Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Snow Day!

       What a crazy morning!  We started out normally, with morning message and Letterland phonics, then off to gym class. We have been studying about penguins this week, so I continued  the study by reading 2 books about penguins and letting them tell which was fiction or non-fiction, and how they could tell.  Then the principal walked in to tell me that we would let school out at 12:30 because of the snow.  I looked out the window and could barely see some tiny white flakes.  So -- flexibility is my specialty -- so I decided this would be a good time to use all those toilet paler rolls my friends donated. So my assistant -- always ready for my change in plans -- quickly assembled the materials we needed to turn the rolls into cute little penguins. She worked with about 6 at a time while I helped the others work on a writing assignment about penguins.
      The second group was working on their penguins when we got an announcement to go eat lunch because school would be dismissed in 15 minutes.  FIFTEEN MINUTES?  We had 15 minutes to finish gluing, pack up book bags, eat lunch, put on coats, and get to the bus. The snow  was coming down faster than expected and sticking to the roads, so everyone was in a big rush to get to the safety  of home. My kids have never moved that fast before -- usually it takes about 30 minutes just to eat lunch.
        Anyway, we made it. Everyone got out and there actually was some snow on my car, so I guess it was good that we sent them all home.

I think I will make a pot of chili and watch the birds at the feeder. The snow is still pouring down and I have no place to go, so LET IT SNOW!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Teaching "How-to" Writing in Kindergarten

  Writing is one of my favorite subjects to teach! And I am always on the lookout for the best way to teach my little ones to write. I have probably bought or borrowed at least 10 different books on teaching writing in kindergarten. All had good ideas, but I have finally found the one I love -- and it is written by Deanna Jump and Deedee Wills, two of my absolute favorites who have provided me with so many fabulous teaching materials. But this " Writing Through the Year" is exactly what I needed.  Right now, we are using the "How-to" unit.

  Of course, I never follow the plans exactly, so you will not find these topics in the unit, but their directions give me a plan that I can use with my own topics. Here are a couple examples.

      This was the first " how-to" we did.  I did a guided drawing activity, then the kids drew a lion. and wrote the steps.

      The next day I was sick, so I asked my assistant to use the " how-to" plan and just think of something to write about.  Since we had apples for a snack, she had them to write "How to Eat an Apple."

      Of course, every  child's paper does not look like this.  Many are still learning about capitals, spaces and all the mechanics of writing.  But the format makes it easier for the children, and I am sending a "How-to" writing assignment for homework next week.
       The kids seem to enjoy it, too -- one little boy came in this week asking, "Can we do that writing like we did yesterday?" That is what makes it worth every penny!! If it inspires my students to want to write, then I know I am on the right track.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Getting Lean in 2014

                                                                Blog Hoppin



       A linky about fitness is not one that I feel very comfortable about joining. I mean, if I resolve AGAIN  to eat right and exercise regularly -- and it is written down -- and I give up before February and start eating corn dogs and drinking sweet tea in the school lunchroom again -- it will be pretty embarrassing.  But I really, REALLY want to fit back into some of my favorite clothes. And I want to be able to walk up my driveway without gasping for breath. So maybe if I put it in writing, it will be more of an incentive to just do it this year.

       I got this cool little gadget called a fit bit for Christmas.  It's sort of an electronic pedometer that records my steps and it is linked to the computer so I can see how I am doing.  The goal is 10000 steps a day! and I haven't come close yet. But it also can magically tell when I am active -- like exercising -- and records how many minutes I was jogging or walking. How does it do that?  It makes a graph to show my progress -- I love graphs -- and I'd sure like to see the graphs show progress. It also keeps track of the food I eat if I am honest and enter it, then tells me how many calories I have left and how many pounds I still need to lose to get to my goal.

       Another tool to help is the "couch 2 5k" app on my Kindle.  I downloaded the app last year, but didn't really get very far.  Not that I think I am going to run a 5 k -- but it is a good way to exercise when the voice says -- "now start walking" or " you are halfway" and I can listen to my playlist at the same time. I needed some really inspiring songs to keep me going, and I found some great ones.
"Every Breath You Take -- Every move you make -- I'll be watching you" is an oldie that inspires me to keep moving.
"Strong Enough" by Matthew West says "I give up too easily...I'm asking You to be strong enough for both of us."
"The Motions" also by Matthew West says "I don't want to spend my whole life asking, 'What if I had given everything?'"
"Dynamite" is a fun song I first heard at Zumba class-- another attempt at fitness that I dropped after a few weeks.  My body just will not move like that!
"Your Grace is Enough" by Chris Tomlin says "You use the weak" (that's me!) and "Great is Your faithfulness "
"Good Morning" by Mandisa says, "You give me strength" and "I can feel the hope that's rising up in me!"
     So, here it is.  I have the tools, I know what to do -- and I have lots of  teacher bloggers who are also blogging about fitness.  And now I have people to say "Put down that corn dog!" if any of my co-workers read this. (But Papa John's pizza day doesn't count -- I promise to make up for it with less supper or more exercise)