Monday, December 1, 2014

Currently December Edition

Quick post so I can sneak in this Currently on the first day of December!

Listening: I downloaded all of Lauren Daigle's How Can It Be- EP this weekend...check her out on iTunes! I love her song on my local Christian radio station How Can It Be and the other four songs she has are equally fabulous!

Loving: Our Advent calendar...ok so it isn't hung on our fireplace (yet) but the kiddos and I wrote down all the activities we wanted to do this month! Check out the freebie by Lauren's super simple and CUTE! My two littles came home from school today quite sickly...but luckily our Advent activity (new Christmas puzzles) was a quick remedy. I love doing this special activity each year with them. Oh and Jingle (our Elf) brought us new pjs this morning!

Thinking: About our Christmas party this weekend that we've hosted for our small group the past couple of years...think Minute to Win It games!! We look forward to this day with our friends SO MUCH! I still need to put some finishing touches on our games for this year though. Stay tuned.

Wanting: A cleaning elf. Anyone else? Between my Kindergarten Christmas program, my own kiddos' preschool Christmas program, and basketball starting this week (I coach 7th grade girls' basketball)...I'm struggling to find time to clean my house for our weekend festivities! EEK!

Needing: More time in the day. Self-explanatory. I think I put this every month! Ooops!

Giving: Snail mail and MudLOVE. Every time I run in to TJs...I pick up a little box of notecards. I've really tried to be more intentional with snail mail the last couple of months. I sat down last night and spent some time sealing up personal prayers for a few of my friends. This is such a wonderful time of year, but it's also a busy one where stress can creep in to the daily grind! I wanted to send out a little note of encouragement for the fellow mamas and wives in my life. And MudLOVE...ever heard of it?  Check it out! My husband and I are actually using this company to fundraise for our international adoption by selling bracelets. But I've also really felt the need to gift some of these bracelets too...and especially people I hardly know! How about that for a RAK!?

Have a great week, friends!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Talk Points and Math Workshop

     Well OTES has consumed my life for the last 2 weeks...hence why this little blog has been a little quiet! BUT I'm back with a fun post about how I used these Talk Points made by Learning Resources! Confession: I've had these little doodads for a couple of years tucked away inside my desk drawer waiting to be used. Oops!

     This week, my principal came to do my observation during our Math Workshop time. We're working our way through Unit 3 of the Guiding Kinders Resource by DeeDee and Deanna. (You can find it here). This particular lesson was on teen numbers. It was a great lesson packed with lots of fun! EXCEPT...I still have 4 littles who have not been able to get their numbers to 10 yet...and are also still struggling with counting. So how was I going to make this lesson appropriate for these certain students? Enter: talk points.

     This day's activity used a spinner (with numbers 11-15) and 2 ten frames. Students were to spin and count out that many objects into the ten frames. Take a look (below) at these ADORABLE Minions one of our substitute teachers made. She actually used to be my 3rd grade teacher, but she took time off for her family. Now that her children are older, she's been subbing in our building. Lucky for us, she's also been cleaning out her goodies at home and gifted me these packing peanuts turned Minions. Novelty level? RAISED! The kids couldn't even handle their excitement.

    Back to my four cuties...I took the spinner and used 5 different colored Smiley face stickers. These stickers were also the same colors as my Talk Points. 

     I recorded myself saying each number and how to make it on all 5 Talk Points. For example, if a student landed on the number 14, he/she saw it had a blue sticker so he/she pressed the blue Talk Point. A (scary) voice came on and said "14 is a 1 and a 4." This format is SUPER familiar to my kiddos because we warm up to Harry Kindergarten's Numbers in the Teens (They Start with a 1) song every day with number posters. The kiddos LOVE holding up their numbers as we sing the song. This video is a great way to get kiddos up and moving. I've also used it to quickly assess kiddos on number recognition. They receive a different number every day and have to tell me the number I give them.

    I also numbered my little cuties' ten frames with the numbers. This allowed them to work during our exploration time with little help from me. It was AMAZING! I was able to step away from this group and walk around to see that my other kiddos were on task and also counting on from 10...which was one of our objectives for this lesson. Double bonus! I even had one of my kiddos (who was using the Talk Points) tell me that 15 was a 1 and a 5. It's sticking, folks. That was today...after his second day of using the Talk Points. Wahoo!

     Now my wheels are turning about all the ways I can use these little gadgets. I know there are some reviews out there that complain about the sound. I found that if I hold the Talk Point closely, my voice comes out loudly and clearly. Also, keep in mind that these Talk Points were used during our explore time which means all students were scattered around and working with their Milk & Cookie partners. There is definitely noise during this part of our day. For me personally, these Talk Points allowed me to make this a fun AND effective lesson for every one of my Kinders. 

     Have you used these Talk Points for something special? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Currently- November Edition

I'm excited to be linking up with Farley over at Oh Boy Fourth Grade for her "Currently" linky party!

Listening: to my hubby breathing. We just got home from a pajama party with our small group...So fun! But my hubby is already sleeping and well, I'm blogging on my the dark.

Loving: that it's Fall Back tonight! Wahoo! Here's hoping our kiddos get the memo and don't get up too early. Maybe we can all be in a good mood for church tomorrow.

Thinking: about our next 2 weeks. My husband has a crazy work schedule with out of town (and state) meetings, late nights, early name it! It also happens to be OTES time for me...gradecard time, and parent-teacher conferences. Yuck! Praying we make it out alive these next couple of weeks!

Wanting: family pictures. This works out perfectly because we're getting them taken on Thursday! My super talented friend takes the most beautiful pictures and I'm so excited to capture some new shots. We also have a little surprise up our sleeves for Thursday! Eek!

Needing: grade cards to start and finish themselves. The end. Amen.

Reading: Adopted for Life. My husband and kiddos and I are beginning our adoption journey to bring home the next piece to our family puzzle! This particular book is one I'm going through with a group at church on Wednesday nights. A great read for anyone and everyone.

Head on over to see what great Currently editions are up on Oh Boy Fourth Grade!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Five for Friday- Halloween Edition!

Linking up again for a Five for Friday post with Kacey from Doodle Bugs Teaching! What a FUN week in Kindergarten. I must say that today was my best Halloween party to date! The kids were AMAZING! Here are a few snippets from our week.

Candy corn mosaics are always a fun little project to exercise our fine motor muscles! We make mosaic spiders in the spring when we do an author study on Eric Carle. I LOVE the way these projects turn out each year.

On Wednesday, our oldest turned 5! Her birthday also happened to fall on the same day as her preschool Harvest I took a half day and spent it with her! And see that little chef? He's our little guy too! Due to some unforeseen circumstances, he and his sister are BOTH in the same preschool class (at ages 5 and 3). But we look at the situation as a total BLESSING and their preschool teacher is a.m.a.z.i.n.g. Here our cuties are helping to act out the Soup Opera. So fun!

We read the story Where's My Mummy? and worked on text to self connections. We added a fun little mummy project to our writing too. We're getting better at turning a square into a circle with our scissors! 

Today was our Halloween party! We paraded around the school for the older students. Our Middle School principal always passes out a sucker to each of our kiddos too. Back in the classroom, we played BINGO with our lowercase letters by using one of the Smartboard alphabet dice. The kiddos also enjoyed "Freeze" dancing to the Monster Mash and seeing who could "wrap the mummy" the fastest with white crepe paper. The kiddos were wrapping EXPERTS and worked so well with each other. Proud teacher moment. It was by far the best behaved classroom party I've ever had!

Our Kindergarten team dressed up as Pete the Cat. It was SO MUCH FUN! We've got a Superhero-themed Right to Read Week in November...and ideas are already brewing! I am so blessed with a job I love and equally amazing coworkers! 

It's 3:00! WE SURVIVED!

Rocking in our SCHOOL shoes!

Every cat needs a tail.

My mom snapped this picture for me. Did you know that I work with my mom?! She's an elementary music teacher. Although she doesn't have my class this year, she's been our music teacher in the past! I try not to take this for granted because it is a blessing to see my mama every day!

I hope you have an amazing weekend, friends! After all, you deserve it!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Five for Friday

     This week flew by...and it's probably because we have a BUSY weekend planned! Our oldest turns 5 next week and we're celebrating with family tomorrow. (Sidenote: I'm having a hard time dealing with her being so old already...there have been tears today!) It was a great week in Kindergarten though. Sometimes I think Common Core and following (yucky) district curriculum can really bog a teacher this week we worked extra hard to do stuff that was meaningful AND fun.

     Excuse my boots in the next two pictures...oops! I love these spiders. And my kiddos did SO well doing our "accordion" folds for the first time. I had a few students who were folding experts and finished 8 legs quicker than I could say "easy peasy lemon squeezy." It was so sweet to watch these few kiddos walk around and willingly TEACH their classmates one-on-one...without me asking or prompting. Bless my soul. These arachnids were a great project to help us prepare for the cute Frankensteins we're making next week!

     Again with the boots. My apologies. I'm currently laying in bed about to fall asleep so picture cropping isn't a priority, ha! I love these little cupcake liner owls though. The kids did such a great job on following directions...and those eyes? We did the ole "turn a square into a circle" trick...on a Friday...for the first time. We were brave and it was a success! Our bravery was the perfect, albeit accidental, extension to the story we read The Brave Little Owl.

     A giant spider graph made for an exciting morning in Kindergarten. The kiddos loved creating this "big" graph and answering the question "Are you afraid of spiders?" Then we used our math talk words "more" and "fewer" to describe our data. Proud teacher moment! They came up with some amazing conclusions about our data!

     We continued our Unit 2 in Guiding Kinders Math (by Deanna Jump and DeeDee Wills). The above picture is of our number trains with pumpkins. I'll be honest, I thought this activity was going to be a lot easier (and a lot shorter). We had just completed a similar activity the day before with leaf pictures so today's pumpkin activity only built upon what we had just done! Eek. I must have done a subpar job of explaining directions because this activity was difficult lol. Anyone ever had a lesson like that? Maybe it's just me. After 25 minutes of my kiddos attempting to complete these pumpkins trains (with no end in sight), I actually had a little sweetheart say, "Mrs. Murray, I'm sorry we're so behind!" HAHA! I assured her it was not a problem, but we did want to try and move on to something else that day. ;-)

     Today I received the SWEETEST package from an Etsy sale I participated in earlier this week. If you haven't checked out The Adopt Shoppe on must go now. Kate is the creative genius behind this little account. And by little, I mean big. Can you believe the detail in this packaging?! Kate has the most giving heart and her little creations bring such joy to others! This is my second TAS necklace. I purchased my first necklace in an adoption fundraiser this summer. Anywho, these necklaces are little billboards for your heart and make great gifts too! Check Kate's IG account out! I'm warning you though...these items are HOT commodities and are in high demand. You can't just order them or ask for custom designs. Also, if you check out her Etsy store, you'll notice it's empty. She only holds little sales here and there. I encourage you to read more about the way she works things. It's pretty fun (and potentially stressful!) Haha!

Have a great weekend, friends! You deserve it!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Nocturnal Animal Week!

     This week, we're working our way through a little unit on nocturnal animals! On Monday, we kicked things off with this survey from The First Grade Parade! Can you believe all the Kinders who think bats are cute?! Wait. I shouldn't be surprised. Of course they would think that! Mrs. Murray definitely put her bat on the "creepy" side of our graph. I asked students to share something they noticed about the graph and I was so impressed with their math talk. I heard things like..."Most of us think bats are cute." and "There are less bats on creepy." GOOOOO Kinder friends!

     It's getting to be a pretty BIG week in Kindergarten. There are so many FUN things to do with nocturnal animals. I even squeezed in something new this week...thanks to a last-minute TPT purchase. Check out these ADORABLE thematic crowns from Lidia Barbosa. I personally think $3 is a STEAL for these precious crowns. We may or may not have made crowns two days in a row. :-)

As Lidia explains, they are great tools to start conversations about the school home! Besides, I have a ton of sentence strips in my classroom AND my boys were even asking to wear these gems all day. The crowns were an all-around great investment. Go buy them!

Our crown excitement continued today when we made SPIDER crowns. (I realize that eventually I might have to tone it down on the crowns...but right now, we're pretty into them. So we got a double dose! Ha!) We also earned another SMART cookie party this week! We jazzed up our usual smart cookie party and made it a super smart SPIDER cookie party. The kiddos got a kick out of this special activity.

On a final note for this mid-week post...we attempted another directed drawing- THE BAT. Swoon. I am definitely making this a monthly activity. If I had a bulletin board in the hallway...these precious directed drawings would totally be a monthly bulletin board! But alas...I don't have a BB. At least maybe not until next year?! (We are in the process of building a new school...more on that later this year.) Are these bats not totes adorbs?! There, I said it.

Have a wonderful rest of your week, friends! Maybe I'll even be back for an "on-time" Five for Friday. I hope!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Five for Friday

It was a long week in Kindergarten! Did the week drag on for anyone else? My coworker and I were commiserating over the length of each day...needless to say, we were so thankful for FRIDAY yesterday. Ha! This week, we did an assortment of Fall-ish things and began a new rotation for literacy stations.. 

I tried something a little different with our usual "pumpkin art" this year and I'm so glad I did. Don't these pumpkins SCREAM personality? This will definitely be a repeat project in years to come.

For my kiddos who need help with number recognition and one-to-one correspondence, these tens frame cards and novelty erasers were the perfect activity! They picked a number, found its matching tens frame, and then counted out that many erasers. Simple and FUN way to learn!


We tried some Q-tip painting this week...and talk about personality! No two trees looked the same...these were somewhat similar, but overall, we had a wide range of Fall trees. The kids have loved painting this year. I need to keep giving them these opportunities! *Note to self.*

If anyone has read my blog before (still in its infancy stage), I do a lot of DeeDee Wills in my classroom. The above picture shows one of her Sequence games. It is a FAN FREEBIE on her Facebook page. Does anyone use this game for a center? My kiddos LOVED it. The little white board signs are from Dollar Tree and were a fun little way to keep track of student points. Her Sequence pack is on sale over on TPT. Head here to get it! You won't be disappointed!

We switched up how we do literacy stations and I doubled the stations that are available to students. Wow. What a huge difference. You'd think this was my first rodeo, but even after 6 years of teaching Kindergarten, I'm still learning! I have a smaller group of kiddos this year (20 instead of 24) so it wouldn't seem as necessary as it might have with my bigger group last year. However, the fact that I have 2 (or less) kiddos per station is a DREAM! Any guesses as to where I got my new station organization? You guessed it! DeeDee's station cards are a freebie on TPT. You can find the cards here

I hope you had a fabulous week! Enjoy the weekend, friends! I'm sure you deserve it.