Sunday, November 1, 2015

October has come and gone!

All I can say is wow!  October came and went soooo fast!  This month we went on a field trip, went to the KToT Conference, our classes preformed at the P.T.A. meeting, my birthday, we had a math and science night, Jumpstart Read for the Record, pumpkin decorating and the storybook parade…No wonder we’ve been so exhausted lol!
I’m just going to give you a quick rundown of some of the things that we’ve done.  This year our pumpkin patch field trip was early in the month.  We went to Mainstay Farm which has to be one of the best places to take our little ones in the whole world.  The students get to dress a scarecrow, play in a huge sandbox, jump around on hay bales, play in a three story tree house, ride on a hay ride pulled by a tractor, and before they leave they get to take a pumpkin home.
We were photo bombed by two of my students!
That same week Sandra, myself and two other co-workers had the opportunity to attend the KToT Conference in Houston, TX.  We didn’t take many pictures since it seems like most of the sessions we attended had to do with classroom management.  We did see some amazing presenters one of them way Dr. Marcia Tate the author of  Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites.  In Mary Jo Huff’s session we had a blast in making puppets and different types of foldable books.  But my favorite presenter was Dan St. Romaine who took us through a two sessions that talked about teaching kids to encourage self-regulation and independence.  We bought his books some really great stuff from him.  He has these really awesome song books for the different procedures in the classroom.  We were very excited to hear that his song books are in the process of being translated to Spanish!!!  You can order them from his website.  It was a fun and refreshing conference for us!
My birthday was on the 13th of this month and for my birthday I went to the Marc Anthony concert with one of my coworkers and friend Maria.  We had a blast singing and dancing our hearts out!  That week we also had Jumpstart Read for the Record and Sandra and I both had two really awesome “Celebrity Readers”!  I had my friend AJ who is a police officer in our great city of Fort Worth.  Sandra had her brother read to her class and said the kids really liked him too!  The book was Not Norman and was such a sweet story about a little boy who didn’t want his pet fish because he thought he was boring.  In the end he learns just how cool of a pet Norman actually is.
Now to some seasonal activities!  In our Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Everywhere unit we have this cute glyph!  I actually left for a really awesome sub that I had (she’s a retired teacher) and they came out really cute.  I precut everything except for the eyes.  The kids had to either cut out circles or triangles for eyes.  She said it went very smoothly!  Also, on facebook one of the teacher I follow posted a Frankenstein Monster directed drawing activity.  We think directed drawing activities are really good at building confidence in their drawing skills.  First we read a super cute story named Crankenstien, then drew our monster and wrote about what made them cranky.  They did a really great job on them!  The website for that one and lots of other directed drawing activities is:
Our librarian with help from our P.T.A. bought pumpkins for each class to decorate for our school “Storybook Pumpkin Patch”.  This was fun Sandra and I used the same book we were using for our storybook parade costumes.  Mine was a super simple “Superkid” and Sandra’s was the “Rainbow Fish” her amazing part-time teacher assistant took her direction and ran with it.  It looked adorable!  All of our teachers did an awesome job!
For our storybook parade this year I kept our costumes very simple!  I had my students where red shirts which was easy since it was Red Ribbon week and they had to wear red on Friday anyway!  Win for me! J  Instead of making them, I bought masks from Party City and made capes out of a spare roll of plastic table cloth my friend Leslie had.  They kids looked super!  Sandra’s costumes were really cute!  They made rainbow fish scales out of circles and added glitter.  I especially liked that she carried around the cover to the Rainbow Fish big book she had to make in college!  It still looks great!
Sandra decided to start the class Boo game.  I heard, she came to our class knocked on our door a few times and ran away with her class but as it turns out…we were in the library so boo for us!  My kids were still excited with the bag of goodies they left us.  Then we got to Boo! another class.  It was a lot of fun!  Speaking of goodies,  I usually make my kids a “Halloween” goodie bag.  This year Sandra and I did some Halloween snacks for our kids.  I made the ghost cheese sticks and mandarin cup jack-o-lanterns.   Sandra’s class made Frankenstein pudding cups and she baked them mummies.  I thought they looked great!
 [Sigh!] So busy and it continues!  This week we have the 50th day and we’re starting our farm unit!  I can’t believe it’s already November.  Three more weeks and it will be Thanksgiving break then Christmas! OMG!!!  This post wasn’t as quick as I thought!  Haha!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Apples! Apples!

Hey y'all!! Can you believe it's the 5th week of school already?!? The beginning of the year is so hard but I finally see how all my hard work of building trust and relationships with my kiddos is starting to pay off. They are following directions and really working hard at making good choices. I have always believed that they can't learn or do fun activities if they can't maintain control of themselves and stay focused.
That being said...we started our apple unit last week and we are having so much fun learning all we can about apples. We graphed apples sent from home, we labeled the parts of an apple and we made a "How To" make applesauce writing page after making applesauce of course.


We tasted four different kinds of apples and graphed the results of which one we like the best. I love their faces while trying the apples!!
A new experiment I found on Pinterest that we did this year was the ERUPTING APPLE!! It was awesome!! The kids loved it. It was a great way to discuss a chemical reaction and that a gas is released called carbon dioxide. The experiment is super simple. You carve a little hole in the apple, add the baking soda, pour in the vinegar and watch the magic lol. I of course had to have a Sandra moment and use baking powder instead of baking soda...but as you can see it still worked. I had a brain fart in the grocery store and picked up the wrong item.
We also did a sink/float activity with the apples and completed an apple investigation page that can be found in our Bushels of Fun unit on TpT. We then counted the seeds inside and measured our apples with cubes.
I just love how you can do the simplest things and your kinders think it's  the most AMAZING thing!! We cut the apple in half and showed them the star inside and they just thought it was sooooo cool. The best part was when they were leaving for the day and I heard one of my kiddos ask his mom if she knew that apples had stars inside. Ha!! I love it!!
We also made this cut paper activity from Deanna Jump's Apples Math and Literacy Fun unit. They turned out really great. We do them every year, but this year they really did a fantastic job cutting the pieces.

One last thing I wanted to share are the superhero glyphs my co-worker Ms. Barajas created from something she found on Pinterest. I think they turned out SUPER cute!!
 Laters - Sandra

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Still hanging on...Conscious Discipline and Other Tools!

So we just finished week 3!!!  I don’t know about everyone else but 4 day weeks are soooo hard for me.  They seemed so rushed and stressful…but I really enjoyed having Labor Day off.  Now back to it!  Sandra shared her back to school display so this is mine.  I reused my boy and girl superheroes and changed the paper to blue with stars and a super cute border! 
This year I have 20 students consisting of 9 girls and 11 rambunctious boys!  They are challenging me like I’ve never been challenged before; but then again, I think I say that every year at the beginning of the year!  Gone are the days of the color chart at our school and on to the Conscious Discipline, “Commitment Chart.”  These commitments are our classroom expectations.  Each day my kids choose one they feel they need to work on.  Our commitments are: 1. I will have listening ears, 2. I will use helping hands, 3. I will use my big voice, 4. I will use kind words.  At the end of the day they have to go back to board and move their clip to either “I did the right thing!” or “Time to practice." based on how they feel they did.
One of my favorite components of Conscious Discipline is the “Safe Place.”  This is place in the classroom where my little ones go to calm down when they are sad, angry, upset about something.  I have books, various stuffed animals and items that our principal got for us (yes we’re blessed)!  This has been especially good for when someone starts to miss their mommy.  They go sit in the safe place to hug a our Batman teddy bear or squeeze a stress ball, calm down and come back to the group.  I'm amazed at how they self soothe and get right back to work.  I feel so proud of them.  This year we also added a "Kindness Wall" to go with our other Conscious Discipline components, but I must have deleted the picture on accident so I'll be sure I show it to you in the next post. J
I want to give you a peek into a couple of new classroom management tools I have started using.  Both of these I got from the I Teach K Conference.  We saw so many wonderful presenters!  My favorite session was Kim Adsit’s (click to see explanation) “Back to School Bootcamp.”  First she showed us a round, Dollar Tree pizza pan, I found superhero puppet from Mgulin Design and Illustration.  For now I am using it to focus on sitting correctly on the carpet.  Instead of having to stop and correct the behavior I reach up and take a part off our superhero.  The next tool is the marble jar this is whole class reward system.  Anytime they all sit quietly, line up nicely, or work quietly I reward them with a small bunch of marbles.  If they fill up their jar by the end of the week we get to do an extra “fun” activity like chalk day, take your shoes off in class, or a popcorn party like Sandra did.  We have not earned all of our marbles since the first week…it’s been a little rough!  I just got the ribbon that I needed to make them cute!  So I’ll reshoot the pictures once I fix them up.  
On to random things that I’m excited about! Hahaha!  Last year we received an iPad document camera late in the year, I had no idea what it was and never set it up.  This year I have, and of course and it’s super cool!  I've heard there are many neat things you can do with it but, in all the back to school craziness, I have not had a chance to research it.  Also, Sandra and me got our Erin Condren lesson plan books.  I absolutely love mine!  Seriously it was like opening a Christmas present.  Last but not least, I decided to get a bike!  I haven’t owned a bike since I was about 12 and I’m really excited about riding the new trail by my apartment.

I look forward to a great week with my kids and I wish you the same!