Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Another linky party...

Ha ha I couldn't resist this one...hop on over to Abby's *site* and link up to her "You know you're a teacher when..." party.  This should be quite interesting!  ;-)
You know you're a Kindergarten Teacher when...

1. Every decent pair of dress pants you own have a pen, sharpie, or paint stain on them and you still wear them with pride.

2. You have more playdough containers in the dishwasher than dishes.  I know I can find a use for them somewhere! ;-)

3. You prefer sitting on the floor, criss-cross-applesauce.

4. You can coordinate almost ANY curriculum standard to the tune of some song.

5. You look more forward to Pajama Day than your students do.

6. You own 8,794 coffee mugs and your collection is still growing!

7. Tying a shoe in record time is listed under your accomplishments on your resume.

8. You correct children in public that you don't know.

9. You spend more money on your classroom/students than you do on yourself.

10. You tear up when your students finally "get it!"

11. You could retire if you had a nickel for every tattle you've heard.

12. You'd rather just tough it out than call in sick and make sub plans.

13. You have actually used the line "See that little hole in the wall?  That's a hidden camera that feeds RIGHT into the Principal's office and she's watching you!"

14. You start a blog about teaching and all the crazy stuff you implement into your classroom.

15.  You squeal every time a Scholastic Book Order arrives!

16. You order Happy Meals for yourself, specifically for the toy...hey - it's one more treasure for your treasure box.    ;-)

17. You've contemplated buying stock in Elmer's and Crayola.

18.  You can look at a paper with no name and tell exactly who it belongs to based on their writing/coloring skills.  This never ceases to amaze your instructional assistant and parent helpers. ha!

19. You pack a snack for yourself to enjoy while your students are having theirs. 

20.  You love what you do more than anything else and almost ALWAYS are known in a public place!  "Hey Miss's ME....ya know, from school!?"

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ocean Week - Part 1

It's ocean week and here's a glimpse at what we've been up to.  On Monday, we started our unit by filling out a K-W-L chart.  Students helped me write about what they Know and what they Want to know.  After we watched a Brain Pop Video on Ocean life, we came back to the rug and discussed what we Learned. 
Heck...I'm not going to fib on my blog....I even learned a few things!  ;-)  Thanks Moby and Annie!  ha ha  This was a great way to kick off our unit and gave me a better insight as to what my students wanted to know more about.  After this, we discussed habitats and created our own fish aquariums. 
I also told the students I had them a little something special, but they had to guess what it was by using my descriptive clues.  Here is what I let them know...
It can be big, small, or flat.  It can have teeth and different colors.  And, it will sink and eat different things!  At first, when I said it can be big, small, or flat - students guessed seaweed, a picture, and a shark tooth.  Then, when I said it can have teeth and different colors - we brainstormed and added lizard and snake.  When I gave them the last clues and told them it will sink when it doesn't swim and it likes to eat - we added a seahorse and a shark.  Majority of my students thought it was a shark. 
Wonder what is in here?  Drum roll please....
A shark! ha ha But not just any shark...a growing one ;-)  Gotta love this guy who (when placed in water for up to 3 days) will grow up to 600% it's original size.  This was a great little garage sale find last wknd for .50 cents.  Proceeds went to help the Women's Junior League, I couldn't resist.  ha  And typically, the Dollar Tree has a plethora of them.  We're going to observe our shark this week and take measurements of him - great way to incorporate math!  We measured him today, prior to him taking a swim in water, and I'm sure my kiddos will be anxious to see how much he's grown tomorrow. Stay tuned!
Also, we read this non fiction book on Sea Horses.  If you refer to my K-W-L chart above, you'll notice that students said they were interested in knowing more about these little guys.  So...we charted our findings. 
Um...who knew that the male seahorse carries the eggs in his pouch similar to a kangaroo?  NOT ME!  Seahorses have many characteristics of other animals...they obviously have a head like a horse, eyes that move in various directions like lizards, tails that wrap like monkeys, and are covered in hard plates like beetles.  What?!  Where have I been.  You know the old saying..."If you don't use it, you'll lose it."  Guess I had forgotten this important info since teaching it last year.  Oops.  :)  We made a 4 part foldable and listed facts in the first column today.  At the top, we glued a Ellison sea horse di cut.  For the rest of the week, we'll continue adding to our foldable, filling out facts about sea creatures in each column.  Tomorrow, we'll learn about whales and add that to our 2nd column!  (I'll certainly add a pic towards the end of the week)  Surf's Up! ~Miss E

Monday, March 28, 2011


I adapted this game from the workshop I went to a few weeks ago and blogged about. Remember? You can view that post {here}. I thought this would be a great teacher-led review game for my students to play during small group or independently, with the help of a partner.  These high frequency words are often referred to as popcorn words because they should "POP" in your students' heads.  To re-create this game, all you'll need is:
A Popcorn Container 
(purchased 2/$1 at the Dollar Tree)
Glue Stick
High Frequency Words
Popcorn Clip art  - your choice!
My Popcorn clip art was picked up at a Scrapbook Store in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.  It was marked down and I scored another 50% off.  How's that for a good deal?  I think, all together, I have maybe $5 in this game. is what I came up with. 
Students will place all the popcorn pieces into the popcorn container.  They will take turns drawing a popcorn piece.  IF they can correctly identify the high frequency word on the popcorn bowl, they get to keep the card.  If they miss the word, the popcorn bowl goes back into the container.  (The object of the game is to earn the most popcorn bowls)  But, if a student draws a piece that says POP!, they must put all their pieces back in the popcorn container.  
So, you're certainly not wanting to draw this card. In order to keep students from using their keen sense of touch, they MUST draw the card their hand first touches OR, if teacher led, the teacher draws all the cards.  
If a student draws THESE popcorn bowls, and correctly identifies the word on the front and on the back, they earn another turn.  I typically set a timer and when the timer dings, students must count their popcorn bowls and the child with the most, wins! This game has been adapted into other forms.....Crash!, Bankrupt!, etc.  Check out a great link for the Bankrupt! game {here}.  My kids love it and it is a wonderful review.  All this talk of popping has made me to enjoy some popcorn myself! ;-) 
~Miss E

Sunday, March 27, 2011

10 things I've learned from Teaching

So, I'm still trying to figure out this whole blogging thing...and I'm pretty sure I'm the last to "get" something or hear about what's going on.  ha ha But I HAD to link up with these other teachers and blog about the 10 things I've learned from teaching...even though I'm a few days late.  
Jennifer at Rowdy in First is hosting a "Ten Things I've learned from Teaching" linky party.  Visit her {site} to read some of the other postings from teachers.  Some were so funny, I literally laughed out loud!  And the sad thing is...they are all so true and I can totally relate.  The hard part will be limiting the list to only 10.
Here we go...
1. Thank the LORD for instructional assistants, good parent volunteers, and subs that actually go by the sub plans!  I'm pretty sure there is a special place in heaven for them. 
2. I can look at laminating film and tell you if it's the "good kind" or the "cheap kind."  If the cheap kind....don't waste your time.  Pay to have it done somewhere will peel and almost always ruin your stuff.
3. NEVER EVER let your kids use the pencil sharpener.  If it should jam or God forbid, break, a bent paper clip can usually fix it along with a little TLC.  But call in your custodian for back up....just incase!  ;-)
4. The students who usually make you think twice before having kids of your own are NEVER SICK or absent.  I will have to think long and hard before naming my child.  
5.  There is a monster who lives in our classroom that devours crayons, glue sticks, and pencils.  They are constantly disappearing.  (Specific crayon colors, too!  It's a mystery.)  Moral of this - you can NEVER have enough school supplies.  I reccommend 20+ glue sticks per child, PER year.  
6. Sharpies, dry erase markers, clorox wipes, and chocolate are a teacher's best friend.  :)  It's sad really....and cute fonts and clip art become a slight obsession after a teaching degree is earned.
7.  The Dollar Tree and $1 section in Target were really invented by teachers.  
8. They should rename your "Planning Period" to the "Get Stuff Done and Run Around like a Mad Woman Period" because you NEVER use your planning to plan lessons.  It's used to make phone calls, run copies, play catch up, empty folders, etc.  Your planning is to be done on your own time and your work is never matter how caught up you think you are. 
9.  You will look at things twice before throwing it away...wondering what on earth you could use that to make or how you could recycle it to be something creative.  Whether it's a new center or craft - it's amazing what you can do with Cool Whip and Pringles containers!
10.  Your bladder will grow to hold an amazing amount and no longer will you have to urinate as often as you once had.  There is such a thing as a "teacher's bladder."

ha ha I could seriously KEEP going!  So much fun....despite all that, I love my job and love my students.   I'm certainly thankful for all that it has taught me.  Now...what has teaching taught YOU? Jump on over to Rowdy in First Grade and link up to play!  ~Miss E

Friday, March 25, 2011

Another give away!

More give aways?  That's right people....blogs are great for some serious free stuff. Head on over to Miss Snowden's {site} and help her celebrate her 100 follower status!  You have a chance to win a great personalized door hanger for your classroom and a Jelly Bean Math packet from Erica Bohrer's TpT site.  And while you're at it....bounce over to this adorable {site} and register to enter some Spring pottery.  I am in loveeee with Coton Colors and if you're not familiar with them and their Happy Everything Platter - you should be.  I literally use my platter all the time...for parties and what not.  So cute!  Both contests allow for multiple what are you waiting for??  Hurry and enter so you can add something adorable to your Spring collection at home and at school! Whoo hoo~Miss E

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Teacher Tips!

I've been meaning to post this for a week or 2 now.  I went to an awesome K-2 workshop that dealt with stations and literacy centers.  It was put on by Dr. Karen Keith from East Tennessee State University and held at our county's Central Office.  I absolutely LOVED her ideas and the fact that she had all of her stations set up and let us rotate throughout them.  While the teacher's were rotating by grade level, she held a small group and demonstrated what to do with your students.  It was wonderful and packed full of great ideas.  Here are a few things I thought I would share:
At every station, she had "I Can" charts and charts that told the students what the station would look like and sound like.  For the younger grades, she recommended the charts have pictures as opposed to words.  Here is what the listening center should look and sound like.  These should be created in a whole group setting and posted in the station afterwards so students are aware of what is expected from them.
This chart would be great for older grades.  During a listening station, students can record what the author says about the character, how the author reveals the setting, and so on...
Anyone have difficulty getting your students to grasp text to self and text to text concept besides me?  I thought this was a genius way to illustrate what you mean when using those terms.  Dr. Keith simply created these illustrations using ellison dicuts and attached them together using paper clips.  I think by showing my students these in library center or having them displayed in a listening station...they would understand what I'm referring to when I ask them to make a connection.  It is just a wonderful visual for them!
Want to save a little money next school year?  Buy the marble notebooks and have them cut in 1/2 at a hardware store!  Lowe's and Home Depot will do them too and inexpensively.  These make the perfect little size for small hands and are great to use as a vocabulary notebook or math journal.  :)
The graffiti board is pretty awesome.  Here, you hang bulletin board paper in an independent reading center and allow students to make open comments about books they are reading or recommend for others.  In lower grades, you could have students write the title of the book and when another child does not know what to read...they could check the graffiti board for recommendations and book titles.  You can also place a bin with the recommended books next to the board so students can go there for their reading material and not have to hunt all over for the book.  They can use markers, crayons, various fonts, etc to make it more fun and appear as if it were graffiti on a wall. 
I thought this station was pretty cool.  It's called the Top 10 Center.  Here, you give the students a word....the word Dr. Keith used was "space."  (It is written on the green paper)  Please note: to make this center would laminate your list and attach a plastic sleeve to the top to insert your word.  Also, I would use a word that is associated with my theme of the week and that students are familiar with.  Students can list 10 words related to the topic, illustrate their words, write sentences using their words, put their words in ABC order, sort their words, or make their words longer.  There are a variety of things they can do using their top 10 words and you can add to the list as you think of new ideas.  If you want students to do just a particular number, place a clothes pin on the side so students know they are supposed to do just ONE of the tasks.  (that is included in the photograph, so students would do #3 only)  Below, I've given an example of what each task would look like.
1. List 10 words related to the topic: rocket, stars, moon, planets, solar system, astronauts, etc.
2. Illustrate your words: I think you get the picture :)
3. Write sentences using your words: Astronauts use a rocket to travel into space.  I like to look at the stars and see different constellations.
4. Put your words in ABC order: astronauts, moon, planets, rocket, solar system, stars, etc.
5. Sort your words: S words - stars and solar system
6. Make your words longer: rocket - rockets, rocket ship, rocketing, etc.

Hope you found these ideas as helpful and creative as I did.  Enjoy! ~Miss E

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Pictures

Well, I am home!  Finally...after 3 flight delays and 2 gate changes...Tennessee was graced with my presence around 10 p.m. last night.  There is NO place like home!  I had a wonderful time out West and now it's time to kick it in gear and get ready for the downhill slide to summer time.  Much to do and accomplish before I send my students off to 1st.  But before we go into that...ha is a little glimpse at what we did leading up to St. Patty's day.  I told you I would share!
We measured shamrocks in math using different manipulatives.  We used beans, worms, unifex cubes, and crayons.  My students LOVED this activity and had a great time comparing their answers.  (all of the shamrocks were various sizes)
We made our own leprechauns and used their gold to illustrate math problems. 
Here is the paper we used to record our answers and the way we set up our gold on the pot below.  All of these activities were adapted from Chalk Talk's St. Patrick's Day unit.  You can find that link and the printables {here}
We did some other cool graphed lucky charms, read St. Patrick's Day books, finished riddles, learned about rainbows, etc.  But...unfortunately I left that for my sub because I took off for Spring Break 3 days early.  No pictures there :(  Sorry friends.  Hope everyone had a great St. Patrick's Day and no one got pinched!! ~Miss E

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Another great give away!

Remember me talking about my accessory swap partner, Melissa?  Well...she is doing an awesome give away and I wanted to let you know.  You MUST head over to her site (F is for First Grade) and read about it.  You will WANT to check this me! ;-)  You have 3 chances to win.....become a follower of her blog, follow her on TpT, and post about her give away on your blog or on Facebook.  Hope you decide to enter...or not, because that would mean more chances for ME! ha ha Good luck. 

Happy Spring Break!!

It's officially here!  How many of you all had the countdown going?  ha ha Just wanted to say Happy Spring Break to all of my readers, parents, and students. I hope you have safe travels (for those of you traveling) and enjoy your time off.  I fly home Tuesday and hope to post some of our St. Patrick's Day activities we did before I left.  Now, to gear up and get my kiddos ready for their 1st grade transition.  No more rest time and we're throwing in weekly Spelling tests - yikes!!  Enjoy your break.  ~Miss E :)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day...a day late!  Better late than never, I always say. ha ha  :)  I've been busy though...I started my Spring Break a LITTLE early and flew out Wednesday for Park City, Utah.  I know, I am crazy....possibly the only person going towards colder weather rather than somewhere tropical.  But, we always have a blast out here.  We landed in Salt Lake and drove to Park City...had a difficult time getting to our rental home because it was snowing so HARD!  The fresh powder made for a great day skiing yesterday. And we certainly couldn't hit the slopes without a little green is me with the girls!!
By the time we enrolled the kiddos in ski school, all of us adults had gotten our gear on and lift tickets purchased, we had time for about 3 runs plus lunch.  Check out one of my views before I skied down the mountain. 
Breathtaking! to ice skate and tube today! :)  Happy Spring Break!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Are you feeling lucky??

Holy container happiness!!  You MUST head over to What the Teacher Wants and enter their amazing give away.  Because of the incredible response they've gotten on their blog, they are wanting to say thank you to one of their lucky followers.  If you are anything like <3 containers!  
Can you see the ridiculous amount of containers/baskets I have in my classroom library?  I think I have over 50 of the shoebox style rubbermaid and currently need to buy MORE to contain additional books I've purchased.  I can not get my hands on enough of them.  I use little storage containers all over my classroom - in every nook and cranny.  If you are the winner, you will receive a $100 gift card to The Container Store.  This can be spent online or at the store, in person.  To enter you must become a follower of their blog, make a facebook or blog link telling your friends about this give away, or visit the Container Store's website and come back to their site and write about how you would spend your moola.  Entries MUST be received by 12 a.m. on March 17th.  So...what are you waiting for?!? 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

MORE Dr. Seuss???

That's right people....we are STILL doing Dr. Seuss!  ;-)  There is just a TON to do and with us traveling to see Seussical in theatre on Thursday, the Kindergarten team thought it would be wise to stretch out our unit.  Soooo, yesterday, we read Yertle the Turtle. 
My students helped me fill in the chart below and we discussed the main idea and moral of the story.
I asked students to bring "turtle" items to share with the class.  I was more than happy with the turnout.  We even had TWO real turtle shells come in and this led to a lengthy discussion! My students were fascinated with the different objects.  ha ;-)
After our share time, we made our own Yertle the shell and all!
Today, we read...
My class was instructed to wear their favorite vacation spot T shirt.  I had several that did!  Here are a pic of is from Disney's Animal Kingdom and the other, Clearwater Beach, FL.  I know I certainly wish I was in either of those places at the moment.  T minus 8 school days to SPRING BREAK! ;-)  Can I get an Amen??
We brainstormed places we would go and IF we we would get there.  Students discussed forms of transportation on land, water, and air. 
Afterwards, we made our own hot air balloons! 
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!

Love, Miss E

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Accessory Swap!

Look what just arrived!!!  *SQUEAL*
Thanks to my great new blogger friend, Melissa, at F is for First Grade for sending me this precious package in the mail!  It certainly made my ending to a crazy week much, much better!  :)  This woman certainly knows the way to a teacher's heart.  I love how Melissa coordinated everything and pulled out lots of pinks.  I am a pretty muted person, but like to add splashes of color here and there!
One can never have TOO much paper...and I am a notepad/notecard freak. ha ;-) Can't wait to doodle little notes on these!
I love this cute basket.  It was filled with lots of goodies.  (all wrapped and tied with cute bows, of course)  She sent me hot pink earrings, a hot pink bracelet, two great pairs of silver earrings, and a big blingy ring. Confession: the flower earrings in the middle are my FAV!  I cannot wait to wear them with a great outfit.  They are super chunky, but yet, dainty - I love them! :)
What's not to love about flip flops?!  Even though I have an entire BASKET full, you can never have enough.  These will be great to wear this summer with a sun dress or tank top!  Won't be using them anytime soon though, it is snowing here.  Thanks to Melissa for all my fun goodies and a BIG thank you to Elisabeth at The Adverntures of Miss Elisabeth for organizing such a great accessory swap!