Friday, June 10, 2016

Lessons Learned

Ahhhhh! Summer! That time of year that a teacher can take a breath and be ok. That time of year when  a teacher can drink two cups of coffee and not worry about making it till lunch time or special! LOL

The end of the year is bitter sweet. We are so ready for summer. The kids are too! The thought of saying goodbye after all those days together is still sad - even after 26 years! I can't even believe I have been teaching that long! Where does the time go?  I can't believe my kids are almost all grown up! The DD will be starting her teaching career this fall. OMG! She will be moving to a new state and everything. When I walk by my living room right now, I kinda can't wait. I know when the day comes, I will be crying like a baby! I am so happy and excited for her though! She has worked so hard to get to this point! Super proud!  It will just be different that she will have her own place and not come home for the breaks! Another new. The DS will be a sophomore. That is going too fast. He's the one I am afraid will never leave the house! HA! We will tell with time.

The end of this school year brought three kindergarten teachers retiring out of the six of us. Half the team. We did hire three wonderful teachers to fill their spots. We will continue to have a strong team that will advocate for early childhood education!

As I watched the retirees pack up their classrooms and go through everything in their rooms, I had some thoughts.

1- All kindergarten teachers are basically hoarders. :-)  I think because we are always looking at books, blogs, and Pinterest and thinking that would be great! I'm going to do it. Do we really have ALL that time to do ALL the cute ideas we find? And then we go to do it and we can't find ALL the materials to do the project because our cabinets are so full, you can't find anything. Because we hoard everything and shove it in closets. Please tell me, it's not just me!?!?!  I look at my two Ikea bookshelves in my classroom ( and some filing cabinet drawers) and think -"Do I need those books anymore?" At one point, that is all we had. We had to get a book so we had some materials. Now we have the internet. We can find anything we want. We can find several versions. We can be picky about which one we choose to use. We can find ways to do it better, easier and cheaper than we thought. Thanks to all the wonderful sharing teachers out there.

2- Everything old is new again. As I watched materials being pulled from the back of the cabinets, I was reminded of shifts in education. Character building was huge. We had kits, we had books. Is it still important? OF COURSE! Is it the hot new buzz word? No. "Old Fashioned" bulletin board sets. Homemade. Before color printers. Before clipart cd's. They are still nice and good. Do we use them? Hardly ever. Do we still put up bulletin boards? Yes. Manipulatives - remember when they were well made? Wooden pattern blocks. Now they are cheap plastic and the set is so small. But yet we are still using them. Fiction books, non fiction books, shared reading, whole language, portfolios, cooperative learning... the list goes on.

3- Classrooms do NOT have to be Pinterst worthy. Not every classroom is going to look as good as some of those pictures. That's OK! As Pete would say, "It's all good!" Do I think an organized classroom is important? Absolutely! Does that mean different things to different people? Yes. So long as you are happy it's good. Does it mean you are not a great teacher if your room doesn't look like some of those pictures? NO! Is it ok that you worry about feeding yourself and/or your family before buying things for the classroom? YOU BETCHA!

4- It is truly the relationships with the students that matter! On our last day at our school wide morning meeting, they announced the retirees to the students. The cafeteria lady, the reading specialist and the three kindergarten teachers. The groans for each one made me cry. I'm hoping when they announce my name one day on my very last day of teaching, that there will be a groan too. That will mean I have made an impact.

5- I need to keep working! I LOVE my job! Yes, I do love summer and the break. I need to keep working though because I love the kids and teaching. One day I will be ready to retire. But NOT now. Unless I win the lottery! ;-)

6- I need to clean out! I have to stop pinning and start using. I need to use what I have and be done with it. When the hubby says, "Are we collecting egg cartons still?" I will say no. Somehow I would be able to manage to get 24 of them if I needed them. The parents help. Other teachers help. The custodians and cafeteria people help. It takes a village. I don't need to store the village in my room! I have shared some "extras" with the new teachers. I will be sharing more when I clean out more. I have decided to put a sticker or some mark on an item as I use it. If it doesn't get a mark, it is going. The "might need it one day" phrase will be struck from my vocabulary.

7- I will let the students use the "good markers" and share my things. Why else did I get it? They will take care of things. I will have taught them how to do that. And if they forget and leave the marker cap off, it's ok. I have about 100 more! We will use the art materials and we will not hoard them! If I have to get more, I will.

8- I will not be waiting until the last two weeks of school to clean out my room when I retire. I will start in September. When we are done with a unit, I will clean that unit out. I will not take my first week of retirement cleaning out my room. Well, I guess we will need to wait and see on that one. And I will not be taking ALL of it home. Yes, my books will be coming home with me. I will read to the grandbabies that I may have one day. But what would I do with the rest of it? It's just stuff! That's all. The older I get- especially after cleaning out my mom's house - the more I realize that.

Ok - those are my thoughts and lessons I hope to have learned from this year. If you agree - YEA. If you don't, that's ok too! That is what makes the world go around!




Sunday, May 29, 2016

Carson Dellosa Summer Bridge Activities




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        Carson-Dellosa Summer Bridge Activities

Well, look at me! I'm blogging! I really LOVE to blog. I just don't get how all of you wonderful bloggers get it all done! I'm kinda jealous! I have so much I want to share. I'm thinking this will be the year! Watch out people! lol Have I said that before?

Any who's! Carson-Dellosa sent me the Summer Bridges Actvities book to bridge K to 1. I think this is a GREAT resource for kids during the summer! It is substantial but not overwhelming.  Any it is so well organized! There are three sections - one for each summer month. :) There are activity pages, experiments, social studies activities, fitness ideas and outdoor ideas. They are covering it all! We CAN prevent summer lose! We just need to get the parents on board and this is a great way to do that! Check out the video! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vek6YTeiFY

There is a simple, easy, straightforward introduction for the caregivers. Not overwhelming for them either. It suggests doing 2 pages every day. That is about perfect for kindergarteners. I want them to have fun this summer, but I don't want them to lose what I taught them! It is certainly a nice recap of all the skills we have done. They even do a little previewing for first grade! Here is a little preview for you! http://www.carsondellosa.com/brands/summer-bridge  Check out which grade level you are interested in! 

The book includes flashcards for the students to cut out and use. It has a certificate to be filled out at the end of the summer. It even includes stickers to put on the pages after they are completed! It has everything but a pencil and crayons! 

At the top of each page it also tell you what skill you will be working on that day. I'm telling you - it has it all! And it is Common Core aligned! If that is not enough for you - then you can check out http://www.carsondellosa.com/summer-learning-activities  There are even more activities to do there! Sign up! Don't fret! Get the help and ideas you need from them! 

This is a great resource and not a bad price! It is set at $14.99. I don't think that is bad for an entire summer's worth of activities and ideas. What an investment that would be! 

Way to go CD!Keep on learning! 

 I participate in the Brand Ambassador Program for Carson-Dellosa and I received this product for free to try and review

Monday, April 4, 2016

SPRING!!! Bulletin Board Set

Spring!!!! It’s here! Well, it says so on the calendar! Now if the weather would figure it out! I’m tired of coats! I’m tired of still helping zip up the little one’s coats! I want no coats! I want the coat closet doors to close and not have anything fall out! Soon – it has to happen soon!

Well, I took down the bulletin board. Now to decorate it tomorrow. I can’t wait to use this new set from Carson Dellosa!



This set has tons included. I’m laughing ‘cause it is called a Mini Bulletin Board set, but I know that it will cover the whole board! It has headers, accents, smaller signs, and lots of student pieces. It is soo cute! There are flowers and rain stuff and a sun and umbrellas. So even though April is for showers – there are some cute pieces that are sunny! I’m pretty sure this will last the rest of the year! ;-)





I am not quite sure what I will use it for but I’ll figure that out. Maybe the kids will help me! I know I can use it for displaying student work. I could use it for math facts, sight words, April words, weather instruction- so many possibilities! I’ll be able to change it up with the headers. This is a great “mini” set! 

  I participate in the Brand Ambassador Program for Carson-Dellosa and have received this product for free to review.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Science - Interactive Notebooks

Interactive Notebooks -Science
The interactive notebook craze continues. Carson Dellosa continues to support the trend. There are great kindergarten appropriate topics in this book. All the topics are sorted by the categories – life, physical, and Earth and space. Eleven activities in each category. Jammed packed if you ask me! I love being a Carson Dellosa Brand Ambassador – makes my heart happy trying out these products and breathing a sigh of relief when they fit perfectly into my curriculum! This is a fun thing to do with the students – and really helpful in their thinking process. We all know – hands on is the way to go! This gives them a great way to make their learning stick – it is interactive and helps organize their thinking. The more we do this type of organizational thinking in the younger grades, the more the students will transfer it on their own as they get older.
I really enjoy teaching these science topics with the students. The resources in this book make life easier! It is all done and ready! And something for everything! Even if you do not do the whole notebook thing, you can still use these on a piece of construction paper. Do several that go together and make them into a book. Possibilities are endless! The end of the book has lots of reproducibles too! So you can create your own! Keep it going!

  I participate in the Brand Ambassador Program for Carson-Dellosa and have received this product for free to review.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Valentine's Day Mini Bulletin Board Set

OK where does life go?? How is it February? How is it half way through February?? I have written this post and about 20 more in my head. I just can’t find the time to get them on paper. I am really shocked how busy life can be even when the kids have left the house! OH MY! I keep thinking that every week, I will get there….and then I don’t. I’m sorry – I feel like I start off every post like this. I don’t know how some of you do it! Hats off to you!
On to more important things…

Valentine’s Day may be over. But the Mini Bulletin Board set from Carson Dellosa is still A-DOR – ABLE! There are 56 pieces in this ‘mini’ set. I think that is not so mini!  What a great set to use for the holiday or for a unit on writing letters! Or for a Random Act of Kindness bulletin board. They even give you some cute ideas for using it too! It will make a great full size bulletin board.

There is a sweet mailbox – don’t kids love getting mail! We, as adults, only think of mail as bills. It is fun to actually get a letter! This would be a great to leave notes for the kids. I can see this set as a great positive reward or showing off great work! My kinders would love to get a note that they can read now.

This set includes a header, signs, mailbox, bee accents, heart accents and student pieces that look like little envelopes. I do like these “mini” sets – you can do tons with them and make them go as far as you want. I know some rooms have small bulletin boards – so perfect. And yet, a larger bulletin board – once you add the student work or art work -it would fill right up. I love the colors too – bright but not overly bright.

So all in all. Another win! Cute, practical and fun! And can be used for more than just a holiday!

 I participate in the Brand Ambassador Program for Carson-Dellosa and have received this product for free to review.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Five for Friday =on a Sunday


                                                                                                                         






I wanted to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five For Friday. I had good plans to get this done- then life once again got in the way!  So I figured better late than never, so here is my Five For Friday on Sunday!

                                                          

Found this at Target. It's pink, it's glittery and it's HAPPY! Perfect for my classroom! It's sitting on the cabinet and I can see it often to remind me to be HAPPY! I love/hate that dollar spot! Well, I love it, but I think the hubs doesn't so much! lol




It was the 80th day of kindergarten! I can't believe it! It is going too fast!!! The kids are even telling me what color shirt to wear under it. lol They wanted me to wear a red long sleeve, but that was in the wash. So I had to wear my white one. Kreative in Kinder has all sorts of cute shirts! 




Healthy Eating! It's a new year! Lots have changed and things should be great this year! Pasta Primevera is one of my favorites! OK- so I didn't make this. My daughter did. I taught her how - way back! She was home from college while I was back at work. So she made dinners all week! It was AWESOME! And YUMMY!!  We already went shopping this week for some more healthy meals! I will be making those myself!

 

 Dear Daughter went back to college today - and will start student teaching tomorrow! OMG! I can't believe it! How did that happen?!?!? She is student teaching in High School in Math! She LOVES it! I can't wait to watch her grow in this experience! Proud mama here! 





Well, these just made me happy when I saw them at Sam's Club! Years ago, my hubs and kids were shopping there and my son wanted to get me flowers -so he picked blue ones. It was Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Those blue flowers lasted until New Years. He wanted to get them because they matched our blue kitchen. That sweet "little" boy is in college - kinda far from home. These were a sweet memory! 



Well, not much school stuff there on the Five For Friday - but that's ok. It was a good week at school. The kids came back ready to learn! They said such sweet things about missing school and wanting to learn more. :) It made my heart happy! They never missed a beat. They remembered everything they needed to, to hit the road running! 

Oh happy teaching day! 








Sunday, January 3, 2016

Back to School January Style

Light black gold happy new year with stripe Stock PhotographyWell, it's Sunday night and the football game is on. :-) I stayed out of the building for the whole winter break! I did it! I have been busy cleaning around the house. We have thrown out TONS! I have three bags to take to school this week. You all do that too don't you? You clean out at home and decide that you can use it in your classroom. Oh that needs cleaned out too. I'm feeling motivated though! This is the year! 
I cleaned up the emails from school - it's all fresh and ready to go! I made a list of things that I want to do tomorrow with my kinders! None of it is on the lesson plans. That's ok! I'm good with it. I knew I better make a list though or I would forget what I wanted to do with them. I really want to talk, work on, discuss, move toward a POSITIVE GROWTH MINDSET. I bought the book Mindsets In the Classroom by Mary Cay Ricci today. I'm super excited to start reading it. Probably when I'm done this post. lol 
I also bought Beautiful Oops. It's not close by ( it's in the teacher bag) or I would tell you the author. I bought Growth Mindset by Darlin' Little Learners.  I can't wait to start using it tomorrow. That's on the list! I bought The Book With No Pictures too. Ok, it was a big shopping day! It's the only day I did any over break (I think). I'm really working on having less. So purchases are just not necessary. Don't worry! I'll still be buying things! I'm a kindergarten teacher! We did stop at Target too. I didn't buy out the dollar spot, but I did snag the pink, glittery HAPPY sign! :) That's going to the classroom. Yep, it's in a bag! I don't think I'm going to take all of the bags tomorrow. I don't think I could carry them all. My sweet husband offered to take me into school today to take the bags, but I said no. I was totally enjoying vacation! BALANCE! That's a great word for the year! I've seen it floating all over. I did pick the word HAPPY. I just like being happy. We are empty nesters - it's really fun! Fun makes me happy! 

So the list for tomorrow isn't that long. But it's loaded with FUN! I can't wait to see my students tomorrow! I would love some more time off, but I do miss those little ones! I can't wait to hear about their holidays. That should be fun! I want to read Squirrel's New Year Resolution by Pat Miller tomorrow too. Then we will write some of our goals/resolutions too. Of course.

I want to remind them that they need to help me too! I started a special desk/table for our special student. It has an adult swivel chair, colored pencils, pens, etc. But I keep forgetting to remind the special student to sit there. I need them to be responsible. I need them to tell me that's what they are doing. I also want the special student to tell me of any photo opportunities through out the day. I'm so bad at remembering to take pictures. I figured they can do that! 

I also want to review seating arrangements. I want them to understand that they can choose where they want to sit - table, floor, rug. They can make that choice. I want them to be responsible. I also want to discuss if they need anything special to help make this happen. 

I also want to teach them how to answer the phone. It never fails that I am far away from the phone when it rings. I want to teach them to be polite on the phone. I want them to know who will answer the phone - special student! I have wanted to do this for awhile, but never take the time. TOMORROW IS IT!! 

I also have a guidance lesson tomorrow. Welcome back! It will be a busy, HAPPY day! I can't wait! Oh - we might get to something on the lesson plans! lol