Sunday, September 30

Falling in Love [With Teaching] Fall Edition Part I

Hello Everybody!

This week was the official turning point: the week where it hit me that I am a month into my professional teaching position.  Earlier this week, I had to go to Madison to learn all about being a brand new teacher means working on the infamous PDP.  For those who have no idea what the heck a PDP is it stands for: Professional Development Plan.  This "plan" is a proposal one writes in order to improve their ability to teach.  It is required in order to keep on teaching.  Therefore, Madison kindly helps us through this process for the first time.  While many people were stressed out on how this process works...I was cool.  Dr. Kirst did an amazing job explaining this entire process to us while we were making one.  I still had some questions, but I was not "as in the dark" as other people were.  (Some people I felt bad for because they were losing their minds right in front of everybody!)

This meant a little less time in the because I love being there.  However, I managed to snap some photos of some of the fun centers and activities that we did for the week.  This week (and next), we are celebrating fall! Fall is my favorite season, so of coarse I am going bonkers over this.  The only themes that would be cooler would be A/a week of the ocean or B/a week of organs.  (Yes, my kids actually know what an organ is.)

So here are some of the fun things we did this week...

Another idea from Ms. Angie... we sang the "Grey Squirrel" song.  I was a little embarrassed about this song because... I didn't know it.  Boo.   But it goes something like this:

"Grey Squirrel, grey squirrel, shake your bushy tail!"

At that point you are shaking your tush and the kids are laughing because you look like a total dork...but who cares? 

So for art...we made grey and brown squirrels.  The kids had to color the squirrels either brown or grey because that's the color of squirrels.  (Obviously nobody at St. Pat's ever heard of the famous "Albino Squirrel" we held a funeral for back in 2010...) We colored squirrels and glued different colored leaves on the tail.  Loved it.   We were going to send them home with the kids, but I came up with the idea to post them on the bulletin board for all the grandparents to see.

 Here they are up close!  I used a hole punch I got from Hobby Lobby to help me punch all of those stamps out!

Why so much coloring? Well...I thought the same thing.  After all, Dr. Shaeffer told us at SNC that "coloring is bad."  And I don't always find value in coloring, however, with the age group we are working actually makes sense.  I attend a Handwriting Without Tears Workshop and they talked about the value of coloring.  That coloring actually builds strength in the hand which is important for writing.  I never thought of it that way.  I am having this issue myself: I have come to discover my grip I am trying to use the correct grip for the sake of the kids.  It hurts my hand to write with the correct grip.  So I have been coloring a little bit every night...and sure enough every day it has gotten a little better! Yay coloring!

For our art center...we made leaves!!! 

I took some tissue paper (sorry girls, not the tissue paper from VBS) and put it in little bags.  The kids glued them down to strengthen their fine motor skills.  We also talked about what color are leaves in the fall...and what color are they in the spring, etc.  This site was a popular one throughout the week with kindergarten.  Many of the kids wanted to make more than one!

This center was a total rip from my EDUC394 activity!

First you rolled the die... and count how many dots were present.  Then you took a peanut and covered it up in the egg carton.  It didn't work as well as it could have.  In fact, we are going to be "repeating" (I say that in quotes because they are all v 2.0 of them) centers and this one will be vamped!

I will say, people who use dice... do this to them!

It prevents them from falling all over the classroom.  The kids loved shaking them and I loved not losing dice.

Then for sorting!

Kinders sorted three different types of "nuts."  This helped with word recognition and size differentiation.    You had two options for doing this center. 

Option A was using the real deals!

Option B was using cards!

A few kids sorted both... awesome!

After they sorted, they had to sort large and small acorns on a worksheet! (Please don't steal, because it wasn't originally mine!!!) I believe you can get it from Mailbox.

The final favorite.  While planning this one I had a hard time getting the idea out of my mouth.  I wanted them to "dig" for letters.  I had a pile of dirt for them to dig in.  However, Angie kept looking at me going "and the part that has to do with fall is..." and I'd look at her with my dorky smile hoping the answer would come out.  About 20 minutes later, (in the middle of The Voice,) I shouted A PILE OF LEAVES! THEY DIG THROUGH A PILE OF LEAVES!

Once all the lights came on this center worked out!

We got a pile of "leaves" to put in a bucket.  Then I put letters inside...

But that wasn't the end of their work... the kids had to dig up letters to make (gasp) WORDS! Words that had to do with fall and words that were on our sight board.  To make this easier, I had a list of words they could find. 

I made two worksheets that you MAY copy, steal and put up on Pinterest... (somebody please steal and copy this took me 45 minutes to make these sheets look nice! If you want a larger sheet or the original, please let me know and I will happily give you the original to use and abuse!) 

The only downside I found out with these sheets is that my letters are all capital, while the words on my paper are all lower-case.  Jolly Phonics teaches with lower case.  It makes sense, since most words have mostly lower-case letters.   Therefore, for the v2.0 I am going to make letter cards for the kids to find...instead of the letters.  That way the words match the words on the paper 100%.  They can compare the size, shape and the letters in the word.  I am excited to revamp and have another week with this project.  This was the most popular center with the kids.  They loved digging up and "discovering" what was underneath the pile of leaves.  I also picked up more leaves, so this time, they will be digging up with some real letters...can't you tell I am super dooper excited about this one?

That is all for now! I am off to revamp my centers and start the first week of October on a high note! It is going to be a great week!



Wednesday, September 26

Speaking of Sports...

Hey All!

I'm so excited that my iCloud came into good use... the photos I thought I lost from my iphone were actually backed up! I'm so happy because I was able to share all the fun things we did during our sports week!

For an art project, we talked about different patterns and sport games.  I read the book: "Froggy Plays Soccer."

After reading about soccer, we talked about how to play soccer...and what is the one thing special about soccer that differs from other "ball" games... Hands OFF the ball!!!

To go with the book, the kids made soccer balls with different patterns.  During that time, we talked about the colors they could use, the types of patterns they could use and etc.  I was pretty impressed the children knew several different types of patterns such as dots, stripes, checkers, tracks, etc.  The younger children did a great job identifying the colors they were using! Some used all different colors and some used a variety. 

In the math section, we played football!  Who doesn't like a good football game? (Aka not the one that was on last Thursday.) I created this game myself... I was pretty proud of it!

To play this game, you roll the die and move your man across the field.  Once you get a "touchdown" you get a blue chip for a point.  You keep going over and over again until the time is up.  This was a very popular game for the kids.  It was great for them to practice counting up to ten.  It also helped with one to one correspondence for the younger kids!

Another center was the pattern center.  I can't take credit for this one...but nevertheless I will still post about it! It was pretty darn creative!

The pattern cards helped indicate what to do with the rest of the pattern.  The dots helped make this pattern strip something that can be done over and over again!

For sorting we had...more football! (Maybe I had football on my mind?)

To help the kids learn their color words...we had them sort colored footballs! On each football is a color and on each plate is the corresponding word.  The older kids did quite well...and the younger kids were getting it towards the end of the week:)

Part of our sports week...we talked about teamwork! Teamwork is pretty important; teaches you about working together as well as how to deal with not winning a game.  That's life...not winning all the time.  Someday Green Bay will understand that concept...? 

To help build sportsmenship, the kids played Memory.  This was a harder concept for the kids... taking turns and sharing? Remembering things?  If I was five...I'd have a harder time doing this too! Again, there was a lot of improvement throughout the week. 

There was more... we did Olympic rings, we made football helmets, and more.  However, I did not find time to get pictures of those before the kids went home for the day.    Those projects were very cute! I enjoyed this theme a lot! I hope you did too!


Sunday, September 23

Building Up...Construction!

Hey All!

I was super dooper excited to show everybody all of the very cool things we did last week.  We had an amazing Sports Week! iphone decided to quit on me and my photos were lost.  I'm depressed about this because I actually was really proud of this fact!

All is not lost though: I found some photos of our first theme week: "Construction."  Here are some of the fun things we were doing!

For one of our centers: we cut up some shapes and laminated them to a piece of paper.   Here they are!

Then, the kids created a tower from that shape.  The children were challenged to make the tallest tower they could! 

Another center we made was the "Fine Motor Center."  The children ripped the red paper and glued it onto a wall.  In result, the children created a brick wall! They had fun! Some were even trying to stagger the bricks so they would "rest" on top of teach other!

Our art project for the week was creating different types of trucks.  We created a truck to go with the book "Construction Crew!" This truck was not hand drawn.  I used my Cricut to make the stencils.  Then the rest of the stuff was cut out by hand.

 Finally, this is the bulletin board that I created.  Simple looking? Yes.  I hand drew the hammer and the cones myself.  The words are guess what...cut with the Cricut!

I wish I could show you more...but this is all that I was able to capture on film! This upcoming week is all about family and fall.   We have some cool projects lined up that I want to share with you.  I will do my best to try to photograph the cool projects and upload them within a reasonable time.

That's all for now!


Saturday, September 15

No Really...What Does Your Apartment Look Like!

Hey Everybody!

I know I KNOW I have been slacking in the “uploading pictures from my apartment” department.  But today, I am to show you my current living quarters.  I absolutely love my place, but I don’t’ have everything in place yet.  It's coming though! My furniture and belongings are mostly in the right place, however, I don’t have a lot of artwork in any other room but the living room.  I am working on getting “decorations” set up around the apartment.  It’s taking lots of time because I lack funds.  Most of my cash went to gas, school things and apartment necessities.  Once I obtain more funds, I will be able to fund myself better and slowly get things that will make the apartment look better.

Here's a look at my bedroom!!!  I finally cleaned it up and added things on the wall!

I made this for my necklaces, earrings, bracelets and more! Megan Daul gave me the idea a long time ago!

I bought a shelf from (you guessed it!) IKEA! Here I have photos of awesome people; Jenni Mamrosh and I at senior year graduation, my kids from HFS and mom, Kay and I visiting Chicago!  Also, I have a turtle my friend Katherine gave to me as a graduation gift in 2005!

I finally hung some artwork in the hallway.  I don't have a theme...just random work that I like!

An ode to Kasey and Ben Hock! They are two fantastic people!  They took a trip on Route 66 and took pictures.  I purchased some a few years ago.  Now they are hanging in my hall!

And now my kitchen... the best place to be! Minus some key art work...I am pretty much set up in here!

I made a menu for my kitchen!

Look! Another (IKEA) shelf!

A "To Do" list that hangs in my kitchen.

My tea closet!

My wine collection! My landlord was actually quite impressed with the bottles of wine that I have purchased.  He wants me to bring some good DC wine back home...and he will get me some great Southern WI to share! Awesome!

And ode to my college days... they collect dust.

My mom made these!

My bathroom! I warn you this room is not anywhere near completion. Chad put this together for me!

Where I store things like my hair dryer and comb.  

Another mom made object!

Overview... the tub is an old french style tub with the shower curtain that goes all the way around...

Craft Room time! My IKEA shelf.  Not all of them will have drawers... but many of them will. I store my paper crafts and paints here!

My office where I hang up student artwork, church schedules and more!

Mom made these for me!! She's so sweet!

Pictures of friends...

Where Pickles will be located! living room!!!!

This is my Zen area.  It's not finished yet, but this is where I put my candles when I do yoga.

BOOKS!!!!!!!  And awesome artwork from Zoe and Charles!

This is an overview.  I painted most of the pictures in this room.

Another view.  You can see my yoga mat sits out right in front of my zen area.  I love being able to keep it out because it gives me a reminder to do it!

The piano received a spot too!!!!  This is where I attempt to practice my music for church (and play just for fun!)  I did all of the artwork in this picture except for the far right one with the yellow building.  That is a professional piece!

Last but not least... the couch that made it up the stairs!!!  Thanks for moving it boys!

That's all for now!!!!  I hope you like what I did to the really do not do the place justice!