Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pumpkins and Singing

 It is the end of October -- the month just seemed to whiz by!  Just a few more days before we change gears to learn about some American history, turkey, and about being thankful.  Friday I carved the pumpkins after we voted on the shape of eyes, nose, and teeth. Glad it wasn't anything too complicated -- my carving skills are not so great, even with my handy-dandy little Pampered Chef carving knife!  The kids all took a turn scooping out the yucky stuff.  Here are s few helpers; 

I will miss Halloween this year -- I am flying to Denver, Colorado for the Sweet Adelines International competition on Tuesday  This is the a capella chorus I sing with.  -- we are competing on the International stage for the first time, and I am excited!
                                                       Carolina Style Chorus
You can actually watch the competition this year from your own computer.  We are contestant #21 on Thursday evening around 6:30 --  I stand near the middle of the second row.
My Sweet Adelines chorus, Carolina Style, will be competing on the International stage in Denver, CO, this week. There is a live webcast for those of you who might enjoy some good ole barbershop. The webcast will begin on Tuesday with the Harmony Classic, but we will be competing on Thursday at approximately 6:24 NC time (EDT). The webcast site is: It will take you right to the link (click on the arrow in the word 'Sweet') and enjoy!CSC

Monday, October 22, 2012

Field Trip!

Today I took my class to Red Wolf Farm for our first field trip of the year.  It was a beautiful day, and I had lots of parent volunteers, so we had a great time.
There were lots of animals to feed and pet -- so much fun to feed the hens.
We even got to feed a bottle to the calf!

We loved the little pony.

Then we rode the wagon up to the pumpkin patch

and got to choose a pumpkin to take home!

What a great day!!

Saturday, October 13, 2012


               I love this poem from Heather's Heart.  You can click on her name to read the whole post.


This was fire Safety week at our school, so there was big excitement when the fire department  truck came!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Remembering Why I Teach

          This has been a difficult week -- in fact, a rather difficult year.  With 27 children in my class this year, I've found it pretty overwhelming at times.  I have said -- "I am not an octopus!! -- I can't do everything at once!" more than one time.  Everything takes longer -- going to the bathroom, cutting out art projects, doing math stations and reading groups, sorting papers, sharpening pencils -- and writing lesson plans for all those groups.  And now it is time for math and literacy assessments. Almost all the assessing has to be done one child at a time, and I was getting pretty discouraged -- thinking maybe I should have retired at the end of last year. How will I ever get all these children to benchmark by May?? And how will I get all those assessments done?
            The pressure was building this week -- one week left to get all the  assessing done, and my wonderful assistant was our sick for 3 days.  And we have had a "Pink-eye" outbreak in the class -- had to send a child home every day this week until today. Plus a 2 hour faculty meeting yesterday.
Anyway, even with the help of some great parent volunteers, I was feeling like I just couldn't do a good job teaching all these kids.
             This morning I got up early as usual to have time for morning devotions, and I read this verse: "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you."  It was just what I needed, so I went to school with a new, improved attitude.  And the whole day went so much better.  I decided to look for the good -- and I found lots of it. We took time for more singing -- it's more fun to sing the days of the week and numbers than just drilling flashcards, (Thank you Dr. Jean and Jack Hartmann)  I used the "Dojo" behavior tracker and gave lots of points -- even random points for no good reason.  My volunteer stayed all day and helped a LOT.
              But here's the part of the day that gave me so much encouragement -- Writer's Workshop!
We've been "writing" in journals for over a month, but no one seemed to be "getting it"  They just scribbled something unrecognizable and maybe wrote a string of letters, but only 1 or 2 actually came close to writing a sentence.  So today I decided to project a couple student writing pages on the screen and use that for my lesson.

This one had the string of letters on top, but a great picture of  apple trees.  So after I bragged on his picture, we talked about writing a sentence with spaces so readers could actually tell what he want to say.  So he went back to his seat and wrote "I like apple." Yay!! A sentence!

          Next I showed the beginnings of this train picture with the words "the litl"  The writer explained that he was writing about a little book that he could read.  So we talked about writing the whole sentence and he went back to his seat to finish it.  He wrote "the litl puff is good book. I like i" TWO sentences!! Woohoo!
          By now, the rest of the class was eager to get their own journals and start writing.  This one was inspired by the train in the example, but she just wrote the list of words on the pocket chart.  So I asked what she meant to say, then I drew a line for each word in her sentence and she went back to finish it -- and even added the word "Yellow" (Thank you, Heidisongs") "I like to ride my yellow train."

            I was SO excited to see actual sentences and recognizable pictures all over the room.  They are going to be writers!! My hard work is starting to pay off -- they have learned something and are proud of their work -- asking me to show their stories on the screen.
         Yes, that is why I teach -- to share the joy a child feels when he or she realizes that  they can read and write.  I had to gather up a few journals to take down the hall to show someone -- but it's also very satisfying to share my excitement with other bloggers around the world.
         Tomorrow my assistant will be back and we will figure out how to get everyone assessed.  I hope the "Pink-eye"  has run its course -- but I am going to try to remember to celebrate -- and give thanks -- for these small moments in the day!