Friday, April 26, 2013


I kind of fell behind with updating there, didn't I? I have just been so busy with teaching and my other classes that posting slipped my mind!

Well, things have been going great! We did Main Idea last week, and Fact and Opinion this week. I got observed during Main Idea. We read The Runaway Tortilla as a class, and then together picked out details that supported the overall idea of the story. The students then used this to write a summary about the story. My supervisor loved it! On our evaluation, you are scored on a 0-3 scale in 25 areas. She told us back when we were still in lectures that the supervisors really aren't supposed to give 3's on the first evaluation because there is always room for improvement. Well, she gave me TWELVE of them, and the rest were all 2's. She gave me one 1 because she felt the need to balance out all the 3's she gave me when she wasn't really supposed to. That was so encouraging. She said I taught better than most of the student teachers she has seen. That gave my confidence a huge boost.

This weekend I am spending time putting together my Teacher Work Sample for Professional Block that covers the four day Text Structures unit I will teach next week. I'm kind of worried about it because I feel like I have trouble communicating text structure. Fortunately, it's just a review for the students - they've had it before. This work sample may kill me though, because I still have to write lesson plans, too! If anyone has good text structure ideas appropriate for lower-level fifth graders, I'd LOVE to hear your ideas!

I can't believe this is the last week I have with these kids. I'm going to miss them all - from the two gifted kids that have a vocabulary bigger than mine, to the trouble-maker who was suspended last week, my sweet little stuttering kids who I think are the most precious kids I've ever talked to, and everyone else in between. Who knew that 45 10-12 year olds could steal your heart the way these guys have? I love them so much!

They take their state science test next Wednesday, so it will be nice to have a mid-week break :)

(well, I'm not Mrs., but I let it slide. This made my day!)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Wow, What a GREAT Week!

I can't even begin to say how wonderful this past week was! Obviously, I woke up nervous every morning, because this is the most teaching I have done so far. But I never had a day I regretted or wished I could change!

Tuesday, Mrs. D was giving a test so I observed next door. Another one of my classmates is in that room with Ms. M, and she was teaching a science lesson on chemical vs. physical changes. It made me so happy I got assigned the classroom that I did! 

Wednesday, we had an in depth lesson on Headings and Subheadings. We read an article together about Mount Everest, and then they had a series of questions to answer about which subheading to look under to find information it asked about. My first period did very well. Second period tends to get over-confident, so theirs weren't quite as good, but they still did well overall.

Thursday, I was very nervous. I had written a lesson, but then I couldn't find any articles for what I needed. We were doing a study on illustrations and diagrams. I literally changed my plan at the last minute; I didn't even have time to write it down. I stayed up late and put together a power-point, and luckily stumbled upon an article about the Tower of Pisa, and decided that they could come up with an appropriate illustration and caption for their illustration. I really felt like it was slapped together and would come across that way, but apparently I was VERY wrong, because my cooperating teacher slipped this into my bag:
And here is 2nd period's Tower of Pisa's! I love how they turned out, and Mrs. D has them hanging on display now :)

Friday, Mrs. D wanted me to give them a quiz on the text feature definitions, so that was quite an easy day :) We graded them so that students who made an 85 or over (which was about 90%!) could enter their name into the Academic Drawing.

This weekend, several of my friends had their senior art exhibit so I went and supported them there. Then, my brother, who is in the Chorale at Belhaven University, had a jazz recital so my mother and I went and watched him. It was SO good! My baby brother is so talented :)

This week, I am teaching Main Idea everyday. I have my first two days planned, but Wednesday I am getting observed by my supervisor, so I want to make sure it is awesome. Any tips/lesson ideas are welcome!

Monday, April 8, 2013


Y'all. I had butterflies in my stomach all weekend about teaching my first set of lessons today. I put effort into my lesson plan and materials, but just because those are great doesn't mean the kids will be receptive to your lesson. But it turns out I had nothing to worry about!

I wish I had gotten more pictures, but I can't really use my phone at the school. We learned about text features in general. I made a chart with definitions and we read them aloud as a class. Then I had another poster-board that I made into a grid with different grids labeled with different text features. Then, I had cardstock cards with different examples of each text feature. I got volunteers to come match each card with its proper spot on the grid, and then we discussed why that was the correct choice. I gave them time to copy down the definitions (Mrs. D wants me to give them a vocabulary quiz at the end of the week), and then we moved back to our desks, and used the Social Studies book for a text-feautres scavenger hunt.

The first class spent too long on the drawing sections, something that I realized quickly. I made the second class complete all of the writing before they moved onto the drawing. They all did a fabulous job; I was so proud!

Mrs. D liked it so much that she kept all of my materials to use for her third period (I only teach through 10:45). It's just really encouraging to know you are on the right track. It's days like today that I remember why I love doing what I do! 1 lesson down, about 18 to go!

How cute is this Theodore Roosevelt? Looking through all their pictures tonight put the biggest smile on my face!

Saturday, April 6, 2013


Weekends are for

- reading books for fun for the first time in a million years (now that I'm done with my classes I am able to!)
- going to see my friend Lauren do an outstanding job in the play 9 Parts of Desire.
- going to see said play with my dear friends Matt and Austin and stuffing myself silly with IHOP afterwards.
- wearing a scarf with skulls on it in public and feeling strangely liberated.
- writing my lesson plans for next week, and finding out I don't have to teach on Tuesday because my kiddos will be taking a test. My cooperating teacher is amazing.
- sweet time with Jesus and drinking cappucinos.
- lots of cuddles with my fur-babies.
- grilling steaks.
- church and fellowship and community.
- sleep, and lots of it.

I just love weekends. And now, I'm off to read my book that I started what seems like years ago and have yet to finish. Have a great Sunday!

P.S. I'd appreciate it if you kept me in your prayers. I have to go to the pulmonary doctor every Friday to get my INR levels checked (basically, how easily you clot or bleed...) and my levels are still really low (1.6 when they should be between 2-3). They upped my dosage for the third time, and I'm going to be really upset if they are still below 2 this week. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Guys, it's FRIDAY.

I am so excited that it is Friday. I have slept so little this week and plan on catching up on sleep big time this weekend!

This week has been so stressful, but so good. Thursday was my social studies final, and my UbD for the class was due. I did great on the test (at least I feel like I did) but I won't know my UbD score for a few weeks. I also got back a project that I promise I had failed, but I made an 88 (which is a C, but it's better than failing!) I didn't put the effort I should have into it, but it was only 10% of our final grade, so really, there's nothing to worry about.

Today was my second observation day at the elementary school I am teaching at the rest of the semester. The first time I went, my cooperating teacher was out, so I was excited to see her in action today. She is amazing. I have never seen a classroom more structured that is so good at their daily routines. Not a second is wasted. I get to spend time with two of the three classes that rotate through. Today, they worked on paraphrasing, did some shared reading, and took a paraphrasing quiz. I am also impressed because they all have to write in cursive. Most schools here are completely cutting cursive out because there is no time for it. But if they don't write in cursive in Mrs. D's classroom, she rips it up and tells them to do it over. 

While they were doing their morning work, she talked to me for awhile. She gave me some extremely helpful Praxis II advice, and let me borrow a  book she received at a Differentiated Instruction conference a few years ago. This thing has about 2000 pages. She told me to take it home over the weekend and copy anything I wanted!

I turned in my lesson plan for Monday, and she loved it! We are doing a text feature scavenger hunt. She also told me to do an in depth look at text features the rest of the week. Does anybody have any other activities that they use to teach text features? I'd love to hear them! I hope to get my other 4 written on Sunday so I can be done for the week!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sometimes I Procrastinate.

And by sometimes, I mean a lot of the time.

I knew all semester I had three unit plans due during finals week. 

And then, something horrible happened. I went to the doctor because I thought I had bronchitis or pleurisy, and the next thing I knew I was being rushed to the ER with severe anemia and blood clots in my lungs. At 23. I proceeded to spend ten not so glorious days in the hospital on bedrest, and fell WAY behind on my work.

Fortunately, the next week was Spring Break. And I did do a lot of work to catch up, but it still wasn't enough time. I finished my math unit, and some stuff for other classes, but my language arts and social studies units still hung in the air, not completed...

So what did I do? I waited until the night before Language Arts was due. I armed myself with coffee and my fake glasses (maybe I'm a 'hipster', but I feel smarter when I wear them) and worked late into the night slaving away over this unit. I thought I may have produced work that deserved a B. I mean, it was the last minute. But apparently I work well under stress, because I got my grade back today and...

 That's right. And not just that... she asked if she could keep an extra copy to show to next year's class. What the WHAT?

For our science "final", we all brought in food, and then made homemade vanilla ice-cream using the flip method. It was bizarre, but it was yummy!

Now... the rest of my evening will be working under that wonderful pressure that inspired a great Language Arts unit, and thus writing my Social Studies one. I currently have a million tabs open on The Great Depression... wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Math Presentation

One of our assignments in our Math Block was to write a three day lesson unit, and then teach one of the lessons to my classmates. I was assigned fractions. To be honest, I was kind of excited to get this topic, but the other girl was dreading it. We both presented today, which also happened to be the day of our final... but more on that in a second.

I was really proud of my lesson! I designed it for third grade, and made it a very simple introduction to fractions. The day I taught (day three of my unit) focused on taking the numeric or word form of a fraction, and transferring that to a manipulative. We did a review of the previous days, and then played around with fraction pies for a few minutes, and for their assessment they made paper plate pizzas. Each blank plate had a division of pizza paperclipped to it (for example, 3/8 veggie, 2/8 cheese, 3/8 pepperoni), and they had to color their pizzas and write the corresponding fraction under the slices. Everyone, including my teacher, enjoyed the activity and I made a 100 on my presentation. When an A is 95 - 100, that means a lot!

This was the example I made. And of course, I thought I had come up with an original idea, but after searching on Pinterest I saw that it had, in fact, been done before! There really is nothing new under the sun :)

In other news, our final was really easy. It was open book/open note. I'll be really surprised if I don't make a 100 on it, as well.

Tomorrow is our Language Arts final, which is just a test on Praxis terms and I have flashcards made for all of those. We also have our science "final", which is making homemade ice-cream. We also decided to bring in other goodies, so I'm waking up at 5:30 to make Pigs in a Blanket. My classmates better like me :) Thursday is going to be the kicker. My social studies UBD (which still needs a LOT of work) and my social studies final are that day. I can do it... I think!

I decided to wear my favorite shoes today to give me a boost of confidence during my presentation:
You can't go wrong when you have cats on your shoes!