Friday, March 15, 2013

Five for Friday

In my recent perusing of Pinterest, I came across this one blog from a first grade teacher who writes a post every Friday and lists five important, creative, or meaningful things that happened throughout the week. She also asks other teachers to do the same, and then link back to her blog so that we are all collaborating our ideas together. I thought that this was a wonderful idea, and so I am giving it a try for the first time today!

5. St. Patrick's Day. I found a wonderful "kid friendly" packet from Mrs. Farrell's Clever Classroom store on Teacher's Pay Teacher's. The best thing about it was that it was a FREEBIE and the kids absolutely loved it! I was able to print all of their copies in color, so they were super excited about that as well. The information was relevant and interesting (especially the part about the leprechauns!) and the kiddos really walked away with a great sense of why we celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

4. Observation. With this being my first "real" year of teaching in my own classroom, I am of course observed from my principal to make sure that things are running smoothly with my second graders. I chose to have her observe a math lesson centered around the teaching point "math wizards order three digit numbers from least to greatest." The kids were very actively engaged throughout the entire lesson. I differentiated three enrichment activities for the students to continue working with, that were centered around the initial teaching point. I couldn't have been more pleased with their interest and great behavior!

3. Math in Focus. Our school system will be adopting the Math in Focus program to help us transition to a Common Core based math curriculum. Math in Focus is a division of the Singapore Math program, and I recently attended a conference that demonstrated this new type of teaching and learning of math. I started implementing pieces of the program this week, and because it is a very visual program, some of my students really thrived and took to it right away. The program also has a wonderful calendar component that we are going to start using next week during our morning meeting. I am excited to see just how far this new program will take my students!

2. Patricia Polacco. For our author study this month, the second graders and I are studying Patricia Polacco. She is an absolutely wonderful author and illustrator whose books are typically written about her own life, or the lives of her family members. This week we read Junkyard Wonders, and the kids were amazed with Patricia's descriptions and details of her life. For those of you who have never read the book, I highly recommend it. Patricia describes a year of her schooling career where she is placed in a classroom of students who all have some type of disability. The story tells not only her journey to find success, but the journey of all of her peers as well. The teacher is of course fabulous and an inspirational part of the story as well. I will admit that I had a tough time keeping it together at the end of the book. Another winner for sure Patricia!

1. Graduate School. The class that I am currently taking for my Master's degree is very informative. It is an educational psychology course, and on Thursday night we discussed the motivation and affect levels of our students. I was really amazed to learn about the 4 psychological needs of every student: arousal, competence, self-determination, and relatedness. All of these four items work inter-changeably together to create the productive students that we know in our classrooms. Some of our students need more fostering of these traits than others. It is our job as teachers to make sure that we are reaching each of these parts of our students in order to make them the best that they can be! I will certainly be keeping this new knowledge in mind, as we go into next week!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Day 5: Teachers and Paraprofessionals

Whew! We made it through a very exciting and fun filled week! I know that the children are itching to be at home with their families, patiently awaiting the arrival of one of their favorite people! To wrap up our week of random acts of Christmas kindness, we made thank you cards for each teacher and paraprofessional in our school! Each student was in charge of making one thank you card and attaching our "rack'd" letter as well as a candy cane to the care package. Two second grade elves helped me to deliver all of the beautiful card to the faculty mailboxes. I apologize, but with the extremely busy day we had today, I completely forgot to take pictures of the elves in action today! I promise that once again they were excited to be doing something special for other people, and the cards that they made were just amazing! I hope that the faculty of Hartland School know just how much the second grade and I appreciate each and every one of them!

As I final note, I am attaching my bi-weekly newsletter. It describes all of this weeks' acts of kindness, as well as includes a little plug for my website :) Please feel free to check it out when you a get a chance. Now I am off to start baking for the annual Forler/Swanson Christmas Eve party. I wish all of my students and their families a safe and relaxing break! Be sure to squeeze your loved ones a little tighter tonight and let them know just how much you appreciate them!