Sunday, September 02, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like First Grade

Three weeks ago my daughter was stressing out "to the max" to get her classroom ready for the school year. She took over last year in February for the first grade teacher who was going out on maternity leave. That teacher decided before the baby was born that she wanted to stay home full time. Excellent choice.  So Sarah gladly stepped in and the school retained her this year in the same position. She wanted to make the room her own, though, so out with the old and in with the new.
One day in mid-August, she headed out ready to "shop till she dropped". Nine hours and five stores later, she had amassed quite the array of eye-catching things to organize and decorate with.

The transformation began one day soon thereafter. We pitched in to help. (Joel didn't want to appear
in this blog post, but trust me, we put him to work.)  The clock was ticking down to the time when parents would be coming for Back-to-School Night.

On the far wall...
Bright, fun colors and lots of organization.  My girl's personality permeates her classroom.
Wonder how long this neatness will stay like this??? 
A getting-to-know-you beach ball.
Ambrey got the job of hot-gluing things that needed to go up high on concrete walls.
Up and down off the chair, squirting glue on the item and hopping back up before the glue dried! She calls it practice for her own future classroom. I call it enviable youth and trustworthy balance.
Sarah has been collecting books from yard sales and a store here in Baltimore called
the Book Thing where people can get books for free--as many as they want! People
donate them. What a help to teachers operating on a shoestring budget!

My favorite nook--the reading center. Children sit on those
furry, padded ottomans. (The lids lift off to reveal
more storage. How clever!) See the clothesepins on the Radical Readers board?
Each student gets one
(referred to as a clip) and for every 15 minutes they read,
they get their clip moved to the next "foot."  Prizes awarded, of course.
The Way to Go! box is, of course, a favorite with kids.
For extra good behavior or stellar work, they get to
pick a goodie out of it.  I forgot to ask if I could have a prize
for being a good teacher's helper that day. Or as Sarah kept saying,
I was at least there to take pictures of  everyone else working.
Well, hey. This is a major milestone, honey. The teacher is
pretty special to me and I'm sure we'll all love to look back
someday at her first Teacher Prep Week as a bona fide,
full-time first grade teacher. (I really did do some
work while I was there. 24 Friday Folders, 24 desk nametags,
and 24 Parent Packets all needed to be labeled, and she likes
my printing, so that took a while.)
Sarah kept her to-do list ever before us on the board.
Erasing things as we went felt really good. So
did taking some time at 4:15 to finally sit down and eat, but
with parents coming for Back to School Night at 5:30,
there was not time to photograph the weary
workers.  A few people were glad to see my camera
take a break as well.

I couldn't get enough of the reading center.
That bamboo rug and the stuffed animals (reading buddies)
and a bright blue bookcase. What's not to like?

At 5:00, we snapped this picture of her having changed into her professional outfit.
and a quick face and hair refresher. I, on the other hand, remained a sweatball of happiness before
disappearing  and leaving my little girl to do her grown-up thing, the very thing she's
wanted to do since she herself was in first grade.
(Honestly, we did not dress to match the
Vibrant Vocabulary bulletin board behind us. 
Notice the Ravens magnet up there. Gotta love our
home team.)
She has now experienced her first full week of school, and--as if teaching 24 students all day isn't enough--she took on an after-school tutoring job.  So, in my defense, I take pictures to remember
what my dear daughter looks like, since I see her all of maybe three hours a week. 
In case you can't tell, I really am rather proud of my one and only girl, who
has turned out to be nothing less than the best daughter a mom could hope for--
not to mention the best teacher any first grader could dream of having.
Love and prayers for a spectacular 2012-13 school year, precious daugher.
Your mama loves you.  


Lea also known as "CiCi" said...

Well, I don't know that I have ever seen such a happy classroom in all my life. Those kids are going to love being in her room and having her as their beloved teacher. You have every right to be proud. She going to make a positive difference in those precious lives that will count for eternity. Thanks for sharing this with us. I loved it! Of course, having a daughter and DIL that are teachers makes me appreciate it ever more.

Tina Leigh said...

When an adult looks at the classroom and thinks, "I wish I was back in school", then I think it's a success!
So, yeah...I wish I was going to her class!

You have every reason to be proud!

Joyce said...

Hope your daughter has a wonderful year! I loved my first grade teacher : ) My youngest is working on her Masters but is teaching in a 5th grade class this fall term. She is loving the older kids...always thought she wanted the littles but this has been such a great placement she is rethinking that.

Carrie B said...

I love all the bright happy colors!

That beach ball idea would be great for any age, don'tyathink?!

Laurie said...

It is so exciting to be starting something new and dreamt of and longed for! I pray God will bless the work of many' hands and the plans and good intentions of a devoted and loving first grade teacher! How vibrant and inviting is the room!