Saturday, April 23, 2011

Spring Fever and Why I Love My Job

Dios mio, am I wiped out! Does this happen to you in April? I slept in until 7:30 this morning and it was amazing, but meetings before and after school took away from my planning time and made me mentally exhausted. It was lovely waking up this morning to the sun forcing its way through the curtains as if to say, "I'm baaaack, now get up and enjoy me!" So I did. Took my new bike out for a ride and now I finally feel like it is spring (forget about the snow in my home town two days ago...). Happy spring! 

Now for the fever part- over spring break I got cat scratch fever! I'm taking antibiotics and still dealing with the worst scratch I've ever had right on the palm of my hand, all because of this adorable little peanut: 

Frankie Bambino
Some of the kids in my class have been begging to see the wound...but I won't show them. Kids are strange...

Anyway, the reason I sat down to write today was to reflect on the reasons I love my job.  I need this little reminder because I'm getting worn down listening to all the chatter on the budget cuts and thinking about the impact it has on education. Let's focus on the positive.
  • First graders progress SO much between February and now. They have become so independent (thank you Daily 5) and are just full of great and often hilarious ideas. We made pattern block pictures, graphed the number of each shape we used, then wrote about the picture. I told the kids the only rule was they had to make some kind of spring picture. While girls and boys made flowers, sunshines, bees, and birds, one clever little guy told me that his was a "dragon that spits, uh, a spriiiiing dragon that spits fire." I guess if you add "spring" before the name, then it makes it a spring picture. :) 
  • When state benchmark and unit testing all fall during the same week, the kids are still so excited to be at school. Sure, they're a bit more rambunctious in the afternoon, but for the most part they are just happy as can be. For example, the kids were tested like crazy this week and this is what I heard: 
    • "I love tests. It shows how smart we are."
    • "This is fun!"
    • "Can we correct our own tests? Puuuhhleassse?"
    • "Make sure you fill in the bubble all the way, but you don't have to take too long to color it in because that wastes time." (Did I just hear an echo of my own voice?!)
  • Birthday celebrations are oh so fun in first grade. Yesterday we had fruit smoothies to celebrate one little guy's 7th birthday. His mom attached little Hawaiian flower decorations to the straws and the kids were in LOVE with them. Then, the boys decided to put mustaches on with the whipped cream. They started this all on their own, but I was totally encouraging this by saying things like, "I thought you were 7, not 17!" and also just laughing hysterically because it was so darn cute I couldn't help myself. In the midst of all this testing/budget cutting/economic slumping/povertying/seriousnessing, it's important to let kids show their true colors and have some good ol' fashioned fun! 
  • Yesterday was the final day of "bunny buddies" which lasted all week (think Secret Santa, but for a pre-Easter/almost done with lent pick-me-up). My bunny buddy surprised me with treats on my desk every morning. She was very sneaky and I had no idea who she was all week! Well, on Friday, there was no little gift in the morning. When I came back from lunch, the kids were just entering the room, so I waited until they all went in then closed the door. They were surrounding my desk staring in awe at something. Someone shouted, "The Easter Bunny was here!!!" I had a brief recollection of when the leprechauns broke into our classroom and stole the green markers, but I had nothing to do with this Easter bunny business... turns out my bunny buddy had snuck into my room during lunch and left a gift with a tag that said, "Bunny Buddy" on one side and her name on the other. They saw "bunny" and were convinced the Easter bunny had stopped by to give me a pre-Easter treat. :) I went with it and they didn't question a thing! I love their enormous imaginations and I cherish those special spontaneous moments that can't be planned.
In other news, I accidentally purse-dialed the principal on Thursday. Ooops. Luckily he is very laid-back and laughed it off when I told him what happened, otherwise it might go on my list of embarrassing moments! 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Spring Literacy Ideas & Dollar Deals

When I started this blog, I intended to write in it every week. Well time is just flyin'! At this point, I'm just proud that a whole month hasn't passed by!

Anyway, isn't Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest? Seems like lately it's been a day to play catch up. Here is what I did for 3 hours this morning.

  • I took down my weather bulletin board:  
I'll miss seeing this sun everyday. Maybe the real one will stick around now!
  •  Got my habitat bulletin board ready. I forgot how tiring it is to climb on counters to take down/put up borders! I threw away about 10,000 staples, then put up about 10.000 more. Still a long way to go. I think I'll spend some quality time with my Cricut tonight!
This used to have math on the left, science on the right (above). Each quarter will have a different habitat.
  • I made these literacy centers. We're reviewing for our Treasures unit assessment for the first few days of the week, taking it on Wednesday and Thursday AND doing a state math assessment. Hopefully these centers make it a fun week!
Scrambled Egg Sight Words

Scrambled Eggs Sight Words. We'll be reviewing some words from this unit.
Anything inside of an Easter egg is exciting!
Click here to download scrambled eggs

Retelling Spinner
Love this ladybug retelling wheel! I got this idea at Fun in First Grade, except I bought the spinner at Target's dollar spot. I'm thinking about adding a writing component to this as well.
Word Work Stamps
Mini alphabet stamps=score of the century!

These little cuties were at Michael's in their dollar section. I searched high and low for as many as I could find with the kid-friendly "a". I bought enough for half of the class to be able to use them at a time. They'll be a great addition to the word work part of the Daily 5 in our classroom...more on that later! Did I mention they were only a buck? Can't beat that!

Time to enjoy the last bit of this fabulous Sunday! Have a great week!