Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Teacher Talk Tuesday

Have y'all heard about Teacher Talk Tuesday on Instagram?  I love Instagram, but have only used it for personal reasons until I heard about Teacher Talk Tuesday!  What the Teacher Wants and Apples and ABC's are hosting!  
You can find me on Instragram under the name 4theloveofteaching!   I can't believe how many people uploaded photos today!  Make sure you add the hashtag: #teachertalktuesday

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A New Adventure

Before I began teaching, I never really had a grade that I just knew I wanted to teach one day.  I began my student teaching in 1st grade and I really enjoyed the little ones.  I thought, "I could teach little ones, for sure!" Then, I finished my student teaching in 5th grade and I really enjoyed it, too! So, when I began interviewing, I wasn't looking for a specific grade.  I am certified K-6, but thought that 5th grade was probably the highest grade level I'd want to teach because I really couldn't see myself in a middle school setting.  

I was hired to teach 4th grade and am currently in my fifth year teaching 4th grade and I have loved this grade level!  Last week I was asked by my principal to move up to 5th grade next year with the option of keeping my same classroom and keeping my same class.  My principal told me that the reason he wanted me to move up is to be the team leader of 5th grade.  He told me that me and my current partner are such a solid team and we both have leadership qualities that he feels can and should be spread out through other grade levels.  This is a great compliment and I am so glad I have his confidence, but I am sad to leave my partner teacher and she and I work so well together!  The 5th grade teacher was told that I'd be teaching with her on Friday so we had a good conversation about working together next year and I think we will work well together, too!  
But, I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous!  I have looked up some standards for 5th grade and I am excited to teach Social Studies!  It looks like the major themes in the South Carolina standards are:

  • Reconstruction
  • Westward Expansion
  • Industrial Revolution, urbanization, and discriminatory practices
  • World War I
  • World War II
  • Cold War
  • Collapse of the Soviet Union and the political, social, and economic, and environmental challenges since (to include the terrorism of September 11th)
Wow!  Of course, there's LOTS of information to cover through all of that!  I find most of this very interesting, but I really wish I'd paid more attention to History now! {Cold War...what???  Was I sleeping in class when this was taught 'cause I don't know a thing about it!}Social Studies is one of my favorites to teach, though!  

Now, Science on the other hand....eeekkk!  Thank goodness the teacher who I will be teaching with loves Science and has pretty much solidified her Science plans.  It looks like the overall themes in 5th grade Science are:
  • Scientific Inquiry
  • Terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and biotic/abiotic factors
  • Features, changes, and processes of Earth's land and ocean
  • Matter, mixtures and solution
  • Forces and motion
Not so sure about all of that!  Does anyone that's reading have any experience in 5th grade?  Any great resources, read alouds, etc that I should check out?  I would love any advice!  

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Wrap Up!

What a week!! Please keep my student who lost his mother in your prayers.  I posted about it in my previous post.  My administration and I attended the funeral today and he's just been on my heart and mind constantly.  I ended up not taking a single picture all week with everything going on. But, I do still have some things to share so I am linking up with Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching.

1) I got some big news this week.  I am moving to......

I will be looping up with my fourth graders to teach them again in fifth grade!  I have taught with THE BEST team teacher for five years so I am sad I won't teach with her again.  But, I am sure this next year will be good!  The good news is that I do not have to move rooms (whew!) and have the option of keeping my same class (which I plan to).  Much more to come about my move to 5th grade next year!

2)  This year our school became a Title I school.  One nice thing is the extra materials we have been able to receive.  This past week I got these two things in the mail:

3) This week we have learned all about idioms and this pocket chart from Really Good Stuff has been so helpful! 
4)  I introduced bucket filling last year and loved how it helped our classroom community!  This year we have had a harder time with it.  I have my class write notes to fill in each other's buckets and naturally, these notes should be compliments.  But , we have really strayed from it with notes that say things like "Hey." or "Hi, how are you?".  My class isn't really even excited about it and we only check our buckets every two weeks or so, whereas last year we checked them every Friday.  Do you guys have any advice?!?!
5) Tomorrow I am participating in a 3 mile walk with the Providence Heart and Sole Walk!  I am walking with another teacher!  Yay for exercise!  I have been on Weight Watchers for a few weeks and lost 3 pounds last week...woohoo!  Hope this walk helps me at weigh in this week!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Heavy Heart

Sometimes in your teaching career, you realize that there is more to teaching children the 3R's.  This week has been one of those weeks.  After telling you guys about some sad news in my previous post, I am saddened to have more sad news from my teaching life.  One of my students lost his mother this week.  I found out last week that she had been in the hospital, but wasn't sure how serious it was until just a few days ago and then she passed away a few days later.  Losing a parent must be one of the worst pains in the world. Especially losing your parent at the tender age of ten years old.  My heart is so heavy and just hurts for my student and his family. 

I went to visit yesterday after school with a partner teacher.  Although we didn't see my student or his father, we did see and talk to relatives who said that my student was having a really tough time, as you can only imagine and expect.  I can't even imagine his pain.  Tonight is the visitation (which I will be attending in just an hour) and tomorrow is the funeral. I am able to leave school with my administrators to attend the funeral tomorrow.  Our 4th graders made sweet cards that we took to his house. 

Last year I experienced a student who lost his father.  I wondered what to expect as he returned and how he would do in school.  He never really spoke of his father much, but just on a few occasions and kept it all in (at school, at least) so there wasn't a lot at school that we had to experience.  All children are different and we all deal with grief in different ways.  I just pray that I can be and that our class/school can be the support this student needs when he comes back to school next Monday. 

Please be in prayer for my student. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Five for Friday

Hey guys!  I have been meaning to blog alllllll week, but after a long week with little sleep, it's all in this one blog post!  I am also linking up with Five for Friday at Doodle Bugs Teaching to share some of the cool things we are doing!  

1)  I hate to start out on a sad note, but I think it's important to remember the good, the bad, and the ugly.  This week our nation and community has seen the bad and the ugly, it seems.  

With all of the sad and terrible news around us lately in the news, it has been one of those weeks around here.  I often find it difficult to determine how much to talk about these events to my 4th graders.  I find that they come to school after hearing about certain events and are genuinely curious and want to know more about it, but I have to think about how much information is appropriate to share at their age and to respect their parents at the same time.  Some parents tell their children exactly what happened, some tell only a little without giving details, and some are right in the middle.  This has been the case this week with several events.  

I should mention that my school is unique in the fact that we have students from Pre-K all the way through 12th grade.  It's a sweet and small rural school.  One of our 12th graders was murdered this week by a student who graduated last year.  They had a child together.  Since I am not originally from here, I did not know the young lady who was killed and only recognized the man responsible, most likely from seeing him around the campus last year.  Students came to school with many incorrect and vivid details of what happened (mostly inaccurate) and I knew I had to address it.  This was also the day after the Boston Marathon bombings.  So, we sat down together and talked about how two very sad things have happened in our nation and our community.  We had to talk about how we shouldn't share what we think we know about events unless we know 100% it's true and even then, sometimes it's not appropriate to share.  We talked about how rumors get started and how sometimes we add to the rumors, even if we don't intentionally mean or realize we are.  One student told me to "check Facebook 'cause it's all on there" about the student's death.  We had a discussion about reliable sources, which is NOT people talking on Facebook.  The details of the case are just so very sad and although I didn't know her or her family, I can only imagine how terrible it would as a parent myself.  I don't know how anyone can survive the loss of a child.  Any situation involving the loss of a child would be horrendous.  Please say a prayer for this family if you don't mind.  Have you ever had a similar incident?  The only other time I've dealt with death in the classroom is last year when a parent to one of my students passed away.  How have you handled events like that?  Have many of your students discussed or asked questions about the Boston Marathon bombings in your classroom? 

Moving on to a lighter note...

2. In our Science FOSS kits, we get live animals.  ICK! I mean, YAY!  In 4th grade we get Fiddler crabs, African Dwarf crabs, and millipedes.  Of course, the students love them!  We create habitats (all materials are included in the kit) and use them mostly for observations.  We had lots of millipedes escape....yuck!  We determined they were most likely in search of food (because I kept forgetting to bring lettuce to feed them) because since they've been eating well, they haven't escaped.  That could also be because I taped all sides of their habitats closed.  Those little stinkers are gross!  There's nothing like walking in your classroom and find 4 millipedes wandering around.  
The only one students can hold (with a glove, of course) is the millipede.  They are creepy crawly, which 4th graders love!

3.  As mentioned above, we've used our animals to make lots of qualitative and quantitative observations.  We spent 1 entire Science lesson per animal making observations and making notes about their behaviors.  We also observed how the animals reacted to light.  We made half their habitat dark using black construction paper and shined a flashlight on the other half to see which side the animals went towards.  All went to the side that was darker and some even burrowed when we shined the flashlight on their side of the habitat.  

4.  Another topic we've studied lately in Science is flowering and nonflowering plants.  I have a hard time with this topic because our text provides very little information on it and truthfully, I don't know a lot about it either!  I am trying to have more of a "green thumb" but I lack a lot of knowledge in gardening and that sort of thing!  We asked a Reading Recovery teacher to help us in that area because she is a Master Gardener.  She is so very knowledgeable about it!
I also bought this Boston fern to use as an example of nonflowering.  I let students take a small part of it and we used clear packaging tape to tape it into our notebooks with nonflowering notes.  Does anyone have any good ideas for teaching flowering and nonflowering plants?
5.  We had another guest speaker, a meteorologist that works at a local airport!  We ask him to come to our school each year around this time to teach our students about Weather.  It is one of our first units in the year so this is a great review before PASS.  We enjoyed his presentation!
Students were amazed at this tornado simulator!

Alright guys, I'm off to celebrate this weekend with lots of laundry to be done and masters work to complete!  Life of the party right here! :)  

Monday, April 8, 2013

Math Team

A few posts back, I mentioned that some of our 4th and 5th graders were participating on a Math Team.  This was the first year our district held a Math challenge.  Five students were chosen in fourth and fifth grade from each school to participate in the Math Bowl.  There were two parts: an individual and group competition.  We were so proud of the hard work our students put into it!  Our 4th graders won the district competition!  :)
You can click here to read the Internet article about it!  Does your school do a Math bowl?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Lots of COLOR!!

This teacher is absolutely LOVING Spring Break!  Lots of FUN with family and friends!  I had to take a minute and share some of the fun I am having!!  I ran my second 5K in Nashville this weekend!  I ran in the Color Run in Columbia about a month ago and ran in Nashville last weekend!  Nashville was way more crowded with about 15,000 people!
Luckily, we were the first group out and we were at the front of the line!  Who says teachers don't have fun outside of school?  All of us red, white, and blue tutu wearing girls are teachers!  Here's our BEFORE...
And AFTER...
We had a BLAST at the fun festival after party and were in the front row!  Woohoo!  We may or may not have danced to Gangnam Style, One Direction, and made a Harlem Shake video!  Hahaha!  None of these are things I'd ever do, but hey, you gotta let loose every once in a while and when you are at the Happiest 5K in the World, what are you gonna do?!  

LOVING Spring Break, friends!