Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I told myself I would do better with this over the summer, is nearly half over and nothing.  I have traveled to my brother's house in North Carolina to help.  They have four children, 7, 6, 3, and 1.  A very busy place.  But that is not the end of it.  They are due to have twins any day.  So my daughter and I hopped in the car and came to help.  I hope I am helping, sometimes I just look around and think wow and smile.  I really love my nephews and niece.  Their energy is amazing.

Here is my daughter and the three boys.

Here is my sweet niece.

And here are the other 3, lol.  The golden is my baby and the Great Dane and German Hound are my brother's family pets.  Like four kids weren't enough, haha!

Did I mention, the three older ones were boys and the youngest is a girl.  The twins on the way are girls.  So three big brothers, and three little sisters.  A lot different than my quiet house with a 21 year old and a 15 year old.  But I am really loving getting to spend some time with them.

Well as you can guess with four young-ens running around I haven't had much time to create.  I have about 10 ideas written in the idea book and have a couple of them started.   One of the things I promised myself I would concentrate on this summer is "I'm finished now what?"  So I have tried to do it in pictures.  The little fish come to me in the fall lost and have no idea.  Half of them are EL learners and that makes it even more difficult.  I can play around with Spanish as they giggle at me, but Arabic....totally lost. it is.  I created it for my classroom and it might not mean a thing to you but it might give you some ideas of what you could do.  

As you can see some of these ideas are for quiet things to be done around the room and some of them are to be done at their seat.  The goal is to keep them quietly engaged in a meaningful activity while I am working one on one with those that need help.

1. Write the Word Wall-TLW take their journal and go and write the words on the words wall.  These will change through out the year so it will be relevant all year long.
2. Do a puzzle at your seat.-At the beginning of the year the puzzles they choose are board puzzles, but as the year progresses more difficult puzzles are added.  I know you are thinking puzzles?  Yes, puzzles, they help a young learner with problem solving, such as visualizing and planning.
3. Read a magazine at your seat.  Our school district has purchased National Geographic for Kids for all EL students.  I have been teaching several years now and have an abundance of these in different themes.  All kids love them.  Another way to get print into their hands that is fun.
4. Flannel board activities-I have alphabet, upper and lower case letters, and numbers and objects.  This is a quiet activity that lets them touch and feel the letters and numbers.
5. Magnet activities-Again I have alphabet, upper and lower case letters, and numbers and objects.  Just another way for them to experience and explore what they are learning.
6. Write in my journal-This is their time to write what ever they want.  Of course we will have been doing Deedee Wills/Deanna Jump's Writers Workshop.  It is amazing how much they take and run with, even just a few weeks into school.
7. White board writing-Yes, you guessed it!  Another way to explore letters, numbers, and words around them.
8. Read a book on the carpet-I do limit this to two students during this time to keep it under control.  They may choose from any book in the library to cuddle up with a stuffed buddy and read.
9. Write all the letters and words that you know.  TLW do this in their journal.  It is fun to see them flip back to other pages they have  already done to do this activity!
10. Early finisher's tub-I have several books and dry erase activities they can grab here to practice writing, reading and math skills.  Things I have picked up over the years and just keep adding to it.

Here is the link to get it free on TPT!

So there you go.  Just some ideas of how to keep them engaged for that 5 or 10 minutes needed.  These areas will be used mostly in the morning after their morning work is completed.  I have students staggering in from breakfast for a half an hour.  Those that get there first in the mornings needed some more structure.  So we will see.  I will let you know how it is playing out.  Please if you have ideas that you do, I would love to hear them. 

Just keep swimming out there!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Still Under Construction (but better)!!!!!

Oh well, I have decided to blog in spite of the blog look.  It is a lot better...banner is centered even though the logo is not.  Ya'll just pretend will ya.  I am breathing and not letting my ODD get the best of me.  Just a few more fixes and I think I have this.  Take it from me, pay someone to do your blog, it is so worth it!  I have spent hours and am still crooked.  On another note...
I had a wonderful time at the meet up here in Music City!  It was so much fun getting to know some other bloggers and stalkers.  Thank you Greg from Smedley's Smorgasboard and Elizabeth from Kickin' It In Kindergarten for putting this together.  I never ate so much in my life and I even miss breakfast the next day.  
That's me way in the back beside Elizabeth and behind Holly and Greg!

I think all that food inspired a new facebook group #teacherfit.  So nice to have an accountability group to share a journey of improvement with.  I know I need it. I even ordered a cute T-Shirt to spur me on at the gym.  

It seems like forever since I have been to work.  I am missing my little fish.  I spend most of the day working on report cards.  Our school district was nice enough to give us a cold day today.  So I spent the day huddled up in front of the fire plugging away on the computer until I finished them.  The high today was Music City, what is that?  I tell you the truth, no flip flops today, hehe!

I did take a brake and went shopping with the gift card I won at the Blog Meet Up!  I won $25 from Oriental Trading.  And you know, without a doubt, I spent more than just that $25 (only about $15 more, after some purging of the cart).  I will make sure I share when it comes in.  That is the hard part, the wait....they take so long.......   Again, thank you Elizabeth and Greg for all the prizes :)

Here I am with some dear new friends!

I spent a week of my break in Kentucky which is the land of no internet.  Whew, that was a long week.  We did venture into McDonald's a couple of days to get connected.  My plan was to create some new products while I was there...but alas I spent time with family and friends :)  I did however whip up a couple of things.  I am finalizing a few loose ends, but wanted to leave you with a freebie.  Click on the picture to get it!  Please enjoy!

Just keep swimming ya'll!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Under Construction!!!

Well as you can see, I am under construction.  I am trying my best to do this blog thing myself.  It has not been a fun weekend.  But I am making enough mistakes that when I figure this out I will be able to help anyone else, hehe.  Oh well.  This is the idea of the new look, minus the cute boarder.  Keep watching to see the changes.  I just had to stop writing and try a different download a friend helped me with on the background.  I was having trouble with the boarders.  And he did it!!!!  Thank you Jeff!

Ok, now to school stuff.  Where was Sam on Friday?   He got busy and made some marshmallow snowmen to share with the class.  They were so excited!  I know C asked me 4 times if he could take one home at the end of the day, hehe.

Isn't he cute!

We have been working so hard in our math journals.  I want to thank Deedee Wills for her wonderful product.  If you haven't found them please have a look.  Here is her December one.
Click on the picture to link to her store.

Can you believe it, I remembered to snap a couple of pictures.  Here are some of the little fish working hard.

Here are 3 examples.  I am pretty sure the lollipop one was from her October or November Journal.  Yes, I know, the Christmas tree is sideways, but I changed it twice and if it wasn't sideways the other way.  Just tilt your head and pretend this crazy blogger knows what she is doing, hehe.  Anyway, I thing you can tell how well they are doing.  Thank you Deedee Wills for your awe inspiration!

Don't for get to check out Mrs.Wills Kindergarten blog

Off to finish printing gingerbread centers and then chase after a kid to volleyball.  Y'all keep swimming out there!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Welcoming Sam!

He is here.  Oh, the little fish are so excited!!!  Our elf came straight from the North Pole on Monday.  Our sweet librarian brought him.  

The box was so cold!  You wouldn't believe their faces :)

Look we have our own elf!!!

Each night the elf goes back and tells Santa if you were naughty or nice.

She read the book to us and I swear they never blinked.  Thank you Mrs. C. for coming to share with us and helping the magic begin!  We sat the box up high for our new elf to watch what was going on.  Then we made a list of names and voted.  Our little elf is named Sam.  I never imagined they would be this excited.  I would see them walk by and just stare at him.  Some would whisper, "Hi, Sam."  All of them had to go by and tell him goodbye.

Well the next day they rushed in to see where he was.  No taking our time at breakfast or anything.  Here is where he was the first day...

Just look at Sam!  He got into the chocolate kisses.  They are smeared all over his mouth and paper everywhere.  The little fish giggled all day about it.  We made a word bank and I let the littles write about their elf.  Here is how it went.

My elf is in my basket and he is eat chocolate. (and yes that is a period...)

His nam is Sam
My elf is sit in the basket with... (she was still writing)

I see a sam

My Elf is in a basket he eat chocolate and he fly came in the mail

We have been working on capitalizing the fist word in a sentence, spacing, and punctuation.  As you see, some have the spacing, some have periods, and most are capitalizing the first letter of a sentence.  Not to bad for a couple of weeks.  Two of those students are EL.  

Yesterday when Sam came back from the North Pole he thought his name needed to be on the word wall.  There he sits all proud with Santa right under it.

Today Sam put snow, all the way from the North Pole, on the window and gave us a greeting.  They loved that Sam used his magic!  (thank you Dollar Tree for the snow!)

Ok now for some school related stuff, hehe.  Just look at this!  J is an EL learner in the beginning stage.  Pink is what he knew at the beginning of the year, red is at the end of the first nine weeks, and green was today.  I am so proud of him.  He was swimming today when he saw!

And look at his sounds!  I am so proud of him.

Wow that was a lot of elf.  I got behind, image that me...but I wanted to show you all that we have been doing.  And YES I got out the camera this week and will be sharing some of our math journals with you next. Of course some elf fun too.  Until then, keep swimming out there!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Linking Up!

Ok, this is my first adventure to a Linky Party!  I know, I know, all you veteran bloggers do it all the time.  Still this is my first.  So here it goes.  I get to show you all I bought at the TPT sale.  What fun!

Well I didn't spend as much as I would have liked to, I tried to keep a handle on it.  Here is my first product.

I just could resist getting Deanna Jump's Elf Capades for Math and Literacy Fun.  I am teaching elves this week.  Especially since Sam, our elf, came to our classroom today.

I can't wait to use these.  My little fish are just about ready.  I am sure after Christmas we will be diving into this game!

These are going to be so great with my EL students.  They have problems with comprehension as they are processing the English language.  I am going to use these in small groups.

Just look at those wonderful little faces!  I have a cute idea for January.  Be looking for it!  Aren't they just adorable!

Oh my, I love this!  Goodbye ink...I saw Marsha's blog at A Differentiated Kindergarten and knew right away I would be getting this during the sale.  Check it out!

Ok, this is the last one. Since this is the first year to have an elf in my room, I needed some more umph in my lesson plans.  This is really cute!

I put a link in each of the picture back to their TPT store pages.  I can't wait to dig into all of these.  Thanks for all your creative minds.  I can't wait to see what everyone else got!!!!!

Just keep swimming out there!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Wow, Is it December already?

I really can't believe that November has flown by so fast!  It seems like we just had Halloween.  Oh well...I had a wonderful visit with family.  We spent a couple of days with my husband's mother.  She has been suffering from cancer for awhile now so we ate out for Thanksgiving diner.  Never have done that before, but it was nice to not have to do all that cooking and cleaning up.  We all came back and sat around, dozed and watched football.  Yep you heard me right.  I do love some football.  In fact I am watching the Titans and the Colts right now.

We spent Friday with my family here in Music City for family picture day.  All 18 of us!  It was quite a sight. My brother has four kids, with the oldest being in the first grade (and the news of the day...they are going to have their fifth!).  My sister has four kids. And me with two. This wasn't part of the professional pictures but my husband snapped this under the tree in the lobby. 

Just look at my beautiful daughters.
The one on the right is squatting down, she is six foot tall.

While I was the hills of Kentucky, the land of no internet and little phone service, I got busy and created some things. I finished my Elf unit right before I left, literally.  The family was sitting in the car waiting on me to finish up.  So in KY I finished a Gingerbread Fun product.  The little fish are going to have so much fun.  Here is a look at both of them.

The librarian is going to bring in the frozen box of The Elf on the Shelf to my room tomorrow, right after lunch.  I can't wait....what fun this is going to be.  We are going to be doing all kinds of fun learning with our elf next week.  I will do my best to snap some picture.  I am so not good about that.

The following week I will start my Gingerbread Unit.  We will be talking a lot about characters, settings, comparisons, beginning, middle, and end, and also retelling.  I made huge gingerbread characters last year.  I dug them out last Tuesday before I left for the holidays.  So they are all ready to go!  I can't wait!  Again I will work on the pictures..UGH!  I have to get better at this.  It is just posted everywhere, hehe.

I hope you all had as wonderful of a Thanksgiving break as I did.  Y'all keep swimming out there!!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Some Days!!!

Well, some days make you question your sanity!  
I had some soft music playing in the background and the little fish were working on a sheet of putting in missing numbers.  I was walking around observing and well someone needed some one on one.  I squatted down beside them and we started counting, you get the picture. Well I heard someone snicker so I stood up to see what was going on and I see her neighbor with his glue bottle, the lid off, it was turned upside down and glue dripping out.  

Yep there it is.  I calmly sent him to refocus and walked away.  I am sure there was steam coming out of my ears.  Why or why?  The joys of Kindergarten, but I promise I wouldn't want to do anything else.  

Well a couple of days ago I posted Pirate Pals.  I gave you a sneak peak last week.  The little fish loved it!  I heard one fish humming our pirate chant as they were working today.  I couldn't help but smile. Here are a few pictures.  I am the worse at taking pictures.  This is all I could find.  I always get wrapped up in what they are doing and forget to snap away.
Ten frames.  I was out of black play-dough so I used brown instead.  I think black play-dough would look like cannon balls.

We had read several pirate books.  Their favorite being "How I Became A Pirate" by Melinda Long.  We also read some non-fiction books about pirates, being very careful of what was read aloud ;)

We used our circle map to create this tree map.  I use a colored coded method.  We write three things under each verb: can, have, are. We then circle can with red and choose one of the three things that pirates can do. Have in yellow, and are in blue in the same fashion.  They then make sentences on lined paper and think they have written the best story EVER!  I have them hanging in the hall with their pirate pictures.  But guess what? NO PICTURE on the camera!  Ugh!  This is our forth writing like this in three weeks. They are doing so much better.  We are working on spacing, starting a sentence with capital letters, and adding punctuation.  I throw these in between Writers Workshop that I model after Deanna Jump.  

Soooo.....Pirate Pals is now on TPT.  I hope y'all enjoy it!

Hey keep swimming out there!

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