Friday, January 28, 2011

Last Observation for the year! I hope

Exciting news.... I am a non tenured teacher and this is my third year to teach which means I will be up for tenure (that is if we don't have that taken away) anywho today was my third formal observation for the year and my last observation I will need in order to be considered for tenure!!!!!!!!!!!! woohoo.

My lesson was about germs and how they are spread, which is something my students needed to be reminded of. I couldn't take pictures because well I was being observed but I thought it was such a neat lesson I would share it with you.

We receive Studies Weekly  and this weeks had this great lesson. We all know about germs and we are constantly trying to keep our classroom clean so I don't think you need that info. The activity was as follows = using four different colors of glitter sprinkle a small (very small) amount onto a paper plate (one color per plate) I divided my students up into groups of four. Each students in the group is given a plate and each person places their hand on the glitter. Have the students look at their hands explaining that what they see is just like germs. 

I know you are thinking no big deal I have taught this lesson before, and so had I. It's the next step that I had never used before.

Next have the students to shake hands with each person at their table and then look at their hand. They will have some of every color of glitter on their hand. This represents how each person can pass germs. Pretty cool I thought!

I also wanted my students to understand the importance of using SOAP & WATER  to get their hands clean!!

I gave each student germX and after they rubbed it in they looked to see if all the germs came off their hands. The students will not be able to get the glitter off using just GermX

**Just as a side note - I have about 4 germX bottles in my room, one in my field trip bag, one in my lunch box, and one on my pocket book. So I believe in using this stuff but as you know if you teach kindergarten or young children there are some things small children get on their hands that needs  more than even germX can handle!
I then gave each student a wet wipe to clean their hands. This will take some of the glitter off but not all of it (at least not for most of the students). 

Finally I  had one of the students to go to the sink and use soap and water to wash their hands. The student then showed the rest of the class that soap and water was able to get all of the germs off. 

They really like this lesson and all I had to do the rest of the day was to remind them about the germs we had talked about this morning.

I did this lesson before lunch so it was a perfect time for students to use soap and water and get all of the glitter germs off their hands.

Tips and Tricks - Organizing

Wow! is it ever going to stop snowing long enough to go to school one full week? We missed another day of school this week and went in 2 hours late the next day. My students can leave at 1:15 so can you guess how much work you can get completed when you arrive to school at 9:45. Then go to lunch at 10:45 and rotation at 12:20 and then leave at 1:15??? Oh well that's a day we won't have to make up so I won't complain.
We found out today that because we have missed so many days we now will have to give up two days that we were supposed to be out of school.

On to some organizing

I bought these at Target in their dollar section at the front of the store. They were $2.50 and most of my books fit in them easily (some of the bigger books won't  fit) I keep books that I want to read in these and I keep the blue one hanging in our meeting area and the green one in our science area. They are displayed for the students to see the front and then after I read the book I place it on the edge of my chalkboard. They have a hanger on them like a clothes hanger and I have a hook hot glued to the wall to hang them from.
These also came from the same section and were $2.50. As you can see I keep my CD's in these for my reading series and CD's I use throughout the day. I keep these hanging by my desk this year. I have to use my computer to play them in because my CD player was broken when I had a sub (that's another story). When I get another CD player I will hang them near it. I have to say I use these on a daily basis so they were well worth the money I spent.
This is a small pocket chart that was only $1.00 and came in several colors. This one hangs in our calendar area with color words to review each day. I mix the numbers up and have students to put them in the correct order (we are passed 10 now). These are also great to use for centers.
I hope you can find some great items to organize with and remember to share.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tips and Tricks - Organizing

I thought I would share a few more of the things I use in my class that make my days a little more organized.
I found this at the Dollar Tree and yes it was only $1.00 woohoo! They had red, blue, and black. I bought a few more and actually use one at home in my craft room. 
I have this hanging on a hook from my magnet board green chalk board, this is located in the area of the room I have mats and we have our meetings for calendar time, math, phonics, and story time. I keep my phonics letter / letter sound review cards, sight words, number words, color words, and upper / lowercase letters cards in this one. 
Now I don't lay them down and then forget where I put them and waste time trying to find them.
These are actually very sturdy to have only cost a dollar, they also have a little organizer like this that you use in the bathroom / shower that you could use for something like this.

I bought this patterning and sorting pocket chart from Oriental Trading for $17.99.  This comes with 414 double sided cards! They have a picture on one side and the words on the other side, so they could be used with different age groups or learning levels. My students have been working on sorting and they just placed the cards that were the same behind each other.  
I had these laminated so they would last and then I let my students sort them for me! I plan on either putting a rubber band around each group or placing each group in Ziploc snack bags, because giving your students 414 cards is a little overwhelming :0) I did let several groups work on sorting all of these so that it wouldn't be so bad. By keeping them sorted  I can keep them changed so that their are different cards to sort or use in patterns each time.
Compared to other charts I priced this was a great deal!

*this picture is from Oriental Tradings web page, sorry it is so blurry

This is a Numbers and Counting pocket chart that I bought from Oriental Trading for $14.99 (another great price). This chart comes with 244 cards with numbers, number words, math symbols and vocabulary, and picture cards. I also had these laminated so that they would last longer. 
I really love the fact that this comes with cards that have number words all the way to twenty. Again this is a pocket chart that can be used with different levels of learners. We have used this during math time and center time. My only complaint about this chart is the longer pockets (the ones that hold things other that numbers) don't do the best job at holding all of the cards. I am planning on putting some Velcro dots on these to help keep the cards from falling out. For the price I can make that adjustment.
I hope that you find this information useful and if you have any great tips or great buys I would love to hear about them. Leave a comment and let me know what you have found and if you have a blog leave that information and I will post a link to your blog.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Weekend out of town

Like most everyone in the country we have had lots of snow and a week out of school. I love the snow but I have had my share and I am ready for some sunshine, and to see my students. I hope they haven't forgot everything.
Here is what my road looked like and yes I am on a tractor with my husband as he clears the road. We are the only people who live on top of this mountain so it's up to my husband if the roads get cleared. It's beautiful until you are running out of food and milk! and you haven't been able to get off the mountain for a week. We were actually going to get our 4WD that got stuck earlier in the week.
We were supposed to go on a youth retreat with some friends, but after my husband got the roads cleared and went down the mountain to check out how everything looked he decided it was still to dangerous. So Saturday we tried again and we made!!!! We were on our way to Pigeon Forge!

This is where we got to stay!!! Beautiful isn't it and we are close to town. It was a great couple of days the only thing missing was the Internet. I am so behind on reading what everyone is doing.
So far so good on getting to go to school tomorrow. I hope everyone has a great week and maybe I will get to take some pics of what we are doing.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I Love My Cricut ! !

One week out of school because of snow. I'm running out of pictures to share! :0) Just joking, I found these pics and thought I would share them. I'm not sure if any one has noticed yet or not but I am a visual learner. So plan to see lots of pictures on this blog.

Do you have a Cricut?..........(wait time for you to answer the question).

I am lucky enough to have one thanks to my parents. My mom had one that we shared, I would buy cartridges and then borrow it when I wanted to make something. Well my dad decided that my mom needed a new one so that I could just keep the old one:0) Great parents! Kind of a win, win for me and my mom. We still share the cartridges.
This is one of the things I made last year. I think it turned out pretty cute and I just added the frogs this year since that is my theme.
I had it laminated and then hot glued it to the wall. I am going to have to move it now that I changed where we have our morning meeting.
I would love to see some of the things you have made with a Cricut.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Little Polar Bear

We have another snow day and I really don't think we will go to school tomorrow so I thought I would share what we did last Friday.

Friday we continued our discussion about winter.

We began discussing arctic animals by reading Little Polar Bear. The students loved this book, it was so funny we started reading it before lunch and when we returned from lunch they couldn't wait to finish reading it.
I have to admit I was going to wait about reading this but one of the other teachers asked if I wanted to read it and make these "polar bear" treats. She even had the directions all pretty and everything. Well I couldn't pass up an opportunity to read a great story and make a special treat.

What you need:
Vanilla or chocolate cookies - we had both so the students cold pick their favorite
Fur - Vanilla icing
Eyes and nose -Chocolate chips (3) you could use m&m's, the recipe called for raisins but we were trying to use up supplies we already had on hand.
Ears - small marshmallows (2)
Popsicle sticks to spread the icing

The student's really enjoyed making these.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sneezy the Snowman

Sneezy the Snowman 
Last week after we talked about winter and all of the snow we had during our Christmas break I read Sneezy the Snowman.
The students then made their own snowmen using shaving creme and white paint. (I read on another blog that you can just mix Elmer glue with the shaving cream).
The students used cotton balls to paint with instead of a paintbrush. Some of them didn't really look like a snowman but oh well sometimes we don't follow directions:o) (yes I need to put the edges on my mats but I had left these at home in my garage and can't remember to bring them)

I gave the students a small piece of construction paper and showed them how they could cut shapes (rectangles and squares) to make the hat and scarf for thier snowmen.
I only gave the students one color and I told them they could ask someone else for some of their extra paper. I thought this was a good way for students to learn to work together. The students were so excited when someone would share there extra paper. We talked about how nice it was to share with others.
I gave each student a small square of red tissue paper and told them they could use their white crayon to make dots on their snowman's handkerchief. (I know some of them still don't look like snowmen).

I used a clip to hang up the book with the student's pictures. 
The student's really enjoyed this book and making their own Sneezy.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day - Tips and Tricks

Today is a snow day so I thought I would share some things that help keep my classroom a little more organized.
This is our weather station and is located next to the calendar. I used a page protector and hot glued it to the wall for our weather graph. I use a dry erase marker to write the month and color in the space. At the end of the month I clean it and we start all over. Since I only needed one copy I splurged and made it with color ink.  (students have their own copy to complete each day)
We check the temperature each day and write it under our thermometer, this is just a piece of laminated construction paper. I hung the thermometer up with a shower hook or curtain hook I don't remember where it came from but it is metal and clips together, it just hangs from a plastic hook that is hot glued to the wall. This makes it easier for me to take it down and change the temperature. 
I also have a little holder for my dry erase marker that is hot glued. The other items are also hot glued to the wall, because they are laminated the glue comes off easy. 
I use Velcro dots on the Today's weather so it is easy to change out. You can't see but behind the thermometer I have a pouch that holds the pieces that go with the weather.

This is my calendar that I love. I bought it the first year I taught (which was just two years ago this is my third year) from Lakeshore.
I did change the month to go with my theme of frogs, I added Velcro dots to the calendar and the month because the pocket that is on the calendar was to small. I also use different numbers than the ones that came with it because it did fall one time my first year and some of the numbers were lost. 
My room has a lot of moisture in it and even hot glue doesn't always hold up to moisture. I run a dehumidifier but this happened while we were off for Spring Break my first year and I was afraid to use to much hot glue, but not anymore.
I hot glued hooks on the wall to hang my calendar on the wall. I also hot glued a month and days of the week chart above the calendar. We say these each day during calendar time.
I bought this number chart this year from Lakeshore. I love it because it includes so much and is all in one spot. The chart has pockets to hold all the pieces needed. The only down side to this chart is that it only goes to twelve. Our students have to know number words through twenty-five, so I plan on making pieces to use with this chart that go to twenty-five or at least to twenty.

Another buy from Lakeshore. I also bought this my first year when I got the calendar. I have to say they have all been money well spent. Again I love this chart because everything I need is in one spot. The chart has pockets where everything is stored.

I used the shower curtain clips to hang over the top the bulletin board. Hot glue doesn't stay on the metal very well if you are hanging something heavy.
I guess I could have called this things I love :0) I hope you enjoyed seeing a few pics of some more things that make my days easier and a little more organized. As always I would love to hear about things you use in your class that make your days easier and more organized.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Tips and Tricks - More Organizing

Here are a few more items that I use in my classroom for storage and displaying things that we use on a daily basis.

This is one of my carts that I keep stickers, rewards, misc. things in. The bottom drawer just has paper in it now. I used the clear plastic pockets that you can use for name tags to label the contents of each drawer. I slid in a smaller name tag backed with bright colored card stock to get the size I needed. These labels make it quick and easy to find these items.  I have another cart this size and one that has five drawers instead of just three. I keep math manipulatives in the larger one.
I found these at Target for $2.50 they are hung near my filing cabinet. I keep copies and extra practice in these. This is normally work that has already been taught, this is great to have in the event you get sick in the middle of the night and need a sub but don't have anything ready. ( I live 30 minutes from my school, I am lucky enough to have a great friend that I can e-mail something if I need to) I also have my work in another area for each day of the week, but I like having this in case a sub needed something else to do.
These are sight word cards, I use those cheap plastic CD sleeves, the top ones are hot glued to the top of a rail over a bulletin board and the bottom ones are stapled. Whats great is that I just slide the cards in as they are introduced. These are located in our meeting area, I also keep a set  that I use as flash cards.
This is just a closer look at some that don't have cards in them yet. I bought these at the Dollar Tree and there were 40 in a pack. The pack I bought had four different colors in them, so I had to get enough so they would all be the same. I OCD like that and yes the spacing and some not straight bothers me but it was time to get words up so I had to let it be.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tips and Tricks

Today was the students first day back and I am exhausted :0). I thought I would start the year off by sharing some pictures and ideas of things that I use in my classroom. I will call these post "Tips and Tricks"  I plan on adding at least one each week. I love things that make my days easier. I hope that you will find something that you may want to use in your classroom and I would love to hear about things you use to make your days easier and your classroom more organized.

Our season changed from Fall to Winter so my students worked on a winter mobile. What I wanted to share is how I display my students work outside of our classroom door. I have a small area just outside my door before you get into the hall and I like to use this area to display work. 

I use clothespins that I hot glued to the wall. I have to stop and say I love the fact that you can hot glue to the walls and it stays!!!!! If you have never used hot glue I strongly suggest trying it, it does not damage the wall (if you have block walls) and once it has cooled and you are ready to hang something new  you can pop the cooled glue off. I use a paint scraper to pry the glue off. Just a word of advice if you glue something and you don't like were it is and want to move it, you will need to wait until the glue has cooled. I speak from experience.
My theme is frogs so I bought these cute stars at the Dollar Tree (love that place) and hot glued them to the clothespin. I can change these out easily for the new school year, last year I had blue ribbons. 

I hope you will check back in to see more "Tips and Tricks" that I use in my classroom.

Monday, January 3, 2011

First Day Back

Well today was the first day back! and I am tired. We did not have student's today but had grade level meetings - yawn- don't get me wrong but all I could think was I really would love to get some things ready for the rest of this week.  But we did get to work in our rooms for just a little while. So now that we are getting back to school I hope to get some pics posted of what we are doing.

I hope everyone who is going  back this week has a great week.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Some great deals

I thought I would share some after Christmas sale items that I bought for next year. I think part of being a teacher is finding good sales.

Top left - pencil sharpeners
Top right - gift bags
Bottom left -kaleidoscopes
Bottom right - Pencils

Top left - Activity books
Top right - erasers
Bottom left - duh ;-) tootsie rolls - I am using these as Valentine's Day gifts, they were on sale for $0.50
Bottom right -  Snowman tic-tac-toe or is it? I thought I would use this for word building and word families.
Everything was on sale for half price and nothing was over $1.00.

I also give my students a book and thanks to Scholastic I have those. I had ordered books for my class this year but the ones I ordered were back ordered, no problem because I had some books I had ordered last year and the same thing had happened (at no fault to Scholastic). We had finished a unit on gingerbread men and I was going to give them a book about the gingerbread man. 
Well what makes this so great is that Scholastic sent me a coupon for every book I ordered that was back ordered and on top of that the books actually came the same day I received the part of my order that wasn't back ordered. You ask how did this happen? We had been out of school for snow! I am so excited because now I have over $50.00 worth of coupons for books for my classroom.

I hope everyone is enjoying a great beginning to another year. I am trying hard to enjoy the next two days because I go back to school Monday. I am excited to see my students but I could really use one more week. Thanks for stopping by and I hope to get some pictures posted once I get back to school.