Sunday, September 30, 2012

Signs of Fall!

I hope everyone is having a great Sunday! Mine has been semi-productive. I did manage to get to the grocery store for a mammoth grocery shopping session, and I remembered to buy apples for making applesauce in class this week and candy corn for graphing (can you believe all the flavors it comes in now?!) We will be taste testing these next week , look for a "favorite kind of candy corn" graph freebie coming soon! I bought these packs at our post's commissary, but I imagine any of the big box stores will have them too - caramel candy corn, caramel apple candy corn, and chocolate caramel candy corn.

I also bought some extra cans for the canned food drive that my firsties are desperately trying to win.
We are in 2nd place and they are doing their darnedest to bring in cans, but many of them don't have enough food at home for their families, so I know how hard it is for them to bring in food for the Food Bank. I'd say 50% of my class is on food stamps and the other 50% are close to qualifying, so it amazes me that we have over 100 cans donated already, just from our class! Hopefully the stuff I bought today pushes us into the lead!

In another sign of Fall, we also bought these chips, and they are as tasty as they are adorable, my 4 kids loved them as a snack with fresh salsa today:

 Who could resist eating a tasty bat, ghost or pumpkin?!



I still have to submit my Target Field Trip grant tonight (cutting it close, the deadline is Oct 1st!), and do lesson plans, Lucky I don't need a lot of sleep lol.

I want to remind everyone to enter our giveaway before it ends at midnight tonight! (and just to remind you, how adorable is this Cinderella pumpkin? I can totally see doing a "storybook character pumpkin carving contest" for a Fall Carnival!)


Just click the Giveaway image to go to that post to enter before midnight! 

But, before you go, I have a question for you! I'd love it if you'd Rustle Up a Response below! I am creating a Fall/Halloween Math packet - no ghosts or witches, just some Halloween colors and candy- what skills are you teaching in October that you'd like to see in a math pack? Leave a comment with your email, naming skills you're teaching and once the pack is finished, I'll choose a random comment to win it for free! Thanks for your help!

Friday, September 28, 2012

A Look Back at Our Week

It's Friday! We had a fun, productive week! Here are just a few highlights:

On Thursday morning we were practicing our flag salute. I am a big stickler about this. I expect everyone to remain perfectly still, eyes on the flag, no matter what. I was in the Army for 3 years and my husband still serves, so to me, making sure my firsties show honor to our flag is a big deal. A few of my kiddos had decided to play around a bit during the flag salute that morning at our Wakin' and Shakin' assembly, so I took a bit of our math time to get this straight with them.

I demonstrated the correct procedure for the flag salute and set out my expectations. We tried and failed the first time. I had to explain that I didn't care how much your nose itches, you don't need to scratch it during the flag salute. Actually, I said "itch it" which led to a discussion of whether it is more correct to say "scratch it" or "itch it". Boy,  firsties love to point it out when you make a mistake!

At this point it started pouring down rain. After oohing and ahhing for a moment (because we have apparently never seen rain before) we got back to the business at hand: perfecting our flag salute. I demonstrated again, reiterating that I didn't care if a marching band came in, my eyes would never leave the flag and I would stay at attention. We practiced a few more times, always having to stop as one student or another broke form by shifting weight, looking around or swinging their free hand etc. Eventually though, repetition and peer pressure got even the most reluctant kiddo to buckle down and we began the salute again. About 1/2 way through the Pledge of Allegiance there was a big clap of thunder and our lights flickered. The 2nd grade class across the hall from us started squealing and exclaiming loud enough for us to hear even through our closed door. BUT, not one of my students broke form and we continued with the rest of the Pledge without missing a beat! Talk about a true test! Needless to say I was extremely proud of them!

I have also been the proud recipient of many love notes from my kiddos this week. I have been depicted as a princess, been praised as the "best techer evr" and even got this very creative name cutout:

The best part though was at the end of today's assembly. As the classes were filing out, our music teacher started playing "What Makes You Beautiful"  and when it got to the part "you don't know you're beautiful", three of my girls spontaneously turned and with big smiles on their faces, pointed to me. Aww, such sweethearts! And, just in case you don't realize how blind firsties can be, here is a picture of me taken just the other night:

I'm posing for my very own Melonheadz, which I won in a giveaway! Can't wait to see how Nikki turns me into clipart!

Now, lest you think this week was all about singing, flag salutes and complimenting the teacher, let me share one of our math journal prompts. I am also a stickler for actually drawing a picture to match the prompt and my kiddos are really stepping up to the challenge. Here are two different takes on the same prompt:

Can you see the big difference in maturity levels I have in my room?  But I love that they both came up with a way to draw the prompt (and the little one on the bottom did eventually write the addition sentence on her own!).

We also started our Apple Theme this week. Unfortunately the copier went down Monday morning, before I got my copies made, which pushed all of my lessons back. We also had book fair walk through, Star Reading  & Math testing and a dozen other little things that through off our schedule even more. thus, although we were supposed to depict an apple tree in all 4 seasons we only had time for Fall and Winter so far. I think they are super cute though!



 On Monday we will finish up with Spring and summer and then move on to our other apple creations. I am going to steal an idea from my friend Kaci over at Mrs. Hoffer's Spot and do this evaporation experiment:


Alright, gotta go catch a nap, make sure you've entered my Happy Fall Y'all giveaway because the prizes are amazing! Click the picture to go to the giveaway post - it ends Sunday!



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Happy Fall Y'All! Giveaway!

In honor of the start of Fall (and because I haven't done one lately!) I've put together a giveaway with some amazing blogger friends! There's a long list of prizes so make sure you check them all out and then scroll to the bottom to the Rafflecopter form to enter!

(button made with KPM Doodles, Pixel Papers and Oodles of Doodles graphics)

First up, I will be giving away a $25 Target giftcard! Who doesn't love Target - and I'm sure there are tons of cool school things in the Dollar Spot - I'm kind of glad I live an hour away from the nearest Target, otherwise I'm sure I would spend 1/2 my paycheck there!

In addition, the winner can choose any item from my TPT store! Here are a few things I've added lately, just to give you an idea:


Colorful Spiders Unit

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Next up Hadar, from Miss Kindergarten, is giving away her new Monster Madness Craft and Writing Templates pack!

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Krogers Kindergarten

Danielle, from Kroger's Kindergarten, is giving away her Fall Interactive Emergent Readers!


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Vickie, from Mrs. Plant's Press, is giving away her Fun in The Fall pack!


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Mandy, from A Special Kind of Class, is giving away her Squirrel Math pack!
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Donna, from Kinderglynn, is giving away her Morning Math pack!

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Little Miss Kindergarten

Laral, from Little Miss Kindergarten, is giving away your choice of any item from her TPT store!

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Kindergarten Lifestyle

Jeannie, from Kindergarten Lifestyle, is giving away your choice of any item from her TPT store!

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RainbowsWithinReach

Debbie, from Rainbows Within Reach, is giving away a copy of her Digital Pollywog Lesson Pack!


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Kindergarten Smiles

Caitlin, from Kindergarten Smiles, is giving away her November Unit!

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Greg, from Smedley's Smorgasbord of Kindergarten, is giving away his Finger Counting Combo Pack!


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Lanier's Kindergarten Lions

Nicole, from Lanier's Lions, is giving away her Fall is Here Pack!
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Cindy, from Granny Goes to School,is giving away 2 units - her Autumn Literacy Centers and Scarecrow Craftivity Pack AND her Graph Packet and Craftivity Unit for Autumn
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Sharing Kindergarten

Mary, from Sharing Kindergarten, is giving away her Nuts About Fall Activities!


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http://joyoflife2011.blogspot.com

Nancy, from Joy of Kindergarten, is giving away her Oodles of Doodles Fall Clip Art pack!


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Maggie, from Maggie's Kinder Corner, is giving away her Common Core Math Journals Bundle!

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Mrs. Hoffer's Spot

And last, but certainly not least! Kaci, from Mrs. Hoffer's Spot, is giving away her Little Old Lady Who Swallowed a.... Emergent Reader pack!


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Alright! Now that you've seen all of the fabulous prizes, hurry up and enter! Don't forget to tell your friends too :) There just might be a surprise if there are enough entrants (hint hint!)


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Monday, September 24, 2012

Letter Linky!

I am joining up with Jeannie of Kindergarten Lifestyles for a Letter Linky!


I too have been blessed this year with a class of Super High kiddos and some Sweet N Lows that make me wonder what the heck happened in kindergarten last year! Since I'm teaching first grade this year, I would expect that my kiddos would know their letter sounds and how to write each letter, and be ready for blending phonemes to produce words. Unfortunately, this is not the case.


Here in Oklahoma we have a Transitional First program which is an extra grade between Kindergarten and 1st grade for those kids who are young developmentally and chronologically. This year I have 6 kiddos who were in T-1 last year. This means they had an extra year of kindergarten material plus exposure to a lot of first grade material, and they were in a very small class (this year's T-1 class only has 12 kiddos - so jealous!). These 6 kiddos are all-stars in my room - they can read and write independently, they are mature and have self-control and they are ready to soar this year!

Then I have my Sweet N Lows. One didn't attend kindergarten from January to April last year for some unknown reason. Not surprisingly, she has big gaps in knowledge! Another is a sweet, quiet, well-behaved little darling who is so good that I think her teacher missed out on the fact that she wasn't actually learning anything. A few others are rambunctious little guys who tend to wiggle around a lot - maybe that's why they haven't gotten all of their letter sounds?


Now, luckily I have tutors who come in to help me with our literacy work stations. But, I have to have work stations that run the gamut of basic letter/sound recognition to digraphs, blends and cvce words!


One of my biggest issues is with kiddos not forming letters correctly. Many of my kiddos start at the bottom, rather than the top. Some even still have pencil grip issues! So, I try not to use any kind of tracers unless I am right there to monitor that they are being used properly. Often I get out the dry erase boards and hit up youtube for some letter formation videos - Hooked on Phonics has a whole series of upper case videos that is very helpful!


Another youtube video that I love is by Jack Hartmann, It's catchy and the kids love singing it!

Another fun activity is writing our letters in rice. I love using colored rice!


Alternatively, fill a large container with rice and have students search for foam or magnetic alphabet letters that you have mixed in with the rice. As they pull each letter out they identify the sound and name a word that begins with that letter.

Sometimes we use our fishing rods and sand/water table to fish up letter sounds! This activity is great because my Sweet N Lows can work on just pulling out any old letter and identifying it's sound, while my High Fliers can try to build words or pull specific letters to build blends/digraphs. I might say "Find the letters that make the /ch/ sound." for example. We have this set from Lakeshore:


Of course I make a lot of center activities as well. We do alphabet match-ups, beginning sound sorts and "I have...Who has..?" games galore! I decided to let this post do double duty by including a freebie made from these Friendly Ghosts by Graphics From the Pond:


Mel has adorable graphics and she has started a linky for products (free and paid) which use this set of Friendly Ghosts. Thus, I am linking up with her as well, to offer this freebie:



Head over to both linkies to check out all the great ideas and goodies!

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