Thursday, March 14, 2013


<sigh> It's been one of those years. They were off the hook today so I let those who followed the rules paint after lunch while those who received several (thousand) reminders had to write and draw about the right way to do things at school. I had 14 painters and 13 writers. Yes, it was 50/50. Yes, I have 27 kids. Yes, I had wine when I got home.
I have been at this for 13 years.  I'm not a new K teacher.  It's just one of those groups that just can't listen to save their lives needs a lot of extra bribes reminders/support.  They can't control their impulses.  There is one child who pretty much drives the atmosphere and he is not identified as special needs so I get virtually no support with him.  It's exhausting.  To top it off, my district went to a 26 class size this year.  I got an extra one.  Swell.  We don't have aides so it's just me and nearly thirty little ones from 8 to 2:15.  Did I mention the wine?
I really never used to complain about my job.  I still love my job.  But this year....I surrender! 

My biggest challenge is making sure we are still focused on the positive.  That those who do follow the rules don't get overlooked or feel under-appreciated.  And that the others learn to look to them as an example.  It can be hard.  When you're reading a story and you're interrupted on nearly every page by a blurt or behavior that distracts everyone else.  It's hard to remember to say, "Thank you, Joey, for having your eyes on the page and your listening ears working." instead of, "Quit making that noise, Sam!"   But it does work better.  

So onward and forward!  No one ever died from being annoyed, right?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Cats and Hats

Did you celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday this week?  I usually have at least one entire day devoted to it, but I just couldn't find the time this year.  So we just did a couple simple things today and it was still a lot of fun.  Also, the group I have this year does not do well when things are too...shall we  They do not see or comprehend the fine line between having fun and being completely crazy, know what I mean?  Yeah.  I know you do.

Today we read The Cat in the Hat and did a directed drawing of the cat.  I think they turned out cute.  When they finished, I told the kids to write some --at words.  Then, we made a hat to wear and on each stripe was an --at word.  I didn't take pictures of the hats, but they were super simple and the kids looked really cute walking around in them.

Later, we read and watched a DVD of Green Eggs and Ham.  It was a much simplified version of my past Seuss days, but sometimes you just can't squeeze everything in!  I had a sub yesterday so I could attend a Common Core training so today was a bit of a catch-up day as well.  And yet another reason I didn't want to do anything too crazy!

If you want the directions to do the drawing: CLICK HERE

TGIF!   Have a GREAT weekend!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Penguins, Snow, and Valentine Love

Whew!  I've been out of the loop for awhile!  I feel terrible to have neglected my blog but I've just been swamped.  We moved on Feb. 1st and that took every ounce of energy I had to spare-- and then some!  Moving is such a pain in the you know what great experience.  We are still getting settled and have a bazillion boxes left to go through are almost unpacked.  It is unreal how much stuff you can acquire, isn't it?

Of course, in the classroom, the show must go on, right?  We have had a great and fun-filled month so far!  We did a penguin directed drawing and they turned out really cute!  I did these in small groups.

Last week we had a visitor come from a local museum (Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose) and do a presentation called "Snow Day" to kick off our upcoming unit on weather.  The kids got to use microscopes to look at artificial snow.  They checked it out dry, then with water, then with salt and compared and contrasted how it looked and changed.  They loved it!
 The kids worked in pairs.

 They learned how to adjust the focus.

 This was also a great exercise in following directions.

This experience really gets them excited to learn about weather, and also gets them talking about snow which is something we don't see around here.  It snowed a little a couple of years ago, but normally "cold" is around 55 here in the Bay Area of CA.  (Unless you're my hubby.  Then "cold" is 74, and 55 is downright freezing!.)   My group this year tends to be a little, shall we say, chatty and they did have to be threatened reminded a few times to be good listeners but, all things considered, it was a great day!

Of course, we also celebrated Valentine's Day this past week.  We are allowed to have 2 parties per year so I always do one on Valentine's Day.  No matter what, this always ends up being one of our best days ever!  I had parents sign up to bring cookies, fruit, and juice.  We passed out cards and did some fun coloring sheets.  For class parties I strongly adhere to the old K.I.S.S. method, if you catch my drift.  Especially with the energetic bunch I have this year!  Oh my.  It's an experience just opening the door each morning.  I am counting down the days til Summer finding ways to channel their energy, but it's one of those years I cannot be off my game for even a minute!

Anyway, I want them to find learning fun so I do try to incorporate lots of arts and crafts whenever possible.  We did this cute one from Miss Kindergarten and used it as our Valentine card.  For now, I only ran off the bear.  I think I am going to do the cute bunny for Easter/Spring!

It was a super cute, fun, and easy-to-prep craft!

And now....I am off for a whole week!  My district doesn't get any extended breaks before December, but after that we have some nice mental health breaks vacations sprinkled in!  It's so nice to have time to relax with my family, unpack and get my new house in order, sleep in, and hopefully work on some new items for my TpT Store!  
Do you get any time off this week for President's Day?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Alligators & Penguins & Skunks-- Oh My!


After break, we began our Animal unit.  It never ceases to amaze me how much kids love to learn about animals!  We kicked off this great topic with a visit from Wild Things, Inc. , out of Salinas, CA.  If you are in this area, you should check them out!  You can take a trip to their facility (which we used to do when there was money for buses) or they will come to you with a variety of fantastic live animals!  We did the "My Backyard" assembly, which features animals native to North America.  There are many facilities throughout the country that do programs like this, you just have to call around and ask! 

Our stage was still set from our Gingerbread Man play before vacation!  Love it. 

Baby alligator

Milk snake: "Red touches black, friend of Jack.  Red touches yellow, dangerous fellow."  That's how you can tell the difference between this friendly guy and his dangerous near-twin, the coral snake.
"Flower" the skunk.  She's been descented.  Thank goodness!

Furry ferret. 

Red-kneed tarantula! 
Needless to say, the kids really enjoyed this experience!  We followed up with some Animal Writing (FREE) using this template I found on TpT.  We have not completed the task-- I will have to upload some photos when we get there!
This week, we begin our penguin unit.  This is one of my favorites every year, too!  I have decided to give you my  Penguin Counting Pack FREE!

Please leave me some love and follow my blog if you like the unit!  I would love to share more with you! 


Friday, January 4, 2013

Tablet For The Teacher & Snowman CVC Freebie

ACK!  Vacation is almost over!  Where I work, teachers go back this Monday, Jan.7 for an inservice and students return on Tuesday.  It has been a great break, though.  It's so nice to have time to relax, sleep in, and get things done that normally have to wait! 

We have spent a good deal of our break cleaning, packing, and purging our house for our move in February.  While it wasn't a fun way to spend our time, I am thankful we had the time to do that outside of work!  Now for the next several weekends we will continue to hopefully reduce our "stuff" and get packed up.  We are moving to a nice, big, beautiful house so it will be a wonderful change once we've accomplished the work that lies ahead.

I have been thinking about the return to school and what to do those first few groggy days back.  Our new theme is "Animals" so I usually cover forest animals as well as penguins.  And even though it doesn't snow here in the Bay Area (hardly ever), we will do some fun snowman activities to "Winter-ize" our classroom.  I made that word up, but it should be a real word, don't you think?!  ;-)

So here is a fun Snowman CVC Freebie for you.  I am going to do these on blue construction paper and give the kids white crayons when they're done to add snowy details.
If you download it, please follow me and leave me some snowy LOVE in the form of a comment!  Thanks!

Also, have you heard about the "Tablet for the Teacher Sweepstakes" going on at Teacher's Notebook?  Click on the banner at the top of my blog for more information.  You can enter once per day from Jan. 5-31!  Good luck!

And I will leave you on this note, a joke shared with me by my 7 year-old yesterday:  What does a frog like to drink with his hamburger?    CROAK-a-Cola!

Yep.  I love vacation!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Winter Puzzle Freebie

Happy New Year!

I just finished some number order puzzles.  They are free if you click here.
I made options for 1-10 or 11-20.  You can print in color or B&W.

We will be working on numbers 11-20 this month, so I am going to make several copies of the color ones and laminate for centers.  I hope you can use them, too!