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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Classroom Tour & First Grade Fun

 Meet my 28 ambitious, kind, and exuberant 1st graders. They come to school every morning full of energy and joy that we (try to) harness into reading, math, spelling, science, social studies, and religion lessons. I am grateful to be their teacher and am continuously challenged as I reflect on each day and set goals to help me become a better teacher. Being a first year teacher is hard and overwhelming, but my students offer me so much grace and love. I'm greeted every morning as soon as I set foot on campus by a committee of 3-5 of my students running toward me at full speed. After a group hug and giggles, we walk to the classroom. It's a great way to begin each day.

I've finally had a chance to make my room my own and am so excited to share it with you. Having transferred to 1st grade after a week teaching the 7th graders (1st grade is a much better fit for me) - I didn't have anytime to prepare the classroom or curriculum. I've spent the past quarter focusing on content and keeping my head above water, and am excited to have given some attention to the decor of my classroom.
 We put on our pretend 'sight word sweatshirts' everyday to review and practice our sight words.

 We just finished learning about the life cycle of a butterfly and are starting the life cycle of frogs this week!

 The view from the back of my classroom. My students sit next to their academic partners to make think-pair-share activities easier. 

 I post at least one learning objective on the whiteboard each day. We also count what day of school it is (anticipating a fun party on the 100th day of school) and have a good morning message to start our day.

 I just put up the big border in the back - we'll fill that space with our "My Favorite Part of School Is" writing later on this week. 

 Math posters reminding my students of all the different ways they can solve math problems.
Our life cycle wheels - each wheel can be spun to show the egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, and butterfly stages!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Governor Mandates and Friday Adventures

 Friday morning started off like any other school day. I woke up a few minutes before my alarm, worked out, made oatmeal, and was doing my morning devotional when Sister Isabel, the principal of Our Lady of Mercy High School, called. She quickly divulged that the Governor had cancelled school for the day and declared Pohnpei in a state of emergency. The past few days we'd been hit with some intense storms, called tropical disturbances, that continued through the night and into Friday. To put it in some perspective for you: it rained so hard on Thursday that I had to yell (as loud as possible) so my students could hear me during math. The four of us, giddy with excitement at the prospect of a surprise three day weekend, quickly posted signs at the gate of Our Lady of Mercy and bunkered down in our apartment. We listened to the crescendos and decrescendos of raindrops and wind, excited at the events of the day but praying the weather wouldn't get any worse. [So far nothing had been damaged, but the best way to be sure everyone was safe was to have students stay home. We have some students who drive from the total opposite side of the island (about an hours drive) to get to school everyday!] We downed cups of coffee and tea, read, worked, and caught up on those things that you always say you'll get around to, but never do.

In the afternoon Mer and I decided to go on a little adventure. The intensity of the storm had died down and while it was still raining a bit, we were feeling a little stir-crazy. I documented our adventure so you could go on it, too!
 We headed down our street...
 turned left...
 took another left...
 and walked along the causway!
 Me, a coconut tree, a nas, and Sokehs Rock in the background. We took the road to my left in this picture and ended up...

 passing a rusted and sinking boat. 

 After taking the mandatory jumping pictures
 and a selfie, we headed back to our apartment. Our skirts were sufficiently soaked upon our return, but it was worth the adventure.

Thankfully, the storm has passed and everyone is safe! Storm trackers say the weather is now traveling up to Saipan and Tokyo, but hopefully the 'tropical disturbance' won't turn into a typhoon. 

We're gearing up for the last week of the quarter this week, and I hope to share more pictures of my classroom and students soon! I'll leave you with a picture of my favorite local food - bananas! Most bananas on island are the small one on the sides of this photo. The bananas in the middle are extraordinarily large and would be put into the 'cooking banana' category by locals. There are over 50 varieties of bananas on island! While bananas are always plentiful, the island has been out of eggs and cheese for about a month now. The veggies are slim to none these days, too, so we're hoping a shipment comes soon. You never know what you might find (or not find) in a grocery store these days. Such is island life! My stateside friends, you enjoy the plethora of food at your finger tips for me and I'll enjoy some bananas and coconuts for you :) 

Goodnight from Pohnpei!