Two years ago when my I finished up my degree, and I was contacted by my current principal, that she had a KG and a 1st grade opening, and which would I prefer? I had a panic attack.

First of all, even though I've always wanted to be a teacher, and now I was done with school, and getting offered a position, it was all becoming so real. BUT kindergarten or 1st grade-----don't they learn to read in KG and 1st grade, how am I going to get kids to read, what if I can't get them to read, what if what I do has no impact at all, what if after 180 days of instruction, they can't read whatsoever?--all these thoughts were racing through my mind.

My student teaching experience was in grade 5th and 2nd, so going off experience, I went with 1st. My first year teaching was a whirl-wind. I was a brand new teacher, I had a baby, I feel like I seriously have no recollection of what happened that year.

Then this year started, and if you have read my other posts you know we started a departmentalized model. I teach a certain subject to the entire 1st grade, each marking period this subject changes. First marking period I taught reading, then writing, then math, now I'm closing up the year teaching the reading again. Specifically FUNdations, which is the phonics program from Wilson, and then I pull 2 small groups daily.

The FUNdations program is a very scripted program, however, I truly believe in the power it has had with the progress of our students. During the small group rotation time, the students that aren't working with me are either reading to themselves, or a buddy, on the computers, or doing word work that reinforces the concepts taught that day in FUNdations.

I try to mix it up with the word work for my kiddos, so they don't get bored with the same activity.

 Mondays students play "KA-BOOM" If you aren't familiar with KA-BOOM, you have to try it out. It can be done with anything really from math to reading concepts! I used old Crystal Light tubs, then took popsicle sticks and wrote words on them. I have different 'tubs' for different skills--Kaboom Sight words, Kaboom words with vowel teams, Kaboom words with suffixes, Kaboom words with silent e, Kaboom words with blends and digraphs, and Kaboom words with R-controlled vowel words. My kiddos LOVE these games!! You write Ka-boom on about 2-3 sticks, then the rest of the sticks you write words (or equations for math), then students pull sticks to read them. The sticks they are able to read, they keep, the ones they can't they put back. If they happen to pick one of the Ka-boom sticks, they put all their sticks back, except keeping the Ka-boom stick out (otherwise the game will go on forever!!)
 Tuesdays are spent doing some sort of work with sight words. This week, I had the kiddos write their sight words in shaving cream on their desk. I also have sight word dominos, flashcards, or sight word match up. You can find the Domino Sight Words
 Wednesdays are for building words. I got this really fun construction building words activity from my Scholastic Book Order (with my points of course!) They also enjoy building words with magnetic letters and playdoh, which I alternate every week which way they build their words.

Thursdays are our day to be detectives. During their word work time, they have these 1/2 sheets of paper, and they look through their independent reading materials to fill in words that have the pattern that they are looking for. I apologize I don't have any pics of this word work activity in action, I just added it this past week, and didn't get a chance to snap any photos! I have it printed on card stock and laminated so to reduce paper usage (which is a problem in my school). You can find the Word detective Recording Sheets

On Fridays, I consider that my accountability and formative assessment day. I give them a paper that has a sight word search on one side, and a small reading passage that they have to mark up and identify the words or word patterns we have worked on that week. I collect this, and then am able to reteach as necessary.You can find the Reading Passages here and the Sight Word Search Puzzles

I think whatever the word work you choose for your kiddos, it's important that it matches the skills that you are teaching, that way they are able to connect from things you've said or they have seen into what they are doing.

Some additional word work ideas I have used are "Make a sentence", where students use pocket charts and there is a single word on an index sized card. They can create their own sentences. Fluency reading, where the students read their sentences (on a ring) to a partner 3 times and check it off each time they read. ABC order--helps students to recognize the importance of how to order words so they are in alphabetical order. I have also done task cards that go with what I have introduced, like adding silent e to the word.

It has been amazing to see the progress with all the kiddos from the beginning of the year to now!! I am so excited to watch them grow during these last few weeks of school. Hopefully, you have got some new ideas to add to your word work rotation or center.

Today I am linking up with my blogging friend Adventures of a SchoolMarm for Worship Wednesday, a weekly linky party I look forward to!!

This week's Worship Wednesday post it a bit bittersweet for me. Last year, April 9, 2014 I look my grandfather, PapPap. We found out he had cancer not shortly before it took his life. He had a fabulous life. He lived to be 88 years old, and was up and running around until a few weeks before his death.

I was 30 years old when my grandfather died. My other 3 grandparents are still living. I am so thankful that my children have got to know my grandparents, it seriously means the world to me.
This picture was from 7 years ago, when I had Katie, and my PapPap and Boo (that's my grandma) came in the hospital to see their great-grandbaby :)

This picture is also about 6 years ago :) Whether PapPap was joking around or just giving some advice, you knew he cared. He was so funny in his dark humor kind of way. One time at Easter, my mom and I went over to visit him, with my oldest son, Karter (who was probably an infant). As we are leaving, PapPap says, "Don't let the Easter bunny kill ya." That joke has lived on with our family since he said it. In fact this year for Christmas, I got my brother a Christmas ornament that had a picture of him and PapPap on it that say "don't let the Easter bunny kill ya" on it. :)

Before PapPap passed, I had only knew 3 other people who had died. The first being my dear friend, Lauren's, grandmother. We were 15, she had lung cancer. She was like a 3rd grandma to me. She sent me birthday cards, and it was hard when she passed. The 2nd person was Charas Heurich. She sat in front of me in typing class my freshman year of high school. She was so nice. She was in a car accident and died. Also, my best friend Lauren, was in a horrible motorcycle accident when we were 21. Her boyfriend at the time, driving the motorcycle, was killed. Lauren survived, she had to get a rod in her leg, but she is now married with 3 beautiful little boys, and a 4th on the way. GOD has a purpose for it all. I've said it before, but even if we don't understand the why or why me---he does. It will all make sense. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not for a few years. Maybe you will never understand it as long as you live, but again, that's ok, because it's in HIS plan.

As much as we like to think we are in control, we aren't. I am just as guilty as anyone, I need to LET GO and LET GOD. Have faith in HIM and HIS PLAN :) Does it upset me that I lost my grandfather to cancer, OF COURSE! There isn't a day that doesn't go by that I think about him or wonder why this is such a thing as cancer. But it's not my place to question our father. He is the ALMIGHTY. He has a bigger plan. He is in control. I know in my heart, one day we will meet again. It will be amazing. Until then, I'm sure he's playing golf, and enjoying a Bud Light with our heavenly father.


I'm a day late! But I'm linking up with the magnificent Farley from Oh' Boy, Fourth Grade for the exciting monthly linky party CURRENTLY!
So I am currently blessed to be on a week long Spring Break. I know right??! To be honest, I was kinda annoyed that we had to go to school into June, however, I am LOVIN this week off right now :) The downside is that my own children's school does not have this week off! They get off for Friday, but that's it! So my two younger babes, who aren't in school yet, are chatting it up. Well really, Buddy, is the one chatting, while Lex is just in for the ride (ignore the van with the broken headlight in the background lol)!!

So today it is calling for weather in the 70s!! I am super excited, especially because the warmest it has gotten so far this year is 49! We love playing outside, but the 40s is just too cool for baby girl to play outside! So we are looking forward to this warmer Spring weather!!
Ok, so I'm on spring break! Do I really need to take a shower if I'm not going anywhere!??! LOL :)I will shower later, I have to take my older daughter, Katie, to the dentist :)
I have seriously loved this time off with my kids, I would love to just start summer immediately!! Only one more marking period, which is like 40 days of school!! What have I done this spring break? Absolutely nothing!! And I have LOVED it!! I mean, I cleaned the house a little, did some laundry, my youngest had tubes put in her ears, made dinner. But I have done what I've wanted to do most--enjoy my kids and relax! And that has been accomplished :)
I drink ALOT of coffee anyway! My mom got me a Keurig for my classroom, and there's a Dunkin Donuts beside my school. I drink coffee when I get up, once throughout the school day, then probably 2 cups after I get home in the evening. But with being off school, I have drank SOOO much coffee :) LOL In fact, Monday, when my baby had her procedure, I didn't have time to drink coffee. We had to be at the surgical center at 6 am and I just didn't have time to make a cup or stop and get a cup of coffee. I had THE WORST headache because of it!! The kinda clued me into the fact that MAYBE I'm a coffee addict!
So I started my TpT store around the same time I started my blog. I have no idea where I got the name 'Momma with a Teaching Mission', other than the fact that I am a mom of 4 and truly feel that I have a mission to teach kiddos. I have always wanted to be a teacher, but I got pregnant with my eldest when I was a junior in college, studying at Towson to be a PE teacher. I dropped out of school and worked 2 jobs to make ends meet for my baby boy and I. I struggled, ALOT! I was a single mom, and it seemed like our future was bleak and dismal! I met my husband, and we had 2 more kiddos. When Christopher was about a year old, my husband encouraged me to go back to school. I continued to work and go to school full-time, taking online classes and some blended classes (half in person, half online). I finished my undergrad in Sociology in 2012 and immediately started the Masters of Arts in Teaching program (a 1 year program). May of 2013 I graduated and got hired to teach 1st!!  We also found out we were expecting!! What a tremendous first year teaching and having a new baby!! Complete and utter chaos! However, it was beautiful and I wouldn't change a thing. Like I said, I truly believe GOD had a plan and it has been an amazing journey thus far!!!

Wishing ALL a beautiful April!!

Good Morning! I am linking up with Adventures of a Schoolmarm for Worship Wednesday.

So this week I have been fortunate to be on spring break, for the entire week! Last year, we got a couple days off, but not an entire week! I'll be honest, the longest I've ever had off work, is not the summer time, but the 6 weeks I've taken off when each of my 4 children have been born. How depressing is that?!?! I know you may think, "But Melanie, you are a teacher?!?" I am sad to say that the past 2 years since I graduated with my Masters in Teaching, I have taught summer school, which takes up 7 weeks of my summer. So I have NEVER truly had a summer off! All that changes this year! I am not teaching summer school, I am spending that time with my babies :)

Ok so today's experience is inspired by my children. Have you ever read, "I'll love you forever" by Robert Munsch? Oh my, well if you want a good cry, go read it! Yes it's a children's book, but my goodness, it gets me every time!!

I absolutely love my children. It's overwhelming to me to think that my oldest is 10 already!?!? Where has time gone? I know I did things backwards, with having kids first, then finishing my college degree, and I wouldn't change a thing. However, while working on my degree, I feel like time was lost. Yes, I have more time off with them then I ever would have if I never would have finished school, but I still feel guilty about the 3 years I spent working on my college stuff.

As I'm sure you are aware, time goes by so quickly. We need to (or at least I need to) really take one day at a time, and truly enjoy it. This is all a gift, and at any moment, everything could change. I am thankful for all the blessings our Lord has given to me. I am going to work harder at truly living in the moment and enjoying these little people GOD has blessed me with, because they won't be little for very long!

God Bless :)

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