Welcome to my teaching blog! I am an SEI teacher for kindergarten and 1st grade students, and this is my 3rd year of teaching in my own classroom. Every day is a new adventure, and there's never a dull moment! Please consider following my blog. :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


December is tomorrow and I am both excited and anxious about December festivities, responsibilities, and restrictions!  However, I know that whatever we end up doing will be fun and thrilling for my kids. :)

  • 9am phone call: "What is today?" Today is Wednesday, today is Wednesday-- all day long, all day long.  "Today is Wednesday.  I thought you would be here at 8:30...as usual." -.-
  • CPT for my 3 kids only... whoops!
  • meeting @ 7:30 in the morning tomorrow as well as another one at 3:30 until 5 after school...hoo-ray. =/
  • Math stations have been pretty calm and effective lately (I think).  The repetitive stations are comforting for students, and I think it gives them a small success at something they can do quickly and (sometimes) correctly.
  • Literacy stations have been NoiSy lately...but is it a "good" buzz or just distracting? hmmm...
  • Science director came in today to announce--> informal observation on Friday @ 12:35-- eeeek!
  • Finally sent in my course approvals for next year's (maybe) lane change...
  • November calendar journals stapled and in mailboxes for tomorrow!  Dec/winter themes start tomorrow.
  • 1 out of 3 observations done with my aide...:) She's so helpful!

Biggest Concerns:
  • What am I going to do for each "Random Act of Kindness"?  I swear I force myself into these stressful situations...
  • completing my report cards...
  • effective planning time and assessments...teacher-made assessments...how to collect data that leads to future steps to move FORWARD for kids
  • mentor observation next week
  • workshop for grad school next week

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


  • It was nice to join the K ELA CPT again today, but it was bad having to rearrange my groups due to someone calling in sick today! boo.
  • My student busting out and singing Nicki Minaj right before the beginning of math..HA!
  • I fixed the copy machine this morning-- hooray for me!
  • Almost forgot to bring the library card information sheets to the public library today-- that would have been horrible!
  • I am reinventing how I do science, and I'm kind of excited about it!  Trying to be flexible and make it fun and accessible for my kids.
  • "Rest time" is not very quiet in Room 24...
  • I think someone poo-oopsied in his pants today during math-- kindergarteners are such babies.  Stinky Pete.
  • The nurse told me that she always sees me smiling. :)
  • I forgot to mention that a student drew a picture of me and my mother yesterday during Art class-- how charming. :P

Biggest Concerns:
  • Gr. 1 report cards
  • integrating literacy and science curriculums
  • appropriate assessments for K and 1
  • making time for my grad school coaching project and PD workshop within the next 2 weeks
  • 2 observations are looming nearby-- I can feel them!

Photos: Projects "in the Works"

Science Vocabulary throughout the units

December/ Kindness Theme

Monday, November 28, 2011

Back to Reality

The day after Thanksgiving break killed me today!  Morning meetings injected stress into my day, and you know how those just throw me off for the entire school day...

  • My kids were as energetic as ever today-- good thing/bad thing?
  • meetings, critiques, judgments, THE PRESSURE.
  • It's crazy how you can plan for a million activities when the kids can only complete one...very...very...very slowly-- bahh
  • My principal is so supportive :)
  • Asked about Christmas lights up in the classroom today-- TBD tomorrow...
  • 18 school days until Christmas vacation!
  • gave my first graders the wrong quick quiz today-- no wonder they all scored 100% ;-)

 Biggest Concerns:
  • Report cards are due by the end of the week to be checked by the principal-- also my letter to parents needs to be translated in 5 different languages...fantastic.
  • As always, I think I've bitten off more than I can chew...it's bad when you get to school at 6:30 and leave at 7:30...and still feel like you're not prepared-- fml.
  • Everything is my concern right now. :(

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Day before Thanksgiving

I feel a little guilty saying that I haven't lifted a finger since 3pm on Wednesday to work on school stuff...but at the same time, it was such a nice Thanksgiving break!  I relaxed and really enjoyed my family and friends, and now I'm more excited than ever for Christmas vaca. 19.5 school days left ;-)

Highlights/Low-lights of last Wednesday:
  • Shaking heavy cream to make butter with the mainstream first graders was really fun today!  I loved the coloring activity for the kids while they took turns shaking their butter.  I made cornbread and pumpkin bread for them, and they were hits!
  • One of my kids was knocked in the face with his chair while taking it down, and he got a bloody nose-- rough day for him. :(
  • My aide worked with my kids to give a me a Thanksgiving present of a bracelet and ID case-- cute thought. :)
  • We made turkey cards for the school principal, secretary, lunch aide, custodian, and nurse-- trying to teach my kids to think about others!
  • Coloring page that I made on Tuesday saved the day because the kids had an activity to do while signing the cards. 

Biggest concerns:
  • IEP on Wednesday
  • meetings tomorrow and Tuesday morning
  • bulletin board ideas for winter?
  • Who celebrates Christmas in my class? not everyone...

Banana, Cranberry, Corn, and Pumpkin Bread with homemade butter! :)

Finished my #1-9 posters...woohoo!

Thinking of doing "25 Random Acts of Kindness" with my kids for December :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Fever

Thanksgiving fever is buzzing around school, and my kids are in a great mood!

  • ELL Thanksgiving celebration went well, and 3 of my parents showed up...yay!  The kids were well-behaved (for the most part) and they seemed to l-o-v-e the food served.
  • The feather headbands came out great!  AND the pin/elastic combo really helped keep them on the kids' heads! Hollaaa...
  • Family poem-letters are colored, feathered, and in mailboxes to take home tomorrow :)
  • Fall poetry books are almost ready to go home tomorrow!
  • A large turkey surprise for my aide today :)

Biggest Concerns:
  • Grade 1 report cards
  • Grad school PD workshop and coaching project!
  • teaching some of my K their #s 1-10 still! oy vey

Photos from today:

Orange/Red #s 1-10 Patterned headbands
K Letter to Family Member
Grade 1 Letter to Family Member

Turkey Surprise!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Busy Monday!

Today was and still is quite busy!  I am currently baking cornbread and boiling potatoes for my mashed potatoes to bring to school tomorrow.  Our ELL program is having a special Thanksgiving celebration for our students and their families.  I am very excited to celebrate (and eat); but right now, I'm stressed about finishing my food and homework in time for the Pats' game!

  • Created (with the K team) and completed the K Unit 3 pre-assessments...it's nice to get things done (even if my students flunked the pre!).
  • Working 2 literacy group blocks and then ending with a whole-class housecleaning craft was nice today...poor kids haven't been able to to finish many Thanksgiving projects! (We always start them, and then I move them onto the next activity!)
  • No CPTs tomorrow and Wed-- woop woop =)
  • Tried to stay late at school today planning so that I can work up to not planning on Wed!

Biggest Concerns:
  • The food I'm cooking for people who have never tasted my food!
  • Finishing my grad school work for tomorrow (observation and article)
  • Grade 1 report cards
  • IEP meeting next week

Photos from today:
"The Native Americans helped the Pilgrims hunt and grow food."

HF words, Patterns, and American History...oh my!

HF words ("the") for K, and content words for Grade 1 :)

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    On Friday...

    What a crazy week last week!  I was so happy to make it to Friday, and I am so pumped that it's the weekend now!

    • My p/t conference went well today...The mom and I talked for a half hour about her two boys, and she told me how one of them absolutely loves school...yayy! =)
    • No playtime at 2:30; but the kids were able to play for 15 minutes before dismissal.  I was just relieved that the Kindergarteners finished their unit 2 tests! woohoo!  And my little girl who spoke no English at the beginning of the year and knew no numbers, shapes, or math vocab got a 19/20 on her test...I AM SO PROUD OF HER! =)
    • My friend came in during math and said that everyone was so quiet...I have never heard that before..wow!
    •  Yay! My internet was working again on Friday afternoon so the kids were able to watch their Alphabet and Counting videos-- oh, happy day...I am going to try to have my brother burn the YouTube videos for me so that I have them in case of emergencies!

    Biggest Concerns:
    • Finishing my Thanksgiving projects with the kids before the Christmas season kicks in!
    • Baking cornbread and making mashed potatoes tomorrow for Tuesday's Thanksgiving feast
    • Baking cornbread and pumpkin bread for Wednesday's churning butter activity with another first grade classroom =)

    Photos from Friday:
    We read Turkey Trouble today, and the kids LOVED it.  They asked me to read it again on Monday! :)

    Thursday, November 17, 2011


    Today was crazy, busy, hectic, and all.over.the. place.  I'm so glad that I will be going to bed soon and starting a new day tomorrow.  I have a parent conference in the morning, but other than that, hopefully no informal observations throw my day off! :/

    Highlights/Low-lights today:
    • My early morning meeting today was not fun, and I feel judged and very under the microscope.  blehhhhh
    • I raised my voice so much today at my kids, and I feel so badly about it!  If no one comes to observe me before 2:30 tomorrow, they are getting extra playtime because they deserve it!  I think they are some of the hardest working kids in school...
    • I am disappointed in my 1st graders' quarterly math assessments, and it kills me that they didn't do better...:(
    • My internet was not working at school today, and it totally threw off my day because I couldn't PRINT anything from my computer; I couldn't CHECK MY EMAIL; I couldn't use my GOOGLE SEARCH ENGINE for clipart; and I couldn't PLAY ANY ALPHABET OR COUNTING VIDEOS for my kids.  UGHHHHH-- I hope it works tomorrow.  I just sent my 5th complaint to IT of the year...they probably hate me!
    • I forgot my cell today at home-- FML.
    • I had a new hire meeting after school today, and it was actually very informative and not a bother to go to. 

    Biggest concerns:
    • I hope I remember my parent conference tomorrow morning!
    • Liaison and technicalities for my room and for my students
    • Thanksgiving projects for my kids
    • Why did my 1st graders do so poorly?

    Photos from today:
    Embellished this turkey to include the First Grade sight words of the week!
    Noun Sorting with magazine clips

      Wednesday, November 16, 2011

      Happy Hump Day

      • Alphabet video for the kids :)
      • poems to parents and turkeys with markers and traced hands :)
      • literacy groups :(-- Play-doh center did not work out with the new mats...
      • math groups with feathers/addition/dot-to-dot fish worked well :)
      • math calendar journals after afternoon specials= golden :)
      • getting trapped in school gossiping/rivalries... :/
      • corrected and marked HW for yesterday and today during CPT = big help :)
      • catching bathroom culprits by tallying # of times in the BR at the door...lots of work, but keeps them on track  o_o
      • one of my kids might move away :( 

      Biggest concerns:
      • p/t conference on Friday
      • Grade K quarterly math assessments-- finishing them on time!
      • meeting with my director tomorrow morning @ 7:15am -.-
      • results of the Grade 1 math quarterly assessments

      Something so simple can engage my kids and make them so excited. :)

        Tuesday, November 15, 2011

        First Parent Conferences of My Career

        Parent/Teacher conferences are almost over!!  Just a couple more to schedule and meet with, and then I will be done...woohoo!

        Highlights/Low-lights today:
        • Parent/Teacher conferences weren't too, too bad-- My voice started shaking a couple of times thought...
        • "Little Pilgrim" poems came out cute...messier than I thought though...next time, I'm going to make hats and caps out of construction paper to glue on instead of all that coloring.
        • I made the songbooks from Reach for each student; so that lesson went smoothly today with the liaison.

        Biggest Concerns:
        • my first formal evaluation write-up
        • Gr. K 1st quarter assessments
        • grading Gr 1's quarterly assessments
        • K's math test on Friday
        • my meeting on Thursday morning...womp womp

        Photos from today:
        "Little Pilgrims" song

          Monday, November 14, 2011

          Longest Work Day Thus Far!

          ...meaning I spent 14 hours of my life at school today...holy smokes! My legs are so sore, and I might be so tired; but I still have things to do! Conferences 1-3, 5:30-8pm tomorrow, and I'm freaking out!  Oh well, today was a good day, and I think I am just going to ride that wave until Friday. 8-)

          • I am going to break some rules and add some photos of the kids' work today because they are just so cute!  The holiday season is coming up, and I am loving the Thanksgiving activities and crafts. :)
          • First parent/conference down...14 to go.  
          • My four kiddos on behavior charts all stayed on green today-- silent cheer. :)
          • My aide helped me get the 1st grade Quarterly Math assessments done-- she is awesome. :)
          • Time flies during the kids lunch/recess break of the day...
          • I like doing math calendar journals after specials in the afternoon-- it helps to wind them down. 
          • The "Thanksgiving Words" brainstorm went really well...the kids have no idea what I'm talking about because most of them have never heard of the holiday!  Some just learned that it's called a "turkey," not a "chicken"...

          Biggest concerns:
          • nervous about my liaison coming in this week...what am I doing wrong? what am I doing right?
          • parent/teacher conferences...can it be Wednesday already?
          • Report cards for Grades 1 due the first week of Dec...ay yi yi
          • MTELs still...
          • Category trainings

          Photos today:
          "I am thankful for..."

            Thursday, November 10, 2011

            Better Today

            Today was a well-organized and just overall better day for me and the kids.  Moods (and colds) are so contagious in our room...when I'm happy, they're happy; when they're sick, I get sick...like right now. :/

            • My Counting and Letter ID videos are WORKING!!  The kids were singing along today, and they recognized the tune and lyrics (obviously just counting 1-100 and the ABCs)...SOOO exciting!  I had to video record them for a big of the Big Number Song video because they were just so gosh darn cute!
            • My L respected my lessons for the most part today, and I think we will be able to work out our differences over time by reaching a compromise about the "right" instruction for these kids.
            • I can't wait to get my Math Wall updated with the student glossary pages I found the other day...It will help expose students to math throughout the day (whenever eyes wander and aren't paying attention to me!).
            • Assessments are on my brain, but at least the kids are getting better at doing small group assessments and each others privacy (for the most part). 
            • Parent/Teacher conferences start on Monday at 3:30 for me; then 1-3 and 5:30-8pm on Tuesday-- gonna be a long week, my friends!
            • Thanksgiving activities are so much fun-- love getting crafty in my classroom! :)
            • My aide videotaped me for my grad class today during read aloud and story mapping, and it is so funny to see the lesson on the flip-side! HAH! I am still cracking up while watching it.  Tooo funny.  "Where does the story take place?  What is the setting?  Where are the characters?" "In the chicken?" Oh goshh.

              Biggest concerns:
              • Quarterly assessments for K and Grade 1
              • ZPD of students...making sure that I'm helping them to progress!
              • P/T conferences obvi-- I hope I have enough student data and that I say the right things!

              Photos today:

              (Fine motor) Owls with 2 chalk circles and shredded construction paper

                Wednesday, November 9, 2011

                Psycho-crazy Wednesday

                Today did not feel like a Wednesday, and I was on-edge aLL daY...

                • I hate having other professionals come into my classroom and judge me, my para, and my classroom instruction/set-up without constructive criticism.  HATE IT!! :(  I cannot work with "my way or the highway" personalities.  WAHHH!
                • My para is so supportive of me and my instruction.  Sometimes, I think she gives me too much credit, but it's such a morale boost.  What would I do without her?
                • My post-conference went okay today, but I can't help going on tangents!  We spent my entire 40-minute prep time discussing her observation; followed by my gripes about other things...Just because I'm a new teacher doesn't mean that I don't know the rules and that I don't know when my boundaries are being stepped on! >.<
                • I am excited for the K/1 Staff breakfast tomorrow because I just like staff gatherings when everyone is more relaxed and can see each other.  I was happy to make and pass out the flyers for it...small touches mean a lot!  However, I wish the breakfast wasn't at 7:45 because that is my prime working time.  Oh well, it is what it is.
                • Conference scheduling between the SEI classrooms AND ELL families in the mainstream classrooms is so stressful!  I hope my charts are actually helping teachers and not stressing them out...
                • Owl presentation today...the kids LoVeD it, but some were terrified when the bigger owls flapped their wings and tried to escape from the presenters.  One of my little ones had to sit on my lap because she wanted to cry. :( Poor thing...
                • I was at school at 6:25 this morning before the building was unlocked, and left at 6:40 at night...these days are making me sooo tired.  And I'm getting sick... (silent violin)
                • I got a bloody nose at school today-- what the heck?!
                • DRA on one of my first graders didn't turn out as stellar as I thought she would be...however, I'm glad others are helping me to assess my kids because goodness knows I need so much help!

                Biggest concerns:
                • Student evidence for p/t conferences
                • The L in my room-- what is her purpose; what am I supposed to do to prepare for her; how can we plan for a whole week together when we only have 40 minutes a week to sit down and discuss?; why won't she take charge of a group and just own it?; what am I doing wrong/right?
                • p/t translator issues...gonna be a doozy!
                • Unit ELA/Math assessments for kindergarten and first grade as well as quarterly assessments due next Friday
                • My videotaping for grad school that I have to remember to do tomorrow...wishing, hoping, praying that I don't forget!

                Owls "can, have, are" Graphic Organizer

                  Tuesday, November 8, 2011

                  Professional Development ALL DAY

                  • PD today was torture...it takes skills for one person to lecture a large group of people for that many hours...My brain is fried from sitting and listening all day.

                  Biggest Concerns:
                  • PT conferences
                  • Thanksgiving/Friendship projects
                  • Reach assessments
                  • post-conference tomorrow
                  • What was I thinking juggling my first teaching job with grad school, MTELs, and life? omg.  OVERWHELMED.

                  Monday, November 7, 2011

                  Mas o menos Monday

                  Today was not too shabby (for a Monday)!  Two common planning times in the morning with my kids in Specials; then literacy stations went pretty well today.  Maybe I am finally getting the hang of this thing...

                  • ORGANIZED and carefully planned literacy stations that allow the kids to be independent really work-- but it sureeee takes a lot of work to get it all ready!
                  • Sometimes it's better to keep you mouth shut.
                  • I have so many things to do with my kids to celebrate Thanksgiving-- I hope we have time!!
                  • Moving my number posters around so that the kids can look at them when they're not looking at me...
                  • My internet connection was down at school today-- I hope it works on Wednesday!!  Or else I am in big trouble...
                  • New books for the kids today after the huge library book sale-- yayy!! They were so excited, and I think I picked a lot of good ones that interested them. :)
                  • Lately, experienced teachers have been asking for the worksheets and posters I've made/found to use in their classrooms-- I guess everyone has to change their plans no matter how many years you've been teaching!  Also, the new videos I've been finding to help the kids with their alphabet and counting are also FANTASTIC.  LOVE them, and the OT at my school was also interested in adding them to her Favorites to use with her students...:)

                  Biggest concerns:
                  • Finishing informal letter ID assessments
                  • Some of my 1st graders need to reread leveled texts for fluency-- how do I find time to do that with them?  I want to teach them to respond independently to texts, too!
                  • PT conference times keep changing-- sooo stressful >.<

                  Photos today:
                  "All About the Number __" posters

                    Saturday, November 5, 2011


                    • First grade journals in a small group works really well for them...they get support when needed, and I can help them with writing skills/concepts about print :)
                    • I love days when I don't need to meet for forty minutes-- extra prep! :)
                    • Literacy groups and the work planned for each one in piles works well :)
                    • There is no time to assess my kids individually-- ughh! :(
                    • HF words for first grade will be a huge challenge for some of them-- how can I teach them when we only have a 3-day week next week? hmm...maybe morning ELA reviews o__o
                    • Punching during lunchtime-- what to do what to do :(
                    • Owl prey project came out cute, and the kids were really engaged :)
                    • I like the "can, have, are" graphic organizers...they help reinforce these sight words and connect ideas to print :)
                    • Crazy afternoon when my para leaves early...glad the kids tried to work with me.  The kinders were able to work with pattern blocks and pumpkin letters for a loonnnggg time while I did a lesson with the first graders...
                    • Playtime at the end of the day is a nice reward for the kids...wish I had more time to do it...

                    Biggest concerns:
                    • P/T conferences next week-- I don't feel prepared
                    • Math assessments for Gr. 1 in small groups: QQ4; Unit 3 pre-assessment; Unit 2 test; 1st quarter assessment-- poor little ones...I'll have to bring in a treat for them next Thursday.
                    • Still need to finish letter ID and HF weekly with Gr 1 and Kinders

                    Photos today:
                    "Mr. Owl" poem, bordered by owls with their "prey"

                      Thursday, November 3, 2011

                      First Formal Observation

                      Almost had a panic attack today about my first formal evaluation...eeek!  So nervous and busy trying to organize my chaos.  However, the kids behaved, and they worked really hard in their centers-- yay!!  I'm not sure when my post-conference is, but it's nice to know that 1/5 of my formals are done...the rest will be unannounced though...fml.

                      • survived my first formal observation, and the students were trying very hard to follow directions :)
                      • pulled another 6:45am-7:50pm day...EXHAUSTED. o__o
                      • I have #s 1-6 finished for my "All About the number" posters...only 4 more to go! :)
                      • My story map organizer came out so cute!  Teacher blogs are my saviors this year. :)
                      • Finally beginning to organize all the materials that Susan let me borrow-- or else the mess in my car will start spilling out the doors... o___o

                      Biggest Concerns:
                      • ESL and Early childhood MTELs
                      • my aide leaving after lunch, and me without a sub for the rest of the day...scary business!
                      • assessments, assessments, assessments...quarter marks are due in less than 2 weeks--- ay caramba
                      • number and letter ID for my kinders :/

                      Photos today:
                      Story Map with title, characters, and setting

                        Wednesday, November 2, 2011

                        Busy Busy

                        Still trying to adjust to the new month and new visitors in the classroom-- so many people coming in and out as well as changes to my schedule...this drives me nuts.

                        • IEP went well today-- love when parents are cooperative and seek what is truly best for their children. :)
                        • Cancelled meeting tmrw that I was unaware of and looked silly for being out-of-the loop for! merr :/
                        • SOO gosh darn tired today...driving home sleepy is so dangerous. :(
                        • Having one student absent changes the whole dynamic of a classroom...
                        • Owls hanging from the ceiling look SO GREAT...I'm really happy when my ideas work. :) The kids were creative and engaged in the activity.  This was also our first time using feathers for a craft...one student ate a piece from the rug-- disgusting...
                        • Math went smoothly today, but I'm not sure how much learning there was compared to how much learning there COULD be...
                        • CPT times without a time manager or concrete purpose are a waste of time...
                        • My first "mommmy" call of the year...so funny :)

                        Biggest concerns at this moment in time:
                        • MY FORMAL OBSERVATION TOMORROW...freaking out

                        Photos today:
                        "Mr. Owl" poem with faux-feathers

                          Tuesday, November 1, 2011

                          Happy November!

                          I was so excited for a brand new month beginning today, but I have to admit that I had a slightly crummy day. :( I felt rushed and unorganized today-- I haaate that...and I also felt ill-prepared and on-edge.  My kids feed off of that energy so much, and I felt bad for the couple of times I raised my voice...the poor little babies. It didn't help my mood today that I had class tonight as well as an IEP tomorrow morning and my formal observation the day after that...WAHH.

                          • Di-cut turkeys for the coat hangers came out cute :)
                          • First graders really enjoyed "Rainbow Writing" their sight words :)
                          • Literacy groups today were a HOT MESS...I lost a stack of copies made the other day, and I didn't have a project planned for the theme center! :(
                          • Meeting with one of the translators today to plan out my literacy periods...:/
                          • Fall leaves coloring with markers was successful :)
                          • The kids liked the 100 video I found...very mellow and calming :)
                          • Morning meeting first thing in the morning worked out well, and I think that after getting used to calendar journals, those will work out nicely. :)

                          Biggest concerns:
                          • Am I taking the right steps to help my K students meet their math benchmarks?
                          • What assessments should I be using for my first graders and Reach?
                          • Asking colleagues for favors
                          • Keeping up with everyone
                          • ESL and Early childhood MTELs...donde?!
                          • Owl projects for tomorrow while I'm at my meeting