Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Our 100th Day of School is coming up next week!  We will be using many ideas from this amazing unit:

We will also be wearing these hats that I made so here is a little 100th day freebie for you. Just click on the picture below to go get off of TpT!

Click here is another version I made, it is an adorable crown!

Happy 100th Day!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Remembering Dr. King

I hope you are enjoying Human Rights Day as much as I am.  I have to admit I slept in until 9:00 and didn't bother to shower until I put my littlest one down for her nap, at 1:00!  Yep, total relax day!  I have loved every minute of it.  Making pancakes and buttermilk syrup (yummmmm!)  Playing Hungry, Hungry, Hippos with the kids, folding laundry, watching the Miss America Pageant (because I haven't had a chance to and so why not, even though thanks to facebook I already knew who won),  and bbq-ing for lunch.  Later today we are headed to go help some friends move... yipee!  The kiddos are excited to play with friends and watch movies while the grown-ups move boxes and clean.  I am just super jealous, I dream about the day when my family of 5 is not trying to squeeze into our tiny 1300 square foot home.  Someday right?!

Tomorrow we will be talking about Dr. King in out kindergarten room and I thought I would share a few of my favorite resources with you.  I know you will be shocked to see a Harry Kinder video, because I NEVER use them, haha.  I think I am Mr. Harry's biggest fan! 


We will also be reading this book:

I love this book.  I have been reading it to my classes every year since 2005. 

In kinder I like to keep the conversation brief, however when I was a first grade teacher we began a discussion on human kindness after MLK jr Day and continued it through Valentines day.  We enjoyed a month of seeking out opportunities to be kind.  Every act of kindness had to be reported by another student or teacher (you could not report your own kind acts) and each act of kindness was written on a heart.  We (as a first grade) plastered our hallways with hearts and by Valentines hoped to have more than 500 hearts.  Each year  our random acts of kindness project grew and by my third year teaching first grade we had the entire school participating and had more than 3,000 hearts adorning our school hallways.  We had parent volunteers helping us di-cut hearts, hearts, and more hearts.  

Sadly we have not continued this tradition the past few years.  Our first grade team has all dispersed into different grade levels and different schools.  We were no longer there to head it up.  
The years that we did participate however always reminded me of how a focus on being kind seemed to create a more caring and loving class.  
So tomorrow I will focus less on the injustice, the violence, and the tragic end of Dr. King and more on his message of love and kindness.  

Enjoy the rest of your long weekend.  Back to the classroom tomorrow!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Puffy Fluffy Paint

I am certain most of you are aware of how to make fluffy puffy paint, I am not the first to be blogging about the wonders of puff paint however if you have not discovered this fun alternative to your basic paint project I strongly encourage you to try it.  My kiddos LOVE puff paint.  First you need to collect your ingredients.  There are 2.  So you may need a pen and paper to write them down. 

 I'll wait....




1. Shaving Cream

2. White Glue

You need to put equal parts into a container.  
Add embellishments.
(and because there is glue in the paint, they will stick, and stay, no extra adhesive required)
Yep.  It's that easy.  

It makes marvelous puffy fluffy looking snowmen!  I have also added liquid watercolor (or food coloring) to the mix to make fluffy hearts for Valentines day, fluffy shamrocks for St. Patty's.  The options are endless.

Here are my tips:
1. Make a fresh batch.  I have tried to make a batch in the morning and use the same batch for my afternoon class... it NEVER works well.  You NEED fresh shaving cream to give you that fluffy look.
2. I am kind of a glue snob, I stick with Elmers.  But I ALWAYS have glue given to me at the start of a new year that is "off brand"  this is what I save it for.  Also, use your remnants.  I use up all those glue bottles that have caps glued shut, are almost gone, or are not my favorite brands.  You need a lot of glue to make enough for 41 snowmen (believe me) so make sure to stock up.
3. Have your kiddos start by drawing their snowman shape with a white crayon or a pencil.  Then add their stick arms with a marker or crayon BEFORE beginning to paint.  This helps eliminate some mess.

Let them dry and hang them up for all to see!

I love shaving cream!  My husband wonders how one person can purchase and use so much shaving cream in a year.  I can.  It is great for cleaning tables, practicing words, super fun in a sand table, makes and awesome weather experiment (clear container, water, shaving cream, food coloring, WOW! Just see the picture below.), puff paint, of course, but also do you remember this post? We made some amazing fall leaves using simply shaving cream, tempera paint, and liquid water color.  (We will be doing this again in the spring when we talk about recycling, making the earth, using green and blue watercolor and tempera, I have a feeling they are going to be pretty cute!)
My class last year experimenting with shaving cream and water during our weather unit.

So head over to the dollar store and stock up on some shaving cream.
I am sure you can find plenty of uses for it!

Guess what we got?

Our chromebooks arrived!  Oh me oh my!  

You should have seen my kinder kiddos faces today when they walked in the room... squealing... completely shocked... so excited!  


Thank You Donor's Choose!

If you haven't signed up for a Donor's Choose account do it NOW!  What are you waiting for?  Go!  

Friday, January 11, 2013

Animal Homes

We are finishing up our animal unit next week.  For my Science and Social Studies Center we will be making these:

I have a super sweet little old lady who comes an volunteers in my classroom once a week.  She loves to collect pine cones and has been bringing me little bags filled with pine cones for the past couple of years.  I keep them and store them away.  Well I now have lots and lots and lots of pine cones.  More than I can store... see the problem.  One of my incredible team members came up with the solution!  She is beyond brilliant and  mentioned the above idea to help me use all those pinecones!  Although with one variation... due to peanut allergies we will be making ours with crisco instead of peanut butter... otherwise the same idea.

To go along with this center (and keep them busy for just a little bit longer) I created a quick matching worksheet for the kiddos to complete.  That's your Friday Freebie, enjoy!

Freebie Fridays

Have a great weekend!  It's FRIDAY!  

Saturday, January 5, 2013

We booked our room!

Hubsters and I have almost been married 10 years!  EEK!  I suddenly feel so old, haha.  

We have been trying to figure out our anniversary trip for months now.  Our anniversary is over spring break (one benefit to getting married on spring break in college and then becoming a teacher... you always have time off for your anniversary).  We always had a great excuse to do something fun to celebrate.  Then almost 3 years ago...

...our youngest baby (who is not so much of a baby these days) was born over spring break (best spring break ever) and so going away now means being gone on her birthday.... major momma guilt.  So for the past 2 years our anniversary get away has become a family vacation and little Maggie gets to spend her birthday on vacation!   This worked out great for us and we loved celebrating our anniversary/Maggster's birthday together as a fam.

But with this being the big 10 we decided we were going away, just the two of us, no matter what!  Maggie is turning 3 and we will celebrate her birthday before and after we leave... I am sure she will forgive us.  

So once I got over the guilt of leaving my baby on her birthday, maybe I am still not completely over that... hmmmm.... and made sure my mom would take the kids, because if I can't be with her on her birthday Grandma is the next best thing, right?!?  We had to choose a destination.  Hubby has left this completely up to me... he just wanted me to make up my mind... days ago.  haha.

So I began trying to choose where to go...

Cruise (I am afraid I will get seasick)
Skiing (I am not as young as I once was and if I blow out my knee, who is going to teach my classes and take care of my children)
New York (not in the budget, but oh I wish)
Seattle (because that is where we honeymooned 10 years ago.... but it is so cold and rainy this time of year... I really would rather visit in the summer months)
Hawaii (definitely not in the budget)

Hubsters  then told me he would rather not fly... hmmm... okay within driving distance from Southern Utah... Cali?

Santa Barbara (I am a huge fan of Psych so this just seemed like a great idea!  Finding a hotel ON THE BEACH was just not going to happen though.)
San Diego (eh? I really would rather go here with the kids,  Sea World... the Zoo...)

I really wanted something near the ocean... not too busy... with a relaxed atmosphere... but still had shopping and great food (because according to my hubby that makes a good vacation).

Then it hit me I was trying so hard to find a place like MONTEREY.  Why not just go to Monterey?

We went to Monterey two years ago when our baby girl, Maggie, turned one.  I loved it.  Our hotel was right on the beach.  I woke up to the sound of waves and walked on the beach everyday.  The food was amazing.  A perfect getaway.  It was a wonderful family vacation but how great would it be for just the two of us.  No need to visit the aquarium, which I highly recommend my kidlets loved it, or hang out at the park, or the children's museum.  We could do grown up things.  We can go to nice restaurants and talk, cause that does not happen with three little kids.  Maybe even sight see.  Drive down highway 1.  Sleep in.  Relax.  Read a book on the beach.  I am not saying I don't love making a sand castle, but the thought of going to the beach and just enjoying it for me... not worrying if my kids are too close to the water, or reprimanding my little man for throwing sand in his sisters' eyes.  

So I made our hotel reservations today...

<a href="/Hotel_Review-g32737-d78347-Reviews-BEST_WESTERN_PLUS_Beach_Resort_Monterey-Monterey_Monterey_Peninsula_California.html">BEST WESTERN PLUS Beach Resort Monterey</a>: Pictures
This photo of BEST WESTERN PLUS Beach Resort Monterey is courtesy of TripAdvisor

...at the same hotel we stayed at two years ago.  I finally made a decision and  in March I will be waking up here for 4 beautiful days!  Just me and my best friend.  I am kinda excited. And yes those are stairs, to the beach, from the rooms... yep.  It is kinda like heaven on earth.

Now I just have to start shopping for all the things I need for the trip, new clothes are definitely in order.  Nothing gets you through January like planning for a vacation!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Penguins, Penguins, Penguins!

We have been learning about penguins that last two days.

 The kiddos have had a great time.

We spent some time on National Geographic Kids

We read books:

Made a 'Penguin Craft', completed a tree map, and wrote sentences about penguins.

I love the kiddos sentences... they did such a great job!

Completed Penguin Centers:

Penguin Sight Word Slider
Ordering Penguins 1-30
Penguin Write the Room
Penguin Listening Center
Penguin Accordion Book (how a penguin grows)
All Penguins Book (focusing on sight words)
Penguin Word Web (combined with a Penguin National Geographic Kids magazine from 2005)

Of course I didn't take a single picture on Thursday... which means not all centers are pictured but the kiddos had a great time, hopefully learned a lot, and guess what we are learning about next week???

Yep.  That's snow!  I have been looking forward to this for a VERY long time.  Last year after our winter unit I saw a blog post about Sno Wonder.  I was dying to let my class get their hands on that stuff.... only our winter unit was over and I did not have the funds to start buying snow post Christmas... fast forward to last spring... our PTA gave each grade level SCIENCE money for the next year.  I was thrilled and knew immediately that we had to have snow.  I convinced the other kinder teachers that we NEEDED snow.  It arrived just before Christmas this year.  I think I squealed with delight when I saw the box.  It was an early Christmas gift.  

I had to whip up a batch after school today just so I could see it for myself... it is so cool.  My own kids went NUTS.  I think the kinder kids will like it too.

Hearts for Newtown

My daughter (and PM student) Alyse

I haven't blogged since Newtown, I couldn't.  I had to re-prioritize for a minute, I had to hug my kids, enjoy Christmas, and just process.  Then today I had a parent come to me and ask if I had heard of this project, Hearts to Newtown, I hadn't.  They are receiving hearts from all over the world and decorating the town.  She asked if she cut out the hearts if I could find some time for my classes to decorate them, she would mail them.  How could I say "no"???  

AM class making their hearts.
Here is the facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/HeartsToNewtown  

We told the kids that there were children that were sad and needed something to make them feel loved and happy.  Any further discussion was left up to the parents, I truly feel it was a great way to show our love and support for a fellow school during a difficult tragedy.  I also really appreciate that it is was something that our young kiddos can do without having to discuss the painful details of such a tragic event.

My PM class with their hearts.

Thanks go out to Megan (may amazing parent helper) for not only finding this project, but putting in all the work to make this activity come to fruition, and for then taking all those lovely hearts and mailing them for us.  She is amazing and I feel blessed to know her!

As I tried to tell the kids about coloring their hearts for these kids that needed some cheering up I had to choke back my tears this afternoon, I am not usually teary in front of the class (I held it together fine with my morning class).  Maybe it was looking at my own daughter sitting there at the rug, maybe it was that moments after I first heard about what was happening in Connecticut I let my PM class in the door and began teaching, on a Friday, just like today.  I don't now why, but I chocked back tears and I was reminded just how much I love each and every one of these kids.  I love these children.  Experiences like this remind me how lucky I am to teach, to be surrounded by these amazing, incredible, beautiful little people every single day.