Monday, October 31, 2011

The End of Molasses Classes Part 3

I'm a little late with linking up to this part of the book but I've been busy.
I'm a huge Harry Potter fan. I love the books so much (the movies not as much.) So I absolutely loved principle #50 Set an electric tone on day 1. I love the fact that they have houses at their school and they go through a sorting hat like ceremony. It got me thinking about doing something like this with my class. I have groups but they are usually pretty fluid and I don't tie everything in with them. But after reading this section it made me want to develop some kind of point system for my students. I have my kids for 2 years and the more they can bond and learn to work together the better. I only wish I had started reading this book this summer rather than a month or two ago. But there is always next year.
The next principle that really caught my attention was #65 Encourage children to cheer for one another. I love teaching kindergarten and first grade for this very reason. They are proud of each other when they accomplish things. I have one student in my  class who is always encouraging other students when they move their clip up. They are also good about encouraging the ELL students when they answer questions or talk more. I love the idea of encouraging this more instead of just allowing it to happen naturally.
I really struggled with the principle about dressing the part. I believe that we as teachers we need to take ourselves seriously so that others will. That if we want to be treated as professionals we need to act professional. But I also think I teach Kindergarten and dressing in a suit everyday just doesn't work. My first three years teaching, I taught in a school where we could only wear jeans on Fridays. I had to dress more professionally but I also taught 3rd grade. It bothered me when other teachers would wear velour track suits and that was ok. But where I'm at now, we don't have much of a dress code. We can wear jeans whenever. I try not to dress sloppy and for only comfort.  But to be honest, I spend a lot of time on the floor with my kids and for some reason they tend to get me dirty with paint, mayonnaise (true story. One little girl got mayo in my hair my first year in kindergarten.), snot, fruit roll up. I can't afford the dry cleaning bill that it would take to clean my suits. But I think if I taught an older grade, I would be more likely to wear more professional clothes.
I'm linking up with the TBA book club. Come check out others' thoughts on this awesome book.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

It's been too long!

I haven't posted anything all week and it feels so weird. I spent Sunday and Monday night camping in the Great Smoky Mountains with my wonderful boyfriend. But I had no phone or internet for a few days and then spent the rest of the week trying to catch up from being out. I had big plans of getting caught up on my blogging yesterday but got sucked into pinterest instead. I just keeping pinning and pinning. It's crazy.
I can't really tell you anything we did last week. It was a whirlwind of just trying to get through with the insanity of Halloween looming over our heads. I did a terrible job with transportation and trucks. We just hit the high points.
Monday we're not allowed to have a Halloween party for the first time ever. We're a K-8 school and it is so distracting to the other grade levels to have the whole Halloween hoopla. But I don't anticipate getting too much done on Monday. We're going to read Stellaluna and do some activities about bats. We're also going to work on the -at word family a little bit. I'm working on a word family activity.  By the afternoon, I don't expect to be able to do anything so I'm hoping that my teaching friend will have The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown for us to watch. I think I have some Scooby Doo and maybe Garfield Halloween to watch.
The rest of the week we're going to be working on the letter i and doing an author study on Mo Willems. I'm really excited about this author study. I've seen so many good ideas on pinterest and other blogs. If you haven't checked out his website you should.
There is a great pigeon teaching guide that has a lot of good ideas for using the pigeon books. I was a little frustrated though because I was trying to find the guide to drawing pigeon on the Hyperion Children's book website and instead kept being taken to the Disney books website. So if anyone knows how to get to that I would appreciate it greatly. We're going to be doing some writing using the pigeon character. You'll have to check back later this week to see how it turns out.
So while camping, we went bike riding. I'm really not a great bike rider. I didn't really ride much when I was a kid on a real bike. So I'm learning as an adult. I really enjoy riding my bike though. There were some places where I had to walk my bike up hills and we were on a road with a lot of traffic (It's Cades Cove. If you are familiar with this area, you'll understand). It was making Chris really nervous so he finally just sat me down on a pull off and biked on to get the car. I had to wait for about an hour for him to come back to my rescue. So I got a little bored. First I worked on singing the 50 states song. I use to know it really well but it turns out I was leaving like 15 states out. I finally got all 50 states in while waiting. I'm sure I looked like a nut sitting on the side of the road singing to myself. After I tackled that song, I started thinking of other songs I could sing using the sight words of the week. Our sight word for the week, was see which made me think of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? So while sitting on the side of the road, I came up with the Smoky Mountain version of Brown Bear with animals found in the park. I am working on a power point of the story that I hope to have ready to share this week. So check back. Meanwhile, I've got a few other things to share.
Letter book for t and i
t flipchart (You must have activeinspire software to open)
sight word stamping sheet
If you find something you can use, please leave me a little comment love. I love getting comments. Here a couple of pictures from the beautiful mountains I live in. It has been a gorgeous fall.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Long Term Planning

Does anyone else get caught up in reading all the wonderful blogs out there and want to do it all in their classroom? I get so many ideas and it's so hard to include it all in. I sat down today to looked at what I was suppose to do for the next nine weeks until Christmas break. I think I figured out ways to fit in what I want to do. Here's a rough outline of my plan:

Oct. 24-28 - The Letter t and transportation - I'm going to work on tractors and trucks and hopefully the at and am word families.
Oct. 31-Nov. 4 - The letter i and more transportation is what I'm suppose to do. I want to fit in Mo Williams and his pigeon books to work on writing. And also the it word family
Nov. 7 - 11 - Review week for letter i and t and still more transportation. We're suppose to read the David Shannon book - Duck on a bike so I'm thinking a David Shannon author study.
Nov. 14-18 - the letter N and food. I have been dying to do a farm unit after seeing all the cute stuff online. My boyfriend is a vet and he's been through a lot of agriculture classes and is a big advocate for agriculture education for students. an and in word families
Nov. 21-23 - Thanksgiving Unit
Nov. 28-Dec. 2 the letter c and food. I'm thinking a cupcake unit that would lead into healthy eating habits
Dec. 5-9 - Review of n and c, food - nutrition and noodles
Dec. 12-16 - The letter o and animals - A living organism unit
Dec. 19-21 - Christmas/Gingerbread Man
I recognize these are super ambitious plans. But it seems a little more manageable to see it written out with a plan. I think some of it flows well into each other. The David Shannon book Duck on  Bike takes place on a farm so it will lead into a farm unit well. Food and Thanksgiving seem to go hand in hand. The hardest thing I've had to try to fit in was a Mo Williams author study. I have really been wanting to include this somewhere in my plans. I thought about the letter p but then I got caught up in pumpkins and Pete the cat. But I think buses go with transportation and we really need to be working on our writing skills.
I also have been working on literacy stations and small groups. I'm hoping to start having the kids rotate to two different stations a day and meet with 3 reading groups a day. This week will be an interesting trial in it. I'm going to be out Monday and Tuesday. I'm really excited because I'm going camping with my boyfriend. No school or thinking about school for a couple of days. Well at least I can't be on the computer working on school stuff. I wish I could get it out of my mind sometimes.
How do you cope with all the fantastic ideas out there in blog land? Do you do long range plans? This is my first go at it in this kind of detail. Hopefully I'll be able to carry it out. If you have any advice, I'd love to hear it.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

No More Molasses Classes Book Study

So I read the second part of the book last weekend and I've been turning it all over in my head since then. I think Ron Clark has a lot of great things to say and if all parents and teachers read this book we'd have fewer problems. I think the biggest thing I got from this is to make it a partnership between the family and the school. I try to offer parents opportunities to be involved in their child's education but it doesn't always work out well. I have had a few issues with a mom who I think it wouldn't matter what I do it would be wrong. I really don't want that to be the relationship we have. I have my kids and their families for two years. I had the goal of making an effort to make postitive interactions with her this week. But I didn't follow through like I meant to. The week got away from me and her child wasn't exactly praise worthy this week. But there's always next week.
I think sometimes we get caught up in all we have to do and think that when parents don't do what we expect that they don't care. But I had some of that thrown in my face this week. I have one family that comes in at least once or twice a week or calls me to tell me something or ask something. I find myself getting frustrated because I don't want to be bothered. But they are wanting what is best for their child. They want her to be successful in school and they don't always understand what I'm expecting. So I have to remind myself to be patient and help the child and parents accomplish what is expected.
The second incident was with a hispanic family. This year we have a larger ELL population in kindergarten than we've had in the past. I taught ELL when I first started teaching and loved it. My experience was those families wanting their child to succeed and they do whatever it takes to do it. I had a meeting with one family because their child is having behavior issues in their pull out ELL. His behavior has improved leaps and bounds in my class and he is making some progress academically. We discussed what we needed to and I asked if they had any questions. They wanted to know when they were suppose to bring snack. They had wanted to send snack home but didn't know when. I took out the calendar and explained it to them. It reminded me that I need to be more clear in my expectations before assuming the family didn't want to be a part of their child's education. They brought in more than enough snack today now that they understood the expectation.  I guess I needed the reminder between Ron Clark and my own class to make my expectations more clear and partner with the parents in their child's education.

Friday, October 21, 2011

What a week!

This week was a review week for our reading series so I took the opportunity to use Pete the cat. We were reviewing the letters s and p. So I thought that was a great chance to use Pete the cat. My students love Pete. We have read both books several times but just for fun. This week we made a character chart, wrote about Pete, sequenced the events, made our own Pete's, unscrambled sentences about Pete. It was tons of fun and the kids practiced some great skills. It was a combination of activities from Deanna Jump's unit and Fran Kramer's unit. They both have great ideas. I was really impressed with how well my kiddos did making their own Petes. I used my document camera to demonstrate what to do as we followed Deanna Jump's instructions for making one without a pattern. While I didn't do it exactly as she recommended, I thought they turned out well. Today we wrote sentience to describe our Pete's. We used the word like instead of love though because like was one of our popcorn words. I also used Pete to talk to my kids about attitudes and not worrying about things. I'm going to be out on Monday and Tuesday for a some personal time and camping. This is the first time I've been out and my kiddos are a little sensitive about change. So we talked about how Pete handles change. I think it helped some. We'll see. Thanks to Crystal at Kreative Kinder for her sub tub. I got it when she was having a giveaway a while back. It was such a big help in getting ready for the sub.
 Here are our finished Pete's. I was pretty impressed with how far we've come with following directions and cutting.
This is the Pete the Cat, Chris made for our character chart.
Yesterday in the middle of finishing our Petes, the power kept flickering off and on. We had heavy winds and it was knocking the power out. I finally gave up on the document camera and projector and we hurried to finish Pete. But meanwhile, the power went off for about 2 hours during lunch and specials. It was crazy. The kids didn't want to go in the bathroom because it was so dark. Not that I could blame them. Then today we had to have an impromptu assembly in the gym so the superintendent could speak to the faculty. The kids were crazy. It was a wild week in kindergarten and I'm sure next week will be the same since I'll be out two days.
What did you do this week? I'm linking up with Clutter Free Classroom's weekly linky party. Click here to see what others are doing in their class.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Whole Group vs. Small Group

So I've been doing some assessing as we've finished up our second unit of reading. And I'm noticing something. About half of my class don't know their letters. And then the ones that do know their letters don't seem to know how to put them together to sound out words. And then I have about 4 students who seem to be ready to read. So what is a girl to do? I realized today when we were doing a worksheet from our reading series about blending words was completely pointless for my kids that don't know their letters at all. I have one kid that when I call on him, his response is "I wasn't raising my hand." I promptly told him that it didn't matter if he had his hand up or not. I'm starting to think I need to restructure some things. Part of my problem is I have 6 ELL students who are not in my room for the hour I teach most of my phonics. Luckily most of them are starting to stay all day and I'll be able to some small group work with them in the afternoon. I say all this to say, I need some help or some ideas. How do you deal with such wide discrepancies in your class? Do you do a lot of whole group instruction or mostly small group instruction? I've been working on my literacy and math centers and they are getting better. I wasn't thinking the kids were ready for a rotation where they go to two centers but maybe they are. Then my next question is what are some strategies you use for working on letter identification and blending? I just bought Deanna Jump's guided reading kit and I'm excited about using it. Any advice would be appreciated or just hearing what you do.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Very Busy Spider Literacy Bag

I had way too much to do for school this weekend and don't feel like I got any of it done. I just didn't feel like it. The weather was beautiful this weekend and I enjoyed some time with my boyfriend and his family. He's going to be out of town the next two weekends with boy scout stuff and work stuff so I enjoyed it. I can get caught up next weekend. I also chose to spend time doing things that weren't as productive for school. Like stalking blogs and working on my teacher's notebook store. I'm working on a new item I'm super excited about. It's a letter detective packet with clip art from Scrappin Doodles. So I spent time trying to figure out the world of clip art and licensing. I plan to get that finished next weekend when I have some time to myself.
But meanwhile, I did work on my literacy bag for the The Very Busy Spider. Here are the contents of the bag: The book The Very busy Spider, a spider and spider web, a class book and instruction sheet and a spider ring for the child to keep. You can click below to get the pdf for the files I'm using.

 The parent letter and class book page

Here are a few pictures from the pumpkin patch yesterday. There were some really cool pumpkins. I went with my boyfriend, his sister and brother in law and niece. There's a good shot of Chris coming down the slide with his niece.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Giveaway Winner!

So I think I figured all this out with and taking a screen shot.
Jennifer Knopf said...
I blogged about your giveaway! Jennifer @ Herding Kats In Kindergarten

Teacher's Notebook Store

I just opened my Teacher's Notebook store and I'm super excited. I posted my first item last night. Hopefully I did everything right. It's a set of 10 sight word readers. They use the sight words I, can, we, the, a, like, go, see, have, to, is, and play. They also have different topics like transportation, animals and healthy habits. I use them in my class and my kids love them. They love that they can read the book themselves. It folds up and is just their size. I was inspired to make these foldable books by Fran at Kindergarten Crayons. We use the Treasures reading series and I think this set covers the first 5 units. The books on only $3.00. I'm excited to start on this venture. I've got to do something to support my habit of buying stuff for my classroom. Anyway, check out my store and hopefully I'll get some more stuff posted. Click here to get to my shop. 

I'll be posting the winner of my first giveaway later today so please check back!

Make It Happen!

I saw an excerpt from this book on a couple of blogs and knew I had to read it. I love Ron Clark. I read his book The Essential 55 when I was in college and starting to teach. He inspired me. He was what I wanted to be. But as I've gotten bogged down in teaching, I've drifted away from his ideas and rules. I had already decided that this year would be different and reading this book was going to help. I had planned on participating in the book study with Faithful in First and was bummed when it didn't work out. So I decided to write some posts of my own about the book.
The first principle that has really struck a cord with me is number 9. "Make it happen. Don't give excuses; find solutions!"

I  love the idea of not making excuses for things but just making things happen. It is so easy to complain about things in our education system The negatives are right there. We don't have time to teach all we need to teach. We can't have fun in kindergarten anymore. Kids won't do their homework because their parents don't make them. These are things I've been complaining about. I want my kids to leave kindergarten and first grade (I loop) knowing how to read, loving school and learning,  being able to think and reason. I've set this goal for myself before school started. I decided this year would be different. I was going to have fun and enjoy the kids. Then school started and I remembered what little time we have to accomplish so much. I have found myself complaining and thinking I just can't do it. As I was reading this book on Saturday and got to this principle, I sent myself an email with the words Make it happen. I knew I needed to have these words somewhere so I could see them. I made myself a sign that hangs over my desk that says "Make It Happen."
I hope to add some pictures of what I want to make happen underneath the sign. If you watch the show Jerseylicious on Style, you'll know what I'm talking about. One of the characters, Olivia, makes a vision board of her goals and what she wants out of life. I got the idea this summer that I would do something along these lines. But I needed Ron Clark to remind of it. So this year instead of excuses, I plan to make it happen. What about you?
I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago before the book study started about The End of Molasses Classes. I reread it just now to see if I had other things I wanted to say about the part one. But with things that are going on with me at school, I feel like this is still the most thought provoking principle for me at this time. I think this is the kind of book you could read parts of over and over and depending on what is going on it would affect you differently. I was reading someone else's post as part of the linky party. I don't remember who it was  but I related to them saying that it was hard to read in some parts because it hit so close to home.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Check out what we did for P week!

Before I tell you all about p week, I wanted to remind you to enter my giveaway if you haven't yet. You have until I get up tomorrow morning to enter. I'll do the drawing tomorrow on Click here if you haven't entered the giveaway yet for a chance to win a $10.00 gift card for Dollar Tree.

Today was our pumpkin day. I tried to make everything be all about pumpkins and it worked out pretty well. I used one of Mrs. Wills' October math journals where the kids had to make a pattern out of tall and short pumpkins. We read 5 little pumpkins and illustrated it. Then we read the book Pumpkins by Ken Robbins. I just got my document camera and slate this week and haven't gotten to play with too much. So I was excited to use it today to show the pictures from the book to the kids. This is a great book if you haven't checked it out. The photographs are beautiful. We then made a tree map of pumpkins. I've been so impressed with how well my students are taking to these different thinking maps. Thanks to all my blogging friends who've inspired me to try these out.

Then it was time for some science. I put on my lab coat to let the kids know it was science time. The first question was will a pumpkin float? They put their names under yes or no depending on what they thought. One little boy said no because it's heavy. I was pretty proud of him for coming up with a reason for his answer. The pumpkin didn't float. We then measured it and compared it's weight to the candy pumpkins. They made their predictions and I recorded it on a chart. The last question we answered was how many seeds are in the pumpkin. I started to carve into the top of the pumpkin and my knife wasn't quite sharp enough. Some of my kids were talking about how I was hurting the pumpkin and then one little girl yelled out "Ms. Kerri wouldn't murder anyone." I was glad for her vote of confidence. They each helped me scoop out some of the seeds. We didn't have a chance to count them yet so we'll have to finish that Monday. We did make our pumpkin glyphs that I posted about earlier this week. Again, it was the perfect opportunity to use my document camera. They did a pretty good job with it and I loved having the camera to display my model as I did each part.

I didn't quite get everything done I had wanted to. I still have some fantastic activities from Kreative in Kinder's fall pack to do for math. We can work on those next week. I never seem to have enough time. I also plan to do a whole unit on Pete the Cat that I'm super excited about.
What did you do in your class this week?
I'm participating in Clutter Free Class room's Linky party. Check out the other posts here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Literacy Bags

A month or so ago, I saw a post on The Very Busy Kindergarten about her literacy bags. She was getting ready to start her If you give a Mouse a Cookie literacy bag. I've wanted to do these in the past but wasn't sure how to get started. I used her idea and created my own bag. I had the stuffed animal to go along with If you give a Mouse a Cookie so I put that in, the book, a cookie, and a folder with sheets to make our own book. I found some drawstring backpacks at dollar tree. The one we've been using for If you Give a Mouse a Cookie, is about done now that every student has taken it home. But for a dollar what do you expect. The kids have enjoyed doing this activity. I was surprised that every child has brought it back the next day and with their page complete. I'm sending it home with the last kid today and I would like to start a new one next week. But I don't know what book to use. The only other stuffed animal I have is Pete the Cat and I need another copy of the book before I can start sending it home. Right now I just don't want to part with him. So I'm looking for an idea. And as I typed this, I just got another idea. We read The Very Busy Spider last week and I have a bunch of plastic spiders and webs. So maybe something along those lines. I just need to come up with a page for the class book.
When I posted about literacy bags and my giveaway earlier this week, I was interested in some other books that would lend themselves to activities like this. I see now that  a lot of people don't use literacy bags. This is my first try at it and I don't want it to be to complicated or too expensive. I'm hoping to do them with books and things that I already have. Anyway, maybe we can go on this adventure together. I'm posting the class book page I used and my parent letter as an example. Maybe you can do something similar.

Class book page
Parent Letter

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

P is for Pumpkin

If you use any of activities or freebies, please leave a comment. It's nice to know someone is using what I'm working on. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Giveaway Excitement!

I'm up to 56 friends (followers) and I'm super excited. Thanks to Laura at Kinder Kraziness for featuring me yesterday on her blog. So as stated before, I'm going to have a giveaway. I'm giving away a $10.00 gift card for Dollar Tree. This is how you enter.
  1. Start following me if you aren't already and leave me a comment that you've started following me. 
  2. Blog about my giveaway and then leave a comment.
  3. Leave a comment giving a way that use literacy bags. 
I started using literacy take home bags this year. Well, I've really only done one and that was inspired by The Very Busy Kindergarten for If you Give a Mouse a Cookie. This has gone over really well and the kids love it. I would love to do another one but I'm in need of an idea. So if you have a great idea of something you do, please comment and you can be entered in the giveaway as many times as you comment. I'm super excited about my first giveaway. You can enter through Friday night. I'll hopefully figure out how to do a random drawing by then.  Although my boyfriend, did volunteer to draw a comment out of a hat. I can't wait to see what you have to share.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Help please!

After spending the last few months stalking other blogs and being inspired by all the wonderful ideas I've seen out there. I'm really wanting to start making somethings to sell on TPT or teachers' notebook. Or at least I think I do. But I have no idea how all this licensing stuff works out. So I thought I would put my questions out on my blog and see what others have to say about it.
What sites are the best to work with for fonts and clipart? I was looking at lettering delights and I like their stuff but I had a hard time figuring out their licensing information.
Does royalty free clipart mean that I can use it on stuff I'm going to sell and not worry about it? Microsoft's clipart is royalty free and that's what I am using right now with things. 
Is there a program that seems to work best for creating printables?
I am exploring this option mainly because I keep running out of money each month. I think I'm spending too much on school things. So if I was able to sell a few things to pay for all my school need, that would help me out a ton. I would love some input on what other people do.
On a side note, I'm super excited because I'm going to be featured on Kinder Kraziness tomorrow. And I'm only two more followers away from 50 and my first giveaway. A $10 gift card to Dollar Tree!

Friday, October 7, 2011

A peek at my week

I have not keep with my blogging this week. I've been sooooo busy. I had my first evaluation and it went really well but I was still stressed out about it. I'm having some trouble balancing all the things I want to do with my kids. I see so many good ideas out in the blogging world that I want to try and I get a little too gung ho. We just had a lot going on this week. Our unit in reading is about friendship. Our letter is s, so I wanted to do some spider activities. Then we had a field trip on Tuesday about our five senses.
Here's a couple of pictures from our trip:
This is the talking chimeny. The kids get the funniest look on their faces when it talks to them.

One of their finds when using their sense of sight like the owls.

One of the students using his sense of touch to hug a tree.

Three units is kind of hard to pull off. Luckily friendship is a 3 week unit in reading so I can pull a few of the ideas I've been wanting to do. This week we worked on a kind word lesson. I can't find where I saw the original idea. I've looked several times so if you know the source please let me know. I like to give credit. I drew a picture of Fred, the friendly guy. After talking about what friends do together, we talked about what kind of words friends say to each other. I let them say all the negative things and they crinkled up Fred. Then we said kind words and they smoothed him down. We talked about how those unkind words stick around. I hung Fred up by our clip chart. I overheard one of the girls say that every time they go back there they should smooth Fred out a little bit more. It was so cute.
Here's our Fred the friendly guy. Sorry the picture is so dark.
 My big Friday plan was to work on some spider activities. But as it turned out, my day was completely derailed by a health fair.  Which during this health fair, one of my students turned blue because he was having trouble breathing. We finally made it back to the classroom with about 30 minutes of instruction time and we did a few of the spider activities quickly. We did an awesome experiment from Deanna Jump's Simple Science Volume 1. We talked about why spider don't stick to their webs and read Eric Carle's The Busy Spider. We also completed a tree map about spiders. I had plans of us making webs and drawing and labeling a spider. Maybe we'll get to finish up next week.
Here's are tree map of spiders. I thought the kids came up with good ideas for our first one.

After art, we went outside and one of kids fell off  and hurt himself. I dropped him off at the nurse because he's usually pretty capable of making it back to the classroom. It was time for my 12:30 kids to go home and I go to the nurse to get him and he's not there. I see the nurse and she said she had sent him back to the classroom. He never made it and he wasn't in the hallway. I checked the office and he wasn't there either. I was in full panic mode at this point. It turned out he had gone outside the school and was just standing and crying. His mom happened to be picking him up early today so she was there. I'm pretty sure I had years take off my life today. Anyway, that's a peek into my crazy week.
I hope to get some scheduled posts written this weekend with some freebies. So check back later. I'm only 6 followers away from my first giveaway.

Check out what other bloggers have done in their classroom this week by going to The Clutter-Free Classroom's Linky Party. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday, Monday!

I was lucky enough to spend the weekend with a good teaching friend. She and I started teaching together 8 years ago (I think.) We've both been at different schools and had different jobs since then but it's so fun how you can be away from someone for a while and nothing really change. Because she was here and I forgot my school laptop at school, I didn't get my s flipchart done until tonight. If you would like to download it, click here. You have to have the active inspire software to download and use it. I wish I knew how to make it in other formats for those without the software but I don't know.
Tomorrow we go on our second field trip. I'm pretty excited. It's usually the kids' favorite. It focuses on using their five senses and they get to see the talking chimney. Hopefully I'll have a few pictures to share later this week. We've been talking a little about our five senses and I'd love to do some of those cool projects I've seen in blog land. I especially like the projects over at Pencils, Glue and Tying Shoes. Since it's s week, we're going to do some science from Deanna Jump's science kit about spiders. I can't wait.
One last random thought, I'm at 43 followers and have decided once I reach 50 I'm going to have a giveaway. My new favorite store to get all stuff wonderful and teaching related to help me with ideas from blogs is Dollar Tree. So when I get to 50 followers, I'll be giving away a $10.00 give card for Dollar Tree. So spread the word. Hope you had a happy Monday.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Random peek at Ms. Kerri's Class

This week we tried a couple of different things. The first was the math journals from Mrs. Wills. I love love love them! If you haven't checked them out, you need to. If you click on her name, it will take you to a freebie at her site. I've bought both the August/September pack and the October pack. We're having fun with it and it doesn't take a lot of time. I bought some composition books from Dollar Tree and then made a simple label with their name and math journal. I did it a couple of weeks ago but I couldn't figure out the best place to store them. This week I came up with the genius idea to store them on their supply caddies at their tables. It makes it so easy to get them out and work in and put them away. My goal is to do about 3 a week. I like how Mrs. Wills has made them with a variety of math skills. Right now we're just working on simple numbers and colors. Next week we'll tackle some patterning.

After reading some of Literacy Work Stations , I reworked a few things with my centers (I hope to make them work stations one day but we're not quite there yet.) I worked harder on having mini lessons to discuss the expectations at the centers. We made charts for our Promethean board and reading center. Those two centers seem to be working better. Next week, I'm going to work on introducing a little more choice. In the math game center, they will have the choice between 3 games we've already played. I'm also introducing the see the teacher center. I'm going to try to work with one small group a day. Right now the kids go to one center a day and I'm hope we'll eventually be able to rotate but my sanity can't handle it yet.
I made some little letter books over the summer after being inspired by Fran Kramer's little folding books she does. I had every intention of using them the week we did the letter but they just weren't ready. But this week was a review week of m and a. They did the little books this week and they went really well. We reviewed our  circle maps of the letters and I'm trying to get them to use some invented spelling. It's going ok. Hopefully, they'll get the hang of it as we go on. Next week, I'm being evaluated the first time. (Tennessee has a new system. Every teacher gets evaluated at least 4 times.) It is a planning one so I turn my lesson plan in Monday and then on Wednesday my assistant principal is coming by for a visit. We're going to be working on writing. I'm crossing my fingers it goes well.

Anyway, here's a free copy of letter books for the letters m, a, s, and p.
What have you been doing in your class this week? I love to see others ideas and classes.