Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It's Goal Setting Time

A New Year means new goals and a new start.  It's time to think about how things are going and what you would like to accomplish in the new year.  It's even more fun to link up with blogging friends and share goals.  I am linking up with A Peach for the Teacher tonight to share my thoughts on what I would like to do in the coming year.
I know...I know....we all want to be better people.  I want to become better by living simply, less clutter in my life, more time outside, less going to the store, more using what I already have.  I often think of nice things I could do for people, but procrastinate the doing.  I want to do more doing good deedsm and less thinking about good deeds.  Does that make sense??

I want to present at conferences.  I have always been good at that when I do it for Girls Scout and Boy Scout leaders.  I would like to do it for other teachers.  I kind-of a lot to say and I would love a chance to say it.

I want to be more professional in the completion of my lesson plans.  I always have them, but I confess to them being simple shorthand notes that really only I can follow.  They often get lost and don't stay in the same place.  I would like to change that (if for no other reason than I could then share them with others).

I have a lot of stuff.  So much that sometimes it is hard to find what I need or I forget I had something and the time to use it has passed.  I need to both get better organized and get rid of some stuff (see goal #1 live simply)

I have a lot of ideas and partially finished products, my goal is to get my store filled with quality products teachers will want to use.  Along with that I would like to blog more.  That means I need to learn to take more pictures.  I know when I read a blog I read the pictures first.  Not having pictures often keeps me from writing.  So....more pictures, more writing.  We do some pretty cool stuff in my classroom.  I love sharing.

For fun??  I thought about wanting to get my craft room cleaned out so I can do more crafts.  Crafts are fun, but cleaning my craft room is not.  So......for now I want to hike Angel's Landing in Zion's National Park again.  I love that place and I haven't hiked it in years.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Snowball Fight

My school outlaws snowballs....but I think the administration won't mind this kind.

My students love playing this game...we played with jingle bells in December.  Now I just need some big white pom-poms.  I have little ones, I have white unifix cubes, I could use ping-pong balls or styrofoam balls.  And look, my cotton balls are pretty big too.

Playing Missing Addend with Jingle Bells

First we count how many snowballs we have.  Then everyone will close their eyes and I will hide some in a cup...or maybe a hat, or even a mitten.  Once everyone opens their eyes we will try to figure out how many are missing.  We will practice our math talk.  That math talk is important to the common core, and important for these little ones to understand their thinking and learning processes and to find the words to express that.

We play this whole group a few times before I turn them loose.  Then I will help them record their game on these little handouts.  The first one is a recording sheet for their games, the second page is to help with the math talk.


Missing Addend is a Common Core Standard in First Grade (1.OA.B.8), but my kinders love playing this game and it is helping them become fluent in their math facts to 5 (K.OA.A.5).  

I love using seasonal "stuff" as manipulatives and I have several different versions of this same game in my tpt store.  They are in both color and black and white.  Come check them out here.
If you want to find more good ideas and Kindergarten blogs check out the linky over at Simply Kinders.  There are so many new blogs and old favorites, all with great ideas to use in your classroom.

Friday, December 27, 2013

13 in 13...a linky party

One thing I have always loved about the week between Christmas and New Years was the chance to finally sit and enjoy my Christmas decorations and the chance to sit and reflect on the year that has gone by.  It is a great time to think about all the good things, and make plans and set goals for the new year.  I am linking up with three of my favorite bloggers to do just that.

I can't believe that it has only been a year since I got an official looking blog and a mini me from the very talented Nikki at Melonheadz Illustrating.  My blog design is from Honey Bunch and it includes this very real looking me!
I also started selling the things I was making for my classroom on tpt.  This was my very first product: Peas and Carrots.  

We use it in my Kindergarten classroom all year to introduce and work with numbers to 10.  I confess to being so surprised when someone actually bought one.  I still give most of my resources away for free...but I am working hard to make sure what I use myself is worthy of selling.  Keep your eyes open, I am expecting great things from myself in the coming year.

In April my niece was married and it turned in to a mini family reunion.  My mom and brother (and family) came west, and my niece married a boy from my husband's home town in Idaho.

After all the fun of the wedding we took all of my kids and grandkids on a tour of the ranch.  Favorite memory....listening to my sons argue over the batmobile (they were in the loft of the barn where all the old house stuff was stored and all we could hear were their voices...it was just like old times).

Then there were several more weddings...another niece (and we reconnected with the other side of the family)

And a couple of daughters from other mothers....they might as well have been mine. 

I won a blogging contest (my first one) and got to skype with Debbie Clement.  She sang with our whole Kindergarten!  It was a dream come true.


My mom came to visit in June and we went to the Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City, Utah. (I can't find any of my pictures)

July found us gathering for a birthday bash (too many birthdays, including 3 generations on the 17th).  We went camping and swimming Nat-Soo-Pah

In August one of my best memories of the ENTIRE year...meeting some of the wonderful women I have been getting to know through blogging.  I am becoming great friends with many of them, and I admire all of them.  Many of these ladies are my idols and I got to spend an afternoon with them.  I am hoping the 2014 will bring more meet-ups and more friendships.

I celebrated 35 years with my wonderful husband by crossing off one of his bucket list items...traveling to Balanced Rock in Idaho.  We also crossed off one of mine, going back to Stanley Lake.

My mom fell when she was visiting in June and never really recovered.  That fall may have been part of the reason she needed surgery in November.  I never take off during the school year...but this time things fell into place and I knew it was the right thing to do.  I went back to PA and spent 2 weeks helping my mom recover. (no pictures...sorry)

While I was there her latest book became official and I was able to get her to sign a whole bunch for me to give away at Christmas.

My husband surprised me twice this year...first by insisting we buy me a new car, and then ordering these license plates for my birthday present.

How fun to link up and remember all the good times, there have been so many.  I started out thinking...how will I ever come up with thirteen, but now I need to cut some out.  It has been a wonderful year!  I am looking forward to next year being even better.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Five for Fraturday....It's Christmas Break!!

It is officially Christmas Break...yea!!  I didn't blog yesterday because we drove to Boise in a snowstorm, just about right after school.  I didn't blog this morning because we were busy doing this:

But this week before we left our classroom elf was into all kinds of mischief.  He went bungy jumping.  Then he was touched and needed special medicine and a day resting.  He checked out Santa's route on the globe and took a ride on the Polar Express.

We made Christmas Gifts for our families.
I finished decorating my tree at home and hung this special ornament from a blogging buddy. 

Friday was our Polar Express Party.  

We read the story, had a Santa's Workshop, where the students wandered and created for 90 minutes, and then watched a movie before Santa himself came to visit.

It's been a busy and fun week.  Take a look to see what everyone has been doing by jumping to Doodle Bugs Teaching and check out everyone's Five for Friday.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Love for Sandy Hook

It has been nearly a year since that terrible December day.  I remember being so shaken that I was shaking.  I just wanted to gather my kinders and hug them deeply.  I wanted to protect them from the ugly and evil of the world. 

Since we cant take away all the evil, what can we do so that evil doesn't win?   The mayor of Sandy Hook asked for people to do Random Acts of Kindness in memory and in honor of those who gave their lives that day.  We have been doing just that in my classroom. 
Here we are making cards for a local nursing home.  We still have more work to do....my kinders wanted to give the cards to their own grandparents (many who, they say, are in hospitals and nursing homes),  We will be making more on Monday because I couldn't deny them the chance to give away love to people they know.  They were so excited to be creating something to give away.  That's the feelings we want to foster and share.  Love.  Love for each other.  Only love will keep evil from winning.

This weekend, as we remember, let's find ways to show and share the love we feel....for the students we teach, our family and friends, each other.  Let's be a part of making LOVE win.

As educators, we remember and honor our fallen colleagues and their students from Sandy Hook School.  We honor them each day in our classrooms in which we continue their dream of teaching our children.  We honor their memory with our service.  Join with teachers everywhere in committing random acts of kindness to show our love for Sandy Hook

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Jingle Bell Rock

Free...Who doesn't like free?  There is a WONDERFUL resource on Teachers Pay Teachers.  50 pages of wonderful tips and freebies. 

These are all from top tpt teacher-sellers.  They are the cream of the crop!  I say that ever so humbly because I am included in this book.  I've already downloaded mine and have been reading and reading and I downloaded the 1-2 book too because I know there are tips in there I can use.

I just found the freebie from Differentiated Kindergarten....Read, Write, Smell.  How fun is that??  Can't wait to add my smelly markers to centers next week.  I am going to rethink how I do five senses at Christmas.  I need to go back and find some more great ideas. 

But first let me share what I offered as my Christmas gift to you....Jingle Bell Rock. 

What is more fun than Jingle Bells at Christmas time?  I love to play with missing addends and so do my kiddos.  We take some jingle bells, count them, and then hide some under a cup.  Students need to figure out how many are missing.  I made these recording sheets to help students keep track of their games and the math talk cards to help them remember the words to use. 


Have fun!  Merry Christmas!!