It't time of year when we are making lists of things to purchase for your loved ones. I'm almost done with my shopping (I only need to make a trip to The American Girl Store & check out my Amazon cart). Then, I can think about what's on my Wish List ~ my TpT Wish List! I'm joining some amazing teacherpreneurs to showcase our top three wish listed items. Are any of my items on your list?
I can't believe that October is almost over! Where did the time go?? It's hard to believe that in two days it will be November (that's when the count down to Christmas begins in my house. And, yes, I might have listened to Christmas music yesterday.) But, back to October & all things autumn...
I love how these cute pumpkins turned out. The kids drew their pumpkin shape onto orange paper & painted them with orange, yellow, and red paint. The next day they cut them out & "carved" funny & fierce faces on them using black & white paper. These Jack-o-Lanterns are as unique as their makers.
I always go to the pumpkin patch with my daughters & granddaughters. There was no shortage of pumpkins around here!
Yay! Halloween is back at my school! We have a new principal and are finally allowed to dress up for Halloween! In the past we've used loopholes like 50th Day, Red Ribbon Week, and Favorite Character Day to wear costumes, but were never allowed to do a real Halloween party. I think the PTO moms were as excited as the teachers & kids about the party. We celebrated on Friday with a costume parade & party. It was so much fun!
My sweet team ~ we dressed up as M&Ms!
Not just for October ~ bat & owl comparison. This Venn diagram is part of my Night Fliers Science & Writing set. Click HERE to purchase. We usually study bats in October, but really they can be a part of your study of nocturnal animals and even hibernation.
I was so excited by our writing this week! Of course, some kiddos are still just drawing pictures, and some are beginning to add labels. But, a few are really working on writing sentences! Check out these sentences!
The next few pictures have nothing to do with education at all. My youngest daughter recently embarked on a crafty adventure. In addition to her job in marketing, she has created some beautiful items for sale. She's done a few markets, and has an etsy store. (Click HERE to visit her store.) You can also find her on Facebook HERE. I have to say that I am very proud of her beautiful work!
And, finally this REALLY isn't education related, but does bring us back to pumpkins. We recently had our Third Annual Pumpkin Beer Taste Test! There were 14+ bottles of different pumpkin beers to taste as we enjoyed delicious chili made by my hubby. Shot glasses made the perfect tasting glasses, and we marked our reactions to each beer on a record sheet. Such a fun day ~ good food, good beer, and most importantly, good company!
We had fun today creating some "gates" to hold our little pumpkins. The Kinders worked in pairs, so there were only two little pumpkins sitting on each gate, which was probably a good thing. This was our first STEM challenge of the school year, and it was a challenge. But, I have to say I am very proud of the perseverance of my little cuties. They worked diligently for nearly an hour to create a structure to hold their little pumpkins (that, by the way I grew in my garden! This summer's garden was my best ever & I was so excited to be able to bring in enough pumpkins for all 15 kids to get one). Here are some pictures of our fun.
These little guys worked off a plan they had drawn up yesterday. (It didn't work out how they planned, but they didn't get discouraged.
The first structure is the result of all the work done by the boys in the first picture. After all of their efforts they were thrilled that they were able to support their pumpkins. They cheered, "We have a gate!"
We have been in school for a month and my Kinders are really getting the hang of school! Last week they did such a great job during our Literacy Stations. I was so excited at their stamina and ability to stay on task for the (almost) entire time. It takes lots of practice to get fifteen five year olds to be able to work independently, but it pays off big time when you want to run small groups. I haven't started small groups yet because I want to be sure everyone knows how to use all of our stations ~ we are still in the practicing stage. I'm hoping that in another week (or two) we will be ready. I will also ask for parent volunteer once stations are fully up and running. But, for now I'm pretty happy with how things are going. I snapped some pictures of my little cuties working in our five current stations.
Listening ~ I have two iPods that I got through Donors Choose, two old-school discman type CD players, a "boom box," and two iPhone 4s that I found in my husband's office. For both the iPods & phones I put all the apps I didn't want the kids to mess around with into folders on "page 2." The only app that they see on "page 1" is the music app. It took a little while to get my books on CD onto my iTunes, but it was worth it because all of my stories are on all the devices. But, as you can see the kids don't mind old technology.
Games ~ this is a favorite station. I have lots of fun game-like activities as well as actual literacy games & puzzles. These little guys are playing with the Roll-a-Cube alphabet activity from my August/September Literacy Stations set.
More games ~ These boys are playing Oh no! ~ another alphabet activity from my literacy stations set.
Tablets ~ this week was the first time we got out the tablets & the kids were pretty excited. Like listening, this is another station where everyone needs initial training: how to plug in headphones, adjusting volume, finding, opening, and closing apps. Most kids are pretty savvy with Mom's smart phone so they catch on pretty fast. I only allow kids to use the tablets (and computers) during literacy & math stations ~ no screens during playtime! They get more than enough screen time at home. I want them to use their imagination while playing.
Word Work ~ I know that it almost looks as if the little dark haired girl is crying, but she and her partners were working with rhyming cards. They made up a little guessing game. :-)
Writing ~ In addition to word cards, white boards, and writing paper our writing station currently has some small motor & alphabet activities.
Other stations that we will add to our line up are Write the Room, Stamping, and Computers. I'll add Stamping or Write the Room this week. The kids need a few more sessions in the computer lab before I turn on the student computers. One thing I'm not going to include in our Literacy Stations rotations is "Read to Self." Over the years I've noticed that most Kinders (who really can't read much for a good part of the year anyway) aren't happy when they get Read to Self. They tend to get antsy and off task. They will have books in their book boxes and will be encouraged to "read" books when they are looking for something to do, but silent reading will not be part of our Literacy Stations. Click HERE for an interesting article on silent reading.
I can't believe that we are already back to school ~ three days in for me. One of my favorite parts of back to school is setting up my classroom. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I eliminated a couple bookshelves that were old & rickety and clustered some other cabinets together making a more open arrangement. I also spray painted a few tables and added new pillows to brighten things up a bit. Come on in & look around...
The view from my door.
I backed the math manipulative cabinet up to the kitchen. The bookshelf with the pink tubs is on the end of the mailbox/toy shelf cluster.
I put some toys on the wire shelf just across from the wooden toy cabinet. The rectangle table will be our Word Work station. My small group table is in front of my newly reorganized math & literacy cabinets. (OOPS! I just noticed my double Kinder doodles on the bottom of the page. I guess I was tired when I was making the slides last night...)
My small group table.
The focus wall. I found the little white table at a garage sale. The little crate holding books is from Target.
I spent a good part of the summer helping my daughter to paint furniture for her home decor business
Aster + Gray, so it just seemed natural to paint my classroom furniture. This little 1970s table looks pretty nice in its new modern color!
My desk area. I will try to keep it looking organized this year! (My goal is not to have any "piles of shame" building up on the floor behind my chair.)
Looking at my desk area. I swear I'm going to keep it neat this year!
Looking into my library. I've had one of those blue chairs in my room for a while and one up in my bonus room at home. I decided to bring the second one in to help define the library area a little more. Two Kinders can fit into each chair.
A fresh coat of paint and some new pillows make this $5.00 garage sale table an inviting area to work.
Another painted piece. This formerly black table had been in my daughter's room, taken to Purdue, and then stuck in the attic. A little green paint (the same as the 1970s table) makes it look like new!
The view from the library to my small group table.
Looking over the rug by the focus wall toward the door. The mailbox cabinet backs up to the toy cabinet.
The rug in the cubby area makes a great place to play with the blocks. Get my play poster for free HERE.
Eleven of my fifteen kids will store their stuff on this side of the cubby area. We keep our book boxes on the top shelf.