Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bright Idea for the End of the Day

Are looking for a bright idea for ending your day in a positive way?  Look no further!



Doesn't it always seem like we are rushing at the end of the day trying to get our students out the door?  We want to make every second count and therefore end up rushing to get those kids out the door.

I always want my students to leave school on a positive note (even if we are rushing).  A few years ago, I decided I needed something in order to make this happen.

Now, at the end of the day we have a very clear routine:  we put on our backpacks and coats, we put our crayon boxes on our chairs, then we wait until we are dismissed to come say our goodbye to Mrs. Pauley.

When the students are called to be dismissed (car riders, walkers, etc.), I am always standing at the door.  Before the students can leave for the day they give me two thumbs up and say, "I'm smart and I know it!"



It doesn't matter what happened during the day, the students always say this to me.  Then we do a thumbs up style fist bump.


(Sorry it was really hard to get a picture of our "bump")

I reply to the students with something like "Yes, you are" or "Have a good weekend".  No matter what I say I always SMILE!  I want my students to understand that no matter what happened during the day, tomorrow starts a new one which means starting fresh.

What do you do at the end of your day to end on a positive note?  I would love to hear in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Teachers Pay Teachers for more bright ideas!

For more bright ideas from 150 different bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you!  Thank you for visiting!




Thursday, April 10, 2014

Making Balloon Animals

You may have remembered me bragging about our amazing awards assembly back in March.  (Read about it here)  We had a wonderful local artist names Zany Janie come to our school and do a fun presentation for our school.  She told me she had a Facebook page and I of course had to "like" so I could see all the cool things she has going on.  One day I noticed she had a contest and you could win a presentation in your classroom for Zany Janie and Mr. B Loon to come in and teach your class how to make balloon animals.  I had to enter the contest and guess what????  I WON!  I was so excited!!  I didn't tell my students as I wanted to keep it a surprise.

Fast forward to today....this morning I told them that I had a surprise for them after lunch, but I wouldn't tell them what it was.

After lunch, they saw Zany & Mr. B walk in the building and they were so excited to see them again (they still had no idea they were coming to our room).

The kids came in and sat at the carpet and then in walked Zany Janie and Mr. B Loon.  I swear the look on their faces was priceless.  It was amazing.


First, Janie followed Mr. B's directions, but her dog kept ending up looking different than Mr. B's.  She did this to show the students that our balloon animal dogs could all look different and that's o.k.

Then it was time to pick a balloon.


Once we had our balloons we had to get them ready.


Time to make our balloon animals.  The students were very good listeners.  They did a great job following directions.


Here is our finished product:



Then it was time to make a snake.  For this, each child had to come up individually and Zany Janie helped them form the snake's mouth.


After they made the mouth, they went to see Mr. B Loon to get some snake eyes.


A finished snake complete with eyes and special stickers:



Then Janie told us a story about a snake and made two special snakes.



She passed them around and had the students have her snake say hello to their snake.



Want to know what I loved best about the whole thing?  She incorporates reading, math, and science skills wherever she can.  They are both gentle and kind and love to make the students laugh.


Mr. B Loon even made me this cute butterfly which was perfect since we are learning all about insects this week!



It was a wonderful day and one I don't think my students will ever forget.  If you are in the area (or even if you are not), you should head over to their Facebook page and like them!  Thank you Zany Janie & Mr. B Loon for an experience we will never forget!


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Fun Math App

I have previously posted about some literacy and math apps that I like to use in my classroom.  You can read about that {here} and {here}.

Today I wanted to tell you about a new math app I came across called Champs of Numeria.



It is like a tic tac toe, but in order to place your piece you have to answer a math problem.  There is a range of abilities in the game anywhere from beginner to advanced.

You can have up to four players at a time.  Sometimes I am not able to have enough iPads for all the students to use individually so this is a great app for the students to use during those times.

When the students start the game, they get to choose their character.  You can see some of the choices in the picture above.  My students love all the fun choices of characters.

Once the characters are chosen, the students get to play the game.


You can see in the picture above that there are three math problems to choose from.  The student chooses a problem and finds the answer on the board.  You hold down that number until it changes.  Then the next player will take their turn.  Each time it is a new player's turn, that character is shown.  I love this because then my students don't argue about whose turn it is.

The students are trying to get four of their numbers in a row.  Not only do the students need math skills to play this game, but they also need strategy.  It is really interesting to watch my students play the game and see what strategy they use to play the game.  Are they just worrying about their four in a row or are they trying to stop their opponent?

I have to tell you that when my students play this game they are so engaged.  They help each other with the math problems.

I would not recommend this app for the beginning of kindergarten, but second semester is a great time for this game.  I waited until after our addition unit before I introduced this game.  We worked for a long time on addition so I thought this would be perfect for independent practice.  I know that some of the other grade level teachers in my building have let their students try it out with harder problems like multiplication or subtraction.

Are you interested in getting this game for yourself?


Just head to the app store and look for Champs of Numeria.  It is only $0.99.  You won't regret your purchase.

Have you tried out this app?  I would love to hear your thoughts about it as well!  :)



Saturday, April 5, 2014

Spring Blogger Meet Up Blog Hop

Have you ever been surrounded by people who just "got" you?  That is what happened in March when I went to French Lick, IN to meet up with more than 50 other teachers and bloggers.  The room was filled with excitement and chatter about teaching, blogging, TpT, etc.  It was such an amazing experience.


I know I have told you about it already, but I am here today to tell you a little bit more and give away some great PRIZES with fellow meet up friends.  We were blessed to receive some amazing gifts at the meet up and some of our sponsors were generous enough to donate some more prizes so one of our readers could take home some loot!  :)

You probably already read all about Holly and what she thought about the meet up in her post.  Once you are done reading my post, continue on through the hop so that you can read what everyone took home from meet up both their prizes and their food for thought.

First things first, we had a really fun Teacher Tool Swap.  We each brought a little something that we like to use in our classroom and then we played a game in order to swap out gifts.  The gift I gave was my favorite pens from Papermate. They are the ink joy pens.  Have you tried them?  If you haven't you need to.  I LOVE them!



I was so excited about my gift.  I received a gift from Jena at Sew Much Music.  It was this adorable lanyard.  I have been wanting a cute lanyard, but just haven't got around to getting one yet.  This was perfect.  My students kept complimenting me the first day after break when I wore it for the first time.  LOVE!


I have to say I think it goes quite well with our new spirit wear shirts.  :)

Holly found so many amazing sponsors for the big giveaway.  I was thrilled to receive these goodies from Crayola.  I won some erasable colored pencils, washable markers, and my favorite:  a dry erase board with dry erase crayons!  I don't know who is more excited about this....myself or my students.



The markers and colored pencils quickly found a home in my writing center.  They are the most popular writing utensil of the moment, but really why wouldn't they be!  I love that the colored pencils are erasable so my kinder babies can easily change something if they make a mistake.


The dry erase board is being used during guided reading time since there is only one.  I NEED to go get some more of these especially the dry erase crayons.  They are amazing!  I love that they don't dry out like markers do.  I don't have to worry about caps being put on correctly.  It's like teacher heaven!
(Please tell me I am not the only one who has nightmares about dry erase marker caps and glue stick lids?)



Since you weren't able to make it to our meet up, you have a chance to win these prizes pictured below and more!  You have to keep reading through the hop and when you get to the end you will find a rafflecopter and many chances to win the big prize!!




Now my favorite part of this post.  My 3 big ideas I took away from the weekend.

#1 Friendships
During the weekend, I believe it was Amy who said, "It isn't funny how quickly we bond because we all have so much in common."  She was exactly right.  It was like we had known each other forever.  It was so great to just talk and talk and talk about teaching or life or anything really.  We laughed, took LOTS of pictures, laughed, ate LOTS of food, laughed, talked, laughed, ate more food.....I think you get the picture!




#3 Technology
I was so excited to sit and chat with Brittany and Tiffany from Two Techie Teachers.  I love using technology in my classroom, but sometimes get a little stumped.  After chatting with these girls, I realized how many amazing things I could utilize with the technology I already have!  Tiffany made a great point about using technology to teach. It really got me thinking about how I use technology and how I can make better use of the way I incorporate it into my classroom.  I love to use iPad apps during literacy and math center times, but how else can I use technology to teach.  Brittany told me all about a PBL project she was doing with her class and how she was using technology to complete that project.  I was just completely inspired by their knowledge of technology and their willingness to teach me!

A little technology in action in my classroom.

#3 Hashtags
We talked a lot about social media and the importance of hashtags especially in an app like Instagram.  I love hashtags and think it is funny to randomly hashtag in every day life.  ;)

Here are a few of my favorite hashtags to use on IG:  #teachersfollowteachers and #teachersofinstagram
I love searching through those hashtags to find new teachers to follow on IG.

My favorite hashtags of the meet up:

 #thisplaceislegit #smittenwithsmorgie

#hollyhasabutton #twofingerpoint


Now I want you to stop over and visit my friend Em over at Curious Firsties.  Click on her button to head to her blog.  Remember to hop all the way through to see your chance to win our grand PRIZE!!


Curious Firsties




Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Currently

It's April 1st which means two things:  (1) my son is going to try all day to get me to fall for one of his April Fool's Day pranks/jokes and (2) it is time to link up with Farley for Currently.


Listening:  My kiddos are doing their homework while I sit at the table with them and blog.  They are chatty little ones this evening.

Loving:  I wore sandals two days in a row....nuff said.  :)

Thinking:  Migraines stink!!

Wanting:   I am learning a lot from my grad classes, but I am just ready to be done with them.  I have one month left for this semester and I will graduate a year from July.  I can do it!!

Needing:  My hair has been neglected as evidenced by the grays popping out all over.

Hours & Last Day:  Teachers are required to be at school from 7:40 - 3:00.  Students are there from 7:50 - 2:40.  I am always there early and rarely leave before 3:30.  Our last day is a Monday...kinda stinks that we have to come back after a weekend for one day.

I am off to rest and get rid of this migraine.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Five for Friday: Spring Break Edition

I have been on Spring Break this week.  I wish I could say that I spent lots of time in PJ's and lounging on the couch, but it was a busy week.  That's ok though because it was still a great week.

I am linking up Doodle Bugs Teaching this week for Five for Friday.



#1 - Indiana Blogger/Teacher Meet-Up
I know I already posted about this, but this past weekend was just amazing.  If you ever have a chance to go to a meet-up, you need to GO!



#2 - SPRING BREAK
I love my job.....I really do love my job, but it doesn't mean I wasn't completely ready for Spring Break.  It was very much needed.  I feel energized now and ready to go back and finish the year with my amazing little kinder babies!

#3 - Jamberry Nails
I had a Jamberry party and decided to become a consultant because what else do you when your life is already crazy busy?  Well in my life I just keep doing more...haha!  I am loving my Jamberry fingers and toes.  Are you interested in Jamberry?  Go to my Facebook page and click on the FREE tab to request a sample.  :)


#4 - Saying Goodbye
If you follow me on IG, you already saw this picture.  I said goodbye to my grandparent's house this week.  They are moving on Monday and I went for my last visit and to help pack this week.  They have lived in this house for 50 years.  It was my second home growing up and I will forever cherish the memories that were made there.  I hate goodbyes and I know it is only a house but I still cried when I left.  I am though looking forward to making many memories in their new house.



#5 - Spending time with my family
I was able to see my sweet little niece and nephew as well as spend lots of time with my own kiddos during this break.  Nothing beats spending time with these cuties.

 Jazz Hands!

He was not amused with me...lol

Have you already had Spring Break?  If not, when do you have break?  

I would love to hear about your week.  Why don't you head on over to Doodle Bugs Teaching so you can link up!



Thursday, March 27, 2014

Volunteer Thank You's

I have been on Spring Break this week and even though it has been an extremely busy break I have been enjoying every minute of it!

Last week though, we had to say goodbye to our Junior Achievement volunteer.  Do you have Junior Achievement in your area?  Junior Achievement is a non profit organization that brings the real world to students through hands-on curriculum delivered by a trained classroom volunteer.  I have been lucky that most years I have had wonderful volunteers and this year was no different.  In kindergarten, the volunteer makes five visits to the classroom.

This year our volunteer was Mr. Gary.  My students fell in love once he told them he had a farm.  Each week after his lesson and activity the students could ask him questions about the farm.  It was their favorite part of our sessions.  I think secretly it was Mr. Gary's favorite part too.  :)



During our last session, he had told the students that he found a snake skin on his farm and brought it in for the brave students to touch if they wanted.  (Mrs. Pauley did NOT touch the snake skin....yuck!)  I was surprised by how many students wanted to touch it.  They are definitely braver than I am.



I wanted to do something special to thank Mr. Gary for all he had done for the class.  He loved the pictures that the kids would make him so I thought making a special thank you card would be a great idea.

I was so lucky because at the same time I was thinking about creating a card for him I found out about this company called Treat. I had received an email and explored their photo greeting cards.  Luckily for me, going through their site was a much easier process than it would have been for me to make a card myself.

Here is what it looked like:






Isn't it just precious?  Mr. Gary LOVED the card and was almost speechless at the thought behind it as well as the fact that all the students signed their names.  He told them he was going to keep it on his desk.  I thought it was the perfect card for such a wonderful volunteer.  If you are interested in checking out Treat, just click {here}.  They have all kinds of amazing cards.

What do you do for the volunteers in your classroom?  I would love for you to tell me in the comments below!