Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Monday Made It (on Tuesday)

I am linking up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics  for my first Monday Made It.  Tara has been hosting these all summer, and I finally have something to post!  It is nothing all that exciting, but I was proud!  I've loved all the great projects I've seen this summer, so I wanted to link up.

My middle school-aged cousins helped me make this "read" sign to hang near my library center.  These were made from wood blocks and wooden letters painted with acrylic paint.  All materials were purchased from Hobby Lobby.

I am going to add ribbon and hang these from command hooks.  

My mom also threaded ribbon through the holes in my table baskets last week when she came to help set up my classroom last week.

The little blue basket is one of our new table trash cans.  We use these during art projects so everyone isn't running to the trash can at the same time.  These little baskets were $1 at Michaels!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Math Manipulatives Storage

When I was at I Teach K, I attended 2 awesome math sessions!  It inspired me to become a little more organized with my math manipulatives.  They were in various containers spread throughout the room and finding some of them was a bit difficult at times- especially those that were theme related and not really meant to be manipulatives, but that was my purpose for them.  Deanna Jump shared her organization tips, and I was on it.

While cleaning out my room (I've already purged many things!), I found some matching containers in various sizes that I purchased at WalMart a few years ago.  We were doing some new things in math and science and I was all about it (until we moved on to "bigger and better" things of course!). Well, these containers have been taking up space on a shelf, empty, for 2 years.  Brainstorm: These are my new math manipulative containers!

Everything was sorted and organized.  Labels were made, and all materials are stored together on one shelf where students and I can easily access them.  Bonus: The containers match many of the bright colored containers I purchased this year.  The purple ones on the bottom shelf I'm not sold on yet, but they were empty and held my many pattern blocks and unifex cubes so I'm sticking with it for now, unless I find something I like better.

I need a few more labels for materials that took more than one container, but I'm excited with my new-found organization!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Back to My Classroom

I made my first visit of the summer to my classroom (and second & third) this week.  I took the plunge-a plunge for me anyway- and had my desk removed from my room.  Oh my goodness, I had no idea my 27 x 27 room had so much space!  I LOVE my new set up (pictures to come in the next couple weeks once I get things put away- I ordered new library bins from Really Good Stuff and am awaiting their arrival).  There is more room to walk through the room and a less cluttered look.

I created a teacher toolbox; they seem to have taken Pinterest by storm, so I'm sure you've seen them.  I got directions from Create, Teach, Share and my labels from Kristen Doyle on TpT (they are a freebie!).

I couldn't fit everything in there (under the toolkit is a 3 drawer plastic drawer system), but it definitely will help me be more organized.  This is behind my guided reading table, which will double as student seating and my desk.  Side note on the teacher toolbox, colored pencils don't really fit in the wide drawers (which I learned after I had put the label on), so there is tape in that drawer, I just didn't make the new label yet.

More to come on my classroom set-up in the coming weeks!  Have you started working in your room yet?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

My first blog award

Eileen from Second Grade Sunshine shared a Liebster Blog award with me. Thanks Eileen!  Now it is my turn to pass the award on to 5 other bloggers with 200 or less followers.  My choices are:

Strive to Sparkle: Her latest post is some great DIY crafts.  So cute!  Congrats on 100 followers!

Melissa at The Dalton Gang: She posted about some giveaways currently going on.  Check them out!

Patterson's Porch: Dani is having a giveaway for recently reading 50 followers.

Courtney at Classroom Snapshots: Courtney is having a giveaway on her blog too!

Finally, Danielle from LaSota's Little Learners: She recently posted about some beginning of the year materials she created.

Thanks again to Eileen for sharing this with me.  Looking forward to learning more from these new blogs I am following!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Picture Book Linky

The Teacher Wife
This is my first linky!  I am linking up with Lindsey at The Teacher Wife to share a few of my favorite picture books (in no particular order).  Click the picture above to head to the party!

I loved sharing this alphabet book with my students.  They were excited by the letters and objects "found" in rocks and shared in this book.  Click here to get your copy.

I love the illustrations in this book!  Even if our librarian reads it, I insist on reading it to my class too!  There are hidden pictures in the book as well, which my students enjoy. Click here to get your copy.

For those of you who live in cold climates, you know how those mittens and other winter items inevitably disappear?  This book shares a humorous story about the topic.  Click here to get your copy.

I have read many blog posts about Pete the Cat.  I purchased this book and used it at the beginning of the school year.  We talked about all the different places Pete visited in the school and who he "met" in each place in our school (library, lunch room, etc).  Click here to get your copy.

I had a grandparent volunteer read this story to my class.  The main character does not always think before he speaks and frequently interrupts.  Great book to teach waiting your turn and not interrupting. Click here to get your copy.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Motor Skills: More Lessons from Vegas

My time in Las Vegas has come to an end.  I had the opportunity to experience four awesome days of workshops and meet some other great kindergarten teachers!  I’ll post some more ideas in the coming weeks and as I use them in my classroom this year. Stick with me- this is a long one!

I attended two of Tere Bowen-Irish’s sessions about motor control.  Wow!  I had no idea how much the experiences a child has in the first year of life had such an impact on their future motor growth and development!

I learned that children who do no crawl don’t have the opportunity experience their body in relation to objects, and they are that kid that constantly runs into things when they are walking around your room.  Can you picture that child?  I have a few kiddos in mind. 

She also talked about the importance of tummy time.  Tummy time helps build shoulder and neck muscles.  These children have a difficult time sitting and writing.  Their core muscles are likely not well developed, and therefore, they are physically unable to sit in the chair and write.  They may stand or sit on a leg to get balance. 

Using a walker causes children’s hamstring muscles to tighten and ankles to shorten which makes sitting “crisscross applesauce” very difficult.  This is the child who falls over when you ask them to sit crisscross applesauce and put their knees down and also maybe the child who walks on his/her tiptoes.  Have you had one of these?  I can think of 2 in my class last year.

Finally, one of the most interesting tidbits I learned is that when you write, you keep your tongue grounded on the roof of your mouth.  The child who has their tongue sticking out or moving all over the place when writing needs oral motor control to help them focus on their writing.  Giving the child gum or a thick straw to chew on will help them with this oral motor control and allow them to hopefully better focus on their writing.

I purchased Drive-Thru Menus, which are motor activities to help build strength in the areas mentioned above.  Easy little engaging exercises designed for young children.  I am looking forward to using them in my classroom.  The set I purchased is based on poems and nursery rhymes and intended for preschool and kindergarten students.

I found all of this very interesting and couldn’t wait to share it all with you!  I hope you got something you can use from this or at least found it intriguing!  

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Math Work Stations

I attended 4 great sessions again today, but I am going to focus on one in particular tonight.  It was the first one I attended today with Julie Brinkley, and it was about BUILD math centers.  These seemed like something I could easily implement as much as our new curriculum allows.

Some highlights...

This was created using squares of cardstock (or construction paper) and a Cricut.  I don't have a Cricut, so I'll be using the ellison.  There are holes punched and students string them together using link manipulatives.  So easy! :)

I apologize for the sideways picture...it looks right on my computer!  Each student painted a penguin.  At the bottom, it says "My penguin is _____ linking cubes tall."  These were bound into a book.

This guy was my favorite!  It is a "read and feed ball".  In his mouth were a variety of number sentences on individual slips of paper.  Students had to pull out a number sentence and solve the problem on a math mat using manipulatives.
The answer was written on the back of each problem.  She also uses these for reading.

After a full day of sessions, my family and I attended Cirque du Soleil "Mystere" (great show), and I went to the Teacher/Blogger Meet Up.  I was a very late arrival, but still got to meet some great ladies who have some amazing blogs (Kim & Megan from Kindergals, Deedee from Mrs. Wills Kindergarten, Fran from Kindergarten Crayons, Deanna from Mrs. Jump's Class, Aleesia from from Mrs. Albanese's Kindergarten Class, Kathleen from Growing Kinders, Cindy from For the Love of Kindergarten)  Everyone I missed, I'd love to meet you too!  Looking forward to attending some of their sessions in the coming days and meeting more awesome kindergarten teachers!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Viva Las Vegas- Day 1

I am in Las Vegas for the I Teach K conference!  It is the first of my 4 days here.  I attended the keynote and 4 great workshops today!

Here are a few highlights from today...

This was Sharron Krull's workshop. She put a balloon in a nylon and blew it up.  She then dipped it in BioColor paint that was on a paper plate and made prints on white paper.  A suggestion was made that you could make a Very Hungry Caterpillar using this technique.  You can visit Sharron's website by clicking on the picture.   

This was Kim Adsit's Interactive Writing workshop.  On the left there are pieces of fruit (clip art), in the middle, students wrote out the names of the fruits, and prices for each piece of fruit are on the right.  This would be great for early addition and money.  You can visit Kim's blog by clicking on the picture.

Vanessa Levin's workshop was about parental involvement.  I loved these post cards she sent home (made at Vistaprint.com) when students needed school supplies.  You check the supplies they need.  There was a little note on the back asking parents to send them in.  You can visit Vanessa's website by clicking on the picture.

I was really looking forward to Vanessa Levin's workshop on parental involvement because I felt this was an area that I could use some ideas.  She said many times that she doesn't ask parents to be involved, she expects it.  Another great idea from her workshop was to not only answer FAQ's on paper at the beginning of the year, but to also have a video available because like children, adults also have different learning styles.  This way, you are covering visual and auditory learning styles.  I think I am going to be busy on Vistaprint.com soon!

Looking forward to Day 2 tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

It's Been a While...

Happy 4th of July!  We have been out of school for 6 weeks- hard to believe!  It has been a CRAZY 6 weeks! 

My students and I survived graduation and field day to end our year on a positive note. 

The covers to my students' end of the year DVDs.  The cases are 100% recycled material from WalMart.  Font from Lettering Delights; stickers from JoAnn Fabrics.

My fabulous teammate, Lindsey, jumping rope with the kids!  We will miss her!
The giant inflatable obstacle course thanks to the YMCA.  The kids LOVED it!

On the last day of school, I sold my house...the same day it was put on the market.  Who would have thought!?!

I've been busy packing boxes and moving all my belongings into a PODS unit. 

I have not worked on anything school related other than a 2 day training for our new reading curriculum: Success For All (SFA).  I am SO looking forward to leaving for the I Teach K conference next week and meeting all kinds of awesome kindergarten teachers!  I am hoping to work on some things for the beginning of the school year in the coming weeks.  In the meantime, my TpT store is celebrating the 4h of July with a 15% off sale until tomorrow (Wednesday) evening.  Have a great 4th of July!