Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New {School} Year Resolutions & a New Item!

I have been gone sooo long! Well, not actually, just since Thursday. And I actually didn't go anywhere. I was just taking some time away from my computer. Friday was my last day of summer school. WOOO HOOO! Summer school was a killer this year. I'm glad it's done. BUT, now that summer school is done, that means my new class is coming soon! I have one week, yes, one week to myself before heading back to school for a week of professional development and then... school!!! A fresh new batch of kindergarteners. I'll have pictures of my ready-to-go classroom soon. Before the reveal of my classroom (as if you haven't seen it already), I wanted to share a new item I have on my TPT store. It is a Math Posters Set. I figured I'd put them in a bundle to save some people time & money. You can visit my TPT store to get your own... I'm giving away 3.. 2 to the first 2 people to comment today and 1 more to a new follower!

Since school is fast approaching, I am LOVING this linky from Teaching Maddeness: New {School} Year Resolutions. It will be much easier to stick to the resolution when I have all of you to back me up and keep me in track! (How cute is that Linky Party image!? I want to link up more now because it's so cute!)
Resolution #1
Keep the desk clear!
I just downsized my desk. I had 2 before, a teacher desk and a teacher computer desk. I use my laptop for everything so I got rid of the desktop, the computer desk and downsized to just a teacher's desk. I realized that the computer desk was not only taking up a lot of space but it was also my dumping ground and hiding spot. I HAVE to avoid that this year especially with only one teeny teacher desk. I just got a paper sorter, some small drawers and I am ready for a clean, organized desk.

Resolution #2
Find a happy medium!
I LOVE my job. I really do. Because I love it so much, I often get caught up in too much work! I like to help, I like to be involved in many different things and I LOVE to create things for my team & classroom. OH! And I LOOOVEE to blog. Blogging has made me a better teacher in so many ways. The downfall to loving what I do and wanting to learn more? I forget to enjoy my time away from work! I NEED to find a happy balance between spending time with work and spending time with my family. Balance, balance, balance. I'm thinking I might need to schedule & limit my blogging, pinning and creating...

Resolution #3
Bring a lunch to school everyday!
I am horrible at packing lunches. Horrible. I almost always have a Lean Cuisine or Smart Ones for lunch (whichever is on sale) because they are easy and affordable. There are also those days when my kinder team and I say, "Going out?" Which is often followed by, "YES!" Sometimes we just need to go away for lunch. Well, I have to admit, those out-to-lunch lunches are taking a toll on my pocket and my waist. I am going to pack a lunch everyday! That's it! I'm doing it. I'll probably pack the night before...

Resolution #4
Complain less!
It is so easy to complain about an unwanted unexpected assembly or fire drill. It is so easy to complain about the budget cuts taking a toll on our own finances because we spend so much time and money invested in our classrooms. It is so easy to complain about those parents, you know, those parents.My most important resolution is to complain less and do more. Complain less about what is happening and do more to make it better. Who is with me on that one??

That's it for today! I can't wait to go back and read others' resolutions. Don't forget to check out my TPT store for the Math Posters Set and comment fast to get yours FREE!

Happy Tuesday! 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Classroom Management: Nothing to do with clips

Hola Amigos!
I am already an awful blogger, I haven't been here since Tuesday! Once I get back into my usual ways and usual work schedule, you will hear more from me, whether you like it or not! hehe.
With the bustle of everyone working hard to set up their classrooms, I wanted to share what we do at our school for classroom management/behavior. I especially wanted to share to give something to think about when setting up your classrooms.
At our school, we do Positive Behavior Support (PBS). I found this great site that talks much about what it is and how it is used and puts it in a "fact sheet" format. You can find that site here. Basically what we do is focus everything on the positive. We think carefully about what we say and how we say it to the children to focus attention on the positive. Most of the time, negative behaviors come from frustration, impatience and/or are attention seeking behaviors. Instead of feeding the negative or inappropriate behaviors with attention, we focus on the behaviors that we expect from the student(s). For example, if George is really wiggly or is talking out of turn, we might say, "Wow, I really like how Sammy is waiting his turn to share his answer, thank you Sammy." George may catch on and wait his turn as well. We didn't give George the attention and we stated the behavior expected without pointing out George. We focused on the positive to switch the behavior. I know that there have been many times where I ask one student to stop doing something and I turn around and five other students are doing it too. That used to drive me crazy! By focusing my attention on the behaviors that are expected, I can eliminate this easily. You will often hear me say, "I am looking for a leader who looks like...." Silence fills the room, the students are quickly adjusting their bodies and voices. "Who looks like Jack. He is showing his eyes watching, his ears listening and his body still. Is there anyone else that is showing they can be a leader and show their friends what we should be doing? Oh, I see Sarah is ready and this student is ready and this student is ready. Thank you for being ready friends." By this time, the student who was talking or not paying attention, is looking around to see what everyone else is doing to jump on board. Also, my school is an inclusive school where students have behaviors that you may not see in a typical classroom. By focusing on the positive, we are providing a positive learning experience for all students.
There are no clip charts here. There is something about them that always make my stomach hurt just a little. I know that they are successful for many people but I am not one of them.
To continue with our Positive Behavior Support, we use Marbles, Wands and Treasure Box. PBS is a schoolwide philosophy but is implemented in similar ways but still varies from grade level to grade level.

Marbles are awarded to the whole class for everything and anything. You might hear me say (with my back turned), "I am looking for a leader who, WOW! the whole class is ready? Let's give ourselves some points for our marble jar." When we fill up our marble jar, we decide, as a class, how we want to celebrate our success. I usually sway their votes to a pajama party, gotta love kindergarten! I keep a tally on the board of all of the points earned and a marble counter comes up at the end of each day to count all of the points and count the marbles into our jar. Everyone is counting! Math standard? Check!
Marble Jar. I have a marble counter that counts all of our earned marbles into the jar on the right. When we hit the pink line, we earn a MARBLE PARTY!

Wands are given to the students for each part of the day. After each activity, we earn a wand for following the classroom rules (more on those later). If there was a student who was having a hard time with the rules, they may not earn a wand for that part of the day. Still, there is opportunity to earn another wand in order to make up for it: the "Good Citizen" wand. The most important part of the marbles and wands is that we never, EVER take them away after they have earned them. After all that hard work? No way. The way I like to explain this to parents is by thinking about it as our paychecks. We earn our money each day but if we have a bad hour or so, our boss doesn't take away the money we have already earned! Why should we take away what they have already earned? We don't. Say the student is just having an awful day then their consequence is not earning any wands for the day which means no key. The wands are nothing more than a colored popsicle stick.
Here you can see the day broken up and the color wand (popsicle stick) for each part of the day. Class meeting is orange, centers is yellow and so on. The GOOD CITIZEN is the pink wand. This wand is earned by those who go above and beyond. I have a label for each part of the day that matches my daily schedule.  I attach these with magnets.
Wands chart for PBS

I keep my popsicle sticks "wands" right under my chart for easy access.

Wands chart. Library pockets laminated. I place students' names and pictures on each pocket to keep all year long.
Keys. Oh the beloved keys. Think of these as the paychecks and the wands as your days clocked in. The keys are given at the end of the day to the students who have earned all of their wands. 5 wands = 1 key. 3 keys = treasure box! I know that some people cringe at the thought of a treasure box but it is what works for now. I consider switching it up every now and then but I haven't found anything that I like yet. Sooo, the Keys are given out each day and whomever has earned 3 keys get to open up the treasure box. I keep their keys in a library pocket chart like the wands. I just laminate and slit the pockets open. Each student has their own. Most students walk into the classroom and say, "Wow, I have 2 keys today, I hope I can go to the treasure box." My response is usually, "I hope so, too!" Keys aren't anything special either. They are tongue depressors with glitter on them. Man, do they get the kiddos excited though! You can see them in the blue bucket in the picture above. After the students open up the treasure box, I take out all 3 keys and start again.
Keys for PBS. 5 wands=1key, 3keys=Treasure box. Each student has their own pocket to keep track of what they have earned.
Phew! That's a long post.
I hope this gives someone something to think about. Let me know what you think. I am so proud of what we do for our students but I also know that this isn't for everyone and their group of students. 

What do YOU see as the pros and/or cons?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tell Me More!

Hi everybody!
I feel like I have been out of the loop for the past few days! I had a long (but wonderful) weekend. A wedding on Friday and my grandmother's 78th (woo hoo) birthday on Sunday. Crazy but well worth it. I am looking forward to the last day of summer school and a week of break before it is the new school year!!!! My goodness that just snuck up on me!
Anyway, I plan since it is almost the school year, I am planning on posting things about my classroom management system (no, it's not a clip chart, gasp!), classroom organizational things and more classroom photos. For today, I am linking up with Mrs. Lemons for here Tell Me More Linky Party

I am copying Miss Kindergarten's way and giving you the ABCs of me...

A- Age: 27. I know, I know, I'm not old but I am having a really hard time with my age this year. I keep telling people that I'm 25 again. I just don't want to be a grown up.
B-Bed size: California King! I LOVE it! My husband doesn't care too much about the size because no matter how big the bed, I still take up 80% of it! 
Absolutely us!
C-Chore you hate: I don't like doing any and all chores but dishes are definitely my worst enemy! For some reason, I ALWAYS get my shirt all wet and ruin a manicure!
D-Dogs: My puppy is now 9 years old! My hubby gave him to me for Christmas when he was just "the boyfriend." He surprised me with a gift bag and said, "Open it." I said, "Aw, thank you, I'll open it later." He said, "No, just do it now." He handed me the bag and out popped this little fur ball! Sully came out of the bag and threw up on the floor. Merry Christmas! lol.
Meet Sully
E-Essential to start your day: Silence, I'm not a morning person! lol.
F-Favorite color: Purple. Always has been. 
G-Gold or silver: White gold! lol. 
H-Height: Short. My school is a K-8 school and most of those 6-8 grade kids are taller than me! 
I-Instruments you play: I play great drums on Rock Band! 
J-Job title: Kindergarten teacher!
K-kids: none yet! 
L-Live: The best place on Earth, CALIFORNIA!
M-My mom's name: Mom, duh! 
N- Nicknames: Nessa. My cousins all called me Ness or Nessa when we were kids now my nephew is starting to say Nessa and I LOOOOOVVVEE it!! Vanessa is just too many syllables and sounds to say for a 2 year old.
O-Overnight hospital stay: I have had a couple overnight stays in a hospital but never for myself. Thank goodness. 
P-Pet peeves: loud chewing, crunching or smacking food for all to hear. Seriously, it drives me insane! I can't even watch the Kit Kat commercials that have their theme song in crunches, it's so gross! People who chew ice, please stay across the room! lol. 
Q-Quote from a movie: "Be cool, huh?" -Danny Zuko
R-Right/lefty: I write with my right hand.
S- Siblings: I have 2 younger sisters. My youngest sister has the cutest baby boy. The first grandchild AND first boy (besides my dad and my husband). Needless to say, he's spoiled rotten! 
Making funny faces at my husband.
His favorite thing to do! Isn't he a doll?
T-Time you wake up: Well, my alarm goes off at 5:15 but I usually wake up at 6am! I love sleeping more than I love waking. lol. 
U-Underwear: What? Yes? I'm not sure how to respond to this. hahaha.
V-Veggies you dislike: ummm.... brussel sprouts! My mother always told us that we had to try it before saying we don't like it. My sisters and I like veggies so we never really broke this rule with veggies but I remember spitting out brussel sprouts right onto my plate and saying, "Ok, I tried it."
W-What makes you run late: My husband! I have always been very punctual, mostly because my father is a stickler about punctuality but my husband can never seem to be on time for anything!! It drives my crazy. I have resorted to lying about what times we actually have to be places and now my friends are doing that to me because of him! ugh! I even lied to him about what time to arrive at the church on our wedding day, that's how late he is to everything! Luckily, he really wanted to marry me so he showed up on time, well, the made up time. lol. 
My favorite picture. It's just so sweet.
X-X-rays you've had: At the dentist. Man, I hate the dentist. 
Y-Yummy food you make: I make desserts! All kinds... 
Z-Zoo animal: OOOOOOOOHHHHHHHH, I LOVE the zoo!! It is seriously my favorite. I love to animal watch. Animals just fascinate me.

Well that's me.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Photo Dump

Friday Photo Dump time!
My iPods. I printed the numbers and taped it to the inside of the OtterBox protective case.

Laminating is fun! Cutting is not as much fun.

More laminate! More about the Wands Chart coming soon!

My big splurge this year! Aren't those frames darling?? I got them at Lakeshore! Each student will have their own. I'm hoping that these will last many years.
My newest product on TPT.

Not too many pictures today but here's a few more things for you...

Mrs. Lindsey's 100 Follower Giveaway is awesome! Check it out! There is a prize on there from yours truly.

Also, please consider donating to my classroom through Donors Choose. I have a new project up for an Interactive Whiteboard. This particular Interactive Whiteboard is a fraction of the amount of the "SMARTBoard" brand AND you can write on it with whiteboard marker. I think all of my students (all students in general) would benefit from having one of these babies in our classroom. Spread the word in anyway you can, please!

That's all I have for you today! I have a busy weekend ahead of me... tomorrow I have an early appointment to cut my hair and then I rush home to get ready for a wedding! I love weddings! Too bad it will be the hottest day of the week tomorrow. Bummer. Hopefully I don't melt. On Sunday, I organized a birthday BBQ for my grandmother, she'll be 78! BTW, I have a huge, huge family (this is my maternal grandmother's birthday, she has 10 children, crazy woman!), organizing a potluck style BBQ with that many people has been the end of me! Never again! I know it will be a blast to be with all of my family but next time, I'll just enjoy the company. lol.

School is creeping up everyone! Enjoy your time off while you can!

Happy Friday!!!!! 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Must Have Picture Books & a new AWARD!

I recently saw this linky party by The Teacher Wife and I HAD to join in! C'mon guys, picture books? I'm a kindergarten teacher! I LOOOVVVEEE picture books! Apparently 150 other people felt the same way! 150 people have already joined in!
Here are my faves:

1. Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes.

It is an adorable story about Chrysanthemum the mouse who loves her name. After all, it is "absolutely perfect," says Chrysanthemum's father. During my 2nd year of teaching, we held a "Festival of Books" at the end of the year and each classroom chose their favorite book and perform for a reader's theater. We chose Chrysanthemum! I feel like I can still hear them saying, "Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum."

2. What Are You So Grumpy About?  by Tom Lictenheld
It is the cutest! I bought this book at a book fair held at my college before I even graduated! I didn't know what grade I would teach or if I would ever teach but I knew I needed this book! I've read it to all of my classes at least once. It is about a boy who just woke up on the wrong side of the bed and nothing seems to go right for him. The wrong breakfast cereal, his clothes shrunk, he has chores to do, his sister touches him, the list goes on...

3. Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel.

ANY Frog and Toad story is darling. I enjoy reading the short stories to my students and get them to relate to the characters. I love that the stories are about kindness, friendship and honesty. The characters are friends and treat each other with respect, everything that I try to model and expect from my own students. They are great stories to problem solve with, to act out or just to sit and listen. I have the series in a bundle I got a few years ago and I always keep one of the books on my whiteboard for anytime where we have a few extra minutes to spare.

Join the party! Visit The Teacher Wife to see all the other blogs and their favorite picture books too!

Now on to the next order of business... an AWARD!
Thank you Mrs. McElveen at Whooo Loves Kindergarten and Cindy at Krazy Kindergarten Teacher

This award is named for the German word "Liebster," which translates to "beloved" or "favorite", and is given to a "new, up and coming blogger." 

Here are the rules:

1. Link back to the person who gave it to you. 
2. Post the award to your blog.
3. Give the award to at least 5 bloggers with less than 200 followers.
4. Leave a comment on the 5 blogs to let them know that they have been offered this award.

I am giving the award to:

Mrs Greens LIttle Green Beans
Miss West's Class
Learning In Wonderland

Thank you all for being here! Did you notice that I am above 100 followers!? When did that happen??? Anyone interested in being a part of a giveaway???

Come back tomorrow for my Friday Photo Dump!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Teaching with iPods

Hola amigos!
A wonderful blog TIPS:Teach, Inspire, and Prepare Students just got 5 iPods to use in her classroom (Woo! Hoo! Congrats Laura!) and is asking for some help with how to use them. Any one out there want to join her linky/giveaway to offer any advice??
Here is how I use my iPods...
1. Centers
We have a 4 center rotation each day and at one center, once or twice a week, when work is complete, the students get to use the iPods. I like to make the adjust work during these days so that they will all have time to get to play. It stinks when the fast finishers are the only ones who get to play.

2. Morning Meeting
Everyone has a block of time where the students are completing "morning meeting" type tasks, right? Well, after teaching the routine for quite some time, I break my students up into different groups, this time for days of the week. Each day of the week, a group of students gets to use the iPods. I call this my "Room 3 App Store" I am very strict about which games they can play because I want the time to be useful, fun and interactive. I give them a few choices about what they can play and they can ONLY play these choices. I tell them that if they aren't following directions, then they will not be able to play anymore but I haven't had any problems and good thing because I wouldn't have such a hard time taking such a fun time away from them! Each of their game choices works on something that they are struggling with. This makes it SOOOO easy for differentiation and inclusion: everyone gets what they need!
Here's a picture of how I have it set up in my classroom.
I have each iPod numbered (aww man, I don't have a picture of that, I'll put it in the Friday Photo Dump). So, I take a minute and say, "It's Monday, You are on iPod number 1 and here are your 2 choices, You are on iPod number 2 and here are your choices, You are on iPod number 3 and here are your choices, You are on iPod number 4 and here are your choices and You are on iPod number 5 and here are your choices." That was long-winded! I call the students by their names though, not by "You." hehe. After 2 or 3 weeks time, all I have to do is walk over to the App Store pocket chart and say, "It's Tuesday," there are probably students ready and waiting at the table already with their hands out urging me to stop talking so they can start.
To make the picture choices of the apps, I Googled the apps and looked for the image that matches what it looks like on the actual iPod, formatted it to size in PowerPoint and hit print! Here is a copy of the my PowerPoint if you'd like to use it or just take a look at how I did it. Please leave me comment if you download it so I know if it is any good! =) Also, it came out kinda funky in GoogleDocs so just email me if you'd like an original copy.

3. Listen to Reading time during Daily 5
I spent much time on my computer uploading all of my books on CD into my iTunes. After I uploaded them all, I spent more time Google-ing the images of the front cover for each book. It took me all summer last year! But it was well worth it, trust me! All my students have to do is grab a book, an iPod and they are reading to listen to the story. They go to music, find the image of the book and tap on it. So simple for my kindergarteners and I don't have hands tugging on me because they can't find their story. If I want them all to read the same story, I put 1 iPod out and hook it up to my Lakeshore splitter and we are good to go!
This is what it looks like in iTunes

In order to get the picture on there you'll need to:
1. Save the picture onto your computer. I made an entire folder called "Front Covers for iPods," clever, right?
2. Go into iTunes, find the story and right click (sorry guys, I'm a PC user, I don't know what right click translates to in Mac world)
3. Click on Get Info
4. Click on the Artwork tab
5. Click Add
6. Choose your picture and save!

4. As a timer
I LOVE my Kiddie Timer! There is an app called Kiddie Timer that is amazing. There is a free one (with stinkin' ads) and a paid one. I put it under my ELMO and the students help keep track of our time. I also have a helper who taps Stop and Go (mostly because I always forget). If you have an iPod, get this app for your kids and/or your students!

Ok, I have gone on long enough, this took much longer to write than expected. Check out my previous post about iPods here and here for more info (or repeated info) and for some of the apps that I use. And don't forget to link up with Laura at TIPS to help her out and everyone else with iPods/iPads.

Thanks for being here!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Made it Monday!

I am so excited to share my Made it Monday project because it is my first project with ModPodge!!!!! I really love this stuff! I even found a blog that is called Mod Podge Rocks, check it out, it really rocks. So, here it is, I have to admit they are not the greatest projects but they kept me busy for a couple of hours.
My new best friend

I had these left over from a school project and I KNEW I could use it for something! I painted it first.
I cut my scrapbook paper into strips and squares.

And ModPodged away!

I got these Cup Hooks at WalMart for 97 cents!
Look at my new jewelry holder! I also added a cup hook to the top to hang it up.

Then I whipped out this plain old clipboard...

And ModPodged away!
I found this empty frame at my apartment complex after someone moved out. I HAD to pick it up. WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH IT??
Any suggestions about what I should do with this frame?? I have a couple ideas but there are far more creative people out there than me! 
Don't forget to head over to Fourth Grade Frolics for the Linky Party and more Made It Monday projects! 
Come back soon! 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

I is for BUILD and Inky Linky

Hey everyone!
First, I want to share the games I have been using for my Interactive Math portion of BUILD. In case you missed it, you can find it here and here.
Here are the games I currently have, please share some good ones if you have some!
Teach Me: Kindergarten, Teach Me: First Grade, Junior Bingo, Monkey Math School Sunshine, Counting Fish, Math Bingo, Telling Time
Math Bingo, Marble Math, Rocket Math, Counting Coins, Teach Me: Second Grade

Next, the Inky Linky!
I love seeing others' tattoos! I personally have 5. Here are my 2 most recent and favorite.
An apple and a worm!
The next is my favorite and the one the kids see the most. I got it with my girlfriends during my bachelorette weekend. It's a heart because we were all there together because of love. It is cute, sweet, meaningful and only $10! lol.
Join the Inky Linky! Here are the rules:
1. Please use good judgment when posting pictures of your tat. If it's in a place where we have no business looking at it, then please don't. If it contains profanity or other vulgarities, please do not post it. You'd think I wouldn't have to have a disclaimer like this, but one can never guess. I'm covering my bases! :: smiles ::

2. Please DO share your pic and story as to why you got it and what it symbolizes.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Photo Dump

Happy Friday!
Black Twin Sheet set from Walmart $10. Here I come bulletin boards!


There were 2 small bulletin boards here but now it's just one big one.

With an adorable patchwork border. Sorry about the glare.

I still had enough sheet left over to make this one...

(ignore the mess) And this teeny one...

And this one! There is still some more left for one more smaller one.

I changed the border on this one. I think this border really pops! I like that it is filled with primary colors, just like my classroom.

Add caption
Thanks Adie!
Come back soon for the iPod games I use for my BUILD math centers and an inky linky!