Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Recent happenings

A few events from September...
First of all, Mr. Greene, our principal, accepted the ice bucket challenge... the school raised money for ALS, and Mr. Greene got not one but FOUR buckets of ice water dumped on his head.
Grandbuddy Day..I love meeting all the sweet grandparents and friends. I took pictures of all and I promise to share later:)
 Trash can math...no..not really..but I realize from looking at this one how much time my class spends on the floor doing math activities. There are kids spread all over the place at any given time. I wish we had a bigger space...sigh.
And we have had some creative snacks...

 Science on the blacktop. Here we are dissecting the nests of mud wasps, and extracting larva and pupa, plus a few spiders that the adult wasp packed into the chevrons so the eggs could hatch and find fresh food...

 Apple activities for Johnny Appleseed's birthday are incomplete without making some applesauce in the crockpot:)
 And since I'm a little crazy about planting flowers, and because I believe all kids should dig in the dirt now and then, we planted tulip bulbs outside of our classroom.
 I'm not sure they got planted deep enough, but hopefully most will make it until springtime.
 I imagine it will be beautiful. And they will appreciate it because it is THEIRS.

 We recently saw a presentation in the gym about protecting natural resources...it was both informative and entertaining...
 This was the "good guy". She was on a mission to save resources.
 Below is Captain Pie-Rat. He wastes natural resources...and bakes pies.

 Pie-Rat doubled as a part fish, part maid. Mermaid? I didn't quite catch that one..

 And again as a STAR fish...get it??
 It was silly and entertaining, and yes, the class loved it AND they listened and could later tell all kinds of things to do to save resources, such as changing the kinds of light bulbs we use, how to conserve water, and ways to reduce electricity use. And that was the point. So thanks Duke Energy and Children's Theatre.
Stay tuned for upcoming spiders, bats, pumpkins and Halloween fun...

Monday, September 8, 2014

Day Ten Complete

Just thought I'd post a brief recap of the first ten days of school, beginning with day one and the making of "Jitter Juice" which washed those first day jitters away yet again.. For the past couple years, I have read "First Day Jitters" and identified with the fact that the teacher is usually the most nervous one of all!

 In conjunction with a camping theme, we went fishing for goldfish in math...
 We're finding that dance breaks are necessary throughout the day to release the pent up energy.
 We went for a hike in the woods behind our school, stopping here to pose for pictures until a swarm of mosquitoes changed our minds. Prior to that, however, we had a nice little snack at our "campsite", and made discoveries along the way that we recorded in science journals.

 We are exploring the terms "predictions" and "hypothesis".  In this experiment, predictions were made as to what would happen when Dawn dishwashing liquid is added to food coloring and milk...

 While studying insects (including mosquitoes) students created their own imaginary six legged, three body part creatures and gave them scientific names and described their habitats.

 And yes, moths really do have feathery antennae.

 Everyone's favorite part of first grade...the playground....
 In last Friday's experiment, the question was "What will happen when you add a dropperful of colored vinegar onto a pan of baking soda?"
 Mini explosions of course!

I am enjoying getting to know a new class. I have to constantly remind myself that while I have now repeated first grade for 17 years,;) it is all new to them. I try to see the world with the wonder in which they see. I know that the growth between now and the remaining 170 days will be phenomenal, and I want to appreciate every step along the way. Despite demands of assessment schedules and outside pressures, our classroom is a place of curiosity and discovery. Hopefully it will be a place of happy times and good friendships as well.
     Thank you to all who have helped us have a smooth transition from kindergarten. I look forward to seeing what this year holds and to making wonderful memories.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Names on a list

    Just last week, I received my roster. As I do each and every year, I look over each name and try to decide which ones I know, and what the dynamic of the class might be like. I look at how many children I have, try to figure out where I'm going to put them all, and decide how I want to arrange the classroom. And I automatically have a little pang of nostalgia for last year's class. Because at this time last year, they were all names on a list too. By the end of the year, however, they felt like family. I think about them and wish them the best in their new classrooms, and I miss them.  Each child I have taught becomes a part of my life for a duration and a part of my heart. I want to see them all succeed, but mainly I want them to know that I care, not only while I have them, but for always.
     The names on my list represent a myriad of potential. As I scan the list in August, I see names and ID numbers and birthdates. By the end of the year, I will see loose teeth, funny stories, character, and growth. Each name will take on new meaning. Most will make amazing progress. All will grow and mature. A few will make me want to pull my hair out. (Those are usually the ones who come back to visit years later:) Sometimes I will have an off day. Sometimes it will happen to them too. It happens to the best of us.
     If you are a parent reading this, I want you to know that I will care for your child. It might take us a few weeks to learn each other and to establish a rapport. There might be tears in the beginning, and that is common for a few. First grade is a big jump from kindergarten. There is more responsibility and more independence. What your child will learn about me, is that I am on their side. We will spend our days together in close quarters, doing LOTS of reading, small groups, math, science experiments, culture days, outdoor science, readers' theater, social studies, snack, assessments and more assessments, and then more assessments still... writing, and we will all WORK but with some play each day too. Some days will be fun and some days won't be, but through it all, I want them to know that I care about them. Not just about performance on assessments, but about them as individuals. They will learn to be on a team, and to encourage one another. They don't enter first grade on the same level, and they don't leave on the same level. It is my job and theirs to see to it that they grow as much as possible, without comparing themselves to others. Mistakes are a part of growth, and we will all make them. I want our classroom to be a safe place to try and where we can all be supportive of one another.
     I look forward to meeting each child. If last year was a struggle, this one is a chance to start over. Each name on my list is a person whom I will both cherish and hopefully challenge. As I scan the names, as I write them on desk tags and cubbies and charts, my hope is that each one will be a successful learner and will be part of a learning environment that supports growth of character, independence, responsibility, and inspiration.

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Seussical Kind of Day

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

 "Today was good. Today was FUN. TOMORROW is ANOTHER ONE."
"UNLESS someone like YOU cares a whole awful lot, NOTHING is going to get better. It's NOT."
 "Today you are YOU! That is truer than TRUE! There is no one alive that is you-er than YOU!"
 "From there to here, from here to there, FUNNY things are EVERYWHERE."
 "A mean one??" nah.... "the real meaning of Christmas came through, and the Grinch found the strength of ten grinches plus two."
 "...a person's a PERSON. no matter how small."
 "Look at me! Look at me!  Look at me NOW!  It is fun to have fun But you have to know how."
 "I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny. But we can have Lots of good FUN that is FUNNY!"
 "You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself any direction you choose."
 my favorite- "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
 "You do not like them. So you say. Try them! Try them! And YOU MAY!"

 "The more that you READ, the more things you will KNOW.  The more that you LEARN, the more places you'll GO."
"The sun did not shine, it was too wet to play, so we sat in the house all that cold, cold wet day"...actually it was raining. Then it snowed. Then the sun came out after all. Then it snowed again....it really was a Seussical kind of day!

Interesting fact:  Dr. Seuss was turned down by multiple publishers after writing his first children's book, "To Think That I Saw it On Mulberry Street" only to later become one of the most beloved children's authors of all time.

Happy Birthday Ted. Theo LeSieg. Theodore Seuss Geisel. The world became a little more imaginative and interesting because of you.