ugh... I forgot to take pictures!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011
man, I don't get how I can forget to take pictures!! But I did. Our winter tree is AWESOME!!! The kids are loving thinking about winter and snow! On Thursday we are going to talk about what happens to the animals in winter. I have a hands on science experiment that we are going to do. I take a zip lock and fill it with crisco. We then place another zip lock inside the first to make a "mitten". The we put a hand in the mitten and put the mitten in ice water. The kids see how animals put on fat to keep them warm during the cold winter months. I can't wait!! It's such a fun afternoon.

Today was day 2 of Daily 5 learning read to self. WOW... that is all I can think to say... WOW. I had hoped to have us ready to go with all 5 stations before Christmas but I'm rethinking that goal. Yesterday we were only able to "read" for about 45 seconds. It was HORRIBLE! Truly I felt like running from my room screaming... so try 1 was a bust, but it gave us LOTS to talk about. We tried 2 more practice sessions yesterday and only got up to a minute. We also made our I Chart. Today we reviewed the I chart, I modeled how to retell a story we already knew, three little pigs. Then I had several children model : how read to self should look, how to retell, the different ways to "sit" and what the voice should be. We have a school wide voice level. I decided that read to self would need to be a 0 voice because so many of the children struggle with a whisper voice.

And then we practiced! Try 1- EPIC FAILURE!! Just under a minute, with LOTS of loud voices. So back to the carpet we went... more models- this time including more children modeling voice... and by practice 3 we had gotten up to a minute and half!! I feel like we have conquered a MAJOR beast! LOL... My biggest problem is having enough just right books. But I am working on that, thanks to reading A -Z and several sight word readers I am working to finish. We will work on these in a mini lesson and add them to their book boxes. I feel like it is a chicken and egg type problem. Since Kinders are just learning to read they don't have many choices in books or I don't have enough copies of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Brown Bear for the children to each have one in their book box, they don't have much ability to read for 3 minutes on day 1. And then the flip side... the kinders need to READ READ READ!!

There it is a re cap of my epic failure and the hope I have in building the materials that the children will need to be able to sustain reading to self ;)

Walking in a Winter Wonderland!! Yep that's us...

Monday, November 28, 2011
This week we are learning about winter. It turned off COLD here over the weekend and it's a bit to early to talk about Christmas around the world, so I am SUPER excited that my teammate came up with this idea (she saved the day!!). And with all the Black Friday online, and Cyber Monday sales out there... I snatched up some of the cutest ideas for us to use!! I will try to update through out the week with what we are doing, I hope the kids get just as excited as I am about this unit!!

So far I printed winter pattern block mats from Here is a picture:
I didn't print them in color. There is a black and white version and I used that... and light blue paper. ;)

I also found some other winter things that I am going to add to my work stations. Like I said we are starting Daily 5, so stations will be within one of the 5 choices: read to self, read to someone, listen to reading, writing and word work.

I also bought several units over at from Deanna Jump, Fran and Kim Adsit. I can't wait to use them. And I made a few things as well.

I hope that you have had a wonderful Monday back in the classroom!!

Where did she go???

Sunday, November 27, 2011
I know I should take a trip to the thinking desk and think about why I have been such a bad blogger. But honestly, I know all the reasons why. The biggest reason is that I want this blog to helpful and positive and those are two words that have been SUPER far away from my vocabulary lately. See this year has been the MOST challenging yet. I am working with a WONDERFUL teammate across the hall and we are doing some of the most wonderful things but positive and helpful have been hard adjectives to be this year.

I have been using the following things for too long as reason why we can even attempt certain things, so for the last time EVER here are my excuses:

  1. Of 20 children 11 of them turned 5 in May, June and July. 
  2. They are so desperately behind!! Only a handful came to school being able to pick out their name, and of that handful only a few can WRITE their name
  3. I have 3 MAJOR behavior problems- read children who are violently attacking others, themselves and are a major disturbance to the class
Did you see that last one? Ever been that adjective? Well I still am overwhelmed but I spent some time over hte break to see how far we have come... and it's been a long way baby!!  I can't do anything about when birthday's fall or the behavior of a child when they enter school but I do know how to get them moving forward, even if it seems like we are stuck in park! So while I am feeling better about where we have come from I am still overwhelmed and could use some help... so I am appealing to the blogging world to offer your best advice!!

I am preparing to start the Daily 5 with my kids. We are going to work over the next 3-4 weeks (until Christmas break) on read to self. It might sound long, but these kids are going to need this baby steps and when they blow me away, we will add read to someone ;) Now we have been working on whisper voice and what that looks like while I pull one or two back to my table. With the young age has some a lot of squabbles that I am not used to having so we have been working on "school manners". Think how you listen, how you ask for something, how you sit next to someone with out disturbing them, etc. So we are starting to get a quite voice (#1 whisper voice- we have a school wide system). So here is what I need help with... I need advice on what materials to have in the kids book boxes, they know only a handful of letters and maybe 3-4 sight words. I don't have a TON of extra time on my hands because I am working on my masters. Suggestions... battle scars you want to share... or how about things you learned while starting Daily 5??
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