Friday, March 28, 2014

Last Week of March - Five for Friday

Holy moly! I don't know what's going on this week but I have been EXHAUSTED every single day. Could barely make it through each day!!! Might possibly have something to do with having 2 three hour trainings (different programs) this week? Thank goodness this week is over. @@

Remember our leprechauns from last week? Well, most of them are finally done along with the descriptive paragraphs! Stayed late at school to get this bulletin up! :)

Some close-ups...

Did you notice that the paragraphs weren't about the leprechaun's appearance? I made sure of that! I wanted the kids to think even deeper and write about the leprechaun's personality and character instead. I think they did a great job!

Geometry ended this week! We did this weeklong activity created by the district which involved having the students make a paper cube. 

Science was super exciting this week. Why? We are starting our life science unit which specimen!!! Our mealworms arrived last week and were introduced to the students on Thursday. 

The kiddos were super excited. They each got their own container of six mealworms to keep at their desks for observation.

We are still working on our mini-opera for the SF Opera ARIA program. A production artist will be visiting our classroom next week so to prepare, we came up with some ideas of what we wanted our set to look like.

Assembly time! PEAK, an environmental education program that is currently working with our fifth graders hosted an all-school assembly to teach the kids more about saving and managing energy.

They learned how electricity is made in a power plant...

They also met Bulbman!!

Busy busy and exhausting week! I'm jealous of the schools that are on spring break next week. Mine isn't until mid-April. At least we get a long weekend because we get Cesar Chavez Day off. I will take whatever I can get!

Finally, I will leave you with a picture of the hallway bulletin of one of the first grade classes. So cute!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Liebster Award Again!

Lucky me, I've been nominated for the Liebster Award again! This time, by Mrs. Bentin's Blackboard. Guess that also means I've had fewer than 200 followers for the last 2-3 years? Guess third time's the charm? :)

Here are the rules to go along with the journey:
1. Link back to the blog that nominated me
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers (this part is at the end)
3. Answer the questions posted for me by my nominator
4. Share 11 random facts about myself
5. Contact my nominees and let them know that I nominated them we go!

Questions from My Nominator:
1. What has been your most memorable 'aha' moment from teaching? So many!
2. How do you balance the long hours and demanding of teaching with your personal life? That's something I'm still trying to figure out. Fortunately for me, I live by myself and don't have a family to take care of so I have much more time to use for planning. However, I know that it won't be the case forever so I'm hoping that I can get things figured out before then so that when that time comes I will already be ready.
3. What do you love about the grade level you teach or a specific grade level you have taught in the past? My favorite part about teaching second grade is the math. Second graders just seem more developmentally ready to discuss and understand math concepts. I really enjoy teaching the kids different addition and subtraction strategies. The kids absolutely love it and we have also discovered new strategies during our number talk sessions, too!
4. What is your favorite guilty pleasure? Staying up as late as I can on Friday just because I can! :)
5. What read aloud do you HAVE to do each year with your class no matter what? Ever since I discovered Julia Cook's books, I just HAVE to read at least one of them at the beginning of the year. One of my favorites is My Mouth Is a Volcano! Every class always has one or two interrupters, plus it also is a good introduction to classroom rules. There is also the story of The Monster Who Came to School. I'm not sure who wrote that, but I found the text online.
6. What is your favorite holiday to celebrate with your kiddos and why? My favorite holiday is Lunar New Year. It's a time for me to also share my culture with my students. :)
7. What advice for new teachers do you have? Make sure to stay organized as you go. It will make life a lot easier when you are in your second year of teaching. Also, during self-reflection time, focus on one thing. Don't try to fix everything in your first year. It won't happen and it will just burn you one. I would say stick with one focus every year.
8. What is the silliest gift you've ever gotten from a student? Nothing my kiddos give me is silly! However, I have received gifts and don't know what to do with them. For Valentine's Day, I got two GIANT bags of Skittles (I tell the kids I like Skittles because I don't want chocolate). They are still sitting on my table since I'm still working on the Skittles I got last year...
9. What's your favorite field trip and why? My favorite field trip is to the Maker Faire Education Day. I think it's a great experience for the kids and also give them a glimpse of creativity and imagination at its best. I want my students to know that they can be anything they want, including a maker. Plus, we get to see some cool stuff like a giant mouse trap, R2-D2, and other robots!
10. What is something that you want all parents of your students to know? No matter what you may think I'm saying about your child, I want you to know that I want ALL my students to succeed. For some students, success isn't as easy to reach due to some obstacles. However, as long as we can help the child find ways to overcome the obstacle, he/she can still succeed!
11. What is the best part of your job? Working with kids. They say such silly things sometimes. :)

11 Random Facts About Me:
1. I have two younger brothers. The youngest and I are 12 years apart.
2. I only like chocolate in moderation. I am a bigger fan of fruit-flavored sweets. (hence, the Skittles)
3. I have some pretty awesome colleagues. They rock my socks!
4. I don't drink.
5. I also can't really handle caffeine so I don't drink coffee. Most teas are okay.
6. I would rather spend money on an expensive meal than on clothes.
7. I want to travel the world! My goal is to go on some big trip 1-2 times year.
8. I'm an organized mess. Everyone says I'm organized but I swear that's just appearances. I still feel like I have a long way to go!
9. I'm waiting for the day when I have my own place with my own home office! That would be a dream come true!
10. Around this time of the year, I start to realize that my kiddos will be leaving me soon and I'll be getting a new batch of kids. It makes me sad, especially since I looped with some of them from first grade. I wish I could keep moving with my class, but teaching a new grade level every year would be way too tiring!
11. I'm still waiting for the day when I will have the space and money to get my own dog.

Now...My Nominations!

Questions for My Nominees
1. What were some of your previous jobs?
2. What grade levels have you taught?
3. What's your favorite thing to do on the weekends?
4. Which school holiday is your favorite?
5. How do you usually spend your summers?
6. If money was not a concern, what would you get for your classroom?
7. What do you think your ideal grade level is and why?
8. Bahamas or the Carribeans?
9. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
10. What is your favorite subject to teach?
11. Why teach?

Looking forward to reading the nominee's responses! :)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Five for Friday

Another week done! Only 50 more days of school left! @@

Our geometry unit continues with some geoboard fun!

Some of the kiddos creations...

Tilt your head to the left.

This is meant to be a fox, but I was lazy and didn't rotate the picture before uploading it. Now it looks more like a fish. :)

A parent came in during our usual music time to introduce the students to some woodwind instruments, the clarinet and flute. 

The only St. Patrick's Day related activity we did (there's just NO time!). I led the kids through a directed drawing of a leprechaun all thanks to First Grade Blue Skies. I decided to do the lesson on the classroom iPad rather than on the whiteboard or a piece of paper for a special reason. Read on to find out why! But first, some pictures of kiddos working on their drawings!

And here's the reason why I did my lesson on the iPad! I had some kiddos who were pulled out for some intervention work when I was teaching this lesson so I used the app, EduCreations, to record myself. When the kiddos came back from their pull-out time, I set them on the carpet with the iPad and some headphones and viola! Now, everyone has their drawing completed! :)

I'm still learning how else to use a single iPad in the classroom, but this is definitely a good start!

More geometry fun! This time we made shapes using pattern blocks!

This was probably one of the most hands-on week for the kids ever! For Art, we worked with clay. Every year the kids get to make one clay project and it's always the one they look forward to. Last year when I was in first grade, the kids made clay fish. This year in second grade, the kiddos made coil "pots"!

Hopefully they all make it through the kiln! Can't wait to find out!

Oh, remember back to the beginning of March with the Currently? (Is it really mid-March already???) My answer was Frozen and my question was, "What movie have I not seen yet?" Well...guess who pre-ordered the dvd...

I haven't watched it yet but I plan to tonight! :)