Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Opening of ARC

If you ever want an example of a school that really does care about it's community of students, all you have to do is look at Chets Creek. About two weeks ago we had our grand opening of the ARC center in one of our local communities. Check out the complete description of this amazing resource from dayle timmons.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What happen to the year??

For some reason, this year has probably been the hardest for me to think and write about when blogging. Of course, going back to Kindergarten after the end of first grade always is an eye opener (you tend to forget how young they are)and how busy you can get but this year I questioned what was important to write about. Did I have anything to say that was of value to another teacher? What would I look back on in another year and learn from what I had written? What positives were happening to me professionally that I needed to write about. As we near the end of the year, I realize that although it has been a tough year, there has been a lot of positives that are worth reflecting on. Many times my husband and colleagues have said to me that I take on too much and that I should learn to say no. are a few of the positives in my year that have made me feel successful. Ask yourself about the positives aspects of your year. It might just make you feel a little more valuable. :)

* I have once again been able to work with a group of teachers that I thoroughly enjoy. Sure...we all have difference of opinions at time, but overall we are a talented group of teachers. Some of these teachers I have been able to work on grade level with for 6-7 years. Some of them I have gotten the pleasure to work with for the first time. Do you appreciate your teammates? Have you told them? Do you enjoy spending time with them outside of the school day?

* I've continued to be a part of a great Target team at our school who continues to stretch ourselves to find effective ways to help kids! Have you taken extra steps with the kids in your class to help them beyond what is expected? Have you made a difference for the one kid you never thought you would reach? Did you help a student from another class become successful?

* I've gotten to continue my role as a science lead which has been my passion for so many years I don't even remember. With this I have continued to work with the teachers at my school and the county teaching science curriculum through our Academy of Science. Do you have a passion about a subject? Does your principal know about it? What steps are you taking to enjoy that passion?

* I have been able to write curriculum, along with other colleagues, that I am proud of. They are lessons that not only align with the standards but are engaging to students. Are you continuing to learn more yourself to be able to deepen the work of your students?

* I was able to mentor a great intern who I know will become a great teacher. I enjoy teaching teachers just as much as teaching children. I have always felt that mentoring is so important at every level. Have you reached out to help a teacher this year? Do people feel they can come to you when they need something?

* Most importantly, I have worked my tail off with the 22 students in my class to help them academically, behaviorally, and socially. I have tried my best to prepare these kids for first grade and find a love of school. If you have any doubt that you haven't made that difference, pick one child from your class that was your biggest challenge in August and where is that child now ~ academically, behaviorally, or socially? Sometimes it just takes a friend to point that out to you.

I hope that as I reflect on my year you can find a way to do the same. I would love to hear from you and the successes you have had this year.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Brand New Sleepover

Each year our First Graders participate in Sleepover in January. In previous years, this special day has been centered around great narrative stories about sleepovers, narrative writing, teddy bears, and friends. We read many books and wrote great stories about sleepovers. The study came to and end on the actual Sleepover Day where students came dressed in their pj's, brought their homemade teddy bears, had a pancake breakfast, and partipated in fun activities all day that were related to sleepovers.

This year the first grade teachers decided they wanted to change the annual event and spice it up with a little bit of science - ok, a lot of science. The theme just didn't focus around sleepovers but the night sky! Students learned about stars and planets. Over the course of a couple weeks, they incorporated science standards into their reading and writing as well. They had a family night where they had guest astronomers come with telescopes and families were invited to watch a movies outside under the stars. On Friday, they had their big day. They started out with a parade as usual but instead of homemade teddy bears, each child had made a pillow into a star or planet (they were really cool). They still had breakfast but with donuts and juice. Then it was off to their stations. They had a music where they sang "out of this world" songs, art where they made cool pictures frames, a galatic experience inside a big bag where they could watch the earth and moon move, and played space games on the smartboards. At the end of the day they went to the media center and watched a great shadow story on the ceiling, watched a movie, and danced. The kids had a BLAST!

Since many of our teachers loop back and forth between K and 1, I spend the day documenting the events so that we can use it for planning next year. Here are some highlights from their day.

Solar System

Space Worms

Monday, January 18, 2010

Project Wild at the Zoo

This weekend I attended a great workshop offered at the Jacksonville Zoo. Project Wild is a curriculum workshop that focuses on engaging lessons around animals and the environment. This was one of the most valuable workshops I have been to in years. There were about 20 people there from all over - Nassau County, Duval County, St. Johns County, GA, Tallahassee, and even two people from the Bahamas. We were fortunate enough to sit at the table with Tamika and Portia from the Bahamas.

They both worked for the National Park service there and were ready to learn what they could do to improve and provide education within their parks. Throughout the day we participated in great lessons, got to see some animals, and went through a section of the park making observations.

In May they offer Project Wet which I have already signed up for. I can't wait to go back and see what new and exciting things I can learn and bring back for my students!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Back on track- A community reaches out

As a teacher and a mom, sometimes time gets so far ahead of me I feel like I am chasing after it. As I was taking pictures the other day for a topic I wanted to blog about, I realized how long it had actually been since I had sat down and blogged on this site. Was it because I didn't feel I had anything worthy to say? Was it because POW WOW and holidays tend to put me into another world? I am not really sure but the other day I couldn't wait to get a chance to sit down and write about what I was experiencing from my school.

Last weekend, our community experienced a devastating fire at the apartment complex across the street from our school. The fire took out 20 apartments. Luckily - no one was hurt or killed!! In the process, 6 of our families lost everything they owned. Everyone felt their loss. Immediately our school sent out an email addressing the issue and what we could do to help our families. The next morning, people were bringing in clothes, blankets, and anything they could spare to help them. Fliers were sent home with students explaining what had taken place and asking for donations. The next morning, the response was overwhelming. As I brought in bags of clothes myself, I was almost in tears as I witnessed what our school family has to offer. Our office was literally turned into a department store (except everything was free!) There were coats, shoes, televisions, sheets, dishes, pillows, microwaves, pictures of couches, shampoo, toilet paper, and every size of clothing you could imagine. I took a couple quick pictures with my phone because I wanted to capture the love and support our community was able to give for these families. Throughout the week, we continued to received an immense amount of stuff to help these families get back on their feet. At once point I could hardly walk through the office! Thank you Chets Creek and all our parents for continuously reminding me that our families know what giving is all about.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Teachers working together

As the science lead teacher for my grade level, it is my goal to make sure my team learns everything tey can about Science instruction. This week, we had a Science TDE (temporary duty elsewhere). On these days, we get subs for our classroom so that we can meet as a team for professional development. Our day began with a great demo lesson from one of our fellow teachers. The lesson included just the engage and explore phase of the 5 E's for Science.

Then we went back to the conference room and debriefed the lesson. Then as a team, we wrote the rest of the lesson plan for that benchmark. Our next step was to review the components of the 5E's and discuss how that fits into a workshop model. We spent the rest of our time, taking the 2nd 9 weeks Essential Questions and writing 5E plans to go with them. The best part of the day was that the teachers were able to spend time collaborating with each other creating lessons that each of them had ownership in. What more could we ask for!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Teachable Moments

Have you ever had a time when something just happened by chance and you realize that WOW...that would be great for the kids to learn. Well that has been my experience this week. On Friday, I adopted a new stray kitten found outside my classroom. He had a sister but a friend took her. Our new addition is about 4 weeks old and his name is Rafiki. When I shared this with the kids they were ecstatic. I realized that documenting his life cycle would be a great learning experience for all of them. Many kids don't have kittens or have ever seen a kitten this young. Each week or so I will post new information on our class blog about how Rafiki is growing and changing and taking pictures all the while. I think the kids will learn more from this real life experience than any book could teach them.