Saturday, May 30, 2015

Spotlight Saturday!

Oh, glorious Saturday. This is the first time this week I've woken up and said "It's finally Saturday!" and it was true. Real talk, it happened twice this week. End of the school year exhaustion is REAL.

This Saturday, I'm linking up with Erin from Kindergarten Dragons for Spotlight Saturday, a place where you can spotlight some awesome classroom resources and give shout outs to those awesome creators.

This week I am spotlighting two things that worked really well in my classroom the past week.

The first is a free product from The Scrappy Penguin. I noticed my kids were awesome at decomposing tens (thanks, GoNoodle!), but struggled with other numbers. After a quick TpT search, I came across this simple goodness.

Did it cover the standard I needed it to? Yep.
Was it super easy to use? Totally.
Did it allow me to burst out the bingo daubers to keep the children contained entertained during these last, difficult weeks? You betcha.

Look at them go! The second one seriously made me almost cry. This guy didn't know what purple was until January. He couldn't consistently recognize numbers 0-10 until April. He struggles but works so hard. AND HE DID THIS ON HIS OWN. Sure, maybe they aren't alllllll 100%, but he did this ON HIS OWN, WAS SUCCESSFUL WITH IT, and FELT SO GREAT ABOUT HIMSELF.

These are very colorful, and made a nice looking bulletin board. We are required to change boards by the first of the month, and this was a cute and easy one to put up that I don't mind being taken down in 17 days.

I have also used The Scrappy Penguin's Ice Cream Cone Word Family center, and it is great! Go show her some love!

We all love us some freebies, but I don't mind paying for a quality product that a teacher clearly spent time and energy creating. By far, one of the best purchases I've made is the Grab & Graph Pack from Mrs. Plemons' Kindergarten

This pack has everything! You can use so many materials, like art materials every teacher has hoarded in their closets, or manipulatives like pattern blocks, coins, or the amazing counter set from Lakeshore (which I scored at the beginning of the year through a Donor's Choose grant!).

I love that with so many options, I can keep this as a center pretty much all year. At the beginning of the year, I can go simple by sorting teddy bear sizes, button holes,  or bug colors, which give fewer options. As students become more advanced, they can do the graphs with more options, like kinds of transportation, sea animals, or crayons. I like to put different shades of crayons in the baggie for more classification practice :) Mrs. Plemons also provides some blank forms, which I use to let students come up with their own graphs (they've done some cool ones barrette types, barrette styles, transformer sizes). They know the format, so they can answer the interpretation questions on their own.

Oh right, the interpretation questions! Making a graph is great and all, but ya gotta know what it all means! Each graph has about 5 questions to answer, such as which has the most/least, how many X and Y do you have combined, and how many X do you have in all? These questions really make my kids think, add, and prove their work. During our standardized test, one of my guys raised his hand and was excited because "we did this!" last week during centers. This pack has made my kids super proficient in graphing, and it is a must have for a kindergarten math teacher!

What resources do you love? Spotlight them with us!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday Scoop!

Ahhhhh, Sunday. This is my very favorite kind of Sunday, because it is a LONG WEEKEND. And, boy, do I need it!

I'm linking up with Teaching Trio for the Sunday Scoop!

Does anyone else do kindergarten graduation???? What do you do for it?? 

Sunday, May 17, 2015


Real talk.

These last few weeks have been ROUGH. Like, "are you serious we still have over a month left of school and these kids are off the chain and how am I going to make it through the day let alone until the end of June and I have no more coffee and holy crap it's only 11:15" rough. We've all been there.

Safe to say I have pretty much no idea how I'm still standing. I finally had time to rest this weekend, and I'm making my game plan of getting through and enjoying the last 22 school days with my babies. I am not a positive person. At all. But positivity is the only thing that can and will get me through. I determine the weather in my classroom. A good day has to start with me.

One major weight has been lifted. We took our NWEA MAP test this past Tuesday and Wednesday. I  know that my students and I are more than test scores. I know that the 30 minutes my kids spend staring at a screen cannot show the hard work, love, dedication, laughter, tears, and everything else that we have all put in this year. But it is a part of life. A part of my life that is over for a few months. For the first time, every single one of my babies went up. Some a point or two, some 35 points, but they all made gains. They really took this opportunity to "show off" all they learned this year. I am proud of them, but glad it's over. 

So, to celebrate being done with stupid testing, we decided we will only do "fun" stuff for the rest of the year. Since I am focusing on the positives, the "fun" things that make me and my kids happy, the things they will remember about kindergarten and being in my class, here are some of my favorite moments of the last two hellish weeks. 

We started opinion writing. My kids put our PE teacher on blast for always coming into our room to get water and disrupting our learning. We also had a talk about using kind words to get what we want, and using evidence rather than a "GO AWAY!"

"Coach T, Stop interrupting our class when we is learning. I do not like that. Go away!"

"Coach T, Please do not interrupt us" Check out the "BOOM!" of him shutting our door and walking around going "hu, hu,hu"

We also read one of my favorites, Hey, Little Ant, and wrote our opinions on what the boy should do.

We had our last trip of the year, going to our favorite theater to see Elephant and Piggie! SO MUCH FUN! So worth it! The kids were engaged the whole time, and there were some great jokes in there for the adults. Emerald City is a great place to go for a field trip, I highly recommend them.

We learned about plants, and are going to start our own garden this week. Every year, I give my kids construction paper and tell them to make a plant and label the parts and give them no other direction. They always rock it out. I love how these came out. Many of them even added in the needs, like sun and water coming down, and one little guy drew water going up the roots :D

It may have taken all year, but I think we mastered teen numbers!

Sorry for a long rant, I just needed to show myself that there was plenty of awesomeness even during a very trying week. Look forward to seeing more of these cute, happy faces soon!