Category Archives: Teaching

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.

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W7- Teaching and Inspiration

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Hello!  I am so sorry I didn’t write to you yesterday, but I was busy grading papers and then making pink rice krispy treats for 40 kids, but here I am now!  It works out well actually, because teaching and inspiration go together quite nicely!

Happy Valentine’s Day by the way…

So teaching and inspiration…I know that my job is awesome, yes it can be hard and frustrating at times, but I need to always remember how extremely awesome it is…that I get to impact these kids each day.  Monday I had some issues with some students and came home a little discouraged…I was getting kind of sensitive about it…and hubby was a bit disappointed in how I was acting…which temporarily made me more sensitive…until I realized he was EXACTLY right!  He reminded me that I am not the type of person to let people get me down, to be discouraged by negative results or behavior…but instead, be the type of person that makes something good happen…find ways to encourage others, pump them up, get them excited, think outside the regular way of thinking and just be better about how I dealt with difficult situations…He was my inspiration to be the teacher I know I can and want to always be…and I am so blessed to have that…he doesn’t always tell me what I think I want to hear, but what I need to hear…and I am forever grateful for that.  Today was a really great day.  I spoke with the 2 kids in particular that had the issues the previous day and we resolved things, I also gave others extra support with math, and did a more active/engaging lesson plan that helped keep the students motivated and engaged…My kiddos really are sweet good kids, and I sometimes want so badly for them to get smarter, that I forget that they are just kids…being kids….They deserve the best me I have to offer, and sometimes I slip…but luckily I bounce back quick…

Below are a few shots from today…my little man with his box for valentines, and then a picture of all the kind gifts from my students…

 

 

I have tests to grade and should probably do a little work, but I am signing off and going to get my Valentines Day foot massage now!!!

W6- Teaching

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Monday’s are funny…I always look forward to Monday’s getting here…I miss the kids and am excited to start off a new week, introducing new stories and new math concepts, new grammar skills, social studies lessons, science materials and so on…I am hopeful that each Monday will set the tone for the rest of the week and be the day that inspires and excites the students into wanting to learn new things and get smarter and grow…I also have my tutor group on Monday’s, which creates the same feelings….I give them my all, and hope they give me theirs…That said…I am always so tired after a Monday…what I am most looking forward too is going to bed…laying down and resting my head, my neck and shoulders, my voice, my eyes…Some day’s I am rearing to go, ready for round two…but nights like now, I just want to put my pj’s on and snuggle up on the couch and watch jeopardy…Teaching can consume me…but it’s also important to try and find a balance…I have to give them my best…so, I need to be my best…and sometimes that means turning off the computer, turning off my teacher brain, and just relaxing…so…off to the couch!

W5- Teaching

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OSS Here they come!

Today my sixth graders went to Outdoor Science School!!!  I wasn’t even going, but I was sooo excited for them…more excited then I remember being when I myself went to Outdoor Ed.  For Monday and Tuesday, I will be staying behind to teach the students who didn’t end up going to OSS, and then the rest of the week they will go to another class.  I do however get to go visit them Wednesday, along with the principal and my partner’s student teacher. I can’t wait, it will be awesome!!! If I get to come back as a a FT 6th grade teacher, fingers crossed…then I will get to go to OSS with my students, that’s a whole week.  I would miss my boys, but what an experience!  Going camping with your students, being a part of this new adventure and memorable life experience with them, connecting with them on a deeper level than you could when it is just classroom activities…I really love my job.  I really really feel so grateful to be here, at this school and learning what I am learning and experiencing what I am experiening…Sure there are challenging aspects to this job, but I wouldn’t change careers for anything!

I know it’s a luxury getting to love your job, most people work to earn money, they don’t necessarily love their jobs but they can tolerate them enough…and it serves a purpose of bringing home “the bacon.” I know that my journey towards becoming a FT teacher hasn’t been easy, and the financial part is still not where I need it to be…but I figure that eventually it will come…My hubby tolerates his job so I get to love my job, and for that I am so thankful.

***Wednesday I went to OSS and visited my sixth graders!  It was such a fun day, I really had fun and was so proud of how great they were…these kids are very special to me, and it was awesome getting to share in their sixth grade OSS experience!

Me…Classic eyes closed, but hey…I didn’t really have ones without students and for their privacy I didn’t want to put them on a blog…

Teaching Buddies!

W4- Teaching

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Last week I talked about implementing a new behavioral strategy that my mentor had encouraged me to try out in the hopes that I can manage my sixth graders more effectively.  I must tell you, it seems to be working very well! 

To refresh your memory, what I do is express my expectations clearly, make sure they know what I want them to be doing and that it needs to be quiet…then if they talk or mess around, I write their name on the board…if they attempt to argue/defend themselves, a check goes by their name…if they don’t stay quiet or I have to talk to them again about getting on task, that too warrants a check mark…The checks mean they lose recess, which is huge to them.  On the reward side, I give out tickets which earn them dollars for the school store, raffle for a monthly lunch with the teachers (McDonalds so it’s pretty exciting for them), candy, table points, and then of course plenty of plenty verbal praises…

So, I decided again, with the suggestion from my mentor, to add one more element to this new behavior strategy.  The name/consequences are for the individuals that wear on me, that frustrate me because they take the attention away from the learning and make me waste time discipling…but there are also so many great kiddos and I want the class to go smooth…so…I am also rewarding the class with a classwide reward…I will spell out the word “SURPRISE,” one letter at a time…It’s reserved for those moments after I make my expectations clear and they then DO what I ask…consistently…Today they are at S, and tomorrow I plan to catch them a few more times so they can see how much I appreciate their good behavior…

The surprise will need to be educational, I am trying to think of something good…where I can tie in one of the content standards…After today’s rainy day lunch with the kids eating/playing inside, I realized how much they love games…So maybe after they spell out surprise, I can save the last 15-20 minutes of that day and play math bingo or scrabble or put out a few educational games and play fun music in the background…

I am excited for tomorrow, it’s always a good sign when you look forward to the next teaching day where you can focus on catching kiddos being good…it’s nice…and I really do feel lucky getting to work with these young scholars!

Now, off to read to my own little guy, then grade essays…sweet dreams!

 

Week 2- Teaching

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I was so excited to be back in my classroom today!!!  I decided that I needed to try and make school more exciting…I know, I always am supposed to be doing that…but I wanted to change things up a little, think of ways to get them more engaged and willingly participating rather than only when I call on them…Sixth graders are super chatty when you don’t want them to be and way too quiet when you crave to know what is going on in their brains.  I wanted to turn things up a bit.  I have this awesome technology at my fingertips, it’s a smartboard and document camera, they are pretty darn cool, and even better, the kids love smartboard lessons…Today I did a smartboard lesson for math as well as for science (thanks to my teaching partner), and the students were super involved, like really excited, so excited that I had to keep telling them to simmer down a little, that we were having too much fun now :)…Instead of doing the usual math sheet for homework, I told them they could make up their own probability problem, draw a picture about it and make it personal and unique…My example went something like this:

P(Event)= favorable outcome/total number of outcomes….

I have 10 pairs of socks…my sample space is 3 black pairs, 3 white pairs, 2 stripe pairs, 2 polka dot pairs.  What is the probability that I pick a pair of polka dot socks out of my drawer?

P(Polka dot socks)= 2/10, which is then reduced to 1/5….then I would draw a picture of all my cute socks:) ….doesn’t this sound a little more fun than a worksheet…It is relatively easy homework, but sometimes I feel like homework is overrated…It is very hard for my students to gain support from parents, and it tends to become busy work…so once in awhile, more artsy homework like this is worthwhile…

I also decided to bring back the “broccoli jar”…That is code for a candy jar…I can’t help it, rewarding kids with candy is such a useful tool. I love candy, and I know that I would be motivated to participate and behave well if I knew I would get a little treat…Sure, kids should just behave and be involved because they SHOULD, but…hey…candy is magic in the classroom and 6th graders aren’t as inspired by stickers and fake tattoos like my first graders were last year, I had to raise the stakes a little 🙂

All in all, it was really nice being back and I left school feeling so grateful for my job and this opportunity…

Also- I write the schedule on the board each day and at the bottom I write an inspirational quote…The kids love these and each morning they beg to be the one who gets to read it and explain what they think it means…So any short but impactful quotes you have, send my way 🙂

Tomorrows quote is “If you’re not  confused, you’re not paying attention…” This one is sure to confuse them :), but then I can go on to explain how when we are learning about things we don’t know, then our minds are growing, and learning new things means being introduced to things you never thought about, things that can be confusing, difficult at first to understand…so pay attention, because the payoff is knowledge… We’ll see if that inspires them, but again, if all else fails, I have candy!

Week 1- Teaching

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Hello Friend!

Since I am still on winter break, I don’t have a current teaching story to share.  I will be back with my sixth graders next week though, and will have plenty to write about then!  For today, I thought I would write about a fellow teacher my Mom introduced to me {virtually :)}.  His name is John Hunter and he is the brains behind the “World Peace Game.”  He teaches 4th grade and is an educational consultant and has been working with gifted students the majority of his teaching career.  In a nutshell, the game is a hands-on political simulation where students are grouped into different countries and encouraged through connectedness to co-exist economically, socially, environmentally and so on.  The ultimate goal is that they can learn to work together as a world to achieve global prosperity with the least amount of military intervention.  It is brilliant!  The link to his website is below.  The website goes into greater detail about his overall mission and goal of this game and how by making a film about it, others can grow and implement something similar in their schools.  As a newer teacher, I am beginning to see how in public schools we are greatly encouraged (not much say in the matter) to teach to the test, focus on teaching students what will be on the state tests so our scores increase and we get higher API ratings and so on and so on…I am not sure what this would look like if I attempted to bring this into my classroom. I would love to explore a scaled down version and see  about highlighting some of these concepts over a few lessons.  We’ll see, he definetely inspired me as a teacher to give students the very best I have to offer them.

Enjoy your day, and remember, everyday we can learn something new; you just have to be open to doing so…

http://www.worldpeacethemovie.com/

Smiles-

*K*