Well, I am now into the 1st week of my summer vacation and I couldn't be more excited to have this time off.  Last week was sad, of course.  It always is.  I know all teachers find it hard to say goodbye to the little kiddos who have called your classroom home for a year.  I have spent 7 hours a day for 180 days with them.  That's A LOT of time together!  I have watched them laugh and cry, make new friends and gotten their feelings hurt.  I've been there to see the smile stretch across their faces as they learn something new or find success in even the smallest of things.  I can pick out their handwriting when given a line-up of 20 other papers.  I've hugged each of them goodbye 180 times (and sometimes more for those little sweeties who need an extra hug or two).  There is always that worry I get at the end of each year ---- Did I teach them everything I could?  Did I make the most of the time we had together?  Did I take the opportunities to celebrate our learning and not just rush on to the next thing?  Did I allow them to develop a love of learning?  Did I create a classroom where they felt safe and confident in who they are?  I'll never really know, but now that another year is gone ---- I just hope I made a difference and an impact in some way for each of them.  

Here is one of my favorite quotes that I think of at the end of each year:

By the way, in case anyone was last week went great!  :-)  We had a lot of fun with our Field Days (which was a rain date), Beach Day, and our End of the Year Party.  We played Minute to Win It, which was absolutely hilarious!!! (I will post pictures another day because I don't have my camera with me right now.  Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of pictures.  That is definitely something I need to work on next year.)  I gave out classroom awards.  We talked about our summer plans and talked about what we liked the most about our year.  It was the perfect end to a fantastic year!!!  I will miss you my little firsties :-(

So now that I'm into my summer mindset, I have a mental to-do list that literally has at least 100 things on it.  What I need to do is sit down and actually write out my to-do list and then prioritize, because, let's be honest - I will never get everything done that I want to.  Maybe if I didn't have 2 little girls (who  I wouldn't trade for anything in the whole world) then I could accomplish more on the list.  But what would I rather have at the end of the summer --- a completed to-do list all checked off OR memories and time I can never get back with my beautiful girlies!  We all know the right answer to that one!  

Many of the things that will be on the priority part of my list are planning units and ideas for the next school year.  I know I won't be able to plan and create everything I want to, but I need to start now so I can get going.  I've been spending my mornings (now that I don't have to get ready right away) in my PJ's, with my cup of coffee, blog hopping and revisiting my pins on Pinterest for inspiration.  I have found and pinned soooooooo many amazing ideas, I don't even know where to start.  Does anyone else out there feel like this?  I can't be the only one.  There are so many ideas I have for how I want my year to go next year, but I am becoming very overwhelmed because, AGAIN, I can't do it all.  

Are we seeing a pattern here????????

So, I've decided that I will not let myself be disappointed at the end of the summer.  I will put my family at the top of my priority list for every day, and whatever I have time for after that will just have to do.  I will do as much as I am able to do and I will be happy with whatever that may be.  Nobody can do it all and it's way too stressful to try.  

Phew - I feel better now that I've decided not to try to be perfect.  It's exhausting!!!  

So I hope you are all enjoying your summer so far ---- a summer that is, and will be, perfect in spite of our own mediocrity!!!!  

Last full week of school-Yahoooo!

Slowly, but surely - the last day is approaching.  My mind knows it's the end of the school year.  Each day I count down the days with my students and at the end of each day we pop a balloon on our countdown.  We started when there were 10 days left.  I pick 2 students each day to pop the balloon and they get the candy inside.  Just a fun way to count down the days.  

This is not my picture, but ours looks a lot like this. 

Anywho - as I was mind knows it's the end, but it hasn't hit my heart yet.  Mentally and physically I am exhausted and soooo ready for summer, but emotionally I am not there.  This is my first year teaching first grade and I have fallen in love with these little cuties.  Each day I run down the hallway to the 2nd grade teachers to share a little story or bit of info about my little darlings.  I could write a book about each child - what they like, dislike, what they order for lunch, what color their sneakers are, when they go to the bathroom each day.  Ok, I know that's WAY too much information, but let's be honest - some kids are just regular!!!!

So yes, I know next week when it finally hits me that I am saying goodbye to these little kiddos, I will be devastated.  Four of them are actually changing schools too, so I REALLY have to say goodbye to them :-((((  I will see the rest in the hallways and get some familiar hugs, but it won't be the same and we will have all moved on.  It's very bittersweet!

Moving along so I can fight back the tears.  

Back to our Calendar Countdown!!!!  

We have had a VERY rainy week!!!!  Many of our activities have been rained out this week, but we still had some fun despite the rain.  

Monday - Reaching our Goals.  
We first started by discussing our September goals and New Year's resolutions and see how we had done now that we are at the end of the year.  They all wanted to become better readers (or just readers for some) and they DID!  They wanted to learn how to add and subtract "bigger" numbers - and they CAN!  We reviewed some of the fun projects we've done throughout the year and units we've worked on.  This was a great lead in to our 1st Grade Memory Book (you can find it in my Farewell Firsties pack).  We spent a little time each day reminiscing and filling out the information in our books.  

We also talked about our goals for next year in 2nd grade.  I read them an all-time favorite: Oh, The Places You'll Go by none other than Dr. Seuss.  

Then we made these balloons to share what we were most excited for in 2nd grade. 

The plan was to play a kickball game against the other 1st grade class for some fun, but it was raining.  Instead, we played some more Red Rover, Red Light, Green Light, and What time is it Mr. Fox? in the gym.

Tuesday - ZOO field trip
Not much to say except --- guess what ---it RAINED!!!!!  It wasn't a total wash out, but it never really stopped drizzling.  The best part was ALL of the animals were actually out and active instead of hot and sleepy.  So that actually made it one my favorite trips to the zoo.  

Just a couple pics.

The penguins were SO interactive.  They were following the kids fingers wherever they went.  So fun to watch!

This little baby monkey was unbelievably cute I had to include his picture.  Most of the time he was being carried by his mom, but here you can see how small he is.  Precious!

Wednesday - OY and OI
The kids of course loved bringing in a favorite toy and sharing it with the class.  We had cuddly blankets, stuffed animals, dolls, magnets, a guitar, Pokemon cards, and of course one kid had to bring in a video game cartridge.  During math we used coin stamps to make a little flip chart - sorry no pictures :(  We also sorted coins, played Money Memory, and Collect $1.00.  

Thursday - EE
Today we had an assembly where we honored our school volunteers in the morning.  This is always so nice because the whole school is together and claps for the volunteers while they each get a certificate.  We LOVE volunteers!!!!  We also voted on classroom awards.  First I read the book No More Pencil, No More Books, No More Teacher's Dirty Looks! by Diane deGroat.  This is an adorable book about the end of the year and how each kid gets an award in the class.  

Then I have the kids vote (privately with me) on which awards should go to each student, including themselves.  I tally up the votes.  I try to give each child the award they voted for themselves for because obviously it was something that meant something to them.  Of course, I only do this if it fits the bill.  Then I give them another award that the other kids voted for.  Each child gets 2 awards this way.  I tell them they are the two awards that had the most votes.  Here are just 2 of the 26 different awards I have (also in Farewell Firsties).  

Finally, today was supposed to be Field Days, but guess what the weather was ----- Yep, RAIN!!!!  So we have a rain date on Monday.  We'll have to see what Mother Nature throws our way.  

Here is what I had to pull together quickly worked tirelessly on for Father's Day.  I took pictures of the kids holding signs.  They could choose You're the Best, Best Dad Ever, I love you Dad, or Happy Father's Day.  I have a couple kids whose father is not in the picture for one reason or another so they could choose Happy Father's Day for a grandpa or someone, or You're the Best for anyone.  I also changed the poem for them and just printed one out without the word Daddy on it.  They did turn out cute!  

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there.  I hope you enjoy a day of golfing, watching sports, fishing, or whatever it is you like to do.  I'm sure your families will make you feel special!

Only 4 more days of school left for me! 

Winding down should mean less to do....

Let me pretend I'm from the south for a minute....

Where have I been and what in the world have I been doing?????

Ok, back to being an upstate New Yorker- (but secretly, I wish I could pull off that southern drawl because it is so fun).  

You know it's the end of the school year when.......


I know I'm not alone (although, some of you out there are already into your summer vacation and I am J-E-A-L-O-U-S!!!).  But even those of you who are already done, surely your last month or so of school was just as crazy, right?  So here's a laundry list of what I've been doing for the last month (yes, it's been a month since I posted last :-(  

-School Fair (which is a district-wide open house in our High School)
-Meetings, and lots of them
-Planning a Character Education Assembly (it was my turn)
-Creating next year's class lists
-APPR paperwork
-RTI paperwork
-Student portfolios
-Scoring assessments
-Report Cards

.....did I mention Assessments????

We have 9 days left of school and I am still finishing up those last few at the bottom of my list.  So as I sit here surrounded by piles of papers, I thought, Hmmmmm, maybe I should take a minute and write a little bit about winding down on my first year teaching first grade.  

Here is quick look at what I put up for our School Fair.  I also made a slideshow with pictures from the whole year, but can't put that on here.  It's great when it's all up on display, but it is A LOT of work!!!

For our Character Education Assembly I made an i-Movie wrapping up the 4 key points of our program this year, which is from Rachel's Challenge.  For those of you who do not know, Rachel's Challenge is a group that comes to schools to propose ideas of how we can make our schools a better place to be.  Rachel Scott was the first victim in the Columbine school shootings.   The four challenges are: Use Kind Words, Do Nice Things, Include Others, and Start a Chain Reaction.  If you have never heard of it, I encourage you to click on the link above and read more about it.  It was really amazing!!!! I can't really show you the movie I made though, because I don't have permission from everyone in it.  It included pictures and videos of our whole school.  It came out great, but I am happy it is over now :-)

So, since the rest of my list is not at all picture worthy (who wants to see pictures of assessments, RTI, and APPR???) - I will show you a little of what we have planned for our last month.  I had found on Pinterest a while ago how some Kindergarten classrooms wrap up the end of the year by reviewing a letter a day and tie it into something fun, like B is for beach day or C is for class campout.  Since first graders are beyond single letter sounds (hopefully ;-), I decided to do the same thing but by reviewing some of the letter combinations and vowel teams that we have worked on throughout they year.  

So far we have made it through our first week on this calendar.  

Silent e Day was so fun!!!  We read joke books and the kids got to tell their favorite jokes.  We all laughed a lot that day!  We did some review centers and activities with telling time and also played What time is it Mr. Fox?  outside.  We also played other games like Red Rover, and Red Light, Green Light.

Tuesday (ai day) we went for a walk on our Nature Trail out back.  

Tootie Fruitie Day - Wednesday was the kid's (and my) favorite!  We all brought in our favorite fruits.  Then we graphed them.  I brought in a whole bunch of different fruits and we had some taste testing.  The best part was making smoothies!!!  We had two blenders going and mixed a whole bunch of fruit together.  The flavors we sampled were: Strawberry Raspberry Banana, Strawberry Kiwi, Blueberry Peach, Blueberry Strawberry Orange, and finally Tootie Fruitie, which was a mix of everything - strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, watermelon, orange, banana, peach, kiwi, and mango.  It was quite tasty!! It was a hectic day so I don't have pictures - sorry :(

Thursday was our Character Ed Assembly and our school Festival at night.  Unfortunately it rained so the festivities were all inside, but we still had a great turn out!

Finally, Friday was Show and Tell.  I had a math training all day for Singapore Math so I wasn't there for that one and I REALLY wish I was.  I'm sure the kids were so excited!!!  

Next week should be equally as fun with our Zoo field trip and Field Days.  On Monday, we will discuss our goals we made back in September and see how well we did to achieve them.  We will also be playing a kickball game against the other 1st grade class.  Thursday is a school-wide assembly to honor our volunteers.  We will also take some time to talk about our peers and nominate each other for classroom awards.  Awards will be given out at our party.  

I hope you will all be sticking around this summer, because I hope to be better with the blogging and looking for tons more interesting ideas that I can implement next year.  I plan on getting on Instagram (I'm actually on it but haven't done anything yet).  I also need to sort through my pins on Pinterest and see what ideas I want to find or make.  

If you are still not done with school like me, just know that I am right there with you and sending thoughts of poolside fun your way!!!