My First "Back to School" Purchases for My New First Graders!

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Welcome! I hope to use this blog to share some of the amazing things my class and school does to make learning fun! I have been teaching for 15 years already! I started teaching 3rd grade in a Parochial School, then I was hired to teach 1st grade for three years, was moved to 5th grade for 2 years, and then came back to 1st grade in the district where I attended school. I love that I'm able to give back the the school district that guided me to become the teacher I am today! I have a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, certified 1-8; a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction; and my Administrator License Pre-K-12.

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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Week 1...We Made It!

Oh my goodness!  Why is it that I can't remember that the first week is so exhausting?!?  Our first day was this past Monday and it rained all day.  All.  Day.  And not the sprinkling kind of rain that I can sneak the kids out for a quick bit of fresh air.  Buckets of rain.  Which we all know meant indoor recess.  Indoor recess on the first day of school with new kiddos.  I know, I know.  I'm grateful for the rain...I mean, we have brown grass in our area so I get it.  We needed it.  Then...while driving home super late after school I couldn't help but notice the very full moon.  Now what kind of God would give us down pouring rain on our first day of school, hot and humid weather, and a full moon during the first week of school??!!?  Oh...yeah...the same God who blessed me with another great group of kiddos to spend my year with!  Thank you!!!

I have one who tells me, "I'm going to make you proud today, Miss Long."
Another one who says, "I love you."
One who misses his mom and sometimes cries but will then reassure me by saying, "I'll be okay, Miss Long.  I just need a minute."
One who has a lot of anxiety and needs reassurance throughout the whole day.
One who is already reading 105 words per minute...fluently....and comprehends what he reads.
And the others are pretty great too!  A few are testing the waters and are in search of the boundaries but they'll get there!

I quick whipped up one of those "First Day of First Grade" frames to use on our first day and everyone on my team used it to take their kiddo's pictures.

Looks like we might have a first grade tradition!  As I'm typing this I just remembered that I forgot to take a whole group shot...duh!  Better make a note for Tuesday!

We started switching classes (we're trying out departmentalizing this year) on the first day of school on a shortened schedule.  I saw each class for 30 minutes and the time flew!  It's so different from being self-contained.  I think I'm going to need a few weeks before I decide if I love it or not.  I just felt so rushed this week and as much as I want to keep each class doing the exact same thing, I think I need to accept that that may not be the case.  I really don't want to write 3 different lesson plans but I also don't want to be a cookie cutter teacher where everything is the same.  I still believe it's going to be great for the kids and that's the most important thing for me.  If I was pressed to share how I feel about it, I'd have to be honest and say that I'm not digging it....yet.  I know it will get better each week especially once the kiddos get the routines down.  This week we're going to be on our normal schedule, so I'll get each group for 80 will be better.  :)

We started The Daily 5 this week by learning the 3 ways to read a book (which surprisingly enough, the kids knew on their own) and choosing our good fit books.  We are also busy building stamina by practicing Read to Self.  We're going to continue building stamina and also learn Read to Someone this next week.  I'm also attempting to use CAFE....attempting.

My niece, Addison started kindergarten at the same school I teach at this week.
She loves it.  I have to admit...part of me wished she would need me for something and I would need to save the day.  But it didn't happen...she loved every moment and I'm truly grateful that she's having a blast.  She has a great teacher who genuinely loves her so all is well in the world.

As I was catching up on my blog stalking this morning, another blogger shared this post by Kylene Beers, "Why I Hated Meredith's First Grade Teacher: An Open Letter to America's Teachers"  It was very touching and totally worth the read.

I'm hoping to use this 3 day weekend to catch up and rest up for the upcoming 4 day week!
Hope your year is off to a great start!


  1. That is a rough first day of school! We had indoor recess, no plan time, not enough lunch supervisors so no lunch, and constant rain last Friday at the end of our first week....not good :(

    The departmentalizing will get better! I am on my third year of teaching this way (I teach 4th grade reading), and it does get easier. I will admit that the beginning of the year is the worst, and every year I think that going back to a self contained classroom might be better. Then October rolls around, and everyone has the rules and the routine down, I'm only planning for one subject, and I'm not working every weekend....I love it! By the time January rolls around it is THE BEST!! Hang in there and hope it gets easier!!

    Happy 3 day weekend!
    Super Pig and Tyrant King

    1. Lisa...Oh my goodness. Your first day was way worse! Thanks for the departmentalizing support! I thought you were the one who was doing it too! It's nice to know I have someone to chat with if I need it! My team is great, I just like to hear what's happening outside our little fishbowl
      thanks again!

  2. Hopefully next week gets better for you!

    Loved the letter. Too precious!

    Pixy Stix and Teacher Tricks

    1. I don't think I'm stalking your blog yet...on my way!

  3. Just found your blog! Love it! I'm your newest follower. :)I am actually taking a little break from making my first day of first grade frame and your post gave me inspiration to get off the computer and go finish it up! So cute!

    I have a brand new blog...come visit!


    1. Thanks Amy!
      I'm on my way to your blog now!

  4. I LOVE your first day frame. I might have to make one of those for myself!

    Fourth Grade Garden

    1. The pictures turned out really cute! I'm thinking my parents will like having a copy too!

  5. Your first day of school frame came out great!!! I absolutely love it! :)
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

  6. That frame is adorable.