Monday, June 18, 2012

Getting back my Blogging MOJO!

  So I will have a bit more time on my hands to blog this summer as I have definitely missed it. As a way to get back into the blogging world I check into what I had missed. Of course I missed some really cool giveaways and missed catching up with others last days. Our kids last day of school was Friday the 15th and we as teachers don't get out until the 19th. I guess it gives us all an extra bit of time to pack up our classroom. See this year will be the first time I pack up my classroom and get to keep the same classroom. Last year my team had to pack like we were moving because we were actually moving... into the main building. But this year, we aren't moving which means that I can pack my stuff into cubbies, which is exciting but it only took me 2 days to realize that I could do that. Before then I was packing like I was moving to another classroom.
  Yesterday felt a bit weird as that is the day I usually gather up materials to write lesson plans. Well I didn't have to create any lesson plans or think of what to teach for the upcoming week, so I decided to catch up on some blogging. During the summer this is a book study I want to try, it is Daily 5 for kindergarten. I have always wondered if we could implement in kindergarten and how is it really done. Now I really want to know if we can implement in a DIBELS classroom or is that just wishful thinking. I do know that I would like to included Word Work and Work on Writing in my stations. I sort of kind of include them but have never called it that before.
  I also found that I had missed Mrs. Lirette's 15 days of K guest blogger freebies post. But when I found it I just had to check it out. And of course if you missed it, click on the link above and be inspired. I haven't made it all the way down to 1 yet but I did stop at the Sight Word Book idea. I tried to do more sight words this year and in the end only a few students remembered them. I want more of my students to remember them.
  I even stumbled upon TWO new bloggers that I hadn't "met" yet. I met Kindergarten Smiles and Sharing Kindergarten both were guest bloggers of Mrs. Lirette's 15 Days of K and have awesome blogs of their own. Plus they are having a giveaway were everybody WINS! Oh I so love these kinds of giveaways.Head on over to Sharing Kindergarten's blog for details on the giveaway. All you have to do is follow both their blogs and stores and fill in your info and email before June 24th and they will email you the freebies on June 25th. Sounds easy enough huh? Well then tell everyone you know who would love to WIN.

 And you know Classroom Freebies and Classroom Freebies TOO can become quite addictive. I just found some free writing paper which helped form the thoughts of actually working on my Work on Writing station for next year. I wish I could be one of those teachers who already have their Back to School activities set and ready to go before leaving school, then I wouldn't feel so pressured at the end of break to get it all done and figured out. I also joined Grade School Giggles as a way to say "thanks" for the writing paper. Oh and check out Fern Smith's Word Family Spelling (Word Work) Lists and Tests... I linked you up to just one but there are MANY more to choose from. I have many ideas on how to work that into my classroom next year, I can so see that being their weekly homework.
 Well I have to stop for now and get to bed. It was definitely fun get back my MOJO! Thanks blog world. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Pinterest and Something New

 So I finally was able to sit down and PIN things today. I felt like I had at the beginning of summer when I was finding out all about blogs. I've missed so much by not blogging as much as I should this year. I need to be able to find a balance of writing and checking in. I was on Pinterest because I was looking for some crafty ways to give each student in my class an award. Of course found tons of pages and about 3 that I really liked. Then I ended up getting sidetracked and went to other boards and have too many tabs up on my webpage right now. I found organizational stuff (things that made me wish I had a husband who could build me stuff), sight words and  station ideas, and definitely lots of math stuff. I like the math stuff because I was the math person on my team this year. The one who wrote the lesson plans for the team and gathered the ideas and materials for everyone. I loved it because I had done my homework over the summer and I had TONS of things I wanted to try.
 My visit to Pinterest led me to a new blogger, you might have already visited her blog: Kindergarten Doodles.
 Well I am so excited that I found her as she has some neat ideas for stations. I noticed that in her station listings she listed an activity for math literacy and I thought to myself "can I include math into my stations?" I have to ask that as our school works on a different reading curriculum that requires us to read from a book, plan from that book and make sure we are following that book to the letter, especially when the big wigs come in to check on us. We have been told that there is some wiggle room but only in our added station. I currently have 5 stations in my room and I love it. It has taken me a year and a half to figure out that I need 5 stations for my sanity and for the student's sanity. My first 2 stations are governed by whatever my curriculum books says to put out. Station 3 varies on whatever skill we are focusing on for the week; Station 4 is usually my sight word and sentence practice station. I love having Station 4 as the sentence practice station because I know that on MWF my students will be doing some kind of sentence building activity and on TTh they work with sight word or word building. And Station 5 is for computers/listening/library. But after pinning today and finding Kindergarten Doodles I have a different take on what I want my stations to be like. Like I want to be able to incorporate writing in as a station, I want to have more writing in the classroom period. However, I can't really change my stations based on what others are doing as some classrooms have assistants and usually it is just me and I have to be at a teaching station during stations. But there has got to be an easier way to make this work as my first 2 stations change daily and I make the rest of the stations change too. I now know what my other 3 stations do not have to change daily but if I don't change them I will have too many "early" finishers because they already know how to play the game or complete the activity.
 I wanted to cut down on how much pulling and planning I have to do every week for reading stations not make things complicated. Oh and next year I wanted to start word study... I guess I have a lot of planning and thinking to do. Where to fit it all in? I want to be able to cover all the bases and still have my students learning. Last year I was the new kindergarten teacher who didn't know any better so I just went along with everything. This year I know just a bit more of what my students need to know before going into first grade. I think I did a good job of getting them on the path this year but for next year I want to do more, I want to do better of educating them so they will succeed and not fail. And it is really difficult when our reading program conflicts with our state testing and does not consistently test them for what they should know and need to know for reading. I am trying to create a balance between our reading curriculum and providing my students with phonics/phonemic awareness activities so they can pass both tests and without getting in trouble for not following things to the letter.
 How do you have literacy stations in your classroom? Or do you even do stations for reading? I would love to hear how everyone else works it out.
 Oh and head over to Lil' Country Kindergarten for some freebies, especially her Hundreds Chart Picture freebies. Did you know that she has created some for almost all the holidays? Here is a snapshot of what the kids could be working on when they "finish early":
 Thanks, Desiree