Friday, October 27, 2006

Travel, Shepherds and Turkey Feathers

My husband and I have recently been talking about winter travel ideas, so he can plan his work vacation time accordingly. We talked about a cruise, Hawaii, beaches, Caribbean, and dude ranches. All sounded great...until I got to the price. I'm sure we could find some "deals" but it would be right before Christmas, so we didn't want to compile deficits to our accounts! We decided on a shorter trip to Chicago. We will be in the cold with no beach, but are sure a few days there would be fun for our girls who have never been there. We haven't been there for twelve years, either. We did get a hotel with a pool, so some swimming can be enjoyed. :)
Another interesting thing this month: our church started a Shepherd's program. Selected people keep in touch with one or two youth who have gone off to college. These youth can be close to home or far away, but are living at college. We send them cards, packages and let them know we're praying for them. I thought it was right up my alley, being that I love to send letters through snail mail, so I accepted when the opportunity was offered. I have taken on two college students and sent them each a card about a week and a half ago. I am planning on mailing another card to each tomorrow. Who doesn't like to receive mail-that isn't a bill or junk mail (which was the original mailbox spam! :)) I love it, and I truly love to send mail: letters, notes, cards (I was on a big stamping and cardmaking kick for a while...) and our girls' artwork.
This is a season when I send more mail: Our family mails out "Thankful Feathers". Back in 1998 I saw an article in Family Fun magazine about thankful feathers. The family made a construction paper feather, mailed it to family and friends. The family and friends wrote their names and what they were thankful for on the feather and mailed it back. I loved the idea, and we've been doing it for eight years. I type up a newsletter of what we're thankful for each year and how much we love and appreciate our friends and family-we truly do-and mail it off. I usually mail them on Nov. 1, but with unknown plans for subbing, I got them out today. Then we read the feathers, remember the need for being thankful, gracious, and and then we put them on a turkey. We have made paper mache turkeys, drawn them on posterboard, drawn them on my husband's office white board...multiple turkey ideas, in fact. :) The girls love receiving mail and we love the "message" of being "thankful".

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Two more great quotes

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln

"The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." -Marcel Post

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Another good quote

"If you are lucky enough to find a way of life that you love, you have to find the courage to live it."-John Irving

Classroom Ideas

I have been subbing in several different classrooms since the schoolyear has started. I have been in one first grade, three second grades, one third grade, four fourth grades and two kindergartens. I am planning on (trying to) get back into the classroom in the next few years and have been jotting down ideas I liked. Here are some:
  • joke/riddle journal: a composition notebook that goes home once a week with one child. That child brings it back on a certain day of the week, reads their joke to the class. The children raise their hands if they think they know the answer. The child who is called on and knows the correct joke answer gets to take it home the next week, and the children can't raise their hand if they've already had it once. All jokes must be appropriate.
  • word journal: see joke journal but with a word from the dictionary and other students must guess the word from its definition. Also must be appropriate.
  • Weather report: daily reporters (which change weekly) check the weather report before coming to school and then again when they get there. Today the weather is supposed to be...with a high of... and currently it is...
  • making word connections: using week's spelling words and turning them into a crossword shape. They use as many words as possible: who can use the most?
  • pocket math: teacher guides on the board, each child has a paper with a list of squares on it. Go around to each table and ask each student how many pockets they have. For example: table one has: 4,4,9 and 4. Using double facts, we know 4+4=8, then nines facts, 9+4=13. Then 13+8=21...Do this for all tables, then total. The class has 112 pockets. That is more or less than last Friday? Add results to a graph.
  • estimation jar: one student brings in a jar full of items of their choosing. The class estimates how many are in it. On Friday, they tell how many items are in it. The student who is the closest, brings it back next week.
  • "Books we've read": make a copy of the books read as a class and put the copies up in the room so the children can see what has been read throughout the year.
  • talking wheel or stoplight system for classroom talking level: red is no talking, silent, such as during testing. Yellow is only whispering and green is talking in inside voice, as in working in groups.
  • Teacher file folders for days of the week: a crate with six folders: Monday through Friday and a "to be copied for next week" file. After copies are made for the days, plans have been made, etc, they go into their file for the day.
  • special chairs: a chair for teacher to read aloud from: I have seen stools, step stools, desk chairs, wooden chairs painted in a special theme, and rocking chairs. Also special chairs for the student of the week to sit in during times after they've finished their work
  • Indoor recess supplies for kids: games, books, drawing supplies, mindware optical illusion books would be great, math manipulatives
  • The music room I was recently in had a bulletin board that said "go bananas for the language of music" with a big banana and fun letters. That could be used for any topic: go bananas over multiplication or vocabulary, etc.
  • Substitute teacher folder: with common things that are done daily, discipline, seating charts, etc. in it, easy to find
  • I was told by my supervisers when I was student teaching not to "shhh" the kids, to find other ways of getting their attention back, during down time or changing activities. I've seen several in my subbing assignments. Some are: 1)clapping a rhythm and then the students repeat it, 2)saying "if you can hear my voice clap twice", 3)teacher says "123 eyes on me" and the children reply "456 zip our lips", 4)saying "I love the way (name) is sitting quietly and waiting for directions. Good job, (name)!", 5)counting down from five and when you're at one or two all chilren should be quiet, 6)ring a bell
  • discipline methods: flipping a card, moving a magnet, coloring in a graph, losing points toward special activities, losing tickets to a "prize drawing" at the end of the week, the word recess on the board for an extra recess, bad class behavior got those erased, which had peer pressure encouraging others to follow directions, helping each other, a binder called "the book" and after a warning, name goes in the book...
  • rewards: "pig points" like a piggy bank where they earn points for an extra recess, tickets for reward drawings, my supervising teacher back in college gave a drawing for a slip of paper that was a homework pass for those times when they had something big after school and didn't get their homework done, but it had to be approved by parents and teacher.... stamping cards-when they are good (saw in music) they get a stamp on their card, after so many stamps they get to pick a small prize. (in the music room it's a stamp at the end of each period and after twenty it's a piece of candy or gum as a prize)
  • On walls: quotes, posters, classroom rules and/or classroom constitution, "what students expect of me" which is decided in the first week of school and discussed as a class, bsaket at each table with books in it for silent reading (for example library books students go down and choose weekly) so kids aren't wandering around or asking to go to the library for books when they complete their work before other kids, wipe off board/paper with lunchcount (here we have lunch a, b, or c choices and packing), job list (paper passers, board eraser, office messenger, etc), packet for lunch tickets (for kids who paid on Monday to buy all week), big calendar like from office max with specials on it (art, music, gym, libary) and days off school, "ready, set, go...morning routine": sharpen pencils, turn in homework, do lunchcount, begin work listed on the board, etc., flag for pledge, signs of "fair ways to choose" for those times kids get in disagreements (pick a number, roll dice, pick names from a hat, one potato two potatoe, etc), school motto, school rules posted up where kids can see them, clocks out of paper to show times for things (kids often say when's lunch? and they can see the paper clock showing the time they go)
I'm sure there are others, but I haven't written them down and I've forgotten them for now. I'm excited at the thought of teaching in my own classroom...then I'm nervous about all the work!!! :) Off to get some things done around my own home, now.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Aumtumn quote I liked

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
Albert Camus

Thursday, October 05, 2006

It's been over a month!

I was posting regularly and then I got caught up with...well, life. :) My girls were involved in soccer more heavily, my husband went to Arizona on a business trip. I began substitute teaching 4 out of 5 days per week and our youngest daughter turned 8 this month! We have been busy on a boating trip with friends, heading to my home state for a family baby shower, and my family has been to visit us recently, as well. We also went to my home state to visit my brother and his wife, and their first, new baby. She is adorable, with a ton of hair. She's very strong already, going to give my brother a run, for sure!
I also haven't blogged due to the fact that, while my techie husband was out of town, my laptop crashed and something happened to my connection. This lack of connectivity caused me to "fiddle" with things I shouldn't have been and ended up causing some of our equipment to smoke. Literally smoking, burning plastic. I found a way, with the help of a techie friend, to work around the burned connection and get back online until my husband got home...and we went to buy new equipment. I also got a new laptop. Hopefully it will last me a while...
I was having trouble deciding on what to inform about in this blog. I had big plans for today's blog...but then I accepted a substitute teaching job in a music class today. So, the blog is relatively short.
Promise not to wait so long before I write again!