Monthly Archives: September 2013

4 Down, 34 To Go


This week was normal up until Friday afternoon.  A slight cold front swept through Austin on Friday causing more than slight rain. Our house received  over 3 inches of rain. 

We had a half day at school because it was our Open House night for parents and we wanted the kids to have time to go home and get ready to come back for the evening.  Fortunately for us, the kids went home when there were only ominous clouds in the sky.  They blew kisses at me even though we talked about how I would see them in 6 hours. 

Then the rain came.  We were having an elementary meeting when a deluge of great volume (both kinds) came. Within minutes our school field had flooded.  I rushed to my classroom to grab my purse. I was unhappy about having to go out and get food in the tempest. I ran into the office to let them know where I was going when I saw it: 4 boxes of piping hot pizza. 

Now, those who know me know that I do not like pizza. But, I was overjoyed to see that pizza. I took a couple of pieces and ran like the wind back to the portables to enjoy a quick lunch.  When I got done I saw Becky, the second grade teacher, who told me that they were considering canceling Open House because of the rain. 

I was all for that.  I didn’t mind staying around, but I didn’t want to wait around in the rain for hours and then have 2 parents show up.  That would not be fun. Our principal eventually decided to postpone the Open House until Monday.  

She gave us each a page of the directory and we got to calling parents.  They were universally overjoyed at the news that they would not need to haul themselves and their children through the rivers that used to be roads.  I was overjoyed that I got to go home during a break in the storm and spend the evening snuggled under covers in my jammies while sipping cocoa.  It felt so cozy and autumn-like.


3 Down, 35 To Go


This was the first “real” week of school, in that students had homework, were studying for a spelling test, and had to act like real grown-up first graders!

Language arts was pretty uneventful this week, but I’m still adjusting to our new schedule this year.  Instead of 100 minutes of language arts each day, I have 120 minutes on Monday and Friday and 80 minutes on Tuesday-Thursday.  I have about the same amount of time. It’s just that I have to plan for things differently. We’ll see how well I do next week…

In math we practiced comparing and ordering numbers. The munchkins already know this, but somehow when it’s in the context of math, they get lost. The know how to count, and yet they get thrown for a loop when I ask them what number comes before 8 or what number is greater than 3 and less than 5.  It’s the vocabulary. Fortunately, we revisit the topic in the spring semester and the kids really get it then.

In social studies, we finished up learning about maps.  It’s funny seeing which of my little ones have a grasp of perspective and which ones don’t.  I tell them to stand on their chairs and hold their arms out like they are a birdy and make a map of what the bird would see.  Will the buildings have windows? Yes, but you can’t see them! What would a playground look like from above? Mostly gravel.

In science we are learning about the physical properties of matter. Before you award me the Nobel Prize in teaching six-year-olds, let me explain: everything is relative. When we learned about mass this week, we learned about “heavy and light,” not measuring using the metric system.  We also learn about the property of length (Is it long or short?), color, shape, and the most complex: texture.  Most of the complexity comes from remembering the word texture. Any first grader can tell you if something is smooth or bumpy or rough.

2 Down, 26 To Go


Another good week!  My kiddos are such an amazing bunch–they make teaching easy. When college freshman dream about teachers, this is the class they envision: bright, cheerful, cooperative. I’m having so much fun this year!

In language arts, we studied reality/fantasy.  On Monday, I wrote “What is reality?”  “What is fantasy?” on the board. I realized that these questions are asked two places: a first grade classroom and a graduate philosophy class.  Students circled pictures of things that were make-believe, we made lists of stories that could be real and how they could be turned into a fantasy story, and many other fun activities.

In science, we continued learning about scientific process skills. Students learned how to observe, predict, measure, classify, and communicate about seeds.  They’re all very much into seeds and always want to take seeds home. Their poor mothers must open up their lunch boxes every afternoon to see half-eaten yogurt containers, sandwich crusts, and apple cores all covered in seeds. Yuck.


1…and a 3-day-weekend!…Down, 37 To Go


Hi folks! The weekly recap is back.  

My first week with my third year of munchkins was a resounding success. I’m already head-over-heels-in-love with all of them. The first week for students is all about learning the rules and routines of school. For me, it’s about two things.

The first is finding out what levels students are on academically. I conduct a series of tests to gauge reading levels, writing ability, handwriting skills, math competency, among other things. 

The second thing is my favorite–learning about their blossoming personalities.  There is no such things as a dull first grader and it’s great to hear their stories from the summer, see them interact with their peers, and talk to me. 

During our Introduction to Science lesson, I asked the class if boys could be scientists or if only girls could be scientists. They told me that boys and girls could be scientists. Then, one of my munchkins said, 

Your husband is a scientist. You should know that!

I couldn’t argue with that… Then this student proceeded to draw himself as a chemist studying “how sprinkles stick to ice cream.”