Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year's Linky

I love New Year's Resolutions.  It is always a time to think smart and act smarter.

One year I decided to read 15 minutes a day!  Lost count of all the books I read. So happy I did that one.

Found this linky party and thought posting my resolutions will help make them really happen.

Click here to see all the other bloggers who have joined in the game.
My Personal resolution -
I simply need to drink more water.  I tend to pour it my great water bottle and then never get back to it...  So that will stop. 
Mp Professional resolution -
I will create some packets and get them posted to Teachers Paying Teachers.  I am terrified as I feel there is so much good work out there and I cannot begin to imagine making that.  And yet, I know I can.  Just need a good mentor and the right tools.  Thinking positively!
I look forward to being inspired by all my fellow bloggers.
Here's to a Happy New Year 2013!  And lots of success!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Liebster Award

Second Grade but First Class blog has nominated me for the Liebster Blog award!  Click on her blog to see who else she nominated.

I am so excited!  This is for new bloggers with less than 200 followers.  As a recipient, I must:

1. Post 11 random things about yourself.
2. Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.
3. Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
4. Choose 11 other blogs with fewer than 200 followers to nominate and link them in your post.
5. You cannot “tag back” the other blog, but leave a comment on this post with the URL of your Liebster post so I can learn more about you & see whom you nominate.

Here are 11 random things about me.

1. I live near the beach.
2. I have 5 sisters.
3. My son and I share the same middle name.
4.  I have 2 children in college.
5.  I teach Kindergarten but never attended Kindergarten.
6. I have lived in 5 different states.
7.  I like to crochet and to sew.
8.  We used to have a pet newt.
9.  I love to read.
10.  It is hard to go a day without chocolate.
11.  I was born in the Midwest.

Now I must answer questions posed by my nominator.

1.  I knew I wanted to be a teacher when I was in high school.  My best friend was deaf and I was fascinated at the learning she went through and wanted to do that for someone one day.

2.  The hardest part of teaching for me is organizing all the papers we create and use.

3.  At the end of each day, I stay at school until around 5:30 or 6:00.

4.  We change our bulletin boards in the hallway at least monthly.

5.  Besides teaching I do some tutoring for students at our school.

6.  Parents are included in our classroom for class parties (We have centers and parents help with them for the parties.)  and birthdays (parents are welcome to come in and read a book.)

7.  I do my lesson planning weekly with my partner (there are 2 kindergarten classes.)

8.  Where do I find cool graphics/ideas for my blog?  I am always looking for cool graphics.  Definitely could make my blog more exciting in that regard.  The ideas come from the work we do in the classroom.  If it works and the children love it, I want to share it.

9.  Our school eats family style and I eat with students every day.  (However, it is mixed K - 4th graders at each table.)

10.  I wore a school uniform for 12 years, so I am not interested in having a teacher uniform.

11.  My class, fellow teachers, and laughter get me through a long school day (as well as, some chocolate and lots of water or an occasional Diet Coke.)

11 Questions for the new nominees - Liebster Award Winners:
  1. How long have you been teaching?
  2. What is your favorite holiday to teach/prepare lessons for?
  3. Where is the farthest place you have traveled to visit?
  4. What teaching tool can you not live without?
  5. How long does it take you to get to school every day?
  6. How many grades have you taught?
  7. How do you like to spend your free time?
  8. Will you make New Year's Resolutions? If yes, please share at least one.
  9. What is the best thing about the grade you teach?
  10. Do you work during the summer?
  11. What made you decide to start your blog?
My Nominated Blogs:

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Polar Express Train

All Aboard!

What a great day.  We had been talking about doing a pajama day.  My partner suggested a "Polar Express Day!"  Perfect.  Then we found an incredible packet Polar Express Packet.  Click on those words to it thanks to Beth at

We made a train crossing sign at the entrance and the students came in pajamas (slippers optional) and our day began.

Each student received an "engineer" hat (blue engineer style cut out attached to sentence strip) and we were ready to go.  The first order of business was making gingerbread cookies in the school kitchen.   Next we listened to the book "The Polar Express" read by our lower school head.

Each student received a ticket with the numbers 1 2 3 4 5 added to it.  As they completed their various jobs throughout the day, they could hole punch the numbers.

They just loved it.  The best part was listening to them talk about whether or not the train was coming.

We took pictures of the whole class clad in jammies and put on top of a folder.  Each child got their own folder to store all of their work.  We took individual photos and added to them to a simple train engine.  They made great keepsakes.

The train whistle was used all day to signal end of centers, lining up...  We even moved around the school as a train.  This will surely become an annual event.

Holly Bloggy Exchange

I participated in the "Holly Bloggy Exchange" for the first time this year.

It was fun finding things that suited bloggy friend, Linda.  Here is a picture of what I sent her.

I realize now the picture is not great.  Sorry.  Her favorite color is pink, so she got 3 pink little dollar store bags filled with some of my favorite things, some Ghiradelli dark chocolate for those afternoon chocolate fixes, peppermint sticks, a magnetic notepad, some stickers for the students, my favorite pink nail polish "shell we dance" (has to have a good name), chamomile mango tea, biscotti, a pink snow scraper mitten (I really can't stand getting my gloves all wet... as I scrape the snow off my car...) and lastly, a new creation of my own, "My Book of Word Families".  Hope she likes it.

I received a great package.

Kimberly Ann sent me some hand cream, lip balm, great red polish, a nail file (so needed a new one for school), Dove chocolate, Ghiradelli peppermint bark, (Never had it before but loved it, Thanks!),and special socks that come with lotion to keep your feet soft...  What fun! Thank you, Linda.  Perfect!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Count down to winter break and Random Acts of Kindness

We have had a great time counting down the days until we start our winter break.

I found a great candy cane clip art and added a nice big square - each student wrote a number on it and then got to color it.  I hung the finished products from some garland and they are loving it!  Each one gets a little heart attached to the back with a suggest act of kindness for the day.  I read the book

It is about a little girl who leaves a basket of freshly picked blueberries at a neighbor's door.  She does so leaving no note.  This leads to the making of blueberry muffins... and so on.  The best page is the page where all the random acts are added up... it is in the millions.  Great math lesson, combined with social studies and good vocabulary, as well.  So we were very ready for the starting of our random acts of kindness.

Some of the acts included:
*making decorations to be hung on various classroom doors - (Love how they are hung at their eye height and can be found all over the school.)  One teacher actually came in and mentioned how happy she was with the surprise decoration on her door..  We said we did not know anything about it.  Such fun.  In fact they liked it so much, they just keep doing it.  The appeal lies in the secret delivery...
*notes made to be left for their parents at home on their pillows, or in the bathroom...
*notes for the kitchen staff.
*paying compliments to a friend.
*letting someone else go first.
*holding the door for a classmate.
and more.

This is the first time I have done this.  I will definitely do it again next year!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Silence ifor Sandy Hook Elementary

There is a great quote:
"Perhaps strength doesn't reside in never having been broken...
But in the courage to grow strong in the broken places."
These are tough days ahead.
Live the love you feel for your family, your friends, and your students.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Practical math

December is here.  I am excited to be back in Kindergarten this year and to celebrate Christmas with my class.  It is a bit overwhelming to think about all I'd love to accomplish and the few weeks I have to get it all accomplished!

My class sits at tables in the classroom.  The year began with free seating as I got to know each student and their learning styles and strengths.  Now they are assigned seats.  My motto of "smarter not harder" works well with this plan.  Each boy has an assigned number.  I love that they clearly know each others numbers.  We love to do a roll call.  I call out a number and they answer "here."  They can even gather in numeric order if I ask them.

There is so much buzz about the common core.  Having taught 2nd grade for 5 years, I value the confidence and mastery of the tens frames.  With that in mind, I am determined to have them master this before they leave in June.  Seeing the tens frames in the classroom with purpose and value can only help serve this goal.  So, for this month, I used holiday notepad snowmen.  I wrote a number in digit form, followed by the word, and then added the tens frame.  They have been taped to the chair back and are clearly visible for the students to see and hopefully absorb.  Here are some pictures.

I hope my class likes it. I know they will notice it right away.