Sunday, January 30, 2011

W is for Whales

At part of our Core Knowledge study of Antarctica we also learn about Whales.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Power of the High Five

I am not a big "High Five" kind of gal. I give a lot of hugs, smiles, and pats. Once in a while I remember to offer my hand and my kindys always take me up on it.. but it just doesn't come naturally and I don't see a lot of it happening in my room - until last week that is....

I am always the first one in my grade level to offer to open up my class for students needing inclusion time. I was a special ed teacher for the first 5 years of my career. I LOVED it. I also became extremely burned out. I made the switch to kindergarten thinking that it would probably be temporary- but I fell in love with kidys too-- I will always be a special ed teacher in my heart. Anyway.. back to my story...

I am lucky to have 2 students that spend time with us from the special ed class. They are both boys and cute as can be. The first semester they came only for 1/2 hour and with an assistant. I wanted more time and I thought they'd be fine with just us (because really.. my kindys take excellent care of them! They are after all part of our class family) but as you know time flies and the teacher I share them with couldn't figure out a better schedule as they had a bunch of new students that needed to settle in. And so it goes...

I am taking part in a -new to my district- professional development online program called PD360- I love it and if you can take part DO IT! It is on demand online videos of hundreds of topics. I love getting in service credit in my jammies... Over the winter break I decided to to the Inclusion Module. Really - because I knew it would be "an easy A". I am a big advocate for inclusion and I think that the typical kids benefit MORE then the kids with special needs.

I didn't learn anything new about inclusion BUT it did light a fire under me to figure out HOW to get more time for one of my students who I thought could really benefit from spending more time in my classroom.

I simply asked at an IEP (well- I had to send an email because I couldn't be there) and we all managed to find another 1/2 hour that he can spend with us.

This last week he started to talk. I am ashamed to admit that I didn't think he could talk. I knew he signed and I would sign with him- but he never talked to the assistant when she came with him and he never answered questions when we asked. Then, last week he simply told us "bye" when he was leaving. My kids went wild all excitedly telling each other that he talked!

That day he got at least 18 high fives and for the next week my kindys would ask him to say bye or repeat a word and he would get another high five. His speech is not perfect but in one week every attempt at talking was met with a high five. My class talked about him when he wasn't with us and told each other what word they had him repeat.

So.. I guess the point of this very long story is that high five is the universal friendship language of kindergartners. --- and inclusion ROCKS.

Literacy Week

It was literacy week and each teacher was asked to do something to promote literacy in their classroom. Well, I was short on ideas and time this week! We got together with a 5th grade class and our older buddies read us two stories. The 5th graders AND the kindergartners were both super excited! I've heard my kindy exclaim, "That's the book my buddy read to me!" more then once this week.

Friday, January 28, 2011

A is for Antarctica

During the month of January we studied Antarctica. Here is a quick photo post of some of the activities we did-

The Family Homework was to make an Iceberg and observe the results. I got a few posters and many photos sent via email- I even got a video!

Penguin dice game during math centers

Color and penguin by rolling dice during math centers.

Penguin Addition

Read many, many, many, books about Antarctica, penguins and snow!

Penguin goldfish addition.

Emperor Penguin headbands
Antarctica Map
Feed the Penguin High Frequency words
Penguin fine motor push pin activity

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Flat Stanley

My class is getting ready to learn about North America. This week we read Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown. Today we colored our Flat Stanley and will send them to a friend or relative in North America. When Flat Stanley returns to us we will learn about different areas of North America by hearing about his adventures!

Flat Stanleyreturnclass -

Flat Stanleyparentletter -

Flat Stanleyfriendletter -

Flat Stanleycut out -

Flat Stanleyreturnletter -

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Vista Print

I have a confession-- I am ADDICTED to Vista Print. How have I gone 12 years of teaching without knowing about this site!? I've seen the ads for free business cards but I never thought I needed business cards - then a parent gave me a personalized mouse pad and notebook and said they got them free from Vista Print. Then, I was reading blogs over the winter break and I stumbled across this post.
I decided to give it a look..... 4 hours later.. I came away with this... I also got 2 free tee shirts for the Grandparents, 2 free pens, a key chain, and postcards. I will warn you. IF you venture to this site you will get emails EVERYDAY offering you FREE stuff. I have more on the way, I'll post it when I get them. All of this was free plus very reasonable shipping.

I made cards for my students to stick in their pockets when we go on a field trip. I am pretty sure if they did get lost, they'd be crying or panicking and not able to give anyone information. (In the past I have just used a slip of paper- but these were FREE!)-- try to ignore all of the personal info there - thanks! :)

If you visit my room.. everything hanging on the wall is crooked. I can't help it. I have poor visual spacial skills (I park crooked too). This banner will be perfect for a bulletin board! FREE!

Car Magnet for my front classroom door! FREE!

25 magnets- I am giving these out with my February homework packet. FREE!

Bumper Sticker for inside of the bathroom door- even if they can't read it-- hopefully the whale will remind them to flush and wash.

These are my pride and joy! These are 3x3 post-its that I designed on word and uploaded (there was a 2.00 upload fee so these were not totally free) I am using these to remind my students what to do with their decodable readers.

I am not sure what I am going to use this for- but I thought we needed a thinking cap! FREE!

Three rubber stamps- one just says Name_______ (for papers that don't have a line- they seem to always forget), the second says, Thank you for doing your best job I am proud of you!, and the third says, Please practice this skill with your child at home.

Remember.... you have been WARNED!!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Long time no post!

So- Mr. Lewis was gone for a week, I had report card assessment, a reading assessment, report cards to write, I decided to clean out the house, AND I had to plan for this sweet girl's birthday party.. on top of it all my mom was in the hospital (she is fine- thank god!)

But today I am skipping a kindergarten post to wish my sweet daughter, Amelia a Happy 4th Birthday! I can't believe my baby is 4!

Singing at her party this weekend.
--- normal posting to resume tomorrow!----

Sunday, January 16, 2011

S is for Snowman

All Floridians long for snow- well, their children do. They wish and dream about what they would do in the snow! We read a few books featuring snowmen. Our favorite was Snowmen at Night. Everyone enjoyed sharing their journal about what they think snowmen do at night.

We also made this cute book about a snowman melting.

I tried to recreate a snow experience with shaving cream and penguins. The class has fun at the the discovery center imagining...

I put this follow the directions Mitten in the pocket chart center this week. It was cold here and many of my kids did get to wear gloves to school! We made these adorable high frequency word snowmen! I assigned each child a word so we have 18 different words!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

North and South Poles

As an introduction to Antarctica I teach about the similarities and differences between the North and South Pole. I also have to dispel the myths about polar bear and penguins living together. Only in cartoons and Coke commercials!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Martin Luther King Jr.

I love teaching about Martin Luther King Jr. The kids just laugh and think it is the silliest thing that there used to be laws keeping people separate. They just cannot fathom that it matters what color skin their friends have. I have seen Dr. King's dream come true in the faces and spirit of my kindergartners. They instill hope in me for the future.
This is what we did-

Read Happy Birthday Martin Luther King and wrote out dreams for the future. I typed them and put them up with their photos in our outside bulletin board.

Watched a clip on Safari Montage about how and why people celebrate Martin Luther King Day.

They each illustrated a very unique book!

Read We're Different We're the Same and looked at brown and white eggs. (The kids asked me how I painted the brown egg!) We made a list off all of the ways the eggs are the same. *I* had to add they both came from chickens! They all wanted to say they came from the same store! Then we made a list of how they were different. Of course we could only think of one- different color. We decided to see if they were the same inside-- that was fun
We also read Martin's Big Words and completed our Weekly Reader.

Mr. Lewis goes to Haiti

Mr. Lewis (my husband) is spending the next week in Haiti with Christian Service Industries helping to finish the H.O.P.E. Girls Home. This is him at 4:30 this morning! I am so proud of him I had to brag on my blog!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

It's Raining Cats and Dogs

Recently, we discussed the saying, "It's Raining Cats and Dogs". My class understood this saying right away as it was pouring the morning we talked about it! They illustrated the saying with these adorable pictures.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Snowy Day

I just love Ezra Jack Keats and is character Peter! We read the Snowy Day and completed some activities that Mrs. Larremore posted on Chalk Talk.
We traced our shoe and measured our foot print with cubes.
The book ends with- The friends went out together into the deep deep snow. We added to that last sentence and predicted what they friends would do in the snow. Then, we made these adorable friends in the deep deep snow.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Find It Fix It

I cannot take credit for the best clean up strategy I have heard in 12 years of teaching. GO HERE to learn about Find It Fix It. I have done it everyday for 5 days this week. My room has never been more sparkling at the end of the day. Even Miss Dot our custodian remarked about it's cleanliness. I give the student who found the fix it item a sticker and I only announce the winner when everyone is lined up quietly ready to leave at the door. So I get a clean room and a quiet line!!! Whoohoo!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Random Acts of Kindness

Over the break I assigned homework. Families actually had the whole month of December so I am not that heartless! :) The assignment was to complete 4 Random Acts of Kindness and report back to me. I am so proud of all of the different things they came up with to show kindness. I had each student share with the class their acts. Their faces beamed with pride as they told how they were kind. The rest of the class clapped and gave praise for their acts. Now, I hear remarks throughout the day about acts of kindness children have observed or performed.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Freeze Tag

I have been taking a course on PD 360 (it is an online, on demand, Professional Development web site my district is trying) about Brain Research and Learning. I was learning about physiological cycles and learning and it was talking about the "Black Hole Hour" after lunch. That students should be engaged in hands on or physical activity instead of direct instruction. Well, who has an hour to burn waiting for the brain to wake up!?

I have been teaching math right after lunch and my room is darker since I use my document camera so everyone can see the manipulatives. So, according to this research I was giving my students two reasons to zone out. One being it was after lunch and two, by deceasing the light in my classroom children had a build up of melatonin making them more sleepy.

This week instead of jumping right into math I decided to divide our recess time. In Florida I am required to give my students about 15 minutes of structured physical activity (SPA) a day AND 15 minutes of recess. I took the kids outside and taught them how to play freeze tag (since we are studying Antarctica- if you are "it" you are an iceberg). We play two or three games and then go in for math. After math we go back out for just recess.

I don't know if the kids have learned more math this week. BUT I do have to say that they are more focused and quiet during the instruction. I like dividing the time outside and I LOVE that they get the opportunity to get their wiggles out before math.

U is for Underwear

This was a very busy week! Along with being back from our winter break we started our study of Antarctica. I introduced a memory game called I am going to Antarctica. ( I am sure you have played a variation - I learned it at summer camp!) You pick a friend and say, "Hey, _____ I am going to Antarctica and I am bringing _____. "They that friend picks a friend and says, "Hey, ________ I am going to Antarctica and I am bringing ________ and ________. " This goes on and on and the list of items gets longer and longer. I let everyone help remember the items, but you could play differently with older kids. They were doing a really great job of picking items they'd need in Antarctica.. boots, hat, tent, cell phone :), coat, THEN a little blond cherub said, "UNDERWEAR!" The fit of giggles on the carpet was contagious! I got them back and focused.. but that only lasted until the next friend had to say UNDERWEAR! I tried to avoid the conversation.. but I did have to point out that it was smart to wear underwear to Antarctica or you could freeze your fanny right off! Well, that did it for the game for that day! They next day I went first and I picked underwear as my item.. just to get the fit of giggles out the way. All was going great until someone said, "DIAPER!"
.....It is great to be a kindergarten teacher.

B is for Band-Aid

In 12 years as a teacher and almost 4 years as a mother I have found that kids love band-aids! When one student needs a band-aid at least 3 more find boo boos that may start bleeding at any moment!
We read Bear Feels Sick by Karma Wilson and made these quick B is for band-aid pictures for our ABC book.

It turns out opening band-aids and peeling the backs off the sticky parts is really good fine motor exercise! I was very happy to find NOT ONE scrap of band-aid wrapper on the floor.. thanks to Find It Fix It!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year = New Stuff

I've added a new homework journal into the mix of the monthly homework- due on Mondays!

Everyone got to trade in their broken bits of crayons for a NEW box of crayons!
I've decided to add these supply tubs-- I hope having it out in the open helps with lost, missing, and broken supplies.
You now have to read the Password (high frequency word on a post-it) to enter each morning.

While the kids wait for the bell they can read to themselves or friends!