The tale of TWO classrooms

So this next school year I've been given the task of teaching kindergarten at TWO schools.  Yes, you read that right.  I am teaching AM kindergarten at my home school, then traveling the 15 minutes, wolfing down my lunch, then doing PM kindergarten at a different school.

Our numbers are low.  So this means I get to set up and decorate both classes.  My mind tries to wrap my head around how I can manage BOTH rooms.  I guess I may need to break down and get one of those cart things you see teachers lugging around:

I could see this opportunity through two different lenses!

1.  They really believe in me.  They believe I am organized and I am a good planner.  I am able to bring my talents to a new building and bring my vast knowledge to a new group of learners!

2.  My principal wants me to get "fixed".  She's sending me off to learn the ways of the land at a new school, so that principal can whip me in shape!

Ok... I really doubt they are sending me off to learn something... maybe more they are sending me off because they know I will learn something.

Wish me luck!


Hello Readers Workshop... I love you.

So I've decided to give my valentine this year NOT to my awesome (and yet oh so annoying hubby) but to Readers Workshop!

Can I tell you I am IN LOVE?

So, we are a half day program (9 to 11:44 then 12:41 to 3:25)  So, it isn't possible in my class.  How do you possibly manage it?  How does one possibly take care of 40 bags with 40 levels and blah blah blah

Until this year.  Our Superintendent informed us we were a Reading and Writing Workshop School (never knew that before!)  So after silently crying... then telling the world it couldn't happen... I did it!

With the help of Kim Adsit and Michele Scannell.  Their units honestly have giving me the strength I needed.  I can and am doing it.  My kids are reading like crazy people.

The true winner... TODAY... my struggling student brought over a self-selected book Balto.  (Uggh... I was ready to reminder that we don't move around we don't get up nag nag nag) when she asked to to tell her why there was a statue in New York for this dog.


Yes... really.  No, she did not read the book (it was a Level 3 reader) but she looked at all the pictures, she saw the words she knew jump out at her... she saw New York.

I thought I might cry!

So of course I encouraged her to take the book home and read it with her mom.  (I am crossing my fingers it comes back... but if not, it was a good $4.99 spent!)

Now, my reading time is tight.  We barely have time to pack up.  But from11:20 to to 11:35 we are reading!

I am thinking of moving my schedule around a little to give more time.  We've got to be able to fit more in right?

So, for you nay-sayers, like me, there is hope!  It is my favorite time of the day!


Hip Hip Hooray for just about a perfect day!

I wish I had pictures of today!  But I don't.  Darn photo space is Full!  BUT I was so anxious this morning.  It was like, the first day feeling.  I was sad, scared, ready to react with a hushed importance.  I only slept a little, with the thoughts of how I will handle them being after the weekend.

They came in with big smiles, singing me a Happy Birthday (yes, it was Saturday!)  I've never been thankful for a December birthday until today.  I hugged each student tight and we got right to work.  

Also, I happen to have a cold so when I did get a little mushy... I could blame it on that!  

Today was just about perfect.  

Silly Boy A was still his silly self, unable to sit quietly.

Silly Boy B still forgot how to whisper.

Silly Girl A still is having trouble keeping her hand off her friends hair.

So, today was just right.  Even today these annoyances didn't bother me quite as much.  As for tomorrow.... that is yet to be determined!

There was no mention of worry, no mention of not feeling safe, no mention of the bad guys out there.  And I am so thankful.  Thankful they can still be innocent and not know the world has its dark side.  

I hope you day was as bright!


We are safe!

What a horrible day today.  I learned about this event today about 11:00.  I don't think I really understand exactly what happened.

Our school went into a semi-lock down, which of course made things a little unsettled.  We carried out our day as usual.  I tried not to know what happened.

As I sit I can't help but think about those parents, who kissed their little ones planning on play dates and shopping and their whole world is different.

I think about those teachers, I hope I could be as brave.

My prayers are with the families, the community, the teachers.  Even just being less than an hour away, I am sure we all feel the pain.


Readers Workshop

So I plowed through Kim Adsit and Michele Scannell's Blasting off to Reader's Workshop.

I really liked this unit.  I have to be honest and say, I didn't think I would be able to do independent reading in my class.  Not that they aren't readers, I actually have quite a few already on a DRA 3.  But that their stamina isn't there.  They just can't sit and read yet.  Or so I thought.

Of course there are some who would rather do anything else.  But for the most part they loved getting a chance to practice what we have been doing.  Yeah!

I did go through her unit quickly, but only because some of it we were already doing.  BUT I reviewed EVERYTHING.  I didn't want to regret it later.

This week I am going to really work on Powerful Partnerships.  I know they can do it!  Here are my questions right now:

I have them in small tubs reading books.  This is just makes it easier since I have AM and PM and I can just manage it better.  BUT I am probably going to have to have book boxes.  How can I manage that?

What am I going to do with my REALLY low students, who right now are struggling to keep their attention at circle?  They can do this too I know!

Wish me luck!


Oh the day I have had...

So why is it that when you have a totally rockin', everybody seems to get along, the question and answers are deep and meaningful kinda day it is always seems to be followed by a day where there is a feeling of mayhem?

So yesterday I had a great text talk, the kids seemed to dig deep with their thinking, I left on a HIGH!  I was SUPER TEACHER yesterday.

But today came.  I was ready, I was prepared.... but I guess I just pushed them a little too hard.

Seriously, one student asked me today where to put her crayon box.  Really?  Ummm the same place it always goes?

Today I had them begin working with a partner.  For our Family Project this month, students Disguised a Turkey so it wouldn't be eaten for Thanksgiving.  So I "thought" it would be a great idea to extend the activity and try to have students use the project to write about their turkey's disguise.

I thought I would start out with a good model.  I displayed my turkey, disguised as a pig (of course).  Then I wrote:  My turkey looks like a pig.

They all seemed happy about that.  Achievable.  Then, I decided to go one step further (you know, differentiating for those ready).  I wrote:  She is pink and brown.

Again, it didn't seem so hard.  I trusted they were listening, they understood.  That the Super Teacher from yesterday was STILL HERE IN THIS ROOM.

So, next I paired them with a partner.  I explained how the partner is your helper.  You ask him/her first.  You make sure you both know what to do!

Hello.  Partner doesn't mean write their paper.... no.
Partner doesn't mean you play on the floor... no.
Partner doesn't mean you exchange crayons...no.
Partner doesn't mean you leave them behind... no.

Maybe that should be my next anchor chart??

So, today wasn't a total success.  I guess that means, tomorrow will only  be better!


Readers Workshop and another Math Freebie!

Today I attended an after school workshop on Readers Workshop.  I am not sure exactly how I can do this in a half day kindergarten.  But, I am going to try!  I will just have to work it down a little.  For Cyber Monday I purchased Kim Adsit's Readers Workshop Units.  I am very excited to see if I can work in my classes.

So this morning I whipped up this little math center.  I think the kids did pretty good at it today.  So I thought I would share it with you too!  Just click on it and it should work!