Monday, August 22, 2011

Meet the Teacher

Tell us a little something about you...

I am originally from North Carolina but have been living in the midwest for 5 years this month! WOW! It seems like forever and then not long at all. My parents still live in NC, and I spent my entire summer there. Perfect!! I live with my sister who moved to them midwest almost 3 years ago. My brother moved out here about 10 months ago. Unfortunately, my parents will not be moving out any time soon. I played teacher as a kid. I honestly didn't have a strong desire to become a teacher when I finally decided to finish my bachelor's degree, but it was a perfect decision.

How long have you been teaching?

This will be my third year teaching in an urban school district. I'm fortunate to be teaching in the school I student taught at. I will also have my third principal in 3 years. I love first grade. Especially sharing stories with my kids.

You might not know...

Hmm. You probably don't know a lot about me. Honestly, I'm not sure I'm going to make being a classroom teacher my only career. I'm playing around with ideas for a Master's degree and hope to figure out just what I want to do. My mom is a social worker and so is my best friend. So..who knows!?

Oh...I also got stitches on my first day of my teaching career. Thankfully, it didn't happen at school, but it was a great story to tell my kids the next day.

What are you looking most forward to this school year?

I'm looking forward to working with our instructional coach. I am also looking at strengthening my small group teaching and classroom organization. I was not given the organizational gene and having 23 kiddos in my room this year is forcing me to be organized and focused. I'm also looking forward to sharing my extensive collection of books with my kids. I loved reading "Aliens Love Underpants" to them last week.

What do you need to improve?

Organizational skills. Small group instruction. Time management. Rigorous centers.

What teaching supplies can you *not* live without?

My SMARTboard. LOVE IT!! My kids love it too. I'm excited about letting them use it more.

Post-its...and the good kind. Love making charts with my kids.

Fun markers. Love Mr. Sketch. My kids are already enjoying their scents. I use them for checking their morning work and desk work. They love the smell.

Carl's Corner and other websites that help me not have to make my own stuff and give me ideas of what to use with my class.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A New Year...

I really took a long break this summer. I ended up staying home in North Carolina for 8 weeks instead of 4. Best.summer.ever! I was not looking forward to coming back to the midwest and having to work.

I had a wonderful class last year and was very nervous about the group I would be getting this year. I ended up not getting the class I wanted and got a kid I retained from last year. I felt really down and disappointed for a couple of days and then decided that whoever is supposed to be in my class will be there and whoever isn't there isn't supposed to be there. From then on I have been getting more and more excited about the group coming into my room.

Unfortunately our numbers kept going up. All 3 classes are at 24 on their rosters. However, not all 24 have shown up in our rooms. I'm at 23. The one student missing is the one who was retained from last year. PRAISE THE LORD! He was the one I was dreading the most. I did not want to deal with the same kid again. He apparently doesn't live in our district; his family life is tragic. If he does come back, we'll make things work. And if not, I hope that he gets put with a great teacher and a great class.

So..we've been in school for 2 days. It's been difficult to transition from a wonderful group of kids to some I'm not sure about or don't know very well. I miss my kids from last year but am excited to see them move on to second grade. And I love that they're still on my hallway.

I am loving my kids. We're so cramped in our room, so we're spending time discussing how we can be respectful and how important it is that we keep in our areas. I'm launching the clip-up/clip-down behavior chart that so many teachers use this year. I learned about it from reading lots of blogs and browsing lots of pictures. It so fits my personality better than just flipping cards. My kids seemed so excited that they could actually move up and earn more rewards. They were given the compliment of "best class in art" today, and as a reward, I let the whole class clip-up. None of my classes before have ever gotten that compliment. The kids were so excited and proud. I also shared with them about earning class compliments. In the past I've use plastic chain links to make a chain to the floor. It usually takes about 45 compliments to hit the floor. We had to wait a bit to go into Art today. The kids waited so patiently and were complimented by the Art teacher. I congratulated the class on their first compliment. One of my boys asked me if we could put stars up rather than links. What a brilliant idea! I immediately die-cut stars and got one up on the wall. I love this because I can put the date and who the compliment came from. We ended up getting three today!!

I can foresee a few problems arising, but I think we'll be ok this year. But TWENTY-THREE!?!?! (9 boys and 14 girls) My biggest class was 20. Which I realize is only 3 less...but 3 bodies makes a big difference. I can get rid of two tables in my room with 3 less kids.

I am so glad to be excited about this. I was not thrilled about coming back to work after experiencing a great summer. I definitely think these kids are going to make the transition easier. :)