Sunday, October 19, 2014

Paying it Forward!

Hope everyone had a fabulous weekend!!! We had a great time with our best friends in Charlotte, NC despite we are OLD!! Home by midnight! We were sad we had to stand and that it was so crowded!! Just say OLD!!!


We are helping our friend, Jamie over at Play to Learn Preschool! She is celebrating her 1 year tpt anniversary by hosting a Pay it Forward Event! Jamie collected items from 30 sellers (including us) and created a bundle. For each bundle she sells, 100% of the proceeds will be donated to charity! She has designated each day of earnings to go to a different charity! Check it out!!

Over $140 worth of product for $30!! What a deal!! Click an image below to grab this great deal!

  


Let us know what you think!! Have a great week at school!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Skippy the Squirrel

Guess who came to our room today? One of our sweet grandmas brought her rescued squirrel in for a fall visit! 

Skippy was rescued after falling out of his nest as a tiny baby squirrel with no hair and eyes still closed. This is the 6th squirrel they have rescued, and they are becoming quite knowledgeable in the ins and outs of it all! Skippy has made a TON of progress and is growing like a weed. He drinks milk from a dropper, takes naps in his blanket, and gets some exercise in the house.

Once spring arrives, he will be prepped and released back into the wild. They have had lots of success releasing their little patients back into the wild, including having them visit every so often just to check in! How sweet!

This was such a great lesson in caring for nature and bringing the outdoors inside...up close and personal!


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Rockin' It in Kindergarten

We've been focusing on rocks and soil for the last 3 weeks or so. Truly, I used to loathe this unit. I didn't really know how to make rocks and dirt interesting or fun. Good news for me though, because k kiddos think rocks, dirt, mud...is all pretty cool. So we added the cool soil and rock exploration stations and let them get in there and play!  It's been amazing watching them draw, weigh, compare, measure rocks and have a darn good time doing it.
So we basically set up each study (we did soil first and then rocks) by completing KQLI charts together. We brainstormed things they already knew, questions they had, and left the "learned" part until the end. We also added illustrations to the chart. 

Next we watched short video clips from Brainpop, jr! And United Streaming. We took notes in their science journals (which they LOVE), and we read and illustrated simple emergent readers that gave them some good background knowledge.

Then it was time to explore. The kiddos each brought in 3 different rocks to add to our stations. We set up 6 stations throughout the room. The kids each chose a partner to work with for the week and 2 pairs of partners could work at any 1 station at a time.  They chose which stations they wanted to work in and moved around as they completed a station. They didn't have to complete ALL 6 stations but most of them tried to and did because they LOVED them! Yay!

We loved all the discussions we heard. I think that may be what I love the most. I don't really care so much about WHAT they actually write on the recording sheets, it's more about what they TALK about and DO! The recording sheets help tremendously in keeping them focused on the task and keeping them accountable though! Here are the sheets from one little cutie pies pack!
We wrapped up the unit by revisiting our KQLI charts and recorded all the great discoveries they made. Rocks...you ROCK!
What kinds of things do you do with your kiddos to make rocks and soil...fun?





Friday, October 10, 2014

Teaching Self Control - Super Power

Did you know our kiddos have a SUPER POWER?? Their SUPER POWER can be self control, if we teach it and reinforce it everyday!

How do you teach self control to young kiddos or even older kiddos??  Let's just say BUBBLES and M&Ms (or any other yummy irresistible candy or treat)

Steps to teaching self control...


Teacher Says: Did you know you have a super power???
                        Whisper to your friend, what you think your super power is.

Students: Students whisper to a friend then give various responses for what they think is their super power

Teacher Says: 1-2 (students respond ... eyes on you)

Teacher Says:  Your super power is self control.
                         Whisper to your friend what you think self control means

Teacher Says: 1-2 (students respond... eyes on you)

Students: Students share about their super power with teacher and class

Teacher Says: Self Control is when you try really hard not to do something that you really, really want to do. We are going to practice this with my bubble blowing machine. (You can use bubble blowing machine, bubble gun, or manually blow bubbles with a wand. A bubble gun may be frowned upon in the school setting).

Teacher Says: When I turn on the bubbles, I want you to use self control and not pop the bubbles. It is going to be really, really difficult, but I know you can do it.


Teacher turns on the machine. It may take a few times before teacher can turn on the machine without students popping bubbles. Keep trying while talking about self control each time.

After students master using SELF CONTROL for not popping any bubbles, have them to pop one bubble. This may be even more difficult for students than not popping any bubbles.

You can do something similar with M&Ms. Tell the kiddos they can have 1 M&M now or wait until later and get 5. You will be amazed at the kiddos who can wait and those who can not.

After the fun lesson part with bubble and M&Ms, have kiddos discuss ways they can show self control in the classroom and at home. Then  have them write about it.

The kiddos had a blast with this lesson. My sister in law told me about the idea and our counselor used it in grades pre k to 5th grade!

It was super fun and effective!!! Check out our Counselor's cutie pie son! He has self control!! It is his super power!!


Let us know if you have a great way to teach self control or other character traits!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Soil Collections

We started our Rocks and Soil unit last week. We started the unit with SOIL.  We watched the Brainpop,Jr video clip about soil and brainstormed a web of things we already knew about it (it's dirty, it can be different colors...) then it was time to do some up close scientific research!

The kiddos made a "soil collection plan". They decided what tools we needed, how we could gather our samples, and where we would look on our school grounds to collect the samples.

Then they brought in the needed supplies...trowels, small shovels, gardening gloves, little buckets... And we set off to gather our samples.
Next we headed back inside to make some up close observations! We carefully (as in maybe got soil ALL over the place and had a big ol clean up party afterwards) glued some of the samples onto a soil collection sheet and recorded our observations. 
Then we met back together and shared our findings. We spent nearly 4 complete class sessions on soil. We took notes in our science journals, read non-fiction soil books, and they read and illustrated their own SOIL emergent readers.  This upcoming week we'll shift our focus to ROCKS...now that our little scientists know THAT'S where soil comes from. More on that soon! 

You can find all of the soil and rock activities, recording sheets, emergent readers and more in our "Rockin' it in K: Rocks and Soil" unit!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

How do we become presenters??

I am eagerly awaiting to hear from Cristy who participated in the Marine Corps mud challenge today. 6 miles of running along with mud and obstacles!! That does not even sound fun to me!! Give me a tutu a tiara and 13.1 miles and I am there, but MUD??? No, thank you!!! Yuck!!

So Cristy and I had a blast this week presenting our bag of tricks at another school! We were invited by the principal and she wanted us to share a little bit of everything!! It was super fun!! I love presenting with Cristy!! Wish we could do it more!! We really do have good stuff to share!!

Anyone have any tips on being able to share at conferences? There are some conferences that don't allow partner presenters, but we are a package deal!!! Would love to hear any info you guys can share!!



Monday, September 29, 2014

Tips to Score TOPS on a Teacher Evaluation

Who is going through an intensive teacher evaluation/effectiveness program??? Here in Georgia, all teachers/leaders are required to be a part of the TKES - Teacher Keys Effectiveness System. This systems measures teacher effectiveness by looking at student growth and teacher performance on 10 standards (included are 4 -10 minute walkthroughs and 2- 30 minutes formative observations)

Here are just a few quick tips to help you show how AWESOME you are in the category of Instructional Delivery! Those observing are looking for consistency of practice so incorporate the tips and make them become a natural part of your routine.


We would love to know what you have to do in other states!!