Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

I love teaching kindergarten, but one of the best fringe benefits of teaching is Christmas vacation. I enjoy having time to celebrate with family and friends, time to clean my house, and time to start making plans for the second half of the year.  Time slips away from me so quickly -- how did my babies grow up so fast??  Anyway, from my house to yours, Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Operation Christmas Child is a great means for my children to learn about helping others.  I was so proud of them for bringing in enough items to fill 5 shoeboxes to send to needy children in another country.  One mom said she was going to buy a sweater, but her little one was so determined to buy things for another child that she put the sweater back and bought shoebox items instead.  I look forward to going to Boone in December to help process shoeboxes at the Samaritan's Purse warehouse. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Race for the Cure

Celebrating today because my assistant and dear friend, Judy Austin, is finished with radiation and chemo.
It has been a hard year since she was diagnosed in February, but she still came to work every day during radiation.  I don't know how she has the strength to do it all, but I have great admiration and gratitude for all she does to help me teach our kindergarten class.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Another great moment today -- one of my little rascals was in reading group with me, and we had one of the first little books to "read."  It was a rebus story  with text of "My shoes"  "My socks" "My jacket" and pictures to give them a clue about the word.  He read the whole 7  pages, then started pumping his arms in the air and said "OH Yeah!  Oh Yeah!!  I CAN READ!"  It made my day!

Monday, September 19, 2011


After 3 weeks of seeing his clip moving down to "Think about it" and "Parent Contact" on the clip chart, one of my little boys went UP today -- he made it all the way to "OUTSTANDING!" I gave him a "My teacher is so proud of me!" sticker and pencil -- and he was so proud of himself, too.  On the way to the bus, he said with amazement "I was good today!"  We were both very happy! Is it too much to hope for 2 in a row?

Sunday, September 11, 2011


My DonorsChoose Project
I am so excited to report that my DonorsChoose project has been fully funded -- we are getting a colorful new carpet for our gathering place!!  For a long time I have wished for a nice place for my kids to sit when they gather around to hear something new.  And now, thanks to some generous people, we will be getting a "magic" carpet.  Woo-hoo!!! Thank you!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Clip Chart

I love my new clip chart for behavior management.  I've used a stop light with magnetic cars for the past 7 years, and I liked it a lot. The cars were moved for bad behavior. But this one is an  incentive for extra effort, since everyone is aiming for OUTSTANDING behavior at the top of the chart.  With my previous system, most followed the rules, and that was good.  But this clip chart recognizes the "Bucket Fillers" -- the children who are helpful and show kindness to others.  When a teacher notices and comments on a child's good behavior, their clip is moved up. And clips can be moved up and down throughout the day, so one infraction can be reversed with a little effort.  It just makes the children more aware of ways to help others in our little community of learners. In only 10 days of school, I've seen children voluntarily pushing others on the swings, picking up paper towels from the bathroom floor, taking responsibility for picking up crayons and toys, pushing in chairs for others, and lots of other little random acts of kindness. My favorite part is that the whole class CHEERS when a classmate gets up to "Outstanding." Thanks to my co-worker, Mrs. Franzen, for telling me about this system -- and to all the blogging teachers who have "filled my bucket" by sharing so many wonderful ideas this year. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What did you do in kindergarten today? (Day 2)

When you ask,"What did you do in Kindergarten today?" and the answer is "Nothing..."
Here's what they really mean --
  • Read the morning message together and practiced the words "Dear Class" and "Love, Mrs. Spencer"
  • Found out the difference between a word and a letter.  Counted letters in a word.
  • Said the pledge to the flag
  • Listened to stories/poems -- "I Love my White Shoes" and "Rocking in My School Shoes" and "Mary Wore Her Red Dress"
  • Sang and learned motion to several songs
  • Practiced air writing Aa and Bb and heard a song and story about Annie Apple and Bouncy Ben
  • Sorted long and short names
  • Explored math stations and learned 4 ways to show the number 6
  • Learned about the calendar and named days, months, and seasons
  • Practiced saying the rules of the classroom
  • Practiced 3 ways to read a book
  • Visited the library and learned the procedure for checking out a book
  • Found out about different voice levels in the classroom
  • Colored a picture of Annie Apple and tried to stay in the lines
  • Used a whiteboard and markers to write the letter "a"
  • Sang a song about counting to 100
  • Practiced reading and spelling "red" in a song
  • Walked quietly in a line
  • Carried my own tray and ate lunch in the lunchroom
  • Cooperated with a partner to use math manipulatives
  • Told the teacher which letters I recognized
  • Observed a live turtle and learned about reptiles
  • Watched a short video about a turtle
  • Sat in one spot and read a book quietly for 3 minutes
  • Compared shapes to see how they were alike and different
  • Went to the gym for PE
This is NOT your mama's kindergarten!!  There is a lot to learn this year, and you will be amazed at all they will accomplish in the next 178 days of school!

Monday, August 29, 2011

I Love my White Shoes video

This is my new favorite story -- I love Pete the Cat!  After I read it to my new class, they couldn't wait to get it and "read" it themselves.  I also have the new book -- "Rocking in my School Shoes"

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meet the Teacher

over at Step into 2nd Grade is having a linky party so we can get to know some of the bloggers we follow -- and maybe meet some new ones. Since it is after midnight, I'm taking the lazy way out and just editing my "Meet the Teacher" blog from last year.  There are SO MANY new bloggers that probably no one read this one last year, anyway -- I think I had about 3 followers when I wrote it!
 I am joining in because I want to know more about some of these teacher/bloggers who take time to share so many wonderfully creative ideas.  I thought -- surely they are all single/childless -- with no life other than teaching and blogging.  But I see that many of you have families and churches and mission trips and vacations, etc. -- so I still don't know how you do it all!!
  Tell us a little something about you...
    I am Ann Spencer, and I  just jumped into the blogging world last summer. My daughter said last week, as I was singing a little kindergarten song -- "Mom, do you think about school ALL THE TIME? And I said -- "Well, sometimes I think about singing..."  My husband -- a man with many skills -- retired last year, and that has given me more time to think about school because now he helps me a LOT! He built this great book barn for me after I saw it on Reagan Tunstall's blog. And this summer he is painting polka dots for my new room theme.

Since all you young teachers are putting in wedding pictures, I thought I/d add mine, too.
My parents, 3 brothers and their wives -- and my nephew is the little one in the front.  He is now a school principal. My husband was wearing his Army uniform -- just back from flying helicopters in Vietnam. I love a man in uniform! This was 1974 -- before most of you were born!
How long have you been teaching?       I graduated  from West Virginia University -- "Let's Go, Mountaineers!" -- a very long time ago, and started my teaching career in WV at a 3 room school -- 2 teachers, a teaching principal, and a custodian/cook -- entire staff of 4 women.  Taught 3 more years, then moved to NC when I married my soldier husband.  Worked as school librarian for 2 years, then moved to Alaska where I stopped teaching school and started being a stay-at-home mom.  Except for one year teaching at a Christian school, I took 27 years off as I followed my husband to NC and Germany and back to NC. I home schooled my 3 kids for 17 years, then I went back to work 9 years ago when I got the best job in the world -- teaching kindergarten!! I am probably the oldest kindergarten teacher on here, I can't help it -- I am having too much fun to be ready to quit.  When I started teaching, there were no computers, no assistants, no whiteboards, no Daily Five or Common Core -- not even cds and videos.  We had filmstrips and chalkboards and wore a dress every day.  I also had a big paddle -- and I used it. No one checked our lesson plans -- it was a whole different world.  We didn't even have KINDERGARTEN! I have certainly had a lot to learn -- but at least I knew the difference between Kennedy and Lincoln, unlike some of my students.
You might not know...
    I sing bass with Carolina Style Chorus -- Sweet Adelines International, an organization of women who love to sing barbershop style.  My chorus won the 4 state regional competition, so in October we will perform at the International competition in Denver, Colorado. Woohoo!!

     I've been on several mission trips --  met my husband on the first one!   I have been to Ukraine twice and helped with Bible school for about 200 gypsy children a few years ago.
What teaching supplies can you *not* live without?
1.  Individual whiteboards -- I can see what everyone is doing at once!
2. Jack Hartman and Heidisongs and my CD player -- I loaded my favorites on the mp3 player last summer -- then accidentally deleted them all.  I'll try again this summer so I hope I won't waste time searching for the right song this year.
3. Transparent page protectors -- saves lots of paper.
4. Books!  My newest favorite is about Pete the Cat.
Even more important than all the supplies in the world -- my fabulous assistant!  I'd go back to that 3 room school with no supplies before I would give up "Mrs. Awesome!" 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I Love my White (and Red) Shoes!

Love these little magnetic shoes that I found at the Kitchen Collection at Tanger Outlet yesterday!        

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Four Goldfish, a Toad, and a Snake -- Oh My!

     I've been working in my room for 2 days now -- and got a glimpse at my new kinders this morning.  When we had kindergarten screening last spring, we took pictures of the kids dressed up in cowboy clothes. Today I got my class list, so I printed the pictures and my dear assistant made each into a "WANTED" poster for our door.  They look so cute!  T'm really looking forward to meeting them at Open House on Tuesday.
    Yesterday I cleaned the extra aquarium and planned to take it to school, fill it with water and be ready to take the 15 cent goldfish back to my classroom.(I bought these feeder fish nearly 2 years ago, not expecting them to live long -- but I was wrong.  Only the expensive fish die.)  Anyway, my daughter rescued a toad from our dog last night, so I put it in the clean aquarium.  Then I got out the old plastic aquarium, planning to transfer the toad -- but now my husband has caught a little ring-neck snake, so it's in the plastic one.  Tonight I bought worms at Wal Mart to feed them.  I am not usually comfortable with a snake in the house, but this little guy is smaller than a night crawler, so not too threatening.  My daughter says you can tell school is starting, because our house is starting to look like Dr. Doolittle's.  I don't plan to keep all these creatures long -- just long enough for my kinders to learn about them.  I just hope I can keep them alive long enough for that to happen!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Book Barn

I saw this wonderful book barn on Tunstalls Teaching Tidbits earlier this year, and fell in love with it.  I asked my husband, Sam, if he could make one, even though we had no plans or measurements. This is the finished product -- isn't it wonderful?  We took it up to my classroom today and loaded it with farm books, added some stuffed farm animals, and put a tub of cowboy hats, bandanas and vests inside.  I can't wait for my new kindergarten class to see it! I am so blessed to have a husband with skills!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

First Day blogging

OK, I have a blog.  And I don't know if anyone will ever read it.  But I am ready to join the 21st century and embrace the technology -- or at least TRY. I will be teaching kindergarten in the foothills of NC again this fall -- this will be my 8th year at Valmead School.  The doorway in this picture opens to my room, where I will once again have the privilege of teaching children to read and write. 
The colorful Letterland mural was painted by a local artist, Pam Smith.