug unit team works and the talents that Lichen the K-9 has in regards to sniffing out drugs.  It was pretty cool to see, and the kids are totally on board in first grade that drugs are bad and yucky and that they want no part of them…Next week is the official Red Ribbon Week.  Each day we dress a certain way, collect pennies, have a door decorating contest, and discuss the reasons why being drug free is important.  Our theme is “The best me is drug free.”  If you have any ideas as to how to decorate my door, let me know…nothing is really coming to mind. The winning class gets a cool treat, but it’s really all for fun.

We have also had a school fundraiser, the book fair, psa testing, professional development days, my first days of needing a substitute (it went well and she was great!), and many other regular days of teaching and preparing the kiddos for the future! 

I have a few fun art projects lined up for the holidays, a really fun Dia De Los Muertos skull art project and a few Halloween/Fall activities.  I will try to write again soon, but for now, it might be on a more monthly update basis.

Happy Fall!!!

Full Time Contract!!!

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I just received some of the greatest news I have ever heard…I get to sign a FULL TIME TEACHING CONTRACT, that means I get full pay, full benefits, my own classroom, and most importantly, the chance to work with some really awesome kids for an entire school year!!!

Maybe to a regular person outside of teaching, this doesn’t seem like such a big deal, people get FT jobs all the time…Yet in education and especially in California, that is not such a luxury.  As you all know, I have been working really hard at making teaching work as an actual career, but it hasn’t been easy. Getting a FT job where I can start AND finish a year with the SAME group of kiddos is the ultimate job and it’s mine!!!  I work with an amazing group of teachers, and their love and support has been so encouraging.  I truly feel so blessed and filled with gratitude for this opportunity.

Over the next few days we will be working on figuring out the new classes (too many kids, that’s why they needed an additional teacher/classroom) and we will be setting up the classrooms. 

I will be staying in the room I started off in, RM 15, and teaching a straight First grade class.  The teacher I was initially subbing for, in RM 15, was given the straight Kinder class. Since our room is so far from the kinder area, she will end up moving to a closer room, so I will get her room ready and then re-prep my room.  I moved a bunch of her things to the new room, so I have a pretty basic room to start out with.  We both like the same theme, polka dots!  So my room theme will be hot pink/lime green and black and white polka dots.  I will take pictures as I go and am excited considering this is my first official room to decorate! 

I am also super excited about the projects and activities I will be doing with the kids.  I made a handful of learning games with notecards already and am looking forward to using them in small groups.  I love all the academic stuff of course, seeing them get smarter right before my eyes…I plan to move my keyboard into the room and sing and play songs for them, do lots and lots of fun art/holiday projects, and even get them familiar with Yoga. 

Good things are happening, and I really feel positive about how my teaching career is unfolding.  I guess it did continue to move in the right direction after all…long term sub for 2 days, but now FT contracted teacher!!!

Thank you to all of you who have continued to show your love and support, and who have given me lots of encouragement and who never stopped believing in me as a teacher and the chances that I would get one day, this day!

Hugs to all!