Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sick Day

I hate taking sick days. Seriously, I'm the worst person to get sick. I hate hate hate being sick. I get GRUMPY and whiny and I hate it. I know that right now, I'm more susceptible to getting minor colds, etc. but it's not a fun perk of being pregnant. And since it's my first pregnancy and baby, I'm being extra extra careful. After feeling absolutely miserable all day yesterday---and yup, kinda shared that misery with my students---and almost falling asleep in our faculty meeting, I decided (with some urging from my hubby) to take today and rest.  Still not feeling great, but sleeping in did feel really good. Until Shelby (our yellow Labrador) woke me up. So far today, I've drank 2 glasses of pineapple juice, used a whole box of tissues, and have not left my pjs. Yup,  I'm having a certified sick day. I'm even at the point where I'm watching my favorite Christmas movies. When I move on to Disney, yall know I'm really not feeling good.

But, having some time at home to myself has given me time to think about how my first month of teaching kindergarten has gone. Most days, I absolutely love love love teaching kindergarten. Days like yesterday, well, I was wishing I wasn't even at a school. Just when I think that my little ones are doing great and are on a roll, things happen to remind me that they're five and I have to be careful with my expectations....

My students are really progressing overall. I get really excited when they realize that they can read/identify a word.... we've moved from almost zero words to being able to read/identify the following words: I, can, red, blue, yellow, am, apple, and green. Next week, we're adding three more words to our list. Their coloring skills are really improving, and several of them are progressing nicely with their cutting and gluing skills.

Handwriting is a big big issue. We've spent lots of time working on A, a, B, and b. But they're still struggling to retain it. HELP!! What can I do to ensure that they remember how to write these letters neatly?  I have found a few wonderful resources online to help them grasp the concept of the three lines, but honestly, it seems that some of my students just don't care. Sigh.

The other area that I'm really concerned with is my classroom management this year. Previously, I've NEVER had a problem with my management skills. But this year, my students really seem apathetic towards any sort of consequences. I've used a rainbow behavior clip chart this year. For half of my students, the rainbow chart works great. They love working towards getting to the top of the chart. However, I'm having difficulty with the students that it doesn't matter with. I'm considering using individual behavior charts for the few that are not concerned with the rainbow clip chart....something that goes home everyday in their home folder. THOUGHTS?

On a personal note, hubby and I are very excited about the pregnancy. We registered this weekend at Babies R Us, and online at www.myregistry.com. So far, we're planning on doing brown and cream (white) in the baby's room with blue and red accents. We bought a rug at the Pottery Barn outlet by us, and that's kind of been our inspiration for the rest of the nursery. So, here's a little bit of our inspiration/thoughts/plans for the baby's room....
I really want the baby's room to be a place where we're all comfortable, and since we're not finding out the baby' s gender (at least, that's the plan right now), I want it to be ready for a girl or a boy. And since yall know that I will be in there A TON, I want to feel comfortable, calmed, and re-energized! I want our child to know that they are loved, and how much we want for them! On one way, I'd love to frame children's book covers as art, too. Gotta have that educational aspect! Once a teacher, always a teacher. We're trying to choose things that we can use down the road with future children. Let's face it---we're going down the baby road!! :) We've also picked out our stroller and car seats.... feel like we're starting to figure out things that we're going to need. It's incredibly overwhelming how much STUFF babies need.... but it'll all be well worth it!
Can't wait to meet this little one and hold them in my arms!! :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

14 Days

It's been 14 days since I last posted....wow...that sounds like a blogaholic comment! :)  Anyways, my apologies! I'm sure you all understand, with kindergarten and the pregnancy!
Speaking of the pregnancy....things are going great!! We had our ultrasound appointment two weeks ago and the doctor said everything looks wonderful! Baby's growing--and very active. The ultrasound appointment was a lot of measuring and checking on things, so they had it on us for almost a half an hour. It was fun for E and I because we got to watch our little one moving all around. Doctor confirmed my due date at March 21, only 5 days before our first anniversary. Here's a little picture...for those of you that love ultrasound pics! :)

School is going great! Most days, I really love teaching kindergarten! It's definitely a huge shift from teaching first and second grade, but it's very gratifying. I see progress in my kids almost daily, and that's such an exciting feeling. I love seeing the look on their faces when they see a word we've worked on, and they can read it! I worry about those that are still working on letter recognition (and for all those kindergarten teachers out there---leave me some love and ideas! I would be oh so very grateful). It's wonderful to see all their little personalities shine, and the ways that they all interact together.We have our ups and downs, for instance, the day that all 21 of my darlings decided that they forgot how to use their inside voices but I can tell how much they love being at school.

The news about our pregnancy is out at the school, so several of my students know that I'm pregnant. Some of my favorite comments are:

R: Mrs. Booth, I know that there's a baby in your belly.
Me: There is? Did your mommy tell you that? [since I saw her at the home/school meeting where it was .....casually....announced]
R: No. I just knew.
Me: How???
R: Because I can see the baby sticking out of your belly.

The other precious thing that my students have learned is to give me "gentle hugs". They all are so worried that some of them will give me a hug without actually touching me. It's hysterical.  One of my very precocious girls said that we have to give gentle hugs so we don't squeeze the baby like a stuffed animal. Gotta give her props for using a simile!!

So far, we've covered units like "Pete the Cat" (thanks to all my blogger friends out there, it was a HUGE hit), "All About Me" and "Community Helpers". This next week, we're learning all about apples, and I'm super excited to do this one! My poor grade partner really had to alter her plans for this unit since she has a little one who's allergic to apples!!

Hope everyone's doing great now that we've all made it through the first four-six weeks of school!!!

Oh, if anyone's curious about things that I'm loving/wishing for for our little one, follow me on Pinterest!! (Rachel Booth).
Take care yall!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

What a Week

I survived!! Whew! It was quite a week in KB! Truthfully, I was very nervous about how it would go with all 21 of my darlings coming to school full day but it went better than I expected. We had our bumps and ups and downs along the way, but overall, I'm pleased with their progress (and mine!).

Things that went well:
-Kids are learning how to raise their hand. Boy oh boy was this a tough concept! I have a LOT of talkers in my crowd, and several blurters. One little girl is trying so hard not to blurt out that she literally puts her hand over her mouth and raises her other hand. At least she's trying.
-Morning routine! They've mastered coming in and unpacking their home folders, their lunchboxes, and their bookbags. We'll see how much they remember come Monday.
-RED day! On Fridays for the first two months, we wear a specific color. We start with the primary colors, and then work out way through the color spectrum. It's a great way to review the colors and add on to the kids' prior knowledge. We sang the red song, we all wore red on Friday, did all sorts of red activities, and spelled red. I'm pretty sure I now have 21 5 year olds who can spell red. :)

Things that we're going to keep working on:
-following directions (the first, second, third time). I know that's a difficult skill for this age group but I think we can get!!
-noise level. I used a noise level chart (1-5) and that seems to be working okay. Some days are better than others but I have confidence that we'll get there. With 21, I have to be careful to make sure that they don't all keep adding to the volume level. I want them to learn when it's okay to make noise and when it's not. So far, we're progressing.
-Rug behavior. we went over this and went over this and went over this and about half are starting to get a handle on it. I still have several who really struggle with this. This is my first year teaching that I've assigned rug seats, and almost all (minus 1) of my kids have remembered where they sit. The hardest part has been remember HOW to sit.
-Using our workbooks. Truthfully, a lot of people at my school thought we were NUTs for wanting the kids to learn how to use their workbooks. It's definitely a process but I think that by the end of the month or by the middle of October, they'll be able to handle it. I'm thinking that we're going to take their math workbooks out of their desks (and just leave their math books), so that way the kids aren't as confused about which one (since they are IDENTICAL)....and of course, every blessed kindergarten workbook is YELLOW. I mean, seriously. Did all of the publishers get together and say, hey, let's all use yellow in kindergarten. Could they have made it any harder?

Things that did NOT go well this week:
-the invasion of ANTS into our classroom on Thursday, including in one poor little girl's lunchbox. Thank goodness for my aide...we tag teamed the girl, distracted her, and apprehended the lunchbox prior to snack to remove any presence of ants. My principal had the bug guys out to school right away after the bell rang, and they sprayed all around the edge of my classroom. Thankfully, no ants on Friday. Hopefully they won't reappear over the weekend.
-the rain all week long. My poor little ones have YET to be out on the playground, and only got to go outside one time this week. For five year olds, that's a really really tough thing. And for teacher, it's even more tough. We need them to get some exercise too! I had my kids doing a few stretching activities throughout the day but that's not enough.

But, on a personal note, I survived. I was really worried how I would feel all week. Overall, while I was tired (ok, ok, EXHAUSTED) every day when I came home, I don't feel like it's going to be impossible. My poor husband only had to deal with a teary breakdown one night this week. Hardest part for me....getting up at 4:50am and drinking 1 cup of half caffeine coffee. I forgot how much I relied on that coffee to get me through the day.

Today, we slept in! Anyone else imagine how wonderful 12 hours of sleep is?! Then, had a lazy brunch, and I've spent the day working on lesson plans and school stuff. Tonight, hubby suggested a date night, so I'm looking forward to that! :)

I realize that this is an extraordinarily long post, so if you've made it this far, thanks! :)
Yall have a great weekend!!

p.s.
On a more somber note, tomorrow marks the ten year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11th. I'm sure that many bloggers out there will all have a remembrance up so be sure to check back tomorrow for mine!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day

Happy Labor Day....a little late into the day. I apologize for the lack of regular blog posting, but I'm sure yall understand how exhausted I am. Normally, the first few weeks of school are tiring BUT with the pregnancy (can you tell I'm excited to be sharing it FINALLY), I come home most nights, sleep, eat dinner, lay on the sofa for an hour, and go to bed. My poor husband. He is such a trooper and has been the biggest blessing with all of this. I had never thought of myself as a high energy person, but now, with as tired as I feel most days, I would love for my energy level to be what it used to be. But, its a sacrifice that I am more than willing to make. Tell me, you teachers who've had babies ... how did you handle teaching and pregnancy? I'm open to all advice/stories/encouragement! 
But, my blog stalking is still a part of my weekly routine. It's been great to have a long weekend to catch up on some blog reading and to discover a new blog!! I found this wonderful blog called Sweet Blessings! It's such a joy to read. Upon finding it, I immediately downloaded some of her charming printables....and plan to laminate and put around my desk at school! Be sure to check out Shannon's blog! It's sure to make your day!
In any event, the hubby and I were overwhelmed with the congratulations and well wishes about the baby that we received from friends this weekend!! Sometimes, we feel like we live so far away from many of our old friends but it was great to see so many familiar faces write on our walls/call us/text us/email us!! :) I'm so excited that all my girlfriends know--now, I can start pestering the mommies in the crowd with questions!
Tomorrow, it's back to school for me, with all 21 of my darlings. Right after school, I have my next doctor appointment, and I'm hoping to get over to the teacher center to laminate all the goodies I printed out this weekend. It'll be a long day..... wish me luck!
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Just a little fun food for thought!! :) Mostly because it made me smile!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

First Week of School and BIGGGGGG Announcement

Hi friends!!! I survived the first week of school.... it was a L-O-N-G week. And I am so lucky because it really wasn't a full ordinary week of school like it was for other teachers. I had my kiddos and parents come in on Tuesday (since Hurricane Irene prevented school on Monday) to meet me, my teacher's assistant, and see the classroom. The kids did a cute little balloon activity with the aides while I got to have "grown up" talk with the parents. Seriously, I only had five questions between the two groups. That's it. Somehow, I feel better when there are more questions. They were sooooooo quiet. Is that good? I've always had parents ask a ton of questions during the last two years, so somehow this makes me very nervous. Anywho... They were all gone by noon, so I had the afternoon to plan and prep for Wednesday and Thursday.
Wednesday I had fourteen of my little ones for a half day. They did great, but, boy oh boy, was I exhausted when they left. I've already started figuring out where my kids are at with certain skills, and so forth. I've lost my heart already to them, and am way excited about this school year. Thursday, I had the last seven of my little ones for a half day. It was much easier than on Wednesday but having less kids made the day feel a lot slower. All of us early childhood teachers had a much easier week than the rest of the teachers, who started out Tuesday with a full day with all their kiddos. Of course, we all had off Friday, and we're off again tomorrow!! Thanks goodness!!  I got to see all my kids from last year...which was so thrilling! They've grown so much over the summer, and I could see just how ready they really are for second grade!! :) Tuesday, I have all 21 of my kindergarten kiddos for a full day. I'm a little nervous to have all of them there for the full day but I think it'll go okay. I 'm sure I'll be completely exhausted after school but I'm getting used to that.
I've got some great plans put together for next week, including Miss Bindergarten book and activities. I also splurged and picked up Pete the Cat and my White Shoes and Pete the Cat Rocking in My School Shoes to use with my kids over the next two weeks! I'm so excited!!! I've been jealously eyeing everyone's Pete the Cat's activities and I CAN"T WAIT to use them!!! I seriously think I might love Pete the Cat!! :)
My family was up this weekend, and we headed out to Annapolis for the Naval Academy-UD football game. It was a blast!! Especially since Navy beat up on Delaware!! :) It was a great game, and we ran into some old friends (back from when I was in kindergarten)..... crazy small world!! We had a delicious tailgate and the weather was beautiful the last half of the game. It was pretty hot the first half but I just kept downing water bottles. We also celebrated my mother's birthday this weekend! Dad took us all out to brunch today and I made a yummy Caramel-Apple Cheesecake (from this month's Southern Living magazine) for dessert! Mom had a great birthday and it was awesome to spend some time together!! :)

For those of you that I'm not Facebook friends with.... I have a small...okay, really big announcement to share with yall!! :)
So, now my secret's out!! Hubby and I are both very very excited and can't wait to welcome our first little on in March!! :) So, as a heads up, some of my blogging from now on will also be baby focused!! It's added a whole new section of blogs that I'm reading these days! I'm safely into my second trimester, so I'm thrilled to be sharing our big news!! :)
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