Monday, August 23, 2010


The past week has been crazy. I think I posted before that the teachers were furloughed and only got two work days before school started this year. One of those days was open house so of course things have been super busy. The kids started last Tuesday. I never realized how hard it was to nail down a schedule. It seems like the kids spend very little time in the classroom and after adding in bathroom breaks and allowing for children who are pulled out for various programs it's not easy to find time for all the "learning." A week later and we're still working out the kinks.

On a slightly different note, I have completely fallen in love with my school. I hope that sometime in the near future there is an opening and they will considering hiring me. Everyone is friendly, welcoming, and helpful. Walking down the hall, I frequently find myself smiling for no reason :)

Friday, August 13, 2010


One year ago today I started this blog. So much has happened since then it is almost mind blowing to think about it all. I find it very fitting that today would be the first day of my student teaching.

I had such a great day with my coaching teacher and I don't think I stopped smiling once! This is a big turn around from my first internship where I spent the first day fighting back tears.

My new coaching teacher is TEACHER OF THE YEAR! I feel soo blessed! Our classroom theme is going to be Bees. She has lots of cute decorations and I spent today helping her create a giant honeycomb for the hall. It turned out perfect and she added two "queen bees" to the middle. I am so lucky to have a coaching teacher who is so willing to share her "throne" with me.

I hope everyone has a great weekend, I know Monday will be a long day with open house but I will try to post again very soon. Please think about me over the next week as I embark on this new chapter of my life.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Teacher Week - Creative Ideas

So I'm still a day behind for teacher week but I won't be able to participate in the classroom tour since I don't have my own classroom, and won't meet my coaching teacher until tomorrow. So to get caught up...Creative Ideas:
I decided to post a behavior management tool that I used when I taught at the after school program. Our program was VERY structured and we were even periodically observed by the Department of Education so in many ways it was just an extension to the school day, not time to play and goof off. The exception to this rule was Fridays. Friday's the children did not have homework and we would have a "fun" day with team building activities. The other second grade teacher and I decided we would plan a special activity for each Friday that the students would have to earn throughout the week. It normally consisted of two parts.

1) A craft or special game that involved prep work (in other words something that we would not normally play during structured recreation time). Some of the things included a Dr. Seuss party, a flying objects day with kites and foam airplanes, making play dough, a st Patrick's day party with Irish food etc... (you get the idea, plan something that fits into your day or curriculum) sometimes it was simply freezer pops and extra play time outside.

2) A special prize for the Students who had the best behavior during the week. Normally this would relate to the activity. On the day that we brought in "flying objects" these students got to pick a kite or airplane to keep. If it was a day with freezer pops these kids might get a larger type of popsicle.

Here is how they earned their "Fun Fridays":

Each student received a business card size behavior card. They would write their names in the center box. I normally printed them on card stock but you can print them on the business card sheets too. This was my back to school one, we used these in September. The pictures would change each month.

Each day Monday-Thursday the kids had the chance to get three of the apples punched. One for behaving during snack time, one for good behavior during homework and lesson time, and one for over all (this would include being in the hallway and structured rec time.)

If you are following me, this means that the students could potentially have all 12 pictures punched by Friday. To earn "Fun Friday" they had to have at least 7 punched (about two a day) normally about 95% of the class earned this. To earn the "extra" prize they had to have at least 10 punched this was normally about 4 students.

So, I'm sure you're wondering what happened to the students that didn't earn 7 punches.This was normally only one or two students out of 25. Normally they would spend some quiet time in the classroom for about 15 minutes(I was lucky enough to have an assistant who could sit with them) they could read or just sit quietly. Then, depending on the activity for they could join us or play a game in the classroom until we were finished.

Other uses:

  • Instead of punching holes, put stickers over the apples
  • Instead of doing an activity each week it could be each month (you could add more pictures or only punch one a day.
  • Instead of having a time limit, give a student a prize when they fill their card (choose from the prize box or maybe a homework pass?)

I hope this is easy to follow but if you have any questions or if you want the PDF just let me know.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Teacher Week - Must haves

Again, this post is following the teacher week here. Keep in mind that I am just entering my student teaching and there are a lot of things I haven't thought of yet but I "must have"

1. "Teacher Friends" - Someone who's going through the same thing as me, or at least someone who understands what I'm going through. Most importantly someone who will never say "all you do is color and play all day"

2. "organization" - This is not my best skill, I will need lots of shelves, boxes and other help when it comes to organizing my own classroom.3. "writers workshop" - After a semester long internship in a kindergarten classroom where the only form of writing was copying what the teacher wrote on the board, I WILL implement writers workshop in my classroom. Children have great imaginations and they need to be encouraged to use them and fall in love with writing.

4. "LOTS OF BOOKS" - I am addicted to children's books. I actually think I have way more than I could ever display in my classroom and I keep buying more. I usually buy them used from thrift stores and yard sales (normally around 10 cent a piece). I am thinking of having book give-a-ways in my classroom. What do y'all think?

5. "Read alouds" - I couldn't find the pictures I have of me actually doing a read aloud so this one will have to do. I use read alouds for everything! During morning meeting, math, science, social studies, and of course language arts.


Teachers Week - Introduction

Abby over at Babbling Abby is hosting teacher week this week. I am a little behind so I'm going to post a few things this morning to catch up. First up is the introduction.

Ten Things about me (A student teacher)
1. I am currently entering my student teaching semester at the university.
2. I am an early childhood major, when I graduate I will be certified to teach preK-3rd grade.
3. I will graduate December 13th 2010 at 3:30pm :-D
4. I have been placed in a second grade classroom for my student teaching.
5. I taught second grade at a 21st century community learning center for 1.5 years and I LOVED it. The only reason I'm not there now is because our grant ended :'(
6. I finished the 09-10 school year with a 4.0 average!!! Trust me I'm as shocked as you are. This just goes to show I chose a major I l♥ve!
7. I was the 09-10 President of the Future Educators Association at my University!
8. In my "free time" (feel free to laugh now) I am a Girl Scout Daisy leader.
9. Three Sunday's a month, I keep the children 5 and under in the children's church.
10. I have four nieces, one nephew and another nephew on the way. My family means EVERYTHING to me.

If you have any other questions feel free to ask :)


Monday, August 9, 2010

weekend fun

This past weekend was Tax-Free weekend in SC. Each year our state has a weekend, usually a week or two before school starts and all school supplies and clothes are Tax Free. The first year that we did this the stores were really involved and there were HUGE sales. It resembled black friday, people were shopping at midnight as soon as the tax "holiday" started. I love a bargain and Black friday is one of my favorite days of the year so obviously a whole weekend of bargain school supplies is right up my alley. Unfortunately, the stores seem to have gotten "smart." They've realized that people, especially in this economy are going to shop tax-free weekend, even if they don't offer great sales. So the past few years there have been fantastic sales the week before the tax holiday and prices are back up for the big weekend.

I was out and about all weekend trying to get ready for everything (Student teaching, Girl Scouts, and Children Church) that is about to kick off for the new year. Here are a few deals I managed to find:

Lots of new clothes: 3 tops and 5 skirts from hamricks for a total of $31.00! 8 packs of 100 index cards for $2.32
9 legal pads for $3.00

6 pencil sharpeners $0.30

10 Folders $0.50

6 pair of scissors $1.50

6 1" three ring binders $1.50

9 pencil boxes $5.40

6 childrens books $2.00

Large tote bag to haul all of this stuff around $6.00

Total spending this weekend : $53.52

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A new chapter

It hit me while I was getting ready this morning. Today is my last day of actual undergraduate classes. I still have trouble breathing when I think about it. Of course, I still have student teaching and senior seminar, but the days of 8:00 classes are over and being replaced with students entering MY classroom at 7:30. Thinking about it I feel lots of emotions. Excitement that my dreams are coming true, nervousness because It's all up to me now, and a little sadness because this is my last semester to spend time with a lot of really great girls. I know in reality I will not see many of them after December 13th.

So as I publish this post and begin walking to take my LAST exam as an undergraduate, I am starting a new chapter in my life! One hopefully filled with exciting times, great friends, and dreams coming true!


Monday, August 2, 2010

Memoir Monday

With the birth of each of my nieces and my nephew I have distinct memories either of the day they were born or them as infants. My eldest niece was born in New York and I didn't meet her until she was two and I was eight. I can remember how cool it was to be an aunt. I was my mothers only child and I was not raised with my brothers so the whole idea of siblings was always sort of a mystery to me. I had always wanted a little sister, and in since, that's what Samantha became to me.

When Ashley was born three years later it was so exciting to have a baby in the family. This is probably the first baby I had ever been in a close relationship with other than cousins. I remember sitting on my brothers couch holding her for what seemed like (to an 11 year old) a really long time. Here comes the embarrassing part...the part I still remember but others probably (hopefully) don't. My arms were becoming tired and I probably wanted to go play with Samantha so I looked up at the adults and asked "does anyone want to take this thing" :-O Ashley if you are reading this, please don't be offended, I didn't mean anything by it. All of the adults made a big deal about me saying it. They weren't really mean, but they definitely laughed at me not with me.

My third eldest niece, Zoe, was born on September 12, 2001. I can remember that day soo clearly because my mom and I kept Samantha and Ashley that night. Samantha was 8 and Ashley was 4. I had just begun my senior year of high school. I remember being confused about how much I should tell them or say in front of them. I stayed up that night writing poetry (that I still have somewhere).

A few years later it was time for another niece, Drew. This time, I would be staying at my brothers house with the three oldest girls. At this time my brother was also fostering a little boy. My most vivid memory about that night was holding Zoe thinking she only had a few hours left to be the baby.

Four years ago, we welcomed my first nephew, Jonathan, into the family. This was a big deal because everyone had been waiting for a boy. I remember I was at K-Mart picking up family pictures when I got the call that he was on. My mom, My boyfriend (who I had only been dating like a week) and I rushed to the hospital. This was the first time that I was at the hospital (although I wasn't in the room :-D) and I have to admit it was really exciting.

Now its getting close to time for another baby (boy number two but shhh it's a secret, my dad doesn't want to know) I can't help wondering what will I look back on a few years from now?

I love my family and I couldn't ask for a better sister in law! I am so blessed :)

- JoAnne