/> June 2017 - First Grade Findings


Summer is a fabulous time to do some reflecting on the previous school year. I still have the warm, fuzzy memories of the school year and my sweeties, but I am also enjoying the "Friday Night of the Summer" as @heyheyfirstgrade put it here:

Now on to the reflecting! Recently, I wanted to try a June #TBT challenge to post and reflect on the school year on Instagram. Each Thursday there's a different topic to post about. This week was math. Math has always been my absolute favorite subject! My favorite math lesson of the school year would have to be when we learned about 3D Geometric shapes using mini marshmallows and toothpicks. Side note: the kids actually DID NOT EAT THEM until I told them it was time. I was impressed with their perseverance in that! There may have been some sneaking, but they were sly enough to get by me! Hah! This activity involved many of my favorite components of what I consider a strong lesson: hands on, exploratory, collaborative, and FUN! And of course, they did get to eat marshmallows as a snack at the end. I bought two bags and saved one for a special treat.

BrainPOP Homepage
This activity came along after watching Brain Pop Jr. about 3D shapes, exploring 3D shapes using STEAM tubs, and discussing 3D shape features. Next, it was time to get to building! Here are some pictures of my students at work:

 Their task was to build as many different shapes as they could. I left the shape cards on the interactive panel for them to use as a model.  The looks on their faces were full of amazement at all the different shapes they could build. This student said, "Whoaaaaa" as he stared at his shape.- He was so proud of his work!! He was studying it from all angles!

I had them draw their shapes and try their best. That didn't go so well though! Next time I will leave that part out and have them document by taking photos on the iPads! The exploration and building is more important for firsties anyway!

How do you reflect on the previous school year? I'm looking for other ideas about reflections and what works for others! Let me know your thoughts in the comments!


5 Tips for First Year Teachers

Recently on Instagram, @Megscrayons posted about her first year classroom and tips for first year teachers- what we wish we had known. Looking back at my first year I wish I knew then what I know now! I like to think we all "Started from the bottom, now we here" Thank you for the reminder, Drake! 

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Flashback to 2013 when I was teaching third grade in the learning cottage aka trailer! Yes, some of my neighbors had flamingos, but it was fun in its own way! I was lucky to get a lot of teacher stuff from doing a long term sub the prior year and people gifting me goodies! People clean out so much at the end and at the beginning of the school year. Books, shelves, storage, so much stuff that I didn't have to pay for due to kind teachers at my school! I utilized the free table- be on the lookout for this free stuff table, and remember one person's trash is another's treasure. This is a funny video about the free table! Value what you come across, and don't forget to pay it forward when you are able! 

Check out the pictures below for a snapshot into my teacher world of 2013: 

Now, here's where it gets good!!

 I would encourage #firstyearteachers to not spend all the money- unless you can and want to! You can do a lot without spending all your money, before you even make it! Utilize freebies on TPT! THERE ARE SO MANY! You don't have to spend so much at first, especially before you know what you need. Classroom decor is easy to find, but think about what fits your style! BE YOU! Be careful about purchasing unless you really know you will use it! It stinks to purchase something and realize a year later you never used it! 

Also be flexible! I wasn't real excited about the learning cottage, aka trailer life, at first, but I grew to like my space. It was nice in some ways. For example, I didn't have many visitors so I could easily focus. I also made it homey and comfortable! If you are a new teacher, you are the low man on the totem pole! Realize that and represent! Work hard and prove to your school that you are the amazing teacher they hired! 

Be real. Don't put on a show and pretend like you are fine! Ask for help and own your mistakes. WE HAVE ALL MADE THEM! Figure out who you can go to for real advice where you won't be judged. Find one school friend who is real and helpful. Don't trust everyone with your feelings. Talk to your people outside of school first! Many of times they have helped me through a situation before I even felt like I needed to talk to someone at school. 

Be careful who you trust AND DON'T TALK NEGATIVELY ABOUT PEOPLE! That is really a golden rule. Don't say something about someone unless you would say it to their face. 

Volunteer for everything! My mentor teacher taught me this. When you are new, you have to prove yourself! Volunteer for special events, go to PTO nights, sign up to help with registration, be the grade level rep when no one else wants to be, and be everywhere you can to prove you're a hard worker! Hard workers stand out and people look to them as leaders. Don't be a slacker! 

One last thing: 
Remember things can only go up after your first year! Each year you will get better and better! 
Thanks @megscrayons for encouraging me to relive the good old days! 
Share this link with a new teacher you know and love <3! Leave a comment with your tips for first year or new teachers!

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