Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sneak Peek...My New Writing Camp Kit

I can't wait to get this set finished...
I am soooo excited to get back to writing workshop in my classroom!
I'm not using this writing process pocket chart, so I stuck my new posters in it! I LOVE my camp acronym!
I will be doing a short 30-min. workshop and meet with one set of students a day. (*4 days a week). The other 3 groups will do one of the other activities.
I already do guided reading and math, so I'm thrilled to let this spill over to my writing time.
I will post the link when the set is finished! Until then...
look at how cute it is going to be!
Better yet, follow my TpT store to be notified when it is added!
*Update: It's been added! Click the picture below or here.
(Also, I changed the A to Active Writing)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Insights into Starting School Too Early

...and by early, I mean YOUNG!
Our school recently held our annual Kindergarten Round Up day. Parents and their little babies *(not literal babies, mind you) tour the school, meet the teachers, and learn about the program.
In my experience as a 1st Grade teacher, I have seen the benefits of starting school at a later age, and the harm inflicted by starting too young.
Let me begin by telling you about my early "school" experience.
I was blessed with a educator mother who knew the value of play. She took a break from teaching and stayed home with my brother and I until we were both in school.
As a small child, the outdoors was my classroom and my own inquisitive mind was the curriculum. My mother would delight in guiding me to find answers to my ever growing list of questions.
"What kind of bird is that one?"
"What kind of tree is this?"
"Why does it rain?"
"What do these letters spell?"
I can still remember to this day when I finally put together a string of intelligible letters, spelling out my cousin's name.
With that being said, I did not start first grade until I was 8 years old. By that time, without any "formal" schooling, I could read, compute math correctly, and write in cursive. My teacher put me into second grade within the first 2 weeks. Luckily, I was in a multi-grade classroom and it was not a shock for me. I still had the same teacher and friends. <3
I have always LOVED school and learning.
It makes me sad when my students don't have the passion I do.
My very best year teaching was the year I had an "older" class! Five of my students were 7 when the school year started, and many more had fall birthdays. What made it different, you ask?
Let me tell you:
They were READY. Period. They could focus and sit still. They could handle being away from mommy all day long. They could handle working with partners and in groups.
They realized the world did not revolve around them alone, there were others that had needs too. They could wait their turn and share. Life was grand!
Fast forward to a year with a few "young" ones--not a whole class full mind you, but a couple are all it takes!
              • Poor attention and focus
              • Lack of empathy
              • Poor time management
              • Lack of social skills
              • Over-dramatization
              • Lack of motivation
              • Poor motor skills
              • Lack of patience (*need instant gratification)
              • Uncooperative
              • Demand lots of attention (*often negative)
              • Tears, tears, tears
You notice I did not mention academics. These children are often quite bright! They have been pushed to learn and recite their ABCs and count to 100. But they have not really developed a true love for learning. And when children are not ready to sit still, follow directions, and cooperate with others, it can lead to a poor outlook toward school. They may look around the room and notice all the other children can follow directions. All the other children can cut out the pieces nicely. All the other children can sit nicely on the carpet and not interrupt...on and on. But, why can't they? Feelings of low self-worth develop and can continue throughout their academic years.
Believe me, it is far easier to challenge a bright student that is READY TO LEARN than to discipline a bright student that can't exhibit self-control.
Please, take it from a veteran teacher, give your child the advantage--not the disadvantage in the classroom!
And please, don't consider skipping Kindergarten because your child is a genius! There is some truth to the old adage:
"All I really need to know, I learned in Kindergarten!"

 First grade teachers expect that the students coming into their room have already been exposed to these things! The academic level is stepped up in first and there isn't room to teach some of the basic skills that were taught in Kindergarten!
Let's give the children time to play.
Time to learn.
Time to develop into the creations God designed them to be!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Long Overdue...

I know, this is long overdue!
I can't seem to keep up with this blog lifestyle!
I'm still dealing with a back I pulled on the last day of school last year...plantar fasciitis, and now thyroid problems! Yikes---getting old is definitely NOT fun. (*turning 47 this year).
Plus, I was out sick the ENTIRE last week in December...
which means I missed--
our school Christmas Program,
finishing our awesome Christmas Traditions Unit,
our classroom performance of the 23rd Psalm for Chapel,
and our Christmas Party!!!!!
I was beside myself...and just had to *let it all go!
Now, we've missed 2 1/2 days for snow that was supposed to be only flurries! Penguin Presentations and Party postponed until Monday!
What a year!
Well, onto some uplifting news.
We are starting our biggest unit next week, my very favorite --our USA unit. It is a 4MATted unit (look up Bernice McCarthy and 4MAT) I created on the study of Symbols-of Self, School, Church, City, State...and mostly, Country. It lasts 6 weeks and concludes with a marvelous program for parents, friends, and neighbors.
These are 1/2 the characters--both first grades participate in this program.
I've also been trying to get some more products listed on my TpT store. Head over and check out my penguin products!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Whew...feeling overwhelmed!

Well, I figured I'd better get a post on here!
I've been *treading water with my class this year! They are a real handful and not at all as embracing of WBT as last year's class! (*miss them)
I've got nobody but myself to blame, though!
I have to get myself energized...but my energy level is pretty much on empty.
On the last day of school last May, I pulled my back taking pictures for our Memory Books. What's worse...when I went to upload the pictures, I hadn't put my memory card back in after uploading our End of the Year Beach Party photos...UGH!!! So that is still bothering me...
Then, to beat all things...I started having some major foot pain towards the middle of July. By the time school had started, I realized it was Plantar Fasciitis. Yeah for me! I've since ordered one expensive pair of Orthoheel shoes. (But at least they're cute!)
I'm making it a goal to put on a smile, jazz up my energy output...and tackle this tough class!
Challenging...oh yeah!
Can I do it???
You bet!
Stay tuned...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

School is Just Around the Corner...

I will be going back to school NEXT WEEK!! Yikes...where did the summer go? I'm a little excited, I must admit. I've been so busy getting my Camping Sets ready--I get to update and beautify my own room as well! Please look for updated pictures on my Camping Classroom page soon!
My HUGE Classroom Theme kit is up on TpT (see post below). I've also had a request to break apart some of the items into smaller sets, so I'm working on that right now.
Today I hope to break my losing streak of not getting in our pool ONCE this entire's been a soggy one!
Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sneak Peek! New Camping Products!

I am camping (I know, ironic!) so I can't post my new products until next week...but I've been working on finishing up these two products- 

Camping Calendar Time (ACTIVboard Flipchart)

And my amazingly HUGE Camping Classroom Theme Kit!

I will update with links when they get posted!

Hope everyone is enjoying the remaining days of summer!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tuesday Tinkering!

I can't believe my summer is almost gone!
We've been getting *drenched* here in our little corner of the world! I haven't even gotten in the pool yet!
Next week we are camping--then I have one week to get anything done in my classroom before I officially have to report on August 1. How sad is that!
We have Open House (look for a post coming soon on that...)
the night before school starts...OH MY!
Well, here are my tinkerings for today!
I created this set of Read the Room labels for my camping classroom and thought some of my fellow Campers might like them as well! They are in my TpT store.
While I was rummaging through some of my files, I came across a cute little 100th Day Snack Pack Topper I created last year. I made a couple additional options added them to my TpT store as well. They are editable in PowerPoint!
I've also been dreaming about reorganizing my classroom--which was actually a summer-long project that I haven't begun...yikes!
I DID update my "Camping Classroom" page (at the top of this page--check it out!) and will try to add more pictures when I've finished for this year!
Have a great week!


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