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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Night

I had a wonderful long weekend! My daughter Amelia had her first swim meet Saturday. I went out with a friend to a comedy show to benefit a student at our school who will be having a heart transplant. I went grocery shopping (and forgot a few things) and worked in my classroom for a while. I also read books, played barbies, and cooked, cleaned, and laundried. So now I am wrapping up my weekend with a little lesson planning. My school "to do" list is very long but I am trying to find a better balance this year. Looking forward to another week! Fire Safety, Christopher Columbus, and Mrs. Wishy Washy here I come!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Why I have the best job in the world



This amazing child got recognized in a "mid writing workshop interruption" (in the middle of writing) for making a thinking bubble over his characters head! Pretty safisticated for 20 days into kindergarten. So, during Core Knowledge he took that thinking bubble to the next level and put one over the houses in his neighborhood. This (and a million more each day) is why I have the best job!! 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Lockdown, Septmeber 11th, and Grace



On Wednesday our school was in a code yellow for the entire day. There was a situation involving US Marshalls in the neighborhood behind our school. The lockdown was a safety precaution and thankfully no one was hurt. My students had absolutely no idea about the events of the day. The art teacher came into our classroom with the explanation that she wanted to see our art in our room. I took a class vote and it was unanimous that we would have a picnic lunch in our class room with hot lunches being delivered. (don't you know they begged me on Thursday for another picnic!) I avoided recess disappointment by showing The Magic School Bus. Dismissal was different but I explained we were practicing for a rainy day. Thankfully, no one needed to visit the clinic! It was exhausting for the adults on campus but the kids were all stress free. Even my own 2nd grader had no idea. I sent worried parents photos on Remind101 to reassure them that we were carrying on and happy and safe!

I don't discuss the events of 9/11 in my classroom because  my students are so young. I do emphasize 9/11 as a day of service. We took time to make our classroom extra clean for Ms. Dot our custodian and I did "shout outs" to students I saw being kind and helpful. We read this book-





                                                  


and we talked about ways to make the world a better place. We also sang I can Change The World With My Own Two Hands by Jack Johnson on YouTube-



The students painted pictures and I included a note on the back that I found on this blog - Preschool Daze a few years ago. The note said:

                   While we didn’t discuss the events of September 11, 2001, we talked about
the ways we can be kind, the ways we can solve conflict, the ways we can
change the world to be a better place. You adults who are reading this note
likely remember the moments of 9/11/01. May the colors created by a child’s
own two hands give you hope and reassurance of the goodness that is.





Because we were talking about service we also talked about our beloved friend, Officer Morrison. He has been standing guard for over two years in the morning and afternoon at our school. This wonderful city policeman patrolled our school during the lockdown the day before. Seeing him out our window made ME feel reassured. He worked closely with our administration and the US Marshalls all day. Sadly for us he is retiring next week. We made him a card to say thank you.


                                     
On to Grace..... I spent 6 hours after school in professional development this week... and we had a lockdown.... and it was a full moon... and my daughter had swimming practice 4 nights.. and the alternator in my car went out on the way to school....
I sent home all of the beautiful pictures my students painted with a wonderful note and quote on the front... with a TYPO. UGHHH I didn't even notice it until I looked at the photos I took of their art work. So - I sent home the correct quote yesterday... so thankful for God's Grace.. hopefully the parents of my students will give me a little grace too!

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Golden Rule

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This week we focused on the Golden Rule in kindergarten. This saying is part of the  Core Knowledge curriculum for kindergarten. All of the planets aligned this week because without much effort at all, my read-a-louds all fit into this theme! To introduced the saying I read The Berenstain Bears- I love this book! I found it for 10 cents at a junk sale.. it was once a chik-fil-a kids meal prize! Our author study this month is Audrey Penn. I read Sassafras, a story about a skunk who is embarrassed by his potential smell who encounters a grey fox and together they learn a lesson.  ---BONUS! Our reading curriculum theme was, "What makes me special" So, I read The Ugly Duckling and we talked about the Golden Rule and what made the "ugly duckling" special. I also read Rachel Parker Kindergarten Show- Off and had a great discussion about friendship and treating others with kindness. It was a great week!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Routines and Procedures again and again and again

Teacher appreciation quote    Momcaster.com LOVE Kindergarten teachers. :-)
My little kindys are amazing. They are full of wonder and questions and SO HAPPY! The first weeks of kindergarten are so important. We spend so long getting the procedures down.. the time I take to establish how to be in kindergarten pays off in the end.. but it can be exhausting! This afternoon at car duty another kindergarten teacher and I just looked at each other and sighed.. it's kind of like herding cats these first few weeks.
This morning during our phonics lesson I was teaching the class how to echo back to me... I say {letter} {picture} {sound} and the class echoes it back to me. To walk them through it I said {letter} {picture} {sound} an then I made the mistake and said "echo"
Well, you know how this goes... I heard 18 darlings echo back to me, "{letter} {picture} {sound} echo!" After reminding them NOT to say echo 5 more times.. I thought.. well, Tuesday we will try again!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Units of Study - Storytelling with Carl


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My kindergarten team and I are embarking on a new writing journey-- we are joyfully diving into Lucy Calkins Units of Study. I am so excited to be launching a real writing workshop! In the 11 years I have taught kindergarten, writing was always a bit of this and bit of that flavored with whatever the current reading curriculum thought about kindergarten writing. It never felt right and writing was stressful for me (and my students).  I was lucky enough to attend 4 days of training this summer on Units of Study and it was so soothing to my kindergarten soul!!! The last few days I have been teaching my students how to be storytellers (in the If/Then book if anyone out there finds this post and wonders). Good Dog Carl had been a HUGE help! I had never heard of Good Dog Carl books - turns out there are 14 of them!- but I am lucky to be teaching with another kindergarten teacher that met Carl many years ago and gifted these books to her now grown children. She added them to her classroom library and is sharing with me. They are PERFECT books for storytelling because only the first and last page have words. The rest of the pages are full of engaging illustrations. They make it easy to tell the story by reading the pages and encourage children to sketch out their stories without worrying about the words.  Carl was also a huge help this week during Reading Workshop since we are learning to read 3 ways! Of course I want all of the books now! I will have to keep my eye out for a deal.

I had a wonderful week with my class this week. I am so excited for the next 175 days!!