Monday, August 19, 2013

First Days in K

Need to start off with this lovely perfectly true quote I found from Babbling Abby!

Oh Man! Kindergarten is exhausting... not in a terrible, I don't want to do this way... but in a "I am a mother of 21 five year olds," kind of way. I do not have kids of my own and now I understand how my mother felt with 4 children always grabbing for her attention.

I want to make note, as a reminder for next year, Kindergarteners do not have a full grasp of elementary school regardless of what their experience in school was prior. All students need a slow transition into procedures, routines, academics, social times, and just that realization that "play" turns into "activities" (which let's be honest are not the same thing).

I am wishing for a great year, both for my students and myself. I am looking forward to having lots of fun learning and growing! But these first weeks are rough.... there is so much for my Kinders to learn. I feel bad for them and myself. It is hard to ease into a daily routine when everything takes 2x 3x longer than in November. I am struggling on that fine line between being "boring" routine procedures and slightly more interesting "academic" lessons. I know Harry Wong says to not teach academics before all procedures are firm, but how can a school day last from 8-3 (mine literally is) with only procedures. My students need to get up/more, explore, hear a story, relax, 'learn" about school, etc.

I am hoping my students are getting a good mix of the procedures of school and academic content... whether or not that may be cutting out a rectangle and being able to tell your neighbor that a rectangle has four sides... Hey we are getting in cutting procedures and math standards!!

If none of this makes sense then you can tell how my brain has been since going back to work. Why is the "Back to School" slump so hard? I mean, if I am being honest, I worked all summer! Got up early (at least 8) everyday, read a teaching technique book of many kids (probably a blog or two as well), printed and laminated many d├ęcor accents, went on a range of school supply shopping bins, and stayed up late enjoying working at my own pace on my classroom community plans. And yet once children sit in those desks... it is the real work being needed.

I am loving my students this year! I great group of personalities. I cannot wait to see how these little Kindergarteners grow up to be 1st graders. I am already so excited to see their progress. After all the exhaustion from these first couple days... I am blessed to have a job that is demanding but rewarding just the same!

I would love to hear others' thoughts on the balance between procedure and routine.

Here are a couple photos of the first couple days...


Oh! And I moved my room all around today after school... Pictures posted tomorrow? Let's hope!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Classroom Tour 2013-2014: Kindergarten!

Sunny in Kindergarten: Classroom Tour
Now I want to start off by explaining that my classroom is almost finished and an important piece (LARGE Mailboxes) was finished being painted today, so it is out of the room. I also want to point out that a small amount of these pictures were taken the last couple of weeks and are not the updated product! This is also what has been put together for a couple weeks without much forward though; I have not taught Kindergarten before and would definitely rearrange a couple areas next years.
Left: Numbers & Ten Frames     Right: Word Wall

Sight Word Line Leaders! (My favorite creations from my cricut.. plan is to change them monthly)

Student Cubbies & Book Boxes (Not sure how the book boxes at the bottom of cubby will work?!)
BUT I am willing to try because I am out of space...

My Welcome Banner

Table Arrangements for Open House
Each table is a different color: Green, Pink, Purple, Blue
My G.O. Binders are spotted here along with "My Future Is So Bright I Have to Wear Shades" from Second Grade Shenanigans 

LOVING My Super Improvers "Wall" or Really Front of Desk.

Had to share my lovely new carpet from my school.... MORNING MEETING Time

I love my library organization.... But am sad this is an old picture without my labels.
Purple: Leveled Books (Nonfiction&Fiction)
Blue: Characters & Favorite Authors
Green: Themes
Pink: Nonfiction
Example of my labels...
Obsessed with these I created using some of the free resources floating around...
(the letters from Swimming Into Second Grade)
I wanted my Kinders to easily be able to identify the difference between Nonfiction & Fiction;
This is how Pete The Cat and Sally the cat became Book Bin Labels!

Obsessed with my Dry Erase DOTS

 Sight Word Ice Cream Fun... How big will your sundae be?

A little bit of my calendar time shows here... My plan is to have the students sit at another carpet I have in my room (from DONORSCHOOSE!) and work with the physical items and move slowly to their binder and Smart Board interactions. {Also my rocking chair is short & perfect}

There is so much more I would love to share of my room.... I just ran out of school this evening and forgot about all the other areas that would interest bloggers... oh boo! I will update classroom pictures throughout the school year.  

Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday Made It! - Delicious Words

Made It Monday, August 5th - Ah! "First Day of School" is just around the corner (ready or not?!)
For this Made It Monday with 4th Grade Frolics I am showing a section of my classroom.
"Teach For America" has a different energy than I would say my new school and district. Most of their push for urgency, rigor, tracking growth, high expectations and ect. can be taken into my Kindergarten class. Now I believe all teachers, administrators and parents have these ideas in place, but the way at which it is approached within Teach For America it has become ingrained on my brain. So... When I knew I was moving down to Kindergarten I was excited! I can use a couple different "tracking" incentives for my students that weren't quite applicable in my 2nd grade classroom with Teach For America. I created a Dig Into Delicious Words to reward and push my students to learn sight words.
First I want to say I am NOT an artist. I usually have such an issue with trying to draw even a simple tree and grass picture, but I couldn't find on the great world wide web what I was looking for. So I created....

This is my "SUNDAE" for which my students will strive to color in. Each section has a number associated with it. The number corresponds to how many sight words a student knows. After I test their knowledge of sight words (once a week... probably on Fridays), a student could have the opportunity to color in a section. Now the fun part, an ICE CREAM PARTY. At the end of the year... which ever sections were filled in during the school year is the sundae you will receive (see the incentive part).
Now let me show you this process to create my wall...
First I cut out all 24 Sundaes and Spoons. (I should give a shout out to my little sister who cut out 10 for me.. It is also her 21st Birthday today! Love you Sammy)
Not going to lie cutting out was miserable.

(I want to tell you here that the little bear on the sundae represents gummy bears.. my husband wasn't so impressed with that drawing of mine ha)

Next I glued the pieces on a variety of colored construction paper. Knowing me there was a secret pattern in my "variety".

Now! These sundaes need to be able to come down for my students to color them. So I hot glued clothespin on my wall (not I am not sure how easily they will be able to come off for the end of the year but oh well... it works great now). To make sure I had enough space I started in the middle and placed the construction paper on the clothespin and then placed the next clothespin... ect.

Lastly I have my finished wall! I am so excited to push my students to learn those sight words with a delicious treat. Lastly I am deciding whether or not each clothespin should have their student number on it or of their name on the construction paper is enough... We will see!
Thanks for looking today on my Made It Monday! Good luck as everyone goes back to school.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Currently.... Aug

It is back to school mode and it is making me exhausted. Here is my August "Currently" from Oh' Boy 4th Grade. I would love to write more about my adventures in Kindergarten, but my brain is shutting down.

Here is a sneak peak into what I have been doing...
Until next time,