Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Flying Solo (and other adventures)

Hello everybody! Hope you've had a great week so far, I sure have! I got a great compliment yesterday that every morning I have a big smile on my face and am super cheerful. That was really nice to hear because I love the environment at my school and it felt good to hear that I help add to it! Snaps for loving where you work =]

Today was a big day for us- the 100th day of school! Can you BELIEVE it?! It was so cute, all the kinders and firsties dressed up as 100 year olds, so there were tiny old people all over the school today in their little bow ties and hair curlers. PRECIOUS!

Yesterday, though, was an big day for ME, as my mentor teacher had to call in with a migraine and I was flying solo! I've taught for half a day alone before and I've taught with a sub for a whole day, but this was my first full day all on my own. Oh baby. But let me tell you, it went so well!!

I had already planned a math lesson for the day so CHECK got that covered! We did a review of equivalent fractions and how to reduce. Then, we played Bingo! Each of the bingo cards had a fraction like 5/15 and then I called out the reduced fraction, like 1/3. You could have heard a pin drop in that room, the kids were focusing so hard. No complaints here ;)
I found it here
Then we did some expository writing to a prompt (a post on that later haha), some FCAT reading practice, some vocabulary, and some work on the computer. Just a basic day, but I was all alone. So weird!

In job-related news, I've been working on all my TFA: Memphis requirements lately. Some things were small, like sending in a picture, joining the social network stuff, listening in to a webinar, and taking some surveys. Yesterday, though, I spent the whole afternoon updating my resume and applying to KIPP: Memphis and TeachMemphis to find out where I'll actually be teaching next year! Basically, you apply now and then interview during Institute over the summer for your actual placement. I was really excited to see that they want us to apply to KIPP, though. I still remember watching a video in my first ProTeach class about the charter school and being in awe. The idea of being a teacher there is crazy to me! Here's a little snippet about the school:

Ok, be honest, did you cry? I'm not that emotional of a person (hah!) but the kids at the end saying "I'm going to college" just made me lose it. So that's what's been going on with me! Still lots of unknowns about next year, but isn't it kinda exciting not knowing what's gonna happen next??

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Teacher Binder Revisited

Happy Thursday! We had Monday and Tuesday off this week and, ya know, I think EVERY week should start on a Wednesday- just a thought ;) This week I wanted to focus on organizing so get ready for an overload of pictures:

One of my most popular post is this one on my "ultimate teacher binder". Unfortunately, once I started my internship, I accumulated a LOT more papers and soon, my cute little binder ripped :( Instead of buying a new one, I decided over winter break to break up my one big binder into five small ones! You ready for this??

My first binder has three sections: Important Info, Weekly/Monthly Lesson Plans, and Example Lesson Plans. This is where I keep all our schedules, school maps, phone numbers, etc. I created my own weekly lesson planner, then, I used the monthly lesson calendar I found at KindergartenWorks for a big picture. I also keep all my observed lesson plans in this binder. This way, if I need to plan, I only need to bring home one binder!
You may also notice I changed the cover- different school, different binder cover!

My weekly template

Monthly planner. I go back and highlight everything at the end of the week.
Everything gets color coded!
The next binder I made is Student Info, Course Info, and Meeting Notes. This is where I keep all my records on the kids (testing, scores, growth charts), all my course info for grad school, and the meeting note template found on the Ladybug Teacher Files blog. I bring this one to meetings and conferences instead of having to bring all of my stuff.

Pretty self-explanatory

The next binder I made is my Standards and Assessments binder. Here, I have the Read Naturally assessments for 4th grade, the spelling lists for the year, the 4th Grade FCAT Specifications for language arts and math (it's all here if you want to print it out), and the 4th Grade Common Core checklist (we bought it here). This is also mainly a reference binder, so I can leave it at school if I don't need it. Score!

This is what we bought on TPT

This is an "I Can" checklist for all the standards
Finally, I have a binder of lesson plans that my mentor teacher gives me. Basically, every time we have an extra copy of something, I put it in that binder. Never hurts to have some extra stuff stored up! Especially because my mentor teacher is fabulously innovative so these are not your run-of-the-mill worksheets, but fabulous units and lessons!

Every subject has a tab!
Ok, so that's it! Hopefully all this info helps if you're trying to get organized. The pictures are also kinda fun if you just like looking at other people's organization ;) And where do I put all these binders?? In my new teacher cart I got for Christmas! Thanks daddy :) Remember, if you're curious about how I made the covers of these binders, you can see on my original post for the links.

Everyone come see how professional I look! hehe

Friday, January 18, 2013

I'm Baaaaaaack

Please tell me you read the title of this post in a sing-song voice. Because that's the way it was intended ;) Well world, I'm back! Did ya miss me? You did? Aw shucks. Well a LOT has happened in the last month. We had our two week winter break (hooray!), celebrated Christmas and New Years (double hooray!), I turned 23 (what?) and I accepted an offer to teach in Memphis for the next two years with Teach For America (hooray!). So, like I said, A LOT HAPPENED. And I'm not even mentioning Les Miserables coming out, which was, um, life changing. Picture tiiiiiiime (also in sing-song voice)

Jess, Matt, me and my mom on Christmas Eve
My dad, Matt, Jess and me on Christmas Day
(notice I'm always shoved in the front)
Sweet puppies! Sabre and Sadie on Christmas
This pretty much sums up my Christmas- lots of family time and puppy time =] And then it was Les Mis time. If you haven't seen it yet, GO SEE IT.

The key is to see it with people equally obsessed ;)
Then came my birthday, which I celebrated multiple days in a row with multiple groups of people. It's birthmonth, people, I do what I want. When we went back to school, I had a surprise for me! A giant chocolate cake and 22 precious handmade birthday cards. They are SO sweet and remind why I do what I do. Also, those kids gorged themselves on cake like they'd never seen chocolate before in their lives. It was terrifying.
If you can't read it, the top right card says:
Dear Ms. Douberly, First of all you are the best intern ever. You are very nice and kindhearted. I hope you had a great birthday with lots of cake. Have a marvelous school year. PS: Boo Gators!
And the sweet child's hope came true. I had a great birthday with lots of cake. THEN, I came home and found out I was accepted to TFA: Memphis to teach elementary school! What a whirlwind.

After thinking about it a lot (Atlanta was the only city I imagined being accepted to), praying a lot, and talking with friends that live in Memphis and TFA staff people, I decided to take the leap! A verse that came to mind and really encouraged me was Deuteronomy 31:8 "The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." A guaranteed job, the TFA network, perks of Americorps, and a built-in community in a brand new city sound very appealing as a new teacher! I'm so excited to start this new adventure in my life =] I'll be going up there for Induction and Institute (training) at the beginning of June and I'll have my own classroom this fall.

Ok so now you're updated. Haha hope your last month has been as wonderful as mine's been! Enjoy your long weekend =]