Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Peek at My First Week of First Grade

I'm linking with Mrs. Wills for her Peek at My Week linky party today!

My goal is to link up every week and share what is going on in my fun classroom! Today I have pictures to share with you all (or as Dr. Howard would say, all y'all)...

That last one is my bulletin board outside the classroom--each student has a birdie with their name on it. They are so cute and fat and made out of scrapbook paper!

However, I am STILL not completely finished decorating the classroom! I ran out of time. It's organized and functioning, but it's not cute yet. I will share when it looks like it did in my dreams this summer...sigh.

I can't believe it's only been 3 days that we've been in school, it feels like 2 weeks--in a good way. I know all my students by name, I know their personalities, and I am beginning to figure out strategy groupings based on their needs. I will write more about that another time.

Now that I rested my feet a little, I am off to do more decorating!


Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Peek at My First Day

I'm linking up with Mrs. Wills for her weekly link-up:

But today I am only sharing my plans for the first day back, which is a half-day (thank the lord!). I wrote out my plans broken down by time because the first day is different from the rest of my week (but you already know that if you are a teacher)...I promise I will link up the rest of the week on Tuesday :)

So, here it is:

I know that the morning will fly by and it will be time to go before I have a minute to catch my breath! I am so excited to meet these little ones tomorrow.

The other fabulous part about my first day is that I have fun activities from A Cupcake for the Teacher, Bilingual Resources, and First Grade Blue Skies for the kids to do while I do all the crazy teacher stuff (checking in kleenex and crayons? anyone?).

Ok, off to bed now because my goal is to be at school by 7:15 AM. Wish me luck.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Five for Institute Friday

It's 9pm, and I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs for her Five for Friday party!

Because that's how I roll on a Friday night...

Actually, I am exhausted from a very hectic week of trying to put together my new classroom! I missed my own deadline of Wordless Wednesday for my "after" pics, and I forgot to take 5 pictures today for this post. Anyway, it's not really finished yet, at least not the way that I envisioned it in my mind. But, I have 16 yummy little first graders coming on Monday morning and at the very least they will find a happy and organized classroom (if not completely decorated).

I think I'm getting sick. I know, I know, it's way too early! That's what happens when you run yourself into the ground, though. My evil plan: Sleep. All. Weekend.

(Literally, sleep and work on laptop)

On being a new teacher: I got to see my old colleagues today at the teachers' institute, and it wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I guess that means my broken heart has healed over the summer, and it feels good to look ahead to the new school year and the possibilities that it will bring. One of my friends from my old school is pregnant, and she is beautiful. Seeing her and chatting with her helped me (re-re-)realize that life goes on, and you can't stop time. Thanks to all the Piper People for their kindness :)

(My heart, filled with love for all of my fellow teachers)

First union meeting today! Did I mention I am an officer in my local? This will be my 4th year as Secretary, and I was also a building rep for my previous school. Our new president gave the welcome at the institute day, and she reminded us that teachers do great things everyday and touch countless lives. It was a very heartfelt and honest message, and it gives me strength for the new year. Regardless of political leanings, we are all in this together and we each need to do our part in securing our collective rights for the betterment of our schools and communities. It was great to see new faces on our council this year--including the FABULOUS Michelle at Big Time Literacy

As a minority teacher, I take my activism very seriously. I know that my job is to advocate for my students and my union helps me to do that. If you also live in a state that still has collective bargaining rights, get involved in your local!

My pledge: to continue to post at least once a week on this blog. I can't wait to share what my students are doing and how they are making gains in first grade! According to the research, first grade is the most "industrious" grade in school. Six-year-olds are busy with the serious business of exploring, questioning, and learning, and this is the grade where we have to "capture" their interests and harness their enthusiasm for school. I am so excited and blessed to be able to work with this age group in my OWN classroom. Life is good, life is good.

(I still have to make the birdies)

Time for bed.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Five for the Last Free Friday!

Aaaaack! (Do you like my Cathy impression?) I am linking up with Doodle Bugs for my last free Friday...

a week from today I will be back in Teacher Institute mode!

Yesterday was Thursday, but I went through most of my day believing it was Wednesday. Ah, summer--when you can't even keep track of the days because there is no schedule! How I will miss thee. I posted a couple of "before" pics of my new classroom, which you can view here. Next week I will do the "after" shots!

Doodle Bugs mentioned that she's having a hard time sleeping this week, with all of the teacher-y to-do things that keep running through her mind, and I can totally relate! I woke up in the middle of the night and just started listing things that I still need to purchase for my classroom: plastic table cloths or gift wrap for my bulletin board backgrounds, Velcro dots, command hooks, and I can't even remember what else because it was 2 a.m.

Thank goodness for Pinterest and teacher blogs!

Feeling like the new kid on the block (not the band, although I CAN do the dance!). Kelly at I'm Not Your Grandpa talks about how she feels like a first-year teacher, moving to a new school after 20 years in the same, I was at my old school for only 7 years, but I can relate. I don't know what the procedures or routines are, where things are located, etc. I think my face looks like this:

It's hard coming in to a new place and getting to know the culture, too. At my old school I was very comfortable doing things without asking because I had those relationships with my colleagues and the staff and we all respected each other. This week I almost got my head bitten off because I moved some furniture around without asking. Because it scratched the waxed finish off the 1980s tile that will be covered by tables and chairs and 15 pairs of little first-grade feet. If you are a teacher, you know what I am talking about....

This is personal maintenance/upkeep weekend! So not only do I need a haircut, new clothes, etc. Turns out my girls need to do their rituals before heading back to school too. Two teenage girls, one middle school, one high school, you do the math :)

Smells like teen spirit, indeed. Well played, Nirvana.

Speaking of shopping, I did shop the TPT sale on Monday and Tuesday! I bought some very cute stuff including:



That's it for me, time to go open more boxes and organize more stuff.

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Wordless Wednesday-New Classroom Edition!

Happy Wednesday everyone, today I am linking up with Christina from Sugar and Spice for her weekly Wordless Wednesday linky party :)

Um, yes, I just realized today is NOT Wednesday...yikes!

This week I was finally able to get in to my classroom and start getting it into somewhat decent shape for the firsties. Here is what I started with:

Next week I hope I can post the "after" pics!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

August Currently...

Good morning everyone! It is a beautiful Saturday morning so far here in the Chi, and it feels like it's going to be a scorcher later...but it IS August already, so I suppose that's ok.

I'm linking up with Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade for her Currently linky party:

*Listening: Don't you love it when the house is quiet early in the morning and you can have a moment with your thoughts? I am learning to cherish these now that the summer is winding down and my mind will be filled once again with common core, literacy, and classroom management ideas

*Loving: Coffee and cheese is a big thing in Europe and Latin America (think- cheese pastries, cheese platters, espresso, café de olla, etc.) so lately I have been having my own little slice of Brazil by enjoying my morning coffee with a little piece of cheese :) Two enthusiastic thumbs up!

*Thinking: Yes, it is rapidly approaching and I have approximately 4.5 million things to do to get ready. We are finally being allowed into the building starting this Monday (one week later than I had planned). I will be there everyday sorting through boxes that (hopefully) were sent from my old school and decorating our happy first grade classroom!

*Wanting: I didn't really GO anywhere this summer, just kind of relaxed around here...I want to get a way a little before I get sucked into the school existence/survival mode again. Labor Day weekend is the deadline.

*Needing: A haircut, a pedicure, eyebrow wax, new work outfits! I did start going to the chiropractor again after my facial-gone-stiff neck-episode (as mentioned here), so I hope to get back into that routine. A weekly adjustment and medical massage? Yes, please. Two, please.

What is your personal maintenance/upkeep ritual during the school year? I would love to hear all about it!