Sunday, December 27, 2015

Reflections of 2015 {Linky Party}


Only 4 days left of 2015! What better way to celebrate a year of happenings than to link up with 10 of my favorite memories!

On Christmas break last year I decided to take the plung and start this blog! I did a lot of googling and watched a bazillion how-to video to make up for my lack of tech-knowlogy. I still have a lot to learn! It's bean a great way to connect and learn with other amazing teachers!

Things worked out this year for us to do some traveling. We visited friends in Colorado over Easter break. One of our favorite sites was Red Rock.

I knew he was strong but... Wow!
To celebrate me finishing Grad School - let me stop right there! Yahoo!! And now I can forget (once again) how to format a paper APA style and cite sources. *Happy Dance*

Back to what I was saying... To celebrate me finishing Grad School... (and our 3rd wedding anniversary) we planned a summer couples get away trip to Chicago with two friends. It was a packed trip! We did the Chicago City Pass (highly recommend that route) and visited the Shedd Aquarium, Skydeck, Field Museum, Art Institute, Museum of Science + Industry, Navy Pier... plus some fabulous restaurants.

Selfie with Sue at the Field Museum
Later this summer, we visited some family in Western North Dakota and attended the one and only Medora Musical.

 I took a dare this year...

                                     ...to do the Whole 30 challenge. 

It did "change my life" as promised... but not in the "I'm a whole new person with so much energy and happiness!" sort of way. It changed my life in that I had to bring our own "approved" foods to every summer BBQ and I couldn't drink my "fancy" coffee for a WHOLE month! I'm impressed myself with all of the willpower I didn't know I had. I also learned how to make healthier substitutions when cooking. So overall it was worth it... just not an annual thing for me!

When we were back to eating like normal people, my father-in-law taught me how to make Lefse. Something I've been wanting to learn for a while being that my grandma is 100% Norwegian. Lefse was a staple at her house. Keeping the tradition alive!

3rd year is the charm! Finally got around to our wedding scrapbook. Looking back at these pictures...we had no idea what our future would hold. We made a promise for life anyways. Marriage  is one of God's greatest blessings. It's not always easy. It's probably one of the most difficult ventures in life. It takes time, commitment, putting someone above yourself, and giving grace. I am so thankful for a wonderful husband who is always there for me.

This summer my only work was tutoring a few students in reading. (And cooking Whole30 approved meals. Yes, I'm considering that work.) I had a lot of extra time for some hobbies that took a back seat to my grad classes the last 2 years.

I've made several quilts in the past and my scrap bucket was full! Look at the result! I love all of the bright colors and the contrast with the black.

I said goodbye to my '97 Buick LaSabre and hello to this hot ride...
(Ignore the sun-starved legs... early summer pic.) I've never had a new, as in "new, off the lot" car, so this was big moment for me! Cars have changed a lot since '97 - this one doesn't have a cassette tape player! Haha!

The hubs and I joined Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) this year for the study of Revelation. Each week we have a lesson that we do at home and a weekly meeting with other people doing the study. There is also a lecture that a teaching leader presents at the weekly meeting. I love how the first lesson stated "The Bible is not a compilation of unrelated stories; it is one grand story!" We are enjoying learning new truths from God's Word each week.

We sent out Christmas cards for the first time this year. My talented brother took the pics. You would never guess that we took the pics right across from a rest stop on the highway. Haha! A hidden gem of a spot!

I also found a new hobby this year. Paining! I tried out one of those community painting classes with a friend and had a blast! You choose which painting you want to create from their list on the events calendar. They lead you step by step until - viola! I've convinced the hubs to try a class with me over Christmas break.

Be sure to join the link up and share some of your fondest memories from 2015! 

Best Wishes heading into 2016!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Five for Friday: Kicking off Colors

We are having a blast with colors this week! Since it was a short week with in-service yesterday and today, we will continue our "Colors in God's World" unit next week. Each day we dress in the color of the day starting with red and going through the rainbow. (We add white day and favorite color day to fill in the remaining days.) Thanks Kacey from Doodle Bugs Teaching for Hosting the linky!

You can't learn about colors without tasting the rainbow! This is a yummy way to review the concepts of real and bar graphs, more and less,... and good practice writing color words. I will introduce sight word wallets to my students next week with our first word list being color words.

Walking Water Experiment. We do a plethora of color mixing activities but this one was by far my favorite. I was just as excited as the kids.

You can see the colored water travel up the paper towel right away. We watched for a few minutes and then did another activity before coming back to see 1/2 the glass full of green water!

Cara at First Grade Parade has a walking water recording sheet FREEBIE you can download HERE.

We've been comparing numbers and values in math. Their favorite partner game is "war".

Here was a record breaking triple war! Not only have we practiced comparing numbers, but how to be a good sport. At the end of every game in our classroom I have the kids tell each other "good game" or another positive remark "I enjoyed playing with you", "thanks for playing"...

This was a small group math station: More or Less? Students would grab a handful of colored cubes. After sorting out the two colors, they would record the number of each and circle which had more. This game can be found at Shari Sloane's website HERE.

You can't have "green day" without reading Leo Lionni's Little Blue and Little Yellow.


Here is a fun extension to the read aloud. Students get one blue and one yellow ball of play-doh to combine and make green.

Recipe directions: gradually stir liquid into dry ingredients. cook over medium hear stirring constantly until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat. when cool to touch knead until smooth. Store in airtight container.

 The Kool-Aid makes it smell heavenly! Mmm!

I love to make treats. It's my way of loving people. Whenever someone has a birthday, a baby,... a good reason.... I make treats! One of my dearest friends celebrated a birthday this week and I made her molten lava cakes. You will want to try this recipe. Trust me. I like them plain but you can add whipped cream or raspberries on top. Click on the picture for a link to the recipe.


Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Time Saving Tip: Absent Folders

I am about to share this year's "Time Saving Tip" winner! Absent Folders!

A colleague introduced me to the idea, which is clearly not new (as evidence by the pages and pages of products available on TPT). I had no idea!

Here's how mine work:

If a student is gone, I simply place the folder on their table/desk spot. Each time I pass out something, I either put the worksheet in the left or right pocket depending on whether or not I want the finish product returned upon completion.

You can get these adorable owl folder covers from Noble Resources TPT store HERE.

Before I send it home, I slip in my generic note in and fill in specifics (who and what day to return the items). Then I add a little note "wishing you well", "have a great trip"...

I made a total of three folders since the flu season has been known to take down that many students at one time.

 I'm glad I started using these folders. They have saved me a ton of time already! They make it easy to see what needs to be completed and keeps it separate from all of the other paper I send home with students. I've already used them multiple times since school started. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Five for Friday: Apples!

It's FALL! The leaves are beautiful, the boots (and boot socks) are being worn once again, and we are learning all about apples. Here are a few happenings from our week! Thanks Kacey from Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting my favorite linky!

Apples galore! At the beginning of this week students were invited to bring an apple to school.

 (Confession, I bought the Golden Delicious and Granny Smith apples. It's not much fun graphing all one color of apple.)

We are studying different kind of graphs in math, so we made a real graph with the apples and recorded the results in the form of individual bar graphs.

We also had a special apple-loving guest leave a mysterious note for us when we arrived at school this morning.

They guessed it - Johnny Appleseed! He (aka: our vice principal) visited our classroom and told us all about planting apple orchards across the country. He also told us to be on the lookout for his hat - he couldn't remember where he left it!

Eat an apple, 
Save the core,
Plant the seeds,
And grow some more!

I think we are getting the hang of cutting circles out of squares! These sequencing books turned out so cute!

Our favorite apple game this week was "10 Red Apples". That sneaky worm was sooo sneaky... he gave us practice identifying teen numbers and all we thought we were doing was having fun!

Check out how to play this game HERE.
Hiding behind the twelve!

This is a picture of my classroom dramatic play castle. Sometimes it's a just a castle, other times a space station... it's whatever we imagine it to be.

Earlier this week I overhead that my darling girls had turned it into a baby hospital. How sweet! Until I overheard.. "My mom says your bum hurts when you have a baby..." I intercepted (before other details emerged) with the grand idea of a vet clinic. Usually the vet center props come out during our community helpers unit but drastic times...

Almost every day this week a concerned parent or child does a double take. One parent gasped when she dropped off her daughter.We've had some good laughs over it! This new doorstop was definitely worth the $10!
Another source of laughter this week has been Mr. Monkey. He's one of the goofiest puppets I inherited from the previous kindergarten teacher. I decided his long arms were perfect for s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g out the sounds in CVC words. I'm trying to integrate short activities that work on phonemic awareness between reading group rotations. (At the beginning of the year I pull all groups to the rug after each rotation for a quick activity before starting the next rotation. It takes longer, but this helps pull the focus back in before releasing again for independent work. Eventually, we will transition from one rotation to the next seamlessly.)

Chillin' after a long day of helping the kinders sound out words.
Mr. Monkey s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s out the sounds in a word (while I stretch out his crazy long arms) "S.....I.....P" and the class shouts out "SIP" as Mr. Monkey claps his hands together. Mr. Monkey has done such a good job modeling for us that we are ready to move on to using Slinkys to stretch out the sounds ourselves.

The Rhyming King is another puppet my kids ask about: "Will the rhyming king visit today?" Click on the post HERE to learn about the King who "love to rhyme... all the time".

Be sure to head over to the link-up to see what everyone else has been up to this week!

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Rhyming King

"I love to rhyme - all the time!"

That is how the Rhyming King introduces himself. The only problem is he's not always very good at rhyming. He needs our class to help him out from time to time.

The Rhyming King gives two words to the class. If both words rhyme (rug, bug), the class gives him a thumbs up. If they don't rhyme (rug, sad), they give him a thumbs down. He will then call on a student to give him a word that does rhyme with the first word. Sometimes we can think of more than one word that rhymes (rug, hug, dug, chug...) This activity is a great way to get everyone involved.

At the beginning of the year... the Rhyming King starts of with some crowd pleasers: "Sit. Stinky feet. Do they rhyme?" Oh, the laughter! (Then he has to tone it down before that one kid starts to roll on the floor. You gotta toe the line between having fun and being totally out of control when you teach Kindergarten!)

As we progress through the year, the Rhyming King gives words that require careful listening (sat, sit) to determine if they rhyme.

Happy Rhyming!

Tackling the Teens

I reassessed my student this week on number identification and I was pleasantly surprised! Most of them could name all... yes, ALL of the teen numbers! Some of them couldn't identify past 12 when school started.
Now this wouldn't be surprising if I just finished our math unit on teen numbers...but we didn't. We are learning about graphing, greater/fewer/equal, patterning...
The only "teen number" practice has been talking about them during calendar time, our 10 Red Apples poem, and our passwords to leave at the end of the day. I thought I'd share these "tricks" with you today since they are a fun way to get your students brains ready for your teen number unit. (I don't know about you, but if there's a trick for teen numbers - I'll try it!)

10  11 Red Apples 
(I had to change the # of apples in the poem since I wanted to include the # 10. 
The original idea came from the Mailbox magazine)
11 red apples sitting in a tree,
5 for you and 6 for me,
But there's 1 little worm that you can't see.
Where oh where could that little worm be?

Students raise their hands to guess which apple that sneaky worm is hiding behind. It's so simple but they LOVE it! It's great number recognition practice. For students that don't know their teen numbers yet, I'll give them 2 choices when I call on them "Theo, do you think the worm is behind apple # 15 or 18?"

I start by keeping the numbers in order from 10-20 so they can count on to figure out the name of a teen number. (I model this by "thinking out loud": "10, 11, 12...13! I think the worm is behind the 13.") After a few days, I place the apples randomly for a challenge.

Only 4 numbers left! He's a sneaky worm!

End of the day password

I am blessed to have an amazing ET student helping in my classroom this year. (ET = Education Training student. ET students are high school students who want experience assisting in a classroom to see if a career in education is something they'd be interested in.)
Since my ET helps our classroom the last hour of the day, I put her in charge of our exit password. She'll stand by the classroom door. As we file out at the end of the day, she holds up a number card. As each student passes, they say the name of the number to her - their password to leave the classroom. The cards have objects on the back for students to count if they can't identify the number. (I strategically place students that may need to do this in the back of the line when we leave so they don't feel pressure from others waiting behind them.)

Now, when we get to our teen number unit in math we won't have to spend as much time identifying teen numbers. With that under our belt, we can focus on writing and representing teen numbers.

Leave a comment with your favorite "teen tackling tricks"!