Saturday, January 29, 2011

Classroom Pet!

Thanks to my apartment mate we now have a classroom pet - he is a teal beta fish with bright purple rocks and fantastic little bubbling tank I keep on the counter. I got him yesterday - when I went in on my snowday to get things done. Because you know ... I think I'm still a teacher even though this is yet another 4 day weekend thanks to snow! I am going to let the kids vote to name him ... talk about how voting can help you decide things - like who is going to be president and what the name of our fish is going to be....that is of course if he lives to Monday. It would be awful if he was floating when we got there.

The kids are working hard - lots of Letter ID and Letter Sound scores to celebrate, Oral Language scores to wonder at .... (not good), and boring Concepts About Print Tests to still give...the DRA is the best part of the 3 I've given, I had a level 3, a level 2, and a level 1 - all appropriate gains, in fact a 3 is higher than I might expect except given the little girl who did it....she is something else. I love to place a book in front of them and let them shine - they have grown SO much in 84 days of school and I love them even more today than I did on day 1 when I was still in awe of being a real live teacher. Sometimes I still feel that awe - mostly when I unlock my classroom, before the lights turn on as I walk in the room and I look around at all the clean little tables, fat tri-hold pencils, and decorations for Valentine's Day and Winter. Like yesterday - 2 solid hours to myself in my room - reorganizing, doing things I have wanted to do since day 1 but haven't had time to do....makes me enjoy the fact that I am finally a teacher. It's nice to have those little refreshing moments because though I love the job and the kids and the school - there are moments when "MISS STOWE" makes me want to run out of the room straight to my car. I need to remember that they aren't trying to annoy - and that each child is asking for the first time, it's just that there are 21 first times in a given work period! I am "needed" I suppose but I need to work on finding joy in them asking for my attention.

I anticipate Monday being difficult....but I will be ready to see them for sure!
More to come ... I have been slacking in writing and I don't want to miss details.

Quotes This Week:

"Miss how did your hair get so red?"

"Your cat is on the naughty list!"

D: "My Mom won't let me go outside in the snow cuz she says not to throw snow at cats..."
Me: "Do you usually throw snow at cats?"
D: "My Cat isn't scared of snow but other cats is."


"Miss I'm going to be a nurse when I grow up"
"Will you take care of me when I'm sick?"

"I has ringworms - they jumped on me!" - gross.

"The thermometer was green - says I can go to school today so I didn't take no medicine." What? (she had been in school all week....unclear what the issue was here)

D: (now my calendar helper for 2 weeks) "The month is October! The Year is 2010"
Oh dear - where have you been for 3 months my friend?

I have more written down on random post-its in my bag... have to write them down - it's great!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

what is school?

Snow day yesteday
delay today
more snow coming tomorrow... ugh

kids forgot how to come in today. and I was missing 8. It was kinda perfect but it's hard to do new things with half the class missing!

T wrote his name unprompted with no assistance! Also completed addition - INDEPENDENTLY. wow.
Princess friend cried off and on ALL morning.

Did an exercise in equality and fairness after we read a story about Martin Luther King Jr. Today. I told the kids that only my friends who wear pink can have recess. So 4 kids got to have recess - at first - kids got  upset and it was perfect to get them to talk about how they felt. They were having a hard time picturing not being able to eat at certain restaurants or drink out of water fountains...I think it helped. I will do something similar tomorrow and use stickers. It's a deep concept for them but it's important when we are teaching our code of character - respect and unity tie perfectly into fairness and equality and rights.

Sania told me today she was going to be a nurse and I told her she had to take care of me when I get sick. She said ok :).

Then during math we solved an addition problem together and she said - without raising her hand "Miss Stowe you are the best!" Muhiba added " Yeah she is." It was cute - unasked for and made me grin. I responded " You're pretty great too."

Did I mention I love them?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

afraid to write

So much has changed since I last wrote and it was overwhelming to think about let alone process in writing.

Coming back from vacation was ....exhausting and a disaster. Kids got taller and I missed them A LOT but they forgot A LOT of things that we are just getting back now. I pretty much told them now we start getting ready for 1st grade and it is very serious business. Then T was placed in a foster family (YAY!) and we were told he was gone (after he had gone home already - OH NO!) I cried...yes I did. So did my para. Then the next morning he showed up 45 minutes late with a DCF case worker (YES!) We grinned like idiots as we met them at the door and were told that his social worker will drive him to and from school every day (WOW!) AND that he would be having surgery to fix his eyes (INCREDIBLE) which now are straight and though puffy and red, watery, and easily infected, are already helping him write. It's amazing.

I'm pushing through some last minute Letter ID and sound review because the testing window opened this week and by February 2nd all LID, LS, Concepts About Print, and DRA scores have to be done. So naturally my highest kids are bombarded this week - giving the lower set time to soak up some more skill before they get tested. Already seeing positive growth in LID and CAP - kids know about words and letters, also 1:1 match, periods, commas, and even quotation marks. They are ALL able to identify "We" which is great.

This week I laminated 25 sight words (or star words as we call them) and taped them to each child's seat (well all but 6 who received modified words). The children practice their words when they think they are done. It's great!

Also a new rule - no more saying "I'm done" not only is it my pet peeve but it's not true, I taught them to say "Our learning is never done!"

Added journals to our writing experience, added science to our weekly schedule, and made centers SERIOUS working times.

Just redid my groups and also made groups for my para to see so that they are getting read to and oral language more often.
I LOVE my I'm anxiously awaiting the results of all our testing to see whether I'm DOING my job!