Saturday, February 23, 2013

What's On Your Wish List?

Happy weekend everyone!  I hate to say it but I've become linky crazy lately.  I just found another great linky party on the oh so fabulous Melissa at First Grade Smiles!  I think what is common about most teachers is that you find yourself always WISHING for the latest, greatest gadget in your classroom.  I know I do.  I think I have a sickness because I am constantly lurking in the $1 section of Target all the time.  So now I would love to share my great finds and then give you a few of my dear wishes (a girls got to wish ever now and then).  So here we go,
My favorite find of all time is these Dr. Seuss reading bags at the $1 section at Target.  Every summer usually around June or July I can find these bags.  They are the perfect size for my Take Home Reading program and they last, last, last!  I know it sounds costly but you never need to replace them unless your little kiddo happens to loose one.  They are awesome and I just call them our Dr. Seuss bags.  Love these!
Every teacher loves her sharpies but do you have the "No Bleed" sharpies?  These fabulous finds do not bleed through the paper.  I prefer to use sharpies on my anchor charts but the one thing that always drove me crazy was how the back of my charts you could see the markers.  NOT ANY MORE!  
OK it's a sickness.  I can't live without these too.  I use them for graphs, my math word wall, and any prediction charts in science we do.  I love the new neon colors and now there are Post-It notes that come in shapes like flowers, hearts, etc.  So cute :)
And finally introducing my all time favorite item.....Large, black, undestroyable, Ticonderoga pencils.  They are THE WORLD'S BEST PENCIL!  They have a awesome black rubber texture to them that helps my kiddos with grip and I love using the large size.  It really helps my little friends that have a difficult time with writing.

Now for my wish list....
I would LOVE to have a tabletop chart stand for my guided reading table.  I would use this for so many small group activities but they are pretty expensive so maybe one rainy day.
OK this is blurry but I can always use stack of these fantastic Post-It chart paper.  They stick anywhere and I go through these so quickly.  What a brilliant idea for teachers!  I just wish they weren't so darn expensive.
So my final wish...the most important of to build my listening center.  I am constantly borrowing sets of books and scrambling to find listening center books.  I would love to have my own set organized and ready to go weekly for my literacy centers.
It is probably a BIG DREAM but hopefully one day I'll have a good supply of books for my little kiddos.

So now I can't wait to hear from all of you on your FAVS and your wish list.  
Come join the WISH LIST LINKY party!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Five for Friday Linky Party

Well, my winter break is coming to an end, and I can't tell you how excited I am about all my new followers.  I spent the entire week blogging and commenting on so many wonderful blogs.  It was so inspiring.  I wish I always had this much time to just find new blogging friends.  I learned so much this week about how amazing you all are!  Thank you for following me.  I am SLOWLY getting there.

I am linking up for the very first time with Doodle Bugs Teaching Five for Friday linky party.  I had such an amazing week with my family I had to share.

So let's get started,

 1.  Snow day in Westminster, Colorado.  We live in California so this was a BIG deal for us.  So much fun.
2.  Playing basketball outside in the snow.  Another highlight of our trip.

3.  Car racing at Colorado's Unser Race track.  How serious do they look?

4.  Went to the MOST AMAZING breakfast place ever.  It's called SNOOZE and its unbelieveable.  I had the OMG French Toast which was mouth watering.....yum!

5.  Last but certainly not least, before I left for break my kiddos brought in for sharing one object that represented what they wanted to be when they grow up.  Here is my little scientist.  So darling.  He made my day :).

Join the Linky party by clicking Here!

So now back to kinders up to now, only went half day kindergarten(can you believe some schools still do that?).  Starting bright and early Monday morning, my kinders stay all day with me!!  It's always a BIG adjustment.  Lots of tears all over again, and some refusals to accept the reality of school all day...UGH!  

The GREAT thing about having my kinders all day is having SO MUCH MORE TIME NOW!  So many fun things happen in the afternoons.  We have science with a great science teacher, social-emotional teacher, and YES I love reading chapter books to my kiddos in the afternoons.  I think I will start with Popper's Penguins since we just finished our Arctic unit.  So fun....

Right before break we began our Super Structures STEM unit.  I am fully invested in STEM units.  I took a fantastic workshop on STEM instruction and now I am addicted.  In fact, I am working on my Super Structures unit as we speak.  It's taking me sooooo long to finish because this is my very 1st unit!  Man, I am going to do back flips when this unit is done :)!  So to give you a little highlight of what is happening in my kinderworld take a look at some pics of our STEM centers for SUPER STRUCTURES!


So if you are not familar with how STEM instruction works here is a little background.  STEM instruction is integrating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics under one common standard.  Super Structures is a unit where my kiddos learn about shapes and 3 dimensional shapes in all subject areas.  I can't wait to share with you my first unit because it's so much fun for my kiddos!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hall Pass Linky

Did you ever feel like you need a Hall Pass?  Remember as a kid when you were feeling a little sluggish, tired, cranky, you would always perk up with a Hall Pass.  Teachers, it's our time to perk up!

I'm joining my blogging friend Reagan at Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits for this linky party.  Want to have a little fun?  Here's a creative linky I hope you will join!  Let's perk up and get some great ideas from each other!  In this linky you will share the following things:
So here we go :)
P for Product:  My biggest saying is "It starts in kindergarten!"  This is a child's first experience socially, emotionally, and academically.  That is why I LOVE teaching kindergarten.  I know most go to preschool, but everyone remembers kindergarten.  Here is my favorite product that I use with my kinders each and every day.
Piggy Manner Cards

These are my "Little Piggy Cards."  I read one a day and they teach my kinders about manners.  Like I said, "It starts in kindergarten!"  Every child needs to know the little things in life like when to say "please and thank you," or "how to answer a phone," or "what do you do when your mom or dad introduces you to someone?"  To me if a child has good manners and self respect, then that child will do well
 in life... 

A is for Area:  This was a hard one to pick because I LOVE my classroom.  The most original area is my SURF SHACK.
During Plan Do Review, my kinders get to choose an area in the classroom to visit.  In the Surf Shack my kinders can play restaurant and take orders with clip boards and use the cash register with pretend money.  There are baskets of pretend food, cereal boxes, recyclable milk cartons for my darlings to play with.  I also have blank recipe cards for them to write up their very own recipes.  I bought from Lakeshore Learning food cards that my kinders use to write their recipes with.  And yes they do play house sometimes when they visit the Surf Shack too!  

S is for Signal:  My signal might be a little boring.  I do two things.  When we are in deep learning and it comes to the end of center time, I ring a bell and I say, "boys and girls, I need you to FREEZE."  The classroom immediately becomes silent and then I go ahead and make my next announcement like, "it's time to clean up your center and meet me in the rug area."  My second go-to signal is I speak very softly and say, "If you can hear my voice, touch your nose.  Touch your shoulders, etc."  I am a true believer the softer your voice the students stop and listen to what you have to say.  They narrow in on your voice.  It works like a charm.

and now the most important...

S is for Sanity:  For me, every teacher needs a "go to" each day.  Mine is this...
A single cup Keurig coffee maker.  I bit the bullet and bought one for my classroom.  Before... I would run to the staff room... wait in line... and run back!  The kindergarten wing is way at the other end of the school.  Now I can relax... eat my little recess snack... and make my cup of coffee, tea, or whatever!  It's luxury for me!  I can't tell you how great it is.  Sometimes I use it in the afternoon when I'm feeling sluggish.  Now if you want to know the coffee I buy, it's Safeway's brand Vanilla Latte...mmmmm GOOD!  Green tea is awesome too!

Head on over  
and join this linky party by clicking here

Winter Fun!

Here is some winter fun in kindergarten.  I send out a Smilebox to my parents each month so they can share in the learning!  Enjoy!
Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
Scrapbook made with Smilebox

Saturday, February 16, 2013

What I'm Loving

I am so thankful for my beautiful class, family and to be able to do what I love each day!

After a wonderful Valentine's Week I am ready to share what I'm Loving....

My adorable class!

My family.  I am so blessed to have them!

I can't live without my Ugh boots.  The first thing I do every day when I get home from school is put these things on.
My new IPhone 5.
Heading to the Colorado Rockie Mountains today!  So excited to see my sister.
My two favorite cookbooks!  Nothing makes a day better than good food at the end of it.  These cookbooks are foolproof.  I always use them for dinner parties and for entertaining.

and last but certainly not least...

I survive on this :)

Join Kathleen at Growing Kinders to join this Linky Party just click here!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Insulation Science Experiment

It's terrific Tuesday and we started off the week with yet another science experiment from my STEM unit.  Ok I think this experiment was the best so far.  Thank you to my wonderful colleague who shared this with me.  It was the icing on the cake!
Today we decided to test different materials to see which one was the best insulator:
Materials needed are a bucket, ice, and a ziplock bag.  That's all!  
Step one:  Prediction
What material will make the best insulator?
Step two:  Experiment
Try all materials to see which material is the warmest.  My kiddos were so excited to try out the blubber glove, cotton glove, and all the materials.

Step Three:  Collect Data
We rated each material from 1 to 5.  1 being the warmest and 5 being the coldest.

Then we used our interactive whiteboard and recorded our findings with tally marks!

Step Four:  Reflection
Together as a class we reflected on our findings.  For our class we decided blubber was the warmest.  We also make personal connections by asking essential questions like what did this make you think of?  One kiddo answered, "Massachusetts, because I used to live in the cold."
So cute :)


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Teaching Inquiry

I love the weekend because I have more time to reflect on the week before.  This past week was filled with exploring, discovering, and learning about penguins.  I always start a lesson with "I wonder" questions.  This helps guide my lessons and it gets my kiddos thinking.  We all know how we need to trigger those schemas to start the learning process.  So we started off the week writing our "I wonder" questions about penguins.  Then we started reading several fiction and nonfiction books about penguins. Did I mention my kiddos are CRAZY for Tacky the Penguin books.  My kiddos also love to label especially animals.  So that's just what we did.  We went into our science journals and we labeled away.  I usually model for the kids how to do this and then I let them draw and label on their own.

Take a look below.  My little kiddos did a wonderful job with labeling :)

So the next time you are introducing a new topic or unit, try having your kiddos write down a "I wonder" question.  It really triggers the learning process and it gets the kids actively involved in the learning process.