Saturday, January 14, 2012

First week back...

So the first week back from break is over. And I must say, it has happened. Yes, again. What is it, you ask? Christmas. Break. Magic. Perhaps you all have heard of this wonderful occurrence. Christmas Break Magic is the thing that happens while the students are gone so that when they come back, they are ready to rock and roll and get down to business in class. I don't know what it is, but it always happens! The first or second day back I'll find myself looking around the classroom and realizing, "WOW! Everyone is in their seats! WOW, I am not running myself ragged going around to nearly every student who is needing help or off task! WOW, they can do more independent work and are doing it quietly!"

It's amazing, it really is.

I love Kindergarten, but I REALLY love post-December kindergarten. I can do so many more cool things with my kiddos just because they are finally ready to do them!

We are in our weather reading theme for the next 3 weeks, so that's what most of my posts will be about in the meantime. We started weather observation journals and their writing has grown so much! Every morning we've been brainstorming different weather describing words to put in a sentence stem: "I like _________ days." They nearly filled up the whole big pocket chart with their words they came up with. They've been using a ton of them in their writing as well, so I'm loving what the chart has done for their vocabulary.

On Thursday we watched a video about temperature on and then went outside with real thermometers to check our own weather temperature that day. They were having the best discussions with each other about what was happening and why.

I have no pictures this time, sadly! I never think about it until after the activity is done. I've gotta be better at that!

Have a great long weekend! And hello to my new followers! :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

"Currently" linky party!

Oh Boy 4th Grade is having a linky party about all of the things that are "currently" going on in your life!

Go join in the fun at Oh Boy 4th Grade!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy New Year!

Oh, I've neglected my sad little blog for two months. But now I'm back, hoping to get ahead of myself to post on a more consistent basis. I start school again on Monday after a rather glorious break and I am hoping that my little kinders will come back, calmed down, and ready to be more independent workers! It has happened that way the past 2 years with my kiddos, so I am keeping my fingers crossed. It really is an amazing thing. All of a sudden I'll set the kids to a task, then look around and realize no one has come up to ask me a million questions, no one is out of their seats, and I am not having to whirl around the room 24/7 helping every student with something different. It's a wonderful thing, I tell you. They grow up over Christmas!

Here's an overview of what I did with my kinder kids during the month of December:

Our entire Kinder team decided the do the Elf on the Shelf with our classes, and it was such a blast. The kids LOVED it... and "Jordan" (as my kids voted on for his name) was a good motivator for good behavior! Every day the elf moves to a different location (after he returns from the North Pole to tell Santa who was naughty and nice, of course) so the kids would pile into the room in the morning on a desperate search for Jordan. And it didn't matter where he was, they laughed hysterically about it. You can register your elf's information online, so we thought up facts and descriptions to say about our elf and watched a video from Santa about what his job was. Every so often, I'd have "Jordan" bring a special surprise or treat from the North Pole. We made peppermint floats one Friday afternoon - combine ginger ale and vanilla ice cream, shake green or red sugar crystals on top and then stick a small candy cane on the side of the cup. So fun! Another day he brought a box of candy canes, and on the last day before break, he brought a huge present - a package of play food for our kitchen/home living center, since it had literally nothing but the scraggly toys that came with whoever the previous owner was. Haha. We also kept a journal to write about where our elf was each day. There are so many fun things you can do with it! I highly recommend it to any moms or teachers out there.


The day Jordan the Elf dropped off some candy canes, I decided to do a little candy cane activity that can be found in Deanna Jump's Christmas unit on TPT (which is fantastic, by the way). We taste-tested our candy canes and then made a web of all the different words we could use to describe our candy canes - I was so impressed at the words they came up with! We then completed the candy cane graph/poem from Deanna's packet - I love how it turned out! Only one student didn't like how they tasted! We analyzed our data (sorry, didn't get a pic of that) and made our own graphs to go along with the big one.

Since we were in school an extra week longer than usual, it gave me tons more time to plan holiday-themed centers. I used a couple of activities that I got last year from Cara Carroll - Santa number word match and gingerbread word family game. The kids loved them, Cara, so thank you for sharing! They also created candy cane patterns using paper squares.

Near the end of our holiday unit, I came up with an Elf on the Shelf writing craftivity. The kids had to write a letter to our Elf to tell him why he should tell Santa that they should be on the "good list". Some of their responses were hilarious! One kid said, "Because I never get spankin's at home!" and others included "I get a green light every day!" and "I won't hit my sister anymore." HA! Very persuasive. ;)

 Here is an "in-progress" elf. They turned out SO cute. When I get a chance, I'll post the tracers for you guys.

I'm putting together a weather unit that I'm hoping to get posted for my first product to sell. You can do so many fun things with weather; I love it every year!

I am going to enjoy my last day off tomorrow with some church, football, and friends. Oh and as an aside, I am still relishing my amazing night at the Phoenix Coyotes game tonight - I got to witness our captain, Shane Doan, score his first ever hat trick. It was an epic night! Go Yotes!