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!