February… a Busy Month…

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We love the month of February…We have so much to look forward to besides the stressors of the rigors of curriculum and testing….

With my planning and organization, I do find creative ways to allow time for celebrating Valentine’s Day and President’s Day through creative writing, reading ,and art… Might even utilize math activities,  as well…

The children wrote a Valentine’s Day poem to their family, with illustrations; decorated Valentine’s  bags, and brought in cards for their classmates that were to be done by themselves….We had a Valentine Social sharing our love and exchanging Valentines….

The children loved learning about our Presidents; George Washington and Abraham Lincoln…We learned about the history of our Flag….We will celebrate this patriotic unit with a culminating activity for our parents;  a patriotic program that will include  songs that we learned in our music class….All our first graders will share in this exciting performance, and our wonderful music teacher directing…

Teaching should really be about making learning fun and interesting…. It really is so much more than tests and collecting data….

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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!

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A New Year…Love to Teach…

Teaching Reading….

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I have loved the joy of teaching young children to read…. It has been such a delight in seeing the   opening of eyes, hearts, and minds of my young first grade students to the written word… I have loved watching them realize they can read….There is such a look on their precious faces of surprise that they can read…

This year for me has been a quite challenging…Our school is a diverse school in a progressive district…We do have a majority of children from poverty…Our school does have a reputation, even with the challenges… We strive to maintain the status quo…  With all the demands of Common Core Curriculum and the rigors of Testing…. These challenges have been added to our many  teaching responsibilities… We struggle with the problem our children face that live in impoverished conditions…

I will always inspire my children to love to read, even with all these demands… I do feel though, no one is listening to our children…They are our future…

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….

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”!