Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday Photo Dump!

Happy Friday! It's been a long week!!!!!  If you have been following my saga with my ELL student, today we had 7...yes ladies and gentlemen, 7 adults in my room trying to "fix" the problem I created.  And guess what?  No one knows what to do or how to fix it.  Um, I do.  Let me handle it like a professional and get your grown up bodies out of my room.  Love Mr. Greg.  Anyways, we've had a crazy fun, busy and productive week!  Be sure to check tomorrow for the next issue of The Saturday Kindergarten Post!  I'll be sharing all about our week...but for today I hope you enjoy some random fun pictures!  Notice me wearing a very small t-shirt.  Little boys size LARGE thank you very much!  I can still pull it off!  

And to answer the burning question of the day, we are using a white vanilla cake for the wedding.  Three square tiers.  The tiers are not sitting straight but turned slightly.  Each layer will have the burnt orange color as a fondant band.  The toppers will be on the middle and top layer and the cake lady is incorporating branches into the cake to match what our incredible florist has designed for us!

Isn't our wedding cake topper super adorable?

35 days...

 I am linking up with Kindergarten Schmindergarten for a Friday Photo Dump!  Head on over and link up and share your photos!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Therapy Thursday!

One more day and we earn a three day weekend!!  How many of us will be working and creating this weekend?  I know I will!!

Today was one of those days that was up and down...emotionally.  Good and bad.  So some therapy is in order!'re in for a doozy of a ride with this post!  You've been warned!!!

I have talked about my little ELL friend who has struggled to adjust to school and feel safe.  Come on, if I were in a room with a crazy man singing and dancing and acting a fool and had no idea what said crazy man was saying, I'd be traumatized too!  Throughout our 21 days of school we have tried everything imaginable to help her and make her feel safe!  We are currently on plan X.  That involves her spending her day with her 3rd grade sister.  They spend half they day in my classroom and the other half in the 3rd grade room (As I have been made PAINFULLY AND BRUTALLY aware by co-workers and colleagues, this plan was a mistake and I've messed up the school year for these two...)  My little friend has made so much progress that I get hugs from her now!!!  My first hug was Monday and it made me teary eyed!  Today she wasn't feeling well and she asked to come to me!!!!!  People, she asked to come to me!!!!  HUGE!  I am so excited for the progress she's making.  She is participating, singing and will repeat what I ask her to repeat.  She even played I HAVE WHO HAS with us!!  Huge steps, right?!  Yeah I have been ecstatic about her progress.  Until I found out that I was "torturing" her by trying to get her to spend time apart from her sister and then I found out that there were 2 "plans" to "fix" the "problem I had created" by allowing them to be together but no one ever came to me to discuss her and the situation and no one was helping me in the beginning when I was dealing a traumatized, terrified student who was screaming and running away.  Oh, and I sitll have no idea what the two "plans" are....but wait, the ELL director for our district was called and will be in my classroom tomorrow!  Can we say that I feel like a huge and total failure right now?  It's a kick in the teeth day for sure!

But the roller coaster is going up hill because today was another great day for my little monsters.  We're doing so much better at the center routine and procedures!  And when a lesson I had planned totally BOMBED they were so cool and rolled with the punches.  Speaking of bombed, my lesson on building numbers went so terribly wrong because I didn't create appropriate resources and I am completely secure in admitting that I failed.  But guess what?  I learned from my mistake and I know how to fix it.  My students are going to have a blast during center time when they get to build numbers using my new creation!  And you will all benefit from my colossal failure because I will have a freebie for you ASAP!

And finally....I know, I'm completely babbling and rambling and this probably makes no sense to anyone...but I feel better writing it thanks for listening...I have a super fun activity planned for next week!  We've been working hard on self control and when I ran across this lesson on Pinterest, it was like it was meant to happen!  We're going to use bubbles to teach self control!!  I am going to challenge my class to NOT pop bubbles as we talk about self control!

Oh and did I mention that one of my boys kissed one of my girls today?!?!?

And I got this response to my request for parents to share their hopes and dreams for their children...

So for Therapy Thursday I will be enjoying my favorite cookies and doing grades for progress reports while enjoying some blackberry juice.  Juice.  Yeah, juice.

And now that I have brightened your day with my mindless ramblings HAVE TO head over to my friend, Mr. Michelbook's blog and enter his giveaway.  He has a great blog with great ideas and freebies!  And he's a dude.  Like me.  And you know us teacher dudes, we need a lot of positive reinforcement and encouragement.  OK, at least I do...if you couldn't tell from my emotional and overly sensitive yeah, go visit my buddy, Mr. Michelbook!

PS  We just did our cake tasting for our wedding cake...OMG!!!!  36 days...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Get In Line!

Is it Friday yet??  I feel like I've been hit by a truck already.  Does anyone else ever feel like you're left to fend for yourself and you're treading water and then you're attacked and criticized for efforts to solve problems and reach your children?

Today I am going to share my tips for how my little monsters line up.  I am a lining up/hallway walking  control freak.  It is one of my biggest pet peeves when my class isn't in a straight, quiet line.  And it really gets me riled up when other classes are loud and moving in a blob rather than a line.

One of the first things I do is put down numbers for my students to stand on when we line up.  When I inherited my Kindergarten classroom a few years ago (Wow, 4 years of kindergarten already?  What a great 4 years it has been!) I found these great carpet squares with numbers from 1-20.  I decided these would be perfect for lining up.  I hot glue them to the floor in a straight line.  My students learn to line up on their number each time.  This eliminates the bickering and pushing and fighting over who lines up where.  My only issue with these numbers is the hot glue.  I've had to re-glue a lot of these already this year.  Last year, they hardly needed fixed.  This year, it's consonant.  Any suggestions for how to keep them stuck to the floor?

We face forward with snowballs and bubbles when we line up.  We keep a bubble in our mouth so we're quiet.  It's funny to see the kids always walking around with giant bubbles in their mouth.  We clasp our hands in front of us hence the snowballs.  We used to do duck tails which meant our hands were behind us.  But there was concern that this represented handcuffs and going to jail.  Umm, REALLY???????  I won't even discuss the insanity of that argument.

Another trick up my sleeve is my friend Mr. Who.  Mr. Who is an owl puppet that I purchased a few years ago.  He is a great help with our line.  He can spin his head all the way around so he can watch the line as we walk.  Mr. Who also reports on who is doing a good job and who needs some attention.  The kids are very surprised when they see Mr. Who whispering in my ear!  When I break out Mr. Who, I usually see a drastic improvement in my line!

It's also not uncommon to see us walking up and down the hallway practicing.  We practice until we get it right.

How do you line up?  What are your tricks and tips for a perfect Kindergarten line?

On another note, I want to give a huge shout out to my blog friend, Mr. Michelbook.  He is another male blogger who teaches first grade.  He has a great blog with some great ideas.  I love how he titles all of his posts with the line "The one with the...."  Come on...go visit him.  You have to support the men!  We're special you know!!!!

And today I came across a new clip art store!!  I was hooked as soon as I saw monsters and mustaches!!  You have to check it out!  And tell her Greg sent ya!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Schedulin' Sunday!

It's that time again...teachers everywhere start scouring Pinterest and blog stalking for inspiration and distractions from planning for the week ahead!  I actually like planning and preparing lessons.  It's a hobby of mine and I am not ashamed to admit that!  So here now, the lesson plans for the week!  Get ready to be amazed!

We're starting the letter A this week!  We will be making our ants and acorn hat to wear while we celebrate the letter A!  We will identify pictures that have the short a sound and we will use our chalkboards to practice writing the letter A.  In math we are focusing on writing our numbers from 0-5 this week.  Today we will play a game called Grab and Write! Each child will have a sheet with a graph from 0-5.  In each box of the graph is the number.  For example, for the number one column, there are  6 boxes in the column and each box has the number one in the box.  The child grabs some cubes and counts the cubes.  They trace that number on their graph.  They continue to grab and write until they finish.   After the finish I will let them color their graph.

This week for writing we focus on our goals for the year.  We call these our Hopes and Dreams.  I read the book, Big Plans and we discuss our big plans for Kindergarten!  We then create a circle map of things we want to learn in Kindergarten (hopes and dreams).  Each child shares 1 or 2 things they hope to learn or want to learn.  We also send home a letter to our families asking them to write down their hopes and dreams for our year in kindergarten.  Once the students and parents have shared their hopes and dreams, I copy them onto puzzle pieces and assemble them in hallway.  This puzzle stays up all year to remind all us (especially me) of where our goals are and that I am responsible for these hopes and dreams.  If parents don't send in their hopes and dreams for their child, I write on their puzzle pieces so no one is left out.  I will post pics Friday or Saturday!

Today we race to trace!  Each child rolls a dice using their casino baskets (click for my post on casino baskets).  Come on, we all know how much the sound of all of those dice drives us crazy.  It's like nails on a chalkboard to me!  After they roll the dice, they count the dots and find the number on their paper to trace.  I am making this game extra special by letting them trace their numbers.  We will do an astronaut picture sort for the letter A and short a sound.  You can find your free copy at the bottom of the post.  We will continue with our hopes and dreams discussions by taking our circle map full of ideas and turning them into a sentence.  I use the sentence frame:   _____________ wants to learn _______________ in kindergarten.  And of course, no day in Monsters Inc. is complete without an art project!  We will be making the "Swinging Into The New Year" craftivity from Valerie at All Students Can Shine!

We continue with our celebration of the letter A by doing a picture sort using pictures that start with the /m/ sound and the /a/ sound.  We will practice handwriting with the letter A again!  And again.  And again.  We will use the Smart Board for handwriting practice with the letter A and M.

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog stalking to break you this important update....
I had some questions about my Smart Board handwriting and how I do it.  So here it's a super easy way to practice handwriting and makes for a great center!  Our district uses Interwrite Workspace software (which, btw, is the worst interactive board software ever.  Seriously, the dinosaurs inside that software need to chip away the rock faster...).  In the gallery portion of the software, we are lucky enough to have handwriting templates for letters and numbers.  I simply drag the letter or letters we need to practice onto the page and lock them down so we can't move them or re-size them.  Then each child gets a turn to practice their handwriting on the Smart Board.

And we now return you to your regular stalking...

We read and discuss the book A Bad Case of the Stripes and talk a lot about being unique!  This is a big issue for Mr. Greg because I want every child to feel safe enough in our classroom to express themselves how they see fit.  And then we get to do one of my most favorite classroom projects EVER!  EVER!  Of all time.  It's the best.  These are so famous that I get asked when they will be done so people can come see them.  People, they are that hilarious!  We get to make our self portraits!!!!  You have to click here to see these from last year.  Each child gets a head to cut out and a sheet of various facial parts (eyes, nose, ears, etc) and they get to create their image in their own likeness.  When I post pics Thursday you will want to hug me and kiss me (OK, maybe not kiss me...not that I am opposed to the fancy cheek kissing I learned in South America...) for making your week.

We will create a bubble map for all the things our hands can do that are helpful to our friends.  We will then use our predictable chart to write about how we help our friends.  Our predictable sentence is :  My hands can ______________________.  In math we will do a quick game of Flippin Numbers!  Flippin numbers is where we use a random number cd and our magic math fingers.  We point to the number the song plays and Mr. Greg gets a quick informal formative assessment!

And finally, this Wednesday is super special at Monsters, Inc.  Today is the day.  The one and only, BEAR THE READING DOG makes his first visit to our classroom.  If you want to know the story of Bear, you MUST click here and watch the video.  Last year, the local news did a story on Bear and my class!  Today we will not read to Bear.  We meet Bear and we talk about some rules for being safe with Bear.  After that, each child gets to spend a few minutes alone with Bear and Ms. Leigh so they can get to know each other.  And every week from now on when Bear visits, each child gets to choose 1 book from their book bag to read to Bear.  And then they get to feed Bear a treat!

We continue our friendship and community building activities this week.  Today we're reading Hooway For Wodney Wat!  One of my favorites.  Check out this post for why this book is one of my all time favorites!  After reading Wodney, we create a circle map of how we can be a good friend.  And we learn that BULLIES NEVER WIN!

And finally to practice our number writing, we will use snap cubes to form numbers.  I downloaded some free cube clip art and through these cards together.  I hope someone can use them in their classroom!

We will also do a friendship craftivity because I can't go a day without an art project!  We will be making the best friends craftivity from A Cupcake for the Teacher!  Be sure to check out her blog and tell her Greg sent ya!  Instead of using the writing piece of the craftivity, each pair of students will get a picture that I made using our names. If you haven't heard of Tagzedo, Google it and check it out.  It's a fun and fabulous way to make word art for your room and home!

Today we finish up our celebration of the letter A by making an uppercase and lowercase A out of apple jacks.  And then we eat the apple jacks.  YUM!  Today I will wrap our week long celebration of uniqueness and friendship by reading MY very own children's book (unpublished as of now!  But stay tuned!) about two hamsters overcoming obstacles and teaching a lesson about friendship.

We are also wrapping up our celebration of the Olympics by making Olympic t-shirts and competing in the Measurement Olympics!  I can't wait to use the Measurement Olympics pack that I created!!  We are going to have a blast!

And for foodie fun Friday, we are making applesauce.  Yes, I know it's early and we're not doing apples, but we will make applesauce again in September.  I couldn't think of other food and snacks that would be good for A so applesauce it is!

And that's my week.  What do you like?  What don't you like?  What inspired you?

And here is a challenge for you all.....who can find or create a cute astronaut craftivity???  Anyone?

Now, for a secret.  You wanna know how I was able to get through this great post?  By eating these!!!

These cookies are the best ever.  They come from a bakery in my hometown.  My parents visited this weekend and brought me 4 dozen!!!  They are sugar cookies with doughnut glaze for icing.  The word delicious is a vast understatement!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Saturday Kindergarten Post

Can I just say I love my body??  Yesterday I had that cold feeling in my fingers and toes that means I am getting sick.  And by last night my throat HURT so bad.  I think I drank 6 gallons of Coke and Pepsi and Orange crush.  I told ya, I love my drinks and the cold felt so good on my throat.  I woke up this morning and feel 100%!  My immune system is amazing.  We have this very special bond.  I like him and he likes me.

It's time for my regular Saturday round-up of our weekly projects, lessons, success and chaotic but organized fun!  I asked on my blog if anyone could suggest a great name for my regular Saturday round up and there were a lot of great suggestions, but I like the one I picked.  Inspired by The Saturday Evening Post....this is The Saturday Kindergarten Post!  Thank you Rhea for the idea!  Check out her blog over at Mrs. Zanti's Pre-K Pad!  And I created by own little button/graphic today.  Thoughts?  I was trying for the newspaper look...maybe someone with much more talent than me can make it look better!

The biggest happening this week was that we got a new teacher!!  My class size is down to 17!  OMG can I just tell you that Thursday and Friday were spectacular!  My room seems empty and we're not all  over each other.  My line no longer stretches the length of the green mile and it's so much more quiet.  I felt like we accomplished more Thursday and Friday than we have all year.  I even did some small group work Thursday and Friday!  These kids better hang on, because we're about to rock the Kindergarten world!

This week we started with our letter and sounds.  This week is M so a lot of our activities are focused on the letter M.  We made M with marshmallows, we did picture sorts, and we learned how to write the letter M!  We read If You Give A Moose A Muffin and made muffin hats and we did a moose craftivity.  We created a flow map (Thinking Maps!) of the story and we did a predictable chart about what we would give a moose!  In math we counted muffins and made our own touch math posters using beans!

We're continuing to build our sense of community and family!  We've been focusing a lot on the Olympics so we made our own Olympic athletes!  So cute!  

On Friday, we mixed up a batch of muffins and cooked them in our toaster oven.  They were so simple and so good!  I was surprised because I didn't think they would be good! 

Smart Board handwriting!  Best idea I've had in a long time!  

We made a marshmallow toe craftivity to remind us to have our marshmallow toes when we're walking in the hall.  This is one of my biggie issues.  Especially in the stairs!  I do not want to hear stomping feet!  

Look, it's a Greg Moose!  

Touch Math posters!  I thought I had better pictures of these.  I will get some Monday and share!  This was a fun activity to work on number recognition, counting and number formation.  And who doesn't love gluing beans on stuff?

Here are the posters for anyone who wants them!  Click for your freebie!

I have been working on a monster truck themed ABC pack.  I was curious as to how the kids would respond.  My friend who has some serious ADHD was riveted.  He didn't move for 45 minutes  after I gave them cards!  Every time he matched two letters he would yell out "Mr. Greg, I found a mismatch!"  Now that I know the kids will love it, I will have this pack finished this week!  

Will you use any of these ideas?  Do you already do any of these ideas?  Do you have suggestions on making them better?

A few weeks ago I saw something somewhere that said Reddit was doing a school supply drive for teachers.  I checked it out and signed up.  Today, I received this box in the mail!  How awesome is this?  I am so thankful for every thing that people contribute to my class!  People just do not understand the impact every item and dollar has.  Especially in our school where we have 0 dollars.  Thank you Reddit!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Freebie Friday!

I am linking up with TBA and Blog Hoppin' for Freebie Friday!

Have you been following Blog Hoppin and their Teacher Week linky parties?  If not, check it out!  It has been a lot of fun!

I am offering up my monster themed birthday cards.  I threw these together this week to display my students birthday in our classroom!  I hope you can use them or find them inspiring!

Freebie Fridays

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