Hi, I'm Hannah Braun! Here I am dressed as one of my favorite characters from children's literature, Ms. Frizzle.
My blog is called The Classroom Key. I found that being a teacher was all about problem solving, including coming up with resources when your curriculum was lacking, dealing with challenging students (and their parents!), finding art projects kids can do that actually look like art, and sooo much more! I decided to focus my blog around the solutions, or "keys" that I have found for solving some of these common classroom problems.
I have two kids (an 8-year-old daughter and infant son). My boxer, Chuck, will forever be a lap dog at heart (even if he weighs 60 lbs!) My husband is an Air Force officer so we move around every few years. We recently moved to Colorado but we have also lived in California and Utah. I enjoy card making and walking/running/hiking.
I taught 2nd grade for 5 years and worked as a teacher librarian for 3 years. I'm currently staying home with my little guy.
My favorite subject to teach is science because it's a way to engage even the most reluctant learners! Here my students are modeling the sun, moon, and Earth using a flashlight, basketball, and styrofoam ball on a stick. For some kids, this was an "ah-ha" moment about why we have day and night. Others were able to grasp why we have moon phases. Everyone learned that creating models is a good way to study science concepts.
If you popped into my class unannounced you would see kids actively involved in learning whether through choral response, using noodles and cups to model place value, acting out parts of the water cycle, singing a SpongeBob themed song about pronouns, spelling sight words in sign language, or creating art in response to a poem. In high school and college I was a big band nerd (actually started out as a music education major) so I love to incorporate the arts into my classroom and kids find it very engaging. I like my classroom to be a colorful environment with lots of visual support for learning concepts (keep an eye on my blog for great anchor charts).
Humor definitely helps me through the tough days and I try to include plenty of it in my blog. There are so many things that only a fellow teacher would understand (or even believe!) I have a tab on my blog just for funny teacher stuff. Here's a meme I think we can all relate to:
When I was a new teacher I spent so much time looking through the standards, trying to figure out what to teach and when to teach it. My must-have teaching resource is my curriculum map. It lays out my main concepts each week so I can spend my time planning the activities knowing that by the end of the year all the standards will be covered. It took several years to develop but it was soooo worth it.
One of the big favorites in my class every year is "publishing parties." I got the idea straight out of the Lucy Calkins Units of Study for Primary Writing. My students work hard on a genre of writing (such as how-to, personal narrative, report writing, etc.) for six weeks and then we celebrate their hard work at the end of that time with a publishing party. The party is sort of like a book launch for a real author. Everyone chooses their favorite piece of writing from the unit to share with the class as we all sit in a big circle. After everyone has shared we have a toast for all of our hard work with apple juice. I explain how toasts are a grown up thing to do and they think it's so cool. Publishing parties help my kids stay motivated to do their best work because they want to have something great to share with the class at the end of the unit.
Here are our cups of juice, all ready for us to hold up high as we say "here here!" and then (every so carefully) clink together and say "cheers!"
This year my goal is to keep expanding my blog and my following my participating in lots of linkies, offering great freebies, spreading some teacher humor around, and presenting my best ideas in colorful ways! Come on by and check it out : )