Saturday, December 29, 2012

December News and More

     Hi Bloggie Friends!  Did you all have a nice Christmas?  I imagine you are enjoying your Winter Break like I am!

     I am way overdue in writing on this little blog!  Life has been so busy lately especially at school.  I'll try to update on what we've been doing.  I'm sorry it has taken so long!


 We learned about Holidays Around the World.  I've done this for many years, but we were told this was the only thing we could do relating to Christmas.  I have a book that I used that I've had since I began teaching (the book is now out of print).  The book has information and a picture of a child in the country's traditional clothing plus some of their symbols.  These can be used for the students to color.  I also used Rachelle from What the Teacher Wants' unit titled Holidays Around the World.  I was excited to see that she added some additional countries this year.  I have a book that I bought from Costco several years ago that has stories from many countries and how they celebrate the holidays.  I read  about England, France, Mexico, and Germany.  I wish we would have had time for more countries.

I also read to the students a book about Mexico titled The Miracle of the First Poinsettia.  This was an excellent book. Many of my students are from Mexico or their families are, so they thoroughly enjoyed this story.  I bought the book new from Amazon for  $16.99 just before Thanksgiving.  I see it's now $899 through another party.  A used one is $39.  I'd wait until next Thanksgiving or earlier.  That's crazy!


We finished with learning about Germany and focusing on gingerbread.  This way my one student who couldn't celebrate Christmas could be involved with us.  I read Gingerbread Baby and Gingerbread Friends by Jan Brett to the students for our Modeled Reading.  We worked on learning about characters, setting, problem, and solution.  We haven't talked much about problem and solution before.  Here's a chart that we started:

  They loved these books!  We made a paper gingerbread using "Flat Gingy" Gingerbread Buddy creativity project created by Christie Berlener from First-Grade-Fever.  The kids finally were able to make an art project on our last two days.  I turned it into a glyph so as to involve some math.  Here is a sample:

This one was made by me since the students already took theirs home.  I gave them the writing assignment that Christie put in the unit.

Every month the students get a topic to share with the class that I call "News".  During January, the students will share with us what they do with their "Gingy".  It should be fun!  We started doing "News" at the beginning of November.  This is something I used to do in my teaching.  The kids are enjoying this and it only takes a few minutes each day.  Three students share 3 days a week.  The other two days the V.I.P. shares.  I'll share more pictures when they return with their News.


We read a variety of books about the first Thanksgiving.  I found that most students in first grade know nothing about the first Thanksgiving.  One book that we really enjoyed is based on the first Thanksgiving with a fictional character was The Littlest Pilgrim.

I followed a chart that I saw Cara from The First Grade Parade use.  Here's the chart we made:

We worked on learning about adjectives as we described the main character, Mini.


     I have been very sad after to hearing about what happened in the school in Connecticut.  I am praying for all those kids and families involved as they grieve for their loss.  Just days before that happened we had a similar experience here in Oregon at a shopping center near where I grew up and have spent many hours shopping in that mall.  At the time when the gunman was shooting, my 25-year old niece was there at a restaurant with an outside entrance.  How scary!  She is a substitute teacher currently as she waits to find a teaching job.  This was too close to home!

Furlough Days

    Our Winter Break is longer than normal -- 3 weeks!  We have two weeks of Winter Break plus 5 days for our Furlough.  It's nice having a long vacation, but it's hard losing 5 days.  I think it will be hard to get the students back in the swing of things.  We don't go back to school until January 9th.

     Until next time . . . I hope it won't be so long!  I should be able to write again while on my Winter Break.  Enjoy your weekend and have a Happy New Year!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Ladybugs, Pumpkin Patch, and Pete the Cat

It is so nice to have a three-day weekend.  I spend so much time during the weekend on lesson plans that an extra day gives me a little bit of time for myself.  I drove to Portland to see my niece in a play.  She had one of the three female lead roles and was in most of the play.  She is such a great actress!

We have been learning about insects through our Bridges math curriculum.  I've added to that and have been teaching about ladybugs.  I read the book, Ladybugs, by Gail Gibbons to the class.

This book is full of wonderful information and great pictures.  The students first learned about the parts of a ladybug.  Here's the chart that we labeled.  This picture is from the book.

The students also learned about the life cycle of a ladybug (insect) using the following chart.

The students shared about this during ELD using sentence frames.  We recently started using Deanna Jump's Chit Chat to review topics that the students learn about.  The kids just love this.  It is such a great way to work on reading and writing skills.

The students have worked on labeling a ladybug on paper and describing the four stages of a ladybug.

We went to the pumpkin patch.  I had been out sick for one week and our field trip was my first day back.  We had a lot of fun!  We learned a lot about pumpkins in class.  We made a chart showing the life cycle of a pumpkin.

This past week we were reading and learning about the first Thanksgiving.  I asked the kids if they knew about the first Thanksgiving and all they knew is that they eat turkey and have dinner with family.  This week we will be continue our study about the first Thanksgiving.  This is our last week of school before Thanksgiving.  Parent-Teacher conferences take place in one week for two days.  The kids will be off school for one week.  I will do two 12-hour days of conferences and then be off for 3 days plus the weekend.  It will be nice to have a 5 day break.

I'll have more pictures and information about what we learn this week about Thanksgiving and how I teach them.

Of course, we have spent some time reading and learning about Pete the Cat.  The kids just love him.  I read all 3 books to the class, sang the song, and did several activities.  We made Pete the Cat from Deanna Jump's unit and wrote a sentence.  Last week we started our V.I.P.  The V.I.P. gets to take home the book, Pete the Cat, the stuffed Pete the Cat, a poster to fill out about themselves, and a binder to write about their time with Pete.  The kids are so looking forward to this.

I guess I better think about going to bed soon.  Tomorrow I hope to finish my lesson plans for the week of Nov. 26 - 30 since they are due on Thursday.  I finally figured I can complete them on time if I work on them the weekend ahead of when they are due.  I will drive back to Salem.  I hope to print some things and go to school for a little while.  I need to do some things to be ready for the week.

Enjoy your Veterans' Day!  I'm so thankful for the men and women who have sacrificed so that we can have freedom, including my dad.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Back to Blogging

Boy, it sure has been a long time since I have added a post.  This is the first one for this school year.  

The year started off full force ahead.  

This year I have a great group of 29 first graders.  This group does very well following the rules and working when they are supposed to.  It is such a change!  

Here's a few pictures of the room:

 The new alphabet letters from Queen of the First Grade Jungle.
I really like them with the purple background!

 I used Kim Adsit's Reading Workshop unit.  These mentor
charts were great to help the kids learn about reading.

 Number Corner is our Calendar Math.  I updated it a little this year by making a title, making days of the week with turquoise background.  I like it better than the white ones.  My calendar and carpet were moved to the front of the room which really opened the room up.  So, part of the white board is used for Number Corner.

Here is my Clip Chart.  Because of how I arranged the carpet at the front of the room, I don't have a place to put the Clip Chart hanging down.  It's too heavy for the white board with magnets on the back and clips.  So, I came up with a different idea.  I found these round circles with numbers this summer on a blog and love them.  I reduced the size some and  put magnets behind them.  Now, they are used and we can slide the numbers up or down.  I like this change.

       Friday, I worked at a movie night at school.  On my way home, I started noticing a sore throat.  Then, a fever began.  I was wondering if I had strep throat again.  I could hardly swallow and had a constant fever all weekend.  Yes, I do have strep.  I had it near the end of July.  The doctor said the opening to my throat is very small.  I believe it!  It is so painful.  I'm slowly improving.  I'm not very understandable when I talk, though.  I can't go back to work until I can talk normally and people can understand me.  

     I know that I got sick because of the stress that I'm under plus I work with first graders now.  This is the fourth time that I've been sick in the past year.  

I hope to return to work on Monday, but it does depend on how I feel and if I can talk where others can understand me.  I'm not there yet.  

Friday is our Statewide Teacher Inservice Day.  Our district is taking it as a Furlough Day.  So, I have 3 days to get better.  Tuesday we get to go on a field trip to the pumpkin patch.  Hopefully, all the permission slips have returned.  I sure hope I get to go to the field trip.

I had so much more to share telling about specific things we are learning.  I'll save that for another day . . . maybe tomorrow.

I've noticed I sure have lots of people reading this blog but a small number of followers.  If you have ever thought of becoming one of my followers, I sure would appreciate it.  I will try to write more often and have more freebies.

Happy Friday Eve!

Friday, August 24, 2012

My Friday Freebie

I've decided that I actually have something ready to share for the Teacher Week at Blog Hoppin', however, after spending part of my evening on this, I have no idea how to link up.  Instead, I'll offer  my second freebie on my little blog.  I'll have to do some reading to see if I can learn how to participate in a link.

I recently have worked on a new Home Reading Log.  I have the students and/or their parents (depending on their age) record how many minutes they read at home.  This year I'm adding a place for the total of minutes that the parents read to the students.  I want the first grade parents to see how important it is to read to their child.  This freebie includes a second Reading Log which the students track only their reading.  Click on the words Reading Log  here or below the picture to download these reading logs.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Final Week of Summer Vacation

I've returned from my short trip to the Seattle, Washington area.  I was visiting my cousin and her family who live about 40 minutes from Seattle.  We took a ferry ride to Seattle and spent some time at Pike Street Market.  It was one of the hottest days all year and very hard to be walking around town!  It was fun, though.  I hadn't been that way in several years.  We drove through the city my grandparents lived and saw the house.  This is where my mom grew up and I spent many years visiting twice a year.  We also went to a Barnum & Bailey circus.  That was fun!  I haven't been to a circus in many, many years.  It was a fun-filled 3 days.


I'm at my dad's house in Portland for a few days.  I'm getting together with a friend to make the teacher's toolbox.  I'm looking forward to that.  On Thursday, Dad and I are going to the beach just for the day.  I always love going to the beach and it will be a good way to end my summer vacation.

I can't print anything until I get home which is driving me nuts, but I am working on many projects.  Last night I worked on my welcome door.  I'm not much of a theme girl because I like too many different things and don't want to spend money on all new things every year, but I am going to use some cupcakes in my decorations.  I used some clipart to make cupcakes with the students names on them.  Here is a sample:

I put in some sample names to see how it would look.  I don't know who is in my class or how 
many students are in my class.  My first official day at work is next Tuesday.  I'm just not ready to return, so I may not go back until then.  I might possibly go in for one day on the weekend.  I'm not sure yet.  I may use Pete the Cat in some decorating since my class last year just loved him and I'll be reading his books and doing a variety of activities with them beginning on the second week of school.  I'll be working on that soon plus using activities that I have bought on TpT.

I'm off to Michael's!  I need some colored cardstock and some scrapbooking paper since I didn't bring it with me.  I should have a picture of my toolbox once it's done!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What's Happening?

     I'm sorry it has taken me so long to write again.  I just haven't had anything school related to write about or any pictures to show.

     First of all, I finally got over the strep throat.  That was such an awful experience especially during the summer.  It sounds like it is going around this summer!  I'm sure the stress from my last school year didn't help.  I'm thankful that I went to the doctor and got some good medicine.  I'm back home now in Salem.

     I looked at the calendar and couldn't believe how little time I have left of this summer.  Yikes!  I have to be at school in on the 28th.  Time is sure flying by!  I had thought of going in a week early to get the classroom ready, but now I don't think that I'll be doing that.  I'm trying to squeeze some things in (see friends that I haven't seen in awhile)  and have quite a bit of cleaning at home yet to do.  I'm leaving for a few days beginning tomorrow night to spend with my cousin in Washington.  We may spend some time in Seattle.  I haven't been there in quite a few years.  Amazing since I used to be there every year when my grandmother lived there.

     I've been busy creating things for my classroom.  Once they're done, maybe I'll have another freebie.  Here is a sample of one of them:

I think I even learned how to make a screenshot today.  Wow!  It is hard to teach yourself how to do things.  I'm thankful that I can find some tutorials on Ladybugs Teacher Files.  I've even spent some time working on lesson plans for the first three days.  It would be nice to get those done now.  Usually, I spend so much time on the classroom that I just don't have the time to do more than one day of plans.  I'm thankful for blogger teachers like Erica Bohrer and others who have shared their lesson plans.  Last year was my first year in first grade, and I know I really wasn't sure what to do on those first few days.  I need to place an order for some books with Amazon soon.  

     The weather here has turned HOT!  Most of the summer has been nice and comfortable - in the 70's and low 80's, however, the last couple of weeks we have been having some 90 degree weather.  Even one day hit over 100.  I don't like weather like that especially since I live in an upstairs apartment.  I'm thankful for my ceiling fan and my regular fan.  The trip to Washington state will be nice since it's usually a little cooler there.  It's supposed to be 100 for the next two days.

     Did you all have fun shopping at the TpT sale?  I waited until near the end to purchase since I found I had put too much in my shopping cart.  I had to limit it.  I did find some good things.  This evening I went off to Office Max to get some printer ink.  I had a $60 reward from using my Teacher Reward card, which was nice since I had a some other things I wanted.  I haven't bought any ink all summer, but it's now time to print things so that I can get things ready for the school year.  Tomorrow I'll go out and find some white card stock.  The card stock at Office Max didn't look like it was a clean white.

     Well, I'm off to do some house cleaning since the house is slowly cooling down.  In the morning I'm going to a card making gathering using Close to My Heart stamps and scrapbook papers.  I'm looking forward to that.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Shopping Finds

I finally have made it out to do some shopping for school.  While spending time in Portland at my dad's, we went out shopping.  There are so many more places to shop at in Portland than in Salem.  Dad had his birthday on Sunday and received some shorts from his brother that were too big.  We went out to exchange them.  I mentioned to him that I need to go to Kohl's while there.  On the way home, he said we could stop.  It's so different shopping with Dad compared to Mom.  I didn't want to ask him to stop, but I'm glad he suggested it.  I wanted to check out the Skippy Jon Jones books that I've seen other teachers talk about.

We went to Kohl's and found them right by the door.  It was the only stuffed animal there.  I bought 3 books.  I've never read these, but when I taught 3rd grade the kids used to tell me all about the book.  When I got home, I read the first book.  It was quite good and funny.  I think the kids will really like these in our classroom library.  I really like the stuffed animal!

Later on Tuesday evening, I drove to Target.  I was still trying to find Dr. Seuss pencils.  I could only find one package at the Salem store.  I couldn't find the pretty colored ones that I found, but they had plenty of The Lorax pencils, so I bought those.  I want to make sure I have them for Dr. Seuss Day.

I also found the plastic colored bins that I used on the table last year.  I decided to replace them.  The kids often dropped them and they would crack.  I debated about buying them at Really Good Stuff, but I didn't want to pay more.  While I was there, I began talking to a teacher who was looking at the same thing.  We talked and found out we were both first grade teachers.  As we were talking, we discovered that we both teach in Salem.  How is it that we were both over an hour away from home, shopping at Target, and we come from the same school district.  This teacher is a bilingual teacher, but she offered to give me some help.  She gave me her name and told me to e-mail her when I get to school.  She said that she and her partner, who now has been transferred, would be glad to help me on the planning.  She also suggested that I read The First Grade Parade.  I told her that I already do.  I hope she can give me some help.  

While I was in the car, I felt cold.  Before I left, I felt that I was getting a sore throat.  Well, late that night I checked my temperature and I had a fever.  I have been sick all week.  I've had a fever every day.  So far, today I don't have one.  I hope it stays that way.  The sore throat has been bad, I've even done some vomiting.  It seems when I get up to go to bed or get up in the morning to go to the living room, if the fever is high enough it causes me to be dizzy then vomit.  It has scared my cats that they are keeping their distance.  I called the doctor on Thursday and went in for a throat culture to see if I have strep or a virus.  I was so surprised to find out that I have strep!  Who gets sick in the summer?  I haven't even been around anyone lately except the whole family on last Sunday and no one was sick.  This has been a bummer but I'm so glad that I am at Dad's.  I've kept him busy making me soup, getting me juice, running to the store, and washing my clothes.  Hopefully, I'll be better in a few days.  I'll probably stay here until I'm sure I'm feeling fine.  I had planned to get together with friends while here.  I do have plans with one on Tuesday.  Hopefully, I will feel well enough by then. Saturday was my first day without the fever.  Today I'm starting to see a slight change in my throat.  This has been one awful summer experience!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

First Freebie

Happy Saturday!  It's so nice that the weekends and the weekdays are relaxing days.  I need days like these after the stressful year that I had.

I spent a week and a half visiting my dad in Portland.  It was nice to not just go for a quick weekend.  While I was there, we celebrated the 4th of July.  The following day was spent celebrating my birthday.  Dad and I went on a drive to Multnomah Falls.  It is about a 30 minute drive from his house.  It was a very busy place on that day.  I think it was because we finally had summer weather and people were still vacationing from the 4th.

The bridge was built in 1915 and the lodge in 1925.  The lodge is on the National Historic Register.  My grandparents, who lived in Washington state, were at Multnomah Falls on their honeymoon in 1930.  The falls is about 625 feet high, the second largest in the U.S.

My cats, Charlie and Chloe, travel with me to Portland.  They hate the car ride, but love hanging out at Dad's house.  Chloe loves running up and down the basement stairs.  There is so much more to do and see.  They don't sleep as much, but they eat more!  Here's a couple pictures of them being lazy.

Chloe loved to jump in Grandpa's leather chair when he went off to bed.

What a life Charlie had!  No wonder he wasn't happy to have to leave and go home!

I do want to offer the Writer's Checklist as my first freebie.  I've been reading and watching videos from Ladybug's Teacher Files .  They have been very helpful, but I'm still trying to figure some things out.  (This is the first time I've put on a link.  I hope it works!)

Here is my first freebie to those of you who want it.  I know one person did request this.  I did remake it and put it in Power Point as Kristen from Ladybug's Teacher Files suggested.  I've never used Power Point before, but I did figure things out.  I did order a book from Amazon that I hope will help me.

Here is the Writer's Checklist.  I hope you can use this with your students.  I did number the cards.  However, I thought some of you might not want them numbered, so there is a set without numbers at the end of the packet.  You can download it here.  I'm crossing my fingers that this will work.

Well, it's past 1:00 a.m. and I better head to bed.  Have a great Saturday!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

First Week of Summer / Writer's Checklist

     Well, it's been a busy first week of summer vacation.  I spent the week mainly cleaning out my classroom.  Last year I moved into this school and classroom and just didn't have enough time to truly organize.  When I ended the previous year, I had to be out of school on time due to remodeling that was going to take place.  There was a lot of clutter, so I really went through things after school ended.  After teaching for 17 years plus several years as a substitute and teaching all grades between first through fifth grades, I have a lot of stuff.  I threw a lot of papers and things away, but it was just taking too much time.  I told the principal and custodian that I would finish by Monday.  

     I found out on Monday that my badge would be deactivated as of 4:00.  I knew I couldn't get done by then.  I could stay later, but I wouldn't be able to get back in the building if I walked out.  I started the day by going on my first walk of the summer.  I have decided that I will do some exercising this summer (this has been neglected this school year).  It was too long of a walk for the first time.  We walked 2-1/2 miles around a park with bird nests that belong to eagles or other large birds and walking part of the time by a river.  I was exhausted afterwards and just couldn't pack up the room that quickly since my legs hurt.  I did get a friend to come over with her daughter to help lift boxes and put them on a shelf high against the wall.  I finally finished the room right at midnight.  I had to fill my car with some things and I'm hoping I have room in my storage unit to keep them over the summer.

     I will go over to school this afternoon to turn in the check-out paper and get checked out.  I just remembered that I forgot to empty the refrigerator.  I sure hope they let me go back and empty it!  Otherwise, it will be quite smelly when I return!

     I had a comment about the Writing Checklist that I made recently.  This morning I saw that a few people have pinned it.  Wow!  I've never had something of mine pinned.  I thought I better post about it again with an update.  At the time I did that, I was missing the last two steps from my picture.  I have a new picture with all 8 steps.  The top card has a glare.  It says: Did you . . .  There is a title at the very top that says Writer's Checklist.  If you want to 

Writer's Checklist

see a picture with those top cards, see my post titled Eleven Days to Go. (I don't know how to make it so you can click the title and go there.  Something else to learn.)   I taught this to my students in the spring.  Next year, I'd like to teach it early in the year and maybe have a checklist sheet that they fill out when they are publishing their writing.

     Now that I'm done with school, I can start cleaning my home -- a job that has been neglected lately.  I'm planning on driving to Portland on Friday and staying with my Dad for a week to week and a half.  It will be a nice time to spend with family and friends.  I'll be there for the 4th of July and for my birthday on the 5th.  I'm looking forward to the break and getting caught up with friends.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

I Made It! Summer is Here!

     Last Friday was my last official day at school.  Yeah!  I finally made it!  We had two days with the kids that week.  They were busy days!  Tuesday was field day.  Half of the school had field day in the morning.  The other half had it in the afternoon.  Unfortunately, we had some rain, so the kids participated in field day under the covered area and in the gym.  They still had fun, though.  They sure enjoyed the bouncy houses!  In the afternoon, we had an End of the Year/ Summer Birthday Party in our classroom.  It was a fun way to end the day and year.  We had ice cream sundaes, cookies, cupcakes, and drinks.  There were 3 parents who volunteered to help.  I really appreciated them dishing up the ice cream while I slowly called kids to go get their ice cream.

     In the last week, the students were learning about Tomie de Paola's Strega Nona stories. The kids had never heard them before.  They really enjoyed it!  We have been doing an author study using Tomie's books about himself as we studied realistic fiction.  It was fun to add some of his fiction books.  I noticed the kids were reading all of the books during Read to Self.  We made a chart that we used as a story map to chart out the characters, setting, problem, and solution.  I saw something like this when I did a search online.  I don't remember what blog it was from because I had ever read this blog before and didn't write it down.

The kids enjoyed repeating the words Strega Nona said when using her magic pasta pot:  

Bubble, bubble pasta pot, Boil me some pasta nice and hot, 
I'm hungry and it's time to sup, Boil enough pasta to fill me up.  

We watched a video that I have of Tomie dePaola speaking to an audience of kids and their parents.  He demonstrated how to draw Strega Nona.  I watched the video over and over at home and drew her in steps so that I could teach the kids.  We ran out of time to draw her, but the kids liked my picture. I did this last year with my third graders. Next year, I will teach this earlier so that we have time.   

 My drawing following Tomie's instructions.

Drawing and writing about Strega Nona by a
third grade student from a year ago.

I also created a binder about Tomie de Paola and his books for the students.  The kids enjoyed reading this during Read to Self.  I'm considering adding more to the binder and writing up an entire unit.  I took a class about 12 years ago on our state inservice day about Tomie de Paola.  It was taught by an Oregon teacher who met Tomie and had permission to write a book about him.  I have enjoyed teaching about his books since then.

It has been fun to see how the kids have started to read Tomie's books.  I'm sure they will continue to look for them next year.

     The teachers worked 3 days after the kids got out.  Because we had 2 snow days and a flood day (very unusual to have a flood day), the superintendent decided that the teachers would need to make it up at the end of the year.  On Thursday we had to work 12 hours.  That was so difficult at the end of the year!  We spent 4 hours in professional development and the rest was used to do as we needed.  Four hours were for finishing grades.  I worked on the grades on Thursday and Friday and barely got them done in time.  There has been a lot of paper work that needed to be turned in to my principal that I also was working on.  I didn't get to work on my room until the weekend.

     I'm still at work busy cleaning and organizing my room.  Why do I let it get so messy?  I have things scattered around the room, but I promised the principal and custodian that I would finish on Monday.  I do want to get out of there and onto my vacation.  I've been going to school around noon and staying until 8:00 p.m.  I am exhausted.  I was going to go today, but I think I need a little break.  Maybe I'll just go for two hours since I am meeting a couple of friends this evening for dinner.  I've known one since 3rd grade and the other since 8th grade.  We haven't seen each other in a long time.  It should be fun!

     I'll work hard to posting more often this summer.  I'm hoping I can learn how to put on here things that I create to share with everyone.  That's something I still need to learn how to do.  I have created some great things this year now that I discovered and know how to use clip art that I'd love to share.  

     Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Penguin Music Program and Earth Day

After being sick, it was a hard week.  I was so glad we only had four days.  Friday was a furlough day.  Each day I had trouble with losing my voice.  It's just not all there and I'm still coughing from the bronchitis.

I have a very active, noisy group of first graders.  I work with them all the time on how to behave and follow the rules.  Things were getting better until I got sick.  I think after being gone for a week and a half and having 3 substitutes the kids have gotten worse.  I had to spend a lot of time this week working on their behavior in the classroom and in the hall.  I hope I can get them back to where they were before I was gone soon.  It is exhausting!  

The first graders had their music program this week.  The songs were all about penguins.  It was so great since we are studying penguins in the classroom, too.  I taught the kids a poem called "Doing the Penguin" for the program.  We have three first grade classrooms.  Our music teacher is awesome!  She made some very cute vests for the students to wear.  

After the show - most of the kids had taken
off their costumes

The program was on Tuesday.  It was a busy day.  We had a fire drill.  Then we practiced in the morning with the risers for over an hour.  In the afternoon, the students performed the music for the whole school.  Their final performance was that evening for their parents.  They were wonderful and had lots of fun!

We learned about Earth Day while reading the book Arthur Turns Green by Marc Brown.  This book came out last year.  The kids loved the story.  We studied Marc Brown earlier in the year, but I saved this book for Earth Day.

We made a chart to go with it as the students learned about problem and solution in a story.  The chart was in the shape of a recycling bin.  We started using our ELD sentence frames and will continue next week with the speaking and writing parts.  The students are learning about contractions with this book, too.

The students also took a district writing test this week.  The state cancelled the writing test this year for fourth graders due to funding.  So, instead, the district is testing every grade in writing from kindergarten on up.  I think it was hard for some kids to do.  They were given two writing periods to do the test.  I'll be grading them soon and then our first grade team will look at some of them before we send the grade to the district.  Testing is stressful on first graders.

I'll be starting next week's lesson plans today.  I'm thinking about starting a poetry mini-unit.  In reading this term, we are to teach a poetry mini-unit and teach realistic fiction.  Maybe we can spend a couple weeks on Poetry and then return to realistic fiction for the remainder of the school year.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Returning to School and Arthur Turns Green

     I've been off school for 6 days from having bronchitis.  Two days in one week and four the next plus a furlough day and two weekends.  I'm ready to go back to work.

     I drove over to school yesterday to pick up a book so that I could write lesson plans for the next week.  I want things done a little earlier so that I'm not up so late tonight.  With Earth Day coming, I decided I wanted to read Arthur Turns Green and use that as my mentor text for the modeled reading and ELD lessons this week.

     I was at school briefly.  While I was there, I read the substitute's brief note.  This substitute was there for the last two days.  She's been in my room before.  She was there the first day that I was sick.  Her note said that she couldn't find any lesson plans.  I couldn't believe it!  I was so organized.  I put a bright pink binder together and put a title on the front that says "Substitute Plans and Notes".  How could she not see that?  I actually cleaned my desk the day before I got sick and it looks pretty nice.  This notebook is sitting on top of the desk.  Next to it is my Sub Tub with all of the books and papers that will be needed.  I drove over to work on Wednesday evening to drop everything off and left it all organized.  It was still there when I got there on Saturday.  

     I don't understand why someone didn't call me.  I could have told her where the plans were or e-mailed them.  I sure hope she didn't tell the principal.  I don't need more problems from her.  I'm going back today (Sunday) to get things ready for tomorrow.  I'm going to take a picture, as evidence, to show how organized things are.  

     I've written up my ELD plans using Arthur Turns Green.  I'm going to introduce contractions to the students and have them using them.  

I've come up with a form that I think I like for planning out the lesson.  It takes a lot of work to plan these ELD lessons, but I want to make sure I teach all of the important parts especially for my ELD students.  I have one student who doesn't speak much English.  He's Russian and in his first year of school.

I'd attach my ELD plans, but I'm not sure how to do that.  I only know how to attach photos.  Hmmm.  Something for me to learn how to do for another time.

Well, I'll take pictures of what we do this week and write later about how it goes.  

Last year Marc Brown's sister, Kim, came to my school.  She showed us the sketches of this book before it was published.  She talked about Marc and how he wrote his books.  She was in town for Marc's son's wedding.  Marc Brown's son now lives in Portland.  How exciting! Anyway, this is a great book for teaching about protecting the Earth.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New Blog Design

I am excited to see my new blog design. It was time to change the blog to something more colorful and cute.

I want to say thanks to Alicia at Dreamlike Magic for the design. I think she did a wonderful job and am very happy with it.

I'm still sitting at home sick. I found out on Saturday evening that I have bronchitis. I'm very tired of coughing. I've been busy typing up lesson plans for my substitutes. I finished this evening plans for the rest of the week and then drove 30 minutes to my school. Hopefully, things are going okay in my classroom. I have a very active classroom of 30 first graders. They take advantage of things when I'm not there. I'm sure I'll have to revisit the rules and procedures when I return.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Penguins and ELD

     This week I was teaching an ELD lesson that I wrote up after taking a Systematic ELD class. I was evaluated one day from my coach and it went well.  I wasn't able to teach the whole 5 day unit because I ended up getting sick.  I'm home sick today.  I went to work on Wednesday with a fever.  I don't know how I did that .  It helped that I had 7 kids absent.  It was more like a regular class with only 23 kids.

     The ELD lesson was using the book Penguins by Gail Gibbons as my mentor text.  I taught them about verbs looking at the action that penguins do when they move or do other things.  This was our first introduction to verbs.

     We continued a chart that we started on what we know.  This week we added what new learnings we knew using verbs.  Those are in pink on the chart.  I took pictures from a book called Busy Penguins that showed penguins doing things.  These were great illustrations for the students.  There were examples such as penguins bumping, penguin sleeping, penguins sliding, etc.  

     We used sentence frames to have the students partner up and share.  This is so good for the ELD students, as well as, the English students.  I think the students learned a lot about verbs.  

Penguins:  What We Know and New Learnings using Verbs

Sentence Frames using verbs
and adjectives

Since I've been out sick, I haven't been able to finish my 5-day plan.  It appeared the substitute yesterday didn't teach the writing part, which is the next step.  Today, they should have done a shared writing using these sentence frames and using verbs and adjectives.  Next week, we will finish by having each student write their own paragraph and putting it into a class book.

     Now, I need to start thinking about my next ELD lesson.  This quarter we are to teach Realistic Fiction.  I think I'll start an author study on Tomie dePaola, one of my favorite authors.  My third graders last year just loved learning about him.  He has so many wonderful books.  I think the first graders will like his books, too.  We read one book a week ago called Stagestruck.  It was great because Tomie got in trouble for not listening, a problem many of my students have.  I'm not sure which book we'll do next.  Maybe The Art Lesson.  That's always a good book!

     Well, I better get ready to go to Urgent Care.  My doctor is in Portland, an hour away.  I called yesterday and she told me to go to Urgent Care since she doesn't work on Fridays.  I hope they can give me some medicine.  I have a 3 day weekend and I don't want to be sick the whole time.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Field Trip and Other Happenings

     Happy Easter!  What a wonderful day to reflect on what my Lord and Savior has done for us.  I'm spending the day in Portland with my dad.    

     This was the first week back after Spring Break!  Boy, it sure seemed like a long week!  It was so hard getting up early everyday.

     On Wednesday we went on our first field trip with 5 other classrooms in our school.  We went to the local community college to see the play, Peter Pan and Wendy.  It was a very good and exciting play.  Many kids were seeing a play for the first time.

Waiting for the play to begin

It was fun seeing the students reaction.  Everytime the curtain closed the boy sitting next to me would say, "Is it over?"  I explained that they were just changing the scene.

I took a picture of the boy with Pete the Cat whose mother made a sweater for Pete.  It was so cute!  She is letting us keep it, so now Pete wears a sweater.  We have two Petes that go home every week, so we'll be able to keep track of which one belongs to which VIP.

Pete the Cat wearing a sweater

Pete the Cat came to school with this sweater on our recent late start due to snow on March 21st.  

The students are learning about penguins.  This week I will be using the book Penguins by Gail Gibbons as my mentor text.  I recently took a Systematic ELD class since we have new requirements in teaching ELD.  I'm working on preparing a 5-day lesson using this book.  On Tuesday my literacy coach will observe and evaluate me as I teach.  I'm hoping this will help my principal to see that I do know how to teach ELD.  This is one area that she said that I "do not meet" because she had only seen me teach it once.  Unfortunately, she's not in my room all of the time.

Well, I better get back to my ELD plans and lesson plans and, hopefully, I'll have time to relax some, too.

Have a great Easter!