Thursday, December 19, 2013

Multicultural Week

This has been such a wonderful week at my school. It is multicultural week, where families come in to every classroom and share their cultural traditions (not just Christmas or Hanukkah). The week was kicked off with a wonderful Bollywood dance by a few of the moms, as well as the Fifth Graders sharing a song they wrote. Being in the area of Los Angeles we are, our school is so incredibly diverse. In my second grade alone, there are 20 different cultures represented- Israel, Palestine, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Mozambique, Egypt, Canada, Honduras, Mexico, South Africa, Russia, Latvia, Iran, Brazil, Philippines, Laos and Lebanon.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Before Break Craziness

It is crazy to me how quickly the weeks between Thanksgiving and Winter Break go. As soon as we got back from the week we got off for Thanksgiving, we have three weeks to make holiday crafts and gifts, give assessments, and jam as much actual teaching as is humanly possible before the three weeks of winter break wipe out a good chunk of the learning they've done so far. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Polar Express Pajama Parade

We had a Polar Express Pajama Parade this week at school. Scholastic Reading Club /Classrooms Care has an amazing Pajama Program- more information on that can be found here and I encourage you all to look at it, it really was such a great experience both for us and for the kids.  We had our Kindergarten and First Graders bring new pajamas to donate (if they wanted to) and Scholastic will match each pair of pajamas with new book for a child in need- how wonderful, right? We had so many cute nightgowns and pajamas donated in our class, just look at this adorable Hello Kitty Christmas nightgown.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Phonics Debate

Before I get too deep into this post, I wanted to share some good news!! Without going into all the drama and details, I have had some trouble with getting student teaching set up. First, I started student teaching in September but had to get pulled from that due to inappropriate behavior by my mentor teacher. Since then, I have been waiting for another placement to come through, but have not had any luck (that is one of the hard parts of doing an online program based on the East Coast while I live on the West Coast). Today, drum roll please, I got news from a teacher at the school I have been volunteering at that she would like to have me in her classroom!! More details once everything has been confirmed.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Giving Thanks in Kindergarten

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday - it's all about family, friends, fun and food. I  love the traditions and I have so much to be thankful for. It has become more meaningful since Emi and I visited Plymoth Plantation about 10 years ago and found out more about the true history of Thanksgiving. What a great place! I love history.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

New to this Whole Blogging Thing

Aloha from Maui!  I'm Dana, Emi's Mom (lucky me!!) and I am excited to add this new dimension - Blogging - to my teaching and learning. I am quite the tech dinosaur most of the time - except when I'm the "tech guru" (ha!!) occasionally at school - which never fails to surprise me along with my colleagues. So, imagine my surprise when Emi broached the idea of us doing a blog together. I thought she was kidding. But... Hmmm, I love doing new things and the chance to grow and learn along with my sweet girl... I'm Stoked!!  (note - I am writing this by hand first as I sometimes compose my thoughts better that way - see what I mean - tech dinosaur!!)

I've known for a long time that Emi would be a wonderful teacher. She is so loving and compassionate and great with kids. It is a natural fit for her. Since she started her Masters Degree to become a teacher, it's been fun to learn along with her and to see that much of what she's learning is so relevant to what is going on in the field of Education today.

Teaching blogs are great.  Emi sends me links.  I am continually amazed and excited at all the cute things and great ideas that fellow teachers present on their blogs. Thank you for sharing everyone!!

I have been doing my Dream Job for a long time. In my mind, it is still the best job there is - for pay I mean. My favorite job ever is being a Mama. I decided at age 4 (in Preschool - more about that fun story at another time) that being a Mommy and a Kindergarten Teacher were just what I wanted to do. Suffice it to say, I made great choices as I've got the two most wonderful children - Jess and Emi - in the world and I teach Kindergarten!!!  I still wonder why everyone in the world doesn't want to be a Kindergarten Teacher. I have taught a few years of other grades: Preschool, First and a year of Third.  While they were all fun and had their upsides, my true calling and love is Kindergarten.  Kindergarteners are hilariously fun and so earnest and eager to learn.  I love breaking ideas and concepts down to small understandable chunks, creating aha moments all over the place. I love the wonder and magic of it all.  It's still a thrill!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thanksgiving in First

Like I said, I start my student teaching in January, so for now I am spending my time getting some extra classroom experience by volunteering in a first grade and third grade classroom every day. Most of my classroom experience has been in the younger grades- kinder and first- so it is really interesting for me to work with the third graders and see all that they can do. The teacher for that class, Mrs. C, is AH-MAZING, truly one of the best teachers I have ever seen in action, and I will have to dedicate at least one post to all that I have learned there. My first grade class is adorable and taught by Ms. S, who I was shocked to learn is a first year teacher this year- I never would have guessed, as she is so effective and engaging!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Project Begins

Welcome to our blog! As a part of my graduate school program, I have come across some amazing teaching blogs, and I have been wanting to join the wonderful blogging community. Teaching is one of those professions that can be isolating, as we are each in our own classrooms surrounded by kids all day, and I hope through blogging we can cross some of those borders and connect. I am completing my master's and teaching credential online through a school in Philadelphia, so this process has been a bit more lonely than most education programs. Through reading other's blogs and seeing some of the great resources that are available out there, I have found support and comfort. I start my student teaching in January, and wanted to find a way to reflect and document my process as I become a credentialed teacher, so I decided to start a blog. My mom has been my greatest source of support and strength through my journey to become a teacher- few days go by without a call to discuss lesson plans, unit ideas or challenges I faced- so I could think of no better way to share that both with her and the great wide world. We are in somewhat of a unique situation- I am just starting my career as she is winding hers down (still more than a few years off though!)- so we get to share and compare our two different perspectives, activities and lessons, challenges and triumphs. I have much to learn from her, and she has often mentioned that she feels re-energized in her teaching now that I am sharing all my new ideas, so hopefully she will learn from me as well. This is new to us both, so I am excited and interested to see where this takes us!