Friday, October 17, 2014

Five for Friday - It's Been Forever!

Hello, friends!

I realize that it has been literally forever since I posted (at least that's how I feel), and you have absolutely no idea what has been going on in my life.

And you're probably wondering how I'm liking preschool.

So, I'll start with my little diddy about preschool and then I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to share my Five for Friday...with a twist because I want to share my fun lessons I've been doing!

Preschool is a blast! While I surely could not teach them for the rest of my life, I really truly do love the kiddos I am working with. With 23 students, I have pretty much double the amount of students as the rest of my classmates, but it allows me to learn so much. The other day, I told my mentor teacher that if anything, it's preparation for if I ever teach kindergarten! It's definitely good practice for my classroom management skills, which are something I need to work on in large group settings (my mentor teacher said I do awesome with small groups!).

So... now you're probably wondering what I've been doing with these kiddos. So, here it is!

My first ever center activity was based on physical movement. I called this activity "Walk the Line" and my little friends loved it! I really need to get better at taking pictures, but I'm technically not supposed to. However, I based this activity off of a Pinterest find, so here's the link. I combined the two activities together and first had them walk down each colored line and then had a separate line for the students to blow a ping pong ball down with a straw. I also had a few spots for them to wait their turn on, so that we could practice that. Overall, I thought the center turned out great!

Next, I planned another center activity. This activity was based on music, and the students absolutely loved it!  I swear I took a picture of this one the night before in my dorm bathroom, but I guess not. 

Hahaha. I guess I better explain that one better.

I made a rainbow xylophone with mason jars. Actually, I made two. The colors were different for each one, and I had the children tell me whether the sounds were the same or different when I hit the different jars and find a jar that was the same (or different) as the one I was playing. I also had them do the same with patterns if that was to easy for them.  They really enjoyed this center, too, and I think it went extremely well!

The only thing that really bothers me about these centers is the grade my professor gave me on them. Not my mentor teacher and not my supervisor, my professor. She has never seen me teach and most likely never will. I got a C on one and a B on the other... And she told me I have difficulty with classroom management. My mentor teacher just told me that with the small groups I really do awesome, so I don't understand where that came from. And then one of my classmates asked her how she gets our grades and she says she just guesses.... so there's that.

 Thanks to my supervisor, I actually have pictures of this one! This was my first full class lesson that I taught. It was a literacy lesson and I truly had so much fun with it. I used Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, a classic, I know. For my hook, I brought in a coconut and we talked about how they grow on the tree we were about to read about. SO FUN!

Each child had a letter from when they entered the room and found their carpet spot. My mentor teacher actually suggested doing this and it was a GREAT idea. Normally, they have number spots and her assistant teacher hands out number cards as the kiddos come in and they find their spot then return the card to her. However, the day I taught my lesson, I handed out letters and they matched them to letters I had put over the number spots. WONDERFUL.

I read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to the students, and during the second half of the book, they stood up when their letter was called out. They came up to the front of the carpet area and matched their letter to my letter chart and then we hung their letter on the coconut tree. I loved how interactive this lesson was, as they had already been sitting for a long time for our morning routines of singing the good morning song and reading our class message, as well as learning about the centers they would be doing later in the day {I can't share that picture because it has kiddos in it, but I actually made a chart with a coconut tree on it}.

Then, at one of the centers I had a pile of letters. They had to find the letters in their name and put them on the coconut tree. I didn't have them do the entire alphabet because  I wanted this assessment to align more with the preschool standards, but I'm sure there are many ways you could do this center. 

Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of this one, either, but it's yet again another Pinterest find! I found it over at Nuttin' But Preschool! My professor, however, wanted me to align the wiggling more with the shapes, but I don't think she realizes I have 23 there's that. I did it anyways, and it was fine, but I would have liked my lesson better had I followed my original plan. Instead of just saying, "Oh no! A bird! Hide!" I also said "All the yellow squares need to come back to the wiggle worm hole!" The movement, again, was great for these kiddos and that's really something I'm learning with planning these lessons.

This weekend is fall break and I've been home since Wednesday night! Last night, my mom and I went shopping for a dress to wear to semi-formal in a few weeks. I found the most perfect, classy dress and I absolutely love it! I also really love that my date is one of my best friends and is totally willing to go along with anything I decide (what a change from past dates...)!

So, that's all for now. I'm working on 2 more centers and 2 more lesson plans to finish out the semester. I CANNOT believe we're already at midterms! I leave my preschoolers in a little over a month and I am dreading that day! My mentor teacher is absolutely amazing and I truly love this experience!


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Playing at Preschool

I kind of have disappeared from the bloggy-world for a while, but I guess this isn't the first time it has happened and I'm sure it is bound to happen again.

Things. Got. Crazy.

I started classes. And my job. And it's recruitment season. And I took on the role of New Member Educator.

I just need to learn how to say "no!" but, don't worry, I've already gotten that lecture from some dear friends.

You may be wondering how preschool went on Wednesday.

If you even remembered that that was a thing that happened in my life. You know, since I was MIA for a bit.

I loved it! I don't think I could spend the rest of my life working with preschoolers all day long, but I definitely think I will enjoy this semester. It will be a challenge, but it will be a fun challenge because I still get to teach!

Next week is more observing and just interacting with the students on a more general level, like I did on Wednesday. I have a few assignments I need to complete, as well, so I've been trying to find the information for those!

I have 23 students in my class while most of my classmates have roughly half of that number, Our experiences will be so different, but I know that I will learn from them!

I have to start planning center activities... Any ideas? I need to have one focused around each of the following:
- Art
- Music
- Physical Movement
- Drama

I'm expecting you all to be helpful, so I'm thanking you in advance!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Meet the (Future) Teacher Blogger

Today, I'm linking up with Stephanie from Falling into First for her Meet the Teacher Blogger Linky!

See, I don't know if I exactly qualify for this one.
But nowhere did it say FUTURE teachers can't participate.
I mean, I guess I'm technically considered a pre-service teacher.
And I'll be in the field in 3 weeks!
So I'm joining the fun whether anyone likes it or not! :)

I'm Erica. I'm currently a student {majoring in Early Childhood Education with a 4-5 Generalist Endorsement} at Ashland University. I LOVE Ashland - it has a truly amazing teaching program and EVERYONE is so fantastic! This fall, I will be spending two days a week in a preschool as part of my field experience.

The only man in my life is named Cooper. He lives at home with my parents and my younger sister.

I am also a proud charter member of the Delta Delta chapter of Theta Phi Alpha! As a sister of Theta Phi Alpha, I have taken on several roles (recruitment committee, new member education committee, fundraising committee, philanthropy committee, risk manager...), which will keep me super busy this semester!

These are a few of my favorite things...
Origami Owl jewelry. Tervis cups with lids. Colored pens. 
The Wizard of Oz. Theta Phi Alpha. Crafting.
Jesus. Starbucks. Chipotle.
 Netflix. Holding babies.

 If you weren't a teacher, what would you want to be?
As I previously mentioned in an earlier blog post, I think being a personal organizer would be a fun job! I love organizing probably a little bit too much, so it seems like it would be the perfect job if teaching were no longer a thing.
I've also considered becoming a children's or youth pastor, but I'm not quite sure that's my calling. I'll just stick to teaching in the classroom!

Three little words that describe you.

Finish the sentence: "________" said no teacher never.
Hah. This is a hard one because I feel like being on your own in your own classroom is a totally different experience than what I'll experience as a pre-service/student teacher.
 I'll go with "State/Standardized testing is the best!"
It already drives me crazy.

However, I'm already feeling pains about lesson planning, so maybe I should say "Lesson planning is fun!" said no {pre-service} teacher ever!

It's your birthday and you can invite anyone {dead or alive} to the party. Who do are you inviting?
Betty White! I love her. She ALWAYS makes me laugh.

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would be the title?
Doing It All.
I seriously try to do everything.
Sometimes I need to realize that it may be making me crazy.

You get to pick one superpower. What is it?
There's people I would like to spend time with that aren't nearby. Teleportation would get rid of the time it takes to travel, so bingo! that's the superpower I'd love to have!

What's your favorite quote or saying?
Last night while I was painting canvases for my dorm, I came across this quote.
I absolutely love it.

If you had to sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?
It would definitely be Happy by Pharrel Williams.
It's just a happy song.
And I also just learned this dance to it.
So I could sing AND dance.
That'd surely get me enough votes to stay, right?
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Since I've been home, I've been more of a night owl.
However, I know as soon as I start back to my normal routine with all my classes I'll be a morning person.
At college, mostly everyone's asleep if I get early so I can get a bunch of stuff done without much distraction!
What's your favorite resource that you've created in your TpT Shop?
Hah. Well. I haven't created any.
I guess I better pass on that question.
Share something we might not know about you!
In addition to being a future teacher, I guess I'm a bit of a little business-person.
I am an Independent Designer with Origami Owl and I love every moment of it.
{Shameless plug alert} 
We're releasing lanyards August 18 and I'm SO excited. They're perfect for teachers.      
We're also releasing 300 other pieces. But I'm partial to the lanyards because I can use one for myself!
So, now I encourage you to head on over join the party!


Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Peek at My Week

Participating in Linky Parties gives me something to blog about until I start up my time in the classroom in just a few weeks.

Until then, all that's taking up my calendar are sorority events, orientating new students, and adjusting to year two of college life.

So, with no further ado, I present to you, a peek at my week, hosted by Mrs. Laffin's Laughings.

I begin my week with a little bit of running around and doing errands.

Tuesday I have a team meeting with my direct sales team... It's my first one ever and I'm very excited. We're doing a dance to "Happy" - check it out here!

Wednesday I pack up my car and drive down to school to begin prepping for Orientation Weekend. That's the day I'm looking forward to most! I love moving back to school and getting everything looking pretty in my dorm room. {Pictures coming soon!}

New students move in Friday, one of my roommates moves in Saturday, and my other roommate moves in Sunday. On top of all that, I have to make sure my group of new students is where they're supposed to be and that they're having a smooth transition to college life. How fun!

I can't wait for this week to begin! There's lots of fun things ahead and I know that there's alot in store for me this year.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

College Organization Time! & Positive Thinking Thursday

Let me be real with all of you. I have a serious problem when it comes to organizing. I absolutely love to organize. If teaching doesn't work out, which I already know it will, then maybe I'll be a personal organizer.

It's just like teaching, just adults, right?

And I get all the joys of organizing things!

Anyways... Back to school is my favorite time EVER, not only because of all the shiny new school supplies, but because of the MANY opportunities to organize, organize, organize! Being in college, not only do I get to organize my school supplies, but it means organizing a whole new room! Since I'm on orientation team this year, I have a few days before my roommates move in, and I can't wait to get my part of the room all homey and pretty looking. Maybe I'll share some pictures - it's just like sharing my classroom, right?

So basically the whole point of this post is me wanting to share how I organize for my classes with others. Not necessarily a teaching-related post, but I figured someone may stumble across this little baby blog of mine and find what I have to say useful.

Normally, I have two binders - one for my Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes and another for my Tuesday/Thursday classes. {This semester I was thrown a bit of a curve ball when I found out that my field experience block requires a whole binder of its own with 7 different dividers. OY!} I make some sort of cover for each binder. This year, I found a bunch of cute ones on this blog and used PicMonkey to add the text. In the past, I have made these covers/dividers on my own using Microsoft Word, but I really prefer using PicMonkey!

Typically, I try to color coordinate the dividers with the covers. I make the dividers the same way as I make the covers. Each class has it's own divider. For my Tuesday/Thursday classes, this means that I will have 4 different dividers. I no longer hole punch my papers. Instead, I just put them in page protectors. In my opinion, this leaves them looking nicer and you don't have to worry about the holes getting torn.
*I don't have a Monday/Wednesday/Friday binder any longer, since I found out that my field experience/lab requires its own binder and I only have one other class in addition to my field experience on those days.*

Behind each class, I had additional dividers for different types of papers I would get (notes, handouts, graded assignments, essays/tests, etc) and I would put everything directly in my binder and always have to carry around these binders.

This year, I'm trying out a bit of a new system. I'm getting rid of the additional dividers for each class and just putting them in order of when I receive them - this holds me accountable for writing the date on each and every little thing I do, which may make things easier in the long run. It will also cut down on the amount of time I spend searching for things...or so I hope!

Something else I'm trying is having a folder for each class in addition to my two three binders. I plan on carrying everything I need for my classes in the folders and putting anything that has already been used or graded in the dividers. This way I won't have to worry about papers falling out of my folders and being disorganized nor will I have to worry about lugging around binders all the time!

So, that's my system. It's pretty basic, and easy too!

Now, for some positive thoughts for Mrs. Laffin's Laughings Positive Thinking Thursday Linky Party!

I really had no plan of my direct sales business being a topic on this blog, and it's not going to be, but these positive thoughts have been posted by the company's Pinterest account and I LOVE  them. I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Field Experience Numero Uno, Here I Come!

I know, I know, I've been missing for a while. But all I have to say for that is my last week of work was last week, as was Vacation Bible School, so it's been a little crazy in the life of Erica.


Ok, it's not really BIG news.

I'M EXCITED, though!

The week of September 1, I will be setting foot as a student teacher in a preschool for my FIRST EVER field experience.

The cool thing is, for the class that goes along with it, you have to have a TpT account and a Pinterest account with a board designated for the class.

Weeellllll, I have both already. Except for the board designated for the class. So that's exciting, right?!

I am super pumped and I cannot wait to begin my journey! I know that all of my bloggy friends (who have yet to come forth) are going to be super helpful and supportive so I'm excited to bond with some of you over all of that fun stuff.

I am nervous, though, at the same time, because I have no idea what to expect. But, I guess that's how it is going into any new school year even as the teacher. You never know what kind of class you are going to be blessed with teaching, and you never know what situations are going to arise, you just have to run with whatever happens. It's what teaching's all about, right? :)

I also really think I'm going to like the professor I have for this field experience block I'm in because 1) she doesn't care if we use an old edition of the required textbook, 2) she told us "Don't blink, it might rain" at the end of the email, 3) she's an older woman (we're talking at least in her 60s so don't think I'm calling anyone old) and I LOVE older people (so don't think I'm being offensive!).

While I may be feeling a little overwhelmed right now, I am so excited to be in the classroom, completing lessons and activities and all that jazz!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Woosh! How Time Flies: What I'm Looking Forward To

Welp. For many of you, I'm sure you've been waiting anxiously to get back into your classroom to get it ready for the school year to begin. Others may have even started school already! Maybe? Am I wrong? Please say "yes!!!"

I, on the other hand, cannot WAIT to get back to my second home for this next year, Clark 113 - my dorm! My college feels so much like home and I am surrounded by such a great group of people. I never thought I'd be in a sorority, but I have to say, my sisters top the list when it comes to the list of those I cannot wait to see!

Anyways, I just thought I'd drop in and say "hello!" Things have been way crazy around here and I actually have to leave soon to go to praise team practice. My last day of work in the warehouse is next Friday and I head back to College Town on August 13 to help with Orientation.

BUT... Before I leave!

The Top Ten Five Things I'm Looking Forward To Upon My Return To College

1. FIELD EXPERIENCE BEGINS!! I will be spending my Monday and Wednesday mornings with some pretty awesome preschoolers this semester. I am SUPER excited to get into the classroom, although I am not completely sure preschool is where I would like to spend the rest of my life. I haven't gotten my placement yet, but I'm sure you'll all hear about it once I find out! {I still have to get my background check and my TB test... Better get on that!}

2. With a little help from my FRIENDS... I certainly cannot wait to see all the friends I made during my first year at college. Between my floormates from last year, my BFF I met before school even started, and an amazing guy friend (my momma calls him my psuedo-boyfriend.....), I have a pretty great group of fun people to spend my days with. I can't wait for all the adventures we go on!

3. Sista, sista! I cannot wait to see all my wonderful sisters of Theta Phi Alpha. They make me a better person. They love me for who I am. I love myself so much more because they have shown me how much potential I have and just how many things I can do. They inspire me to be a leader and not be ashamed of what I have to say. One decision last September led me to these beautiful ladies that I get the opportunity to call my sisters, and I would never ever ever change my mind. I cannot wait to see the amazing things we do on campus our first full year as initiated sisters!!

4. Call me crazy, but I can't wait for the food. All you have to do is walk into the dining hall and there's a million choices at your fingertips. You don't have to prepare it. You don't have to go shopping to get ingredients. You just have to get your bum out of bed and go eat!

5. The Rec Center... Because I could use to shed many a few pounds. And it's just a nice break from sitting around working on things and talking to people. Working out is such a great stress reliever and frustration-getter-outter!

Basically, I can't wait for college life to begin again. These past few months have been a blur, and I know school will seem like it too, but I make many many more memories away at college than I do at home working working working!