Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The year is almost over??

So, today was a day of sulking. Not for any other reason than, I CAN NOT BELIEVE THESE BABES ARE LEAVING ME...I looked around today during centers and just plain got emotional about it. Don't get me wrong, I ALWAYS get like this, every year, it never fails. Tears at the Spring Sing, tears during the final picnic or party, just tears...I know you all feel me on this. Today's tears came from looking out during a writing activity and seeing a tiny little cry face at Table 4. "I don't know what to write about"...he says. Let me tell you, we tend to "be tough and brave" in my room, but it hit me today. What will happen next year if he "doesn't know what to write about.." and I'm not there to take his chubby little hand and help him. Do NOT get me wrong, all of our teachers at my school are unbelievable and I KNOW none of my little bugs will ever feel sad, left out, or get down on themselves if they can help it, but I can't help but worry...point blank, the end of the year STINKS. Ugg. That is all for now.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Everyday Is Earth Day! (amongst other things)

SO EARTH DAY IS MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY OF THE YEAR! The kids are becomming as obsessed with it (sort of) and are really enjoying learning about ways to help our planet. Here is just a few things we did so far..

We made an anchor chart of ways to help our Earth. The kids thought of great ideas and I wanted to make sure it was EVERYDAY things they can be sure to do in school and at home!

The kiddoes made their own little "planet earth" out of water colors and coffee filters and answered a prompt "I can help save the Earth by...". They came out beautifully :)
So far we've read:
GOING GREEN; which is an amazing book that is JAMMED packed with ideas for kids to help, ways we hurt the Earth, local places they can visit and TONS more!
We've been working ALOT with fiction and nonfiction so I've been trying to choose books that fit are theme that are both types. As I've seen in previous lessons, some REALLY take to nonfiction, and some just don't. Work in progress.

In Other News:
We are FINALLY trying to get the babes to tie their shoes. I desperately want to work on this ALL year but time does not allow for it. SO, I've been pressing the issue lately. We read this adorable book Shoelaces, and the the little ones decorated their own sneaker and now have one to practice tying. (It's Spring, let's be honest, croc time.)

I hope everyone has a great week! We have our Spring Sing Concert tomorrow so early to bed, early to rise :)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Daily 5 Dreaming :)

Hi All! We're almost to the end of our pre-spring break journey. Whew, was today exhausting! I guess we're all a little revved up for break to be here! It was just a little crazy with some of the babes needing to get evaluated for first grade, some leaving early for trips, etc but all in all, another GREAT day!

The reasoning behind my blog title is because the kiddos are doing an AMAZING job during Daily 5 time. I'm just excited that they are making such good choices for THEMSELVES! They aren't deciding to do what their friends are doing, or going back to the same old thing everyday...they are doing EXACTLY what I want them to do! Amazing.. Here are a few choices they made today! :

:SPELLING/WORD WORK:  Simple as pie. I printed a copy of the alphabet letters in capitals with boxes directly next to it and these little cherubs had to stamp the matching lower case letter in the box. They did so well!
:READ TO SOMEONE: Some friends playing POP! Working on my home computer so I don't have the name of the blog I downloaded this from but TAKE CREDIT!! I'm so sorry! Great game though! Students pick a card from the container. If they can read it, they keep it. If they can't, they put it back. If they get the POP! card, all of their cards go back in the container. (I know WOMP WOMP)..believe me, we've had some meltdowns but they're doing alright now :)
: WORK ON WRITING:  These lovely ladies decided to work on writing which was marvelous. I give them choices of what to do and they wanted to do a journal entry. UNREAL. Some days, doing journal is pulling teeth but apparently they enjoy it more than they let on ;)
:READ TO SOMEONE:  These little gents are enjoying some Sight Word Readers together. I love when reading can bring them together like this. TOO CUTE.
---> All in all, a great Daily 5 session today :)

I got this GIANT PAPERCLIP FRAME at Bed, Bath & Beyond for 14 bucks! Those pictures are 5x7's to give you a frame of reference!

As I'm sure some of you do, we have a BoOk HoSpiTal in our reading center. I am always always always officially devastated when I check it at the end of the day. WHY oh WHY do my books have to get torn, ruined and shredded???? The world may never know...and it pains me when I get small, individual pages that are just unsalvagable... SO HERE'S WHAT I DID:
I keep all of the old pages (this one is from Ping) and have the kids highlight our Popcorn Words, letter hunt, etc..so I don't feel so terrible about wasting my precious pages..

I hope you ALL have a wonderful break if it's coming up, or enjoyed it if yours is over :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Alrighty, it's been a while...SORRY. It's been a little nuts lately! As I'm sure you are all experiencing with Spring Break here or right around the corner. We've been working a TON on our reading/listening/retelling skills and whattheteacherwants.blogspot.com has SAVED my life. I've been able to work individually or with small groups to hear reading responses but lately, as their skills improve, I'm feeling more confident in using large group activities. Here are a few:

My hope is to get the kiddos more interested in non-fiction and this is the perfect way to get them going! They really do enjoy when I read non-fiction selections and this page was such a cute way to assess what they learned!

Again, another adorable page that asks them to remember the OH SO IMPORTANT parts of a story. We've also been working on parts of a story and parts of a book (Cover, Title, Author, Title Page, Index and Table of Contents). We talk a lot about what the setting is and how you can tell just by looking at the pictures! They are doing such an amazing job absorbing all of this info :) I hope everyone had a great Monday!
:) d.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March Madness (from a Kindergarten point of view)

So we've been spending this week working in our "St. Patrick's Day Activity Books". The kids are getting pretty pumped when we pull them out because each book has 4 pages (we're partying on Friday) and I let them choose which page they want to do. Here are the pages:
This is the cover page.  I like to leave it blank for them to decorate/design.

The favorite so far has been Shamrock rock & roll! ( I, for the life of me, can not remember where I got this so if you made it, Please comment and take credit!) I have a giant ball pit with oversized dice in it that the kids are able to use to find the sums and color their blocks in. :) It's been a huge hit.
The next two pages came from SMART CHICK over at Teacherspayteachers.com. LOVE. It is part journal entry, part awesomeness. It calls for the kids to create a leprechaun trap by using items in the classroom. My kiddos LOVED this. It gets them out of their seats creating something pretty cool. They then draw their trap in the illustration box, tell me what they used, and how it worked. Very fun :)
We are working on retelling (as is everyone else I'm sure) so the kiddos are becomming more and more familiar with "beginning, middle, end". This allows them to write a story without actually writing a full length story. I'm also able to differentiate by having some of them write and other draw pictures and explain it to me.
Who doesn't love a simple coloring page? I found this one at abcschoolhouse.com. I actually have the kiddos write what they found at the end of the rainbow, draw a picture, and color all of the other things. A good way to end the packet.

Just a few ideas for our St. Patrick's day party:
I have left over colored cotton candy from making the Thing 1 and Thing 2 cupcakes so we'll be using that as a rainbow snack :)
I couldn't find my photo of the leprechaun footprints but I found a similar one at http://ittybittyblogger.wordpress.com/category/married-with-children/page/2/ . Very cute! and the kids LOVE coming back to a messy, wacky room and finding clues.
 Everyone, enjoy the rest of the week! I'll try to hop back on tomorow :)

Here we are, looking completely ridiculous.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

the REST of Dr. Seuss

So, as promised, here is the rest of what we completed during "Our Week with Dr. Seuss"!

This was the wall outside that I created to display the books of the week. (We had an in-service day on Wednesday so there were only 4 books)

For the writing activities, I chose a few for each book (don't worry, everyone got a sample on the wall) but I managed to squeeze all of the hot air balloons for Oh the Places You'll Go up there. (Whew, it was about 40 balloons). So here are the close ups/descriptions:

We did a mini-packet for the Foot Book but this page allowed me to focus on opposites! (courtesy Seussville.com)
For Oh the Thinks You Can Think, I put a massive amount of art supplies on the tables and my kiddos had to "Think up a..." creation and rhyme to go along with it. They were allowed to use nonsense words. (How could I not let them when Dr. Seuss himself did it all the time!)
(a bird flying of a cird) hey, I said there could be some nonsense.

For Oh the Places You'll Go, the kiddos created they're own hot air balloon, then answered two prompts: I will go to:   and When I get there I will:   

 JD wants to go to Florida to swim :)

So, this is what I did for our over the top and obnoxious Dr. Seuss wall.

Easy ideas that let the kids experience with their own imagination, HUGE goal for me in every activity.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Surviving another Seuss Day :)

Hello All! I hope you all experienced a tolerable amount of wackiness today! We had such a wonderful day today...First, my wonderful assistant and I were very typical and dressed as Thing 1 and Thing 2 for the "Big Day"!
It went over very well. The kids loved it, co-workers called us nuts (which I take to mean "Great job, ladies!") and it actually wasn't too big of a distraction for the kiddies.
       Each day this week, I've focused on a different book/activity for the day. (Seuss wall photo to follow) but today, we focused on Horton Hears a Who! This year has brought many trials regarding the kiddos and their ability to cope with problems that surmount between them so I wanted to end our unit with a story about cooperation. After reading the story, used our Bucket Filling portion of circle time to talk about ways to cooperate with one another. Thanks to, Little Miss Glamour Goes to Kindergarten (check her blog out), the kiddos were able to write how they were going to cooperate, and draw a picture to go along with it:
We used the book to talk about how to be helpful when friends need it, and how to stick up for eachother. (We've had some issues with small groups singling someone out and making them feel bad :(  )  In order to do this, my babes were going to need a good set of Horton ears to listen with. I came across the website http://www.earlymoments.com/Fun-Activities/Hortons-Fun-Activities/ , and found a good set of Horton ears to make a headband with. They were adorable.
    Then, it was TIME TO PARTY! I decorated the room with Birthday decorations, we say "Happy Birthday" to Dr. Seuss and ate delicious Thing 1 and Thing 2 cupcakes.
     THEY WERE SUCH A HIT! (thanks pinterest). Just red velvet cake, white icing, and blue cotton candy for the hair of course! The kids LOVED them, the look and the taste. WARNING: I happened to be reading more about these cupcakes while they were baking and you can't put the cotton candy on until minutes before youre going to serve them!! It melts and looks gross, just a heads up.

So, another Seuss day came and went, we all survived, we all had an amazing day, and we all learned a little and played a little. I am exhausted and plan on treating this Friday's bedtime like a school night.

:) Enjoy your weekend, all.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

a VERY seussical birthday :)

Why is it that, every year, I am more excited for Dr. Seuss' birthday than my own? I don't have any pics of decorations yet but will hopefully have them uploaded by midweek.  I have been checking out a lot of cute snack ideas and found this little gem:
Red velvet, vanilla icing and blue cotton candy? Unreal. The "Thing 1" and "Thing 2" cards are super easy so I think this will be my Go-To snack for the big day. I'm also planning on making HUGE truffula trees and a few more other wacky items to decorate the room with. STAY TUNED!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I MUSTACHE you a question..Can you spell our "question words"?

So, lately, I've been noticing that I am enticing my kiddos to ask more questions while reading but am finding they are unsure of how to SPELL the question words. Thanks to many of you bloggers out there, we were able to do the "Mustache" Valentine cards..and since my kids (and their parents) are still reeling from that, I decided to make a Question Word hand-out along those same lines. For all of you goofball teachers out there, enjoy. :)

Dear Long Weekend, Thanks.

Soooo, yesterday was our first day back from our long President's Day Weekend. WHOA. I won't go into anymore detail than that but what a doozey.. By the end of the day, I literally looked like I had been hit by a train..( and I have a wonderful eye issue going on right now that's forcing me to wear my old glasses) so you can probably just imagine how beautiful that was...we were back to square one with a a lot of things; following directions, noise/body control, remembering letter sounds, etc... I felt frustrated most of the day when it came to getting work done...

On the PLUS SIDE..(there is always a plus side) The little ones got along with each other wonderfully. I couldn't have asked for a better day socially. So, when I got into my car and drove home in silence, I reflected...Is the day truly a loss if we have some slip ups with letter sound identification? Is the world going to end if the boys couldn't stop throwing beanie babies or we lost 3 glue stick caps? The answer is always and definitely a BIG FAT NO. The moments where I saw a little one fall only to find another tiny hand there to help him up, or I heard "That picture is really beautiful", or learning centers went so smoothly because everyone was getting along..those are the moments we strive for any other day, so why can't they be our complete and total accomplishment for one day? I've decided they absolutely can be. Sometimes it's bigger than being able to give everyone a 100% on a CVC page.. The world will not end...so on days when you feel challenged beyond all get out, I challenge you to see the good.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Post Weekend: Food for Thought

I was lucky enough to spend 2 days of my looong weekend with my baby neice, Emma Jane :)  She is 2 years old going on 25 and she is the love of my life. Spending time with her always makes me think about certain things I wish for her future. She is a silly, goofy, smiley little wonder who reminds me ALOT of my little girls in kindergarten. I suppose the most important thing for those little ladies to know is that it is OK to be yourself because being yourself is beautiful. This brings me to a photo that has been the background of my classroom computer for quite some time now...
Everytime I see this, I laugh. Growing up, for me anyway, the Disney Princesses were dipicted as "perfect". Perfect hair, perfect dresses, even perfect singing voices..but this picture truly puts things into perspective. REAL princesses aren't scared to be goofy. So, as I get ready to turn in and prepare for another week, I hope you can all find the joy in this photo and I hope you all out there know to stay true to yourself, because THAT is what makes you a princess :)
Goodnight Bloggers.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Just want you ALL to know, BOYCE AVENUE is the bomb dig. They cover everything (Bruno Mars, Adele, Katy Perry, Beyone, Coldplay) not a huge "pop culture" fan but MAN are my kids... THEY WILL NOT CURSE. It's a sure fire way to get what you want. No worries. We have 'Dance Party Friday' every week but I will use Boyce to slowly transition...just a thought. if you love music, you'll dig them.
This is my assistant, Liz and I. This is fairly typical. I need to say that, and the few of you out there lucky enough to have an assistant hopefully agree, my AWESOME relationship with my assistant leads to ALL of the success in my classroom. I mention her patience often because I truly believe that I am an "Idea Psycho". Things pop into my brain and in a split second, we or she or I am working diligently to bring it to life before the day ends. I'm not trying to brag (yes, yes I am) but kids say they LOVE our room because we're crazy and silly and I we let them be THEM. Part of that, is having someone by my side that knows the impossible is possible, hard work does pay off, and smiles are the only payment that matters..

Indoor Recess? YES, PLEASE!

     Sooo, I can explain. My kids think I'm a ninja..for no other reason that that's what I have told them. When they ask how I saw them steal the shovel in the sandbox when my back was to them, "I'm a ninja..", when I finish tying their shoes WHILE I'm wearing gloves and they stare back in awe, "I'm a ninja.." you get the point. So, what kind of Sensei would I be if I didn't attempt to teach those skills to my young apprentices.
      Enter INDOOR RECESS (deep, dreadful, movie trailer voice). This is one of those days I speak of when I say that my assistant must go home in complete silence and rethink her professional choices. It all started with "Liz (my assistant), I think it's supposed to rain all day..". To which she responded something like "Uh, Oh." Bless her. "We're going to do indoor ninja training today." said Devin emphatically. "OK.", said Liz.
       I began to scramble. What types of activities do ninjas really need to be able to do? Climb through laser beams? Check. Army crawl through a jungle? Yes. Jump over a pit of fire? Absolutely. So, with a little help from the BEST gym teacher ever (and the use of our schools Aftercare room)  I managed to scrounge up all of the supplies I would need to create my ninja fortress training center of power. (That's what I called it)...
 The "Always Watching" eyeballs, tunnel of dread, fire pit and jungle in the distance..
 cones for weaving on the way to the "team scooter pull", jump ropes were flames my assistant and I wiggled for the kids to jump over...
Ahh, the fire pit. I know what you're thinking..That thing looks FIERCE..and it was. After they army crawled through the jungle, they had to complete a puzzle (I was once obsessed with MTV's "The Gauntlet" and have a hankering desire for there always to be a mind challenge during obstacle courses)  before jumping into the ocean..

So there it was. Complete with Justin Bieber's "Never Say Never" and "Kung Fu Fighting", this obstacle course ruled. All of the kiddies received this award with their name on it, after being announced with drum rolls and the "Space Jam" soundtrack:
The end result of this was more than I could have imagined. Yes, I was sweaty and laughing uncontrollably, but seeing the look of confidence and pride on my kids' faces was priceless. To this day, I will ask who is a ninja and they all raise their hands. There is something to be said for that..There is also something to be said for having an AMAZING, fun/silly group of parents who LOVE (and wonder) what they will find in their take home folders each day..it may just be an Ninja Award.
My point of this post is: GO WITH IT. When you have an idea that seems amazing, don't let the critics (co-workers) make your cereal soggy with "You really want to have to clean that all up?" or "They are going to be so out of control when you are done" (they weren't because true ninjas have self control...). DO IT. GO FOR IT. If it doesn't work, the kids are going to love you anyway. At the end of the day, isn't that all that really matters?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

"Always be thankful for each other"

I hung this up on my classroom door for Thanksgiving but haven't had the desire to take it down! It speaks volumes to what I want my kids to understand... Kindergartners tend to see the rest of the school as this world where everything is too big, too loud and too scary. So I see it as my duty to teach them that as long as they stick together, everything will be alright. Days where they have had enough of each other, petty arguments seem around every corner, and they can't seem to make each other happy, I remind them to "always be thankful for each other". Be thankful that there is another little mind and heart that understands exactly what you're going through. Be thankful that you have adults who love and care for you and wish for your safety and happiness each day. I understand that being 5 years old, it may be hard to grasp (and I certainly don't explain it as extensively as this) but I can see changes in their attitudes for each other...and it's amazing.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Here goes nothing..

First day on the new blog! I'm super excited to start...I have been checking out everyone else's blogs and it hit me that I, too, want to be able to enjoy this world of teacher to teacher interaction! Let me get started by saying that I am currently in my 5th year of teaching Extended Day Kindergarten in Radnor Township, PA. (That means that my students come to me for 1/2 the day and go to another Kindergarten teacher for 1/2 the day) VERY COOL. This past year has found me super tired of everything I have ever had in my classroom..that combined with my new addiction to pinterest has left my classroom assistant secretly looking for a new job (not really, but I would believe it if she said it).

I realize that we are many months into the school year but my little group is still having trouble with self control/problem solving issues. I have currently attempting to use my morning/afternoon meeting time to build these skills but we can't seem to get over the hump..any ideas?