Sunday, November 17, 2013

Thanksgiving Turkey Craftivity

My mentor teacher is amazing!  She never lets ANY opportunity for learning pass by.  Ever.  She has students doing flash cards on the bus on a field trip.  If there is an assembly at school, the students are quizzing each other during the time before the assembly starts.  She is ALL about the learning...and I love it!!

She asked me to create a craft the students could make for Grandparent's Lunch at school.  It could not just be your typical "I'm Thankful for You" craft.  It had to have a learning theme!  I thought about it all weekend and searched Pinterest. I found NOTHING that showed what the students were learning in school.  What to do?  What to do?  I wrote a poem!!

We printed those out and stuck them inside this cute little turkey.  I did find the inspiration for this turkey on Pinterest.  I love the different sized googly eyes!  The students signed their name on the inside.  Done!!  Super fast and easy.  I would love to know if any of the Grandparents did quiz the kids on their multiplication facts during lunch!

I'm so thankful for such an awesome mentor teacher this year.  I had actually requested another school but God knew what I needed!!!  I'm thankful that I will be graduating in less than 175 days.  Lots to learn between now and then.  Happy Turkey Month!

Friday, November 15, 2013

CORN, CORN, and more CORN

Well, I did it!  I taught my first unit!!  I am so glad that is behind me!!!  I had heard through the grapevine that the University Supervisor that was observing my lesson was pretty tough.  It's very nerve-wracking to be teaching your first lesson and being critiqued the very first time you teach.  I think I spent 10 hours prepping for that 60 minute lesson.  I had to pick an interdisciplinary topic .  I started with the students' reading story and went from there so my topic ended up being on Corn and Harvest.  It was perfect for the fall!

The first day we focused on Inference.  I made my first anchor chart with the students.  For those of you that don't know me I am very crafty....with a computer!  I am not crafty with anything I have to free hand!!  So, let's just say I need a little practice on making anchor charts quickly and making them look nice.  Please don't judge me on my not-so-teacherish handwriting! I'm working on it!  I could have made it look much nicer if I had done it in advance, but I love making an anchor chart WITH THE STUDENTS so they can contribute!

The second day I did a close read on a passage that I found on Teachers Pay Teachers on Corn.  I found this bundle of Close Reading Passages that were on sale so I got all 20 of these passages for half price.  Go check it out here!  During my lesson the students read the same passage four times.  They did awesome at annotating the text and using the text as evidence for their answers!

The third day I did a read-aloud lesson on the book Corn by Gail Gibbons.  This lesson was also my science lesson.  Gail Gibbons is a wonderful author and illustrator. Her books are very informative and appealing.  Anyone that wants to buy me any of her books for my classroom, feel free!

After we did the read-aloud I had an ear of corn for each group of students to examine.  They looked at the corn and created their own word bank about the ear of corn and then wrote a descriptive paragraph about that ear of corn.  I wanted to do an experiment with popping corn on the cob in the microwave but I could not find popcorn on the cob anywhere!!  I bought this Corn by Gail Gibbons Unit on Teachers pay Teachers to use as my reference for this lesson.

I found it challenging to pick a topic and teach the topic.  I wish I could have picked a skill and taught the same skill all week, like Inference.  It was a challenge to have my lessons build off of each other based on a topic and not a skill.  The students were not learning about corn in science so it was just a random lesson for them.  But, they loved it and did well!  I wish I could post some pics of the students during these lessons...oh well.  Just picture a bunch of super cute third graders.  I'm loving these kids!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Peace, Love, Third Grade

After a long summer of waiting to find out where I was going to be placed, I got my placement.  I am super excited to be in the third grade!  I am in a different system than my kids so I'm a little stressed about that, but I'm sure it will be fine.  My Mentor Teacher is amazing!  She just completed the Ironman Competition in Louisville a few weeks ago.  (Say What?????)  She is a workhorse...which I LOVE!!  That is the kind of teacher that I want to be so I'm pumped to learn from her.  I've met the class and they are super awesome!!  Here I am the day I met the class.  (Photography by my wonderful 7 year old photographer who was not up for taking a re-take.)

The first thing she asked me to do was to write a "Meet the Student Teacher" letter.  I had fun writing it!  I downloaded a few new fonts for it.  I love new fonts!

One of the first dates she asked me to write down was Parent/Teacher conference night.  I loved going and meeting so many of the parents.  They were all wonderful!  When I got there that night she had set me up a desk.  Her room is decorated with a Rock Star theme so the front of my desk says "Our ROCKIN' Student Teacher".   LOVE IT!!! 

I am transitioning into her classroom over the next month.  I am going to my college classroom for the first part of the semester.  We are knee-deep in the Common Core right now.  My college classes will transition online and then I will be in my student teaching classroom for two days a week until Christmas.  After Christmas I will be student teaching full-time.  I love my classmates, but am ready to be in my elementary school full-time!

I have been in the corporate world since 2001.  At times this life change is easy, and there are times when this is super hard!  I have been with the same employer since 2003 (10!) and she thinks I hung the moon.  It is very nerve-wracking to start at the bottom again.  I pray that God will put me where I am needed (which he did with my student teaching position).  Please pray for me this year.  Pray that I will do a good job and that a principal will see me as an asset to their team next year.

Thank you all for following me on my journey.  246 days until Graduation!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Children's Literature

I think my favorite class this past semester was my Children's Literature class.  I love to read, I love to see my children read, and I love to read with my children so this was the perfect class!  We did a lot of weekly projects in this class.

Back in the old days kids went to school with a HornBook.  A HornBook had information on it that students would use as a reference point during their school day.  It looked something like this:

One of our first projects was to make our own 21st century HornBook.  I bought a cutting board from WalMart, used some Modge Podge and went to town.  One one side I put the food pyramid and how to read a food label and on the other side I put a keyboard, common shortcuts, fonts, and favorite websites.  

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We also made our own Children's Book Award.  Mine was called the "Sharon Garner Young Mother Award."  The criteria for my award was that it must be written by a mother who has young children and the book must contain a moral from which the children could learn.

We also had to give our award to a book that met our criteria. I selected a book that my parents gave to my daughter.  This book was written by a friend of theirs.  I do not personally know her, but I do know of her.  The book I chose was Penny Sue:The Pure Hearted.  Penny Sue is about a young girl who befriends a new girl in her class at school.  The new girl takes a long time to warm up to her and Penny Sue gets discouraged.  Eventually Penny Sue learns the reason the new girl is distant.  Penny Sue became a friend to someone that desperately needed a friend.  Although I did not make the illustrations part of my award, the illustrations in this book are phenomenal!  Penny Sue was written by Serena DeGarmo and illustrated by Arielle De Marco.

You can buy Penny Sue:The Pure Hearted on Amazon.  Click here to go to Amazon to buy Penny Sue.

Our big project in this class was a Book Review Portfolio.  We had to review 40 books in our portfolio.  We had to review ten Caldecott medal winners, ten Coretta Scott King book award winners, and ten Newbery medal winners.  The remaining ten could be medal winners of our choice.  We could also choose honor books as well.

Here is my favorite from each category.

 Caldecott Medal-Noah's Ark.  This book is a picture book.  I loved the illustrations in this book and seeing how it told the story of Noah and the Ark through pictures.  

Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award-Brothers in Hope:The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan.  This book is realistic fiction picture book.  It tells the true story of the Lost Boys of Sudan.  This is really interesting and I hope to one day have this book in my classroom.

Newbery Honor- Hatchet. I read this book in honor of my brother-in-law who is an Eagle Scout and my sister said he loved these books growing up.  It was a quick and easy read.  I could see young boys really getting into this book.

Our final project in this class was to plan a week of lessons based around a book.  Since I hope to teach older students I chose a novel, Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis.  This book is a Newbery Medal winner and a Coretta Scott King Award winner.  I really enjoyed this book and would love to use my unit in class one day.


During class we also had to construct our own class library.  We did this with our table and I think we did a fabulous job on our library!  Thanks to my friend Stephanie who always made sure we had tons of craft supplies on hand!  Thank goodness she had an old box in her car or I'm not sure what we would have done.  We enjoyed having a little fun during this class and not working too hard.  

That about sums up my Children's Literature class.  One of the main reasons I am doing this blog is to be able to look back at my school and remember my classes and what I learned!  I know my Children's Literature class is one that I will remember.    

Monday, May 6, 2013

4th Grade Read Aloud- Crickwing

My first lesson I taught in the classroom was a read-aloud.  I've been subbing so this wasn't the first lesson I've actually taught, but it was the first lesson that I wrote and taught myself.  I have been in a 4th grade classroom so I picked the book Crickwing by Janell Cannon.  She is the author of Stellaluna.  Crickwing is really cute book where the character changes drastically from the beginning of the book to the end of the book. 

Product Details

I first taught this lesson in my college classroom as practice and then taught it in my 4th grade classroom.  I decided to make the main goal of my lesson about character traits.  The first thing I did was to have the students tell me about their teacher.  They came up with some great character traits for her.  I listed those on the board and reminded them that they were character traits.

I found this super cool Character Map by Colleen at Totally Terrific In Texas.  It was PERFECT for this lesson.  Thanks Colleen!

I was blessed with a wonderful class this semester.  I never saw one of them misbehave.  I almost thought I was dreaming.  They were wonderful while I taught this lesson.  My instructor came and watched me teach it so it was a little nerve-wracking with her there.  It went great and both teachers gave me great reviews.  They both said they could tell I was very comfortable in the classroom.  I enjoyed seeing some of the completed Character Maps.  

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One student wrote that Crickwing was diabolical.  What in the world??  4th grade??  Diabolical??  Hello expanded vocabulary!

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If you are looking for a great read-aloud for 4th grade I would highly suggest Crickwing.  I could have done an entire unit on this book.  Maybe I will one day!  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Some Say Teachers Earn A Degree in Coloring

I had a Creative Arts class this semester.  All we did in this class was craft projects.  I was glad that this class was easy!!  I thought I would do a post highlighting some of the projects that we did in this class.

Rock Sculpture-I'm not sure when we would ever make rock sculptures in our classrooms?  Those kids would start beating each other with the rocks.  And, let's not even talk about the hot glue.  Mine is the one that is done with the decorative rocks.

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Valentine's Day Box- We had class on Valentine's Day and convinced our professor to let us make this craft instead of whatever random thing he had planned.  Maybe I will use this one day!

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Puppet Show- We had to write our own puppet show and perform it in front of our class.  Our characters had to be named after our grandparents.  I used a puppet that I made with Callie in girl scouts to save a little time.  My horse was named "Dale Horse."  One of the girls took a video of our puppet shows. I'll post the actual show if I can get the video from her.  

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Big Book-  He assigned us a title and we were to come up with our own big book.  I took pictures of the neighbor kids for my book.  I'd say most, if not all, of the books my classmates did were much better quality than mine.  By this point we knew that our grades were pass/fail so we didn't see the need in going the extra mile.  I skipped a class this week and spent time with my family!

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April Weather Calendar- I'm pretty sure that if I get a job in a classroom where I will be doing calendar time, I will just buy one instead of making one.  But, if I ever need to make one I can!  Maybe I will put that on my resume?

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Not Pictured- 
Watercolor markers-We actually drew on paper with markers and then took a paintbrush with water to them.  I was too embarrassed to take a picture of this project.
Clay Modeling- I hate clay/play dough.  I think I pawned this project off on Stephanie!  Thanks Friend!
Folk Songs- I taught the class "Hi, My name is Joe."  I thought everyone would know that song, but they didn't.  Kinda fun.  

This was the last time this class was being offered through my program.  I don't think a creative arts class is necessary in this age of technology.  I mean, who needs a Creative Arts class when you have Pinterest??  

Friday, January 11, 2013

Semester One....In the Books!

Well, I did it.  I made it through my first semester in the teaching program.  I turned in a pretty awesome portfolio if I do say so myself!  I wanted to do a post linking to some of the technology I included in my portfolio.

I made so many different things for this portfolio.  I had to turn in a week of lesson plans for one unit.  I did my unit on habitats.  So.....if you are a student doing a unit on habitats, this is the post for you!

I had to make a Prezi.  If you have never heard of is the "new" PowerPoint.  Very cool!

I also made a Glogster.  I've never heard of Glogster before.  It's pretty cool too.  Not sure if I would use it in my classroom, but it would be a really cool tool if you taught older grades I think. 

I made some cool PowerPoints and an interactive power point game, but I won't bore you with those.  I don't know exactly how well I did on my finals, but all I know is that I did well! YAY!!  Straight A's for me!

I really did learn a lot this semester!  I'm 25% done with the teaching program and have 3 more semesters to go.  It really is going by fast! 
I'm not blogging as much as I would like.  One of the main purposes of this blog for me is to use it as sort of a journal to remember my journey to the classroom.  I've been subbing a lot lately and I'm excited to tell you about that.  I'm really enjoying that time in the classroom and how much I am learning. 
And...I can officially say that I will graduate with my Bachelor's Degree NEXT YEAR!!!!