Classroom Jobs and Morning Work

Do you do morning work in your classroom? I never had until this year. I'm at a new school and they have students get breakfast in the morning and bring their breakfast to the classroom to eat, but they have a tendency to then get very chatty right when I want them settling in to the school day. SOOO... morning work! I've seen great packets of morning work for 2nd grade and such on TpT, but I haven't found a solid packet in Spanish and I wanted something that wasn't going to eat up a lot of my time and energy in preparing. So this is what I came up with, and so far it's working out quite well! My morning work is tied to my Star of the Day, so I'll explain that first.

I have a Star of the Day in my classroom because I wanted to make classroom jobs easier and more streamlined. My Star of the Day is my helper for everything for that day. Here's a little chart I taught at the beginning of the year so kiddos know what to do when it's their turn. Sorry it's small, but if you want to see it close up just click on the photo to make it larger. I have all of their names on laminated stars on a binder ring, so I can just flip it each morning.

Then I use the Star of the Day's name for the morning work. Students have been taught to come in and get their morning work booklets out (just construction paper and writing paper cut and stapled to make a booklet), and write the name of the star of the day. We started with just first names, but then I started adding last names to give them more letters to work with. Then, they find and circle all the vowels. They put a rectangle around all of the consonants. The final thing they do is to look for words they can make only using the letters from that person's name. Here is my sample that is still up on the wall until the routine becomes second nature. It's is a very simple example from the beginning of the year, but it gives the general idea of what they do.

Since we've added last names, kiddos have more letters to use. They've started coming up with a lot more words, and bigger ones at that! Since we are a bilingual classroom, I tell them that they can think of words in English OR in Spanish... they get an extra language to use! Lucky ducks ;)

As time goes by, I'll up the ante by not accepting 1 or 2 letter words. Another thing you can do to extend the task and add some math practice is have them count the number of vowels and consonants and add them together. There are many more ways to modify and extend, but this is a good start for now! I'm really enjoying watching them work out words and get excited when we come up with a lot as a class (I've been correcting it with them after they're done - that won't last forever). To date, the record is 37 words!

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A New School Year Begins!

Whew! I had almost forgotten how exhausting the beginning of a school year can be. We're now a week and a half in, and I'm tuckered out! Last night I got home from work, took a four hour nap, got up and ate dinner, and then went back to bed for 11 hours. Today I finally feel rested, but then it's back at it on Monday morning! Maybe mid-way through October I'll have settled into the year?

I wanted to share a few pics of things I'm using in my classroom this year and some beginning of the year activities we did.

I found this awesome clip chart already in Spanish on TeachersPayTeachers. I had intended to make one myself, but when you find something already done and in Spanish, you jump on it, right?! I put it all together and laminated it, and introduced it the first week of school. I just started really using it this last week, and it's been going really well!

This wall is something new that I'm trying out this year. I'm super excited about how it turned out! I have a space and name label for each kiddo where I can simply pin up their most recent work to display in the classroom. The first thing that went up is their Day 1 self portraits! Each little pencil name label has a clothespin hot-glued to it, and each clothespin has two thumbtacks hot-glued to the back so they just stick right into the bulletin board.

A big thank you to my husband who did all the hot-gluing for me ;) And he even brought coffee treats!

Last but not least is this simple, but powerful little activity we did on the first day of school. I asked the students what they wanted in a teacher and wrote down what they said verbatim. I put it up next to my desk to remind me of what is important to them! Notice "I want a teacher who gives me a lot of standardized tests and attends a ton of PD sessions" is not on there ;) Happy New School Year!!


New School Year, Another New School

This coming year will be my 3rd year of teaching... and my 3rd school. The first move was due to a budget crisis and the RIF process which shifted people all over the district. This last move was something I asked for, and am very happy to have received. HOWEVER, it means setting up yet another classroom, finding all my curriculum and manipulatives (which other teachers have appropriated), getting acquainted with a new staff, and learning how things are done at the new school. I can already tell I will love this school and the staff, but just the process of moving and readjusting can be seriously exhausting. Also, I ripped off the entire toenail on my big toe moving a bookshelf in my classroom last week and have been shuffle-limping around trying to get things in order since then. It's really slowed me down and it's painful! Ah well. Coffee, time, and a little help from my family will eventually get the classroom in order for the arrival of my new batch of kiddos next week! I'm excited to meet mis nuevos girasoles!


Literacy Squared

Thank you all for the warm welcome into the bilingual teacher blogging world! I can't believe I've had this blog up and running for only a couple days and already I've got followers and comments. Yay for bilingual teacher friends! I know we all teach using different program models and theories, but we have such limited resources because of the language aspect of what we do, so it's incredible to find others that are out there doing the same translating, prepping, and creating from scratch that I do!

The bilingual program model that my district uses is called Literacy Squared. Somebody mentioned that they had read about it, but most folks aren't really familiar with the program and the ideology that goes along with it, so I'm posting the link to the Literacy Squared website and a video that some Lit Squared teachers in our district appear in (not me!) describing their feelings and views about Literacy Squared. I certainly won't claim to be the model Lit Squared teacher as I'm still learning, adapting, and finding my own way of doing things, but I believe in the core idea of teaching young children to become bilingual and biliterate in an explicit way that really supports their culture and their growth. There are some amazing things happening in Lit Squared classrooms (and other bilingual classrooms too)!



Maestra means "teacher" in Spanish, and that's exactly what I am! I am a bilingual (Spanish-English) elementary school teacher going into my third year of teaching. Because in many hispanic cultures referring to a teacher by their job title is a sign of respect, I'm fairly certain my actual name has been abandoned for good and I will be known only as Maestra from now on. :)

My 1st year of teaching I was in a split Kinder/1st grade classroom teaching in two languages. Talk about sink or swim! I'm proud to report that I managed to stay afloat. Last year I taught a 2nd grade bilingual classroom at a different school, which had its own new set of challenges. This coming year I will be at yet another new school (hopefully this is my last move!), but teaching 2nd grade bilingual again, so at least there is some continuity.

As a relatively new teacher, I am gathering/creating resources at a pretty quick rate. I know there's not a lot out there that caters specifically to bilingual elementary education, so my aim for this blog is to share what I find and the resources I create, so that others can use/share them as well. Enjoy!