Saturday, May 26, 2012

My first giveaway!

I've never done a giveaway before, but no time like the present! School just got out for us (yay!) and I'm already working on how to do things better next year. I've been working and perfecting my kindergarten standards charts that are aligned to the new Common Core Standards. I have 4 pages- one for each of the 4 quarters (which is how my district is set up) and all the standards are in friendly "we can" statements. And I've decided to give it all away to one lucky winner!

Here's how to enter:
1. become a follower of my blog and leave a comment
2. blog about my giveaway and leave a comment (with a link)

That's it! Super easy! I'll pick a random comment and e-mail the lucky winner with the file. Giveaway ends on 5/31. Have fun!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A journey to the grasslands

 This quarter my students have been studying all about the grasslands. Because there are grasslands all over the world, we focused on the ones in Africa. We started by watching the opening scene from "The Lion King", which is great because it shows all of the different animals that live in the African savanna/grasslands.

Here's one of the boards outside my room showing off all their work and what they learned:

How cute are these lions? I cut strips of paper in yellow, brown and orange and showed my kinders how to curl them around a pencil. Great for fine motor skills and it kept them busy for a LONG time!

And here's the information we learned about lions:

I wrote it out with the blanks, and the kids helped me fill it in.

They made these elephants in Art class, so I'm not sure exactly how they did it. I can tell that they used paper plates and it looks like they cut a circle in a spiral shape for the trunk. Super cute!

And our elephant writing:

We talked about giraffes and all the different body parts. I traced the giraffe on butcher paper and painted it yellow. Then when it was dry each child got to add a spot and then we labeled it. I love doing this activity!

Our final project was a writing assignment. Each student had to pick an animal and give clues to have people try and guess which animal they were. I was really surprised at the level of my student's work! 
Translation: I live in the grasslands. I eat leaves. I have a long neck.

a giraffe

We did a lot more with this unit, including looking at zebras and using map skills to locate the grasslands on a map of Africa. Very proud of my kiddos and their work. They have come a long way from the beginning of the year! 

Center time!

A huge part of our day in my classroom revolves around centers. We do language centers, math centers and free choice centers just about every day. My language centers are the most organized, so I wanted to share with you how I do it.

Here's a pic of the set-up on my board:
Each center has a picture, so that the kids who aren't reading yet can still know where to go. I have a few centers that are kept in baskets that change some times, so those centers are just pictured with the color of the basket (blue crayon=blue basket). The kids names are next to what center they go to that day. Each morning I come in and take the picture at the bottom, move them all down and then the bottom goes to the top. Its so great because kids can just look and see where they're going, and I don't have to keep up with it!

Some of my centers that don't really change are: magnets, book center, computers, listening and puzzles. These stay the same, but the skill at each changes as the year goes on. For example, at the beginning of the year at magnets students are working on building their names and matching letters. The middle of the year they're making sight words. And now at the end of the year they're creating whole sentences. I love seeing the progress!

This is a system I will definitely take with me to my new job. Can't wait to see what that classroom looks like!

(note- I just had my evaluation meeting and my principal noted how she loved this organization system I have going! yay!)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Job update

If you know me, you know that I love teaching Kindergarten. LOVE. It's pretty much all I talk about. And I'm pretty sure it's why God put me on this earth.

That being said, I'm not super happy with my school. I really enjoy the kids, but the school is in a rough part of town and its a lot of stress. More than I can handle at times. I feel like I've given it my best shot, but after 3 years I'm done. So I've been looking for other positions.

Let me just say, my heart goes out to those who are looking for a job. It's tough! I had no idea. I sent my resume out to just about every school in town, only to get rejected quickly. I was starting to get down on myself, and starting to prep for another year at a school I don't love.

But then 4pm today rolled around. And I'm happy to report that I have a new Kindergarten position at a school in the suburbs. And I couldn't be happier! It's exactly what I want (minus the 35 minute commute, but I can deal with that for sanity).

This new position will be nice because it should be much less stress (yay!) which means more time for wedding planning and, lucky you!, blogging. Thanks to everyone who has been praying for me, sending words of encouragement, or listened to me complain. So thankful that it all worked out! And I get to still do what I love, teach Kindergarten :)