Monday, March 25, 2013

Get Acquainted Linky Party Answer!!

I hope you didn't think I forgot you!  Yes last week I gave two truths and one lie....Believe it or not but the lie was "I hate football!"  I love football.  I have four boys who all play football so my entire Fall is spent watching football game after football game.  

Now for my two truths...Truth #1:  How crazy is it that I live across the street from my school.  Yes you heard me, ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE SCHOOL WHERE I WORK!  I was a stay at home mom for 16 years with my four boys and I decided to start substituting at their school to get my feet wet again.  I taught for five years before I had my children.  Well I LOVED being back at work and I especially loved working with the kinders.  A position came available and I was all over it!  It's a bonus let me tell you!
Truth #2:  Yes I did grow up with my husband.  We started in kindergarten together and went to school all the way through high school.  We were friends for many years and then everything changed.  It's pretty special and unique.  It's my best line at my Back To School Night!  I love telling parents how you just never know.

So there you go...thanks for commenting.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Get Acquainted Linky Party

I am linking up with Latoya from Flying Into First Grade in her Get Acquainted Linky Party.  I just love these linky parties because I"m getting to know so many new blogging buddies.  This linky is fun, fun, fun!  Tell two truths and one lie...that's it.  So here I go...

1.  I went to kindergarten with my husband!
2.  I hate to watch football!
3.  I live across the street from the school I work at!

OK now it's your turn to take a wild guess and then hop on over to Flying Into First and join this party.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

CUE Conference Update #2/Giveaway

Can you say relaxed?  Just got back from the CUE conference in Palm Springs.  Not only did I learned so much and I relaxed even more.  It is such a great feeling to be in a room with 4,000 people that do the same thing that you do each day, TEACH.  You feel connected and proud of your profession and it is nice knowing that you make a difference in the future.  Technology is our future and it is moving so extremely fast that we almost can't keep up.  For example when Apple invented the IPhone, ITouch, and IPad, they never anticipated how many thousands of apps would be created for them.  It's CRAZY to stop and think what is happening in our world with our children and our schools.  
The second day at the CUE conference I learned a lot of new apps/websites to try in my classroom.  Here's a few to share:
The Evernote presentation was my favorite so I will start here.  Evernote is an app that every and I mean EVERY teacher needs to get.  It's organization at its finest!  From simple note taking to recording and documenting notes and organizing them into notebooks, Evernote is the way to go.  Check it out.
Picture Pinterest and now picture Edcanvas for lessons.  Taking the same concept as Pinterest, a teacher can take Edcanvas and organize lessons, websites, and pinterest clippings all on one canvas.  Students can visit that canvas and select lessons if you are teaching in a flipped classroom.  Teachers have their teaching units organized in one place.  BRILLIANT!

The latest in classroom technology is QR codes.  From kindergarten to 8th grade, QR codes can be a fun exciting way to teach.  A easy, fun app is QR Pal.  It's FREE and it downloads instantly on your tech device.  Classroom IPods or IPads can scan QR codes around the classroom and students receive instant info on the lesson.  My kinders can even do this and they LOVE scanning.

and finally...
I am giving a FABULOUS GIVEAWAY and I want YOU to win!  My time spent at the conference my luck(because I am Irish and ST. Paddy's Day was coming up) was extremely LUCKY and I won 2 Kidpix 3D software programs for my classroom.  I am giving away 1 to a lucky blogging buddy.  Giveaway ends this Thursday, March 21st so get going....

Leave a comment on how you use Technology in the classroom.  That's it!  
1, 2, 3, GO!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

CUE Conference Giveaway

So excited to be in sunny, warm Palm Springs for the Annual CUE Conference 2013!  Is any of my blogging friends here with me?  I am learning so much, and finding out the newest tools, trends, and tactics for the 21st Century Learning.  Today was the first day and here is a sneak peak of my first day:
Fablevision learning is founded by Peter Reynolds who believes that teaching and learning should be exciting.  I learned how to engage students in animating and telling their own stories using Animationish & Stationery Studio.  So cool.  Students of all ages can animate stories, science projects, or even vocabulary words.
International Dot Day on September 15th is worldwide where students "Make their mark on the world."  Schools across this nation and throughout the world create dots and show off their creativity side celebrating the book, The Dot by Peter Reynolds.  You can register your class at

Another great workshop I was fortunate to go to was Differentiate With Dr. Seuss For The Common Core.  Here we explored how to use Dr. Seuss books to develop quick and easy differentiated activities in the classroom.  There is a fantastic website called Teaching Made Easier where teachers can create hundreds of activities in 3 easy steps!  Picture cards, bingo cards, comprehension cubes, creative writing pages, you name it!  Everything a teacher needs to reinforce classroom instruction.
OK now for the best part of my day!  I sat in on a demonstration of the new 3D Kidpix.  Wow it's incredible.  I have the old version in my classroom and I was practically jumping out of my chair when I saw this.  Kinders can get actively involved in slide shows, storytelling, or even create creatures that fly around the pages.

So at the end of the demonstration they had a raffle and I WON!  I never win raffles.  So great I am so excited to get back to my classroom and install this new software.  But wait...there's more.  At the end of the day I went back to this demonstration table because they told us there would be yet another giveaway.  I must of been wearing my lucky Irish shirt, cause I WON again!  2 copies of KidPix 3D.  
So I need to share the love with all my blogging friends out there.  I am giving away 1 copy of KidPix 3D!  Yes you heard me.  Here's what you need to do to enter:

1.  Kindly comment on this post and tell me your favorite tech device in your classroom.

Giveaway will end 1 week from today at 8pm.
Good Luck to all my faithful followers!
Another update from Day 2 at the CUE conference coming soon!
Night! Night!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Super Structures

I can't believe how quickly today went by!  I am one of those people that hates to loose an hour of sleep.  It's hard enough getting up early, working out, and then getting 4 boys ready for school, then myself...I love my sleep so a day like today I feel cheated.  Tomorrow morning, bright and early I will wake at 5am, yes I said 5am!  In my eyes it's really 4am! drives me crazy.  My other problem is that I love to stay up late blogging and watching my favorite shows.
Grey's Anatomy

So here's the problem, with 4 boys keeping me busy all day long, I LOVE my peaceful nighttimes.  It's so hard to get myself in bed because the peace and quiet is PRICELESS.  So I stay up way too late, get little sleep, and then days like today with one less hour just DRIVE ME CRAZY!
OK enough complaining...Let's talk about Super Structures.  I love teaching STEM lessons and this particular unit is on 3 dimensional figures.  If you are unfamiliar with what STEM is, it is integrating Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics into one unit of study to prepare students for the 21st Century workplace.  STEM instruction also incorporates STEM Standards of learning which are collaboration, inquiry, logical reasoning, and creativity.  I try to do my STEM centers 3-4 times a week.  Take a look at my kiddos working on 3 dimensional figures and 2 dimensional figures.

We began our unit of study by taking a structure walk around the school.  Learning needs to be REAL so I gave my kiddos blank paper and clip boards and we went around school and studied the buildings.  What shapes do you see?  What materials were used to build this building.  This activated our schemas and open the doors to new learning.
Here my kiddos are using their creativity making pictures using pattern block construction paper shapes.  They had so much fun creating all sorts of things!

The boys are using logical reasoning to solve mathematical questions about shapes like how many triangles fit into one hexagon?  How many blocks did you use to fill one hexagon?

My kiddos love this STEM center.  Here they are using cookie sheets and magnetic pattern block shapes to make designs.  We used our IPADS to take pictures of their creations and then I laminated the pictures for the class to try to recreate the design.  So fun! 

 We used recycable materials(tons!) to make our Super Structures.  This little kiddo had leprechauns on his mind and he made a trap to catch our Lucky the Leprechaun.
 Remember to have tons of tape available because they go CRAZY with it!
The engineering piece of STEM instruction is the fascinating part.  Now my kiddos take everything they learned about 3 dimensional shapes and apply it to real life.  Here we used marshmallows and toothpicks to make 3 dimensional shapes like cubes, pyramids, and rectangular prisms.  

Simple block building is now turned into an engineering masterpiece!  We talked about buildings and bridges and what shapes you see everyday.  Then my kiddos use that knowledge to build their own building or bridge.
Another favorite was making our Shape Monsters from Smeldley's Smorgasbord of Kindergarten, Shape Monsters activity!  Awesome and my kiddos went crazy with this.  They worked on their monsters for an entire hour.  The math activity included counting and graphing.  I LOVED how my kiddos took ownership of their monsters.

Now you can't learn about buildings and not read the story The Three Little Pigs, right?  It's perfect to teach structures and the my kiddos love hearing all the different versions that are out there.  We talked about story elements and we wrote about our own house and what we would build it out of.  
We had so much fun with this unit.
How do you teach shapes?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

"Tell Me More" Linky

I am joining Primary Possibilities for yet another great linky party,  “Alliteration” link-ups. This week they are focusing on the letter M for March.  Did I just say that, "March?"  I can't believe it's March!

MUSIC- What kind of MUSIC do you like to listen to?  Do you have a favorite MUSIC group?
MENU- When you go out, what is your favorite item to order from a MENU?
MANAGEMENT- What is your best classroom MANAGEMENT tip?  What works best for you?  How do you MANAGE your literacy stations, math rotations, small groups, and organization tips?

Music-I love all kinds of music, but my new favorite, favorite is...introducing
Hunter Hayes!  

Menu-Favorite menu item to order is Sweet & Sour Pork!  Wow!  Doesn't that look good?  We love going out for Chinese food, and this is one dish my four boys will always eat.

Management-I started this school year using Whole Brain Teaching.  For kindergarten, my kiddos real respond to the 5 rules and their favorite is "Mirror."  "Mirror" is when the kiddos repeat directions or instructions after you explain each step.  This helps so much with my kiddos understanding what their expectations are of that particular lesson.  Another favorite is to prevent kids all yelling out the answer at the same time, the kiddos blow the answer into their hand and then I say, "release."  The children all say the answer at the same time!  It works every time. 

Join in on the fun!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Blogs By State

Fifth in the Middle

I am linking  up with Diane at Fifth In The MIddle for her Blogs by State Linky party!  Ever wonder who is blogging from the same state?  Now it's easy to find out.  Just catch the fever and hop on over to this fantastic linky party and start reaching out to fabulous friends from your very own state!

Looking foward to meeting all my California blogging friends :)!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Seusstastic Birthday!

Celebrating Reading!
We had a Seussastic day on Friday celebrating Dr. Seuss's Birthday!  We started off our morning coming to school in our pajamas.
The children visited literacy centers and each center tied in one of Dr. Seuss's books.  

This center my kiddos sorted gold fish by color and then used their gold fish to solve addition problems.  We read One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

We read Cat In  The Hat and made costumes to match!

Dr. Seuss is all about rhyming.  Here my kiddos worked on their rhyming booklets and then wrote on sentence strips their own rhyming words.

And of course we made Green Eggs and Ham!  I could not believe how much my kiddos ate.  They didn't even get up to play at recess.  They were having so much fun!

Part of sharing this week, my kindergarten friends had to make a hat to bring in and share!  Their hats were so darling and check out that Green Eggs and Ham hat!

We met with our 2nd grade reading buddies in the afternoon.  I am a collector of Dr. Seuss books so I had enough for each pair to share!  How great is it to see so many children in one classroom reading together!

Our final project of the day I found on pinterest.  The buddies painted each other's hands.  The palms were painted beige and the fingers bright blue.  We used red construction paper to put both hand prints down.  Once it dries it looks like Thing 1 and Thing 2.  I need to add the final picture so you can see how great it looks.  We are planning on making a Buddy Quilt!