Friday, September 20, 2013

Another Kinder quote

Here's another funny Kindergarten quote that one of my students said after we had been discussing how to be a good friend to others.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Humpty Dumpty Day

We've been spending the first 3 weeks of school learning nursery rhymes, working with colors and shapes, and focusing on rhyming words.  Today we had a "Humpty Dumpty Day" at school.  We all got our very own (hardboiled) Humpty to decorate and then drop off our "wall" while re-telling the nursery rhyme.  So much of our focus is on re-telling and rhyming the first part of the year...I use this re-telling activity for my Qualls assessment as well. :)
 The kiddies also got to make a Humpty and put him on the wall (brick scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby) and "write" how they would put him back together.  I thought they came up with some pretty cute ideas this year.

Then we started our Humpty "Egg-speriment".  We put a raw egg and a hard-boiled egg in vinegar to soak overnight.  The kiddies were so excited and had all sorts of theories as to what would happen. 

Then late in the afternoon all our "kings men and kings women" headed out to the track behind our playground for our 2nd annual Humpty Launch.  We love this activity and it's a student favorite from last year.  We covered 4 boxes with "brick paper" of different colors.  We used a 3 man slingshot and raw eggs to launch Humpty as far as we could.  We re-told the rhyme over and over and discussed where he landed each time (using those positional terms). 


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

time can be a funny thing

This is our 3rd week of the school year. This marks the fourth time in my life as a teacher that I have started a new school year.. I feel like each year goes by faster and faster. The year we had our son was the fastest so far. I think the average school year is 178 days long. The state of Arkansas will allow you to retire after 28 years of teaching. That means if you retire the first year available you probably worked on average of 4, 984 days as a teacher. That is 28 extremely long first days of school. In Kindergarten you have 20 students. In a Kindergarten teaching career you will probably have more than 560 kiddos in your classes (assuming some students will move throughout the year). An average 28 year teaching career means an average of 4,984 days of teaching. I have already completed about 544 teaching days so far. Part of me gets excited to know that the count down doesn't seem too unbearable but part of me knows that I need to enjoy every minute of my job. It is rare to meet people that absolutely love their job. I am one of those people. I know that of the 560 kiddos placed in my room they are all there for a reason. I know I can teach them all something and they can all teach me something. I know I need to cherish and make the most of the 4,440 more days. This job is one of the only jobs I can think of that can keep my attention. Looking forward to the next 25 or so years!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Moment of Silence

We are curious as to how our blog readers are implementing the mandated moment of silence in your classroom?

I begin each morning with a "community circle".  Our school uses TRIBES and community circle is the basis for that.  We gather in a circle to share our hearts and set our expectations for the day.  Anyway, I have introduced the moment of silence to the very beginning of my community circle time.  At first, I just talked about what a "moment of silence" is.  We then shared ideas of what you could do during that moment of silence.  Some of the suggestions were: be still, think, meditate (ha!), pray, and relax.  I then modeled the moment of silence by saying "today I am going to spend the moment to think about how I am going to be kind to others, I want you to spend the moment how you choose.  You can think, meditate, pray, or just relax.".  I then called "Moment of Silence" and we sit still and quiet...some of the kiddos even close their eyes.  Once our moment is over I ask if anyone wants to share what they thought about or did.  So far I have been very impressed with my kiddos and how seriously they take this. 

This is what I am doing right now and would love any input, suggestions, ideas if you have them!

Monday, August 26, 2013

121 more days until Christmas. This school year is basically over!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Put yourself in their shoes and see how strange it feels

I have said it before that Kindergarten is one of the first forms of an educational institution for many people. The first few weeks are very crazy! We spend lots of time going over the rules and expectations for the classroom. Last week towards the end of the week I started thinking about what that first week must feel like to a kindergartener. Pretend that you started working for a new company. On your first day the CEO introduces himself and then instantly requires you to sit on his carpet in a seating position called "Criss-cross applesauce".  The CEO begins talking to you like you are having a natural conversation with him. Then when you go to make a comment on something he said he interrupts you and tells you he wants you to only talk if you have raised your hand and he calls on you. The CEO immediately begins going over all the rules. As you are listening carefully to his long list of rules you realize you need to use the restroom. As you are walking to the restroom your CEO tells you that you need to raise your hand to get up off the carpet even if you are going to relieve your bladder. At lunch the CEO tells you he wants to eat with you the first week so you can adjust to the cafeteria easily. During your lunch with the CEO you decide to strike up conversation to break the tension of work. Before you get the first sentence out of your mouth the CEO interrupts and says I want you to use a inside voice. If you look at the CEO confused he will respond with, "you know, a six inch whisper".  The CEO decides to walk with you to all of your meetings that day. You think it is a casual stroll and a great opportunity to get to know the CEO better. Wrong again, the CEO demands you walk through the halls in a single file line with your hands behind your back so you don't touch his pretty walls. He also expects you to put a pretend bubble in your mouth to keep you from talking.
I imagine if I ever got a job with such a regimented work environment I would probably put in my two week notice during my lunch break. It is important to remember that these small people in our classes need rules but they are also small PEOPLE that need respect. There is a fine line between a respectful teacher that loves their students and a tyrant that loves an orderly class. If you grow to enjoy your kiddos then it makes it easy to enjoy your job!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

How Mr. Howse stays organized

It's a very known fact around our school (and a big joke) that Mr. Howse is not the most organized teacher around.  I got very tickled at his new organization binders and their creative cover pages yesterday!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dear candle companies

It seems like candle companies come out with a new scent everyday. Whispering pines, Everglades Cedar, summer rain, wild flowers, crisp morning, etc. I often read the label of a candle and think I doubt this smells good. I am normally pleasantly surprised! I want to challenge any candle company to create a candle that smells like any school scents. What can you do with these titles; recess, boys bathroom, custodians closet, teachers lounge? If you can make any of these smell good please let me know. Thanks.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Kindergarten right of passage

In high school (mainly my senior year) it seemed people (mainly guys) felt they had the right of passage to drive really fast in parking lots. It seemed normal for people to squal their tires as they left the parking lots. In college it seemed normal to eat Taco Bell at 2:45 a.m. And not regretting either the late night or the food the next morning.
A few years have passed by since the glory days. Now when I hear tires squalling I automatically think about the price of gas. I still enjoy Taco Bell but I rarely see 2:45 anymore. When I do pull an all-nighter I hurt for 2 days from lack of sleep. I'm not in the know with the current right of passages for high school or college kids.
I have noticed a few things that most Kindergartners consider to be their right of passage or it least they like doing it and they feel like they can get away with it. 5 year olds love to color on carpets. It feels good to sprint down the hall when there is no teacher watching. It's okay to eat a pancake covered in syrup without ever picking up your fork. Shoes on the correct foot are optional. Matching sweatsuits are cool. Velcro is better than laces. The best way to get from one side of the room to the other is roll. When you come around a corner it's okay to do a jumping karate kick to the pretend bad guy. The best way to check to see if your paint is dry is by using your palm. Tasting is a better way of identifying a foreign object than smelling.
There is a lot of fun to be had with this mindset. Try all of these things for a week and I promise you will smile at least once. I have been doing them all for the last four years and I am a really happy person!

Monday, August 19, 2013

1st day funny

The best thing I heard all day,

This will be a year full of laughter.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

like a boss...

Just a funny to start our first week back with! :)  Thank you to Nathan for sharing your beautiful, inspirational post earlier today. 

I think it is appropriate the day before Kindergarten starts to write about happiness. I know that there are lots of nervous teachers, students, and parents. Kindergarten can be a scary time for people. Its new and unfamiliar and way out of our comfort zone (at least for most).
My desk is overflowing with crayons, glue-sticks, construction paper, hand sanitizer, paint and paint brushes and lots of other school supplies. I know that my job is important because it is the foundation of education for many. I take my job serious but I have lots of fun with it. I hope in 20 years I do NOT have a student track me down and say that I taught them to be the best "colorer" they could be! I hope they never say because of Mr. Howse I turned out to be an expert with glue-sticks. I don't want them to come back in 20 years and brag about how good I was at teaching them to use the small scissors with the rounded edges. These are all big parts of Kindergarten but to me there is so much more! I hope in the 190 day school year we learn more about life than we do about coloring, cutting, and gluing. I hope this year we put a strong emphasis on using our heart and our imagination. I hope I teach and learn more about kindness, creativity, and being confident with who we are. I hope we all learn that each day is an adventure. I hope we learn/teach that laughter is good for all ages. I hope we learn that learning does not have to be associated with a book or a classroom. I hope we share our happiness this year. I hope we learn that it is okay to make mistakes. We will fail with dignity but then repeat the task with success! I hope we learn that it is easy to smile. I hope we become disoriented with words like enemies, hate, stupid, and ugly. I hope our vocabulary is engulfed with words like please and thank you. I hope we learn that its okay to be different. I hope we learn to have fun with any task put in front of us.
This year is going to be phenomenal. Good luck teachers. Good luck students. Good luck parents. Happy learning!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

How to Throw a Successful Parent Night/Meet & Greet/or Open House

Our school hosts a "Teacher Meet and Greet" the Thursday before school starts.  In fact, it was just this past Thursday!

We thought we would share some of our tips on hosting a successful open house...(this is our kindergarten team on Meet and Greet night)

  1. Be prepared.  Have all your paperwork organized (we put ours in a folder with a label explaining what to do with them).

  2. Labels are a MUST.  I know a lot of teachers wait to add table tags or name labels until school starts so you don't have to re-label if kiddos don't show up/move/or add.  In our opinion...this is a "no-no" especially at the beginning of the year.  The first thing students and parents want to see when they walk through the door is where they are sitting!  You WILL have to re-label and change...yes this is more work...however it's worth it to make those mommas and babies happy!
  3. Set the mood.  I always, always, always make a "greeting" table for my parent activities.  I use one of my smaller tables, covered with a piece of colorful fabric.  I add a little flowerpot that I got on clearance years ago.  This is where parents sign in, grab the info sheet, and nosh on some goodies. I also always have soft music playing in the background.
  4. Offer food.  I always have cookies for small snacks...I typically bake my own chocolate chip cookies, however this year I took the cheater route and bought some from my favorite bakery.  Nathan offered S'mores Poptarts that matched his camping theme.

  5. Have technology going somehow.  This year I just simply had a short message on my Smartboard.  You could also have a game for kiddos to play with on it.  Smartboards make the kiddos super excited to come to school.
  6. Mingle.  Try hard not to allow one parent more time than another.  This is a seems every year you will have one or two parents want to hone in on you and not let you go.  Offer for them to email you or call you later with further questions.  It's very important that you at least offer each family the same amount of time. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Times have changed.

Last night we had our parent meet and greet. I loved seeing all the new kiddos. As I was watching these kiddos walk into my classroom I realized they all seem a lot more mature than I was this week in 1987.  I know the students were nervous just like I was 26 years ago. It is an intimidating time for any child whether you started Kindergarten in 1987 or 2013. Besides it being nerve-wracking for everyone a lot has changed since 1987. Last night before the parents started filtering into my room I double checked to make sure my smartboard was working, I checked my emails one last time on my lap top and then placed my iPad out of reach of any young, unexperienced hands. In 1987, I was technologically advanced then too. I had a sweet Teddy Ruxspin that played tapes. Our house had a t.v and a VCR. Some great movies came out that year (Robocop, The Priness Bride, Dirty Dancing) . Unfortunately, I didn't get to watch any of them that year since none are appropriate for a 5 year old (in my opinion). I don't think I had ever seen a computer. Times are changing but I think for the good. I am so excited about getting to know these kiddos and learning what is cool and hip in 2013. I might feel outdated real fast.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Mrs. House's Carnival Classroom

Now we will tour my Carnival/Circus themed classroom! I have a regular ol' classroom so it's not as exciting as Mr. Howse's awesome enormo room.

My door..the Hubs spent HOURS on this I just have to keep my kiddos grubby hands off it! Ha!  The wall next to my door houses my work display.  I hang work on a ring to keep it all year long.  Once the kiddos arrive, I am going to take their pics with silly clown glasses and noses and replace those popcorn boxes with their cute pics!

This is the view when you walk into my room.

My little teacher area...

My reading area/calendar/main info wall.  I love my new number/shapes posters.


The view from my desk...

The window my bunting...this wall is just waiting on anchor charts to adorn it!

My guided reading/interactive writing area..

My reading area...I LOVE my new pillows.

The view from the front of the room...the HUBS spent hours on the word wall for me too!

My shelves full of center materials...

Another long shelf...the wall above it will be filled with anchor charts soon!

I love my clipboards..each kiddo has one and I can easily change out writing!

My newest addition...I painted this shelf with chalkboard paint! Its going to be my new word work center!

Mr. Howse's Camping Classroom Tour

First, let's take a tour of Mr. Howse's camping themed classroom.  This theme fits his personality perfectly and it's evident he loves the outdoors.  The kids LOVE his room.  It doesn't hurt that he lucked into the biggest room in the whole building pretty much...his room is a little bit down the hall from the rest of the KCrew and he has the ultimate closet and awesome reading loft! 

When you walk in this is what you see....


He hand painted most of the details of his room like the trees, camping signs, and posters. 



I love his reading area with the faux grass, tree stumps, campfire, and stars.  What kid wouldn't want to hang out in there?  He added some awesome details like bobbers in a jar, metal buckets/lanterns, and cricket bucket pencil holders!  He also has camping themed number charts, color charts, and ABC charts!

The canoe shelf is just phenomenal...

Map covered storage boxes, fish baskets, and a picnic inspired calendar set-up help set the tone as well.

This is the view looking toward the door from the back of his room!

Here he is all dressed up for Teacher Meet and adorable is his outfit?!