Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I learned...that trying to teach children about personal bubble space is an uphill climb. Gd forbid someone pops their bubble, but then they are popping everyone else's.

Something great that happened was...I led a great morning meeting, complete with greeting, activity, message, calendar, and reviewing the schedule.

Something challenging that happened was...trying to get the kids walk in the line well from lunch back to the class. Trying to get them to listen and respect my authority was a challenge.

A question I have is...how do you show children you are in charge without looking like a greedy power hungry maniac?

I wonder about...the positive effects the down time and center time we have provides them with. Are they better students because of it?

Monday, September 26, 2011


I learned...that teaching kills trees. We teach children to respect our world, but then we go and make 500 copies in a single afternoon, all in the name of teaching and helping them learn.

Something great that happened was...I was given my own reading group, exciting and scary all at the same time.

Something challenging that happened was...trying to keep Bhavya from melting down over the smallest things and at the same time not lose my cool.

A question I have is...does rationalizing work with rigid children? Are they so locked into their rigidity or is there some way to help them work around the issue at hand?

I wonder about...my ability to truly lead my reading group and help them become stronger readers.

Friday, September 23, 2011


I learned...that the autumnal equinox falling on a dreary Friday, the day after field day, no less, is a cruel cruel thing to us teachers. At least there was no full moon!

Something great that happened was...I was able to a assessment with Jonathan. It was great to be able to perform the assessment and be confident in my ability to perform it properly!

Something challenging that happened was...keeping the kids calm and from "killing" each other on a dreary, autumnal equinox, Friday. And trying to not loose my own cool. 

A question I have is...how students are able to learn in such a short academic day? Once you factor in lunch, recess, specials, and other breaks there isn't much time left...

I wonder about...the amazing ability for exercise and movement to help kids focus and calm down, it's amazing and a lifesaver!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I learned...that field day is truly a great way to build community and have a fun day.

Something great that happened was...I led morning meeting and despite the insane excitement over field day I was able to manage them and hold a great morning meeting!

Something challenging that happened was...Connor bolting during our playground time at field day, in the rain. Scariest 20 seconds of my life chasing after him at breakneck speed in a parking lot.

A question I have is...why one minute everything is okay in the mind of a child on the spectrum and one minute it isn't - how do you anticipate the those sudden changes when the triggers vary so greatly.

I wonder about...all the ways the students engaged in learning activities today during field day. I know it was more than a fun day, but also a day of learning, they just didn't realize it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I learned...that before you can make any official decisions, like hiring an aid for a child, protocols need to be followed, like a behavior plan and time to see if those work. Then it can be determined if a free and appropriate education is being provided.

Something great that happened was...I spoke up, so to speak, and will begin doing morning meeting and teaching lessons in the coming weeks!

Something challenging that happened was...handling dismissal alone while Bhavya had a meltdown, Malachi's nanny wanted to know how his day was, Jonathan's mom wanted to know how his ELL class was, and Maya's mom wanted to check about my interview for class with her. It was though, but I managed to get is all accomplished without losing my cool in front of the parents.

A question I have is...how do I gently make sure the children respect my authority as a teacher just as much as they respect Jane's?

I wonder about...why Malachi dislikes going to the learning center so much, does he realize it's to help him become a stronger student, or does he see it as a punishment.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I learned...that kids need recess! Today they only had indoor recess because of rain and they were nuts by the middle of the afternoon!

Something great that happened was...getting to make my own self-portrait today, a total plus to being a teacher is getting to do art projects!

Something challenging that happened was...having to find Connor after he fled the lunchroom, at the same time I was still needed on lunchroom duty. I literally needed to cut myself in half, but couldn't.

A question I have is...if every child is entitled to a Free and Appropriate education, how can we let budget cuts get in the way of supplying that to a child?

I wonder about...how assessment results can change perceptions of children? Do we begin to judge children by their scores?

Monday, September 19, 2011


I learned...that children interpret an art project in amazing ways and to that end how they interpret it really highlights their personalities.

Something great that happened was...walking the class back from lunch it was hard to keep them in line and focused on walking, they were tired, they were "done," and it was Monday.

Something challenging that happened was...being the "sole" teacher from the time they came back from lunch, transitioning into centers, then cleaning up, hearing a story, and getting ready to head to gym.  All while juggling Connor and with no management issues!

A question I have is...how do you not let "prickly" parents sour your perception and relationship with their child?

I wonder about...why kids are so finicky about lining up, where do they learn it, and why in the grand sceme of things does it matter!?

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I learned...that it's okay to ask for help when in a challenging situation. There are people in the school who are meant to help you, and you're a better teacher by asking for help.

Something great that happened was...working with pattern blocks, just like when I was a student. A fun part of being a teacher is getting to relive the fun parts of your own education.

Something challenging that happened was...having the class transition from Spanish to finishing math work, they were tired and hungry and I was challenged to help them regain their focus without getting crabby too.

A question I have is...how do you deal with normal weekday crabbiness, namely, Friday-ready-for-the-weekend-crabbiness, in a fun and gentle manner?

I wonder about...how kids learn when they are having free "choice" time. Are they just relaxing or are they actually learning and gaining from that time.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I learned...that's there is truly a song for everything, even how you write your letters. Yes, a song about where you start writing your capitol letters.

Something great that happened was...Connor was cooperative and part of the group today. He worked with me on his science work and was able to focus and complete the work without any struggle.

Something challenging that happened was...beginning to have to deal with the student's showing their "true colors" sass, attitude, rigidness, etc.

A question I have is...what do you do when it's revealed in the second week of school that a child is behind academically and another child is significantly ahead. How do you begin to adjust your curriculum so that everyone's needs are met?

I wonder about...what interests the students and what bores them, what makes them excited to learn and what triggers them to shut down.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I learned...even at age 6 children feel different and can get upset when they are pulled from the class for special instruction. It's amazing how early they learn they are "different" despite the fun that happens in the learning center.

Something great that happened was...I successfully transitioned the class from Center Time to cleaning up to the rug where I read them a story and then dismissed them for the day.

Something challenging that happened was...having to deal with Connor hiding from us and us having to search the kids. Then on top of it, his meltdown during lunch all while Bhavya was confused on what to do, Nico lost his lunch, and Jack needed his shoe tied! I needed 8 arms to manage it all!

A question I have is...how do you help children see that going to the learning center is not a punishment, but a way to help them succeed? 

I wonder about...what goes through the mind of a child when they are fleeing, are they aware, are they scared, are they mad...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I learned...that my supervisors are on my side and want to really help me learn and really become the best teacher I can be and are there to help me deal with any issues that have arisen.

Something great that happened was...I had my first chance to read a story to the class and teach our "tip of the week." It felt great to have have control of the class for that time and really feel like the class was listening and respecting me.

Something challenging that happened was...trying to focus Connor in gym. It's a fine line with him in terms of helping get him back on task and not making him shut down and become defensive. It's still a struggle and a challenge for us all to learn how he works.

A question I have is...does the insane feeling of being overwhelmed by everything you need to do go away? It seems so intense, to learn the kids, establish the routine, do the assessments, etc etc.

I wonder about...are the students overwhelmed as well by the rules, and routines, and process of getting back in the groove? Are their heads spinning too?

Monday, September 12, 2011


I learned...you shouldn't judge a kid by their IEP, even when it makes you want to expect the worst.

Something great that happened was...our new student started and it went really smoothly. His IEP made us prepared to expect the worse and we were pleasantly surprised. He was sweet, followed the routine, and learned people's names. Anything can happen on his day two, but day one was a great start.

Something challenging that happened was...trying to focus Malachi on his math work and understand what he was telling me. He seemed frustrated which led to him mumbling which led to me being confused and he being more frustrated. Eventually we were able to sort it out, but it was a challenging few minutes.

A question I have is...how do you balance expectations for children with behavioral problems without "waisting" time and energy to get the to just sit and maybe focus. Do you let them warm up and learn the routines on their own, or push them to participate and learn.

I wonder about...what it feels for a child to get pulled out for special instruction.  Are they ashamed, shy, scared, excited? Do they realize why they are leaving the class?

Friday, September 9, 2011


I learned...that some kids have expiration dates. When they're "done" for the day they are "done." Apparently these expiration dates are earlier on Fridays.

Something great that happened was...the sun was out and the temps seasonal. Nothing like the first three days of school being rainy and cold to make the fourth day seem easy!

Something challenging that happened was...keeping children on task. Sometimes you want to staple them to their chairs,it's hard to feel like a broken record when you know you're trying to help them learn.

A question I have is...how do you keep kids on task without sounding like broken record? How do you know if it's an attention issue or an inattention issue?

I wonder about...how the rest of the year will unfold, will I be successful, will my students be successful, will we all learn and grow?

Thursday, September 8, 2011


I learned...that first graders are so much bigger and more mature than you think they are. Yet, at the same time they are still only six years old. It's fine balance between what we expect from them and what they are truly capable of doing. Sometimes they seem so big, but then they are homesick and really want their mommies.

Something great that happened was...I received my first compliment from my supervising teacher today. At the end of the day she said I was doing a great job working with our student who only speaks Swedish. It felt really great to hear that, even better knowing today he was able to participate in the greeting at morning meeting and spoke to me a small amount in English!

Something challenging that happened was...dealing with my first schedule challenge. Today I learned that the district super is requiring all interns to be with the class at all times, just incase a child needs support. I had to carefully voice my concerns to my supervising teacher and to coordinators from my graduate program (via email). Inside I may have been going "AHHHHH" but I was able to remain calm and composed and voice my concerns.

A question I have is...how do you set differentiate expectations, when some children are able to perform differently than others in terms of behavior and maturity.

I wonder about...how much the children will grow and change and learn over the course of the year. They already seem so big and smart, I can only imagine what I will think come June.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I learned...that you need to pick your battles. Even if a child isn't doing what the rest of the class is doing, it can be okay. If letting them be allows everyone to remain content and happy, than so be it. Save your struggles for times when they're crucial.

Something great that happened was...math became a universal language as Jonathan successfully and happily worked through his math work, counting in English, and with smile on his face and my face!

Something challenging that happened was...trying to not lose my voice, on the second day of school! Subsequently, trying to get through my first day of lunch duty, which included a lunch box mix-up with half a voice. But, I did, and only a few tears were shed.

A question I have is...When do you decide which battles you should pick and which you shouldn't? And how do you keep the student from thinking they can constantly be getting out of activities they don't enjoy, which is normal for all students, those with challenges and those without them.

I wonder about...what the students are thinking at various times of the day. Are they happy, content, curious, scared? There is always so much going through my head, what about theirs?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


I learned....that it's completely normal for teachers and students be a mix of excited and nervous on the first day. That it feels amazing to connect with the students, even on day one. That first graders can be so grown up and so little all at once.

Something great that happened was...Annabelle waving goodbye to me and then running back to give me a huge hug and a big "I'll see you tomorrow." Jonathan taking my hand and coming out to learn about recess and beginning to break down the language barrier and see him participate and smiling by the end of the day!

Something challenging that happened was...trying to figure out how to best work with Connor as he was figuring out us and our routines. A lot of new for all of us today in that regard.

A question I have is...is there a honeymoon phase? Will it get harder or was today an accurate portrait of what to expect?

I wonder about...what the students are thinking about me, do they see me as a teacher or a body in the classroom.