Sunday, September 29, 2013

New Stuff For The Teacher!

Orders are finally coming in.  Remember how I got my classroom furniture the day before school started?  Well, now a month in to school I finally received my desk, technology cart, and student laptops.  I'm really happy about the new desk.  It has been a great motivator for me to get organized.


 Academics have started to pick up.  We are a month into school and students know the expectations.  We are building reading stamina.  My students were thrilled to reach 20 minutes!  We are getting close to our goal of 30.  We also just learned this week how to pick our own books.  This fit perfectly with our first visit to the school library.  We learned the I Pick Rap and earned a bookmark by being able to tell what each letter stands for.  You can see a better photo of the bookmark and download it for free in my TPT shop.

My math time has been taken up with state testing.  It is the only time of the day when we have the students grouped by grade level.  Reading and math screeners are done, now we must tackle the writing screener. I have had students exploring math materials while I give the individual portions of the assessments.  This is "Sir Pattern" that a student made with tiles.
I hope you had a great week!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Last week's successes in photos

I wrote this last weekend and just noticed it never published. Technology has not been on my side lately.

This week I finally felt like my room is more or less together and we are into our routine.  It took many days and hours (during which I have slacked on blogging-sorry). This weekend has gotten away from me as I finish up a few last beginning if the year projects, so I'll just do a quick photo post for you. Each photo is captioned with how it represents a success for the past week.

This is the front of the room. Technology is set up. Students have their toolboxes with pencils and markers each labeled and stored in their cubby. Hopes and dream bulletin started. Class jobs have been introduced, assigned, and displayed (the bees on the right).

I started CAFE for the very first time! Exciting, but challenging. This week I am going to review the strategies I introduced to give me more practice and ensure that the students have a good foundation of important reading strategies. To do this week is to conference with students and set their goals!

Math corner is set up and being put to daily use. We are using Bridges this year and I'm really liking it. (Maybe more on that in a future post).
Calendar time was chaos and time was being wasted on getting supplies. I simplified the process by setting up these toolkits. Each student gets two pencils and a dry erase marker each labeled with his/her name. I tried hot gluing Pom poms but they kept falling off when the students used them. So, I went to Dollar Tree and picked up baby washcloths. They came four washcloths in a pack! The students thought these were just as cool as Pom Pom erasers and much easier to use!

That's all for now. I hope you had a great week and refreshing weekend!


Hey Everyone!

First, my name is Katie. Second, I'm SORRY! Olivia introduced me a long time ago and it took me forever to post. This is my first blog ever and I am thankful that Olivia wanted me to share stories, ideas, struggles, highlights, and failures from my classroom.
 About me:
    My name is Katie and I am currently living in North Carolina, teaching second grade. It is my second year of teaching and I taught third grade last year. I have found out that when you switch to a new grade it feels like you are a first year teacher again and the exhaustion that Liv posted about earlier is relived. I recently got married and life is full of adjustments.

My school: is East Iredell Elementary in Statesville, NC. It has a dual immersion program that teaches spanish and it is in the lower economic spectrum. Great things are being done there with the amount of losses and cut backs we had just two months ago.

My classroom: has 18 students and no TA. When you step into my room it is about being a family, where we use our words to solve problems, use our manners when speaking to each other, respect is shown through our words and actions, and responsibility of becoming independent is key.
 I know this is a really long post so I'll stop and make sure I post again this week.  :)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Holding Each Other Accountable

This week I have been working on holding students accountable for their work. We are building stamina for reading and every day there are a few students who just don't want to read. Any students not reading during silent reading owe me reading time during the next class activity. They can't move on to anything else unless they read. Most students get right to reading and by the time the rest of the class has their book bins put away, the straggling students are ready. I have had a few occasions when I have had to keep students from their specials because they refuse to read. Slowly they are learning to love to read and start to complain when it is time to stop reading. I have also caught some of these same students stealing reading time during math and writing time! 
Students are also holding me accountable. When I give them a consequence they remind me. I told one student he had to spend five minutes of his PE time learning to walk and not run. At PE time he was quick to remind me he needed to practice walking. He was holding me accountable for the consequence I gave him. I'm now very conscious about the consequences I give. I know students expect me to follow through just like I expect them to. Again, part of teaching is modeling what we expect of our students. Setting these expectations during these first weeks is vital to having a great school year. I know spending so much time teaching procedures will start paying off in just a few weeks.
I hope you are having a great week!


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Respect in the Classroom

I'm two weeks into the school year. No one can prepare you for the work and exhaustion that goes into the first weeks. I am desperately trying to teach my students respect. Right now our focus is on being quiet and listening when others are speaking. Sharing at morning meeting is great practice for this. Over the course of a week, each student gets the chance to share something from their life and the rest of us practice quietly listening and thinking of follow up questions.
We are building the culture of our school around respect. Each student begins and ends the day by shaking his/her teacher's hand.  As much as possible, each teacher is giving individual feedback and positive reinforcement to each student.
My Kindergarteners have had little to no prior school experience and are having trouble adjusting to school. They are a very talkative bunch with a few students who wander around the room and very few of them actually clean up when I tell them to. I know they need time to adjust, but I wasn't sure they were really getting the message of respect. They certainly didn't seem to be showing it to me by wandering and not following my directions. Then, one day this last week, I was giving a direction and one of the Kindergarteners asked me to say please. It was a big lightbulb moment for me. As frustrated and exhausted as I was, I realized that I still needed to model respectful language to the students. I was also very proud to hear that this student had been hearing my messages about speaking respectfully.  It is much harder to show respect than to talk about expecting it.
The lesson for me this week is that no one is perfect. I was feeling very inadequate and incapable this week, but I know that we all need time to adjust to a new school and new community members. I still have high hopes for this class and look forward to this coming week of lessons and successes. I hope you are having an excellent beginning to your school year and are continuing to learn about yourself and those in your community.


Monday, September 2, 2013

I Pick and A New Blogger

It's been a crazy week.  I just finished my first full week.  No one can ever fully prepare you for just how challenging the first week can be.  I'm hoping to get a much more detailed post up soon, but I have more prep for the week to do on this beautiful holiday.  Here is one piece of prep I accomplished today:

I created this bookmark to give to my students when they finally get to pick their own books later this week!  As much as I have tried to choose books that interest them, my students know themselves and are eager to have control over what they read.  You can download these bookmarks free at my TpT shop.
I also have some big news this week!  I am welcoming my friend Katie to be a co-blogger on this blog.  We went to college together and she has supported me and encouraged me all along.  Katie began teaching in NC last year and has started teaching 2nd grade this year.  She has wonderful ideas and I am honored to have her sharing them here on this blog.  Keep your eye out for her post first coming soon.