What a year!! I've been so busy wrapped up in teaching and classroom management that, yes, I've totally neglected writing and posting ANYTHING!! And on top of all of the typical classroom running around, I've been transferred from 1st grade to Early Fives! Early Fives? Yes, Early Fives...mini-munckins...the littlest of the littles. How do I feel about it? YEAH!!! No more hours and hours and hours and hours of testing...no more slacking on art projects...no more frustrating days of teaching concepts my kiddos aren't ready for...ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? EARLY FIVES??? What in the world am I going to teach? I'm all about the academics...my kiddos exceed their writing goal...my kiddos love to write about reading...my kiddos talk and share deeply about their reading and writing..UGH!! WHOOHOO!! Art projects...playdoh...watercolors...puzzles...reading books to littles...hands-on...hand-on...hands-on...teaching themes again!! WHAT DO MEAN I HAVE TO PACK AND MOVE MY CLASSROOM?? Books everywhere...boxes stacked in my garage...dig deep in storage for all my Kinder books and materials...oh, wait...it's been a roller coaster ride. Now...changing my blog once again..this time, I think it's starting over.. a new site, a new blog. Early Five's in the Hive. Good a name..now the planning and getting it up in running...watch for a post letting you know it's up in running.
Changes, changes, changes....the future seems to be full of them. First, notice the blog's name change (somehow I think this is only a first draft). I guess have totally thought it out and I'm jumping into my love of butterflies. It's one of the first units we teach and I'm in awe of the whole life cycle process. I don't know who really gets more excited about our Butterfly unit me or the Firsties. Now to figure out how to change the blog's layout and web address. Add another change!
Changes, changes...Second, it's time to revamp the classroom. In Kindergarten, it was about bears. The last two years, I shifted slightly to expand to bears and bees. This coming year another shift...bees and butterflies. I know, I know...but I have the cutest yellow bee pattern curtains. But if I find some bright and cheerful butterfly material...I may have to "retire" the bee curtains. Typical teacher..."retire" not "get rid of". I've been all over Pinerest and blog stalking through Teaching Blog Addict to see some really GREAT organization ideas...which leads into my last change.
That list of summer projects just got longer. Guess that's why it's Summer.
I need to relax. Just stop my teacher brain and relax. But how can I with all of the great things pinned on Pinerest and all of those great blogs out there? UGH! My flash drive is in my computer and I have just downloaded at least 5 great ideas/free activities for next year. And I keep thinking about the changes I want to make for next year. Do I want to keep my Bees theme? Do I want to dive into a Butterfly theme? Do I even want to change the name of this blog to be about Butterflies? How am I going to change my home school note books--and let me tell you I've seen a really great idea! When can I get to Ikea to get some great supplies that I've seen posted another blogs? Blog stalking at it's best. My brain is going in all different directions. And what about some of the great book studies going on? How am I ever going to relax??? As one of my good friends always said at teacher needs until the end of June to relax. July to finally relax and August to gear back into teaching mode. I might just be a model of that this year.
It's WHAT time? It's summer, does time really matter? But really, it's WHAT time? I couldn't have been on Pinterest that long? Or so it seems I was! Ok...but there are some really great summer projects to take on..wait..projects?? Yes, some very cool classroom projects to take on..they are MUST do's. Head over to Pinterest boards and check them out!
My Target, Hobby Lobby and Ikea lists have begun. Off to get the needed items for my first project..here I come Target and Hobby Lobby!
What summer projects are you working on this summer for your classroom?
Summer vaca! Ahhhh....time for summer vacation. I can 't think of two nicer words right now. Yesterday, was the last day of school. My Firties are now Second graders! I'm excited for them. A whole new adventure awaits them next year. Some of my Firsties will be moving to new buildings--it was sad to see them go. Even many of my former Kinders will be moving on...some to middle school while others will be going to our Year Round building. It was hard to see some of them go. No more morning hugs from a last year Firstie; no more extra help in the afternoon from grown up Fifth grade Kinders. Deep sigh. Time to pack up my room for the summer and relax. My goal for packing is to organize at the same time. I know a big goal but I love walking in to a ready to go, organized room in August. Then...relax, relax, relax. Well, kind of...the Amazon boxes are already arriving with summer teacher reads. This summer's goal...create a plan for the Daily Five (a summer reread). What are your summer teacher reads?
I'm still out here in bloggingland...just a little a lot over whelmed for the past months. And the list of "to dos" was so huge that my blog seemed to be on the bottom every day, every week, eventually every month.
I've been overwhelmed with teaching, testing and being sick! It seemed that if my Firsties weren't passing something to classmates then it was to me. I even was so sick at my favorite reading conference that it was an early trip home. I have never--and I mean--NEVER been so sick during a school year. They were starting to know me by name at the local walk-in clinic--well, not really but close.
Now, back on track with the blog.
Some interesting and GREAT things are happening:
ALL of my Firstie met my school's reading goal!!! Yes, every single one....100%!! Even my lowest Firsties reached it!!
Next year I'll have two new teaching partners. Big changes across my district with buildings closing and one building repurposed so major staff changes.
My yearly evaluation is behind me...highly effective! WOO HOO!!
But the best....summer is just around the corner! Planning is already underway for next year. So this gets me wondering..when do you start planning and what is the one area you will be focusing on?
I AM A DATA GUNKIE! There I said it, it's out in the open. I can't hide from it any more. Everything is about data. In a way, it makes me sad....there was a time when I focused just teaching..oh, I could always tell you where my students were at, who needed to work on what and who had mastered what. But now, now I sit anaylize everything! (Can you tell it's been a data weekend?) And my Firsties can too. They know that data is important..it's our first math unit (graphing) and we talk about it every day. They talk about it everyday. They support each other in their learn through it, we celebrate when a Firstie moves reading levels, we talk about/write rubrics and we use them. Each of my Firsties has a "Data Portfolio". Inside their portfolio, they have a graph for their DRA2 level, sight word levels, and "red word" levels. The Firsties are the "caretakers" of their portfolio..oh they don't keep it in their desk but they are responsible for making and interpreting their data. Unknowingly, they take their scores and set goals for themselves. We have a "Great Readers Have Great Goals" wall.(oh, what a great mini-lesson to share with you!) On the wall, each Firstie has their picture up and every month they write a new reading goal knowing from our Reading Workshop conferences and what the data "tells" them would be a good focus. It's interesting how many of them pick the goals I would write up for them. It makes me feel good to know all of the stress love of going through the end of our 2nd trimester data is worth it...my Firsties will love adore the new color coded bar graphs I made for them!