Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fossil Cookies

Today we made these adorable Fossil Cookies that I saw on pinterest. 

Ours did not turn out nearly as good as these ones did but then again I didn't freeze them overnight like the recipe calls for... I am just too impatient!! The kids LOVED them and had a blast making their own little fossils :) I would definitely recommend this to anyone who teaches dinosaurs/fossils!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend and Dinosaurs!

I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!! If your weekends were anything like mine, they were jam packed full of fun things to do outside! It was a wonderful little tease of what summer will be like in just 6 MORE SCHOOL DAYS! I know 6 days sounds like nothing but my little ones are definitely ready for a break and SO. AM. I!! 

Well let me preface my little post with a video from my wonderful (yet slightly very redneck) Memorial Day weekend. Now let me preface this by saying that I am probably the girliest girl I know. I love shopping, high heels, makeup, etc. If a kindergarten boy would scream "eww girl stuff!" at it, it is safe to say I would LOVE it! So this weekend I did something a little outside my normal comfort zone, I went to a NASCAR race! Let me tell you, I loved every single minute of it! Here is a little clip of the race. BEFORE you click it be sure to turn your volume down because it is SUPER LOUD!! 

Anywho, so back to school today and back to learning about dinosaurs! Let me tell you that I was not at all excited about dinosaurs before teaching this unit. I thought they were cool and could be a lot of fun but none of the ideas I found online really seemed fun enough to do in class and I did not think my students would enjoy it. This was a unit that I wanted to get really into, but 
I struggled to find some new ideas. Then I stumbled across YOUR blogs and so many of you have WONDERFUL dinosaur ideas posted on your blogs! This is just one more reason (as if I didn't already have enough) for me to justify my addiction to the blogging world. I stumbled across Allison from Climbing the Monkey Bars and her great dinosaur ideas and Herding Kats in Kindergarten had a wonderful paleontologist activity and SOOOO many more! Needless to say I am finally excited about dinosaurs!! Wooho!!

So today we started with the fun activity from Herding Kats and boy oh boy were they excited! They LOVED this. What we did is we started by discussing fossils and where fossils can be found. Then we did this super fun activity from the Smithsonian's website. They loved learning about the different tools used to dig up fossils and about how important it is so wrap up the bones when transferring them to the museum. They loved putting the bones back together too! Later in the afternoon we had to use "paleontologist tools" to dig our own fossils out of mini "glaciers". Our glaciers made a mess when they melted but their desks are so nice and clean now! I swear I scrub their desks with everything under the sun to get rid of the glue marks yet today after having the kids dig out their fossils, their desks are the cleanest they've been in awhile. I guess I can stop buying products to clean their desks with now ;) I can't wait for the other fun activities we are doing later this week! I will keep posting about them as the week goes!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Linky Party!

My first ever linky party... how exciting!! 

Saw this on Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher and figured since I have plenty of practice reflecting on Grad School, why not reflect on regular school!! Here is an opportunity to reflect on the good and the bad this year:

The Good:
Without a doubt my students! They crack me up daily with the hilarious things they say and are honest to goodness the sweetest things imaginable. The end of this year is bittersweet. I am proud they will all be so successful in first grade but sad to see them go!

Creating my own blog!! Creating this little blog and stalking following so many other blogs has helped me SO much this year. When I have had those days where I feel drained and like I just can't make it one more day before the weekend, I get an e-mail update that I have a new comment to read on here and it gives me an all new energy :) Having so many other experienced teachers online that are just one click away from my blog has helped me to become a much better teacher. I wish I had taken the time to look at teacher blogs my first two years of teaching!!

My favorite of all was watching my kids come in not knowing how to hold a pencil and not knowing their letters or sounds and now having each and every one of them able to READ AND WRITE LIKE CRAZY!!!  I am so proud of my little ones and how hard they worked this year! I love to see their love for reading and writing every day in my class!!

The Not-So-Good (these are much harder to come up with, thank the Lord!!):
The amount of stress I had this year with it being my first year in kindergarten and my first year of grad school- whew! I am happy to say I am sticking in the same grade next year and will not have to worry about all new lesson plans while doing grad school homework at the same time!

I feel like so many teachers say this but I did not do nearly enough social studies this year. I did integrate it into our lessons occasionally but not enough as I should have. But one of the perks of reflecting is knowing what I will be sure to work on over the summer! I will probably end up purchasing Julie Lee's Community Helpers lesson from TPT for next year, it is one of the MANY lessons on my wish list!

I know it is crazy that this year hasn't even ended and I am already looking forward to planning for next year. Whenever people say "you get the summers off" they have noooooooo idea!! How about any of you?? I would LOVE to see your reflections on this year!!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

End of Year ABC Celebration

This year as a little extra something fun for the end of the year, I created an ABC End-of-Year Celebration Calendar. Every day for the last 26 days of school we do something fun to celebrate the end of the school year. It is super fun to do in kindergarten but I feel like it would be fun to do in any of the grades prek-2nd. 

So far our favorite day has been puzzle day. This was the first time in a LONG time i could hear complete silence in my room for more than 5 minutes long!!! They had to concentrate so hard on their puzzles!!

Here is the document:
ABC Calendar

This version is a pdf but I have on my TPT account a word document version in order to make easy changes! Here it is: TPT Calendar

Hope the end of the year is going well for all of you!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Finally on TPT!

I have finally decided to enter the world of Teachers Pay Teachers. I uploaded some centers I created earlier in the year. They are seasonal items for St. Patrick's Day and Easter so you won't be needing them anytime soon, but head on over and download them to use for next year!

Also, any advice from those of you who already have items listed would be very helpful!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day! Last week for Mother's Day we made these beautiful portraits for our Mom's. The students got to pick out their mom's skin color and hair color to make a portrait of their mom. We used scrapbook paper for their mom's clothes and little jewels for their mom's jewelry. They did a great job! I love how a few of them added waves to their mom's hair! 

After they made their portraits, they had to write one nice thing for their mom to read. It could either be about their mom or to their mom. I am so proud of how well they did with these!

This one says "Mom thank you for all the things you do." So sweet!

"Mom thank you for giving kisses." I love that sweet message! I also love how she added in her mom's "highlights".

"My mom is beautiful and she is nice and funny."

"I love you mom and you are beautiful."

They had a lot of fun making these and I definitely enjoyed seeing the finished products!!

Also, for Teacher Appreciation Week I got the most adorable presents from one of my student's (or his mom, really) and wanted to share the idea for the gift! It is something I will definitely use and maybe even make this gift for someone else!

This gift was a little popcorn bucket with popcorn and candies you might find at a movie theater inside. It also had a little gift certificate to go see a movie. It was so simple but so cute and is definitely something everybody likes!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Strawberry Patch!

Today was our field trip to the strawberry patch and it was so much fun! When we first got there, there was a little maze for the students to run through. Then after we got our wiggles out, the woman in charge told us a little story about the life cycle of a strawberry. Her little story was so cute!

Then we got to go out and pick our own strawberries.

I forgot how stressful it can be to plan field trips! Even though we had a great time, I am relieved that it is finally over! 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Aargh Mateys! Our Study of Pirates...

The past two weeks we have been learning about pirates and oh my goodness, my little ones are going NUTS over this!! I am surprised at how much even the girly-girls love it! Last week we made the glyph from Deanna Jump's unit (with a few changes):

I love this one's green teeth! So perfect for a pirate!

And then last Friday we made these adorable pirate ship snacks I found on Pinterest. I am way too addicted to Pinterest...

 Here is the link to where this originally came from. The cute little flags are on this website too.
Pinterest Pirate Snack

So far this week we found a Treasure Map at school and had to follow it to find the buried treasure and our stuffed Ikea foods that the pirates had stolen! The kids had a blast with this and we turned it into a math activity by counting our "paces" and then equally dividing up the gold among the whole class.

And then today we colored in little pirates and I put their pictures as their faces on the pirates. They also had to write little speech bubbles of what their pirates would say:

I love to see how excited they are getting over this!! 
Tomorrow we have our field trip to the Strawberry Patch. I can't wait to post pictures of that too!

Butterflies and Caterpillars

A few weeks ago we learned about caterpillars and butterflies and did a few crafts to go along with what we were studying. Here they are:

We went through this so fast that I didn't really have the time to research cute ideas on caterpillars and butterflies, I just went along with what my grade partner did. Next year I will have to do a little more research or create something better on my own! Do any of you have any suggestions for cute caterpillar/butterfly activities??