May 31, 2014

Five for Friday

I'm almost late to the party, but once again, I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for FIVE FOR FRIDAY! :)

Like every week this school year, it's been a BUSY one.  We had a couple of special days this week, including watermelon day and pirate day.  

For watermelon day, the kids taste tested watermelon snacks and voted on their favorite.  Hands down, the winner was straight up watermelon.  The loser was without a doubt the watermelon Kool Aid, but the kids blamed that on the fact that I didn't stir it.  Oops...  We also made an adorable watermelon craft and wrote three reasons we think school is sweet.

Pirate day was just as adorable.  I mean, what's not cute about kindergarteners dressed in pirate costumes?!?!  Quite a few kids dressed up, but this teacher totally forgot about pirate day until about 7:00 am the day of.  Luckily, the kids still had a blast and didn't even notice.

Game day is a long standing tradition in my classroom.  We try to do it at least once a quarter, but this year we didn't get to do it as much, thanks to our crazy Southern Indiana weather.  Anyway... today we played Twister, Trouble, Disney Headbandz, Candy Land, Yahtzee, and Uno.  Since it was our last game day, I let the kids pick what we played.  Can I take a minute to recognize the number of parents who showed up to help?!?!  I think I will miss this amazing group of parents as much as I will miss the kids!  

At the end of the day, one of my sweet kindergarten kids came up to me and asked if we could play Uno again at our next game day.  I had to break it to him that we wouldn't be having game day anymore, because he was going to first grade.  That poor little guy started bawling right then and there!  Have I mentioned I love my kiddos?

We also took an all-school field trip to the movie theater today.  Isn't this just the sweetest group of kids you've ever seen?  K-2 students went in the morning and watched Judy Moody and the Not So Bummer Summer.  The kids were amazing.  The movie was adorable.  I'd say that all in all, it was the  perfect day.

I know everyone and their kindergarten co-worker is making this for their end of the year gift, but I had to share mine.  I thought they turned out so adorable.  I get teary eyed just looking at them!  Thanks to Katie from Little Warriors for creating such a cute, memorable gift!  My plan is to head the Dollar Tree at some point and frame all of them.

Isn't this picture just FUN?!?!  On Thursday, kiddos who raised $200 or more for our fundraiser got an hour in this bad boy.  Lucky for us, it was left up after school. :)  From left to right are Lindsey from Miss Law's Kinders, Amy (who is blogless, but not for long!), Liz from Mrs. Wimp's Firsties, me, and Jena from Sew Much Music.

Speaking of fun... My little girl has her first dance recital tomorrow.  Isn't she just precious?

Y'all... This isn't happening.  There is no way possible I only have five days left with 22 of the sweetest kids I have been blessed to teach.  I am seriously so emotional and sad about the end of this school year.  These last five days will be a lot of fun, a little sad, and absolutely, 100% wonderful.  

I have been so abundantly blessed to be their teacher.  

And now I'm crying... :(

May 29, 2014

Guided Math Book Study--Chapter 1

First of all, I am so excited to be part of this book study!  I am planning on being part of two book studies, as well as hosting my own in July (more details to be announced on SUNDAY!)  However, this book study is the only one that has to do with math.  This study is on Guided Math by Laney Sammons.  

I'll be the first to admit, I hated math when I was in school.  Don't get me wrong, I had lovely teachers who knew a great deal about math.  In chapter 1, Sammons reflects on her math instruction as a student.  While it was effective (I did, after all, pass all of my math classes growing up), it didn't engage me.  I didn't understand number concepts.  And I don't remember a teacher ever conferencing with me in math.  

Times have changed.  Sammons compares guided math to guided reading as modeled by Fountas and Pinnell (p. 21).  In the last couple years of my teaching career, I have often wondered why math and reading blocks aren't created equal.  In reading, we ALWAYS conference with students.  We ALWAYS meet in small groups.  Literacy is ingrained in every aspect of our classrooms.  Why not make it a balance of literacy AND numeracy?

At the end of chapter 1, Sammons encourages the reader to reflect upon math instruction.  I will be completely honest in saying I think I have room for improvement in teaching math.  One of my goals for this school year is to get as far away from the traditional model of math instruction as possible, and delve into the world of guided math.

Here are some questions to ponder.

I definitely think I am doing something right as far as math instruction goes.  Based on mClass results combined with how my students are doing on topic assessments, they are mastering skills.  However, I am not one to teach based on the test, so just because they can pass an assessment doesn't make me happy.  I want to know if they have a deeper understanding of the skill/topic.  

As I read through chapter 1, I felt as if I have the basic framework of a numeracy-minded classroom down.  We work a brain buster every morning during circle time.  We do daily calendar time.  We complete math journals daily.  We do a healthy mix of whole group instruction and math workshop.  

My students squeal with excitement when they come in from middle recess knowing math time has started.  Seeing their joy for the subject I despised as a kid helps me know I'm doing something right.

I'll be honest... The main part of my math instruction that troubles me is the fact that I have little time to conference with my students.  My math block lasts exactly one hour, with a recess before and after that hour.  (That's another post for another time...)  Although we have a fairly long school day (8-3), I feel as if I never have enough time with my students.  

Also, one of my professional goals is to steer away from the textbook as much as possible.  In reading, I have done exactly that (following the scope and sequence of the reading series, of course).  My goal is to do the same for math.

I am very excited for this book study to help me figure out a way to make conferencing and engaging math content successful in my classroom.

Now for the fun part... GIVEAWAY TIME!  Enter to win some amazing products below:

Check out more posts on chapter one from these amazing bloggers!

May 28, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

I'm linking up with Miss DeCarbo from Sugar and Spice for Wordless Wednesday.

At the end of every school year, our fourth and fifth grade student council runs a field day for the younger students.  Field day is always a fun, HOT day when we realize we only have single digits left as kindergarteners.  The kids do fun activities, like relay races, face painting, parachute, an obstacle course, and a movie to cool down.  

Does your school have an end of the year tradition?

May 25, 2014

Indiana Bloggers $1 Sale!

Memorial Day weekend is a time to remember the sacrifice our military makes each and every day.  In Indiana, this weekend also means it's Indy 500 time!  To celebrate the importance of this weekend, Indiana bloggers have decided to put some of our favorite products on sale for $1 until tomorrow evening!

I have put some of my favorites up for a deep discount.  

These are brand new to my shop.  They match my color scheme perfectly (Thanks to my friend Jena for the PERFECT color combos!), and I loved my pennant banner from last year.  I'm working on tons of classroom decor in this color scheme.  Keep an eye out for it, but grab this little gem while it's $1!  My school teaches D'Nealian handwriting, so this is what I will be using in my classroom.

But not to forget my ball-and-stick friends!  Same product, different font. Yours for one George Washington, too. :)

This is sort of new to my store as well.  My class always does a HUGE zoo unit at the end of the year, so this year I created math and literacy activities to go along with our theme.  My class loved these stations, and I know yours will too!

This is one of my favorite products ever!  We literally use this daily in my classroom.  I wanted to share it with all of my blogging friends this weekend!  It's so useful for sight word practice.

You can check out these great products PLUS tons more from fantastic Indiana bloggers!  Check out the links below to go directly to the product.  You won't be sorry, and your wallet won't be empty!

May 24, 2014

My Summer Bucket List

I'm linking up with the one and only Deanna to share my summer bucket list with you.  We still have 9 days of fun and learning, but we are in the single digits!

No joke, I will be sad to see this school year come to an end.  Summer is sweet though. :)

1.  Spend some time with these two ridiculously cute kids.

2.  Go to VEGAS baby!

I'm still not 100% sure I will get to go, but I so want to.  I'm praying it will happen!  The I Teach K! conference will provide me with so many learning opportunities.

3.  Present, present, present!

My district has a big conference on the Indiana Department of Education's Summer of eLearning tour.  I'm presenting four or five (I can't remember) sessions there.  My best friend and I are also presenting in Danville, IN at the Couch Conference.  We are presenting on best practices for integrating technology into an elementary classroom.  I looked at the other presenters….  We are presenting alongside the author of Teach Like a Pirate?!?!  That doesn't even seem possible.  I am excited, nervous, and still somewhat in disbelief that they asked us to present!  It will be an amazing opportunity.

4.  Attend ISTE in Atlanta

My district is sending me to ISTE this summer!  I'm hoping to walk away with some fantastic ideas for technology integration since we will be going 1:1 next year.  It will be a great time!

5.  Build my TPT store

I love TPT.  I'm hoping this summer will give me the chance to make some great products for my classroom and classroom teachers from all over the place.

6.  Work from home as much as possible

Last summer, I did a complete classroom renovation.  I painted, reupholstered, changed themes… You name it.  I adore my classroom so much, that I'm going to try to stay out of there as much as possible.  Of course, I will have to go back in around the end of July to work on next year, but it will be nice to be able to stay home a little bit more.

7.  Take a mini-vacation

My family will be going to Disney over Fall Break in October, but I hope we are able to make at least one sort-of vacation away from the great state of Indiana.  We go to Nashville at least three times a year, and we have yet to go this year!  I'm hoping at least a weekend trip will happen!

8.  Paint my entire house

Sounds like nothing, but it needs to be done!  When we moved in, the house was amazingly decorated. We literally had to paint one room.  Seven years later, it's needing some attention.  Maybe summer will let me get that done?

9.  Not kill my flowers :)

I'll admit, I have two black thumbs.  This is the longest my ferns and potted flowers have lived.  Sad, but true.  I'm hoping this summer I can remember to water them!

10.  REST

No joke, this summer will be one to rest.  Any kindergarten teacher can understand.  This sums it up:

There you have it.  I'm hoping it will be a laid-back summer full of fun with my kids and getting things done.  As you can see, teachers may get the summer off, but we still work!  Quite a few of my bucket list items revolve around professional work.  Before you know it, we will be talking back to school!

Now head back to Deanna's blog and check out more summer bucket lists!

Secret Admirer Blog Hop!

When you find a seller that you like on TPT, it is always a great thing!  As I have become more familiar with the blogging world, I have found many, many fantastic sellers who make spectacular products.  Stephany from Primary Possibilities is one of them!

One of my favorite things about Stephany is that she is an Indiana teacher.  We do the same state-mandated assessments, so it is wonderful to get resources for those assessments.  The first product I purchased from her was her mClass Math Intervention Pack.  I have been using it for my math RTI, and whoa...It is great!  If you are a primary teacher in the state of Indiana, I highly recommend getting it!

The product I have chosen for the Secret Admirer Blog Hop is Stephany's Silent Sneaky e unit.  I knew that my class would be studying sneaky e in phonics and spelling this week, so I knew I wanted to give it a try.  

This pack is full of fantastic small and whole group activities to learn all about sneaky e.  This has been a crazy week, so I didn't get as many pictures as I wish I had, but I did catch a few minutes in small group to show how I used a few of the activities.

For seat work Tuesday morning, my kiddos worked in a reader called "The Kite".  The kids circled all of the sneaky e words and colored the pictures.  It was a perfect, simple way to start the day!

In small group, my kids have been working on nonsense word fluency.  Stephany has created the perfect game for nonsense words with a sneaky e!  My kids loved it!

Another small group played picture/word match.  It was fun to watch them sound out the words.  It was simple, and the kids loved it!

One thing I wish I had gotten a picture of that I didn't was the sneaky e wand.  Included in this pack is a template for a sneaky e wand, and I had the kids add the word to the end of the words and read them at circle time.  The kids loved it so much I forgot to take a picture!

Here is an awesome sample of this product for you to try with your students:

If you teach sneaky e at any point in the school year, you should seriously check out this wonderful resource.  You won't be sorry!

May 23, 2014

Five for Friday!


This cuteness happened Thursday night.  My boy is a kindergartener, and Momma is feeling a little sad.  I'm glad he'll be on my schedule for the next 13 years, but my baby isn't a baby anymore. :(

Our school's Walk-a-Thon was today.  The kids had a B.L.A.S.T.  Our little country school raised around $13,000.  We had over 100 volunteers show up today.  It was amazing.  Here are some pictures of all of the fun.

We learned all about ocean animals this week!  We blogged about our favorite ocean animal on Thursday.  This is what I got from my sweet little learners:

They are amazing.  I want these last nine days to drag by.  No joke.

I gave away an awesome ocean unit from Caitlin Clabby and my ocean animals research pack earlier this week.  Here is our winner:

Thanks to everyone who entered!

This picture says it all.  This sweetie was my calendar helper one day this week, and she completely ran it herself.  I love when they become independent.  Have I mentioned I want the next nine school days to drag by???

I am neck-deep in assessments right now.  I finished Star testing this week, portfolio assessments are done, and now I just need to finish up our ESGI testing.  I love how you can tell she is saying who. :)