Friday, December 12, 2014

A visit from Santa!


       My students thought it was funny when I sat on Santa's lap.....

         But they roared with laughter when he kissed me under the mistletoe!

     Every child got to get their picture taken withSanta Claus.  One little boy said, "This is the best day of my life -- I can't believe I got to sit on Santa's lap!

      Here are a couple pictures for moms who I know will look at my blog.  If your child is in my room, please let me know that you look at my blog and I will be sure to put pictures on for you, too!



   Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Lots to Do in December!

We only have 14 1/2 days of school between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so the days are jam-packed with activities as we try to squeeze in all the learning and fun we can! 
     Last week was all about gingerbread stories. I have plenty of versions of the "Gingerbread Man" to share and compare, and we are also working on a musical play to perform next week.  I plan to invite the families to come to the performance of "The Tale of the Gingerbread Man" one afternoon next week.  The 
Children made cinnamon gingerbread ornaments That made our room smell really good, and did a lot of writing and math activities that involved gingerbread.

One of my favorite assignments was the family project to make a disguise for a gingerbread man so the fox would not recognize him.  The had a LOT of ninja turtle disguises, but I loved the creativity.  They made a great bulletin board, too.

Here are a few close-ups.

    Our school Christmas performance was Monday evening.  The kids did a good job -- first time on stage for some of them.


We have been learning about Christmas and other holidays around the world -- Germany, the Netherlands , Mexico, China, etc. we will bind these in a book for the kids to take home.

   Today I read a Jan Brett book, "The Hat" and gave out warm woolen hats to each child. They were made by Mrs. Carney, a former teacher who generously gives these handmade hats to my class every year.

   After each child chose a hat, they made thank you cards and colored a picture of their own hat.

  The most exciting part of today was a visit from Mrs. Santa Claus.  The kids had lots to tell her about what they want for Christmas!

    We even squeezed in time to make another Christmas ornament -- thank you, Mrs. Austin for getting it ready! And thanks to everyone who donated tp rolls.

And merry Christmas to all!!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Field Day -- What Happened to October?

      What happened to October??  Seems like we just had time to carve a pumpkin and make bats and it was over!  Making a jack-o-lantern was lots of fun. The children voted on the shapes to use and all but one stuck their hands in to pull out the yucky stuff before I started carving. Afterwards they drew pictures and wrote in their journals.  Unfortunately, the inside got all moldy before Halloween, but it made a really creepy looking decoration for trick or treaters!




            I am really pleased with the progress the class is making with their writing.  Look at this --
    capital letters and lots of words spelled correctly.  She even wrote 2 sentences!! And in case 
    you can't read kid writing, that says "Bat Woman."  She did this with no help!

     We also used the pumpkin theme to make math more interesting..  We were doing lots of practice on counting to 20  and recognizing numbers to 10 last month. The next goal will be counting to 30 and writing numbers in the teens.  



      We enjoyed seeing the creativity of the family jack - o - lantern project -- some really put a lot of effort into making pretty pumpkins.  Here's one with lots of color.


     And then, as if Halloween and thoughts of trick or treating was not exciting enough, we had Field Day!  Here are a few pictures of all that fun.






    The sack race looked like so much fun that Daniel's mom tried it too!

             This boy really knew how to kick that ball!

       All ready for tug of war.  The teenagers who were running the event told them to line up boys vs. girls -- but since we have 14 boys and only 5 girls, that didn't quite seem fair...


   We all had a wonderful time, and I appreciated having a few parents there to cheer them on.
And it was not all about winning, since we didn't give out trophies or ribbons -- it was all about FUN!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fire truck!

   Such a busy week -- learning all about bats and starting math assessments and progress monitoring --  but we did squeeze in a little visit with the firemen when they came to Valmead for the Boys Book Club.  We just had 10 minutes before dismissal, but I got a few cute pictures to share. It is past midnight and I have bus duty in the morning, so no time to write an actual blog. So here are the pictures and I am going to bed!


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Help! Teaching Math to 5 year Olds -- STRESS!

    If you read my blog regularly, you probably know that I sing with Carolina Style Chorus, part of an international organization of woman who like to sing together in the barbershop style -- a Capella  -- the Sweet Adelines. This was the weekend of our big yearly fundraiser, so I left school and went straight to work setting up tables and chairs and gathering all my best dishes and table decorations for the event, the Festival of Tables. My son made cupcakes for the dessert table, and by 2:00 a.m. we
were done for the night. This morning I left the house at 8:00 to continue the preparations. We had about 27 tables to decorate,  served the food to our guests, then took off our aprons and put on our sparkly outfits and stepped up on the risers to do what we love -- sing. It was great fun and we got a standing ovation. But then it was time for all the clean up and pack up. I got home at 3:30, left all the decorations and dirty dishes in the car, and stumbled to the bed, where I collapsed and slept for about 2 hours.  Here are a couple pictures  -- the first one is my table. Can you tell that I love cardinals?

Here's another pretty one

And my favorite, the dessert table!

      Although I love my job, it can be stressful, and singing helps me unwind -- and makes me a happier and more relaxed teacher.
       Speaking of stressful -- it has been one of those weeks as I tried to find a way to cover the required math standard.  "Decompose numbers less than or equal to 10 into pairs in more than one way... And record each decomposition by a drawing or equation."  In other words, I need to get them to understand the different combinations of numbers that are equal to each number -- like 5 is 1+ 4 and 2+3 and 0 +5.  We always try to give them hands-on manipulatives, so I started by giving each child a set of 6 connecting cubes. The plan was to let them trade one cube with a partner so they would have 5 + 1. But before I could even get all the cubes given out, they were making guns or crosses, taking their partner's cubes, losing part of the 6 -- it was impossible.  I was ready to beat my head against the wall.  So I took up all the cubes and just demonstrated with magnetic buttons on a cookie sheet.

   Then I saw an idea on another teacher's blog, so I made some little bracelets with pony beads to demonstrate the concept the next day.

   These helped - at least they weren't making guns -- but still didn't seem like they were getting it.
Back to the drawing board.
     Then my blogger friend, Heidi Butkus --creator of many songs and games and videos we use in my class-- shared an idea about using a jack-o-lantern picture to make combinations using teeth. 

I had the little equation cards that I bought from Teachers Pay Teachers -- Guiding Kinders Math Workshop by Deedee Wills and Deanna Jump. These worked very well to help the kids start writing equations.  
Heidi also sent me a pattern for trees to use for this activity, and I already had some little apple erasers that I bought a few years ago, and this worked great -- they finally got it and were even able to work with a team to do some equations.

     So, looks like they are starting to get it -- and I am so grateful for all those teachers across the country who are helping me teach in a way that the children understand. You can't always just turn to the next page in the workbook in kindergarten -- sometimes you have to explore other ways to get the lesson across and go beyond the book. It will still take lots of practice, but that is what kindergarten is all about!

    We learned about fire safety this week -- a subject very near to us, since 2 of my students have had house fires in the past year. I asked them to sit down with their family and work out an escape plan, and so I feel a little better about that.  The " stop, drop, and roll" message was fun, but had to correct the misconception that some had -- you only do that if your clothes are on fire. "What do you do if your house is on fire?" STOP DROP AND ROLL!! " "No, you get out of the house and call 911!" 
 Look at the cute fire trucks they made.

    I am seeing progress in their writing, too -- some wrote describing sentences this week about apples. They were so proud.

   Still working on spaces between job isn't finished I will keep singing!