Thursday, December 17, 2009

All I Want For Christmas is A Tri-pod and a Remote for My Camera (or Feel Good Thursday!)

I love that I turned this into a fashion blog (and I love how skinny I look today) but I think I really need to do something about the self-shot thing. I'm pretty sure that if I really want to be a fashion blogger, I am going to need to invest in a tri-pod and remote. Anyways, enough on the fashion subject...

Today was a great day in my short little life! I spent a very large part of the day teaching -which was both a blessing and a challenge. I LOVE teaching. I love being able to step in and be a teacher. I love ringing the chimes to get everyone's attention. I love it! However, the day before the last day of school before winter break = so hard to manage a class of first graders. I am lucky because I work with a great group of first graders and an awesome mentor teacher who has set a fantastic classroom. But I had quite a few moments of "okay, boys and girls, let's do a check of our bodies" while we worked, read and walked in line. I think that is partly having someone else in charge and partly the excitement of the impending break. So that was a little bit of a struggle - not unmanagable.

One thing I noticed today, while on playground duty, was the children throwing balls at each other's heads. Our students line up in groups of two classes so I had a little chat with the students who were in my two rows. I hope that fixed it but I guess I'll find out that first Monday in January.

I was also really lucky today to get a few little holiday goodies. One of my students gave me a card telling me that she hopes I get to work at her school next year (I am pretty sure I am going to photo copy that one during my screening interview...) and another gave me a homemade ornament. I received a surprise card from a teacher who went through the MAT program a few years before. It was such a nice way to start my winter break. I cannot wait to have a little bit of a break (meaning this weekend... Next week, it's onto the first work sample). More than that, though, I can't wait to be in my placement full time! I am so lucky!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Today's your last day?!

Sorry about the weird angle on this one. Sometimes, I am lucky enough to have a husband at home to take my pictures and sometimes, I have to use my reflection.

Anyways, today, was a fun day. This morning, while I greeted the students, one of the girls said, "Mrs. M, this is the last time I will see you this year" which spurred one of the boys to exclaim, "we're not going to see you anymore?!" So, after the pledge of allegiance, I explained to the kids that through January, my schedule would be the same. I looked over and one of my students was doing the fist pump "yesssss" thing - totally made my day.

After I lead the students in their language arts, we went to a presentation by OMSI. There we made slime and flubber - both were so cool and the kids loved it! One of the boys was covered in slime by the time we were ready to move on. I walked over and asked him what was going on. His reply: "I don't know but who the heck trusted me with this?!" He's such a funny kid!

Not much else happened today. I cannot wait to be in the classroom full time, although I feel sad because that means I won't be in one grade for three months. I can't wait to get better at what I'm doing - I already feel much more confident than when I first started.

Now, I'm off to relax some more - yay for being done with everything!

Monday, December 14, 2009

How to Make a Colored Bottle

There was a request to show how we made the colored bottles on my post from a few days ago so here goes:
Step 1: Choose one color to cover your bottle in.
Step 2: Use magazines to clip out small squares of shades of your color - vary the sizes and shapes.
Step 3: Make a mixture of glue and water until it's a thin consistency.
Step 4: Use a paintbrush to paint the glue mixture onto the backs of the magazine squares to attach to the bottle.
Step 5: At the top of the bottle, glue the magazine squares onto the inside of the neck (hint: my students found it helpful to paint down the inside and make it stick).
Step 6: Once all the squares are glued onto the bottle, paint a layer of the glue mixture on top of the squares to smooth them down.
Step 7: When the top glue mixture dries, you can add glitter into the mix and paint a glittery layer onto the bottle.
Step 8: Allow the bottle to dry overnight.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Quick Reply to My Day

Today has to be short because I am two pages in to a seven page paper due tomorrow. But, here's the deal: I LOVE 1st grade. We broke the reading group into two groups finally and that was super fun... I really enjoyed that. I am falling into a routine of the things I get to do solo there and it makes me so happy. I cannot wait to start full time student teaching.

Okay, outfit of the day and then I am out of here. I tried the belted look today - I think I need a different belt... But I am loving the trend.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Lesson in letting Go

As usual, my outfit of the day first. With coat and without...

This morning I went in and, as anticipated, my 4th grade MT asked me to lead the morning. I had the students start their Accelerated math, then transitioned them to the work on their novel study - a book called Follow My Leader (which is super good, by the way... this weekend, I may do a post about the book and the idea for activities that I have to go along with it) - and then teach them a couple of reading skills based on their text book.

Everything went fairly smoothly, except I misunderstood what I was supposed to be doing and, again had to have my MT step in for a minute. I just feel very hard on myself though. The little slip ups that I do - like forgetting to give them the "what's next" after they finished reading their chapter in groups - I think about for a long time after. I hadn't read very much about the skills I was supposed to be teaching, figuring that I have a pretty good grip on rereading, but then I feel like I fudged the lesson. I sat back after I was done thinking of all the things I could have done differently and the prep work that I should have done. However, when the students left the classroom and I had a chance to talk to my MT, she said I did a great job. She said that I am very natural and do great at transitioning the kids. Great at transitions! That is probably the most fantastic thing I have heard all day. I find myself needing to learn to reflect but not beat myself up for the little things. I always find a way to remedy my flubs and they are never as bad as I think.

The afternoon was really enjoyable, however. The students made colored bottles out of old glass bottles, magazine pictures and watered down glue.
My MT asked if I would like to do one to have for my own lesson someday. So I decided to sit at the desk with the students and create my bottle. It was so nice to just visit with the students and the art was a nice break from the stress of this month. I saw how thoughtful my students can be. Since they each did different colors, they kept an eye out for colors that other people at their table groups might want to use. They were especially helpful to me, as I chose pink, which is not an easy color to find in large chunks.

One of my students used the time to get to know me better, which was really fun. "Mrs. M," he said, "I've been meaning to ask you since you started here - what inspired you to become a teacher?" I returned the questions and found out that he wants to be just like his dad. It was great to have time to actually have a conversation with the students.

Below are pictures of the bottles we created...

My bottle is on top and the bottom two pictures are the students bottles, in the middle of creation.

Now, I'm off to work the book fair for an hour and a half.
Oh student teaching... How I love you!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Showing My True Colors

First, my outfit of the day...
Last night, I said good night to my mom with a "I better go to bed so I have energy for my squirmy little first graders" with a chuckle. I have the best first graders in the whole world... they are the opposite of squirmy.
...Except for today. With the Civil War tonight and Winter Break rapidly approaching, the kids were very... rambunctous. I felt like there was a constant undercurrent of "Beavers!" "Ducks!"
and general excitement.
Nonetheless, I felt more like an actual teacher than I've ever felt before since student teaching. I had a lot more independent time with the kids- between reading and leading math with them and taking them out to the bus.
I feel like I am really hard on myself though. I always walk away form a lesson and think about the things I could have done better and how, the fact that I didn't think of that during the lesson means that I will fail as a teacher. Today, I was doing math with the students and realized that I didn't really count the tally marks with them... I STILL feel bad about it and I have to learn to stop doing that.
Despite that, this week has been really fun at the placements... Which is much needed because school wise, this week has been so HARD!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Better Than Expected Tuesday

Okay, so first, my outfit of the day. Please ignore the little tummy.

Today, I led the kids in a geography lesson. They had so many questions, though, many of which I couldn't answer so my MT stepped in halfway through. Thankfully, they were just technical questions about the assignment and not just because I have no idea what I'm talking about.

I couldn't have been that bad because, at the end of the day, my MT asked if I would want to take over some of the morning activities next Tuesday. Would I??!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Student Teaching on a Wednesday?!

Today, I went into my placement after school for Grandparent's Day. This is a tradition I totally want to have in my own classroom someday.

Some of the grandparents were already there when I walked in and some arrived later. Students interviewed their grandparents - or the grandparents of their classmates if theirs didn't come. Then they did some Thanksgiving day activities together. It was really fun getting to know my students' grandparents. One grandparent was very excited to show me his Pilgrim with a mullet. Another grandparent brought in his guide dog and I found out that I have something in common with that student - she has two Uncle Dans, who just happen to be related in the same way that my two Uncle Dans are.

Then I went down to the tech lab to take the 1st graders to their buses. I walked in and received a million "Miss Mevis!!!!"'s. One girl looked up at me and said, "you are really pretty." (Unfortunately, I changed out of my outfit before I took a picture this afternoon so you will have to trust her word.) That totally made my day.

I really enjoyed my two and a half hours in the classroom today! I feel so lucky to have such great mentor teachers and such great students!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My "Ted Mosby" Moment

First things first, I decided to turn this blog into a styles of a student teacher blog, starting today. Unfortunately, my outfit today is kind of uninspiring, but here goes...

Anyways, I have a lot of little stories today from student teaching.

My first task of the day was to write a topic sentence on the board for the students to write about. I stood at the front of the class, pen in hand and carefully wrote "Topic Senten..." and couldn't think of how to finish the word "sentence". I so felt like Ted Mosby in the episode of How I Met Your Mother, when, on his first day of professorship, he cannot figure out how to spell "professor." After a few beats in which I felt certain that every student was shaking their heads at my stupidness, I finished the word and prayed that I spelled it the right way.

That was the start of my up and down day. Students had to do a book chat about their favorite books today and during the middle of one student's speech, my mentor teacher got a call from the office asking for some information. My M.T. had to write a note so she let the kids chat. Their noise level kept rising and I had a nagging feeling that I should step in. I hesitated though and then I felt like a bad student teacher. Isn't that why I am there? To be able to stand in during moments like that? Ugh...

The day got better as I did more around the classroom. I successful read to the kids and transitioned them, which is definitely my weak point in teaching. They actually walked quietly to their desks and got started on their next project. I was also able to keep them on task, which made me feel better about earlier in the day.

Tomorrow I am going in for the last two and a half hours of the day for Grandparents Day and to help get my first graders to the bus. It will be fun to see them on a day I don't normally, but what to wear....

My principal does this thing at the end of staff meetings called Kid Kicks. I think they are super cute so I will leave you with a kid kick:

During one student's book chat, in which she reviewed "Al Capone Does My Shirts", she dressed in prisoner's garb, right down to the ball and chain around her ankle. As she walked to the front of the room, one of our students exclaimed, "If you had a beard, you'd be me in 30 years."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My 1st Lesson

On Thursday, I gave my very first lesson- my expressive arts lesson. Our 1st graders do a unit on community so I wanted something loosely based in what they were learning. I read "Rainbow Fish" to the kids and had them fingerpaint their fish. To be a "community", they took turns painting each other's fish, thereby "helping" their community members finish a project.

I was nervous the entire week leading up to my lesson and, even walking in after lunch, my stomach was churning. I calmed when one of the boys said, "why are you videotaping" and I realized that I am lucky enough to student teach such an awesome group of kids that there was no need to be nervous. I only felt slight butterflies when I noticed the video camera on me.

It, of course, didn't go as smoothly as I would have hoped. At the end of the lesson, one of the students asked if they could glue a tin foil scale on their fish and I realized I had completely forgotten that part of my lesson. At the end of the lesson, I had the students sit down and give thumbs up or thumbs down if they liked the lesson. The only "thumbs down" I got was from a boy who likes to say no to everything - he's hilarious.

I know now that I need to work on transitions and closing - those were not so smooth. Wendy kept telling me it went great and those are the things that most teachers struggle with. That made me feel much better.

I'll put the lesson plan down here because, despite my flaws, I think it went really well and the students did seem to enjoy it. When I finally get the video loaded on, I will be sure to add pictures to this post.

  1. Title: Rainbow Fish in the Community
  2. Context: This lesson will be taught to 26 first graders. It will be a part of a larger month-long unit about Community. To the best of my current knowledge, there will be no previous addressing of sharing in a community; however, the students will have learned about community helpers, etc. Students do have a background in “tear art”, which I will be using to create the scales that will make up our “Rainbow Fish’. The lesson will take place in the classroom over the course of one hour. The children will move between their desks and the gathering area in the classroom.
  3. Objectives: Throughout this lesson, students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of sharing (a prosocial behavior) by sharing pieces of an art project with their fellow tablemates.
  4. Benchmarks: Beaverton School District Social Studies Learning Target: Acquire, organize and interpret and present information about family, classroom and school.

1st Grade Health Curriculum Target: Identify prosocial behaviors

  1. Preparation: Prior to running this lesson in the classroom, I will try it out at home with some willing volunteers.

Materials: Water Color Paint

26 White construction paper

26 White construction paper for fish (some with Fish printed on it; some without)

26 Tin foil scales


Cups of water

Paper Towels

Baby wipes

“Rainbow Fish” by Marcus Pfister

Other books from the “Rainbow Fish” collection

-Before the day of the lesson:

- I will draw two or three versions of a fish on paper and make

copies of each version on white construction paper to create a class set of 26.

- I will cut out 26 aluminum foil fish scales to be used in the creation of their fish

-Before students come in the classroom from lunch, “Rainbow Fish” will be

placed on the bulletin board.

-Each table group gets:

- 1 package of baby wipes for easy clean up

- 2- 3 tins of water color paints

- 2 cups of water

-Each desk gets:

- a piece of white construction paper

-Each student should already have:

- A glue stick

- A scissors

-On a separate table, there will be a set of Rainbow Fish’s other stories (however many I can find in the school library)

-Also on the back table, there will be previously cut aluminum foil scales and pre-drawn fish and paper so they can draw their own fish.

  1. Lesson Introduction/Set: (10 minutes)

-Students will be coming in from recess so, while they are lined up, before they come in from the playground, I will instruct the kids to come inside, take off and hang up their jackets and sit down at their desks. (As they come inside the classroom, I will remind them to go to their desks, as this is different than what they normally do.)

-Once everyone is seated at their desks, I will demonstrate what they will do.

-Students will begin by dipping their fingers in the cup of water in

front of them.

-They will then choose one color to use.

-They will then dip their now-wet fingers in the water color of their


-Using their finger tips, they will cover their paper in water color

finger prints.

-As they finish, I will ask them to sit at the gathering area on the carpet.

  1. Sharing Objectives: (15 mins)

-When everyone is gathered on the carpet, we will review what the students know about community (What is in a community? Who is in a community? What kinds of communities are there?)

-I will then introduce “Rainbow Fish” by explaining to the children that fish live in a community called a “school”.

-“Today we will discover how Rainbow Fish shared with the other fish in his community.”

-We will then read the book.

-When the book is finished, we will review what Rainbow Fish shared with his community. (Scales.) “How do you think that made the other fish feel?”

-“Remember the people that our in our community? What are some of the things we can share with these people?”

-I will tell the kids that we will be sharing our “scales” with the people at our table group communities. This will be how we practice sharing with the people in our school community. I will remind them that we have already shared our supplies when we made our scales by sharing water colors and cups of water.

-I will explain that they are to go back to their desks and either tear out or cut up scales from their finger painted paper. They will then choose to either cut a fish out from the pre-made fish drawings or they can draw and cut out their own fish and that they will then be sharing their scales with their tablemates and gluing them on to their rainbow fish.

  1. Learning activities: (30 mins)

-As students head back to their desks, I will turn on music quietly in the background for them to hear while they work.

-During this time students will create their fish. They will be allowed to create scales however they want. I will give them a couple of options: they can cut out various shapes with their scissors or they can tear out shapes, as they have done two other tear art activities in the classroom and are very familiar with how to do it.

-When their scales are all torn or cut up, students can choose to cut out a pre-drawn fish or draw and cut out their own. Once their fish is cut out, they will need to put their name on the back.

-Each student will pass some of their scales to the other students in their table group. I anticipate needing to assist this process at each table group. They will take out about sixteen of their scales to give to their tablemates. Each child will get about four of each tablemate’s scales.

-They will then glue the scales on their own fish.

-When all of the scales are glued on, they will go to the back table to get an aluminum foil scale to glue wherever they want on their fish.

-When it is all glued together, students can leave their desk and choose to read another book from the Rainbow Fish series or choose another book in the classroom. They can also help other students at their table to finish gluing their scales.

-Differentiations include:

-The ability to use a pre-made fish or draw their own fish.

-The ability to tear out their scales or cut them up.

-Books to read when they have finished

-Help from other students

Closure: (5 mins) We will wrap up the lesson when all of the students have finished their fish. I will ask the students what they remember about Rainbow Fish. We will briefly recall what we learned about sharing and brainstorm more ideas for sharing in the classroom.

Day 2 at the ELC

Today was day two in the ELC and I got to spend it in kindergarten. The regular teacher was out sick so Mr. Danny became the teacher and I got to be his assistant teacher. It was fun having a classmate as my acting mentor teacher. The kids were, reportedly, a little more talkative than usual, but talking has never bothered me.

During centers, I decided to have a meeting with the girls about being nice to each other because they were each taking turns excluding each other. I kind of thought the girls wars started later on- apparently I was wrong. I think that was an important lesson to learn today.

I continue to enjoy watching the ideals of the program put in to practice. Today, I got a lot of practice using them myself.


Hi and welcome!

This is a blog to follow me through my adventures in student teaching. I am student teaching in a first grade classroom and a fourth grade classroom. So far, it has been a great experience.

Today was my first day in the ELC. It was interesting to see the tenants of what we are taught put into practice totally. I think what stuck out to me most was the kids running around in bare feet in the classroom. This is something I wouldn't see in a public school but I love the idea that, if the kids are comfortable that way, it's okay. I want to figure out how to bring this into my own classroom.

That's all I have for today... Lots of catch up to do tonight!