Thursday, June 21, 2012

How Are You Spending Your Summer?

First of all, thank you so much for all the requests for copies of my "Bloom's Taxonomy for Math" labels!  I hope everyone that has a copy will find them useful this school year.  Our math committee presented a workshop last week and I introduced the labels to the teachers that attended and they were able to make a set before they left.  It went well!  You can email us at and request a copy for yourself.
My summers have changed over the years.  My kids are 17 (will be 18 next month) and 15 years old so no longer are my summer days filled with swimming lessons, VBS, zoo trips, sports camps, trips to the library, etc.  We are finished with all things that involved Erin's high school graduation and party.  Will's summer school baseball is over.  And, we aren't going on vacation until next month.  So, I've had some time on my hands.  I am not good with idle time!  I like having a schedule!  Call me crazy but, I don't think I know how to relax and not at least think about school and my classroom...
I have been stalking blogs more lately and I have spent WAY too much time on Pinterest.  But, that is not a waste of time in my opinion if I find things that I think will make my life easier when school starts or will be beneficial to my students.  Here are a few things I have found:
Melissa over at F is For First Grade teaches first grade at the same school where we teach.  She told me about the "Skinny Pencil Club" that she read about from Sarah (who is my fabulous sister in-law) over at First Grader...At Last!.  Sarah starts each one of her first graders with a beginner pencil (those fat pencils that we used to use a long time ago) at the start of the school year.  Once they have shown that they can consistently form their letters correctly, put spaces between their words, etc. they graduate to the "Skinny Pencil Club" and are presented with a skinny pencil with a ribbon and little tag attached.  See her blog archives to find her post about this if you are interested.  We did not put beginner pencils on our supply lists last year so I ordered enough from Office Depot for our class to have one at school and one for us to send  home with each student so they can practice for homework.   I am going to make a chart or poster to hang in our classroom to showcase the student's names once the have made it into the "Skinny Pencil Club".  I know it will take our kindergarteners longer to graduate to the skinny pencil than it will for Melissa and Sarah's first graders.  We probably won't have any until after we have instructed the students on each letter in handwriting but it is a goal and incentive for neat handwriting.  
Did y'all know about Kimberlee Fulbright over at Teacher Time Savers?  If not, you need to go browse her awesome blog and thank her for all the wonderful FREE classroom items she offers.  I am not even kidding here, y'all!  So many incredible common core freebies and LOTS of other things, too.
I have ordered a few things for the new school year.  Luckily, we are allowed into our school whenever we want during the summer (except when they are waxing the floors) and our bookkeeper works all summer and we are allowed to use some of our school funds to order classroom supplies.  I found these binder dividers that have 31 pre-printed tabs.  I love this because I use binders for the students files for assessments and their personal information.  I always use a number system so that I don't have to make new dividers each year.  But, in the past I have only found 8 tab dividers.
I've also been trying to find some things I can go ahead and make now so when I need them during the school year and things are crazy, I won't have to spend time making them.  We saved all the old and broken pencils from the last part of the school year and I have been peeling them in order to melt them into hearts for the student's for Valentine's Day.  What kind of things do you all make during the summer to use later?  
Okay, I am going to go wake up my teenagers now and see what we can do today!  Please leave a comment and share what kinds to things you've been doing to prepare for next year!  I really want to know!  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Bloom's Taxonomy for Math

I was chosen during the school year to attend a training session that was given by our county to learn about the CCSS for math.  Our state will be putting all of these in place next school year (2012-2013).  Two teachers from each grade level were sent from our school to this training.  Those teachers are now the "Math Committee" for the school for next year and we have to share our training with the rest of the teachers.  We started doing this in a one hour meeting after school a few weeks ago and we will finish in a session this summer at the school.  The committee has decided to make part of the training a "make and take" so the teachers will have something to take back to their classroom and help them with the changes.  

     One thing I have made for the teacher's training are these index cards that will be handy to help teachers remember the revised questioning of Bloom.  On the back of each card are a few example questions to use that go along with the part of Bloom's Taxonomy that is on the front of the card.  Put them on a ring and keep these close to your math lesson plans and viola, you will have help at your finger tips when you are wrapping up your math lesson or questioning your students during your math lesson.

  Print on Avery Labels 5163 and attach to regular size index cards. 
Email me at and I will be happy to send you a copy of the labels!  Have a great Sunday!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

100th Day and Valentine's Gifts

Friday was the 100th day of school for us. The students were greeted with this at the door of the classroom.
Zero the Hero was there to wish them a "Happy 100th Day of School!"  Please ignore the big magnet that is attached to his head and keeping him on the board!
We asked our students to dress like they were 100 years old.  They were precious!  These are our twins, Brayden and Carson.  Their name tags said they were residents of the "Lazy Days Retirement Home" and the "Sunny Beach Retirement Home".  They are too stinking cute!

We had our special 100th Day Trail Mix snack. Some of the students said they couldn't eat 100 snacks!  But, they ate it all!

We danced for 100 seconds, read 100th Day books, drew pictures of ourselves as 100 year olds, and drew and wrote about what we would do with $100.  It was a fun but exhausting day!
Now, unto what I have been making for our students for Valentine's Day...  Last year, I read posts from teachers who made heart shaped crayons from old crayons for their students and I have wanted to try it ever since.  I started looking for heart shaped muffin tins right after Christmas.  I found this heart shaped "Whoopie Pie Pan" at Michael's last Sunday.
This pan works amazingly well!  It is non-stick and once the melted crayons have cooled they come right out without any trouble at all.  And, so it was time to peel those crayons!

I filled the molds with the crayons.  

This is how they look when they come out of the oven.  The back side of them are not near as pretty as once they are out of the pan and flipped over.


And since we live in Alabama and we are HUGE Crimson Tide fans, I had to make one like the one below! ROLL TIDE!!

I loved making all the heart shaped crayons and became a little obsessed with it because they are so COOL! And then, I was in Target yesterday innocently strolling through the Valentine's section and I spied this incredible little cookie pan!  Of course the first thing I thought was, "Wow! Those would be awesome crayons because the shape is so "crayon like"!"  It was only $6.99 and I had plenty of crayons left at home so in my cart it went!!

And this is what they look like when I went through the whole process again (even peeling more crayons and cutting my fingers twice because I used a box cutter to slice the paper this time).  

So, each of our students will be getting a heart shaped crayon AND one like the ones above.  
If you want to make these and have a metal non-stick pan, all you have to do is heat the crayon pieces in a 200 degree oven until all crayons are fully melted which takes about 20 minutes in my oven and then let them cool completely in the pan before trying to get them out.  =)

Friday, January 6, 2012

New Year's Goals Set by Kindergarteners

I think this little fellow's parents have discussed what a resolution is with him.  If you can't read his speech bubble, it says, "My New Year's goal is get ready for school faster."  And, just to set the record straight, he doesn't really have black teeth.
Miss B said her New Year's goal is "to do something for my teacher".  Now, shouldn't everyone's New Year's goal be just that!  God love her!
This sweet little guy wants to "give presents to everybody".  He made me smile with this one!  Precious!
Isn't it awesome that "to be a fashionista" is on the top of this little star's list?  Her leggings and tu-tu made it look as though she was working hard on just that today.  =)

Monday, January 2, 2012

RUN, Don't walk!!

I have seen a few posts about using these little gems in stations.  And, we all know it will be February before we know it.  I went to my local Dollar Tree last week looking for these.  Well, they had cleared out all the Christmas stuff and were working on stocking the shelves with Valentine's items.  I found the box that these were in but since they had not been unpacked and placed on the shelf, I did not ask if I could buy them.  I decided to go back a couple of days later.  I went back on Friday and they were still not unpacked.  So, this time I asked the nice workers if I could buy something that wasn't on the shelves yet.  They said sure and even opened the box for me.  There were packs of these plastic heart shaped boxes with writing on them on top of the stack but as I dug down in the box, I found the plain ones.  They come 10 to a package for only $1!!  I bought 8 packages (remember I co-teach and we have 40 students).  These will go FAST!  Hope you get some if you are interested.  I haven't been to the Target Dollar Spot yet.  Can't wait to go there!
The teachers in my county go back to work tomorrow and I am ready!  I will miss taking my time drinking my coffee in the mornings and the time I have been able to spend with my family and dog but I need structure and a schedule!  I have been using  some  A LOT of this down time to combine all the awesome downloads I have gotten from all of your into folders.  I have been copying all those folders onto a flash drive so I will be able to always have them with me. Well, I will be trying to find a flash drive today big enough to hold all of them.  I will also be making a run to the teacher store to buy some new desk name tags and hopefully these will make it for the second semester.  Enjoy your day everyone!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year!

We've been out of school since December 20th and I have been itching to get back into my classroom because I have had a running list in my head of all the things I want to have done before next week.  Luckily the teachers go back a day before the students.  Well, yesterday I spent a few hours in my nice, quiet, and clean (it won't stay that way for long) classroom and thought I would share with you all the plans I have for the three days that the students will be at school next week.
We will be learning about New Year's traditions and doing activities from Kim Adsit and Brooke Perry's New Year's units.  I emailed the parents from our class and shared with them what we will be doing when we return to school and asked them to talk with their children about their family new year's tradition.  I also asked them to email me back and let me know about what time their child went to bed on New Year's Eve because we will be graphing that information.  I wanted to make sure the students would have some help in this department because some of them might not remember.
The students will return on Wednesday.  We will start the day by talking about our class rules and reminding each other of the discipline dozen.  After we do our calendar activities, we will discuss that we have started a new year.  I will read the book The Night Before New Year's by Natasha Wing.

In the book, the author talks about sharing fond memories of the year past.  We will be doing the same about our school year so far.  We will use the tree map in Kim's "Hooray for New Year's Day" unit. We will list the student's favorite events from each month of the school year from August to December.  After we finish that, we will do the 2 math pages from the same unit all about the number 12.

On Thursday, I will read the book New Year's Day by David F. Marx. 

We will be using Brooke's unit and will graph the times the student's went to bed on New Year's Eve, make party hats according to a glyph, and work together to write words we know that begin with each letter of Happy New Year.

On Friday, I will ask the students what they think a resolution is.  We will do a shared writing activity and write about some of the answers.  After reading the book, Squirrel's New Year's  Resolution by Pat Miller.  I will ask the class about the meaning of the word resolution again. 
Once we have established the real meaning, I will help the students decide on their own resolution. The students will write their resolution or goal unto a speech bubble.  We will make a face to go with the party hats we made on Thursday and put the two together and add a party noise maker blower kind of thingy. We will add their speech bubbles that have their new goal on it and make a hall way display.  
I hope everyone has been enjoying their break!  I can't believe the first semester of the school year is over!  

Friday, December 2, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Kinders...part 2

So, we have been busy learning about "Christmas Around the World" this week.  On Monday, we shared our own Christmas traditions and made stockings. On Tuesday, we listened to The Legend of the Poinsettia and learned about Christmas traditions in Mexico.  We made poinsettias from red and green construction paper. Before moving on to France on Wednesday, I was reviewing with the students what we had learned so far in our journey.  We were discussing what we remembered about Mexico and I asked, "What was the name of the flower we made that came from Mexico?"  An eager student waved his hand in the air and gave me that "I know, I know" look so, I called on him.  He proudly said, "The Mayflower!!!"  Bless his heart!  Too much information crammed into his little brain in the last couple of weeks...
Check out my awesome sister in-law's blog ( and her super cute "Christmas Around the World Scrapbook"!