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!