Saturday, February 22, 2014

Red, White, and Blue and Chocolate, Too!

          After missing three days last week because of snow, we have been busy this week celebrating Valentines Day and Presidents Day. It's hard to get everything in, but I did think it was important to spend some time learning about American and the flag.  Thanks to TPT and Pinterest, it is easy to integrate writing, reading, social studies, and art! These flags were easy to do -- well, for most of the kids -- some tried to make vertical stripes -- and they make a great bulletin board.

        I used the writing paper created by Deedee Wills to help them write some sentences about the flag, and I am real proud of the writing some were able to do.

     Don't drop the flag.
     It is on the moon.

     I love to see that they are remembering to leave spaces between words, use capitals and periods, sound out words and spell a lot of words correctly. That is a lot to learn in 100 days of school when you are only 5 years old! And they actually remembered some of the facts about the flag, even though it didn't seem like they were listening much...
    As I was reading to them about our country, one of my little boys shouted in a very excited voice, " My mom wasn't born in this country -- she's an ALIEN!!" It was so funny! 

      We exchanged Valentines on Monday and that is always a special day in kindergarten.  They thought it was great to get all those cards -- especially the ones with CANDY!  Me, too -- especially a chocolate apple for the #1Teacher!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

101 Pancakes

       Every year on the 100th day I read " The Wolf's Chicken Stew" about a wolf feeding a chicken 100 pancakes to fatten her up for chicken stew.  Yesterday was the day, but we ran out of time to make the 100 pancakes.  So this afternoon I did it -- and they ate 101 pancakes and asked for more! One said "This is the best day ever!" And if I can give a kid the best day ever, then I have achieved my goal.

      89 days to go!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Snow Days and Make Up Days

Here in the south, where the tall pines grow
I'm watching my woods fill up with snow.
The snow is still pouring-- this weather is rare.
We can't wear flip-flops with this chill in the air!

We cleared the store shelves -- no milk and no bread
And turned off the alarm beside the bed.
There's no school tomorrow, we get to sleep late!
That sounds really good -- but not actually so great
'Cause we have to make it up and I don't know when.
If they take our spring break, it will be a sin.

It's fun to stay home and watch the snow fall.
We made snow ice cream --can't go to the mall.
But if spring break is cut short-- no break until June
Well, I think I will sing a different tune.
The song will be sad and slightly off key
The words you will hear are "Oh, woe is me!"
The woods are lovely, dark, snowy and deep,
But "make up days" make me want to weep!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Hooray for the 100th Day!

What a lot of fun on the 100th day of kindergarten!

       Instead of making a collection of 100 items this year, we used Mrs. Miner's idea of making Superhero capes for the kids to decorate with 100 stickers. They were so excited to show them off!

    What can you make with 100 Legos?

       Or 100 blocks?

     Some were really good at this 100 piece puzzle. ( I brought it back from Germany in 1989.)

       We drew "I could eat 100..."  and "If I had $100, I would..."
One wrote, "if I had $100 I would buy chocolate for Mrs. Austin."

    She drew and labeled "Friends for 100 Days"

        We read lots of books about the 100th day.

       Searching the room for 100 hidden chocolate kisses was very fun.  We found all but one.

      Building with 100 red Solo cups was a very popular activity.

       It was great to have volunteers to help make 100 bead necklaces

       And help write 100 thankful hearts -- everyone wrote "mom" on the first one. 


      This mom helped them make a 100 piece snack, thanks to lots of donations from families.

       These kids were busy making 100th Day hats, thanks to Mrs. Austin for doing this!

     What a super day-- and now we only have 80 days left to get ready for first grade.
We ran out of time to make the 100 pancakes after reading "The Wolf's Chicken Stew" so we will do that tomorrow. It has been a nice change of pace, but back to work now -- more progress monitoring and assessments to do.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Awards and Tears

       Report cards went home today, and it is time for the quarterly awards.  We used to have a big assembly, inviting parents, and called the award-winners to the front to receive their new pencil and a coupon for free ice cream or whatever local businesses donated.  Then it was changed to the classroom -- the counselor brought the awards to the room and gave them out.  But today, she brought all the coupons and shiny new pencils to me and asked me to just put them in their planners to go home with no ceremony at all -- she said she just couldn't take the tears anymore. In the past, we have often had kids crying because they didn't get an award -- and I understand that she wanted to avoid that.  But I thought it would be a good experience for them, and decided to take a chance on the tears.  So I explained what the awards were, and then asked them -- "Who do you think is the best reader?  Who knows the most words?" That was easy -- Seth knows more words than anyone, and they had no problem with that.  Then I asked, "Who is really good at math?  Who always knows the answers?"  They knew that, too. Michael is always quick at raising his hand with answers to math questions, so he got the math award. As I gave out awards for writing, conduct, respect, responsibility, and good judgment, there were no tears because even a five year old knows which kids deserve the awards.  And I told them that there will be more awards at the end of the next grading period, and everyone will have a chance.  If you try hard to follow the rules and practice your words and work on improving your writing, then you can get the awards next time.  They all accepted that and we had no tears.  Sometime during the year I try to make sure everyone is recognized for something they have accomplished, but if everyone gets something every time, it is meaningless.
        As a mom, I was pleased when my kids got certificates for "Good Citizenship" or whatever, but when my little ADHD son was in kindergarten, he got an award for "Most Improved." I will have to admit it -- that really annoyed me.  I thought -- "You can't think of one thing special about my boy except he is not as bad as he used to be? What about "Most Creative" or "Most Curious" or "Best Builder"--- SOMETHING?? So, you will never see me give a "Most Improved" certificate, because I have been the mom of that child.  The child who never got in the treasure box because he interrupted or played with his yogurt or wouldn't stay in his seat --  the child who got detention because he lost his homework or stuck a grape up his nose.  The one who left the memory stick in the computer at school when all his semester work was on it and due the next day. The one who changed majors and colleges 3 times.  The one who totally drove his teachers and his parents CRAZY!  But, you know what?  He made the Dean's List last semester and is (finally) about to finish college. So when I have these kids who are about to drive me over the edge, and parents who are tired of getting time-out notes, I understand.  And I want to say,  "There is hope -- don't ever give up!"  When my boy gets that college diploma, I want to say -- "See, I knew he could do it!!"(as I do the dance of joy!!)