Friday, February 21, 2014

Five for Friday...February Fun

Yay!!!  It is Friday!  I need this Friday (I woke up with a headache and can't seem to get rid of it.).  I am excited to share with you some of the fun fun fun we had this week.

First....I spent last weekend working on my facebook page.  It took awhile, but I figured out how to make and install fangate tabs so I can put freebies up on my facebook page.  I feel like I learned something hard and that gives me a great sense of accomplishment.  Yay for teaching an old dog, new tricks.  You can read about that journey here.

I LOVE the Olympics!  I am lucky enough to have a brother and a nephew that competed in the luge.  My nephew is close enough that we got to borrow his sled this week.  All my kinder kids had a chance to sit and pretend they were flying down the hill at 80 miles an hour.

Surprise!!  The sun came out.  It is kind-of funny to think that this Thursday was the FIRST sunny day we have had since Groundhog Day.  It has to be sunny enough for shadows so we can trace our shadow all day long and we FINALLY got to do that on Thursday.

It may not have been sunny....but it has been warm.  Warmer than usual and several mornings this week I have been greeted by robins singing.  So, my fourth picture is not a picture...but a sound.  The sound of spring.

I was observed this week.  It is always nerve wracking knowing that your principal is there watching what you are doing.  I think I did pretty good.  I tried a reading workshop lesson (instead of math, where I am more comfortable).  I use this for my reading workshop:
and these are pictures from the day before.  My kiddos are using sticky notes to get ready to share parts of their books with their elbow partners.  They were rocking this!  My lesson for my principal was the next one, using different sentence stems and making connections when picking out something to share.  I really love these lessons.

I love my job and I love my kinders...but I am ready for the weekend!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Fan Freebies

This weekend has ended up being a journey...a learning curve that is not rising fast enough to suit my impatient needs.

All weekend long (in between trying to clean house and accomplish a few needed to be done chores). I have been trying to figure out how to make a cute fan freebie button for my facebook page.  So far...I am close, but it is not up and running.  Not yet.  I am still working.

Thanks to GREAT blogging buddies I keep getting closer.  I have googled, read, and watched tutorials, then asked questions. When I asked questions...I felt like an idiot, but I did find out that what I was doing was on the right track.  And  EVERYONE has been so kind, patient, and helpful. 

So RULE 1....learn what you can first, then don't be afraid to ask.
I watched tutorials here:
and here:
Then I asked questions of blogging friends.  Now, teacher-bloggers are busy people and I didn't hear from them right away,  so I googled my questions.  Then Nikki from Melonheadz Illustrating was online and I happened to catch her.  She answered my questions.  Nikki told me how to change the size of my powerpoint slide (I didn't realize you could do that).  Then she sent me to the same webpage I had found while looking for answers to my new questions.  It felt sooo good to know I was working my way though this the right way and not making more mistakes.  Sometimes it is nice when someone holds your hand and says....yes, you are right....keep going.

I needed to know the right size for my button.  First she taught me to go to the design tab in powerpoint to change the size of the slide.  Then, she sent me to this webpage to change pixels into inches, so I could change my slide in powerpoint to the right size.  I had just found that page with my friend google.  It felt good to know I had done something right.

In the meantime, other friends answered my questions too and I read their wonderful tutorials.

There is this one from Danielle at Crayonbox Learning:

And this from Rachel at the Tattooed Teacher:
They were both wonderful to answer my questions.  Now it is my job to go back and work on that button.  It is going to look like this:
But it is still the wrong size...I have to go back and apply what I have been learning.

In the mean time, if you have made it this far, I will give you the freebie that I will be posting to my facebook page.  This little freebie is for President's Day.  I like to use coins to jumpstart conversations about the presidents.  This is a little game using dice, dimes, pennies, and a dollar bill (Washington and Lincoln, in Kindergarten I don't spend too much time on Roosevelt).  It is all about tens and ones.  The graphics are from my friend Michelle at The 3am Teacher.  You roll the dice, collect pennies, and when you have 10, you trade them in for a dime.  When you have ten dimes, you can trade them in for a dollar.  Whoever has the most coins at the end of the time limit....wins.  Simple math center.  This will be just a portion of a unit I am working on.  Click on the picture to download this freebie.

So much to little time.  Back to work for me.  :)

But if you are looking for more information on how to make things for your classroom and how to get started this is one of the most comprehensive tutorials I have found.  It is from Erica at Ed-Ventures.

UPDATE!!  I figured it out!  I figured out how to put the fan freebie tab on my facebook page.  It took some trial and error and watching the tutorials more than once....but once I got it figured out I decided to go make more tabs.

How did I do it?   I found that changing the slide didn't let me add my graphics without making them fuzzy.  Instead I guessed at the size I needed (knowing I would resize it later) and made my button.  Then I highlighted everything, went to the format section and grouped all the elements together.  Next I locked the ratio and made the whole picture smaller.  The font didn't change and that I had to make smaller separately.  Then I saved just the button as a picture to my dropbox.    I thought I had it small enough, so I tried to add it to my page just like Crayonbox Learning explained.  It didn't save, so I figured it wasn't small enough.  I tried again, making it smaller (making sure I was using the corner), saving it again.  This time it saved just fine.  I added the url for my freebie and I was half there.  Next I did the "you have to like my page button"  I just duplicated the slide I had (I knew it was the right size) and changed the words.  I inserted it into the non-fangate spot and I was good to go!!  One don't save the whole slide....just the button.

The actual tab was the hardest.  I had the TINY blank template.  I inserted that on to a slide and I couldn't see anything I was trying to add.  I made the powerpoint slide nearly 200%  to see what I was doing.  The process was the same, make the button, group everything, save as a picture, insert it into woobox. 

It worked!  It took me several sessions at the computer, because if things weren't working I would leave for awhile and come back.  I would review what I did and try to find where I had gone wrong.  I would read more, ask more questions and try more.  Once I got it to work, I saved my powerpoint.  Now I have templates that are the right size.  I came back yesterday and made three more buttons by just changing up the first buttons and tabs I had made.  This seems like lots of words for something that now feels easy.

Come and see my jazzed up facebook page.  If this old dog can learn new tricks, you can do it too. 

I am linking up with Mommy and Me Creations to celebrate my success.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Friendships and things of the's Valentine's Day

It is Valentine week, our weather is strange, and there is a full moon on Friday.  My plan this week is to over plan.  I want to start a few new things and emphasize some that I have let slide.  As you check out my plans look for little gifts of love.  There are several freebies along with links to the products I am using (some are mine, some are from other talented teachers....all should have links)

We recently changed reading partners.  I want to be sure these new partners are working well together, and that my students remember who their partner is.  We have had to shift Reading Workshop often these last two weeks because of assemblies, MAP testing, end of the semester rewards.  It has not been consistent and my student's reading stamina has suffered.  This week we are going to work on that....and just remembering how to follow the rules.

Writing workshop has suffered the same fate.  This is a rebuilding week.  Rebuilding the routines and lessons.  Writing has been the one subject I push aside if I run out of time.  My goal this week is to have my students write every day while having writers workshop and teaching the mini-lessons.

I am organized (I think).  My main math learning targets are set, my centers are prepared.  My letter of the week is planned and scheduled.  But, with Valentine's Day on Friday I want to squeeze in some emergent readers, a craft for moms, and literacy centers we won't have time for on Friday because of party plans (or maybe they will be my party plans).

We are also participating in the Groundhog Project.  So we need to set aside time to learn about weather, how to read a thermometer, and if the sun ever comes out again our shadows.  I am really getting anxious to trace our shadows and make our little Groundhog puppet.  You can read about them here.  They will

So here is a Peek at my Week.  This is plan A.  Plan B is tucked in my daily drawers, just waiting for a sunny day.
We can do this!  It will be a busy week....but then it is a three day weekend.  I am linking up with Mrs. Wills Kindergarten to share my plans and to check out what everyone else is doing on this crazy week.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

100 Days of Learning....100 Days of Fun

Since when did the 100th day get to be such a big deal?  Not exactly sure but as you can see I embraced my 100 year old self.

Some days you plan and plan and get it all set in your head....the BAM!!  The students come and everything changes.

I was all set.   Snowballs were in place.  My brain said that my students would see the snowballs and get excited, but start on their bell work anyway.....WRONG!  My little dive and roll on the carpet guy found the first one and grabbed it.  Then my other little squirrely ones started to grab and show me what they found.  Most started to settle into their bell work.  Finally had everyone sitting so I could take attendance....but those little squirrels kept jumping up and the then others wanted to join in.  Oh what the heck....go find 100 snowballs!  We will do this other stuff when we get get the snowballs found.

I had several of my wonderful moms there and I had the students give them the snowballs they found.  They put them onto butcher paper in  pyramids of 10.

 This was a great and exciting start to a fun filled day (definitely on the list to do again next year).

We spent the morning in centers:
Hats with 100 dots.  My mom helpers helped with this.  Because of them, rotations went smoothly and everyone was able to finish each center activity.  Rotation went basically in a circle and as they finished one they went to the next.  When my moms ran out of students they pulled from other centers and the activities that took longer didn't get too bottle-necked.

Making 100 with pattern blocks:

Counting by 10s with Zero the Hero:

100 fruit loop necklaces:

Building with 100 red solo cups....the FAVORITE!!

The afternoon was making this book from Maria Manore:

and making these puzzles with our reading buddies.

We danced with Dr. Jean

and sang with Debbie Clement,

and Harry Kindergarten.

We ate our 100 piece snack and it was time to go home. 

Whew....busy day