Sunday, November 18, 2012

"I'm a doctor teacher" says Hallie!

"Ok, kids, sit down!" Hallie says to both of us.  "I'm going to listen to your heart beep."  "Sounds good!"  "I need to give you an injection girl.  This will hurt a little."  To which I reply with a "Yeeeow!!!"  She gave me a kiss following the "injection."  She ended up with saying, "You need medicine, girl! . . . Say, aaah!" "I have a diagnosis!" (with her little finger pointed to the sky.)  Is Hallie only 28 months?  LOL!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The most awesome moment in the middle of doing report cards!

In the middle of doing my report cards, I overheard my husband going to read with my 28 month old daughter.  She said, "I read to you, daddy!"  He said, "ok . . . what would you like to read to me?"  "I read "princessesses" (by the way, that is how she says princesses.)  He said, "ok, let's start."  "Ok, daddy.  This is Ariel . . . by Mo Willems!!!, This is Cinderella . . . .by Mo Willems!  She lives in a kingdom.  This is Snow White . . . . by Mo Willems!"  She then grabbed her stuffed Knuffle Bunny, gave it a big hug and said, "I love my Kuh-nuffle Bunny!"  Thanks Mo, for your amazing impact on my daughter's love of reading already.  She's a big fan, and so am I.  

Monday, September 10, 2012

Another Fun Mommy Moment

So this past weekend, I threw a baby shower for one of my dearest friends.  She loves Hawaii, is naming her daughter Emmalani, so of course I had to throw a Hawaiian Baby Shower.  I'm thrilled to report that everyone seemed to have a genuinely wonderful time . . . especially the mommy-to-be.  Here are some pictures of the shower.
The "poo poo" (according to my daughter) cake!

Fun fondant toppings for our pina colada cupcakes.  I found the tops from sellers on ETSY.
Check out this gorgeous Hawaiian baby fondant top for the Mother-to-Be's cupcake! 
simple glass vases from Oriental Trading, with blue glass stones and faux orchid buds from Michaels

another shot of the poo poo cake

Vases with shells on the bottom and floating sea star candles on top.  The table runner was found at Oriental Trading.

My grandmother's ukelele, and a vase of chocolate hibiscus lollipops

Gift Bags for the winners of our games.

Beautiful Welcome Baby Emmalani banner from ETSY

Everyone got "leid"  ;)

hula skirt curtain with tiki lanterns

my bassinet with personalized blanket for Emmalani.  This is where we gathered everyone's gifts.

Our favors baskets plus name tags


I made the tags . . . they say "welcome to the world baby girl" in Hawaiian.  The bags were found on Etsy.  Cute little tiki/ocean soaps!

I couldn't resist adding this cutie patootie picture of my daughter having a blast at Grandma/Poppa's  while I was working.  


Sunday, September 2, 2012

A hilarious mommy moment

Ok, so today, while we were coming out of iHop, we walked past a guy with a rastafarian hat over some dreds.  Anyway, about two seconds later, I hear Hallie singing "rocking' reggae!"  I think she got it from this clip from PBS.  LOL!!!!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Second Day

The children did an excellent job remembering so many of our procedures and routines today!  They were amazing!  We had a really fun day.  We created a list of our own classroom goals that  were geared towards making sure we had the best learning environment possible.  We then put our goals into categories, and figured out how they match our classroom "FROGS" rules . . . 
Click on this to get it at my TPT Store
which can also be found in your FROG Binders.  
Click on this to get it at my TPT Store
We got a bit of exercise today by running some laps around our bike path.  We also learned about our SMART board and when we are allowed to touch it.  We tried our calendar routines this morning as well!  There is a large amount of math involved in our morning calendar routines.  We followed this calendar time with the story of Chrysanthemum, written by Kevin Henkes.  We will eventually be doing an "Author Study" on this great children's author.
We talked about how the children's names were the first present/gift our parents ever gave us.  They are treasures and special.  We are treasures and are special and important as well.  We then created bejeweled name cards to display in our room, to remind us to be proud of our special names.  
Look at those pinching fingers working hard to put those jewels just in the right place!  Nice fine motor skills!
We did a great job with our snack recess routine today (well . . . besides the lining up part at the end . . . that needs a little work) and we came in beautifully to sit at the carpet for our second story of the day, "Chester and the Big Bad Bully."
We learned that we can help calm a bully's rough exterior by joining together to show them kindness . . . and that kindness helps teach them to be kind as well.  
After reading this book, we made the most adorable Chester raccoons to have in our classroom.  Cutting and glueing activities are vital towards helping our students develop their fine motor skills as well as helping them to learn to follow multi-step directions.  
Following this activity, we had our discovery choice time, and then it was time to go home already!  The day flew by!
What lovely pattern bead necklaces!
Somebody is trying to make a little birthday cake!
Look at that reading focus on the 2nd day of school!

The First Day

What a fabulous first day!  We started our morning with our lovely "Cozy Parent Reading Morning."  The goal of this time is to give the children an opportunity to listen to experienced readers.  We will have this time for the first 10 minutes of school every Tuesday and Thursday for the duration of the school year, unless I email you to let you know we will not be able to have it.  We are really fortunate to have one of our mommies offer to be a special parent reader on these mornings.  If for some reason you are not able to make it for a particular morning, she will be the reader for your child.  She will probably have a small group of kids cuddling up to her while she reads!  As a bonus, she not only is an adorable mommy, but she is also an art teacher in our district!  How fun!  We followed with a favorite first day of kindergarten book, "The Kissing Hand."  I hope this didn't bring too many tears to mommies and daddies eyes!
As a went on a frog hunt, and detective frogs had left clues for us to help us know where another froggy might be hiding!  The frogs led us to our classroom bathroom, our snack/lunch tables, our playground equipment, the school library, office, and the principal's office!  At each place along the way, we learned the rules for those spaces.  Speaking of rules, we also worked on some silent signals today so that we can share our thoughts without disturbing our neighbors.  When we know a story that is being read, we show a "secret thumbs up."  This is a thumbs up that we hold close to our hearts.  We also have other signals: one finger for the need to use the restroom, 2 is for tissue, 3 is for a pencil, 4 is for a drink of water, and 5 fingers is for sharing an idea or asking a question.

We had an assembly with the whole school out on the big playground, and then we walked back for snack recess.  The children learned that we had three sinks to use in order to wash our hands, and then the children got their snacks out of their cubbies and took them to their snack table spots to eat.  The children were particularly great about asking which container to place their trash.  We have some wonderful recyclers on our hands!  We blew the whistle and practiced freezing before picking up our toys and then lining up at our classrooms, with hands behind our backs.  We double checked our table for trash or containers before going in for a second story.  We read "Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten."  We noticed that a lot of what happened in this story are things that happened to us.  This is what we call a "Text to Self Connection," and is an important part of reading comprehension.  

We then were introduced to our Kindergarten portfolios, and we drew our first self-portrait.  It will be really fun to see how our drawing and writing grows and changes throughout the year.  Once we finished our self-portraits, we learned how to use our "Discovery Choice Time" Board.  
The kids then learned our clean up schedule, and we practiced our end of the day procedures.  All the children safely got to where they needed to go!  Yay!  What a great first day!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

I think I might die from "tired disease!"


Well, school started this week, and it was great . . . but when I woke up this morning I felt like I had been run over by an 18 wheeler!  Anyone else feeling that way?  Or, am I a total wimp? I have a great class, and they were doing really well with our classroom routines!  I'm anxious to get all of our routines in place and working, so we can get to business!  I wanted to reveal my classroom to all of you.  So far my families (kiddos included) love it!  Here it is:
My classroom starts out as a fall farm theme at the beginning of the year.
My main colors in the room are black, green and blue, then the other colors are accents.This pictures shows approximately 1/3 of my classroom.
 
Each table has a table color, and shape designating its space.  This helps with organizing of materials for each table, book bins, and math tubs.  
Here is one of my comfy book nooks.  My mom, dad and I created this tree approximately 11 years ago, and it's still holding up!  The green canopy is created from green garden netting.  The trunk was painted on a box by my dad, and the letters were painted by my mother.  I added the branches from crinkled up brown butcher paper, and fall leaf garlands from Michaels and twinkle light fall leaf garlands from Oriental Trading. Hallie loved finding and naming all of the letters.
My mom and I worked on making this "Big Red Barn"  (thanks to the inspiration of Margaret Wise Brown) out of red and silver bulletin board paper, and regular masking tape. The colored bins below are the tables book bins.  There are a variety of levels (approximately levels A - K) for the kids to choose from.  Soon we will learn about just right books, and then they can start to make wise choices from these books.  What's great about them is that each bin has different books, so when they wear them out, I just have to rotate the books! (or the kids :)  Next to them are the children's open journal bins.  This is where they keep all of their math, literacy, science and handwriting notebooks.
Here is my writing bulletin board.  I tried to make it look almost like an aerial view of middle America.  I just love the look of the fields from up high.  I used brown bulletin board paper as my backdrop, and then put 12x12 glitter paper in a checkerboard pattern.  I made little cows holding signs for the kiddos names, and the heading of "moo"velous writing!  Now, I will proudly display the kiddo's work using the red push pins in their spot.  Not only am I showing the kids that I love each one of their efforts, but it encourages them to do their best, AND I can keep track of who needs to finish what!
Here's my discovery choice board (free choice)  I use clothespins with velcro dots on the back for the kids to use to designate where they are choosing to go.  Then . . . depending on how many kiddos I would like per station is how many velcro dots are on the cards.  It works out great!  Then, when the kids want to make a new choice, then they just move their pin to a new spot, and then their previous choice is opened up for someone new! This is available on TPT!  Just click the picture above to link to my store.
The back of my choice board is a bookshelf.  I resurface all of my bookshelves after getting some inspiration from Clutter Free Classroom.  I used black contact paper for the shelves and outside, and various patterned ones for the back . . . of course in blues, greens and blacks for the uniformity.  Here is my math tub shelf.
Here's what that bookshelf used to look like!  It had really seen better days.
Here's our classroom library!  Since we have a frog theme going year round, the pond carpet was perfect. I also like to envelop "our meeting pond" with books. The green tubs are fiction, and the purple are informational texts.  This helps the kids organize them a bit better.  I also purchased an organizational system (from Kim Adsit) on TPT to help me organize the books.  I ALMOST have it finished.  Phew!

And now . . . all complete as my math station!
The rolling rainbow drawers next to the shelf were purchased from Really Good Stuff.  I use it for my Marcy Cook Tile Math, which is part of my math version of "the daily 5."  The foam sheets on top are used as mats for their work.  The tubs are for EDM math games, and then the two other independent choices are a teacher's choice and a math journal.  That way I can pull kiddos to do guided math!  Yay!  The organizational system for these choices I got from the Clutter Free Classroom on TPT.

Here are our cubbies that I refinished with the contact paper.  They look soooooo much better!  On top, I have grippy rubber shelving cover, and then the edges were all trimmed with black duct tape!  Sharp!
The back of my main book shelf has all of our classroom supplies.  I love how this turned out as well, especially with all of my blue, green and black labels!  On top, I have acrylic 8/12 by 11 frame holders to hold my decoding strategy posters which I purchased from Deanna Jump.  I got the idea from one of my district teachers to put mini-anchor charts in these frames.  I also got beanie babies to go with each strategy.
Here's our job chart! I use clothes pins to designate who does which job.  I plan to put this up on TPT.
Our Farm ABC Words!
Here's the word wall I created to go with Deanna Jumps Popcorn Words activities.  I'm so excited to start that this year, as I've never felt I've had much direction in teaching my kiddos their sight words.  They've always managed to learn them anyway.  Isn't that funny how that happens?  I just want to be more intentional with them this year.
I loved having cupboards, but hated having to use painters tape every two seconds to use the fronts as displays.  Then, I got this huge brain storm!  I decided to cover them with black felt and trim them with ribbon.  Now I can use them for the literacy and math vocabulary word walls I purchased from Kim Adsit on TPT!!!!!  Here they are in their blah form, now . . .


That's all for now.  I'll add more about what I did the first week in my next post . . . or, you can check it out now in my classroom blog: hopintoourkinderpond.blogspot.com