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!

Friday, September 4, 2015

We Survived the First 2 Weeks of School...barely.

Hey friends!!! Remember us?!? We haven't blogged in forever! You know how it goes when school starts and you can barely get it together or catch a breath. You get home so exhausted you just want to crash and forget you have a 
blog...but I'm ready to go now lol!! First blog of the 2015-16 school year YAY!!!

This year our district decided to have convocation at the beginning of the school year to get us all inspired!! Our school all went together on a school bus and we had a blast. The guest speaker was wonderful and I believe it was time well spent.
We didn't change our classrooms up that much this year since we decided to stick with our Superhero theme. But here are a few things we accomplished in the first 2 weeks of school.

This is a picture of my Welcome to the Super class bulletin board. I used the same superhero shape from last year but wrote their names on masks this year and added a banner. Simple but cute!
We did a self portrait craftivity and tore paper to cover their names for a wall display. Don't you just love Angel R.'s self portrait?? I Die!!! It's so cute!
We graphed number of girls and boys in the classroom. I saw this graph on Pinterest and loved it!!
We read Chrysanthemum and counted the number of letters in our names. Then we made a letters in our name book that will be put in the class library.  
Here's a picture of our calendar. It looks really basic and pitiful right now but we gradually add in new skills.
We started our student created alphabet and I love this picture. I think he did an awesome job.
This October we are headed to the KTOT conference and we can't wait. KTOT is the Kindergarten Teachers of Texas conference. I went many many years ago and loved it and I'm so excited to be going back. This will be my 3rd conference this year. I went to the ITeachK conference in July and absolutely loved it. I can't wait to go back next year. It's so inspiring to see, hear and meet so many fabulous teachers that love their job. However, the absolute best thing that happened was that I met my teacher idol Deanna Jump!!! I just love a normal "she's the teacher I aspire to be" way and not in a creepy stalker way HA!!! 
Then in early August I had the opportunity to see Dr.Jean!! She was amazing!! If you ever get the chance to go see her presentation you'll love it. I had a Dr. Jean selfie but couldn't find it to add here.

I started doing Fun Friday's and today we went outside and used chalk. The kiddos had so much fun... it's little moments like this that make kinder so awesome!! 
Have a wonderful year!!!