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A NC Mom to 4 wonderful boys, Wife to GREAT Husband, & TK Teacher!! Hey... Add a comment if you want!! I'd love to hear from you!!!

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Early Math

Today I noticed that some of my little's could not count one to one up to ten.  They would get lost around number 4 and just point at the air and keep counting.  It was amazing.  I know I shouldn't be amazed by this, but I was.  You see, my own children were counting one-to-one very early, definitely before age 4.  We just worked it into everything we did.. from the pea's on our plate, to the coins we gave the clerk at the store. 
Soooooo... this little information will bring us to what I call, "The Very Beginning!!" I will have to begin at the beginning with this group this year.  Today we worked on counting to 10, and one-to-one correspondence.  Something I haven't had to really work with until this year.  My little's are usually a little older, this happens to be a very young group this year, so it isn't that this behavior is not developmentally appropriate, I'm just not used to having to teach it from the beginning.  I have reviewed and reinforced the skill, but never had to start fresh.  I am up for the challenge though :)

I would call out and show a number and the students had to find the number on their number line and cover it with a counter.  It was actually much harder than I thought it would be.  If I'd known I would have started with the numbers 1-5 instead. 
Some of the students were able to count with no problem to find a number that they didn't recognize, but most of them could not, so they would continually be covering the wrong number (especially after 5)  I am excited to say, that with loads of help and repetition they were getting the hint to actually TOUCH each counter as they counted so they wouldn't lose their place... whoa was I sweating ;) but they got it and we will continue this game all week to transfer that information into the long term memory slot :)
MY #happyclassroom for today...
Although it is sometimes hard to keep the negativity out of your day or away from yourself... I didn't allow a bit of information to consume me with negativity.  I went with the flow and realized that it was not something I could control and I can only control myself and how I react to any situation and I definitely handled it well!!! 
Have A Great Day!!!

Monday, September 14, 2015


I have wanted to get back to blogging and thought I needed a little push to get started!!  So I am joining my good friend, Greg, from The Kindergarten Smorgasbord and his #happyclassroom journey!!  Let's find something happy each day and blog about it... I have put it off, put it off and put it off!!  As of today, I am blogging!!!  Ok, maybe not everyday, butttttt.... I will try!!! ;)

The Kindergarten Smorgasboard

Today... I am happy because I got a day off from school!!!!  Thank you Rosh Hashanah!!  Although I do not actually celebrate this Jewish holiday, I did take time today, in my uncharacteristically quiet house, to reflect on myself and how I could challenge myself to become a better person.  I think that it was a wonderful way to spend my afternoon; and I came up with a few realistic ways I could be a better me.  1)  I can't take things so personally or seriously  2) Smile  and 3) Do the best I can every single day.  That's it... I let you know how I do.


Friday, April 3, 2015

#2getherwearebetter Link Up

Although I am just getting back into the swing of blogging, I thought it would be a great idea to link up with Ashley and Angie for their #2getherwearebetter and Greg from The Kindergarten Smorgasboard.
Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd
I am in total agreement about needing the support from other teachers to be the best we can be.  Unfortunately, I am in a school that is a little disjointed right now.  Our teams aren't really working well together right now and it has caused morale to suffer.  It bothers me, but I don't know what to do about it.  It seems that there are a lot of teachers that doesn't like change, or at least change that they weren't a part of making.  They don't mind there own changes, that affect them positively, and yet seems to keep our school at a status quo.  I try to just do my job, and do it to the best of my ability, but when you don't have a working relationship with some of the teachers where your babies are headed, it's hard.  The teachers in the next class up don't even want to know about the kids, they want to learn about the kids on their own.  I understand to a point, but when you have children that have quirks, emotional families, etc... shouldn't you be prepared??  I don't know, I feel like I can learn all about the students coming into my classroom and still be able to see them as ever growing and changing little beings.  Just because they were hyper the year before, doesn't mean they will be as bad as they grow and mature over the summer.  Oh, dear... I need to stop this rant!!!!
Okay, back to the reason I am here... schedules. 
In TK we have a more open ended schedule.  We are not required to have set language, math or writing block.  Although we are not required to have these blocks, I try to incorporate them into our day.
8:00-8:30           Arrival - Open Center Time
8:30 - 9:10         Circle Time/Morning Meeting
9:10 - 9:30         Handwriting/Language Arts
9:30 - 10:30       Center Time - Small Guided Reading Groups Pulled
10:30 - 11:30     Recess
11:30 - 1:15       Lunch - Nap
1:15 - 2:00         Math Block - Mini Lesson, Games, Review
2:00 - 2:15         Snack
2:15 - 2:40         Whole Group Game to Review Math or Alphabet Skills
2:40 - 3:05          Pack Up, Carpool
So that is how our day typically goes.  We have 5 specials interspersed throughout the week.  We have Music on Monday, Science Lab on Tuesday, Gym on Wednesday, Art on Thursday, and Foreign Language/Library on Friday.  We work around them and still are able to get in enough time to learn and play.
I think Circle Time is my favorite part of the day.  We use our Smart Board a lot and there is a lot of singing, dancing and gross motor movement.  I like to incorporate a lot of cross the midline activities while we count, and it just get's the kids up and moving.  I think I may need to take a few photos and post them. 
TK isn't Kindergarten, but I really try hard to keep our learning active, hands on, and totally child centered while giving my little's the social, emotional and academic skills they need to be successful in kindergarten. 
Thanks for stopping by!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Building and Huffing and Puffing

TK has been studying construction the past few weeks.  We have looked at building things us, as well as taking things down.  We love the story of The 3 Little Pigs so we built our lessons, this past week, around that story.  One of the things we had so much fun doing was building our own "houses" and seeing if the "Big, Bad Wolf" could blow it down.  We paired the kids up with a partner, gave them a tray of "building materials" and gave them 15 minutes to create some sort of "house."  They were so excited!!!  I think the pipe cleaners were the hardest to figure out, but I am so glad we used them.  The kids really had fun working with all the materials. 
I got this idea off of Pinterest, which led me to the blog, Sewing School.
So below you will find the trays we had ready for the kids to choose from...
I wanted to show pictures of the kids building their houses, but I always forget that I can't show faces, and I always not only get the kids I am photographing, but there are ALWAYS a few in the background!!!  So, instead below you will see the Big, Bad Wolf trying to blow down some of the houses!!!
We made the big, bad wolf our of my hair dryer, adding the ears and eyes by taping them on... again, not my idea, got it from Sewing School.
So cool isn't it!!!!
Unfortunately Godzilla House didn't hold up... after much discussion, we decided that the dominoes were just to slippery to stand up to the huffing and puffing of the big, bad wolf.
The Sugar Cube House didn't do to bad, it moved a bit, but not to much.

The big, bad wolf tried as hard as it could to blow Mr. Gumball House down... but to no avail!!!
Along with learning about how air could blow down houses, we learned that the air from our lungs could do move things too.  We started out with blowing paint around the paper (it will become some kites later on).  The kids realized that the big, bad wolf had much better lung capacity than themselves. 

We had a lot of fun with this unit.  We also worked on our writing by creating a class book about the "houses" we built.  We took the dominoes and made addition sentences with them and counted out how many dots there were.  It was a fun week!!!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Book Study - Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites

I have wanted to start a book study at my school for such a long time but no one wants to study a professional book.  I am a nerd when it comes to professional development!!  I can't get enough of professional development books, conferences, and workshops.   So, when I read about this book study over at Mrs. Ehle's Kindergarten I was very excited. 
I bought the book on Kindle, because I had to have it right away.  I wish I had bought the hard copy though so I could underline, make notes and highlight the things I find important.  In a hard copy you can go back and forth when you want to remind yourself of something you have already read and if there is something you want to re-read.  Oh well, I will have to wait to get the hard copy and deal with my kindle copy :)
Ok, Elizabeth Hall of kickinitinkindergarten is beginning the book study with an overview of chapter 1 & 2 of the book.  She also has a linky party going for all those who want to participate and give their opinion, how they already use some of the ideas, or how they will implement the idea's into their own classroom. 
Chapter 1 - Brainstorming and Discussions
I enjoyed this chapter since we do a lot of brainstorming in our classroom.  Anytime we begin a new theme or skill we brainstorm all that we think we know about it and what we want to know about it.    With 4-5 yr olds they still need some guidance and a little help with getting started and staying on task, but as the year has progressed they are getting better at it. 
 It is the discussions that we have a hard time with.  Anytime we try to do Buddy Share (our version of Think-Pair-Share) but it always dissolves into a story about how someone ate bugs on the playground, or a brother who is better than another brother.  So, most of our discussions are done whole group in a circle.  I try to allow time to think, but to much time means minds wandering to other matters, so we don't always complete the discussion part of it. 
I have also found that even as I promote an open thinking, free environment to give opinions on subjects it doesn't always carry through to the classrooms after mine.  Where worksheets and teacher directed activities take center stage.  Am I doing a disservice to my students to get them in the habit of giving opinions, having discussions and being independent thinkers when they will be held back from exhibiting those traits in the years to come??  Hmmmm..... it's a thought that I grapple with from time to time.
Although I found this chapter to be a worthwhile read, it didn't really apply to my TKers, but I will try to incorporate more of the sentence starters in hopes of giving them the words needed to discuss and state their opinions or feelings about a subject.
Chapter 2 - Drawing and Artwork
Ahhhhhh.... now here's a chapter I could sink my teeth into!!!  I loved this chapter and know I give my students ample time and opportunity to create in my classroom.  Being an Early Childhood classroom, play is our work, art is our way of conveying or assessing a lot of our skills and no one thinks twice about it.  It isn't thought of as a waste of time by most people.  It isn't until our children hit the elementary grades that art in the classroom isn't always appreciated.  I have heard to many teachers begrudge another teacher for allowing her students to create art work as an assignment, or "All that teacher does is play all day, when do they learn?"  I am sure we have all either said it, or heard another teacher say it.  I see the push for more academics and less creative arts, and Marcia Tate gives us ideas and opportunities to incorporate art right into our lessons.  It does take a lot more work on our part, both in the prep and clean up, but in a well balanced classroom, where students are used to the expectations of art in the classroom, it isn't as hard as it looks. 
In our classroom we use the Pictionary idea every week.  We are of the Letter of the Week variety in our school.  We follow Handwriting Without Tears and we tie it all together by creating a picture dictionary to go with our letters.  So, if we are studying Bb, we learn our letter and sound, work on our HWT workbook, and then find that letter in our picture dictionary and write 3 words and draw a picture for each word.  In the beginning of the year we have words and pictures available to the students, but by this time of the year some students are creating their own words, phonetically, and drawing their own pictures.  Its amazing to see.
We also love to create books... classroom books, individual books, itty bitty books.  Some are open ended, others have a specific purpose.  For example, when we learned about apple trees we created both an individual book and a classroom book of what we knew about the apple tree, it's life cycle, where we find apple trees and what we do with the apples when they grow.  It was amazing and each book was different.  Did we have supplies available to use, yes, but each student used them differently. We had to write down words some students dictated, but others were able to write some idea's on their own.  It was both awesome and it was a hard pill to swallow when "Joey" decided that his tree was growing green apples, red apples AND yellow apples, but it was his way of showing understanding that there were more than 1 kind of apple tree, his 5 yr old brain just couldn't place them all on different trees.  So, allowing for some inconsistency's and looking further for the meaning can give students the confidence they need to try again, and not feel like they were wrong.  I hope I'm not digressing here ;)
I love using art in the classroom.  Drawing and creating are both area's of curriculum that are supported and encouraged in our TK.  We use it from Math and Social Studies to Science and Language Arts... it is a tool we couldn't live without.
I am looking forward to the next chapter in the book Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites by Marcia Tate which will be discussed by Dee Wills over at Mrs. Will Kindergarten.  I enjoy reading everyone's posts from the Linky party too!!!  This is a great way to gain ideas and share information. 

Our Farm in Action...

The kids LOVED the farm theme in the classroom this week!!  The Duck Pond was a huge success, but so was the Chicken Coop.  I was surprised at how much fun they had in the chicken coop.  They loved collecting the eggs, gathering veggies from the garden and milking Bessy the cow.  It was so sweet. 
We added slime to the mix this week also.  It was just a little science experiment that we had wanted to try for a few weeks, and we finally got to it this week.  Slime, along with some farm animals = FUN!!!

The Duck Pond in action!!  Although the slide was a little steep, the kids loved it and kept most of the water in the water tables.  I was surprised at the precision they had when transferring the water the from one table to the other. 


The dry erase boards were temporarily moved when we made room for the farm areas, and the kids have LOVED using them in the dramatic play area, where the chicken coop and milking cow are located.  They are really practicing their writing and drawing.  It is so much fun to watch.

Here is the actual coop :)  The kids love it!!!

Since we are TK we do a lot of differentiating.  I have students who are still working on learning letters and sounds all the way to students who are reading and writing stories.  So, we have been doing a lot of writing activities that go along with our farm theme.  One of our first writing activities was drawing a picture of what our job on the farm would be, and them writing what our job is.  I loved the one that said, "My job on the farm is riding the chickens."  and also, "My job on the farm is helping the animals."  So cute!!!   We also wrote about what we get from cows.   We received a lot of "milk" responses, but we did get a few burgers, meat, and butter.  I was proud of them. 

The Baby Chicks finally made it to school too!!!  More pics to come!!!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Night at the Museum, we're almost there!!!

It's been causing some anxiety, sleepless nights, and at least one panic attack, BUT... it is finally coming together!!!! 
The TK Farm at the Night at the Museum!!!! 
Our "Duck Pond"
I know, it doesn't look exactly like a duck pond, but every time we visit a children's museum there is always a water feature for the kids to play in.   So this year I decided to add one!!!  I know that it isn't like the awesome sensory tables that I find over at Sand and Water Tables, but it is my first water sensory table and considering... I think it looks pretty good ;) 
(and yes, I totally think the slide is a little to steep... live and learn)

Chicken Coop... almost done, but I forgot the chicken boxes, so that will be finished tomorrow. 
And of course we can't forget Bessy the Cow!!  She is pretty much done, we have to hook up the "udders" and attach her tail and then she will be all set to play with.  She is always a favorite!!!

This is our veggie garden!!!  I am so excited.  I have seen it on Pinterest every time  I search farm theme and I have always wanted to make it.  But last year I had the chicks and veggies to sew, and I had to make a new Bessy last year too, so I never got around to it :(  but this year, I did grabbed some things I had around the house and busted it out!!!  WooHoo!!   I


When we have the whole space up and running I'll try to get some action photos.  I know it will be another great Night at the Museum!!!!