Sunday, January 22, 2012

New Years Stars, Classroom Pictures, and Martin Luther King!

Hey everyone! What a crazy couple of weeks it has been!

    I kept planning in my head what my next post would be about and when I would write it, but the days are just getting away from me! So sorry to everyone out there who has been wondering where I have been! :) Since my last post, my classroom responsibilities have grown even more. And I love it! (Such a relief after all of the horror stories I have heard about people not finding out they HATE teaching until they are student teaching!! Don't people just always love to share their horror stories with you? I don't know why that is...)
     But anyway, this past week, I completely took over all Math lessons! At the school where I am student teaching, they use Saxon Math so the lessons are basically laid out for me in a script. I still have to read everything and prepare ahead of time so I know what the heck is going on, but it's fairly easy. This past week my  kiddos are learning how to add double digits without regrouping, so we set up a little classroom store (even had the students' parents send in empty boxes of grocery items!) so the students could add item costs together to practice the skill. This lesson stretches over 4 days basically, and Friday I thought it seemed like they are really starting to get it! I was so excited! Helloooooo, they are actually learned something because I taught it to them! Maybe I am cut out for this job :)

     This week was also full of funny kid moments. I had a little girl come up to me and say:

Student: "Miss Jackson, my jaw has been hurting all morning. My dad says I have boulders coming in my mouth."
Me: "Do you mean molars?"
Student: "Yeah, molars!"

     This literally cracked me up! She was just so serious when she said it, and it made me realize that although I am usually focused on their abilities, learning, progress etc, they are still kids. I just love them so much :)
     I have had a lot of feedback on my little phonics rant, and I would like to just let everyone know, I am much more capable of using phonics as a teaching tool now! It was such a foreign language to me at first, but after being completely submerged in the environment for 3 weeks now, I can say it is getting a LOT easier. (Whew!) I know there are several viewpoints on whether phonics should be used to teach students to read or not, and I won't get into that on here. I will say that I believe that if you use a nice balance of phonics and other reading strategies, kids will learn to read. I see it everyday, and it's just so exciting. 

     Moving on to our some amazing classroom happenings! 

The first or second week back from break, we had the students write their own little New Year's Resolutions (sorry I am just now getting these pictures up! I know, I'm bad!) There is a little line strung on the ceiling above the students' desks with miniature clothes pins that my teacher hangs student work. Here are their adorable little resolution stars:

Happy New Year! This year I will try to...

I also have a few pictures of some things around the classroom that some might find interesting!

"You Are Here" posters

     This simple little string and 3 small posters are quite the conversation starter among my 1st graders! It is still hard for the kiddos to *grasp* the concept of planet, continent, country, and state, but this definitely gets them thinking about it. I think this is just such a great way to show the kids how each thing is related to one another. At the end of the day when students are lined up for dismissal, I see many of them pointing and talking about this :)

     This is the cabinet full of inside recess toys. I thought it was a genius idea... each toy in numbered with a corresponding number on a shelf. That way, the toy always gets put back in the right spot and everything is guaranteed to fit!

Writing Binders! Genius idea!

Writing Binders

    This little gem is something I know I will use in my future classroom. My teacher is a very organized lady, and this little cart of binders was the first thing to catch my eye on my first day. Each student is assigned a binder that corresponds to their number. Each time they write anything, they put it in their writing binder. The kids know to put each new piece of writing in the back of the binder behind all of their other work. Then at the end of the year, my teacher pulls out all of their writings and has it bound into an actual book. The book is a great keepsake for the first graders, and also shows how they progressed from the beginning of the year to the end! I also liked the fact that it basically keeps itself organized, and it would be easy to pull during parent/teacher conferences if you wanted to show some examples of student work. Also, another bonus... she reuses the binders every year. Pretty cool, huh?

    As most classrooms do, we have a list of weekly jobs that the student rotate through. Here is our little job area (our classroom is monkey themed! "We're a Great Bunch!") On Friday, one student took it upon themselves to reassign everyone's jobs (I think they just thought the monkeys and barrels looked fun to play with since there's magnets involved and all...) Let me tell ya... my teacher was NOT a happy lady. 

     Last on my list of updates is my own little creation! I was so excited when I found this adorable project for my kiddos on Pinterest. (If you are not on Pinterest, shame shame shame!) It turns out, it was pinned from a blog that I follow religiously! If you haven't checked out The First Grade Parade, you are really missing out! Cara Carroll is so creative and gives so many great ideas! She really gets my gears a going, and I am always anxious to read her new posts. If you're a teacher, you gotta check her out!

     On Friday, my teacher read 2 books to the kiddos about Martin Luther King, Jr. She explained to them what kind of man he was, what he believed in, and that he delivered a very famous speech. They brainstormed as a class about what things they dream would be better. Then, they wrote about it and created their own little Martin Luther King, Jr. heads. I think the lesson was awesome. They really got it

Here are the sweet little creations my kiddos made on Friday:

"I have a dream about everyday I am onehundred times smarter aboat (about) reding (reading)."
...we'll work on that :)
 "I have a dream to help people in need and the pore (poor)."

"I have a dream about the earth being clen (clean)."
 And last but not least!!!....

 "I have a dream to make more  fertilizer."

We couldn't help but laugh when we read this one! God bless rural communities :)
You never know what they're dreaming about, I guess!

     *Whew!* What an update! Kudos to you if you made it this far! Next time, I plan on keeping this updated more regularly, because I have been writing this post for a good hour! :) After this, I plan to wrap up my lesson planning for this week. I am now taking over all Reading lessons in addition to Math. This week in reading, we are learning about a caterpillar (and contractions!)! I am planning a few fun activities for my 1st graders that should be blog worthy so keep checking back! Thanks for reading!



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