Friday, December 28

Will Not Your Average Jane Continue into 2013?

Will "Not Your Average Jane" continue into 2013?

Yes...Not Your Average Jane will continue in 2013.

Why haven't I been blogging? I blame my laziness for 98% of my lack of posts.  The other explination is I am officially out of space to upload photos.  It has taken me 5 years on to actually run OUT of space, so I'm hoping this like renewing my driver's license...something that will only happen once in a grand long time.  But, I have to a whopping 2.50 for more space on Not Your Average Jane...and I haven't gotten around to doing that.

So now that I have officially decided to pay the 2.50 for more space I want to talk about some of my major milestones from 2012.

January: Student Teaching at Holy Family School

 It was probably the better of the two placements (sorry Hemlock...) for the fact that I always knew somebody at a private school will hire me over public most days.  (And I was right!) I worked at Holy Family as an after care employee, and I rocked at my job.   And did I mention that I just loved working in Chrissy's classroom?  I'm sure there were many times she thought I was completely crazy, but she let me try things out that I probably won't get to do again.  (Because she teaches 3rd grade and I teach kindergarten.) I still have students from that classroom emailing me. 

 My desk, in better days...some days it was like a skiing mountain!

 February: I Picked Up a (Second) Church Job

I promised myself I wouldn't work at two parishes once I left Old Saint Joesph.  I wanted to give 200% to student teaching and any remaining energy went to A/piano lessons and B/playing at Resurrection Parish.  Well, this job kinda just...came up by accident.  I know what you are probably does a job just "pop" up?  Well, when it comes to church jobs in the GB area, they have.  I actually turned this job down TWICE before I accepted the job.  Once in 2009; they called me on my cell and never returned their call.  The other time was in December 2011, when I subbed for Emily Slavek and they wanted me to work there.  At that time, I was still finishing up my duties at Old Saint Joe's and getting ready for student teaching.  I was taking time off of work to get my feet wet and get used to how things went.  I told them I wasn't working until Feb. 1st.  They called me ON Feb 1st and asked me to work for that time I needed the cash so I said sure.  I'm sure I rocked a few boats at Res and made my parents very angry (Why did you pick up another church when you could just have played more 8AM's with Paul Defnet?)  In the end, I inherited a choir, playing tempos the way I want them, and having the opportunity to have something I never EVER got to have at Resurrection (and never ever will...) a microphone to sing in. 

March: Kindergarten!

In March the DPI picked me up from Holy Family and dropped me in Hemlock Creek.  I never felt like a fish out of water.  My quirky personality had to be in check at all times there.  It was a challenge to get to know the other teachers, but it was a good challenge to force me out of my strange and exciting box.  Being at Hemlock gave me a lot of good experiences with working with the grade I will be working with the most.  There are things I saw in Pam's classroom that I still use in my teaching!  She also taught me to be organized...something that I never could master.  Pam was the person who gave me the advice: "Always clean your desk off before you leave at the end of the day; because you never know what tomorrow is going to bring you."  To this day I still follow that rule.   I also found my obsession with 31 products.

April: Old Enough to Rent a Car!

I turned 25 and threw the party of the year!  You guessed it... it had wine, singing and Brittany de Laurelle.  Good times!  I don't have any photos to share with you, but that's okay.  We can just enjoy this picture of Brittany instead.

 Brittany and Em in Feb 2012 at La Vie Boheme; our favorite place for Moscato! 

May: Graduation

On May 14th, I got to do this...!

Noelle, Andrea, Brittany and Em with the best professors ever... Chris and Ty Meidl  

Seven years later...I graduated from college!   This was a huge celebration among my family.   Even Chad was proud of me!  My family went to mass (where I sang harmony on "All the Ends of the Earth," and cantored the Gospel Acclamation.)  It was also the mass where the Cardinal told me that "he could tell when I was playing because I had a strong presence that commanded people to sing."  (Thanks Michele I got that from you!) Even though we didn't agree about a certain topic, I think it's pretty cool he recognized my skills in music.

June: Signed My First Teaching Contract... AND... began to Nanny

Although I officially got the job in May, I didn't officially tell people outside of a very tight circle of family and friends, until I signed the contract.  I wanted to make sure it was the real deal before telling the entire world.    I remember exactly what I did as soon as I got the email that said I got the job...the kids were having snack and I checked my email.  I screamed at the top of my lungs and jumped up and down.  The kids were extremely confused but then cheered for me once I told them why I was off my rocker. 

Leah and Meredith came down to sign my lease and we discovered the wonderful world known as Moca Moments! 

Leah, Em and Meredith discover Moca Moments! 

I also got to Nanny the three cutest kids ever!!! 
Aren't they just adorable!  Alana (1 yr), Kiana (5 yrs) and Leila (8 yrs)

I enjoy working with these girls! (I say enjoy because Tony and Jade still have me work with the kids.)  I helped Lelia grow a deeper interest in science, curb Kiana's anger and teach the kids the art of scrapbooking:) 

July: Vacation Bible School... AND... Signed a Lease!

The hot topic between my mom and I for the first half of the summer was Vacation Bible School.  My mom and I LIVED every day prepping and making the church parlor change into a magically and wonderful setting for preschoolers.  Every single person loved the room.   I felt very "teacher-like" during this week.  I had creative control and could make the educational decisions for the kids.  I was blessed to work with great people to help the program enhance even more. 

This room took 6 hours to make. 

But before the adventure in VBS began, I signed my lease.  Then I became responsible for this place!  This would be my super dooper awesome kitchen. 

 I'm in love with this kitchen.

August: Started Working at St. Patrick's...AND my Best Friend's Wedding

In August, my mom and I moved me down to Janesville...and I started to create my first classroom!  This is one of my many incarnations of the classroom.    The first version of the classroom took about 6 hours.  The second took about an hour and the final, most likely to be the forever set up of the classroom, took 4 hours. 

Version 12/25 of my classroom.  One day it will look like I know what I'm doing;) 
Then I got to see my best friend Jennifer marry her other best friend, DJ.  I got to stand up in the wedding and I apparently was the maid of honor!

 Jenni made her own dress...I got mine in the mail!

September: Welcoming Home Paprika and Cilantro

Pickles gained two more brothers...Paprika and Cilantro.  While Cilantro is a little skiddish and tends to hide every time anything ever happens... Paprika is more than happy to run up and down his cage making noise for the both of them.  For those of you who don't know who is who, from the left to right is: Paprika (6 months), Cilantro (9 months) and Pickles (5 years old) 

 By some miracle...they decided to pose for a quick pose!

October: Dating Kyle

Let's be real... if this doesn't explain our relationship, then I don't know what does.    I don't know what I would do without him. 

 Gangman Style! 

November: I Cantor at Old Saint Joe's... (and people didn't boo me out!)

A big part of my role at Old Saint Joe's, was to make music...good music.    When I left OSJ in December 2011, I honestly thought I was never ever going to play on Rodger again.  I was pretty broken-hearted about that.  Rodger is a good organ that is bullied by the congregation.  He's a little loud at times, but that is only because the craves the attention and respect he deserves.

Well, by a Thanksgiving miracle, Jennifer and I thought it would be a good idea for me to play a few hymns on the organ.  I was pretty excited about this ordeal! 

The big surprise was when I decided I could cantor the psalm.   I was very thankful I heard Michele sing it the day before...otherwise I wouldn't have known how it went!  I actually did a good job.  I could see the big smile the Fox had on her face after I finished singing it.  After all...she was the one that thought it would be a good idea for me to sing out loud in the first place...

Joe, Jennifer and Em Christmas 2011

December: Christmas at Resurrection!
Resurrection reopened their doors to their church just in time for me to take some time off!  So I made sure I made the loudest, krumhorn-style splash on the organ.  Why? Because I could;)   Mom says I have this knack for making the coolest sounds from coming out of the organ.  I hope so, because this year alone...I spent about 12 hours preparing Christmas music on the organ!  Deacon Riely and Paul Defnet stood and gave me an applause afterwards, so it was totally worth it!

Before Christmas Day, comes Christmas Eve (in case you didn't know;), which meant mass with the Youth Music Team.  The group started in 1999 and ceased in 2011...and yes I was part of the team for all those years.  Being part of the YMT was one of the longest commitments I have ever had, behind my education.   It was nice to have the team back together playing the music we know best!  

And of coarse after mass I celebrated Christmas with the people I love the most (most of the time...) my family!  With everything that happened this year with my family, I'm glad I had another year to spend with them.  We may get on each other's cases, and we may talk about church all the time (says Chad), but we got each other's backs and that's what's important!

That's all I got for now...I hope you enjoyed looking back at my awesome year!  2012 was a good one!


Sunday, November 4

This is Halloween...This is Halloween! Part I

Hey Everybody!

Halloween just left us...but no worries!  In kindergarten we had a great time learning about pumpkins, ghosts and more!

In math, we have been learning about graphing.  To help with graphing, we scooped up pumpkin seeds and then graphed them! I spray painted a bunch of pumpkin seeds (thanks Mom) at home and the kids had to graph them based on color.

 At first these seeds got all over place.  Then after a while, they were starting to get the concept.  We have been reading bar graphs for a few weeks and now I can say they are able to read and understand one! 

Another concept we worked on is beginning sounds.  We started using beginning sounds at the...well...beginning of the year, but this is a concept that we will be working on for a long time!  To help with matching beginning sounds we did a pumpkin match.   Here are the words!

Here are the matches! 

For art, we used shapes to make Jack-O-Lanterns! This was my introduction to shapes.  The next week, we did a monster shape assessment.  I'll post pictures about that later!

Finally, our last center for this week was the great pumpkin hunt!  The kids picked a picture, said it out loud and then had to find the picture whose word rhymed with the original pumpkin.   It was really fun to see the kids grow with this center.  The first time they did it, it was a struggle, but towards the end of their time at this center, they really were getting the concept of rhyming.  

For science, we carved a pumpkin!

The first day, we carved out the pumpkin and cleaned him out.  I only managed to leave a few seeds in the pumpkin.  The next day we carved the rest of the pumpkin using shapes that we recognized, such as triangles, squares, rectangles and even a circle (a really pathetic looking circle).

After we carved the pumpkin, we said this little poem (that I created)

Jack-O-Lantern, so scary and bright
Jack-O-Lantern, so full of fright.
With triangle eyes, and a square nose
and a scary mouth I suppose!
It had some seeds...but guess what!
They were eaten by you and ME!

Two things about the poem: first of all, I cannot believe I created a poem like this ON THE SPOT, and second of all, I can't believe how cute the poem turned out.  The kids liked it a lot; we said it over the next few days and appeared to really like it!

And one more totally awesome thing...


The things I can do with this instrument... oh the hymns we could sing...:D I played it a few times for the kids and they got a huge kick out of it!

That's all for now! Hopefully soon I can do a part two for you! I have a lot more Halloween stuff to share!


Tuesday, October 16

Fire Truck! Fire Truck! I Wanna Ride on a Fire Truck!

Hey Everybody!

I can't believe it has almost been a month since I last blogged about my school year! I have been enjoying my time down here! A lot has been going on and sadly blogging about school/crafts has gotten lower and lower on the list every time!

The past week the theme was Fire Safety!!!!

Every teacher has a favorite theme [mine would be a tie between the Great Eric Carle and Under the Sea] and this was [probably] Angie's favorite theme.   I always think it's important for teachers to be excited about their themes, but when a teacher can naturally be excited about something, the kids just pick up on it so much well as other teachers.  I sure got pretty pumped up about fire safety!

I like Fire Safety because there is a lot you can talk about.  It's one of those themes where a lot of people have done therefore there is a lot of information and ideas you can build off of.  Planning for centers this week was easier because I had a flow of ideas (verses construction week where my brain just wasn't working yet.)

So here are some of the fun things we did this week at school!

For one of our art projects, we did marble painting with firemen hats!

Last time I did marble painting, I made the mistake of not having a box.  This time, I had a box so the marbles didn't land on the floor.  The marbles were dipped in the ketchup containers.  I picked them up with a spoon and placed them on the hat.  The kids tipped the box back and forth until they had a cool firemen's hat!

Another art activity: tissue paper fire! (This one is pretty obvious on how to make correct?)

Here is my bulletin board! I have our center artwork featured (fire trucks) as well as one of the art projects from earlier in the week.  I had the children pose in their fire hats in front of this bulletin board.    They will get a cool momento: a picture of them standing in front of the "St. Pat's" fire station.  True firemen right there!

Here is a closer look at the student's "Fire Safety" hydrants.

We also did "blow painting."  They took a house, put some paint on it... and then blew the paint into different directions! It looked like a house was on fire!

Here is the end result.  

The kids came up with a list of steps a person can take when there is a fire.  We talked about when you call 911 on a cell phone you MUST press send! We took out all of my cell phones that I have in the dramatic play area and practiced calling 911 (pressing send) and using our words to communicate what we need from Emergency.

This week was a lot of fun! We also had a fire chief come in and read a book! We also sang the song "Fire Truck...Fire Truck...I Wanna Ride on a Fire Truck!"  The fire department was supposed to come with a truck...but sadly got called away:( Such is life! 

Hope you all enjoyed my blog!!!  Lots more to share...soon! (Sooner rather than later this time, I promise!) 



Sunday, September 30

Falling in Love [With Teaching] Fall Edition Part I

Hello Everybody!

This week was the official turning point: the week where it hit me that I am a month into my professional teaching position.  Earlier this week, I had to go to Madison to learn all about being a brand new teacher means working on the infamous PDP.  For those who have no idea what the heck a PDP is it stands for: Professional Development Plan.  This "plan" is a proposal one writes in order to improve their ability to teach.  It is required in order to keep on teaching.  Therefore, Madison kindly helps us through this process for the first time.  While many people were stressed out on how this process works...I was cool.  Dr. Kirst did an amazing job explaining this entire process to us while we were making one.  I still had some questions, but I was not "as in the dark" as other people were.  (Some people I felt bad for because they were losing their minds right in front of everybody!)

This meant a little less time in the because I love being there.  However, I managed to snap some photos of some of the fun centers and activities that we did for the week.  This week (and next), we are celebrating fall! Fall is my favorite season, so of coarse I am going bonkers over this.  The only themes that would be cooler would be A/a week of the ocean or B/a week of organs.  (Yes, my kids actually know what an organ is.)

So here are some of the fun things we did this week...

Another idea from Ms. Angie... we sang the "Grey Squirrel" song.  I was a little embarrassed about this song because... I didn't know it.  Boo.   But it goes something like this:

"Grey Squirrel, grey squirrel, shake your bushy tail!"

At that point you are shaking your tush and the kids are laughing because you look like a total dork...but who cares? 

So for art...we made grey and brown squirrels.  The kids had to color the squirrels either brown or grey because that's the color of squirrels.  (Obviously nobody at St. Pat's ever heard of the famous "Albino Squirrel" we held a funeral for back in 2010...) We colored squirrels and glued different colored leaves on the tail.  Loved it.   We were going to send them home with the kids, but I came up with the idea to post them on the bulletin board for all the grandparents to see.

 Here they are up close!  I used a hole punch I got from Hobby Lobby to help me punch all of those stamps out!

Why so much coloring? Well...I thought the same thing.  After all, Dr. Shaeffer told us at SNC that "coloring is bad."  And I don't always find value in coloring, however, with the age group we are working actually makes sense.  I attend a Handwriting Without Tears Workshop and they talked about the value of coloring.  That coloring actually builds strength in the hand which is important for writing.  I never thought of it that way.  I am having this issue myself: I have come to discover my grip I am trying to use the correct grip for the sake of the kids.  It hurts my hand to write with the correct grip.  So I have been coloring a little bit every night...and sure enough every day it has gotten a little better! Yay coloring!

For our art center...we made leaves!!! 

I took some tissue paper (sorry girls, not the tissue paper from VBS) and put it in little bags.  The kids glued them down to strengthen their fine motor skills.  We also talked about what color are leaves in the fall...and what color are they in the spring, etc.  This site was a popular one throughout the week with kindergarten.  Many of the kids wanted to make more than one!

This center was a total rip from my EDUC394 activity!

First you rolled the die... and count how many dots were present.  Then you took a peanut and covered it up in the egg carton.  It didn't work as well as it could have.  In fact, we are going to be "repeating" (I say that in quotes because they are all v 2.0 of them) centers and this one will be vamped!

I will say, people who use dice... do this to them!

It prevents them from falling all over the classroom.  The kids loved shaking them and I loved not losing dice.

Then for sorting!

Kinders sorted three different types of "nuts."  This helped with word recognition and size differentiation.    You had two options for doing this center. 

Option A was using the real deals!

Option B was using cards!

A few kids sorted both... awesome!

After they sorted, they had to sort large and small acorns on a worksheet! (Please don't steal, because it wasn't originally mine!!!) I believe you can get it from Mailbox.

The final favorite.  While planning this one I had a hard time getting the idea out of my mouth.  I wanted them to "dig" for letters.  I had a pile of dirt for them to dig in.  However, Angie kept looking at me going "and the part that has to do with fall is..." and I'd look at her with my dorky smile hoping the answer would come out.  About 20 minutes later, (in the middle of The Voice,) I shouted A PILE OF LEAVES! THEY DIG THROUGH A PILE OF LEAVES!

Once all the lights came on this center worked out!

We got a pile of "leaves" to put in a bucket.  Then I put letters inside...

But that wasn't the end of their work... the kids had to dig up letters to make (gasp) WORDS! Words that had to do with fall and words that were on our sight board.  To make this easier, I had a list of words they could find. 

I made two worksheets that you MAY copy, steal and put up on Pinterest... (somebody please steal and copy this took me 45 minutes to make these sheets look nice! If you want a larger sheet or the original, please let me know and I will happily give you the original to use and abuse!) 

The only downside I found out with these sheets is that my letters are all capital, while the words on my paper are all lower-case.  Jolly Phonics teaches with lower case.  It makes sense, since most words have mostly lower-case letters.   Therefore, for the v2.0 I am going to make letter cards for the kids to find...instead of the letters.  That way the words match the words on the paper 100%.  They can compare the size, shape and the letters in the word.  I am excited to revamp and have another week with this project.  This was the most popular center with the kids.  They loved digging up and "discovering" what was underneath the pile of leaves.  I also picked up more leaves, so this time, they will be digging up with some real letters...can't you tell I am super dooper excited about this one?

That is all for now! I am off to revamp my centers and start the first week of October on a high note! It is going to be a great week!



Wednesday, September 26

Speaking of Sports...

Hey All!

I'm so excited that my iCloud came into good use... the photos I thought I lost from my iphone were actually backed up! I'm so happy because I was able to share all the fun things we did during our sports week!

For an art project, we talked about different patterns and sport games.  I read the book: "Froggy Plays Soccer."

After reading about soccer, we talked about how to play soccer...and what is the one thing special about soccer that differs from other "ball" games... Hands OFF the ball!!!

To go with the book, the kids made soccer balls with different patterns.  During that time, we talked about the colors they could use, the types of patterns they could use and etc.  I was pretty impressed the children knew several different types of patterns such as dots, stripes, checkers, tracks, etc.  The younger children did a great job identifying the colors they were using! Some used all different colors and some used a variety. 

In the math section, we played football!  Who doesn't like a good football game? (Aka not the one that was on last Thursday.) I created this game myself... I was pretty proud of it!

To play this game, you roll the die and move your man across the field.  Once you get a "touchdown" you get a blue chip for a point.  You keep going over and over again until the time is up.  This was a very popular game for the kids.  It was great for them to practice counting up to ten.  It also helped with one to one correspondence for the younger kids!

Another center was the pattern center.  I can't take credit for this one...but nevertheless I will still post about it! It was pretty darn creative!

The pattern cards helped indicate what to do with the rest of the pattern.  The dots helped make this pattern strip something that can be done over and over again!

For sorting we had...more football! (Maybe I had football on my mind?)

To help the kids learn their color words...we had them sort colored footballs! On each football is a color and on each plate is the corresponding word.  The older kids did quite well...and the younger kids were getting it towards the end of the week:)

Part of our sports week...we talked about teamwork! Teamwork is pretty important; teaches you about working together as well as how to deal with not winning a game.  That's life...not winning all the time.  Someday Green Bay will understand that concept...? 

To help build sportsmenship, the kids played Memory.  This was a harder concept for the kids... taking turns and sharing? Remembering things?  If I was five...I'd have a harder time doing this too! Again, there was a lot of improvement throughout the week. 

There was more... we did Olympic rings, we made football helmets, and more.  However, I did not find time to get pictures of those before the kids went home for the day.    Those projects were very cute! I enjoyed this theme a lot! I hope you did too!


Sunday, September 23

Building Up...Construction!

Hey All!

I was super dooper excited to show everybody all of the very cool things we did last week.  We had an amazing Sports Week! iphone decided to quit on me and my photos were lost.  I'm depressed about this because I actually was really proud of this fact!

All is not lost though: I found some photos of our first theme week: "Construction."  Here are some of the fun things we were doing!

For one of our centers: we cut up some shapes and laminated them to a piece of paper.   Here they are!

Then, the kids created a tower from that shape.  The children were challenged to make the tallest tower they could! 

Another center we made was the "Fine Motor Center."  The children ripped the red paper and glued it onto a wall.  In result, the children created a brick wall! They had fun! Some were even trying to stagger the bricks so they would "rest" on top of teach other!

Our art project for the week was creating different types of trucks.  We created a truck to go with the book "Construction Crew!" This truck was not hand drawn.  I used my Cricut to make the stencils.  Then the rest of the stuff was cut out by hand.

 Finally, this is the bulletin board that I created.  Simple looking? Yes.  I hand drew the hammer and the cones myself.  The words are guess what...cut with the Cricut!

I wish I could show you more...but this is all that I was able to capture on film! This upcoming week is all about family and fall.   We have some cool projects lined up that I want to share with you.  I will do my best to try to photograph the cool projects and upload them within a reasonable time.

That's all for now!