Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Missing in Action

Hello blogging friends! I am surviving at this point. We are 2 weeks into school and everything is going amazingly well! I have 19 kids (11 boys and 8 girls). I have a very excited and eager bunch of kids who mostly know their alphabet already! So as I have tested and found this information out it has made me rethink how I intend on teaching my alphabet this year.

I had planned on doing a letter a day and focusing solely on a single letter each day and basically any and everything we did that day HAD to have something to do with the letter we were studying. The problem with that is I want to do them out of order because I don't think it really matters if you teach A, B, C, or if you go random, M, R, D. As long as you teach them. 

But then I received a newsletter from NellieEdge about learning 26 letters in 20 days! You do multiple letters a day and continually do songs, finger spell the letters, and read the sound card all day! So I am trying to decide on which way I feel more comfortable with more than likely the first.

How do you teach the alphabet?

In other news I have been chosen by my wonderful colleagues to be the K-1 representative for BEP school funds committee AND also found out today I was chosen to be one of the 4 from across the county asked to be on the Kindergarten Response Team. We are suppose to take the new Common Core Standards and produce a VERY needed new report card for kindergarten. The one we use now is extremely outdated and practically useless. The students I retain on the report card look like they know enough to go to first grade. So I was thrilled and actually excited to be chosen to voice my opinion. We will see how well I like it once I get into it. 

Well hopefully I can get in a schedule and will have time to blog more frequently. I am missing reading all the blogs. I feel like I am trying to keep my head above water as we all feel like the first 4-6 weeks of school, until everything gets established.

I do want to share my favorite activity for the beginning of the year. 

I send name homework home and ask parents to talk to their child about how they received their name. I get them to write it down and send it back to school and I let the students share their stories about how they got their name. They love it. I love it. It is truly amazing some of the stories. Of course you have the ones named after family members or because it was just a name mom and dad both liked. Some of my favorite are the ones where a sibling was able to pick a name, or I had one who was named after the queen and she proceeded to share that her sisters where also named after queens. It is just amazing hearing or reading their stories. 

So my challenge to you is ask your student's if they know why they are named what they are and send it for homework. See what unique stories you get.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Parent Request?

So today was our 1st day of school! So for kindergarten this meant parent and student meeting with the teachers to discuss the Kindergarten Survival Guide! Basically anything we thing parents need or should know about kindergarten!

I was extremely excited to see that all of my students showed with the exception of one, but I did meet him at Open House on Sunday and mom had asked if she had to be there because she had a meeting she could not miss. So I reassured her it would be fine and that I would be sending all of her son's paperwork home on his 1st student day.

So typically I have a few students who get excited and want to play and explore the room and distract me and the other parents. NOT this year! I was sooooo happy with my kids. Most of them stayed with their parent and a few wiggled over to carpet and quietly sat and looked at books! I know this will change and they will come out of their shyness, but I was very happy with their behavior!

I was saddened though by a parent who had requested another kindergarten teacher and for whatever reason was not granted. She sat through my entire meeting with a frown on her face, then after the meeting went to the office to attempt to get her child moved to the classroom she wanted. 

Background to this story: Our principal grants most parent request if done prior to school starting. We A few teachers have begged and begged for either NO requests OR nonrequests (you may pick ONE teacher who you do not want your child in. We average at least 3 classes per grade level.)

Well, she sat in the office waiting to speak to the principal. The principal to my knowledge did not let her move. So I hope that she will be able to put this behind her and trust that I am a professional and will do a great job teaching her child! 

Parent requests are also a pet peeve of mine because if some parents don't get their way, they will move their children to another school that WILL grant their requests. I am sorry but just need to vent to people who may understand. 

Now please let me note that yes I do have a few who DID request me to be their child's teacher this year. 

On a side note it was very nice to find out from my husband who was a parent in our parent meeting and was able to over hear conversations about the teacher's their child got! I found out that I am the skinny dingbat of kindergarten(because I stood at the front of the group and twisted around and kept moving my head around. Hubby agreed that I need to stand still) I can't help it I am nervous and can't just stand there! I am also a very fast talker and it is 10 times worse in front of parents. I slow down for the kids. 

Also hubby overheard a conversation about a parent wanting to transfer their child to a different room. Another parent agreed with her stating that we should be able to hand pick our child's teacher since we pay taxes and therefore their salaries! We are a PUBLIC school, not a private one. This statement infuriated me!

So I am curious as to how things are done in your school. 

Do you allow:

Parent Request, Nonrequest, or computer generated and never changed?

So here is a picture my daughter has previously taken of herself. She goes to school for her 1st full day tomorrow!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Classroom Tour 2012-2013

I am totally breaking the more than one post rule, but I am very excited to show off my room and can't wait any longer.

This post has a LOT of pictures!

I am super excited to finally show off my classroom makeover! I was very lucky this summer to be able to make my classroom look the way that I have always dreamed of! I owe a HUGE thank you to my amazing hubby for allowing me to make the changes that I did. 

My oldest is starting kindergarten today! So back at the end of last school year I immediately took her out of daycare! And I was able to get her little sister to go part time (2 days a week) for June, July, and the 1st week of August! This is how I paid for my makeover;)

So here it is: I am super happy with it!

Here is the view from my hallway door. The table has supplies that we use frequently in my classroom. We are not allowed to ASK for supplies, but we can lay them out and parents get the hint that those are the things their child will be using.

This is my view from my outside door. Basically both pictures are taken of each other!

This is my science center. I don't have much out until we discuss how to use everything and how to CLEAN UP!

Writing Station. Love the file crate for construction paper storage!

My classroom computers with my IKEA chairs!

And I somehow didn't get a full picture of the pocket chart you can barely see peeking out the bottom left corner. I will use it during Daily 5!

My assistant's table

My corkboard student writing display.

Word Work Shelf

Math Station tubs and math journal box on top.

Sensory Table

Construction Center and Games/Puzzles Shelf

My small group area! (and my teacher desk since I got rid of mine last year!)

My closet lots of storage space but scared to show you what it looks like now! Teacher computer station!

My calendar wall, Listen to Reading Station, and library

Meeting Area with thematic books on shelf and student book boxes

Student book boxes:)

Classroom Community Supply Basket

Well I am happy to share my space with you. I love looking at other people's classrooms!

Monday Made It

Yay! I made it. I was very upset that I was so busy last week that I missed linking up for Monday Made It! But I am joining Tara today for a real quickie! 

I made the Tracking Progress poster, but haven't decided if I am going to call it that or not. So It is ready and laminated and I am going to use Vis-A-Vis marker to write student names in each square and give it a title once I decide what that will be. It had slid down on the board when I took the picture;)

And lastly those that follow me will love this, but I recreated my failed project of the summer. I know have a working headband holder for my girls. 

So tomorrow is parent meeting and I will get half my class on Wednesday and the other on Thursday, so I am off to bed. 

Please stop by my blog tomorrow or maybe Wednesday as I have taken my classroom pictures and uploaded them into the computer now just have to create my Classroom Tour Post! I am very excited with the way my room turned out.

So I couldn't wait any longer I broke the no more than one post a day rule. You may click HERE IF you want to see pics of my classroom.

Friday, August 10, 2012


I can't believe it's Friday! I am super bummed that I missed my first Monday Made It with Tara this week. I have been running like a chicken with my head cut off all week long. Made some things, but never slowed down to link up. I know I have till Monday, so I might be able to make it just super late!

Sadly my summer is over. Teachers reported back to work yesterday. We do a county-wide inservice at one of the high schools and ALL teachers throughout the county attend. It's always a production and this year was Alice in Wonderland. It was ok, but not the greatest one they have done. Our guest speaker was wonderful! Sorry don't remember his name but he is a famous storyteller and his childhood teachers stories were great. Sadly I missed part of it due to an informational text I received from my youngest daughter's daycare teacher.....Don't mean to alarm you but Bree fell off the slide and is not moving her arm. Ok my 1st thought was you have got to be kidding me. It's my 1st day back to work, I am an hour away from her, and it's not the 1st time something emergency has happened my 1st day back. (5 years ago hubby went to get MRI on leg and they found a blood clot in his leg and he was rushed to the ER while I sit in a county inservice meeting.) So I get a hold of hubby who is 5 min away from Bree and is getting ready to take lunch. He is able to go get her and observes her not moving it, but is afraid to take her to ER due to all the crazy tests they would run on her (and the bill) and she is moving it a little. So I decide to stay at work. She doesn't  need to go to ER, he doesn't think it's broke or separated or anything, so why do I need to take off and come home to sit with her when he is already off and with her. Hubby doesn't like this very much. A friend put it very nicely today. He doesn't get that being a teacher is NOT a JOB, it's a lifestyle! 

Anyways I stay at school and get my mandatory bus ride over with! Yes we have to take a bus ride (typically with the students on the bus, but this year the principal loves us and let us go all together on our roughest bus to see where the students live.) It's very eye opening to see where some of the students come from and changes your viewpoint on them. The bus was so packed we were sitting 3 to a seat. I dislike the high back seats on buses now, it's no wonder the kids don't sit down. They want to see! I volunteered to stand and let another teacher sit with me and my k friend! Plus it was nice because I got the wind in my hair and could see!!!!!! 

While waiting on the bus to get there, I get news that a teacher who has moved to another school wants her bookcase back that I have borrowed. I lost it!!!!!! Hubby is upset that I chose to stay at work and now 3 days before open house I am losing a bookcase that I already have full and placed very nicely in my room. And my baby is hurting with a sore arm. Yep into the bathroom tears rolling! I get myself settled down and return to waiting on the bus.

When we returned to school my fellow kindergarten teachers approached our assistant principal to attempt to get a substitute for our TBA Kindergarten teacher that has a full class but no teacher. Last year we were in the same boat and didn't get a teacher until a week after school started. It's not anything new to us, we have been open 5 years and 3 of the 5 we have needed a teacher not to get one till after school starts. 
He tells us to give him till tomorrow and if we don't have one he will find a way to get a sub! 

After this I am suppose to go back to my room and work, but I head home to check on my baby!

Fast forward to today and I decided that today was going to be my 1st day back since yesterday was horrible! It turned out great. About 2 hours into meetings, a lady walks up and speaks to our principal. The principal points for Kindergarten teachers to join her. I get super excited.....could it be.....a teacher for us!!!!! YES!!!!! WE have a teacher....a no experience fresh out of college teacher! WE are all very happy now. We return to the meeting and of course we are kindergarten we start clapping to inform everyone we have a new teacher! So the rest of my day was spent mostly talking to her and filling her brain with way to many things to process. She seems super nice and is very excited to be in our school! So once I finally make it to my room to actually work it's 4:00. We have Open House on Sunday, so at this point it becomes start shoving everything in the closet to HIDE!!!!! I can say that my room looks ready I have a few minor things I want to do tomorrow, but it will be ready! I am very excited to start a new year of teaching kindergarten! I am going to have a very GOOD year. 

So if you stuck with me through my ranting thank you. I just needed to vent it out somewhere, and why not on my blog where people will understand everything I have been through.

So I WILL be taking pictures of my room tomorrow, so be looking for them. I am very happy with my color scheme and how everything has turned out that I have been making all summer. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Parent Volunteers

I am very excited about the upcoming school year! I received my class list yesterday and know some of my class due to having them in summer school! The ones I don't know could make me feel differently, but I am determined after the year I had last year to have a much better year!

I do know that I have one parent who already said in summer school, she wants to help in the classroom! This scares me!!!!!! I have never really used parents in my classroom other than every once in a blue moon. I have wanted to but never really found a way that would work for me. I know some have volunteers every day, some come in weekly, and others periodically as the parents schedules and everything allows. 

I am incorporating the Daily 5 into my room and am thinking of getting volunteers in to work with individual students, or small groups, or something! I want to use them, because I know they can be an asset if given the opportunity and they are good. It just scares me because you never know what they will leave the classroom and say or do about you. 

So this is my question to you........How do you use parent volunteers in your classroom?

Thanks for the input. I am off to school supply shop for my daughter and my classroom. It's Tax free weekend in Tennessee! 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

East TN Meetup TODAY!

It's Time!!!! I am super excited for our local meetup today. That I know of there are only 5 of us meeting, but that's fine because many of our fellow bloggers are already at inservice or it's their 1st day with kiddos! Can't imagine......but mine will be starting very soon. I go back Aug 9th and we get kids Aug. 14th. 

So I am off to work in my room this morning, get a haircut, and I hope to see you in Johnson City! 

Have a great day!