Tuesday, May 26, 2015

"First Day Me": A Letter

I have always been inspired by the video, If I Knew Then: A Letter to Me on My First Day Teaching! If you haven't seen this video, it might be a great way to wrap up your year :-)

I've always wanted to write my own "first day me" letter, but have never really given myself the time. I thought, writing one for today's SOL would be a good idea...

Dear First Day Teacher,

Yes, I know how scared you are! You just got the phone call last night; you have nothing planned; there are no textbooks; and you don't know anyone at your new school. But, you have your passion and your knowledge and your conviction! These three will get you through your first day.

You will encounter one student today who makes an impact on you for the rest of your career. He will lie to you, but you will forgive him. You will walk him home every day after school because his grandmother is too ill to come get him. And, even though years later, you will shed tears to find out he ends up in prison, just know that the difference you made in his life for those few short months, were worth all the pain and suffering. 

One of the lessons you learn on your first day is that you will fail, but in failure, you will also succeed. Don't be afraid of failing because your failures will shape you, motivate you, and empower you to keep going! 

You will earn the reputation as a scary and strict teacher, but you will also earn the affection and respect of your students. Those coming up through the grades will fear you, but the moment you greet them at your door on their first day in your class, they will understand that they need not fear you, because you will love every child that comes through your door, even on the days when you can't stand them. Yes, there will be those days. But, don't let those days discourage you. You will get past those days, and you will remember why you became a teacher! 

To help, try to remember how you feel right now, because this feeling is the passion that will drive you for the next fifteen years! The butterflies in your stomach? They'll return every year as you walk out to greet your new group of students. Remember this feeling, because it is one of the greatest feelings you will ever experience. 

Now, go get those students waiting outside your classroom door: say hi to their parents, welcome them in and smile.

Your Future Self

Monday, May 25, 2015

Exploratory Science Unit: Plant Anatomy Research at the Library and Creative Art Activity

As a follow-up to our Flower Anatomy: A hands-on, interactive preschool lesson, my son and I visited our local library to research flower and plant books. As we sat on the floor, perusing bottom-shelf books, he accumulated an impressive check-out pile...

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I'm Afraid It Hasn't Been Enough...

Today's Slice of Life is a reflective journey inside myself, both as a mother and a teacher. You can read more slices over at Two Writing Teachers, or you can share your own!

Yesterday, my son and I ran into a friend of his that we had not seen in over a year. They are both five, born within a week of each other. While her mom and I chatted, the two of them reconnected very quickly. Both lovers of literature, they gathered a pile of books from the "take one, leave one" shelf and settled onto the couch for a read.

I was astounded when his friend began sounding out words! Not just simple three-letter words, like "cat" and "hat", but longer, more complex words, such as "category" and "dresses". As a former elementary school teacher, I know all too well how children develop at different paces, and I shouldn't compare my son's progress to that of his friend's; but I just couldn't help myself!

His friend attends a Montessori-based preschool; whereas, my little guy receives home schooling from me. As I sat there listening to his preschool-aged friend read word after word, I questioned my approach to nurturing his learning.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Exploratory Science Unit: A Hands-on, Interactive Preschool Lesson on Flower Anatomy

To capitalize on the beautiful spring blooms all around us, I decided to take my son on a flower scavenger hunt. Turning it into a learning experience, I told him we were going to be scientists, observing flowers, gathering facts, and creating a diagram.

I gathered up our materials: Science Notebooks, colored pencils, flowers, and his magnifying glass.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tactile Learning Activities for my Active Learner

Here is my inspiration for today's Slice of Life
As I've shared in previous posts, my son is an active learner. He doesn't enjoy sitting at a desk, listening to me "teach", so I have had to find authentic, engaging ways to develop my son's early literacy. Sometimes, I have even had to disguise his learning, like when I created our "Breakfast Menu Board". This daily activity helped him recognize and write his letters.