Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bulletin boards

Another quick post, more to come on Friday!

Here are two of our recent bulletin boards. I have to admit, I have so many other things going on that these aren't the best. Here's our trout art project. The kids just love these silly fish! My gosh, I need new letters!

These are entomologists that I had the kids make to go with our unit on insects. The bulletin board letter situation is so bad that I didn't have an s for entomologists!!!! I'll have to convert an 8 into an s.
I'm going to post our Father's Day cards and Graduation invitations on Friday! I hope you'll come back!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Fish and Thank You Gifts

The title sounds like I'm giving fish for thank you gifts!! No, no, no!
Read on...

Just a quick post about our end of the week art project! Every year when we go to the trout farm the owner requests trout paintings as a thank you. Usually, I'm glad to oblige but this year the kids just won't part with their fishies! I think it could be the addition of gold paint! Bling is essential to EVERYTHING! Here's one of our masterpieces swimming on my floor. Bulletin board post later!

 Got my thank you gifts done and ready to be delivered. I have very few mommy helpers this year. Don't feel sorry for me though, I have four amazing volunteers. One taught preschool for over 30 years, another taught first grade for 32 years, the other two were TAs and volunteered with their children. They make my blood pressure go down when they walk into my room...

Shout Out Linky

I'm a little late but I'm linking up with Growing Firsties and Teacher to the Core's May Shout Out Linky. I love both of their blogs and appreciate all the great ideas!
Thank you for the opportunity to share some amazing blogs I've found!
Kindergarten: Holding Hands and Sticking Together
My first shout out goes to Carolyn Kisloski at Holding Hands & Sticking Together. She is a talented, experienced teacher with loads of fun things going on in her classroom. I look for her posts every week in the Five for Friday and enjoy her sense of humor. It feels like you're visiting a good friend. Check her blog out, you'll be visiting often!
School is a Happy Place
The next shout out goes to Amanda Moore at School is a Happy Place. What a beautiful blog! I love reading her posts and always come away with something valuable. Her blog is very warm, organized and informative. Amanda is a class act and I have a feeling she'll become very popular in the teacher/blogging world! Thanks for the inspiration!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Five for (Memorial Day) Friday

Helloooo Five for Friday. I'm joining in on Doodle Bug's linky party!
1. This week we created ants with different colors of play dough and pipe cleaners. Then we put them in a bug house. The perfect way to transport their ants home safely!
Here's a silly poem I wrote to go in the bug catcher with the ant:

Why does my teacher always say
I have ants in my pants at the end of the day?

Ants are insects, everyone knows,
And insects don't belong in anyone's clothes!

They're  little and buggy, like beetles and flies,
And all of them have at least two compound eyes.

And three pairs of legs that leave six little tracks,
And a head and an abdomen - and in between a thorax!

But my favorite thing is that when a
Bug wants to talk he uses his antenna!

So my teacher is wrong. There are no ants on me.
It's just that I'm busy, as busy as a bee!

2. Water, fish hooks and five year olds!?!?! What was I thinking?
We went fishing today at the most wonderful local trout farm. The kids had a blast and you should have heard the screams from the little ones who've never caught a fish! I'm as crazy about fishing as I am about snakes; when I screamed, it was for a whole different reason!! They slept all the way home. I took this picture right before I dozed off on the back seat!

3. I brought our Think It Over Chair home to fix up. Part of me thinks it needs to be a little uncomfortable and not cutsie, but I had new paint pens and wanted to play! This is what I ended up with.

Not impressed, I went out and found an adorable chair for $38. I didn't need to think that over! No way! We'll just have to live with the ugly one for 12 more days! I may even spend some time in that chair if this crowd doesn't settle down!

The rocking chair in the picture was my very first Think It Over Chair. You can imagine, they rocked like crazy when they were upset. Not a good idea (and way too much fun when you're thinking things over!)

4.  Last week I posted a picture of a magnificent zoo that the kids built while I was assessing. Well, there's a new trend in my class: Thematic Mess-making!

I put playdough out for my students to use to make sight words while I assessed the others. Once they were done with the sight word list, they could free play with the playdough.
I should have known: SUPER TEA PARTY WITH A MEGA-BAKERY!!! Our little corner play area was transformed into a Kindergartener's dream kitchen. It was amazing! I love this new phenomenon! They worked as a team and set a table with every available accessory we have! My report cards are never going to get completed. How can you make a little one leave that magic to come read sight words? They put on aprons to be waiters/waitresses and some girls got out the dress up gowns. They asked to use my "ask-3-before-you-ask-me" lantern for ambiance and even requested the special "handwriting" music (the only quiet music I own). Now it was too big for just them, so one of my girls wrote an invitation to our school secretaries and two of the most elegantly dressed young ladies delivered the invitation while the rest "organized" the staff. They had a greeter at the gate and another at the door and two of my boys were ready to pull out chairs. After the guests sat down, they were handed plates of playdough cookies and tea cups (and tea cups and tea cups and tea cups) full of water. There was water EVERYWHERE! It was magical. We don't do enough of this sort of creative play.

5. I got a cute little note today. I love how she misspelled Mrs. W.

Have a great long weekend everybody!

Miss is Double You!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted/ Meet 2 Bloggy Friends

I'm joining in on Flying into First Grade's "Let's Get Acquainted" linky. This week's topic is "Meet My 2 Bloggy Friends"
Whimsy Workshop
Kickin it in Kindergarten
I don't think that the two people I'm going to mention will even know who I am! I am virtually a nobody in the blogging world, but I truly enjoy and gain so much from reading all the wonderful and inspiring teaching ideas on their blogs. Elizabeth Hall from Kickin' It In Kindergarten and Susanna Westby from Whimsy Workshop have been so sincerely kind to me. Every time I comment on their blogs they respond back and come to read my posts in return. It can be pretty lonely out in blog land so when someone who is more recognized takes time to respond, you can't help but be touched. I can tell that they are very kind people and talented teachers to boot. If you haven't visited their blogs, you should! I'm so impressed! Thanks to both of them for their thoughtfulness and wonderful ideas!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Five for Friday

It's Five for Friday time! Thank you to Doodlebugs.

Five random things...

1. Snakes in the kindergarten yard, AGAIN! We live in a forested area where there are lots of snakes. One year I found two little kinder boys poking a baby rattlesnake around with a stick and just this Monday there was a very large, (and very dead) Gopher snake in the school driveway just outside our playground fence. I wish I could tell you that I'm one of those teachers that loves snakes and would have considered this a great learning opportunity. Sorry. I was relieved that one of our brave moms came to the rescue and picked it up for us. Kids were super interested. Me? Not so much! Do you think they noticed I was standing on the picnic table?

2. My kids are really enjoying learning about insects. Deanna Jump's unit, "Insects, Math and Literacy Fun" is the perfect addition to my lesson plans. Here's a picture of our insect hiding behind our (too large) labels. We had a directed art activity of this insect that I'll post when the kids are done painting them. Pretty cute so far!

I made a little entomologist to go with Deanna's cute song. We'll have the kids make their own entomologist and insect next week.

3. 1/2 Sized Me for end of the year (the original 1/2 Sized Me comes from Marilyn Burns, The Math Solution. It's an amazing book that I used constantly years ago when I taught 3rd grade. It's a great lesson in measurement for older kids). For graduation every year I have the kids take home a paper doll that's to be dressed in their future chosen profession. The family is supposed to help and may come and get paper and other supplies if needed. It's my all time favorite bulletin board! The paper doll in the picture is a U.S. Marshall! They are supposed to be holding something in each hand that goes along with the job. She wanted a rope and a gun. I just couldn't go there so we had an artistic disagreement. I suggested a flashlight. You can see how well it went over. Ha!

4. I speak Mess. Matter of fact, some would say it's my middle name! Messes just don't scare me and it's a good thing because this week I had some speedie quick students who needed to do something extra while the others were being assessed. They had done such a great job with their morning work that I allowed them to play quietly on the carpet. It seemed like within seconds they had taken out every animal and block (even the little unit blocks) and made a magnificent zoo. They were so excited I just couldn't stop them. We put that silly assessment down! Isn't it amazing?

5. Rafting season must be here (my husband runs a nonprofit rafting company).  I always know the season is here when I see Chacos on the porch more (and when I don't see my husband as much). The tell tale sign of a good summer is tan lines from these sandals.
I hope you have a nice weekend! I'd love a comment!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted

I'm joining in on the "Let's Get Acquainted Linky." I haven't done this one in a while!

 1. Why did you become a teacher? I originally thought I'd like to be a nurse. My dad was a doctor, my older sister and my brother's girlfriend were in nursing school or headed there shortly. So, my dad hired me (I think he totally knew what was coming) to work in his office when I was a senior in high school.  Anytime I saw a sad situation, especially with kids, I would cry. I'd be walking down the hall, placing patients in rooms, sniffling- it was pitiful.  He finally sat me down and said he thought that maybe this wasn't the career for me.

He said, "How about working with kids in a happy situation?" Duh. Hello. Of couse! It was a natural fit. I am one of eight kids and spent lots of time caring for my younger siblings. Afterall, I was the neighborhood babysitter.  My best friend was going into teaching and it just looked like fun! So, there you go!

2. Most rewarding moment? I have been teaching forever, and ever, and ever, so I have a few that warm my heart:

*Obviously, watching them succeed is huge. It takes your breath away.

*Every year when high school graduation comes around, I receive a few very sweet invitations from my grown up ex-kinders. I'm so touched that they even think of me, much less invite me to graduation! Last week, one of my grown up sweeties even came to school to invite me in person! I also receive college graduation invitations but not as often, sadly.

*I have a wall near my desk where I hang all the letters I've received from my students. Some are from students who are now in their 30's, asking how I am and do I remember them! I can't look at that wall without crying or laughing very hard; some of the apology notes are priceless!

*I also had the great privilege of having one of my x-students teach preschool right next door to me. I was so proud you'd have thought she was my own daughter (I have also had the honor of teaching all three of her adorable kids).

*I was at a basketball game when a great big kid lifted me up off my feet and gave me a huge hug. When I got my composure back, I recognized him as one of my most rascally-ever kinder boys! How sweet is that?!

3. What would I be if I weren't a teacher? Hmmmmmmmmm. Probably a baker. I love to bake, it makes my home smell good and puts a smile on a lot of faces. Somehow it's calming. Don't ask me to make dinner though! Just dessert!

Now I'm off to see what everyone else wrote!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Five for Friday

What a weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!  Here goes my Fried for Friday...whoops, I mean FIVE for Friday! Thank you Doodle Bugs!

1. Mother's Day gifts are done and hopefully sitting somewhere safe until Sunday.

Here are some flowers bright and bold,
Held by the hand you love to hold.
Someday the flowers will disappear,
But this little hand will always be near.

2. We had Cowboy Day today and I hope my little cowpokes had fun. We got to have both the reigning and newly appointed rodeo queens come visit and show us how to rope. They were admirable young ladies and our kids were gaga over them. Here's a picture of our campfire(whoop-dee-doo) and some art.
 We dug for gold, roped, barrel raced, line danced, had a watermelon spitting contest and ate s'mores to end in complete exhaustion. There was even some crying but once I got a grip, everything was fine.

My buddy Beth was having a very civilized Mother's Day Tea next door. Check out her food, decor and cute little purple apron. She was playing chamber music while she put beautiful bouquets on each table. I wanted to be her.

Meanwhile I had kids burping (too much rootbeer) and spitting(watermelon seeds) and proud of it. Now look at my healthy (NOT) BBQ food and my burly Sheriff Welch look. Yes, those are coffee grounds on my face. I kept getting caffeine jolts all morning. It's a good thing 'cuz I had to chase down some rascally varmits. That roping lesson came in handy...

Thank goodness they have Beth for first grade after kindergarten with me!

3. In addition to the little ceramic hands, we also grew morning glories in clay pots for Mother's Day. I have to have a poem with everything, don't 'cha know...

Morning Glories are my favorite flower,
They rise and shine at an early hour.
They like to climb and cling to things,
And they're ready for whatever the daylight brings.
They're bright and happy and sometimes blue,
They grow so fast it can't be true.
Why do I like them? Can't you see?
Morning glories are just like me!

4. We had a little guy bouncing off the walls. I leaned over and quietly (or so I thought) said to my T.A., "Can you imagine him with caffeine?"
As he bounced past me, the child turned and said, "Who's Caffeine?"

5. Happy Mother's Day to all teachers! Our students may not belong to us but we love them as if they are our very own. Thanks to you for stepping in when mom can't be there with hugs and words of encouragement. I think you're incredible.

Happy Mother's Day to my own sweet mom who turns 80 in July. She is amazing and responsible for my very happy childhood (I have 7 siblings-it was a blast)! We lost my Dad 2 years ago and she now keeps herself busy sewing dolls for children in cancer wards. Each doll arrives with a sack full of  beautiful clothes and lots of love! Pretty wonderful.

This cowgirl is plumb tuckered out. Happy trials!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Five for Friday/Kinder-ese

Hello Five for Friday. I've been taking pictures all week but very few are linky worthy. Let's see what I can come up with...

 1. On my way to and from work I pass by this Osprey's nest. It has been so neat to watch them build it and then tend to their little ones. They have returned now for their second year! Terrible picture. Sorry!

 2. Stressful week for upper grade teachers with testing. I'm guilty of encouraging emotional eating and made them my first German chocolate cake.

 3. We have a local round up and rodeo in my community. Kindergarten has Cowboy Day to go along with all the hoopla that's pretty darn fun. We have a stick horse barrel race, watermelon seed spitting contest, roping, horse shoes (plastic, of course), gold digging and a big BBQ. I come dressed as the sheriff and the kids are decked out in cowboy gear (there are always a few cowpokes who should spend the day in the pokey). The rodeo queen even comes to meet us. There's a big line dance with first grade before we end the day around the campfire with s'mores! Here's one of our wanted posters. I burn the edges to make it look authentic!
I'm tired already. I think I'll mosey over to the 'fridge and look for my sidekicks, Ben and Jerry, AGAIN!!! Yehaw!!!!

4. I speak Kinder-ese.  Fluently, and, unfortunately for my family, I think it has become my primary language. I've been told by my sons that there's nothing so embarrassing as your mom arriving at your college dorm saying things like: "What's up, Buttercup?" I'm not proud of it. I have trained myself to not say bad words and I'm pretty sure there are people who would pay good money to hear me cuss. My sons in particular would have a field day!! But truly, and you know what I'm talking about, listen to a sample of one of my daily conversations:

"Hey, Teacher!"
"Hey, try that again, pumpkin."
"Hi Mrs. Tooty Tah! My name is not pumpkin!"
"I like that, but try again. My name is not teacher."
"How 'bout Queen Pretty?" (there is actually an adorable child who calls me this, and believe me, it's very generous. I'm in my 50's, for Pete's sake, and look just like my header picture, but I want to be called "Queen Pretty" forever!)
" Ha, ha. Try AGAIN!"
"Hi Mrs. Welchie."
"Close enough, I'll take it. What's up?"
"Could you please 'splain to the Commander, you know the one with the big keys..
"Do you mean the Janitor?"
"Yep, but  please stop bubbling in, tell that guy we need some 'anitizer for myself? Be zippy quick, would 'cha please, teacher? Hey, look, I weared my ant-on-a log-watch!"

Translation: "Hello Mrs. Welch. Would you please explain to the janitor (and please stop interrupting), that we need some hand sanitizer? Please hurry. Look, I wore my analog watch!"

So, frankly, it came as no surprise to me that, as I was driving my husband to work the other day, I explained to him that I needed to pull over because there was a speedy pants guy behind me. When we stopped, I looked over at him and he had his head in his hands. He was worried about me and felt I needed serious help with my kinderslang problem. When he climbed out of the car I rolled my window down and yelled as I drove away,"Tough toasties, Mr. Welchie!" Ha, take that smartie guy!

5. Smartie guy has pointed out that I don't post many academic things. I 'splained to him that there are much more talented packet-makers out there than the Queen Pretty. However, I thought I would show you one of the kids' finished sentence construction papers from my TPT packet. It has worked like a charm and they're quite the talented sentence builders now. The sentences are all mixed up and they must cut,  unscramble, place the word with the capital first, use spaces with a little spaceman that's on a tongue depressor, and make sure the word with  punctuation goes last. They can do this completely by themselves and it is the perfect seat work activity. They have to track while they read the finished product to me. Our sight word of the week was little and is high-lighted with a different font. The sentences build upon one another, increasing in difficulty each week. Nouns that are more difficult have rebuses to make it obvious.

This is a picture of a dowel with pool noodle "beads" that I use to demonstrate decomposing numbers. You simply slide on and off the number you are working on. The kids seem to like manipulating the "beads" to make equations. Nothing fancy but it's cheap and it works!

See ya!