Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Conversation with Inspired Apple

Here goes my first link up!

Abby over at The Inspired Apple is having a Christmas Conversation Linky Party! It looked like so much fun, so I had to join in!

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. One of the reasons why I love it is because everyone does it differently. Everyone has different traditions and I absolutely love hearing about them!

So link up and tell me about your Christmas traditions below! I would love to hear how you celebrate Christmas!

Don't forget to comment below! Thanks Abby for the fun link up!

~The Chronicles of a Teacher 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Channeling the Inner "Turkey"

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your friends and family (sorry, it's a little late)! I definitely enjoyed all the festivities, especially the ones in my classroom.

 This year I wanted to do a Thanksgiving craft that would tie in with 30 Days of Thankful. As well as a craft that the students would be able to share with their families and keep for years to come. Each student made a placemat that tied in with their 30 Days of Thankful and allowed them to channel their "inner turkey."

I decided to have the students choose three of the things they were thankful for. Students wrote about each thing and elaborated as to why they were thankful for it. Of course, the teacher in me made them do a rough draft and write an introduction and conclusion. I read over each one before they wrote their final draft on the template below.

After we finished our writing piece, we channeled our "inner turkey." The making of the turkey was fairly simple.

First, I made a template for the basic shapes we would need, such as a small sized circle, a medium sized circle, and a small feather. I made copy of the template for each student. 

Second, I had a parent cut squares of each color that we would need. So my parent cut two brown squares for the body and head of the turkey and two of orange, yellow, and red for the feathers. 

In the actual making of the turkey, we cut out the templates and traced our feathers, body, and head. We arranged them on the right side of the 11" x 18" construction paper. Students added their own flare to their turkies, such as bow ties, hats,microphones, clothes, etc. 

Finally, when they were finished we laminated them to make them "food" proof! 

It's a great reflection activity as well as something they will be able to keep for a long time. I was so impressed with their thoughtful reflections. While I did have some who said they were thankful for the game console, I had more students write about how they were thankful for their family, food on the table, and a shelter. One student even said she was thankful for a good life! Overall, it was a great activity and I can't wait to do it again next year! 

Check out some of the student samples below! 

I wish you a wonderful holiday season filled with family, friends, and food! 

The Chronicles of a Teacher

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Girls on the Run

It's been a while since I have been able to post! Last Saturday, I was able to have an experience of a lifetime and was truly inspired by one of my past students.

This year I have had the privilege of being the head coach for the Girls on the Run program. It is a character development for girls that allows the opportunity to train and run in a 5k just for them. We have focused on self-esteem, choosing friends, how to handle negativity, and community service.

Throughout this season, I have been able to get to know the girls. We have truly become a team and a family. On Saturday, I witnessed just how close we had all become. Saturday was our 5k. Each girl has to run with an adult (aka running buddy) and I was paired with one of my girls from last year, Natalia.

Let me tell you about Natalia. Natalia is incredibly sweet. Last year, there was not a day that went by when she didn't ask if I or a peer needed help. She showed up every day with a smile on her face. Natalia geniuuely loved to learn. She always gave everything 110% effort. So I would expect nothing less from her on her big day!

We approached the starting line. One of the other coaches asked her, "What is your goal for the run?" Natalia replied, "I want to jog the whole thing." Right then, I saw a special look in her eye, determination. This look reappeared several times throughout the run.

I am proud to say that Natalia ran the ENTIRE 5k. This is a feat for any 11 year old girl and she did it with determination. She inspired us all that day.

At our last practice on Tuesday, we all shared out one of our favorite moments from the season. She shared that it was crossing the finish line and having us there to support her. She said, "During that moment, I felt I could anything." And she was right, she could and can do anything she puts her mind to.

Girls on the Run is such an amazing program for young girls. It truly lets them see who they are inside and empowers them to work towards their goals. I am so very glad that I was able to bring the program to my school.

Happy running,

The Chronicles of a Teacher (and Runner)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Thankful November

We are in full swing of my favorite time of the year... the time of thanks! Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. Let me tell you why. Who doesn't love reflecting on all the things we DO have and being with the ones we love. I absolutely love that it makes me stop and realize how fortunate I am.

I love sharing with my students the things I am thankful for. Last year, I started the "Thankful November" challenge with them. This year it has turned into quite the challenge and it is quite easy to challenge your students!

Each morning I, or my classroom president, puts a sticky on each student's desk. When the students walk in, they know this is the first thing they do after they get out all their homework. Each student fills out one thing they are thankful and there can be NO repeats. This challenges the student to even think of the smallest thing they are thankful for. The students go hang them on our "Thankful November" chart. We have been doing it since the first week of November and my students are definitely starting of the day in a positive way. Below are some examples of student responses as well as the chart! Enjoy!
Thankful November

Student Responses

I mean who could not be thankful for comedy or the person who created pizza! My students definitely make me laugh with these and I hope that your students can! Go and spread thanks among your students!

Happy early Thanksgiving,
The Chronicles of a Teacher

Sunday, November 2, 2014

5 Ways to be a Book Pusher

As a book lover, it is only natural that one of my first posts be about reading and books. As my team partner (aka #workwifey) likes to put it, we are book pushers. We push books and reading to our students and families. Let me take a step back and explain why I am a book pusher.

As a child, I actually despised reading. I was always the one pulled to the small group because I struggled with reading comprehension. It was not until high school that I was able to see the why so many people were captured by reading. As one of my students put it this year, "I love reading because I feel that it takes me to a magical place. I can escape everything and live a different life." Reading is exactly that. However, in order to get that point you have to know the basics. In elementary school, I struggled with the basics. I share this with my students and families. All my students have the same reaction... "But... you are a TEACHER!" They give me the look like that is impossible. Oh, but it is. I like to share this story with them, so they can see that there is a light at the end of a tunnel.

So what book changed it all for me? Shiokari Pass by Ayako Miura. It is based on a true story and is a compelling story of love eclipsed by sacrifice and tragedy. I read this book my sophomore year in World Literature. It changed how I viewed reading. For the first time in a long time, I read ahead and I wanted to read more books like this. Ayako Miura is a very respected Japanese author and has many great novels. I must admit that it was not just the book that reeled me in. It was also the discussions that took place. I realized that it was not just about reading a book, but sharing that journey with others. As a teacher, I vowed to share my reading journey with my students and became a book pusher.

Anyways... now that you know how I became a book pusher. Here are five tips on how to be a book pusher:

  1. Join Scholastic's Teacher Club. Yes... Scholastic is EVEN better as a teacher! Not only do they have great prices for your families, but every day is a "tax- free holiday" when it comes to scholastic book orders. Scholastic provides many freebies and you, as the teacher, can rack up a lot of bonus points, which then in return gets you FREE books. So not only are your families getting great deals, but you are also getting FREE books to build up/ replenish your classroom library! Join at https://clubs2.scholastic.com/
  2. Discuss what you are reading with your students. I love discussing what I am reading with my students. This past year I have been reading the Harry Potter series (I know it is really weird that I have never read the HP series, but that is beside the point.) I have gotten so many of my students to read the series with me because I am openly talking to them about what I am reading. Students naturally love to talk about anything... and well why not have a discussion with them about your reading! You may be their teacher, but they love to get to know you for who you are outside of the classroom. And well let's face it... the book you are reading says a lot about who you are and what you are interested in!
  3. Give away FREE books! Now that you have joined Scholastic... why not use some of those bonus points to give away FREE books when students have, as I put it, "caught the reading bug!" At the end of the each quarter, I give away five FREE books to students who have "caught the reading bug." Before I give it to them, I write a little congratulatory note in the book! I see my student carrying around that book long after they have finished it because it is something special!
  4. Showcase New Books. Last book order, I ordered about twenty-five new books for the classroom that my students had requested. When they came in, I made a BIG deal about it. I showcased them on the whiteboard and wrote "New Books" above them. Both of the classes I have jumped at the opportunity and the majority of them were gone by the end of the day! Again, this opens up for discussions about books and reading!
  5. Organize Your Classroom Library. This past summer I spent about a week and half reorganizing my classroom library. I organized them based on series, author, or genre as well as book level according to ARBookfind.com. I have noticed a big difference in my students this year and finding books. Students can easily find all of the Rick Riordan books or Roald Dahl books as well as books at their reading level. The classroom library is much more accessible to them, which makes them want to read!
So now you are able to join our club of #bookpushers!

The Chronicles of a Teacher (and a book pusher!)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Meet the Teacher Blogger

Well, here it goes...

I am a 20- something teacher in Southern California. I am a fun-loving gal who enjoys a good book, chai lattes, barre workouts, football, the beach, dancing, brownies, traveling, baseball, bike rides, family, and my pup!

This is my fourth year of teaching; I have taught P.E., first and fifth grades. However, I am well into my second and half year in fifth grade, in the same classroom, with the same team, at the same school. I am so incredibly lucky! 

I am hoping to share with you the chronicles of a teacher. For the past few months, I have been wanting to share my ideas, lessons, and well... just stories of my experiences as a teacher. The Chronicles of a Teacher is just a small glimpse into my world. Enjoy!