Monday, July 30, 2012

Some Lovely Blogs

So I just got back in town from spending a week at an overnight church camp, sleeping in a cabin with 12  nine and ten year old girls while counseling a small group during the day and can I tell you, I.had.a.BLAST! I've been volunteering as a counselor or CILT (back in my younger days), since I was 15 and I've only missed 2 summers due to grad school and low enrollment. Last year was one of the summers I missed and I was hesitant to go back this year because, I really felt like I needed a break from children this summer. An old friend texted and facebook messaged the daylights outta me till I agreed to go back and boy am I GLAD I DID! There's nothing like gettin out in the woods and reconnecting with nature, God, old friends, and children. :) I feel so refreshed and recharged which, is ironic considering that I didn't sleep more than 5 hours during any one night out at camp lol.

Anyways, right before I left for camp, when I was in the middle of coming up with a cabin thing, packing, and trying to finish the last Shades of Grey book (while savoring every second of it), I found out that Antoinette and Emily from and Dede over at BOTH gave me the One Lovely Blog Award!!!! Teehehe, I'm so excited!  You know launching your own blog is kinda scary at first, because there are already soooo many other great bloggers and you just wonder if there's room for you. I'm so glad I made this blog and I love that I'm becoming a larger member of a wonderful, teaching community.

Here are the rules for receiving this award:
1. Pass this award on to 15 others
2. Follow the person that gave you the award :)
3. Link back to the person/people that gave you the award.

Here are 15 Lovely Blogs that you should definitely visit:
Mrs Terhunes First Grade Site
First Grade California Style
Teaching Little Apples
Finally in First
Ms Rachels Room
Swamp Frog First Graders
Curls and a Smile
Grade School Giggles
Be The Difference
The Sharpened Pencil
First Grade A La Carte
Heathers Heart
Tales of a Teacherista
The Bubble Blonde Teacher
Waiting On The Butterflies
First Grader At Last

Tata for now!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Welcome to Teaching

Deb over at Fabulously First is hosting an awesome linky party for new teachers. She's asked us to graciously impart our wisdom on the newest members of our profession, and seeing as though I'm sooooo experienced (this will be my 4th year teehehe), I figured I could dole out some helpful advice since it seems like I was a new teacher just yesterday. Before I get serious, I have to say that my first year of teaching was probably my favorite. Every year since however, has been very different, yet very rewarding. 

Fabulously First

Here goes nothing!

1. Expect the unexpected! ~Those weekly lesson plans I worked so hard to type on Sunday afternoons never seemed to stay the same. Fire drills, Specials classes running over, vomiting students, substitutes, 2 hour delays, snow days, unexpected early dismissals, long name it, and it can happen and probably has already happened to some other teacher. I'd find myself constantly revising my plans on Thursday night so that they reflected what I truly taught, which just created more work for myself. I've since stopped that. Now I just delete what didn't happen, add it in to the next week etc, and note "SNOW DAY" etc. 

2. Every day is a *brand* new day! ~ The great part about teaching in the primary grades, is that while students remember a lot, they won't remember everything. :) If you had a bad day and a lesson or two flopped, try again the next day. Half the time, since you're employing new strategies and activities the students don't realize the same concept is being taught again. Give yourself another chance! Give your class another chance! If one day, you left and had 5 kiddos on yellow and a couple on red, move 'em back to green and start a new slate on the next day. There's no reason to stew, just keep chuggin along!

3. Start a filing system~ BEFORE the year starts, decide how you will file tests, papers, units, etc. and what you will file. My first year I had parents sign and return every test, except spelling. So all of my weekly and unit Treasures test came right back to me. I made file folders for every week/unit so that I could reuse them. This past year, I realized I was a bit insane and decided that recording the grades was enough. But, for my Science and Social Studies units, I did something similar and made a file for EACH unit (or mini-unit really) and boy am I glad I did that. All of my units are in order from the first I teach in August till June, and I just grab em out and go. At one point I got really smart and started writing/inserting my lesson plans inside each folder. It's safe to say I'm SUPER GLAD I started this system my first year. I  still benefit from it and it's saved me a lot of time. :)

4. Ask lots of questions~ So, I moved to a town I had never heard of or had ventured to when I started teaching about an hour west of home. I know, it's not that far, but I haven't always lived in PA! Anyways, the culture out by my new school is different-Pennsylvania Dutch and Amish. So at times, it felt like being in a different state. I had never heard of some foods and school traditions, etc. I felt silly about asking, but I had to. I'd be lying if I said I didn't receive some ridicule for it, but I'd rather not be ignorant lol. 

5. Find one confidant~ You'll learn pretty quickly that teaching can often remind you of high school. Your main mission your first year is to find one confidant/expert teacher that you can trust. I was blessed to find mine super quickly and she had my back through thick and thin. Sadly, she retired but, I still call her for all kinds of advice and she still gives me old units, etc.  I know I can tell or ask her anything without it ever traveling to another soul and that my friends, is priceless. You'll need to vent, you'll need to share your conquests and ideas, but make sure the person/people you're sharing with won't go sharing what you've said with the rest of your building, community, etc. 

Hope that helps,

Thursday, July 5, 2012


So for the FIRST time ever, I am linkin up to Farley's "Currently" July party over at her awesome blog Oh Boy Fourth Grade . I've always seen these, but I knew there were rules and it just took me awhile to really figure out how to make the images. I'm a mac user and there don't seem to be any guides for us Apple lovers...but, if you need help just holler! :) Oh and there's rules to these people! This month we had to list our favorite read aloud/go to book at the bottom and then our favorite teaching book below that.

So, I worked on this while I was watching my guiltiest pleasure, fav show: The Bachelorette. And, you can see that even I was swooning over Jef's note. I was never even on team Jef! I mean, I liked him, nice guy and all. But, I'm not into skateboarding and he arrived on a skateboard the first night, eh I dunno. I guess I kinda wrote him off. But I do love his sense of humor, Jef and Emily are hysterical together!  Jeez, I wish a guy wrote me a note like that!!!!

Anyways, everyone in Philly (news anchors etc) are in a huff over how hot is. I'm LOVIN it! This is sooo much better than like 20 and rainy people or snowy. Seriously, don't you appreciate the fact that it's light out till almost 9 o'clock?!? I DO!

On another note, I begin every school year with an author study on Laura Numeroff. We use Treasures at my school and the first 3 weeks begins with an add-on program/Kinder review called Start Smart. It's never quite enough for my kiddos and I like to really build community those first few weeks, so I do an author study. I dunno what made me pick Numeroff during my first year of teaching, it's honestly one of the best decisions I've ever made and the kids LOVE it! So, my go to read aloud is any Numeroff book. The kids love to hear them over and over and

Until next time friends!