Saturday, February 27, 2016

Five for Friday - Last of February!

Can we have a little bit of real talk for a second?  I had EVERY INTENTION of posting my Five for Friday on an actual Friday.  Every intention.  But then Friday came.  We ate pizza.  We enjoyed some chocolate.  Then we snuggled in my bed and completely got lost in Fuller House.  I mean.  It happens.  So here I am, posting on a Saturday.  And I don't regret it one bit! 

Here's five things from my week!

As I may have told you, I recently signed up to be a Beach Body coach.  I am super excited for this next chapter in my life and for the opportunity to help others!!!  I've had great results in health and fitness so far and can't wait to keep going.  I ordered a new program to try out and my shipment came in this week!  I will be starting the 21 Day Fix Extreme after I finish with Focus T25 in the next couple of weeks.  I also received a shipment of Shakeology and my new Starbucks GOLD CARD!!!  Whew!  Best mail ever!

This week was Kindness Week at our elementary school!  It was such a fun week!  Each day was a different theme!  Tuesday was Powered by Kindness.  We wore Superhero shirts and were super kind to each other!  Aren't we so cute?!

Each day, we were also given a kindness challenge as a class.  My favorite challenge had to be our Compli-Mats!  Each child received a heart to write their name on.  Then, each member of the class wrote a compliment on it.  I think our counselor received this idea from another blog but I'm not sure where!  I'd love to give credit so if you know, comment below so I can link it!

First, we brainstormed kind things to say to friends and created an anchor chart.

We then went to work!  Teacher fail on getting a picture...I was too busy participating!  I had my own heart and I loved reading what the kids thought about me!  Crack me up!

This week, our school also celebrated Orchard Night at the local university's women's basketball game.  To get the kids pumped about the game, our Kindergarten team held a little pep rally. We had a free throw contest and each took a half court shot.  So much fun!  I just love my team!

I may not be a star basketball player, but I had fun!

The actual game was so much fun!  The kids created a tunnel for the players to run through before the game and then sang "Grand Ole' Flag" and had a race on the court at halftime.  My Madi had a BLAST watching the players and the cheerleaders!

Lila didn't have as much fun with the game (two year old's don't really sit for basketball games well...) but she did love the mascot Rowdy!

This week, we also wrapped up Dental Health month with some dental health activities.  We read several non-fiction books including this one by Helen Frost. 

We discussed food that is good for your teeth and food that is not.  We then had some fun cutting food from magazines and sorting them!  I saw an idea like this on Pinterest on big chart paper (can't remember the link!), I just adapted the idea to my kids.  They had a great time and it sparked a lot of good conversation!

Here is a copy of the form we used in case you want to tuck it away for next year!  :)

To finish our week, we made a healthy 'teeth' snack!  LOL.  They were too cute!  I loved the comments from my kids....

"It's like a party in my mouth!"
"You should have a cooking show! You could make this!"
"This is the best day ever!"
"When I grow up and become a teacher, I'm going to make these for my kids too."

It's the little things y'all.  

Last, but not least...I've started thinking about March.  It's right around the corner!!!  I finished my March Handwriting FREEBIE for you!  Just click on the picture below to download!

You can also grab my Differentiated March Write the Room from my TPT store!  Here's a link!

Quite the busy week, but a lot of memories made!  Have a great weekend everyone!  Me, I'm getting some rest!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Home Visits: Do you do them? I did and I LOVED them!

Who here has done home visits with their students?  I hadn't until this year and, let me tell you, it's been amazing!  

This year our building principal really encouraged us to make home visits with our students.  There are SO MANY BENEFITS to meeting students at home and making that connection.  She showed us this video at any early back to school meeting, and I was hooked! 

While our principal highly encouraged home visits, they aren't mandatory for teachers or for parents.  I decided that I would jump in!  I was excited to spend some quality time with my students.  It can often be difficult to spend one on one time when you have a class of 23 Kindergartners.  Back to school, the fall and the holiday season was busy personally for me so when we came back after the holiday break I created a Google Form for my parents to sign up for visits.  I planned each visit for roughly 30 minutes.  I informed parents that while I was there, I would be doing two different activities with their child as well as give them a chance to talk with me about how their child is doing in class.  I had about half of my parents quickly sign up and I was so excited!

So what activities did I bring??  First up was a page from the Moffatt Girls Read and Sequence NO PREP Packet (Set 1).  

 I love this pack for so many reasons!  It was a great opportunity to talk with parents about their child taking the DRA at the end of year.  I explained how, not only are students expected to be able to read on a certain level, but they should be able to retell the story as well - including details from the text.  We discussed ways to incorporate this at home during bedtime stories, questions to ask their child, etc.  Plus the parents always love to hear their child read - it's so magical to see their faces light up.  :)  To check out Annie's pack click on the link below.  

Next up, I created an addition/subtraction game.  I used my Editable Card Games pack and typed in addition and subtraction facts to five.  I brought marshmallows along to use as counters (and of course, for a treat after we were done!).  The kids had a blast!  I used this opportunity to talk to parents about all of the things we practice and work on in school but don't necessarily assess (fact fluency for example).  We even made most of the parents play so they were able to see the language I use when discussing addition and subtraction.  Everyone had so much fun!

To check out my Editable Card Games just click the link below!

I knew going in to the home visits I wanted a way for parents to provide feedback.  I created this short little survey that parents could fill out (if they wanted) and send back to school.  To grab this freebie click on the link below!

I also knew I wanted a way to be able to write down anything I wanted to remember.  Any special concerns the parents expressed or any notes I wanted to take.  So I created a teacher form as well.  Just click the picture below for this freebie! 

Honestly, doing home visits with my students has made me a better teacher.  The students and families felt special, I feel closer to those students and understand them a little better, and it was genuinely really fun!  I plan on dong another round of home visits right before the end of school as an "Off to First Grade" type of visit for parents to be able to ask any of those end of the year questions they might have.   I'll keep you all posted on how it goes!  :)

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Five for Friday - Saturday Style

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching on this cold Saturday afternoon for a little Five for Friday action.  It's been a while since I've done a Five for Friday post but life has been a little busy!

Have you ever blinked and all of a sudden your children are suddenly bigger than they were before?  That's exactly what has happened this week!  It all began Sunday night with my Madi losing her first tooth.  She has waited months for this day and it finally arrived!  She was such a champ when I pulled it out and she couldn't wait to see what the tooth fairy would leave her!  (Just a $1, though I hear other tooth fairies may give out more money, ours is frugal.)

Then, later this week, my Lila learned to write the letter L!  She loves drawing circles and telling us who each one is.  She calls it her 'homework'.  I showed her how to write an L one night 'big line down, little line across' and she did it!  Three times!  This momma was so proud!!!

Seeing how fast my girls are growing up and learning, makes me just want to slow time down.  I know I can't so we are just going to enjoy what time we have.  Friday night we spent time with my family.  The girls each made mini pizzas and we enjoyed a heart shaped pizza to celebrate Valentine's Day.  I love making these memories with my girls.  :)

Don't mind the messy's tough work making pizza...and that's usually how we roll!

This week also marked a new chapter for myself.  In the past month I have been working hard to stick to my exercise routine and eat cleaner.  Not only have I lost weight, feel a million times better and have more patience and less stress - I have discovered some new yummy foods that I LOVE!  This is my current favorite snack or breakfast.  A cup of plain Greek yogurt, a heaping spoonful of pumpkin puree, a drizzle of honey, dash of cinnamon and a few pecans  DELICIOUS!  It's like a healthy pumpkin pie I can eat for breakfast.  #winwin

Since I have had success (both scale and non-scale) with the changes I have made, I have decided that I want to help others do the same!!!  It must be the teacher in me....LOL.  I took a leap of faith and signed up to be a Beach Body coach this week.  I cannot wait to get started!  I am looking forward to being able to support others on their health and fitness journey just like my coach did for me!  

I looked at the calendar this week and realized that February was half over...say what?!  That means I really need to hunker down and begin working on my presentation for the Conference on the Young Years in the beginning of March.  This conference is at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri and targets Early Childhood teachers and childcare providers.  I presented last year and had a WONDERFUL time.  I am looking forward to going back again.  This years topic is how to make learning literacy skills fun, engaging and hands on.  I'm also going to hit on the topic of student goals and easy ways to track and reward students.  If you were going, what kinds of things would you want to see or learn about?  Comment and let me know!

My goal had been to post some super cute pictures from our class Valentine party this week.  However, we ended up having a snow day on the day our Valentine party was scheduled.  We will be having it instead on Tuesday.  Pictures to come!  In the meantime, check out the adorable bags we made this year!  Our local grocery store donated large brown paper bags for each student and I made the template for our love owls.  Aren't they adorable!!!

Whooooo has the sweetest class?  I do!  :)

It doesn't look like the cold, snowy weather is finished with us yet.  Here is our radar for Sunday evening....start saying some prayers y'all....

♥ Have a great weekend and a Happy Valentine's Day!!! ♥