Sunday, December 16, 2012

What will Monday Bring?

As a teacher, how often do you face a situation where you don't have the answer?
At least a possible answer...
Well tomorrow will be one of those days.

What will Monday bring?

My school district's position is to reassure students they are safe, and we will review our policies.

That sounds very official. 
How does that look to my kids?

So being a person of action, I think I have devised a plan. 
I am sharing this with you, in hopes that it helps someone.

I have heard all the experts on every channel talking about what kids need.  I hope my plan honors that.

A little background about my 5th grade class.
This year my kids have really struggled with respecting each other.  Members of my class have issues with kicking and pinching each other.  We have also had incidents of targeted bullying.
So at the beginning of the year, I started doing a weekly social skills lesson, in addition to the counselor's bi weekly lesson.

Monday morning, coincidentally is our weekly social skills lesson time.

I am going to start with a thumbs up, thumbs down, undecided activity using these two questions:

How much have you heard about Sandy Hook Elementary School?
How comfortable are you with people talking about the news story?

My goal is not going to be informing students of the news.  My goal is to find out who has been exposed to the information and images or if any of my kids are potentially going to spread misinformation that may put fear in the other kids. 

If there are a large amount of students who aren't comfortable with people talking about Sandy Hook, I will ask that all of my students respect that and make the choice not to talk about it. 

Then we will talk about our school motto: Be respectful.  Be responsible.  Be safe.

First, we are going to focus on "Be safe." We are going to discuss what to do if we have a drill of any kind and you are out in the building, hallways, restrooms, or out at recess.   We will also talk about the importance of listening to adults and following directions during all drills. 

If we have enough time, we will talk about "Be respectful."  That Golden Rule I keep trying to impress upon them. 
Treat others the way you want to be treated.

Listen when others are speaking, because you want others to listen to you.
Keep your hands to yourself, because you don't want people touching you.
Use good manners, like holding the door for someone, because you would want someone to help you out if you were in need.

As I try to think of what Monday morning will bring, I hope my planning helps.
One thing is for sure, as I stand at my door Monday morning, I will greet my students with a high five and smile, like always.  Because that's what my kids need. Routine.
All the while, I will be thinking of the teachers in Newtown. I will be wishing them thoughts of prayer and healing.

Here is a link that my counselor sent this morning!  Talking to Kids about Sandy Hook


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Reunited... and it feels so good!

Is your stress level astronomically high?
It's that time of year, I guess.

What better to relieve stress than a Girls Night Out?

That's just what Antoinette and I had tonight with 5 of our close teacher friends.

We were finally in the same place at the same time! (For those of you who are new to our blog, we used to work in the same building, but Antoinette is now a Teaching and Learning Coach at 2 other buildings.)

We all aired our grievances, shared stories, and had plenty of laughs.

We even talked about some teaching ideas, hopefully we will get around to sharing them soon.

How do you relieve stress this time of year?

Now onto something you can possibly use!
We are talking about narrative non-fiction in my classroom.
So of course I had to read Tarra & Bella.
Then we watched the videos of the them.  If you click the image it will take you to the CBS page with the videos.  (I only got watery eyed this year!)

I really wanted to emphasize to the kids that narrative nonfiction can be great for kids that don't like non fiction.  Heart warming and emotional, not just facts.

I had several other examples for kids to read during readers workshop.
Of course they are all knew:

and a Show Me Award (MO book award) nominee:

What books do read to start a more in depth study of non-fiction?


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Currently December RIP and no longer MIA

It's December!?!
Seriously... where has the time gone?
It feels like it was just Halloween.

Antoinette and I have been slightly overwhelmed by work.
But... we have made time for Farley's Currently.  Its too fun not to participate.

Emily's thoughts will be in red.  Antoinette's thoughts will be in green.

Let me explain!
I am loving Pillows and Pain Pills right now, because I had an outpatient surgery on my ankle.  I did it on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving break.  (I thought it would mean writing less sub plans.)  Yeah, it ended up being more invasive than they thought.  (Even right before the surgery they said I would be able to walk the next day.)  Well the best laid plans...
Here's what it looked like on the first week:

I ended up taking about four days off after Thanksgiving.  I am back to work now, but not on both feet.  Using the school wheelchair in the hall, and my desk chair in the classroom.
It will be better soon.  And long term it is supposed to make my ankle MUCH better. :)

With my right ankle being out of commission for another 2-3 weeks.  I will not be driving any time soon.  :(  
It has also put a damper on decorating for Christmas.  (That and my husband finishing grad school in 8 days. He is counting down, believe me.)  Then it can be Christmas at my house!

I am thinking of my 3rd grade teacher, since I found out she passed away at the end of last week.
I have such fond memories of her.  She was always so welcoming.  She introduced me to Beverly Cleary and for that I will be forever grateful.  Rest in Peace Mrs. Roach.

How do you honor someone who touched the lives of kids for 30 years?  

Hopefully I can make half the difference she did.

Well hello all you people of blog world.  I have been MIA for quite some time.  My new job has been absolutely CRUH...A...ZYYY!!!!  Not bad but amazingly busy.  Enough about that though.  Once again, Emily is keeping things going in the blog world for us.  What would I do without her (MISS YOU GIRL)!!  The world is not the same without seeing her everyday.  That's not just a RAK it is that absolute TRUTH!

As far as RAK- gotta a plan for tonight but am thinking I need to do a few others as well.  I was thinking that with life being so busy, I seldom take the time to tell the people most important to me how much they mean to me.  I struggle in the world of Christmas cards but am thinking that I might send a little card to all those people who are there for me no matter what life brings.  This is a RAK because I can't remember the last time I sent out Christmas cards lol.  I have one other RAK in mind but it's a secret!  I will tell you about it after the fact! He he!!

So here's my Currently and my first post it maybe a month or so.  Thanks Emily for reminding me. :)  Ouch- I just checked; October 29th was my last one.  Sorry people, I'll try to be better about posting.

BTW...  I am not a Bah Humbug, promise!  I have to say I am LOVING this weather. Not a fan of the cold; only during the week of Christmas. lol

Have a great December!

EmilyK & Antoinette