Saturday, July 5, 2014

Monkeying Around on the Fourth

                                                                  Four on the Fourth
      One of my favorite teacher bloggers, Ms.M,  is having a Four on the Fourth linky party, so I thought I'd add 4 of my latest shopping finds.  I didn't really plan on doing more school shopping for a while, but my husband had some Bass Pro Shop gift cards that were burning a hole in his pocket.  The 4th of  July seemed like a good time for a drive to Concord Mills, the huge outlet mall about 1 1/2 hours away, and oh, joy! It has an Education Express store! So while Sam was in fishing supply heaven, I headed for the teacher store.
       My first mission was to find some bananas to use with the Top Banana letter recognition unit
that I use at the beginning of the year.  (Thank you, Marsha McGuire). What do you know? I found bananas. But then I saw these really cute monkeys with the bananas, and thought, Wild about Kindergarten, or maybe Welcome to the Zoo? So I put the bananas back and got this instead.

     So I am not exactly sure about how I will use them, but there are lots of possibilities.

     Then I found this chart -- perfect for charting the mastery of letter recognition and later sight words.


       Now all I can see are monkeys, so I added these stickers and incentive charts to my cart.

    That was enough with monkeys and bananas!

    My other purchase was some new sticks for my "BANG! Game. I think I got that idea from Reagan Tunstall several years ago.  My kinders always love that game, and my sticks were pretty dirty, so I got new sticks that I color coded to match the sight word lists -- now I can differentiate. The kids can choose a stick by the color that matches the sight word list they are working on.

     I have turned in my supply order, and I don't intend to buy any more school stuff - until TPT has a nice sale sometime before school starts. I have a couple things on that wish list.  I need to make one more trip to school to do a little more sorting and purging, then I hope to forget about it for about a month. 
Happy July!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Dollar Tree Treasure Hunt

         I promise I was just stopping in Dollar Tree to get a fly swatter and a paint scrapper!  But of course I had to look down a few aisles, and looky here! Pete the Cat's shoes! And although I already have about 10 boxes of eraser manipulatives, I couldn't pass these up.  And then I saw this squishy caterpillar, and I knew I had to have that -- it will be great to pass around when we read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." It's also good for wiggly kids to hold while they are trying to sit still.
      And craft sticks! I'm going to make new sight word sticks for my "Bang" game -- the ones I have are so grimy from many, many hands playing that very popular game.
       Oh, and a little tiny bag of Lindt truffles was calling my name...
       While I was in the neighborhood, I stopped in Walmart and found some plastic name tag holders -- my others have been chewed and curled, besides having food dripped all over them. 
         So, I came home and quickly made a game frame for Pete's shoes. Just roll the dice and put that many shoes on the footprints -- good counting practice at the beginning of the year. They will also be used to make patterns, sort, add and subtract.  
          I stood and admired all the colorful baskets and tubs that could hold crayons, pencils, etc. -- and met another teacher who was doing to same thing -- but we decided to hold off on buying new containers.  After all, we ARE  on vacation and not hardly thinking about school at all... Really!

Monday, June 16, 2014

End of Another School Year

   I locked my classroom door and turned in my keys this afternoon after carrying out 2 crates of books, coffee cups, a terrarium, some leftover Oreos, and the lone surviving goldfish in my fish tank. After eagerly counting down the days, I felt a little sad to be walking away. I am looking forward to having time to do all the things on my summer list, but I am already missing the hugs and smiles from my little ones. And my assistant/ best friend is flying to France tomorrow to visit her daughter and granddaughter, so I am really going to miss seeing her every day.
   There will be a lot of changes next year. Because of our shrinking enrollment, we will have fewer teachers next fall, and abou a third of our teachers will be moving to a different grade. I am feeling lucky to be able to continue teaching kindergarten, but unless we get more students, I will be the only kindergarten teacher next year. That will be very strange, and I will miss collaborating with my teammate after 9 years together.

        "Grajwashine" (graduation) was sweet, and I hate to lose some of the great parent volunteers I had this year.  Just when you get to know them, it's time to start all over again!
       On the other hand, I can finally see the top of my desk! And I found lots of treasures under the piles of papers, including a bag of candy leftover from teacher appreciation week!
    So, I'm about to have some of those Oreos and milk, prop my feet up and contemplate my schedule for the next few days.  Do I start with the weeds in the flower garden, the piles of bills and mail, or the mopping and dusting? Or just finish the book beside my bed? Plenty to keep me busy all summer, and August will be here before I know it! I love this job!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Top Ten Things I Want To Do This Summer

Mrs. Jump's Class
        This is a milestone day for me -- I just noticed that I have had 50,000 hits on my blog!  That is so funny!  And incredible --

        Deanna Jump, my blogger role model, had a great idea -- of course, all her ideas are great. That's why she has a gazillion followers. But this time she suggested that we make actual plans for the summer, unlike my usual "whatever" summer.  And since I spent last summer having a little battle with cancer -- I WON, thank you, God  -- I think I will make a to-do list of thing that don't involve medical tests and lying on the couch!

       1. Before I can  really get to the "relaxing " part of the summer, I HAVE to get my classroom de-cluttered and reorganized.  This will probably be my last year teaching -- I plan to retire at the end of next year -- so I need to give away, throw away, and otherwise get rid of years of accumulated teaching materials that I don't use anymore. We have 2 planning days after school is out, and I hope that will be enough to clear out all the excess.  Only 13 more days of school for us this year!

       2. Celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary on June 22.  We still haven't decided exactly how to mark this momentous occasion -- but it will not be a fishing trip or Army reunion, two of my darling husband's ideas. I love the man dearly, but, really?


       3. I also need to clean out my closet.  I either need to move down a size or give up, but I know there are things I cannot wear and it is time to face the facts. In fact, I plan to clean out all the closets. My son graduated from college this month, so I am sure there are some treasures in his closet --  but it might be a little scary.

        4. On the other hand, I intend to keep up the walking I have been doing -- and try to hit my goal of 10,000 steps/ 5 miles a day.  If I do this, maybe I will be able to wear those clothes...
        5. I will also get rid of nearly 45 years of teaching materials that I have kept at home -- I have hoarded in case I need them someday.  I will also try to be realistic about which books I will actually read again. It is so hard for me to turn loose of  books, but I am going to try. My file cabinets need work, too.

         6. I need to spend time catching up on my volunteer job as church librarian. And I want to read lots of books that I have purchased for the library, too -- no time for fiction during the school year.

         7. Pull weeds out of my flower garden! Then I can sit on the front porch in my new rocking chair and not feel guilty.

         8. Go to West Virginia to see my brothers and other relatives.  While I am there I will eat hot dogs from the Dairy Queen and biscuits from Tudor's --any pounds I gain will be worth it.

         9. Learn all the new music we are getting in my Sweet Adelines chorus. I will listen to learning tapes while I am walking laps.

        10. Take my daughter to New York for a girls only trip to celebrate her birthday. Take lots of pictures and make lots of memories! School will start right after we get back, so this will be the last time I will have to relax before the craziness starts again!

       There, I feel better about summer now!!  I have a plan!!


Friday, May 16, 2014


     As you can see from the picture, we are in the final countdown. We have 18 days left -- and each child gets to do all the classroom jobs one more time. Every day one child gets to do it all -- line leader, erase the board, do the calendar, office messenger -- and when everyone has had a turn, it will be graduation day. The year has gone by quickly, but I will admit that I am about ready for a break.  But I sure will miss the hugs, the laughter, and the daily adventure of kindergarten. I always thought I would retire this year, but I am just not ready to give it up yet, so I will be back best fall. Ready to do it all again.
       I have been busy assessing literacy for the past two weeks.  I have hardly taught any this week. My assistant has done most of the teaching this week while I have been pulling children out, one at a time, to read and answer questions.  I am overjoyed -- dancing around the room HAPPY--to be finished. I still have math, writing, and spelling to assess, but the worst is over.  And best of all, everyone made good progress and every one of them can READ! 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Tweetsie Railroad on Letterland Day 2014

      A field trip to Tweetsie on Letterland Day is always the highlight of the year.  But I hope I look at the calendar before we plan next year's trip. This week also included Cinco de Mayo, Mother's Day, and my own son's graduation from college, as well as progress reports and assessments! Whew!

       We are very lucky to have a park like Tweetsie so near our school.  When they transform it to Letterland, it is a perfect reward for all the hard work of kindergarten. The kids were met at the gate by Firefighter Fred and his fire truck --  and lots of parent and grandparent volunteers. Every child had a hand to hold, and that is the best kind of field trip.  Since my springtime allergies were reignited by all the pollen, I was grateful I only had to hold my tissues to catch sneezes all day while other adults took responsibility for my class.

        There were lots of Letterland characters roaming around and signing autographs.

     I even got my picture taken with Mr. O!

The buildings and shows were all changed to reflect the theme.  

Even the train became the Letterland Express. It was fun to watch Red Robot try to steal all the "r" sounds, but the Vowel Men made him give everything back.

        I had an exciting ride in one of the little cars with one of my students -- had to grab the wheel a few times -- but we made it back without wrecking!

        My favorite place was the Fudge shop -- the only air conditioned and pollen-free spot in the park.  But you can only stay in the candy store for so long before you have to buy something, so I knew I needed to get out of there!


         We had a blast!!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring Break -- Only a Day Away!

    I think I can make it one more day -- a busy day with Easter Egg hunt and cupcakes and candy and a full moon! And then a glorious 10 days off!

    Spring finally arrived in North Carolina -- and all the beautiful blooms have caused me to sneeze about non-stop for 3 days. Then we had pouring rain for a day to wash away some pollen -- relief -- and now the temperature is supposed to be in the 20s tonight. You can get sunburn and frostbite all in the same day!

      We had kindergarten screening at our school yesterday. I always enjoy seing my future students. It amazes me to see the difference in readiness already -- some know all the letters and sounds and write their name easily, while others don't know a single letter and seem to have never held a pencil before. One little boy told me, "I am smarter than any kind of kid." I love his confidence -- he will do well.  Another one would not even look at us or say a word.  And I liked the variations of the "ABC" song -- "h I k k t u b, s u x, y and z"
      Even though Easter break is later this year, it seems like it sneaked up on us again. We have been busy trying to do some Easter-y activities this week.  They did a guided drawing activity that I found on Pinterest -- I love Pinterest -- and some came out really cute.

        The most exciting activity is coloring eggs -- I feel like a magician with the wonderful audience looking in amazement as the eggs miraculously change into beautiful bright colors. Of course, some of my boys were doing flips and wrestling while waiting their turn, but it was still fun.

   Tomorrow we will have our Easter egg hunt and fill up with sugar, then we have time to take a big breath before the assessing and end of year activities begin. I am so thankful that our snow days did not take our spring break -- after celebrating the resurrection of Jesus at church on Sunday, I'm going to the beach for a few days, then to the mountains for some hiking and visiting with friends. I hope to squeeze in a little housework between trips, then we start the countdown to summer. Just when I have them reading and writng independently, it wil be time to say goodbye. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wearing the Green and Wishing for Spring

     "I am tired of winter days,
Being cold and wet and gray..."

       That's the beginning of a poem I will teach tomorrow.  This is the longest winter I can remember since I moved to North Carolina about 25 years ago.  Who would believe that we would have a two hour delay because of ice on St. Patricks Day?
         Between more delays and  still more assessments, we increased our "global awareness" by learning about Ireland and St. Patricks Day.  This is a special day for me, because 25 years ago I gave birth to my son -- and life has never been the same! He is studying to be a chef, and that yummy creation was my birthday cake!

         We had a guided drawing of a leprechaun, thanks to Heidi Butkus, to illustrate the "Leprechaun  Pie" poem added to the poetry notebooks. I have no artistic ability at all, but I can follow Heidi's directions and I think my little artists did a great job..

          The kids also made big leprechauns to decorate our room -- I think this patten came from Heidi, too.

           Finally the kids wrote stories about catching a leprechaun.  I am so glad to see them leaving spaces between words so I can easily read most of the stories.

      "I will catch a leprechaun with a mouse cage."
   Love the ending ..."and that was my story."

       Why do the children always spell chrap when they mean " trap."?  We start on the "r" blends next week.

     The best part of the celebration was the Leprechaun Pie made by Mrs. Austin. I forgot to take pictures, but it was a big hit with the whole class.

             Tomorrow is the first day of spring, and I sure am hoping for some sunshine! We have started studying about plants this week.  I have Lima bean seeds soaking so I can show them the seed coat and the little shoot that will be growing.  Stay tuned!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Celebrating Dr. Seuss 2014

       In between all the snow days and delays, we managed to squeeze in a little celebration for Dr. Seuss' birthday this week.
          Cat in the Hat

         Cindy Lou Who

         Fox in Socks called for "Crazy Socks Day"

       And the highlight of the week -- green eggs!