Monday, January 26, 2009

First Grade Sleepover

Say the word "sleepover" to any first grader this week at Chets Creek and you will see their eyes light up! That is because one of our longest traditions is our First Grade Sleepover. You might be asking "Do they really let them spend the night?" No! But the kids don't care. Prior to the actual day, we begin by having the kids make a teddy bear at home. Yes, a stuffed teddy bear. Sure we have children who aren't able to make one due to family situations, but we have parents and teachers who will help them make one of their own. During this time, we begin reading fiction books about Sleepovers. Our favorite is Ira Sleeps Over. In Reader's Workshop we work on story mapping, comprehension strategies, and reader's responses. In Writer's Workshop, we review functional writing (how to make a teddy bear is always popular) and narrative writing. The students love to make up stories about sleepovers. We also love to do fun crafts during this time such as decorating paper pajamas or teddy bear glyphs. Finally the big Sleepover day arrives. Students and teachers come dressed in their pj's and slippers. We begin with our Teddy Bear Parade where we walk around the school showing off their bears that were made by the students. We end in our cafeteria with a pancake breakfast and a slide show of all the students. Then we have centers such as Bear Square Dancing, make book covers for their narrative stories, have a scavenger hunt, etc. During the afternoon, each class is invited into the media center for a "Sleepover Party". There we dance with the lights off, watch a movie and eat popcorn, and listen to great stories. It is the highlight of the day. Before we know it, the day is over and everyone is exhausted. For me, sleepover is more than just a fun day. It is a day of memories for both myself and my two children (Now 15 and 13). My kids still have the bears we made when they were in first grade and can even remember dancing at the "Sleepover Party". I only hope that these memories stay with all the kids who walk through our doors each day as they share in our traditions. Make sure you check back next week to see highlights from our First Grade Sleepover on Jan. 30th.

Monday, January 5, 2009

7 Things No One Knows About Me

Here it goes - I've been tagged to share 7 things no one knows.

1. I love to take pictures - of anything, but especially of my kids and the beach! My best Christmas present this year was my new digital that replaces my old SLR.
2. I played the flute, piccolo, and piano up until 10th grade.
3. I decided I wanted to major in Special Education after sitting in Dr. Mercer's class at University of Florida. Yes, the Dr. Mercer of Great Leaps Reading Program. He inspired me more than I ever have been in my life. Once we were in his upper classes he would take all of us out for pizza because he felt that it was only fair since we had to buy his book for the class. He was a great teacher.
4. I took jazz and ballet classes from middle school up through the day I graduated high school.
5. My two worst classes in high school were Honors Chemistry and AP Physics (especially Physics!). I'm amazed I came to love science as much as I do.
6. One of my first paid jobs was being the perfume lady at JCPenny's. My mom worked there and got me a job when I was 16 years old. I would work one Sat. a month for 4 hours (couldn't take it longer than that) and ask people if they wanted to try a new perfume. I made $6 an hour!
7. I always wanted to work with kids. So when I was 14 I started volunteering at the daycare right by my house during the summer. Each day I would go in and help with anything they needed. I worked almost every day for two summers - free of charge.