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Welcome to kindergarten! Join me as I share my experiences in the classroom, my professional learning and reflections and my love of teaching. Teaching is an exciting journey - come along as I share mine!


Sunday, June 22, 2014

My May SLANTbox Has Arrived!

It's been a very busy couple of weeks!  My last day of school with students was June 18.  We had a half-day of school on our last day and immediately after my students were out the door, I was on my way to a conference!  I attended the All-Write!! conference in Warsaw, IN on Thursday and Friday with a few other teachers from my school.  We had a blast and learned a lot...but, more about that later.

I also received my May SLANTbox from Elizabeth.  I was matched with her for this month and she sent me a great box full of goodies.  Don't know about SLANTbox?  Click here to read more about it.  Basically, I was matched with two people - one who sent a package to me and one I sent a package to, or I'm trying to send a package to (LONG story...not impressed with the LaPorte, TX USPS!).  Through a few emails and a bit of blog stalking, we got to know each other a bit and then following the SLANTbox rules and the theme of monograms, we put together packages for our match.  This was my first time participating in the SLANTbox, and with the exception of the shipping difficulties for the package I sent out, it was a lot of fun!

Mine arrived during the thick of the last few days of school, so even though I opened it and have enjoyed it, I haven't had a chance to show you yet.

Here is the big reveal!

My very first impression made me smile.  Apparently, either Elizabeth figured out that I like a nice chevron print or she got lucky,  but my package arrived in a cute chevron envelope!


I was careful to open the envelope, partly because I could tell it was pretty full and I didn't want to hurt anything and partly to savor the moment a little.  The first thing that I saw as I opened the package was this cute little guy!

Because Elizabeth remembered that my classroom theme was monsters, she sent a little monster stuffed animal for my classroom.  My students are going to love this in the fall!  I am thinking he might be a reading buddy when kids are struggling to maintain their reading stamina during read to self time at the beginning of the school year.

Next, I pulled out this little bundle of goodies - all tied together with a cute glittery string.
As you can see, there is a whole bundle of stuff here...monogrammed note cards, glittery tape, foam letters, colorful pens, a photo album, a variety of stickers, and a cute notebook.


The final item to be revealed was a handmade card, which is beautiful!  In her card, Elizabeth explained each item and why she thought I would like it. 
Elizabeth did a great job putting together my SLANTbox!  She took the time to find out a little about me and then sent me some great items she knew I would enjoy!  Thank you Elizabeth! 


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Ugh...I hate data!


Frustration.

That's what I feel after looking at my teaching goals and the associated data for the year.

I know how hard I have worked with some of my students and all the extra work that my paraprofessional has put into interventions with some of my students. 

I have one child that is going to be retained.  His parents have the paperwork to sign as I type.  I have another child with some health issues that I would like to retain.  His health and lack of attendance (partly due to doctor appointments, partly not) combined with his progress basically stalling out in January doesn't bode well for first grade.  He is not meeting goals for kindergarten and will sink in first grade.  His parents have put off the meeting to determine a health plan and best placement for him for next year.  I am hoping to get it rescheduled by the end of the week.  I have another child that is finally, slowly making progress.  She's not meeting end of year goals but is making steady progress toward them.  Her parents, even after talking about the possibility of retention at our March conference, seem startled by the fact that we would like to meet with them to discuss next year's placement.  So, yes, that is a total of three possible retentions from my class of 18.

Of my other 15 kiddos...there are some very high students, some who are right at grade level.  I'm pretty happy with the progress of most.  However, there is a group of kids (about 5) that did not meet the end of year goal for writing.  Three of those five are only a half-point away on the rubric, which, in most cases, means that they either didn't have enough details or style and voice wasn't quite strong enough.  My readers were similar.  There were 7 that didn't meet the end of year goal.  6 of those 7 were one level below the goal.  All 7 of those students came to school without knowing more than a handful of letters (mostly just those in their name or less) and zero sounds and all but one made it to a level C.  I think that's pretty good, but it's not the end of year goal.

Sigh.

I understand we need goals for students to be sure they will learn everything they need to learn.  However, I also know that the kids that are struggling now, most likely, will be just fine by second grade.  They will take off in their reading once they get to levels with more interesting books.  They will take off in their writing also, once it becomes easier to hear the sounds and write them down rather than having to put so much thought into each and every letter they put onto the page.

I know these things.

I still don't feel great about my students not all meeting the end of year goals.  It's never happened.  Not once, in all my teaching years...oh my, 13 years.  Every year we come close, every year I feel disappointed because I know that "people" will look at the numbers and not know the child.  They will see that there are kids that didn't meet the goal but they will not know who's parents divorced during the school year, who had health problems, who's parents were involved at home and who's parents were not.  They don't know how hard my littlest peanut worked to pass the first text level this year.  They don't know that after working hard all year and being in intervention groups all year, he finally passed the first level on May 30th and we celebrated and gave him high fives.

They just don't know.

But I do. 

I have to remember the huge amounts of growth my students made this year even when they didn't meet the end of year goal.  I have to help them celebrate what they did and learned this year.

Because I know and I am proud of them!