Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I Love Lucy

I am in such an amazing mood yesterday, a far cry from yesterday that ended with a headache and defeated feelings. To think that everything can be made better with little old Lucy Calkins. A bit of background - I love teaching literacy - both reading and writing. I especially love Lucy Calkins. I think she is amazing and I love how her books are written in narrative form. Granted it takes longer to get to the meat of what she is saying, but it makes for such an easy read that I actually end up understanding each bit more. Anyways, at my school, the first grade team creates lesson plans together, and dear Lucy wasn't included in the plan. I tried to teach with the plan on Monday, and it was a complete disaster. The kids were not engaged and I didn't get much writing from them. So on Tuesday, I decided to secretly do my own thing aka start a writing workshop the Lucy way. Let me tell you, I got way more writing when they had the freedom to write about something that they know - themselves! And today, when I said it was time for writing, I even got some cheers. Never thought I'd hear that. But a big part of me felt guilty for not following the lesson plans. However, today, the first grade team met with our principal and assistant principal to discuss writing rigor. And my assistant principal revealed that she loves Lucy Calkins and used her books when she was a teacher. And she went on to suggest that we use it in our rooms! Oh my, I can't even tell you how my face must have lit up. I was so excited. I went and got my very own set of writing books (which were stashed in a resource room), and got full permission to use them!

Happiness in the form of Lucy. 

So, needless to say, I am beyond pumped that I can not-so-secretly be a writing workshop lover, and I can't wait to have writing again tomorrow! And I'm starting Daily 5 tomorrow too. I'm bringing in a bag full of shoes to discuss finding Just Right books. I bet that will be a lot of fun and the kiddos will get a kick out of seeing me hobble around in my fiance's shoes!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


This week has been very tough on me since we have to administer a standardized pre-test to our kiddos. Normally, it wouldn't be a huge deal except that it's only the first full week of school and that the tests have 45 questions long and that there are three tests they have to take and that there is also a writing prompt as well and that it's only the pre-test. The real deals are given once a quarter. 

I do understand the importance of having data to know if my teaching practices are effective or how schools/districts/cities/states/etc are doing as a whole, but it's just so much. I'm feeling super overwhelmed by it all. Add to that everything else that is new to me - all the school assessments and different curricula and just that things are done differently here than they are in Madison, WI, where I did my student teaching. It's just a lot of change and adjustment at once, and it's a lot. On top of that, all Arizona teachers must be SEI endorsed (structured English immersion) so I am attending a class for that. And it met this past Saturday and this Saturday for all day long when I really could have used that time for getting ready for school. And there's homework too and yikes! I wish student teaching would have prepared me for getting used to how much work being a teacher is. 

On the plus side, tomorrow is the last day of testing so Friday will be a regular day - probably with a lot of review about procedures. I've had new kids trickling in all week, and a lot of them have caught on to how we do things, but review is always good :)

Anyways, it is late (not really, but it feels late) so I am probably off to bed. Now that Evan and I are in our new apartment, my commute is now only 20 minutes as opposed to 45 minutes so that's at least nice so that I don't have to wake up super early anymore which makes for me being much happier!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I Survived!!

So today was THE day - the first day of school! My first ever day of school as...yelp...the teacher! Let's just say I was definitely panicking on the way there (luckily Evan was driving) and up until I had to go pick up my kiddos. And that panic turned to frazzle as I attempted failed tried served breakfast to my firsties in the classroom. Of course it was cereal and of course one of my students accidentally knocked his over and of course our janitor is super busy and hadn't come by to clean the carpet yet. So there is nasty dried up milk in my carpet. Yuck.

Then we raced over to music class. Oh music... my saving grace. It gave me 45 joyful minutes collect my thoughts and revisit my lesson plans and make sure I have everything I need. After that time zipped by, the kiddos and I returned to our classroom to learn about procedures up the wazoo. So necessary yet so uninspiring. We covered classroom rules, how to get to the carpet, how to sit and act on the carpet, how to clean up table spots, how to get supplies, how to ask to go to the bathroom, how to walk in line, how to do a fire drill (because of course we had one today...), and how to move through the cafeteria. Lots and lots of procedures. And tomorrow, there is a lot of review on my plan since the kiddos got a lot shoved at them for one day. 

We ended the day with a writing bit on their first day of first grade. They got to draw and write about something that happened today. They are all hanging up on my student work clothesline so it's not so empty and bare. 

And that was it. Then they went home. The whole leaving school process caused me to get a bit frazzled since I took forever explaining their take home folders and figuring out how everyone got home (which I still messed up on since I sent one of the kiddos to the wrong bus; luckily it was caught before anything major happened. Tomorrow I'm walking with him to the right bus).

I could finally breathe again. I had done it; I had survived my first day of school of my first year teaching. One day down; 179 more to go :)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

August Currently

Yay! My first Currently with Farley at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade with her monthly Currentlys...

Here is mine!

This past week was a whirlwind for me as I had time to work in my classroom and a few PDs thrown in for fun. Next Monday and Tuesday is all PD and grade level meetings, and then Wednesday is THE DAY aka the first day of school aka everything I've worked for and wanted for the past five years! So exciting yet so nerve wracking. I attempted to make a teacher binder today, but all I got done was hole punching some Common Core things and putting them in. I'll have to work more on that tomorrow...