Thursday, October 4, 2012

Craziness!!

Hello sweet friends. I am totally aware that I have been MIA for what seems like forever, but I promise that I have good and valid reason. Here it is... first year and kindergarten. Enough said, right!? I feel like my body has been going nonstop for the past month and a half. However, I am happy to report that I have survived, and with all of my body parts in tact! Ha! Can I just say that I am LOVIN kindergarten. My kiddos are amazing, darling, and a HOOT to say the least. Here is what we have been up to.


Well first off my very own pride and joy turned 6 years old!!! Oh how time flies by. He is such an amzing kid and I could not have asked for more in a baby boy.


Just like any other kindergarten classroom, we have been focusing our instruction around names and "All About Me" themes. I had my little cherubs star their names for a fun activity. I cut up a large piece of blue construction paper to make it look like a cloud and I simply wrote their name with a sharpie. I handed them the cloud and a packet of stars and off they went to make their names with stars. THEY LOVED THIS!!! My classroom was SILENT for, no kidding, 20 minutes!! Amazing activity to do when you have some down time.



We have also worked on the first 20 days of the Daily 4. This involoved routine, routines, and routines. We built anchor charts about readers, partner reading, word work, and listening. 


My little hikers have also started math workshop. My school has jumped on board with Alabama's AMSTI initiative. I do love this program! It is very hands on, discivery based, and student focused. Starting the workshop has been quite a challenge, but I think I have finally found a way that works for me and my sweet friends. A colleague found this terrific site that has tons of common core math activities. Those activities are shown in my pictures.



Along with learning names and learing more about each other. We have focused on colors. I made these color mats for kiddos to practice building the color word, and writing them. The names mat simply allows them to build their friend's name with magnetic letters and write in the spaces below.

Wow!! There is so much more that is going on. I can't wait to get up what we have been working on this week. I look forward to hearing your comments. Until next time!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Classroom is {Semi} Up and Ready!

Oh my word! I  know that I have been M.I.A. for quite some time, but y'all I have been giving it my all in my classroom. I have worked many nights to get to this point and I am happy to say that I am almost done. I mean how often can teachers REALLY sit back and say, "Yup, all done!".... Uh, NEVER! I still some odds and ends, but I am planning on taking care of that tomorrow. So without further delay here it is. Now as you are looking through these pictures, I need you to keep in mind that my room resides with three other teachers and a wonderful resource teacher. My room is the first of the four, so right when you walk into the room you will always see my shinning face. :)


 I hope y'all enjoyed this tour. I will be back soon with some updated pictures. Teachers start back on Monday! Oh, and please send me pictures of your classroom. I would LOVE to see other creative minds at work.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Workshop Madness!

Hello. Hello! Okay so I have been swamped with workshops this summer. Last week I attended AMSTI training for math and can I tell you that I am loving it. For those of you that are not familiar with AMSTI it is the Alabama Math Science and Technology Initiative. My school is becoming an AMSTI school for math only and we needed to attend the training in order to receive the materials. Oh! That's another thing. They are providing me with materials! From books to manipulative to printables.

Moving on. Well, during this workshop, I was informed that my little kiddos will be assessed on finger counting this year. When we count to ten they will have to show me the quantity with their fingers. {Which is difficult for some babies. My son even has a hard time accomplishing this task} Well, we had the chance to make some cutie books to help students visualize and practice this task. I wanted to share it with you and show you my end product. 


So here is what my book looks like. I used binder clips to hold the book together. I plan on leaving it this way so that if I want to show progression of how the fingers change I can line up the pages on the ledge of my dry erase board. Oh! Click here for a copy of the book. All you need to do is go to your school and cut out some dye cuts of hands or go to a teacher store and buy some. Also make sure you print the book on card stock. This is the color I had laying around but you can use which ever color you like.


To make the hands simply cut off the fingers that you do not want to show. At first I thought this looked a little sick...Ha! It was funny, but now I love my little book. I even changed the colors on the word and numeral to show a connection between the two. 




Oh, and just in case you are wondering, I did not make these front and back. I just wanted to condense on the amount of pictures that I was taking.


Well, that is the end of it. I hope you find this useful. I was very proud of my book once I was done. I also used my hard laminate machine to laminate the pages. I am off to check out my classroom. Bye!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Let's Talk About The Daily 5

Hey friends! So, it may be that you have been implementing the Daily 5 in your classroom already or you may want to try and start this in your room this year. Either way different people do things in different ways. I have read the book written by the sisters, and I have searched endless amounts of websites for how people actually implement this in their classrooms. Now, there is A LOT to cover when it comes to the Daily 5 and today the only thing I really want to look at in detail is how to effectively have students "choose" their station. Here is what I have found:


One idea that is extremely important to the sisters is "choice". Students respond better if they are given a choice of how they would like to spend their learning time. The methods above is fairly common. Students are given a routine that they are to stick with. I have seen this method used fairly often in classroom. I like it, but I really wanted to give my kids choice. So I continued to search.


I  found the clip chart method. This is where students will stand and place their clothes pin in which particular area that they would like to go. I like them....BUT I don't LOVE them. Well, I am happy to share one last strategy that I will be implementing this year that I am hoping {key word} that I love. A FABULOUS teacher at my school shared this with me and I am truly excited about it.



I worked super hard on this lovely and I hope to hear some comments on how I can improve and revise if I need to. Here is your very own copy if you decide to implement this strategy: Daily 4

Here is how this works. In the beginning you start with a whole group lesson. Once you are finished. You will start to dismiss students to their stations. {Please take a note that I am only doing the daily 4. We have a separate time for writing.}

1. Tell the students which you will be meeting with to go to the blue table and reread their books in their book bag that are level books. This is important! They are to only read their level books. This is instructional time ;) You will write a "T" for teacher on the first square for which ever day you are on.

2. Next call for those friends who would like to go to independent reading. The students will raise their hands and you can write an "I" for independent reading. Again, write this letter on the first square on the day that you are on.

3. Then call for those students who would like to go to the listening station. Those students will raise their hands and depending on your resources this may be different. I allow students to go to the computers or take a CD player to their desks. I will allow as many students as I have resources available to go to these stations. I would then ask each student which they would like {either computer or CD player} once they give me their choice I will dismiss them and write a large L and a small c - for computer or cd - for CD player on the first square for the day that you are on. Here is what it will look like.



4. Call for those friends who would like to go to word work. For this station I will have three different options. There will be a) letters, b) popcorn words, and c) word families. Now this is where it might get a little more complicated. I try to  be specific as to which of the word work stations the students are going to when I am writing it down. So if they go to letters, then I will write a W with a small "l" on bottom of the right side of the letter W. Uh! Does that make sense?

Here is an image of what this would look like:
Oh! Here is something else that is super important. For the independent station whoever would like to go can go. I allow endless amounts of students to read independently. For Word work only 6 students can choose to do this station at one time. Each individual word work station has 2 students at one time. I feel that any more than that would cause chaos.

5. The final station that I would call is partner reading. There will be six mini areas for this station. Students will have the opportunity to choose from the following: a) smartboard, b) chart station, c) retelling, d) big books, e) library, and f) reading. Once the station is called students will stand and just like in the book, will walk over to the person of their choice and ask them to be their partner. Once all the students are partnered, I will ask them which station they would like to go to. After they give me their choice I will dismiss them and repeat what I did for the other stations by writing a large P and on the bottom right side of the P a code that matches the mini stations. Here are my codes: s - smartboard, c - chart station, rt - retelling, b - big books, l - library, and r - reading.

WOW! I know this seems like a lot of work, but once students have had practice and know the routine this can be as simple as lining up. I like the idea of this because I am giving students a choice, and in a way I am still effectively managing my students. Now, I know your probably wondering about what I am going to do for those students who want to go to a station that is full...... well, the answer is simple. I will simple tell them, "I am sorry Johnny, but that station is full at this time. You can either go to (blank) or (blank)). Students are only allowed to go partner read, listen, and word work once a day. They can however, independent read as many times as they like. This is also a great way to keep my students accountable for what they are doing while I am small groups. I will always know what my students should be doing. Oh, and yes you will do this three more times. Ha! After one station, we meet back at the carpet and conduct another minilesson. This repeats until we are done or out of time ;).

I know this is a lot of information, and hopefully once I get this implemented in my classroom I will be able to put up some pictures. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Professional Development Anyone??

Hello. Hello, friends!! I hope everyone had a magical Fourth of July! We had a blast watching the fireworks on a picnic blanket outside. Sweet Ian was terrified of the loud bangs from the fireworks, but overall LOVED the light show. The only little problem was that it was deathly HOT outside. I was practically bathing in my own sweat! Okay, okay too much information. 


Look at that sweet baby... uh, I love that man so very much! Well, moving on. July is here and that leaves me with a month and two weeks to get ready for school! Oh my word, where do I begin!? One area that I feel like I NEED to improve in is my understanding for writing in kindergarten. Like I said friends, I do not have experience in kindergarten. This is a whole new word to me. Well, I was lucky enough to attend a fabulous writing workshop that targeted K-2 teachers. Amazing!! This workshop was very beneficial AND.... wait or it.... they me some free books!! I know right!? I LOVE me some free stuff. Well, the book they gave us is called Talking, Drawing, Writing Lessons for Our Youngest Writers. Y'all this book is wonderful. They give awesome first day lessons on the writing workshop, and YES it is the writing workshop even though we may not be using that vocabulary for the first days. 


This is a MUST read for youK-2 teachers. This is a great resource. I hope to talk to y'all real soon. I am working on some goodies to hand out :D Have a Terrific Thursday!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Impatient? Who? Me? It's more like eager.

Hello there my darling elementary teachers! I am oh so very excited to start this new chapter in my life. I just graduated from the University of Montevallo in May...

Isn't she lovely :)? 
Remarkably, and with the help of many prayers, I received my dream job at my dream school and I am unbelievably eager to get the party started! Starting this coming school year I will be a kindergarten teacher!! Like any other first year teacher, I am ready to get my classroom up and going. {I feel like I am that creeper that can't stay away. Ha!}
I keep trying to tell myself that I need to be patient and everything will fall into place. Only I'm in a {I'm 5yrs old and have been given a free pass to wonder around a toy store for hours} mode. 

Moving On...
I feel the need to share some must know information with you. I have this horrible memory. I can't even remember what I ate this morning! I know it's super bad. Right!?
So to help with my spontaneous memory loss, I have created this lovely blog with the help of Custom Blog Designs {You rock!} to keep track of my first year and then some. I want to share ideas that I have thought up and tried, and ideas that others have so generously given to me. I also want you to experience my first year with me. 

So with that being said...let the games BEGIN. And may the odds be ever in your favor! {LOVE that book} Oh, and any suggestions or tidbits that you may have please feel free to comment!