Posts filed under ‘My journey back to the classroom’

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

Don’t worry…P is happy!

by: Jennifer Perez

I have officially completed my 4th week Back to School!!  I cannot believe how quickly the time continues to fly by, and yet, I still worry about my daughter Peyton.  I have been a stay at home mom for practically her entire life so making the decision to go back to work was extremely difficult… for me that is!

Thank the good Lord; while I am at work, my sweet angel gets to stay with my wonderful mother-in-law-A.K.A Nani.  (I really do mean wonderful!  I l was blessed with her for sure!) So, after knowing how wonderful my mother in law is and how close her and Peyton were….I find myself still asking myself, “why are you still worrying?”

Now, being a parent myself, I know that this question goes without asking.  I’m a parent; of course I am still going to worry!  From what I hear, parents ALWAYS worry about their children-even after they have married and moved out of the house!

It is so heart-warming each and every day, when I pick up my daughter to see that huge grin on her face.  One that tells me- “MOM, I’m so happy to see you AND MMOOOMMM- where have you been?”  I love getting the daily run down on how their day was spent….I’m a numbers person so I really do enjoy this part!  A sample day can look like this:

8:15~ Peyton wakes up

8:15-9:15 ~Breakfast and morning T.V. time

9:30-11:00 ~ go to the mall for exercise and carousel riding (Yes, we have a carousel IN one of our malls)

11:15-12:00pm ~ Lunch and afternoon milk

12:15-2:15pm ~ NAP

2:15-3:15pm ~ Enrichment time: reading, puzzles, games

3:30- Mommy and P time!!!

A huge part of keeping P and I BOTH happy is that we have always followed a schedule-since she was about 8 weeks old! (But that is a different story!) I have complete confidence in my mother-in-law and it is time for me to stop worrying so much.  I need to remember that my daughter is in VERY capable hands while I am doing something that I love- TEACH and grow young minds!

To all of you teachers out there – I THANK YOU and respect you for ALL that you DO!!!

Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez  9/7/10

September 11, 2010 at 9:28 PM Leave a comment

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

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

Going Back to School…EARLY!

by: Jennifer Perez

It’s no surprise; you all know that I am going back to teaching this year!  In our school district, Hillsborough County, teachers do not need to report to school until Monday, August 16, 2010.  Many principals allow their teachers to work in their classrooms the week prior to returning back to school.  I for one, genuinely appreciate this gesture and have fully taken advantage of it!

With the flexibility of going to school ‘whenever’ this week, I’ve been able to work in my classroom and bring my daughter along to help!  While I was shoving shelves into corners, Peyton was wiping shelves.  As I was strategically placing student desks into their perfect positions, Peyton was wiping shelves.  While I organized books into the book bins, Peyton was wiping shelves!!  (Peyton LOVES using her wipes to clean!)

Needless to say, with the few extra hours that I’ve been able to spend in my room, I’ve been able to make a decent dent in the huge task of creating the perfect learning environment for my students!  I’ve attached a few before pictures of my classroom and I will share the after pictures as soon as I can!

This view of the classroom is from the back of the room.  The student desks are in no particular order in this photo…yet!

Here is the right side of my classroom near the entryway to the room.  This is where I will set up our Guided Reading corner where I will pull small reading groups each day!

This area of the room is in the very back of the classroom.  Once it is all put together, this is where the classroom library will be.  I can’t wait for this area to be up and running!

After pictures of my classroom to be posted soon….

Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 8/12/10

August 13, 2010 at 6:29 AM 2 comments

Teach the Teacher

by: Jennifer Perez

I was so thrilled when I was asked by our school’s Math/Science Resource Teacher to attend a “Math-Teach the Teacher” training with her over the summer!  A few reasons for my extreme excitement included:

  • Attending a Professional Development Training where I KNEW I would learn valuable information.
  • Having the opportunity to learn more about the new Math Textbooks adopted by our District.
  • Getting back into the “swing” of things after taking a year off to stay home with my daughter!
  • Being able to share what we learned with our co-workers about the Math Resource materials.  With this knowledge, we all will be capable of using the materials correctly in order to benefit our students!

Throughout my four years of teaching, I have attended over 75 Professional Development Trainings!  These trainings all have been extremely beneficial for me AND for my students.  I truly enjoy learning new ways of presenting content materials to my students. I have the training presenters and the District of Hillsborough County to Thank for all of that!

Now, I have the opportunity to teach my co-workers information that will be of value to them AND for their students!  My hope is that I can be as effective as the trainers in which I’ve had in the past!  I plan on reflecting on that experience when it happens in a few weeks and sharing my thoughts on the entire experience!

Wish me luck!

© Jennifer Perez 7/29 /10

July 29, 2010 at 7:35 PM Leave a comment

Fact Fluency

by: Jennifer Perez

This past week, I attended another wonderful training provided by the Hillsborough County School District.  This time, the content was strictly math…Fact Fluency.

For me, this is such an important topic because it affects my students each and every day.  As a classroom teacher, I am expected to follow a ‘math calendar’, which basically suggests how much time I have to teach each math topic.  In my opinion, the calendar is a wonderful resource because it allows all teachers to stay focused and not spend too much time or too little time on any particular topic.

Then what about the students that require MORE time in order to learn new material?  What happens to them?  Do we just say, “Sorry, we have to stick to the calendar…work on page 92 for extra help!?” Well, I do agree with providing my/our students with additional help, but how??

The training provided three excellent Steps in order to help our children Master their Basic Facts:

  1. Help children develop a strong understanding of the operations.
  2. Develop efficient strategies of fact retrieval and practice the use and selection of those strategies.
  3. Provide drill for those facts already in LONG term memory and fore new facts for which a strategy has been practiced.

All of this can be accomplished through careful planning and use of:

  • Math Manipulatives
  • Read Alouds for Fact Retrieval such as The Best of Times by: Greg Tang
  • Appropriate Math Games

I look forward in the opportunity in building my Math student’s Fact Fluency this school year.  Yes, I am already planning for this and will soon share some of my ideas.  Remember—every student CAN and WILL learn.  We just need to find their learning style and provide them with support and positive reinforcement!

Happy Learning!

July 9, 2010 at 6:55 AM Leave a comment

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