Archive for the ‘Reflections’ Category

One needs alternative activities to keep him busy, another one needs attention, another needs a simple hug, another needs praise, another one a simple high five for a job well-done, another needs to know it is okay to make mistakes, another needs a hand tying their shoelaces, yet another needs help opening their milk, peeling their orange, another one wants to be listened to, wants to tell you a joke, wants a hug, wants you to rub their “booboo,” wants you to watch them hang from the monkey bars all by themself, another needs a lesson in winning/losing, one constantly needs a very sharp pencil to write with, yet another needs a sweater to keep warm (and I don’t have the heat on!), one needs to learn when it is appropriate to use your aggressiveness, another one is constantly thirsty, or needs a tissue, one wants to be read to, another wants to read all the time…and what do I give the child who has seen death of a cousin from a hanging? How do I know what he needs?  How can I help him want to be in school?   Know that he is loved?  That his teacher and classmates care?


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Class of 2024-not 2027

So, a few posts ago I mentioned that my students visited a prestigious private school in Chicago and I remember saying to myself “wow, I’m sure every single one of these private school kids know what year they will graduate from college.  Note to self:  Make sure I tell my students!”  Well, I did tell them but Mrs. Woodbury is not the best at math and gave them the wrong year!!!!! OMG!  Talk about a first year teacher moment.  After sharing this with a friend (or my husband-can’t remember), I realized I did the Math wrong.  The kids have approximately 11 years schooling left before entering graduate and will graduate from a four-year institution in the year 2024! I hope I’m right this time!

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We kicked off a new quarter by going on a field trip today.  Our field trip was not to the zoo, or the local public library, or the theatre.  We went to another school in the city.  Specifically, a private school and actress/Ellen DeGeneres’ ex-girlfriend, Anne Heche’s alma mater, Francis Parker.

Nestled in the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, it is 10 minutes away from my public school but worlds apart.  But the kids could have cared less.  All that mattered to them today was that they got to be with their “Buddies.”  You see, once every quarter in the school year, FP freshmen visit our students as part of their community service requirement.  They have an interactive program involving music and drama.  The little ones love spending time with their buddies.  They dance, sing, and are just exposed to other surroundings besides the block their school is on.

Just by looking at the population from Francis Parker and our students, you would think that they have nothing in common, but a simple smile can go a long way.  And we all have that in common:)  PS.  I wondered how many of these Francis Parker students knew what year they will be entering college when they were 5…Note to self:  Make sure that I tell my kids what year they will start college:  2027!!!!

Mrs. Woodburyxoxo

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This is my first blog entry since I started teaching.  Since I started, I’ve survived my first field trip, administration observation, progress reports, grades, and parent-teacher conference. I haven’t gotten sick, yet (knock on wood-I hope I didn’t just jinx myself).  I’m making it a point to keep on running, eating well and taking my vitamins.  My weekends and weeknights have been consistently dedicated to lesson planning, putting systems in place such as forms, parent communication tools, research online for best teaching practices, etc.  Most of the time, I feel as if I am learning the material along with the kids!!!  Speaking of kids, I have 17 1st graders.  A mix of those who are bilingual/Spanish and monolingual/English. I have a little mini-me who makes sure to remind me when I forget a part of my routine.  I have a little Professor whose vocabulary is off the chain.  I have my Scientist who wants to grow plants in the classroom, I have a Hypochondriac, an Artist, a Know-It-All, my Iron Boy (always meticulously dressed), my Star Student, my Helper, my Lil’ Diva, My Jitter Bug, my Busy Body.

Time flies…a new quarter starts on Monday and there are several things I want to do differently.  Specifically:

1)  Get a system for grading where I grade as I go vs. waiting until the last minute

2) Daily assessment/anecdotal system in place to monitor student progress and how my teaching is helping/not helping

3) Get ahead of writing lesson plans

4) Develop a consistent structure to help us reach our goal of reading 1,000 books by the end of the year.  The kids set this goal for themselves. I promised that they could each throw a pie in my face at the end of the year and that we would have a pizza party and movie/popcorn afternoon.  I need to keep them motivated throughout the year and develop a Library Lending Log to make it easy for them to return/take out books from the classroom library.

5)  Collaborate/Collaborate/Collaborate with other teachers.  I work in an amazing school with such talent that I want to visit with other veteran teachers more often and beg, borrow, and steal what they do/display/process, etc. to engage their kids and be awesome teachers.

6)  Meet each and every child’s parent.

My classroom is constantly changing and was recently painted so pictures will begin to trickle in.  In the meantime, I will continue to take one day at a time.  I hope to get to the point where I feel comfortable with the material and  can steer away from using the day-by-day/step-by-step lesson guides.  Don’t get me wrong, they are extremely helpful but I’d love to inject some me in there, you know?

My commitment to myself and my reader (s:)) is to post a new entry every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  In this way, I can write with experiences fresh in my head and look back on this blog in a way that when I go back to reflect on my first year at the end of this school year or 5 years from now, I’ll have lots of experiences I didn’t remember having.

Monday we have a field trip so my entry should be interesting!



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My version of scrapbooking

I want a keepsake for years to come to look back on my journey as an elementary teacher.  I’m afraid I may be the only one who reads it and, maybe, some family and friends who care:).  That’s okay with me.  Like I said, I want this as a keepsake for myself.

I can’t take credit for what I think is the catchy subtitle for this blog, so in learning my blogger edit, I feel compelled to have a link to the article that was written about me with the same title.

I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time.  I get the keys to my classroom tomorrow!

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