Sunday, February 26, 2012


I've got a case of writer's block. Obviously not on here, since I'm blogging to procrastinate on what I should actually be writing. We are doing a little Dr. Seuss skit contest at school this week and I want to have the skit script ready tomorrow so that my kids have some time to practice before we film on Wednesday afternoon (eek!). Our skit is supposed to use a Dr. Seuss book to show a character trait and I have chosen to do Hooray for Diffendoofer Day to show perseverance. BAD CHOICE! I know it can be done... but I am having some serious trouble making this skit interesting. It can only be 2-3 minutes so it's kind of limiting in what I can do. But I love this book and I am determined to make this happen... even if we have no chance of winning the contest, my students are going to learn a lesson and have lots of fun performing either way!

I feel a little guilty that I haven't blogged in a couple weeks but I haven't had too much to share. We had a lot of extracurricular things going on at school last week and I'm on the committee that was planning on the Dr. Seuss/Read Across America Week activities for next week so I've been doing a lot for that. Not to mention, my mom is coming to visit my school for the first time tomorrow! She is an assistant principal in a high school about two hours away and is coming to see how it is in an elementary school and to see me being a grown up. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time cleaning my classroom on Friday! :)

As far as my class, I have been taking a step back from doing a lot of the creative activities I was doing before. I am still doing a lot, but as I've been planning my lessons, I'm really trying to keep in mind how much time will go into preparing for each of the activities that I'm planning. If there is an option that will teach my students the material just as well without me having to spend hours and hours preparing for one forty minute lesson, I am trying to do that instead. It's a little frustrating seeing all these cute ideas on Pinterest and having all these great ideas floating around in my head and not having time to execute them all, but I had started to notice a couple weeks ago that I was getting burnt out. I'd rather take a little bit of time for me so that I can get back to normal in a couple weeks (as long as my students don't suffer because of it) than to keep it up and get to a point where I don't want to teach anymore. I think that's a mistake that a lot of first year teachers make and it is one of the (many many many) reasons that teachers quit so early on in their careers. I am trying to not be that person because the success of not just my current students, but my future students as well, is extremely important to me. But I do have to start looking out for myself. I just have to keep reminding myself that I can't do it all and that I have to leave myself some room to grow next year... everything that I create for my students will still be there next year and I'll have time to build on it. It's just hard to see all these fancy things that teachers put on their blogs or on Pinterest because I want to be on that level as well, but I have to remember that most of those people are not first year teachers so they aren't dealing with the things I am dealing with.

For those of you that are going through what I'm going through, I'll leave you with a quote that I saw the other day that put it all in perspective for me:

"No man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

In other words, you've got to be in your right state of mind in order to be the best teacher you can be for your students.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Heroes and 100th Day Fun

I really need to start keeping track of the moon because, after figuring out there was a full moon this week... suddenly everything made so much more sense! Plus we had an early release day and picture day (we have uniforms at our school, so the kids get a little crazy when they are allowed to wear regular clothes on picture days) so it was really difficult not to get frustrated this week.

We did do a couple of cool things this week and last week that I wanted to share because I thought they were kind of cute ideas. I get so excited nowadays when I don't get ideas off Pinterest because I can claim it myself! Haha.

First off, we did a short heroes unit where we talked about what makes a real-life hero and what heroes we know of. We did all kinds of thinking maps on it, then the kids used their ideas on what makes a hero to create their own heroes... we did three but I only took pictures of two of them and they are so funny looking! They had to trace the shortest member of the group and then use words and illustrations to show what a true hero is. You just have to look at the pictures of their heroes—one is apparently a firefighter (the bearded one) and the other one is a policeman in a cast.

We also did past, present, and future heroes later in the week but I forgot to take a picture of them. I put them in groups and gave each group articles on a past hero (Abraham Lincoln or Gandhi) and a present hero (George Bush or Barack Obama) and they had to pick out important facts on each. Then they made a three-column chart (a column for past, for present, and for future) and added pictures and facts on their people. The future column had a picture of them and what they planned on doing to be a future hero. They were cute! My students always surprise me so much when I only give them a few directions and let them take projects in their own direction—I always end up much happier with the end product and get much less irritated about them not perfectly following my directions. Plus they're learning to be creative and independent :).

Something else that we worked on in the past couple of weeks in social studies was black history... we talked about Martin Luther King, Jr. and what he did for our country and how much of an impact his “I Have a Dream” speech had. The students created their own “I Have a Dream” thought bubbles with their pictures. I love it when they use their own pictures on things—I think it turns out so funny looking! I made a sort-of bulletin board for them to share with those that walk by the classroom and I've gotten a lot of compliments on them!

Our 100th Day of School was Monday and we had a blast all day long using 100! My favorite activity that we did was with the book 100 Hungry Ants by Elinor J. Pinczes. I had the students get into three groups and count out 100 Froot Loops. Before doing so, we talked about the best way of counting them out so that they wouldn't lose track of what they already counted and the students decided that it would be best to put them in groups of 10. As I read the story to them, I would stop every time the ants wanted to get into new rows (if you've never read the book, they start out in 1 row of 100, then get in 2 rows of 50, 5 rows of 20, and 10 rows of 10) and have the students show me what it would look like with their Froot Loops. Since we are currently working on fractions, we talked about how how the “ants” were in equal groups and what fractions we could make up. The loved it! They especially loved being able to eat Froot Loops after (I'm a freak about germs so I made them throw all the Froot Loops away from the activity and I gave them all clean ones from the box haha)... and so did I!

In other news, I have been asked to be a guest speaker at the Elementary Education Club at my alma mater (I was the president last year so I am super excited to go back... even though I still live in the same town lol) and I am supposed to give tips to some future tips. I need help getting ideas on what to talk about! Help! :)