Saturday, December 17, 2011

Been waaay long time... i know

It's been a whirl wind time these last few months.  Seems my class is a revolving door of children this year!! I have lost 3 and gained 4 at different intervals in the first 4 months of school!

Anyway, despite the upheaval and extra work that that implies for me and the disruption in the flow of the day for the other students, there have been moments of great learning and fun.  Here are a few:

Here is a game of memorization and vocabulary building as well as number naming.  They place different objects in one of the numbered squares.  Then their partner covers their eyes.  The other partner moves something around.  Then the one who wasn't looking opens his/her eyes and trys to describe what changed.

Number puzzles.


Construction Center - always a crowd pleaser.

ABC Center - matching letters.
Pretend and Learn Center - coffee, baby, and talking on the phone. Look like anyone you know?

Washing dishes, mopping the floor....funny how you hate it when you actually HAVE to do it.

Writing letters!!

Using the Letter Wall to write the words to his story.  Yesss!

Discovery in the Science Center.  The goggles are the main attraction.
MAJOR back up on the mix master!!
As much as I enjoy teaching and working with small children, I find that more and more I am getting burned out by all the OTHER things that are or have become a part of my job as a teacher. The endless unreasonable demands on my time, and the expectations on the children; the extra paper work; and especially the continued low esteem to what we already do and sacrifice for the children.  The only thing that matters is money, and the all-important TESTS!!
I'm so tired.  It just gets worse every year and it will continue to with the continued impact of he budget cuts.  I'm less sure every day that it is worth it in the end.
I can't pour myself into this job without great personal cost to my health and the priority of my husband/family.
I have enjoyed so much about teaching in the 5 years I've done it but I would be lying if i didn't admit I wasn't looking forward to the end.
In a couple of years we plan on starting a family and I want to stay home to care for our children (in which ever way they enter our lives).
I hold onto that light at the end of my tunnel for now and try to do the authentic teaching that gets results and allows for individual growth whenever I can squeeze it in between the endless assessments, interventions, 'proof of learning' activity products, and other mindless paperwork.

I will always try to look back at this time with fondness but also with gladness, that I could be released to do the even more weighty work of eternal value that is my family. 
I can't wait to see where else the Lord will lead. :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Souveniors and Mementos

In an effort to simplify my life, I decided that I needed to get rid of thing I don't need or use.  As  I looked around I realized that despite my aversion to knick-knacks, I actually have quite a bit of them!
In my defense, most have a special memory attached to them that I am loath to part with.

Here are some of them:

This is used ballet slipper that I acquired at the gift shop of Texas Ballet Theatre after a performance I saw of The Nutcracker.  I was THAT kind of fan of ballet back then. :O)

This is a framed picture of the coast of Vera Cruz, Mexico my first trip (about 7years ago)

This is from that same trip but it was a bird-eye view of the rooftops of the town of Xalapa, Mexico.  It was a memorable trip!
This is a cute little trinket box my brother brought back from his trip to Costa Rica.  I thought it was very sweet that he thought to bring me something, and thoughtful that he got me a container of sorts.  I love to organize.  Now it houses all my hair clips. :)
This is a miniature dream-catcher I purchased at a gift shop inside the Miccossukee Reservation where I went with Kaynee and Misael one summer when I vacationed in Miami.  Really neat experience. Still have the video of the entire guided tour and the alligator show!  
This cute little dress has magnet on the back that helps me keep it on my fridge. My uncle Felipe brought it back for me from one of his trips to Mexico.  It's a miniature replica of the traditional dress of that region. 
This lovely cross was my fiance's wedding gift to me on our wedding day.  It has the date on it and a beautiful prayer...*tear* that was a magical day. ;o)
As you can imagine, we brought back a lot of souvenirs from our honeymoon (you don't get to visit Europe for free very often) but here are just a few.  This is a miniature of the Collasium in Rome. very impressive, but not as big as it seems in Gladiator. :)

Cute magnet version.  It was incredibly tall, taller than you imagined it from the outside.  And when you think about the time period in which it was built, it was a giant compared to everything else around!

This is a small bell with scenes from the quaint little town we spent the bulk of our time in: Siena in Tuscany, Italy.  It just so happened that the weekend we were there was an annual celebration of the founding of that town and there was booths everywhere in the town square all Saturday. (walking distance form our hotel) We bought this, among other things, there.  
This is a miniature replica of a tradition Japanese temple/building.  Last summer, my husband and I visited the Botanical Gardens which has a Japanese gardens area within it and purchased this in the gift shop. My husband is into all things Japan. :) 
This interesting contraption is actually made by me! I made it out of cardboard, burlap, glue, newspaper and tan coffee filters.  A crafty activity that I made in a women's meeting last year. cute!

This is a really nice Texas Rangers cup we bought this summer on our first trip to the Ballpark as a married couple. :o) Go Rangers!!

So, you see that i simply can't part with ANY of this wonderful stuff!!  Which is most of my problem with cleaning out my closets and drawers - everything MEANS something or some place or some event! :o)
What do you think?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Random musings...

Been a while and I happen to have some free time to blog and so here I am.
Staring at a blank screen.  Having so much on my mind, but so little that I can say.

All I can say is that, God is the only constant. And that, somehow, in the end it will all be worth it. Somehow.

Now for some pics of a simpler time.

Me at about 1 or 2 years old in a pass port pic from my trip to Spain with my parents.

Me at about 4years old, Pre-K class pic. Don't let the angelic face fool you. :)

Me at 5years old in Kindergarten class pic. Drastic hair color change no?

Me in at about 8 years old. Second grade picture.  My mother insisted i show teeth, why i ask?!

Me at 9 years old, third grade. Turning point year for me and the toughest for my teacher!

My sweet baby brother in kindergarten (5years old).  So much tortured wisdom in his big blue eyes. Even then.

Childhood. It can be a rough time for many, but mine was pretty stable and sheltered. Full of love and safe fun with my family.  I hope to give my children even a sliver of that.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What's my name? Where's my stuff?

Well, here's a cool idea to help young children learn their name. Recognizing, identifying the letters in their name, and writing those letters in the order they should appear in their name.

It's called a Name Puzzle; I keep my class set in this box, labeled so that they get their own. Everyone knows what their face looks like, right? :o)

  Each laminated envelope has their face clear taped to it for them to identify and choose. (I believe in enabling my students to be self-sufficient in every possible way. It takes more planning and creating but it is super awesome in the long run!)

let me preface this by saying that I LOVE VELCRO!!  I have that stuff all over my room!  It is clean, fast, and neat!  Anyway, so I put velcro on the envelope flap so that they close and open easily without having the puzzle pieces slip out.

They take it to their seat and take the pieces out and the example (green) (all those parts are laminated as well. I also live off laminating things. It makes a good idea last forever, then it becomes a genius idea!) The child uses the example to see what the finished product will be like.  Then they have to arrange the letters in that order. This one is cut up into syllables, not each letter.  After the child has become more proficient in creating and writing his name, I cut it down to each letter.
To me it is very important that the child see their name written in correct print. They are learning the shape and formation of letters now and need the structure of a specific guideline....later on they can develop their own writing style.  Penmanship is under-rated.

After they arrange it correctly, they get a slip of paper from a stack that I have made ahead of time. They are to then copy their name onto it with crayon. The puzzle pieces come in handy because you can isolate 1-2 letters at a time for them to copy.  This is my example ....theirs will probably not look like this. :)

After the first copy they write they choose a different color and trace over the previous color, and then again a third time. So that you end up with 3 colors - Rainbow Name!

For the struggling student, I have them trace the example with crayon. (crayon writes just fine on laminated surfaces and it wipes off with a firm rub with a Kleenex) Then they can move onto the copying on the slip of paper.
They take their Rainbow Name home and they put everything else in their envelope and back into the blue box for the next day! :)

Here are pictures of my students work baskets (work supplies). A great way to, again, make them self-sufficient. It also makes my life easier too. :)

Two students share a work basket.  Their name tags are attached with velcro (they use these for center time as well)  In the basket they find everything they need to work at their tables:

Name tags

Glue for each person.

Scissors and pencils for each person as well.

And of course the mandatory set of crayons. (actually two boxes in each can)  These cans are recycled baby formula cans. perfect size and height. :)
Finally here is the Writing Journal Box per table.  It doubles as a library book storage too.

Everything has a place and everything in it's place. ;)
Here are my Writing Journals for each child:

This I attach to the first page so that I can easily keep track of their writing progress over the course of the year. I label each stage with the date at which I observe they have mastered that stage. 

This clip is to make the next blank page, easy to find. For them and me.

I stamp the date, but soon they will be able to copy the date form the board and write it themselves. They write their name and then their picture/story entry.  I take dictation from what they tell me beneath the picture.

The next blank page. I move the clip after we conference about their picture/story.
The End!

I am so tired!  But I really wanted to share this. Hope you guys enjoy it! 

Leave comments! :o)