Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Our Year Together

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Our First Grade Year
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This year has been a very special year for me.  I have been blessed with a classroom full of the most amazing kids!  Everyday I looked forward to what came next in our year long journey.  The students always came bouncing into the classroom, greeting me with hugs, ready to take on the day's challenges.  We came together in August as 23 individuals and have become a community that deeply cares about one another.
I always tell people that one of my favorite parts of teaching first grade is seeing first hand how much the students grow academically and socially in nine months.  This year was no exception.  I recall at the beginning of the year, asking a student to read a book to me.  They replied, "I can't read."  I began to tear up when I completed the final reading assessment with that student this month. 
Who knows if these students will remember their first grade year in fifteen years.  I will always hold a special place in my heart for this class.  A special poem will be going home tomorrow for the parents.  Every time I read it, I begin to cry.  It talks about how for the past nine months, these children have been my children and how blessed I feel to have had them for this short time.
I was inspired this week to create a slideshow, showcasing some of our special memories.  This is a first for me.  I may have created a website and try to keep this blog updated, but I have never created a slideshow.  I was introduced to smilebox and decided to give it a try.  Well, let's just say you can tell it is my first.  I was so excited to create it, I did not look at the details (something I tell my students to do daily).  Anyway, I created the slideshow before I added music.  The format I selected would only allow me to play one song.  So you get to listen to "These are Days" for about 15 minutes :).  Nevertheless, I have enjoyed watching it and cannot wait to share it with my students tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Celebrating our Authors

Tonight was an evening of celebration.  This was our first year implementing writing workshop and this class showed me the power of this approach to writing.  As I reflect back on the year, I think about all that I would have missed if I continued to traditionally teach writing.  In the past I would teach a concept and assign every student the identical writing assignment.  Now, I teach a mini-lesson and allow the kids to be authors.  It is amazing what they have produced!  I am so very proud of each and every student.
Students spent the past two weeks "publishing" a book they had written this year.  We learned about revision, editing, and layout.  This evening we celebrated our published books and our writing portfolios with a pizza party.  Thank you to all of our amazing families!   Tonight would not have been possible without your support and dedication to your child's education .

Mosaic Mural

Well, I know it has been way too long since I posted last.  Where does the time go?!!  We are winding down our year together and have had a lot of exciting events.  On Monday, Mrs. Cooper and her lead artists revealed their AMAZING mural.  This mural has been a year in the making and the wait was worth it.  The project is all about community; something that Mrs. Cooper and I so passionately care about.  The mural will be expanded next year and be something that our school will forever cherish.  If you have not had a chance to check it out in person, please stop by.