Friday, November 29, 2013

Five For Friday - Thanksgiving Style

Hey Bloggers! Another first for me this week! I'm hooking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for their weekly Five For Friday. Usually, you post 5 things your kiddos in your classroom did that week to share ideas with other teachers. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'll share a few things we did and a few things I'm thankful for! 

On Tuesday, we had Grandparents Day. All of the kids brought their Grandparents to school, there was a little singing performance, cookies and milk and then the kids showed their grandparents all around the school. We teachers had to spend a ton of time preparing for Grandparents day, thinking of different creative activities for the kids to do so we could hang it up in the hallway.

We used some of the activities from this awesome (and FREE!) Grandparents Day packet made by Jessica Travis over at Wild About Firsties

I wish I had taken pictures of my kids work. Some of their answers were so funny! So pros about the Favorite Things: I love that it got the kiddos thinking about what their grandparents like. Some of their answers were spot on! Like they would say their grandparents favorite show was Jeopardy because they were always watching it when they went over. However, some of mine were a little unsettled by the fact that they didn't know what their grandparent favorite things were. So they made it up. Then we had that someone's grandpa's favorite movie was "Thor". So funny! 

I stumbled upon the most massive Black Friday Blog Hop going on today! So many teacher-blogs have offered some awesome freebies for Black Friday. They are calling it Summer in December Hop! Everything is December/Christmas or Summer themed or both! So fun to see Santa in a Hawaiian shirt! 


Just look at all of those goodies! :)


On Friday my kiddos listened to this book as a read aloud and watched the movie with their substitute. It's about a little girl named Molly who's family moves from Russia (?) for religious freedom and the kids tease her because of her accent. As a school project she has to make a pilgrim doll, she makes one that is Russian-Jewish to be just like her because in her opinion, she too is a pilgrim. I thought this would be so cool to show the kids how anyone can be a pilgrim and that even today some people immigrate so that they might have religious freedom. I hope that this inspired them to be thankful and proud that everyday we can wake up and choose how we want to worship and what a privilege it is that we can be proud of this! They even made a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast Molly with the original pilgrims.

So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am thankful that because Jesus was sent to die on the cross, I can have a relationship with God and because of the pilgrims, I have the freedom choose to worship God every day, every hour, every five minutes. In addition, I am thankful that God has blessed me with a small group filled with 20 somethings. Holla! Meeting people and having community has been a struggle since moving back home and I praise God that He provided me with an awesome community filled with Jesus loving people my own age. 

It's Christmas time! What, what! I am getting into the Christmas spirit today! We went and got our tree today and we put it up ourselves. 
For anyone a little confused, the girl in the bottom right corner is my twin sister. The picture in the left bottom corner is of me!

Then we spent the rest of the evening decorating the whole house and listening to Christmas music. And tonight will be spent curled up with hot chocolate and watching Hallmark and Lifetime Christmas movies. So, I'm thankful for Christmas time, the Holiday spirit of merriness and thankfulness, for family together time, for only 3 weeks until Christmas break, for making it halfway through my first year of teaching, for all 20 of my new first grade friends, for awesome coworkers, and for fun Christmas music!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Take Me Back Tuesday - On Wednesday

Hey everyone, I am hooking up with a bunch of other great teacher bloggers for Take Me Back Tuesday!

Today we take a look at the old and reminisce. Such a great idea as we steamroll into Thanksgiving! The following post is from a little over one year ago, I was coming off of another summer at camp experiencing God and mentoring other girls, beginning my last year of college, anticipating graduation and the future, unsure of what I might be doing as my next step.

A Recap: Summertime at Camp and the Beginning of the End
So bloggers. Since I didn't take my computer to camp with me and I didn't get the opportunity to come home very much, you're probably wondering, what happened at camp? Well I'll tell you. Camp was indescribable. It was great, awesome, wonderful, physically hard and exhausting, emotionally hard and exhausting. This summer I led mainly middle school and high school girls. This is a completely different age group from the group the I led last summer. Leading them, loving them and being loved by them looks so different than with little girls. God showed me so much of how I don't know how to lead people, and it's not up to me to know. Because the work that is done in the hearts of these girls is not me, it's God. I just take every advantage to share the love of Christ with them and talk to them about my own experiences learning that Jesus is the only thing that is satisfying. Faithfulness is what God has commanded of me. God has not commanded me to fulfill my ideas of success, because my ideas of success are not His. They stem from pride, from sin, from making myself greater and Him less.

A big thing I learned this summer is that God is not set in my ideas of Him. The way that God chooses to show himself to his children is specific to them and there are countless ways in which he does this. When my girls are laughing and having fun with each other and me in the swimming pool, this is God. When they are successful at a new activity such as archery and riflery, this is God. When they are mad at me because they only have 3 minutes in the shower or because they didn't rest during rest time and so they have to get out of the pool early, this is God. God is allowing them to have fun at camp, to feel love from their cabin mates and from me, giving them just a small glimpse of His love for them and what He desires for them. Just as God reveals himself differently, each of his children are different in countless ways. We relate to each other differently, we interpret our experiences differently, we view God differently, we relate to God differently and we worship Him differently. How amazing is it that God could create such a diverse population and that He is worshiped in so many different ways by His children? God developed a passion in my heart for seeing high school girls be called to Him and for them to see and treasure that being a Christian is not culture defined. I want them to see just how broken the world is that we have taken something so beautiful as the life that Christ has called us to and made it something that revolves around us, something that is not good and something that does not push us to know more of Jesus but to know more of what the world has to offer to us.

Last Christmas I thought about doing missions after graduation during our Campus Outreach Christmas conference. I had no idea what this would look like and I hadn't heard of anything that had really grabbed my attention or that I felt a desire to pursue. But God put that on my heart again this summer as I saw Him work in the lives of my campers. I want to do missions after graduation and not go straight into the workforce. I am praying about opportunities but one big one I am praying about is The World Race. It is eleven months in eleven countries serving people, being used by God, being challenged by God and sharing the gospel! Check out this blog from a girl currently on The World Race!


Reflecting back, so much has changed and so much has stayed the same too! I still have such a heart for doing missions but I have also recognized the mission field that is my school. I pray that my heart would be burdened for my students, my coworkers, my parents, everyone who is affiliated with my school. It is my duty that each of them know more of Jesus because of my love for Jesus.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Full of Fun in First Grade

We have been having some fun in First Grade this past week. Praise the Lord that it is almost Thanksgiving which means tomorrow is an early dismissal day for us (holla!) and grandparents day. Teachers... you know what we'll be doing tomorrow morning - watching a movie! Some of the fun activities we did in my first grade classroom this week included:

Discussing the First Thanksgiving with Deanna Jump's "First Thanksgiving" Freebie. 

A tip for the paper savers - when you download the freebie in PDF format, the front cover is a full page. I used the same image only used the snapshot tool from Adobe to double the image and put two on one page. So, as you can see, our books are about half a page instead of a whole page. I found this was plenty of space for us to glue our sentence and draw our picture. 
Also, I decided to print the sentences on different colored construction paper. This made the management easy because we did one sentence a day so it was easy for the kids to know which sentence we were using on what day. We had so much fun with this! I loved that after building the sentence, we discussed what the sentence was talking about. This gave a lot of opportunities for my firsties to show off what they already knew about the story.

Scarecrow Sorting: Odd and Even

Last week, we spent the week reviewing math skills including Odd and Even with this Scarecrow Sort Freebie. I looked back to see where I downloaded to give credit and link back but unfortunately I could not find it. Whoever made it did not put a credits page in the document. :( Feel free to contact me for a copy of it however. I also introduced them to my two friends Even Steven and Odd Todd from Cara Carroll's Even and Odd post.

We made our own butter and tasted it on a pumpkin muffin! I thought this was such an awesome idea to experience the hard life of being a pilgrim. I got this idea from Kristen Smith's blogpost about how her class experienced life as a pilgrim. 

My kiddos loved it and they said that I should totally do it again next year. Kristen may have just helped me start my first classroom tradition! My kids were also shocked and very appreciative when I told them that I had baked their muffins myself. They are such sweeties!

Check out all of these awesome ladies' blogs about the fantastically fun life of teaching First Grade!

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Counting Down?

Dear Bloggers,

They say it's that time of year. The time of year when summertime is long gone, the rush of excitement for the new school year has worn off, the weather is turning cold and sunny days are few and far between. In the midst of the beginning Holiday excitement comes the feeling that the Holiday break is still far off. As the long days and nights of worrying about this student or that parent begin to catch up with me, I find myself sometimes exhibiting this raw exhaustion and frustration in front of my students. I am easily frustrated and snappy. On top of it, I let out my feelings of being overwhelmed at the state of my unorganized, messy, cluttered, not cute classroom. I look at all of these awesome blogs from other teachers and think, "Why can't my room look that awesome?" I am impatient with the fact that some of these teachers have been in their rooms for several years or have been teachers for several years. I feel I cannot give myself the grace of having only been in my room for a few months, instead I turn it around to something negative about myself. I overlook and wave off the facts: my room is not their room, I have been in my room for only a few short months, this is my first year teaching, right now I am trying to figure out the curriculum and how to teach. Rather I see: I am not that creative, I don't know how to be that creative, I can't spend that much money, I can't spend that much time, my room is smaller than theirs, my room has large ugly built ins I cannot get past.

Sometimes, I have the same view of myself when I reflect on my relationship with Christ. I let negative thoughts weigh on me: I am not "spiritual" enough, I don't have enough knowledge of the bible, my relationship with Christ is not as deep as it should be, why can't I share deep thoughts about a passage like this person, why does my life feel unorganized and messy?

So often, I fail to see and believe the truth that God has given me: I am a new creation, a people for his own possession, a royal priesthood, a child of God, beloved. If I cannot accept and believe this, than I cannot demonstrate this in front of others for the sake of Christ. Just as if all I see in my classrooms are the frustrations and my own imperfections, than I cannot demonstrate in front of my kids that I can never measure up because nothing I do will ever be good enough. I will never be able to achieve perfect satisfaction with my classroom, perfect organization habits, or rid myself of my tendency to pile up clutter. By demonstrating frustration and worry over this in front of my kids, then my fear is that I am teaching them and myself that outside perfection is the goal.

As my sin is revealed in front of me, I see my neediness for Christ so much more. I hope and pray that the Lord can use my messy, cluttered, unorganized life to reflect His perfection in front of my first graders!