Valentine's Day 2011 already?!? I thought we just brought in the new year. February Family projects were to decorate a container to hold class valentines. They were so cute. Make sure to check out the Smilebox below. We counted, graphed, measured, and even wrote using our conversation hearts. I found the cutest activity online where a teacher had the students use the words on the heart in sentences-and glue on the hearts. ADORABLE is all I can say and yes they are hanging out in the hallway. Check out Dylan and Hannah's paper. My favorites were:
My cutie is my little brother named Logan. and My Mom text my dad XOXO. and You rock Mrs. Wright. Ashton wrote My mom is my girl. and My dad is my soulmate. Joe wrote My mom and dad are soulmates. Michael wrote I had my 1st kiss. I hope not. They were cute so make sure to stop by and read the rest. Here are some random pictures from the Valentine festivities.
Our county has a program called Sunshine Math. There are lessons weekly that include graphs, word problems, and thinking puzzles. Each problem is rated with stars to show level of difficulty. Usually teachers send it home as an enrichment activity. A good buddy of mine used to have Sunshine Disco Math each week, love ya Ms. Twyman! As a class we read the problems and names are selected to help do the work on the ActivBoard. After each problem we have 30 seconds of free dance music to celebrate. The kids LOVE it! Check out the picture. Shouldn't math be this fun all the time?
Teacher of the Year holds a special place in my heart. Each year the faculty comes together to choose 1 teacher to represent the school in our county search for Teacher of the Year. It is truly an honor and extremely humbling to be selected from your peers. This year Cypress Creek Elementary chose Ms. Jill Kaelin as our Teacher of the Year. Jill Kaelin teaches 4th grade and is the main organizer for that Write Night I blogged about a few weeks ago. Jill created an after school writing club that will publish a book of kid's writing before the end of the year. She is fabulous! Jill uses creative ideas to include technology into her daily lessons. Her passions include Twilight, reading, and technology. Currently she is working on a novel and hopes to publish one day. I am so proud to call her a colleague. Way to go!
This year my good buddy Liz Lilly and my sister in law Cassy Jurgensen were selected as Teacher of the Year for their schools. Make sure to check out their blogs, I linked them to their names. :) Liz was named a Top 5 Finalist for our County Teacher of the Year. Here we are looking fabulous! It was hard to choose 1 TOY they are all so fabulous! We are so lucky to have them teaching our children.
Every year, around this time in Orlando one can experience FETC, Florida's Educational Technology Conference. I love this event! The only problem is I have a hard time sleeping for the next month because of all the things I see and want to show my students and try out. Well this year is especially exciting because I won the NEW Promethean AV 500 interactive whiteboard! Most know I love Promethean products and train many of the teachers here at our school and throughout the district. We have the MOST successful user group because teachers in our district see the value of the interactivity with the software and the learning that takes place for our students.
I have to tell you the story because it is so exciting. On Wednesday at 10:15 you had to visit the Promethean ActivClassroom bus to get a ticket. Four tickets were drawn and you had to play Stop the Clock! My number was drawn 4th and I was so excited I almost..., let's just say I was excited! I was jumping up and down and screaming and of course my buddies (Cassy, Audra, and Anne) were with me screaming too. The 1st and 2nd play the game and 1 winner is left. Then the 3rd person and I play and I won in 10 seconds. Again more screaming and jumping around. My principal, Mr. Butler was there joining in the excitement too! Then it is the final round and I win in 7 seconds! I was so excited I found it hard to settle down and breathe. Thank you to my buddies for support and the other 3 that didn't win. We will be one of the first classrooms in the United States to have this new board and software. I can't wait for it to arrive so my class and I can play and learn even more with all the new capabilities. Here is a picture of Mr. Butler and I after the big win. I think I walked around with that smile all day, wait I still have it right now! Thank you Promethean!
You are probably wondering what in the world that is 3 years away. Take it from me it will be here before you know it. In Florida, 4th graders take the FCAT Writes test where they demonstrate their writing craft in essay form. We all know preparation does not just happen in fourth grade. Teachers and parents start before Kindergarten exposing young minds to text and text features. They read stories with different voices and intonation. They help with sentence structure and word choice. It truly takes a long time to improve one's writing craft. Each year our 4th grade puts on a Write Night. A guest speaker is offered to inspire and talk about their journey as a writer. The 4th grade teachers perform a skit. Tips are offered to parents along with a countdown writing calendar and door prizes! Our administration feels so strongly about a family night that they even offer pizza to all the families! Thank you Mr. Butler and Dr. Newnam.
This year the guest speaker was Marian Strong Tomblin, a famous local writer. She has written books entitled, The Mystery of Ormond Hotel, Where's Capone's Cash?,Manatee Moon, and others. She is such a fabulous speaker! She captivated the crowd with her wit and she made writing seem so easy to do. All you needed was practice! She even had some of her "in the works" notebook available for the families to see. There was one notebook that looked a little weathered, come to find out she had enough one day and left it out in the rain. Kaile, my daughter, was so excited to get an autographed copy of her book. Just look at that smile. Of course I had to squeeze into the photo. I love it when I meet authors and get to tell my class all about the experience.
It was night to remember. Taking that writing test just lets you see the fruits of your labor from pre-school to now. If you don't write with your child, start today. Buy a notebook and write notes back and forth, buy a journal and write about all those memorable moments, or buy a blank book and write about a future trip. When was the last time your child actually sat down and wrote a thank you letter? Writing is all around and it goes hand in hand with reading. The only way to get better is to practice.
My name is Jeanne Wright and this is my 22nd year teaching in Volusia County, Florida. I am honored to be the 2009 Volusia County Teacher of the Year. That year I was also one of five finalists for the Florida Teacher of the Year. I am National Board Certified since 1999 in Early Childhood Generalist. I look forward to a wonderful year with my first graders!