Saturday, May 2, 2009

Let the Countdown Begin!

I just wrapped up my first week of being out of school. Surprisingly, I stayed constantly busy! I thought I would have more time to get all of my "To Do" list items completed, but I was wrong. With the few weeks of school that remain for the kids, I am trying to stay involved and volunteer. I spent time in the classroom at the preschool and Th's school this week, as well as chaperoned a field trip yesterday. We had fun and my kids are enjoying the one-on-one time with me.

I am also trying to get ready for VBS. I am teaching again this year. I have the privilege of teaching the 5/6th grade boys. I am excited and need to get working on decorations for my classroom. The theme this year is "Polar Extremes." I thought I would decorate the class with a snow theme. I plan to incorporate some fake snow, if I can find it at the craft stores. Since it's almost summer, I don't know if it will be available to purchase.

Despite everything else, most of my thoughts revolve around my future preschool class. I am so excited to begin teaching in the fall! When I was at the preschool, I surveyed the classroom and am trying to figure out what my daily schedule/routine will be with the students. I have some awesome ideas I want to include! I can't wait until the summer so I can get in the room to begin moving furniture around and figuring out where I want my "centers" to be. I am also still planning out my centers. So far I came up with a play center, a sensory area that will help stimulate the 5 senses, a reading center, and a "learning" center where the children can practice skills they are working on (i.e. matching colors, shapes, letters, writing, etc.). My plan is to put the children in groups of 3 or 4 and have them rotate around the room at various time intervals. Along with the various centers, my assistant will work with a group and I will work with a group, teaching new skills.

Doing the class in this manner promotes independence and self-control because only a few students will be working with me or the assistant at one time. The others will be in their assigned centers, working/playing independently. I do better in a structured environment and need to know that the students all have a place "to be" rather than letting them do whatever while I work with a small group. For me, that is too chaotic and I can't keep track of who I have worked with and who I haven't.

I am also still trying to decide on a class pet. I love animals, with the exception of reptiles, so this has been a difficult decision for me to make. I personally want a rabbit, but since we've never had a rabbit as a family, there is a high cost associated with getting one because I'd have to purchase EVERYTHING for it. I don't want fish as I think they are boring. I want something hands-on that the kids can play with and care for. I am leaning towards a hamster or turtle, but I really want a rabbit! I may save up the money I receive from graduation to purchase everything, although there are some other instructional items (computer software) I want that are costly. We'll see.

To help get my room ready, I have enlisted the help of TJ. I have asked him to make me a water table with a lid and on casters. But, he can't get started building it until I can get in the classroom to take some measurements. I also need to find the plastic insert I want to use to hold the water. It actually probably won't hold water; I actually plan to place other textured materials in it (i.e. bird seed, pine cones/dried leaves, wood chips, sand, rice, beans, etc) and hide items for the kids to find. This develops fine motor skills, teamwork, and higher-level thinking. The kids have to really use their brains to find what I have hidden. I know my own kids love this "game" when I do it at home, so I'm sure the kids in my class will enjoy it, too.

Today we are getting ready for my graduation party and Teagan's dedication next weekend. Most of my family and some of TJ's family will be here, along with friends from school, church, and the MOMS Club. I wish more family could attend but for various reasons they won't be here. I am looking forward to the weekend-long celebration, but it is stressful planning it. TJ has done a lot for my party, arranging the location and sending out the invitations, helping to ease some of the burden. Now we are down to the menus and trying to figure out what we need; today will be busy with shopping as next week is jam-packed with obligations each night of the week.

Until next time. . .