Saturday, August 25, 2012

Must Have Monday

It's back to school week for me.  Back to having to get down to business...not just playing around.  I am linking up with Must Have Monday over at Blog Hopper...even though it is Tuesday Friday.  I was out of town, on vacation, at a wedding, last fling before I spend the next week living at school.  Forgive me for coming to the party a little late (the story of my life).   We have now even had Back to School Night....yes I know school has not started.  I told my parents my room is a work in progress (I will post pictures when I am finished with it).  I hope they don't pull their kids from my class.  I made these cute pencils for my students (I thought I should bribe them come back on Monday).

My first must have is a new complete set of markers.  I don't know if school can start without new markers.

and new crayons.

and colorful whiteboard markers...even though I really don't like to write white boards that much (my handwriting stinks on them), I like colors. 

My classroom doesn't seem to function without my paper cutter.  Unfortunately I cannot find the cutter strip and I have been looking for a replacement.  I bought this one last year, but I still miss the one I bought with budget money the very first year I went to work in Elko.  I admit I have it tucked away...hoping I can find where to get the right cutting strips.

I also must have this long stapler....mostly because whenever the voice would come over the inter-column to ask where is the one that belongs in the teacher's workroom, it would be in my room.  I got tired of having to admit that I took it to my room and forgot to return it.  So, I bought my own.

 I do not have a green thumb and my husband says I like to  make my plants suffer a long and painful death, I like to start the year with a flower or two.  I think I will be taking these in to my classroom.

Then I need
to keep me going.

It wouldn't be the first day of school without something new to wear.  I try to wear a dress the first week of school.  Even in Kindergarten I want to look like a "professional" those first few days.  I wore my first day dress for Back to School Night (but I forgot to take a picture).  Hopefully wearing the same dress will help my kinders find me on Monday.

Off to take my grandkids to see a local production of Cinderella...then back to school tomorrow to hopefully finish up and spend a relaxing Sunday getting my brain ready for the sweet little ones I met Thursday night.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Picture Perfect

I went to school today to work on my room and my library.  It needs a lot of work.

But I didn't get very much done.  I visited with other early birds and I made this:  

Isn't it cute?  Not me....I could use a better-looking model.  But I am so excited to meet all my new little ones.  I can't wait to take their picture using my new picture frame!!  Yay!  I am so tickled with the picture frame that I am hooking up with Made It Monday, even though it's Tuesday.

Back to my books!


Friday, August 10, 2012

Word Walls

I LOVE my word wall! 

I had never been a fan of word walls.  In second and third grade, I liked personal dictionaries much better.  They seemed more useful.

Maybe I just didn't know how to use them.  I bought them, I put them up, but they just sat  there on my wall taking up space.

But then I moved to Kindergarten.  Word walls seemed more important.  So I was off to do some research.  Mostly Pinterest and Blog Stalking more than anything else.  Two things I realized, I wanted my wall to have boxes (all the brain research that everyone was quoting) and I needed to find a way to use it...not just look at it.

I started with my scratched, dirty, shower-board homemade white board that the teacher who had my room before me had screwed into the chalkboard.  I wanted it to have a fresh new look, so bring on white board paint.  My sweet hubby said he would paint it for me, but why don't we try the magnetic paint as a base coat?  So two magnetic coats later and it's sill not very magnetic.  See the letters slide.  Give up on the magnetic paint and just go with the very sticky white board paint.  I love the white board paint!  It works great.

Next I used blue painters tape to make my boxes.  Punch out letters for each box and I was ready to go!  Now how to use it?

I can be, well, lazy.  I had lots of great ideas...but could never settled on just one.  When it came time to add a sight word to the wall I did not have anything fancy or clever or cute I just wrote the word with a dry erase marker.  Of course I had my kiddos tell me how to spell it, and we made a really big deal of putting it on wall.  Now that it is on the wall we should know it, and use it in our writing, and read know the drill.  We are smart now!

They loved it!  I loved it!  But there should be even more.

 Hadar Moar from Miss Kindergarten uses word wall songs in her classroom routines.  She shared them during the Everythings's Kindergarten Expo.  We love them, but I can't remember, finally a use for  the magnetic qualities of my wall.  I have the song stuck to the wall with a little button magnet.  As I go over to point at the word we are going use in our song, I have my little cheat sheet right there, ready to use.

 I'd like to know ....
How do you use your word wall?
Where do you have your word it on a bulletin board, above a bulletin board, on a file folder, just on a wall?
Do you put all the words on at once, or does your wall grow as the year progresses?


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Rockin' On

I have been looking at all the cool things everyone has been making and I wanted to link up too.  Of course that means I have to actually make something on my long list of stuff I want to do (a list long enough I don't dare call it a to-do list).  But first a shout out to Tara at 4th Grade Frolics for giving me a reason to get off my duff and get something made.

I was so excited about my alphabet rocks, that I couldn't wait for Monday.  
You can read how I made them here.

How else can I use those magnets?  

Making words of course!!  I tried painting a tree, but it looked horrid.  I went instead to my scrapbooking stash of paper and made this tree.  I attached it with Mod Podge (I have a big jar) and did a top coat to try to protect it.  

But then I was having too much fun with my rocks so I decided to try some numbers.  I used puffy paints to dot the blue rocks that were leftover from trying to find enough clear rocks (no real craft stores near-by, long story for another time).  
I wanted my kinders to match the dots to the number so I printed out some numbers.  I couldn't decide which color I liked the best, so I printed them in several colors and made them all into magnets.  I'm getting to be a pro!  

What's on the back of my cookie sheet you ask?  Fabric!  I got the idea from Amanda Madden here.  Now if I can just win a Silhouette Cameo to add cute letters.  Maybe I will even make it to the big city and Target, so I can make Amanda's dice containers.  Too much to do and not enough time.  Back to work (or is it back to play?).


Sunday, August 5, 2012


I am linking up with Farly and her wonderful mustaches in Oh Boy Fourth Grade.  Each month she hosts this linky party and what fun!  I am having a blast checking out what everyone is doing, especially this week as so many are starting and the rest of us are close.  This is such a jittery time of year.

I am getting so excited for the new school year, but there is still so much I wanted to get done this summer.  Tops on my list is my library.  I am addicted to books....seriously addicted.  They over-run my classroom and my house.  I swore I would get it under control this summer.  I keep telling myself I have only one more week (I want to have it done before I go to Portland).  So this is the week.  I will post pictures (maybe before and after if I am brave enough to show my mess) when I am finished.

But for's off to do something fun with my wonderful hubby.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Great Debate

This is a serious matter.  This could mean the end of a friendship.
Which do you prefer...liquid glue or glue sticks? 

 I mean really should there be any question?
Kindergarten cannot function without glue sticks

Glue sticks are less messy, and they stick paper together smoothly.  Yes, the caps get lost (I keep a stash of the extra ones just in case), and Kinders do need to be taught to put the lid on until it clicks.  But when turning in papers or setting a project up to dry, it generally doesn't squish out everywhere, and stick to the neighbor's paper, and rip off pieces of their projects.  You can still write and color on papers glued with glue sticks, but with liquid glue everything gets wet and rips when you try to color before it dries completely.

My wonderful teaching partner doesn't think so.  She thinks liquid glue is the only thing to use.    We have had numerous discussions about the merits of glue.  I have agreed to concede that sometimes you need liquid glue.  Sometimes it is the only thing that will work and in that case you need two things:

1.  Glue that doesn't clog the lid
2.  Students that know how to open and close the lid and put the right amount of glue on the project.

First:  glue that doesn't clog.  Is that possible you ask?  Yes...but it is best to be proactive and prepare your glue bottles before school starts.  Heidi Butkus declared war on glue bottles last year.  You can read about it here.  I followed her advice and it worked, but it was a long, tedious, and somewhat messy process.  Then I found that Rachelle at What a Teacher Wants tried something slightly different.   I tried it with some new glue bottles over spring break and it also seemed to work.  So here is what I am going to do.

First--gather all my glue bottles and take the orange caps off.  Put them into a container with a bit of oil and let them soak.

Second--take off the inside white seal-tops.  Check to make sure all the little plastic parts are gone and the hole is open.  It is amazing how many have thin pieces of plastic still attached.  I use an Exacto knife to trim away the extra plastic.  Put them in the container with the oil and the orange caps.

Third--rinse them (don't worry if all the oil doesn't come off the lids).  Put them back together!  If you need a little extra lubrication, use a Q-tip to put a little Vaseline on the tracks so they turn open and close easier.  Voila!!  You have glue that will be better about not clogging and easier to clean when it does.

If you do this before school starts, you won't have spend all your time unclogging first.  I plan on doing the glue bottles I have on hand, and then, when the students have brought in their school supplies I will do it again.  I always buy enough at the back-to-school sales to get me started.  If I can find it for .25 cents a bottle I get enough for two bottles per student.  I'm nice that way.

Second:  I need students that know how to use the glue.  Last year was my first year back in Kindergarten and I didn't realize how many parents don't let their kids use glue at home.  It's a travesty shame how many students come to school NEVER having scissors or glue in their hands.  Coming from Third Grade I just assumed that all students knew something about how to glue stuff together...WRONG!!  This year I am smarter.  I knew I would have to teach twist on, twist close (I thought I was Mr. Miyagi...wax on, wax off, wax on, wax off), because 3rd graders can't do that either.  I now know how much reinforcement they need for: dot, dot, not a lot, cause and effect of too much glue, and when and how to make a frame with glue, put glue in the corners, and other gluing skills.  I found some bloggers on the internet  who are smarter than I am.  They have great ideas for teaching about glue and gluing.

First is Kathryn at KindergartenKindergarten.  She sacrifices glue sticks and markers to teach object lessons about how to take care of glue and then to reinforce the lesson she teaches her students a little song:

 I can just imagine making something up as I go along.  Like me, she also saves a stash of lids for the ones that will get lost.

Next is  Becca Ruth at That Little Art Teacher.  She teaches her students that the glue is sticking out its tongue and you must make it disappear.  She teaches students to listen for the glue to breathe, and if it doesn't, then you open, close, open, close, and take out the glue boogers.  She uses the phrase "baby dot" to describe the size you need.  I LOVE that!!  My Kinders last year loved the song "Baby Shark" and I can just imagine a little song:  Baby Dot do-do-do-do-do-do Baby Dot do-do-do-do-do-do, No Ma-ma Dots do-do-do-do-do-do No Ma-ma Dots do-do-do-do-do-do.  Music makes reminding your students what is expected more like fun and less like nagging.

Finally is Krissy Miner at Mrs. Miner's Kindergarten Monkey Business.  She gives her students a license to glue.  How cool is that!!!  She even has it as a freebie, we can grab it here.

Here's to hoping I can convince my teaching partner to give glue sticks another try.

What do you think?  Are you a glue stick teacher or is liquid glue your glue of choice?
What do you do to teach students how to use glue?
What kinds of rules and procedures do you have?