Knowing Kindergarten (82 out of 365) #blogaday #sol15

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Can’t believe it’s been a month with the Slice of Life Challenge! I really enjoyed reading many posts and receiving comments 🙂 Since I am doing the blogaday challenge, writing every day wasn’t anything new; however, I had some more creativity with inserting poems into my posts, which was a fun change.

​I had my first day observing/helping in Kindergarten. It was a very fun experience! I discovered many more techniques for teaching. I had forgotten that Kindergarten has many similarities with Pre-school, like singing. I will have fun learning the songs that we use for transitions! Today was a very long day after my relaxation during break, but it will get easier when my body and mind get used to sleeping and getting up earlier. My CT is a very sweet-natured woman and she will be a great mentor for me this term. I take over some reading groups tomorrow and will slowly be transitioning to more and more things – this is stressful to think about as well as difficult to take in with everything from the school day, but I’ll get used to it and feel less overwhelmed as the weeks go on.

Sorry about the short post tonight! My brain is somewhat fried due to not getting a very good night’s sleep yesterday, so I can’t think of much to say. There were so many great things about today that haven’t really soaked in, but I will continue writing about my experiences in the classroom this term.


Springing back from break (81 out of 365) #blogaday #sol15

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It can be difficult start back up again once you are done with the wonders of a break from school or work. Motivation is a powerful factor and excitement usually doesn’t come for a few days – but I know everything will snap into place once I am in the classroom tomorrow morning meeting more of the Kindergarteners, and starting to see how my new CT teaches the students. I will probably be observing mostly tomorrow and then start taking over certain aspects of the day. I don’t have evening classes this term (or any classes at all!), which will help with the workload to come. We have three license tasks to complete throughout the term, so I’ll start looking over them and planning when to do each section. Breaks always seem to fade away into a blur, as the term lurks on. after spring break postI love the feeling of relaxation and not needing to do anything, but at the same time, I would be antsy and bored if my days were filled with lying around the house. There have been times when I sat and watched shows or did work ALL DAY, and I started going a bit crazy. Overall, I am glad to back in action and thrilled to see how this term goes! Full-time teaching, I’m coming for ya 🙂


Manipulating memory (80 out of 365) #blogaday #sol15

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Wow! Can’t believe I made it to Day 80 already! Time flies 😮

I watched Still Alice today, and it got me thinking about how memory works and how to train one’s memories. I searched for a teaching tool to do with memory and found (CLICK->) this post on memory games. There is a lot of science that goes into memory and how it works, which is quite complicated for me, but I know that I used to do memory games when I was younger. Even though we are trying to get past having students memorize facts, I still think there are some perks to memorizing and being able to remember content (like multiplication facts or formulas) – for adding and subtracting, there are other strategies that children can try such as involving their fingers and actual movable cubes; however, the process of figuring out a higher level problem without the formula can be difficult for anyone who isn’t a mathematician. Memory and memorization are not the same thing though – there are things you remember from your past that haven’t been memorized, as well as things you memorized that you don’t recall.memory postEnough of my rant about memory now… The games I found looked like fun and came with research to help students who struggle to focus, if working memory is a factor. It would be an entertaining way for children to learn without realizing that they are training their brain. Not that I promote manipulating children into knowing information, but games are great for practicing and fun for the students. From this site, I discovered that working memory can affect how children act in class with directions, writing down information, focusing, and others. If the students can work on this in a fun way, it would benefit everyone. I think I may have stations that involve memory games during workshop time with reading or math because all students could train their brains and have a good time doing it 🙂


Needing some nature (79 out of 365) #blogaday #sol15

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Today, I went to Mirror Lake with my family and had a very nice day outdoors! Since being a teacher has gone to my soul, I found myself noticing things that I would want to teach my students if they came. There are so many aspects of nature that are great for children – relating to science, awareness, ecology, preservation, and others. Nature is a very important part of early elementary grades’ environmental science because the students are learning the basics of how the world around them works (various habitats, creatures, trees, etc). nature postI found this workbook on Amazon that I plan to use in my future classroom called The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms by Clare Walker Leslie. It involves exercises and activities that students can do at home or at school, just by noticing things in nature. I really liked it because it had simple enough tasks so families won’t feel overwhelmed by science assignments, and the students should feel excited to observe their backyard. I want to try and incorporate some very basic science into my full-time teaching in Kindergarten next term. Once I start school again on Monday, I’ll know what the normal day’s subjects look like. From what I am thinking, Kindergarten focuses mostly on weather and maybe a bit on animals. I’m excited to find out more, and hold some fun lessons outside on insects or something like that 🙂 nature post2


Grabbing the right genre (78 out of 365) #blogaday #sol15

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I started reading a new mystery book as well as receiving a different ghost story one in the mail this week – it sparked my interest in how certain genres draw readers in, and how to encourage students to broaden their focus. I am usually interested in mysteries, but there are so many types of books that fit into this category (detectives, ghost stories, historical fiction, etc). If children are interested in one particular genre, what can be done to allow them to see other books and authors? I have found my own niche with animals as narrators. It is important to really pay attention to what the students are reading, and find them similar books that might be from a different genre. How an author writes can also affect enjoyment because not everybody wants to read the same tone of writing. If you find an author you like, it can be a safe bet that they have other books or recommendations on Amazon. Especially with authors of children’s books, they often write a series to keep the readers’ attentions. genresSince I was much more of an active-play kind of child, rather than the sitting and reading kind, I am often interested by what “makes” children want to read. I know that finding the right genre is a large part of it, but am not sure how to know that children are reading the wrong one (rather than needing more assistance). I guess it comes down to knowing your students well enough, and talking to them about their interests. I will start to understand more of the logistics with reading once I have my own class, and have started teaching students on my own. It is difficult to understand what the children looked like at the beginning, middle, and end of the year when I wasn’t with them throughout the whole process. I look forward to understanding more hopefully next school year!genres2


Better do some baking! (77 out of 365) #blogaday #sol15

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When I am stressed out, I always enjoy baking cookies or cupcakes. I usually put on some music or a show while mixing together all the ingredients – it really helps calm all the nerves going on that week. I have made cookies and will be doing brownies while over the break. I found this recipe for (click->) chocolate peanut butter balls on Pinterest and it looks really yummy! I think I’ll try to make some when I get back 🙂 The problem with making desserts is that they can be quite addicting and aren’t the best for your daily diet. These chocolate peanut butter balls have protein and don’t seem as full of sugar as a regular packet of cookies or cupcakes. baking postIt can be something so simple as baking to get your mind thinking of something other than school. Baking is a great one because it is simple and doesn’t take very long. It allows just enough time to escape the stress, without letting wanderings go back to school. You also get such a great treat out of your relaxation!

Baking baking

It’s so fun

Especially when the timer is done!



Lingering in the Learning Palace (76 out of 365) #blogaday #sol15

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I discovered a teacher’s supply store called the Learning Palace a few days ago, and went in for the first time today. It was very exciting to see all the various borders and posters for the classroom. I knew there was a multitude of things needed for your first year, but had never been into one of the stores. It had so many products that I found myself lost in it for quite some time. There is a lot online these days for supplies, but it was very beneficial to actually see them in the stores. I have found a safari theme set online that described its contents (calendar, bulletin borders, student tasks, and many others) – Even though it wasn’t in the store, I could get a better understanding of what was being described. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI enjoyed thinking about my theme and classroom again because I have put in the back of my mind while I was focusing on graduate school. It allows me to have something to look forward to 🙂 Some schools have a theme set up already for the teachers to follow, like my Winter term placement; however, I remember having some teachers who had decorated their own class. One of my fourth grade teachers had Suzy Zoo and friends, and I really want my classroom to be as put together and memorable in theme as that one.


Adopting a plan for applications (75 out of 365) #blogaday #sol15

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It can be a bit stressful applying for jobs because there are so many little things to fill out for each job. ​They remind me of college applications all over again, which is very tedious! They all ask the same questions about your background, experiences, schooling, etc. I just have to sit down and get them done, but it is difficult to be motivated since I am on break and a bit burned out. There is a job fair coming up, and I was struggling to get things ready for it. This second week of my break, which is actual Spring Break, I plan to complete some applications and ask for references. It will help calm down all the work that has to go into them, and I won’t need to worry once school starts next week.

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It is important to remember that bigger tasks can always be broken down into smaller steps. I am glad that it came to my attention (with the help of my mother). I had started the first few pages of most of the applications I had saved, but now I can finish them!


Can’t learn without context (74 out of 365) #blogaday #sol15

Thought this post had some good points – we have learned about the importance of having a context for the information being taught in my graduate program. Children need to understand that what they are learning has meaning.

User Generated Education

This is a follow up to a post I wrote, How Do We Learn? How Should We Learn?  The purpose of these posts is to encourage educators to examine practices they take for granted, implement without deep reflection of their efficacy. This post discusses the instructional practice of asking students to memorize information.

How often have students (ourselves included) been asked to memorize mass amounts of facts – historical dates, vocabulary words, science facts, get tested on them, just to forget almost all those memorized facts a week or two later? Given that is this learning experience is more common than not, why do educators insist on continuing this archaic and ineffective instructional practice?

To learn it in isolation is like learning the sentence “Hamlet kills Claudius” without the faintest idea of who either gentleman is–or, for what matter, of what “kill” means. Memorization is a frontage road: It runs…

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Flashlight fun (73 out of 365) #blogaday #sol15

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I found this fun activity (click “activity” to see!) to do with reading while browsing Pinterest. I think it will help the children find the exciting part of reading – it gives them something to look forward to, as well as having them actually reading for a portion of the day. It is important to provide children with opportunities like this for reading, so they do not get bored with the same routine or being forced to read. This type of activity would have helped me with reading because it is more interactive. My main issue with reading was that I would rather be outside running around or playing games. I hope this game helped the students out that had similar situation to mine 🙂 flashlight reading post