Saturday, August 16, 2014

Change Is In The Air!

It's time to change it up!
I walked into my front office last week
and overheard that my principal was interviewing
for a First Grade Math position.
This person would teach math.
Only math.
3 Times A Day
with some phonics thrown in...
of course there's phonics....
we're ALL reading teachers in one way or another
YOU know that.
I know that.
On with my story: 

My brain said.
Then I walked to my room,
unlocked my door.
Looked at my room.
My Kindergarten room.
Where I taught 3 classes reading 3 times a day last year.
Stressed much?
My classroom where I have lived for the past 8 years.
My classroom which my 2 boys
had JUST finished putting back together.
I don't know about you, but every year
my ENTIRE classroom gets heaped into a ginormous
pile in one of the corners of the room.
Seriously. EVERYTHING. One large mountain.
Every summer I haul my own kids to my
classroom and they help me unpile
everything.  Not an easy feat
(thank you God for teenage sons).
Ditto!  Ben and Abby have "grown up"
in my classroom every summer.
This year Ben asked, 
"Mom, am I your pack mule?"
Yep, pretty much.
 I took one look at my K classroom
Told my kids that I'd be back.
Shut my door.
Marched myself to
the front office
right into the interviewing room
and sat my happy self across
the table from my principal (love her) and
3 of my school's grade level chairs (love them)
and smiled.
Just smiled.
My Cheshire Cat smile.
Until my principal said...."Yesssssss?????"
"I'd like to officially put my name into the hat
for the First Grade Math position," I said.
That was the beginning of the end.
That was a week ago today.
That was Tuesday.
By Wednesday I was thinking....what did I do?
Did that knee jerk reaction
have me kicking myself on my own rear end? gut told me that I did the right thing...
even though my brain was reeling.
I'm sure it was!....and will be for awhile.
Whenever I would start to panic
(moving a classroom is a huge-monster-big deal
that can feel a little overwhelming)....
so whenever that panic feeling would start up,
I would really dig deep and pray.
And then I knew.  Even though I was feeling like
I possibly made a huge mistake...I didn't.
Teaching math in First Grade
is really where I needed to be this year.
In fact, in the middle of moving rooms...
I ran into my principal and new vice principal.
(I'm going to love her....I just feel it!)
My principal gave me the nicest compliment,
and I am actually going to share it with you
just because it made me feel good.
She introduced me to my new vice principal
as an AMAZING reading teacher who's heart
was really in math since I've been
making STEM activities for teachers to use.
She said that sometimes you have to
move teachers not because it's something
that you (as a principal) want to do....
but because you know that it's what they want
and it's in their own best interest.
What an honest reflection of you sista!  
Awww shucks!
See why I love her? 

In fact, in honor of my new Math Position,
here's a cute, Pete The Cat Domino Math Activity.

If you like that, you may want to try out
my new Back To School Domino Math.

Today (exactly a week from when I heard
that the position was open)
 I finally finished cleaning out
every nook and cranny of my Kindergarten classroom.
I'm feeling calm and good about my decision.
My name was on the "Welcome Back" Information Letter
to our school personnel from our principal....
in the section where she talked
about new hires and grade changes.
I am OFFICIALLY a first grade teacher!
Wowzers Batman!  How did that happen?
I haven't been in first grade for 18 years!
And back then, I taught it all in Spanish since
I was a Bilingual Ed teacher in Texas.
That was back in the day.
Things have changed.
A Kindergarten teacher just changed
into a First Grade teacher.
All it took was a swift, knee jerk reaction....
a smile....a request...
and  a supportive principal and teammates.

I like to think of the
 word "change" and how it correlates
to the change in your pocket. 
Jingle, jingle jingle!
1 quarter can change into 2 dimes and nickel....
then that can change into 4 nickels and 5 pennies,
and so on, and so on, and so on.
But it's all the same thing in the end--
no matter what different combinations you have.
Very deep thoughts sensai...
Well.... that's me.  In a nutshell.
I'm just a bag o' change.
This queenly quarter has turned into 25 pennies
rolling in 25 different directions!
I don't call myself Queen Chaos for nothing!
But I'm still me.
I'm still going to make things
for Kindergarten kiddos and teachers
on Teachers Pay Teachers
and for our blog.
Have you seen some of our freebies?
If not, start clicking on old blog posts....
you might find something you could use!
I'm still going to present for SDE's upcoming
Orlando Workshop on how to teach
STEM classes in K....because seriously....
that's SUPER fun and every K and 1 teacher
should know how to do that without pulling out their hair.
We're aging people.
We need as many
strands of hair as we can keep!
Side Note: My STEM activities are one of the reasons
that I wanted to get back into teaching math....
my principal was right!  Yippee! 
Hmmmm.....maybe there's another good reason
I'm getting back to math.
I can start collecting all of my loose pennies
that are rolling in 25 different directions,
and roll them up into a well organized nice penny roll.
This would actually be changing 25 circles
into a nice little cylinder.
Let me see...Numbers....Money...Shapes...
Must keep my skills up!

Talking about keeping skills up....
my entire school just went to a
Collin's Writing Workshop
where Joan Pokrant presented.
Even though I'm now a math teacher,
we ALL teach writing....right?! 
Here's an editing marks poster
for anyone out there that would 
like to use it.

 Editing Marks: Primary Grades Poster

Joan Pokrant had a saying
for the 2 different colored pencils/pens
that she uses when editing student papers...
Here it is in a poster form if you want it:

Editing Red And Blue Pencil Use Poster
She showed us a cute writing rubric
using "Stanleys".
I'm a little slow on the uptake
and it took me about 2 hours
of thinking how cute the "Stanley" rubric was
before I realized it was based on the character,
Flat Stanley, by Jeff Brown.

My new fab first grade teammates
asked me to make us the Stanley
writing rubric pieces that were shown to us.
So....with Joan's it is!

Flat Stanley Writing Rubric:
Based on the Collin's Writing Workshop
presented by Joan Pokrant,
here is a rubric using "Stanleys"
for assessing students' writing.
 Using this rubric,
a teacher can easily draw:
1. A Happy Face
2.  A Happy Face With One Ear
3.  A Happy Face With Two Ears
4. A Happy Face With Two Ears & Hair
on a student's paper.

If a student only receives a 1.smiley face....
or a 2.smiley face with one ear.....
once they revise their papers,
the teacher can add the other ear
and the hair with a different
colored marker so that she/he knows
that the students received all the points
after having help and revising their paper.
That's clever.
At a glance, seeing the 2 different colored
markers making up Stanley's face....a teacher
can easily see who needed extra help.
We ALL like easy peasy lemon squeezy.
The smaller black and white version
was made for students to insert in their writing
journals as a reminder.
 Print and cut out your own "Stanleys"
to use in creating your own classroom rubric.
And don't forget to write
well enough to get some hair!
Hair is a good thing. 
(Says the lady with the massive curls
Having finally met you in person
"massive curls" is a HUGE understatement...
...more like GINORMOUS curls!!
--If I don't promote my look....who will?)

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