Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Donors Choose

Have you heard about Donors Choose? If not, you definitely need to check it out! It is the best site for teachers in need of materials for their students. All you need to do is fill out the entries for your project and shop! Yes shop... within their selected vendors but they have Lakeshore Learning... they usually have everything! Even if you don't want to get a project funded you could donate to other project.

I am working on one now so I will post the link soon. :)

I have gotten three projects funded through them so far and my kids love receiving things for the class. Our latest donors choose item... Play food for our play kitchen!

Kids enjoying the new play toys

Kids eating at the new diner :)

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Homework! It can be a touchy subject... So here I am asking... what does your homework look like? Do you give homework and how much? 

I started sending homework the third week of school. Definitely a little later than usual because of the new assessments we had to do at the beginning of the year. After the second day of homework I had a parent tell me that she thought the homework was too hard for her child and that she refused to make him do it.

Now I feel I should explain what my homework consists of so I will explain it a bit. I send homework on Monday for the week and it is due on Friday. So they get four days of homework.

The first page is just practice for writing their name. They are to write their name once a day by tracing the letters.
My second page depends on the letter of the week and they are to practice the writing the letter of the week and make a drawing of something that starts with that letter.
The third day they have a math piece that is usually counting and writing the numbers. Then they practice a high frequency word for the letter of the work.
The fourth day is something with colors... they circle things that go with the color or a sheet where they color a picture with a certain color.

I am personally not a fan of busy work so I try my best to send them something that can help with skills or content that we are learning. Of course at the beginning we are assessing and it's still a little hard to tell what they really know.

So my response to that parent? I don't expect the homework to be perfect, but I would like them to try to do it. This homework is sent to all the students and it's just to give them that a little more practice at home. This will also help them get into the routine of homework. They will have homework every week which will be tailored to their skills and content that is currently being taught.

She was not to happy and proceeded with telling me that she didn't think that's what he should be doing yet because he didn't know how to and it was too hard. That I need to understand that the kids are in kindergarten and that they don't know how to do this yet that's why I am here... to teach them how to do it all.

This response really upset me because I love my job and it's these moments that make it tough because I want all my students to succeed and without parent support it becomes really difficult especially if parents aren't on board with what is expected from the teacher.

Needless to say, the child never turned his homework in until after progress reports in October. He really needed that practice at home. Since then, the parents have started helping him with the homework and practicing skills at home. I think they noticed that it really is to help him and not to make it difficult. Thank goodness :)

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Update... Practicum student

I am very behind on posts... I have no excuse! But here is my update!

This year I decided to accept a practicum student in my class. What is a practicum student you ask? Good question... A practicum student is a college student who is obtaining their teaching certificate and practicing their skills in the classroom. I personally think this is a wonderful idea! I wish I had something like that when I was in college. The downside is that a work schedule is pretty much out of the question unless you plan to work on the weekends. Oh the life of a college student!

Anyhow, her name is Daisy and she is wonderful! A very sweet & caring young women. I will be honest. I was hesitant because I have become that selfish teacher who wants her kiddos to herself. I have never had to share my kids except of course with their parents! Regardless, I am over that episode... it was short lived. Like I said she is fantastic and I hope to learn from her through this experience.

Have you ever had a practicum student in your class? How do you use them?

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Everywhere!

My Kinders at the Pumpkin Patch
Last week my class was fortunate enough to go the pumpkin patch! The kids were very excited ever since I mentioned it. I love to do fun stuff but I also think its important to do things for a reason. My kids had a lot of hands on experience with their pumpkins before and after the field trip. Before the field trip we learn about what we would be doing there at the pumpkin patch by reading books about pumpkins, trips to the patch and fall.

After the field trip the kids were asked to leave their pumpkins at school. Some family things came up so I had a sub and we didn't get to do the activities before the weekend and they were bummed. :-(

But... This is what we did the following week...

Described pumpkins...
We used adjectives that described the inside and outside of the pumpkin and wrote/learned some new descriptive words. I love when they read these charts during reading and they actually use the adjective!

Measure our pumpkins with cubes...
This served as another way to assess their counting from 1-10.

Counted the seeds in our class pumpkin. They learned to count to a very high number 490. They also counted by tens. This was a great group activity.

Painted pumpkins...
Many of my students do not get to carve their pumpkins at home so I wanted to make sure they had something ready to help them decorate their home with :-)

I will admit this was a fun week! Can you believe it's already Mid-Trimester!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

My New Little Family!

At the beginning of the school year like every classroom does... We went over classroom procedures and rules.

After making our social contract (the rules the students made for our class), we made a visual contract to display in our classroom. No rules just our thumbs. :)  It represents our promise to follow our contract to the best of our ability each and every day!

This is also a Pinterest idea! I'm not sure if it's what it was used for in that specific pin but I loved the idea!

Our Family Tree

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Teaching the Alphabet with the Letter of the week

Every teacher has a different way to teach the alphabet. In my class I teach a letter each week. This does not mean that we do not review other letters. The focus of my literacy centers will usually have something to do with the letter of the week. For example...

Letter of the week: Ee

In writing I had a special project for a writing center and the students made an ear of corn. In Spanish it is called an "elote". They write the letter E (Capital) & the e (lowercase). This has helped my students remember the sound of the letter and at least one word that starts with that letter.

You can also see my short rhyme with the letter Ee.

In my Literacy Centers I do "Mi libro de la letra ____" (Translates to "My book of the letter ___"). The students have pictures of things and they are to collect the ones that start with the letter of the week and glue into the book. This also serves as a very helpful tool to help them remember the letter and build their vocabulary.

My other center has another book which ties in with my word of the week (yes it starts with the letter of the week). Each week they get a small book that has their high frequency word of the week. I love these books! By the end of the week they can read the book and then have another book to add to their "I can Read" collection.

We also do a poem of the week & song of the week which I use as my shared reading component and we read that EVERY day!

Ok so now that I have written a huge post... (Huge for me). How do you teach the alphabet?

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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Name Recognition

At the beginning of the school year I like to do a lot with student names. From the beginning I have students practice writing their names (yes, even if they "don't" know how). We have been in school for 4 weeks and every one of my students but one knows how to write their name! Maybe not perfect but with practice they will soon all have beautiful little tails on their a’s, n's, u’s etc.

This particular project was with their name written with a sharpie then the kiddos added tissue paper on top with their eraser. This was helpful to show them how to use just a tad bit of glue and with their motor skills.

Phonics Lesson

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Beginning of the Year Bulletin Boards

When I start my school year I begin all my bulletin boards without decorations besides the word wall & calendar. I like the student's work to be displayed in our class on those bulletin boards throughout the school year so I try to leave them blank.

Here are a few pictures of what those look like so far. Oh yes, I also forgot to add that I love my wall space and that too begins to fill up rather quickly.

Outside Bulletin Board- Pinterest Bus Activity (Cutting practice)
Student Name Activity (Phonics Lesson to learn the letters of their name)

Calendar Area- Similar to what I had last year

My Word Wall- Has student's names on there (with pictures soon)
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Behavior Chart

So I told you about this Behavior Chart that I made and never showed it to you! So here it is!

I was so hung up on the cuteness of my behavior board that I messed up the order (It should be yellow then orange)! So, I hope to redo it soon. Hopefully within the next week or so. I don't want the kids to be super confused.

Of course, this was not my idea. I saw it on Pinteresta and decided it was time to throw out the different colored cards and try something new. It has been hard to remember to move kids to the blue and purple because I usually just give a verbal praise... I will definitely work on this!!!
If you want to make something similar here is the English Translation in the correct order:

• Purple: Exemplary model

• Blue: Great Behavior

• Green: Ready to Work

• Yellow: Warning

• Orange: Consequence

• Red: Conference- (Parent or phone)

P.S. I am trying to keep up with posts so bear with me.
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Sunday, September 2, 2012

First Day!

The first day of school was on Tuesday! For the first two weeks we are only going half day so that we can schedule conferences with parents & their student as part of the WA Kids requirement. For more information on WA kids you may visit their website.

The first day was not bad. I am use to full day so it went by really fast and I felt I was just cramming those poor kids with information. All the Kinders came in to the Kinder playground then the duties gave them name tags to help teachers identify their students. The bell rang and they lined up. Some parents walked into the class with their kiddo to make sure they were settled. Their first assignment was to color a first day picture, besides one student who crying they all seemed ok so I had them say their goodbyes. I felt bad because one parents asked if she could stay all day and I had to say no. What do you guys do on the first day with parents? Last year I had a few stay and it was too much to handle, not enough room, and a huge distraction.

I walked around and wrote the kids names on their paper then we went to the calendar area and sang a song. I played a silly song so that the kids could let loose a little and they did just that.

A parent came in later after having dropped off her little girl and while I was talking to her the little girl who had been crying decided to run out the door (to the playground/street)! I won't lie, I freaked out a little bit! I had to run and get her so luckily that parent was there to help out :)

We talked about rules for the classroom and what we need to do to listen and learn. Many were very helpful so that tells me that some did attend preschool or some sort of school setting prior to Kindergarten.

It was pretty much procedures the rest of the day. I took them on a tour and we visited all the important areas (office, library, Gym, music, art, cafeteria and the 2 playground areas). I thought it was:( important for the kids to practice getting lunch as this is a new procedure and I wanted them to at least have an idea of what they are expected to do. Our lunch ladies were a bit grouchy last year so I didn't want that to happen again but it didn't quite work. :( We have 5 Kindergarten classrooms; 1 English & 4 Bilingual. The English classroom has 30 plus students with 25 being our max! Needless to say lunch was CRAZY!!!

After lunch we scrambled our kids out of the lunchroom... with 2 minutes left of our day we headed to our classrooms. The bell rang but I felt it was important for me to address the going home procedures so I kept them a little longer. I think parents were probably wondering where we were but I feel that this part of the day could have been a break it or make it thing for me and the rest of the week. I'm glad I did it!

Dismissal was a little stressful... I want to make sure I send off these kiddos with the right person and even though I had a list, it made it hard when some people were not as understanding with the process.  I hope that by now they know that their child's safety really is important to me. :)

The afternoons was way easier. I only had 3 parent conferences and it was nice to get to know the parents and child in a different setting.

So, how was your first day?!

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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Meet & Greet!

Monday was our Meet & Greet! I had been waiting for this day all summer! I only met the kids less than a few minutes each and I love them already! Last year we had a BBQ for the families. Sounds like fun except for the fact that on that day it was 90 something degrees! So yeah, not as fun as it sounds.

This year, it was decided to have it inside. Much better choice! The kids got to meet their new teachers and left with a delicious Popsicle, and us teachers got to stay in a cool place. I think I may have gone on overload with everything I had going this day but I wanted to give those parents as much as I possibly could to help their child.

I gave them this brochure this year which contained some general information about my classroom, behavior management, homework and more. I really think this helped them get an overall glimpse of my classroom. I will definitely  do this again.


My husband will tell you that I have been working countless hours to make my room as presentable as possible. It has turned out pretty nice!

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

MIA & A Crafty Frame

I can't believe it's been two weeks since I last wrote a blog post! This just shows how busy I have been due to the back to school frenzy!

I made a few things that I wanted to share so these next few days I plan to post a little bit here and there. I also want to start sharing what we do in our classroom. I'm just hoping I can keep up.

For the first day of school I made a shadow box that the students will be holding in their first day of kindergarten picture! This idea is similar to the first day of school chalkboard thing that is going around on Pinterest. I plan to change it out and put one for the last day of school and possibly their birthdays... My theme is birds and polka dots so this fit it perfectly!

"Mi Primer Día de Kinder" translates to "My first day of Kinder

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Classroom Tour Blog Hop!

I love to see all the pictures of all your classrooms so link up! We all need more projects! Lol. My husband says my to do list never ends... it's true once I scratch one off another two get put on! I love my job and all the cute decor make it more enjoyable :)

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

IKEA, Classroom Decor & TPT

Warning: Oh yes this post will be long!

Two days ago  A week ago, my husband and I decided we should take a mini shopping trip to Portland. Why Portland you ask? Outlet mall!!! Oh and of course IKEA :) Well this turned out to be a two nights/3 day trip. Oops!

Anyhow, IKEA! I loved it! I can't believe I had never been! Seriously, it was the best 4 hours of my little life. Ha ha. My boys were happy because they had food. Who can think about food when you have all that stuff to look at? Regardless, I ate... I had to. I needed more energy to continue on to the upper level.  So at IKEA I decided to buy everything I could get my hands on and inside that BIG yellow bag. I bought some containers for my kid's tables (I am going to try if not at least they were cheap $3!) instead of the regular colored caddies I had in the past. I need something open and accessible from either end of the table.

I also bought a table for my kids to do their centers at. This table was a steal at $9.99 (no taxes in Portland)! Place mats at $1.99 to use for the kiddos that need a specific spot to sit on during carpet time. It could also be used as a special seat during Daily 5.

Classroom Decor:
I am working on making some new stuff to decorate my classroom since I have decided to do a polka dot, trees and birds theme. I will show you as I go. I am also making a behavior clip chart so that will be in the next blog post... hopefully! Does anyone have anything that they have made that was very useful especially for the beginning of the school year or even for Kinders???!!

During my time off, commercial breaks and down time (when I should be sleeping), I have glued myself to search TPT stores. I guess I sound like a stalker now. Lol. Only for good reasons.

I have to thank the following for their help in working with me to create spanish documents to use in my classroom. It's hard to find cute things in Spanish but with the help of my Spanish/translating skills and the creativity of these wonderful ladies that has been easier. Translating their documents have been worth it as now I have tons to use in my classroom and they can also offer their products in Spanish!

Thanks to Mrs. Cupcake at A cupcake for the teacher who has these behavior calendars available to track each student's behavior per month. You too can get these in English by going here.

Thank you also to Sandy at Soaring through Second  who has this wonderful Ipad policy. I had thought about it but the words weren't there. Thankfully all I had to do was translate! 

Thank you to Melissa Gibbs who provided me with Spanish Literacy Centers which are also available in English here at her TPT Store

Hopefully I have not missed anyone. Thanks again to all you ladies. You make my job way easier. Hopefully one day I can create something that maybe you could use. :)

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Classroom Day #3

I have been to my classroom three days so far. Only for maybe 2 hours max because I take the little one and he becomes the grouchy little lady bug after an 1 1/2. But I can't blame him. He'll learn to love it. :)

So here is another sneak peak of my classroom AS OF NOW... I am sure it will look totally different by the time the kids actually show up.

I'm not quite sure on a few things and I am thinking of making a little curtain for the math manipulatives. Any suggestions, comments or anything would be awesome!



My reading nook

My Kitchen... not sure yet on this little nook

Student tables with book cases on the side for their book boxes

Calendar area/Entrance to my classroom

View from the door

Oh yes! My hubby just worked on my signature! I love it! Thanks love!
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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Word Wall

I have finally started getting into "school mode"... who am I kidding, that started in July. Anyhow, I went to our local teacher store (Teacher's World) and decided that I really needed to get my theme together so I can start creating things for my classroom. So, for my classroom I have decided to go with the theme of polka dots, trees & maybe birds (I have yet to figure out how I am going to include these). For sure the polka dots and the trees though. So to start off my collection for this theme I purchased these cute word wall cards from  Rachel Lamb's TPT Store. Because I am a bilingual teacher and teach in Spanish I needed the extra letters that are in the Spanish Alphabet so she made them for me. Yay! Thanks Rachel!

My husband is going to work very hard tomorrow to take my old bulletin board stuff down and put up my new stuff so I will be posting some pictures as soon as that is done! I am really excited but I hope once I start it goes quick. I still have a few more days of summer left!

Aren't they adorable! Only $1!

Monday, July 30, 2012

DIY, Giveaways & Freebies!

First off let me say... I love Pinterest! Actually we have a love hate kind of relationship. :)

As I was searching on Pinterest I found tons of neat things. Then I thought. "Why not share?" So while you are cleaning up your classrooms, preparing for another school year, keep these in mind.

Check out these neat crayons that you can make using old glue sticks

When I saw this, my brain started thinking... "Darn! Why did I give all that old stuff away?!" Lol
I think these are perfect for new Kinders! Check out the link here.

If you have a supply list and want to get some free Clorox wipes, you have only 2 days to do this!
Click Here for your free wipes! Hurry, it's only a few days away! The link is to a couponing blog... I am going to try couponing again. Hopefully I stick to it a bit longer.

This seems like the perfect thing to do to help me organize myself (or just go crazy labeling!) They are easy and as teachers, I am sure we can find some use for them! Click here so you too can make your own Chalkboard labels. This is a wonderful blog with lots of crafty DIY projects!
Aren't these so practical?!

Now one final Freebie! These thank you cards are cute, chic & free! This is definitely worth bookmarking for the future! Lots of free printables!

Polka Dot Thank you cards

Chevron Thank you cards

Enjoy the Freebies & DIY crafts! Now going to pin more for my to do list!