Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Little Moments:

You know at the end of the day I have to stop to think what really matters? It is the little moments that I have decided matter the most.  We must all celebrate success and especially the little ones! As I'm working with students in small group- there are a lot of things we need to celebrate! When I think of one of my reading groups- they have made such improvements and progress in letter recognition! This is definitely a success! They have worked very hard in group and are so proud to come to the table and tell me letters they have identified. Another reading group is so excited to come and show me words they recognize in their independent reading. These are the little moments that we are celebrating in room 111.
In math we are working on patterns and how we can create and explain them. Today students were asked to create their own pattern. The patterns that students made were amazing! Some did AB, ABB patterns and some were able to create abbc patterns. We have practiced AB patterns with actions and to see the extensions of their patterns was amazing to see.
Little moments = BIG success and a positive feeling in our room. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Anxious and excited

Well- room 111 is going on a new adventure.... we are taking quite a trip and the students don't even know it yet. I will be taking 24 Kindergarten students on an adventure of a lifetime- we are going to Canada! Markham, Canada to be exact!Markham is a suburb of Ontario.
How can that be you may be wondering- well we have been chosen to participate in a Kindergarten Around the World adventure where we are partnered up with a class in Canada. We will learn about their school day, what things their students love and much, much, more.
 Now- as with all trips, I need to get an itinerary lined up and do some research on what would be the best possible way for students to get the most out of this experience. I'm very excited to get this project up and running along with the teacher in Canada.
I hope this will be as great of an adventure as I think it will be. It will take a lot of communication, time (yes- more time---- something I don't know where to draw the line- refer back to last week's blog), patience, and understanding, but I think everyone in room 111 will learn and grow from this experience! I can't wait to see how this works!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

$ and time when to draw the line:

Money- when to draw the line? In my efforts to learn as much as I can in my first year as a Kindergarten teacher- I'm trying to do a lot of reading both blogs and published pieces. I came across a great tool that I would love to have and use for reading and writing- but it's just too expensive for me to buy on my own. I would love to buy it, but I know as soon as my husband found out, he would kill me. I'm already spending my own money for books for large group lessons, more books for our classroom library, storage and organizing tubs/baskets, and more- I have no problem buying items for my classroom, but he just doesn't understand- why is school so expensive? Our two girls bring home notes asking if parents would like to donate items for the fall party- well, one child's classroom is filled with treats, and yes, we are bringing something. The other child's list had 2 items filled- and yes we are bringing to that party- maybe now more than the juice we signed up for. Add items for my class' fall party and I bet I'm spending close to $40 if not more- Why am I always the parent that donates to our girls' classroom? Because I know what it's like to not have things for the classroom- I guess that comes with the territory of being a parent and teacher.
Time- I wish I  had more in the day for both school and family. I'm getting ready to teach a round of after school which means I'm giving 2 hours of my family time up, but it's to spend with students that could benefit from a small intensive group to help them learn both letters and numbers. I don't mind teaching the after school program- I'm at work until 4:15-4:30 anyway each day. Today I talked to a parent that I think would be a great addition to our school PTO. I told her I'd let her know when the next meeting is, and if she wants I would go to the meeting with her. That means I would be giving up an hour of my family time, but I'm also on the school PTO where my children attend-

So- as parents and teachers--- where do we draw the line? I want what's best for my own children and also my students- but at what cost?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I have never liked change- especially UNEXPECTED change! So knowing I'm changing to a new grade level, I've had time to prepare myself for that. Knowing I am going to have to change expectations for students- is something I'm working on. I still hold high expectations for them, but at a different level.... 

So the fact that my reading group schedule has changed 3 times in the last 2 1/2 weeks, is something I'm still trying to adjust to and not stress out about. Luckily for me my students are accepting the change, settling into their new routine, and being rockstars about having different people in their group or going to different workshops in a different order. They are helping me work through the unknown!! 

Another change- the afternoon schedule due to recess being moved! This has been a blessing in disguise because I am truly being able to give time to shared reading and students are not being rushed through a lesson. 
Changing my organization and my thought process of how the room should look has changed about a million times so far in only 36 days of school. I will keep changing my reading tubs until I get a system down that I love- maybe I need one giant tub for all 6 groups instead of 6 tubs- one for each group? I don't know what is best! But I keep trying new ways. I'm always up for suggestions! 

Even though change can be tough- I've realized it's tougher on adults than kids. Because of this and because of the students wonderful response to change- I'm not so scared of change in my classroom. Now the one question that everyone asks: Do you like the change to Kindergarten? Are you glad you changed positions this year- well, there's only one way to answer that and that is with a big fat ABSOLUTELY!!! I love my "change!" This is the first time in probably 5 years that I'm not constantly stressed out with what is being asked of me- the main thing stressing me out now is ME! What a great change it's been!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


What I get vs. what I want----
Who knew feedback was so important? I really don't think I've thought about it as deeply or as often as I have in the last 32 days of school.

 What I'm getting......
Oh it's your first year everything will be fine---
oh it's your first year you aren't suppose to know what students should be able to do....
Well, you're class is more controlled than the teacher that was in your room last year..... let's call her Sally
You're doing a better job at this time of the year than Sally did last year.
Well, Sally did it this way last year, and you're not doing it that way- so it's ok.
It's your first year- you have every excuse to not know what you're doing-

What I'm getting is NOT going to set my students up for success this year! I mean who is really going to look back when my students are in 5th grade and say "Oh so and so is behind because he/she had Mrs. Earle in Kindergarten and that was her first year." No this will NOT be an excuse for students not getting the best and most out of every day!! I want better for them!!

What I want.....

Well- it's the beginning of October and I do feel like I'm settling in in my new life as a Kindergarten teacher BUT I do know I have a lot yet to learn and even more to improve in my classroom. I have a feeling I'm the only teacher in the building that has asked for observations to take place sooner rather than later. I guess what I'm wanting is professional feedback. The reason I'm so eager for this feedback is because I want to know sooner the areas I need to fix. I don't want to wait until after the first trimester and feel that I have been a disservice to my students. They are so eager to learn and deserve their teacher to be doing the best for all of them. I'm hoping by having observations happening in our room I can really reflect on what I'm doing. I know that I will get great feedback and the feedback won't be just a pat on the back because let's face it- I'm not after that! I'm after what can I fix/change to be a better teacher for the 24 learners in my classroom. It will be great to have feedback to see what positives are going on in the room that I maybe don't realize, but more importantly get my thinking wrapped around what I can do to be better. In only 32 of teaching, I've done a lot of reflecting and have made some changes in styles of teaching. I know it's not great to keep changing, but I do feel that with each change (whether it's a change in reading groups, or an extra activity to have a volunteer do,) the changes have been successful.