Saturday, August 31, 2013

Building stamina and learning procedures!

WHEW! I am exhausted BUT loving my new sweet kinders. Thankful for this 3 day weekend!
Several other kinder classes in my building have been implementing Daily 5. We are still launching Read to Self but I will admit, this is the first year that I have felt that my ELA block is rocking strong! My kids are begging to read longer and are loving competing with other classes. (Side note: one of my sweet babies stopped a THIRD grade teacher and asked how their class was building stamina during Read to Self! I am loving them using the vocab and really "getting it!")

Here is an overview of the first 2 weeks of school!

We started the very first day creating anchor charts and reading lots of books! This was the very first anchor chart we created bright and early on the first day of school.  After coming to the carpet and reading a favorite, "Pete the Cat, the Wheels on the Bus'" we talked about what our carpet time should look like and sound like. I rephrased what they were saying with my expectations already pre-made. As they each come up with an idea, a friend would come to the chart and tape it to the poster board. This is how I like to create anchor charts that will hang in the room because my drawing and writing just cannot compare! This chart then works perfectly with the behavor clip chart system. Ready to Learn is where my children start everyday and before they were introduced to the behavior chart they were already learning the expectations. (I actually did not introduce the clip chart system for 2 more days and instead we really focused on what "Ready to Learn" looks like. (This anchor chart is from Kim Adsit's 1st Reading Unit.)

Click here to grab Kim Adsit's Unit!!!

One of the first read alouds I read is Brown Bear, Brown Bear which fits perfectly for the 3 ways to Read a Book. I showed my students this book and asked my students how can I read this book. Of course, one answers you read the story, DUH! (Gotta love our babies!) So I answered with of course you read the words on the page. (I then flipped to the book to point to the words on the page for that visual effect for our ESOL and visual learners.) I led to them to the Read the Pictures. They thought this was so cool! So we went through the book and Read the Pictures. They loved it! Then we went back and Read the Words. I taught Retell the story, the next day. Every book that we have read since making this anchor chart we always touch and read the part on the chart to show how we are reading the book. This really helped drive in home for my slowing to grasp learners and really build their confidence!  (This is a chart I made myself and is being added to my Reading Anchor charts. It will be for sale soon. If you are interested in it, please let me know and we can work it out! :))

Then the fun part began! I introduce my sweet babies to their very special book boxes! We practiced, practiced, practiced and then practiced some more on how to walk and get our book boxes and put them away. We did not touch any books just simply how to carry and put away. It is all about baby steps to get to the Big Goal. They were so excited about their book boxes so we then read the fun and favorite book, "Maybe a Bear Ate it." This is a perfect read aloud to teach how to take care of books. My kinders loved it and we still sometimes go back and read this book. They then helped me build this anchor chart to remind us how to take care of books and have visual in the room. We then practiced, practiced, practiced and practices some more taking books out and putting books back in their book box. We practiced each part A LOT and talked a ton about being a Book Lover! (I even tell my little friends, that in my old and dirty storage closet I have books that are torn and gross and known as boogie books. And if they cannot be a book lover they will have to have a boogie  book! They work really hard to not have a boogies book!

They were loving being book lovers, having their very own book box that now it was time to teach Read to Self/ We read, "Reading Makes you Feel Good." and talked about how much fun reading is. They were eating it right out of my hands. It is all about the delivery, folks!  They already had their confidence built to the clouds that they can read so they were ready to show me! We then created our I-chart for student-teacher jobs, what it looks like and sounds like and then created this chart to be our visual reminder in our room.  (This picture was taken before it got hung in it's special spot so please ignore the chart behind it.)

While talking about Read to Self, I always touch the Read to Self sign on my Daily 5 board. I want them to hear and have a visual of exactly what we are doing. They know this is something we will do every day but they are not aware of the other choices they will begin to learn. EEK cannot wait to share!!

We also been working on reading in our Reading Nooks. (I do not have a picture of this chart but will try to remember to take one.) Right now, I am choosing their spot but moving clothespins down to each picture of a spot in our room. But they do know that when they reach 10 minutes of  reading stamina that they will get to choose their very own spot. I am just LOVING our reading time!! I have been able to read 3-4 books every morning, focusing on 3 Ways to Read a Book and cover so many mini lessons. It have been a great start to the year!!

Now before I sign off, I don't want you to think we are not doing Math in room 117 because we ARE! I just do not have pictures and my Math block is not rocking as much as I would like at this point. I am going to have to work a little more with our afternoon schedule. However, we have created anchor charts for numbers 0-3, begun making a sticker book that will eventually have every number through 10, working on making is all about the Counting and Cardinality in kindergarten!

Next week, we are still building stamina, introducing Word Work, reading left to right,top to bottom, tracking print, demonstrating the difference between letters and words, charting numbers 4-5, organizing shapes largest to smallest and so much more. It has already been a jam packed year full of fun!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Getting Ready for the Big Day!

This past week has been super busy filled with meetings, final touches in the classroom, meeting my new kiddos and getting to know my fabulous new assistant!! It has been a GREAT WEEK! Our principal was so sweet with the help of others in the school and she asked some families and old students to come cheer us on as we came in for our last and big meeting on Friday! Just imagine walking into a meeting in a CHEER TUNNEL! It was so sweet and special! Those sweet children had to wake up bright and early to be at school by 8 on the last Friday of Summer. They loved it and we all loved it!

Wednesday was Meet the Teacher Day! I must say I am pretty sure we got the best little group of kindergartners! My assistant and I worked hard to get the room looking extra special for them. We want them to love coming to school every day!

Each student got to choose a green or blue balloon. Who doesn't love a balloon?! And it added to my green/blue classroom decor!
 I also made each student a sticker! LOVE making stickers for my kinders!! Working on first day of school stickers...! EEK!!

We finished the final touches to the frame on Friday Afternoon. So of course we had to test out how it would look in a picture and our lovely across the hall neighbor took a picture in her room for us! We are ready for Monday and can't wait to take our new kiddos picture in this frame!!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Snapshot view

I love just as much as the next teacher looking at other classrooms and getting new ideas. Here are some pictures and descriptions for your viewing. Maybe you will find something you like!

 This is next to my bulletin board (which I forgot to take a picture of, oops!) I love hanging the pennant on the wall, it gives a 3D element.. My wall space is huge and so I try to add a lot to make it less intimidating! I made little pennant attached to glittery pipe cleaners. Each pennant is holding a kinder's name. AHH so excited to meet these babies!

 My door leading to my classroom. My outside bulletin board reads "Hip Hip Hooray for a Kinder Carolina Day!" In the hallway, I am using the stick kids and I thought this would be fun to add on my door.

This is taken from my door and a straight shot to the back of the room. You will notice 2 reading nooks. One with the green chairs and one with the blue bean bags. That back door leads to our playground.

This is taken on an angle from my front door. You will see my tables, puppet area with reading nook, and our whole group area. These are the only pictures of my whole room but when I get back in I plan to take some from the back and art area. I am missing several elements.

 Here is a picture of my office that I am so lucky to have. The blue rug is new and it just brightens the area up. I still have some organizing to do but at least I can walk in here right now!
 These buckets are labeled by months.  I keep my thematic notebooks in each bucket  and anything else I need for the month. I LOVE this part in my office. It is so great to pull a bucket for a month and have my notebook of my plans, manipulatives etc

L-O-V-E!! This is how I organize my borders. I have been told I have bit of an addiction. ( I have more that are not in the picture.) I used a 3M hook to hang on the inside of my closet. Then just hung each border up. If the border has been opened then I just closed with a small binder clip and hung that on the hook. I have found if I use the mounting tape on the 3M hook  I can hang more border from each hook. I hang about 5-7 borders per hook. One side of my closest is more for style organization. My go to borders for classroom decor and the sparkly for double border. The other side of my cabinet is organized by season/theme for my outside bulletin boards.

 Here is an up close picture of my color balloons. L-O-V-E Last year a group on my team made these for our rooms and these are my favorite way to display colors. They are happy and fun. You will also notice my computers and headphones. I hang my headphone on a 3M hook. This keeps my counter from getting cluttered and the kids have a spot to put the headphone away. Win, Win!

This is an up close of my puppet area. I like having it close to whole group so I have the puppets for stories if need be and I can easily model how to use. Love these blue chairs for the "audience" and also serves as a great reading chair for Daily 5!

This is another reading area. Behind is the back of a cubby that I am doubling as a birthday board. I still have to  finish that part. On the top of the cubby are my two birthday hats (girls and boys) and my birthday balloons I give for their birthday. Kinders love celebrating their birthdays so I try to make that day extra special for them!

This is my table numbers. LOVE the birds this year! I did glue 2 birds together so when they turn and blow you can still see the number. I hung my birds from my paper lanterns!

These are the swirlies that I hung in my art area. (I will get a picture of that area later!)  These came from Party City. Just a pop of color without being overwhelming. No need to compete with the lanterns :)

Here is my Daily 5/CAFE board. WOOT WOOT! On the left for Daily 5 you will notice that all of the choices are not turned over. I will turn each choice over as we launch that choice..

That is all for now. I still have some finishing touches that will be finished next week. Can;t believe tomorrow is the first staff day back! Time to get ready for the sweeties and Meet the Teacher!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I lost 10 lbs. today!

WHEW! I am exhausted. Today was THE day. I entered my room and found all my furniture so nicely piled up on the tile floor. It was time to move everything to its spot. EEK! (This was day 3 in my classroom. If interested in the first two days you can find it here!)

All my nicely arranged stacked furniture

I just now needed to move and arrange my furniture to fit here!

Thankfully, I have some amazing teammates and we worked together to get our furniture moved. My legs, thighs, arms, pretty much every body part got a great workout. (eating a piece of cheesecake was well deserved!) Moving cubbies, bookshelves, tables, chairs, etc Someone could earn big bucks by starting a business aimed just for moving and setting up a teacher's classroom! My room is no where near being finished, (and far from many other classrooms found in blogland and pinterest) but here are some photos of what I accomplished today.

This is a view from my door looking in. I really like my classroom layout this year but it is hard to see with the piles of things on tables. Goal tomorrow: Unpack and Organize!
At the front you can see a few rows of my large carpet area. There is where I will do my whole group teaching, read alouds, and check in with Daily 5. The main thing you can see in this picture is my puppet stand with some adorable puppets. This was gift from a sweet friend who left kindergarten to spread her wings in 2nd grade. Super thankful for this puppet stand so Kelly if you are reading this, THANK YOU! The chairs will double as a viewing area for puppet shows and also as a great spot for Read to Self or Read with Buddy.

This is another favorite spot in my room. If you look at the previous picture you can see a tiny bit of this rug to the left. This is right when you walk in a just a cozy place to read. The orange table will double as a magazine table or author study, endless possibilities! Just another great spot for Read to Self or Read with Buddy. Are you sensing a pattern? I am working hard this year to create great reading nooks in my room!

This is probably my favorite spot in the room! You can see this as you walk in the room towards the back. What a great reading spot! Those "bean bags" are from Bed Bath & Beyond and were in their Dorm Section. (I bought them weeks ago so not sure if they are still there.) These are awesome "bean bags" because the filling inside is hard so I am hoping they will not plop down and get saggy easily. The board behind it will eventually highlight our classroom birthday. And yes again, I set this up with Daily 5 in mind. I am getting super excited about Daily 5!!

I will end with this picture. I L-O-V-E this banner. You can't miss it when you walk in the room and I really  think it sets the tone. It reads: WE LOVE KINDERGARTEN
What have you accomplished so far in your classroom? Share in the comments or leave your link if you have pictures!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The beginnings of "Nothin Could be Finer..."

That first day back to work in my classroom is always full of many emotions and expectations! I am excited to get in and get things moved around,  stress about getting it all done and bittersweet as I think about the memories made and the memories that will be made. I always have high expectations and think I will get way more accomplished then I always do. (I always wonder where did all of this stuff come from?!) To me the room says a lot about the classroom. I work hard to make a fun classroom environment that does not look cookie cutter so my students can "claim" their room. I want them to walk in and feel happy and that they are at home. I also want to walk in my room for 180 days and feel happy! It is a win, win!

This year I was even more ready to get in my room. Last year, I started summer earlier than expected due to my little man making an early appearance. So I was stressing a little this summer thinking about where everything was placed. (I had a fabulous assistant and long term sub who really did a great job of putting things away!) I know things were placed in buckets but its just getting in there and finding it. Then our school's roof had some issues so we were even later getting in the room. And even today I still cannot arrange furniture in my room so instead I have been working on bulletin boards, taking down old decorations (I just had them keep it up to make it easy) and organizing cabinets. I apologize in advance for the long post!

Day 1

Believe it or not this photo was taken after I did some work in my room! I moved some of my tables to the tile so those are not in the picture. Our carpets are going to be shampooed and cleaned so all the furniture that is still on the carpet will actually be moved. Hopefully soon all that furniture in the middle of the room will find its place!  Thanks to two of my fabulous friends we all helped knock out each others' bulletin boards. I don't know about you but I love a good looking bulletin board but I do not enjoy the tedious work it involves. In the background, you can see a green bulletin board. There I will place theme words, writing stuff really just a bunch of words! On the top of the wall you can see my large alphabet set.  I am going back and forth if I am going to keep that set or create a new one. Then a little below is my word wall alphabet. That set will be replaced because I am over the popcorn buckets. Still working on exactly what I will put there. 

This is my outside bulletin board that I finished (or may still be  a work in progress.) Our theme this year is "Nothin could be finer.." (It is our state slogan.) So on this board is the "title" and then on the wall I am going to place stick kids holding pennant flags with the kids name. I think it will look really cute and a fun welcome. I am trying to make a South Carolina Theme, kinder friendly! I am actually still debating if I will place palmetto trees or something else on the board itself. What do you think?
This is an up close of the border I am using this year. I L-O-V-E it! It is a bright happy chevron pattern and then I doubled it with shiny blue border! (I also have the matching rugs for this border, woot woot!) I am using this border outside (just for BTS) and then all my boards inside to give a cohesive look!
I was pretty pleased with how much I accomplished on the first day back in! I am getting excited about how my room will look  this year!

Day 2

I spent my morning in a math workshop learning about our new math adoption, Envisions. (Do you use it? What do you think?) Afterwards,, I just dropped by the school to see what the room looked like once they moved all the furniture from the carpet to the tile and this is what I found...

Things are piled everywhere! So getting into my cabinets was not going to happen, obviously! And please ignore my missing "D" above the cabinets. That should read LOOK WHAT WE DID! (Hoping it just fell on top of the cabinets.) Yes, I have mismatched chairs that would be the reason I bought chair pockets to cover that ugliness up. :) They are hoping by Wednesday we can get in to move all the furniture back how it goes. That will give me 3 days before staff starts back. (We go back Monday  the 12th!) EEK!! I will repeat, It will get done, it will get done.... :)

I did hang my super duper cute door hanger on the door! In case you missed my last post I ordered this from Charlie D's. You can find her facebook page here! Or visit her etsy store here! She has many different ideas and you can customize! Way cheaper than other etsy stores I found and the quality is fabulous!

Since I could not get in my cabinets I began hanging my paper lanterns.. As you can tell my main colors are blue, aqua (that color does not show well in my picture) and lime green.  I will finish hanging them once my tables get arranged. I also took down  a lot of my wall decorations. Still trying to decide about the pennant banner above my Promethean board.  (What do you think?) I will pull other bright colors through accents in the room. But this year it is about the blue/greens in room 117. :) I found these at the fabulous Party City! The board to the left that you see will be my Daily 5/CAFE board. (I am super excited about implementing this with my kinders!

On another side note while I was attending my math workshop I found out a great group of friends/donors rallied together to help fund my 7th project! (4th this summer) I am beyond blessed, overwhelmed and still speechless. I am excited about receiving playdoh and alphabet stampers to add to my word work choice for Daily 5! Plus, I know my kinders are going to LOVE IT! To pay it forward, it I am giving  away a $10 donation to DonorsChoose. If you are interested please visit my facebook page! If you have not visited yet please do. I love to give away flash freebies!!