Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I am Excited to Go Back to School

I go back to school next week. I can't believe it. Friends, don't get me wrong, I love teaching. But, that transition back to school is tough. Waking up, getting back into routine, busy all the is a big change from those "lazy" days of summer.

If you have seen "Inside Out" you know my sadness and fear were taking over. Well, that train of though needs to come to a screeching halt! I needed to bring back my Joy.  She needs to be in control.  Does anyone else feel the same way?

That being said, my new goal has been to focus on the positives of going back to school and I hope you can join me in that endeavor.

1. Go Noodle: I can't wait to teach a new group about Pop See Ko and find out what this group's favorite song will be. Will they love the ninja training or want to get loose?  Dancing and singing with my kiddos is probably one of the best parts of my day. Thank you GoNoodle and Koo Koo Kangaroo!

2. The energy of a new group of kids: It is contagious and exciting!

3. School supplies. I love new school supplies, color coding, and pretty planners. Wasn't that your first clue that you wanted to be a teacher? :)

4. Introducing a new group of kids to Pete the Cat or Splat the Cat or Mercy Watson or the Pigeon books: Each class is different, but one thing they always have in common is that they find a series of books to love. Two years ago my class LOVED Pete the Cat. They could recite them all from memory... even my most struggling readers. I had one student write his own "Pete the Cat" book. Last year, my class LOVED Splat and once we read the Pigeon books starting putting "talking bubbles" in all of their writing.

5. Implementing my new summer learning: This summer I participated in the Teaching with Intention Book Study hosted by Greg of the Kindergarten Smorgasboard. I also read "The Morning Meeting Book" from Responsive Classroom and am still working on "Teach Like a Pirate." I have lots of fun new ideas that I am excited to try.  I really look forward to adding more games into my classroom, focusing on comprehension, and adding more fun science projects throughout the year.

Why are you excited to go back to school?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Kinder Tribe: Meet the Teacher

I am linking up with the new Kinder Tribe collaborative blog for meet the teacher.  Click on the button below to meet other fabulous Kindergarten teachers. 

Here is a little about me:

Years Teaching/Years in K: This will be the start of my 11th year of teaching and 3rd year in Kindergarten. I have taught a variety of grades (and have enjoyed them all).  However, Kinder is my favorite :)

I can't live without my: Coffee...teacher + 2 year old = coffee! I also LOVE GoNoodle.  Back to school is tough, but I have to say that the idea of teaching Pop See Ko to a new group of kids is exciting. 

Favorite School Supply: I love school supplies.  When I read about the Pilot Frixion Pen, I had to try them. Let me tell you, they have changed my life.  No more messy papers or notes to myself.  

Favorite Kinder Book: My class and I love Splat the Cat and his friends like Seymour and Spike. We also love the Mercy Watson books by Kate DiCamillo. Between the hilarious antics of Mercy, her family, and the colorful illustrations, we love these early chapter books! 

Favorite Kinder Blog: I found Mrs. Wills' Kindergarten when I first knew I was moving to Kinder and I have loved it ever since. She is so knowledgeable, down to earth, and funny.  I also had the opportunity to meet her last year at I Teach Kinder in Indianapolis and she was such a sweetheart in person.  

I love teaching Kinder because... I love teaching beginning reading.  The reading growth we see in a year is so neat to watch.  I also love how loving Kinders are with you.  I really enjoyed teaching older kids, but I learned that I need those little Kinder hugs to make it through the year.    

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Teaching with Intention: Chapter 6

I am excited to be linking up with Learning with Mrs. Langley, Teaching with a Southern Style, Jen Hart Design, and The Kindergarten Smorgasboard for Chapter 6 of the Teaching with Intention book study.

I have a love/hate relationship with lesson planning. Don't get my wrong, I love a good lesson plan, but sometimes it seems as though I start off with my plans and end up going in an entirely different direction. Please tell me I am not the only one! The good news: the new direction is often better than what I was originally going for. The bad news: I spent a bunch of time planning and didn't use my time wisely.

Two things have really spoken to me as I have been reading:

1. I love Debbie's thought process for lesson planning. I really think it could be used for a workshop model in any subject.
2. I read a lot, think I will remember all the great things I have learned, and then forget. So glad to know I am not the only one :)

With those two things in mind, I made myself another cheat sheet :)

Click {here} to download!

Happy Teaching!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Teaching with Intention: Chapter 5

I am super late to add my link with this chapter, but for good reason. We were at Disney World and then went on a Disney Cruise. It was SO fun! We were at the Magic Kingdom on the 4th and got there before the park opened. I don't know if they do this everyday, but there is a show to open the park. It was so cute! The characters open the park and the train brings them to the entrance. July 4th is a crazy busy day, but since we got there so early, we beat the lines for the first hour. So fun!

Ok, back to the book study :)

I am linking up with the awesome Greg from Kindergarten Smorgasboard and Kelly from "From Kindergarten With Love" (ah, two froms... not sure what to do with that, my inner OCD is going crazy, but I am going with it!)

Chapter 5 focuses on teaching nonfiction concepts though the use of schema charts. These are so much better than the KWL charts that I used to use. I loved how Debbie (I feel like I know her now!) breaks down how she uses a schema chart in the classroom by taking us through a lesson on sharks.

I have done schema charts in the past, but I always felt like I was missing something. A large majority of my students do not have strong background knowledge. I struggled with trying to pull that out into a schema chart that we could use for teaching. As I was reading this chapter, I kept saying to myself, "Aha! I get it now!"

I love how she structured her file folder chart:

Schema- what we think we know.
New learning- where we will put our new information.
Misconceptions- information that we thought was true, but our new learning taught us that it was not. Questions we still have (for research)

I think in the beginning there will need to be a large amount of teacher think-aloud for my class.  I always need to remember that this is a journey... a process.  I am teaching my kiddos how to learn new information. How to bridge their background knowledge (whatever that might be) with new learning. It will build over time.  And that is where we go back to the previous chapter and think about how we talk to our kiddos and help them to put their thinking on display.  This is where I am going to go back to this cheat sheet:

You can find this in my last post. {here}

Happy Teaching,

Thursday, July 2, 2015

I Puffy Heart Whole Brain Teaching!!

Do you use Whole Brain Teaching in your classroom?  I just started using it this year and I LOVE it! I created my own Super Improvers Wall and Book for my kiddos to keep track of their points towards the next level.

Each book has a page for each level with black and white clipart to match.  The pages have ten frames on them so that we can have fabulous behavior AND practice math.  "I have ____ many more to make 5 or 10 ;). Then, I can move to the next level!"

Click on the picture and it will take you to this FREE (of course!) product on TpT.

(Whole Brain Teaching is copyrighted by Chris Biffle and I claim no affiliation with or endorsement by Chris Biffle.)

Happy Teaching!

TPT Seller Challenge: Week 3 Make your Masterpiece

This week's challenge has inspired me to finish up and share my math journal for August.  I made this resource for my classroom last year for independent spiral practice throughout the year, but I hadn't finished it up (or the other months) for TpT just yet.  I hope you like it! You can find it on TpT {here}.  It (and the rest of my store!) will be on sale through the weekend!

These math journals can be used for centers, morning work, guided/small group math, or large group instruction.

*I created these journals as a way for my students to practice math skills from each domain throughout the week/year. Each domain has an essential question and is aligned to the CCSS which are located both on the prompt and on an overview sheet for easy planning. 

*Each domain is set up in an alliteration format for the day of the week. This is how I use math journals in the classroom. However, you will notice that the prompts on each journal page do not have the day of the week. This is so that you are not tied to that format if it does not work for you in your classroom. 

Below are some sample pages.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of my sample notebook or my students' work.  

The #tptsellerchallenge is hosted by these fabulous bloggers:


I look forward to seeing your masterpieces!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Currently: July

I am linking up with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for Currently!

Listening: I am currently listening to Wimbledon. I LOVE tennis!  Wimbledon is one of my favorite majors to watch...probably because I get to watch the whole thing each year.  Thank you summer break!

Loving: We are going to Disney World this Friday and then on a five day Disney Cruise to the Bahamas. I am so excited!

Thinking: I should be packing and yet I am blogging instead ;)

Wanting: The women's team to win the World Cup.  Watching their game against Germany last night was awesome!

Needing: Sleep... We have been watching a lot of sports and binge watching True Detective and Game of Thrones. It is so easy to get hooked into watching just one more.

All Star:  I love reading.  These days I mostly read teacher books. I have so many I want to read and wish I could read them faster.