Sunday, March 31, 2013

Warning: Ginormous posting ahead!!!

Just sayin'....

I got our school a subscription to readinga-z.com  . And since the teachers at the Early Childhood Center cannot print I printed some at the elementary....and organized them into a binder (yes, my desk is a mess!).



I used index dividers to tab them by reading level. One thing I want teachers to remember is that a child can be reading on more than one level at a time--for example level M, O and R. Also, they move up and down the levels--hopefully more up than down but leveling should be flexible and not static.

Look at this fun Peeps! science experiment one of our Kindergarten teachers did! The class put the Peeps into different liquids to see which will make them dissolve the fastest.



Then they charted the materials used and tallied their guesses. Everyday they checked on these little guys. I believe the fabric softener won.
Try it for yourself (especially since Peeps are on clearance) and see!!!

A second grade classroom turned into the land of Chewandswallow from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.







That second grade teacher is just so stinkin' creative! I love to see what her class is always up to.

Now let's walk on over to PreK. They are studying dinosaurs.


We have the awesome volcanoes made from newspaper, flour and water, then dried. Then the kids painted them. I love how they made white dough dinosaurs with cookie cutters and painted them. The best part of course is the "explosion" of baking soda, white vinegar and some red food coloring.



Their teacher's sister is a science teacher and she got a box of dinosaur bones the kids could look at and touch! Our local science museum of natural history has all kinds of stuff like this available for checkout. So I suggest you see if you local one does the same!



And I wanted to share some PreK letter/word stuff. Here is their word wall. I am so proud there is a visual with the word (for the words you can do that with).



Also, we always did a creative letter for the one we were studying and this is the one they did for Uu and Tt:


Cute!

So I was able to visit another school in a separate district. I love being able to do that but I love bringing stuff back to share even more.



This school had the sight words color coded by grade and in the hallway so the kids could practice reading them while waiting in line. Genius!




One of the Kindergarten teachers there used dog dish bowls to hold supplies because they are non-skidding and she says they have lasted like 18 years! Genius!


School-wide they had a simple rubric for great writing. The teachers hung examples of great writing so the students had a guide. This was in Kindergarten.



Another fun bulletin board from Kindergarten. This was something the class went over daily before writing.

My biggest pet peeve as an educator is when people say "But Kindergarteners can't read or write!". Um, yes they can. I have taught them! So can PreK and in some cases three year olds can be taught to identify letters and simple sight words. If your expectations are high the kids will truly astound you. I had to learn this first hand by working with Prek, K and 1st that they can do so much more than what is even normally expected of them! Okay, rant over....

My next post will be about Common Core and after that--how to make your literacy centers RAWK.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Inquiry



DQ: How is the profession of teaching shaped by teacher inquiry?  How does this impact teacher professional growth?


Inquiry is a very important process in education. When teachers ask questions and try to problem-solve this leads to a better monitoring of academic progress, more informed decision-making, and professional growth.  Inquiry also gives teachers better access to knowledge because they actively seek out resources. Inquiry inspires creative solutions to some of the problems educators face. Take for example the computer. The computer is a valuable resource and helps the educator and student in so many ways, but the screen size of the monitor inhibits the computer's multiple uses.  An inquiry on how a teacher could expand the monitor so that students could view and interact with the technology lead to ideas such as the Smartboard.
So how does inquiry impact professional growth? It makes us strive to be better at our jobs. When we problem solve, we take ownership of the situation. InTeacher Leadership there was a wonderful quote by Wilmor (2007)... in order to achieve a vision teacher leaders must be willing to search "their souls to truly identify what is of lasting value to them as educators and citizens."


References
Wilmor, E. L. (2007). Teacher leadership: improving teaching and learning from inside the classroom. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. 

Quotes to think about!



Sunday, March 3, 2013

Seuss stuff and rhyming


Lots of Spring cleaning has been going on in my life lately! I make room for new stuff!!! Lately, I have been hanging out a lot at my local antique stores and thrift stores, and cruising for deals online. So you know how you start one small project and it just snowballs into a home re-decorating or renovations? Yeah, I am so there right now. Re-decorating our living room and now I want to tear a wall out and expand it into my office/scrapbook room.
And of course, you can find a million and one ideas on

Pinterest!!!!

I like houzz.com , too for ideas.
These loverlies are mine now!
So this week was Seuss week and our school celebrated in a HUGE way.

Dr Seuss quotes
Free download from CK

I found a really cool download of Dr. Seuss quotes from Creating Keepsakes scrapbook magazine. Every Friday they also have a new free font to download! You can download the Seuss quotes HERE. And the Free Friday Fonts can be found HERE.

Since Seuss and rhyming go hand-in-hand, let's talk about ways to encourage your child to learn how to rhyme. The easiest way is to start with classic nursery rhymes like those from Mother Goose books. You can also play a game where you say a word and your child has to say one that rhymes. You can print clip art out and glue the pieces onto index cards and help you child sort and match the rhyming pictures.  You and your child can keep a file folder of rhyming pictures cut out from magazines. You can label these for your child, too. Ask a librarian or do a web search for children's books that have rhyming in them--like:
Shop for <b>children's books rhyming</b> at nearby stores
Peanut Butter and Jelly by Nadine Bernard Westcott


Jake Bakes Cakes: A Silly Rhyming Children's Picture Book by Gerald Hawksley

Product Image

Elmo's Rockin' Rhyme Time by Naomi Kleinberg

Now don't get me wrong I totally adore my job but around this time I think many teachers will agree with me we get Spring Break Fever, too. It is highly contagious and the only known cure is Spring Break...
My current motto!!!

Because once we come back we get into testing!!!!
Until Spring Break I can take solace in my pretty rockin' nails!
St. Patrick's Day is coming up! So that means I see green craft projects in my future and oh look at this!!!



Laurie at Tip Junkie has tons of great St. Patrick's Day decorating ideas! 26 to be exact!
You can find out about it here:  http://www.tipjunkie.com/diy-decorating/diy-decor-st-patricks/

I still remember when Harrison and I made a leprechaun trap!!!
Harrison made a handprint rainbow! We gathered the leprechaun's stuff
like his hat, boots and cup he had left behind. He left our house in a rush!

We even gave him back his (plastic) gold coins.

We knew he liked green and gold! We decorated a shoe box to trap him!
The next morning our trap was empty and he took his stuff
BUT
he did leave us yummy chocolate gold coins to eat!!!
 I wonder if he will visit us this year???