Friday, October 28, 2011

Six Years Old. . . Finally!

In case you all hadn't noticed, I have quite a cast of characters this year! They are very young, and inadvertently, very funny. Today was FINALLY one of my little girl's birthday: She turned 6 years old today and has reminded me about her birthday every day for the last month (seriously - we've had a countdown! 13 days till my birthday...12...) My little friend is ADHD and it has been interesting keeping her feet down on planet Earth. 

So, yesterday, during center time, she decided she needed to create her own center: A tally graph of what kind of cupcake everyone would like - chocolate or vanilla. I kept my eye on her, but she did a really good job! She asked every one (even me!) and her tally marks were spot on!

THEN, as if this wasn't enough authentic learning, she borrowed a piece of paper, and proceeded to make a picture graph! I wish I'd thought to take a picture before she took it home to give to mommy. It was really good! (You can tell what we're studying in class this week, can't you?)

I just love this! Okay, it wasn't the centers I'd planned on her doing, but don't you think she learned a lot from this? So do I! Have a great weekend, all! By the way, the cupcake graphic was from KindergartenWorks - isn't it adorable?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Have you seen the new giveaway hosted by three wonderful bloggers, Eberhart's Explorers, Teeny Tiny Teacher, and First Grade Blue Skies? It's amazing! You can win two gift certificates - one to Target and one to Scrappin' Doodles AND two items from FGBS's TPT store! Sounds good, right? Click below to go there!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

So Much Fun. . .

Whew! I'm so tired! Our field trip "Around the Town" was today and it was so much fun! The children had SUCH a good time and I had 10 parent volunteers, which is amazing! Our first stop was Trader Joe's, where the huge hit of the visit was the walk in freezer (go figure!) and the crusher machine, which crushed the boxes. Then we went to the fire station and took a tour of the entire fire station, including where the firemen lived. My kids were AGOG when Fireman Ryan brought out a huge container of mayo! Very funny! The firemen also went down the fire pole, which the kids loved. We ate lunch in the park and then ended our visit with story hour in the library. The librarian read three books to the kids because they were so good. 

THEN, as if this wasn't a full enough day, we came back to school, where the Great American Shake-out exhibit was ending. Our school is in California, which, of course, has earthquakes, so once a year, the entire state practices in case of a major disaster. We missed the whole Drop and Cover thing but got back in time to see the drug helicopter land, see (more) firetrucks, and visit with the police dog and policemen. Honestly, I couldn't have hoped for a better ending to my community helpers unit!

Predictably, I forgot my camera - I'm so mad at myself. If I get pictures from parents, I'll post them. What kind of field trips do you take that are huge hits? I'm thinking I'll put this one on my "let's do again" list! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Community Helpers Mini Book

Yesterday, I told you all about the exciting field trip we're going on "Around the Town." I wrote a Community Helpers little book and it was a HUGE hit! The children were so excited and discussed each page avidly with each other and me. Their books were priceless: Many of the children were surprised to discover that their parents were community helpers. For example, I have a little girl whose mother works for the city: Her last page was all about her mom - sure to become a "pass-around-the-office" book tomorrow at mom's work!  Another child wrote that her dad worked at a bar and that he "talked to others and made them feel better." Loved it!  I hope you'll enjoy this book and the results as much as I did. Let me know if you use it and find it helpful!
Community Helpers Book

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

We're Going on a Field Trip!

My friend, who teaches kindergarten, and I have planned a field trip "Around the Town." We're starting at Trader Joe's, which is a grocery store here in California. It's kind of a small version of Whole Foods, without the high prices. Then, we're visiting the fire station and wrapping up our trip by visiting the library. We'll have lunch in the park. Doesn't that sound like fun?

It's a perfect opportunity to squeeze in a Community Helpers unit. We started by creating a circle map, brainstorming various community helpers. Today, we each picked one of those community helpers, and made a tree map. I'm attaching the tree map here for you. The graphics, of course, are my favorite Lettering Delights.

Tomorrow, we're going to write a little book about community helpers, which I'll attach later. It's been a fun unit and the children are so very excited!

Community Helpers Tree Map PDF

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Nope, Not That Hand Either...

I have laughed about this all week long and just have to share. I hope I can do this story justice. I have this little girl in my class who has lots of academic issues, is ADHD, and very (very) immature. She struggles in just about all academic areas and she and I spend a lot of quality time, working on simple skills – such as counting her fingers.
I was trying to help her solve a simple addition problem: 6 + 1. She’s not been terribly successful with manipulatives, so I thought I’d give the old fingers a try. So I said to her, “Show me 6 fingers.” She starts to count her fingers…
“1, 2, 3, 4, 5…..” and she turns to me and says, “I don’t have enough fingers.” So I said to her, “Honey, use your other hand.” So she holds up the other hand, and counts, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5…..Nope, not that hand either.”
Can we all say, Another Year Of Kindergarten Was Needed?  I have giggled all week. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

You Can't Say You Can't Play

Jill at Marvelous Multi-Agers, posted about an issue her school is having with the first and second graders. They're being unkind to each other during play time, refusing to play with certain children. She did a bit of reading and came across a book called, "You Can't Say You Can't Play." I, too, have been having this issue in my classroom, so after some thought, I created a poster that says "You Can't Say You Can't Play." It's very simple: No graphics, just the stark reminder to be a good friend to others. I hope, as always, that you will find this useful.
You Can't Say You Can't Play PDF

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I Was So Lucky Today

I have been swamped lately and I've neglected my blog, neglected my various emails, neglected my family, you get the drift! The only thing that hasn't been neglected is my class! THEY are getting my undivided attention - I've been putting in 15 hour days again and I'm not teaching a combination class! It just feels like it. I think I've told you this before: I have a class with an age range of 5 to 8; their reading levels range from a 0 to 25 (no surprise in first grade, you all know that); their math abilities range from "can count to 6" all the way to "I can multiply - when do I learn to divide?" In case you're wondering, NO, that's not a first grade standard in California! So, I'm differentiating like crazy. Thanks to all of you for your wonderful ideas: I'm stalking blogs from kindergarten to second grade, searching for ideas to help out this needy little group of mine.

ANYWAYS, I got off the topic (as usual). I opened my email and got the nicest surprise: A care package of Apple Edition Spin and Graph from Kelli and Castles and Crayons! It is really cool and perfect for my class! Thank you so much, Kelli!

THEN, as if that wasn't enough, I found out that I'd won Erin's giveaway at Kleinspiration! I won a gift certificate to MyGrafico, which has amazing clip art! Thank you, Erin! I'm a Clip Art Queen, so I'm thrilled. 

My hubby and I are off to Laughlin (a miniature version of Vegas) this weekend for a couple of days - I hope I haven't used all my luck! :) Have a great evening, everyone!