I can't think of a title for this post. Maybe it should be something like "I can't do it all" or "Balance is Impossible!" That's a good one. Or Pinterest may be from the devil.
Just lately I've been feeling just a tad overwhelmed, to say the least. I try so hard to do everything. I've always been that way, but it's gotten worse since I discovered all these great teaching blogs- and don't get me wrong, they are great. And helpful and full of new ideas. BUT, lately I've been wondering if reading the blogs is doing more harm than good.
I find myself feeling like I'm not doing enough anymore. I'm not making homemade applesauce for Johnny Appleseed day or carving out pumpkins or making an anchor chart every week. I don't do visual lesson plans and I can't seem to get math stations going at all.
Pinterest- this is a whole other kettle of fish. What was perfectly good enough last year no longer seems quite right. Everything has to be "cute." I love cute. But sometimes I think I'm pampering my own vanity with all these "cute" things I want to make.
I am very crafty and I love drawing and creating. Lately, though, it's becoming just too much. The other day, my bishop's wife was praying for me and she said, "you're just doing too much. It's like one of those plate spinners who has too many plates to keep spinning. Some of your plates are falling."
She's definitely right. My plates are falling. (The housekeeping and cooking plates fell right around the first week of school and I haven't even tried to pick those back up! My poor husband hasn't had a home-cooked meal in so long, it's sad.) I just keep spinning those plates and I'm getting tired.
So, I'm going to try and reevaluate what's important in my life and in my classroom. Do I really need to make everything picture perfect? What's the best possible way for my students to learn this, not is this pinterest worthy? I just want to breathe. Take a breath. Play with my baby girl.
I love Joy. Being a mommy is one plate I just can't afford to drop. Look at that face!!
That being said, I still want to be the best teacher I can be, but I'm not perfect. Far from it. I hereby quit competing! I'll blog when I can blog and I'll make products for TPT when I have time. I love my job but it is not my life.
I read these blogs and I wonder: when do these women go home? Do they ever go home? They must have more energy than I do. I wish I could do everything I see, but it's just not possible.
Before I log off, I wanted to post some pictures from October.
We've been studying habitats. I don't even want to tell you how long these papers have been in the hall.
Our Columbus Work- I have taken this down by now :)
I bought two awesome units on Columbus from TPT. Both had books that were easy to understand and both had great activities. The kids really learned a lot. Highly recommend both units. I wish I had taken more pictures of the activities. No, wait. This is good enough. Trying to prioritize:) How easily I forget.
I created my Spooktacular Fry Phrases last October. My kids love them. I put them up on the Promethean board. It has 86 phrases that go with our series (reading street), but really any first grade class could use them. However, nobody will buy it! I don't know why because it's really cute and a fun way for them to review their sight words. It's great in center if you want to print them.
So anyway, I'm having a sale for 4 days. Here is the link.
Wow. I haven't been able to blog in forever. In between school starting back and keeping up with (an almost) two year old, I haven't had time to blog or finish anything for TPT. I have a couple of things I'm working on, but can never find the time to finish. I've been buying stuff like crazy on TPT. I figure I've made some money selling my materials, so now I get to spend it, right? I bought 2 different Columbus units (no pics yet) and we've been working on those. I love to teach science. It's hard to fit it all in with everything else. We've been studying habitats. So far, we've learned about the forest and the desert. I took a little break from the desert because our story week before last was Animal Park. It's about going on safari, so I figured it'd be a good time to learn about the savanna. I got this great savanna unit from Fluttering Through First Grade. It went perfectly. Here is the link- http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Savanna-Grasslands-Habitat-for-the-Common-Core-Classroom-245291
So every day, we talked about 1 or 2 pages from this book. I also found some youtube videos on savanna animals to show them. Then they did some directed drawings for each page. I think they did a pretty good job!
We talked about carnivores so this lion is very realistic! He told me while he was drawing, "Look, Mrs. Addington, he's a meat eater!"
"We go bump in the truck" is a line from our basal reader. One of my boys wrote this on his drawing. Love when they make text to text connections.
What else have we done since, oh say, August? Subtraction. I like to start subtraction in October so I can be Miss Take Away. Basically I go out in the hall and come back with a witch's hat and start taking stuff away. They scream and holler and go nuts. This year, they all surrounded me. I got a little scared! I know they know it's me, but sometimes they act like it's not. When I come back in, they all exclaim, "Mrs. Addington, there was a witch in here taking all your stuff!!!"
I have a mask I wear too.
So after I showed some problems as Ms. Take Away and we talked about the minus sign, they used these Halloween counters (erasers) that I got from Dollar Tree.
This is a little worksheet I made that they did the next day. The counters are little beads for making bracelets (also from Dollar Tree). Super cheap. I like them because the cubes take up so much room when they're trying to write and they knock them off their desks.
Last thing- This is something I am working on, but haven't finished. It's a set of addition drill sheets. I put them in plastic sheets so they could practice over and over. Each page reinforces ways to make that number. For example, this page has all the 10 facts plus a few others. Each page is that way.
There is so much more that we've done, but I'll save that for later. Hopefully, I won't wait 2 months to blog next time.
The first week of school went really well. I only have 13 students. I had 8 on Monday, 9 on Tuesday, 10 on Wednesday, 12 on Friday. Then I got one more little girl the following Monday. So hopefully, I will get a few more. The kids I have are a really good bunch. So far... I always wait until after Halloween to make any final judgments on my class. Something about October 31st.. You think you have a bunch of sweeties and all of a sudden, here comes the fireworks. I can close my eyes right now and think of 5 kids who had complete meltdowns on November 1st. Some just cranked it up a notch from their usual behavior- but there have been a couple who NEVER gave me any trouble until Nov 1st. I used to blame it on Halloween- maybe it was the full moon, the candy- but now I have a new theory- the time change (which is usually the same week). I think it messes up their sleep, plus there's less daylight which kids and adults need.. So if your class tends to go a little nuts that week, just give it a couple of weeks and it'll calm back down. Or do like I used to do (back when I had sick days)- take off the day after Halloween :)
Why I Teach
So the first week of school- introduced the WBT rules, the class-yes, hands and eyes, teach- ok, and the scoreboard. Kids picked up on it pretty quickly. Tuesday was an awesome day. I have these blend ladders I use to review the short vowel sounds. Well, I used the "teach-ok" method and they taught their partners. They were having so much fun and they were all doing it correctly! One little guy was having some trouble but his partner helped him out. She sounded just like a little teacher. I thought to myself- "this is it. This is why I do what I do. Moments like this when they get it and they're learning and having fun and their little faces are excited and bright and there's a light in their eyes." So whenever I get discouraged or tired of all the "stuff" that goes on while teaching, hopefully I'll remember this moment.
I wish I could show their faces.
My sister sent me this book to read to my class along with a sweet card about teaching. Made my day:)
Speaking of pirates, we finally got to our pirate craft. Here are a few- turned out pretty cute! Some of them looked like they had been in a sword fight :) arms coming out of heads and whatnot...but that's okay. We've got time to work on those fine motor skills!
Cats Can, Have, Are
We also did a little shared writing the second week of school.
Top Secret Worksheets
My sister-in-law, Sarah, has created a shop on TPT! It's called Top Secret Worksheets. She just started and has most things for FREE for right now. She's wonderfully creative so I know her products will be awesome. I'm downloading her hidden message addition sheets for my early finishers. Check her out!Top Secret Worksheets
One last thing.....
Oh my goodness, why didn't I think of this last year? I put my fry phrase cards on the Promethean board. I just pulled up the pdf file from TPT and we went through them as a whole group. I will eventually get around to printing and laminating the cards, but this was great practice. I made fry phrase cards for all of Unit 1 and most of Unit 2.
I am joining the huge sale on TPT. August 18-19th, my entire store will be 20% off plus when you use the promo code BTS13 you get an additional 8 % for a total of 28% off all items:) Pretty good deal. I know I've been wishlisting (is that a word?) a lot myself. Thanks to Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah designs for the clip art.
Now, on to my classroom pictures. I am probably going to have to redo this post, because a little person was with me (aka Joy) when I finally got around to taking pictures. I let her color their first day activity but I knew it wouldn't last long. So I was in a hurry. Then my phone was full so I had to delete a lot of pictures. Joy decided to get antsy about then, so suffice it to say these are not the best pictures in the world. I also forgot to take pics of my bulletin boards outside. I did a pirate theme this year. I've never really done a theme before. I think my classroom has never looked cleaner or better. I even got a teenage girl from our church to come in and help me and she did an awesome job. I am dead tired. My fabulous sister is babysitting today so I can have a much needed break.
This is the "before" shot. They clean the floors during the summer so everything is moved around.
There's Joy Joy's coloring:) She also colored all over the desk so that's waiting on me Monday morning.
my little helper :)
Going to have to update those pics.
View from when you walk in the door.
my focus wall- pirate style
math supplies- ran out of labels and the parent-teacher store was out. Argh. The punctuation cards were free on TPT. Love them.
This is how I decided to store all those anchor charts. I have tons of puppets and found this shoe carousal at Wal-Mart. There are puppets on the inside. It works perfectly! And has room to grow!
the reading nook
love this rug I found at Wal-Mart
My husband so patiently helped me set up this sailboat. I found the bamboo rods and basket at Hobby Lobby. We put expanding foam in it and covered it with rocks. I'm going to trim off the excess plastic. It was still drying when we left last night, so I hope it's okay!
I forgot to take a picture of the pirate octopus pillow I bought from Target so this is from their website. He's so adorable! He's sitting on the chair.
literacy station signs- sorry so fuzzy These are in my store.
pirate word wall from TPT
This is my little station where I do my grading/ attendance/ Promethean board. I loved how the bulletin board turned out. The fabric is a sheet I got from the thrift store for 2 bucks! I haven't finished it yet. We just got our class rolls yesterday so I don't know anyone's birthdays.
These are my whole brain teaching rules I created. I drew the pirate kids. The rest of the clipart I bought from digiwebstudios.com who is super cheap right now. Everything is $1.00. A couple of things are from scrappindoodles.
The blue chevron fabric was also from Hobby Lobby. We have a new first grade teacher and she covered her shelves with fabric and I loved how it looked so I got myself on down to Hobby Lobby. It hides all my junk plus it's so bright and colorful. The numbers and number words were from TPT. My laminating machine is probably tired. Best gift ever.
homework basket and supplies
cutest student ever!!!
small group reading area
listening station and word wall
The Parent Teacher Store has magnetic border now!!
This is my first year teaching kindergarten. I taught first for ten years and loved it. I also taught second for two years. I love teaching and can't imagine doing anything else. I'm married to a wonderful man and we have an adorable daughter we just love to pieces.
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