Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Today's accomplishments

Well, Isabella is sick today. I got up (late) and she was crying with her stomach. After weighing my options- really there were no options since no one could keep her today- I took off work. I will not be posting the kids' finished castle pictures today. I also will not be posting our 3 goats mural since it will not be done today. I will try to "make-up for lost time" tomorrow. I have managed to create a record and read book to go with our egg unit in March/April. I think the kids will enjoy creating and using it in small groups. It will go with the eggs we hatch. I can't wait to see if I like it when the time comes!! I also FINALLY decided on a name and wrote the synopsis for the sessions I will be presenting at our school's conference this summer. I am NEVER at a loss for words but this about got me. Thank you Susan Maddox for helping your crazy friend!!!!! Now I have to start getting stuff ready for it. I think it will be fun if I can get over my nervousness. I am not very good in front of adults. I can do anything with children but about have a panic attack at parent orientation! Why did I agree to this??? I want it to be fun and interactive so I am having to put a lot of thought into how best to organize it. Any thoughts?? Well, since I am home I best get to cleaning. I have very few days like this so I need to take advantage.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Once upon a time and sooooo much more!!!

We started learning about fairy tales today. Of course, we also added some Valentines and groundhogs for good measure too. I can already tell that the next couple of weeks are going to be BUSY. We began our fairy tales unit with The Three Billy Goats Gruff. I love that story. We discussed the characters, setting, theme, problems, and solutions. We learned that fairy tales tend to follow the same outline. We meet the characters- most of the time they are animals, queens, kings, etc, then find out what the problem is, followed by a solution. I begin with this story because of all the shadows present in the illustrations in my book. (You know, groundhogs and shadows). We are also learning about shadows this week so we will learn this story and then make shadow puppets. I create a "stage" area and the kids perform the play for our class and a couple of other classes in our school. Did I mention that I video it and we watch it over, and over, and over, and ok, you get the point. It is really popular with the kids!!! Back to the fairy tales. I made a castle and fact activity for the kiddos. It was a hit. In fact, I was informed by them that I am a superstar and a super hero. I know, I know, it is hard being that popular with k-kids. (This is one of the reasons I get out of the bed every morning-they are sooooo nice.) I will post some pics of mine and tomorrow I will add theirs. We have to finish our facts in the morning before we can add our walkway-fact page- to our castles. I did this with them. They did so good. Did I mention that this was not on my plans for today but they saw it and begged to do it 

This was our math lesson. On Monday I introduce a skill or activity. Tuesday-Friday we do math stations. Today, I killed 2 birds with 1 stone. We learned how to make symmetrical hearts. Do you remember doing that as a kid? It is definitely a life-long skill!!!! They worked very hard on their hearts. 

 Notice the tent in the background? That is our science center. This week I "borrowed" this tent from my youngest child so that the kiddos can get inside and use the flashlight to explore shadows. I also made a recording sheet to go with it. They were jumping with joy so I guess it is a good center.
 More hearts...

 Different angle of science center. I had to turn it so everything would fit.

 I was bad this weekend. I went to Hobby Lobby unsupervised!!!! That never ends well for my husband. Here are some of my new goodies for our room.
 These are pics of the kids working on their facts.

 I do not make them sit down unless they want to. It is not worth the fight trying to keep them in their seats. Some stand, some sit in the floor, and some sit in their seats. I don't care so long as they are doing their work and not bothering others.
 My castles.
 The rolled up gray at the bottom contains our facts. I love the way the turned out.
 This is the stamp I bought at Hobby Lobby. Each child got a stamp for working hard today. They thought it was great. I guess it's the little things that matter!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

New Behavior Plan

I know my last post was FOREVER long. Believe it or not, I didn't get everything in that I wanted. I discussed the money idea at our parent orientation. I have now started it. The kids earn money for great behavior, being a good helper, making good choices, having great hallway manners, being bragged on by other teachers, etc. You get the point. I feel like they deserve something for making good choices. I made dollars for them. Each child has a money purse- change purse from Oriental Trading. They are responsible for keeping up with their money. We have different things they can buy with their money. Each Friday I open our "store". Each child can choose to save or spend their money. We have items that cost $1 or $5. We also have books that are $20 each. After thinking about other things that the kids could save for that would be meaningful, I came up with the following ideas: $25-teacher for the day, $25-free computer time, $50-a cool truck that my son donated to the store. It lights up and makes noise. $50-free choice center during center time. The teacher of the day will lead the class in letters, sounds, sight words, choosing a couple of songs to dance to, and will get to choose our poem/rhyme we recite that day. It's pretty awesome and I already have one child that will be choosing a day this week to  "teach". I have been pretty impressed with the kiddos. They have kept up with their money. Some are only spending $1 each week and saving the rest. Others have not spent a penny!!!! I don't know if I would have been that strong. I am so very proud of them!!!! If you have any new or gently used toys or books, please consider donating them to our store.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Going spotty for the 101st day!

Well, today was the 101st day of school. How do you celebrate 101??? We celebrate with 101 Dalmatians. We dressed up in black and white and made puppy headbands. We also watched 101 Dalmatians with Mrs. Maddox's and Mrs. Ables' classes. My sweet husband was off work today and brought the kiddos some chocolate chip cookies (they are spotted you know!!!). They were thrilled. I think the cookies was their favorite part of the day. Can't say I blame them for that. I enjoyed one myself. After eating their cookie, each child finger painted a picture of a dog. They loved it. We paint ALL the time. I guess since they were finger painting the entire picture it seemed different??? 

 Yummy, cookies!

 Making our headbands...

I am changing a few things in our room. I have not done our daily behavior calendars lately. I have created a rubric for each child. My goal is for each child to evaluate his or her behavior each day and "grade" himself. We have done this together this week. This is giving us more time to discuss character traits such as responsibility and honesty. I have been pretty impressed with them so far. I would ask them how they thought they should mark it and most were pretty accurate. In fact, a couple said sad face and it wasn't!! I am very proud of them. Please leave this paper in your child's folder. We will have 1 each week. We are also practicing using tally marks on this. That will be how they mark each area.

Ok, another idea. I think I am going to add a new box on the newsletter. I want the kiddos more involved so I am going to let one child add something to newsletter each week. It may be something they thought was fun, an idea, or anything a 5 year old thinks you should know about. I hope this works as well as it does in my head right now!!!! I may also let the kids start a class newspaper-maybe newspaper is too much, maybe more of a paper. I would like for each child to contribute something. Maybe a picture or a story, or something. This would not be an every week thing. Maybe once or twice a month. I want them to be excited about writing and what better way to get there than to have their own newspaper to share with you.

I know this post is forever long, but I have all these ideas floating around in my head and it helps to write them down. I thought maybe if I share with you, I will get some feedback. Let me know what you think.

Ok, I promise, this is the very last thing. On a more personal note, tonight was my son's FIRST DANCE!!!! I can't believe he is old enough to start this. He had a blast. He was soaking wet when I picked him up. He danced the entire time. He loves to dance but I really thought he would get there and be too embarrassed to do anything. Boy was I wrong. All the teachers were telling me about him and how good of a dancer he was. He had so much fun that he talked about it the rest of the night. He is now wishing they had a spring dance also!!!! Check him out. I think he looked adorable!! 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The 100th Day of School

Well, we have anxiously been awaiting this day for what seems like FOREVER. We have talked about it and watched the calendar and counted up to the big day. I absolutely cannot believe it has now come and gone!!!!!! Where has the time gone? I feel like we just started school. Oh, well. It's not going to slow down either. I took a group picture for the 100th day. We are standing in the hallway before school ended. I know. I waited until the very last minute, but we were so busy I forgot.

We made the CUTEST graph ever. I figured since it practically rains every day now, we would graph if we like rain or do not like rain. I dressed them in a raincoat and umbrella and they either smiled or frowned depending on how they felt about it. It is way too cute. I will put their pictures on here since they turned out so good. I kind of wish I could have taken them outside for the pictures, but I wasn't that brave- or crazy!!! Even after having to stay inside so much, most of the kids said they liked the rain. I was kind of surprised. Since we are still learning about weather, I came up with a water cycle mural for them to work on. I feel like they understand the process as well as any 5 year old can, so we are making this to hang in our room. Today was pretty much just painting. Tomorrow we will finish it up. Did I mention today was cleaning day? Why do I ALWAYS plan messy activities for cleaning day?!?!?!

Here are the mural pictures:

 They are tracing, cutting out raindrops, and painting them.

 This is our finished graph:

 Love the "sad" faces!!
 Don't they have great handwriting!!

 100th day pics!!

 Crazy pic!!