Saturday, August 23, 2014

Five for Five

Happy Five for Friday everyone! I'm back at work and loving it. I have 31 bouncy new friends.  All that enthusiasm and energy rolled up into a little five year old body is just too much fun. I swear they bounce just like Tigger!

I don't like to put up much on the bulletin boards except boarders so that we can display the kid's work.
We finished our sunflowers and I'll put their pictures in the middle.
Look at all those little flowers to nurture!

We'll put our self portraits and torn paper name tags on this bulletin board.

Here's our first day of school picture board. I had to make it say Welcome Kinders because my space is limited.  I made an S on my own but I think it turned out ok. This set of chalkboard letters is from Simply Kinders. They're adorable and just what I needed! Thanks sweet Jennifer!

Every year I have problems with lost crayons, glue sticks, and pencils. Some kids are great about taking care of their things but most 5 year olds need help. They don't seem to think that all these things cost money and Mrs. Welch would rather buy new shoes or a car with the money she could save on trips to WalMart. So, I thought that this year it would be fun to put all of their supply boxes into a big box ( I have 31 kids) and wrap it with a bow. Make a big fuss about how lucky we are to get supplies and aren't they wonderful?
I planted the box up in the office and asked the secretary to call and tell us that a package was waiting.

We got the call and walked in our first-day-of-school-kindergarten-line (a clump of people walking pretty much anywhere they want) and brought a beautifully wrapped giant gift back to our class. They were sooooo excited and I could already see that I had made a terrible mistake. They were beside themselves with delight, guessing about the magnificent toys that could be inside.
Oh dear.
They were up on their knees while I unwrapped the gift. I kept trying to encourage them to think that it must have something to do with school...
Biggest disappointment EVER!
You should have heard the groans. Kids flopped onto their backs, shoulders and smiles drooped.  I acted thrilled with the contents but to no avail.
Total fail.
We went outside to learn about recess.

I have a Think It Over Chair in my room.
No, it's not a time out chair.
It's an I Need Some Space Chair.
 I've found that often when my little guys are having melt downs or misbehaving there's usually a very good reason. Maybe they're tired or didn't get breakfast. Maybe they were up all night listening to an argument  or mommy had to wake them up early and they're feeling gumpy. They come with all sorts of issues going on in their little lives and I truly don't know how some of them cope.
Anyway, I teach them that instead of yelling or hitting when they're angry to remove themselves from the situation until they can deal with others calmly. This chair is for quieting their minds so that they can cope appropriately. We learn to never touch people or use hurtful words when we're angry.
The kids were so surprised to hear that it's not a time out chair. What a concept!
 I told them sometimes I need a Think It Over Chair (the problem came when I put myself in the chair and it stuck to my ample bumper when I stood up. The laughter was deafening).
This year I switched to a soft chair and it's gotten a little too much attention.
Suddenly everyone has gotten up too early and all 31 one of my friends are feeling a little grumpy. I need 31 soft chairs. One little girl came up to me at recess and said she was feeling "grumpity" because she didn't like the shoes mommy chose for her that morning and she needed to cool down. Off she ran to sit in the chair for a minute or two.

Three Bear Rap
for the apron!
I do a unit on bears at the beginning of the year and always teach this song. This year I wanted try it in the apron and had to make handmade cards. My computer tech is too busy rafting to help (my husband runs a rafting company). Drat.
Here are the cards all ready to be layered. You can't really see that I left extra lamination at the top so that I can move the cards quickly and they won't get caught on the binding hem.

Well folks, it was a hit!
You know you've got something good when the kids beg you to do it again and again.
You need to practice a little before hand because you have to move two cards at a time. Well, I do it that way, you don't have to!

When you say the papa bear part with the porridge you have to move both the pappa bear card and the papa bear porridge card to the back. It's a little tricky.
We made a video but I don't know how to load it! If anyone can help me until my computer tech is available, I'd appreciate it!

By the way, I encourage you to make cards to go with the apron (just be kind enough to link it back to my apron, please). I'm not great at making cards and I'd love to see what everyone else will come up with! The ideas are endless for common core. Susanna from Whimsy Workshop has really cute Three Bear graphics.
Deedee Wills has adorable writing station cards that will fit in the pockets if you trim them in width and her All Sorts of Sorts cards work well too! Just remember to keep the cards tall so they don't catch on the binding hem.

I bet Kim Adsit and Deanna Jump have cards that would work as well. It just takes a little searching! Check out your favorite TPT stores and I bet you'll find cards that can be trimmed to fit in the apron pockets.
Happy weekend!
I've got tons to do and I'm little grumpity myself! Where's that Think It Over Chair? I haven't slept well with all the back to school hoopla! This quote made me laugh.

Should have done, would have done, could have done.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Five for Saturday!

Happy Five for Friday on Saturday!
Late again!

I just returned from a family rafting trip on the Rogue River in Southern Oregon. It was the easily the best thing I did all summer. My husband runs a rafting company and I can go rafting whenever he invites me. I can't believe that I don't go every single time. It was wonderful.

We saw otter playing on the beach, an osprey with a fish being chased by a bald eagle, bear, turtles, ducks, huge salmon and snakes. We swam rapids, jumped off rocks and watched for falling stars. I had forgotten how beautiful the river sounds at night when you fall asleep and it's glassy surface right before a rapid. It felt great to just watch the river and be around the people that really matter, to be reminded of what is truly important. To slow down.

And we did this all with our friends and family(except for my youngest son, who was truly missed). We had 6 year old twins and a 7 year old brother along. Kids make everything more magical!

I'm recharged and ready to go! Here comes another year of kindergarten!

Most teachers are silly and love to ham it up with a really good story. I'm always on the lookout for stories that I can story tell with props. I encourage you to try this, the kids will love it and it's a fun way to teach story elements.
One of my favorite stories is The Little Red House with NoDoors, No Windows and a Star Inside. This was shown to me at a workshop years ago.
First, find the story and memorize it! I hope the author will forgive me but I added a little girl to the story for fun. I've been known to embellish quite a bit, too.
Next, gather your props.
I use a baseball cap for the boy,
an apron for the mom ( I just happen to have a few aprons),
 glasses and a shawl for granny (wear the glasses low on your nose and use a granny voice),
a bow for the little girl (simply hold this at the top of your head),
 and a straw hat for the farmer,
Hide the apple and knife in a paper bag and place behind you.

You're ready to go!
I guarantee you'll have their attention.
Now, tell the story but switch the hats whenever you change characters. You'll be moving fast and the kids will be enthralled!
Finally, take the apple out of the bag and ask them if it is red, without doors or windows and then...cut the apple and show the star! They think it's magic.
Now, it's time for a little sneaky teaching!
Ask about title, characters, setting, problem, solution, sequence with pictures (in the apron pockets) beginning, middle and end!
Let them wear the hats and act out the story (beware of lice).
I've made a cut and paste page to sequence the story to end the lesson.
It's also fun to send the story home and encourage your kids to retell the story to their parents (with supervision on the apple cutting).

This year I'm going to try storytelling Mrs. Spitzer's Garden.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, I look a lot like Mrs. Spitzer. This was pointed out to me by one of my five year old brutally honest friends. I'm not sure I'm thrilled with the comparison as I think I'm still 27 years old and this brings reality to a whole new level... I read the book every year on the first day and my bulletin board is centered around it. This  picture is from a few years back because this year's bulletin board is still under construction. We add sunflowers with their pictures in the middle.

I made a me version of Mrs. Spitzer last year.

I'm thinking of using our sunflower faces for props.
I'll teach them the song "Inch by Inch"to go along with it!
I'll let you know if it works!

On Monday I posted about my Meet 'N Greet meeting. I place these little shoes on the tables with a poem that asks them to work on writing their name and tying their shoes. 

We have a little handwriting lesson with the parents so that they teach their children how to write their names correctly.  
I also take a minute to talk about pencil grip and how to correct it gently. I made these pencil pals to make it a little more fun! It's just a pom pom with googly eyes attached with a hot glue gun.
For children with an incorrect grip, simply have them grasp it in their hand while they're holding their pencil. It forces them to hold it with their ring and pinky finger and corrects their grip.

Calendar is up and WAY too busy! I stood back, looked at it and took half of it down. We start with a simple version and work our way up to this. What was I thinking?

One of my favorite things about this board is my mental health calendar activities. They're posters that give a suggestion for something silly to do each day. I got them in 1978 while I was still in college!! Good thinking Mrs. Welchie!!

I'm working on our focus board and can't get this gal to look like she's holding binoculars. Any ideas?

We've been working on making a tutu apron. We'll get there but it's lots of trial and error and I'd love your opinion!
Here's my friend in the second version. You can't see the plastic pockets :

Happy weekend!
I'm off to work in my classroom. What a mess.
I love this quote:
Creativity Is Messy [Printable Chalkboard Quote]
I'm planning on posting songs to go with the apron. My computer tech (aka my husband) is busy rafting and can't help me quite yet! Coming soon!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday Made It

It's Monday and boy oh boy, am I busy making things to get ready for school!
Lots to do, for sure!
Anyone else relate to this quote?
Happy Monday Made It!
If I actually get this post up on a Monday instead of a Tuesday, I'll be setting a summertime record!

I posted last week about the beginning of the year letters that I send home to my students and parents.

The kids are invited to come meet me ahead of time, pick out a cubby and check out the room. It's also a great time to take their picture, show them where to line up and where the bathroom is located. The parents come to fill out important paper work, find out about our schedule and have their questions answered. I also have them make an art portfolio for their child's art and writing samples.

This portfolio has been a huge success and has now received over 1200 visits on my blog! It's super easy to put together but making 30 by yourself is time consuming. I demonstrate how to make it in front of the parents and then they get to work!  It cuts down on my beginning of the year prep and only takes a few minutes for the parents to make.

Last year I had these little shoes on each child's desk. They were lots of work to make but the kids liked them. I spend a ridiculous amount of time tying shoes and thought this might be a fun thing to practice!

This year I enlisted help and made a tag pattern. It went much faster and I think they turned out just as cute as last year's model. If you make these, be sure to lace them BEFORE you glue them down on the main shape of the shoe. Trust me!
These pictures are awful! Sorry, something's up with my camera!

I also spend a lot of time writing names on papers at the beginning of the year. In an effort to alleviate that particular problem, I have a brief writing lesson for the parents at our meeting. We quickly go over pencil grip ( along with some tips to correct improper grips), our handwriting alphabet paper that shows where to begin each letter (perfect to post on the fridge). This is when I also emphasize that I want them To OnLY havE a CaPitaL At the BegInnIng of their CHIld'S NaMe, NoT SpRInkLed ThRoUgHoUt, if you get my drift!

Here's my post from last year:
I always have a mini handwriting lesson for the parents at the Meet N' Greet. I'm sure you've all done this. I send them home with a practice activity and all the supplies and knowledge they need to help their child write their name properly. 

Anyway, look what I found in my dusty, old files. It's all yellow from age but you get the idea.
We cut and taped clear acetate to tag-this was a ton of work. Next, I drew green, yellow and red lines on sentence strip paper to emphasize where to start and stop. Each child's name was printed on the sentence strip with a green dot to show where to begin. All they had to do was slip it into the acetate pocket and write on top of it with a marker. I even sent home a little sponge to wipe it clean! When they were ready they could try without the sentence strip under the acetate (I always gave them a plain sentence strip to slip under the plastic for line guidance).

Now, you can buy the sentence strips with the colored lines, laminate it with their name and they just trace on top and erase. The advantage to the acetate is that they can practice without the name tag underneath. I think I'll do this for my newbies this year. An old idea reborn!

I tuck two pencils into the shoe and attach this little poem:

Before you come to kindergarten there are two things you should do:
Learn to write your name,
And learn to tie your shoes!

I picked up some new aprons today! I'll be posting some songs for the aprons later this week !
Now available at my TPT store Kinder-gardening:

black with floral pocket
The green apron won't be up until next Monday
 blue/grey with black and white floral pocket
blue grey with grey heart pocket
 pink with floral pocket, green ruffle

See ya!
Please leave a comment!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sunday Smorgie turned into Monday Made It!

Happy Monday!

This post started as a Smorgie but changed to a Monday Made It!
This will be quick
I've got lots to do!

Actually, I couldn't find the Sunday Smorgie link up, so this might become a Monday Made It. If that doesn't work, I'll do the Tuesday Tried It! And if that doesn't happen, I could ditch the envelopes and do What I'm Wearing Wednesday! This linking up and never quite making it is becoming a bad habit...

Here goes!

My stack of envelopes is ready to send out to all my new friends
(I posted about my letter to both my parents and kids on my Five for Friday). The envelopes take a long time to color. Next year I'm adding a note on the front that asks the kids to color it themselves and bring it back for a prize. Why didn't I think of that earlier?

And then...

Here's a little something to go with the apron. Place all the letters to the word hello in the pockets, as shown. I sing this little ditty at the door as the kids are lining up for the entire first week. Be sure to point to the letters as you sing (to the tune of She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain When She Comes);

Oh, It's time to say hello to all my friends.
Oh, it's time to say hello to all my friends.
It's so nice to finally meet you,
I'm so happy I can greet you,
Oh, it's time to say hello to all my friends.
Oh, h-e-l-l-o spells hello,
Oh, h-e-l-l-o spells hello.
It's so nice to finally meet you,
I'm so happy I can greet you!
Oh, it's time to say hello to all my friends!
I really ham it up on that last line and draaaaaaag my words out with my arms outstretched.
It makes them laugh and I guarantee they can spell hello by Friday!

That's all, folks!
I'll post more songs later!

Alpine Forget-Me-Nots (Myosotis alpestris) growing in the woods along Campbell Creek in Anchorage. Forget-Me-Nots are the Alaska state flower. ~ Dean Franklin on Flickr