Saturday, July 30, 2011

Quick Job Update


So it only took HR 7 days to call the person they picked, but the end result was it wasn't me. It was a girl who was in my cohort in college who also long-term subbed at that school. While I'm happy for my friend and glad it went to someone who I feel is deserving of the job, I'm incredibly sad that I was not chosen. School starts in two weeks and I'm running out of time (and hope) and am having to face the reality that I might not have my own classroom this coming school year. I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do should I not find a full time teaching job this fall, but I guess need to start weighing the various options now.


Hi Friends! Just thought I would pop in and let you all know that I have a job interview this coming Wednesday (Aug. 3rd). It is for a 2nd grade position at the school where I long-term subbed this spring. While it may not be my ideal school, it is a for a grade I would love to teach and beggars can't be choosers. While I'm super excited about the prospect of teaching 2nd grade and just having a job in general, I'm also super nervous. I know I'm not the best at interviewing and I'm really hoping that I don't mess up my one chance at a full time job (I don't really expect that I'll get any more calls for full-time positions).

If you are the praying type, please keep me in your prayers on Wednesday. And if you have any advice or thoughts, I'd love to hear that too.

I will be headed out of town immediately after the interview but I'll do my best to post an update if/when I hear something.

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer (and the last little bit of it for some of you). Here's so hopefully having my own classroom for the 2011-1012 school year!

Monday, July 25, 2011

6 Simple Ways to Practice Sight Words

This summer (as I have the past 4 summers) I'm nannying. This year I have two kids, one who is going into 2nd grade and the other who is going into kindergarden. The 2nd grader has summer school every morning and the soon-to-be kindergardener cannot wait to start school. So we've been getting a head start and I've started teaching her some sight words (the teacher in me just can't help it).

Here are some of our favorite simple ways to practice (note: it helps if you already have all the words written on index cards). We say-spell-say all of the words everyday.

1. Mail Call

Stuff one sight word card into an empty envelope. Then announce a "mail call" and allow the lucky recipient to open each envelope and read the word inside.

2. Shaving Cream

When I do this at school, I have the kids do it directly on their desks or on a large piece of construction paper. We've been doing it on a cookie sheet at home. You could also use a plastic tray.

Just squirt a little shaving cream on the desk/tray and have the kiddo smear it around and then start writing. For a little extra touch you can add food coloring (2-3 drops for a cereal size bowl full, trust me, or you'll end up with dyed hands) or a little glitter.

3. Scrambled Eggs

If you can find some plastic eggs somewhere is your holiday decorations stash pull them out and fill them with letters that spell sight words (if you don't have enough/small enough letters, just type the words and then cut them apart). I put mine in empty egg cartons and have the kids crack them over an old frying pan.

This is a really great activity to keep on hand for those times when you have an extra few minutes or to use as an early finishers activity. The letters I use in my eggs I use specifically for the eggs so I pre-make my cartons and have them ready and waiting.

4. Pick-up Sticks

Write your sight words on small popsicle sticks and place them, word side down, in a large plastic cup. Then give each player a smaller cup. Players take turns drawing a stick and reading the word. If the player gets the word correct, she adds it to her cup. If she doesn't get it correct, it goes back in the cup. (Once the players are very familiar with the words in the cup, I play that the player has to return all sticks if a word is missed). Person with the most sticks at the end wins.

5. Ladder Climb

Grab some paint chips and tap them together (leave a little room so you can fold it up). Get your sight words and a marker (penny, toy car, action figure, whatever) and try to climb your ladder. Choose a few more sight words than spaces (so for a ladder with 12 spaces, I choose about 15-18 words). You move up a space for every word you get correct and back one for every word missed. (Once the player is very familiar with the words in the stack, a missed word moves you back to the bottom or I choose the same number of words as spaces so a missed word means the player won't make it to the top. It's surprisingly motivating). The goal is to make it to the top of the ladder before you run out of words.

I make lots of ladders with different amounts of spaces and in different colors so that students can self select which ladder they want to climb. You can also use the wider cards (like the Behr ones from Home Depot) and race to the top with multiple players.

6. I Spy a Sight Word

Write a sight words on sticky-notes and stick them around the room/house. Then give your little detective a note pad and pencil and tell them to spy for sight words and write down what they find. Detective type accessories like a magnifying glass are highly suggested. You could also write down clues on the pad and then have the detective fill in the correct word (such as: this word starts with the letter /t/ and ends in /y/; this words is a color; this word rhymes with _____).

Whats a simple way you like to practice sight words?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Alphabet Soup No More

In an effort to get better organized, I finally ended my run of keeping all my little plastic letters in a large plastic baggie. Nothing like desperately needing the letter /n/ and having to dig through the whole alphabet to try and find it.

I've been wanting to get one of those plastic bead organizers for a while, but the only thing has been that I can't find one large enough to hold my whole alphabet and I'd prefer to have it all together and not in a few different bins.

I never thought my search would end during a trip to Home Depot with the boyfriend. While he was staring at tow cables I got bored and began to wander and stumbled upon this!

:insert angels singing:

Sure, the whole alphabet isn't in one container, but it is contained in one easy to transport container which is perfect for carrying around the room. It's super light and would be easy for kids to carry as well. It can even be wall mounted should you so desire.

I was hoping to fit both my uppercase and lowercase letters, but it wasn't quite big enough for that so I settled for just lowercase letters. I really only use the lowercase letters, so for now all my uppercase letters will stay in a bag.

I labeled the inside of each section so that kiddos could easily put back letters in the correct spot and I'll eventually label the outside of each container with the letters it contains but alas, I ran out of a tape in my labeler.

I didn't quite need all four containers, so I added some pencils/pens, highlighters and post-it notes to the last box (not pictured, so you can stop squinting at the above picture).

I really hope it works out and I'm really, really hoping I get to give it a test run this fall (still no word yet on a job). For those interested in buying it's by a brand called WorkForce (real original right?) and I found it near all the screws and nails with like storage products.

Anyone else organizing this summer?

*Please excuse the cat in the pictures. I was doing this at home and she was trying to be my assistant.