Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Season of Change

I absolutely love, love, LOVE getting an extra hour in my day today - I just feel like I can be so much more productive with that extra hour!  I’m getting observed tomorrow – my first formal observation (eeek)!  I’ve been preparing all day, along with planning for the week ahead, so in order to avoid too much brain fry-age, I’m taking a little break to write you this post (this is how I’m choosing to spend my extra hour – lol).  J  If only we had an extra hour added onto everyday…  Haha. 
Life is full of change!  Change is an absolutely normal and essential part of life.  If everything stayed the same, life would be boring - Hence the phrase, “Variety is the spice of life!”  Lately, things have been spicin’ up in my classroom!

Hot Tamale Words
I try to encourage my students to notice and use vocabulary words in their daily language.  In order to increase their motivation in doing this, I made the decision to give students who can correctly use these vocabulary words Hot Tamales.  An idea similar to this was shared in a classroom management class that I took, but here’s how I decided to adapt it for my class:  If students can incorporate the vocabulary word in their writing, answer questions verbally with the vocabulary word in a complete sentence, and/or identify the vocabulary word in their reading and tell me what it means, they will receive a Hot Tamale.  I implemented this system this week and my students absolutely love it (not to mention that they are developing a deeper understanding of all of our vocabulary words)!    

Can you believe that Halloween was this past Monday!?!?!  How time has flown!  Our school decided to celebrate and have our parties at the end of the day last Friday.  Since I don’t have a homeroom, I decided that my time would be best spent by visiting the classroom parties that all my students were a part of.  I am proud to share that I successfully made it into every one of my students’ classrooms… a total of 12 parties!  I gathered all sorts of party ideas and have never seen so much candy and sweets in my entire life!  It was weird not having a homeroom class to celebrate with, but I could tell that each and every one of my students were enjoying the festivities (and all the treats, of course)!  What a fun-filled day! 

Stellaluna Bat Folders
Since it was Halloween on Monday, I figured it would be the perfect time to read my second graders the book Stellaluna.  They LOVED it!  We are currently completing a multiple-day unit on this book and creating bat folders!  Check it out…

This is what we’ve done so far, but our completed bat folders are going to include facts and opinions, a venn-diagram comparing/contrasting all the different animals mentioned in the text, a sequence-of-events booklet, a written summary, and a few other things.  My goal was to get my students to analyze this text and practice using and responding to different levels of questioning (Bloom’s Taxonomy), which my students seem to be doing a wonderful job with!  J 

Wild Weather Wednesday
Exactly one week later and another SNOW DAY… or so I thought!  I woke up to about 6 inches or more of snow, unplowed roads, power outages, and frigid temperatures… the perfect combination in the making for a snow day.  Naturally, I jumped out of bed, turned on the tv, and watched the weather closures scroll across the bottom of the screen.  Practically every district in the state of Colorado was closed.  I kept waiting for our district to appear, but I didn’t see it – I must’ve missed it!  At that point, I couldn’t bear to watch any longer… it would be much more efficient to pull up the district webpage, so that’s exactly what I did.  I typed in the web address and this is what appeared at the top of the screen, “All schools will be operating on a normal schedule today.”    What?!?  I re-read it.  Twice.  Not even a delayed start!  I guess the odds weren’t really in our favor either – to think we could have two snow days, exactly one week apart.  Now that’s some wishful thinking!  A girl can dream!  Haha.
Honestly, I really didn’t mind going into school.  I had a lot to get done – especially with falling so far behind from being out from school for three days last week.  It has taken a lot to get caught up (and I’m still not completely caught up!), but I’m getting closer and closer each day.  The most important and most enjoyable part of my Wednesday… I got to see the kiddos!  They can always put a smile on my face! J

Hair-do (or should I say hair-don’t)
I had a ton of stuff to prepare Friday morning, so I decided to set my alarm for 5:15am so I could go into school early to finish all the things I needed to get done. Well… being extremely exhausted from the busy week, I turned off my alarm and fell back asleep.  I didn’t wake up until almost 7am (around the time that I usually leave for school!!!!)!  I took a super speedy shower and then decided that it would be easiest and most time-efficient to pull my hair back into a pony-tail.  Little did I know what a huge distraction that this would cause… haha. 
When I went to pick up my first graders, they were in pure shock.  Some of them started laughing and others shouted, “Whoa!  You look different!” or “You changed your hair!!!!” or “Did you get a haircut?”  Too funny!  I then walked them into the classroom, where they were still curious about my new look!  I was flooded with compliments about how beautiful I looked and how much my new hairstyle was appreciated.  Lol.  One little girl raised her hand and proceeded to tell me, “Can I be honest?  I really like your hair like that, but it’s soooo different!  You look kinda creepy to me!”  Hahaha!!!!  I thought it was hilarious!  One thing that I’ve learned so far… kids are always very literal!  J 

Noteworthy News
Last, but not least, I received some news that things would be changing at our school starting in a few weeks.  I don’t have many details other than knowing that there will be lots of changes!  So many possibilities… things will be very different (I’ll share more details at a later time when I know more)!

Good or bad, change will always find us.  Change is the only constant in our world.  It allows us to see things in a different way and provides us with new opportunities for growth.  I guess what I’m trying to say is… don’t be afraid of change, embrace it!


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