Sunday, June 26, 2011

See ya!

I'm off for 5 days! {I don't even want to think about how out of control my Google Reader will be} I will be spending my time with middle and high schoolers. {wish me luck} When I get back online I will be up in Alaska. it's been wonderful spending time with my family and friends here, but I'm ready to go home. I miss my mountains

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Blast From the Past

I was going through, cleaning out my classroom blog and getting it ready for next year, and ran across this post from my first blog {which I only posted on twice}. It's a look back at my first year teaching {2008-2009} when I taught half-time, half-day Kinder.

As my first official year of teaching comes to an end, and as I wait with uncertainty for God to reveal his plan for my life I wanted to take the time to reflect on my year.

* was offered the job while standing in the kitchen of the family I was working for, while they were talking outside with neighbors and Teletubbies in the background.

* got hired 3 days before Kindergarten Assessment day (when the teacher meets with each child and their parents).

* Ran up to the school Friday to get my list of kiddos and assessment books before running back to my summer job where I took 10 kids downtown (on the city bus) to play mini golf.

* called all of the parents using my cell phone while babysitting on saturday morning (this will come back and bite me later).

* spent to week before school started meeting with all of my kiddos and their parents, hosted my first open house, spent 2 days in all staff meetings and the Friday before attended new staff orientation ALL day.

* started teaching, love my class, 6 girls, 12 boys. very busy, very bright, very exhausting!

* prep for first conferences, get really sick, have no voice for the last 2 days.

* go to Hawaii with family for a week, miss 4 days of school, immediately after missing a week for conferences. hope students remember me.

* get back from Hawaii at 12:30 pm, after a red-eye flight from Honolulu. drop luggage at home, change and head up to school to prep for next days all day field trip.

* my amazing sub taught my kiddos "mele kalikimaka" which they sing for me. so sweet!

* all day field trip, cold, cold, cold. especially after being in 80 degree temps for the last week.

* the wednesday before winter break is to start it starts to snow on my way to work. it continues to snow, and snow and snow. I take my lesson plan book and computer home "just in case".

* school is cancelled for the next 2 days. it continues to snow, and snow and snow for approximately 2.5 weeks.

* ready to go back the monday after new years. sheriff decides to close all local schools. tuesday schools closed, wednesday schools closed. start to wonder if we will ever go back.

* kids enjoyed their 3 week break. I did not it, I had to be mean Miss W.

* things going pretty good, one kiddo has trouble with saying nice things, we work it out and have no more problems.

*the friday before valentines day (the day of our party), get a phone call (on my cell phone) from a parent. very polite 15 minute rant about what I am doing wrong in my classroom. says I should rethink my career plan. I cry in the car, cry in my principal's office and cry in my mentor's classroom. then I stop crying and teach, avoid saying anything but hello to this parent.

* things seem to be better with ranting parent. second set of conferences, spring break.

* parent sends ranting email saying that she thinks I'm taking out my frustration with her questioning of my ability to teach on her child.

* state budget cuts send panic thru teachers, we don't have cuts, but job outlook for those with 1 year contracts (me) isn't so hot.

* science is loads of fun, lot's of creepy crawlies visit our room.

* swine flu scare. wipe down everything with lysol wipes, including pencils and crayons.

* all day kindergarten. 40 kids in each classroom. water pressure issue causes us to evacuate the building in the rain, and wait outside for 15 minutes, again in the rain.

* end of school. I answer the question "what are your plans for next year?" approximately a thousand times. Listen to parents say, "that's stupid" or "do I need to email the principal" when I tell them I have to re-apply for my job.

* manage not to cry when saying goodbye to my kiddos, I do however cry when I get to my room the next day, while packing up, and while saying goodbye to my fantastic team.

Next up, applying for any job that's available!

It's amazing how much I have learned in the past 3 years. . . . .

Who Is That Cute Monkey?

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The cute monkey above is Maxwell. He was an important part of my first year of teaching. In my first district we did not have a required curriculum to teach, so the Kindergarten team came up with a scope and sequence of what we were going to teach {that went along with our GLE's}. Along with that they had decided that each class would have a traveling visitor that would go home with each kiddo. Maxwell was my class' vistor, he went to soccer games, hockey games, church, Mexico, Hawaii and even got to meet David Shannon {the author/illustrator} when he came to town to speak at my Alma Mater. The kiddos wrote about what they did with Maxwell, included pictures, and then got to share with the class.

Sadly Maxwell cannot be found {I think my Mom took him to her school}, so next year a very curious Pigeon will be visiting my Kindergartner's homes.

{I love how he's wearing a hat and scarf! Perfect for our long, cold winters!}

Here are the cover and pages that will go in the notebook with Pigeon

Pigeon Cover

Pigeon Sheets

Do you have any special visitors that go home with your kiddos?

Take-Home Books Linky Party

Mrs. Mugurussa at Time 4 Kindergarten is hosting a Linky Party for Take-Home Book ideas. Here's what I do in my kindergarten class:

1.) My kiddos keep their books (3-4 a week) in their STAR (Stuff To Always Remember) Notebooks. The books are kept in a page protector with a sticker on it to remind parents which day we switch out their books,

2.) I like to have each of my kiddos read their take-home books to me, so I can tell who is reading at home, and I can change the level to meet their needs. To accomplish this I assign each kiddo a day to switch out their books (Tuesday-Thursday). I call kiddos over to read to me during our Morning Work time.

3.) I keep a checklist to keep track of which kiddos have which books.

4.) use Reading A-Z books for Take-Home books. They are leveled and easy to make so it's no biggie if they get lost. My first year I had a ton of parent volunteers so I had them make up a bunch of books which I still have (I even shipped them up to Alaska!).

5.) Our Reading Curriculum (Houghton Mifflin) has phonics readers for each week once we start introduce vowels and CVC words. I send these home as well. I send a note home asking the parents to sign the book when their child reads it to them. When the kiddos bring it back they get a sticker, skittle or get to step up.

Head to Mrs. Mugurussa's Blog to link up

Thursday, June 16, 2011

S.M.S {Save My Schedule}

I’ve been working on my Lesson Plan Template/Schedule for next year. What I’ve used the past 2 years works, but there wasn’t a lot of extra room to write specifics in the boxes. With switching to using Workstations for both Literacy and Math I wanted to have more room on my Lesson Plans.

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far {I put in my pull-out schedule from last year, since I’m pretty sure it will stay the same next year.}

1.) Check In and Morning Work/Morning Message – In the past I haven’t put any info in these boxes {I just kind of wing it} but I’m going to put in what practice page we will do for Morning Work, and what the focus will be with our Morning Message. I think it will help me be more intentional with this time, rather than winging it.

2.) Literacy Workstations – Last year I had 4 different groups, and we rotated through each station everyday {it didn’t really work for me}. This way I can look at my plans and see what I need to get read for each tub.

3.) I posted earlier about how I tab my Teacher Manuals to make it easy-peasy to find where I’m supposed to be. Then down below I put the basics of what I’m going to do each day {there’s no way I can get through ALL of the material each day}.

I’m still trying to figure out my afternoon schedule. If you can give me any pointers, please comment or email me. I like giving my kiddos Choice Time everyday, but is there something missing from my schedule that I need to include?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Kathleen at Growing Kinders is asking for teachers to share their schedules.

My basic schedule for last year looked like this

8:50 - First bell rings, kiddos come in, put their gear away, check in (for lunch count) and sit down to start their Morning Work (a worksheet or book to work on)
9:10 - Language Warm Up - this is when we do our Morning Message, and talk about our schedule for the day.
9:30 - Literacy Stations - 4 stations and 4 rotations.
10:40 - HM Reading
11:10 - Lunch Prep (this takes longer at the beginning of winter when we have to get all our gear on. they get much faster at this as the year goes on).
11:20 - Lunch/Recess(my fabulous TA goes with my kiddos)
12:15 - Calendar

The rest of the afternoon schedule varies from day to day based on what pull-outs we have and when they are. We do math everyday and science or social studies as we can fit them in.

The kiddos usually do writing during station time.

We have choice time EVERY day. They need it, plus it gives me a chance to pull small groups or do assessments.

I'm still figuring out what my schedule will look like next year. I want to implement both literacy and math workstations, so I will need to move some things around.

Here's what my Lesson Plan's looked like last year (click on the image to see it bigger).


If your checking this out, please leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Got My Book!!!

My copy of Math Work Stations came to my parents house today (I'm staying with them while I'm in the lower 48). I can't wait to start reading and planning for next year!