Saturday, August 31, 2013

Parent-Teacher Communication Logs

If you are reading this, you survived your first week! Some of you are in love and celebrating what might be the best group of students to date. Others of you are confident some of your students are going to kill you before the year is through.  To all of you- I say congratulations in completing your first week!  

It was usually over this long weekend that I would regroup. I would shuffle my lesson plans. I would rearrange my room. (Why does it always look bigger until the kids get in it?) And I would start my Home/School communication sheets.  

Many teachers use Friday Folders. I was one of those teachers. Every Friday, my students would take home their folder with a School/Home Communication sheet inside. Which means every Friday, I had a chance to send a personal message to every child’s family.  It also meant that to start every Monday I got a personal message back.  

We don’t get accolades often as teachers, but these School/Home communication sheets were mine. Parents would often thank me for things. They would tell me how excited their child was about things we were learning.  These sheets made me smile. They helped me build the partnership that is so vital for a successful school year. If you want to try it- my School/Home Communication sheet is available for free in my TpT Store.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Up, Up, Up

Just a reminder to all of you out there praying for the end of the first week of school.

It is tough!

It is tiring!

Your feet hurt!

Your voice is fading.

You aren't getting enough sleep because you are dreaming about school.

This is the hardest week of them all!

My first year of teaching Kindergarten (after having taught 3rd grade the year before),  I had to get a theme song. In order to walk down the hall to GET my students from the cafeteria in the morning I had to play myself a song. And the song was: Up by Shania Twain.

Up, up, up. Can only go UP from here!

When the day is long and hard- just remember- Up, up, up! Can only go UP from here!


Monday, August 26, 2013

First Day of School Lesson Plans

Just a walk down memory lane! I dug these up last night to remember the FIRST day of school.  So much just about rules and routines! Spent the morning in a DC elementary school and it things have not changed. Rules, rules, rules.  Happy first day of school everyone! 

 It’s the first day of KINDERGARTEN!

Tuesday August 28

7:35 Pick up students and say hello to each one  
(remember some of them will have parents with them and you'll need to determine how they will get home)

7:45-8:30 Students take things to their seat and start to color and cut K.P Bears
** Go to student tables one at a time and help them unpack and show them what to do in the morning. PUT THINGS AWAY, LUNCH TALLY, ANNOUNCEMENTS, PIN ON NAME TAGS
AIDE- Go around and write names on their bear and help by taking PICTURES of each student outside by Chicka Tree  

8:30-8:45 Morning Group/What We Will Do Today
 ** Teach sitting in lines for morning group, talk about how we sit at the carpet.  Say good morning to each student by name. As you say good morning, glue their bear on butcher paper.  

8:45-9:00 Read Aloud the Kissing Hand and discuss feelings about going to Kindergarten today. Give HEARTS to students that want one. Send students back to seats.  Cut out brown hands and draw a heart to glue on a poem for Mom and Dad.       

9:00-9:15 RECESS 
** RULES- Rocks stay on the ground
                  Dirt Stays on the ground
                  Play where your teacher can see you
                  Play without touching each other
                 ** Listen for me to call you to line up- RUN **
9:15-9:25 Bathroom Break in Hall   
** Teach QUIET hall behavior.
One push of soap and three pulls of paper

9:25-9:35 Snack  
** Teach talking quietly at table about the playground

9:35-9:55 Shared Writing Chart - _________ likes the monkey bars etc.
** Teach sitting in rows at carpet with tape
Rules: sit still with legs crossed
Look at teacher
Keep hands in lap
Sit in your row
Raise hand to share
When we get to the carpet we stay at the carpet together

9:55-10:05 Introduce Fine Motor Center: Play dough
** Teach/Show how to use it and how to clean it up **

10:05-10:25 Play dough

10:25-10:45 Word Study- Phonics ELC1 p. 71 Making a Name Chart with Pocket Chart and Cards       

10:45-10:55 Get Ready For Lunch 
Whisper when in cafeteria line
 Remember your manners
 Raise your hand ONLY for help
 Have all the things you need help with READY
 Who Is In Charge

10:55-11:25 Lunch **ABC ORDER** 
(Remember you will have to stay with them for a little bit to help them)

11:25- Recess 
** Remind them of the recess rules before they play

11:45 Bathroom and Drink Break 
** Teach/Remind about hall behavior and bathroom behavior

12:00-12:10 Calendar Carpet 
** Review carpet behavior

12:10-12:20 Read Aloud Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Big Book

12:20-1:00 Introduce Pattern Blocks and let students explore at table with the math manipulatives and foam pads

1:00-1:20 Introduce Suzy Circle
                  Use a Circle to do a Bubble Map of MATH and NUMBERS

1:20-1:30 Pack Up and Pass out First Day Newsletter


2:50 Closing Group and Dismissal  
**Teach them to stay by me out in the car pickup outside **
    Teach them to say goodbye!


Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Back-to-School Prayer

It's that time of year again! Some of my readers have already started this school year, but most begin tomorrow. I am praying for you! I am praying for your students. I am praying for this wonderful and worrisome time of year we all call Back-to-School.

May God cover you, your families, your students, your classroom, your books and even your crayons with His peace and wisdom.

A Teacher's Prayer

Dear God,

A new school year is about to begin
and my classroom door will soon open. 
Right now, I am worried and a little anxious.  
I toss and turn at night thinking of the waves in the distance 
called the “First Day of School”.
I know that every student name on my list 
you have assigned to my care. 
You have known from the beginning that we would meet.
Open my mind and heart to each of your precious children 
and especially to the ones who will challenge me the most...
Help me remember, Lord, how young my students are:
give me patience to help them grow 
and insight to know the help they need...
may I be clear in the things I say and do,
and in how I say and do them… 
knowing every day that I am doing your work for these children.
Send your Spirit to fill me with your gifts; 
knowledge and understanding, counsel and wisdom.
Lord, open my mind and heart to my students' parents 
and their heart to me. 
Let them know that I am good and true 
and working hard for their child every day.
Help me to teach as you would, Lord
Help me to be patient until the last bell rings…

A new school year is about to begin, Lord, 
and I am ready to do your work.
Thank you in advance for this time in our lives that you have crafted 
called the 2103-2014 school year.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

I Learned Something New Today

I had time to actually be TAUGHT instead of doing the TEACHING today! I sat in on a session on Twitter, Facebook, and other Social Media for teachers!

That's when I learned about... remind101.

remind101 allows teachers to text students and families without sharing his/her personal phone number.  I just signed up (FREE of course) and sent my first test text! You know you will LOVE this! Can't you see the texts:
"Don't forget tomorrow is picture day"
"Remember to bring a paper bag lunch tomorrow for our field trip!"
"Science test tomorrow!"

Rock on!


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Top Secret and Exciting News

I just realized for some of my friends reading the title of this post- that they will think I am pregnant! NOPE! That is NOT it! :)

Many of you know that I left the classroom about 5 years ago (I did the math three times to be sure that is right- it doesn't feel that long ago).  Alas, I am a teacher without a classroom every year this time when the back-to-school supplies come out.  I can't contain my excitement at new crayons, glue sticks etc.


NOW I WILL HAVE A CLASSROOM for all of those school supplies! No, I am not going back to the classroom- but rather the best of BOTH worlds! Keep reading! 

I work full time for DC Public Schools in the curriculum office where I design the professional development for all of our K-5 teachers.  We have been looking for creative training spaces for teachers and one of my co-workers had a brilliant idea! Why not in a school? Why not set up model classrooms that teachers can be trained in? 

So- I get a classroom again! Yep! You heard me! I am going to get a classroom in one of our DC Public schools (we are still conversing with the administrators at a few schools so I cannot announce THE school yet), but I will have a model classroom where I can train teachers during the school year! 

GOOD news or BAD news? 

GOOD- I do NOT have to have this classroom set up by the time school starts. Whew! I just have to have it set up by my first scheduled training which is in October. That is still a tight deadline if you ask me!

More GOOD news- I finally have a place for all of that "stuff" in my basement! 

More GOOD news- I am the Guided Reading/Literacy Work Stations girl for the district- so I don't have to set up for anything else! 

More GOOD news- I have a coordinator on the Literacy Team who will help me do anything and everything. I never had a personal assistant like that when I was setting up a classroom. Unless you count my parents... 

GOOD news- when we need to demo lessons etc. we have kids RIGHT downstairs! 

BAD news- I haven't set up a classroom in FIVE years (see above).  Yikes! 

BAD news- have you heard of this thing called PINTEREST? The cute factor has been raised so high! I'm freaking out about how "cute" my room needs to be. Uh-oh. I have made a secret board on Pinterest however. And I've started pinning. 

BAD news- I am pretty sure our classrooms are on the top floor of the school. I've never had to lug my teaching belongings UP flights of stairs! All of my schools have been only one floor. Oh my. 

I do plan to chronicle the set-up. I think we (we= myself and the other two Literacy Professional Learning Designers in DC- I'm Guided Reading/Work Stations, another is Close Reading, and the third is our Phonics/Morphology girl) are going for a school visit next week. I'll take my first BEFORE shots.  

Stay tuned... 


Currently August

Here we go... can I just say... I have always loved August! It makes my brain think school!

Listening- Why do people talk on planes? Is it necessary? Just read a book, plug your headphones in. No one else wants to hear you go on and on about your time in the military, or your pregnancy. I am a friendly person- but on a plane- I just don't want to be bothered! Anyone know what I am talking about?

Loving- I rarely sleep on planes. But I got a nap in on my last flight. I started the morning with a headache- and that nap chased it away.

Thinking- I really am NOT a blogger these days. I know every blogger has seasons. My season right now is called TIRED! I work so hard every day and when I get home, I just want to sit on the couch. I know I could blog from the couch, but it requires brain-power. And I don't have any of that left at 7pm (which is the average hour of when I finally sit still every day). The weekends used to be a good day for blogging, but not in the summer time. Summer is boating season! And while the boat has many amenities, one it does not have, is Internet!

Wanting-  Woo hoo! A work trip to Texas! It's like going home. I land in Austin. Working in Killeen and then traveling south to the River Walk! I can't wait! Time to see some dear friends. See some of my favorite teachers and celebrate an incredible curriculum that teachers in Texas use- CSCOPE by attending and presenting at the state CSCOPE conference.

BUT I made big plans for my afternoon. I need a trip to Uncommon Objects and Gueros on South congress! Then hit up the Domain. And I promised my sweet friend I'd show up at her house with BBQ from Schoepf's for dinner! A torn sticker on the bottom of the plane (which made us sit at the gate for 38 minutes) cannot stop these plans!

Needing- This plane is freezing. No blankets left, but I got hot tea instead!  It's OK, I probably won't be cold once I get off the plane in Texas!

B2S Must Haves: Those three things say it all right? I will spend a fortune on crayons, glue sticks, etc. I will work harder than a dog to get ready for the year to start. I will schedule a way to prepare mind body and soul- with a mani/pedi/massage the Friday before school. AND when I need it- there will be wine a plenty! Sounds like a good plan to me!