Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Last Day

Today was our last day of school.

14 of my 18 students showed up...just my luck, right? We actually had a pretty full first grade.

It was so uneventful...THANKFULLY!!!! We colored, played on Cool Math or PBS kids, watched a Reading Rainbow and Arthur and took down the word wall and data and job board behind the sink.

I actually had to hold back tears as I walked my last two boys to the busses. I'm really going to miss these kids.

I've got to work in my room tomorrow and close it down. I am hoping to have everything done tomorrow. I've actually gotten a lot done the last two days.

Unfortunately, I have to pack a lot of it up because my room is going to be used for summer school.

Ahh..what a great feeling to be done. :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

We interrupt your daily scheduled classroom....

We spent an hour and a half in our hallway today.

The tornado sirens went off around 11am. I knew we were supposed to get rain, but I had no idea the weather was going to be so severe. I honestly wasn't sure the sirens were for real...like maybe they were a false alarm. I saw the other teachers in my pod area taking their kids into the hall, so I did the same.

I calmly asked my kids to line up, and we headed into the hallway to assigned place. My kids were FANTASTIC!! They got right behind the kindergarteners, dropped to their knees and covered their heads. I didn't have a single kid cry!! (But I did have one fall asleep.....)

We had teachers coming down the hall with updates. At one point there were 4 tornadoes on the ground around us and some that were headed in our direction.

My hallway is K-2. Our kiddos were really calm. Our teachers were really calm too. We all had our phones out and were texting family members. My parents are back East, so I was texting them like crazy. Some of my friends were in the way of the tornado. I was trying to keep up to date with them and check on my brother as well. Crazy boy was driving right into the mess on his way to work!!

We ended up staying in the hallway for AN HOUR AND A HALF!

We didn't get an all clear until around 12:30. Our kids had to go to the bathroom and were hungry, but they really didn't complain. We kept telling them this was serious and they needed to stay down and keep their voices quiet.

The other hallway (3-5) was in hysterics. They kids were balling and wanted to call their parents. It probably didn't help that some of them had been learning about weather and learning stuff about what happened in Joplin, MO., and one of the teachers was telling them that a tornado was coming towards us. Really? Who tells kids that?

I understand that it was a VERY serious situation, but to scare them? That's not our job. We're supposed to be the calm, reassuring ones. I consoled two first graders (who are not in my class) letting them know that we're in the safest place and that we're going to be fine and their families are going to be fine, too. We had a couple of parents come to the building while the sirens were going off. We weren't allowed to let the kids leave, so the parents joined them on the floor.

I couldn't believe how calm I was. I HATE tornadoes. BUT...I couldn't really see anything going on in the sky and I didn't see a radar until after the fact. I suppose we just get adrenaline or something going and know exactly what to do.

I think I'm going to have a better kit prepared for stuff like this. I also thought that I probably need to get email addresses for my parents, those that have them, to send them updates when stuff like this happens. This is the first time this has happened in the three years I've been in my building.

What a crazy day! Only 2.5 more to go!!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Last week..

This next week is our last full week of school! YAY! We do have to come back on May 31 for a half-day.

I haven't formally planned out my last week, but I am planning on enjoying every moment of it. Even with my special little friend who pushes all my buttons before walking into the classroom. Definitely ready to send him to 2nd grade! ha! :)

It's going to be bittersweet.

Despite the last three weeks being the roughest of the year, this has been a complete turn around from last year. I have enjoyed teaching and learning new things. I have become extremely excited about the next year. It's been a challenge trying to get out of the hole I got in last year. I kinda feel like I was set up to fail last year. I somehow survived, but I've been trying to climb out of the hole all year. It's like this ugly cloud following me around.

But....that year has been over for a long time. And now this year will be over very soon.

Ahh..what a great feeling. Woo!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


We have it.
We have it really bad.

We've got Summer-itis!

It feels like absolute craziness in my school.

For whatever reason, I don't remember what last year was like at this time. I'm sure it couldn't have been worse than this year. I feel like it's come out of nowhere. I have students who are acting like it's their first day of school EVER!

Of course today wouldn't have been a good day.

We had a schedule change 30 minutes before school started. The other two teachers on my team were out today. The SPED teacher had meetings in the morning and couldn't take her kiddos. One of them is on new meds, and they take FOREVER to kick in. Oh...and I had a TWO hour observation today.

My special friend decided to whack another kid with his backpack while standing outside the classroom door. He then proceeded to rip a think sheet into itty-bitty pieces and throw a fit. Ugh. I'd just like for him to actually act like a first grader just one day. Just one. And of course, kids were playing in stations and yelling across the room and bothering me while I was trying to DRA. And of course, my Cross-Cat kid would show up when he normally doesn't on Wednesdays. And of course, I wouldn't be able to try out a new strategy I've been planning especially for R-controlled vowels because my students wouldn't allow me to explain it before they had to tell me about their shoes or jackets or pets or whatever it was. And of course, when I asked them to be quiet, three more who WERE quiet would feel the need to talk. Ugh!

It was all I could do to keep it together today.

It felt like last year all over again.

Alas! Only 7.5 days to go. 6.5 for me because I'm out on Friday. I've got to keep myself in the present and not worry about all the things I want to do this summer.

We can do this!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Next Year

I have already started to think about next year, as most teachers are. I have been thinking about it all year really...making mental notes and trying to figure something out. I tabbed a page in my go-everywhere-hold-everything notebook as my 2011-2012 ideas and to-dos. I am hoping to spend quality time purging a lot from my room this summer and reorganizing.

I plan on rearranging my room to reflect more of what I believe as a teacher. I plan on getting rid of a lot and reorganizing EVERYTHING!

I definitely fail in the organization category. I just can't seem to get it together. I plan to put a lot of my "worksheets" and activities into binders by subject, but I have to figure out how to organize them in the binders. I really wish I could have taken a college course on classroom organization! I'm going to figure it out, write a book and have my career made! haha!!

My theme for next year will be star related, I think. I'm going to play around with a lot of ideas and work on some decorations.

The biggest undertaking for the summer will be planning my year in units and really mapping it all out. Unfortunately, I didn't learn this in college either. There was no way to plan anything last year, and I didn't plan anything this year. I feel like I am finally familiar with our "curriculum" to break it and do the things I want. My personality is very much a "rule-follower". We had a reading "Nazi" last year who was a stickler for following the book. It's difficult to break myself out of habits. Thankfully, I have people who are willing to push me and help me figure it out.

We are very blessed to have a local church coming to host a school makeover work day for us in July. They're bringing tons of supplies and people to spruce up our school. We got to submit wish lists of what we'd like to see. I can't wait to join them in making our school over.

I am looking forward to having an even better year next year!! I am so inspired by everything I am reading in books and what other teachers are doing. Y'all are seriously amazing!

I am also secretly hoping that I get the entire kindergarten class in the room next to me...minus one who I know I would not get along with. :)

Head on over to Time 4 Kindergarten to see what other teachers are planning for next year.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Field Day and other ramblings

Today was Field Day. Thank goodness it's over!

Two of my gentlemen were called by the principal to miss the morning stations. After she called their names, several of my other students threw fits because they didn't get to go. They didn't realize that it was because the two were in trouble. Once they knew that, they calmed down.

One girl threw a fit because she was in uniform rather than street clothes. She wanted me to call her mom, which I was unable to do because we had about 10 minutes before Field Day started and before I had an IEP meeting. She threw a major fit. She ended up pulling it together. Her mom randomly showed up about an hour later with a change of clothes for her. In the afternoon, she pulled a major fit. I called Mom, and Mom came and got her. Such drama.

Overall, it was a really fun day. My kiddos won the tug of war--which was the best station/game. The girls beat the boys, too. We had plenty of time at each station, and surprisingly my kiddos were pretty well behaved. Our downtime in the classroom was the worst part.

I really wish it was the last day. I don't know if I can make 15 more days.

My principal came to me about 3:15 to let me and the other first grade teacher outside with me know that we are being observed next week. 9:00am to 1:00pm for me! FOUR hours! I'm hoping they won't be in my room that long. It's going to be nuts. Hopefully, my scholars will be calm. They're about to come unglued. We're so ready for this year to be over.

There has been major drama with my newest student. His mom took him from the aunt's house on Monday...didn't bring him to school Tuesday through Thursday. I found out this morning that he's now coming to and leaving school in a cab. Aunt was at school today to watch her kids at field day. She didn't realize he was here. She said that the police and social workers were looking for them because mom is unfit and running. He responds poorly to structure and is at a beginning kindergarten level. It's really frustrating.

My one team member is retiring this year. She was planning on working 2 more years, but her class is just too much. They haven't grown emotionally or behaviorally all year. She is a great teacher but is just at the end. It's so sad. She's using up her last 10 days the next two weeks and will be back for the last 5 days of school. How horrible! I know exactly how she feels because I was there last year and it was only my first year. I just can't believe it. I'm really going to miss her.