Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Downtime and Fitness - Quite a Pair

So I missed posting the past couple of days, but that was because I was experiencing some DOWNTIME with these amazing folks!


One of my goals for 2013 is to spend more time creating memories with my family.  I am ashamed to say that this is the first time my family has been to the snow for a play day!  I mean they have seen it out the car window but we have never planned a day to go and just play!  They had a blast!  Even the oldest, who is often too 'ccol' to hang with the family, had a great time.  He was the last one to the car and didn't want to leave.  The sled run he had made wasn't quite perfect.  Even though we were frozen and wet, we will definitely be back!
I want to take more pictures to document our fun times.  I realized this past year I just didn't take as many pictures.  That is going to change!
This past year I have been so immersed in my school work, making my classroom a better, and cuter, place, and discovering the blog world and Pinterest - on, my!  I am not planning on giving it all up, but I know I want to be a more "present" mother with my family in 2013!
As far as my fitness goals - I want to start walking again!  I mean for exercise!  I was doing great a couple of years ago, even lost some weight and tightened up things that needed to be tightened, but have just lost the motivation.  I love the peace I gain when walking and listening to my music.  It is often the only quiet I have in the entire day.  I come home refreshed and am better able to handle my family without becoming "unglued".  The challenge is finding the time.  I am going to have to work on that!
I wish you a Happy New Year and a blessed 2013!
Mrs. M.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Professional Development

I am determined to make it all the way through this linky party - whether anyone is reading it or not!  Today, I am linking up with Amanda at One Extra Degree to share my professional development goals for 2013.
Here are a few:
  • I returned to the public schools two years ago and began work on my CTEL certificate which would enable me to work with ELL students.  I opted to take classes so that I could earn some units and move over on the pay scale.  I finished my last class just before Christmas!  Thank goodness!  I only have my portfolio to compile and submit and then I WILL BE DONE!!  It was a challenge to balance my classroom, my school, and my family.  Needless to say, once my certificate is granted I will be taking a break from school - I think my kids and husband would kill me if I took anymore course work right away!

  • As a result of my course work, I have become very interested in the ELL porgram at our school and the involvement of our second language parents.  I hope to do more with this group and creater a greater sense of community at our school.  Not sure if that is professional growth, but it is a need.  Any suggestions?

  • I have wanted to go to the California Kindergarten Conference for years but have never been able.  My husband, a wrestling coach, has always held his tourament this SAME weekend.  I may not get to go this year, but I can hope!  I love getting new ideas and learning from the experts!  Thanks to the blogging world I have learned so much and feel like a better teacher already!
  • I want to really help our Kindergarten team get ready for the Common Core.  I feel we are a little late to the party in our district and know there will be many changes that will need to be made.  I look forward to learning more and using many of the resources I have found on TpT.
Lots to accomplish already, and it's not even 2013 yet!
Mrs. M.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Organization - 2013 Here I Come!


So today I am linking up with Hope at 2nd Grade Shenanigans to talk about - organization!  I am not the most organized person.  I like to think that parts of my life are organized, but if you ask my husband I am sure he would have a different opinion.  With four children I have to have something organized - don't I?  I haven't lost any of them!
A few positives:

  • At school I spent the better part of my Thanksgiving break sorting through my August, September, October and November boxes.  I keep everything in these boxes, except for my theme books which have an entire shelf all their own.  Inside each box I have my theme binder with all the masters and units and manila envelopes with each project inside.  These are great when I am prepping because I can keep all the copies and various pieces inside.  I usually put the specifics - how many of each, etc.  on the outside.  Makes it pretty easy for my parent volunteers. 

  • I have settled with a binder for my reading groups.  I have a section for each group with a binder pocket and have a template for my small group lessons.  This has helped me to stay on top of who I have seen and who needs to be seen.  I also cleared out a file drawer in my desk, which is right behind my reading table, where I keep each groups books and small group materials right at hand.  I have seen lots of ideas to use a cart to organize the "typical" reading group materials and I am planning on doing that too. 

A few resolutions:

  • When I moved to my new school two years ago everything got stuffed into any available space.  In addition, I changed grade levels from 9 years of Kinder to a 1st/2nd combination.  So the amount of "stuff"  I collected grew and grew and grew!  As the year progresses I hope to continue purging and organizing my boxes and purging my unused or dated materials.

  • While my theme books are organized my month. . . Well, they look unsightly!  They are on a long open shelf under one of my white boards.  They contribute a ton of visual clutter because of the open shelving.  So I hope to make these, from Simply Keirste, to create a cleaner look.  They will cover it up but still have it be easily accessible.

Pinned Image

  • And then there is my classroom library!  This had been on my to-do list for way too many years.  2013 is the year!
Happy Organization to you and yours!
Mrs. M.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

It's a Technology Linky!

I am joining Kathleen at Growing Kinders to share my technology resolutions for the coming year.  I left a school which had purchased Promethean Boards for all of its teachers.  I was just getting comfortable with that technology when I moved schools and was with out the board - sigh!  I used my board daily for my morning message.  We could circle or highlight words and edit right on the screen.  Each day I would print out the two copies and let my helper of the day take one home.  I would put the other in a binder for students to read at library time.  It became a class favorite!   At the end of the year I made a copy of the whole book for each child - a great kindergarten keepsake!

As for this year - No Promethean Board but plenty of To-Do's:

  • I have an ELMO that I use everyday.  It works great, especially for math.  Last year, we all got Mobi Pads and I was using it at the end of the year.  This year I haven't even taken it out of the box!  The Mobi really gives me mobility and allows me to walk around the room and monitor students better.  I will get that puppy charged and ready to go!
  • With so many people talking about using iPads and iPods in the classroom - I want one or two!  My Principal suggested it to replace the dinosaur computers that are in my classroom.  A little more research and I will be ready to write a grant for them for next year.
  • I want to upload all my music and make easier to access.  I have some of it on my iTunes account but got frustrated because the audio available is horrible.  The only sound I have is from the computer speakers.  Need to work on that!  My kiddos can't even hear it.
  • I need an operational listening center!  I was trying to be resourceful and use what was available - but none of it works!  Another source of frustration.  I worked on it over the Thanksgiving break and thought I had the problem solved - NOT!  I am trying to make more "Listen to Reading" options available for my students.  U-tube is blocked in our district so many of the on-line stories are not available.
  • They have been working on setting up a new computer lab for the K-3 side of our school.  I am determined to be in there and create some tech savvy kinders.
  • It has been nearly a year since I first discovered blogs and I have learned so much from the fabulous teachers who put their heart and soul on the line to share their successes and a failure or two - We call those learning experiences!  I look forward to blogging a little more!
Go ahead and Link-up!
Mrs. M.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

I know it has been forever!  I had such good intentions when the school year started and then, well. . .


I always underestimate how hard it is to keep up with four kids, a hubby and teach full-time.  Never mind all the other stuff a busy mom does. 

Anyhow. . . Thought I would update you on a few things.

  • My class is amazing!  I have some of the brightest, hardest working students.  We have been doing lots of reading and word work.  I am using a  modified version of the Daily 5.  I have got students all tuned in to Read-to Self, and we have built our stamina up to about 20 minutes.  Plenty of time for me to get in one more reading group.  Today we worked on our writing stamina, and to my amazement we worked in our journals for about 30 minutes.  Really - everyone was writing, well, almost everyone.  I am seeing such progress!  It just makes my heart smile!

  • I am so thankful for all the parents who volunteer in my classroom.  It is a challenge to be prepared for them, but the benefits for the kids are priceless.  I added one more to my schedule today.  She will be my "Read-to-Me Mom".  Thinking of getting her a crown and sash to make her time in the classroom super special.  Her sole job will be to listen to the kinders read.  I plan on having a special sticker basket for her to dole out rewards to our fabulous readers.

  • I made it through CLAD class number 3.  Whew!  That one was hard to keep up with.  I have started my last class and will be thrilled when I have turned in my portfolio.  I know in the end it will be worth it.

  • A small group of our teachers just finished a book study on the book Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst.  It was great to read that others feel as frazzled as I do at times.  Looking forward to the next study.  What are you reading?

Hope all is well with you and I will try to keep everyone updated.
Mrs. M.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Week 4 . . . already?

Wow!  I cannot believe we are beginning the fourth week of school.  It has been almost an entire month people!  Things are moving along wonderfully and today was an amazing day.  My aide and I just looked at each other and were in awe of the quiet workers and hub of activity in the classroom.

The kiddos are doing a great job with procedures and are helping me keep on task with our day.  I thought this might be a good time to walk you through each bit of our schedule and share some of what we do.  I am going to share a bit each day. . . so I hope you will come back throughout the week and check in.

And so the bell rings!

Each morning we begin by lining up outside and getting our marshmallow mouths and marshmallow toes ready to come in the door.   (I found this on some one's Blog, but can't remember who.  If it is you, please let me know and I will give you credit!)  We talk about how marshmallows are soft and very quiet!  We chant:

Marshmallow mouths,
Marshmallow toes,
Into the classroom
 (or wherever else we might be going)
That's how it goes!

It is very effective and the kids often remind me we need to use our "marshmallow mouths".  We use it as a transition whenever we are getting ready to move to a new space.

After entering the classroom we review our schedule for the day.

It is helpful for keeping me on task and helps the kiddos to develop a concept of time.  While I know many teacher post their schedule but never refer to it, we look at it regularly.  As Dennis Parker says, "Burn a calorie!"  I move to that schedule every time we finish a part and flip the card.  It is a great visual for those kids who need to know "How much longer till recess?"  I know I need to work on the "cuteness" factor. . . in due time!
After reviewing our schedule for the day, we recite our rules and then say the Pledge of Allegiance.  I never realized until this year, Kindergartners don't really know this!  No worries. . . a lesson is in the works!
And then on to the Morning Message.  This deserves a post of it's own, so I hope you'll check in with me later this week.
Mrs. M