Thursday, September 19, 2013

Twice in one week, people!

Today was NUTS!
Half way through our morning the sky opened up and we had a HUGE storm.  Green sky, hail, etc.  My kids handled it well (no tears!) but it was tough to stay focused.  I guess we were lucky though because at the high school a kid pulled the fire alarm and they had to evacuate the school...IN THE STORM!  CrAzY!!

Anyway, here are a few good things from this week...
 We are getting into our calendar routine.  I purchased a class set of dry erase sleeves from Oriental Trading.  Each day after going through our calendar, kids grab their page, a dry erase marker and a felt eraser.  I got this handy dandy Help-Yourself Supply Center from Lakeshore.  Can you see the felt erasers and markers inside?  I love it!

During the month of September we do Exploration Stations.  Each day partners get something in their bins to explore.  I believe this cuts down on the playing later on in the year.  Plus, they get really good at working together and learning how to look at our station chart (the blue chart above).  The number in front of their picture tells them what basket to go to.  The girls above are working with geobands.

They are doing some great things with the sorting treasures!  I keep them all in a toolbox from Lowes.  The kids can grab a drawer and go to work!

We also celebrated our first Zero The Hero Day!
One of my very first purchases from TPT was Growing Kinders Counting by 10s with Zero the Hero!  I love it!  I can't remember where I got the puppet but it came with his girlfriend Zerona.  She, of course, apprears on the 100th day.

We also decorated the letter N for our Alphabet Letter Exchange.  I signed up this summer to participate in an Alphabet Letter Exchange through First Grade Found Me.
 We were assigned the letter N.  Our class decided to decorate them with numbers.
We'll mail them out to the other 25 classrooms and wait patiently for the other letters to come in.  It will be fun to look at the map to see where the letters will come from.  So exciting!

 Last, I have to share a picture of the newest addition to my classroom.  My good friend PAINTED these for me!
Aren't they amazing!  I ♥ MO WILLEMS!!
Thanks BFF!

Monday, September 16, 2013

What's new in 147?

I am getting better at taking pictures of the things we are doing in Room 147.  Here are some of the highlights!

We started Daily Five last Monday!  The words of the day were stamina and urgency.  Our goal was 10 minutes.  Here is our chart...
  3 days!  It took only 3 days to reach our goal.  I followed the advice of The Sisters and stocked their bins with 8 books.  Typically I would only give them 2 or 3....which makes no sense!  The more books they have, the more they will have to read, right?  Yes!  It worked!  They were also very motivated.  
To celebrate, we have fruit roll-ups and got to shop for books.  They got to exchange the books I gave them for books they really wanted using I-PICK as a guide.  Then I introduced some "fun" ways to do Read To Self.  They loved the little laundry baskets.  I also have some pillows (with removable covers) and reading buddies (stuffed animals to read with).

We started working on Word Work today.  First, we made our I chart so they knew what to do.
You can see that we made it 2 1/2 minutes before stopping today.  I had to share my big "aha" this week.  I attached a small pencil basket to the side of my big word work basket using zip ties.  The writing materials will go in there so they don't get mixed up with the papers.  Works like a charm!   

I have nine different Word Work baskets.  They are:
Phonemic Awareness
Word Building

I know that Daily Five says that Word Work is NOT about the materials but about the actual words BUT I (and I think my kids) need variety.  Play-doh or beads might be fun for a month or two, but for the whole year?  Probably not.  I'm not a random type person so I needed a plan for what to put in each basket.  The first three baskets are for my lower kids who need more practice with the alphabet/sounds.  The bottom baskets all have ways for kids to practice the sight words we are working on.  I'll write a whole post on Word Work sometime soon...

The last thing I want to share from today was that we started Lucky Duck!

Lucky Duck is my helper/student of the day.  I use the Random Image Generator from SMART exchange to select who it is.  That person gets to wear one of these cute alphabet ducks I got from Oriental Trading (the letter duck that matches the first letter of their name).  I guess they discontinued them.  We use our cheerleader name book to spell the name, count the syllables, count the number of letters, and cheer the name with pompoms.  That person gets to stand on the duck when we line up (instead of their line up number from the fabulous Jamie Mayas).
The Lucky Duck also gets to be the calendar teacher and be first for just about everything during the day.  My polka dots can't wait for it to be their turn.

I think I might actually post twice this week!  I'm saying it so I have to do it :)
Stay tuned!   

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Winner and a Freebie!

Congratulations to Corie E!  She won a brand new pencil sharpener courtesy of Classroom Friendly Supplies!  She is a girl after my own heart because she picked the fabulous new PINK one!
 Remember that $1 from the sale of every Precious Pink Pencil Sharpener will be donated on your behalf to cancer research and awareness!  So cool!

This next week is School Tools week.  I will introduce a different tool every day and give my kinders some practice using the tools.  First up are Crayola Twistable Crayons.
Our team started putting these on our supply list a few years ago and have never looked back!  If you have never used them, try them!  I love that I don't have to peel down the paper and the tips never break.  One pack lasts ALL YEAR LONG!  It's enough to make any kindergarten from going crazy.  Speaking of crazy, I shared this on my Facebook page, but have to share here, too...
So true!!

Anyway, when I introduce the Twistable crayons, I also talk about being a 3 star artist.  I'm sure you've seen all the anchor charts on Pinterest.  I'm not sure who created the first one but what a great idea!  I went into school today to start making my anchor chart and half way through decided to create a smaller poster instead.  I haven't offered a freebie in awhile so I also uploaded it to my TPT store.  Click on the poster to download it for yourself.  Don't forget to leave some feedback!

I'll color it in front of the class using the rubric as the guide.  Then I'll give my little polka dots
 Fran Kramer's foldable book: The School Supplies.  It is a perfect way to practice.  If you don't have it already, hop over to Fran's blog to pick it up for free!
I also have a coloring rule in my room.  If you are five-years-old, you have to use at least 5 colors when coloring a page.  Six-years-old?  6 colors when coloring a page.  This helps prevent kids from taking an orange crayon and scribbling all over the page before saying, "I'm done!"  If they do, I count up the colors and say, "Oh!  I didn't know you were only one-years-old!"  They will laugh and get out another crayon.  Works like a charm!  

Before I go, I want to remind you that you only have a day left to enter Learning With Mrs. Leeby's 800 Follower giveaway!  I donated to this amazing giveaway!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Five for Fraturday!

Better late than never, right?!?  
 Room last!

View of the entrance to my room.  
 View of the front of my room.

Alphabet Ducks.  Kids will get to wear one when they are the Lucky Duck (Helper of the Day).
Mailboxes, Back Counter & My office area

Line Up Dots...they are from Jamie Mayas.
My janitor even waxed OVER them so they would last longer.  I just checked Jamie's store and she removed them for awhile so she can catch up with all the orders.

My doorway.  My How To Say Hello Freebie (get it for free on my Facebook page!), doorway ribbon curtain.
Lockers.  The kids made their own locker name sign but not everyone had come to our Assessment Day when I took the picture.

 Reading buddies, Brag Tags/Dr. Jean cheer cards and Beanie Baby Reading Strategies.
My girls started school on Tuesday!
My oldest is going to 1st grade and my youngest started Just4K (Preschool).

Math Work Stations!  We started Exploration Stations on Friday.  Our first one was pattern blocks.  

I was excited to see them stack them, create with them and turn them on their sides!

Our first project!  I introduce our school tools slowly.  On Thursday we had only talked about pencils and glue sticks.  To give my kids more practice with glue sticks, I thought of doing the cute name mosaics I've seen all over the blogging world but needed something a little faster.  A coworker thought of just doing the first initial.  I, of course, had to use circles for my little polka dots.  I love the way they turned out!

I introduced scissors on Friday.  I am happy to report that almost all of my polka dots knew how to hold a scissors already!  Traditionally I've had my kids make a school bus to give them some practice, but then saw Deanna Jump's freebie bus page.  
I thought it was so cute and combined the two things. 

Don't forget to enter my pencil sharpener giveaway!  Only a few more hours left!  Good luck!
A reminder that only US residents can win.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Currently...September Edition

 It is that time again!  I look forward to seeing all of the Currently's from my favorite bloggers.  Thanks to Farley for hosting as always!

My girls have been obsessed with drawing lately.  Up until about a month ago, my four-year-old hated drawing of any kind.  Now, she can't get enough.  I love how phases come and go.  Here is their latest creation.

I can't get it to rotate for some reason but it is all of the characters from Monster's University.

It was a great weekend with my family!  It was also my birthday weekend.  Here are my kids at Benihana.

My girls start school tomorrow.  I don't start until Wednesday.  I am a little anxious to see how this year will go for my girls.  Sophie is going to 1st grade and Lily is going to 4-year-old Pre-K.  There are so many things running through my head I'm driving myself crazy!

I love reading!  Usually during my summers I can finish off 20 or more books.  This year I only finished 2 1/2.  I spent a LOT of my time getting ready for the classes I taught this summer.  I'm determined to finish the book I'm reading before tomorrow :)

This year brings a lot of changes...again.
I need to relax and remind myself that it is going to be a great school year for myself AND my girls.

I am very guilty of forgetting about myself.  I wait until my eyebrows are two caterpillars on my forehead before making an appointment for a wax.  I will buy clothes for my girls and not for myself.  I've been thinking lately that I need to take some more time for me!

1.  I need to get re-acquainted with this guy...

Seriously.  Blogging has NOT been good for my body. 

2.  Read non-school related books!  I used to read a little before bed.  Then I switched to blogging.  I need to find a balance between the two.

3.  Dance!
I love dancing with my kids (both my school kids and my home kids).  I have several Just Dance games for the Wii but haven't played them in awhile.  That would also help with my goal number 1!

Hook up with Farley with your Currently!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Birthday sale and giveaway!

Today is my birthday!  I'm trying NOT to think about the number.  NOT going to think about it at all.  NOT going to think that if you were rounding numbers, I'd be closer to 40 than 30 now.  40 is the new 30, right?  I'd rather have $40 than $30 for sure. 

So far, it's been a great weekend.  My parents took my husband and I to the Melting Pot on Friday.  So good!

Yesterday I got a facial and did some school clothes shopping all by myself!  Shopping is a lot more enjoyable without my two girls :)

When I got home, I had flowers and cupcakes waiting for me.  I should have taken a picture but I MIGHT have eaten the cupcake already...

The celebration continues today with lunch at Benihana and a hot stone massage.

I don't want to leave you out of the birthday fun so my store is 20% off!  I wish it could be more but TPT won't let me.  

I'm also super excited to giveaway another pencil sharpener!  Remember my post about the sharpener before?

I have the blue one.
I still am loving it!  On my supply list I ask for sharpened pencils but only about half did.  In the past I was complain about all the sharpening I had to do.  Not this year!  I whipped through all my pencils in about 10 minutes.

Troy from Classroom Friendly Supplies was nice enough to let me give another one away for my birthday!  But wait!  It now comes in PINK!

The coolest thing about this Precious Pink sharpener is that  $1 from every sale will be donated on your behalf to cancer research and awareness!  How cool is that?!?  September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness month so this is a perfect time to buy a great sharpener AND help out!

You can WIN a sharpener just by entering my birthday giveaway!

It's been awhile since I've posted but I do want to share a few photos of things I've done in my room.

Top 5 things I'm excited about:

5.  My Pick Me Sticks with washi tape.

4.  Washi tape artwork clips.
3.  OK...not classroom related but the washi tape inspired my pedicure :)

2.  I turned 30 books on tape into 30 books on CD using Audacity.

1.  Organized a YEAR of Math Work Stations!  I am so excited that I have this HUGE project done!
I'm working on a separate post about how I do Math Work Stations but for now I'll leave you with the picture of my math cupboard.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway!  The giveaway ends a week from today!