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!




  1. This last center is a super cool idea!!! I want you to teach Cayden's class!!!

  2. Thanks Chrissy!!! You're the best CT ever!

  3. Cool! Glad to hear you're getting along so well in Janesville!


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