Thursday, June 28, 2012

4 Months?!

How in the world has it been four months since my last post?  How does time go by so quickly?

I really do have a good excuse. Really.  Ready for it?

Here it is:  I fell in love with teaching. Again.

Isn't that the BEST excuse?!  I just finished up year seven as a teacher, my third in first grade, and I am falling more in love with being a teacher with each day.  The school year came to a close about two weeks ago, and I have to admit that I was actually a little sad to see it end.  I was having that much fun. And I had a great group of kiddos, which always makes life good.

During this downtime from blogging, I was still stamping away, just didn't get around to photographing or posting anything.  I just couldn't get it to be a priority when I was having so much fun teaching. Weird, eh?

What was the cause of this abundance of joy and enthusiasm for my career?  I discovered teaching blogs.  First grade teaching blogs. AMAZING teaching blogs packed with incredible ideas to help teach those little mundane, everyday topics. I've always said to anyone who has asked that one of the things I love best about this occupation is that when someone has a great idea, you share it!  This isn't a secretive, competitive field.  It's a "Wow! This was a great lesson and the kids really got it. Can I tell you all about it?" field.

And teaching blogs do just that. With a little help from a website called Teachers Pay Teachers.  LOVE this site! I love paying teachers for something incredible they have created to align perfectly with the curriculum that we are all using.  It's genius!  Think of it as ebay for teachers, except there is no bidding.  And there are tons of free items. :)

Long story made short, the last four months of school were a whirlwind, but some of the most fun I have had teaching, well, ever.  I loved what we were doing each day. The kids loved what we were doing each day.  It was fun. I know. I still can't get over it.

Not that I didn't like my job before, but now it is just so much better!  I'm already excited for the new school year and planning some crazy fun things to enhance our curriculum for the first few months of school.

To show you some of the fruits of my labor over the last four months (and believe me, all of this inspiration created a whole TON of labor... Can you say late nights and Saturdays in the classroom?!) I have some photos from our Open House this year, which was only about two and one half weeks before school ended. Some of the products were original (I did them in previous years), some were tweaked due to new inspiration, and some were brand-spankin'-new.  It was a packed room! Not sure I could have squeezed one more thing on a wall, or desk, or table...

So here we go.  A little picture tour of my classroom circa May 24, 2012.  Enjoy. :)

This picture is of our desks.  We had flag books (symbols of America), computer and monthly writing books, frog life cycle books, butterfly life cycle books, and food chain nesting tubes (These were a new discovery and so much fun!  The kids loved them and they are such a clever way of demonstrating a food chain).

This is my back wall (my back is facing the white board).  We have (from right to left) butterfly life cycle leaves, ladybug writing and craftivity, and "Hey, Little Ant" opinion writing about respect.

This is the rest of that wall. We illustrated and wrote about a food chain. So fun! The kids brainstormed a bunch of animals, what they would eat, and what would eat them.  They turned our GREAT!  Our butterfly net finished off that wall. 

This is a just a shot to show what it all looked like put together.

This is continuing to the left around my classroom. You could see the light from the door in the previous picture.  In language arts, we learned about synonyms and antonyms.  We spent a day being "synonym roll" chefs (thus the silver tray with "synonym rolls"), and an-toe-nyms. We took off our shoes in class (definitely had the door open for that activity, lol), traced our feet, and then wrote/illustrated a pair of antonyms.  See what I mean? So fun!  And the best thing?  The kids really GOT it.  For the rest of the year, they were finding synonyms and antonyms everywhere!  It's music to my ears to hear my little first graders using such big academic vocabulary. :)

This is standing in the door and looking in to my classroom. Synonyms are to my right, big back wall to the left.  That is our insect mural in the back displaying our insects and insect reports. It's hiding my word wall during Open House.

This is looking to the front of my room.  I had a slideshow going on the left side of the whiteboard. Some adorable poems on the right side (this is the "Make Mom cry" wall, hehe).  Underneath (also visible in the first table shot) are our graphing projects entitled, "I Mustache You A Question." Took pictures of each student wearing a mustache. The kids had to come up with a survey question, collect data using tallies, and then turn their data into a bar graph. Love it! 

Kind of like this....  Forgive the angle. It was taken by one of my kids. :)

 To finish out our year, we had Pirate Day to help celebrate learning about r-controlled vowels in words (ar, er, ir, ur.... But especially aargh!)  We dressed up like pirates, played pirate games, made pirate art, ate Pirate's Booty, found buried treas-aargh.... Need I say it again? SO FUN!  I literally taught up until the penultimate day of school.  There was just too much learning fun to be had to stop any earlier.

So, there you go.  What I've been up to for the last four months in a nutshell.  Tomorrow, it's back to the cards.  After finishing up jury duty (yes, during my first week of summer break. And I made the jury.), I am finally on the sleeping in, reading maniac, card-makin' machine!

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Teachers like you are a blessing to the world, Kristina :) I was in tears today as my favorite teacher from the kids elem. school retired. She had a huge line up of parents who wanted to wish her well and thank her. Such was the impact she had on the kids she taught and the school as a whole. My daughter brought her to tears when she said she loved having her as a teacher because you never knew how hard you were working because she made it so much fun. Sounds like you are on the same page :)

    Nothing better than doing something you love and continuing to grow in that skill set, whatever it be.

    Look forward to seeing your fabulous creations again :) Make sure you keep a reading list for me too LOL! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy your summer off ((hugs))!!

  2. Welcome back Kristina! So wonderful to see you again!
    Your room is fabulously beautiful!!! You can obviously see your newly renewed love in all you've done! Your kiddos were lucky to have you!
    ~Christy & Tammy