Sunday, October 27, 2013

Dunkin' Donuts BABY!!!

So this Halloween we  needed to come up with something that would knock the socks off of our families! Every year at our Family Fun Night event, the teachers go ALL OUT to impress.  We are so dang "INTO" it that it's not even funny.  I don't know who has more fun...the kiddos, the parents or all us teachers!

This year our K team decided to be "DUNKIN' Donuts"---and I don't mean just some plain old donuts...I really mean DUNKIN' donuts!  We borrowed some jerseys from Page's hubs who hooked us up!  We found some matching shorts (in my case, I somehow squeezed ALL of this into my almost 10 year old's shorts...let's just say I am thankful the jerseys were LONG to cover all my parts!)  Then we added pink headbands, wrist bands, and knee socks for the TOTAL package!

People...we are NOT actual basketball players, we only play ones on TV Family Fun Night!  No basketballs were hurt or mistreated in this event.  OK---I lie!  We did TEAR UP the court, better known as the little atrium were we were set up.  And you should have SEEN our MAD dunkin' skills!  Dribble, dribble, dribble, SLAM DUNK baby...right into the Little Tykes basketball goal.  We were VICIOUS!!!!  

Anyway, we got A LOT of laughs from our kiddos and families...especially the DADS who totally "GOT IT"!    Be sure and take a look at our past stints as Fruit of the Loom Guys, Minions, Humpty Dumpty and the at this post!

Now...hopefully the moment you have been anxiously awaiting...

We had lots of people tell us..."That is SO clever!"  And darn it, we told the truth and said, "NO!  That's so Pinterest!"  Here's the original pin that caught our attention!

Anywho, we hope you ALL have a SAFE and Happy Halloween!  And if you still need a costume idea...this post might just come in handy!!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Great Field Trip

Happy HU-MMMMP Day Friends!! Don't have a heart attack, but this will be the shortest post I have every done!! Yay!! At least I know I'm too wordy!! I'm working on it!!!

We went on an awesome field trip today to our performing arts center.  Only 1 kid tried to escape (or wander off), but Cristy has super sight and wrangled her back to my line!! Thank goodness!!!

We saw the Ugly Duckling and the Tortoise and the Hare presented by... 
Lightwire Theater Company!!
 (And no, they are not paying us to talk nice about their company or the show, but if they want to, we will take either cash or check!!!)
It was super cool!! It was kinda like watching a show of Disney's Electric Parade.

 Check out their website by clicking the image below!! If they come to your area, we highly recommend taking your kiddos.

Tips before going to the show: 
Read the stories
Prepare the kiddos for some darkness
Don't Freak if your kiddos talk a little during the show!! It was totally OK!!

Have a great rest of the week!! It's all down hill from here :). We can't wait to post pictures from our Family Fun Night tomorrow!! Our costumes are so awesome!!!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Soiled Again!!

Promise, this is the last time we soil you with soil!! For real!!! But we really did think you would want to hear all about how well or MESSY our soil lessons went after using our new super, duper Soil and Rocks unit!

Thanks Cristy for making an awesome flip chart for the active board so the kiddos could develop a plan for the best way to learn about soil! Of course they decided that finding soil around the school was the best way to learn about soil!! WOOHOO!

What next? We thought the kiddos should also tell us what tools we would need and the procedures we should follow! Let's just say our Kinders are funny little people and smart too!

They told us we would need shovels and buckets to collect the soil. We told them we didn't have enough at school and they told us they would bring plenty! So what did we do???

Of course we waited until the next day, when everyone brought buckets and shovels to collect soil! Yep! You knew it already! Only one person brought a shovel and one  brought a bucket!

So we talked with the kiddos about a new plan for collecting soil! After pulling TEETH and pulling out some of our own HAIR, the kiddos finally came up with using bags to put the soil in and with a LITTLE (I mean a TON) of guidance they came up with using spoons to dig up the soil!!

The kiddos told us each pair needed 2 samples. We told the kiddos to pick a partner who could help them or who they could help and get busy collecting.

It was so awesome watching and listening to the Mini-Scientists rationalize why they needed 2 bags or why they should not put both samples in the same bag.

After successfully collecting soils samples or PLAYING in the dirt for 30 minutes, our friends were ready to get busy! Our little scientists used a magnifying glass to observe and compare 2 soil types!!

They had a blast!!!

The next day, we hypothesized about which type of soil would best grow seeds! The kids worked in teams to place soil in a cup, then add seeds, more soil, and water. When finished they author wrote about what they saw, they illustrator drew the picture of their soil with a pencil, finally the artist colored the picture. We will observe and record about the samples again on Monday!

The kids think the loamy (dark/moist soil) will best grow seeds!! We will SEE tomorrow if anything happened. Please, don't let our seeds be too old!! Please, I really hope something has grown!!!

What next???
Rockin' with Rocks I guess!!

Have a great week!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Conference Tips and Ideas!

Oh-My-Goodness!  Is it seriously ALREADY time for parent-teacher conferences???  The year is absolutely flying by!

We are gearing up to meet with ALL 19 of our families next week to share the great things their kiddos are accomplishing this year!  That's right, ALL of them!  How you say?  ALL...of them?   Keep reading! :)

We thought we would take a minute to give you a few tips that have worked out really well for us in getting EVERY SINGLE ONE of our families in for this important event!

The BEST thing we EVER did was to begin using this "You Pick 3" conference sign up sheet.  We don't have scheduled time off to hold our conferences, so we just choose 3 days that work out for us.  We include as many time slots as possible where we can be available to meet with families.  We always try to include some early morning times for our families that can't take off work or who are just coming in from the night shift.  We schedule slots during our specials classes (music, pe...) and then plenty of after school time slots as well.  We try to have at least 1 late night where we have conferences scheduled for 5:00 or later for our working parents who hit us on their way home.  (This year my own kiddos have football EVERY DANG night, so I couldn't schedule any that ran TOO late, but in years past I have scheduled them as late as 6:30.)

Now I know this might seem like a BIG time commitment from you...and it is!  BUT, and this is a BIG but, this is truly one of the BEST ways you could ever possibly spend your teacher time!  It always breaks my heart a teeny bit when the only time some parents hear from us is when something is WRONG!  Conferences give you the opportunity to REALLY connect with families and share some of the GREAT things happening with their kiddo.  Of course not ALL the news will be good news, but we can definitely take this opportunity to FIND the good and share!

And we promise it will SO be worth your time.  You will make some serious partners in educating your kiddos when you build these strong family ties!  And let's be honest, who doesn't LOVE to hear how awesome their kiddo is???

We have been able to get nearly 100% participation in our conferences for the last several years.

We LOVE the question and comment section too!  This encourages families to reflect on how their child is doing and what things THEY would like to discuss as well!  Everyone is VESTED!

And if you do have some families that DON'T sign up, we tweak the letter to say this:

Please find your scheduled conference time below.  I appreciate everyone returning the sign-up sheets so promptly.  I was able to give nearly everyone their first or second time preference.  If you are unable to attend at the scheduled time, please let me know as soon as possible to reschedule. 

If you do not see your name below, I did not receive a conference sign-up sheet.  Please rank your time preferences (1,2,3) from the remaining times below.  If you would prefer to have a phone conference, please make a note of that in the comment box below.  Thanks!!!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      See you in 2 weeks! - Cristy Fogle 10-10-13

Then it's time to get ready for all the parents heading your way!  To make it a bit easier, we start with the electronic form below.  We set up the basic format we want and then change a bit here and there to match each kiddo.  For example, each record says:  "Math:  Number Sets - counting sets to___" and we change this portion for each child.  Same goes for:  "Reading/Phonics:  Knows ___ upper and lowercase letters". We just add in how many they know.

The comment section is always very individualized, as is the goal section!

So we hope these tips help you get ALL of your families in to share your kiddo's great learning with them!

We will be more than happy to email out either of these forms if you would like to tweak them to fit your style!  Just leave us a comment with your email address and we'll shoot them out!

Happy Conferencing!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Boss's Day!!! AAHHH! It's Not Too Late!!

AAAAHHHH! Put on your running shoes!! Run out NOW! Well, you will only need to do this if you totally forgot that tomorrow is BOSS' Day!!

Good news for our Kindergarten team because Cristy's faithful other half has saved the day! She texted our entire Kindergarten team (yep all 6 of us) to remind us of tomorrow's special occasion!!!
GOOOOO MAPPIN!! You are the Woman!!

Anyway! What can you do that is super quick, super easy, and if you have at least a team of 6 to split it with, not too expensive!!!

So this is what we did!
We bought each super, fabulous BOSS a very cute travel, coffee mug and a $10 gift card to Starbucks!! Then we made a super cute tag!! Check it out!! If you want it, click either picture, print out and sign your name!!!

We hope our AWESOME BOSSES are not reading this post!! It will totally ruin the surprise for tomorrow!!  We love our BOSSES!!

If you're the BOSS, Happy Boss's Day!!
If you're not the BOSS, hope your BOSS has a happy day!!
Hope this helps you stay on the GOOD LIST!!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Emergent Readers - Individual Packs for Fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving

Hey guys!  Just a quick post to let you know we separated our BIG Fallin' for Fall Emergent Readers Bundle into smaller packs.

We know you may only need 1 particular set to fit into your classroom plans.  Hope this makes it easier on your wallet and your planning!

Happy Columbus Day!  

Friday, October 11, 2013

Let's READ! Getting books into your kiddos' hands!

It's so important to get GOOD FIT books into your kiddos' hands!  We have a TON of great guided reading book sets at school that work really well for our CAFE strategy groups.  BUT...what about getting these books into our kiddos' homes??  NOT SO MUCH!

Our librarian loves us, but not THAT much!  We can't let the littles take these perfectly suited books home since they are library sets.  Our kiddos DO, of course, get to check out library books, but these are not always "Good Fit" books where they can apply all of their new strategies to help them read.

SO...we came up with some EMERGENT READERS that are PERFECT for getting books into our kiddos' hands that they can TAKE home and actually READ!!!  It can be so frustrating for our guys to know all these new strategies and then when they open their library's just FRUSTRATION-VILLE because the strategies aren't working...not a GOOD FIT!

These readers use almost all of the PRIMER and PRE-PRIMDER Dolch words, making them perfect books for most of our readers at this point in the year.  We included an easier version and a more challenging version for 5 of the readers, since we do have some kiddos who are already in the 100 word club.  (Read more about our word clubs here!)

These readers are great for working in guided reading strategy groups
on standards such as tracking left to right/top to bottom,
reading sight words, blending unknown words, using picture clues,
reading for meaning, and much more!

Use the You Be the Author version to work on writing standards such as spacing, capitalization, punctuation, blending, sentences, and more!

So we hope these might be helpful to you too!  We love watching our kiddos discover the JOY of reading and finding out just how powerful words can be!

Please visit our TpT store and download the preview of this pack.  We included the emergent reader, LEAVES (all 4 versions), for FREE as a thanks for your awesome support of our blog and store. 
Download the Preview at our TpT store to grab all 4 versions free!
And as always, we will give away this pack to one winner chosen randomly from ALL the comments left below! to the front porch to drink coffee with the hubs, pooch, kitty, and kiddos and enjoy this GORGEOUS fall day!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Why is it important to know Why?

Back in the day when we were in elementary school, we never, ever discussed "Why" we were learning things?

We often questioned our teacher, "Why are we doing this?"
Then we would comment, "This is not important! We will never, ever use this skill when we get big!".
The teacher would respond to our questions and comments with , "Just do it because I said so!!"

Well friends...

Welcome to the days where kids get lots of motivation and excitement from learning "Why" they are learning about things!!

Every standard we introduce or work on during the day.... Ok not every standard, but lots of standards during the day, we discuss why it's important for our kiddos to be leaning that standard.

We promise it is painless and quick!
Just tell your kiddos or following an activity, ask your kiddos the standard.
Then, give your kiddos 1 minute to discuss with a friend "Why" it's important to learn that standard.
Then discuss the kids responses as a class. It is amazing the ideas and reasons the kids come up with.

We did model some in the beginning, but here's what our kiddos say...

Teacher-What standard are we working on when we do our lunch graph?
Kiddos- Data Collection
Teacher- Why is collecting lunch data important?
Kiddos- So the ladies will know how much to cook, So you can remember what you chose for lunch, etc...

Teacher- What standard are we working on when we practice letters, sounds, and sight words?
Kiddos- Reading
Teacher- Why is it important to learn how to read?
Kiddos- So we can read to our mom/dad/baby sister/brother. So we can teach our friends to read. So we can get smarter. So we can get a job when we grow up. So we can read signs!

Teacher- What standard are we working at when we do Daily 4 math (math with a teacher, math with a friend, math with a teacher, math by yourself)<
kiddos- Numbers, counting, patterns, more/fewer
Teacher- why should we learn about number and counting??
Kiddos- So we can count how many toys we have. So we can count how many vegetables we get to eat. So we can know how many DOJO points we earned. So we can count to see if we have enough candy to share. So we can count and see who got more snack.

The examples are endless!!
So what can we do with all of this WHY stuff???

It is amazing the students responses change and evolve each time we discuss WHY! It's awesome! Just by answering and discussing WHY, the kiddos get more excited about learning.

Why not let our kiddos reflect on what they are learning and why it's important?  This will also help your kiddos' parents know what's going on in the classroom.

Here's the thing, Jake, my 5th grader and I have the same conversation everyday! This conversations has been going on every single day since prek.

Here is how our conversation goes!
Me- How was your day?
Jake- Fine/ Good/ Ok
Me- What did you learn/ do?
Jake- Nothin.

Seriously! Please tell me you moms and dads out there have similar conversations! I know I try to delve deeper and get more, but it's like pulling teeth!!
Really! He is in school 6 and 1/2 hours! He had to have learned or have done something!!

Well friends, this lengthy blog post (if you have made it this far) is about to send your classroom parents into Parent Heaven! Yes, they will know at least 1 thing their kids learned during the week!

Check out this weekly reflection! Just give it for morning work or as a ticket out the door before recess or whenever you want, but really GIVE IT! Click any image to grab our weekly reflection pages.

The parents will thank you! Not to mention, you have proof of some HOT (higher order thinking) things going on in your room!!

Let us know if you use a reflection form with your kiddos! We would love to see and hear what you do to help your kinders with "self efficacy."

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Rockin' with Soil and Rocks! - Leave A Comment if you Dare :)

Yahoo!!! WE are so excited about beginning our next science unit on Rocks and Soil. Seriously!!!

Every year (before NOW) we really did kinda dread, hate, loathe, our unit on rocks and soil.   But guess what????

We just finished creating, what we THINK will be a super, awesome science unit on Rocks and Soil that will not make us want to poke our eyes out! This unit will not only be rigorous and fun for our kiddos but will also be PRETTY DARN CUTE and easy to look at (if I do say so myself)!!

Click any picture to head on over to our tpt store to grab this pack!
This unit is jam packed with Learning Stations for Rocks, Exploration Activities for Soil, 2 Non-Fiction readers, and an Experiment on Soil. The kiddos will have the opportunity to brainstorm what they know, ask questions about things they want to know, hunt for rocks and soil, measure, weigh, compare, write about and read about rocks and soil! We can't wait to get started! Click the images below to grab some FREEBIES :).

When your not busy enjoying this fall weather or watching Survivor or FOOTBALL, check out all the cool things in this pack!!

As always, if you leave us a comment about what you think, you may be the LUCKY WINNER !!
We will give 1 AWAY!!