Sunday, April 29, 2012

What a year!

It's been one of those school years where I stop and asked how we got to the countdown to the end of the year already. When I started this blog, I didn't intend on taking on so much this year.

I submitted my last retakes for NBC and am studying for the assessment center exercises.

This weekend has been a flop. I ended up in the ER with stomach issues at 3am on Saturday. Now I'm just resting in pain. All kinds of aches! Hoping to be in decent shape to head to work tomorrow!

Monday, January 16, 2012

New Contract Thoughts

Oh what a week and a half it has been! We had a contract forced on us by the Governor last summer. His "Last, Best and Final Offer" was disappointing and the union took it to court. Now that we're at risk of losing our Race to the Top funds, the state was ready to go back to the bargaining table. The union and the state have a tentative agreement that we need to vote on this Thursday. There's been lots of back and forth in person and on the Facebook page. I've become more active in the union this year and I want to tell all of the people posting negative things that they are entitled to their opinions, but if they want to make change, then they should get more involved. Where were they today when we marched in the MLK Day parade?

I'm hoping to post tomorrow about the awesome grant I got and staring a project with my class!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Winter Break

Where as Winter Break gone?  Today is the last official day, tomorrow is supposed to be a teacher work day, but with the contract that the governor implemented in July, we will be on Directed Leave Without Pay instead.  I've gone in a couple of times over the last 2 weeks.  One day I did a thorough cleaning of my "office" area and the others I just stopped in to feed my fish.

Without my bestie and her sweet sons around over the break, I had to find things to keep myself occupied.  The highlights though?

I started on a 2012 goal and went to a crochet class where I learned to single stitch, double stitch, and triple stitch.  Just enough so that I'll be able to make a couple of the projects that I've pinned, including making dish scrubbers with nylon netting.

I wrote down my grandmother's "recipe" for traditional mochi soup that we eat for breakfast on New Year's Day.  It's taken 27 years, but I finally have acquired a taste for it and actually ate 2 bowls this year!

What have I not done?  Report cards, science/social studies unit planning, National Board entry planning...

11 in 11 Post

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So to get back into blogging, both personally and professionally, I decided to jump in on a couple linky parties.

11. Favorite movie you watched: 
This would have to be Bridesmaids simply because as an honorary member of a great friend's wedding party (long, dramatic story that ended in only having a maid of honor), her wedding planning and events occupied 10 months of the year.  It was worth every minute of it to be a part of her special day.  We watched this the night before the wedding during our sleepover at the hotel and the morning of while we got ready.

10. Favorite TV series:
I've recently fallen in love with Criminal Minds.

9. Favorite restaurant:
I discovered many new restaurants in 2011 thanks to Girl's Night Out with some great friends.  I'm currently in love with Ha Long Pho Noodle HouseLa Tour CafeStage, and Gyukaku.  For the most part, I'm trying to eat local and buy local to support Hawaii's small businesses.  Gyukaku is the only chain on my list of favorites.
8. Favorite new thing you tried:
I've got a bunch of new favorites, but the top on my list would have to be zumba, which is now an almost weekly habit and I love the Wii version too.  Now to figure out how to keep it low impact, but that's for another post.
7. Favorite gift you got:
I had to stop and think about this really hard, but there are 2.  One is two ceramic pieces painted for me by one of my kindergarten students last year.  Another is a coffee mug that my student teachers gave me at the end of their final semester.  I was truly blessed to have these two amazing teachers in my classroom and another one next door to be a part of our team.  They drew pictures that represented our semester as an amazing team and wrote a story to go along with it.
6. Favorite thing you pinned:
The crayon wreath projects.  I never got around to it in 2011, but will in 2012!
5. Favorite blog post:
Great Shopping Finds I love to shop and shopping for my classroom is always such a thrill, especially this year when I had a completely empty classroom that needed to be filled and needed to do some retail therapy to accept my new position.

4. Best accomplishment:
Finishing the Honolulu Marathon and some of the readiness series races (PF Chang 30K and Val Nolesco 1/2 marathon).  I walked all 3 and many other long distance training days at a steady 15-16 minute mile despite developing tendinitis in my right foot.  My doctor recommends not doing another, but the 2012 is only $26.20!  I registered for the first annual of a new 1/2 marathon in March before the doctor's orders, so we've worked out a plan for how I can be able to keep up these activities that give me a major high!  (Photo is of my mom and I after the marathon.  She's done it every year since our first in 2006)

3. Favorite picture:
One of the amazing sunrises I saw on my weekly long distance training sessions.  Lucky to live in Hawaii!
2. Favorite memory:
Catching the bouquet at the wedding in October (after practicing in the hotel room the morning of) and the look on my friend's face when the DJ played "Going to the Chapel" as I walked back to our table.  He filled in my "Plus 1" seat and turned red when everyone looked in his direction.
1. Goal for 2012:
Be brave enough to go after any dream and opportunity.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011-12 Classroom

Here are some photos of my classroom at the beginning of the school year.  Many things have changed in the last semester, but here's a glimpse!

 A few of the front door and our community supply center.  I've struggled this year with supplies disappearing though, so there are not so many supplies out now.

 Classroom jobs chart, paper, and portfolios are stored here.  This has been shifted because an outside tutoring group uses my classroom after school and needed a filing cabinet for storage.
 Our whole group and classroom library area.  My dad built that easel for me this summer and the black cubes are storage ottomans.  They made a perfect bench for me to sit on.  The library is covered because of the dust and leaves from the tree right outside.  The carpet was a Donors Choose project last year when I taught kindergarten.

We have these behavior posters posted around the school.   The green and yellow board is my word wall.

My behavior ladder.  I use wood cutouts/popsicle sticks with the bottoms cut off on magnets.

I love the double whiteboard at the front of the room!  It provides enough space to keep things up throughout the day and I use the left side as a projection screen as well.  I recently got an interactive whiteboard that is installed with magnetic strips, so although that takes up the left side, I can still write on it as well.

My "office" area is also where I do my small group instruction.  I bought a stability ball on a wheeled base to be my desk chair (the gray one is now at my bean table for the part-time teacher's group).

Our calendar and schedule area.  That big blank space on my board has filled up with random things I need.

Our class pets, a fish tank with some water plants in a separate vase in the tank.  Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I revamped the aquarium so that it is now more of an aquaponics setup where the water circulates through the vase and the tank.

I have group cubbies this year instead of for individual students.  The groups have 2 cubbies each to store textbooks and workbooks.  It's made their desks neater.

 A view of the room from the back door.

 A view of the room from the door that connects our room to another second grade class.  This door has come in handy for teacher bathroom breaks midday and for team teaching 40-45 students for special activities.

My part-time teacher's small group area.  He's only with me for reading block, so I also use this for math stations.

Our required posted work wall.  A school requirement is that every classroom displays weekly prompts.  I have a rope that goes across the room above this wall below a row of windows to display art work.

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse at my room from back in August.  I'll try to get an updated look soon!

Where did the semester go?

Wow!  My last blog post was in JULY!  Sorry to my few followers!  I started this blog with the intent of posting new things I developed as I started a new position, but my new position has taken a lot out of me.  I feel more drained than I thought I would feel this school year.  One of my personal and professional goals in 2012 is to maintain this blog and a personal posterous blog that I started in 2011 with more regularity.  There have been so many things that I wanted to blog about, from starting up my classroom in an amazing space (except for the dust and pollen, lack of natural light, and pest problem), working with a very eclectic new team, and the creative things I have had to come up with to make second grade work for me.

So where have I been this semester?  I've been learning a new set of standards, new curriculum, training for the 2011 Honolulu Marathon, nursing tendinitis, helping to plan/organize/execute a good friend's wedding, and stomaching the results of last year's National Board Certification re-try entries.  I've gotten a hold on the standards and curriculum, I finished the marathon despite the tendinitis (shaved 40 minutes off my 2006 time), the wedding was amazing, and I've accepted the fact that I will have to try again to prove that I should be a board certified teacher.  I'm trying for the Early Childhood Generalist certification and am on my last chance for retakes, so I'll be doing the portfolio entries on Building a Classroom Community, Integrating Mathematics and Science, and Documented Accomplishments again as well as taking the Assessment Center tests for Science and Social Studies.  I haven't started any of it yet and the support group I worked with in the past is not being hosted this year, so I'll be having at it on my own.  I'll probably being using this blog to vent about the process and mark milestones.

Okay, enough with the words!  I've got a bunch of errands that need to be done and meeting up with a friend for lunch.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Math Work Stations - Chapter 6

What a summer it's been!  I can't believe I'm so far behind on my Math Work Station posts!  Or my curriculum things that I need and want to do before we officially report back.  I officially report back on July 26th and the students start on August 1st.  I started going in a couple hours at a time on Friday, then Monday and Thursday.   I've made significant progress in setting up furniture and unpacking boxes, but that's for another post!

When we work on Place Value, I encourage the students to talk about how many groups of tens and ones are in a number, how they can be grouped, or how to break it down to make it easier to count large numbers.  In kindergarten, I added a straw for each day of school and we would count it by ones and then count it by groups of tens and count on.  After the 100th day, we started from 100 and counted on.  The kids loved the routine and it really helped to get them to understand larger numbers and decomposing numbers.  They were often the ones who reminded myself of the student teacher that we needed to do the routine on days that were rushed.  I am going to continue to use this routine when I teach second grade this year, but also include coins, tally marks, and expanded notation so that the students show their understanding of place value in multiple ways.  I am thinking that my daily calendar routine will include something like this chart.  This seems to be a major part of the Common Core State Standards that we are transitioning to this year.  It was the major focus at the workshop I attended on Wednesday.

One of the games that my students LOVED last year during Math Workshop was an activity where they pulled a number card and represented the number with base ten blocks or connecting cubes.  Once they had "built" the number, they told their partner what number they had, how many tens and ones were in the number, and counted out what they had.  I typed out the numbers and printed them multiple pages to a page and cut them, but it was also really easy to write them on index cards as we went to add more to the set.  I had a few cards that were self-correcting and I drew the base ten blocks on the back.  Here's an example of the cards that I am making for the second grade version.  For kindergarten, I had 0-30 and duplicates of the teen numbers.

I wish I had more pictures of my students doing the activities.  When I was told that I'd be moving to second grade, I was so sad that I didn't even think about how I could document everything I was doing.  I am going to be better at doing that for my professional development and teaching portfolio than I have been in the past.