Thursday, March 6, 2014

March is Reading Month here at Rogers City Elementary School and my students are all pumped up to reach our goal of reading 1,300 books by the end of the month.  I have all faith that they can do it.  We figured out the math of how much we are already reading as a class:  22 students each reading 2 books a night for homework, multiply that by 5 nights, then multiply that by 4 weeks.  That is almost 900 books a month being read by my first graders!  That means each of my students is reading about 40 books per month.  I asked my students -- who all sat with their mouths wide open at the news of how much they are actually (really!) reading what they thought it would be like if they DIDN'T read those 40 books a month.  Many of the answers were the same and they understood immediately:  they would not be improving as readers.  I can't stress enough how important it is to lay those tracks of early reading skills at this age level.  I can't imagine what a different class I would have if they weren't doing their nightly reading.  So yes, it can get tiring and this time of can be a battle.  But, when March rolls around and the motivation of Reading Month kicks in -- I just love seeing them jump up to grab a book, find a comfy spot in the room.....and READ. 
 I think I'll go home and read, too.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

So long 2013! Time to get 2014 started!

One of my many New Year's Resolutions for the classroom is to keep up on my blog!  I'm starting right now!  :)  The year of 2013 is gone and going through my photos I realized that I had many things to tell you all about that happened in our classroom!  We have been so busy that keeping up with my blogging has taken a backseat.  Sometimes as a teacher I feel like I'm just not doing enough, not getting enough done and I get nervous when time ticks by too quickly.  Looking through these pictures I realize that all is well and my students are doing great!  We have celebrated holidays, worked on writing, strengthened math skills and learned new strategies.  I'm so proud of how far they have come so far, but I'm so anxious to get started back to work to see how far we can go!  I hope you enjoy the pictures!  Check back for more in 2014!

Another Resolution?  NEVER let my desk get like this again....

In November we celebrated Veteran's Day and our FREEDOM

When I consider how far we've come with writing, it always blows my mind.
I just LOVE watching my students write, using their fingers for spacers between
words and concentrating on forming each and every letter, word and sentence.

We happily celebrated Christmas this year and enjoyed a huge FEAST of donated goodies.  Students brought books to exchange as gifts and everyone loved ripping the paper open to see what was inside. 


Every great classroom has great parents to help!


Our last week of school was busy and full of celebrations, programs, work, and gift, it's always nice to set some time aside for a quiet and calm READ-IN.  Students brought blankets, pillows, coloring books, books, magazines and we all just chilled out and enjoyed some down time with friends!

I love this picture -- two boys simply enjoying a good book!

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Friday Afternoon of Painting Zombies and Rainbows....

You know, I remember being in preschool and kindergarten and it seemed like we painted almost every day.  I don't remember seeing any looks of stress on my teachers' faces when they brought the paint out.  I don't remember going home with any splotches of paint on my clothes or in my hair.  I just remember painting -- I remember the smell of tempura paint -- the real stuff, not the watered down washable kind they manufacture now.  I remember the big, huge paint brushes that were put into our little hands and it was as if someone had just handed us a magical scepter.  Painting was just something we did, and everyone smiled and everyone took home beautiful art. 

Fast forward to today.

I brought out the paint so we could do a project being that it is Friday and everyone is tired and hot.  I purchased pizza boxes to be used (Pinterest project!) as containers for all of the First Grade activities that parents want to save through the year -- they will now have a nice storage box for all of it.  The pictures on Pinterest were of course these beautiful pieces of art -- each child with a perfectly placed hand print on the box and their name written in beautiful script.  I saw the picture of the end product -- each little student holding a box that was awesome.  After today I went back and looked at that picture again and realized there are a lot of adults in that picture, too.  Evidently those beautiful boxes were not entirely the work of kindergarten students.  Well, there was only one adult in our room today and I thought I would give the students a bit more freedom -- "Paint some kind of nice picture on it or a pattern of some sort and we'll add hand prints," I told them sweetly.

Getting the paint out was fine and explaining how to carry it and not spill it went well.  For the most part, they did pretty good.  No huge messes -- although we found out we do have one little butter fingers in our class who dropped the paint six times!  As I circulated around the room I saw students painting outside scenes, pretty trees, houses, people, rainbows....and then I came across the zombies.  "What are you painting on your box?"  I asked.  "Zombies," answered the little Firstie.  "Ah, I see...," I said.  "And does your mom like zombies?"  I asked.  "No, she hates them," answered the little fella as he continued to paint. 

So, although the meaning behind the boxes may have been lost on some of my students, they did enjoy the painting and a break from the work.  The boxes are all spread out across the room, drying.  Except for that zombie one.  That one is roaming around aimlessly.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Busy Bees and Happy Campers!

As first graders we are always busy!  This week we have been learning more about our friends, practicing and reviewing our numbers, enjoying an art activity drawing Mrs. Polaski's favorite animal, and building words using Play-Doh -- getting ready for our Daily Four.  I'm so proud of these new firsties -- they are building stamina in the classroom and working hard!  That's a big change for them this year and they are handling it like champions.


We are on week two of our new year in First Grade and it is going great!  The students are enjoying their new classroom, getting comfortable with their new settings and learning how this classroom functions.  It's a lot to take in for a little first grader, but they always do better than expected with all of the new information.  Here are a few pictures of our new classroom!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Full Circle

It sure is quiet in here.  I have Pandora music playing quietly and I'm sipping on an actual cup of hot coffee that hasn't been warmed up over and over.  I'm enjoying the silence.  The books are collected, the desks and lockers are cleaned out, and the mailboxes are packed with the last of the last.  It's 3:59 and I'm looking at some empty desks and oddly enough, even though we still have two half days left and even though my 27 students have at times truly tested my patience, I almost miss them a little.  Today was a day of true excitement...the day of cleaning.  Everyone knows that day in school -- we used to have lug buckets and rags to school in order to scrub the 9 months of filth out of our desks.  Cleaning day is always that day when you KNOW summer is coming and school is ending and ALLELUIA! Let's Celebrate!  Today was that day in first grade.  My kids were giddy and smiling, giggling and goofy.  There were some that were sad, but then quickly remembered that summer means they can sleep in and watch cartoons and play games and not come to school and oh homework!  The sadness doesn't last long.  Teachers get excited, too.  The end of one year always means a brief intermission and then the beginning of the next.  It's the life cycle of school -- everything comes full circle on the last few days of school.  It was a good year, kiddos.  I hope you enjoyed it, I hope you learned something and I hope that some day when you look back on your first grade year, you remember that teacher...what was her name again?  She was funny.  She liked to read.  She drank a lot of coffee.  She loved us.