Wednesday, June 7, 2017

How to Plan a Building-Wide Career Day

This past Fall, I hosted my school's first building-wide Career Day.  I scheduled it on one of our Early Release Days, so the Specials schedule could be a little more flexible.

It all started in October with a "Save the Date" to parents:

I had speaker volunteers sign up through a Google Doc of the time(s) they were able to speak and/or participate in an interview.  From there, I used email communication to remind them of the day.

I created several Excel sheets with schedules for guests and teachers as well as our 4th grade "runners" (more on that below).

Leading up to the day, I had our staff participate in several College and Career activities:

I got this idea of a giant bar graph of where we went to college from Pinterest.  I loved being able to show our students all of the places we went to college.

The other activity I had staff help with was answering "If I couldn't be a teacher, what could I be?"  I gave them a blank body template and asked them to decorate it with their photo and what they could be if they weren't teaching.  (Idea modified from here.)  This had some fun responses and let us learn things about each other too!  This was posted on the opposite wall of the bar graph and the kids LOVED looking at these!

On the day of, Kindergarten through 3rd grade dressed as what they would like to be when they grew up.  I had also gathered career exploration activities like this one for teachers to use in their classrooms leading up to the day, so the kids could be well-versed in careers -- I wanted it to be meaningful for EVERYONE and not just an excuse to wear our Halloween costumes a 2nd time.

These students were able to hear from parents and members of our community during their shortened Specials schedule (remember, it was an early release day).  This allowed for 5 minute presentations that were less pressure for adults and a short, 30 minute time of being asked to sit quietly for the students.

We had some fun and interesting careers, ranging from a golf professional to a horse race announcer and lots in between!

The 4th graders dressed in Business Professional attire and spend their day serving as "runners" for our guests and participating in interviews.  We spent several class periods writing and practicing interview questions prior to the big day.

Each of the guests sat at a "station" and during their class' interview time, the students rotated.  A Specials teacher was in there with the students to monitor time and behavior.

Throughout the day, our entire school was able to participate in the photo booth I had set up outside the cafeteria.  Again, another Pinterest idea.  To make it run smoother, I had the teachers scheduled for 20 minute blocks and had pre-printed "chalkboard" signs of all of the careers submitted when the teachers polled their students.  I also had a 12"x 12" chalkboard sign and chalk available for anyone wanting/needing to write their own career.

It was a really fun day for everyone and we've already been talking about next year.  A few things I will do differently include a 2nd photo booth in another area in the school building and reaching out to more community members to get an even wider variety of careers.

Thanks to great ideas I found online and a building-wide collaboration and buy-in, our Career Day was a lot more than a parade of costumes, though I fondly remember mine from when I was in Kindergarten:

Sunday, July 21, 2013

10 Things I've Learned from Teaching

I'm linking up with Miss Kindergarten on the "10 Things I've Learned from Teaching" on this Sunday evening!

1) A funny voice or a stuffed animal makes teaching more enjoyable -- for the kiddos and the teacher.  We had a pretty boring Handwriting curriculum last year, but everyone participated when Maria (Nintendo Mario's sister) came to "teach" the lesson.  

2) There's little that a hug, a wet paper towel, or the beloved bandaid can't cure.  This is one thing I didn't learn as an Undergrad or Grad student -- basic first aid.  On this same note, I've learned that Kindergarteners and I have very different definitions of "bleeding."  

3) Organization is the key to survival.  Kindergarteners do not like to wait -- maybe it's the generation of instant gratification, but I need to be 2 steps ahead of myself every day and always have at least one "back up plan."  My kids really loved "Heads Up, 7 Up" with Sight Words at the end of last year (when one is calling on whom he/she believes picked him/her, he/she must say the Sight Word, rather than the person's name)

4) My life is very exciting.  My kids LOVE to hear stories about myself, my husband, and our dogs.  Especially the silly ones.

5) It's better just to go to school "under the weather" than plan for a sub. 

6) All about lice.  I had heard of lice when I was in elementary school, but never had a personal experience with it.  I am now well-versed in the life cycle of head lice.  (Sorry, I probably made your head itch just reading this).    

7) Miss Kindergarten posted one similar to this -- Kindergartener's remember EVERYTHING.  I could make up a rule and months later be reminded when someone broke said rule  

8) "Hanitizer."  

9) Everyone is someone's child.  I know my kid's parents send me their very best every day and it's my job to ensure that their children are safe, loved, respected, and valued under my care.  It's my goal for each child to grow a little smarter each and every day.  

10) Above all, the kids have taught me more than I could ever teach them! I learn something new EVERY day.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Let's Connect and a Freebie

I've enjoyed expanding my networks in over this past year.  Below you'll find ways to connect to me via Facebook, Pinterest, and Teachers Pay Teachers.  How do you best connect to other educators?  
And now for the freebie...  My Master's is in Guidance and Counseling and while I was completing my program several years ago, there was not many resources for early childhood counselors.  With the expansion of TPT, there are so many more!!  I've created several and made this feelings chart freebie on my store.  You can get it here!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Let's Start at the Very Beginning...

I had really good goals at the end of the year to start blogging more this summer while I had the extra time, but I also had goals of working out more, and I've been to the gym once this summer...  Maybe I need a new plan :)

I have been posting more on Instagram, follow me @mrsnation for more updates as I prepare for the beginning of the school year!

Here's some updates of what I've been up to as I'm getting "back in the swing" of things.  We report back to school in a little less than a month.  I can't believe it!

Here's how my room looked at the beginning of last year before any kiddos came:

 I used a combination of my own Primary Colors Classroom Decor and from Katie King's Classroom Decor Packet.

 My mom and husband made the tree on the back wall as well as one outside my door (not pictured).  Our Kindergarten theme last year was "Soaring into Kindergarten."


My favorite corner of the room was our "reading nook."  Some of my former coworkers threw me a "Very Hungry Caterpillar" themed going away party and my mom made this caterpillar as decoration.

My mom also used table cloths from Target to create pillows and a curtain to cover my teacher resources behind my teacher table.

Our carpets get cleaned each summer, so everything is packed up and pushed into one corner of the room.  I got a little overwhelmed when I walked in for the first time last week.  I don't know how you all who only get to go in a few days before do it.

Last week I started getting organized for next year with some of these precious chalkboard labels from Cara Carroll at the First Grade Parade.  My mom bought these bins for me at Wal-Mart and I'm going to put all of my center activities in them.  My files were getting too bulky!
I also have a *bit* of a binder problem and bought these at Sam's to organize some of my daily resources.

I've made a few resources in the past few weeks that I put in my TPT store.

I was needing a revision on some of my Literacy Center response sheets -- the ones that have been used for so many years, the copies are more of a grayish color than black.  I made Literacy Center Basics to replace and revise those pages.

We have a strong Pre-K program in Oklahoma, but about 25% of our kiddos come from other programs/a home-based setting and don't always know their letters.  I made Letter by Letter to use as a review for letter names, formation, and sounds.

My goal by the end of this week is to have all my files organized and everything in the new bins.  Then I'll start with setting my room back up.  Let's hope these goals go better than the ones I set at the end of the school year!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Welcome to Blogging!!

Hello!  Welcome to my Blog!  You might have gotten here from linking on my Teachers Pay Teachers store or through another teacher website.  Either way, welcome!  As this is my first official blog post, let me tell you a little bit about me. 

I'm Mrs. Nation and this is all about my education -- as I think I have so much more to learn from my Kindergarteners than I have to teach them.  I am constantly learning something new (some helpful information, some not so helpful - unless I'm ever on the Mario/Jack Frost/Tangled version of Jeopardy).

This is my 7th year in education, but my first official year of classroom teaching.  I was recruited out of college to come to work at my state's Department of Education in the Early Childhood division.  After 6 years and a promotion to Director of Early Childhood, the time came for me to move to the classroom!  A bit of a backwards way through education, but I wouldn't have it any other way -- I learned so much from that experience!

I have a Master's in Guidance and Counseling and I am in my last semester of course work towards my Doctorate (YAY!!).  I will start writing my dissertation this summer (looking forward to all that extra time) and hope to be done, done, done by Fall 2014. 

I hope to use this blog to update on my process, share ideas, and network with other educators!  Thanks for stopping by!