Monday, March 7, 2016

My New Classroom!

I always say you are a product of your environment! So I go for JOYFUL, EXCITING, ENGAGING,  COMFORTABLE, and LOVING!

Let's see if you agree...




Love me some second grade!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

I've Missed You!

Hello to all my blogger friends! I have missed you all so much! It has been an amazing six months! Where do I begin?

My new home!
I am so thankful to be back home where I learned to be a teacher! I owe this district my life! It not only made me the person I am today, but it has molded me into the teacher I am today!

I have been given the amazing opportunity this year to teach a new grade. I am so excited to say I am a second grade teacher! Check out my adventures on Instagram (@jdstoffel)! After teaching kinder, first, and third, I am loving second grade and differentiating the curriculum to meet all my precious students needs!

Thank you for holding on! I knew I had to take a break from blogging to catch my breath with a new school and a new grade and am so thankful for all of you! I can't wait to share with you what I have been up to!

In the mean time some pics of the process and change:
My old classroom as I was packing. I hate to even admit it but I love to pack! There is nothing like going through everything and playing "Tetris" in a box. If you don't know what Tetris is just pretend you do for my sake as I have told you before, I still think I am 22 and in my first year of teaching! Thank you!

So I went from my old classroom to my parents storage unit (aka their third car garage):


Don't worry! I filled it all up! And oh yes they thanked me weekly for using them as a storage unit! Next up are pics of my new classroom! I love it and all the learning that takes place in it each and every day!
P.S. I will be be back to posting 1-2 times a week! My favorite thing is collaborating with all of you!

Monday, June 8, 2015

You Know You Are A Teacher...

There are so many ways to tell I am a teacher! But here is one of my favorites:

A text like this reminds me of all the people in my life who not only support me as a wife, mom, and friend, but also as a teacher! They know I love new ideas and how much I love learning from others! I can't wait to see the pictures Jen took from her Open House!

Oh...and for all my East Coast and over seas friends-our "Open House" is at the end of the year here is Southern California. I know so many friends that consider what we call "Back to School Night" as Open House. Ours is the other way around!

Have a fabulous day!

Friday, June 5, 2015

A Night at the 1st Grade Museum!

I just have to say as much as I would like to take credit of the awesome title "A Night at the 1st Grade Museum," all credit goes to my students! I was telling them about how I am always learning and read other teacher's blogs (they love looking at my blog and seeing pictures of themselves-with permission of course). I explained how a teacher I follow explained Open House to her first grade students. She said think of it like going to a museum. So I took this amazing idea (I can't remember who I got it from so if it is you-thank you) and found myself saying to them, "that's museum work!" as they were completing their projects and many other things we were working on for open house. I told them they were like Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso. Then one student raises their hand and says, "Mrs. O'Connell it's like Night at the Museum." Then one says, "A Night at the 1st Grade Museum!" It was pretty much decided at that moment with an anonymous "yes!" that our night was going to be called A Night at the 1st Grade Museum! Welcome to our museum...





































Thursday, June 4, 2015

This Time of the Year!

Any teacher will tell you that this is one of the hardest times of the year! You work so hard doing all you can to meet the needs of each student, praying that you have done just that, met their needs-that what you have done is enough! And as the days count down until summer you start to feel that pit in your stomach...you have to say goodbye. Tears.

I was sitting at my U-table helping one of my struggling readers with some Annotation Marks while reading their Social Studies text. If you aren't familiar with Annotation Marks here is a sample of what they are:
I love using these when we are reading as it shows the students thinking! I of course model, model, model at the beginning of the year and you should see their marks now!

Ok so back to the U-table...I was helping a student, when I looked up and saw this:

Be still my heart! When you get to this point in the year with your amazing firsties and they are working together finding text evidence to back up their answers-you shout "winning!" Now my students already think I am crazy so why not shout "winning" and do a spontaneous dance party because of how hard they are all working?! Did I mention that they LOVE this and it makes them work even harder! As more tears rolled down my face I realized this right here-this small moment-is such a victory. As I tell my class, "together we are better!" But I have to say I think I got the better deal!

My Heart!

I recently asked my personal kids (I have to always refer to my own two children as my "personal" kids) what they love about our family. I asked them each individually and then it made for a great discussion at dinner. Yes at dinner. Dinner time is our time to share. We go around and each of us share our "high" and "low" for the day. If you have never done this, I highly recommend it! We have made it our rule that anything can be said at the dinner table and what is said at the dinner table, stays at the dinner table. It's amazing what is in their (not so little anymore) hearts!

So here is my heart...my family! (minus my brother, mom and dad)


So what did my kids say? They love that we are there for each other. That we always put our family first. That we take care of each other. And that we love to spend time together.

I am so thankful for these precious gifts!