One Month Down

Hi Folks!
>Be warned- this is long one. I will throw some pictures in here throughout to help keep your brains awake. 😀 

Oh Boy, has it been a long past few weeks. Monday will be a month since the first day of school. It has flown by. So much stuff has gone on and I can’t even begin to tell you any of it. It has been such a rewarding yet overwhelming and stressful time. I leave my house by 6:30 at the latest and don’t return home till 5:30 at the earliest.

My kids are great. I truly have been blessed with a wonderful class this year. They are probably the chattiest class I have ever been seen, but a good class none-the-less. We have started something called “Preferred Activity Time” aka PAT and it is a reward system for the kids. Every Friday they are given 10 minutes of free time at the end of the day. However, they have to work to keep those 10 minutes. For example,I give them 20 seconds to get in line. If they make it in say… 15 seconds, they just earned an extra 5 seconds on their PAT time…This adds up over time. Unfortuanetly right now, my kids are losing more time than gaining. If they take 29 seconds to get in line, then they lost 9 seconds. Also, if I am teaching and they start talking, all I have to do is turn my timer on and it’s like a wave of quietness comes over them. I time until everyone is quiet and then they lose that amount of time.  They did better this week but we still have some room for improvement.

Here is a picture of PAT in action…As you can see, lots more time lost than gained. But that’s okay! We’re improving!

On Monday I had my first day of classes for the Teacher Fellows program. Whoa!!! I’m in for a busy year! I did not allow myself to look at anything other than what is due for the next class. I knew that looking ahead to the semester would only overwhelm and stress me out more than I already am. As Dr. Davis, one of the program directors, says “inch by inch anything’s a cinch, but yard by yard, everything’s hard” …. I think I have it right?!?! But you get the gist. 

A couple other Teacher Fellows (Sarah- left, Becca-middle) and I got together for a girls night last weekend. We went to watch one of Sarah’s 5th graders play in a football game. Then went out for drinks and appetizers!!! 

Tuesday I had my first sub. Hays CISD provides all day training for First Year Teachers throughout the year. We had our first “First Year Teacher Academy” on Tuesday. It was sooo needed. Monday was one of those days where I thought “why did I want to be a teacher again??” Going to the training and having a mental health day is just what I needed to make it through the week. I got a good report back from the sub- other than them being very chatty. Glad to know it’s not just me being overly crazy-other people see it too, lol!

Tomorrow (Saturday) is my first of 9 Saturday Seminar classes. I have one Saturday a month that I spend with the Teacher Fellows. Tomorrow we are just meeting on campus but the rest of the seminars will be at the fellows campuses viewing their classrooms.

So far this year has been crazy busy and so overwhelming. My mind is constantly going and it feels like it never turns off. I feel like I could live in my classroom and I still wouldn’t get everything done. I don’t even know what all I need to be doing, I just know I have 98394423487348 things to get done. I don’t know how I would be surviving if I didn’t have my Exchange Teacher, Kristin, to help me through this. I have really been so lucky to be selected to be a part of the Teacher Fellows Program. I don’t know how all the other first year teachers not in this program are surviving. Kristin is with me about 6 hours a week. She always saves me when I am teaching a lesson and making no sense. She can see the look on my students faces and jumps right in to help me out. She also helps me with lesson planning, making copies, working with students, and all that fun stuff. She also is really good at listening to me vent!! 😀

I had to rearrange some stuff in my room so I now have a Language Arts “Focus Wall” that has everything we are working on at a given time on it. I moved my calendar over to my math area. I always forget to do the calendar in the morning…This I am working on! My kids are helping me! What would I do without them????

I left school today about 6:00 (on a Friday!! AHHH). It was a long day but I was on such a productive roll after school that I had to stay. Anyways, as I was driving home I was thinking about how stressed and overwhelmed I was. I was throwing myself a little pity party when it hit me. I am so lucky to even have a job. Teaching jobs are so hard to find these days. Especially in a district as awesome as the district I’m in. I would so much rather be busy, stressed, tired, and overwhelmed than sitting at home with no job and no stresses.

Okay enough with the boring stuff. I have a couple other funny stories:
Thursday I was posing a hypothetical question to my kids. I said “What if I had favorite students and I ONLY paid attention to my favorites, how would that make you feel?” I got the typical shout-outs of “sad, upset, hurt, bad, etc.” Then I hear this little boy quietly say “I wouldn’t be sad because I would be one of your favorites.” Haha! I thought that was hilarious and incredibly clever!

Other cute story. I have my kids to “exit tickets.” They either can write one thing they learned or one thing they are wondering on a sticky note. I read them at the end of the day just to get an idea of where they are. One of my little boys wrote “how much stuff is the techer lrns in her school?” translation: “how much stuff the teacher learns in her school.” Very inquisitive kid! I am wondering the same thing too!!! 

Here are some things we have been up to this year: 

 We made our “I-Charts” for Daily 5 Reading Stations.

This is the Social Contract I mentioned in an earlier post. There are four questions: How do you want to be treated by the teacher? How do you think the teacher wants to be treated by you? How should we treat each other? and How should we handle problems or conflicts that rise between us?” The kids came up with these answers all on their own…okay, okay- I gave them one answer! And then they all signed it saying they wouldn’t break it…HA.HA.HA! I refer them to this often! 😉

We have been learning all about maps in Social Studies and these are some maps the kids made. They got to make a country out of any shape, object, or animal they wanted. They turned out really cute and will be hanging on our wall next week!

ot sure if I already posted about this or not…But we have 3 different lines. 1=good, 2=bad, 3=terrible. They came up with the words to describe what each line looks like then we took pics and posted them next to it.

The first week we decorated a shoe and wrote about what we like to do in our “school shoes.” We read a book called “Rockin’ in my School Shoes” before hand.

We discussed and made a chart about how to pick a “Just Right” book for them.

We did a lesson during a Class Meeting about how we all think differently. Each kid picked an animal (lion, eagle, chameleon, or turtle). They listed what attributes or characteristics of that animal that made them want to choose it. Then they listed why they didn’t choose the other animals. When we discussed it whole class, we discovered that what some groups saw as flaws in an animal, another group saw as a strength. This helps us to remember that we all think differently…and that’s okay!

Currently the T-Shirts they decorated talking about themselves are hanging on the “Smarty Pants” board. Eventually they will get to choose a piece of work they are proud of from that week and post it on the board. Next week I will be our schools “Mystery Teacher.” A few baby pictures of me will be posted on a bulletin board and each day a new clue will be read. Friday I will be revealed as the mystery teacher…Wonder how long it will take my kids to figure it out!?!?! I’ll keep you posted! 

In other, not so important news…. Milo is learning how to lift his leg to pee on mailboxes!!! Y’all, I am so excited when he does this! He has always been a squatter to go potty…. I am proud to see my little boy growing up 😉 

My little boy is so handsome!!! You can’t deny it! 😀  

I’m watching one of my favorite movies tonight, Hope Floats, and I love this quote and I think it’s so true for my life right now “… beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts the most. You need to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up. And it will too…” I am at a scary beginning and before I know it the end of this year will be here. But it’s the middle that counts. I have the next 9 months to make an impact on these kids in any and every way I can and that’s what I plan to do.

Thanks for reading! It is now 9:30 and time for me to go to bed…yes, you are right, it is Friday. My excuse is that I have class at 8 am…But lets be honest, I’m exhausted and can hardly keep my eyes open anymore. Love to you all!

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