December 13, 2017

Fan Girl Moments

Have you ever had one of those moments when you finally meet someone you have admired for a very long time? Well that happened to me this week. I was able to attend a 2 day conference in Charlotte, NC put on by SED.
The conference was called Tried and True Fun and New With Kim and Crew. Let me tell you if you have never attended one of these conferences then do it! I was lucky enough that my district paid the fee for me to attend. Let me tell you WOW! I have been energized. This was my first conference and what a way to start. I am hooked.

First off I got to met two of my favorite blog ladies. I stalk--I mean I read their blogs weekly for ideas and ways to make my Kindergarten classroom better. To be able to hear them talk in person and learn from their experiences was amazing. I also meet Adam Peterson from Teachers Learn Two. He talked about how important play is to his classroom.



Writers Workshop:

Drawing is writing in kindergarten. Students need you to model how to draw a picture. How to add those details and real life colors. You should start your Writers Workshop with teaching students how to draw pictures that tell a story. Its important for students to write everyday. (Directed Drawing is a great way to practice this)

Here is a big one--Share the Pen! I have never really used this because OMG it takes them forever to sound out a word and write the letters. Well guess what--THEY DON'T WRITE THE WHOLE WORD! Did you get that--They don't write the whole word (not unless they are able to). They can write just the letter they hear in the word. People this is a major eye opener for me. I will now try this in my classroom. Make sure you have them say the sentence first and then count the words in the sentence. Draw lines on the paper for each word.  

Only stretch out words during whole group time. This allows students to learn how to use this skill. When they are writing have them stretch out the word. Never correct them or give them the letter. Instead praise them for being courageous enough to try. 

Status of the class--After your mini-lesson take a status of the class. Hand each student a sheet of paper and ask them-What are you going to write about today? After they tell you send them to their seats to begin. If they don't know have them sit on the carpet listening to their friends-this should give them an idea to write about. If for some reason they still don't know, tell them that is okay-you will discuss it with them today during recess and they can write then. That should do it!

Don't write on their paper. All we are teaching them is that we can do it better then them. WOW! I thought I was helping them but it turns out NOT! Write on the back where they can't see it or read it. This allows you to know what they were trying to write/draw so that you know what you need to target in your mini-lessons. Students need to know that we value their work and that we value their best effort!

Always allow time for students to practice and to share. By allowing them to share we build their confidence as writers. 


Reading 

I already do a lot of what was talked about because I stalk--umm follow these ladies and use a lot of their advice from their blogs. But as I teacher we always learn something new. Here are my take aways.

1. keep a basket with the books we love to read over and over again. Allow a student to pick from the basket each day and read that book to the class. By hearing a story over and over again it will build their reading comprehension and fluency.

2. Read the same stories for the week. You can add a craft and retelling activity to a center the following week. In that center you should add the book and materials. The student will be familiar with the book because you have read from it the week before. This was huge for me because I have always tried to incorporate and art project to go with as many stories as I can. I believe by creating something meaningful to go along with  story you are building their reading comprehension. It was nice to have this validated  as well. 

3. As you ask students questions about the book--Never just tell them they are correct. Open the book back up and look for the answer inside. This will teach them to go back to the text for their answers. This will help when you give them that retelling activity to be done in their station the following week. 

4. Keep retelling crafts in their bag of books. They can practice retelling a story during their silent reading time. Silent reading time is very important in kindergarten. You can build stamina a little at a time each day. 

5. Model, Model, Model! Be the reader your students need you to be.


Math

Let me start by saying--I DO NOT LIKE box curriculum for kindergarten! Why can't districts just listen to kindergarten teachers when we tell them its no good! I mean it has no engagement! I believe districts should let us pick what we would buy for our class. Here is what I would pick. 


 Math Stations and Centers The COMPLETE SetMath and Literacy Stations:  The COMPLETE SETKindergarten Small Group Guided MathKindergarten Math : COMPLETE BUNDLE ALL ELEVEN UNITS
You may ask why this and not a traditional math curriculum. Well this has been tested by actual teachers with real students in the real world. Just think how much money districts would save if they listened to us.

Sorry I will get off my soap box now. 

Here are my take aways-

1. Have two to a station--2 students work--3 students have a party. 
2. If you pull a student from the station to work with them--let the other student have a stuffed animal or pretend pet they can play the game with. They will get twice the practice.
3. Its okay if they don't finish the work--as long as they worked hard and did their best then they were successful at it. 
4. Make sure you teach games that can be used for a verity of skills. They game they demoed with the bump game. You can teach the concept of the game but then change it to higher numbers as you move alone. Another example was the more or less games. You can change it from numbers to adding or subtracting. They still play the same way but the content is changed. 


Wow that is a lot of information! Are you still with me.

Just a few final notes!

If you have not checked out this resources make sure that you give it a good look. I will be using it in my class starting in January. 
Transitions: Tackling Transitions by Kim Adsit

One of the biggest things we do as teachers is repeat ourselves. Well no more for this teacher. I am going to be using the tattling monster and the clean up trick. 

Here is how each works:

The tattling monster--first teach your students is it a tattle or telling. I found a great song to help with this. Once they understand the difference you can show them the tattling monster. If they come up and tattle just remove a piece. Students will not like loosing a part of their monster so they will learn to think twice before tattling.  

Clean Up--find a fast paced fun song to listen to for clean up time. Make sure it is one you like because you will be listening to it a lot over the school year. Teach students that once the song starts playing they are to try to bet the song by being done cleaning up before the song ends. If they do give them an air high five. If not remove a piece from the the clean up chart. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my experience over the last two days. 
Let me know if you have been to a conferance and if so what did you learn. 

April 30, 2017

My Classroom is Moving!

That's right you--you heard me! We are moving! I have waited for 15 years for my husband to get on board. Don't get me wrong I love Florida. It will always be my home state. I am just so over the 10 months of summer, no winter, and the LONG HOT DAYS!

We started our journey in September. We decided to we would look around at different states to see what they offered. Well we picked the beautiful state of Virginia. We attended a couple of job fairs and talked with many teachers, superintendents, and recruiters for their states, We picked an area that we thought would make us happy and started applying. Well last week it happened. We got the call that we had been waiting on. We were both offered teaching positions in the same school. My husband will be teaching third grade and I will be teaching Kindergarten! My heart is so happy right now--I am about to burst. 

We will make the move in June. We will be staying with a friend the month of June and then on to VA in July. We will start at our new school in August. I am looking forward to this wonderful adventure



January 25, 2017

Ahhh... A New Year

Its time to go back to school after a very sad winter break--check out my post under My Life.

So we are back at school and having to get back into the swing of things. My little kinders are so talkative this  year. So how do I channel that inner energy. Will a little shaving cream word work activity. Students were given shaving cream on their desk and we sounded out CVC words.  It was fun and they really showed me how much they had been practicing over the break.


I promise to get better at this friends. 

September 5, 2016

September Means Fall

Welcome back friends. Its a new school year. I am back in Kindergarten! And I now have a brand new blog design thanks to Blogs Fit For A Queen. 

It's September friends and that means Fall is almost here. I LOVE FALL and all things pumpkin spice. Being a southern girl however means that my fall is way different. Its still in the hight 90s here in Florida. I dream of days when I will live in a place that actually has fall. 


My dream home!
Anyway! My school year is up and running. My little kinders and I have been in school now for 3 weeks. Well maybe 2 and a half weeks due to a small hurricane that come through last week. That's right friends we had 2 days off school for a hurricane and then a 3 day weekend due to Labor Day. We were lucky where I live only rain and wind but people further north not so lucky. 

My class this year is super sweet. I have 6 girls and 14 boys and let me tell you they are a talkative bunch of little ones. They work and play LOUD! I am trying an app  Too Noisy. It seems to be working for now. We will see how long it last. 




How do you control the talking and noise in you class? 

June 10, 2015

Currently


I am linking up with Oh' Boy 4th Grade for this months currently post.









My husband has to be the most energetic morning person I have ever met. He wakes up in such a great mood and usually singing very LOUDLY and off key. Oh my! I am so not a morning person. I need about 4 cups of coffee before I can even deal with the day let alone someone as happy as he is. I think his morning goal is to drive me nuts before my coffee kicks in. Love him!


My summer goal is to read Teaching with Intention by Debbie Miller and Students taking charge by Nancy Sulla. These two books are inspiring. I am hoping that my teacher self with be motivated and recharged for the coming year. 


All in all I plan to relax this summer. Enjoy the beach and have some fun. What about you. What are your summer plans?



           

June 4, 2015

Teaching With Intention A Summer Book Study

I am super excited to be linking up with Kindergarten Smorgasbord and all these wonderful teachers for a summer book study. 






So let's get this summer party started. 




In chapter one we examine what our idle classroom would look like. I must admit with it being the summer time I do give a lot of thought to this. I even blog stalk look for good examples of what others are doing. My ideal classroom would be a room that is alive with authentic chatter. Students are engaged in what is taking place. My room is well organized and students are taking ownership for their learning. You should be able to look around my room and see projects the students have completed. The actual classroom is bright and cheery. 




In my ideal classroom the students are leading the learning. They know the routines and what is expected. They are so excited and having so much fun that they don't even realize they are learning. As the teacher of the ideal classroom I am facilitating the learning and observing the great work going on. I am able to conference one on one with students. Meet in small groups with students that may be struggling with a concept. I am there more as a resource then anything else. 



I am lucky that I already have a theme that I love. I do a polka pot with orange and green. I love it and it makes it easier to add boarder. I love changing my boarders to match what we are learning. I am also really organized so that coming into a new year everything is right where I need it. 



I do need to work on my class library. I have never been happy with it. I need a system that I can live with from year to year. I also need to work on my room layout. I would like it to be set up with an easy flow. I also need to work on keeping my desk clean. I have a bad habit of just putting things on it thinking I will deal with it later and then I don't until it becomes to hard for me to look at and then I clean it.  






















November 14, 2014

Shadow Puppet.

Have you heard of the app called Shadow Puppet? I started using it in my classroom a few weeks ago and my little ones are going crazy for it. They use it during math and reading centers. Here are a few examples of our some work done by our class.
It is super simple to use. First students take pictures of what ever they are going to report on. Then they go to the Shadow Puppet app. They start a new project. Then they clip the photos they want to use in the order they want to use them. Next they add fonts and music--if they choose to. Then they record their information and save it. Its that simple. People I tell you my kiddos are in love! They find all kinds of ways to use it. Try it and let me know what you think.