Saturday, October 13, 2012

Adventures in First Grade Reading

I teach a reading class every morning from 9:00-10:30.  When I first accepted my position, my father-in-law asked me how I was going to know how to teach how to read.  I said, "They'll already read when they come to me.  I'll just work on inferencing and comprehension and stuff like that.  I don't know how to teach kids how to read!"

Then I got the assignment: first grade.  I am, in fact, teaching kids how to read. 

Thanks to a scripted reading program and some helpful colleagues, we're doing all right.  I thought I'd offer readers a little glimpse into my mornings...

Angie Board

The Angie Board.  This is the only thing that bears resemblance to my previous classroom.  There are a lot more baby pictures now than they're were before...

Story Star

We focus a lot on parts of a story.  We also have very simple goals that we work on for a couple weeks at a time.  It turns out that "Active Listening" was too complex of a concept.  Now we are working on "Sitting Still."


We have little name stars (I blurred the names out).  And black paper that blocks any action happening outside the classroom.  (Our classroom is a little conference room in the office that used to host the video conferencing equipment.)


This is the first time I've ever had an alphabet up in my classroom...

Writing Strategies Bank

We work on alternatives to raising our hands and asking the teacher how to spell something.

Wow Writing

Some of the writing makes it to the Wow Writing Wall.  (I'll have to scan some of the writing some time.  It's adorable.)  My first grade teacher saved all of my writing in a three ring binder and gave it to me at the end of the year.  My parents still have it.  I'm doing the same thing for my students.  Each one has a file folder full of writing.

Reading Class 1

But, this is the best part about teaching first grade reading.

Reading Class 2

These adorable little faces and smiles.

Reading Class 4

They also hug me every day.  They even hug me when they see me outside of school.

I love it.

Reading Class 5

They're young enough to be silly, yet old enough to hold a good conversation.

Reading Class 3

And they are teaching me lots.  For example:

-Letting first graders pick which stickers they want is not a good idea.  It will take FOREVER.

-If you let one first grader have a turn at something, you have to let all the first graders have a turn at something.

-It is very important how long your pencil is.

-First graders will remember exactly what you said when you don't want them to remember it at all.

-It didn't really happen if you didn't share it with the class.

-Sometimes you just need some time to cry.

-Being uninvited from someone's birthday party is serious business.

-Being forbidden from trick-or-treating at someone's house is even more serious business.

I think I still have a lot to learn.  I'll keep all VFN readers posted.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Mommy Blog: Successfully Making It Through the First Year

Factors that have contributed to my not blogging include:

-excruciatingly slow internet
-a camera that is misbehaving and the inability to fund a new one (for some reason, Steve doesn't thing that "camera" needs to be one of our major budget categories...)
-the cosmically unfair fact that our version of photoshop is incompatible with my new laptop
-my laziness preoccupation with other things

But, I'm back.  You're welcome.

Countless things have happened in the last year, but one is particularly noteworthy: my baby turned one.  Lucky for me/Kaitlyn/all of my readers, my amazing sister-in-law was able to document Kaitlyn as a newly minted one year-old.

Note to readers: These pictures were not taken in Brevig Mission.  They were taken during a visit to the Lower 48 that Kaitlyn and I made in March.  If they had been taken in Brevig Mission, they would have consisted of Kaitlyn in a snowsuit, coat, boots, gloves, and beaver hat with only her little eyes poking out.

Kaitlyn Walking in the "Woods"

She walks now.  Both a blessing and a curse.

Kaitlyn Swing

Kaitlyn got to enjoy a swing for the first time.

Kaitlyn Laughing Swing

Something tells me she liked it.

Note to readers: My mom loves this picture.  It's on the fridge at my parents' house.

Kaitlyn Swing Portrait

For those of you artsy types, I'm including this portrait.  Isn't it beautiful?

Kaitlyn reaching for the cake

My favorite pictures were the ones of the Cake Smash.

I spent days on etsy looking for the perfect tutu.  Please try not to judge me.
I spent days on pinterest looking for the perfect cake.  Again, please try not to judge me.

Ultimate Cake Smash Kaitlyn

It was all worth it.