Thursday, July 26, 2012

Student Information Sheets

Good morning, friends!

As we approach the beginning of the school year (WHERE DID SUMMER GO???!!!), I am getting everything all ready to go. During Meet the Teacher night, I like to have a Student Information Sheet in the children's folder (which I will place on their desks) so the parents are able to take it home and fill it out. This gives me great insight into who the child is before we even begin the year. I am attaching a copy for you in case you might need one. Just click the link for your copy. Hope you enjoy it!

Student Information Sheet

For some reason, when I open it in Google Docs, it does not show the lines on each question, but if you open it as a PDF you should not have any problems.

Enjoy your last days/weeks of summer! I go back August 6th!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Poetry Journal Freebie

Hey y'all!
I hope your summer has been nice and relaxing! I have been busy getting my new classroom ready for the upcoming year and I have been LOVING it!! In my attempt to get organized, I have created a poetry journal cover for my students to put onto their journals this year. Click the picture for your free copy. Enjoy!

Monday, July 9, 2012

My Wedding Day

I have had several requests to share pictures of my wedding day. So, here ya go! Enjoy! :)

This is me with my sweet bridesmaids.

I LOVE this picture of me and my groom. :)

First dance. 
 Bride's cake.

 Groom's cake. We are huge Tech fans!

Heading out after the reception.

We had the best time at our wedding! These pictures obviously don't do it justice, but it was the best day of my life. :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

End of year gifts

I wanted to share with you what I gave my sweeties for end of the year gifts. I am so sad the year is over, but so excited to be getting married in a little over 2 weeks!

At our Pre-K graduation, I have my little ones an owl bag with candy and a slideshow I made with pictures from the year. It was so special for me to make. On each DVD I wrote a short message: "Owl" miss you! Pop this into a DVD player for a sweet reminder of Pre-K!"

If you are looking to make a video for your little ones, I highly recommend using Windows Live Movie Maker. It's super easy!

There are so many sweet and adorable ideas for end of the year gifts. What are you doing for your kiddos?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Very Special Delivery from Afghanistan

Hi friends!

Once again, I apologize for my absence on the blog lately. To say that my life has been crazy busy is an understatement! I am currently in the process of getting ready for my upcoming wedding on June 9th, packing to move out of my current apartment and trying to find a new job. We are so blessed to have found a beautiful home and we are now under contract. We are closing a few days after our honeymoon so I will be spending the summer getting settled into the new house. We are so excited!

I wanted to share with y'all a very special package we (my class) received in the mail yesterday. A couple of weeks ago, one of my kids' parents approached me with the idea to send a care package to his cousin, who is currently in Afghanistan. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity. I got my sweeties together and we wrote notes and drew pictures to our heroes in armed forces. This was a very special time in our classroom.

Yesterday we received a thank you package from our soldier friend, Armando. How thoughtful of him to send us a thank you package!! The goodies inside were unbelievable.......

First up was a collection of Afghanistan money. Too cool! We compared our American currency with that of Afghanistan.

Pins he gave us.....

Items from his uniform. The American flag is placed on their uniform as a protective measure. When soldiers are in planes looking down at the ground, they are able to look through certain goggles to see the America flag through infra-red lenses. This lets them know they are good guys.

This was the COOLEST thing ever!! An American flag was flown in honor of us. This was so special to all of us. This is definitely going in a frame! How thoughtful of him.

This is the picture of everything we received.

What really made my heart smile was the fact that he wrote each individual child a lengthy thank you note. For him to take the time to do that really showed his gratitude. It touched my heart.

This was such an honor to receive this. I did not expect anything in return, but it completely made our day. If you get a chance, I highly encourage you to send a care package to a solider. It will mean more to them than you may know.

Have a great week!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Conscious Discipline Behavior Strategy

I wanted to share with you a behavior management technique we have been using in my classroom for a while. It is from Conscious Discipline. It has worked wonderfully. In my classroom, we call it The Mirror. I am amazed at how well this technique has been working with my little ones. When one child is feeling angry or sad, they know they may go to the  mirror to choose a way to handle their anger, sadness, etc.

This is the front of it. I like how the children are able to see what they look like when they are feeling angry, sad, happy, etc. They must choose what their goal is and velcro it in the box. More times than not, they choose "feel better." :)

Once they have decided on a goal, they flip the mirror over. This is what the other side looks like. They are able to choose how they are feeling, and then decide how they are going to handle their feelings. They are given the choice to do things such as use a squeeze ball, draw a picture, and write in their journals.

I highly recommend this strategy to other teachers as well as parents. This teaches children that it is okay to be upset and angry. We must teach them how to handle these emotions in a healthy way and I think this strategy is a fabulous way to do that.

Enjoy your week!

Friday, March 30, 2012

A Peek At Our Week!

This week went by so fast. For the most part, it was a great week. We had vision screening on Thursday as well as 6 (yes, 6!!) observers, so that threw us all off a bit. :)

We learned so much about insects! We used all of the activities from my insect unit. I wish I had more pictures...sorry about that! It was so great to see how well the kids picked up on everything. I love when kids are having fun while learning!

After reading several nonfiction books about insects and the characteristics of insects. We then sorted pictures based on if they are insects or not.

I typed up several statements on cards, read them to the kids, and had the children come up to determine if it was a true or false statement.

We matched pictures to words. This gave the kids a chance practice identifying words by their beginning sounds.

We practiced one to one correspondence by counting out raisins onto these cute ladybugs. Edible activities are always popular! :)

We measured various sized pictures using cubes. We recorded our answers and then measured ourselves using the butterfly.

We had several read it, trace it, write it cards with several insect words. This was great writing practice for the sweeties.

This game is called Catch that Wasp and the kids played in partners. The kids rolled a die and moved that many number of spaces. For a challenge, the kids drew an alphabet card, and if they could identify the sound of the letter, they could move ahead one space.

This activity pack has brought so much fun and excitement to our classroom this week! If you're interested in purchasing, click the picture below.

 Have a wonderful weekend! I am flying to Houston early, early tomorrow morning to spend time with some sweet friends. Enjoy your weekend!! :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Insect Week, Freebie and Spring Has Sprung Sale!

This week we are learning all about insects. We learned all about ladybugs today. They are so fun to learn about! Who doesn't love ladybugs? :)

First, we talked about the parts of an insect. We used this poster to determine if various animals were insects or not.

We read a book about insects and their compound eyes. I saw this idea on Pinterest. Gather a bunch of straws and place a rubber band around them. This was great for the kids to see through an insect's eyes.

We started out by reading this book. It's called Ladybugs by Ann Meinrichs. This is a great resource and my kids were so engaged today throughout this book. We also read The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle.

We played Buzz! This is a super fun game that helps with number and number word identification. I have several games similar to this in my TPT store. The object of the game is to fill up your game board. The children draw a card, identify the number or number word on the card. If they are able to identify the card, they place it on their game board. If they can't, it goes back in the pile. If they draw a Buzz! card, they may remove a card from one other players' board. The game is so fun!

Several of my littles are working on reading CVC words. I am so so proud of them! This activity was super fun and engaging. The children spin the spinner, identify the letter, then record the letter on the cricket mat. This is where the sounding out comes in. They sound out each letter, then read the CVC word. They will also determine if it is a real or nonsense word. There is a recording sheet that some of my higher level students completed.

We made ladybugs today at the art center. These turned out super cute! I'll have to snap a picture tomorrow of the finished product. We added googly eyes and antennae. Loved them.

If you're interested in any of these activities, you can find them in my Insect Math and Literacy Activities~ It's A Bug's Life! Click here for my insect unit.

Here is a freebie for you. We are going to do this little activity tomorrow.

Spring has sprung! :) I am throwing a 20% off sale from tomorrow, March 27-Saturday, March 31. Enjoy!

Have a great week!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I Have, Who Has Games

Do you ever play I Have, Who Has games with your kiddos? We have recently started playing and it is so fun! The great thing about it, is that you can play by saying the letters OR the letter sounds. I am completely amazed by the progress of some of my kids just from playing this game. It also builds confidence in the little ones because they are standing and speaking in front of their peers.

I keep these cards in a box right by my chair. That way, it's easily accessible so I can grab and we can play.

Here's how you play: Pass out any number of cards to your group. I have 14 kids, so each child gets 2-3 cards and that works just fine. The kids stay sitting and the child who has the first card "A" begins by standing up. They will say, "I have A, who has B? (or whatever letter is on the card)" The person who has the letter being called will stand up and repeat the same process. This continues until the last card is read. My kids LOVE this game because we always time ourselves. We like to beat our previous time. I know yours will love it too! Click the picture for your free copy. This download has the letters in random order and in alphabetical order.

Here is a link for a number I Have, Who Has game. It focuses on numbers up to 30.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Our Morning Meeting in Pre-K!

I thought it might be neat for y'all to see my morning meeting routine. It's fun and my kids love it! I love how engaged they always are and so I hope this is helpful for you.

Before we begin our day, we go over our classroom expectations and read A Great Attitude by Sandi Hill. Every. Single. Day. Setting your expectations at the beginning is something I have learned can set the tone for the entire day. Below you will see what I use in my room. The pink behavior cues were given to me when I was student teaching. The cues on popsicle sticks were given to me at the beginning of the year. I think you can find things like this at the Dollar Store. These come in handy big time!

We implement LOVE (Listen, Obey, Voice, Enjoy) at my school so each day we talk about how we should show love in our classroom, during centers, in the hallway, at music, etc. For example, I show love in the hallway by.... L-listen to my teacher, O-Obey the teacher, V-inside voice, E-enjoy by participating. The kids respond very well to this so I was super glad to have been introduced to this technique. My amazing assistant made up a song to the tune of "We Will Rock You" that helps the kids remember what LOVE means. She's fabulous!

When I see that my kids have been doing a great job obeying, I encourage them with these quick motivators. These are from Dr. Jean. I laminated them and placed them on a ring so we can always grab them and encourage the students. It's amazing what positive reinforcement does! :)

Back to our morning meeting time.... After we have gone over what it looks like to obey in the classroom, we start our day by moving around to these Have Fun Teaching CD's. The pink one is great for movement. We start by moving along to "Stretch it Out Simon" to get our bodies warmed up. Then, we move to "Walk it Out Willie" or another song on the CD. I like to change up the songs each day so the kid don't get tired of the same ones. My kids LOVE these CD's!! I highly recommend them.

At this point, I go over daily jobs. Sorry that I don't have a picture of my job chart. I completely wasn't thinking! I change jobs at this point because for the next thing we do, we need our Pointer.

We are always moving in my classroom and I think that is so important for young kiddos. Once we have stretched our muscles and warmed our bodies up, we begin singing and moving to Dr. Jean's ABC song "Who Let the Letters Out?" The Pointer (A job in my class) comes to the easel and points to the letters as we hear them in the song. There are motions that go with each letter. For example, for "B" we act like we are bouncing a ball. We love this song! It is a daily ritual in our class and my kids are able to learn their letters and sounds in a fun way.

I don't have a picture of our number chart, but after we review our letters and sounds, we do a "counting punch" from the Have Fun Teaching Counting CD. It counts all the way to 50, so we punch each number. I have seen so much progress in my students' ability to count.

After we have moved around a bit, we take a seat for our morning message and our calendar routine. Each morning, the kids come to the class with a greeting message. We fill out the message together. This is where I can model for them. For example, I will say "Goo_ Morning! Goo_ morning? That doesn't sound right, does it? What word should that be? What letter can I add to make that word?" The kids always love to tell me the missing letter. I'll call on someone to come up to the board and write the letter in.  

Then we move on to our calendar routine. During student teaching in Kindergarten, we had a long calendar time (which was awesome), but for pre-k'ers, I had to modify. We always say the month we are in, say each letter in the month (M-a-r-c-h), then we say the sound of each letter. Next, we count how many days we have been in that month. Once we have identified what day it is, we sing a song that I learned from Hadar Maor at the online workshop a while back. It is to the tune of "Where is Thumbkin?" The words are "Today is Wednesday, Today is Wednesday, March 21st, March 21st, 2012, 2012, that's the date, that's the date." 

Next up is the weather. This is my easy, peasy weather plate. Ha! Y'all, I am pinched for time these days, but this works great. :) My weather helper today said, "I am putting this in the middle because it's rainy AND cloudy!"  They love to clip the pin on the plate.

The last thing we do is a thematic lesson. This week our theme is Zoo, so each day at the closing of our morning meeting, we have a lesson on a different animals. Today, it was zebras. We brainstormed what we knew about zebras before reading our zebra book. I wrote down everyone's answer, whether is was true or not. :)

After our lesson, I like to do some sort of demonstration or experiment that correlates to what we are learning about. Since zebras have black and white stripes, we predicted what would happen if we mixed black and white paint. Several kids predicted grey, while some predicted striped (my favorite answer, ha!), blue, black, and red. So, we tested it out..... The kids determined that the more white you add, the greyer the mixture. YES!

This may look like a lot, but in reality, it doesn't take much time at all. It flies by, too! The kids aren't bored because we are constantly up and down. If I see that they are getting antsy, we will just get up and dance to one of our Have Fun Teaching songs. Those are a lifesaver! :)

I hope you enjoyed getting a peek at our morning. I'd love to know what you do for your morning routine!