Monday, September 24, 2012

If I saw Justin Bieber...

I always try to make work fun and relevant for students. It's part of my educational philosophy that children learn more deeply and authentically when something that they are familiar with is involved. That's why Justin Bieber frequently is a star in my CGI and homework problems. Some students (mostly girls) really like him and get so excited when they hear his name. For this week's homework, I asked my students to write about if they saw the Biebs on the street; what would next. As I was going through their homework, I ran across two super cute and funny writings that I HAD to share with you all! (Disclaimer: I wish they had written more as they write pages and pages during writing workshop!!).

The one above is Dylan's. His says "I said 'Ahhhhh!' He was in a taxi. I was running in the street. This was not cool."

I read this and burst out laughing. Such a funny story - a taxi? And why would Dylan be running in the street??!! Plus I love the Biebs' hair in his picture too. Dylan also often includes some form of sound in his writing, which I think is pretty cool; it gives his writing a bit of voice and excitement to it.

Carlos' is next. I'm showing you this one because of the pictures - mainly the hair. Carlos wears his hair in a faux hawk every day, hence, why he drew himself (the one in red) with triangle hair. Super cute!! Plus Justin Bieber's hair looks so him. 

Have a wonderful week everyone! I only have two weeks left until fall break! Yay!! Although I have no idea how it's already time for fall break; it seems that school just started. But for my break, I am going home to Milwaukee to do some wedding planning and get my small feel of fall weather since I miss it terribly! And hopefully go to a pumpkin patch too! :)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Something Good

So after going home sick today after lunch with a pounding headache and feeling like I was on the verge of throwing up all morning, this seems very appropriate: 

Something good at school:
I feel like my kiddos are finally becoming more independent at centers  - both reading and math. That's such a relief because there is nothing that annoys me more than being swarmed with children asking questions, asking me if they are doing x, x, and x right, telling me that they are done, asking for drinks, etc. So I'm glad that they are becoming more independent. Plus that means that maybe my hope of pulling small groups in a week is actually feasible...We shall see...

Something good at home:
Since Evan and I are both super busy now, we have decided to go on weekly dates. So starting last week, either Friday night or Saturday night is our date night. I'm really excited about it and it will be nice to spend some quality time with him instead of trying to talk to him in the early mornings when he is still sleepy or being bothered by him at night when I am sleepy. 

Your turn! Go link up with Jennifer at Rowdy in First Grade!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Rewards and Incentives Linky Party

I confess - I can't stand rewards Period. And especially not for behavior. Especially behavior that is expected. And I will fight tooth and nail to not give them out because I think it's so important for kids to be intrinsically motivated to do the right thing. So in my classroom, there isn't a prize box or stickers or pencils or anything. 
So you maybe be wondering how I manage behavior?? What I do have is my trusty clipchart. Now I'm sure everyone has seen the wonderful clip chart on Pinterest or uses one so no need to explain how it works. But honestly, right now, my kids get so pumped to get up to Role Model that that is a huge reward in itself. I always draw attention to kids who are role models, and then remind other students that if they're not sure what to do to look at our role models of the day. It works so well for me that there really isn't even a need to offer a prize for getting to the top. When just being up there seems to be getting old, I think I'll get some gems or google eyes for the students to stick on their clip when they reach role model. But hopefully I won't have to do that anytime soon :)

There is only one instance where I offer an incentive. And that is homework. At first, I was taking away Fun Friday for kids who didn't do their homework for the week. But I was thinking about it, and I decided to reward those who do bring their homework back every week. So the punch card was born! Whenever a student brings back homework, I punch his or her punch card. When the punch card is full, then they get to pick from a list of special activities like eating lunch with me in the classroom, taking off their shoes for the day, sitting by a friend, sitting at my desk, etc.

Just a little something to reward those who always do their homework! Plus, let's be honest. The LAST thing I want to do is deal with stocking a prize box. 

Your turn!! Go link up!

Monday, September 3, 2012

September Currently and School Related News

Wow, how is it already September?!!? No idea how that happened, especially since that means I have been in school for almost a month! Completely baffled by that. 

So I'm linking up with Farley at Oh Boy Fourth Grade with her monthly Currently.

Yes you read that right - I got a new puppy! One of the girls on the first grade team found her wandering around on her way to school so she picked her up and brought her to school. She spent two days in the janitor's office before coming home with me! It's funny since Evan and I had decided to get a cat because they are a bit easier to care for than dogs since they are more self sufficient, Marlee kind of just fell into our laps. She's super sweet!
Look at her little face!

She's super sweet and pretty low key...except at bed time. For some reason, she's always super perky and wants to play at bedtime. Last night she was bounding around, trying to jump in bed and squeaking. Originally, we had her in the bathroom and she just barked and barked and barked. Then we tried tethering her with her leash but no gate in hopes that that would make her feel better, but instead, she thrashed around and barked some more. So we ultimately let her have free roam of our bedroom which worked ok. She was still a nuisance during the night, but way better than her barking for hours. So hopefully she gets used to our routine soon...especially since school resumes for me tomorrow and Evan has to go to ASU for class tomorrow too!

I'm really missing fall weather too, even though I feel like it's still pretty hot in Wisconsin. I think just the beginning of September, plus the fact that most schools are starting tomorrow is enough to make me want fall weather. The crunchy leaves, the slight chill in the air, the fall foods, wearing boots and scarves - I love it all! I'm really glad to be going home during my fall break in early October. That's when fall is in full swing! Maybe I can convince my family to go to a pumpkin farm!

In school-related news, our first publishing party is on Wednesday. My kiddos are pretty excited about it (I think mainly because of the prospect of juice and snack), but I think they are also excited to read their stories to their parents. I hope parents can come. If not, my backup plan is to ask kinder teachers or second grade teachers if they wouldn't mind having a few of my kids come in to read their stories. Tomorrow we are adding titles, finishing up the words, and coloring the pictures and on Wednesday, we will be putting the final touches on them. 

I have heard so much wonderful things about Daily 5 that I am determined to do it in my room. We have been Reading to Self for the past few weeks. We finally got to ten minutes on Friday! So exciting! And this week, I'm going to introduce Read to Someone. I hope my kids can handle it, but a lot of modeling and expectation laying out should help. I just wish I could skip ahead to where they are independent.

Math, I am trying to incorporate more number sense into the day. When multiple kids write something similar to 4+0=6, I know there is a problem. So I've been doing a number of the day during Morning Meeting, and on Friday, I started number cards and collection counting. Plus I've been using subitizing cards during five minute downtime to help them build their ability to look at a number of objects and know how many are there without having to count them.

So yeah, we are in for a busy week! Luckily, it's only a four day work week!!! :)