Thursday, June 21, 2012

Math Centers

It is official... I need to go to pinterest rehab!  I have been stuck to pinterest for the past two days finding too many cute things to do next year in my classroom.  The only problem is I don't know where to start!  My to do list keeps growing with great ideas, in addition to trying to prep a nursery for our sweet baby boy.

Next year our school is doing a reading block and a math block.  I am excited about this and being able to integrate the other subjects into our reading and math times.  I have always blended my curriculum and cannot wait to do more with thematic units.  However in the past we were told to stay away from too many thematic units.   It's funny to watch how the pendulum swings back and forth.  When I started 6 years ago we used themes.  Then after one or two years, we had to follow the basal with fidelity.  Now we are back to using themes and only the "meaty" parts of the basal while using the common core standards.  Our school went ahead and implemented the CCS this past year in Kindergarten, so I feel comfortable with the standards and am focusing on planning my new theme-filled year.  We can finally bring the fun back to Kindergarten!   Has this ever happened to anyone else?!?!  

So, back to the original tangent of being addicted to pinterest... I was looking up math ideas and want to implement daily math centers next year.  I have always done math centers in my classroom, but only once or twice a week.  It was difficult to fit them in with the SS, Science, and Writing blocks built into my schedule.  Now that we are "allowed" to integrate these subjects, I want to do centers daily.  I bought Debbie Diller's book Math Work Stations.  I saw many pinterest ideas that referred back to this book.  Has anyone read it?  Was it as inspirational as everyone says?  

Math Work Stations

I also found a few blogs that had some good ideas.  

Now my brain is spinning on what to do and how to organize them.  I hope the book will help me sort out my ideas.  I am very lucky to have many different Lakeshore Math centers from grants I wrote on Donors Choose (if you haven't checked out that website, you must.  It is a great way to get classroom supplies for free from kind strangers!).  We must follow the order of our basal (Go Math) because of our report card requirements, so I'm tied down to what must be taught each nine weeks. I am more concerned with logistics.  How to group the kids, how long to stay at the centers, keep the same center types all year or do random centers, etc.  Has anyone implemented math centers daily in their classroom?  If so, I'd love some pointers or even a link to a blog/website that has ideas.  Thanks in advance for the help or suggestions!  I love learning things from other teachers!  

Friday, June 8, 2012

I've been MIA for a Good Reason

I have been a terrible blogger for the last couple of months.  I really do have a good reason...  In March, over my Spring Break, my husband and I found out that we were expecting our first baby!  Baby White is due November 8th.  That news explained the exhaustion I had been feeling.  Luckily, I was not sick, but I was so tired, especially after teaching Kindergarten all day.  Every day I wanted to come home and sleep, but life does not stop for tiredness.  However the blog had to stop for a while.  Now that I am in my second trimester, I finally have some energy back and am excited to come back to the blogging world.  Too bad it is summer and I won't have a lot of things I have done with my kids to post.  However, I have a ton of summer projects (school and baby) that I can't wait to share.  Here is a picture of our little bundle of joy!  This was at 11 weeks.

We go next Friday to find out if it is a boy or a girl.  I am betting it is a boy.  We will see next week!

I have one more day of post-planning Monday and then I am out for the summer.  I can't wait to get started on planning next year and making cute things I have pinned on pinterest.  I have felt like a crazy person running copies for next year.  Since I will be out November and December, I have copied so many holiday themes and center activities.  My mom works at my school and handles the print shop, so at least she understood why I was turning in Fall and winter themed items in May and June.  I even had one of my favorite volunteers cut out all of my October-December craft items.  She was more than happy to do it when she heard the news.  I have never been so far ahead of the game.  Now this summer I can sit down and map out as many things as possible.

Enjoy your weekend!  It's good to be back!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring break!

I am so excited that it is finally Spring Break for our county. The past two weeks have been CRAZY, but what else would you expect?!?! I am glad that I have time to finally update my blog. I've missed all my blog friends. I am so excited to have over 50 followers now! As I sat down to update my blog tonight I realized that I left my camera at school on Friday. It's not like I was ready to run away Friday afternoon when the kids left so I could start my spring break! :) I promise I will try to convince myself to get the camera tomorrow so I can start posting all of the fun things we did the past two weeks. I have some precious Dr. Seuss activities we did, an h brother hunt (digraphs sh, ch, th, and wh), and a smarty pants holder I made. I also have some Easter activities I will be making over Spring Break. Can't wait to share those ideas. I hope you all have an enjoyable week, especially if you are out for break!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Brag Tags~ working for charms!

I mentioned in an earlier blog that we have our sight word chart that tracks the progress of the 100 words we need to know.  The sight word incentives tie into our brag tags.  We are also a PBS (Positive Behavior Support) school and some of our PBS incentives tie into the brag tags.  So what is a brag tag?  A brag tag is a necklace that each child receives and they work toward earning charms to display on their necklace.  I absolutely love our brag tags.  On the first day of school I give my students their "brag tag" or necklace.  I make sure that each necklace already has a "name charm" (a counter top sample from our local hardware stores) with his or her name, my name, and grade.  I explain to the kids that over the course of the year they can earn charms for their necklace.  Each charm represents a special achievement.  The kids get so excited about earning charms and the fact that they already have a charm.

Our school gives out charms every month for AR goals, Art and Music stars, good character, citizenship, PE mileage club, and birthdays.  Students also receive charms for perfect attendance and honor roll or good behavior for Kg every nine weeks.  Some grade levels have special charms.  This year Kindergarten ordered ABC and sight word milestone charms.  These charms are amazing motivators for most of my students.  I also give out special bead charms in my room.  It is hard at first for Kg students to earn charms, so I came up with a few of my own.  I went to Wal-Mart and bought some of the pony beads for a couple of dollars.  I use green beads if they have been on green all week, yellow for bringing back homework (not every time... only on special days, but they never know when it will be bead day), pink beads for being good friends and citizens in the classroom, and I bought metallic beads, but haven't thought of a way to use them yet.

Here are some pictures of the brag tags!  The holder is a jewelry holder I found at TJ Maxx for only $14.  I had to buy one for home as well!

The lovely counter samples I got from Lowe's and a close-up of the number and ABC charms.  They get the ABC when they know all upper and lower case letters and sounds.  The number charms are the milestones on their way to knowing all 100 sight words.

Here are my containers of pony beads and two new packs of stars and hearts I bought at Hobby Lobby.  I'm not sure how to use those yet.

 Here are some charm necklaces.  I have a list of the number of green beads I owe the kids and haven't put them on their necklaces yet.  Also we just did our 100 word assessment today, so I owe some 25, 50, 75, and 100 milestone charms.

The charms can be ordered from Fitness Finders.  I hope you all enjoyed the brag tags!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Literacy Week- Door Decorating Contest

We had literacy last week at our school.  One of the activities was to decorate our door using a book that is a classroom favorite.  In the past we have done Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Dr. Seuss.  I let the kids help me decide which story they liked best.  We were finishing up our snowmen activities and they had fallen in love with the book Snowmen at Night.  I love that book!  We have read it a few times on We Give Books and with the actual paperback book.  So I took to pinterest to find a cute snowman.  I saw a picture of a snowman from a different perspective on this art blog. I decided to turn that into our door decorations!

Here's a picture of our final project:

Here are some of the precious snowmen:

I asked this little boy if he had his small circle and he held this up.  He explained that it wasn't even, so he needed to trim it.  How funny!

Here's one of the snowmen up close:

Next time I do this project I will need to buy the foam sticky tape to give it better dimension.  We used foam dinosaur stickers (only thing I could find in the room), but it didn't seem to work with separating the layers.  I It needed to be a little thicker.  I still think it turned out cute as can be and the kids love it!

Crazy Week!

This has been a crazy week so far!  But, what else should I expect... with Valentine's Day and all!  We had a blast at our party yesterday.  Of course, it wasn't a normal day.  I had a SME workshop scheduled in the middle of the day, so we had our Valentine exchange at 8:20 in the morning!  Thank goodness we know how to be flexible in Kindergarten!

I love family projects, so of course we had a Valentine family project.  I gave every child a capri sun or kool-aid drink box the week before Valentine's Day.  Their job was to decorate their mailbox for our valentine exchange.  Here's a look at the boxes before they went home... the children took special care to pick out which box they wanted.  These kids are too funny!

Here are some of the finished products:
This little girl has Bieber Fever!

 This one had a hinge inside the flap...

 I loved this hunting animal...

 One of my little guys lost his drink box and used a huge box instead :)

Our quick Valentine exchange breakfast... we had a lot of fruit and non-sweets because we have a peanut allergy in our classroom.  I actually enjoyed all the fruits and non-sweets. This is a portion of the fruit- we still had 2 things of strawberries, 2 bags of apples, 20 bananas, 20 oranges, and 24 cheese sticks in the fridge.  We are enjoying these healthy snacks the rest of the week.  

 Here are some of my teacher friend's projects... she's my partner in crime across the hall.

I just love how these projects turn out every year.  The kids love to show off their work too.  Hope everyone had a great Valentine's Day with their sweet kiddos!

Monday, February 6, 2012

100th Day

So last week we celebrated our 100th day... sort-of.  We had to spend our morning being video taped for a Kindergarten Readiness conference with the preschool teachers in my district.  They were supposed to tape us earlier in the week, but something came up and they needed to come on Friday (the 100th day).  I have a weird schedule this year and I only get to teach from 7:45-10:55.  After 11:00 we have lunch (I eat with the kids), bathroom break, special area, and recess.  We don't get back to the room until 1:10 and then go home at 1:30.  So, they spent the morning taping a "normal" day and did not leave until 10:00.  That gave us enough time to make a counting by 10's hat to wear and start our 100 day booklet.  We had to finish the book today because we ran out of time last week.  Needless to say I missed doing my usual 100 day activities.

I did have a family project that the students were encouraged to do.  They were asked to display a collection of 100 objects.  They could use anything around the house (buttons, cereal, stickers, pennies, etc.).  This year I got some cute projects.  Here are a few pictures of their family projects.  They were so proud to display them in the hallway for everyone to see!

I loved the fish made out of beads!

 This was described to me as Feather Fireworks!
 One Hundred buttons on a string
 This little boy loves basketball- he used beads to make a basketball and then had "basketball rules" along the bottom
 Pasta and candy hearts
 100 buttons on a shirt
 The display under our bulletin board
Sponge Bob was turned in today

Even though it was a crazy 100th day, we still enjoyed it!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I just found an awesome blog- Heather's Heart.  She is having a giveaway!  Check it out!

Welcome to Our Room (Part 2)

Here are more pictures of the room from Meet the Teacher Day in August.

This is our classroom library.  The book bins are labeled with the levels of the books.

We start the year with a unit on Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  Here's the bulletin board for Chick Chicka Boom Boom.

Here is the computer area and the counting fish bulletin board above it.

Here is the birthday board and the word wall with the kid's names.

Here is my writing pencil (it's a little faded from 4 years of use).  I found it on Mrs. Meacham's website.  I love it and the kids do as well.

Here are two more shots from the door.

I will have to take updated pictures.  We finally got a white board instead of the ancient chalkboard that I could not use because of my allergies.  When we got the whiteboard I felt inspired to rearrange some of my tables and change up the bulletin boards since they added two more.  I hope you enjoy my home away from home.