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Monday, November 28, 2011

Did You Hear Me Scream Today?

You have to admit this is ridiculous. I was not in my classroom today because we had a report card day and after school I went into the room to see what it looked like after the sub. I noticed the pumpkin plant and almost had a stroke . I sent it home with one of my students over Thanksgiving and freaked out when I saw it! OMG .
I am so in love with this project and the results. This might be the longest time any plant has survived that has been in my care. Did you hear me scream ? Yup, not enough excitement in my life right now but things are picking up. Tomorrow I am expecting a bean stalk climbing up the side of the school.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Who Talked Me Into This?

Have you been to a TBA Expo? If not I really recommend it. My sweet friend Leslie@KindergartenWorks is putting together this expo with Tamara and they asked me to join the party. If you are a kindergarten teacher who is looking for some new ideas this might be a great way to get some professional development from home.
Come and join me... Who's in?
Did I tell you how nervous excited I am to do this?!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Let the Sun Shine In

What a "sunny" surprise to wake up to this morning. My dear friend Cindy from In the Teacher's Lounge sent me this wonderful award. I am busy with assessments and report cards and have not been cruising around the blogging world too much. This is such a hard time of the year with Thanksgiving around the corner and cooking to do on top of this! But... I saw this award and it made me stop in my tracks and remember why I am here and how wonderful my blogging friends are. Cindy is my "go to" person since she is a tech wiz but she is also a supportive, loving friend and I look forward to the day I can meet her. Thanks friend.
Rules I must follow: (Really?... okay)
1. Thank the person and write a post about it (DUH as my 5th grade mentors would say)
2. Answer the following questions below.
3. Pass the award to 10 to 12 fabulous bloggers and let them know about this (Yikes- those report cards are glaring at me)

  • Favorite color: Purple
  • Favorite animal: cat ( I had one for years)
  • Favorite number? never thought about it so I guess 2 ( I have 2 daughters and was born in February)
  • Facebook or Twitter: big  Facebook fan
  • Your passion: Teaching and creating materials
  • Giving or Getting Presents? I lovemaking gifts that are a perfect match for the person intended
  • Favorite Day: When my daughters were born and I looked into their eyes for the first time
Cindy's list is perfect but I can add a few that are so special to me:
Amber at Kindergarten Rocks (love her and love her blog; met her in Vegas)
Cindy at For the Love of Kindergarten (freckleteacher is so supportive and sweet)
Mandy at A Special Kind of Class (teaches me new things all the time)
Heidi at Heidisongs (great presenter)
April at Chalk Talk  (such great information and ideas: everyone loves April)
Ms. M at Ms. M's blog (she made my button and teaches ELLS like I do: love her)
Julie at Mrs. Lee's Kindergarten (so smart and so sweet)
so many others but those report cards are screaming at me...

So grab this if you are on this list and pay it forward friends.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Turkey Retell Reinvented

I love Dr. Jean's retelling bracelet but my kids need a little more scaffolding to help them with this.The flow map cards are taught first and we review them for several days. On our activity day we sorted a billion pony beads and got the pipe cleaners ready. Then I had my parents lead them through a little strip book that matched the flow map. After each page they colored the bead in their book the matchingcolor and then added it to their bracelet. 
They also had to count their beads as they went along. They were so engaged in this activity. This year I gave the parents a larger version of this book as cards to help them along. The room was SO QUIET and the children were so invested in this activity. All the materials were on a paper plate for each student. I love success! Now they can take home the book and bracelet and retell the story at Thanksgiving. 
Okay the truth is-I am now gathering my gingerbread beads! Does it ever slow down?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Have you met Chef Kramer?

If you have ever given a typical five year old cranberry sauce, most of them would turn up their nose at the thought of tasting it. However, if you make it in your classroom and have the kids help you (cannot screw this up) they think it is delicious. Add the ingredients and use a ridiculous voice. Be sure to sound like you are on the cooking channel and you will sustain their attention- I promise. Most of the children thought it was yummy. So,
don't try to figure them out. Presentation is everything! The following day you can make a flow map and retell this "how to". The coolest part is listening to the cranberries pop out of their skins. Try it. It is on the top of Chef Kramer's list. The describing word "tart" was a new vocabulary word they all understood after eating this. 

Okay I Have to Show You One More Time

Seriously, I cannot get over how quickly this pumpkin has sprouted. The kids have loved this science activity so much. Now I'm thinkin' Jack and the Beanstalk really happened! Right? I promise not to post this again. It was painful for me but I sent it home with a student and she is going to plant it because my teammates told me it is starting to smell. They said this is the nicest way possible! Who cares! I loved watching it grow from hour to hour! Okay, I am over it. Done.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

In my room we made a thanksgiving song book:

This is from my Turkey Leftovers packet. We practiced the song in the pocket chart for several days and today I let them make the little book version that  they can take home for the holidays. I did this whole group and they did really well with this. They hummed the song to help figure out what to cut and paste to match the text. It was so cute. I don't think I want to hear this song again for a really, really long time! I love when a book is simple for them and they feel super successful.

Farmer Fran has a magic touch

Seriously, this is growing in front of my eyes. My students are so enthralled with this pumpkin and so is the teacher. Each day it grows so much bigger. You have to try this! Now what? What am I going to do? I guess I have to take it home and plant it in a big pot so I can bring it back. Farmer Fran has not killed this plant. Applause please!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Am I the Only Teacher Alive Who Does Not Know This Trick?

Is this not the cutest child in the world? His mom is my friend and that is why I can post his picture. He's wearing the Indian headband he made which is gorgeous but look at the back. My girlfriends next door showed me this idea which I have never seen in my life. They told me that have been doing it since the dawn of time! Now my headband addiction will be out of control. Some of our kids had a really hard time patterning these and  I can throw their formal assessments out the window. This is a much more valid way to see if they can apply these skills. If you know about this why are you keeping it to yourself? If you don't- I just changed your life and rocked your world! A big shout-out to my friends Krista, Alicia, and Belinda. Love you guys so much!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Kids Were Excited But the Teacher Went Crazy

Okay so one of my favorite blogs Growing in Pre-K suggested this fabulous pumpkin activity. As I mentioned before I did not expect much to happen but I loved the idea and decided to give it a shot. I talked about this in a previous post. Well hold on because yesterday two sprouts appeared. I almost had a stroke and wanted to see if the kids would notice on their own. Yup, they saw the sprouts and freaked out just like I did. Then I came into the room this morning and they had grown so much that I was screaming with happiness. I guess I lead a dull life.
So the kids saw this when they came in and were stomping on each other to see. I am loving this experiment and I hope you try it next year. By the end of the day I swear the sprouts had gotten even bigger. Thank you Growing in Pre-K .Hop over to this blog to check out her pumpkin plant. I am so jealous  amazed by her results. Wish the lady with the black thumb good luck! I might have to take this home over our break!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Retelling the story (kinder style)

Okay I have to release these even though I have ten billion assessments to put on a chart tonight. I cannot make you wait any longer since I am known to put things off and this will lose its value in a few days! Click here to grab them for tomorrow. I hope your kids like them. Remember to make a retelling bracelet using pony beads that match these cards. I will post more about this tomorrow.

I Love Surprises!

I came home tonight to a wonderful surprise. Tamara from TBA sent me an email congratulating me for being included in her top ten teaching blogs on Thanksgiving is just around the corner (we made cranberry sauce in class today) and this is the perfect time to stop, enjoy this moment and to be thankful for all the blogging friends that have come into my life.You inspire me on a daily basis and make me strive to do my very best for our children. You help me solve problems that often feel overwhelming (love ya Cindy) and encourage me with your thoughtful comments and suggestions. I hope to meet each of you one day and hug you in person. 
I am in the amazing company of these blogs who also received this award:
Funky First Grade Fun
Kindergarten Works 
Ms. M's Blog
The Moffatt Girls
The Organized Classroom
What the Teacher Wants!
and best of all Teaching Blog Addict! I am sending Tamara a virtual hug and I hope one day to meet her. She is such a rock star. She has changed the blogging world with her innovative thinking.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I think I am addicted to ...pocket charts

Does anyone else have this problem? I love pocket charts and have way  too many in my room. I cannot control this addiction. This is the story of Thanksgiving (my version) done as a flow map. I love just putting arrows on the side of my cards but the last one should not have any arrow (woops!). Now is my version historically correct? No way but it makes a great story and I know I am reinventing the truth but our unit this month is "Friends"and I could not resist. This goes along with Dr. Jean's retelling bracelet which we make every year because I L*O*V*E it so much. It is a brilliant idea. More about that tomorrow. Assessments need to be charted and I have to force myself...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Who Likes Turkey Sandwiches?

I am finally finished and I have posted this in my TpT store. What made me decide to do this? My partner asked me where this Thanksgiving poem was and I was clueless! Seriously, it had disappeared and we love doing this right before our break. I did not want her to think I was disorganized (I am a train wreck right now) so I went home to put this together. On Monday my team will L*O*V*E me so much. This is a literacy pack with all the things I like to do with a poem or song to build print awareness and vocabulary. Many of the activities in this packet could be monitored by a parent if you are having a Turkey Day at school. I hope you gobble it up and have some fun with it. Click here to check it out.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Just Cooking Up One More Dish

Assessments are finally coming to a close and I am so happy to finish! When did we decide that kindergarten children should be assessed to death and be given formal benchmarks? Timing them makes me want to scream!
Who came up with that idea? Have they ever met a 5 year old  4 year old turning 5 in December? Seriously? So the race to nowhere continues. However, I can take a deep breath until the next time and celebrate this great American holiday known as Thanksgiving. My partner asked me to make a new emergent reader and I decided to add a few other ingredients to make it a delicious tidbit. I am just about finished but I have the TBA Expo tomorrow so I will be busy soaking in all the information. I will post this in my TpT store as soon as I can. I hope you like it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sweeten Your Day by Saying Hello to a New Kinder Blog

She has finally moved into our kindergarten neighborhood. This is my friend Cindy who is from Northern California and has left kind, generous comments on my blog since I can remember. I once told my husband I would love to meet this teacher. She is one of those people I feel like I know already through the wonderful world of blogging. Now she has started her own blog and needs a warm welcome. Is there a virtual welcome to the neighborhood gift? That would be hilarious! Check her out right here when you get a moment in your busy day and you will never be sorry. Have a great day. I am off to test five your olds for about the 5th day....grrrr.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mentor Magic

On Thursday we met with our fifth grade mentors and decided to go to the computer lab for some letter practice. We walked over together (kids had their arms around their buddies or were holding their hands). In front of the lab is a grassy area where students sat down together and the little ones read from their literacy bags all the books I have created for them for guided reading. It was great practice for them and their buddies gave them lots of praise for their efforts. After this we went into the lab. The kinderkids sat at the computer with headphones while their buddy sat next to them (on their knees) and helped them along. We had some glitches with the technology but the 5th graders resolved these issues faster than I could! There is something to be said for "digital natives."

Saturday, November 5, 2011

More or Less Taught My Way...

Many teachers have very little difficulty teaching the standard for more and less. My students have had limited experiences with numbers and need a scaffold to help them understand this concept. What do we do in our room? My teaching partner came up with the idea of having them compare their towers so they would clearly see which number was more and which was less. Let's see if this middle step helps them with this. Turkey Day is around the corner so I used DJinkers graphics that were ideal for this season! Grab it and tell me if you have a better idea for this by leaving a comment. I also have a Thanksgiving packet on Tpt right now if you need one.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pumpkins Are Not Predictable in Kindergarten

We finally got to our pumpkin activities. I loved Abby's method of collecting data with dot markers. This teacher is so amazing so check out her blog The Inspired Apple for fantastic ideas and visit if you just need a little chuckle. How about blue water? It was much more dramatic for the kids! Even the kids that predicted the pumpkin would float were so shocked when it happened. It was precious to see their expressions.

I saw this idea on Growing in Pre-K and was in awe of it. A sprout will actually grow inside of this slightly hollowed out pumpkin that still has lots of seeds inside. I am not well know for my green thumb but give me credit for trying. If it happens you will be able to hear me screaming at your school. Isn't this so cool? If you do
not know this site it is a wonderful resource for kindergarten teachers so take a peek. Have you ever asked a five year old to say circumference? Make sure you clap the syllables!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Gobble Gobble: Thanksgiving Sounds

My kids hold their pencils in ways I have never witnessed before. This is not a good thing at all. We need lots of practice identifying sounds we hear at the beginning of seen be words and writing the letter that goes with it. Your students can color in the correct letter or use that handy dandy bingo marker to mix it up. I am going to be doing this activity this week and I like the idea of writing letters for a purpose! I love when you hear kids making the sounds at the top of their voices as they complete their work with no realization of how loud they are. This is so cute and funny. Grab this right here if you want it. I hope you like it.

If you like this activity you might like my T is for Turkey packet that I am selling on Tpt. Check it out if you need some activities to keep them busy and engaged.Click here friends.