Monday, July 30, 2012

Manic Monday=8 Hours of In-service!

I am about to sit through my first official day of in-service.  8 hours.  In the library.  Keep me occupied bloggy friends!!

Here is my Monday Freebie!  It is an Olympic themed write the room activity.  You print, cut and laminate and place the cards around your classroom.  Your students walk around and locate the cards. Once they locate a card, they count the objects and record their number on the recording sheet!  Fun and simple and a great tool for numbers in the beginning of the year!   Click the picture for your freebie!

And I am also linking up for Monday Made It!  This week my projects are quick and simple.  

Alphabet or Letter cubes!  I downloaded the Avery template and used the Porky's font and holla, here are some great letter cubes!  We use these all the time during our first 9 weeks of school.  We use them for roll and cover, graphing, handwriting and much more!!  I was lucky to find a box full of the wooden cubes...seriously, about 1,000 of these cubes!  They are now in a secure un-diclosed location for safe keeping! 

My other made it project is a bunch of different flash cards for Balanced Math.  One component of balanced math is review.  We will use these cards for a quick review of numbers.  My goal is to have my kids become so strong in numbers that they can tell me how many dots without counting.  Of course, that will take lots of time and practice and number work, but we are up for the challenge!  I found the animal card stock at Michaels!  

I hope you can use my freebie and are inspired by some of my creations!  Let me know what you think!

Be sure to check out my friend Jeannie's 1000 Follower Freebie Frenzy at Kindergarten Lifestyle!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Schedulin Sunday!

Get this...yesterday we sat around the house ALL day and did absolutely nothing.  I didn't even turn on my laptop!  We watched the Olympics all night!  Can I just be honest and say I want a gymnast's body?!  I won't lie.  I envy those guys.  My first day of school (with students) is Wednesday and I did nothing yesterday.  It was so nice to just be with the fiancee' and the golden doodle and relax!  Now I will pay for it the next few days as I but my hump to get stuff finished, but it's all good.  And now, here is this week's Schedulin' Sundays!

My school and our district tell teachers not to teach spelling using words and lists and spelling tests. When I first started teaching heard this, I was so against it.  Instead, we're supposed to use Word Study and teach sounds and features.  HMMM.  Some people definitely got some angry arms over this-- initially.  I thought back to my school days and I remember getting the list of spelling words on Monday, studying them and taking a test on Friday.  I am a pretty good speller so I thought this system worked well.  So I didn't really see a need to change.

However, now that I have been using word study with my little monsters, I have seen a HUGE improvement in my students writing and...wait for it...spelling!  And we don't even do a spelling test!

My school uses Words Their Way as our word study program.  I do not follow it exactly, so here is how I use the resources and help my students become strong spellers!

We have approximately 20 minutes a day for word study.

Monday-we get a new sort.  Each child cuts their sort apart (we use a timer and make the cutting a race or we'd still be cutting on Wednesday!)   and use individual pocket charts to do their sort.  I use the $1 pocket charts from Target!  Early in the year, everyone does the same sort.  In October or November (depending on the class) we take our first word study assessment and I differentiate my groups.    After they finish their sort, I check it and we discuss any issues.  They put their sort in a Ziploc bag and store it in their word study drawer.

Tuesday-Friday-Each child retrieves their word study and their notebook.  They do their sort and I check it.  After I check their work, they have to pic 5 of their pictures (very few of my friends get to the sorts that use words) and they have to write the 5 words and do a quick illustration to go with their words.  The word study notebooks are just composition books cut in half.  I allow them to use felt tip markers for their word study.  The felt tip markers are good for handwriting because they offer more resistance than pencils or pens.

During this time, I am monitoring the children' sorts and giving them guidance.  I also use this time to call groups to my table to do small group sorting.  I also call students to my table to assist them with writing their 5 words.

To organize my word study, I have 3 groups.  Red, blue and green.  Initially they are just random groups because everyone does the same sorts.  To keep things organized and help with mixed up sorts and lost pieces, I copy the sorts on red, blue and green paper!    I have a 3drawer container that is labeled with names written on the corresponding color of post it note (of course, Post Its! my fetish...).  In October or November, we do our first assessment.  I score the assessment and form my three groups.  I do another assessment in January and another in March and re-do my groups.  However, beginning in late October I will start informally differentiating my word study if I notice I have students who are ready to move on to more difficult sorts.  I also do this informal re-arranging throughout the year.

Click here for you free monster theme word study notebook label!

I also posted two Olympic themed activities in my TPT store today!  One is a math Write The Room and the other is a set of I Have Who Has games with an Olympic theme!  Check em out and let me know what you think!

Friday, July 27, 2012

I Have Who Has FREEBIE

Today is my first "official" day back at work!  We start our in-service today.  I have on my excited just can't see it!

Just a quick post today (hello!  I'm blogging from my classroom!)  to share a part of our morning meeting.  I am a huge morning meeting advocate because I have witnessed how much it builds community with my students.  It also is a great way to start the day together as family in a fun and positive way!

The morning meeting routine is this:   greeting, sharing, activity, morning message.

The activity portion is just a few minutes long and can a game, a quick brain break or just anything fun.   It is also a great time to meet a few standards!  We like to play the number game, hide the clothespin game, and hot potato.  But our most favorite game is I Have Who Has!  This game is such a great way to review all sorts of skills (numbers, sight words, letters, sounds, shapes, and so much more!)  It is also great for listening and paying attention because you have to hear what your friends are saying!

Here is your Friday Freebie!  It's an olympic theme I Have Who Has for numbers to 10!  Be on the lookout for my upcoming I Have Who Has game pack with an olympic theme!  Click the picture for your download!

Ok, I'm off to sit in some valuable, informative and enlightening meetings!!

Freebie Fridays

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bubbles and Snowballs????

I just got back from another very productive day in my classroom.  And i'm currently drinking a Pepsi Next and eating Cheetos.  That wedding six pack won't happen this way!

I have had so many people say such great things about my classroom from yesterday's post!  Thank you all so much!!  I am pretty proud of that room and I'm happy that you all like it!  I have had TONS of questions about my toilet spider!  The toilet spider is a simple solution to boys and their aim problems.  I simply draw the spider on the toilet with a sharpie!!   Slap on some rubber gloves and get down on your knees so you're at the boys eye level so you get a good feel of what they see.  And draw your spider!  BAM!  No more pee on the floor.  You will have to re-draw your spider a few times during the year, but it's a sure fire way to save some messes!

I bet you're wondering what bubbles and snowballs have to do with Kindergarten?!  Any guesses?!?! No...well let me help!  Bubbles and snowballs are how we line up in Mr. Greg's classroom!  We used to do duck tails and bubbles but some of our faculty felt this was too much like being arrested and we didn't want our kids to think of school as prison or jail...blah.  I won't get on my soap box about how I feel about that, so this year we're doing snowballs which means your hands clasped in front of you instead of behind your back.  And of course bubbles means no talking.

From day one,  I am adamant and demanding and probably somewhat neurotic about how my students line up.  It's such a big deal because anytime we're lined up, that means we're going to public areas.  I don't want us to disturb others (And I'd like the same respect, but I won't get on my soapbox about that either!) so I am very hard on my kids when we're in a line.  And besides I like all the compliments we get!  I won't lie!  I am a proud monster!    I was fortunate enough to find 30 number carpet squares in my classroom my first year of kindergarten and that's how we line up!  I hot glue (hello, duct tape, hot glue is better!) the numbers to the floor and starting on day 1 we learn to line up on our number (ABC order)!  The numbers make the lining up process so calm because we're not fighting or pushing for a spot in line!  Each week I have a line leader and a caboose so everyone gets to be in the front and the back.  And we practice from day 1 to day 180.  It's not unusual for us to be parading up and down the green mile (kindergarten hall) practicing our line procedures.  I told you, I'm adamant.

But I don't do this alone!  Oh no, I have a secret weapon.  An accomplice.  Eyes in the back of my head.  For real (or fake...if a puppet is real... never mind.)!  Meet my line accomplice, Mr. Who!  He is a puppet that sits on your hand and his head will spin all the way around so he can watch the chaos your sweet cherubs  behind you!

Mr. Who is our owl friend who watches us when we're walking in line.  Mr. Who can watch the front and, wait for it, THE BACK!  His head spins all the way around!  Isn't that coolest thing EVER?!?!  I know, I know.  A little jealousy is healthy.  At the beginning of the year, I introduce my class to Mr. Who and we make a big production of how he talks to me and tells me what he sees.  As we walk down the hallway, I slyly keep on an eye on my friends as Mr. Who watches from his perch.  I will randomly acknowledge my friends who look great in the hallway and of course, if anyone needs a reminder, I remind them.  Of course, since i'm facing forward, they are convinced Mr. Who is watching and telling.  It works wonders.

I hope my line procedures spark some ideas or just make your day brigther!

Today I finished my hallway bulletin board!  Thank you Michaels for the pink glittery wrapping paper!


I have an exciting freebie for you tomorrow!!  Check back and spread the news!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Drumroll Please...My Classroom Revealed!

After several days of work, an unfortunate duct tape incident, and my attempts at being crafty, my room is FINISHED and ready for Mr. Greg's Little Monsters!  The only thing missing are name tags and chair pockets.  Chair pockets are being made and I get my roster on Friday!  So without further ado...


Now I can put my focus on planning for my little monsters!!  I am so excited about my room being finished and so proud of how it turned out!! 

Thoughts?  Suggestions?  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I'm just me...

I am laying on the couch after a long day of putting the finishing touches on my classroom!!  YAY!  It's finally finished.  All that is left are name tags and name labels which I will do when we get our rosters on Friday.  Today we heard a "rumor" that our principal is going to change our breakfast routine and have all kids eat breakfast in our classrooms?!?!?!?!?!?!?!  I won't share what I said but I am just curious if anyone does this/has done this and if you would share your thoughts and or experiences.

Now it's all about me time!!!  I am joining up Step Into 2nd Grade for her Tell Me More linky party!  Here goes nothing.

1.  I am a guy.  This makes me pretty unique in teacher blog land.  And in teaching in general.  Especially in Kindergarten teaching land.  I can't remember the last time I was at a kindergarten only event and wasn't the only male in the room.  It can sometimes be lonely, but 99% of the time, I like the celebrity of it.  When people hear that I teach Kindergarten, I always get the same response:  "AWE!"  And that drives the fiance' crazy in a fun way!

2.  I am getting married in October.  The wedding is planned so it's a stress free 2 months until the big day.  I could not be more excited!!

3.  I am the world's pickiest eater.  Spaghetti, pizza, hamburgers and cheeseburgers (with ketchup only), and chicken tenders pretty much sums up my menus.  Of course, there are a few others, but not much.   If it's green, It don't belong in my mouth.  And if my food touches I won't eat it.  This drives the fiance' bonkers.

4.  I spent two summers teaching in Ecuador.  My university, Indiana University (GO HOOSIERS!), offered a class so I thought I'd take class and get a "vacation" to South America.  The trip turned out to  be so much more than a vacation.  It was truly life changing.  I learned so much about myself, about teaching and about being in the minority and I also learned to eat cuy.  What is cuy?  The picture tells you all you need to know.  The people of Ecuador were amazing and I got to see some incredible sights (the Equator, amazing churches, the rainforest, and  I may or may not have used the restroom in 50 mph winds at the furthest point from the center of the Earth on Mt. Chimbarazzo).  My 2nd year in Ecuador I completed a research project for the university and even flew on to Bogota, Colombia for a 72 hour visit.  72 hours was supposed to be a week long visit, but the State Department doesn't issue those travel warnings for nothing.  Really, you should listen to those warnings.  This picture was taken at a lake that formed in the crater of an active volcano.  You could actually see the nitrogen gas bubbles in the water.  So what did I do?!  I took a boat out onto the lake!  DUH!

5.  I spent a summer volunteering at an orphanage in Peru.  The highlight of my time in Peru was visiting Macchu Pichu.  It was one of the most incredible tihngs I've ever seen.  The picture on the right was taken on my hike to the top of the mountain you see in the background in the left picture.  To get to the top, you have to use the original Inca trail.  Um, they didn't have handrails and they didn't have safety codes, so it was a treacherous trip.  But so worth it.

6.  I was in the room when my nephew was born.  When my sister told me she was pregnant, the first thing I asked was if I could be in the room.  She said yes.  It was one of the most miraculous things I have ever seen.  The doctor asked me if I wanted to watch and I said NO!!  She actually said, yes you do, now get down here.  I am still in awe of the power of watching a life enter this world.  And within the next year my sister will be our surrogate!  The fiance' and I want a baby so bad and my sister offered to be our surrogate!  The niece and nephew!

7. We have the worlds most spoiled dog.  We might be a tad obsessed with Butters, our 2 year old goldendoodle.  He is our baby.  He was my birthday present 2 years ago.  We lost our other dog, Chloe, about a year ago and we took the love we had for her and put it all into Butters.  After Chloe, we didn't want to be in the house so we would come home from work and get Butters and put him in the car and leave.  He spent two weeks going everywhere with us.  He would sit in the car and wait on us. Now he thinks he must go everytime we leave.  He also has human eyes.  Seriously, his eyes are so expressive it's crazy.  He can give you some cutting looks when he is mad.  He also burps ALOT!  And not little burps, but big, loud belches.  Weird dog.

8.  My favorite color is pink.  It's true.  I'm a guy who likes pink.  And I'm ok with it.  I am secure enough in my masculinity to own it!  It's such a bright, happy, cheerful color.  It fits my happy, cheerful, bright personality!!

That's me!  Maybe some of the mystery about me is now gone...and hopefully no one got scared away!

I am also linking up with Life Is Sweet In Kindergarten for her linky party on the top 5 teacher must haves!  JUST 5?!?!  Ok...

1.  My number one item are my Mr. Sketch markers!  I cannot teach without them.  OK, I could, but why should I have to?!  I use them for everything.  And I admit to smelling them a little too much.

2.  Books!!  You can never have too many books.  A happy classroom is one that if overflowing with books.  My current count of my library is....10,000 and counting.  In fact, I have a rider on my insurance to insure my books!  

3.  GLITTER!  So much glitter!  Glitter makes everything more fun!  

4.  You know, the body fluids that make it onto our hands mean my hands are constantly being sanitized.  My immune system thanks me daily.

5.  Is it a bad sign that the wonderful ladies at Sonic know my schedule?!  I stop at Sonic every morning on my way to work for a Route 44 Coke Zero with light ice!  If I am later than usual, they always worry.  And they even let me keep my coupons to use more than once!  Hey Sonic, if you're out there, how about a hookup for some free Route 44 drinks?!?!  

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Made It...Manic Monday Freebie!

I am very excited to share today's Monday Made It projects with you!!  But first, let me share my Manic Monday!!  I walk into my room and start doing some stuff...when I glance to my awesome word wall that I put up on Friday.  Oh it's so pretty....wait?!  Why is my word wall on the ground?  That's right folks, the whole thing fell over the weekend.  Here's the kicker...IT WAS DUCT TAPED!!!!!!  I have never known duct tape to not stick to paper.  Seriously, guess who got an email from me today?!  Duct tape FAIL.  Luckily the whole grid fell off and stayed in tact so I was able to slowly put it back together and then what happens?  The tape starts peeling again.  I resorted to the teachers best friend.  THE GLUE GUN!  That's right teachers, I had to resort to hot gluing my duct tape.  Duct tape FAIL!  I am now adding duct tape to my list of arch nemesis-es.  And then Bank of America calls to tell me my debit card number was stolen.  Seriously?!  This is twice in two years.  Luckily, no money was taken.  Apparently every where you swipe your card stores your card number in their computers (why do they need to keep my number?!) and someone hacked into those computers and got my number.  And no I have no debit card for 5-7 days.  Frustrating.  And now onto the fun stuff!

Last spring I received a rocking chair from this amazing group of kids from Pennsylvania who have been life changers at our school (I will blog about that story soon!  It's AMAZING!)  The rocking chair was just plain wood so I decided to paint it or stain it.  Well, I happened to be at Lowe's and saw you could get stain in lots of colors.  I chose my color and went to work on my first furniture staining experience.  And here is the result!  I am very proud of myself!  I love how my rocking chair turned out!

My second Monday Made It Project is something that I discovered last year and I knew I wanted to make more of them for this year.  How many of us love dice games?  Raise you hands!  OK, I see a lot of hands up.  How many of us hate to hear the dice making noise?  Yes, I see those hands.  And how many of us hate to hear the dice tumbling to the floor?  Ah, more hands.  Love it!  Here is the solution! CASINO BASKETS!  I know the name is not very politically correct but it's all I got today, folks.  It's a simple project that quiets those dice down and keeps them from rolling all over the floor.  I took some felt and cut it to fit the bottom of some baskets ($1.20 for 3 at Big Lots!).  Next, I hot glued the felt to the bottom of the basket.  BAM!  Casino Baskets and no more grinding your teeth because of the dice noise!!

I also made my teacher binders today!

And now for the freebie!  Here are some monster letter cards.  I use mine for a center.  I attach a magnet to the back and put the cards on a bookshelf.  At the beginning of the year, students place magnetic letters under the right letter.  As the year progresses we move onto sounds.  Students place pictures of objects under teh correct letter for their beginning sound.  It's a simple center that lasts all year!  And I'm sure there are thousand other uses for these cards out there! There are two different sets of letters and monster! I hope you can use them in your classroom!  Click the picture for you download!

Classroom freebies

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