Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Conference Update....

Hello! I just spent the last 2 days at the MN Conference for K and PreK teachers. It was great! My brain is on overload with new information! I was excited to see a few new presenters this year, like Melissa Leach. I absolutely loved her Web 2.0 session.  I am following a few of her boards on Pinterest as well.

My head is swimming with ideas and things to investigate online. After attending a session on Reader's Workshop, I know I have more sorting and organizing to do in my classroom library. Last year it looked something like this:
I have some books sorted by character like Clifford, Franklin, and Little Critter. I have a basket for animal books, social studies, science, and math books; they are stored in those center areas. Big books are in the yellow bin on the right.  My goal is to sort the books into more categories, add a basket for books that students recommend to each other, and a basket for favorite authors.  I searched and found some great inspiration on Pinterest for classroom libraries....like this one! I will also need to print labels.... My classroom is small, so the space in the picture is about all of the space I have for my library.  There is plenty of room on the floor for the kids to read once they choose a book.
Have a great evening and thanks for checking in!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Calling all Nancy Drew fans!

Hi! I am loving summer...how about you? I've got a long list of projects I'd like to work on from pinterest. This weekend my goal was to turn this....
into one of these:

I've been looking for the right book and I found the Nancy Drew book on Friday; it was only 1.00 and in awesome condition! There are several tutorials floating around online for this project. I read several and decided this one suited me the best.  So, I gave it a try and here is the final result:
The hardest part of making this purse was cutting the book apart! I love Nancy Drew...I read all of them as a kid.  I used a blue checked fabric for the lining; it was hard to get a good picture of the inside....sorry! It's actually very small for a purse. I can only use it when I don't have a lot to carry! But it's a novelty and that's why I like it. : ) 

Next week I'm off to the MN Conference for PreK-K teachers! Until then, I plan on doing a little crocheting....here's my inspiration:

Happy Summer!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Word Family and Sight Word Books

Hello! I thought I'd share our finished word family and sight word book with you today.  We do a page in our word family book as we complete each short vowel study. I assemble the book ahead of time and the students just open to the correct page to add the word families.

I also use the sight word pages from this book by Scholastic...
 I save the pages and the students assemble them into a sight word book at the end of the year.
I like putting these pages in a book when we are done because it seems to give them more meaning...rather than sending them home one at a time as we finish them. This way, the children can read through the poems and practice all of the sight words. Thanks for checking in on my little corner of the kindergarten world!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Quite possibly the highlight of my summer!

Well...I usually don't share a lot of personal stuff on this blog...but I have to share my experience last night! To many of you it may not seem like a big deal, but if someone you know or love lives with diabetes, you will understand. There's an awesome team of professional cyclists called Team Type 1. All of the team members have Type 1 diabetes. You can read all about them here.  Last summer one of the team members spoke at the diabetes camp my son attended. He was inspiring to listen to and their team is such a good role model for young people with type 1.  Last night, our local bike shop invited one of the team members, Justin Morris, to visit the store, meet and greet, and go on a bike ride. So, I thought...we should do go...meet the cyclist, have him visit with my son a bit, and do the bike ride.   (Let me also say that we have several nice bike trails in our area, so I thought a quick ride on one of the trails was in the plan.)

We met Justin...who was super, super nice and friendly...took time to talk to my son about his diabetes and what he likes about school, etc....it was fabulous! (He's from Australia, so I was just enchanted just listening to him!)  Then we all headed out for the bike ride....I figured something was up when everyone else showed up in real biking gear..you know, the shorts, shirts, specialized shoes...umm...I had on shorts and t-shirt...but I am no stranger to a good bike ride. Typically I can hop on the trail and go six miles, no problem. But this group was serious about their bike ride...I heard the words 15-20 miles being thrown around and I almost backed out! But my son wanted to go, and I felt I had committed somewhat, so I buckled on my helmet and hopped on my bike.  Within the first mile I felt I was totally out of my league...my son seemed to be keeping up just fine, but I was at the end of the pack. Then, Justin, the professional cyclist, no less, drops back and pedals along with me at my turtle pace...and asked me questions about my son and how he's handling diabetes and how he seems like such a "fine young man." It made all of the pain and burn I was feeling in my thighs totally worth it!!

After 9 miles (no water breaks either, people!) the leader stopped and asked who wanted to keep going and who wanted to head back to the bike store. So I said, though I appreciated them having us tag along, that my son and I would head back to the store....Justin Morris agreed and he came back with us....I was so impressed! The rest of the group wanted to complete at least 15 miles. My son was the only "kid" (he's 14) there, so it was very heartwarming to have this professional cyclist take the time to be with him and talk with him...what an inspiration to young people dealing with type 1. I took a picture with my phone of the two of them... not the best quality picture, but it captured the moment.....and he gave my son a water bottle with the Team Type 1 logo on it.

 I know it may not seem like a big summer adventure, but to me it was. Anything I can do to help my son realize that diabetes does not have to run his life and he can do anything he puts his mind to, is totally worth it. So, if this is the highlight of my summer, I am perfectly fine with that!

Thanks for sticking with me if you read this whole post! I have a long list of "to do's" from pinterest I want to get started on....have been taking a break from school things for a bit...it is summer, after all!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Update those board games!

Well, my first official weekend of summer is approaching, and I have to say, I've been enjoying  sleeping in a bit and sipping a second cup of coffee this week! My family and I are heading out for a weekend camping trip later today...so I have a little packing and grocery shopping to do.  I want to share a couple of updated board game ideas with you...especially since garage sale season is upon us! You may be able to find games cheap this summer if you like to frequent neighborhood sales.
Here is my version of sight word Candyland.  I know there are great blog posts out there about printing your own cards and making the game more versatile...here's how I did it: I had 2 Candyland games on my shelf. I left one version "as is." I like having it available for the children because it's a game they are familiar with and can easily play without much direction from me. I simply took the second game and added sight words to all of the pieces. Children have to read the word before they can move to that space. Quick and simple and a good idea to share with parents as well.

My next idea involves this favorite: Boggle Jr.
I seem to find this game a lot for like 50 or 75 cents! I already have 2 on my shelf, but it's hard to pass them by at such good prices...just in case the timer breaks or dice get lost, it's good to have a spare! I decided to just use the dice and  make some "roll and graph" games.  I made a separate graph for each die; children roll the die and print the letter in the row that matches the beginning sound...here's a sample of the graph for the die with b,l,t,r,c, and n.
I also have the numbers version of Boggle Jr., which I was surprised to find! It's a good "addition" (ha ha!) to your math shelf, if you can find it.
Hope this inspires you to look at your board games in a new light! I have a few other ideas I am going to try to work on this summer if I find a game at the right price! Have a great weekend and thanks for checking in!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Kindergarten Keepsakes Book

Happy Summer! Friday was our last day of school...I just have to finish cleaning and packing my room, and then summer can begin! I have a few end of the year things to share with you...I've done an end of the year keepsake book for quite a few years. Parents and students really enjoy looking back at projects we did through out the year. Here's how we make our book:

*I start with 5 pieces of 12 x 18 inch construction paper and fold them in half. I staple at the bottom, so the top is open. I bind the pages together on the left, so it becomes a book of pocket pages. I add a 9 x 12 sheet for the cover.

*The children cover the title page and we glue it to the front. (I usually wait until May to do the cover.)

*I label one side of the pocket for each month...so the first page says September, the back of that pocket says October, etc. I file projects for Sept/Oct in one pocket, Nov/Dec...etc. I try to save 2 or 3 things from each month.

*I try to add seasonal art to the front of each pocket page. I didn't have an October project, so as you can see, I put the cupcakes we used for our birthday graph on that page. : )
I put our mitten glyph on the January page. On the May page, I usually put a photo of myself with each student and a special poem or note from me...just to make it a more a personal and special keepsake.

*I try to get the books assembled by Nov or Dec so I can start filing items as soon as possible. It can be daunting to file a whole year's worth of items in May!! (Umm...yes I have made that mistake along the way!)  I also have had parent volunteers assemble the book and do a little filing, but I like to surprise parents at the end of the year, so I don't want them to see too much of the book.

*As my gift to the students at the end of year, I put together a DVD of our year. This is really special and parents love it. I begin taking pictures in September and load them on my computer. In May, I use iMovie and iDVD to complete the project. I show it to my class before I send it home and I love hearing their comments....like, "I remember that!" or "There's me!" or "That was a fun day!"
Here are the dvd's all wrapped up and ready to send home. 

Thanks for checking in on my little corner of the kindergarten world! Have a great weekend!