Welcome to My Blog!

Welcome to my blog! I use my blog as a way to reflect, share, organize, and re-conceptualize my views as an educator. Enjoy and feel free to comment, post, disagree, and share your opinion. The more perspectives, the better!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

2010 List of Awesomeness

2010 (minus a few days) has been a year of many challenges and even more success. Everyday, good or bad, has been a learning experience for me and is a part of my life. I have spent a lot of this year re-focusing and realizing what is important to me. My list of awesomeness is a list of everything I can think of that made 2010 awesome. I made a similar list a few years ago, and cannot tell you how many times I have looked back on it. Writing and reading the list makes me realize how lucky I am to have great friends and family and to be at UC in the beautiful city of Cincinnati. I am sure my list is not complete, but it is off to a good start. Enjoy and thanks for being a part of my awesome 2010!

- New Years in New Orleans
- Saw Lady Antebellum live in concert
-CMFK fundraiser at Woody’s
- Meeting and mentoring 15 special kids through CMFK
- Meeting all of the CMFK families to celebrate our first year
-Teaching 14 preschoolers at Madeira preschool
- Creating a hats and shoes theme for my lead teaching week
- TONS of snow days to keep me sane during winter quarter
-Skiing with Rallycats
-Talking my way into the Pavilion for St. Patty’s day happy hour
- Green drinks all night long!
- Turning 21!
- receiving an obnoxious, flashing, 21st birthday pin from an awesome roommate
- Taking so long to make our awesome, non-traditional togas that we missed most of the basketball game
- Seeing AfroFlow live at UC,  meeting the amazing artists, and checking out their tour bus
- Getting pied at XU’s Relay and returning the favor at our Relay
-Selling and seeing I <3 Boobs shirts all over campus
-Hearing Luke Bryan’s “Rain is a Good Thing”  for the first time on a rainy Relay morning
- Relaywood: Lights, Camera, Take Action!
-Genuine awe at the commitment the UC community makes to UC’s Relay For Life in support of the American Cancer Society
-Coming to the realization that seeing the teacher I do not want to be will help me become the teacher I want to be
- 23 sweet kindergarteners
- Field day with my kindergarteners
-receiving great advice from one of my kindergarteners: “Miss Prinzo, sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself!”
- A rainy Sigma Sigma Carnival aka the return of my social life after a not-so-awesome junior year
- Getting paid to walk in the MainStreet Stride and having a ton of fun in the process
- working with 3 awesome PLC’s and 70 peer leaders
- PL appreciation dinner and creating PL superlatives
- Creating and checking off items on the Summer Fun List
- Taking a trip to the Rootbeer Stand (and getting semi-lost in the process)
- Touring Mammoth Caves
-Being lucky enough to take the best dog ever on a few last walks
- Camping out with great friends near Mammoth caves (bobber pong, the ferry, and a campfire to be more specific)
-Getting lost and re-routed in KY only to find a castle!
- Martinis at Lockview ((on a weeknight))
- acting like a tourist at Jungle Jim’s / experiencing Jungle Jim’s for the first time
- finding the “secret” gardens off of Reading Rd.
- Celebrating my first Oktoberfest down town
- signing up for Cincinnati Public Library’s Summer Reading program aka rediscovering my passion for reading
- Volunteering at the Friends of the Library Book Sale and $10 bag day
- touring, shopping, and supporting Crayons to Computers
-Sharing many dinners, cookouts, and nights-in with friends
- starting to get back in shape and discovering that I actually LIKE to go to the rec
-Summer classes aka the path to a REAL double major
- marveling at the ridiculousness of Gatlinburg with my mom
- a perfect vacation to Charleston with my mom (minus the whole Jellyfish and camera thing!)
- an impromptu stop to tour a historic home in Charlotte, North Carolina
- “peer pressure” at football games
- picking pumpkins from the farm
- carving pumpkins with friends
- a Candyland themed Halloween
- Volunteering at the finish line of the 2010 Pan Ohio Hope Ride
- Shopping for a little black dress
- Sharing leggings to ride a mechanical bull
- Laser tag & a giant room a blow-ups for a friend’s birthday
- the taste of Akron food after a long time away ( Tres Portillos, Whitey’s, Swenson’s/Skyway, Wally Waffles, Angel Falls Coffee, AWOK, and Gasoline Ally…just to name a few!)
- being “forced” to hug and kiss Buzz Lightyear by a two year old
- spending 20 minutes hidden in plain sight during an “intense” game of hide and seek
- being lucky enough to have a mentor teacher who is the perfect fit for me
- 20 First Grade Froggers who amaze me a little bit more everyday
- Teaching my first (and one of my favorite) first grade lessons—Community Helpers Bingo
- receiving my first apple from a student
- sharing Engineers Without Borders’ Visual Pen Pal project with my students
- Anything But Clothes Goes 2.0- I mean how often does one get to dress up like a picnic and design clothing made out of Bud Light cases
- joining the blogging community: writing and reflecting on my life as a student-teacher at mprinzo.blogspot.com & learning about the amazing things teachers are doing all over the world
- starting & building a huge folder of electronic ECE resources
- reading 1000awesomethings each weekday and remembering that the little things are usually what make life worth living
- Having my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season!
-Spending the occasional Sunday studying at TAZA
- Finding the perfect planner after a really long search
- taking a trip to a locally-run haunted house
- Bearcat “Bowl”ing trip
- Sharing Thanksgiving in Columbus with my family
- getting my own pan of my mom’s stuffing for a post-Thanksgiving treat
- playing the “stop” game on the BTS
- many shopping trips to thrift stores and book stores to build my children’s book collection & adding OASC favorites to my collection
- Actually succeeding with my New Year’s Resolutions!
- Finally finding new jeans that I actually like!
- Attending a CCM dance concert (and testing out my ballerina skills post-concert)
- Thursday nights at Murphy’s
- attending the Harry Potter midnight premier and LOVING the movie
-attending “The Little Old Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything” and “The Thirteen Nights of Halloween” Reader’s Theater performances
- Flying & riding in an experimental aircraft
- Meeting all of the families of my students at Open House
- enjoying the occasional walk to Fairview in nice weather
-Strawberry shots!
- taking roommate trips to Cincinnati “beaches” (minus the sunburn!)
-Discovering Q104 does not play Christmas music!
- Spending a relaxing, yet somewhat productive winter break in Akron
- Receiving many complements from the seniors at Copley Place (hello ego-boost)
- Bingo, Skip-bo, Bananagrams, cookies, coffee, and wine for a satisfying Christmas & Christmas Eve
- “Surprising” my mom with a Christmas gift
- Catching up with the Bonacci family after Christmas and getting a whole bunch of "new' teaching stuff as a donation from their family
- Good coffee, a Sunday night bar with no girly drinks and a bad band, and great friends
- Celebrating Melissa's 22nd at BlackFinn with the girls and some new "friends"
- NYE in Fountain Square...crowded bar, no champagne, fireworks, awesome weather, an awesome bar with no cover, and ridiculous walk through the parking garage
-receiving the gift of extra time to focus on school through the Pearl M. Wright Finalist Award

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Review of Coming Back Stronger

As a supplement to my adventures in blog land, I became a book reviewer through Tyndale Blog Network. As a reviewer, Tyndale House Publishers provide me with a complimentary copy of a book, I read it, and then share my thoughts. My first book was Coming Back Stronger: Unleashing the Hidden Power of Diversity. This book is an autobiography of Drew Brees and this is what I thought of it:

Drew Brees' autobiography, Coming Back Stronger, tells the story of an admiral person and professional athlete who overcomes a series of challenges in his life and career. Though I am not a fan of the NFL, this novel was both interesting and inspirational. I find it hard to believe that one could not read it and take back some message, meaning, or connection to his or her own life. The novel really allows for the reader to get into the mindset of a quarterback. I enjoyed hearing about games from a player's perspective. The writing, in my opinion, could have been stronger. Bree's seems to want to open up to the reader, and does for the most part, but at times I would have liked to see more emotion and detail about how the challenges were overcome. The memoir was filled with cliches, but it is very apparent that Brees has not only embraced, but lives by what they represent. Regardless of the mediocre writing, I finished the book satisfied and with a genuine respect for Brees, his teammates, and family.

And what does this have to do with being a teacher? At first I could not tell you, but the more I think about it, the more it has everything to do with being a teacher. It talks about motivation--internal and external motivation. It talks about overcoming challenges and failures--something I expect in my future career and I expect my students to have. It talks about the importance of family and community. The biggest lesson I learned from this book was related to the issue of trust and support. In Coming Back Stronger Brees talks about the feeling he had when being recruited by New Orleans. It was important to him to have a coaching staff and teammates who believed in him--people who were on his side. This support helped him become a better player. In my mind, it is this same trust and support that students need to be successful. Students need teachers and parents who believe that they can achieve. Before we can give them content knowledge, they must be ready to learn. We, as teachers, need to support students in their efforts. Brees intends his autobiography to be more than about football, and as a future teacher who does not know a lot about football, I can say in this aspect he was successful. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Are you Christian?

I overheard a table of students talking about holidays and religion. One of the students asked another student:

"Are you Christian?"

Her response: "No! I'm Hannah!"


This week our arrival activity was Christmas Riddles. The children were working on word problems that used Christmas characters. I was working with one child who has a difficult time writing numbers and with number sense. He wrote "21" on his paper instead of "12." When I reminded him to fix it, this is what he said:

M: "But I like the number 21 better!"

Me: "Why? What is so special about 21?"

M: "Well I want to be 21 so I can be Santa."

Me: "I'm 21, am I old enough to be Santa?"

M: "Well maybe he is just a little bit older."
“If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn't want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher's job.”—Donald Quinn

Friday, December 10, 2010

Community Helpers Bingo

I have been reading a lot of blogs lately. I am addicted! There are so many great blogs by and for educators that I cannot seem to keep up. I started a folder in my documents for downloads from these sites about 2 weeks ago and it is already full! I have already downloaded about 30 different activities! My next big task is to organize them, but in the mean time I thought I would pay it forward so to speak.

Even though I am only a student teacher, I think I can contribute ideas and activities that other teachers can use. So here it goes: Community Helpers Bingo. This is probably my favorite lesson so far. My children LOVED it.

Materials and Directions:
- Print Bingo Cards. Each card has a combination of labeled community helper pictures on it. I put the cards in slip covers for durability (it is like cheap lamination!).The cards also have a full-page image of each community helper. I used these the first few rounds to help the children make sure they had the right answer to the clues.

- Give the children bingo markers. I used unit cubes because they are stackable and do not slide around easily.

- Print the Bingo Clues. I would read these clues and the children would be responsible for marking the corresponding clues on their board. I also supplemented the clues listed with images from community helper books we had read in class.

-Giving the clues: I would read each clue 2 or 3 times. The first few I called we discussed as a group. For the first few rounds I put up the corresponding full page picture. Then the children were on their own. I was pleased to see how well they worked with each other. They talked about their answers at the table and even helped each other find the pictures on their boards!

-Awarding prizes: I really did not want to emphasize the "winning" part. We would play until 3-4 winners called "Bingo". The first time a child won the game, I would check their board and give them a sticker. By the end of the lesson all of the children had won at least one game...I might have influenced the game a little bit and made sure certain helpers were called towards the end. I won't tell if you don't!

-Play, Play, Play! We played several rounds. We played lines, diagonals, corners, x's, T's, L's, and full cards. I drew a picture of what their card should look like on the board each time so the children could better understand what a "Bingo" looked like.

-Noise Level: This game was a little bit loud. I personally am not bothered by noise during games or activities. The children were really good about quieting down when I started to read the next clue, but you might want to use a timer or bell to transition between reading clues and looking time.

The children had such a good time with this activity, we left it out in our Science & Social Studies center for them to play independently.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Where do you go?

College is a never-ending source of mystery for many of my students. Even the students who have parents who are very well educated have some misconceptions about college. Things like the idea of a roommate and not being in class all day long are fascinating to my students. Here is one of the best things about college I have ever been asked, though it came from the daughter of a family friend, another beautiful first grader in my life.

"Michelle, Where do you go to the bathroom at college?"

My response: "Do you have a bathroom at your school? I have one at mine too."

What a great reminder about the simple, but very important things in life.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I am just sarcasm!

I was working with one of my students during writing. He was making a cover for his book and I kept sending him back to his seat to do better work and follow the directions given. The last time I sent him back to his seat he started sighing. I told him I thought he was exaggerating. 

His response, "I know Miss Prinzo, I am just being sarcasm. I am just sarcasm."