Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Enjoying the break!

I love Christmas break!  I mean, who doesn't????  

It's so nice not to have to worry about setting my alarm clock....or what to wear....or what to pack for lunch.....or what my hair looks like LOL!

I've heard that a lot of teachers actually have to go back to school this Thursday!
Luckily we have the rest of this week off.  We return to school on Monday, Jan. 6th along with all our kiddos!  In the past, we've always had a work day/inservice day before the kids came back, but for whatever reason that is not the case this year! 

I hope you're enjoying your break and I hope you have a fabulous new year as well!!  One of my new years resolutions is to do a better job at blogging!  I have definitely neglected my poor little blog over the past year, but hopefully I'll do better in 2014!  

If you're looking for some great new blogs to follow...check out Simply Kinder's linky party!  
I bet you'll find some new blogs that you never knew were out there!!!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Precious Letter to Santa

Sorry for the bad picture, but this was too precious not to share.  

One of our 2nd grade teachers had her students write letters to Santa today.  I read through several of them (because they are ALWAYS fun to read!!) and seriously got teary eyed reading this one from a very sweet little girl.  

I adore how she opened her letter with a wish for other kids.  Naturally, she asked for some stuff for herself.  :-)  But the part that is the tear jerker is the part that comes next.   Be sure to read through the whole thing....it will definitely make your day!

PS.  How cute is it that she crossed out the word "From" at the bottom and wrote in the word "Love"!!!!!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Motivating Kids to Read!

Have you seen these laser light finger pointer things?  

This year I switched positions and am now teaching special ed....K-3 Resource.  I absolutely love this new adventure, but after 8 years of teaching Kindergarten, it's been a learning experience for sure!!

I actually have a really fun Kindergarten group that I see
each day.  They definitely keep me on my toes.  

So when I saw the laser finger pointers at Oriental Trading, I knew I needed to get some. (They were pretty inexpensive at 8.00 for a dozen!!)
Yesterday I pulled them out for "added motivation" to help the kids stay on task while working.

To say it was magical would be an understatement.  They worked so hard with those silly things on their fingers....One little boy even remarked that his writing was much neater because the laser light was helping him!?!?

I even turned off the lights for a little bit.  I'm pretty sure they thought I was the best teacher ever.  HA!  

We'll see how long the "laser magic" lasts LOL, but for now it's definitely going to stay in my bag of tricks!!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Kids Say the Funniest Things!

I am linking up with Crystal over at Kreative in Kinder for her fun linky about all the funny things kids say!!  

The conversation below happened between me and a very funny Kindergartener.  He seriously was hilarious!!  He was so precious and sweet, and honestly didn't have a mean bone in his body.  He was always saying funny things, but this conversation was one of my favorites.   

Because I knew this child so well, I knew he wasn't being ugly or smart.  
He seriously was just stating the fact as he understood it.  And he was pretty much right, wasn't he?  LOL

When he said it, I couldn't help but smile.  I may have even chuckled a little.
But I still made him go sit down until I finished with my group.  ;-)

Heard something funny or want to read about other funny kids? Head over to Kreative in Kinder and check out the fun linky!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pumpkin Decorating Fun

This week the teachers got to have a little Fall Fun and decorate some pumpkins!!  It's a small fundraiser to help buy books for our library and it's lots of fun for the kids and teachers!!

On Monday, several teachers brought in their fun, pumpkin creation!    
A jar was placed in front of each one and the students get to vote all week for their favorite one using loose change.  Each cent is considered a vote!  

Take a look at this "triple scoop" pumpkin creation!!  This teacher went ALL OUT on hers!!!  
As you probably guessed, this one is currently in first place!!

Here are some of the other pumpkins that were decorated, carved, painted, etc.....
(mine is the cookie monster one....I went cute & simple!!)

Aren't they amazing???  The kids are really having a good time voting for their favorites!!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Interactive Whiteboard using a Wii Remote

Do you have an interactive whiteboard in your classroom?  If you do, consider yourself very lucky!!  I've always been so jealous of teachers who have Smart boards or Promethean boards in their classrooms.  There's just so much you can do with those things!!!

Last year I started looking all over the internet for "cheap Smart boards"....I seriously googled those exact words.   What I found was a way you can use a projector, a computer with bluetooth, a Wii remote, and an infrared pen to create a fairly inexpensive interactive whiteboard!! 

The site I stumbled upon was called Teach With Tech and I purchased everything I needed to get my interactive whiteboard set up for about 150 dollars.    Go check out their site for more information on the technical aspects of this project or simply google Wii interactive whiteboard.  You will find gobs of information, pictures, and videos from others who have done similar projects.  

As with anything, there are pros and cons to using this system.  
The pros far outweigh the cons, but I'll tell you about both of them.  

First the PROS!  :-)

One big pro is that I can write on my screen......using the Smoothboard toolbar!  
 (you can see the toolbar in the lower right hand corner of the screen....it allows me to change the color, size, etc. of the pen stroke!) 

Another pro is that I can use the pen as a "mouse" and click on links right from my screen!  
This comes in so handy!!

One of the things I LOVE about the setup, is that I can use my interactive whiteboard with Promethean board lessons.  I simply downloaded the Active Inspire software (FREE) and went to town looking for interactive Promethean lessons!  In this pic, I am dragging short & long Aa pictures to their correct box!

Now for the CONS :-(

 Because I am "writing" on a screen that is hanging from the ceiling, the lines are not always as straight as I'd like them to be.   I think it's because the screen is not stationary, but I'm not sure!

Honestly it's not a huge deal.....because I'm just happy I can "write" on my screen!!

The other cons are mostly setup related.  The whole system is a little cumbersome to set up and takes a lot of patience.  (The Wii remote has to be mounted to the ceiling so it can "see" your screen and pen).  For some unknown reason, the Wii remote sometimes fails to connect to my bluetooth and I have to restart the whole program several times.  This is extremely frustrating when I'm trying to teach a lesson, so many times I've just given up on using the whole thing.   I'm honestly not sure if it's a Wii problem, a software problem, or a bluetooth problem!!  Or perhaps it's just a user problem!  HA HA!

Even with all of the frustrations, I still LOVE my interactive whiteboard!  It's allowed me to do lots of things I never thought I'd be able to do, and has brought a whole new level of interaction to my kiddos. Right now my projector screen is a little too high for my kids to use the pen to interact with a website or a game, but eventually I'd like to lower it to allow them to utilize it more!

Monday, April 22, 2013

A is for Aloha Day!

Each year in Kindergarten we count down the last 26 days of school by having an "ABC Countdown."    It's something that everyone looks forward to and it's so much fun!!

Today was Aloha Day for A!
Hawaiian music and colorful leis were waiting for my kiddos as they arrived in the classroom this morning.  Most kids brought beach towels and dressed in bright tropical colors.  
Take a look at some of the fun we had today!

We made & decorated Aloha flower hats!

We listened to Hawaiian music and read books on our beach towels!

For a special snack we made a fruit salad and enjoyed it outdoors while relaxing in the sun.

One of my wonderful parents made a special surprise for us.....Flip Flops in the sand! 
(AKA Nutter Butter cookies in brown sugar!)

Do you do anything fun to celebrate the last few days of school???  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easter Egg Hunt with a twist!

Our Spring Break starts on Friday.  We are going to the Zoo tomorrow.  So today we had our class Easter Egg hunt!

This year I did something completely different and it was a lot of fun.  I found this idea on the internet, but can't remember where or when I saw it.  If you know whose idea it is, let me know and I'll gladly give them credit!!

So here's what we did....we basically turned an ordinary egg hunt into something a little more academic.  I know, I know!!  It doesn't sound fun....but I promise my kids had a blast and were way happy with their goodies!!

I asked each student to send in 6 plastic eggs filled with a small toy or candy.  Then I had a parent volunteer come in and write one word on each egg.  The words were:  I, little, have, six, my, eggs.  So 20 eggs had the word I.....20 eggs had the word little......etc.

After the eggs were hidden, I let the students know that they each had to find 6 eggs that had the 6 sight words on them.  To help them, I created a recording sheet where they could cross off each word as they found each egg.   If you'd like to grab it for the future, you can download it here!

They were so funny hunting for the sight word eggs.  I could hear them calling out "has anybody seen the word little".......and "hey I need have"!  It was really cute to watch them trying to find all of the words and making sure they marked each word off on their sheet!!

After students found all 6 of their eggs, they headed to the sidewalk to complete the rest of the sheet.  They had to take out their 6 eggs and unscramble the words to make a sentence (I have my six little eggs.)  This was pretty easy for most students, but others needed a little bit of help.  Then they wrote the sentence on the lines.

The last thing they did before opening any of their eggs was to record the color of each individual egg, by writing the color word in the boxes.

Finally after all of that hard work......they got to open their eggs and see their special treats!  They were so excited!!!  Not a single one complained about having to hunt for sight words or do "work" afterwards.  They actually were laughing and smiling the whole time, so I consider that a WIN - WIN!

Do you do egg hunts with your kids?  How do you do them?  I'm always on the lookout for new ideas!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Easter Literacy Practice

So as soon as St. Patrick's Day was over, my mind turned to Easter and all the fun things that we are going to do!    There are so many neat things you can do with those plastic Easter eggs!!  Last year when I found some that had three parts that snap together,  I thought I had hit the jackpot!!!  CVC word building suddenly got a whole lot more fun for my kids!

Since Easter is a fun time for me and the kids, I made a couple of new things that I added to my TpT store....and I also made a freebie that is available as well!

Bunny Builder is a CVC Literacy Center where students will build CVC words! There are 20 CVC picture cards and 60 egg letters.  There are also recording sheets for students to record the words they make!  It's available for $3.00 in my TpT store here.  

 I also created a forever FREEBIE that you might be able to use in your classroom!  It's a set of cute Easter bunny ten frames for numbers 1-20.  Head over and download it for FREE from my TpT store. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

St. Patrick's Day FREEBIE

My kids enjoyed the Valentine Domino addition center I made for February, so I decided to make another one for St. Patrick's Day!  Grab it for FREE below!!

St. Patrick's Day addition practice!

It's a forever FREEBIE and you can download it here!

If you're looking for more St. Patrick's Day resources, I have several in my store you can check out.  The best part is all of my St. Patty's resources are $3.00 or less!



Have a great week friends!