Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Non Worksheet Morning Work

Hi guys! I am so excited about getting back to blogging. I'm excited to share some good ideas and strategies with you as we near school starting. School starts in one month for me. I'm so not ready to leave my baby but I'm excited about a new start. Speaking of new things to be excited about, have you checked out periscope? It is so much fun chatting with other teachers on this great new platform. I've only gone live once but I'm planning to do another one tomorrow. I just haven't decided on my topic. I'm thinking either something related to books or something related to technology. What would you like to see? You can check me out at Ms. Kerri's Krazy Klass on periscope.
I have been doing some thinking and reading about early childhood education. I read a post the other day from Pre-K pages about worksheets in the early childhood classroom. I tend to think that the more hands on we can be with kids at this age the better they are. In fact we all probably learn better when we are hands on. I definitely learn more by doing. I've been wanting to read the book Worksheets don't grow dendrites since I saw the book study earlier this year. But I was knee deep in mommy hood and not thinking about school at the time. It is on my wishlist on Amazon (Maybe I'll get a good deal on it on their big sale tomorrow). But until then, I'm examining my own teaching practices. I think there is a time and a place for a worksheet and since TPT I'm finding a lot better resources.  But I'm rethinking my approach to morning work.

My kids can start coming into my room at 7:50 and the bell rings at 8:00. After the bell rings, we have announcements, the pledge and such. It takes me a few minutes after those announcements to get started with my day. I need to take attendance and do the lunch count. So I need something engaging for my students to be doing during this time.  On the first day of school, I have always had the kids play with play doh. It is open ended and gives me a chance to talk to parents if needed. But after that, I have had the kids do a coloring sheet. I'll admit that this is what the other teachers do and I didn't really question the practice. Last time I was in Kindergarten I changed this some. I had the kids do a phonics sheet on our letter or words for the week. I feel like this was a better use of our time rather than a coloring sheet. But I've changed my mind. There is nothing engaging about a worksheet period. I want to come up with some better activities for my students. I asked some of my kindergarten teacher friends and they had some good suggestions.
What I am thinking is that I will have a different activity each day. Like on Mondays we do play doh, Tuesdays will be all about math, Wednesdays will be all about writing, Thursdays could be for name practice, Fridays for puzzles and fine motor. I want it to be pretty easy for me but I know for that to happen I have to do some planning. I think having a theme for the day will help some. I think at first it will be a lot of exploration and then as kids get more experience with school and the activities we do, the work will be a little more challenging. Another thing I'm thinking is to let one group of kids each day use our iPads and iPods. This could be a rotation.
I've started pinning some ideas. You can check out that pinterest board out here.
I would love to know what you have your kids do when they come into the classroom. Please leave a comment and let me know. (This reminds me of my great great Aunt Jenny. She would call companies on their 1-800 numbers on the back of their products. She always said, "They love to hear from you.") I would love to hear from you!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Five for Friday

I can't believe it is already this far into July. School will be starting in a little over a month. I have such mixed feelings about it all. There is a part of me that is excited for a new school year and getting back into working again. But then I know I'm going to miss my sweet girl more than I can imagine. She has been my companion for the past 6 months. I have only left her a few times. (She wouldn't take a bottle so that didn't help out at all) We are trying to figure out childcare and that has been a nightmare. I just have to trust that it will all work out. I'm linking up this week with Kacey over at Doodle Bugs Teaching for her weekly party.

1. I finally made it to Target not just once but twice now. The closest target is about an hour and half away so I alway enjoy when I can get to the dollar spot. I got some pretty good things. Here's my haul:

The dollar spot is my go to for name tags. I try to stock up on them when they have them. Then I don't have to worry about throughout the school year. I also found some puzzles and board books.

2. My sweet girl has started sitting up from the floor on her own now. We need to get on the baby proofing soon. She'll be crawling before I know it.

3. Sunday I posted a linky party all about advice for teacher mamas. It is open until the end of the month I would love for you link up with your advice. I'm so nervous about trying to balance it all.  Head over and leave your advice or add your link. 

4. I have been working on a color unit for about 2 weeks now. I'm still not done but I'm so excited about it. I took the things that I do each year with colors and turned into an awesome unit. There are play doh mats, books, and crafts to go with each color. Hopefully I'll get it finished this week. When you are trying to get everything done in a small amount of time (nap time), you do what you can.
5.  I read a couple of middle grade books this past week that I really enjoyed. They were Wonder and Mockingbird. I have seen Wonder on other older grade blogs, but this was the first time I read it. They both were great for giving an insight into how kids are different are treated. The main character in Mockingbird has Asbergers and it offered a unique perspective on how our kids see the world.

I am brainstorming a new series for my blog called "In my class" where I write about how I teach different concepts in the classroom. Some ideas that I have are phonics, sight words, centers/reading groups, morning meeting/calendar, and behavior management. Anything else you would like to read about?
So that's all for me this week! I'm so excited, my mom, sister, niece, sweet girl, and I are going to the farmer's market in the morning. I can't wait. There is a local dairy that I follow on Instagram that posts all this yummy goodness I can't wait to try.
By the way, do you follow me on instagram. You should. I post more about my personal life, teaching, reading, and such. Check me out here.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Advice for Teacher Mommas Linky

If you have been reading my blog, you know that I've been out on maternity leave since Christmas break. My beautiful little girl was born in January and I took the spring semester off of school. I am so glad that we were able to do that. It wasn't easy and we've had to sacrifice some but it has been well worth it. I have loved my time at home. But I'm starting to look forward to going back to school. There are days where I could really use some adult interaction (not sure how much of that I'll get teaching kindergarten.) I am also really scared about going back to school. I have always worked really hard at teaching and pour myself into it. I didn't really worry about what time I left school and worked however long I needed to. But my life is completely different now that I have this sweet girl.
I am terrified that I won't be able to be a good teacher and a good mama. But I know there are lots of great teacher Mamas out there who are doing both. I started thinking I probably wasn't the only one who was worried about trying to do it all. So I thought I would start a party to share some tips and advice. I would love for you to link up with your best tips and advice for moms who are also teachers.

I wish I had some advice but I'm hoping to get some good tips. I know that I will struggle the first 6 weeks of kindergarten trying to manage the difficulties of kindergarten and having a 7 month old. Especially one that isn't sleeping through the night. So here are some of my concerns (Maybe that will give you an idea or two for some advice.):

  • How to get it all done without staying really late?
  • Balancing being a wife, mom, teacher, blogger, and creator
  • Breastfeeding/pumping tips - I've been breastfeeding from the beginning and I really want to make it a year. But I'm so worried that my supply is going to suffer. My sweet girl refused a bottle so I  have a love/hate relationship with the pump. I dumped so much milk it makes me sick. But thankfully she will take a sippy cup now. So any tips for pumping at work?
  • Creating engaging and meaningful lessons for students without my family time suffering.
  • Being present as a teacher and being present at family time
  • Leaving school at school and turning off my worries (this one is probably wishful thinking)
Those are some of my concerns. I would love for you to link up with your advice and suggestions. If you don't have a blog, you can still participate by leaving comments with your advice. Come join the party. I'm open and ready to hear some great advice. Grab the images, add your advice and link up. Be sure to include a link back to this post so we can read all the advice.