Posted in Reflections, Thoughts About Children

Begin Again…

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Summer will soon be over for me, as I always like to start back early to set up my classroom…

Starting back earlier than the required time, gives me the much needed time to plan, organize, and utilize my creativity hoping to make it a “great year”…

I have found through my many years of experience;

Setting up a well organized classroom is fundamentally crucial to the success of the beginning of a new school year…

Supplies are essential, and I do hope my new students will be able to contribute…However, because our school has such a diverse population, I do realize, and understand many will not be able to help…We teachers do receive a small  budget, so in order to provide for our children, we do have to pay for much of our supplies out of our own pocket…

I can always hope after the many years of teaching, we would have the necessary funding and support for our precious children and our public education system…

I do love utilizing my creativity in decorating the classroom…I do believe a classroom, especially with young children, should be warm and inviting…one that will inspire
learning…

My hope is to have such a classroom, even with all the rigors and demands…My children will want to learn, and want to return each and every day!

Posted in Reflections

Spring Break…2014

A week to rest and recharge…  My Children need that time for a break too!

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I do have concerns with many of my children… They have a week off to be in very unstructured lives… Many do  not eat well, nor sleep well…  I do try to instill and empower them with the desire to make safe choices, I try to provide reading and math work to do over this break….But of course they are little ones, and I do worry…

Posted in Reflections

Celebrate…100 days!…

Monday, February 3rd  will be our “100 days”  of the school year celebration… This is a milestone for us… On this special occasion, learning activities, especially in math will    commemorate this special milestone…

” What can we count using the magical number”100″?

“If you were given $100.00, how would you spend the money?”

At this time, first graders are realizing they can do  more learning becoming active in their learning; listening and following teacher directions; becoming more independent…I can read!

Now, we  are more than half way on the path to becoming a second grader!

Continue reading “Celebrate…100 days!…”

Posted in Reflections

Our Classroom…

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Teaching since 1972, I have taught first grade for over twenty of those years; learning from my vast experiences with children ; to which I have acquired such knowledge associated teaching grades ranging from kindergarten through fifth grade, in addition to teaching student teachers at the college level…I have formed strong feelings about how important the first grade is, in a child’s education…

It  is my opinion,  first grade lays the foundation for learning…Especially when teaching children of diversity,  I feel it does take a strong, nurturing, effective teacher…A first grade teacher begins the process of taking  the child from kindergarten; which has the responsibility to socialize and begin  the process; into being more formal and structured…This process, not every child is ready nor willing to make…It is the teacher’s role to help facilitate this process…I feel it does take that strong, loving, structured approach…

The classroom is where this “magic” takes place… The process begins at the very beginning of the school year when you meet your students with parents during “Meet the Teacher”…This is a wonderful time to informally evaluate the children, and their interactions with parents, in  the classroom…This is where I start assessing through my observations…I can find out just in that brief interaction if they may be outgoing or a reserved  child…Questions about their likes and dislikes get answered, as well…Will they be ready or apprehensive about their first grade experience…This first meeting with the child is just an indication…Not all children get to come, nor have a parent that comes to this event…And moreover, every child is different….A teacher must be flexible to “go with the flow”…

Teaching children from diversity,  the preparation, and how I will provide the structure is essential…Room arrangement with displays with books, computers, literacy stations in writing, science, social studies, math, and ‘eye catching’  bulletin boards need to be part of this preparation to make the “room”  a warm, fun “eye-catching”, safe place to learn…

Having a strong plan for behavior management  that goes along with the school plan, must be flexible enough to  meet the needs of the children, is essential for success…Every child is different, and how I would handle these particular issues in a positive and proactive plan needs to help facilitate  the learning that may interfere with our learning and keep our classroom safe…

Successfully teaching first grade does take many hours to prepare..Much of this preparation is before the new year begins…My goal is to facilitate learning that will inspire my children to have a great year and a strong foundation in the curriculum…that will carry them on their journey; love school and learning….

Posted in Reflections

Teaching and Technology

Today teachers do need to be proficient in technology; demonstrating their expertise utilizing  all that is necessary to teach children… 

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We have smartboards that have taken the place of the chalk board;white board….  We utilize the computer to communicate with teachers, administration, and even with parents through our webpages ..Lesson plans and grades are all required to be done on the computer where information can be shared….Children are required to learn math and reading skills on the many websites that are available on the computer…along with learning to access information for  research on the computer …Keeping lists of websites and computer resources are a must for today’s teacher…

When I first began in 1972,  all I had to be concerned with was a ditto machine  and overhead projector…Even back then,  I was not comfortable utilizing  technology…And now, a teacher of today must be able to keep up with all the demands of technology…I have had to learn…

I was not a willing participant…I am a Baby Boomer, not savvy in this new technology…When I taught fifth grade, my students helped me boot the system up and access what was necessary back in the “nineties”…I was even known to take out a computer… destroy the Mother Board…My reputation on my faculty was that I needed to stay away from computers;  I was  quite dangerous…

I  am proud to say with the turn of the century in this new millenium, I have learned how to become somewhat computer literate…I am not too proud to ask for help, and I have been determined to teach this “old dog a new trick”….As I have told my children many times: “Never Give Up”!

Posted in Reflections

Facilitating Teaching Through Inspiration

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When I first began, I found  children were more ready to learn…They came to school in a time when lives were less  complex, and there was not a definite distinction of those that have or those that do not…I really did not have to worry so much about my creativity,  and  it was not an issue to utilize any definitive skill in my teaching…Children learned and were inspired…I could just teach and enjoy…

It was a simpler time… And moreover, this was during the  time when children of color finally were “permitted” to attend; during Integration and Civil Rights; early ’70’s…. It was understood the every child was there to learn and wanted to learn… Parents sent their children to learn… Those  were  the values shared by “all”.

Today’s world is so much different ;and  my teaching has had to meet those needs to continue to  facilitate this love of learning…Our children may not always come prepared, and not by their choice but because of some economic or parental instability in their home life…They may come to school hungry, sleepy, or ill prepared because they did not have a time to do  their homework….These precious children  live in chaos… 

I am a stronger teacher…My love for my children and passion for teaching is all that  is important… I will provide these essential  skills,  safety, and enthusiasm in my classroom  …I will facilitate their learning and love for  learning….