Author Archives: Andrea

21 Down, 17 To Go


Another crazy week!

Monday-Because we didn’t have school on Friday, we spent Monday making up all our end-of-week tests.

Tuesday- Another Ice Day!

Wednesday-Because we didn’t have school on Tuesday, we spent Wednesday making up everything we were supposed to do on Monday but couldn’t because of the Ice Day.

Thursday-I tried to figure out how to salvage the week.

Friday- I realized that this week couldn’t be salvaged.


During all this we began our most-dreaded math unit of the year: coins.  At the beginning, I tell the munchkins that they must pay very close attention and do exactly what I say.  They don’t believe me. They think it’s so easy to identify nickels vs. pennies (Day 1). “Why do we have to write the values above the coins as we count them? This is baby stuff!”   Then, when students have to count groups of half-dollars, quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies (Day 5), it all makes sense.

The students  did what I asked even though it was “easy peasy mac and cheesy/lemon squeezy” are still doing great. The past two years, I had the group of students who followed my directions and did well, and the group that didn’t follow directions and struggled. This year, I made them all follow my directions. I would count every problem wrong if it didn’t have the values of the coins written above, even if they counted correctly and got the right sum.  Ruling with an iron-fist can be beneficial.


20 Down, 18 To Go


This was a short week for multiple reasons.

Monday- MLK holiday. I sat in my classroom and quietly worked alone. It was nice.

Tuesday- Normal day. We did all of our subjects, enjoyed learning, yada yada yada.

Wednesday- Normal day. We continued to learn, did a plant lab, and practiced identifying fact and opinion. After school, I was talking to my mom and she said, “did you hear there is a chance of sn** Thursday night?”  I told her that I just heard it was going to be very cold, but that I was excited about that development. 

Thursday- Elementary Science Fair.  14 children in my class presented their projects for two very kind judges.  I looked after the children who were doing science fair in my class and my partner teacher’s class and she looked after the children who were not presenting. This worked out very well, as none of us felt like we had to be in two places at once. Most of the kids were very confident right up to the point when the sweet judges walked over to them and introduced themselves. Then my chatty bunch of first graders grew mute.  Sometimes, they would start talking if I went up and put my arm around them. Others needed me to ask them questions to get them to talk.  I could be asking the same question the judge was asking, but they only had trouble talking to strangers. I guess that’s a good thing. 

Friday-  The sn** came and we got a day off. Woohoo! 

All in all, it was a great week: 3 day weekend (I know, I worked on Monday. But there were no children and I was only there for 4 hours) 3 days of teaching, 3 day weekend. 

This week has a lot to live up to….


19 Down, 19 To Go: HALFWAY THERE!


This was the week of illness.  So many kids with the flu!  Some got strep AND the flu! And they all wanted to kiss me!   Fortunately, I held them off considerably and sanitized my hands about 15 times every day. And as my reward, I had an illness-free weekend with my sweetheart. Yay!

In language arts, we began writing our third book– a fantasy story. This is my favorite story to read because I think I can get the best glimpse into what’s going on in my munchkins’ brains. Usually that means total craziness!  They come up with some of the weirdest stories. One involves grilled chicken fighting in space. Seriously. I don’t know where they come up with this stuff.

In math, we started a difficult topic: ordering and comparing numbers to 100. They have a lot of trouble with 10 more, 10 less, 1 more, 1 less.  They get more and less mixed up. They get 10 and 1 mixed up. And it’s all their fault because they aren’t being careful! They will learn though…

In social studies, we’re learning about safety, which is so fascinating to them.  We talked about fire safety and I asked them who had a plan for what to do if there was a fire outside their bedroom door. No one raised their hand, so I told them to go home and talked to mom and dad. I explained that everyone’s house is different and what might be right for one room will be wrong for another. A bunch of them came back and exclaimed, “My mom said I had to jump out the window!!”  We talked about how hurting your leg is better than getting stuck in a fire. 


18 Down, 20 To Go


This was our first week back from winter break, and on Monday I think they were just stunned to be back at school. They quietly did their work. They followed directions immediately and just sort-of went through the motions of everything. 

Unfortunately, by Tuesday the shock had worn off and they started acting up a bit.  We had to remind ourselves many times about the correct way to walk around the classroom, how to get my attention, when it is an appropriate time for chatting, etc.  Luckily for me, they are all very wonderful children and are easily redirected. 

In science, we began our large unit on biology and began with a topic on living vs. non-living.  I explained to the kiddos that you know something is living because: it can grow and it can make things like itself. We talked about how trees grow and drop acorns to make more trees.  We talked about how kittens grow into cats and then have kittens.  Then I said, we know that people grow. Can people make more people. At first, several of them shook their heads no! Then I reminded them: how many of your mommies have had a baby. Surprise! All of them! 

Then, one of my more astute munchkins piped up, “But there’s one difference between people and other living things.  Plants and animals don’t have to be married.” 

Fortunately, I was able to answer the student with a simple, “Please raise your hand next time” and the moment passed. 


16 and 17 Down, 21 To Go!


We had another abbreviated week, so I’m combining posts again.

Week 16 can be summed up in five words: six tests in three days.  We had to finish all our units before the winter break. Well, we didn’t have to, but I thought it would be cruel to make the munchkins work over the break, so I felt we had to.  But, all the tests had to be near the end of the week so that we didn’t have time to start anything new.

At first the munchkins were suspicious about all those tests. But, when I explained that this meant the last week of school would just be fun and they wouldn’t have any homework over the break, they got on board quickly.

Unfortunately, a plague went through my class and we had numerous kids out on each of the test days (6 kids on Wednesday!) and so week 17 became known as….

…the week of make-up tests.  We had three half-days to make up the tests. Some kids had missed all six! I had to pull munchkins away from their fun activities and make them take a test on Earth science, or number patterns, or compare and contrast. It was unpleasant.

But, when we weren’t doing make-up tests, we were having wintery fun!  Students wrote winter stories on mitten patterns and we made snow globes out of paper plates and felt.

I made this as a model so the munchkins could have an idea of what the finished product should look like

I made this as a model so the munchkins could have an idea of what the finished product should look like. It got a little bent on the way home.

My buddy teacher and I found the idea on Pinterest (where else!) last week and thought it would be perfect. The thing we didn’t anticipate was how hard it would be for the kiddos to cut out clothes from the felt. We should have cut out the clothes for them, or at least made many stencils ahead of time.  But did we think of that? No. So we were forced to cut little stencils out of notecards as students wailed about their shirt not looking right.

But in the end, all the snow globes looked cute and the kids were able to take them home.

15 Down, 23 To Go


Week 14 was a non-week since it was Thanksgiving break. We didn’t do anything normally. It wasn’t worth a post.

This week, it had the appearance of normalcy because it was a five-day week. But, there were many interruptions.

Monday-Normal- We learned about author’s purpose in ELA, counted with number patterns in math, and began learning about soil in science class.

Tuesday-Not Normal-Tuesday morning was Doughnuts with Daddy.  Each class put on a small presentation for the dads–we sang a song about daddy and baby bears to the tune of “Hush Little Baby”– and then enjoyed eating doughnuts and playing on the playground with the dads. I don’t know if you can remember back to when you were six, and imagine what it would feel like having your dad take off work, come to school, just to give you attention. I know I can because my dad came to have lunch with me once when I was in first grade and I was bursting at the seams the whole morning.  That was basically what happened to 130 children on Tuesday.

Wednesday-Normal-We wrote thank-you cards to our dads in ELA, learned about counting on a hundreds chart in math, and practiced writing our address in social studies.

Thursday-Not Normal-I had a doctor’s appointment at 10 right by my house, so I thought I would just take the morning off.  I gave very clear, detailed sub plans and planned lots of fun things for my kids to do.  When I got to school, I knew what would happen. Chaos would erupt. And it did.  It’s like they hadn’t seen me in a month. “I missed you so much!”   “School wasn’t good!”  “Can I kiss you?!”   All this while I was trying to be discreet since the kids were in one of their special area classes. So I just hissed “I missed you too! I’m sure it was good! No!”  It would have been an exercise in futility to assume that the rest of the day would precede normally. But, we got through the afternoon.

Friday-Not Normal-There was a little ice on the road, so we had a delayed start to the day.  Usually, this would have triggered a crazy day that was less than productive. But, after all the other interruptions during the week, this was just too much for the munchkins. I think their little brains broke. They walked into class and stared at me. I said, “Let’s work” and they said “okay.” So it was an awesome day.

13 Down, 25 To Go


This week was all one lead-up to the end of the week. We learned about reading, writing, math, social studies, and science, but I don’t think anyone was paying attention. How could I expect them to pay attention?  We were going to a cavern on Friday!

The weather had been magnificent all week, but a cold front blew through Thursday night and when we woke up on Friday, the weather was 40 and rainy. Yuck! Fortunately, all the parents watched the weather and dressed their children in bundles of coats and hats, scarves and gloves, and all manner of rain gear.  It looked like I was leading 30 fluffy little monsters onto the bus.

Once we got there the rain had cleared up, so we were able to troop into the cave shop without getting wet.  Once in there we took off all the coats, scarves, boots, and mittens because the cave is a pleasant 72 degrees year-round.   Once in there, the munchkins loved seeing the stalactites, stalagmites, columns, underground rivers and a little frog who had escaped the rain.

We went back up and enjoyed a picnic lunch (inside), then put all our warm gear on and played around on the playground for 10 minutes to get all the energy out before we got back onto the bus.

It hadn’t been fully 3 minutes after we all got on the bus before it began to pour again.