Friday, November 21, 2014

Five for Friday

I made it to Friday and am still awake! I don't know about anyone else, but I am ready for the weekend. More importantly, I am ready to enjoy next week hanging out with little E. The last few weekends, we have been super busy. I come home on Friday night and am falling asleep by 8:30. Then we've stayed busy all day Saturday and I have completely missed out on Doodle Bugs Five for Friday linky party. Not tonight (although I may have already taken a 30 minute cat nap).

Wednesday was early release for us. That means that my friends leave a whole two and a half hours early. This day also happened to fall on the Great American Teach-In. We had two visitors this year. The first was a Cross-fit trainer who had all of the kindergarteners up and moving. Then we had one of my best friend's come in. Karri is a veterinarian. About 2 years ago, she and her husband moved to North Carolina. They just happened to be visiting this week and she was kind enough to take a few hours out of her day to come share with my friends.  They loved her! They can't quite say veterinarian so they refer to her as the doctor.  

For the last few weeks we have been studying numbers 11-20. I have been working at integrating more arts into our classroom. This activity was a hit! My friends had a blast using popcorn seeds to create models for numbers. 

This week has had frigid temperatures for Florida standards. I am so thankful for the car seat warmers. I have used them at least 4 morning this week. It's very comical listening to my friends talk about how cold it is. Poor things, they just have no clue what true cold weather feels like. Then in the afternoon, I am able to enjoy the nice sunshine. It's been a crazy weather week. 

 This week we have spent lots of time learning about the first Thanksgiving. As a culminating activity during math we used our measurement skills and made individual pumpkin pies. My friends had the best time. Most of my friends were scraping the bottom of their cups for every last drop. I only had one friend not finish it. I am so glad that I went out on a limb this week and to do this activity.

Karri's visit was definitely one of the highlights of the week. For years we have had many conversations, prayers, and tears about starting families. In February, my husband and I were up to our elbows in home study paperwork. I may have been dragging my feet. One evening, Karri told me I needed to get it done because her little girl needed a friend. Her words were just the encouragement I needed to finish all of the paperwork. Karri's little girl is 3 months older than E and for the first time we were able to meet one another's babies. E had the cutest outfit on, but it didn't last very long before he needed an outfit change.  To hold each other's children this week was indescribable. No one will truly understand the connection we share. These two babies are the answer to many prayers we have shared. I'm thankful we are experiencing this new world of mommy-hood together. 

Tomorrow we're off to meet Santa! Other than that there's not much planned but catching up with some friends and doing some shopping. I hope everyone has a nice low-key week and relish in all you have to be thankful for. Head back over to Doodle Bugs so you can see what everyone else has been up to this week. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Veteran's Day

I don't know about anyone else but today was a great day! It may do mostly to the fact that tomorrow I have off for Veteran's Day. For the last 8 years that I have worked in this district we have always had school on Veteran's Day. This year we have off! I'm so excited to spend it with my husband and E.

Back to today . . . it was really an awkward day. We started off the morning with a school wide Veteran's Day assembly. It is really amazing to be with 800 kids listening to a Veteran share his or her story and give an encouraging word and then sing a school-wide song.

Today we also spent sometime discussing what a Veteran is, what they do for us, and what we could thank them for. This led us to Miss Kindergarten's Veteran's Day craft. My class loved making them, but most importantly now have a better understanding of what a Veteran is.

All 120 kindergarteners got together this morning to rehearse for parent night on Thursday. It was our first time . . . let's just leave it at that.

At the end of the day several other kindergarten classes had the privilege of participating in an extended lesson with the school's gift teacher. All of the kids (and adults) enjoyed the lesson on Digging Down Deeper and learning about rainbows. It was a great way to end our afternoon. We will continue our lesson Wednesday afternoon. I'm sure it will be just as fun.

Before I left to go home and see this little guy (who had his 2 month shots today and wasn't super happy),

I made part of my friend's Christmas present. I di-cut light bulbs because I light how they look, but I supposed I could di-cut trees, snowman, snowflakes, or anything I really wanted. I place one of the sticker photos from fall school pictures to each di-cutout. I label each photo with Kindergarten and the year. Then I use liquid glue and glitter to add some fancy, shiny accents. Once they're all dry I will laminate them and add a magnet to the back. I know this isn't a huge gift, but it's one of my favorites.

See - it was a crazy fun day! I look forward to having the day off tomorrow and spending it with my family. We aren't sure what we are going to do tomorrow. It will all depend on E's mood - let's hope it is jolly! 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November Currently

I don't know about anyone else, but I am very thankful that November is here. However, I know it is going to speed by along with December and then it'll be January before we know it. I'm linking up with Farley today for my Currently post.

LISTENING - I have the pleasure of listening to my husband talk to Edison. Right now he's telling E about the football game, which is perfect because he won't learn anything about football from me. We waited almost 9 years to have a child.  I can not begin to express how thankful I am for everyday I get to listen to the bond they are making.

LOVING - Florida's cooler weather means that it is in the 60s. I know - that's not really cold, but after living in Florida for 10 years it is. I'm loving that I am able to turn off the air conditioner and open up the house. This has been a perfect weekend!

THINKING - I'm very lucky to have the week of Thanksgiving off. However, there is a crazy amount of things going on this month from Kindergarten parent night, to the Great American Teach-In, Veteran's Day Assembly on the 10th and no school on the 11th. Plus, I'm trying to get all of my parent conferences done for the fall in the next two weeks, my husband goes back to work, and E is lucky enough to stay with one of our good friends during the day. Let's just say there's a lot going on this month.

WANTING - I love Christmas! I do! I could listen to Christmas music all year. I love putting up the decorations and the Christmas tree. I'm a weirdo that has several Christmas trees. This year we will only be putting up two. There is just something about coming home to a festive house. 

NEEDING - Truthfully I need nothing. I am beyond blessed with everything that God has provided. A nap would be nice, but then I wouldn't sleep tonight. 

READING - I love NPH! I have loved him since he was a kid doctor. I loved him on How I Met Your Mother. There is just something about him that is charismatic and down-to-earth. So for pure pleasure, I am reading his new autobiography. Had I not gone back to work, I would have had it finished already, but it will be done before Thanksgiving. 

A new season for Real Housewives of Atlanta starts tonight! I know where I'll be tonight!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Five for Fraturday. - Happy Halloween!

Once again I had good intentions and then Halloween happened and well . . . .here I am again joining Doodle Bugs with Five for Fraturday.

I don't know about anyone else, but it has been a CRAZY week! Monday evening another kindergarten teacher and I were walking out to our cars only to meet a snake - a LONG snake! Let's just say we ran back in the classroom and went the LONG way to our cars. Then Tuesday we had no running water at school because there was a water main break across the street. Between the district and our school, six portable toilets for 800 students were brought on campus and a case of water was delivered to every classroom. Let's just say it was DISGUSTING and GROSS!!!

I love my kindergarten team! There are 8 of us in all and it may have taken us a who years to all gel and bond, but we truly do support one another and work as a team. One of the best parts of working with these ladies is that throughout the year we do special days where each one of us selects one activity and the students rotate classes. It's a great change for everyone, we all get to know one another students a bit, and it helps keep their energy filled bodies moving to a different activity every 30 minutes and not driving us bonkers. Friday was our Halloween themed rotation day. I spent all day helping 120 five year olds make these number pumpkins. I planned ahead and copied them on colored paper, my wonderful husband whole punched them all ahead of time. All of the students had to trace the number,  draw a picture to match the number, and if there was time they wrote the number word too. 

My friends have been working really hard the last two weeks on identifying characters and settings. This week we added a little fun twist and turned ordinary pumpkins into characters. My friends had to work together to pick a character, plan what they wanted to do, what supplies they might need, and execute their plan. I plan to blog about this tomorrow to share a bit more. 

I have spent the last two weeks eradicating signs of my less than mediocre sub. Truthfully, I could write a whole post on this topic, but for many reasons I will not. Instead I will only share four things.

  • She did not read anything! She missed the big note that said all the assignments in the lesson plans that were highlighted yellow needed to be collected so I could grade them. She sent everything home for two and a half weeks.
  • When October started, she changed the calendar by changing the heading. That's it. She never once moved the dates to the proper days of the week. I was so happy to fix that this week!
  • My class never left their desks. How sad! They never went to the carpet, they never moved around the room, they never danced and sang songs. She had no concept of what was developmentally appropriate for kindergarten. 
  • She had no clue how to use the copier nor read the plans and notes to know what to copy. She managed to go through five of my 6 reams of paper. It takes about three weeks for me to use a ream of paper. I have recycled about three large piles like this over the last two weeks. Thursday I found this pile sitting on the bookshelf in the corner. It's just so much wasted paper. 
Now I will move on and never bring this up again. I am very happy to move on to November!

This week we spent time comparing numbers. I love when my friends can participate in a group activity, like this. Two friends selected a number, two more friends used ghost counters to model the number, one friend selected the sign we needed, and then we all said "(the first number) is greater/less than (the second number)".

Happy Halloween! We spent the evening at our friends' house. Every year they host a Halloween Trick-or-Treating party. They ordered pizzas, everyone else brought a dish to pass, and then all the kids go trick-or-treating. Edison was the cutest Olaf with his four Elsas. So were clear, Edison did not collect any candy, and we eventually went back to the house ahead of everyone to get away from the mosquitoes. YES -Mosquitoes! Growing up in the Midwest I only had to worry about making sure I could wear winter clothes with my costume, but in Florida I have to worry about putting on enough bug spray. Overall, it was a great way to end the week and this guy is totally worth melting for!

Don't forget to head on over to Doodle Bugs and see what everyone else has been up to.

Now to enjoy the cold front this weekend. It's a chilly 64 degrees this weekend. I am not cut out for Midwest winters anymore.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Five for Friday . . . Fraturday

Let me just start that I began blogging this post last night, fell asleep, and then spent the day taking my mother - in - law to the airport and running errands with my husband and E. It is now 9:00, and we have been ready for bed since 7:30.

So after taking the last 7 weeks off to focus all of my attention on to being a mommy, I am finally ready to return to my little space in the blogging community. What better way to rejoin than with Doodle Bugs weekly Five for Friday now Fraturday . . .

This week I returned to work. While I love being a mom, I also love being a teacher. I wish I could just strap E to me and bring him along. It was a slightly crazy week with the end of the quarter with grades due today by noon. Monday was a district work day, and Wednesday my school provided subs for all of the kindergarten teachers to have a planning day. Enjoy my five highlights from the week.

I've really been trying to figure out how to explain what went on in my classroom while I was away. In January, my district decided to contract all subs through a third party. Because of this, my administration and I did not get to select who would be my long term sub. Let's just say I've had a lot of nice, thoughtful, brilliant, intelligent colorful language. Look closely at this photo and see if you can figure out how many things are wrong. My husband and I spent 2 hours Monday night sorting through and organizing all of the centers I had left for her. It looked like she threw 8 weeks of reading and math centers into three bags. I could dedicate an entire post to just the mistakes she made. Let's just say it was BAD!!

 My friends should have learned about matter while I was gone, but that would have required a sub who read plans and actually wanted to teach my friends. Obviously that didn't happen so we did one of my favorite experiments for matter. This experiment requires, a snack size bag, ice cubes, and an Alka-Seltzer tablet. We start by placing ice in a snack size Ziplock bag. Partners then had the challenge of changing the ice from a solid to a liquid (it does help that it is still 85 degrees here in Florida). Then we added one Alka-Seltzer tablet  to the baggie and watched  a gas form as the bag expands. My friends understand solids and liquids, but gases are harder for them to understand, but with this experiment they are able to see a gas right in front of their face.

I took some time redoing the words for my word wall and creating two charts for our first and second quarter High Frequency Words. I noticed that our HFWs were getting lost with the letters. It was just very busy and hard to determine what the words were because they had a heavy border around them.  So I created all new word cards. It is turning out much better than I thought. I also took the first and second quarter words and made a chart for each quarter. Then I added name badges for each chart. As my friends master the set of words, their badge will move up to the next chart. I normally do something similar at the end of the year, but I am hoping will encourage my friends to learn their HFWs now. I still have the third and fourth quarter words to write. Once they have all 127 words they will move their name badge to a chart that says, "I'm ready for First Grade!". I love healthy competition and encouragement, and this provides just that.  

This week it was nice to be back in my classroom with my friends working together. There's something I love in helping my friends learn to work together, have fun, and achieve a task or goal. I can definitely tell the few who ran circles around the sub, but I know they have missed me and are ecstatic I am back.

It wouldn't be right unless I included the highlight to my week: coming home to Edison. He has grown so fast. About two weeks ago he finally started wearing 3 month clothe and in about 3 weeks he will be completely out of them. I'm trying to have him wear as many as he possibly can. E has some adorable outfits, but the weather is still too warm for many of them. 

That's about it. This coming week is Read Ribbon Week among every child's favorite free candy holiday. We'll be working on some creative character projects this week. I hope they turn out. Check back to read all about it.