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.

Here is our pocket chart summary for our Make-a-Book center.

This week I didn't introduce any new sight words. I wanted to spend one more week on 'can' and review some colors as well as add the color black to our word wall. Unfortunately this week my classroom management was no bueno and I had to use center time to discipline my students. We fell behind and did not get to finish the last page of our book. :(

We also had our Ii books and Ii cut and paste in addition to our Ii art. Usually I focus on the short sound with the vowels, but this week I had a hard time brainstorming another short Ii word for the art center so I caved and we did one long I sound in Ice cream and one short i sound in igloo.

I also took down our summer mural (finally) and got our new fall mural up. Through interactive writing my students wrote "It is fall because...". We read some nonfiction books about Fall/Autumn and collected our facts. I can't wait to see what our finished mural will look like!

Before the fall break I got in touch with the San Diego Humane Society, which I heard about through a teacher friend, and signed my class up for one of their outreach lessons. They are a non-profit organization that works to educate and provide vital services for animals and humans alike. Amie from the Humane Society came to teach my students about responsibility and my students loved getting a chance to pet the bichon frise and watch it do tricks for his owner even though it was deaf! Stay tuned to read more about the visit as it will be our October interactive writing story.

As I alluded to earlier, I had a really rough week managing my students and if there's anything I learned from my student teaching it was that you can't have learning without good classroom management. Although I was warned about the nature of the overflow class when I first took the job, I didn't imagine it to be as challenging as it has become. I'm finding it extremely difficult to get my students to listen and follow my directions. Usually there are a handful of "trouble" kids in each class, but I have around 15 (out of my 22). I feel like I've exhausted every trick in my teacher bag and nothing has been working, but I'm just going to keep digging deep to find what drives my kids. I know there is a solution and it's my job to find it. I can't wait for the day my class comes together. I feel being a first year teacher just exacerbates the situation, and although I understand a bit more why so many teachers quit before teaching for 5 years, I refuse to be a statistic. I hope I can look back on this post come June and be proud of how far my class will have come. Oh, the woes of a first year teacher!

Have a great week everyone and as always happy teaching :)


  1. Thanks! I started blogging about a year ago and started this specific blog in July! :)

  2. One word, my friend. One word: candy. When all else fails, bribe with candy. Forget Alfie Kohn and all that intrinsic motivation theory--you gotta survive! Did the Donners play nice and by the rules? NO!


    Instant. Gratifying. Wrong, and yet soooo soooo right.


    I've had a year like yours (or a few) and I swear, by the end, I wanted to offer $5 bills. To 6 year olds. Too bad I was on that lousy teacher salary and those little buggers kept stealing everything from me so I spent said lousy salary on replacing it all.

  3. Hahaha. You're the best. I changed my discipline system and starting taking away recess and activity time. They are, dare I say it, finally starting to come around as a class! Or maybe I'm just having a good week. It helped that my old CT came to observe me on Monday and showed me her management tricks. (It was the first time I saw my kids walk in a nice line and behave during center time since I got my full roster). Too bad for the kids, now that I've seen what they can do with an experienced teacher, I'm going to have to keep pushing them to be like that with me!

  4. We all go through those days where we feel as though the kids just DON'T. LISTEN. AT. ALL! It's not just a first year teacher thing! Keep working with them and they are bound to get it! And I actually second the whole candy thing or some type of motivation/something for them to strive for! Doesn't work for everyone (I do a marble system when my kiddos follow directions, are quiet, walk in the hall in a nice, straight, quiet line, etc.) It works really well for my first period class and third period class. My second period class earned TWO marbles in the last 9 weeks. Utter fail for them. (Now, I teach much older kiddos than you, but, the fact still stands that motivation is key, regardless of grade level!)