Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wisdom for Wednesday - Forgiving

Happy Wednesday!

Here's a great quote I found about forgiveness. Take a peek:

I don't know about you, but there are times when forgiveness is not my first response when I feel I have been wronged.
Not only that, I will often try to "forget" about it rather than get to the heart of the matter and actually forgive the person. It seems when I use the "forget" about it method, the wrong is all too easily brought back to mind when something else happens. It stirs up all those same feelings because I haven't dealt with them.
That is the way to handle wrongs against us.
Now I know this is not news to you (or me), but I also know sometimes it is more difficult than it should be. Let's remember this quote and how forgiving others allow us to be happier. :-)
And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
Ephesians 5:32

Monday, April 28, 2014

Why I Became a Teacher

I am 35 years old. This is only my fourth year teaching.
I graduated high school with plans of becoming an accountant. My mother was (and still is) a tax accountant. Two of my brothers were accountants.
I liked numbers. I liked puzzles. I thought it would be the perfect career for me.
I got married. Three years later, we had our son. I decided to stay home with him. Seventeen months later, our daughter was born. I loved being a stay-at-home mom, but I knew I would be going back to work when they headed off to school.
I did not want another accounting job. I wanted my schedule to be a little more flexible, and I thought a school secretary position would be perfect (and would not require me to go back to school). As it turned out, the intermediate (grades 3-6) secretary position in my children’s district opened up the year our daughter went to kindergarten. It was perfect!
I wore many hats as a school secretary in a small district – secretary, nurse, lunchroom attendant, in school suspension monitor, etc. I enjoyed my job, but it certainly didn’t take long for me to realize that not all children were treasured and cared for as my own children were. You could say I was a bit na├»ve to the things facing many children.
I began making connections with those troubled kids…whether it was the ones causing problems because they had rough home lives or the child who came to school with throw up down her shirt (because she had thrown up in the yard as she was getting on the bus, her parents had to be somewhere, so they sent her to school anyway). Those kids started pulling at my heart strings.
A couple years into my job, I felt the Lord leading me to go back to school to get my teaching degree. I wanted to have a positive influence in these children’s lives. I wanted to be the person they could count on to be there every day waiting for them with a smile. I wanted them to feel safe, cared for, and even loved in my classroom.
After four years of teaching, I can tell you I still feel that same way. My students quickly become “my kids” and at the end of every year I have shed tears watching them (even the most challenging ones) walk out the door.
Are there times when I get frustrated with a student? Of course! Just as there are times I get frustrated with my own kids. It doesn’t change the fact that I love them and want the best for them.
My focus as a teacher hasn’t changed. It's all about the kids!
I do my best to make my students’ day fun and engaging. I also have high expectations for their behavior, academic success, and effort in class. I don’t ask anything of them that I wouldn’t ask my own children to do.
And I absolutely love my job!
This post was inspired by recent “attacks” or “jabs” against teachers, schools, standards, and testing that I have seen posted on the Internet. Rather than respond to these “attacks” and “jabs” (believe me, I’d like to), I think this post better reflects my heart about teaching. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone…

Friday, April 25, 2014

Fun with Readers Theatre Scripts

I have come across a fantastic Readers Theatre Script site online at Dr. Young's Reading Room.  It has tons of readers theatre scripts that tell you how many parts are in each one.  So it makes it very easy to go in and look for one that has as many parts as you need for it. 

My kiddos have loved doing Readers Theatre this year and have done very well with it.  We have been able to incorporate them into our MTSS groups.  The kids in the class were able to perform for all the first graders at least one time this year.  All the kids get so excited to do it.  It is so fun to watch them and to see those ones that are more quiet, stand up in front of everyone and proudly say his/her lines.  The other exciting part about it is that one of the groups did one that was an Arthur book and realized that there were several Arthur books in the library that they could check out.  So, they have now checked out and have read all the Arthur books. 

Here is a picture of one that was performed today:


If you are needing some good Readers Theatre Scripts, make sure you check these out at Dr. Young's Reading Room.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wisdom for Wednesday-Don't know what to say

Welcome to this week's:

I have times where I get overwhelmed and when I go to pray, I just can't find the words to say.  In the past, there were many times I'd go to pray and I just couldn't get my words together to pray and I would end up sitting there and not finishing a prayer.  But I have learned through the years that the most awesome thing about Jesus is that is ok.  We don't have to say anything but his name during these times because he knows our hearts and what we need.  So, next time you are at a loss for words and don't know what to say, instead of not praying just say his name and he will take it from there.  

 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. John 10:14

Hope you have a great week!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Math Review Eggs

Can I make a confession?

I like structure.

And I like routine.

That is why I’m always waiting until the last minute to throw in “fun” activities.

Now, don’t get me wrong. We do have fun in my class, but you could call it “structured fun.”

Can I get an amen?

So this may be a little late for you to use this year, but maybe it will spur your creativity for similar activities or you could pin this idea for next year.

Thursday morning, I woke up and decided I should probably do something with those plastic eggs in my closet so that my kids felt like they weren’t really working on a “party day.”

You know what I mean, right?

It seems that the kiddos think because we are having a party in the afternoon, we should be partying all day. This of course, goes against my desire for structure and routine.

Anyway, back to my brainstorm.

I decided to make a mixed math review with the eggs. Using a sharpie I wrote a problem on one side of the egg, and then wrote the answer on the other side. I included all kinds of things such as:

726 = 700 + 20 + 6

516 + 293 = 809

724 – 381 = 343

quarter till 7 – 6:45

quarter after 6 – 6:15

QQDDDP – $0.81

I even did fractions…you get the idea.

Here’s what they looked like:


My kids are seated in color groups (red, blue, green, and yellow) so I was able to quickly send a group to the gym with my wonderful para to match up the eggs. She timed them, checked their answers, and then sent them back to my room. I kept the other three groups and we had my kind of fun (Mountain Math and Mountain Language). And yes, I gave my para a choice of which she wanted to do! When one group came back, I’d send another group.

The team that did it the fastest got a piece of bubble gum as a reward, and I was the most fun teacher ever! Ha!

I’m sorry that I don’t have pictures of the actual sorting activity. I forgot to send the camera. But I’m told the kids did great, practiced math, AND had to work together to quickly match up the eggs.

Have a great week! :-) 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!!

What a wonderful day today is and I believe this verse taken from the song "He is Risen" says it all!  I hope all of you have a wonderful Easter!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wisdom for Wednesday - Needing God

This last weekend, I was able to attend a ladies retreat nearby. I often struggle with the decision to go...hesitating to give up my Friday evening and Saturday at home. I'm kind of a homebody...and my friends would be laughing hysterically at that. There is no kind of about it! I am definitely a homebody!
I'm never disappointed in how the Lord works in my heart, so I was glad that I went. The main speaker was a woman who has been battling depression for the last ten years and breast cancer for the last two years. She quoted Nancy Leigh DeMoss...take a look:

I know that I am often too self-sufficient, thinking I have everything under control.
The speaker said a bit more about needing God. I'll try to capture a bit of it here though I'm sure I won't do it justice.
We bounce out of bed every day and do what we need to do, often never consulting God...until we can't (sickness).
We pay the bills and take care of the finances, often never consulting God...until we can't (financial stress).
We love on our families and friends, taking them for granted...until we can't (death).
I could go on and on...but the point is that God just wants us to wake up and say, "I need you!" He wants that even in our good times - not just the bad times.
This is the same thought I recently found in my study through Isaiah (chapter 26). In fact, here's my notes from verse 16:
The children of Israel would turn to God in times of trouble. Over and over...just like I do. I should be walking with God and seeking Him in the good times and the bad. Drawing near to Him in the good times, prepares me for the bad!
And in case you're in the midst of the bad, here's one of my favorite verses:
I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
Psalm 27:13-14

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you have a blessed week!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Bit of Randomness and an /aw/ Sound FREEBIE!

Okay...I'm feeling it.
The end of the year is looming ahead (truly--my last day is May 16th)!!!
My time with this particular group of kiddos is quickly coming to an end.
What am I feeling exactly?
Does anyone else feel a bit of panic at the end of the year? Please tell me I'm not alone.
Thoughts like...
"So-And-So was making so much progress, but now they seem to have gone backwards."
"So-And-So is not quite where I thought they would be..."
"Why haven't I been able to motivate So-And-So?"
"What  should I cram into your little brains this last month of school?"
"What do you mean you don't know how to do expanded notation? We've been doing it ALL year!"
"Really? You think that letter is perfect and yet there is not one capital or end mark on the page?"
"The word is were. How can you not know the word is were?!?!"
"The word is away. How can you not know the word is away?!?!"
Now, remember I said thoughts! I would never say such things. I think this year my worries may be worse because it is my first time teaching 2nd grade...and I'm hoping I've done everything I can do to prepare these kiddos for 3rd grade.
Add to the panic the fact that my spring program is on May 5th! We are performing Squirm! It looked like an adorable little musical and it sounded like so much fun.
See? A Wiggly, Giggly, Squiggly Musical! Sounds fun, right?
Well, now that we are in the final weeks of preparation, the kids are having fun and I'm not! I'm just hoping they can pull it off despite me. As I said to my coworkers this week, I feel very unorganized with my music classes. Not that I needed to tell them...I sprung a schedule change on them today so that I could practice with all my worms, bats, spiders, and snakes at the same time.
Anyway, last week we were working on the /aw/ sound spelled al, augh, aw, and au. Kristi and I have a Connect Four in our TPT shop for the aw and au, but I needed something a little bit more challenging for my second graders. I whipped up this game and decided to share it with you. Best of all, it's free! I searched for that picture of Squirm! I noticed lots of youtube videos of the musical, so I'm off to get ideas.
Why didn't I think of that before???

Saturday, April 12, 2014

April Currently-LATE!

We are joining Farley, from Oh Boy 4th Grade, in her monthly Currently linky party.  I know that it is late, really late, but I thought well that really says a lot for my April.  It seems to be going very fast and I feel like I'm having a hard time keeping up with everything!  

Don't forget to head on over to  Oh Boy 4th Grade to do your currently if you haven't done one yet.  Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wisdom for Wednesday-Knowing you are a teacher

Welcome to another week of:

You know those days when your morning before school even starts how everything seems to be going wrong and you think.....Oh, I hope it gets better (especially this time of the year as spring fever starts to hit).  Then you get those little kids and they have their little smiles on those faces and all of a sudden everything seems good again.  It is amazing how much each kid can touch teachers' lives and how one little smile from one of them can make your day turn around.  I guess that is one of the perks of being a teacher!   
I hope you have gotten some smiles today!
Have a great rest of your week!


Monday, April 7, 2014

I Surrendered to the Power of Choice!

If you've followed our blog very long, you know that Kristi and I were both skeptical before beginning the Daily 5. We just didn't know if it would work for us.
Of course, when we actually tried it, we fell in love! And so did our kiddos!
I was teaching first grade and attempted letting them choose what they did in each round, but it just took way too long and it was hard to keep track of their choices. I quickly gave up on choice and created a rotation chart which worked wonderfully for the control-freak in me.
I started the Daily 5 in second grade this year that same way.
Then I was reading (again) about the power of choice in the Daily 5 reading structure. That and the feeling that my kiddos were getting a little "bored" with their routine had me thinking...
2nd graders, end of the year, surely we can do it...
So I did it.
I surrendered.
I told the kids we were going to try it on Thursday and Friday.
And guess what?
It worked...wonderfully.
Afterwards, I asked the kids if they liked it. All of them except two raised their hands. The first boy (after my own heart) just likes structure and routine. The other one said, "I didn't just like it. I loved it!" LOL!
Guess that means the power of choice is here to stay in my classroom. I have a few ideas on how to manage it this time so the students and I will be happy! I'll talk more about that and let you know how our first full week of choice goes next Monday. 

P.S. If you have purchased our Telling Time Mega Pack, go redownload it. I've added 8 worksheets that can be used as practice pages or assessments! Enjoy!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Amelia Bedelia Fun!

What kid doesn't love Amelia Bedelia?  She is so funny and all my kiddos love her books.  Well, we were lucky on Friday because our awesome librarian set it up so we had Amelia Bedelia herself show up and read to our kids.  OK, it wasn't a real Amelia Bedelia, but one of our substitute teachers in our school dressed up as Amelia Bedelia and read to them.  The kids were so excited!  It is funny to watch them because they recognized her as the substitute teacher, but couldn't stop staring because she looked so much like Amelia Bedelia.  Here are some pictures:

The really cool part about it is that all the kids now want to check out and read Amelia Bedelia books after this little reading that was done by Amelia Bedelia herself!  

Hope you have a great week!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wisdom for Wednesday - Keep Calm

Happy Friday!
Oops, did I actually type that? 
I meant Happy Wednesday!

Found this here.
Yep! That sums up any wisdom I can give you today!
I love the "keep calm" quotes, and I hadn't seen this one before. Plus it fits my week perfectly, so I had to share.
My kids have been quite rambunctious this week. Need I say more?
But really...this one is probably filled with more wisdom:
This one is from here.
Thanks for popping in for another:

Happy Friday um,I mean Wednesday! If you're having a week like mine, keep calm and hang in there. :-)

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