Friday, May 31, 2013

Almost Done!

The end is near!  Only three days left!  This past week has been a crazy whirlwind of activities!  Trying to get everything finished, cleaned up, and sorted out makes for a super busy time.  Add a classroom full of excited Kinders, and you have... well, you have a very long week!

Today actually began with a lovely concert performed by the high school choir.  We trooped up the hall and over to the high school cafeteria where the two dozen or so lovely teen girls sang a variety of songs for the elementary students.  There are real advantages to having a K - 12 building!

Despite the hecticness of our week, I was able to snap some pictures with my phone for this week's Five for Friday link up.

1.  Finger Paint!  This is something that can only be done once a year!  Don't get me wrong - we do lots of messy crafts - but I can only muster up the will to bring out finger paints once a year!  The Kinders had so much fun, I almost felt guilty for only doing this one time.  (But, if you had seen the tables - and their hands & arms - when they were finished, you'd understand!  lol)

 2. Laptops.  Our computer lab closed last week so our computer teacher/TIS can clean computers, etc. We have a set of laptops in the library that can be checked out for use in the classroom.  Yesterday was the first time we ever used them.  It was fun, but boy-oh-boy!  Many kids knew how to use a laptop, but logging in with their username & password was tricky!

3. Heifer International Read to Feed.  We had a wonderful celebration on Wednesday.  The high school cheerleaders and band welcomed the elementary students into the cafeteria, creating a party atmosphere.  Two TV stations (one from Chicago) were on hand to record the festivities.  A representative from the Indiana DOE, several state politicians, school board members, and a representative from Heifer International were present.  A slide show of the year's events was shown and a passing of the gifts ceremony was performed before presenting a check to Heifer International.  Our little school raised $13,337!!!  That's a lot of animals donated to needy families all over the world!  My Kinders really got into it, reading at home and at school (they earned $1.00 per book read).  My class earned $1,335!  We bought 2 trios of rabbits, 1 flock of chicks, 2 flocks of geese, 1 goat, 1 pig, 1 water buffalo, 1 cow, 1 hive of bees, and 1 llama!  It was an overwhelmingly wonderful program.  Not only did we get the opportunity to help people around the world, my students were motivated to practice their reading skills!  Thank you to the wonderful PTO moms who made this possible.

4.  Apples!  We have eighteen apple trees that are absolutely loaded with tiny apples!  Last year an early warm spring followed by a killing frost left us with a few skimpy apples.  This year it looks as if we will have a bumper crop!  But, given the fact that our trees are still pretty small, we will have to wait and see just how many apples we will get.

5.  Hubby on his 1948 Allis Chalmers tractor.  His father rebuilt this oldie and had it shipped out here from New York.  His dad has since passed away, but his gift is used daily to help keep our little "farm" running.  Here, he is towing a mower, but the tractor is mostly used to tow the manure spreader.  Given my germ-a-phobic, girly-girly-ish-ness, many of my friends are surprised to learn that I know how to drive a tractor (pulling a manure spreader)!  

Well, that's my five random things for the week.  Be sure to hop on over to Doodle Bugs for the linky party!


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Using Music as a Tool

In my Kinder classroom we can often be found singing.  Kinders love music, and are very forgiving of my less than American Idolish voice.  (I'd be in the blooper reel...)  Our classroom is filled with tools for my students use in their quest for knowledge, and I often see *hear* them using songs to help them to figure things out.  We recently got our six boxes of Jolly Phonics and have been having fun with the cute songs and motions.  I can't wait to use Jolly Phonics next year beginning on day one!  I can see already that it will prove to be a smart purchase!

In addition to the kindergarten standards, we sings songs to learn how to spell words, remember classroom rules, and understand math skills.  When we were working with ten frames to make numbers to twenty, I came up with this little ditty:  (Sung to She'll Be Coming Round the MountainWhen a ten frame is filled up, you have ten, when a ten frame is filled up, you have ten, when a ten frame is filled up, when a ten frame is filled up, when a ten frame is filled up, you have ten!  Very catchy!  I think we sang it about twenty times one day.  (The following day several kiddos said that they had it 'stuck' in their heads - YAY!)  Another song-tool that came to me one day was to sing the "Story of Five" to the tune of Are You Sleeping? 

I wanted to create a visual to go along with my "Story of..." songs, so I made this Growing Number Sense bulletin board set.  (Available for only $2.00 on TpT)  I am pretty excited about it because I made most of the clip art in it!  (Title page artwork is from  I still need to figure out how to make the background transparent, but I think it's pretty good for my first attempt. 

For a really great article on using songs as a teaching tool, go to Heidi Songs.  Her blog gives readers tons of information and ideas for using songs to help students learn to spell.  Be sure to check it out!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Linky Party Saturday

I love the potential of a good linky party!  Not only will my little blog get some visitors that may not have found their way to my little piece of the blogosphere, I get a chance to visit some very interesting blogs!  There are some very amazing teachers out there, and I am so happy that I can get a chance to go on some virtual visits their classrooms!  In this post I am linking up with  Doodles Bugs and Flying into First Grade for these two Linky Parties. 

Linky #1

OK,  here's my first linky entry:

1.Number Flowers from Miss Kindergarten.  We had fun working with numbers to create these cute flowers.  

 2.  We read a lot of animal books this week, two of which were Is your Mama a Llama? and Are You my Mother?  After some lively didiscussions about our mothers, the Kinders wrote about them in their journals.  They LOVE to read their writing on the white board! 

 3.  Name your sorting rule!  We spent lots of time sorting all sorts of things - ourselves, manipulatives, etc.  In this activity students sorted animal pictures and stated their sorting rule.

 Here's the link to get this activity.

4.  More sorting.  The kids had fun sorting their shoes!  What made this activity really fun was the fact that they got to TAKE OFF THEIR SHOES!  I love Kinders - the simplest things make them happy.  This was a tricky activity because they had to agree on their sorting rules.  (Not always easy for 4 - 5 kids to do...)

 We had fun with a room full of sorting bins.  I took out a variety of sortable objects, set them around the room, and gave partners three minutes to sort.  They were given free reign on how to sort, but were required to tell me their sorting rules. When the timer went off, they picked up and moved to the next bin.  Here are some of the sorting rules they came up with.  What smarties I have!  <3

5.  The view from my back porch Thursday evening.  (Looking over my neighbor's hay field - the clouds look like water...)  Full moon + the day before a 3 day weekend + almost the end of the school year... enough said  :-)


Linky  #2

Flying into First Grade is hosting another fun linky where we get to introduce our bloggy friends.  I actually only know three bloggers - my beautiful daughters!  Sarah has a kindergarten blog, Emily has an author blog, and Gabrielle has a fashion/lifestyle blog.  I would love to get to know some other bloggers.  If anyone is interested in contacting me, I would love to hear from you!

Here are links to my girls' blogs.

Emily Goodwin's Official Blog 


Budding Blog Linky

As a shameless plea for more followers, er as a  fun way to meet new bloggers, I am linking up with I {Heart} Recess for this meet-up linky.  Once I publish this post, I plan to visit *and follow* some new blogs! 

Here are the "Get to Know Me" questions:

Grab my button! photo cbce13bf-5268-410e-b507-67a54af4996b.jpg

1. Why did you start blogging?

My friend and fellow teacher, Kim C., and I were talking one day about all the amazing blogs we had found.  She encouraged me to start one of my own.  At first, I was a little embarrassed to admit to my colleagues that I had a blog.  But, now I tell everyone about it!  It has been a fun way to share ideas, and has helped me to really be more creative in some of my planning - "Is this activity blog-worthy?"  I hope to team up with fellow bloggers for giveaways, guest blogging, etc. someday.  (If you would like to team up in any way, please email me:
2. What is your favorite subject to teach and why?

Hmm. That's a toughy.  I love, love, love reading to my Kinders, so I guess Literacy is one of my faves.  It is so exciting to see my little cuties go from knowing some (or in some cases none) of the letters to being able to read books.  Our school had a year-long reading program linked to Heifer International this year.  For every book read students earned a "dollar" to purchase animals.  Once my kids realized that we wouldn't actually be getting the animals, and that their own rabbits, goats, etc. weren't going to be given away, they really embraced this program with excitement!  I frequently had a line of kids with books in hand waiting for their turn to read to me!  Even my lowest kiddos practice reading little books so they could be a part of the excitement.  Check out this link to see the awesome video our PTO made promoting a day of giving.

3. Describe your teaching style.

I like to actively engage my students as much as possible.  We sing, we dance, we move!  Whenever appropriate my Kinders work in pairs or small groups.  I like to have everyone actively participating, and have found that the energy spent training youngsters to work in pairs or small groups pays off in spades.  Click here to go to some posts about partner/small group work.

4. Give three interesting facts about you.

This is a toughy... I can talk all day about my class and what we do, but when faced with a question such as this, I'm suddenly tongue tied!  Well, here are some facts about me - you can decide if they are interesting or not!  :-)  1. I was a 4-Her as a child, and am still involved in 4-H as a project superintendent (the Decorations & Consumer Clothing projects)  2. I am from a BIG family - I am the fifth of seven children.  I have three daughters, two granddaughters (another granddaughter due in July), 13 nieces and nephews, and 17 great nieces and nephews.  (A close friend of mine is an only child and is married to an only child.  Her family get-togethers are sedate compared to mine!  I really don't know how it feels to be alone.)  3.I am a certified shopaholic.  I love clothes, shoes, and accessories!  I have a closet bursting with cute clothes, but would N-E-V-E-R pass on a trip to the outlet mall!  (Banana Republic Factory, Loft Outlet, J Crew Factory - here I come!)

5. Do you have a TpT store? If yes, post the link :)

Yes, I have a TpT store.  Please visit (and follow) me at Kinder Doodles.  Many of my products are only $2.00! 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Currently for May

I know May is half over, but it still is May, so I'm linking up with Farley for her May Currently.

I am so happy that the weather is finally warmer, but I'm not too thrilled by the tree pollen. Hopefully those pesky allergens will be gone soon so I can get some serious porch sitting done.  (Well, the pollen isn't the only thing keeping me from my porch - we still have ten days of school.)  I think I'll wear a dress I bought from Banana Republic Factory last spring.  (I guess I should add THE OUTLET MALL to my "loving!")  OK, OK, I am going to grade papers now...

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Five for Friday - Busy Week Edition

Whew - this has been a busy week!  (And, it's not over yet...)  It's funny how the weeks that are packed with activities seem to fly by, but also seem incredibly l-o-n-g.  Here's a recap of my week thus far:  Monday - continue quarterly assessments (one kinder at a time), stay after school until 6:30 working on prom decorations, Tuesday - continue quarterly assessments (one kinder at a time), return to school at 6:30 for our spring music program (which was really very cute - we have a great music teacher!), Wednesday - early (7:10) workshop on Prader-Willi syndrome, finish quarterly assessments (do the Happy Dance!), stay after school until 6:30 to work on prom decorations, Thursday - pick up granddaughters from daycare & stay to help with bedtime (I love this part of my week, but there is a reason women have babies in their twenties & thirties...), Friday - stay after school until 7:30 to set up prom decorations, run home to change before heading out to participate in Relay for Life until 12:30 (AM).  Saturday - sleep in until 8:00 to save up energy for tonight's prom. 

Don't get me wrong - I'm not whining...  It's just a lot in one week!

1.  The Sweetest Night...  Our school's tradition has been to have an elaborate Grand March before the actual dance where the community comes out to support the kids (and to see them in all their formal attire).  As each couple promenades to this cute backdrop, a little blurb about them will be read.  The prom queen & king are announced during this event.  This year's theme is "candy."  I think it turned out very cute!  (How many other schools have kindergarten and fourth grade teachers for prom sponsors?) 

 2. Jolly Phonics.  Our PTO has generously purchased three (one for each kinder class) complete sets of Jolly Phonics.  My daughter, Sarah, who teaches kindergarten in a neighboring corporation uses Jolly Phonics and feels that it is a great resource.  My teaching partners and I approached PTO with a request that they provide funding for it, and happily they agreed.  Our PTO is a great support for our students and school!

 3.  Knowledge Quest.  I recently purchased several sets of Scholastic's new Knowledge Quest series.  We had fun with this, Let's Visit a Farm set.  Living in a farming community most of my students were familiar with many of the concepts presented in the books.  The books range from fantasy fiction to non-fiction, but they all had some vocabulary words relating to farms.  I made a Vocabulary Cloud activity to go along with this set (it will be available soon on TpT).  I am looking forward to purchasing and using more of these great collections.

4.  Relay for Life.  The elementary teachers, aides, and principal took part in yesterday's Relay for Life.  We had so much fun!  We walked, talked, ate, laughed, and cried together.  We not only came together to raise money for an important cause, we came together as a group of friends.  I feel blessed to be a part of such a wonderful team of educators.  (My pedometer counted 27,099 steps yesterday!)

5.  Macie's Word Work.  Here's a new product from my TpT store.  I created this as a fun way to practice a variety of literacy skills.

The final slide of the download features a photo of the real Macie!  I'm just sure everyone wants to have a picture of my dog!  lol

Be sure to visit Doodle Bugs to link up your week!fiveforfriday

Friday, May 10, 2013

Five for Friday

TGIF!!  It's Friday, and time for another Five for Friday linky!  Thank you to Doodle Bugs for hosting such a fun link up. 

1.  Shower update:  Here is Mommy-to-Be Emily looking beautiful behind a mountain of gifts.  Baby Amelia is all set to enter the world!  I can't wait!

2.  Mother's Day gifts. We made these beautiful handprint pictures.  I'm sure the moms will love them (and keep them as a lovely keepsake of their little darlings' little hands!)  I wish I could say that this was an original idea, but alas, it was one of my many Pinterest finds.  Find my inspiration on Splish Splash Splatter.


 3.  Teachers Appreciation Week.  Our PTO and student council spoiled us with lots of goodies and treats this week.  Yesterday we each received a bag with some fruit, Hershey Kisses & a water bottle.  Today, after a delicious Mexican fiesta lunch our PTO president hand delivered a thank you card to each of us - along with a $100 gift card to our local teacher store, Sharp School Services!!!  Needless to say we were all stunned and very thankful!  Our PTO rocks.

4.  Robin eggs.  A silly robin chose a chair on our front porch as the location of her nest.  Of course, now that there are four beautiful blue eggs, we are just going to have to wait to sit on the porch.  This next reminds me of when we had a robin nest in our girls' backyard clubhouse.  When the babies were big enough to leave the nest, but not strong enough to fly, Emily (who was about ten) picked up one of the babies.  She didn't hold it for long because a half dozen or so robins dive bombed her.  She came racing up to the house!  I'm pretty sure she will leave these baby birds alone.  :-)

5.  Literacy Stations for this week.  Two of the stations we are doing are from my daughter's Teachers pay Teachers store.  In the first picture this little Kinder is writing the room to find words that form a sentence  to  illustrate.  The second picture shows a beginning/ending sound literacy station.  Go to Sarah's blog, Kinder Cakes, to see pictures of these and several more in action in her classroom.  While there, please show her some love and become a follower (me, too, please!).  I was so excited when Sarah got a kindergarten position - even though we teach in different corporations - we have fun sharing ideas and talking about our Kinders.  When you are visiting Kinder Cakes be sure to check out her cute Mother's Day video.

I hope your week was fun and productive, and that you felt appreciated.  And, I wish all of you moms a very Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My Marvelous Mom

We have been busy working on goodies for Mom this week.  Today we wrote about our marvelous mothers.  It turned out to be a pretty good writing prompt - the Kinders were eager to write all about their mothers, and tell why they loved her.  Here are some samples.

Super cute, don't you think?  The kids used the word wall and phonemic spelling to write these all on their own!  A few kids did ask me how to spell a few words, but for the most part these papers were done completely on their own!  *YAY!*  One little student very seriously asked me, "How do you spell rum?" Um...  I gently asked him what he wanted to write, and he explained that he wanted to write about his mother's yummy rum cake!  Well, that was a first!  I have never had a Kinder ask me how to spell rum before!  That's one of the reasons I love kindergarten - you never know what they will say!  Click HERE for a copy of this writing paper.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sale on Teachers pay Teachers

Teachers pay Teachers is hosting a big sale, and I am participating by putting my entire store on sale!  Please check out my products and snap up some at bargain prices May 7 & 8.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Great Outdoors

As the weather gets warmer, the days longer, and the sun sunnier Kinders love to be outdoors.  We recently spent some time discussing activities that they enjoy doing outside.  After so many recesses spent indoors, the just can't wait to get out on the playground.  (We are lucky to have access to the gym in the morning and the cafeteria in the afternoon for indoor recess.  My daughter's school has recess in the classrooms, which I think may be common.  What do your kiddos do for indoor recess?)

Anyway, after discussing all the fun things to do outside, they wrote about some of their favorite activities.

 "I like to do outside is jump rope.  I like to jump rope *because* there is this song called Teddy Bear and when you are jumping you turn around and you touch the ground."

 "I like to look for waterfalls because it is fun to play in them."

Click HERE for your copy of this writing prompt.

I also made some little posters to use on the bulletin board for this writing (and a summer version).  Get yours HERE.

And lastly, here is a fun linky from Kindergarten Works that is all about Kindergarten.


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