Saturday, January 11, 2014

First week back! Five For Friday link up :)

Well friends, the first week back after winter break is OVER! 
Honestly, I was a little worried going back to work this week... I thought it would all drag on and be hard to jump back into routine, but if I'm being honest this week flew by. AND... I think my kids grew up or something over vacation because they all seem a little bit more like 2nd graders. :)

Today, we're linking up a little late with Doodle Bugs for their oh so popular Five For Friday posts. We just love these!
Awhile back, I wrote about making some changes to my literacy block because my students just aren't a group that are able to be put in groups based on ability and have a timer set to move around in rotations. I was inspired by Teaching With Love and Laughter and completely re-worked my literacy time and it has worked really well so far for my class! With any new routines/procedures, it took my class and I a bit of transitional time to get used to the way it would all work but now that we've gotten used to it, the kids are working through meaningful literacy activities and are given the opportunity to make choices about their learning.
I set my materials up as you see in the picture above. In the word work drawers I keep activities that are working with the skill aligned with our Fundations unit for that week. In the spelling drawers I keep task cards (Thanks, Amy Lemons), poems containing our spelling words and extra menu choices. The work on writing bin contains the students' writing folders and an assignment for the week. What I love most about this system is that the students have the time to work through their activities and don't have to leave a center if they haven't finished by the time a 15:00 timer goes off. It also gives me the ability to work with more of my guided reading groups each day because I am spending less time managing different groups of students who are at the same ability level but behaviorally shouldn't be working together. Win, win situation if you ask me! :)
Apparently, most of the 1st grade teachers in my school have class pets. Imagine my students' disappointment when they walked into the classroom and saw no pet! How devastating! (ha) I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when we voted on marble jar prizes and ended up at "class pet"... I told them it would take a couple of times filling the jar and then tried to use just about every other positive reinforcement strategy I had up my sleeve rather than fill that marble jar... because honestly being a first year teacher is no easy job and I just wasn't sure I was up for the responsibility of a class pet yet.

Fast forward to December vacation when I received many generous holiday gifts from students and parents in my classroom. One of my little munchkins even purchased me a FISH TANK! .... Okay, okay kiddies... I'll take the hint. I gave in and purchased us a cute little goldfish and so, this week after quite the vote on what to name the fish, among options such as Lady Gaga, Old Man Jenkles, Geometry, and Goldy, we landed on Mr. Bubbles.
Now the man at the fish store told me the #1 reason fish die in classrooms is because they are overfed. I told my students the #1 reason Mr. Bubbles would get very sick is because it's too loud. Well that was a magical on-the-spot statement because now when I ring the bell, someone will say "guys it's too loud for Mr. Bubbles" and suddenly there is silence. Whatever works right?
"Dear Mom and Dad, This week in school we got a class pet goldfish named Bubbles. He blows bubbles when he's happy. I love him because of his tail and he also kisses me."
My favorite thing was watching all the students write about Mr. Bubbles in their Friday letters. This one just brought the worlds' biggest smile to my face... and then I actually laughed out loud when I took Mr. Bubbles' portraits before leaving work on Friday and he gave me some kisses, too!! :)
Last year I had the amazing opportunity to do missions work in the Dominican Republic not only once but twice! One of my very favorite things about the missions trips is the ability to make connections and relationships with people from different countries and places in the world. I met Daniela during the first of my trips, was so excited to be reunited during the second and we maintained a friendship via facebook/messenger since I have left the Dominican. Recently, Daniela came to America and during her time here spent a weekend with my family.

This was her first time seeing SNOW!!! How stinkin cool is that!? I mean I think I would prefer the beach, but seeing someone experience snow for the first time was amazing! I've also had this song from Frozen stuck in my head since I saw the movie the first time 3 weeks ago. (You should click and listen while reading the rest of this post). I was continually singing it around the house, in the car etc and really wanted to build a snowman. No Americans would build snowmen and play in the snow with me.....
.... but Daniela would! I would just like to point out that Daniela and I built this snowman, went sledding, made snow angels and had a snowball fight dressed in the outfits we wore to church (pictured above). My sister and my mentor from church joined in the fun after some begging, too.
It was magical.
Speaking of magical... Stacy and I are loving being a part of twenty royal bloggers with a specific interest in literacy (reading specialists, reading coaches, classroom teachers, etc.) that have come together for a collaborative effort to share information on best practices in literacy, keep you abreast of current trends, and provide you with excellent teaching resources at Adventures in Literacy Land!
Last but not least, we can't wait to participate in the Loving Literacy Blog Hop hosted by Carla at The Comprehension Connection. The hop will take place the weekend of January 31-February 2nd and you'll be able to connect with tons of literacy loving bloggers and read all about why we love literacy, about our favorite books, and some teaching instructions while gathering with TONS of freebies! We're so excited to be a part of such a fun blogging community! 

How was your first week back at school?

1 comment:

  1. Sooooo, how's it going with your new station system? I can't wait to hear!
    Teaching With Love and Laughter