Happy Good Friday!

The Academy is closed on Good Friday and I am very thankful to have today off! I am spending my day cooking and cleaning the apartment in anticipation for my parents coming to visit! They will be staying with us for an entire week and I can’t wait to share with them the life that we have made here. Overall, I had a really great week. The Academy has what they call “No School-School” on the days that public schools are closed (such as Spring Break). They offer care for older siblings of kids who regularly come to the preschool. I was responsible for planning a daily schedule of activities for 4-6 first graders and two Kindergarteners while they were on “Spring Break” this week. I came up with the idea for the students to earn jellybeans for good choices throughout the week. They each started with three tally marks (or three jellybeans) each day and they could either make choices to earn more jellybeans or lose jellybeans. It worked so wonderfully! And the kids couldn’t have been more excited about taking home their reward at the end of the week! One parent even mentioned that her child had been more well behaved at home this week (bonus for me!).

The most students I had in a day was eight and the least I had was five, so I had a pretty good group with such low numbers. I planned a craft activity for each day along with other activities. The first day, the kids made these pretty cool Easter crosses. On Tuesday, I attempted trying a craft that my brother had made when he was in elementary school. It was an Easter egg made out of string, but unfortunately it was a teacher fail for two reasons. I used yarn instead of embroidery floss AND I only had the kids wrap in an up-and-down direction rather than across and all over. Sadly, when we popped the balloons the yarn imploded as well. This was the result:

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But no worries! The kids weren’t too upset. I made it into a teachable moment by pointing out that teachers don’t always get it right the first time either. Wednesday’s craft was a little easier with coloring, cutting, and gluing chicks in an Easter basket. The last day they made a bird’s nest with little chicks inside. They turned out quite cute!

I’m working on recovering my joy of teaching so that I can look forward to my job rather than dreading going to work. After reading this note from one of my students this week, I’m sure it won’t be long. He is in Kindergarten by the way and made only one spelling error! Pretty impressive:

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I hadn’t really thought about what Robert and I would do to celebrate Easter, but we were surprised when we had to choose from several invites of where to spend Easter lunch/dinner on Sunday. It’s been such a huge blessing to have people reaching out to us and inviting us to various events. I’m really looking forward to the worship service on Sunday morning! We actually have enough Praise Team members to form a small choir (about 10 people) and still have a few people on mics. Pastor Sean and Kaley will be opening with Don’t You Worry Child/Beautiful Day mash-up. Everyone else will be singing Alive, Because He Lives (Amen), and Anthem (I chose this link because we are only singing the chorus for the service , but this family did an AMAZING job, especially the key changes!) for our Easter celebration. When we practiced on Thursday night, it felt like an epic dance party/concert on stage celebrating Christ’s resurrection.

tfcCan’t wait to celebrate on Sunday! Hallelujah, Christ has risen! Happy Easter!

Blog#8

Teaching at Last!

I started my new job last week at The Academy. Don’t ask me if I like it yet, because I haven’t decided. During the day, I basically fill in for absent teachers with kids aging from infants up through second grade. If all the teachers are at school, I do miscellaneous jobs like folding laundry and distributing it to classrooms or helping out in the infant room. In the afternoon from 3-6, I am the lead teacher for the kids who stay after school since their parents are still at work. It has been pretty chaotic since there is a wide range of ages (3 years old to seven years old) and they all come to the back room at different times. Fortunately, I have two teachers helping me because we have up to 30 kids in the room at any given moment.

Over the weekend I worked on setting up a schedule of activities for the afternoon. There are a few things I can’t change like snack time and outside time, but the kids definitely need more structure rather than tons of free play. I’m planning on adding a song time and a game time. Possibly a craft time, but that will be more demanding since I will have to plan a craft for every day, gather all the materials, AND modify it depending on the age. Songs and games are a little easier to incorporate for several age groups. I am excited to see how the kids respond to the activities I have planned.

The Academy currently has a Kindergarten class and a combined 1st/2nd grade class. I was informed upon hire that both teachers will not be returning next Fall, which is good news for me! Since the students will be moving up next year, there will be a need for a third grade class, which is my preferred grade. I’m hoping to step into that role when we return to Florida in the Fall. One thing I am excited about experiencing is the class sizes. The elementary school isn’t advertised much, so the Kindergarten class this year has a total of 7 students, 3 1st grade students, and four second grade students. Hence why they combined 1st and 2nd grade for this year. I’m really looking forward to actually being able to connect and have a relationship with each of my students.

Robert and I have been spending more time outside our apartment with some of our new friends. Last week, Robert participated in a basketball tournament that was hosted by our apartment complex, Cabana Beach. Click here and here to see pictures from the event! Our new friend Tyler (wearing blue in the pictures) called in some of his basketball buddies to be on the team for the 5 on 5 tournament. He played college basketball, so he had some pretty legit connections, included a guy who used to play professionally for the Spurs. Needless to say, their team won the tournament and walked away with $10 Chick-fil-a giftcards each!

We also attended a small cook-out/dinner and made some new friends through Tyler’s other connections. The hosting couple, Tyler’s best friend’s parents, has the most beautiful house in Haile Plantation (a wealthy community in Gainesville) on the edge of a golf course. Tyler had a few games planned for us including taste testing those nasty jelly beans you can buy at Cracker Barrel, as well as an intense game of charades. One team would come up with a person, action, and place for someone on the other team to act out for their team to guess. I’m not very good at guessing, but apparently I’m pretty good at acting. The other team won, but it was still great fun and great company.

Well, until next time leave your comments, suggestions, encouragements below! Thanks for subscribing to my blog!

Blog#7