Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Defy Gravity

Last night, I was lucky enough to have tickets to see Wicked. It was incredible! One of the scenes, in which Elphaba decides to fight back against what she believes is wrong, sings the well-known, "Defying Gravity" song. Previous to seeing the play, I ran into a teacher with a shirt from Wicked and on the back it said "Defy Gravity." I told her I was going to see the play soon and she said that "Defy Gravity" was her new favorite saying and was going to try and incorporate into her classroom. So, last night when I was listening to the amazing voice of Elphaba, I understood why that teacher wanted to use that phrase with her kids. Defy gravity. Go against the flow. Break the mold. Do it the hard way if it's the right way. Do what people say you can't. Defy gravity.

I'm totally going to use this in my classroom. Encourage my students to be above the norm. Be nice to students whom it's hard to be nice. Follow directions even when your friends aren't. Work hard in class even though you just want to be done. Don't let a stereotype keep you from doing what YOU KNOW YOU CAN DO. Defy gravity, and don't let anyone stop you.

From the Wickedly-inspired,
Miss Davis

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sweet 16: The Class List

I am excited to report that I received my class list today! As of right now, I have 16 students, pretty evenly split between boys and girls. Hurray! When going through my education classes, we always talked about "our students," the vague, anonymous term. Now, I have actual names of actual students! I am officially responsible for their learning = scary! But also very exciting! I was reminded today that I can now start praying for each of them by name--that they would enjoy school, have a good attitude, learn a lot, and that I would be the teacher they need. I spent some time writing their name plates for their tables today. It was one of those things that made me feel as if I was being productive. It seems like there is so much to do that I don't even no where to begin, so I feel like I have at least a little something done now, no matter how small. Step by step, right? That's what it's gonna take.

I spent the last 5 days (5 long days) in literacy training for the program at my school. It was so hard to sit still from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. everyday and listen! I have a renewed sense of motivation to use lots of activities that make my students get up and moving. Much of the training was somewhat abstract and general--not very helpful. However, there were some practical ideas and guidance to show what a literacy/reading block actually looks like in the classroom. As I am trying to figure out the physical setup and functions of my classroom, this was indeed a help.

Much of this week was also spent buying things that I need for my room: books, posters, reading chair, etc. It was truly an enjoyable time picking out all of these things, but so expensive! Even buying most of the things on sale was still expensive. I am relying on the fact that after I've taught for a few years, there will be less purchases to be made every year! That will be nice.

Coming this week: Heading to my room to organize and start arranging, maybe do some painting!

From the name at the top of the class list,
Miss Davis

Thursday, July 16, 2009


This week, I attended New Teacher Orientation. About 70 teachers (most of them first-years) sat uncomfortably in hard plastic chairs with the temperature below freezing (okay, maybe not that cold, but close) while we listened to informational sessions about professionalism, ethics, safety hazards, insurance, and benefits. I find it interesting that the latest in educational research shows the ineffectiveness of lectures and sitting still when presenting new material, yet the first actual event that I participated in as an employed teacher involved exactly that.

The part of orientation that I was most interested in was the introducing of a practice of large districts called "trimming." In this practice, schools rely on spring enrollment numbers to project the number of students they expect in the fall. Based on those numbers, they hire and place teachers within the different schools of the district (there are 59 elementary schools). After the first 10 days, schools determine their actual enrollment numbers, and decide how many teachers they actually need, depending on the number of students. Then, the "trimming" process begins. Schools who have less students than expected will be required to "trim" their newest teachers, who will then be transferred to schools whose numbers show that they need more teachers. Yikes! As a first year teacher, this terrifies me! I don't want to go through 10 days of school at one place and then have to move to another school and start all over! I am praying that our 4th grade numbers will be high enough that I will not have to leave!

I also got to go and meet with the other teacher for my grade today and spend some time in my classroom. After asking my colleague around 1,000 questions, I began going through the gobs of books, teacher guides, leveled readers, manipulatives, etc, etc. It was a bit overwhelming but I at least feel like I am a little bit more organized got a small grip on what I have available to me in my classroom. When I left the building today, I was feeling better. My other team member is very nice and helpful, and I am beginning to get my classroom ready. Hopefully it will still be mine after the first 10 days of school! :)

Next step: Continue reading literature about the first weeks of school and gather things to get the room ready!

From the now-oriented new teacher,
Miss Davis

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Welcome, welcome, welcome!

Hello friends!

I am starting this blog in order to relay the happenings, challenges, funny stories, frustrations, and learning that I know is about to take place as I begin my first year of teaching. Just for your information, the school I will be teaching at is a Title I school in a poor, rural area of Tulsa. I will be teaching 4th grade, alongside one other teacher (small school, only 2 teachers per grade level). After completing the Summer Institute of Oklahoma State University Writing Project (OSUWP), I have been encouraged and am excited to write and share about all of the goings-on of my first year of teaching. My goal throughout this process is to do some reflecting on my teaching as well as to gain knowledge from sympathetic readers and their advice. I think it would be such a neat thing to look back after I have (hopefully) survived the first year. I would appreciate lots of feedback and comments from you! Thanks for stopping by! :)

Soon to be from the desk of,
Miss Davis