My Favorite Quotes

Monday, June 29, 2015
I'm joining Monica from I Heart 3rd Grade in her summer linky party series.
I've been busy until now, so this is my first post in this party.  

What a fun place to start!  Quotes are so inspiring!

When asked to share my favorite quote, I can't do it, because I really have two.  The first is this:

That's really all I want for my own kids, for the kids in my class, for my friends, for my family, for the world really.  Wouldn't the world be a better place if we were all happy?

My second favorite quote is this:

I try to keep this one at the forefront of my thoughts, which is NOT easy when I'm dealing with rude or angry people.  But, I always think that they are the people who need to be treated with kindness the most.

Head on over to Monica's blog to see her quote (a great one- especially for us teachers!)

Click on the photo below to go to her page and read her favorite quote.

Ocean Invertebrates Unit

Friday, June 26, 2015
I usually end the school year with an ocean unit.  We begin by learning that 70% of the earth is covered by water, so learning about the plants and animals that live in the ocean seems like a good idea.  I have the kids paint the ocean water first.  This is very messy and very fun.  I give them green, turquoise, blue and purple paints and sponge brushes.  The kids have to dab the paint onto the paper.  They race to fill in the empty spots.  I love that every year my ocean looks different (just like the kids who painted it).

ocean bulletin board

After we get the water finished, I put it on a bulletin board.  I add some sand on the bottom (brown paper) and this year for the first time,  I added some blue sky above the water  (I like to mix things up every now and then to keep it interesting).  Then we talked about the food chain and we learned that their are plants at the bottom of every food chain, so the kids asked me to add plants to our ocean.

Now that our ecosystem is ready, we need to figure out what animals to add.

We watched a Magic School Bus movie about the coral reef.  The movie showed many different animals that lived around the reef.  So of course, we had to make coral to add to our ocean.  To do this, I let the kids choose red or orange construction paper.  I used 12x18inch sheets and the kids traced their hands and arms all the way from fingertips to elbow.  They could fit two hands on a sheet.  They cut them out and we began building our coral reef.

Isn't it pretty?  Now we are ready for some other animals.  Since we are studying animals that sting (like coral polyps) we made anemones and jellies.  The anemones have stingers that point upwards and the jellies stingers hang down.  Here are close up pictures of those animals added to the ocean.

sea anemone craft and activity

jelly fish activity

We also made crabs, sea urchins and sea stars.  

sea star craft

Here is our finished ocean bulletin board.  Isn't it beautiful?
The kids loved learning about each ocean animal and the hands-on craft really helped them remember the important things about each animal.  Each day that we completed an animal, I would add them to the bulletin board the next morning before school.  It was so fun to watch the kids drag their parents over to the board first thing and look to see where their  animal might be.  They would tell their parents all about the animal.  

Ocean Invertebrates bulletin board

If you are interested in doing this in your classroom, you can purchase my unit on my TpT store.  It contains close reads about the animals as well as comprehension sheets.  The directions for making each component are also included.  You will be amazed at how much your kids learn about the ocean invertebrates.

We also study fish and marine mammals.   You can see the sea horses and Girabaldi swimming along with the invertebrates and plants.

Getting Organized this Summer

For me, summer time is all about doing things to rejuvenate my mind and body so that I can be ready to tackle teaching in the fall.  This is the summer of organization.  My plan is to spend a couple of days a week either organizing my classroom or my house and spend the other days enjoying my family and San Diego.

Here is a photo of my first Beach Wednesday of the summer.  

It is a tradition to meet friends at the beach every Wednesday.  We have a big group of friends and everyone is welcome to invite whomever they want to, so on any given Beach Wednesday, you never know who is going to be there.  It has been a tradition with my friends for as long as our kids were old enough to enjoy the beach.  Now most of our kids are in college and high school, so our beach days are more relaxed, but we still take our Boogie Boards into the water and enjoy the surf.  All my friends know that if it is Wednesday, they can find me at the beach.  

So, that's how I tackle my goal of relaxation and rejuvenation.  The ocean is good for the mind and body and friends are good for the soul.

My second goal of the summer is ORGANIZATION.
This one is not as fun, but will help keep my mind happy during the busy school year.

So, I have made some binders for each subject and month.   I have found that pulling a binder off the shelf, flipping through pages, taking out what I need, making copies and then replacing the masters in the binder is far EASIER and much FASTER than trying to find what I need in a messy filing cabinet.  Things stay neater and more organized in binders.  I LOVE MY BINDER SYSTEM!

Here are are my monthly binders.  You can get them FREE at my TpT store!  Just click on the link or the photo.  If you use them, I would love if you took a moment to leave feedback in my store.  And feel free to share the link with your friends!

I have also made some binders organized by subjects and themes.  I teach kindergarten so the subjects are appropriate for me, but if you think they would work for you, you can purchase them on my TpT store.  

If you purchase the binders and want a specific topic that I didn't include, please let me know and I can add what you want to my unit.

Happy organizing!

Currently June

Tuesday, June 2, 2015
I'm linking up with Farley for her fun Currently Linky Party.  I don't know about you, but I look forward to this each month.  Thank you Farley for getting us all linked up!

I love my mornings. I wake up before anyone else in the house.  I head straight for my coffee maker and then for my computer.  I sit with my coffee next to me, my computer in my lap, and my dogs right along side me.  My mornings are pure bliss.  With the house quiet I can hear all the birds chirping outside.  I just love listening to their different calls.  It makes me feel like I'm out in nature, when I'm really just in the suburbs.

I love, love, LOVE my Apple Watch.  I got it as a birthday present (the big 5-0) and had to wait a long time for it to arrive.  I was wondering if I would be disappointed, but I'm finding it really useful. I've made and answered calls from my wrist.  I've sent texts from my wrist.  I've had it track my activity and set fitness goals.  I've checked email, used it for directions, used the timer, etcetera, etcetera.  In short, it not only tells me the time, but it has saved me from digging through my purse to get my phone out.  It's pretty cool.

June is always bitter sweet for me.  I get attached to my kiddos and it is hard for me to say goodbye.  Especially at my school.  Why is that you wonder?  Well, I teach at an all kindergarten school and when the kids leave, they go off to their 1st thru 5th grade school, so we don't get a chance to see them and say hi to them or their parents after they leave us.  There are many things that I like about being and all kindergarten school, but this is the one thing that I don't like.

Since my school is kindergarten and only kindergarten, there is not an option for combo grades.  We wait each year to see how many kids enroll and then we find out if we are staying or if we have to pack up our rooms and move to another school and grade level.  It has happened before that a kindergarten teacher had to move to middle school- yikes!  That better not be me any time soon!

I desperately need to get organized this summer.  Both my classroom and home feel like they need some serious attention.  I'm going to treat it as my summer fitness routine- my classroom will be like a little summer sweat box (they turn the AC off) so when I'm there organizing I can sweat off the unwanted pounds.  Does that really work?  I'll let you know at the end of summer.

Summer Lovin':
Beach Days
Family Reunion

I'm looking forward to all these things!

Thanks for stopping by.  I'm looking forward to reading your comments and stopping by your blog to see what you are up to this month.  
Happy Summer Everyone!

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