Wednesday, April 24, 2013

 Tell Me Something Good Linky

I'm linky up with Rowdy in First Grade for her Tell Me Something Good linky party. As you know if you had read my post lately, it has been a trying year, so I more than anyone need to be reminded to focus on good things. When I start doing it, I'm always amazed at how much good there actually is out there.
So the deal is to tell something good at home and something good at school.
At home, I was so glad that I decided to pay to get my lawn mowed and weed-eated last night. I usually mow my yard, but me and the weed eater have never been very good friends. I was evener happier about my decision when it poured down rain all night. Obviously it doesn't take much to excite  me!
At school, I have been challenging the kids to answer questions in complete sentences instead of a one word answer. I tell them I will give them 5 bonus points for doing it. I loved it the other day when one of the boys asked the kids around him how to spell because. There was some discussion and then one of my girls got out her mini word wall and told them all how to spell it. Yes!

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

 Fun Finds and Frog & Toad

I feel so much better after my downer of a post from yesterday. Today I found a song in our songbook from church that I'm going to make my new theme song. It's called The Best Day of My Life. When I read over the words, it hit me that I am letting school problems completely overtake me. I can't go around letting others rob me of my happiness, I realized that is what I have been doing.
Here's the first verse and chorus from the song.
The Best Day of My Life
by Kerry D. King
Every morning when I wake up here
I hold anticipation near,
For this could be the best day of my life
For if I could lend a helping hand,
Could guide someone to that fair land,
Then this could be the best day of my life.
Fix my eyes on the prize
Some tomorrow soon I'll realize,
No more sorrow, endless pain or strife,
This will be the best day of my life.
I wanted to share a couple of cool things I found at on of my favorite stores, Dollar Tree. The first are these large foam dice. I put them next to regular dice to show their size. They were 2 for $1.00. They were in the toy section.
I think I am going to use these 2 sizes of dice along with a giant foam dice for a place value activity. The kids will roll the giant dice for the hundreds number, the large dice for the tens and the small dice for the ones.
They also had these neat little containers. They had several sizes, some were sandwich size and then these are about half that size and they were 2 for $1.00. They were in with the kitchen containers.
They come in green, red and blue. I have thought about using them for"dice shakers", not sure yet.
I have had so much stress at work that I have fallen behind in posting some pictures of some of our activities. We read The Kite from the Frog and Toad books. I was wanting to do a craftivity for our Literature Response. Here is what I came up with.
I made a kite-shaped form for the literature response then I used manilla folders to make kite tracers.
 The comprehension skill that week was Problem and Solution so I made tail pieces for the kite. The small ones say. Somebody. Wanted, But, So. The larger pieces were blank for the kids to write on. This picture isn't too good, but I think you can get the idea.
Since we were reading about Frog and Toad, I wanted to talk about the differences between frogs and toads. We did a Life cycle of frogs and toads. They both lay their eggs in the water, but toads live most of their lige on land. I tried this activity last year and it was rather a mess. I have refined it a little this year, but I'll probably make more improvements to it next year.

I was going to share a copy of the kite page, but I have been having computer problems and I just found out that Powerpoint isn't working. If I get it fixed soon, I'll share it. I'm sorry, but the frog and toad pictures are a mixture of some packs I bought and some I googled. I'll try to get a set that I can share. 
Make tomorrow the best day of your life! ; 0

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

 It's going to get better.

I know when I look back at the posts from this year, they will have an overlying theme: Negativity. I'm really not a negative person, but this has been the most trying year I have ever had.
I have some of the most wonderful students, sweet, kind, eager to learn, helpful, etc... I can't say enough good things about them. They are being totally overtaken by about 8 other kids who totally suck the life out of our class everyday.
I can't send them to the restroom by themselves anymore because several were playing in the bathroom and one,  in particular would run up and down the hallway when I sent him, even if I sent him with an escort. I had to take all of the crayons from their desks because several boys were breaking them into small pieces and throwing them on the floor and someone colored inside one of our brand new desks. I didn't catch the culprits so everyone had to pay.
Last week, a girl is bawling her head off because someone had written a hate note to her. When I was looking for evidence to find the culprit ( they had written the note with a red marker) I found some very disgusting things written in a little notebook. So I went through the desks and took pretty much everything out of them. Next year, I'm going with tables.
Several of the eight are just mean spirited, they call names (of course, I never catch them),  My principal and I were discussing it the other day and I guess one way to sum it up is they are very reactive to everything that happens to them. They can turn on a dime with their emotions. One of my sweeties said a boy took her pencil. I could see he had 3 pencils on his desk so I told him to give it back to her, he looked at me and threw it in the trashcan. That's just a sample of what I'm talking about. I can even count how many times I have heard "I HATE this class!", "I HATE you!", "I don't like you." or "I want to go to another school!"
The worst thing that has happened wasn't from a student, but from a parent. Her son was the one that threw the chair across the room. They are just certain that his behavior is learned from things he has seen in my classroom. All I can say is he is the only one who has thrown a chair, stood on top of a tall  trashcan that he turned upside down, ran away from the principal, turned a desk upside down and stood on it, etc... Anyway, she decided she would come to my class for the day to observe. My principal and I thought she was coming to observe her son, that's not what happened.
She sat with a notebook and wrote down times and events that happened through out the day.  There was not one positive thing one her 3 page typed report that she gave me. She also didn't see any negative behavior from her son ( the minute she left the cafeteria, he started doing jumping jacks). It was ridiculous! This is the type of stuff she was writing. 9:05 - Girl says she can't see board, teacher ignores her. 10:05 - Teacher gets poked  with a pencil gets visibly upset and leaves the room. 11:20 -Girl tells teacher that another girl called a boy a name, teacher tells her to stop tattling.
First, the girl that said she couldn't see has been sitting in the same spot for weeks and has never had a problem. Second, I had sharpened the pencils with the World's Quietest Pencil Sharpener, it sharpens the pencils VERY sharp. The lead went into my leg 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Yes, I was visibly upset, it was throbbing like crazy. I went to the office to put some antibiotic cream on it. I couldn't do it in the classroom because it was my upper thigh. Lastly, do you let  a third party tattle? I told the mom that if something needs to be reported, it needs to come from the person it happened to. I also told her that we have talked about the difference between tattling and reporting. She said she has never heard of that and she would like to sit in the lesson sometime.
Mom said that I should let him take a timeout with the principal when he is having problems. So one day, he just seemed out of it, he wasn't doing any work, so I asked him if he needed a time out, he said yes, took one and then came back and worked. When I told mom about it, she said she didn't want him taking a time out if he wasn't upset! Another day, he asked for a time out, he didn't seem upset, so I said no, then he proceeded to crawl all over the floor, emptied his desk, and continued to escalate in the cafeteria crawling under the tables, saying "Nanny, nanny, boo, boo " to the principal when she told him to get up. So the next time he asked for a time out, I gave it to him and he came back to class and refused to go to his center and get to work. He kept saying he didn't know how to to it even after I showed him what to do and offered to help him. He was walking around the room bothering kids, throwing the brooms on the floor, etc...
Mom says her son is getting upset because some of the kids are getting away with things. She told me that she doesn't want him to get away with things. Does she really mean that? He had one of his biggest blow ups because I told him to sit at his desk and read, because he wasn't following directions. He won't make in in my class an hour if she seriously wants me to address every time he is not doing the right thing. I guess she would like me to sit and take note of every action of every student all day long. How much teaching would I get in? NONE
I haven't posted because this situation has drained all of my energy. I have tried to please this mom and tried to do the right thing for her son, but there doesn't seem to be a right thing.
There are some positive things going on in my room. I have a lot for budding writers. When they write, they are writing interesting things, not I like, I like, ... One of my little writers has totally shocked me and the principal. At the beginning of the year all I ever heard from him was I hate school. He could have cared less about learning, he has done a 180. I had several kids who were not passing our Treasures unit tests and they have now started to pass them. Yes!
Enjoy your weekend!  And 5 more weeks!!!

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