Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday season. More first grade stories to come on Monday!!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
"Ms. Eklund...you are sooooo pretty!"
"Mrs. Eklund...I like the way you smell."
"Ms. Eklund...could you come to my house to watch movies?...Saturday? Sunday?? Here's my number...you call me when you can. Ms. Eklund...you're "gorgs" (pretty sure he meant gorgeous..ha ha)
"Ms. Eklund, you're the best teacher EVER!"
"Mrs. Eklund, you make us smart!"
"Mrs. Eklund, thank you for making us learn."
"Mrs. Eklund, will you be my friend forever???"
"Mrs. Eklund, you have the softest arm hair ever!"
"Ms. Eklund, you have pretty lipstick and it makes you look lovely!"
"Ms. Eklund, you give great hugs."
"Ms. Eklund, you are really, really smart."
"Ms. Eklund, will you be my teacher in second grade? (No, sweety.) Then I don't want to go."
and my all time favorite...
"Mrs. Eklund, I sure love you."
Friday, November 7, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
"I'm not voting for Bobama, because he wants to take away our guns."
"I'm not voting for Obama, because he wants to get rid of our military."
"I'm voting for Obama, because he cares about us."
"I'm voting for Obama, because he looks nice."
After clearing up some misconceptions in their comments and answering further questions, inevitably I rec'd this question.
"Who are you voting for Mrs. Eklund?" (You're probably wondering if I answered them...of course I did! These students need to know that it's ok to disagree with someone, and that even if the person you want to win doesn't, it's still your responsiblity to work together for the common good. So, of course...I made it a teaching moment and answered them honestly. I said, "Well kiddos, I believe that Obama is the right choice for our country." I received a couple of "ooohs" and "ahhhs", and one or two "I'm telling my mom." ha ha ha...
Then there was a comment that really struck me and it actually brought tears to my eyes. We were discussing each candidate and how regardless of who wins, that this election would be historical. If McCain wins, it would be historical for two reasons: 1) he'll be the oldest person ever elected president, 2)with Palin as his VP, she'd be the first woman elected to an executive position in our country. For Obama, if he wins, it would be historical because, he'd be the first African-American person ever elected president. When I was describing this to my students, I explained that Obama is African-American, but that he is actually half-white (Caucasian) and half-black (African American), which makes him Mulato. When I said the word "Mulato" one of my students spoke up and said, "Hey...that's what I AM...I'm Mulato. My Mom is black and my Dad is white. So, he's like ME and he could be president!!" He said this with such amazement and wonder...it kind of left me speechless. So I looked at him and asked, "Well buddy, how does that make you feel knowing that someone just like you could be president of the United States?" He replied, "Like I could be President some day...just like that...like I could be President."
So, here you have a little kid, a first grader...who gets it, he really gets it. He's a poor kid from the wrong side of town. His Dad has instilled in him an amazing work ethic, he's truly wonderful and he understands what the US is all about. He understands that anyone who works hard enough can become anything they want. I'm not saying that at this moment, at 7:36pm on Nov. 4th, that we know Barack Obama will be our next president, but we do know that the mere idea of it is inspiring hope in people as young as 6. And if...just if Obama really does become our President, then we really do know that anyone can become anything they dream of in the US.
I love teaching. I love moments like this...I love the hope, the inspiration and the wonder.
So, whatever your political affiliation, just keep in mind how important all of this really is...BOTH sides.
Oh - and if you're curious...my kids voted 13 to 9 for Obama. =)
Monday, October 27, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Thus my dilemma continues.
I'm going to take out a "wanted" ad in the newspaper...I was going to write the exact verbage here, but decided against it considering it would probably get me fired if taken seriously =)
Friday, September 26, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Just another reason I LOVE first grade.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Our trip was wonderful for many reasons, but one special moment came during our visit with Uncle Kenny. He is my uncle (technically my dad's cousin, but we grew up calling him an uncle) who is suffering from liver and colon cancer. The day we went to visit with him (literally thinking this would be the last time we would see him alive - ugh) he received the news that his cancer has not spread to his bones and that his doctor gave him a life prognosis of 4-5 years!!! It was wonderful news to hear and you could see that he was re-energized! He was able to get up and walk with us from his room to the reception area, aided by a walker, but he was walking!!! I just can't tell you how wonderful it was to know that our visit was not the last time we'd get to see him. I was preparing for the worst and got the best, so yea!!! =)
The new Duckvision screen! Amazing!
In front of Autzen =)
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
In comparison, I think I would rather take students with behavior problems than deal with parents who abuse their kids, abuse their wives, hit on me, or die trying to make a better life for themselves. All of which lead to a broken family. For me, I take solace in the fact that when they are in my classroom, they are loved, protected, and respected. =)
Saturday, September 13, 2008
In 1st grade news, nothing much this week. No sex dreams, no leg rubbing, nothing weird, just a really good week of learning. I have one student who knew 45 of the 100 first grade sight words (high frequency words) on August 21st. As of Thursday, she knew 105 MORE...she nows ALL 100 first grade words, plus 50 of the second grade words! I'm SOOOO proud of her. My kiddos are really doing well this year, so far, on their reading skills. Over 1/2 my class knows over 50 HF words, with most of them in the 80's. So, I would say most of my class will know all 100 by Christmas. I have two kiddos well into their 2nd grade words, then it will be onto 3rd grade words and common phrases. It's awesome!!
We have parent/teacher conferences in two weeks and then I'm off for two weeks...I'm so excited and am definitely looking forward to a much needed break.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Sunday, August 31, 2008
I've also considered other pets...such as a hedgehog (they're CUTE), a chinchilla (even cuter), and hamsters (pretty cute too.) But, they come with a significant increase in financial and time maintenance. Plus, on intersessions, do I really want to bring home an animal for my cat to terrorize? Additionally, something my kiddos can actually touch and pet, will only increase their heartbreak should the animal die. Final thought? I think I'll stick with fish for now :-)
First intersession starts the very end of September...we'll see if I can hold off until then.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
I am happy to report that the two substitutes that took over my class while I was gone, did surprisingly well. I've heard horror stories about teachers painstakingly planning for an absence only to come back and discover that their substitute did NOTHING in their lesson plans. I was thrilled to come back and find out that every assignment I planned for them to do, was actually executed and my students received rave reviews! I cannot stress to you enough how different my class is this year than last. I will, however, always have a special place in my heart for my very first class. They were wonderful, challenging and very, very special to me. Seeing the few that are still here, makes my day - especially when they shower me with hugs and sign language "I love you's". Now that I've taught my current class the "I love you" sign they are equally as eager to share it.
The past couple of weeks since my return have been wonderful, yet heartbreaking all the same. For the majority of you who know me personally, you know of the heartbreak of which I speak. For those who don't, I can only say that I have been dealing with my first case of alleged child abuse. It is mindboggling to me how someone, anyone, could hurt a child...any child. Dealing with this firsthand has been an eye-opening, heartbreaking and learning-filled experience that I hope I never have to encounter again.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
OOOhhh...and I get to see some of my kiddos from last year, probably 15 or more of them, as they are in 2nd grade now at my school. They are SO sweet and SO cute...running up to me giving me hugs. I am amazed at how big they got over summer. It's so fun walking around the school, running into all these kiddos that I know now. Next year will be even crazier! This is part of why I love teaching. =)
Friday, August 1, 2008
I had some funnies this week for sure. I have a little red-headed kid in my class who is just plain out there. He's a wonderful, sweet, charming student who is completely his own person. He has a very tender heart and gives me 100 or more hugs a day. He also kind of dances to the beat of a different drummer. When we get to the playground each day, he runs with his arms flailing above his head, screaming "ahahhhhahahahahaaaaaahhhh"...and he pretty much doesn't stop for about 10 minutes. If you've seen the Friends episode where Pheobe and Rachel are running in Central Park and Pheobe is flailing her arms...it's pretty much just like that, just done by a 6 year old. In addition to his screaming, flailing, running, he decided yesterday to come out of the bathroom with his shorts (not underwear, but outer shorts) turned completed inside-out. They were buttoned up and ready to go...just inside-out. When I asked him why he had his pants on that way, he said that he "liked them better that way...it gave his hands something to play with" (meaning HIS POCKETS...gutter brains). Anyway, it was all I could not to laugh out loud as I told him to return to the bathroom and put his shorts the correct way. Of course ALL of this is after he refused to answer to his name all morning. I would call on him and he'd ignore me...until I finally asked him if he was hearing me, to which he replied, "Yes, but my name isn't Danny...it's Indy...Indiana Jones to be exact." HAHAHAHA! So...I had to call him Indy for a while, oh well.
Last night was our Open House for the year and it went off without a hitch. I had 17 out of 21 parents show up, which is a great number. When "Danny" arrived he was talking on his "cell" phone to his "boss"...this kid has a great imagination. =)
My kids also did some fun work this week on the topic of "alliteration". Here are a couple of pictures of their work. Too cute! Each table group has a name and they had to come up with a first name as well, for this exercise. Then they had to finish the sentence, "_______ _______ likes to ________." For example, "Larry Leopard likes to leap." It was SO cute to see what they came up with. On the first day of school, I had students draw a picture of themselves. For Open House I taped these up on the wall and had parents guess to see if they could figure out which picture was drawn by their student. It was pretty funny! All of their pictures are adorable. Later on I will laminate them and then give them to their parents at parent/teacher conferences.
The next couple of weeks will be interesting as I will be gone for 1.5 weeks starting next Thursday. While I'm looking forward to seeing friends and family, I'm dreading what my substitute will or will NOT decide to teach. =( I will spend the next few days not only packing for Montana, but also trying to get my room and lesson plans ready. Who would have thought taking time off would be so stressful?? My kiddos are really pretty good this year, so I think the sub will have an easy time of it (fingers crossed).
That's all for now. Love to all!
Sunday, July 27, 2008
This week we were the recipients of free backpacks and school supplies! We have a Community in Schools representative who coordinated the whole thing and a group of volunteers came in to pass out the backpacks and to make "crazy" paper bag hats with my kids on the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL! It was a bit crazy and hectic, but well worth it. The kids were THRILLED and we got to keep all the craft supplies in addition to the extra school supplies they donated. It was great! I even got a brand new electric pencil sharpener! It was almost like Christmas!! ha ha Anyway, included in this blog are some pictures of that day. I had to "smudge" the students' faces out due to legal reasons, but you at least get to see the crazy hats they made and how much fun they had.
Being able to take some time and reflect on this past week, I am amazed at how different a class can be one year to the next. I can see that I'll have some real characters in my classroom, but it is SUCH a different dynamic this year already. I have a real "lover" in my class. He's adorable and is already telling me he "loves" me and he grabs my arm and kisses it. That's going to have to stop, but I'll give him all the hugs he wants instead. My kiddos think I'm "crazy, silly and really funny." All of this after I've had to be hard on them regarding their talking. Having 9 fewer students has definitely made a huge difference as well, although I do get a new student tomorrow, so I'll be upto 21 total if all students show up. (I have had two who didn't show up at all this past week.)
I was pleasantly surprised to be visited by two of my older friends this week. One was my 6th grade class mentee last year...she's great and was in my room for two full quarters helping with reading groups, filing and grading papers. The other student was a 6th grade boy that was originally sent to my room for misbehaving..he was on a three day suspension. But after being in my room, he wanted to come back to volunteer with my kids...and he was allowed to when his behavior was good. He stopped by on Thursday and he was really, really sweet. "Hey Mrs. Eklund...how are you? I just wanted to stop by to say HI and to give you a hug. I hope I can come to your room this year." Ahhh...it was SO perfect. It's just an incredible feeling to know that somehow I made an impact on these older kids as well.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
This is my listening center...I'll post reading assistance and projects up on the bulletin board.
This is my computer station and workbook cubbies. I have enough room for these extra cubbies so I don't have to have stacks of workbooks around my room this year. As you can see, I don't have desks again this year, I have tables, which significantly cuts down on my storage space. So - each student will have an assigned cubbie to put their reading, math and science workbooks in, as well as any other journals and etc that I give them. Above their cubbies is a my "manners" bulletin board...just little reminders on how to be respectful to each other. My hope is that every time they get something out of their cubbie, they'll be reminded of how to be respectful!
My back wall. This is on the East side of my room. I will, in a couple of weeks, remove the "Welcome" sign and put up a word wall for my students to use as a reference. I will also post student work along these back cabinets.
Facing South in my room.
My behavior chart and Math Focus Wall.
This is my only whiteboard. I have a much bigger room this year, but only this whiteboard.
This is my reading focus wall. It says, "Swing into Reading".
And finally, my teacher's desk and DUCK wall behind it. I'm going to get an UO Oregon flag to hang up on the wall as well. My kids will definitely know about the Ducks and maybe, just maybe they'll be inspired enough to go to college. =) Notice the time on the clock...9:13...that's PM on Friday night. I got kicked out at 9:30. =) ha ha
So far that's all! I am working on getting my day planned for tomorrow and will let you know how it goes =)
Love to all!
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
This year I head to convocation with confidence and pride. I am no longer a first year teacher (Thank God), but am a second year teacher brimming with confidence and an understanding of what lies ahead of me. There are still some unknowns (school restructuring aside), but what a difference a year makes! This year I head to convocation actually having real friendships with people, having a "place at the table" persay, not wondering if people will want to be my friend, but knowing that they already are and that I am on par with these people professionally and personally, at least on some level. It is a strange ride, but exciting all the same. I am confident, but know I also have SO much more to learn. I am thankful, joyfully thankful that I do not have to have a nerve-wracking, mind-boggling first day of teaching ever again. Even with the unknowns this year, I still feel much more prepared than I did last year at this same time. So far I haven't had a sleepless night! That will probably happen on Sunday...the night before the first day of teaching. Oh boy! =) Last year was great, but this year can only get better! So with laptop in hand, I head out the door...it's time to begin another year.
Oops...have to have breakfast first! Man, would my Mom get MAD if she knew I left for school without having breakfast. =)
Sunday, July 13, 2008
It should be an easy theme to branch off from, ("Let's Go Bananas for...", "Don't Monkey Around...", "Climb the Vine to Success...", and etc.) but the biggest plus of all? NO LIVE ANIMALS AS CLASSROOM PETS! Which in turn means no funerals to suffer through this year. I don't really think I'd get approval to have a classroom monkey, so I think I'm fairly safe from too many broken hearts. Granted, all the class fish from last year provided some great stories, but it was so hard to watch their little hearts get broken...three times. (Our "peace lily" is still alive!) Anyway - no funerals, no "dead songs" to be sung...only the lively, happy, mischievous monkeys adorning my classroom walls. I'm sure my students will only be too happy to perpetuate this "monkey" theme and morphe into little mischievous monkeys themselves. I expect nothing less. ;-)
I will post some pictures when my room is completed this week. In addition to adding the final touches to my room, I will suffer through hours of staff meetings and obligatory district meetings. If you didn't know my school is going through a severe transition and restructuring. Last year we were a district school, which bussed in students from all over our school district and had about 800 students K-8. This year we will be a "neighborhood" school, which means only students that live within walking distance of the school will attend, with the exception of those students in the "transition" years of 7th and 8th grade. So, our enrollment has dropped from 800 to about 300 K-8. What does this mean? It means that for grades K-6 there is only ONE grade level teacher. I am the only 1st grade teacher at my school! It's nuts, but exciting all the same. Talk about accountability!!
Add to this the probability of me having to go to the doctor for my back and you're talking one crazy week ahead of me!