Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Where Did All This Stamina Come From?

Three of my students, sitting EEKK, reading together - and I didn't tell them to!!!!! They chose to when they were done with their work. WOW!

I attempted to start Daily 5 at the beginning of the year. It didn't go over so well (we had a lot of stamina difficulties), and my reading program consultant told me I should be giving the kids the program's worksheets, not having them read to themselves.

So I quit. :(

But I'm wondering now if we are ready to start up again!

As I hope you can tell, today was pajama day. When you are 6, this apparently translates to "do whatever you want and pretend you can't hear your teacher" day. But that didn't last for long. Maybe because I said I would take their blankets away... haha.

In the afternoon, we had an all-school reading together thing. I was proud of my class! We were down there for 50 minutes and they had JUST come from P.E., but they held it together pretty well. I'm not going to lie - they weren't absolutely perfect, but they generally stayed in the same spot and generally were reading or being read to!

Yay! I have a class of readers. :)

I almost forgot to do my 12 questions of the day! Today they come from Mechele at Barrow's Hodgepodge.

  1. What is your go to recipe when you have a long day at work? I live with my parents, so I don't cook......... but I was on my own for a while! I made lots of nachos, haha.
  2. If you weren't a teacher what profession would you like to have? I feel like I might want to be a lawyer who advocates for children.
  3. What are some of your favorite graphics you use when creating your units? I've never made a unit. :( It is one of my goals though!
  4. What is your favorite city in the United States that you have visited? This is sort of the same answer as yesterday... but I will say San Diego. I was also in Carlsbad and Oceanside and Vista and Escondido so all of those combined into one mega city, that is the best city. Haha!
  5. What is your favorite song? My favorite song ever? Ay yi yi. I am really into dancy songs. One of my favorites is Single Ladies! I also love Sexy and I Know It. So do my students, isn't that great? So appropriate for school.
  6. Do you play an instrument? I do! I play the flute, I have been playing since I was in 3rd grade. But I haven't played in a few years. I would love to learn to play the piano.
  7. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Chocolate. And I will ONLY ever eat chocolate.
  8. What is your favorite spring activity? My birthday is in the spring, so ... my birthday! Haha! I also like being able to go outside with a light coat on. 
  9. Would you rather have a new handbag or a new pair of shoes? I'm not really a fashionista but I would rather have shoes because you don't have your purse with you all the time... but you're always wearing your shoes. So you get more joy out of them!
  10. What is your favorite fruit? I love berries. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, YUM!
  11. What is your favorite science/social studies unit to teach? I love teaching these subjects! I really liked teaching matter because the kids were SO into it. I am looking forward to teaching about weather though. I love Social Studies but it is harder to make it exciting, sadly.
  12. What is something you use in your classroom on a daily basis? My whiteboard easel. And my non-magnetic whiteboard. But mostly my easel. I am really happy that I asked for it!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Would You Care for a Pair of Pears?

Hi friends!

How was your Monday? Mine was pretty good! Less stressful than a normal Monday, so I feel good about that. :)

I have had this idea brewing in my mind for about a month now, and on Mondays I have about 2.5 hours of uninterrupted time with the kids, so it finally came to fruition today!

Around Christmas, we learned about homonyms in second grade. The first graders overheard the lessons and since then I think I've heard someone come up with a homonym pair every day. I even heard one in Spanish - adiĆ³s like goodbye, and a Dios, like to God!

So today, we brainstormed tons of homonym pairs and then got to work illustrating them!

Roll like bread, and roll like rolling a bowling ball!
Horse like an animal, and hoarse like when your throat is sore! This illustration is based on a true story.... you may be able to see that this illustrated person is "tossing its cookies", so to speak. We had a vomiting incident at Mass on Friday... yeah...
I even made the pear template into a PDF for you if you want to do this activity too!!! This is the first thing I am sharing and even though it is really nothing major, I am psyched. Click on the little preview to go!

And lastly, holy moly, I was tagged in question things four times. So I will just add my answers to the bottom of my posts for the next 4 days!! :) I'm not going to share 12 things about me because I think I have already shared like 24 things about me and I can't think of any more random trivia!! Sorry!

First, Chrissy's questions from Buzzing with Ms. B!

Buzzing with Ms. B Button

  1. What is the best part of teaching? I think the best part of teaching is that I have a fun job and I get to spend like 6 hours a day with hilarious little kids. I also love when they learn something TOTALLY new to them and they feel so smart!!
  2. What's your favorite holiday? Hmmm... I think Christmas. I like seeing my fam and it's fun to give and get presents. Today we listened to Silent Night in my class because our Religion lesson today was The First Christmas, haha.
  3. Who is your best friend and why? Besides my boyfriend... my best friend's name is Nicole! She and I met at Bradley and then we both transferred to NIU and graduated from there. We were roommates for two years and really we were great together! We had a lot of fun. Now that we are grown-ups, she is always there for me even though she is in the western suburbs, 90 minutes away!
  4. What did you want to be when you were a kid? In Kindergarten, I wanted to be a ballerina. Since then I've wanted to be a teacher. :)
  5. What's your favorite outfit? I really love wearing leggings but I hardly do... so I will say this teal sweater dress things I have and my black leggings and boots!!
  6. What's your favorite breakfast? I love sausage burritos from McDonald's, but I also love when my boyfriend makes me scrambled eggs with cheese or a cheese omelet! Yum, eggs and cheese.
  7. What's your favorite TV show of all time? I love Seinfeld! I also love The Office and lately I have been getting into 30 Rock.
  8. What weird habit or behavior did you have as a kid? I am a big explainer/justifier... I will try to explain away everything. As a kid, I would make up stories for things I didn't understand. For example, I told myself that stoplights took so long to change because there were little men under the street who had strings they would pull to change the lights. The strings were really heavy so it would take forever to pull them all the way down; that's why you had to wait so long. I have a good imagination.
  9. Siblings? How many? I have two half-brothers and a half-sister, and then one regular brother. My dad was married before and my half-siblings are 20ish years older than me. My brother is two years younger than me.
  10. Beatles or Elvis? I will say Beatles. My boyfriend's fam is in love with them.
  11. Beach or mountains? I live near neither. I've never been to the mountains and I guess I don't really care to, so the beach!!
  12. What's the BEST trip you've ever taken? I went to a few weddings of my cousins' in the San Diego area and it made me want to marry California. I also went to visit a friend of mine in New York City and I loved it there too!! 
Ay yi yi. One set down, three to go! By the end, you will know way too much about me. :)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Read-Alouds Rock

I'd first like to say what doesn't rock, and that is having a mandatory day of attendance on a SATURDAY. Yes, I went to school yesterday and saw all my little buddies except the 3 that didn't bother coming. This week is Catholic Schools Week, so yesterday was the kick-off day. We had an awards ceremony and we went to Mass together and we had a spaghetti dinner.

I have no idea how moms take little kids to church. We go every Friday with the whole school but my entire class has a 5th or 6th grade prayer partner who makes sure they are kneeling and standing and sitting at the right times and not poking people or kicking their neighbors. Yesterday... no prayer partners. Just me with all the kiddos. By the end I was ready for a nap. That takes some real vigilance.

Moving on...

Today I am participating in a favorite picture book linky party! It is hosted by Happydally!
It is hard to pick a very favorite, so I will just tell you a few. :)

I love anything by Kevin Henkes, especially Chrysanthemum!
Super cute. I read it on the first day of school and all the kids made text-to-self connections (before they knew what those were).

Side note - Chicago area people, Kevin Henkes is coming to Naperville in March for a book signing. I want to go! Who wants to go with??

I super love anything by Mo Willems, and really it is hard to choose a representative that I super love the most. But since Knuffle Bunny was what introduced me to Mo Willems, I will pick that one!
And lastly, I love me some Froggy!
Part of Catholic Schools Week is a Scholastic book fair, and I put this Froggy book on my teacher wish list! It's only like $4 so I hope someone loves me enough to donate it!!!

I think my choices are super obvious for primary teachers. There are a ton more I like that I would read aloud if I taught a higher grade... but for my class now, these are some of my faves. :)

What are your favorites? I would love to find new read-alouds!!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

We celebrated Chinese New Year this week!

We started off the week with my fave, Scholastic News.
I just learned a couple of cool things that you might want to know if you have Scholastic News. First, starting soon, you'll be able to level up or level down the issues for your lower or higher readers! Second, I figured out a sweet way to manipulate the Scholastic News website to give me harder activities for my second graders. I like to do the magazine and then give them one of the "skills sheets" because they're usually semi-fun. Well, we get the first grade edition and the skill sheets are waaaaaay too easy. So I changed the website address a bit and now I can access the second grade skills sheets! They look almost the same but they're a little harder. The second graders like having harder work to do, and also this week the second grade page covered compass roses, which we learned about back here!

That was a lengthy paragraph that maybe didn't make sense.

Anyway, we watched the Scholastic News video 3 times and read the magazine and the kids could not get over the dragon! They thought it was amazing.

On Tuesday, we made paper lanterns to decorate our room.
I found the patterns here and I just used the blank template. Shockingly, first and second graders are NOT too cool for Kai-lan. They are incredibly sensitive about things that they are too cool for, including Dora and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

We also did tangrams, which I talked about here.

Today, we finished up Chinese New Year by using chopsticks! I was able to get a bunch donated to me from my favorite Chinese restaurant, and the kids were super excited. We practiced picking up cotton balls. I read on someone's blog that her kids practicing picking up little pom poms. I didn't have any of those but I had a plethora of cotton balls!
Here's my little teacher helping the first graders!

They also ate fortune cookies! They all ended up with really nice fortunes, so that was good. On Monday, I had told them that they were going to eat Chinese food, which really just meant fortune cookies. ALL week, every hour, they asked when we were going to eat Chinese food. I even got this weird pair of notes on my desk that I found after school.

They were slightly disappointed that they didn't get noodles.

Oh! I almost forgot. I also showed them this story from Starfall. Click on the screenshot to check it out!
It was fun for them to hear a traditional Chinese story, and it gave us a chance to talk about fables! And also morals of stories. The Starfall story was fun too because I clicked on the pictures and they moved around.

Here are a few of the actual books that I read for Chinese New Year.

Both were good! The first was more informational, the second was a fictional story. I recommend them. :) I'm actually mad because I saw The Runaway Wok at a Scholastic warehouse sale and I didn't get it.... and now I wish I had. Oh wells.

How did you celebrate Chinese New Year? I wish I would have done more but I hope I at least piqued somebody's interest in my class!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Leaders Foldable

So 100th Day sort of threw us off... and Chinese New Year... but we really are studying our government! Today we learned about our leaders. We talked about community leaders, state leaders, and country leaders.

They had no idea what a community leader was even called, so they didn't know their own mayor. Also they didn't know who our governor was! So we learned a lot. The funny thing was that, in our book, the governor example is Arnold Schwarzenegger and the president example is George Bush.

I asked if any of them recognized Arnold from anywhere and they just looked at me, puzzled. Five minutes later, one said, "Um, isn't that the guy from Kindergarten Cop?" Yes, my friend, yes it is.


We made a foldable type of thing to help us remember our leaders. I don't know if it really counts as a foldable per se since no folding actually occurred. Regardless, it was a type of graphic organizer and the kids loved it!

As you can probably see... we wrote the name of our community (which I have removed, just use your imagination) with the name of our mayor in the little circle, Illinois with the name of our governor in the middle circle, and United States with the name of our president in the outside circle! It also helped them understand that the president leads more people and has more power than the mayor and governor!

They took their bullseyes home today to teach their parents about our leaders! Although I found one on the floor after school..... boo.

Tomorrow we learn about elections! I'm excited to push a read-aloud into Social Studies - check back tomorrow! :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Happy 100th Day!!!

Yay yay for 100th Day!!

I've built this up a LOT in the past few weeks, and luckily my mad party-planning skillz did not disappoint!

Let's go through the day chronologically!

First, we made 100th Day glasses. They were seriously obsessed with these. I could not stop laughing at them all day because they looked so silly! I got the template from the wonderful Jenn at Finally in First. Her 100th Day post from last year was actually the post that made me want to read everyone's blog and start my own!!!!! So it was fitting that I used a few of her ideas today!

I know, I know................ there are only 12 of them.

Next we made ourselves as 100 year olds! I was originally inspired again by Jenn but also by Jessica from Welcome to Room 36. I took the writing idea from someone and I can't remember who! Also I can't find who it is! So please tell me if you know. They had to write what they'd be able to do and what they wouldn't be able to do at age 100.

I will be able to watch as much TV as I want, but I will not be able to run.
I will be able to cook but I will not be able to run so fast.
I will be able to make macaroni and cheese but I will not be able to do backflips.

I will be able to go to work, but I will not be able to make grandmas out of paper.
The last one CRACKED ME UP! I was dying laughing. I guess she means because she won't be in school, she can't make herself as a 100 year old when she is 100. Haha!!!!!!!!! Also I'm guessing she was perplexed about why we were randomly "making grandmas out of paper." Haha! I am still dying now.

We read a super super cute book! The kids looooooooooooved it and it was fun to read! Also if you are desperate for 100th Day activities, this book mentions several for you to try out!

Later on, we counted out 100 fruit loops by 10s and made necklaces!

I didn't try this out before we did it together.... which was an issue. They could not get those fruit loops on the yarn!!! Thankfully, one of my first graders' moms had dropped in and suggested covering the end of the yarn with tape! OMG! I love you, mom of my student.

Later on, the technical party began! We had four stations. One was finishing the necklaces (haha), one was making a 100th day trail mix, one was rolling a die 100 times (which I got from Made for First Grade) and recording the numbers they got, and one was taking 100 steps and seeing where they ended up.

I also covered the door with streamers. Let me just say........... streamers are a kid magnet.

One last message to end this super long but super AWESOME post!

One of my second graders came to school and said, "It's the 100th day of school. Today is the day when boys become men and girls become women. I need to start thinking about getting engaged soon."

She said it very solemnly and I was beside myself. My kids can be a handful but they are hilarious!!

Our Buddy Grandfather Tang

First! Thank you to the kind friends who left me nice comments yesterday about my presidential dilemma! It was really weighing heavily on my heart and I felt a lot better knowing that you all would have said what I did! And that I'm not alone in this world. :)

Moving on, Grandfather Tang made an appearance today in our room!
None of my students have ever seen the book or tangrams before, so they were in for an experience today!

Thanks to Jen's sage advice, we only made the first three animals today. They were just starting to lose it at the end there so that was pretty perfect!

I knew that I wanted to give the kids a copy of the animal they were supposed to be making, but I had a hard time finding templates of the animals. Then I found this website from UNC! They have all of the templates ready for you to print or project! Awesome smawesome.

Here are some pictures of us doing our thing:

Can't wait to read the next few pages tomorrow! :) We also made paper lanterns but I forgot to take a picture! I will post those later. But not tomorrow, because tomorrow is ONE HUNDREDTH DAY!!!!!! I am so incredibly excited! I can't wait to write about it tomorrow!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Odds and Ends ... and a Dilemma

Just some random stuff to share tonight! I'll make a list.

1. I took a few new pictures of some winter-y things in our room!

I already wrote about our snowman comparing activity, but since then, a few people at school were boggled by the display, so I added a title and took a nicer picture for you! I just printed out letters in a bubbly font and then cut them out. It was a little tedious but I am happy with the outcome!
 Here is our door right now. Nothing too fancy but it is okay. The kids love their mittens for some reason.
 And I never posted a finished picture of our January math quilt! Please don't mind that aquarium underneath............ ay yi yi.

2. I have been slacking on the Clutter-Free Classroom Project BUT I did want to update that I cleaned an area of my room!!!!!! I am super proud of myself.

Here is the before picture...
 And here is the after!!
That corner by the file cabinet has legit been messy since like week 1 of school. So it reeeeeeally makes me happy to see it clean!! I pretty much just threw everything away. I did relocate the linking cubes to a math area.

I am happy that this week in CFCP is working on our teacher area. Mine needs some help. :( My students tell me that almost every day....

3. I'll end with my dilemma. Today we started our new unit in Social Studies, which is Our Government. Because I teach at a Catholic school, my students come from very conservative families. That, in and of itself, obviously is fine! We did another vocab visit, like I did with matter, and I had printed a picture of President Obama, since he is our president. As soon as I put the sheets out to write on, I had a few students saying how much they hate Barack Obama, how their parents hate Barack Obama, that he doesn't want to have any schools anymore (???) and how he is a bad and terrible person.

This frustrates me on several levels, but mainly because regardless of how you feel about a president or his tenure in office, I think it's very important to instill in children that we respect leaders. So basically that's what I said... you can have your opinion, and that is totally fine, but we are not talking about how we feel about President Obama. He is our leader and he is important to our country.

Have you dealt with something like this? Or how would you have responded? I know I am going to be hearing this every day until I can figure out what to do. :(
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