Friday, August 17, 2012

Which Special is Today? - Fish Bowl Schedule

    After a few meetings this morning, the teachers had a chance to finish working on their rooms and preparing for the first day of school on Monday. My teacher, Mrs. D., was mostly finished with her room, but I helped her with a few last minute things like making sure the books were still in order and ensuring that we know how the schedule will work.

     The school just switched to having specials on a rotating schedule, where the same grade has it at the same time every day, but the special each classroom has changes every day. Due to this, we decided having a place to say which one was that day would be necessary, not only for the students but for us as well. I quickly noticed that her room had a fish theme. When she asked me to make a place where we can say the special of the day, I knew that I wanted to make a fish bowl. Here is the finished product! The fish with the names of the specials have Velcro on them and will be changed every day.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I'm Busy Beads

     Today was my first day at my student teaching placement. We were in faculty meetings all day, which were long at times, but I enjoyed meeting the teachers. During our meetings, we discussed the students' code of conduct, how the teachers are evaluated, Common Core standards, and their school improvement plan.

    I met my teacher, whom I will call Mrs. D., and learned a little bit about her classroom. One great idea that she uses in her classroom are "I'm busy beads." Basically, it's a cheap bead necklace that she puts on when she's busy. Students know that when she is wearing those beads they can't ask her a question or interrupt her. Mrs. D said that it has worked very well in the past and is great especially while she is working with a small group during the literacy block. I think I will definitely pick up a some beads to also use.

    I can't wait for tomorrow! We have a few more meetings and will spend most of the day working on the classroom. Students start Monday!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Author Study - David Shannon

     Last fall, one short author study I did with my second graders was on David Shannon. The students were very familiar with him as they love the David books and have a wonderful librarian. While doing research on him, I found that David Shannon hid a drawing of his dog, Fergus, in every book he illustrated (at least after a certain year).

    I read Good Boy, Fergus with my second graders. Then, we searched through many David Shannon book that they were familiar with to find Fergus. Some students found him twice in the book they were looking at. Here is one example from David Goes to School:

     Our class talked about how David Shannon draws from personal things when he writes his stories. Good Boy, Fergus! was after his dog, Fergus. His David books were based on a story he wrote as a young boy, when he only knew how to spell no and David. This is why No, David was the first book. Alice the Fairy is dedicated to his daughter, Emma. It's exciting for students to see how personal experiences can really play into their writing.

    This fall, I'm planning on using some of these ideas when I am teaching Writing Workshop to help motivate my first graders to write about small moments and personal experiences.

Click here to view a flier my friend and I made containing some more information that we found about David Shannon. Also, let me know if this link works well. It's the first time I have tried something like this.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A First Grade Summer

Wow, it's been a long time since I've written on this blog. I hope everyone has been having a wonderful summer. I know I have!

     I started my summer by working for a month at a summer school/camp. My class had just finished first grade. It was so much fun! Everyday, we had art, music, gym, language arts, math, and lunch. As a college assistant, I brought my class to the different rooms and helped out as needed. Some highlights were: helping one girl learn how to write her last name, reading books aloud, listening to the students sing our up-beat songs, throwing water balloons on unsuspecting students below on water day, and going on our many field trips. We went to the zoo, bowling alley, splash pad, and a nursing home to sing the program they were learning. There were also short trips to events at the library and special days like water day or really hot days (over 100) where we went to an air conditioned building to play games or watch a movie. Overall, it was a great month, and I loved having the experience with these students before student teaching this fall.

     Speaking of student teaching, while I was originally placed in second grade, that teacher decided to retire, so now I am... in first grade! First grade seems to be where I'm at this summer. I have first graders at summer school, babysit a girl who is going into first grade, and now I'll be there this fall! While I love second grade, I'm sure first grade will be amazing, and I'm looking forward to an experience I have not had yet. I start next Thursday with students the following Monday. Have a wonderful start to the school year!