Mayor of Alpine

Sunday, November 24, 2013

I'm running for Honorary Mayor of Alpine!

Yes, it's true.  I love the community where I teach and I want to help raise money for the schools, so when I was asked if I would accept my nomination, I didn't hesitate to say yes.  

Serving as the Mayor will be fun and only connect me more with the people of the community that I love.

Thank you Alpine for being such a great place to work!  I love teaching your children and working with such great parents!

Dipping into the Common Core

Saturday, October 19, 2013
At Creekside we always have a Bear Week that includes bringing our bears to school for a teddy bear picnic.  This year I included a family research project where children and their families looked up facts about real bears.  The kids chose what type of bear they wanted to research.  At the end of the week, we compared our research notes and compiled the facts about the different types of bears.  I grouped the kids by the type of bear they chose to research and they worked together to make these charts.

The students became "experts" about the bear they researched and we had a lot of discussions about the different facts we learned.  We compared the bears and analyzed the similarities and differences.  The kids drew conclusions and used facts to support their thinking.  We ended the mini-unit by comparing ourselves to a real bear.

The following week during Writer's Workshop time I caught these two boys discussing the differences between the Kodiak bear and the Grizzly bear.  They were using the chart to write more facts about bears.

A New Beginning

Sunday, September 8, 2013
September is always exciting for me.  I love starting a new school year.  It is fun to meet my new little kiddos and their apprehensive parents.  On the first day I invite parents to join us for a shared parent/child activity and a short story.  Together the child and his/her parents will make a little person that looks just like the child.

After I snap a photo of the parents and their child with the little person they made together, I read a classic first day story... The Kissing Hand.  This story is sure to bring a tear to a few parent's eyes so when the story is done, I give each child a small Ziploc bag with a Hershey's kiss, a tissue, and a poem to give to their parents along with a kiss in the middle of their palm.  Then we send our parents on their way and begin our day bonding as a class.
This ensures a memorable first day for both the parents and the new students.

Like I said before, I love September and starting the journey with my new Kinders.  I hope all my other teacher friends had a nice start to their new year as well.

All You Need Is Love

Thursday, August 1, 2013

To raise money for our school, I had the kids work on small group art pieces to auction off at our Spring Fling event.  Here is the how we made them:

I took a piece of 9x12 white construction paper and drew a heart using a black marker.  I turned the papers over and marked each corner with a letter and number (1A, 1B, 1C, 1D- 2A, 2B, 2C 2D- etc.) so I would be able to reassemble them easily after we were done.  Then I randomly cut each heart into 4 pieces.  I mixed them all up and the kids each took one of the pieces.  The project only took 3 days to paint and one more to sign the artwork.  

Each child's paper was divided into two parts by the black line.  They were instructed to paint each section a different color.  We let those dry and the next day the kids used a different color of paint to add designs and texture.  I let them do whatever they wanted to.  After those were dry, we came back one last time and painted over my black line with a thicker line of black paint.  That is it!

When everything was dry, I reassembled the hearts (using my coding system on the back) and we admired our beautiful creations.  I laminated each heart and matted them using black mats.  I had each child sign by their section using a silver paint marker.  

I had the hearts on display for Open House and they went up for auction the following week at the Spring Fling.  

They are beautiful and truly one of a kind.  I got the idea from Pinterest (I love Pinterest) and made it my own.  The Pinterest idea used circles instead of hearts and they were really cool too, but I like how the hearts turned out.

Our Garden

Sunday, May 5, 2013
It's springtime in San Diego and the weather is just perfect for gardening so I got my class outside one afternoon and we spent some time working on the area in front of our classroom.  Our first step was to pull the weeds.  This was perfect because we were studying plants in science so we got a chance to look at all of the parts of a plant.  We made sure to get the roots so those pesky weeds wouldn't grow back!

 I have lots of pairs of small kid-sized gardening gloves and little tools.  It's wonderful to see the kids working together deciding if a plant is a flower or a weed.  After we pulled the weeds everyone got a chance to plant at least one flower.

Here's a look at the completed garden.  Isn't it beautiful?  It is so wonderful to walk up to a colorful garden and the kids take such pride in it!

Act It Out

Sunday, March 3, 2013
After reading many different versions of The Three Billy Goats Gruff, we each got a chance to act out the story in the classroom.  We used masks for each goat and a table for the bridge.  The trolls loved hearing the trip trap of the goat's feet as they crossed over the bridge.  You should have heard the trolls roar,  "WHO'S THAT WALKING OVER MY BRIDGE?"

dramatic play
It was such a fun way to practice retelling the story!

Pajama Day

Sunday, January 20, 2013

You would think that Pajama Day would be my favorite day of the year, but for me it's literally living my stress dream.  Each year when I have a lot going on in my life, I have the same dream... I am rushing around my classroom trying to get everything ready for the day but the copy machines are down, I don't have the paint colors I need, all the pencils, and crayons are missing, nothing that I need is ready! In short, I have too much to do and not enough time.  Then, the bell sounds and when I open the door to let my kids into the room I realize that I am still in my pajamas- I didn't even have enough time to get ready for school!

Sound familiar?  I'm sure we all have things that stress us out and you might have your own stress dreams.

Well, on Pajama Day, when I have to spend the day in my pajamas, I am literally living my stress dream.  I try to relax and enjoy the day- just like my Kinders do, but all day long I'm uncomfortable in my jammies.  Even though I'm not enjoying being in my pajamas, the kids love the day and the parents look forward to a stress free morning getting their kids ready for school. We even make pancakes for breakfast so the parents don't even need to feed their children breakfast on Pajama Day!  Seeing the smiling faces of the kids and their parents helps to make Pajama Day more tolerable for me- ok, actually fun, but I do look forward to the moment that I can change back into real clothes when the school day is over.

The Mitten

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Mitten

One of my favorite literature units is Jan Brett's The Mitten.  We can use it as a jumping off point for so many things.  We can learn more about the animals in the story.  We can talk about all the descriptive language in the story.  We can discuss the rich illustrations (which tell the story all by themselves).  We can read other Jan Brett books, like The Hat and compare them to The Mitten.

My kids love to paint on the easels, so I asked them to paint an animal to go into a giant mitten on our bulletin board.  As you can see, the kids were very creative and the animals turned out super cute.

Our next activity will be to act out the story of The Mitten.  I went to Jan Brett's site and downloaded beautiful masks for the kids to wear and I brought in a big flat sheet for us to use as a mitten.  This activity really helps them understand characters, setting and plot.
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