Archive for August, 2010

Time to “Re” Balance

by: Jennifer Perez

Going Back to School this school year was everything I thought it would be.  For me, this included:

1. Becoming reacquainted with staff

2. Moving into a completely different classroom

3. Reorganizing the placement of certain high traffic areas in my room

4. Learning new rules and procedures for the school

5. Reviewing curriculum for all of the subjects I teach

6. Planning effective lessons for my students

7. Continuing to work as the PTA Treasurer

8. And MUCH more!

Being the person that I am, I always strive to give 110% to everything that I commit to.  With going back to school, this means that I have several different life obligations to tend to…all requiring me to give the very best that I can offer!  Now that I have been back to school ‘officially’ for a week, I am beginning to realize that 110% of me and my efforts is just not possible in ALL that I do!!  (Wheew-that was tough for me to admit!)

I literally sat down one evening and wrote down all of my obligations and their time commitments.  I must say-actually writing all of that down was a HUGE eye-opening experience for me.  It helped me to realize that I am only human-it is just not possible to expect perfection in every aspect of my life….although I strive for it daily!

After reflecting upon this past week, here is what I have come up with- :

1. God will never give me more than I can handle.

2.  I have to learn how to tell people no sometimes.

3. It’s ok to actually rest on the weekends AND

4. Above all else, I will ALWAYS have my family and friends-they are what is most important.

So, here is to all of you out there trying to make a difference in this world!  Remember to only bite off only as much as you can chew and your efforts will not go un-noticed!  Keep pushing hard and your dreams will come true!

Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 8/28/10


August 30, 2010 at 6:01 AM 4 comments

Ta-Da….I’m all done

by: Jennifer Perez

Ta-Da…after 6 official days of working in my classroom AND  help from friends and family….my classroom is finally complete!!  I take a lot of pride in setting up my classroom each year.  Afterall, my classroom is practically my second home as well as my student’s second home!  Keeping that in mind, I use bright, inviting colors throughout the room and incorporate a few ‘home’ elements.

Welcome to the FIRST Day of School!  The Lion is our school’s mascot and we take it very seriously at our school! 😉

The view of my classroom from the back of the room.  I particularly LOVE all of the bright colors-it makes me at home!  The response from the students has been wonderful!

I set out all of my student’s books and materials they would need for their 1st day!  The pencil boxes are filled with: pencils, erasers and crayons ~ a gift from me to each of students!

My Guided Reading area where small groups will be pulled each day.  The Word Wall letters are one of my favorite elements of the classroom!

Setting up your classroom for the new school year should a fun and exciting time of the year!  I suggest setting up the room however you will feel the most comfortable and once the students arrive-see how they react to their surroundings.  If minor adjustments need to be made after the student’s arrive, then do so happily!  I hope you all enjoy completing your classrooms-Have a wonderful school year!

Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 8/25/10

August 25, 2010 at 10:29 PM 2 comments

Commonly used Prefixes

by: Jennifer Perez

As teachers, we all use our State Standards to teach our students the curriculum for each subject area.  The Standards not only help keep us teachers on track, but it also makes sure we cover all information necessary.  One such item on the Grade 3 Florida Reading/Language Arts Standards are Prefixes.

Benchmark Number ~ LA.

Benchmark Description ~ The student will use knowledge of the pronunciation of root words and other morphemes (e.g., prefixes, suffixes, derivational endings ) to decode words.

According to Scholastic, “A prefix is a group of letters that appears at the front of a word. A prefix affects the meaning of the root (base) word to which it is attached.

To determine whether or not a group of letters is a prefix, remove them

from the word. The letters are a prefix if a known word remains. For example,

remove the letters un from the following words: unhappy, untie, uncle,

uninterested. In which word are the letters un not a prefix? Yes, these letters

are not a prefix in the word uncle.”

After reviewing the latest Standards, I began researching the Prefixes in which I wanted to teach my students this school year.  While I was conducting my research, I quickly learned there were several hundred to choose from.  If we had more time in the school year, I would figure out a way to teach them ALL to my students; however, this is not the case!  I turned to a Professional Development training I attended this summer where I received an extremely helpful book  Here is where I learned the FOUR most important prefixes to teach students through 6th grade:

Un ~not, the opposite of  Ex. Unkind, unable

Re ~again, back  Ex. Repeat, regress

In ~not  Ex. Indiscreet, invisible

Dis ~apart, not  Ex. Disengage, discomfort

By learning these FOUR prefixes, students will/would be able to decode a total of 1,500 words!  To me, this was amazing to find out!  If I can successfully teach my students to learn AND use these prefixes then I am setting them up for success!

How Mrs. Perez will teach and use prefixes:

  1. During Morning Work once per week
  2. Guided Reading
  3. Center activities weekly
  4. Homework Assignments
  5. Writing Assignments
  6. Journaling/Reflective writing!

Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 8/21/10

August 24, 2010 at 5:57 PM Leave a comment

Ready or not…Here they come!

by: Jennifer Perez

This year, Open House was held during our Pre-Planning week, which was different from years past.  No worries though!!  I have worked OH SO VERY diligently on getting my classroom ready for not only my parent’s Open House, but for my future kiddos!  I was thrilled to have had the opportunity to meet 10 out of 18 of my student’s parents in a one hour period.  I always value face-to-face time with my parents because it allows me, their child’s teacher, an opportunity to create that teacher-parent relationship.  In my classroom, the teacher-parent relationship plays a major role in my student’s learning.  I encourage my student’s parents to visit as often as they would like, to call me as often as they need and to schedule conferences as often as they would like. By doing this, I am trying to build this team so that we may work together for the betterment of not only one child, but ALL of them!

To help along the evening, a friend of mine helped to provide some refreshments which were all very appreciated by my students and their parents! I love these small gestures because it brings a smile to everyone’s faces on a day that can potentially be stressful and nerve-racking for families.

Cupcakes were created by my dear friend Lindsey of Bella Grace Party Designs.  The adorable ‘Welcome Back’ design was created by Pen and Paper Flowers.  They were a HUGE hit with my visiting parents and students!

The small bottles of ‘Welcome Back’ water were high in demand!  Some parents had to visit several rooms this evening so the water was a nice way to quench their thirst!

As you all prepare for your Open Houses, I encourage you to think about the importance of this evening.

Considerations for Open House ~

What do you want to accomplish?

Do you need to hand anything out?

Can paperwork be filled out?

Do you just want to build that teacher-parent relationship?

Planning ahead for such events will/can make a HUGE impact on the rest of your school year!

Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 8/23/10

August 23, 2010 at 6:02 AM 2 comments

Substitute Plans- A Sample

by: Jennifer Perez

Here is a sample of Substitute Lesson plans that I used once a few years ago.  I always try to leave detailed plans so that my student’s learning is not affected if I am away!

Good Morning Mr. Carbone,

Thank You for taking care of my students for the day. At some point today, Mrs. Severt will be stopping by to create some books with the class.  I have left the copies underneath all of your goodies!!

7:30-8:15am~Morning Work~ The students will be arriving at this time.  Their morning work is to complete the Multiplication Practice Worksheet. Please place a practice sheet on their desk so that when they arrive they can get straight to work.

8:15am~ Please send attendance at this time with Alexis and Esmeralda.  If anyone is absent, please mark your initials, in black pen only, on today’s date.  You do not need to worry about the calendar math because I have already done it for the day.  If the students ask, just tell them that Mrs. Perez has taken care of it for them today!

8:15-9:10am~Math # 1

The students will need their Anchors Math books for today’s lesson.  As a group, please complete SP 315/TE pg. 324.  Please allow the students some practice time by assigning them to complete student page 316/TE 325 odd #’s and page 318/TE 327#’s 1-13.

Please use the teacher’s edition to review the answers with the students. I have tabbed the pages for you with blue post it notes.

9:10-9:40am- Writing

The students have been working on a VOICE writing piece.  Please have the students get into their groups to complete their rough drafts.  At this time, please hand out the VOICE folders to each group.  About 5 minutes before clean up, please allow the students to share their letters with the class if they would like.

9:40am- Line Up

Please have the students place their writing into their VOICE folders and collect them please. Then, have the students line up at this time with their Music spiral notebooks.  Ask for the door holder and the line leader first and then the rest of the students. You will now take them to Music.

9:15-9:45am –Music

10:20-10:55~ Reading

Once everyone is seated, please let the students know that they will be continuing to work with their groups on their Reader’s Theater plays. The students will already have these plays at their desks underneath their blue baskets. Please remind students that they should be practicing using gestures, changing their tone of voice, facial expressions, etc… 

If possible, filter around the room and offer suggestions!!  They LOVE this!

10:53am~ Prepare for lunch.

At this time, please ask the students to hand the plays to the head of their tables.  These students are to then place the plays back underneath the baskets.

Now, ask them to take out their silent reading books so that they can read after lunch. 

Then, ask the door holder and line leader to line up.  Next, the students with lunch boxes line up, then everyone else may line up.


11:00-11:30am~ Lunch

11:35-12:00pm~ Silent Reading

As soon as the students return to class from lunch, they are to begin silently reading.  Please use the apple timer on the board to set the time for 25 minutes.  When the buzzer rings, the students will know to put their books away.

12:00pm-12:20pm~ Reading Practice

Students are to work independently in their BLAST OFF Reading Workbooks.  Please have them complete pages 29-35.  Please review answers with the class once the 20 minutes are up. (The pages are tabbed with blue post it notes).

12:20- 12:40pm~ Math Practice

After the review, students are then to work independently in their BLAST OFF Math Workbooks.  Please have the students complete pages 9-14.  Please review answers with the class once the 20 minutes are up.  When finished, please ask the students to place both books in their desks.  (The pages are tabbed with blue post it notes).

12:40-12:55pm-READ ALOUD

At this time, invite the students to the carpet for their read aloud of James and the Giant Peach.  Please read chapters 34, 35, 36.

12:55-1:00pm~Clean up and get ready for Science

Please have the students clean up and get their materials ready for Science.  When each table group is ready, have them line up at the water fountain in the hallway leading into Ms. Crane’s room. 

At this time, Ms. Crane’s students will be coming in the door for Math.

1:00pm-1:45pm~Math # 2

Please follow the same lesson as Math # 1.

1:45-2:00pm~Clean up/Dismissal

My students will be back in their room now.  They are to sit down FIRST and put away their Science Materials.  After they have done this, ask the students to please pick up 2 or 3 pieces of garbage. Then, please have Carolina stamp the student’s paw print sheets!  Tell the students that I will take care of their planners on Monday!  At this time, they may pack up!

1:55pm~ Please have the bus, walker and daycare students line up at the door.  Once they have all lined up, they may go out into the hallway. Then, ask for all of the car riders to line up at the fountain so that Ms. Crane  can take the car riders. You will have walker duty today and the dismissal list is attached

Once again, Thank you so much!  If you have any questions, you may ask Ms. Crane or Ms.Whitman who is across the hall!

Thank You,

Mrs. Perez

August 20, 2010 at 8:14 PM Leave a comment

Better NOW than Later

by: Jennifer Perez

Working in my room this week has been absolutely fabulous!  I have been able to work at my own pace while getting my classroom organized for my future kiddos.  Now that I’ve had several days in my classroom, I am now at the point where I can begin planning for the rest of the school year.  The items at the top of my list include:

  1. Previewing Cumulative Folders
  2. Plan for Lesson Plans
  3. Create Sub Plans

Previewing Cumulative Folders

Previewing my student’s Cumulative Folders is a task I take very seriously. These folders contain extremely valuable information about each individual student.  Such information may include: prior state testing with scores, past report cards, classifications, eligibility for special programs, reported behaviors and MUCH more!  Reading through the Cumulative Folders allows me the opportunity to get to know a bit about my students before actually meeting them.  The information gained is invaluable and is helpful in planning my 1st week of school.  If your school/district has such folders available for viewing, it is my strong professional opinion that you take some time to read through those of your future student’s!

Plan for Lesson Plans

I know this may sound confusing, but, please let me explain!  What I mean by ‘Plan for Lesson Plans’ is this ~ create a schedule of when you will be planning for each subject.  An old plan of mine looks like this:

Monday ~Plan Math in the morning

Tuesday ~Plan Writing during Specials (Art, P.E., Music)

Wednesday ~Plan Shared Reading in the Morning

Thursday ~ Plan Guided Reading after school

Friday ~Plan Social Studies during Specials (Art, P.E., Music)

By creating such a schedule, you will always know what subject you are planning for and when. The even better outcome is that you will always have your lesson plans completed before the weekend; leaving you time to enjoy yourself and your family!  I am a strong believer that rest and recuperation makes a much happier teacher!  So why not create a plan for Lesson Plan(s)?  Just try it out and I’m sure you will be a believer as well!

Create Sub Plans-You just never know

Let’s face it- life is unpredictable.  No matter how much we plan, cut and paste, sometimes it’s just not happening!  You are abruptly woken at 2:00am with a sick baby, the car breaks down or some other family emergency arises.  What do you do in situations like these when going to work for the day isn’t an option?  The answer?  Call in for a substitute teacher for the day, of course!  If you are like me, you try to plan as much in advance for your students as possible.  Planning for a substitute to be in your classroom for the day is no different.  Even though you aren’t at school- your students will be and they deserve to continue learning even if you aren’t there!  I highly recommend creating a ‘just in case’ set of Substitute Lesson plans…just in case…you know… you have to miss a day unexpectedly.  This way, your mind will be at ease while you are away AND your students will continue learning.  (Not to mention that the substitute teacher will be filled with joy at the thought of having a lesson plan to follow!)

Teachers, I tip my hat to you!  I believe that we truly do have one of the most difficult jobs, but we do it because we care!  Continue with your passion for children and watch as you change lives!

Happy Learning!

Copyright  Jennifer Perez 8/17/10

August 19, 2010 at 5:31 AM Leave a comment

Bookbag + Lifesaver = iSafe Bag

by: Jennifer Perez

iSafe Backpack ~ Introductory offer $59.98 regularly $69.99

When our black iSafe  School  Backpack arrived, my husband and I were excited to learn about this innovative safety bag.  Me being the kind of person I am, my first thoughts were, “ What exactly is this bag?” “Where can I buy it?”  “How does it work?”  Obvious questions for any curious parent.  In this aspect, my husband and I are very much the same.  Without a further thought, he grabbed the bag and WOW!  We found out exactly HOW the iSafe bag got its name!   After pulling the activation cord on the bag, an ear piercing sound came from this ordinary looking bag.  My husband fumbled to re-insert the activation cord which was found under the right shoulder flap.  That 30 second experience changed our lives forever.

About 260,000 children are abducted every year.  That number is amazing or better said, frightening.  Although nothing in this world is full proof, the iSafe bag helps in the defense of child abductions.  If shown how to properly use the iSAFE bag, a child can sound the alarm and ensure that the abduction does not go unnoticed.

As a parent you are always going to worry about your children.  All we can do is put safety nets in between our children and the dangers of the world to try to protect them.  This is a safety net that all children should have, and my child will always have.

© Jennifer Perez 8/18/10

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary ISafe Bag for this review. No other compensation was provided.

August 18, 2010 at 9:31 PM 3 comments

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