Sunday, October 30, 2011

What's Happening in Our Classroom

Well, it has been a long time since I posted anything.  It has been a busy Fall getting settled into a new school, learning new procedures, and getting to know the students, as well as, learning first grade.  I haven't taken any pictures lately, so I'll just update what's been happening.

We have been learning about fire safety.  I have read lots of books to the kiddos and we have made some charts.  We made a chart with a fire hydrant on the background and put post-it notes on it with what the students know about fire safety.  I saw this on another blog.  I think it was on First Grade Garden.  This was a great activity.  The kiddos were full of knowledge about fire safety.  I introduced the word schema to them and talked about how they are adding to their schema everyday.  They have loved learning about this and hearing about my brother, the fire chief.  On Thursday, after our lesson, the kids looked out the window and the fire department was at the school.  How exciting!  We later found out that the lady who works in the cafeteria had chest pains, so they came to help her and take her to the hospital.  We also made our first tree map about firemen.  This was a great tool to use as they were learning.  I'm sure we will use more of them.

Since Halloween is coming and we don't do much with Halloween, I decided I could read a book or two.  Friday I read Where's My Mummy to the kids.  They sure enjoyed this.  We made a chart about Baby Mummy at the beginning of the story. Tomorrow we will add the end of the story.  This was something I found from Deanna Jump's lesson.  We will continue other activities on Monday.

You can tell I've been getting so many ideas from other teachers.  I'm reading the blogs as much as possible.  It is helpful to me since I'm new to first grade after teaching upper grades for the past 10 years.  I still feel I prefer to teach third and fourth grades, but I am adjusting.  I do admire all of you that love first grade.  I don't know how you do it.  I prefer to teach kids that have some background, know how to read some, and have some school behavior skills.  Who knows?  Maybe I'll change.

We are entering grading time.  Grades are due on Friday.  I will be spending today and the rest of the week working hard on them.  Unfortunately, I have been sick this weekend with a terrible sore throat.  I'm sure I'll be home for at least two days.  I don't want to infect any of the kids plus with the throat hurting I won't be able to use a loud voice over my 31 kiddos.  I'll be at home working on the grades.

We are still working on procedures and how to work quietly and walk in the hall quietly.  It sure is hard with 31 kiddos in the classroom.  They are sweet kids, but there are just a lot of them.  Budget cuts have made it so that class sizes are so large.

I will be missing Halloween at school.  We don't celebrate Halloween, but the school is having Crazy Hair and Hat Day.  I will be sitting and making plans for the substitute for tomorrow.  Hopefully, the kids won't be too excited and hard to keep focused.

We are participating in the Postcard Exchange.  It has been fun to receive the cards and find where they are on the United States map.  We've received 6 so far.

I will try to get pictures of what we do for my next post.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Good News and Pete the Cat

     I have good news!  I received my teaching license renewal this week and I did get the ESOL endorsement.  This was the reason I was told that I was transferred.  I won't be transferred again for this reason.  My district wants everyone to have this.  I took the classes several years ago, but didn't take the test.  They don't require the test, now, if you took it when I did.  I am so happy!

     Well, I made made it through 3-1/2 weeks of teaching first grade.  It has been so different from any grade that I have taught.  I feel like I am learning as I go.  I have a nice group of 30 kiddos, who love to talk.  I'm just not used to kids who talk while I talk.  I guess we have lots to work on.

     I saw lots of things on the blogs about Pete the Cat, so I decided that would be a good way to start.  I bought the first book and the stuffed animal, as well as, the many Pete the Cat units I found on TpT beginning with Deanna Jump's unit.  I appreciate everything that teachers have made.  It helps teachers like me who are new to first grade and need ideas without having to spend too much.  I like all of the free items.  I did have to buy the second book about a week ago.  We will continue reading that one.

     We made the Pete the Cat craft in Deanna Jump's unit.  They turned out very nice but were a lot of work with 30 kiddos.  It's hard when they don't follow or pay attention to the directions.  With 30 kiddos, it is hard to keep them focused.  It does help so much, though, that I have a document camera and they can see exactly what to do.  Here are some pictures of our Pete the Cats.

The kids worked on a writing that will go below their pictures.  We had these up for Open House and the parents were impressed.  I'm going to have a V.I.P. in our class and use Erica Bohrer's Class Mascot forms.  Pete the Cat will go home.  I will demonstrate this week how to do this and then the kids will begin.  With 30 kids, we might have to have two V.I.P.'s on some weeks.  I may need to purchase one more cat.

     I don't have much option for making my own centers for Math.  We use Bridges for Math and there are six Work Places that the students do.  I may throw in another one when possible.  It has been overwhelming learning all of this.  This weekend I'm hoping to find some containers for the centers.  I had to wait until payday.  September is a hard month to buy things after I bought supplies during the summer.  Managing the centers is what I want to work on now.

     Our first math unit is all about bugs.  I will be incorporating Deanna Jump's insect unit, as well as, the one that Made For First Grade has.  I love how I can incorporate literacy along with the math throughout the day on insects.  We also use GLAD in our district.  There is an insect unit, so I will be investigating that and trying to get it ready.  Those units take a lot of time to prepare, but they are so good in teaching ELL kids.