Sunday, August 17, 2014

the First Month

Oh, the first month.. it was exhausting, overwhelming, exciting, nerve-racking, disappointing, rewarding and so much more! I cried (multiple times), thank goodness it was never in front of my students! :) I laughed. I worked, and worked some more. I have barely slept between early mornings and late nights accompanied by sleepless nights where my brain won't turn off. I have already had parent conferences, phone calls, and more. 

I have 27 first graders as of now, I gained 3 new students in the last 4 weeks and lost 1. They are adorable, rambunctious, oh so talkative, and exhausting. There is nothing better than their hugs and nothing worse then 27 little ones who won't stop talking. 

The majority of class is not at the level I expected they would be which is discouraging, disappointing, and very overwhelming. Actually, much of the last 4 weeks has not been what I expected. I was educated and did student teaching in a different state-- a state, I am finding, where education is much different then it is in Arizona. 

I expected my firsties to know their numbers to at least 100, their letters and letter sounds, and to be able to write a basic sentence. None of those expectations were met, I have students who can't count or write their numbers past 5, who cannot identify all 26 letters, and 98% of my kids can't write a sentence or even copy one when we are working together. 

Because of all of this I have had to replan, rethink, and revamp how I thought I should/would do things. I am still trying to implement the Daily 5 and so far, my kids love it. 

This weekend I spent time creating coupons that I will start using tomorrow to reward for good behavior. Pray for me that it works! Up until this point, consequences and rewards have had no effect on my kiddos. Most of them come from broken homes, foster homes, and worse. Missing out on something or earning something means nothing to them--they just don't care-- and I'm finding that a lot of parents don't care either. 

27 5 and 6 year olds is a lot of chatty little ones in one room. I am trying to be creative, consistent, and loving in hopes that I can "break them" and teach them to follow the rules. I never knew 5 and 6 year olds could or would be so defiant. 

I am determined to teach them. I am determined to love and like them at all times. I am determined to help them grow. I am determined to make them feel safe and wanted. I am determined. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Before and After

This past weekend my mom graciously drove the 6.5 hours with me to spend two full days in my classroom putting work in to transform it from this…

Into this… 

I am OBSESSED with these chairs we found for my library!! Seriously LOVE them. They couldn't be any more perfect and the best part is we just stumbled upon them! 

The computer area definitely needs a LOT of work but I'm hoping the school or district has someone who takes care of that. I am shocked at the amount we were able to get done in two days and I am very fortunate to have the support I have from my mom! 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Classroom Theme

I finally picked a theme! I have decided to go with hot pink, black, grey, polka dot, chevron, and zebra… thats a theme right?! I just placed a couple orders for supplies and they should be here within the next week! Very exciting!!! 

Oh, and can I just tell you the amount of FREE stuff I found on TPT!! I am so very thankful for everyone who shared so many things for free. I am a first year teacher so I need EVERYTHING and I only get a budget of $100… which we all know won't go very far at all. 

Can anyone recommend a good place to have things printed at a good quality for a fair price?
I know I can print at home but I just don't think the quality will be as good as I want it to be.

I can't wait to get everything and then get in my classroom next month and start preparing!! I will be sure to post pictures of my classroom once I'm finished!! 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Thank Goodness for Pinterest

Let me just say I love Pinterest. Love, love, love it. I also am loving TPT..especially the free downloads--(so thanks to all of you who add free downloads!). I am starting to feel more prepared with ideas, well, for the first day of school anyways.
 I am going to start planning out my first day as soon as I can decide which of the awesome activities I've found I want to use. I'm thinking an individual activity for when my students first come in, then maybe introductions, a story followed by a corresponding activity, then rules? Something to that effect. Or maybe rules/procedures will be moved closer to the beginning of the day? Thoughts on that? 
Any advice/opinions/recommendations on the first day schedule?
I am very excited to use many of the great ideas I have found and am sure my students will love them! I will definitely be sure to share the ones I used and my students reactions as they come.
This weekend I am going out to AZ to find an apartment since our house won't be finished being built in time for the start of the school year…especially since our school year starts so early!
Wish me luck! And please, please, don't hesitate to comment with your opinions/advice! 

Friday, May 23, 2014

I Got a Job!

In 6 weeks and 3 days (not that I'm counting) :) I will start my first day of my first year of teaching. Woah. That is crazy! Earlier this week I was offered an opening for a 1st grade classroom and I gladly accepted. I am so excited but so incredibly nervous at the same time. I'm not really sure I know what I am doing. I just finished my credential program in California and my new job is in Arizona. I learned a lot in my program but one thing they didn't teach us was what to do the first week.. or even the FIRST DAY!

Am I ready for this? Am I prepared for my own classroom? Can I teach them to read? Can I get through day 1 without it being a disaster?? I hope this stress and doubt is normal for every first year teacher. Is it? Did any of you feel this way your first year? Any advice you can offer?

Also, my new school uses Whole Brain Teaching. Anyone familiar with this method? Do you like it? Do you hate it? Pros? Cons? I am all ears for anyone who has any advice, information, anything.. so please, comment away!!

I hope you follow me on this journey and I welcome any thing you have to offer!!