Friday, December 14, 2012

Monster Update

I started making sweater monsters for my class... Here's the original post:

I brought them to school for the reading tent in October and the kids and I fell in LOVE :)
After the sweater monsters took a break from my classroom, I went home and made MORE for a November craft fair. I brought 12 monsters to the craft fair and sold 10 of them.

A former student and her mother stopped by my booth at the fair and encouraged me to sell my monsters at a local store. In December, I sold another 12 monsters through 2 small local shops.

I also posted a few pictures online and sold some monsters that way. Call it my Monster empire :)

My monsters are $24 each, shipping included. Made from up-cycled sweaters, each one is unique. They come with adoption papers and a little baggy of snacks. Their mouths are made from the sweater sleeves, and kids can reach inside their mouths to feed them or store toys and notes. Their mouths will hold a medium sized apple (they don't really like apples. That's just a size comparison.)

Monsters are now shipped with an assortment
of monster snacks ! om nom nom

Here are some monsters that are available right now. I am having SOOO much fun making them. You can email me for more information:

 I think the original monsters will be visiting my class again in the new year!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Santa's Workshop

Look at all the kindergarten elves, busy getting ready for Christmas in the role playing center!
My teaching partner set up the station, and kids (and their parents) brought in tools and a tool bench from home. 

 The great thing is that I didn't have to tell them how to use this center. They make up the rules, make up how to play, and love it. Sometimes they are getting ready to ship toys, sometimes they are feeding the reindeer. You know, elf stuff.

It's a merry merry time in kindergarten!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

What we do

I had a very interesting meeting this week with the principal and a couple of other teachers. Our task was to look at our daily literacy instruction and outline what we do. All of it.

The other kindergarten teacher has been teaching kindergarten for-almost-ever and runs a very tight ship. I was excited to get a chance to listen to what she does all day and steal all the ideas I could! 

 I learned a couple of things: First of all, NO WONDER I'm tired at the end of the day! We are super busy and looking at our schedules only verified that. Kristie and I do so many of the exact same things, even thought we have different styles of teaching. There are some things we haven't ever talked about, but we are doing EXACTLY the same way. That was fun to compare.

And B: I went back to class the next day and realized how many things I didn't even mention in the meeting. I remembered all my favorite activities and all my least favorite activities. I skipped a lot of the mundane and routine - but important - stuff in kindergarten. I guess that makes sense, because how could we possibly list EVERYTHING we do?

And 3: There is so much room to improve. I've been teaching for 15 years, I have a doctorate in teacher leadership, and I'm National Board Certified in Early Literacy. I have so much more to learn. At the meeting, I learned little tips for early finishers and new resources that I'm not using on the iPads in my class. Woohoo!

Here is a sampling of the activities we discussed in the meeting.

Students love using dry erase makers in the writing center
Magnetic letters in the ABC center.
Notice that the student on the right decided to do the whole alphabet backwards.
That's how they are!

A lot of our puzzles now have words to read on them!

We love pop up books! Isn't this castle awesome?

They LOVE the word wall. We play here all day long!

Every day, students bring me notes that they wrote at home.
One of my favorite moments  is when I get to read their notes!

We are using a new word bank and I love their enthusiasm to learn all these words!

Another use for books: stabilizing a Lincoln Log structure.
Does that make this a literacy activity?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Cookbook

We had a great Thanksgiving feast in kindergarten.
Yes, We painted our hands to look like turkeys. 
I think you HAVE to do that in kindergarten. Isn't it in the common core or something?
But we had some other fun too! Look at one of our "Mashed Potatoes" :)
Mr. Potato head will be so happy when this holiday is over. Must be terrifying for him.

 ANd look at these cute little turkeys :)
We spent WAY too much time pasting them together with chocolate frosting.

We also used iMovie to record a hilarious gobbling contest. 
They are such turkeys!

But my favorite Thanksgiving project was the cookbook that we wrote. 
Here is a sampling of the recipes :)

 Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veterans Day

We had a beautiful Veterans Day assembly today, complete with these wonderful vets that come to help our students understand what this day is all about.

The older students talked about what Veterans Day means, while the younger kids just soaked it all in. Even if you didn't understand any of the words today, you could feel that this was something special.

Everyone sang along. 
Agh, a room full of 400 kids singing God Bless America... their voices were so sweet.

One of those times that made me proud to be an American, 
and honored to be able to share this  day with these kindergarteners.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Imagination Station- Grocery Store

The afternoon in kindergarten is full of opportunities for the kids to learn and play. Learning and playing are nearly inseparable when you are 5 years old.

Our playroom activities include a puppet storytelling center, ABC center, art center, building center, and the imagination center. The imagination center has been a place to play house so far this year. The kids love playing with the little plastic plates and baby dolls, but today we put all of that away to turn the imagination center into a grocery store. 

This was all set up by my WONDERFUL teaching partner.
Families helped by sending in empty boxes to stock the shelves.

Students had a great time filling up their carts and taking their purchases to the cash register.

 Pretend grocery shopping is expensive, too!!!
$11,401,077? Whoa! Is the federal government buying this stuff?

The kids cart their purchase back to restock the shelves and start all over again. 

I have to say that this is a lot more fun than REAL grocery shopping, which I had to do on the way home from school today. I'd much rather shop in the playroom! 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Trick or Treats

What a crazy Halloween!
We went to the library at our regular 9:50 time (actually, it is the first time I've been on time this year!), sat down to hear a Halloween story, and the lights began to flicker and then -- no electricity. 

The kids took their costumes home in a whirlwind of early-dismissal activity, and we came back on November 1st for our Day-After-Halloween party. We started with an all-school costume parade and then played a bunch of games in our classroom. What a fun day!

There was a ring toss

A Halloween matching game

LOADS of Halloween books to read

A Penny Pitch game

 GHOST  Bowling

And a snack station with BEAUTIFUL cookies made by a parent

We had a great time, and got to extend Halloween one more day! 
And, yes, I have started planning the Thanksgiving Feast :)