Monday, December 31, 2012

12 in 12

It is minutes to midnight....2012 will be history.
I've wanted to link up with Hadar and Kristin since before Christmas.

12 favorite things! 
12. Favorite movie you watched: 
I may be doomed from the start...I can't remember going out to the movies even once this year.  The last movie I remember going to see was Harry Potter.  However I plan on fixing that twice in January.  I want to go to The Hobbit and Les Miserables.  Hubby said he would take me to both (he even reread the Hobbit over the holiday).
11. Favorite TV series
Big Bang Theory and
Two Broke Girls
10. Favorite restaurant:
a local Mexican one...Sergios (could make Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives)
9. Favorite new thing you tried:
8. Favorite gift you got: husband gave me a butter churn for Christmas.
7. Favorite thing you pinned:
Other than all the ideas for lessons...craftivity...bulletin boards...anchor charts, my favorite pin was food:  Nutella Cheesecake

6. Favorite blog post:
Thanksgiving Preview....because so many people stopped by and many even commented.  I LOVE comments!
5. Best accomplishment:
 Learning to create products, especially books.  I am really proud of Hide Turkey Hide and Empathy.

4. Favorite picture:
All my family in one place and everyone is smiling!
My two girls are on the ends and my boys are in the middle.  Families are close together...
3. Favorite memory:
Camping and Swimming at Nat-Soo-Pah with all the grandkids, my kids, and most of the "joiners".

Although camping in  a Memorial Day surprise snowstorm (with lots of extended family) and attending Cedar City Shakespeare Festival (with my mom and sister) have to both run a close second.  And then there were two wedding trips to Portland...the longer I think the more I remember.  It has been a wonderful year, filled with memories.
2. Goal for 2013:
And for this I am linking up with Jen at The Teacher's Cauldron
My personal goal for this year is to de-clutter my life.  Both my house and my classroom need work.  But I have some blogging goals too.  I would like to get lots better at blogging and producing products...maybe even good enough to sell some things.  So...I want to get a "real" blog design and open a TPT store.  I really like this bloggy world, and I hope to get good enough that others will like me what I do too.
1. One Little Word:


Snowflakes and Sandy Hook

Yesterday I was spending some quality grandma time with my first grade grandson making snowflakes. 
I wanted to remember how to fold the paper to make some really cool snowflakes, not just the lame fold it twice ones that 6 year olds love to make (I seem to always forget and need a quick refresher).  So of course I googled for directions and came across this article: 

Schoolchildren Send Thousands of Handmade Snowflakes to Sandy Hook

I first thought what a fun idea...then, is this real?  The answer is yes...and no.  There are snowflakes being sent to Newtown from around the globe.  I checked out several other sources and it seems that even though they have many, many snowflakes, they thought they could accept them until the 12th of January.    But no....not any more, they have too many snowflakes.  However they still want everyone to feel they can participate, so the Connecticut PTSA has asked you to make your own awesome winter wonderland and send a picture.  You can read their statement here.  They will share the picture with the families of Sandy Hook and participating communities.  Send your picture to:

Connecticut PTSA
60 Connolly Parkway, 
Building 12,  Suite 103,
Hamden, CT 06514.

So do you make a blizzard in you classroom?

I start with a little science lesson on snow...I like using this book:

and this applet from from the University of Wisconson and CIMSS
 along with great pictures and information from NOAA and Snow
Then if we are lucky enough to have a snowy day (and I often save this for just such a day, but not this time if we are going to send off snowflakes) we go out and collect snowflakes.  Cold dark paper works well, but dark fleecy clothes work better.  This is also a good time to break out the magnifying glasses.  I have a classroom set of cheap ones that I keep handy.

I like to read Snowflake Bentley, the biography of the man who photographed snowflakes.

Then it is time to create....

start with a square

fold it diagonally

then again

then in thirds

and cut across the top.

Martha Stewart has better pictures than

Keep track of the center, and don't cut away all of any folded edge.  Remember the more you cut, the lacier and more delicate your snowflake will be.

Is this too tough for 5-6 year old fingers?  Try this:

Take your square, fold it in half

fold it in half again

fold it into a triangle and cut across the top.

Now start cutting little shapes and squiggles.  Once again remember don't cut away all of the folded sides.

You could add to your these books reading list:

Friday, December 28, 2012

Best and Brightest

I am linking up with Christina from Bunting, Books, and Brainbridge to share my best and brightest moments blogging in 2012. 

I am new...a baby at this.  I still feel like a deer in the headlights but, I think my brightest moment was just that I was brave enough to start.  I kind-of just jumped right in.  Kristin from Teeny Tiny Teacher commented on my very first post.  I nearly had a heart attack! 

My best post was probably my most popular one,  Thanksgiving Preview.  I gave away a little emergent reader about a turkey that hides in different places.  I was pretty proud of that. 

The product I am the most proud of myself didn't get quite as much attention...Empathy.  It was my very FIRST book.  Proud because I did it, proud because I think it is a bit different from what everyone else was creating.  This book is interactive in the sense that you talk about an emotion on one side of the page and have to think what you an do on the other and draw a picture.  I made it to go with bullying lessons we were required to present in October.  But I am thinking it would work really well when we talk about Martin Luther King, and it sadly went well with talking about grief.

My best DIY moment was my ABC magnets.  I wrote about them in Learning the Alphabet Rocks.

My favorite post was all about glue....The Great Debate.  My teaching partner and I have this running debate about glue and glue sticks.   I got to share information I had gleaned from so many great teachers when writing this post.  My mom even liked this one and she is an author.

My brightest moments have been whenever my blogging heroes have taken notice of me and my little blog.  I can probably recount each one in great detail, always starting with me jumping up and down and generally acting like a silly school girl (not necessarily a pretty sight with a 56 year old woman).

Sometimes I talk too much...and this post is getting long. But I want to end with a shout out to blogging friends that have been so kind and friendly and helpful! 

Deedee Wills at Mrs. Wills Kindergarten
Hadar Maor aka Miss Kindergarten
Kristin who is The Teeny Tiny Teacher
Fran Kramer At Kindergarten Crayons

My goal for next year???  More blogging....more creating...more and deeper friendships!
And a new look...

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas and the End of the World

I know you may not need this now...but since the world did not come to an end, you might need it next year.  Was your day yesterday as crazy as mine?  We had a ton of dads wanting to be Watch DOGS and a ton who came anyway. We had a friendly policeman wandering the halls and it seemed like more adults than children.   I had 10 out of my 26 Kinders gone today.

But those who come had a GREAT time!  We went riding on the Polar Express.  We wore our pajamas, had a grocery bag suitcase and a ticket.  Each of our four Kindergarten classrooms had several activities for the kids to do.
Getting creative and making


Snowflake number 1....q-tips, then dipped in gliter.   The q-tips were pre-glued by a wonderful Mr. (not mine, he did his own good things)

Gingerbread playdough (not everything was a craft)

Game Station...a Kinder favorite, BUMP.  This version is from Deedee Will's Christmas Math Work Stations.  You can get it here.

Paper Chains...see the reindeer in the baggie?  Students moved from one activity to another, returning occasionally to put things created in their "suitcase".

Surprise hit!  My husband suggested we set up a circle of trains.  Not my hubs in this picture (he went home to get ready for his later appearance).  Do you see our elf riding? 

Tri-bead candy canes

Snowflake number 2...popcicle sticks and buttons. 

Santa hats

3-D Christmas trees

Doesn't this look like fun?
Foreground, reindeer from candy canes, background, reindeer from little red ornaments (an Oriental Trading kit generously donated to the Kindergarten from Newmont Mining...leftovers from their Christmas party)

We put parents, extra staff, stray volunteers (kids of staff home from college) manning each station and a couple as escorts for difficult children, so as teachers, we were free to oversee it all.  We actually got to wander the hall a bit too and check on the activities in each room.  It all went so smoothly I think it may become a tradition!

After lunch we finished packing our suitcase, then settled in for hot chocolate and a movie.  In the middle of the movie....Santa came!!  He came and visited with each student, gave them a bell, a candy cane, and a pillow/animal thing generously donated to me!  (50 of them, so I gave the extras to the long term sub next door).  It was a wonderful day!
My wonderful hubs!

One of my students...I asked permission to post her happy face here.  See the pillow animal...again donated by Newmont mining (I felt a little guilty giving something much "bigger" than the other kindergartens...but how could I say no?)

The world did not come to an end, my kids and grandkids are mostly coming in to town for Christmas (we are heading out to see the rest for New Year's), and I have shopping, baking, wrapping, and a hundred other things to do  It's going to be a great Christmas.

I am wishing for everyone peace.  Peace of mind, body, and soul.  Peace in the world too...but for now I am hoping for just my corner.  May your Christmas be filled with Love!  Relax and enjoy...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Math Centers....Holiday Style

I am so glad that all my kinders are it seems from the world.  I thank their parents who helped shield them through the tragedy of Sandy Hook.  Thankful that their happy spirits remind me to enjoy them and enjoy their excitement of this happy time of year.    I remind myself that is okay to have fun...and for them the fun is the same as before Friday.  So here goes....Let me share all the fun we've been having in math.  I love that math can be so hands on...I love that math can be so holiday/theme/season oriented...and I love that math can be so fun!!

I hid jingle bells in a small Christmas stocking.  The students had to feel the bells and try to count how many I had put into the stocking.  They were sooo quiet while waiting for their turn I did this game two days in a row.  I'm talking completely silent!  It was amazing, but then so was the math going on in their brains.  Four was easy and everyone counted correctly, but six was tougher.  They knew there was more...but not everyone counted correctly.  Lots of good discussion.  Now this is in center rotation.

Another game we played was to help us compose numbers and add and subtract fluently to five.  I had 5 jingle bells and hid some under a cup while everyone closed their eyes.  When they opened their eyes they had to figure out how many jingle bells were under the cup.  
We talked about how we knew, what our brains were thinking, and how we could think different ways to figure it out.  Then we practiced our math talk before I let them "play" in partners.  We worked on this twice as a whole group activity and twice as partners.  This week it is a center and I think they will do great...but my old-school, 2nd grade (I have to have something to grade) brain says what about accountability and writing something down?  I wanted to create a recording sheet....but tragedy and time set me back.  However I have been planning on same activity with snowballs in January, so stay tuned!.

Next up is a center using the small packages I purchased last year after Christmas.  I remember seeing a post and looking and looking, but not finding what I wanted, then one day there they were...on sale.  Now I don't remember what the center activity was.  So I have been thinking and I think they would be great for sorting and patterning, for putting the right number of presents under a tree, or the one we are using this week...sequencing the numbers to 20.  I just need to finish making the tags, and run off this sequencing page I got here from   Shannon Martin at Kindergarten Hoppenings.  She has such great ideas!

Christmas trees went up in my room this week (okay I'm a bit slow).  This one is for my counting and graphing center from Deanna Jump.  You can get her recording sheet and much more here in Christmas Math and Literacy Fun.

This little forest is on the bulletin board in the hallway.   It is strung with Christmas lights my kids made with one light-bulb for each letter in their name.

Can you tell we are graphing and comparing?  Just one little word...I forgot how easily kinders can be confused.  We spent some time with our math talk.  They were so cute with how they emphasized MATH TALK when I reminded them we needed to be sure we were using precise words, (number of letters and number of people, some were confused by there being more people with 5 letters than people with 7 was tough for some because seven is bigger than five).  We also talked about several strategies we could use to figure out which had more.Then we practiced making partners and graphing.

We needed a patterning center...I love these little pattern books made by Fran Kramer.  You can find them in her Holiday Joy with the Gingerbread Boy, here  We have been exploring all the versions of the Gingerbread this fit right in.

Do you need a quick game to play on Friday?  Think about Don't Eat Pete.  You can grab my candy eating fun right here and by clicking on the picture.