Thursday, August 16, 2012

Back to School Photos

Good morning to you!  I don't know why I am up right now.  I should be sleeping, since I just went to bed 4.5 hours ago and I am still on summer vacation and my son woke me up twice in between.  But once my little brain gets going, I am up!  * sigh *

Anyway, I know many of you are either back to school already or are heading back soon... some happy about it, some not-so-much.  I am pretty excited about it, since I have been acting as a stay-at-home mommy for the last 3 months - a wonderful venture, but this work-a-holic can only take sitting at home for so long.  However, I am nervous as can be about sending my baby to daycare!!  We found a wonderful daycare provider, but the idea of my baby having to share someone's attention KILLS ME is difficult for me to cope with right now.

Okay, back on track (again).  I took a couple "back to school" photos last year when I was still teaching Kindergarten, but I forgot to share them.  So why not now!?  :)  (P.S. - If you have not already read my previous posts, I will be teaching ESL, 4-K through 5th grade, this year.)


On the first day of school, I had my students' name tag necklaces laid out on the table near the door, so I could quickly grab them as they walked into our classroom for the first time.  After a few rounds (and years) of "trial and error," I learned that this type of name tag necklace worked better than others.  The circle part is made of wood.  I found them at Joann Fabrics on clearance... woot woot!  I think they were left-over paint-your-own Christmas ornaments.  Yes, I painted them, which means you have to make sure they stay out of little mouths - that is the one downfall.  But they are SO much more durable than plastic, for example.  The necklace part is just a lanyard.  I picked those up at Office Max.

To the left of the name tag necklaces, you see a red basket and extra desk name plates.  Those were just extra supplies for students that walked through my door that were not originally on my class list.

In the far corner of the table you can see pre-cut cardstock with name tag labels / stickers.  The students chose their favorite color, I wrote their names with permanent marker, and then they went to their desks to decorate the cardstock.  (I gave them crayons and stickers.)  At the end of the day, I laminated their "First Day of School" masterpieces and these became their backpack / coat hook label.  This is something I did all three years I was in Kindergarten.  On the last day of school, the kiddos LOVED thinking back to their first day of school when they took these home!


I made this posterboard sign, so students and their parents could easily find me on the playground, especially the morning of the first day.  A few weeks into the year, when the kiddos did not need the sign as a reminder anymore, I hung it above our hallway door, so people could easily identify our classroom.

The clipboard on the left held a "How do we go home?" checklist.  I took this (and a pencil) out to the playground on that first morning.  As you know, the first day tends to be a bit chaotic.  No matter how organized YOU are, some things are out of your control.  For me, one of these things is knowing how my students are going home.  So if a parent or older sibling drops my Kinders off in the morning, I am sure to introduce myself and ask them that important question - and then WRITE IT DOWN, since I certainly will not remember after a crazy day!


During the first week of school, we measure and record my students' heights.  Of course, we do the same at the end of the school year and then compare to see their growth.  How fun!


One of my FAVORITE back-to-school read aloud books is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archaumbault.  Oh, the many fun activities you can do with this book!  Anyway, we have a coconut tree that hangs on our wall all year and as the students (formally) learn a letter, we place it on the tree. 

There are lots of things I wish I was - more creative, more patient, more tolerant... the list goes on.  But one thing I am (and always have been) is organized!  Way before the school year even begins, I hit up Wal-Mart for their cutest desk calendar and I write down EVERYTHING that is important for me to remember.  I can honestly say my desk is this clean before I leave at the end of each school day.


I have lots of other "old" photos to share that I never got around to sharing last year, but they are not exactly "back-to-school" related, so I will post them another day.

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As I previously mentioned, I will be teaching ESL at my school this year.  I earned my ESL degree back in my undergrad years, but I never utilized until now.  I wanted to use a lesson plan template that was effective for ELL students, so I thought back to when I was in the ESL / Bilingual program at UW-Oshkosh and I remembered using the SIOP Model quite a bit.  (SIOP = Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol ... how fancy!)

Here is the original book written by Echevarria, Vogt, and Short:


And - oh my! - look at all these other books they have come out with!  These are new to me!










They seem to have something for everyone.  I totally just bought the last one!

Anyway, I pulled elements from their example lesson plans that I think makes the most sense for my particular teaching situation and this is what I came up with:





If you are interested in snatching this product, head over to my TPT store to grab it.  Click HERE!  The document is completely editable.  Woohoo!

If you have any great ESL blogs, books, websites, or other resources to share, please let me know!  I can use all the help I can get.  As always, thank you for stopping by!

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