Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Gift for Room Parents or Volunteers

I have been blessed with two really great Room Moms this year.  They have organized a great Christmas party, and have already put so much love and time into our classroom fun.  I usually give a hand soap or hand sanitizer with the typical "helping hands…" gift tag.  But I was so excited when I found these gingerbread hot pads at Meijer.  It was perfect to go with our December theme.  So I made a tag that says, "I would be a hot mess without your helping hands."  Ha!

I hope they like it as much as I do and know how much I really do appreciate them.

Christmas Books all about Jesus

Christmas is absolutely one of my favorite times of the year.  I love the lights, the happy spirit all around, the bells ringing, and the giving.  But most of all, I am so thankful that God loved me enough to send His Son to earth…just for us!

Because I teach in a Christian school, we be sure to keep the focus on Jesus during Christmas.  I have put together a list of some stories that I love reading to my class.

Alabaster's Song by Max Lucado is about a sweet little angel and a little boy who hears him sing.  My favorite part is that Alabaster has a missing tooth, so he speaks with the cutest little lisp.  If you don't read it with the lisp, it just isn't the same.  Order it here on Amazon.

This story has the sweetest message.  In it, a little lamb, The Crippled Lamb, gets left behind.  We've all felt that way at one point or another.  But something very special happens to this little lamb.  It is also a great story of true friendship. Order it here on Amazon.

Jacob's Gift tells the story of a young boy named Jacob who was a carpenter apprentice.  He is working hard to make the perfect project, but gets a little distracted when a baby is born.  This story reminds us to keep what is important first…HIM!  Order it here on Amazon.

I just love Humphrey, the camel.  The illustrations in this book are hilarious and really make me feel like I might love having a camel - but only if it is just like Humphrey.  In Humphrey's First Christmas, the sweet camel learns to give of himself.  What a great message.  Order it here on Amazon.  

The Tale of the Three Trees isn't just a Christmas story.  It is a great story of sacrifice and doing what is best.  Each little tree has a big dream of what it wants to become.  But things don't work out exactly as they planned…they worked out even better than they could have imagined.  Everything is always better when God is in charge of the plan!  Order it here on Amazon.  

These two stories are both great for explaining traditions of Christmas to young children.  The illustrations in The Legend of the Candy Cane are just beautiful.  Plus the story of Jesus and the cross could not be more clear.  They are great additions to your Christmas library.

Mary's First Christmas is a little bit long, but the story is so sweet.  It is written from Mary's perspective and goes through some of the Jesus' childhood.  It is a great read-aloud to span over a few days.  Order it here on Amazon.

Feel free to leave comments about some other great Christmas books.  

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Visible Thinking - "No Hogs, No Logs"

One of the keys phrases for a classroom of THINKERS is "No Hogs, No Logs."  This is a great way to encourage your students to listen to the ideas and opinions of others but to also share their ideas and opinions.  A HOG is someone who does all of the talking in a small group or partner sharing time.  A LOG is someone who just sits and gives no input.  You can see that it takes a great balance of both to be a good listening and sharing partner.  You can get the free poster for your classroom here.

Visible Thinking - See…Think…Wonder…All About Bats

My school is dedicated to helping our students to become THINKERS.  We do not want to just give them the information…we want to help them think and learn the information on their own.  We want our classrooms to be a Culture of Thinking.   Today, we used See-Think-Wonder to start digging into our learning about Bats.  I love that you can visually see how their learning and thinking got deeper as we went.

To start it off, I showed them a few pictures of bats.  We decided to use this one for our Thinking Routine:

Next, I asked them to look at the picture for a few seconds.  Then I had them volunteer to tell me what they SEE.  They replies were fairly basic, which was fine.

  • eyes
  • ears
  • fur
  • wings
  • bones
  • thumbs
Next, we talked about what the picture makes us THINK.  Each time they gave me an answer for this part, I asked them "What makes you say that?"  This helps them support their answer as well as dig a little deeper into their thinking.  The information in parenthesis is their answer to "What makes you say that."
  • bones are close to the wings (I can see them right there.)
  • it is a baby bat (It looks very small, and it's eyes are closed.)
  • there are bones inside the wings (You can see the bones sticking next to the skin.)
  • there is a big ear-drum inside (It has very big ears, so it must have a big ear-drum.)
Finally, we talked about what we WONDER.  This is what we don't really see from the picture, but questions that we might want answered if we researched for more information.
  • what the bat is laying on
  • what kind of bat it is
  • why the wings are pink
  • what the bones look like
  • if it is a grown-up bat or a baby 
Are you as impressed as I was with their thinking?  

Of course, we had to close with a fun craft to "fly" around our room.  This is from A Cupcake for the Teacher.  Tomorrow we will add facts to our bats.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Teacher Week 2014 :: Where Tuesday

I have been teaching for 18 years {gasp! - How did that happen?}, and am blessed to have been in a private/Christian school for all of that.  I started off teaching in Texas where I grew up.  God bless Texas!  But, I have been in Michigan for the last 15 years.  

For me, the biggest adjustment to teaching in Michigan was those ridiculous snow clothes.  I know they are a necessary evil.  But come on, people…have you ever tried to get 16 kids ready to go outside in the snow all by yourself?  The first time I did it, I was a sweaty hot mess by the time it was all said and done.  So of course, I had to come up with a plan and system.  Now we rock it out by the third or fourth day.  Gotta love systems!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Teacher Week 2014 :: WHO Monday

It is CRAZY, but today was our first day of school.  I will do some different B2S posts, but for now I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' with Teacher Week 2014.  Here are some WHO questions and answers about me.  

Adores:  My God, my husband, and my two sweet girls
Loves: Teaching and scrapbooking/stamping
Hate:  Mosquitoes!
Can't do: Play sports that involve a racquet or club
Can do: Crafty paper things and Jazzercise…but not at the same time
Teaching: 18th year {gasp!} teaching 1st grade, Kindergarten, or Elementary Principal
Favorite Food:  A LOT - I really do like food.  
Favorite Drink: Mocha, Dr. Pepper, Coke - unfortunately nothing super healthy
Favorite Teaching Website: for now, Teachers Pay Teachers and Pinterest
Favorite Website:  Oh, already said that…Pinterest

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Made it Monday

Since I'm in the full swing of summer, my Made it Monday is purely personal and not academic.  Don't you love days like that?  Ha!  I sure know I do.

I've been looking for a nightstand to paint and re-do for our master bedroom.  I finally found one at Salvation Army that needed some good ol' TLC.  I cleaned it really well and got to work with my first coat of American Paint Company's chalk paint in "Amber Waves of Grain."  I can't believe that I forgot to take a before picture.  It was such an ugly brown.  {I always have to remind myself that chalk paint dries darker once the wax is put on.  I'm not a fan of this pale baby yellow color, at least not for my bedroom.}

After three coats {this wood did NOT want to be covered}, I sanded it really lightly with very fine sandpaper.  I also distressed some of the edges and corners because, well…I just like it banged up a little.  After I dusted it, I covered it with a coat of the American Paint Company clear wax.  We liked it a lot that way, but I wanted to take it one step further.  I decided to do a light coat of the Dark Aging Wax, and I love how it turned out!  Please excuse the missing hardware.  I'm convinced that a trip to Anthropologie is in order to find just the perfect piece.  Don't you agree?  :)

Oh who am I kidding?  I'm working on school stuff, too.  I'm working on getting my Facebook page launched - Like it here.  I'm also working on some Reading Interactive journal pages for Kindergarten reading circles.  These will be ready soon.  And, I also have about 20 - yes 20!!! - unfinished kits that really need to get completed.  But it's summer, y'all!

Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Valentine Fun

For so many years, I struggled with finding just the perfect container or "mailbox" for our Valentines cards.  Last year, we just happened to still be in the midst of our Polar Animal theme.  So, after perusing Pinterest, I came up with the perfect box for our Valentines.  They were easy enough to make, so we could do them in class.  All the parents had to supply was an empty cereal box…easy enough!

To make the adorable penguin boxes, here is what you need to do:

  • Cut off the top flaps of the box to leave an opening at the top.
  • Cover the box with black bulletin board paper.  This is a great job for parent volunteers to do at home.
  • Cut the pieces out of black construction paper.  You can either cut them out ahead of time, or provide poster board templates for the students to cut them.
  • If the students want to add a hair bow (girls) or bow tie (boys), they can use their favorite color.  This makes their box just a little bit personal.
  • Have them draw the eyes with a white crayon.
  • Give them orange paper scraps to make their own beaks and feet.  I love how this makes each penguin different.
The patterns are available for free in my TPT store.  Click here for the instructions.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

100th Day Fun

We had so much fun celebrating the 100th day of school.  We started the morning by making these adorable hats.  
Next we made shape collages, an idea from Growing Kinders.  Each table had a large shape with 100 small coordinating shapes.  We glued gum balls on a gum ball machine, fish in a fish bowl, sprinkles on a cookie, and snowflakes in a snow globe .

The students also made shirts at home for the 100th day of school.  This little sweetie was the "Tooth Fairy," complete with 100 teeth on her shirt and a sparkly wand.  Love it!  Here the students were putting together their 100th Day Hash snack, an idea from Kim Adsit's Happy, Happy 100th day unit.

 We also did some 100th day writing for a published class book.  These were also from Kim Adsit's 100th day unit.  The first was "If I had $100, I would…"

…buy 100 gum ball machines.

…get the rest of the Rapunzel {castle set}.

The other writing prompt was "100 days ago I didn't know…but now I do."  It was so sweet to hear the students talking about all that they have learned so far in Kindergarten.  At first, it was a struggle to get beyond "I didn't know about the classroom," or "I didn't know that there was a bathroom here."  But as we discussed and brainstormed together,
…to read!
…about the calendar and the schedule!