Sunday, December 8, 2013

Elf on the Shelf, St. Nick

Our topic this week was Welcoming the Elf on the Shelf and St. Nick.

We started our week right away meeting our Elf.  Once we met him, we read his note on the board (by sounding out some letter sounds), read his book, and then: he needed a name!  We took a variety of options and then we voted and graphed our choices.  The one with the most votes would be our Elf's name.  Tiger wins!  We then watched the movie, the kids loved it!

On Monday, we also "sewed" our stockings and stamped our hands to have stockings to hang by the fire.  Lacing was a little tricky, but once students got it down, they had the most adorable stockings ready for St. Nick.

We also worked on making snowmen, putting three circles we cut out in size order, small on top, then middle, and then big.  We then used scrap paper and a whole punch (for the first time) to decorate or snow men.  

Tuesday Tiger was hanging out on our dry erase board and wrote nice in magnets.  N is our letter of the week, and he was sending us a message.  We worked really hard at being Nice.

Wednesday, the silly geese were being sassy so Tiger was trying to tell Santa on them.  The geese tried to cover it up, but we still know!  "Put the geese on the naughty list!"

We worked on an early reader of winter clothing and their colors and we will work on reading it in the next week.  We also started reading and practicing our Reader's Theater for Reading with the Stars.  

We also began a measuring activity. Students need to count how many big snowflakes they are tall and then take small snowflakes around the room and measure various objects. This also worked on counting, the concept of measurement, and writing the numbers.  Students are off to a great start in these areas.

It is so great to see the students using the writing center to write letters to Santa and to Tiger.  Any time we can get them to use writing tools, try to get letter sounds, and get the mechanics of writing (left to right, top to bottom, etc) is wonderful!  Tiger takes the notes to Santa when they leave them in Tiger's mail box.

Thursday, Tiger was hanging out by our stockings that were stuffed with love from St. Nick.  He wanted his own stocking too!

The story of St. Nick:
Nicholas' parents died when he was just a teenager. His parents left him a lot of money which made him a rich young man. 

Nicholas heard about a man who had lost all his money.  He had three daughters.  This family was so poor they had nothing left to eat. They were very sad. A daughter washed her stockings and put them in front of the fire to dry. Then all of them went to sleep.  In the morning the daughter saw a lump in her stocking. Reaching in, she found a small, heavy bag. It had gold inside! Enough to provide food for the family. Oh, how happy they were!

The next morning, another bag with gold was found. Imagine! Such joy!
And the next night, the father planned to stay awake to find out who was helping his daughters. He dozed off, but heard a small "clink" as another bag landed in the room. Quickly he jumped up and ran out the door. Who did he catch ducking around the corner?

Nicholas, the young man who lived with his uncle. "Nicholas, it is you! Thank you for helping us—I hardly know what to say!" Nicholas said, "Please, do not thank me. Do not tell others about me."
Nicholas continued helping people. He always tried to help secretly. He didn't want any attention or thanks. When there wasn't any food, he found wheat; so no one went hungry. He always helped people in trouble. All his life Nicholas showed people how to love God and care for each other.

Everyone loved Nicholas. After he died, they told stories of the good and kind things Nicholas had done. Sailors took these stories about Nicholas everywhere they went. Some of the stories were about his special care for children—helping and protecting them when danger threatened. And so more and more people learned about good, kind Nicholas. They wanted to be like him. He is an example of how we should live.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Kindergarten Guided Math Centers

It is my first year teaching kindergarten.  I wanted to have a way to teach math at the student's level and with the tools/manipulatives they personally needed.  This made me think of guided reading and how well that works that maybe I could make guided math work.

I decided I was going to use my math curriculum Math Expressions with the small groups and the other students would do their centers while we are doing this.  I was doing math tubs and guided math following our math journals, but I found the calendar journals to take to much time.  I teach calendar and then I make that one of the centers they need to rotate to.

Here is what a math lesson looks like:
1. Students come in the room, and get out their math binders.
2. Students erase the page protector holding their Calendar Journals (by: Erin Eberhart) **I use a page protector so they can use dry erase markers and reuse the paper every day.**

3. Students put materials down and we cover the calendar, days of school, tally marks, 120 chart, and place value chart.

4. Students open to the newest Math Journal page from Primary Possiblilites.  I read the directions, they complete the activity and leave at their spot.

5. Students then turn to the board for "job assignments"  I got their "job charts" from Reagan Tunstall's blog: Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits.  I printed one for each student and laminated it so they could write on them with a dry erase marker each day.

  •  I declare the group that I am giving jobs to (right now I have 5 students total so this is two groups of two and one friend on his own, but if I have a larger class, I would have them be in groups noted by a shape or color and tell that shape or color which one we are working on)
  • For example: Group RP here are your job assignments today. 1. Teacher Table, 2. Math Tub #6, 3. Math Journal. Group SG 1. Math Journal, 2. Teacher Table, 3. Math Tub #4 J 1. Math Tub #6, 2. Math Journal, 3. Teacher Table.
  • Ready, Go!

6. Once they go to their assignment they work through their assigned area/tub.  To show evidence of

learning, they take a picture with their pre-made (laminated) name cards.

7. When I am done working with my first group, I state, "it is clean up time, I need you to move to number 2 on your job list."

8. When all the centers are done, they leave all their binders out and go to their specials.  While students are in specials, I read their Math Journal page and note understanding of that common core standard.  I then read their Calendar journal and draw a fun picture in dry erase to let them know I saw it and I note their progress.

If you have more math time, you can do more than one center, maybe two tubs and a technology or one tub, and one math technology.  Students are doing GREAT with this process. As I said, rather than initials, students can be put into groups and giving that group a name.

I hope this was helpful and please comment or email me (contact information at right) and I can help you out! Good Luck!!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

New Year, New Grade, New Material, New Kids, New Hours, OH MY!

I realized today that I have not blogged since the back to school sale.  I contribute this to my title of this post.  Since the back to school sale, the school year has started, I have both 4k and Kindergarten to teach and though I know my 4K curriculum, I am learning kindergarten as I go.  Also, we got our math curriculum the second week of school and I am still waiting on my teacher's edition so that has been somewhat stressful.  I have 5 of my students from my 4k class last year in my 5k class so that is nice, but I have 19 new faces in my 4k room, and finally, I have committed myself to working less hours this year to spend more time with my family.  Thought that is a long list of excuses, I am not ready to put a blog up.

In Kindergarten, we have started using Math Expressions: Common Core.  I like the series this far and do feel it is developmentally appropriate for the kindergartners.  I have one little guy who is struggling with the concepts of numbers so we are using touch counting with him.  He took it on Thursday night home and is already showing GREAT improvement on Friday!  I am so excited!

Though we are using Math Expressions, I do run it like centers and have some extras I add in.
For a Friday fun project we made a class book, Ten Black Dots.  First we read, Ten Black Dots and then I made a book for them to make. I was amazed at some of their illustrations!  My book is available FOR FREE on my TeachersPayTeachers store.  Click HERE.

I also made some numbers cards to have students practice counting, correlating the numbers to the dots (in 10 frame locations) and can also be flash cards if printed more than 1 to a page.  This is also Free and can be found HERE.

We do not have a Social Studies Curriculum, so I spoke with our first grade teacher about what they would want the kids coming in knowing.  They said basically they want them to know the groups they belong to and how they are a part of something larger.  This reminded me of some activities I have seen where they start with a small circle and get larger as the group does.  Our principal also said that this is the time the holidays are covered (we are in a Catholic school so celebrating the holidays is common place).  This also goes toward my circle concept--how the holidays came to our country and trickle down to affect them.

I then am going to have them create their own text book through out the year.  Each section has a title page, and it is labeled with the circle in the correct side.  Through out the entire year, when we do something that fits into one of those sections we discuss what section it belongs to and then put it in there. It is available on my Teacher pay Teachers page, HERE

Happy planning in Kindergarten!  I hope to be back soon!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Back to School Sale on TpT!

I am back from my week long vacation to the family cottage for a week.  I am relaxed, ready for my own bed, and ready to get back in the swing of things!  First thing: BACK TO SCHOOL SALE on TpT!
I am offering 20% off and TPT is offering 10% off WITH THE CODE BTS13.  If you forget the code, you will still get my 20%, but you will not get their additional percent.

I do 20%, they say 10% but the sales maxes out at 28%

Fill your cart with my materials, their materials, everyone's materials because this sale lasts 2 days!

Check out My TPT Store here!

Remember, leaving feedback means points.  Points mean money towards TpT stuff, and who doesn't love TpT stuff?!?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Secrets of the iPad link up

Matt from Digital Divide and Conquer is hosting a link up of iPad tricks to teach his staff.  I thought I would share what I know and see if it helps anyone else!

How I use my iPad (iPhone).  We are getting iPads in the classroom, but dont have them yet.  In the past year, I have been using my personal iPad and iPhone in the classroom.  Here are some tips, tricks, and what I use them for.

For the apps that are note default to the iPad, click on the image for the store.

I use the clock (default) as a time in my room to help kids know when to switch centers.  I have the timer with me so even when I am doing small group it rings, I reset it and keep listening to my small group.  I have a helper rotate the board so they know where to go next.  They clean up, check the new board, and go to the new center.
I use the camera all the time to take pictures of notes we make on the board, student work, students working, and more.   I love using the camera to show evidence of learning!  Starting next year, when I have the kindergarteners, when they are doing a math center and a literacy center, to be held accountable, they have to take a picture of their completed task with their name card under it so I can see whose it was, what they got done, and check for understanding, while still being able to be working with my small group at the time!

I have used for my lesson plans for a year now.  This summer, they just came out with the iPad App!  You still need to make an account on the computer, but one you do you have easy lesson plan changes at your fingertips, links (embedded in lessons) right there if you would want them and more! Swoon.

I have an extensive class library, and so does everyone in our school. We do not have an electronic card
catalogue in our school--we still have the paper one. When it comes to looking up a book for a lesson, this can get tricky.  I finally came up with a solution!  Catalogue your books with this app!  It is technically an iPhone app, but it does work on the iPad. I have it on both and sync them up.  On the iPhone, if you dont have a scannable ISBN number, you can type it in--or use voice text so you dont hit the wrong number on the tiny keypad!  You can check books out (guided reading books anyone?) and you can put them in different library categories.  There is a free version but to store on computer and convert between devices it it $3.99.  Worth it.  LOVE.

Our school plans on using the iPads as document cameras as well as the other iPad funcitons.  Using this YouTube tutorial, the husband of one of our staff members is going tp make one of these stands for each iPad.  We will then we will use the camera function with the iPad pointing at the document/project/materails, etc.  The iPad will be connected to a projector with a Lightening to VGA cable (they do have one for older iPad versions-the 12 pin one) and then the anything under the camera can be seen on the projection screen, white board!

You can use Google+ app to take your photos from your phone/iPad to your blogger account with easy blogging and uploading to your computer.  Tutorial from one of my previous posts here.

ScreenChomp is a free app that I use to make videos for my kids.  I have used it to make handwriting videos, and plan on doing it for numbers, and how to do certain math things for parents.  Especially in math, there are ways we are teaching the kids to do and the parents can't help because they don't know the new method (lattice math for example).  If you did a quick how to set it up and simple tutorial, you could show the parents how to help at home!  It records voice, and white board like writing on the screen.  You can put a photo in the background as well (for me I put the lined paper I was going to do handwriting on).  See here for the original post.  To save/email is a little tricky but possible: After recording (and hitting stop) a small screen will pop up. Change the name AT THIS TIME, and then hit share.  At the top, a share thing will pop up (papers with a number).  Click the papers, then click the movie you just named.  Hit share again on the bottom (blue).  Email link to yourself (or have students send to you depending on the purpose of the video).  Open the link on a regular computer and download.  That download can then be uploaded to youtube or other video host source.  It can be embedded from anywhere with that link then.


  • If you are typing with your thumbs and you cant reach the whole keyboard, start with your thumbs in the middle and drag outward at the same time with both thumbs.  You will get two smaller keyboards allowing for easier typing. Reverse it for a whole keyboard again.
  • If your device is running slow, double click the home button and you will get all of your open programs.  Hold one down till they wiggle.  Hit the X to cancel out of these.  When you simply leave the program they are still running in the background but this officially closes them.
  • power button on top and the home key at the same time is a screen shot (if you want a screen shot of the students scores or something they have done on the app for accountability)
  • There are a million apps.  If you are looking for something, type it in on google "practice handwriting iPad app" for example, and it should come up with a link to the store.  
  • You can lock your screen (from rotating every time they touch it), by double clicking that home screen button, and swiping to to the left (swipe finger to the right).  On the right hand side is an arrow going in a circle.  Click that to lock the screen in the direction you are currently in.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Five for Friday& Giveaway!

Five for Friday Time with Doodle Bugs Teaching

5. I will be joining Matt at Digital: Divide and Conquer on Saturday for hisSECRETS of the iPADS- It will be a compilation of "lessons, tips, tricks, nuggets, and whatever else you might have to share that relate to iPads in class (and personal life)"  I have been prepping for this this today.

So happy I kissed him
4. Last Saturday, I got the opportunity to go to the Packer Family Night.  A good friend of mine won 4 tickets on a local radio show (top 9 at 9) and decided to make it a girls night! 

 THEN to top it all off, her husband works for the news station that was airing the game so we got to go on the field!  I was in Heaven!
My friends caught the true
emotion on my face!

Laying by the G -my monogram ;) 

3. My 4K classroom is almost done! Due to recent storms in our area, I had a lot of time at school.  Check out my room by clicking HERE.

2. The storm damage to my house is cleaned up.  Read about the storm Here.  Yay for getting back on our feet!

1. We are heading up to the cottage for our families week on Sunday. Every year, each family member gets Grandpa's cottage to themselves for a week and our time is finally here! Taking  a break from technology, school, and home life in general for a whole week!  See everyone when I return on the 17th!

A fellow midwestern blogger, Polka-Dot-Kinders is celebrating 400+ Bloglovin followers!!  To celebrate, she is having an amazing giveaway!  I have my Common Core + Next Generation Science Standard Report Cards (your choice of grade) in her third pack, but there are some other AWESOME bloggers and products in the giveaways!  Check it out!
Click on the image to go to the giveaway blog post!
Good Luck!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Crazy Storms = Classroom Done?!?!

Wednesday morning (12:45am to be exact) a major storm that developed VERY quickly and produced what they are calling "straight winds." There were gusts in my area 75-86 miles per hour and 5 tornados reported with in 30 miles.  I woke up to my ceiling fan slowing down, which means the power JUST went out.  I run to shut our windows and it looks like a power washer is blasting our bedroom window.  I run to close the kitchen window. As lightning flashes I see that a GIANT branch off our 100 year old tree laying on top of our power lines.  I tried calling non-emergency police to report it, it was dead.  I called 911 and it was busy.  After 25 minutes of a busy signal with 911 (I didn't know that could happen!) I finally got the sheriff who wrote down my address and hung up.  6:30 am the Fire Department checked and the line was dead so we were safe.  The damage is crazy around here.  43 hours later we have power.

All the teachers went to school because our little school was the only place for MILES that had power (how it survived with power we aren't sure) and we all used that to charge our cell phones, be in the light, and some even brought their curling irons!  Needless to say, we got a lot done in our rooms because it was better than being at home!  I actually finished my classroom (the 4k room) and am starting some of the nit-picky details!

The power just came on, the first thing I do after resetting all the clocks?  Blog of course!

Here are some storm pictures & room pictures.

Tree pinning down our overhead power lines in my back yard

When the lines pulled down, they pulled this metal pole bending it 90* This pole brings the lines into our home.  It went from a lower case l to a capital L!
When the lines pulled down, they pulled this metal pole bending it 90* This pole brings the lines into our home.  It went from a lower case l to a capital L!
My hand on the branch that fell...the branch, not a tree, but one branch!
the left of the screen is the power line, the right is the end of the tree.  The width of my back yard is the height of the BRANCH from our tree!
Splintered power lines on my way to school. 
Splintered power lines on my way to school.
43 hours later, we have the wonderful WE Energy man who drove more than 2 hours to help our area putting the power back on in service!  The closest hotel he could find (when he gets off at midnight) is an hour away.  The linemen are working SO HARD to help us.  Thank You!
After clean up, this is the cut up branch in front of our house.  So much tree, but we were SO lucky to have our home, our cars that we use to go to work, and NO  injuries.  


Now that all is normal, I plan on prepping more in the paper form for this upcoming year!  Thank goodness we have electricity to work from home ;)