Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Learning the Alphabet ROCKS!

I am so excited that I finally made my alphabet rocks. I've been wanting to do these since I came across Shannon Martin's post from Kindergarten Hoppenings here. I wanted to put her great Chicka Boom Boom freebie and the alphabet rocks I saw on Pinterest together. So I did!!

First I gathered clear stones from Michaels and printed out the letters from Shannon's freebie on cardstock. I also tried to make my own letters using good old comic sans in a word document. I left the printed letters together and painted Mod Podge on each spot. I then stuck the clear stones on top and let them dry. After they were dry I cut them out.
I read that it was a good idea to seal the backs so I flipped them over and painted another coat of Mod Podge onto the backs. More drying time.

Last I used Tacky Glue to attach the round button magnet. One word about that....distance. I looked with pride at the magnets I had just created and discovered that the magnets wanted to be next to each other. They did what magnets should and scooted close because they were still sliding around on the not yet dry tacky glue. Easy fix...slide the magnet back into place and separate them to finish drying.

Voila!! I have two great sets of alphabet magnets to use first with my whole class and later in word work/alphabet centers.

How do you practice the alphabet?
I am thinking of making more consonants to use to make words with the vowels on the coconut tree. What do you think?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

My First Linky Party

I am a newbie...a brand new newbie, so I think I qualify for this party. Janis at Grade Three is the Place For Me is hosting. I have jumped into this party even though I'm not sure I like the way my blog looks (I have been "shopping" for something that jumps up and says...THIS IS YOU! GO FOR IT! So far I haven't found it yet). I am nervous about linking up because I am an old grandma and technology, although I love it, sometimes makes me nervous. Sooo we will see if I get this right and get everything connected and working.

So here are my Newbie Questions:

1. what state you are in
2. your current teaching position
3. your teaching experience
4. when you started blogging
5. share a blogging tip / blogging resource

1. I am in Nevada...the I-80, miles and miles from everywhere part. Yes, it snows here in the winter. The temperature dips below zero at least once or twice (sometimes more) each winter. We have lots of cowboys and mining (mostly gold) and even some gambling. It is 4 hours to Salt Lake, 4 1/2 to Boise, 5 to Reno, and 2 1/2 to Twin Falls (all are considered day trips). If you need a really good doctor, a Target or Michael's fix, most any major shopping, (for me) it's off to Salt Lake--or maybe Boise because I have family in both places, and then it doesn't have to be over and back. We do have a K-Mart and a Wal-Mart...so it's not too bad (and certainly better than it was when we moved here 20 years ago; I used to have nightmares about Santa not being ready because there was nowhere for him to shop).

2. Currently I am teaching Kindergarten...this was a change for me last year (I hadn't taught K since my daughter was in Kindergarten. She is now over 30)

3. I have taught on and off in Idaho and Nevada for 22 years. My first job was 32 first graders (10 girls) in 1978; then I got to be a stay-at-home mom for a couple of stretches and loved it! Recently I have mostly taught 2nd and 3rd. I have taught grades K through 6th (reading/math Title 1, first in 1-2, then 3-6, so not as much experience in the upper grades).

4. I've been thinking about blogging since I discovered all the amazing bloggers in Kindergarten and First Grade last fall. I actually started just last week.

5. I don't know enough to give any tips (but I do love the suggestion to turn off the word verification...I hate those things!) My best resources have been Teaching Blog Traffic School and Blogging 101 from virtualteachingexpo.com. Both of them cost me a little bit of money, but well worth the expense, and I am considering it professional development.

If you stayed clear through to the end...leave me some love!

Monday, July 16, 2012


I wondered what I could share, that would tell you about me...what is something I do that might be different and give you a clue as to what kind of teacher I am.  That one thing would have to be butterflies!

I know that many teachers like to hatch butterflies.  I LOVE it!  I buy my caterpillars from Insect Lore.  Now that I have the pop-up habitat, I order the large classroom refill kit.  I am so afraid of not having enough butterflies actually hatch, I want to be sure I have more than enough.   I let each student transfer the caterpillar into the little cups, then we watch and wait.  Sooo everyone gets to move a caterpillar, have their own to observe, and there are enough to make up for the ones I might kill (although to be honest I have never had any troubles hatching.  I loose maybe 1 or 2).

What makes me different is what I do next.  When all the butterflies have hatched I put up a small pop-up screen porch.  My little tent has no floor, screening on each side, and because it pops-up....it is super easy to put up.  We have a quiet grassy area at my school (we call it our outdoor education  area, but it is mostly used for outside reading time and special activities).  Inside my tent I put some flower baskets (later they sit on my own front porch) and I slice oranges to feed the butterflies.  Two or three students can go in the tent at a time.  Once inside they can try to get the butterflies to land on their finger and observe them closely.

My second and third graders liked to try to gently place the butterflies on their faces.  My kinders last year were a little more timid.  We spend time watching from the outside, taking turns inside, writing, reading, and drawing about the butterflies before turning them loose (about a week that usually stretches into two).
My daughter comes and takes pictures.  We make a little book or scrapbook page and every student gets to take home a great memory of what they have learned.

Check out other Kindergarten Favorites at Kindergarten Works Show and Tell

Friday, July 13, 2012

Jumping In

This past year has been a journey for me.  A journey back to Kindergarten.  The last time I taught Kindergarten my daughter was a kindergartener...she is now more than 30.  Can I just say it has been awhile?  Along the way I found a wonderful community of bloggers.  So many great examples, creative ladies, passionate teachers.  I want to join them.  I want to share my passion, my fun, my experiences, and the fire I have for great teaching!  My only hope is that I can contribute something useful to this community and gain some friends along the way.