Saturday, August 15, 2015

Smart Start: Visual Morning Job Reminders for Students

This year I'm trying something new. In an effort to not have to repeat myself ...

"Hang up your backpack."
"Turn in your folder."
"Did you check your folder to see if there is anything for me inside?"
"If you need a pencil, check the sharpened bucket."
"Get a drink now, because when we are on the rug my answer will be to wait."
"Please start your Welcome Work."

 ... to every student as they enter the classroom. Every. Day.

I created this PowerPoint slide to display on my projector the first several weeks of school. (Or until I feel they've got the morning procedures down pat.) Here's a picture:

I plan to simply point to the picture clues as a reminder of their morning jobs. Sounds like it will work. Right? *fingers crossed*

I've seen teachers make adorable posters with this information (along with pictures of the students doing each of the jobs), but my walls are overloaded already. Our IT guy would joke that my room drove his OCD tenancies crazy! So I'm making an effort to minimize. Hard to do in an elementary classroom!

How do you help reinforce morning procedures in your classroom? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Five for Friday: One Long Sunday Night

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for a little Five for Friday fun! Thanks for hosting Kacey!

It's officially August. I've started having dreams about school.

Don't get me wrong. I'm excited for back-to-school, but at the same time I realize how many things on my summer to-do list are left. Double time!

One project I crossed off that list is making my first scrap quilt. It was about time. I have so many scraps from previous quilts, I need to use them up before I spend another cent on more fabric.

I saw this scrap quilt pattern a ways back and knew I had to make it.

I have a thing for quilts with bright colors paired with black...as you can see by two other recent quilts I've made...

Here was the end result.... ta, da! I love how it turned out!

Does anybody else save dust jackets from books? I always take mine off of the books since my kinders have trouble keeping them on the books (and putting them back on).

I came across Kinder Craze's tutorial for how to put those dust jackets to good use - a banner!
I followed her tutorial here. So cute! I still need to add some contrasting ribbon bows.

I had enough dust jackets to practically make a banner for every wall in my classroom, so I picked ones from my favorite books. See any of your favorites?

(I'm thinking I'll use the other dust jackets to make another banner for a bulletin board display. I thought it would be cute to take a picture of each lower elementary teacher with their favorite picture book along with a short book review on why it's their favorite.)

My magnetic letters have arrived!!

I have big plans to use them for guided reading this year. I normally use tiles, but this cookie sheet idea from Polka Dot Kinders seems much more user friendly.

Students can easily find each letter to build their word with at the top. 

Our washing machine is finally fixed!! *happy dance*
One day I stepped in a puddle of water when doing a load of laundry. *groan* Turns out a needle or nail got stuck in the pump and the friction caused it to melt through the plastic causing it to leak. (That's my rendition of what the expert said.)

My hubby loves to build things, so it's not a surprise that a nail or other building tidbit was the culprit.

So in an effort to keep our washer (and wallets) happy, I made this sign above it.

I've gotten into a dangerous habit. Coconut milk ice cream after supper. Every. Day. (well, not quite...almost) It's just so good! Isn't it weird how practically anything can be made from a cocount? When we did the Whole30 challenge earlier this summer, we couldn't have dairy so we drank coconut milk. Even though we are done with the challenge, we've looked for ways to substitute various foods. It's crazy how you can buy soy sauce, sugar, flour... all made from coconuts. It's like the modern day peanut!

Have a Happy Friday!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tell all Tuesday: a Wish, a Goal, & a Dream for the School Year

Time for another Tell all Tuesday with the creative ladies from My Day in K and Teach Talk Inspire.

This week's summer linky is comes at a perfect time. I don't know about you, but school is on the brain! I received my class list in the mail yesterday and I can't wait to start labeling and preparing for my new group of learners. It's the time of year you set goals and create a vision for your year. This Tell all Tuesday topic was difficult to narrow down... I have so many wishes, goals, and dreams at the beginning of a school year. (At the end of the year it narrows to one goal - make it to the last day!)

Here goes...

That every day I would bless someone.
There is a story behind this. I have a wonderful retired teacher who has helped out in my classroom an hour a day for the past two years. She manages small group stations and works one-on-one with students needing a little extra support and encouragement. She is the sweetest, most vivacious retiree I've met. I heard from my dear friend (and fellow kindergarten teacher) that my sweet helper's prayer everyday is "Dear Lord, use me to bless someone today!" (I feel like my daily prayer is a little different "Dear Lord, I need someone to bless me today!")
I want this year to be a year where I am constantly looking for how God is going to use me to bless someone. Maybe it's a student who's had a rough morning and just needs a warm hug and smile, a colleague who needs a word of encouragement, or the janitor who needs an anonymous thank you card. I need God's help to keep the focus off of me and my needs. I want God's eyes to see when and how He wants to use me to share His love with someone else.

To improve my guided reading.
I struggle with having enough time in the morning to do guided reading the way it's meant to be since our school still offers a half-day kindergarten option. I've done a mix of math and literacy stations while I work with my guided reading groups to maximize the time.

This summer I read though Jan Richardson's The Next Step in Guided Reading. I know exactly what to do better this year to make my small group instruction more effective. What exactly? I'll have to devote a post (more like several) to share all that I've learned and want to implement from this book.

 If you haven't read this book -buy it right now! It's worth it!

To go to the I Teach K! National Kindergarten Conference in Las Vegas! This may not be a fulfilled dream this year... but it's a dream I'm going to keep rolling over from year to year until I can finally attend! To connect with teachers from all over who are passionate about teaching kindergarten AND to learn from the "star" teachers of the blogging world... would be a dream come true!

I'm looking forward to heading back to the link up and seeing what everyone else posted! Join me!