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

Saturday, August 18, 2012

I think I can, I think I can. . .

I think I can make it to the first day! 

Our first "official" days back to work have come and gone!  Teacher meetings and trainings started each of the days and then back into the classroom to keep on working . . . I think even if I had tons of time to prepare I still would never be ready!  But, oh how excited I get when I start to see the room come together.  I look forward to seeing the other teachers, visiting and catching up. . .miss those guys!  I really begin to crave my routine!

Yesterday was our kindergarten orientation!  A big thank you to ALL of my parents for making it and bearing with me as I went over sooo many little details.  I want this to be a fabulous year for all!  The room was crowded with families!  I think there were about 50 bodies squished into that little space, and you could feel the energy.  I was sure one of my little kinder-friends was going to explode with excitement!  I love seeing their faces for the first time and learning a bit about them - the shy ones, the outgoing ones, the ones you knew, but didn't know you knew, and the parents - big smiles and eager to volunteer.  I can't wait!!

Finally a few pictures to show a peek into my room.  I rushed out on Friday, but will take more before the room has the "lived in" look.  I am proud of how things turned out and thankful for my daughter and her BFF for all their help.

Those ugly cupboards are finally covered.  Love how they turned out.

My calendar wall.  A few things are missing, but you get the idea.  My rules are at the top.  (Modified from WBT.) We do them with gestures every morning and whenever we need a gentle reminder.  I added #5 this year - Love that one!

My clip chart - minus the clips.  Hadn't gotten our class list yet.

A little cozy space.  The magazine rack is going to hold my teacher read alouds.  I like them to have their own special place so I don't lose them.  Still need to make a cute label.  It was a dingy white.  Painted it and looks much better!  Cute pillows from Hobby Lobby - on clearance - love!

My daily schedule.  I want to make a cute header for it.  I know the cards aren't very cute.  They were made for a former student and are very functional.  I'm planning on redoing them next summer - already working on that classroom bucket list!

And then there's my kiddos - ok, not really the big one with the goatee - but he can call me mom any day!  I have enjoyed summer with ALL of them, but am so ready to have us all get back to school. 
(Can you tell we are Giants fans? - Go G-Men!)

Mrs. M

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hi Ho, Hi Ho. . . It's off to work I go!

Today was the last day of  "bootcamp" and I am going to have to say I enjoyed working with the bigger kiddos.  It was a pleasure to get to know them, and hopefully the work we did will make a difference as they start their new school year.  I am definitely planning on checking in with them. 

But. . . I am so glad my little kiddos will be making their way to my room soon.  I have been working in my room over the past couple of weeks - a very little bit at a time.  Today I feel like I made some real headway.  I still have some piles to deal with and bulletin boards are not complete, but I think I might be able to sleep tonight.  When I think of our 3rd grade teachers and the fact that they just got to move into their rooms today with cabinets not even finished - I know I will be OK.  My hope is, I can get to a place in my room so that I can help them.  School starts Monday people!  Hoping to have picture to post tomorrow!

Blessings to my old staff as they begin their new school year tomorrow.  It was a special place to work and is and amazing school.  May all the teachers and students have an exciting and peaceful beginning. 

Mrs. M

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Expanding Our Territory

A few weeks ago I agreed to teach "bootcamp" for a group of our ELL students - 4th and 5th graders to be exact.  I haven't taught kids that big for almost 15 years.  Needless to say I was a little nervous.

But excited . . .

When I changed schools last year,  one of my goals was to stretch myself, get out of my comfort zone and "expand my territory".   Our librarian has shared that that was how she felt when she left the classroom to take on the position of Library Media Teacher.  She wanted to reach more kids!  In an article referencing the Prayer of Jabez on it was suggested there are many ways we can do this.  Influence, responsibility, time and family were just a few examples. 

Well, I sure have worked on building up my territory!  I am challenging myself by learning new things and hopefully reaching students in a new way. 

These past 4 days of bootcamp have helped me to develop ideas for how I will work with my ELL kindergartners this year.  My focus on on their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills has been sharpened. and I am eager to begin.  My heart has also grown for these 4th and 5th graders.  My desire to see them succeed and take to heart the importance of being multi-lingual in today's world is so strong.  They have such an opportunity!

As teachers we have such a responsibility to be the positive influence in our students' lives.  I want to reach so many!  I will continue to work to "expand my territory". 

How will you work to expand yours this school year?

Mrs. M

Monday, August 6, 2012

Making progress. . .

One of the things I have always struggled with was what to do with my kids school stuff.  I have four children and keeping all of it is not realistic.  For the past 14 years the collection has grown and been stashed all over our closet, our garage, the kids' rooms . . . you get the idea!  Well, this summer I was inspired by this:

School Paper Organization

Danyelle at had a great solution.  Be sure to visit her site to get the specifics.  But I thought, "I can do this!" 
So the undertaking began. . .I unearthed all the papers, projects, and collectibles and gathered them in my dining room.  Got the supplies and started to sort. . .and sort and sort. . . I did say that I have 4 kids, right?

Here's what I came up with. . .Pretty cute, right?  I made this sweet little cover page for each school year and attached a school picture from that year.  It is a great way to help remember those special teachers and all the hard work!  My goal is that each child will consolidate their things into one box for grades PK-8.  We'll see how it goes.  I have had to be very picky about what to keep and what to let go of.  And I still have a looooooooooooong way to go!

I did mention I have 4 kids, right?

Mrs. M

Monday, July 30, 2012

My First Blog Hop . . . Hope it works!

I am linking up with Ashley at Fierce in Fourth for my first blog hop.  I am a newer blogger and working hard to learn all the tricks...although, I know I still have a lot to learn. 

The first day of school is right around the corner . . . 3 weeks to be exact!  It is always around this time that my jitters start to set in.  My body clock begins to revert to school time and I inevitably end up waking up at 5am again as I fret over all the things that need to be done - at home and school.  Here are a few of my jitters:

1.  Getting it all done!  Ok, I know that it a given, but every year - for the past 17 in fact - I have said I am going to get into my classroom over the summer and do some major purging and organizing.  Well, that has yet to be done! I know it will. The room will be beautiful and, I will be ready for my new kiddos.  But in the meantime - yikes!

2.  Balancing school, family, sports, kids schedules, the hubby's schedule . . .You get the picture.  I have four busy kids, a husband who also teaches and has a hectic coaching schedule.  I am changing grade levels, although to one I am very familiar with, and taking classes to complete my CTEL.  Needless to say my fall will be a crazy adjustment - Can you say 0-60 in nothing flat?

3.  My Blog.  While it has been crazy fun to dive in and learn all sorts of new things, it has taken me a lot of time to play around.  I really want it to be a way for parents to see inside the classroom and get to know me and our school a bit better.  I am hoping to provide lots of resources and suggestions.  There are so many fabulous blogs out there and I am thankful for the opportunity to stalk and learn from them.  Slow and steady will be my mantra here!  I have jitters now that all the links show up!  Sorry if they don't - I am still learning!

That's where my jitters are.  How about you?  Link up with Ashley and share.


Mrs. M

Monday, July 23, 2012

Loving it. . .

Ok, so I think I figured out how to upload pictures from my phone.  Watch out. . . that could be trouble!  I will try to have some control.  I did get a little work done in my room and managed to get the cupboards almost covered.  Of course, I ran out of contact paper, but it gave me a chance to take a before and "in the process" of picture. 

I am loving how they are turning out and cannot wait until they are finished.  Now for the rest of the room. . .

Today a few of my teammates . . .  I love that I can say that!. . . worked together to move furniture and get things back in order.  Thankfully our custodial staff has finished the carpets and floors and we are able to get into our rooms and start "cutsifying" them.  I still have to wait to get my desks swapped out for tables, but I have a vision and am excited to get to work.

Mrs. M.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Just Do It!

So, I haven't posted in forever. . . and I keep thinking "I want it to be something really good!"  Well. this morning I decided to just do it!  All summer long I have been thinking, processing, and researching new ideas.  I have been inspired by the many blogs out there and Pinterest. . . yeah, I seem to be a little late to the party, but oh, well! 

My dining room looks like a classroom with all my purchases stacked up and posters and banners hung across the walls.  The hubby will be especially happy when these items make there way back to school - not that we ever actually eat in the dining room, but you know!  This morning I AM going to school to do a little work.  I have been putting it off but TODAY is the day!  (Yes, dear Christian friends I did break out in song there!) 

My goal is to cover the panels on some cabinets at school.  The cabinets that were purchased were not of the best quality.  When I moved into the room they had alot of "tape" damage.  I covered them with paper and they looked great.  Of course, tape damaged the paper and well, you see where this is going.  I was determined to come up with a stylish solution...hence, chalkboard contact paper!  I think this will look great and serve as a great background. . .My hope, of course, is that it will hold up to tape and solve my problem. . . We shall see!  Wish me luck!  I hope to post pictures later. . . as soon as I figure out how!

Mrs. M.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Happy Mother's Day Mamas!

I hope all the mamas out there had a fabulous Mother's Day!  I, myself was VERY lazy and didn't do much all day.  It is usually pretty hard for me to rest and relax, so it was a nice treat.  I spent some time with my kiddos and SKYPEd (Is that a word?) with my mom.  I love that technology lets us see each other even though we are thousands of miles away. 

My parents live in Virgina, very close to Washington DC.  I talk about them often and their location has become a great frame of reference for our class when we are using the map.  I always try to connect to something the kids know.  Building and utilizing background knowledge is a great tool to help students develop new understanding.  Your teaching tidbit for the day!

I hope you all enjoyed your plates. I have already gotten a couple of very sweet comments and loved hearing how excited the kiddos were to present them to you. They were such fun to make and I love the way they turned out.   I treasure those things that are made by their hands and struggle to find time to make those things happen nowadays.  I am so glad I made them a priority!  You are loved so, so, so, so, so, so, so, much!  (In the words of a couple of my girls.  I think they believe if they fill the page up with "so" they have written "a lot".)

This week we finish up our District Assessments in Math and Writing.  I will continue assessing reading through next week to see how much our kiddos have grown this year.  I am so excited with their progress. 

Breakfast with Buddies WILL be this Friday!  Thank you to all the parents who have sent in contributions and are bringing donuts.  The kiddos have enjoyed the time spent with their 8th grade buddies and are sad to say goodbye ~ but somehow donuts seem to make everything better!  I will send out a reminder tomorrow!

A few other notes:
  • Remember the "Corky's"  Flip Flop Open House this week ~ today on EC from 2:30-4:30 and tomorrow on WC from 12:30-2:30.  Come see what's available and try on some samples. 
  • Tomorrow is our last minimum day!  K-2 dismissal is at 1:30.
  • All school library books are due FRIDAY.  Please check at home and make sure all books have been returned. 
  • The Family BBQ is next Friday.  Be sure to send in your ticket order form as soon as possible.
  • The 7th grade Medieval Faire is Friday, June 1st.  Students must have a signed permission slip to participate.  Games and treats will also be available.  Students must purchase tickets in advance.  An order form was sent home last week.  I will send home another next week.  $3.00 to $5.00 is plenty!  Free activities are available for all students not wishing to purchase ticket
  • The Friends and Neighbors Golf Tournament is also coming up.  Be sure to contact the office or see the school website if you would like to register to play, donate or volunteer.  All kinds of help is needed!

Blessings ~ Mrs. M.

Monday, May 7, 2012

22 Days and Counting . . .

As a teacher it is both exciting and nerve racking to begin counting down to the last day of school.  While the joy of summer vacation is almost at reach, the many end of the year activities and deadlines loom overhead.   Never the less, I am ready!  This week I look forward to returning to somewhat of a "normal" schedule with the conclusion of CST testing last week for our seconds.  Thank you again to all the parents who donated snacks!!  Mrs. Quirarte even brought in cupcakes for all on Friday to celebrate the end of testing - what a treat!

The zoo trip was a success - beautiful weather, lots of parents and great kiddos!  Wednesday students had heard Dr. Seuss's story, If I Ran the Zoo, about a little boy named Mr. McGrew who thought everything was just a bit to "normal" in the regular zoo.  So he captured some much more unusual animals.  Well, upon our return students had the opportunity to create their own McGrew Zoo Animal!!  Let's just say that creativity abounds with the firsties!!  Thank you again to all of the parents and to Mrs. Ban for donating the snacks.

Don't forget the Corky's Flip Flop Fundraiser and the Friends and Neighbors Golf Tournament and Dinner!  We need your support to raise funds for physical education, music and athletics.  How are you going to help?

Mark your calendars.  There are lots of things coming up in the next couple of weeks!
  • Tuesday, May 8th ~ Incentive Assembly, 1:40pm
  • Thursday, May 10th ~ Writing Festival Awards, 9:45-10:20am
  • Friday, May 11th ~ Skate Night - This is the last one of the year!  Come and show your support.
  • Tuesday and Wednesday, May 15th (2:30-4:00 - EC Cafeteria) and 16th (12:30-2:30 - WC Cafeteria) ~ Corky's Fundraiser Open House
  • Wednesday, May 16th ~ Minimum Day Dismissal K-2, 1:30pm
  • Friday, May 25th ~ Family BBQ
  • Monday, May 28th ~ Memorial Day - NO SCHOOL

Blessings ~ Mrs. M.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Ahhh! Friday!

I love Fridays!  Although, for our family it is rarely a relaxing break!  Usually it means hustling from one event to another.  Never the less, a break it is. . .

Thank you to all the parents who have shown such great support this week.  I am blessed to have all your help!  The zoo was great, perfect weather, and many excited and enthusiastic kiddos!  CST testing is done for the seconds and I am so proud of them for sticking with it.  The test demands such extreme focus! 

Today we will wrap up a few projects as we get ready to get back to a somewhat normal schedule next week . . . considering we have 20 something days left ~ I will try to make it as normal as possible. 

A couple of reminders:
  • Information went home this week about the Friends and Neighbors' Golf  Tournament on June 8th.  This event is sponsored by the Foundation and helps to support music and athletic programs at our school.  Please consider how you can help at this fun event!

  • Information is coming home TODAY about a  Corkey's Flip Flop Fundraiser.  Who doesn't love a "blinged" out flip flop?  Be sure to check out the flyer ~ cute flips and great prices!  All proceeds will help provide new PE and recess equipment.
As always, thank you for your support!
Have an enjoyable weekend!
Blessings ~ Mrs. M.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Testing! Quiet Please!

2nd graders are halfway through the CST test and doing a great job!  Our theme this week is to LISTEN and FOCUS! Thank you to the parents who have been sending in snacks.  It is a great treat to have in between sessions and help refuel their brain.  Only two more days!!!

Thank you to Mrs. Douglas who has been working with the first graders on a special project as we prepare for the ~ ZOO!


The kiddos are so excited!  Thank you to all the parents who have volunteered to go as chaperones.  An orange note was sent home with chaperone information.  Please do not wait for the bus to leave tomorrow morning. . .get there before us to ensure you don't have to wait in a long line to purchase your tickets.  A note is going home today with all students with a few important reminders for the day.  Be sure to check it out!

McSwain Education Foundation
Friends and Neighbors' Golf Tournament
Friday, June 8, 2012

The Foundation is looking for help with this years tournament.  They are seeking donations, players, and committee members.  (I am going to help!  Come and join me!!)  Fliers have gone home this week.  If you can help please let us know.  I would love to see great participation from Room A-5!!  Thank you!

Blessings ~ Mrs. M.

PS ~ Only 25 more days left!  But who's counting. . . .

Monday, April 23, 2012

3rd Times a Charm!

This is the third time I have tried to post and each time I have been kicked off right in the middle and lost all my announcements!  So here goes for the third time. . . wish me luck!

Wow!  I can't believe how quickly the year is going.  We only have 32 more school days left!  Did you hear me . . . I said 32!  Yikes!  I still have so much to do with your kiddos!

The last couple of weeks have been crazy working on special projects.  We finished all things Open House and survived the worst storm of the year, and then last week we wrote about our AWESOME dads.  (Don't worry moms, you will get your turn.)  This week 2nd graders wrap up test preparations for the CST.  Testing begins next week.  The kids are really getting excited to show off all they have learned.  The 1st graders even wish they could take it!

Our fabulous Jr. High Leadership Team across the street planned some fun theme days to help us get into the testing spirit.  Today is Professional Management Monday!  It's time to dress for success.  When we look and feel are best, don't we act and preform that way too?  I can't wait to see some of my little professionals!

Tomorrow is Study Buddy/Twin Tuesday.  We will be doing lots of buddy activities tomorrow:  buddy reading, buddy spell check, buddy writing. . . you name it and we will be working on it together!
Reminder to 2nd grade parents that the Hilmar Cheese Factory field trip is Thursday.  Students will leave at 8:30 and return at 1:00 and need to bring a sack lunch.  Parents are welcome to come but need to provide their own transportation.  All students will need to ride the bus to and from the field trip and return to school for the remainder of the day.  Mrs. Van  Horn will be in charge of the class as I am staying behind with the 1st graders.

Don't worry 1st grade parents!  You kids go to the Chaffee Zoo on May 3rd.  More info to come home this week.

Blessings ~ Mrs. M.

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Big Thank You and a Reminder!

A big thank you to all who participated in our "Reading is Fun" week.  Students had a great time with all the dress-up days, special guests and fun events.  Thanks to all who donated funds to help our school as well.  You were so generous! 

We had seven "Mystery Readers" come throughout the week!  The kids couldn't wait to try and figure out the clues to see if they could guess who the next guest would be.   Thank you to all who came.  You read some wonderful books and shared your love of reading.  I will be on the lookout for more "Mystery Readers" so be sure to let me know if your interested.

A quick reminder about parent/teacher conferences ~ This go round they are on an as needed basis, but I love to visit with my families, so if you would like to meet let me know and I will work to arrange something.  Remember Tuesday and Wednesday are minimum day dismissals - Tuesday at 12:30 and Wednesday at 1:30. 

Thanks again for all your support!
Mrs. M.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dr Seuss!

Tomorrow we celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday and Read Across America Day!  Students will be going to Golden Valley High School to watch a production of four of his stories.  Remember the buses are pulling out at 8:10 sharp!  Students need to meet at the classroom by 8:00am to take attendance and board the buses.  We do not want to leave anyone behind.

After the play we will change into our pajamas and read, read, read for much of the day!  We have a number of mystery readers coming to visit as well!  The kids have had fun listening to the clues and guessing who will be coming through the door.  Thank you to Mr. Silveira, Mrs. Edrington and Mrs. Key who came in and shared a favorite story.

Happy Reading!
Mrs. M.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My kiddos are "bright"!

This morning was a "swap" day with Mrs. Van Horn.  Second graders are working with Mrs. Van Horn on CST test prep, and 1st graders are working with me on reader's response.  We are making a beginning, middle, and end book about the story Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler.  It is a great book which helps kids recognize all the different things they can do to show kindness to one another.  Students have written their rough draft, done some editing, and are now writing their final copies and illustrating.  They are learning being an author is hard work!  Thank you to the parent helpers who have been in to help.
Kindness Is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler

Today notes went home about parent/teacher conferences.  If I did not schedule a conference, but you would like to meet with me, please return your note as soon as possible so I can schedule you for a time.  I will do my best to accommodate everyone. 

  • Thank you to those who sent in their Read-a-Thon envelopes.  Remember they can be turned in through Friday!  Mr. Silveira's class won the Golden Book Award for today - although we did get an honorable mention! 
  • Tomorrow is "Sports Day"!  Students can deck themselves out in their favorite team's gear.
  • Permission slips for the "Dr. Seuss" play at Golden Valley High School are due tomorrow.
  • I am still seeking "Mystery Readers".  Let me know if you are available!
Happy Reading,
Mrs. M.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Reading is Fun Week Begins!

Today marks the beginning of Reading is Fun Week at McSwain.  I am so excited because reading is just one of my favorite things!  I love when kiddos discover they are readers and adore seeing their heads buried in a book.  There is lots going on this week so I hope you check in each day to see what's on deck!

Today is Support the Troops Day!  Students are encouraged to wear their best red, white and blue!  The dress coded has been eased for the week so flags and appropriate patriotic text is acceptable.  Remember, just use best judgement!

Donations for the Read-a-Thon may be turned in beginning tomorrow.  Remember there are many incentives to participate.  See the notice that went home a couple of weeks ago.  Our goal is $20 per student, and students can begin earning incentives with just a $5 donation!  Help our school to further support the educational needs of our kiddos!

I am looking for "Mystery Readers" to come and visit throughout the week.  If you are available, see the sign up sheet that went home or contact me at  I would love to have lots of visitors this week.  I am trying to keep them a secret so ~ shhhhhhhh!

Students will be going to see "Dr. Seuss" at Golden Valley High School on Friday.  Please turn in permission slips by Wednesday.  It should be "Seuss"tastic!

Just to help you prepare for the week, a look at the theme days:

Monday ~ Support the Troops Day
Tuesday ~ Neon Day
Wednesday ~ Sports Day
Thursday ~ Western Day
Friday ~ Pajama Day
(Students will be allowed to change into pajamas after we get back from the play.)

Thank you, as always, for the support!
Mrs. M.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Rise and Shine!

I love mornings when you have to wake up the kiddos extra early and they just spring out of bed, eager and ready to go.  Then, of course, on the days you let them sleep a little extra. . . they move like snails.  I am super glad this was one of those eager and ready to go mornings!  We had done alot of the prep work last night so, hopefully we will be on time.
A reminder that I am out of the classroom today traveling with the 6th graders to the Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose.  It is a great place to visit with your family and has many real Egyptian artifacts including a real mummy.  Check it  out!

The trip to the Gallo was great!  I had a great time watching the kids as they entered the theater.  All of the oooohs and ahhhhhs!  For many of them it was the first time viewing a theater performance.   The show was very good - different from how I thought it would be with lots of music and dancing.  The cast came out on stage afterward and answered a few questions.  The Gallo has many great shows that are perfect for the family.  I hope to go back for another visit soon.  Visit their site to see if anything interests you!  

Afterward, we went to Graceda Park had lunch and played.  It was good to have the opportunity to get rid of some of our energy!  When we got back to school the kids were pooped!  They were begging for naps.  Hopefully they slept well for you!

Mrs. M.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Going to the Gallo

Tomorrow we take the first big field trip of the year!  The kiddos are so excited.  ELD classes have been reading the book, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, and doing a lot of response work with the story.  The kids are eager to see how they are going to turn Sylvester into a rock!  A big thank you to the McSwain Foundation for helping to fund the trip.  Almost 300 students are going. . . wish us luck!

A few reminders:
  • Buses will be leaving at 8:15 sharp.  DO NOT BE LATE!
  • All lunch containers and drinks should be disposable.  We do not want kiddos losing those cute lunch boxes and water bottles.  We will re-pack things as needed.
  • We will be walking from the Gallo Theater to Graceda Park.  Be sure students are wearing comfortable shoes!
  • We will be back before school is out, so dismissal will be normal.

We are also beginning to talk about American Symbols.  Today we shared a story about the Liberty Bell.  We learned that is a symbol of freedom and rung during the signing of the Declaration of Independance.  It was hung in Independance Hall in Pennsylvania.  Students are still curious about the crack and want to know how it happened.  All kinds of theories abound ~

"It was rung too much." 

"Someone dropped it."

Can't wait to learn more about these great symbols of our country!
Mrs. M.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Ready, Set, Go!

And so my journey into "blogland" begins!  I accidentally discovered teacher blogs over our Christmas break and was overwhelmed by the amount of information these amazing teachers have to share.  I decided I would jump in and give it a try.  My purpose being to share information, communicate with you and create relationships that will support our classroom community.  I am hoping that these posts will help you keep up to date on what is happening in our classroom and at school.  To get started I have listed a few of our upcoming events:

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
This Week:
  • Thursday, February 23 we will be going to the Gallo Theater in Modesto to see "Sylvester and the Magic Pebble".  Buses will leave at 8:15 ~ DON'T BE LATE!
  • I will be out with a sub on Friday.  The 6th grade is going to the Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose, and I get to be "mom" and chaperone!  Yay!
  • "Reading is Fun"  Week packets went home last Thursday.  Be sure to review them with your student.  Our goal is to raise $20 per child ~ That's $480 for our whole class!  Theme days will begin February 28th.  A flyer is coming home on Tuesday.
Hope you had a restful weekend, and I will keep you "posted"!

Mrs. M.