Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Define: Separate

"Like..., when my mom and dad separated."

Ahh...just when I thought my day was going to be horrible, some little child picked my spirits right back up!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Croc Out With Your Bad Self

I make nerdy bulletin boards and share them with people.

Can't forget the name tags!

Homophones on Earth.

Some of my mom's third graders drew me some pictures. :)

I come before you to stand behind you.

Dear Parents,

Welcome to another wonderful year. I’m so excited for what we have in store for us in the next eight months!
Just a few quick things I’d like to bring you up-to-date on before the school year officially starts. Every Friday the children will have the opportunity to eat their lunches in the classroom while watching a movie. In the event that a child receives more than 10 marks against their name throughout the week, that opportunity is then taken away from them for that week. There will also be an extra recess at every month’s end, in which any child with less than 25 marks for the total month will be able to attend.
Also every Friday is the opportunity for your child to bring money to buy lunch for the Ala Carte.
Again, I’m very excited and can’t wait to meet all of you and your children. If you have any questions or concerns throughout the year, feel free to contact me via the school's office phone or by e-mail. Please give a 24 hour advance heads-up in the event that you would like to come directly to the classroom. Lunch is from 11:30-11:50 and I will be in the classroom after school until 4 p.m.
See you in September!

Chelsey Hann
Phone# 555-555-5555

My sample letter leaves out my home phone number, because my teacher told me to take it off. That being said, I think it's important to make yourself available to your children's parents. I do understand that there are some parents out there that think the sun shines out of every orphus of their child, and that they will steam roll you given the chance. However, I don't totally like the idea of putting limits on when you're a teacher and when you're not. If you want to stop me in the grocery store and go over your child's book report, feel free. I do not want to just teach from 8-3 every day. I'll be there whenever.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

One, Two, Skip a Few

Some deep-rooted part of me has always wanted to educate, and while I wasn't always sure at what level or what subject, I always knew that some day I would pass on what I know to others.
I spent plenty of time and money in college the first few years volleying back and forth about being a teacher. Part of me wanted to get out and try something new; I wanted to go to the moon, or be in the peace corps, or be a photo journalist in a third world country. It's not that I do not think that I could do these things, I'm sure I could.
It is more that..., classrooms are my safe havens. I have spent my entire childhood running up and down the halls of schools, hiding from janitors and getting into things that normal children (those who didn't grow up with both parents as teachers) weren't ever allowed to experience.
If you've ever spent a Saturday or Sunday at a school by your own choice you will know what I mean. It is a right of passage that just makes being in a school a whole new experience; being in school is like being home for me.
I guess now that I've sat down to think about it, I realize that I never really had a choice; I've never been completely comfortable in any other atmosphere.
Now, if I'm being asked why I want to teach Special Education vs. General Education..., well that's a different story. Up until very recently I had no real interaction with any special needs child for any prolonged period of time. Then I spent a few days at Heartspring with some of the most adorable autistic children this world has ever seen, and my heart just longed to take them home and make them all mine. Don't worry, I left them there.
I want to special in Autism, because these children, while having handicaps of a sort, are completely brilliant - in their own way. I all of a sudden saw the world in a totally different way.
Also, I should mention that I love to read. Reading was what I was grounded from as a child, it was that kind of love. I loved to dive into a new world where all sorts of crazy and unimaginable things happened; where animals could talk, and where people who have faced unbelievable pain still stand to brave another day. I love to read of magic and passion and love, and I want to believe that good always prevails over evil, and in books I can. And I want to pass that magic on to children. I want kids who maybe don't have the best home life to know that there is still magic and love out there. I want to provide the escape for them that books provided for me (although, clarification: I had an amazing home life).

I want to be like my mom. That is what it basically boils down to. I want to make her proud.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Not-So-First Bulletin Board.

Let me clarify, I've been making bulletin boards for years. Many summers gone by have I holed myself up in a classroom with my mom decorating walls and singin along with some country music.
However, for this blog's purpose, we're just going to say that this is my first. It's also the first bulletin board that I've ever painted.
Bon App├ętit (figuratively, not literally).

This could be used to teach children one of the seasons (Spring, obviously) in a fun and colorful way. Or, it could be used to help teach children their prime colors!

Observations, Day 1.

My body hurts.

Today I did my elementary school observations by accident. I went to Udall High School, intending to do my high school observations, only to find out that the teacher I had set it up with was sick for the day. Instead of driving back home and going back to bed like a smart child, I went across the street to see my mom, who teaches third grade there. As all the teachers were bunched up outside the gymnasium preparing to collect their kids I let them all know that I was free for a few hours if they needed any random help for an hour or two. An hour or two turned into ten.
Elementary school basically boils down to hours of, "Sit down", "Be quiet", "Don't hit", "I love you too", and, "Where'd he just go?".
I started my day at a bright and early 7 a.m. (this is not early for teachers). Today was the 100th day of school, and the kindergarten class was having a celebration. The kindergarten class is where I was first volunteered off to. I did my first five hours of observation in the classroom of Tammy Tannehill, and her fourteen very rowdy students, as well as one adorable little dirty-handed boy who walked up to me, offered his hand (which I took) and said, "I love you. What's your name?"
The desks in the classroom were grouped up in 2 or 3 groups, all with students facing each other, essentially making one big table. The walls were covered with the normal kindergarten decorations: the big colorful rug where the children gather around, the bright, shiny posters with words of encouragement, and the 100 board. The 100 board is half a wall that is filled up with numbers 1-100, straws in bags marked "ones", "tens", and "hundreds", and some other one-hundredy stuff (my memory is giving out on me at this old age of 22).
Everyone wore "100" hats and "100 Days of School" bracelets. They were very festive, and everyone loved wearing them. Including me.

The class split up into 5 stations, and the station that I ran was playing Chutes and Ladders (because the game goes up to 100). I only had 2 or 3 kids at a time, but that was probably enough for me. They didn't like to wait their turn, they wanted to play with their little figures, and slide them up and down the ladders.
The first group I had was a girl and boy. All and all, they were probably my best group all morning. The girl told me that I was pretty, and the boy didn't mind that he didn't get to spin first, I thought I was doing good.
The second group I had probably didn't go as well; I made a little boy cry. He didn't understand that if he landed in the middle of a ladder, that he wasn't able to "climb" up it to the higher square, at least, he didn't understand it until someone else tried to do it as well - then he understood!
We took a group picture, along with some other pictures, and then the class went off to music for ten minutes!
I know where everything is in this building, because it's the school that my mom teaches in, so needless to say, I ran a lot of errands for the teacher. I also took the kids to the bathroom and on a drink break. Kids don't wash their hands, and it's gross, and you have to send them back multiple times.
Then we ate cake out on the sidewalk in the beautiful sun, and it was time for me to switch classes!

The class I spent the next 5 hours in was third grade, for Melody Klingenberg (who I will admit, is my mom). It's that time of the year to once again change bulletin boards, so after searching on the internet, some arguing, and some very bad suggestions (on the part of my mom), we finally agreed on a bulletin board. So after I displayed my amazing talent for cursive S's on the smartboard to the childrens delight (and mockery) , I went to the art room and begged from the substitute some washable paint (which turned out to not be so washable), which I then proceeded to use to paint the background of the bulletin board. As well as a lot of kids' hands. The end result was satisfying, but I'm pretty sure I made quite a mess.

Quiet reading time was spent teaching kids how to pronounce new words, and immediately turning around and giving definitions and examples of these new words.
Time was flying up until about 2:30 p.m., at which time I was exhausted, and tired, and kind of grouchy. So when a kid made a smart remark, I threatened to give them a mark on their daily report. It felt good for a minute, but then I felt a little bad. It's possible that I didn't need to give them a mark, I'm sure the kids were tired too.
Sadly, 2:30 wasn't the end of my day for me. At 3:20, when school "ends", this awesome program, accurately named "After School", starts. This is where kids who are having a little bit of trouble in certain areas can stay after school for an hour and a half and get a little extra help. The kid who stayed today was having problems in math, and I don't think I helped at all. I'm pretty horrible at math, and that's not me being modest. When I grade papers for my mom, I always leave all of the math papers for her to do, and she only teaches third grade.
Math + Chelsey ≠ Success.

Both teachers gave me a good bit of advice as the day went on, and I'm pretty sure I will never be a kindergarten teacher - but it was a fun day, and all the kids gave me hugs before they left for the day.