Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Late post: Christmas Party Fun!!

I'm a little late in posting about our class Christmas party but we had so much fun I thought I'd share. Our day was jam packed full of activities. We started the day with a school wide sing-a-long in the gym and watched a snippet of Polar Express. All the kiddos came in their pajamas and they looked adorable.
Then we headed back to our class to decorate graham cracker houses. Sometimes I think I'm a glutton for punishment with the things I decide to take on, but then it all works out and we always have a blast and I realize it was all worth it.
Like the time I decided to make eighteen graham cracker houses by myself instead of getting help from our parent helpers. I usually have the parents hot glue the houses together but this year I had the crazy idea to put them together using royal icing so that they'd be edible.As I'm constructing them I'm thinking I must be crazy, but then the kids had so much fun with this activity that I can't wait to do it all over again next year...with some help. 
To pull this all off I made the houses the night before, then I put all the candies needed into muffin tins for the kids to share and I put multiple cans of frosting with popsicle sticks on all the tables. The kids were so excited and concentrating so hard on adding candies without breaking the houses that they were SILENT!! Yes! SILENT! In a kindergarten class on the last day before Christmas break. It really was a Christmas miracle lol. They were so proud of their little houses they couldn't wait to show their parents.
After lunch we played Minute to Win it games with marshmallows and it was so much fun!! First we played Marshmallow Toss where the kids had to see how many marshmallows they could get in their partner's cup in a minute.
Then we played Build a Snowman, which sounds so easy but they were only able to build 2 snowmen. For our last game we tried to see how many marshmallows we could get in a cup using a straw. This was hilarious!! I'm gonna say my kids are either cheaters or geniuses. Instead of sucking the marshmallow with the straw they stabbed the straw into the marshmallow to move it.

After the Minute to Win It games we had our book exchange and then our Christmas party and whew the day was done...thank goodness. Busy, busy, busy!!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Hey it's me Cindy!

Where to begin…
So much has changed for me.  I’m now one year and a half into my trek from kindergarten to THIRD GRADE and this is my first blog post.  GASP!  Never the less here I am ready to share some of my journey with you all.  From kinder through my first year as a third grade teacher in one longish post haha!  Thank goodness for winter break!

Let me start by saying that I LOVE KINDERGARTEN.  Their sweet little faces so eager to see you every morning, their toothless smiles, the hugs.  The look on their little faces the first time they read a word, count to 100, heck sometimes it was just counting to 10!  The pride in their little faces melting every bit of your heart.  To say I miss it is an understatement, but what I miss the most about kindergarten is the people I worked with.  All my friends, especially my bestest (I don’t care if that’s not a real word lol) amiga Sandra.  It’s a scary thing leaving what you know for something you know NOTHING about, but I felt like the time was right.  It was an easy decision knowing I had their full support no matter what.
Third grade…
So M.G. Ellis is an Early Childhood Center with a campus full of pre-k and kindergarten students.  To move up I had to switch to a “regular” school.  YIKES!  So, there I went.  From the first meeting, to setting up my room, I felt like I was swimming upstream.  The term learning gap was the mantra of my year.  I was amazed with what my 8 and 9-year-olds were expected to do.  New grade level, new administrators, new colleagues, it was all so overwhelming.  I was placed on a three person team with two hardworking educators who helped me make it through this very though year.  Thank you, Mrs. Sanchez and Mrs. Martinez.  I taught reading, writing, science and social studies to 3 very different classes.  Two dual language classes and one very culturally diverse ESL/Regular Program ELA class.  Not only did I have Spanish speaking ELLs last year, but I also had students from several countries in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.  I learned that third graders are still sweet, still love to hug their teacher, and know how to push buttons haha!  So now not only do I love kinder, I also…LOVE THIRD GRADE!
The year flew by…
Before I knew it, my first year of third grade was over!  It felt like my first year of teaching many days, but with the support of my teammates and upper grade vets that came to my rescue when I needed it, I survived.  I missed my friends and the familiarity of what I had been doing for 10 years at the same school and feel stronger for having taken a leap for myself.  More than anything, what helped  me make it, was the fact that I was never alone.  Sandra was always there giving me her unwavering support through all of my struggles, even when she was learning to navigate without me too.  I feel like our friendship is stronger than ever.  Thank you for everything, amiga, I love you to pieces.  Here's to a new year of love, friendship and becoming BETTER bloggers in 2018!

Coming soon…
KDLD Winter/Snowman Unit! 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving feast, crafts, experiments and a Freebie

Our Thanksgiving break is coming to an end and it’s time to get back to work. Hopefully everyone had a wonderful time with their friends and family. I know I did!! I love being off but I also love my little amigos and can’t wait to hear about everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) they did over the break. Kindergarteners are so awesome and LOVE sharing every minute of their lives.
Now, I’m going to share a few things we did prior to the break and haven’t had time to blog about.
During the month of November we spend a lot time discussing Pilgrims, Native Americans and the Mayflower. We discuss how the Native Americans helped the Pilgrims who then had a bountiful harvest and they had a meal to celebrate it and we added all new learning to our schema chart. Then we have a Thanksgiving feast with all of kindergarten. There are 10 kinder classes at our school so usually 5 classes are Native Americans and 5 classes are Pilgrims. The kids get to make costumes and dress up for the feast, make a Thanksgiving handprint placemat with a pattern border and have a Thanksgiving meal. Many of our students are bilingual students and have never celebrated Thanksgiving before. The feast always turns out so cool. I love it and so do the kids!!

I love reading Turkey Trouble and then having the kids think of other foods we can eat instead of turkey for Thanksgiving. These projects always turn out so cute. 
We also make a list of what we are thankful for after reading Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks. Then we make this turkey craft and write what we are thankful for on the feathers.
Also, before the holiday we were discussing sources of energy and changes caused by heat. We did several activities trying to melt chocolate, marshmallows and butter but the activity they loved the best was popping popcorn in an air pop machine. I love their faces in the pictures. We had so much fun, but we should’ve kept some of that melted butter for our popcorn!

For Veteran’s Day we made the veteran craft from Deanna Jump’s Veteran Unit. I made it half the normal size and they came out super miniature but kind of cute. Then the students wrote thank you notes to the veterans.

We also did a few activities from our Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere unit. We measured our pumpkin with cubes, estimated how big it is with yarn, tested to see if it would float, carved it, took out the seeds and roasted them. 

Lastly here’s a freebie that’s on our TpT site. It’s a clip it game in Spanish called Clip It! Initial Sound Cards. Hope you can use it!! 
Thanks for reading!!
Sandra & Cindy

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Changes all around!!!

I can’t believe it’s already the 8th week of school!! Whew!! We made itbarely. There’s so much to share after 8 weeks that I may need to blog several times this week just to get it all in. Today’s post will be about a peek at my classroom and some changes that have occurred at our school.
There have been quite a few changes since I last blogged. For one my best friend, blogging partner and teacher wife decided she needed a change from kinder after 10 years and moved to another school to teach 3rd grade. I am so proud of her!! Everyone knows changing schools and grades is really hard, but I’m also really sad. 
What will I do without her?!?
She’s so amazing though and I know she will thrive at her new school. I miss her terribly but I know she made the right decision. When she gets more familiar with third we will add some of the activities from her dual language class.
More changes...from our group of 6 dual language kinder teachers 3 of them either switched schools (like Cindy), went to another district or got moved to Pre-K. Talk about major changes! We went from having a wonderful team to starting all over again with new people. It’s been soooooo hard. This year has really been difficult so far but on a positive note my students are so AMAZING!! I really love my class. Our school is really incorporating Conscious Discipline and you can see the changes in the kids. They are so much nicer to each other and also seem to use their Big Voice more. Way to go Pre-K teachers!! Here's a few pics of my Superheroes!!
I'd also like to share a few pics of my classroom! This is what it looks like from my teacher table.
This is our library and writing center. Our library also has our Conscious Discipline "Kind City" which is like the Kindness Tree. 
This is the calendar, alphabet frieze and schedule.
Bilingual center chart and Spanish word wall

Student lockers with superhero locker tags, above the lockers are the superhero color, shape and numbers 1-20 cards. You can get all of these at our TpT store.

Here a few Conscious Discipline components that are implemented in our classroom. Wish you well, Safe Place aka "Safeville", breathing strategy and feelings cards and the breathing mat.

Happy blogging - Sandra and Cindy 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Spring Fever and Spring Break!

Hello to everyone!  I hope that Spring Break has you feeling refreshed and ready to come back!  This time of year is always so busy and exciting, especially at M.G. Ellis.  Let’s start with the Heart Walk and Health Fair that we have every year at the beginning of March!  This is an event that I (Cindy) along with my lovely committee put together at our school.  We invite parents to come and do a 30 minute fun walk around our playground area, facilitated by our awesome P.E. teacher Mrs. Hamilton.  Afterwards parents get to visit booths that give them lots of information about how to stay healthy by getting their weight and BMI, insurance, and local dentists offices just to name a few, a big thank you to Lynne our school nurse for her hard work in getting all of these wonderful people together.  We had over 160 people in attendance this year!  What a great turn out!  I was sooo busy during all of it that I only got a few pictures.

Last week, wait the week before spring break haha, we talked about rainbows, St. Patrick’s Day and leprechauns.  Sandra asked her little ones: “What would you do if you found a pot of gold?”  They made this super cute anchor chart, put their ideas on a cloud then, they added a rainbow chain attached to a pot of gold.  Her display looks AMAZING don’t you think?!

 The next activity I’m going to show you is one that we’ve been doing for a few years now, I really love this activity.  We asked the students, “Who is worth more than gold to you?”  We started out with this anchor chart to help them write about who they chose, along with two details of why that person means so much to them.  One of my students said, “My teacher is worth more than gold to me.  She gives me hugs and teaches me about everything.”  That students is now my all-time fav!---Just kidding I love them all!  Here’s a picture of my example and some of Sandra’s students’ writing.  I decided to add a rainbow to the top and make my pot of gold black just to change it up a little bit.

My class did the leprechaun directed drawing from First Grade Blue Skies again along with a modified leprechaun application we didn’t get to finish L.  This year I let them use liquid water colors to paint the background after coloring their leprechauns with crayons.  I was very nervous about using liquid water colors with my kids but, then I had the great idea of letting only half of them paint at one time, while the other half was busy doing something else, and let me tell you, it really saved my sanity!  I know, “Let it go Cindy,” but spilled liquid water color is something I can’t! LOL!  Some of the kids got fancy with their painting!  I will definitely let them use liquid water colors again.  Yay!  I made a modified, "What is your leprechaun name?" off of a list of named I found on google images.  Once again the kiddos got a kick out of their leprechaun names.  Some of them were very fitting of them! ;-)  I posted them on the wall so the parents can try to find which one belongs to their little one.

Sandra did a leprechaun craftivity from our hero, the wonderful, Deanna Jump!  She paired it with our “How would you catch a leprechaun?” cause and effect writing activity.  She also did this super cool paper strip rainbow from Pinterest.  What looked to be super simple turned into something a little more challenging for kinders.  There was something about folding the papers over to the opposite side that was a little tricky.  None the less Sandra got them through it and had these beautiful finished products to show for it.  The kids wrote about what their favorite color was and two things that are that color.

That was the week before…Spring Break!!!  Sandra, left on an adventure to Thailand (can’t wait to hear all about it), while I stayed home.  I feel like we’ve been running full speed since we came back from winter break.  I made it a point to try to do something every day as a sort of soul cleansing.  My spring break was awesome!  I had brunch with family, loved on my nieces and nephew, had long and unrushed talks with friends, watched Zootopia (it was soooo good!) with my family and relaxed with my love and my fur baby as we binged on Netflix and Hulu.  

I couldn’t ask for more, my heart is full, my body is recharged and I’m ready to welcome my little loves back to school with a smile and a HUGE hug!  Helloooooo springtime!  What did you do for spring break?  Let us know. J  Have an amazing week back at school friends.
-Cindy and Sandra