Saturday, October 27, 2012

Back to the Drawing Board

This week our LOTW was the letter Oo, but in all honesty I don't think my students got very much out of this week so I won't be posting about our curriculum. Instead, I'd like to focus this week's post on classroom management. My classroom management (or lack thereof) just got out of hand and I've chosen to go back to the start. After talking to other teachers on my team and really reflecting on my classroom management system I've realized that I have not provided enough support/scaffolding for my students to succeed and meet my expectations. All week long we practiced our classroom rules and expectations. We practiced, and practiced, and practiced some more. We role played different scenarios during our Good Morning Circle time. Teaching kindergarten is so much more than simply teaching the ABCs. I have to teach the routine. Without a solid foundation, I know the remainder of this school year is going to be a struggle.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Letter of the Week: Ii

Hi everyone! It's the start of a new week and I can't believe how quickly November is approaching. My birthday festivities continued all the way through to the weekend with a lovely BBQ at my house back in LA. My parents went all out and I loved spending the night eating delicious food and hanging out with great friends. I couldn't have asked for a better birthday week!

I could have asked for a better teaching week though... Last week our LOTW was the letter Ii. Our read aloud focus book was The Humbug Witch by Lorna Balian. It's a cute story about a "witch" who doesn't seem to have any magic powers. The kids adored it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Very Happy Birthday

Thank you so much to everyone who sent me a birthday wish today. I'm so grateful to have each and every single person that I have in my life. Everyone from family to friends, down to acquaintances. You are all wonderful, just wonderful! I was surprised by a birthday card from a couple of my students today who I had taught during my brief time subbing before I landed my kinder job. I was touched, especially after a rough day in my classroom.

How does one girl get so lucky?!? :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Like A Boss

Hi friends! Happy National Boss' Day! I didn't even know we had such a day. Regardless, the staff at IH put together a really cute banner and even brought cake to celebrate! Gosh, cake seriously makes everything better. Mmm, cake... Anyways, I feel really fortunate to have Mr. D as my boss. Don't worry, my principal doesn't read my blog so I'm not trying to score points or anything when I say this, but I mean it. It's not often that teachers get the kind of freedom that I have with my classroom, especially as a first year teacher. I love that Mr. D has trusted me to teach what I want to teach and more importantly how I want to teach. It's given me so many opportunities to succeed and fail this year, both of which have resulted in wonderfully meaningful teaching moments. I'm not guaranteed a job next year, so I hope I can make the most of this privilege and make every moment count toward refining my practice as a teacher and pushing myself one step closer to becoming a Pokemon master, I mean master teacher!

As a side rant, I often ponder if I am good at anything. Like, what is my talent? Do I even have one? Needless to say, I've come to the conclusion that I don't in fact have a talent and I'm not particularly skilled in any one thing either. I will say this though, I know what I like and I really enjoy the things I like. For instance, I really like writing. People ask me all the time how I manage to keep a blog going during my first year of teaching. Well, the truth is I love to write and this gives me a chance to do what I love and share it with other people. It's a lot like my approach to teaching.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Letter of the Week: Uu

Howdy everyone! I was so excited to come back to school and see my students again! I couldn't believe how much they had grown in just two weeks. It was funny how well behaved my students were for the first 20 minutes of class on Tuesday, but once they established themselves as being back in the classroom, they went right back to being the rowdy group of kinders I was used to :). We received our final student this last week and after nearly 2 months of school, I finally have my class roster. Last week we focused on the letter Uu. I plan on hitting the remaining vowels here in the next couple weeks so students can do some word building and cvc work.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I realized I wanted a new activity for center rotations that could help build letter recognition skills and be offered during activity time as well. Playdough fit the bill perfectly as it's also awesome for developing fine motor skills. The only problem was I'd already spent over half of my new teacher budget within the first half of the school year and buying playdough in bulk would surely leave another hefty dent. My mission, if I so chose to accept it, was to create a playdough center for under $10. Well, I did it, and quite easily!

I followed the following recipe and just doubled it, making two separate batches.

2 cups plain flour
1 cup salt
4 tsps cream of tartar
2 cups boiling water
2 tsps oil
food coloring

You just mix all the ingredients together until the playdough is the right consistency. Wait a little for the mixture to cool before kneading it with your hands. I used to work at my college's dining hall all through my undergrad so my hands are pretty much immune to heat.

I was really surprised at how easy (and fun!) the playdough was to make and from what I've read, it can last for months! You can't really tell from the picture but this recipe yields a lot of playdough. The most expensive item was the cream of tartar which was a little over $5. Everything else I was either able to buy for $2 or less or had lying around in the pantry already. Happy Monday everyone!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

North Carolina

The Terraces at Sarah P. Duke Gardens.
Hello friends! I just flew back from my trip in NC yesterday and although I absolutely loved it out there, I'm glad to be back home. What can I say, I'm definitely a city girl. Highlights of the trip included meeting my boyfriend's family and watching him catch big fish in the lake right by his house, trekking through William B. Umstead State Park in the rain, enjoying a visit to the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, trying Carolina BBQ, having time to finish my book club book, and visiting the beautiful gardens and campus of Duke University.

While we were driving around Fuquay-Varina, I saw a bunch of signs for various candidates running. Two Republican candidates really stuck out: Fitts and Barefoot. This just really tickled my fancy. My mind works in funny ways because the first thing that came to it when I saw the Fitts sign was "if the shoe fits...". Of course being the level 78 pun master that I am it was more like "If the shoe Fitts...". Now, after my boyfriend brought to my attention the Barefoot sign, I couldn't resist but to add another layer resulting in the made-up slogan "If the shoe Fitts why go Barefoot?". I mean come on, you don't get politician names set up any better than that! It's like a pass from Kobe to Shaq for the dunk during the Lakers dynasty. It was gold. Pure gold. Alas, maybe in another lifetime I would have made a great campaign manager. 

With about 4 days left of my break, it's time to start getting back into gear. Happy Thursday!