I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. She will be  taking a break for the month of July. You can link up with Cara at The First Grade Parade for Favorite Pins Friday!

This week was a busy one! Here are a few things we (Ethan and I) did...

1. We went up north with my family while Matt was away for work. It was a lot of fun! The weather was perfect and we got up to Mackinac Island. If you ever come to MI you must go there. There are no cars on the island and only horses and buggies or bikes.

2. I finished painting our deck. We are currently trying to freshen up the outside of our house. We got a new pergola and decided to try the Rust-o-leum deck paint instead of replacing our deck.

3. Ethan got a weird rash on his one leg and we are trying to get that under control. It is not contagious and it doesn't bother him, but it looks bad. Fortunately it is starting to heal, but this is not the first time he has gotten some weird illness or rash and I always feel bad whenever it happens because he never complains or acts differently.

4. We got to see some early 4th of July fireworks in Rochester.

5. Here is a freebie for you all! You can get it at tpt here
This is going to be a great early finisher task for my students and I may even use it whole group with my little ones. The words same and different are very challenging for them so this should help.

Freebie Fridays

Have a great weekend!

Ethan and I with my family spent some time up north and had a blast. The weather was great and Ethan was in a great mood. Last year a trip Up North was a nightmare (he didn't sleep, was spitting up everywhere, only wanted a bottle, and just screaming and crying pretty much the entire trip...very memorable), but fortunately this year was WAY better! It was enjoyable and relaxing minus the mosquitos (here is MI this year they are ravenous!).

Anyways, Cara Carroll over at The First Grade Parade is hosting Throwback Thursday. Make sure to check it out. :) And Happy Anniversary to her and her husband!
Wednesday, August 31, 2011

name matching

To make this all you need to construction paper and Velcro. I typed up the students names in comic sans (two per page-one at the top and one at the bottom) and printed off a copy. Run it through the copier and put it onto construction paper. I then laminated the page, cut out the letters at the bottom and attached Velcro on the back. Attach Velcro underneath and you have name matching task for your kiddos.
Have a great Thursday! 

I am linking up with Fourth Grade Frolics for Monday Made It. This past week was another fun week of being crafty.

Here are a few things I made or got the opportunity to try out with Ethan.

First, this past week Ethan and I made some baked cotton balls to smash with the hammer. The original idea came from Making Boys Men blog. I just did two scoops of flour and equal 2 scoops of water, added a drop of food coloring. Mix and then drop the cotton balls into the mixture. Bake at 150 for about 35-40 minutes. Ethan had fun hitting them.


I also made Ethan a chalkboard, which he loves. We had some leftover plywood and I just painted it with Martha Stewart's chalkboard paint. I got it at Michaels last year. It worked really well. You do need to apply three coats of it.

I also added some contact paper to a shelf in our spare bedroom. It definitely looks way better with a splash of color. The contact paper was pretty easy to use. I saw lots of ideas about adding wall paper or fabric, but I found the contact paper to work well and if I want to change it out down the road it will be easily removed.

Last, but not least, something for my classroom.
I had gotten this shelf my first of year teaching at a school that was closing for $5. Originally when I started teaching kindergarten I had little furniture so this shelf held my puzzles and some blocks. However, at my new school we have LOTS of furniture in my room. However, I saw this this stand on Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds. Sheryl changes it depending on what theme they are working on and I wanted to do something similar so this shelf is going to be transformed into something similar.
I sanded and repainted it.

Then, I added Velcro to the top of it in the front.

Excuse the poor sign. I need to fix it. I am going to make signs for the different dramatic play options and laminate them, add Velcro and then you have a new dramatic play center. The other positive of using the shelf is the materials for that theme can be kept in the shelf in baskets. The kids should easily be able to put the stuff away. We will find out how easily, but I think they should be able to once I teach them how to use it.

The next task to make this successful is getting my different themes and getting the materials for the prop boxes.
Well, we are headed up north for the next few days. Have a great Monday!

I am linking up with Leigh at The Applicious Teacher for her Apple a Day linky. I enjoy reading all the tips from other teachers too as it is a nice reminder of what I need to start doing or things I need to continue doing or get back to doing.
This weeks topic is whole group instruction. Whole group instruction can be really tricky especially since class sizes are continuously growing and because of the growing diversity (special needs, ages, at-risk, ELL, etc) in classrooms.

1. Have a schedule and make sure to follow it. The students know what is coming and how much is left, which helps them to be more attentive.

2. For longer whole group time try to get songs and movement in as much as possible. My circle time for the afternoon class is almost an hour, but that includes calendar time, movement time, a whole group activity or two and story. It is a long time, but we work up to it and I try to stay on one thing for a relatively short time.

3. Make it as interactive as possible. When I taught kindergarten I gave the students white boards to write the missing letters and words in during morning message. I gave them a 100s chart and they counted along. I also have the special helper directing as many of the activities as possible. I also incorporate lots of music. This year I am going to be giving each of my students numerals 1-10 to trace for Dr. Jean's numeral song.

4. Build up to the expected time. Initially circle time starts as 30 minutes for my little ones or less depending on the day and we work up to an hour. When I did writer's workshop we started writing for only 5 minutes and build it up as the year went on. Same thing with all of my whole group instruction.

5. Lastly, if the kids are squirrely and not listening, add some movement and they still don't calm down and refocus don't be afraid to end it early. If that many of the kids are distracted and not listening they are not going to get much out of the lesson. Try again later or the next day.

A lot of this pertains more to circle time, but I think it can be applied to all whole group instruction times. A lot of it is trial and error and depends on the group of students you have from year to year. Have fun and keep it fresh because it keeps the kids on their toes and eager to see what tomorrow brings!

I am looking forward to reading others tips on this because it is definitely an area I feel like I am constantly trying to improve upon. Have a great Sunday!

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