Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Did anybody else start their wonderful Thanksgiving break by waking up WAY too early? Too early for even school time? What's up with that? Maybe I'm just too excited about starting a 5 day vacation. I don't know.
I know it's over, but I wanted to share what I did for Thanksgiving. I read two of my favorite books:
My book is the one with the fox characters. I don't think it matters - the story is still the same. In the story, everyone in the family is responsible for a different part of the Thanksgiving feast, and somehow none of it turns out. I make sure the kids are inferring that basically there is no Thanksgiving food. But in the book, they decide the most important thing is being with each other. So I emphasis that, too. (Although, as I emphasis that and look around the room, I wonder about  some of my kiddos. Do they get a big Thanksgiving meal? Does their family do fun things like play games, make a craft or even watch football together?)
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This is my other favorite book. Mrs. Moose wants a turkey for Thanksgiving, so Mr. Moose goes hunting for one. He finds lots of other guests who help him look for a turkey. They finally find one and catch him and bring him home for dinner! Again, lots of inferring, making predictions, all that good stuff.
I read one of these on Monday and the other Tuesday. After we got done, I had some worksheets from, I think ABC Teach, but I'm not sure. Instead of making copies (that I'm limited on), I did a take off on a Kagan strategy. I have everybody come up to the front of the room and we "wander around." Then I tell them to give someone a light high 5 (so they aren't trying to make somebody fall over from a high five!) {Some of my little friends have the hardest time finding a buddy, even for a 30 second activity. You could infer from that that I need to do some teaching about buddies, but I don't know.} Then I showed the question on the projector and they were to whisper their answer to the high 5 partner. Next I drew a stick and called on somebody to answer. A little something different, but still meeting CCSS.
We also made origami turkeys. The instructions I have are some I tore out of a magazine long, long ago!  I found a couple online ones that are very similar to what I do - yes, I found two, because I'm never happy when I first find something - I've got to search and search to see if it's the best, most terrific, most wonderful idea! Anyway, Origami Turkey #1 and Origami Turkey #2 are the online ones. I don't have the kids color paper. I just use old scrapbook paper I have, or purchased at Hobby Lobby with a coupon. I just cut out about 5 more pieces of paper than I have kids and draw sticks to let them choose. I've also never made the fan for tail feathers.  This year I gave my kids 10 minutes to make feathers out of scrap paper, if they wanted. I showed them how to make two almost parenthesis shapes to make a feather. Some of them prettied theirs up very nicely.
Making origami with a class of 21 is interesting. It really shows who doesn't wait for directions, who doesn't or can't follow directions, and who is right there with you!
I had a little bit of school work I thought of doing this weekend - I even brought it home - yuck, rearranging my groups and centers and all. But I just decided I want to enjoy my break, so I changed my mind and I'm not going to.
I'm heading to my sister's - who lives about an hour a way - later this afternoon. My other sister, who lives further away, is coming, too. Tomorrow my hubby and daughter will be heading over - we dodged a bullet, she works at a restaurant that does a big Thanksgiving buffet and we were afraid she would have to work, but Yeah Hoo and Praise the Lord, she got the day off.
I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with lots of Yeah Hoo's and Praise the Lords! Enjoy your days off!
Happy Thanksgiving! Sara

Friday, November 16, 2012

Teaching Tips

I have been reading all the teaching tips at Miss Kindergarten's Teaching Tips Linky Party. What a lot of great ideas!

I've got a couple to share.
First is this cute little thing! OK, not the filing - the cute little decoration on the filing folder.

That way when I (ugh) decide to do my filing, I first see a little something that makes me smile. I've done this with a couple things - my laminating folder, my bag that goes back and forth from school. It just makes me a little happy :)
Second, I feel like such a dork that it took me forever to figure this out - But I am SO doing it this year! I've always had jobs in my room, but this year, those kiddos are really working. I have 21 kids - so I have 10 or 11 jobs, depending. I decided they have their job for a month. Yes, a month. (I sometimes threaten, but I've never had to fire anyone.) This way it's easier for me to remember who has what job. So they get every other month off. In the past, my jobs have been little bit things. But this year ---

Office -- run all my errands around school
Mailbox -- puts all their papers into their mailboxes
Computers -- turns the computers on and off
Class Librarian and School Librarian -- send two kids at a time to the respective libraries
Book Worm -- straightens up my library (hehe, now I don't have to any more)
Center Helper -- tries to straighten up my mess after centers are over - if they even try a little bit, it helps me a lot!
Responsible Reminder -- helps this forgettful teacher remember things. I also press them into service by having them put stickers on papers or any other little jobs I can think of :)
Math Racers -- I use Soaring Through Second Grade's Math Racers - and I have one of my little friends get the new set of these ready. What a big relief for me! Saves me so much time!
Squeaky Cleaner -- Hehe, this little friend gets my center board ready for the next day, and also looks around to see if anybody has books, papers, etc. just oozing out of their desk. I don't even care about the 2nd, because the 1st is such a super help.
Teacher's Assistant -- This month, I have a little guy who is almost annoying in that about every 5 minutes, he says, "Teacher's Assistant, reporting for duty." He's been a great help. I had him grade some papers that I wasn't going to enter into the grade book, take down Halloween decorations, use my Smartboard to "pick" names...the list goes on.
The great thing about this is it seems like the kids enjoy having jobs. My two librarians, both this month and last, are some of my challenging behavior kids, but they take their jobs VERY seriously. My Math Racer person is one of my high students and she just loves organizing this.
All in all, this is one happy teacher for implementing all these jobs!

Well, it's the weekend, if you have some time, check out all these great teacher tips at Miss Kindergarten!

Monday, November 12, 2012



Oh, my goodness gracious! Two weeks since I've posted on my blog.  What happened? Well, my hubby got pretty sick and we had to go to the Big City to find out what the deal was - and it turns out it was food poisoning. I told my sister it's a little strange when you are happy that it's just food poisoning.  He was a miserable guy for several days, but he's better now. 

This has kind of been on my mind to write about, and then I got zinged again today, so I thought I'd go ahead and do a post on it.

For a little background: In my classroom, the kids' coats aren't in a separate room. We just have hooks on the back wall and they put their coats and backpacks there. I've sort of had a standing rule that you don't get in your backpack during the day. Sometimes if they ask, I'll let them get something out of there - like my little friend that has asthma and needs her inhaler :)

But this year I've had a bunch of kids forget and leave their library books in their backpack. So when they want to go to the library, I've been a bit of a meanie and said no, they can't go get their books. If they have them the next day, and remember to get them out, I try to make it a point to let them go.

Well, something got me thinking about this. (Yuck, sometimes I hate that!) How many times have I wished for a little grace or mercy? The latest was today, when I forgot to write down that my gluten intolerate student was eating at school. I got a "fun" reminder email from the secretary. (I wanted to say, what about all the times I DID remember? but oh, well.)

I guess what I'm thinking about is does this need to be something that I need to be so strict about? What does it matter if tomorrow, on our library day, about 5 kiddos that forgot their library books in their backpacks go get them so, yahoo, they can check out new books.

I've been reading "Teaching with Intention" by Debbie Miller.

As I start this book, she asks, what do you want your classroom to look like? Well, what I've said to myself is that I want my room to be welcoming, inviting, you are wanted. How does that correlate with how I act? Maybe this is just a small thing, but maybe it's really a big thing.

What are you "thinking" about concerning your teaching? What's giving you pause? What are you considering changing up a little to hopefully make things better?

Happy full week before Thanksgiving - at least here it is - we don't get Veteran's Day off.