Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Daily 5 Chapter 3

I have read the Daily 5 before but, I am finding myself reading things that I did not rememberbefore.  Maybe I just skimmed over chapter 3 in the past.  (Big mistake!) I found myself thinking that I missed out on some really good ideas. 

1. Establinsh a gathering place for brain and body breaks. 

In the past I have just told the kids "go to the carpet" or "it's carpet time".  I like the idea of making it something special like "the family room".  I think the carpet just got a name. :)

2. Developing the concept of "good fit" books.

Since I teach Pre-K I wondered if this part of the chapter really played in to my class.  Obviously my kiddos will not be reading.  The will be looking at the pictures and retelling stories that I have already read to them.  One thing that did make an impression on me was finding books of their interest.  I have been all about the boys lately.  I too often find books that I like and that interest me.  I even do this with my own kid, when we look for books for him to read I tend to direct him to what I think would be best rather than what interest him.  I am going to work on that because I want him to be a life long reader and not a survival reader.  I never read about dinosaurs or sharks in class and these are the things that boys love.  I want to make sure I am providing them with a good mix so that they will have a variety to chose from. 

3. Create anchor charts with students.

I have been very guilty of not making anchor charts with my Pre-K students.  I use the excuse that they can not read them.  This year I am going to make anchor charts and then go back and refin them by adding pictures so that they kids have a visual.  I may even take picures in the class so that students can see themselves exhibiting the proper behavior.

4. Short, repeated intervals of independent practice and setting up book boxes.

There's that word again....STAMINA.  Once again it's all about practice, practice, practice.  This is no different than the way I taught my kids the proper way to use the Play Dogh center.  We practiced exactly what was expected.  They Playdogh was never mixed, and stayed on the table.  We even practiced how to clean it up.  We will be practicing the D5 more frequently throughout the day in the 3 minute sessions building up to 10.  I like the thought of stopping even if one kid gets off task and coming back to review immediately.  I am going to have to remember to not get frustrated and to use a calm tone of voice. 
Check out this AWESOME stop watch from A Differentiated Kindergarten (click name to go) you can use to track stamina.  It's a FREEBIE! I am definately using this.

I recently purchased some book boxes from Really Good Stuff that I plan to use to hold a few books for each kid along with their name puzzles and other pesronalized things.

5. Calm signal and check in procedures.

I have to admit, I am guilty of    "OK... TIME TO GO BACK TO THE CARPET........... NOW JOHNNY WE DON'T HAVE TIME TO FINNISH THAT YOU SHOULD HAVE ALREADY GOT IT DONE.......... SUSIE, WHY ARE YOU STILL AT YOUR TABLE WHEN EVERYONE ELSE IS AT THE CARPET?  DON'T YOU THINK YOU NEED TO JOIN US?....NO, NOW GET OVER HERE.  WE'RE ALL WAITING."  Ha ha! Can I get an Amen?  Surely I am not the only teacher out there who uses her voice more than necessary.  Maybe I am the only teacher who has never taught her kids how to properly stop what they are doing and get to the carpet in a timely manner.  I never thought about it.  Honestly, I just figured they should know that when I say "Carpet time." they would automatically know that I wanted them at the carpet.  My how I have wasted so much time waiting on kids to make their way to the group.  I have a "No Yell Bell" that I have never really used, I think I may put it to good use this year.  (Starting day one).  As far as "check in" goes, I have never had the kids reflect on their own behaviors.  I have always just watched and pointed out what I see.  If I want them to be independent I think I am going to have to embrace this.  I like the way the Sisters use the thumbs up and thumbs side ways.
6. Using the correct modle/incorrect model approach for demonstrating appropriate behaviors.
I want to make this a priority this year.  I used the correct modeling before but not the incorrect.  I think the idea of giving that dificult kid an audience and allowing for the attention up front is a great idea.  I am alwasy open to ways to handle those kids who feed of that negative attention. I have to remind myself to not get aggravated and use GENTLE reminders.
Check back next week with Mrs.Miner as she hosts chapter 4.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Does Your Classroom Favor Girls or Boys?

I posted last week about a book I am reading called Boy Writers.  While reading, one thing really stood out to me.  "...teachers tend to create classrooms that favor the tastes, strengths, sensibilities, and learning styles of girls..."  If 90% of elementary school teachers are women, this should come as no shock.  I got to thinking about some of the classrooms that I have seen both in person and online.  I look at these classroom and think to myself that it is "cute" or "pretty".  I think that I would like to have a room that looked like that.  Now I am thinking "Would my son like to spend all day, every day, in that room?"  While the pinks and yellows and the flowers and ribbons all appeal to me, I know that my husband would probably gag if he had to work in that environment.  Now when I look at these CUTE rooms that I love so much, I have to pause and remind myself that it is not practical for all students.

Here are some pics of some classrooms that I have come across that I think boys and girls both might enjoy spending time in. 

Go to CFC to get her Camping Theme Pack

I HATE snakes but boys love them :)

I'm not sure where the source is to this pic.  I found the pic on Pinterest but it took me to a recipe when I clicked on it.


I LOVE THIS! It's pirates but it's still cute.
I'm wishing I had bought those book bins in red now :)

What boy doesn't want to be a pirate?

 I am not sure of the source on these too either. Sorry.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Dreamin' of The Daily 5

Hello... Are there any other teachers out there who just can not sleep at night because you can't quit thinking about how you want to set up your classroom for next year or, you can't quit coming up with ideas of things to do for the D5 or in your small groups? 

Last night I was so tired! I had worked all day out in the heat on my mom's pool, came home to mow the yard, then went to VBS only to get home at a quarter till nine.  I was exhausted but, as soon as my head hit the pillow my mind went in to over drive.  I was envisioning OUR classroom.  Where I wanted what tables, what table would be OUR writing center, what would be at the writing center, what anchor charts I wanted to make to go on the wall by the writing center.  Where would be the listening center?  What shelf is going where and what is going to go on those shelves?  I am going to have to put a notebook by my bed so that when these ideas hit me, I can jot them down quickly and revisit them in the morning.

Well... I'm off to make myself a few notes and add some things to my to do list.  Have a great day friends!

If you are looking for a change to win some great teacher products hope over to The Tattooed Teacher.  She has reached 500 followers and is having a HUGE celebration!

Friday, June 22, 2012

We're Having A Barn Raisin'

Well...not a barn raising, but we have been putting in a pool at my mom's.  Today they came in with concrete to poor between the pool walls and dirt walls.  Thank God my step-brother was there! He jumped right in to that concrete, literally, and started spreading it out.

Before the man got there with the concrete we had to move some dirt out of the way.  Look what I did!
After being married to a farmer for 6 years,
I finally am taught to drive a tractor.

It's not as easy as it looks!
I am smiling but I am in PAIN!
The power steering is out on that thing.
It killed my arms and put blisters on my hands.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Great Big Birthday

Today has been so hectic! I am so behind on reading what everyone has said about the Daily 5.  Maybe tomorrow I can sit down for a minute. (Yeah Right!)  Today is my babies' birthday.  Yes babies', my baby boy is 6 and the one I call baby ;-) is 30ish.  Shawn and Hunter share their birthday.  Not only that but Shawn's dad's birthday is today as well.  Yep, 3 generations.  Isn't that crazy? So I decided that I would cook Shawn a big lunch.  Not only did Shawn come home for lunch but, he brought the rest of the farm as well.  I had to cook for SIX MEN! Do you have any idea how much food that is?  I also made a cake for the birthday boys.  I made that crazy rainbow cake that you see on Pinterest all the time.  It was great!   I told myself to take pictures off all the steps and then forgot.

So here's all my batter separated in the bowls with the colors.

Here's what is left.  I wold say it was a big hit.
Here's a few more pictures of Hunter opening some of his presents.

A basketball goal from MiMi and PaPa

A ball to go with the goal.
He carried that thing everywhere today.

A 22 Rifle from Daddy and Mommy
We LOVE Lego!

Daddy got Lego's too.
Like Father, Like Son.

I forgot to mention swim lessons were today too.
I can't believe he is learning to dive!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Daily 5 Book Study Chapter 2

I can't get enough D5! I lay in bed at night thinking about what I can do next year to better my class. I do have some issues that I am going to have to work out. Mostly about trust. 

Thank you to Caitlin from  Kindergarten Smiles for hosting chapter 2 of The Daily 5.
I have really enjoyed reading this book with everyone.

1. Do you trust your students? How do you build this trust? Are you able to trust them and allow them to be independent throughout all aspects of your day? Are you going to be able to stay out of their way?

 This goes back to the control that I have such a hard time letting go of.  I am going to have to trust myself and trust that I have taught the kids the skill that they need to make the right decisions.  I like when in the book they asked "What am I doing now that I can trust the kids to do?" I talk all the time about teaching the kids to be independent.  I want them to be able to take care of their morning routines without me or their parents having to help them with every detail so why can't they take care of picking out which of the D5 they want to do.  I am going to have such a hard time staying out of their way.  They are just so little...

2. How much choice do you give your students throughout the day? Do you go over your daily schedule with your students or is it just 'posted' in the room?

I have no idea how I am going to be able to give 4-5 year old kids choice in their learning.  This is going to be  the hardest part for me.  It all goes back to that trust, can I trust them to make the right choices?  I will constantly be wondering if they did all of the things they were supposed to do. 

I do not post my schedule in my room.  I've always looked at it as something else to hang on the wall and manage.  The kids can't read it.  However, after reading what Krissy Miner from Mrs. Miner's Kindergarten Monkey Business wrote about why she post and reviews her daily schedule, I am seriously considering it.  My only issue is, I have two, half day classes and while we will follow the same routines the times will be different. (Maybe I can just number them.)

3. How are you going to create that sense of community where students will hold each other accountable?

As much as little ones love to tattle I'm thinking this may not be too hard.  I am going to teach the expectations and then teach the kids how to problem solve.  If there is that sense of community where kids all feel like family then there will be less trying to get each other in trouble and more helping each other out. At least, that's what I hope.  I know that there will still be kids who feel that need to tattle but hopefully we can work that out. 

4. Student ownership in learning? How do you instill this in every child?

How about instead of me telling you how I do it, I tell you how I am planning to do it?  Really, in the past, I have just taught and hoped they got it.  I didn't give much thought to telling them why we do things.  That really doesn't make sense though, because I am the type that if you tell me not to push that red button you better tell me why or I am going to push it and find out.  So I found myself asking why I didn't do the same for my kids.  Maybe it was because when I was in school they didn't tell us why,they just said do.  Next year, I plan on telling the kids what we are going to do each day and explain to them why we are going to do those things.  As I teach each of the Daily 5, I am going to explain why we do each of the things.  (I'm already making notes to myself.)

5. Stamina! How are you going to build stamina with reading? independent work? Will you use a timer? Will you set goals?

I have to admit, when I saw the word stamina before starting this book study I was like, "Really? Do we really need to take the time to talk to the kids about this?  Are they even going to care?"  Then as I was reading the book and reading some other post about this I realized just how important it really is. (Even if the kids don't really care, they are going to want to use that big word.)  Without stamina you wont get that independence.  I had been worried about how I was going to be able to to turn the rest of my class loose while I worked with my group.  I knew there was no way that they would be able to stay in any of the D5 for very long at all.  When I read in the book how with just one week of practice, one kindergarten class when from 1 minute to 10, I was blown away.  I now see just how important it really is.  I will probably use a self timer and practice, practice, practice.
I do like this timer. I think it is a great visual for the kids and, it's one that I can keep close to me so that I can reset it.

My hubby came home for lunch and was talking about something he heard on the radio today.  He said they were talking about the top jobs that cause you to gain weight.  Guess what #3 was.  You got it. TEACHING!  He said it was due to stress. He should have stopped there.  Can you believe he had the nerve to say "They were jobs where you sit all day."  EXCUSE ME?!  Did you just say teachers sit all day?  WHEN? PLEASE TELL ME WHEN I GET TO SIT AT MY DESK!  Ha! I say whoever said that has obviously never spent a day in an elementary classroom.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Another Book To Read

I've been reading the Daily 5 with several kindergarten teachers in a book study. We are doing a chapter a week and I have had my eyes opened to many things that I need to change in my classroom and getting some really great ideas. Tomorrow is chapter 2 so I will tell you more about that later. Right now I want to tell you about another book that I am reading on my own.

No, I am not reading this because I am expecting to teach my preschoolers how to write. I found this book by accident while looking at some other teaching resources and thought "Hmm...I maybe I should read that so I can help Hunter." When Hunter started writing it was very stressful, for all of us. Granted, he is just going in to first grade but my how the expectations of kids have gone up. I read all of his writing from kindergarten a couple of weeks ago and couldn't believe how much he had improved already. But I had a hard time finding his "voice" in his writing. It seemed that there was more "Write three things you learned about Antarctica" and other reflections of things that he had read with his class than things that came from his heart. Now, I am not discrediting his teacher in any way. She was wonderful!
I started reflecting on the ways that I had taught writing in second grade and what had been stressed to me as a teacher that needed to be done. I remember telling kids what to write about more than giving them choice. (sound familiar? Daily 5 maybe?) I realized how telling kids what to write about and how to write was taking away their voice in writing. They were told to reflect on a piece of literature or tell what their favorite food was and why or if they could be any flavor of ice cream what would it be and why. Where is the fun in that? What boy wants to be ice cream?

Anyhow.... I knew there was no way that I could read this book while I was in school so I saved it to my favorites and decided to wait for the summer so that I could concentrate on it. I just got my book in today and I have already read chapter 1. Here are a few things that stood out to me as I read.
-Boys, those troubled, troubled boys.... What are we going to do with them? All they want to do is play video games and pretend to shoot each other. They are so rough, always hitting and pushing each other. Here's an idea, how about instead of treating them like a problem to be managed, we try to understand them.

-"Boy writers have unique strengths, quirks, and weaknesses that every thoughtful practitioner or parent will want to be aware of." I can't wait to see what the writer has to say about this!

-"Think deeply about what concrete steps we can take to do a better job of teaching boys to write." What can I do to help my son be a better writer?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dad's Day

I hope everyone had a great Father's day.  I think my hubby was extra surprised at his Dad's day treats. I found this really cute idea on Sandy Toes and Popsicles.  (click the name to go to the page)
I put my own twist on it a little.  Hers is so much cute but I just ran out of time and had to make due.

Shawn seemed pretty happy with it. 

I don't know why my picture turned out so fuzzy. Sorry!
He also got an ice cream maker.
Shawn loves home made ice cream.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Quick Hello

I have been super busy today.  I did some running around with my mom early in the day.  After lunch I picked up my BFF's girls and we played outside all day long.  We rode around in the golf cart, worked in the garden, and played in the sprinklers.  After bathing three kids and cooking supper I am beat! Finally, Shawn is off of work for a day so we are going to spend tomorrow together having a little family time. :) I'll see you guys on Monday.  Have a great weekend! Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Daily 5 Book Study Chapter 1

I decided to join up and do this Daily 5 Kindergarten Book Study with some really great kinder teachers.  If you know me, then you know that I don't actually teach Kindergarten, I teach Pre-K.  But, with our curriculum getting more rigorous, and with us using the Kindergarten Common Core Standards, I figured it couldn't hurt.  (And maybe, just maybe, it will help me get some more followers.)

I am a Daily 5 nut! I love the Daily 5! I found it my last year in second grade and was in heaven.  All of my teacher troubles seemed to just wash away when it began.  All last year, as a new Pre-K teacher I felt like it was my first year teaching all over again.  What a nightmare! I kept thinking to myself, there has got to be a way to incorporate the Daily 5 into my Pre-K routine.  So when I found this book study I was so excited.  This had to be the answer to all of my problems.  And, as I read chapter 1 again, through the eyes of a Pre-K teacher, the book started to talk to me.

Tammy at Live Laugh Love Everyday in Kindergarten lead chapter 1 and provided these questions for her readers and book study participants to reflect on. (She also provided the SUPER CUTE pictures)
1. How do I teach new behaviors?
Just as with any 4-5 year old, my kids need constant reminders.  I have to admit, at the beginning of the year I am on it.  Reviewing the classroom rules and reminding the kids how i expect them to behave at their seats or at the carpet.  Then as the year goes on, I wind up having to constantly tell several individuals to stop whatever it is they are doing and get back on task.

2. How do I teach expectations?
 When starting "centers" (which were; Lego's, wooden blocks, Play Doug, Baby Dolls, etc.) I started by introducing one thing a week. If it was the puzzles that I wanted the kids to learn how to use, I would get out a giant puzzle and we would all sit around it in the floor. I would discuss with them how the puzzle should be used and how it should look when they are done (cleaned up). After the first day, we would review the expectations and then the kids would "practice" with a partner.  Unfortunately as the year progresses I wind up spending less and less time focusing on expectations and more time on the alphabet/sight words and all of the songs that we sing.
3. How do I monitor student behavior? whole group? small groups? individual?
This is where I start confessing.  I am a control freak.  When it comes to my classroom I have high expectations and they better be met.  However, when I was using Daily 5 in my second grade room, I found myself much more relaxed and as a result, I was much less stressed and frazzled at the end of the day. I do use a clip chart.  I like the ones that start in the middle where I can have kids move up when kids display desired behaviors or make a good choice, or move down for bad choices.  I will move kids up and down all day.  I like that kids can correct the bad behavior and get rewarded for it instead of being "stuck" where they had to move down the chart. I was reading on  Kindergarten Smiles blog where she commented on this question.  I like the idea that she had for creating a clip chart to monitor where her kids are on the Daily 5 and how she plans to use dot stickers to limit the amount of kids who are allowed on each task at a time.
4. What do I do when a student is not exhibiting desired behavior?
Yell. Get frustrated. Go on and on about what they are doing. Wast a LOT of class time.  Well, not always but, does anyone else have those moments when you think that if little Johnny does that one more time you just may loose your mind?  I did find myself getting very frustrated with my little babies last year.  I mean, why shouldn't preschoolers be able to act like my second graders did?  (Just kidding!) But let me tell you, moving from 8 year old kids to 4 year old kids will put you into a state of shock! I had NO IDEA how to handle behaviors in a Pre-K room and I had a son in kindergarten, you would think that I would be able to handle 9 more of him.  There were days when I would sit and cry at the end of the day.  What happened that that teacher who loved her job so much that she would never quit? I found myself reflecting back to what I loved about my second graders and how easy it was to manage them, and I would think, why isn't there a Daily 5for preschool/kindergarten? I knew how to manage a classroom, that had always been my strong point but I could feel myself slipping further and further away.  I'll be honest, I never got there last year. I floated through the year and thanked God every day that my principal did not walk through.  If she would have come in I would have pulled it off and made it seem that I had it all together but in truth, I was falling apart.  I was swimming against the current and about to drown. (Wow, I just realized just how bad it really was.)
5. Whose classroom is it?
Mine. Mine. Mine. I can hear myself now, " You are not going to act that way in MY room."  "I will not tolerate that kind of behavior in MY classroom."  How sad! That is NOT how I wanted to be.  I said I wanted a sense of community in "my" classroom.  We had class meetings at the carpet.  I allowed the students to "share" things that were important to them.  I just couldn't let go of that control for fear of sinking under.  I reflect back once again to my second graders, now we were a tight group.  I loved them, they loved me, we all got along (most of the time), we were a family.  Where did that go?  I guess it floated down that current that I was fighting.
6. Locus of control?
Honestly, when I looked at this question the first time, I was like "What? What is that?". Then as I read, "Ohhhhhh. OK.".  I guess this goes back to me being the control freak that I am.  I do use the treat box and the stickers, I have to admit.  I mean, what kid doesn't love a McDonald's toy or a Tootsie Roll? There were kids who naturally got it, they knew that they wanted to learn how to read, or how to count so they just took it upon themselves to be attentive and try hard. 
7. Where are supplies stored?
Kids have their own supplies that they keep at their seats.  The scissors are safely kept on a small shelf in the middle of the room where they kids can get them when they need them. (They were in their supply boxes but after one kid cut his hair and another cut her shirt to pieces I decided that they were best use on an as needed basis.) Any materials that are needed for the task of the day I place on that same shelf so that they are easily accessible.  The rest of the time, they are kept in the supply closet.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow & A Praise

First, the praise.  Thank God for the rain! Just when you think you can not go any longer without a rain before your crops turn to dust, the Lord provides.  We got an awesome rain on Monday and what a sweet rain it was! God Is Good!

Shawn was home just in time too.  Our garden has decided to produce faster than we can keep up.  We have squash and cucumbers coming out of our ears. :) The corn has started coming off, and boy are we happy.  The difference is, I can freeze the corn for the winter, I don't know what to do with all the rest.  I guess I am going to have to take up canning. (Maybe I'll check Amazon for a book when I get done here.)

Here are some pictures of our bountiful harvest.
These are Sun Flower plants. 
Hunter wanted to plant those, so they are his.

Our Sweet Corn patch

This basket was filled a few times.

The Okra is just starting to come off. 
Once it gets going we will fill the basket 2-3 times a day.

These are the squash plants. 
You can see the cucumber plants in the back by the corn.
There's a row of okra to the right.

Shawn is looking for some green tomatoes for me to fry up.

Corn.  This was an exciting moment!

Yesterday's groceries
We had this twice!!! :)

Hunter was very proud of this very large (over ripe)
cucumber he found.  So we drew a face on him.
Cucumber Man got lonely so I found him a friend.

Friday, June 8, 2012

This Week's Friday Fave 5

1. Rides On the Tractor
I used to get to ride with Shawn quite a bit.  That was before I became a mommy.  So, since the little guy was gone with my dad I decided to take advantage of the time alone and go for a ride on his big green tractor.
No, that's not Shawn's tractor but you get the idea.

2. American Pickers and Storage Wars- I can't get enough of those shows and I can't figure out why.  I stayed up till well after midnight a couple of nights ago, watching Storage Wars.

3. A big glass of sweet tea! YUMM!

Minus the lemon

4. My favorite cup.  To put my sweet tea in of course. Tervis Tumbler Given to me by one of my sweet Preschool kids last year.

5.  Camping- I am so ready to go.