Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cyber Monday

Yea!!  It's a sale! 

Are you all shopped out?  I hope not.  I hope you are ready for the best couple of days of the year (okay...that may be overstating things a bit).

I have been dropping things from my wish list into my cart getting ready for the big day.  I have already placed my own store on sale in case you need something for next week. 

I have a brand new emergent reader:  Elf's Adventure.  If you liked Hide Turkey Hide you will like this too.  Elf goes traveling around the North Pole.  He goes above and between, he gets next to and behind things.  It would be a great addition if you have an elf that visits your classroom in December.

I also have two versions of my unit for number subitizing (now there's a big word).  Peas and Carrots is a way to look at numbers and begin to truly understand them.  Students will  practice finding all the ways to make each number.  Can we say...addition and commutative property?  Perfect for Kindergarten and 1st Grade.  Even 2nd graders could use this, especially if they are struggling.  There are lots of options in each version so you can make this product your own and use it in a way that best fits your teaching stye.

While you are there check out my free Missing Addend pages.  They are testament to my love of all things seasonal and hands on.  I have a new one to use with jingle bells.
Now I am off to load up my own cart.  Don't forget to leave feedback for tpt credits towards your next purchase (or go back and leave feedback for products you have already downloaded).  Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Feasting like the Pilgrims

I love history and I love food.  Add in a dash of my passion for hands on and you have Thanksgiving in my classroom.

First the food....we cook a feast.  I am crazy, I know.   I have a roaster and I cook the turkey in there.  I stuff it with celery, onions, apples, and sometimes an orange.  It sits and cooks all day (well until about 11:30).   I forgot to take a picture when it was all brown and yummy.  This is right before I put the lid on at 6:30 in the morning (yes, I came to school early).

We have a campfire ring at school where I light some charcoal...however I have used my charcoal table on particularly a snowy November.  In the charcoal we cook Rhodes frozen rolls in dutch ovens (amazing simple, but the effect and taste is wonderful) and potatoes.  Each student cleans one potato and wraps it in tin foil.  They cook on the coals for about an hour and a half.

Cranberries are an American food and traditional for Thanksgiving.  We grind our own.  I have a grinder (I actually think I have husband keeps picking them up at thrift stores).   It is not hard to work and I have done it by myself....but if you have mom helpers, this is a great time to use them.  My grinder attaches to a desk or cutting board with a big screw.  I put a tray to catch the cranberries as they come out of the grinder and a bowl underneath to catch the liquid (which is yummy and I save it).  I use one orange (cut in wedges) for each bag of whole cranberries.  Each student gets a chance to turn the handle and I do enough for everyone to have a turn (leftovers find their way to my Thanksgiving table).  This is a to taste recipe...want more orange flavor, add another.  Need it to be sweeter?  Add some sugar, brown or white.  This gets made early in the day, I have seatwork activities going on for students who are waiting their turn.

Next carrots...I have a bunch of cheap peelers and I let each student peel one carrot.  Very funny to see what the carrots look like when they come back to me.  I cut them into carrot sticks.  The best place to do this is outside on a warm day, but if it is too cold I try to remember to put something under the trash can because not all of the peels make the trash.  Think easy clean up.  Another good place for mom helpers.

The last thing we do is make butter.  This we do all at the same time.  I have two cases of half pint canning jars (the skinny shape is best) that I use every year.  I half fill each jar with cream (heavy cream makes butter quicker but regular works fine too).  Be sure the lid is on securely and shake.  Shake and shake and shake!  Then shake some more.  First it is whipped cream....keep shaking.  After what seems too clumps and separates and it is butter!  I pour the liquid (buttermilk) into an empty jar and the butter goes on a paper plate with a paper towel underneath.  I put it on paper because there will still be liquid that comes out of the butter.  You could squeeze it a bit with a spoon.  I will sometimes do that to make it a little more solid.

When everything is cooked we eat with our reading buddies (who bring the apple juice and dessert).  The last few years it has been warm enough to eat outside.

My great high school aide.

Wishing you a happy and safe Thanksgiving.  I was going to say healthy....but hey it's Thanksgiving.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Peek at My Week...Turkeys

I have often said that my talent is recognizing a good idea when I see it.  This week my plans are filled with good ideas...a little bit of everything Kindergarten and turkeys. 

The ideas and activities in my plans I have found across the internet.  I am so thankful for creative teachers who create wonderful resources and then share them on their blogs, tpt stores, and through pinterest.  I have included links to each of these  resources and ideas.  Some are free, some are paid items.  The paid items are so worth the cost.  So without further adieu here is what we are doing.

We are still working our way through the letters and the numbers.  Our routines for both are going strong. You can read about my number routine here.  I love using peas and carrots to really look at the numbers.  For letters we use Animated Literacy, plus Reading a-z and several other resources collected over the years for phonics and handwriting.

Content Area and ELA standards will meet while we learn about Turkeys.  We will use Kathleen's Pederson Let's Talk Turkey to learn more about Turkeys and more about nonfiction.  We will label the parts of a turkey using Lori Rosenberg's labeling page.  You can grab it at her blog or on Freebielicious.  We will be using what we learn to write about turkeys.  Our nonfiction writing will start with a tree map.

Next week I am back in the classroom and I will be prepping for our Thanksgiving Feast and learning about pilgrims.  This week...enjoy Turkeys! 

Head on over to Deedee Wills and take a peek at what everyone else is doing.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Scheduling Blues....Peek at my Week

What is working this year?   My schedule is working this year...much better than last year!  Lunch is still at an awful early hour (10:40), but our special is in the middle of the afternoon instead of at the end of the day.  ESL pull out is first thing in the morning.  But we are learning to work with that.

With that being said....I still wish I had more time.  I never seem to have enough time for everything I want to include in our day.  It seems that I am always looking for ways to include more.

We are lucky enough to have educational freedom in our classrooms.   As long as we are following the standards, we can teach in ways and in the order we feel is best for our students.  As a Kindergarten team we talk about what we are teaching and the way we are teaching.  We coordinate parts of our math and language cirruculumn so that our students are getting roughly the same lessons (we all do Animated Literacy and we all introduce numbers one at a time with peas and carrots).  But we also are able to give our students individual experiences, and we get to glean ideas from each other.  We really have a great working team.

If there is a day I want to focus on a skill, a topic, or a story I can swap things around as I need.  Unfortunately, the drawback to that is that certain things I need to include every day get pushed back.  Lately I have been pushing writing time out because I thought I needed more math center time.  They started pulling my ELL kids first thing in the morning.  I didn't want them to miss calendar time, so I was pushing back calendar time and trying to find useful thing to teach to my remaining students.  I was using that time to teach math center games as a whole group (that way they could be better partners during centers).  I realize that as I push back calendar time, I was pushing out writing time.  That will change shortly (I am gone for family medical reasons and I don't want to change things too much while I have sub running my classroom).

For a little peek into my week I am linking up with Deedee Wills of Mrs. Wills Kindergarten.   Good thing I don't have school tomorrow, my computer crashed and I lost my lesson plans and all my links.  I hope I have everything up and running again.
You can see that we are skipping writer's workshop and doing Math Centers and more of a guided writing with guided drawing.  We are focusing all week on the number 5.  Students will be learning several games that will be included in centers in the weeks to come.  Since 5 is an anchor number we spend extra time exploring and playing with it.  Next week we go back to introducing the numbers.  When we get to 10 we will stop and play again.  Lots and lots of number activities with 10.

Because lunch is so early it seems that our literacy block just fit better in the afternoon.  I set up my afternoons so I can do ANYTHING literacy related (sometimes we sneak in math).  And Fridays it is ALL afternoon.  We have no specials, so they are all mine 11:20-3:05.   Content area can range from science and social studies topics to creating books to free choice time (when I do much of my testing).  Eventually I will be pulling small groups during literacy centers.  Right now we spend more time whole group with animated literacy and letter/sound introduction.  We have a little routine going and it usually takes about 3 days for each letter.  In the meantime we are also doing reader's workshop (which I try not to skip) and once a week we watch and practice sign language with Signing Time.

Is that as clear as mud?  I hope that gives you a little idea of what life is like in my classroom.  We are busy, busy all the time.  These plans really are just a "peek".

Saturday, November 2, 2013's November

I survived last week and now it is November!  I think this might be my favorite month.  I love all things Thanksgiving....turkey, history, pretending, autumn colors, trees, my birthday.  I love making the time to remember to say Thank you for all the blessings in my life.  So what am I currently doing??  I am linking up with Farley of Oh Boy Fourth Grade!

First....I love the Hallmark Channel during the holidays.  I love the sappy movies.  I love that they run all night long, so when I am up in the night because I can't sleep there is a movie to help.  I love that they are sappy enough I don't really have to pay attention, and they keep me company when I am cleaning or working.  Some of them are really good and they touch my heart.

 I LOVE my family!  I have the best husband ever!!  I love all my kids and the spouses they have chosen.  I love the children they are raising.  I love my sister, who thankfully, lives close.  My brothers and their families have to be on that list too.  But this month I especially love my mom.  She is brilliant and loving and the best role model any daughter could ask for.   She is an author and her new book is coming out this month.  She is having surgery and I am lucky enough to be able to go and help while she is recovering.

Consequently, I have a LOT to do.  I have school stuff...grades, parent teacher conferences, sub plans, reorganize my room a bit so a sub can find things for the 2 1/2 weeks I am gone (I am never gone that long...not sure how much to plan), home stuff....packing, getting the house ready for my poor husband to be alone (I know he's a big boy and very capable, but I  feel guilty and want him to know how much I love him), and then there is my mom stuff...what should I take to her?  Is there anything I need to bring from here, or can get taken care of before I get on the plane?

I am starting a new chapter in my blogging journey this week.  I am going to be a regular blogger at PreK + K Sharing and I am so nervous that I will not be as good as the other bloggers who contribute there.  They are great!!  You should stop by.  It is a very eclectic group and the collective knowledge is amazing.
Of course I wish I was better at many things...home, school, blogging, I always second guess my abilities (and there is one of the reasons I love my family, they lift me up).  Do you do that?  Grades are the first thing on my agenda this weekend.  I really NEED to get them done!  I want them to be so organized.  I want to be able to conference with my student's parents and really talk to them about each individual child.  I wish I was better at organizing at the beginning of the term.  I am stuck taking all my data (some on various sticky notes, no...I am not that bad) and putting it all on the standards based grading sheets I made.  Once on those grading sheets entering into powerschool should be a piece of cake.

Last my pin....I think I should treat myself with this.  I have made it several times and it is the yummiest thing I have ever pinned.
Nutella Cheesecake

I can't leave you with just one...this is for the healthy side.
Roasted Summer Vegetables
Did you make it to the end?  Then here is a November Thank you gift from me...Hide Turkey Hide.  I created this to play with positional words with my kinder kids.  Enjoy!!