Tuesday, May 26, 2015

ABC End of Year Countdown

I know this may be coming to most of you a little LOT late, but I wanted to post about it anyways.  You can pin it and save the idea for next year if you want.  :)

Each year for the last 26 days of school I do an ABC Countdown.  This is not my original idea in fact it has been around since before I started teaching.  I have seen it where some schools start at the letter Z and work their way to the letter A, but I do just the opposite.  I start at the letter A and the last day of school is the letter Z.  My students always love doing this and it helps promote good behavior during those last few weeks when the students (and teachers) are just excited for summer to arrive.

Each year I go over every single ABC countdown I have done and look to see what ideas I want to use for the current year.  If you want to see my last year's countdown, you can click {here}.  This year I decided that it would be so much easier to just compile one big list and then add to it as I get other ideas.

I wanted to share this wealth of ideas with you.  If you would like to see my list of ABC countdown ideas, please click on the images below.  Some of these may not be right for kindergarten, but I put them on there anyways.  It is a list that I have basically been creating for the past nine years.  I hope you enjoy.



If you have other ideas we can add to the list, please comment below and I will update it.  :)



Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Shoe Sheriffs

Want to see a fun way I encourage my little kindergarten friends to learn to tie shoes?  Hop on over to the Ellison Education Blog and take a look.  You can find my post {here}




Sunday, May 3, 2015

It's Currently May!

I am a little late to the party, but I still wanted to link up with Farley for Currently May.


Listening:  My daughter is watching one of the Harry Potter movies while I am working on the computer.

Loving:  This is the only Sunday this month and in the foreseeable future that we have nothing going on.  I am so thankful because I am close to finishing my semester so I had a lot of homework I wanted to get done for grad school.

Thinking:  I always get my kids' teachers a little something and I am having a hard time deciding what to do this year.  Any ideas?

Wanting:  I want to finish my grad school semester.  Only 6 assignments stand between me and the end of this semester.  My goal is to finish them tonight.

Needing:  I need to lay out our clothes for the week because if I don't then we will be running late each morning and we can't have that.  :)

Summer:  yes - I will be going through the graduation ceremony in May, but I won't actually be done with grad school until July.  hope - I hope we can take a family vacation, but it all depends on how my summer semester shapes up.  dream - I want to go to Vegas, but the timing this year was really bad for me.  Hoping for next summer it will be my YES!


Sunday, April 19, 2015

All Kinds of Insect Fun

I posted this picture on Instagram the other day and I had lots of people commenting and emailing me about it.  Everyone wanted to know what I did to make this fun Butterfly Life Cycle bulletin board.



First of all, I did this as an end of unit activity.  We had been learning about insects for two weeks and we learned a lot about their life cycles.

Here is a close up of each stage of the life cycle:


I did not take step-by-step pictures....sorry friends!  But the steps were easy enough that I don't think you need them.  (Also, I forgot my camera at home so I am also apologizing for the crummy phone pics too)

For the eggs, I just cut out a leaf shape on green construction paper and glued on beans.  Easy right?


For the caterpillars, we cut egg cartons into four pieces so each student had a piece that could fit three eggs.  We painted them green and the next day I cut a slit in the top so we could put our antennae in it.


For the antennae, I cut brown pipe cleaners in half and gave one (one half of a pipe cleaner) to each student.  We folded them in half and curled the ends around our fingers.  Then stuck them in the slit I cut.  Then we glued on the eyes and drew a mouth.


For the chrysalis, we just painted jumbo pasta shells brown.  I hung them on the board by putting two push pins in the board and hanging them on top.  (Like you would hang a picture on a nail)



The butterflies were by far the most difficult of all the pieces we did.  The students got to choose two colors.  My butterfly was purple and chevron.  I got two pieces of purple and two pieces of chevron.  You lay them on top of each other and accordion fold them.  Then you bunch up the middle and clip it with the clothespin.  We did the antennae the same way we did the caterpillars and stuck them in the clothespin.  Then the students used markers to draw a face.  (It was still easy, but clipping the clothespin on was a little difficult for them)


And there you have it.  Our butterfly life cycle.  If you are interested in other insect activities, click here to see my insect unit.



Saturday, April 18, 2015

Planning for a Sub {Bright Idea}

I don't know about you, but I dread planning for a sub.  Actually, I should say that I used to dread planning for a sub.  I would spend a really long time planning and prepping and getting everything ready.  I finally this year feel like I have perfected my sub plans {only after 8 years of teaching}.

Let me show you what I do to make my life so much easier when planning and prepping for a sub.

First of all, I have a sub tub.  This idea isn't new.  It isn't mine.  I'm sure you have seen it.  You just label a tub as your "sub tub."  Easy right?

Well, I want to talk to you about what is inside that sub tub that makes planning so much easier.  The first most important thing I have is my sub binder.  In it I put all the school and classroom information so I don't have to put that in my sub plans.  I just write in my plans to review the information in the binder before the students arrive.

I have hanging folders and then put file folders with the subject and time to teach it.


Inside each folder I put the basic information about that subject.  For example, in my calendar folder I keep my calendar prompt.


It makes it so much easier to just plug in the activities for the day in the sub plans and then stick any copies in that file folder.

Lastly, I always keep extra books and work in the back of the tub so that the sub can easily grab something if there is extra time.


I went from spending hours planning for a sub to getting plans done pretty quickly.  It has been a real time saver.



If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on Facebook or Instagram for other great ideas.

For more bright ideas from other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below.




Friday, April 3, 2015

Dinosaur Fun!

Oh.  My.  Word.  Teaching about dinosaurs is probably my most favorite unit of all time.  I am not sure why, but I am guessing it is because my students are always so interested in dinosaurs and they crave any and all knowledge they gain about this majestic creatures.

The last two weeks before spring break were all things dino in my classroom.  My students were so eager to learn as much as they could and it just made my teacher heart full.

We did a couple of projects throughout the two weeks.

The first one was working with our reading buddies to research a dinosaur.  I gave each pair of students (one kindergarten student and one fourth grade student) an iPad, directions, and a recording sheet.  The buddies worked together to research information about their assigned dinosaur and fill it out on the recording sheet.


The best part of this project was the fourth graders.  They were getting so excited about searching for the information.  One particular student was practically bouncing when he realized he could revise his search and get more specific information.  Ah.  Maz.  Ing.


We ran out of time with our reading buddies so I had my students do the last part on their own.  We found an image of their dinosaur on their iPad and then had them draw and label it on the back of their research paper.


I was so impressed with their artistic abilities.  I have some real artists in my room.

We also made a {almost} life-sized stegosaurus.  We would have made a fully life-sized one, but I didn't have enough room in our hallways at the school.



We made our stegosaurus in pieces and then my fabulous para put the pieces together to put him on the wall.  Our class voted and decided to name him Sam the Stegosaurus.


We wrote an informational interactive writing doing shared research about our stegosaurus.


Another fun project we did was making our own fossils.  We made them out of salt dough one day.


Then I took them home, baked them, and brought them back.  Then we painted our fossils.


While we were learning about fossils, we decided to become paleontologists ourselves.  Although, we excavated chocolate chips out of cookies rather than dinosaur bones.  I don't think I have ever seen my students concentrate so hard on something.  I think you could have heard a pin drop in the classroom while they were working.


We learned how to draw our own stegosaurus and then labeled him because that is a non-fiction text feature we are learning about.



Here are some of our literacy centers we did:

Read and Write the Room - It is always a class favorite.


Dinosaur ROAR - You can read about how to play this game here.


We were working so hard that we needed a little dinosaur snack.


You can find all these activities and more in my new dinosaur unit.  




Thursday, April 2, 2015

April Currently

I am linking up a day late here for Farley's Currently, but I promise I have a good reason.  I am sure you will see why as you read my post.  :)



{Listening}  We started installing our new hardwood floors yesterday.  Everyone is asleep except for me and my little pup.  I am just listening to her walk around on the part of the flooring that is finished.  (It's not much at this point.)

{Loving}  Both my kiddos are in soccer and our spring season started this week.  That does mean that I am crazy busy, but I just love it at the same time.  Yesterday was a beautiful day to sit down and the soccer fields, watch practice, and enjoy the amazing weather!

{Thinking}  If you follow me on IG, you know that I am in the process of remodeling our kitchen.  My hubby is pretty handy so we are doing it all ourselves.  (And when I say "we" I mean my hubby and his friend. :)  Yesterday I did a lot of painting and today I have to finish up painting the ceiling and one wall so we can start to finally get some cabinets up!  {I will be posting pictures on IG once we are finished!}

View from the living room into the kitchen a couple days ago.  
Now that wall and the ceiling are covered.  
It has been quite the adventure.

I got to use some power tools.  Fun!

My two handymen starting to install our new hardwood!

{Wanting}  This week is spring break for myself and my kiddos.  It has been so busy and just flown by.  I really wish I had one more week so that I could just relax.

{Needing}  I didn't realize how rough it would be without a kitchen.  I don't have a working sink, stove, or microwave at the moment.  My table is covered with tools and everything is dusty (from the drywall dust).  I can't believe I am saying this, but I am sick of eating out.  Yep, that's right.  I just want to cook.  Lol!

{EGGS - plain your name}  My mom's family calls me Mandy.  I used to hate it, but it doesn't bother me anymore.  People who marry into the family end up calling me Mandy which is fine, but otherwise I don't let others call me that.  If you aren't family and you call me that, more than likely I won't respond.  When my mom uses my full name, I never respond because she NEVER calls me that.

It's your turn!  Go link up with Farley and tell us what your currently is!