Archive for October, 2010

Happy Halloween

by: Jennifer Perez

Happy Halloween everyone!!  For all of you parents out there, I’m sure this day can be just as exciting for you as it is for your little ghosts and goblins.  (In my case, Ariel!)  We took my daughter Trick or Treating for the very 1st time EVER and we had a blast!!  This little Ariel had such a ball walking around the neighborhood with her mommy, daddy, Tio (uncle) and Nani (grandma).  I’m sure people were chuckling as Peyton walked up with her own entourage(Tio & Nani)  and paparazzi (mommy & daddy).

Our little Ariel dipping into the Halloween Treats!


Peyton A/K/A walking to the next house with her Nani! (There goes the paparazzi, I mean daddy in the background!)


Ariel and Superman….what a team!!

We hope you all had a fabulous Halloween!!  Til next year!!

Happy Spooking!


October 31, 2010 at 8:54 PM Leave a comment

ELL Ayuda (Help!)

by: Jennifer Perez

I don’t know about you all, but each year, I have at least 3 students each year who enter my classroom not speaking any English whatsoever. At our school, the main second language is Spanish.  Luckily for me, I consider myself to be pretty fluent in Spanish so communicating with my spanish speaking students and their parents isn’t a challenge.   (Thank goodness for my grandparents being persistent and teaching me Spanish when I was younger!)  I try my best to have frequent conversations with my ELL (English Language Learner) students, in Spanish, to see how they are feeling about things: the classroom, their learning, what they are doing at home to help their learning come along and anything else they need to talk about.  I have found that these conversations help my students stay ‘connected’ with me and their peers.

I try very hard to put myself in their shoes: new country, new school, ALL new people, new customs, traditions, new language, new procedures, etc….

To sum it up-EVERYTHING is new and they are expected to perform just as the other students do!  I sat down one day and brainstormed a list of things/ways I can help my ELL students transition into their new community and also become successful learners as well.

Here is the list I have come up with thus far:

1.  Daily mini-meetings to see how the students are progressing and answer questions

2. I read daily with my ELL students with books that are on their level.  This helps them to build confidence-the confidence they need to continue trying new things even if in another language!

3. Personal Vocabulary Files ~ I have my students use a personal index file and they add at least 5 words per week to their file.  I have them draw the picture  and write the word in English AND their native language.  My students then use these words in their reading, writing and Literacy Centers.

4. I keep constant communication with parents via email, telephone and notes in the student planners.  I notify parents of upcoming projects, assignments and opportunities to volunteer in the classroom.

5. I strategically seat my ELL students with peers that speak English and their native language.  This helps a lot with building confidence, friendships and the idea of the ‘gradual’ release model.

This is a list that I am sure will need to be revised even as the school year continues to unfold.  The important things to keep in mind is that our ELL students are working at a disadvantage as soon as they step foot into our classroom.  What is that disadvantage?  Not speaking English in a classroom where the primary instruction is given IN English and tested IN English.  As professional teachers, it is our responsibility to  help each of our students reach their maximum potential ….. even if they don’t speak English!


Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 10/11/10


October 11, 2010 at 8:56 PM Leave a comment

Inspirational Breakfast?

by: Jennifer Perez

Last Friday, I hosted a 3rd Grade Team Breakfast in my classroom before school started and it was such a great way to the start the day!  As you have previously read, I tend to arrive at school fairly early to get a head-start on my day.  However, Friday was special.  I wanted the team to ease into their day with a morning filled with Starbucks coffee, home-baked corn muffins and an inspirational reading from Heart of a Teacher.  (Ok, well- I am not sure if I truly inspired anyone, but I DID read an excerpt!)

It was really great just being able to catch up on things over coffee and not having anything “that needed to be done” at that particular moment.  I must say, I laughed so hard several times that my tummy actually hurt!  What a different way to start the day.  Let’s see….. rush around and get things done vs. belly laughs with co-workers??  Do I need to choose?  No way, I’m thinking of making our Team Breakfasts a regular occurrence in Room 403.  Maybe this will be the beginning of a new blog or book perhaps? Belly laughs in Room 403??  I like the sounds of that!

Happy Laughing & Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 10/3/10

October 6, 2010 at 5:48 PM Leave a comment

My Early Start!

by: Jennifer Perez

A typical morning for me at school begins around 6:40 am each day.  Now, teachers don’t have to arrive until 7:30 am, but for me, I need MORE time to do the things I NEED to do!  What may that be you ask??? Part of my morning “get the class ready” routine involves:

  • Setting up each lesson for the day
  • Hanging Anchor Charts that correspond with lessons
  • Setting out the Morning Work for the day
  • Checking and responding to e-mail
  • Planning lessons for the next week
  • Creating Literature and Math Centers
  • and sooo much more! (I get everything else done while the kiddos are at Music, P.E. and lunch!)

For me, arriving to school early allows me the opportunity to do the things I NEED ( more like want) to do without having the pressure of ‘time’ working against me.  Once the school day begins, it seems as though I don’t even have a chance to gather my thoughts.  (I refer to my days as ‘sprints’ rather than ‘marathons.’)  So, although I do get to school ridiculously early, I almost prefer it that way….for my own peace of mind!

For those who know me, know I am very much a perfectionist and pride myself in doing the very best I can in everything that I do! Teaching is no different than anything else I do….if anything, I take my job MORE seriously than anything else that is going on in my life.  After all, is it my responsibility to make sure I have the best possible lessons prepared, in each subject, to reach ALL of my students needs!!  Whew- I’m exhausted just thinking about my day and what it entails…..but, when it comes down to it….I really do love what I do and I am honored to be in this profession!

Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 10/2/10

October 4, 2010 at 5:56 AM 1 comment

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