Tuesday, July 12, 2011
When I was working on my undergrad I was told that "reflection reveals the soul". I don't know if I understood that until I was in my own classroom. I mentioned in yesterdays post that I had gotten my test sores and those scores have me thinking. What am I thinking about, you ask? Well truthfully, that I need to spend more time in reflection as the year goes on. I feel like I do a good job of looking at my lessons and how or what to do next. What I am wondering is what kind of reflection do you? Do you keep a space in your lesson plan book to reflect daily, or do you reflect in a journal?

feeling hot hot hot...

This afternoon I made a quick trip to my classroom and to see my IOWA scores. I promise NOT to rant about my feelings on this test but I do want to mention that I was impressed with the scores. We have always given a SAT something and this year... whammo! We changed. Kinder's have LOTS of anxieties about coming to school and I like to think that I do a good job at easing some of those fears. I was not sure that any of my babies did well AT ALL. I am happy to report that they did better than I expected! Yea us...

On to why I went to my room. I have really been frustrated that I don't have any pictures to share. So I went to fix that. I now have pictures!! YEA... and boo... my pictures aren't the best and they are packed up summer program in my room pictures. I didn't have to cover everything because the teacher in my room is WONDERFUL! and she was given access to everything!!

So here is my room:
This is the wall that you look at when you walk in. It's the only wall painted in the whole room. It's where I have my ABC's (they go above the windows). It's roughly 30 feet across.
This is the back wall of my classroom. The blue frame is for student work. I am going to take out the middle sections this year. The computers stay against the wall and my teacher table is right beside it. The left side of this wall has built in cabinets. The door you see if for HVAC... not a bathroom (I've wished it was MANY times!!) The stuff on the counter goes else where but has to be up for when they wax the floors. 

This is the wall where the door is. At the end of the year I had them move my coat rack. I really hated where it was (blue wall where the white board is, the white board was were the coat rack is now). Any sweet kinder who came in late would dance across the room to put away their belongings. Everyone else would watch... now it's by the door and not as big of a production. ;) 

This is the front of my room. It's about 30 feet across... so I teach in a box! LOL... I've never really loved square rooms, I find them difficult to arrange. Anyway, I was not at this school when they put in the smartboard or I wouldn't have let them put a computer at the front of the room like that!! What on earth were they thinking! Honestly, I probably would have switched the smart board and the white board so the computer could be in the corner... but if wishes were fishes the sea would be full. So we deal with what we have. This year I am putting the computer on a cart so that my elmo can fit beside it. I know the tech people are going to FREAK but they will have to get over it or honor my request to have drops moved. This is PRIME wall space they are blocking. I plan to have some of my calendar math on the white board and under it on the wall space below. Then I am going to use the wall to the left of the TV as my focus wall (I think that is what is going to happen.) This is where the word wall was last year, but I have some shelves going in on the little short wall that sticks out (the brown cubbies and book cases are in front of where the shelf will go). Last years room was not "right", it never felt good. I don't know about you but sometimes things can look great but they just don't feel right. This is one of those cases. So I am going to change it up! 

Winner winner what's for dinner!! (and an appology)

Friday, July 8, 2011
Hey guys!! It's Friday and we have a winner.
Kim Balek COME ON DOWN!!! If you would please email me at before Monday night. When you email please include your mailing address and what name you want on your bag. (mine says Mrs. Day).

Wow this is has been one heck of a week!! BIG ups and downs. No excuses... but I do ask forgiveness in not sticking to my schedule. I do have lots to share... CGI math training stuff, work station stuff, TPT stuff, and freebie stuff ;)

Word work station....

Tuesday, July 5, 2011
This is a station that I struggle with. It's one where my kids loose motivation easily and a majority of the behavior problems start here. I wish I could wave a magic wand and fix all the problems that happen here. This is the reason that I started this week with the word work station. I am hopeful that as we share ideas that I will gain some incite into making this station successful. Here are the activities that I place into this station (not necessarly at the same time):

Word sorts (Words their way)- this stays in this center from the time we start with sorts. Our first sorts are concept sorts, sound only sorts (beginning sounds) and letter sorts.

Letter charaistic sorts- tall letters, short letters, tail letters

Sight word- matching, making sentences

Puzzles- build a word puzzles, self correcting picture to word puzzles

and that is all I've got... Help bloggers what do you do to spice up your word work station

Happy 4th of July! and a little blog calendar of events

Monday, July 4, 2011
Happy 4th of July. It's days like today that really make me grateful to the men and women in the military who  keep us the land of the free and the home of the brave! I am also grateful to their families who put up with their loved ones being taken out of their lives to protect all of us!

Alrighty then... this week I am going to explore my centers or work stations. I wish that I had pictures of my actual room, but I can't get in there right now. I would like your thoughts and ideas on what I am doing and share with me what you are doing. So in hopes of everyone getting in on the action, I put together this little calendar of blog topics. The cute kid graphic is from Thistle Girl Designs. 

Have a great day and stay safe!

Do you craft in your classroom?

Sunday, July 3, 2011
This week I am thinking about my morning work stations. Not all of them are closely tied to literacy, but they usually have some kind of tie in- even if it's just a log to record thoughts and pictures into. My personal favorite stations is the Creative Station. This is what you might call an "art" center, but more. The children in this center choose from several different activities that go along with our overall theme.

My favorite part of this station is scribble art (see info below about K Crew). The children use handwriting motions to make pictures. This increases their control and handwriting and the best part is that they think they are playing!! This picture is an example. I teach how to read the directions. We don't label each step and end up with the finished picture. These are laminated front and back with a small smiley face in the upper left corner of the finished side.

They can make a scribble art entry into their "dictionary", there is usually some sort of step by step art project with cutting and gluing, there are stencils, markers, rubbing plates (homemade I might add) and stamps. Sometime during the second nine weeks they start asking if they can add their art to their writing journals. I LOVE this idea and let them go for it, with a few sessions of modeling what is expected of course.

This station, along with a few others, are stocked with ideas from the ladies over at K Crew!
The have wonderful books on just about everything! I have used their Buzz Book for years and then started adding more and more! They have the coolest deal going on this summer. It's $5 fridays where one of their books is on sale for just $5!! You have to be on their email or facebook to get the code but it is SO worth it!!

I also wanted to pass this bit of information on... I was at Michaels yesterday getting the bag that I am painting with the winners name when I came across this sign atop and empty display... I KNEW the blogging teachers out there needed this info! The sign says in fine print that the 15% off all purchases runs 7/1-9/9/2011. We have two Michaels here and I had a buddy check out the one closer to her... guess what no sign. Good thing I had texted it to her. The manager at that store said that they had not planned to put that up until the mailer with that info in it came out (sometime later this summer) and he was surprised that she expected the discount.

I'd love to hear about your creation (art) station and what kind of things you have there.

WE DID IT!! (aka the give away has arrived!)

Saturday, July 2, 2011
Ok really all you guys did it!! I stepped away to get things ready for my give away and BAM... we hit 31!! YAHOO... now the fun part

Since this is my first blog give away I don't want to mess things up. So I am going to try to do this super easy... there are 3 ways to enter...

1. follow my blog and post in the comments that you are a follower
2. post about this give away on your blog and post in the comments that you blogged about the give away
here is a blinkie if you want to use it in your post
3. go over to my TPT store and follow me there, then post here telling me that you follow me there too

Three easy ways to win:
* a customized apple teacher bag- canvas tote bag with your name on it
* gift cards to two of my MOST favorite places (Target and Sonic- route 44 drinks baby) in the amount of $10 each

Good Luck... and pass the word! Fingers crossed that this will not be a dud 

MWS: Beginning number concepts

Friday, July 1, 2011
math game
math game
Earlier I shared some of the games that I had made to go along with beginning number concepts. This is probably where I get the most excited about going to Common Core standards. Under our state frameworks we covered SO many learning objectives that I never felt that we spent adequate time developing number concepts. Under Common Core (CC), the majority of our time in kindergarten deals with number concepts. Think about it this way... if a kid gets that 5 apples is five apples but it is also two groups of apples (addition problem here) and one of those groups will always be bigger and the other will be smaller (comparing numbers). I am so excited!!

I don't like the math workbook pages that come with out textbooks. I just don't like workbooks. I LOVE theme or concept books. What's the difference? A work book is mass produced aiming for the middle of the road learner. A theme or concept book is teacher created for a group of students, it's differentiation at it's best! Since I make them, I can put what ever I need into the book. Something that I find important here is that ALL the covers look the same- same art, same color etc. Why? well it goes back to my childhood. I was diagnosed with ADD in 1978. At that time no one really got what ADD was, and they didn't understand how good intentioned ideas really cut to the bone. Not to get off on a tangent, but in 2nd grade I was assigned to a first grade reader because I struggled to read. It was HUMILIATING!! The same thing happened to a couple of kids who were reading above grade level... different colored reader! Long story short... it didn't matter if you were above or below, you were different and that caused teasing. So now I make all my theme or concept books look the same on the outside.

Here is a learning about numbers book. The illustration shows that the kiddos trace the number and the word, then they draw a set, and they fill in the ten frame. I usually use stickers or bingo markers for the 10 frame. We also rainbow trace the words and numbers. See how easy it is to differentiate this concept book?

Get your copy here
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