Monday, August 17, 2015

Starting My 9th Year.... at Home...

As all my teacher friends are going back for inservice this week, I am starting my ninth year of teaching in bed with my sweet newborn as my maternity leave officially begins.  While I have waited and anticipated for this moment since I found out about my pregnancy, today has been both real and surreal for me.

Real because all the prepping and planning for my class before my leave are mostly done. While I had the majority of planning done before summer began, I still came up to my classroom a handful of times to set up my classroom, decorate, and made sure most things were in order leading up to this week.

Surreal because as my teacher friends were getting ready this morning, I was also getting my 3-year old son ready for his first day of his 3-year old class.  As I was putting on his clothes, it reminded me of how excited many students are at the beginning of every year as they enter their new schools or classrooms. excited and nervous their parents are as they send them to their new teachers with so much hope and dreams for their own child.

I held onto my tears as I snapped a handful of pictures of my son with his backpack and as my husband and him pulled out from the garage.  Five years ago, if someone had told me that I would start my ninth year of teaching with a three-year old toddler going off to school and a newborn in my arms, I would probably not believe it at all.  But there I was, standing by the door holding onto my two-week old daughter and my once-was-a-newborn was sitting in his toddler chair heading off to school.

Later on this week, I will head back to my class briefly for Meet-the-Teacher Night, and I really can't wait to see my new students, introduce them to my long-term sub, and of course, visit with my former students and their parents, who I know have been waiting to see pictures of our newborn.

Although I never thought in a million years I would miss the beginning of the school year, I know that I have done the best I could to prepare for my long-term sub and know that everything will be in God's good hands.

I also know that as much as I want to be with my new students, my daughter needs me the most right now, and I am more than happy to spend these precious and pivotal weeks with her.

So while this teacher is not heading back to her classroom just yet, I am happy to say that she is joyfully settled in as a mommy at home for now in her new pencil socks.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A Special Announcement

Last Monday marked a beautiful and wonderful day for our family!  It was the day that hubby, our son, and I had been waiting 9+ months for.....the birth of our newest addition, our sweet baby daughter!

As I was typing down some pregnancy memories since insomnia had hit me hard the last month, my hubby called for me to grab something for him.  Just as I bent down to grab it, the unthinkable happened as it had not happened to me before with my son's pregnancy, my water BROKE! In a mad rush, we got ourselves ready and got my parents settled in with our son before we headed for the hospital...but first a quick to-go breakfast, of course, since I was extremely hungry and knew that I wouldn't be able to eat once I was admitted. :)

Entering the hospital for the second time, I felt a sense of excitement and nervousness.  Excited since it had been such a long pregnancy.  With all the textbook symptoms that I had experienced and simply being pregnant throughout the ENTIRE summer in the heat of Texas, feeling excited to finally deliver is somewhat of an understatement! :)  But then again, I knew that every delivery comes with uncertainties and risks and even with a plan in hand, I was mentally prepared for the changes that could occur when it comes down to the wire.

My hubby was so sweet and supportive the entire process.  From the beginning of the pregnancy to being my coach in the delivery room, he was a trooper and was always a constant presence by my side.  When the dilation process took what seemed forever (20 hours total for the record) and when I thought maybe the plan I had in mind might have to be adjusted, he kept encouraging and reminding me how much progress I was making.  And then.....the moment arrived and so did our sweet bundle of joy!

Holding and kissing her for the first time in my arms, I sang 'Happy Birthday' to her as I did with our son and felt such happiness and a great sense of relief as she was healthy and was attached to me from the very start.  

Since her arrival, it has been a little pass a week and our family can't be any happier.  Our lil' man has really stepped up to the plate and has been so sweet and helpful.  While I was uncertain how he would actually receive her as he has been our one and only for so long, it really is amazing to see how mature he has grown in just several days!  My hubby and I are so proud of him!  Yes, life at the current moment is definitely a work in progress as hubby is back at work, and I am adjusting to life with two little ones at home with my sweet parents, who have flown down to help me for a bit.  I know that once lil' man resumes daycare and all of us resume back to our schedules with me officially starting my maternity leave, things will be more smooth and settled.

What used to be just two wide-eyed teenagers in love turned into a family of two, with many prayers grew to three, and now four.  We feel so incredibly blessed to have two sweet babies and call them our children!  So.....without further ado, I would love to introduce you to our sweet daughter, Lily!

To go along with happy announcements, I would also like to share with you the release of the TPT Back to School Ebook Grades 1 & 2! Click to the image below to download the Ebook filled with great Back to School tips for teachers and FREEBIES!  Don't forget to check out page 15 where you can find my Teacher Tip & FREEBIE!  

Thank you for stopping by!  Hope you have a wonderful week!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

BTS Blog Hop

Hi, there!  Today I'm linking with The Owl Teacher to bring to you the Back-to-School Blog Hop!  I hope you find some helpful tips here in starting the school year on the right foot, and then hop on over to The Owl Teacher's blog to find more tips, tricks, and even FREEBIES!

One of the first things that I do at the beginning of the year is assign classroom jobs.  Some of these jobs last the entire year and some are weekly.  No matter what job it is, I make sure to go through each of them thoroughly to make sure my students understand what each job entails and how important it is for them to be take that job seriously if they are chosen.  By assigning these jobs, I have saved a lot of time and my students also take ownership and pride in being part of our classroom community!  Below are my 5 Classroom Job Must-Haves!

1. Every set of tables/desks needs to have an assigned leader to pick up or pass out papers to the kids in their group.  Instead of having 20+ students come to me to pick up papers, I simply ask the table captains, which are at most 5 students to collect and pass out the papers to their group.  As they are doing this, the other students are getting their supplies (pencil, eraser, crayons, etc.) to get ready to complete their assignment.

2. As every group of desks has a table captain, it also needs a table buddy, someone to help the table captains with jobs that require two people.  For instance, when table captains are coming to me to pick up assignments for their group, the table buddy can be picking up privacy folders or supplies to be passed out.  I have also had table buddies be promoted to table captains if their table captain has lost his/her job due to behavior.  Also, if the table captain is absent, the table buddy can seamlessly take the job for the day and another student can be a temporary table buddy.

3. Every week I assign a girl and a boy to be the bathroom monitors.  Their job is simply to use the restroom first, wash and dry their hands, pass out paper towels to the other kids, and report any incidents to me when needed.  As I send two students into the restroom at a time, I also need to monitor the rest of the class in the hallway.  Therefore, bathroom monitors are my eyes are ears and also help avoid misbehavior in the restroom.

4. Small Group Leaders-  As students travel through various reading and math centers in small groups, there is also a permanent leader in each group.  Similar to a table captain, the group leader picks, collects, and passes out papers and supplies when needed.  They are also the leader in the group to help make sure everyone stays on task and receives help when needed.  

5. Line Leader, Door Holder, & Caboose-  These familiar jobs are just as important as the other jobs in the classroom, as they can be reassigned weekly and also give students a sense of accountability and ownership in the classroom.  Whatever it is about first graders and being first in line, I have found that being the line leader is the most sought after position to have in the classroom! lol... Therefore, I try to make this a very big deal and explain to the class why certain students deserve and are chosen for this position. Next to the first person in line is the door holder, who holds the door for us when needed.  It is also the second sought-after position and one that students love to take upon as they are second in line! hahaha.... As important as the line leader and door holder are, the caboose who makes sure that our lights are turned off, our door is closed, and there are no wanders left when we leave the classroom. 

Thank you for reading along, and I hope I shared some ideas that are applicable for your classroom! If you have other jobs in the classroom that are must-haves, please feel free to share below!  And... Now a FREEBIE from my Meet the Teacher Packet!!!

Special thanks to Teacher Karma for the cute clipart! 


Full Product

Now it's time to for the K-2 GIVEAWAY!  

When you're done, don't forget to  hop on over to the blogs below for more Back to School tips, tricks, FREEBIES, and GIVEAWAYS!

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