Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Parade and party

Well, we survived our first party of the year! and it was pretty fun! I was super tired this morning and not too excited to get dressed up (I've had something to dress up for every day since friday!) but the kids always get me in the spirit! <3

We didn't get too much "school" in today, which I kind of expected. We did a pumpkin sequencing activity and a story, and then it was time to go on our parade! We do a short walk across the parking lot to the alternative school and get to parade through all of the classrooms. The kids loved it!!
Then we came back and started our party. I had a few amazing parents plan the whole thing, so it was definitely more fun for me to sit back and watch! We had snack first with pretzels, a cookie, string cheese, apples and juice (A LOT!) then we had 2 activities that the kids got to choose from. One was a ghost toss and the other was pumpkin carving. This kids were so well behaved and had a great time!

 I was really happy with how the carving turned out because the dad in charge of it had reassured me how well it would go, he's done it before, but I was skeptical! He proved me wrong!! It was amazing how well the kids followed directions and shared taking turns!
A few things he did ahead of time that really helped were
*pre-cleaning the pumpkin and then putting some pulp and seeds back in so they could "clean" it out
*traced the design on the pumpkin 
*brought a bowl, scoops and carving tools to share

There wasn't even a mess when he was done! Wow!



Before we knew it, it was time to pack up and head for the buses! a parent had made non-food goodie bags to take home and each of the kids had their treats from the parade. 

We'll see how everyone is feeling tomorrow. Candy Coma's? Sugar Highs? Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Blog on Fire award

A big thank you to Teacher Tam at Teacher Tam's Educational Adventures for nominating my blog for the blog on fire award!! I have been feeling really bad lately about not blogging enough, and it brightened my day to see that she thought of my blog!! Teacher Tam has a lot of great ideas as well as fun anecdotes from her classroom and her life. Any woman who can be a preschool teacher, kinder teacher AND a mom is truly a hero in my book! Go check her out!!

So here are the rules: I need to share 7 things about me and then nominate 7 more blogs for the award. Here we go :)

  1. I love taking my dog, Mac, to the dog park. watching him frolic with all of the other pups brightens my day!! His big goofy grin is the best :)
  2. I love facebook. It's been so fun connecting with friends from my childhood and it is amazing (and kind of sad) how often you find things out about people you are super close to through facebook. For instance, this week I found out one of my best friends went into the hospital for appendicitis. I wouldn't have known because she was too sick to get the word out. It felt so good to be able to visit her and spend time with her while she was recovering, and I can thank facebook for that! lol
  3. I am dressing up as a sailor for halloween :) I wore the costume for work last night and it was a hit! I'm wearing it again tonight to a costume party. This is big for me, because I am almost always a...BEE! haha. 
  4. I don't know what I would do without my droid. It has my phone numbers, calendar, to do lists, camera, aka everything on it. Good thing there is a backup assistant on it!
  5. I haven't run in weeks! I am recovering from an injury and am REALLY missing running. I'm sure my body is too, lol. 
  6. My husband taught me to golf and I love it!! I am not that good, but I really enjoy going out with friends and family. my mom and I even take lessons together occasionally. My uncle in law is a famous golf pro and so Mr. Bee grew up surrounded by golf. I hope our children grow up loving it as much as he does! 
  7. Mr. Bee says I am the most lazy "OCD cleaner". haha. I am really obsessed when it comes to cleaning or working in the yard, but I am also so lazy at getting it started that I wait until it is really bad. Thus the whole cycle of obsessiveness begins :)
Ok! Now onto the fun part- 7 of my fave blogs! Check them out and let them know how much you love them too by following them! You won't regret it!

 Still by far one of my absolute faves :) Isn't her button cute, too??

Miss Bee, Busy Bee
Pray Teach Love
You Say It Best- my dear friend Mandee's blog, she posts about her adventures in fitness and food! You'll love her recipes!
Eat Pray Run- my newest find and LOVE!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Almost done with the big week!

Phew! We've made it through wednesday! A big chunk of the busy week is over and was AWESOME! All that is left is tomorrow's full day of conferences and then it's a 3 day weekend for me! (well, if you don't count waitressing friday night. haha.) Of course I forgot my camera cord at school, so most of the pics will have to wait until tomorrow. But here is a quick update :)

5 little pumpkins

Monday we made a picture to go along with the "5 little pumpkins" poem. I love this one and was having a hard time deciding what to do about my students who didn't celebrate halloween. I decided to talk about how not everyone celebrates halloween and that pumpkins that grow in the fall and how they are used to decorate even if they weren't carved. We talked about how we were going to see pumpkins at the pumpkin patch at that children could choose if they wanted to make the poem or 5 pumpkins at the pumpkin patch. One of my students was still concerned that she couldn't make the craft, so I reminded her that they were not halloween pumpkins and that she could make hers on blue paper for daytime instead. She was happy with this idea and it went well! The other child made her picture on black paper and I reminded her about how they didn't need faces and next thing I know she has made 5 jack-o-lanterns. Oops! I talked to her parents today at conferences and explained it to them, which they handled really well and we all got a chuckle out of it. I think the best part was when the dad told me that in the end what she decides to do is her own decision and that with their help they will guide her and be supportive of what she decides. Awesome parents!

Pumpkin Patch
Mom and daughter sack lunches :)

Tuesday we went to the pumpkin patch and had a blast!! My mom came along and met the kids (she was subbing for me the next day) and we had a lot of fun! All 4 kinder sessions and their families come and it was a great turn out! We ride the bus 45 minutes away to a patch where the kids can ride on a boat, see a petting zoo, learn about wheat, pick out a pumpkin, play in a hay maze and ride a train. I love this place and so do the kids!!
 The only problem we had the entire day was a child who is having a really hard time separating from his friend. He's cried a couple of times because he couldn't find her on the bus, but he usually calms down pretty quickly. I've talked to mom about this before, and we both agreed that the best way to handle it was reminding him what was happening (maybe she is sick, it's ok to have other friends, etc) and that we should not encourage the behavior. Well, this trip was a BIG problem in his eyes. He was happy every time he was with her, but when they were separated on the bus, train or in their groups the world was ending! I'm talking alligator tears and bellowing wails! HUGE deal. Parents thought I was crazy for ignoring it, but I had to reassure them that he was ok and that his mom and I were communicating about this and had a plan. Talk about unnerving. Well, on the bus ride home I had each child who had not gone home with their parents in their own seat so they could rest if they wanted to, and he was sooo upset. He cried for the entire ride home, even after I talked to him. I could hear him from the back of the bus. What was interesting was that he would stop crying when we got to train tracks and would get louder whenever he made eye contact with an adult....Hmm...I emailed him mom and said that I was really concerned about this (in a kind and loving way, of course) We are going to talk at his conference tomorrow but hopefully we can figure something out!! Have you ever experienced this??

Tuesday night I also had a shift at the restaurant. Can you say long day??

petting zoo

learning about wheat

great pumpkin!

enjoying the boat ride

hay maze

Mrs. Sneaker and I :)

Wednesday Sub/Conferences
Today my mom subbed for me while I held conferences. I love having my mom in the room and getting her feedback with the kids, and it was even more fun for me when I got to pop in and visit on breaks. She is an amazing teacher and the kids love her! :)

It was weird not being with the kids while they were at school, but conferences went well and I am excited to meet with the rest of my families tomorrow!!

What has your week been like?? Is it conference time??

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Busy week coming up!

This is going to be a fun and crazy week in kindergarten!! I can't wait!! Here's a sneak peak :)

Monday- the only "normal" day at school. I plan on integrating our regular reading program and math into the day. Since we don't have a letter of the week this week I'm going to take advantage of the extra bit of time and do a halloween art activity with 5 little pumpkins sitting on a fence. For the kids who don't celebrate I will have them make regular pumpkins and not jack-o-lanterns and they will not have the poem on theirs. Hopefully this will be enough of a way to get around the "halloween" aspect. But it's too cute of a project to pass up. I'll post pics of the final product!

Tuesday- pumpkin patch day!! We go on a 45 minute bus ride to another town so the kiddos can have a real experience with a pumpkin patch that they wouldn't go to on their own (the local ones are awesome, but overdone in my opinion. everyone goes there a million times) This place is awesome because it has a lake that the kids get to ride on a small boat across to pick out their pumpkins, a small hay maze and a fun train that takes you back to where we eat lunch! The kids also get to learn about wheat and how it grows and they get to look at a few animals in a "petting zoo".Best pumpkin patch :) AND my mom is coming with us :) So special!!
Tuesday night I am waitressing, which means it will be one long day!!

Wednesday- my mom is subbing in my classroom while I conference with parents. I LOVE having my mom in the room!! she is an amazing teacher and the kids fall in love with her every time! She is so inspiring. She used to be my sub whenever I was out, but now that she is in washington it's a little harder to get her down to sub :) However, she is still on the sub list for me so when she can come down for a pre-arranged day she does :) So awesome!! I have to do my conferences wednesday to be able to fit them all in. My school will only pay for my normal hours which being 1/2 time is only 4 hours, but it will definitely take longer than that for a full class of 30 minute conferences. So, instead of paying me for extra hours, they chose to get a sub for me and have me conference during already paid hours. I guess it saves them money...but that's a whole different story.

Thursday- more conferences but no school. It'll be a long day, but it will make it so I don't have to work friday! score!

Friday- sleep in :) and waitress friday night.

Again, it's going to be an action packed week. I'm sure i'll be tired, but I know there are so many fun things going on that it will be a blast! I just have to remember to get my sleep, eat right and get in a couple of runs for sanity. Oh ya, and of course lots of prayer to be calm and stay in the moment :)
What's your week look like??

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sitting on hold with

One of my best friends and bridesmaids just had her 2nd baby and our group of friends decided to get her a double jogger (she's an avid runner!) as a gift. Such a fun idea to go in on something that would otherwise be super expensive to get! We all chipped in as much as we could, and then I went on the hunt for the best stroller for our money. Well, we finally settled on a Schwinn Double Swivel jogger, which had great reviews, and although the ordering process took forever, we finally had it ordered and on its way! Then, much to my dismay, I got an email saying it would be delayed because it was now on backorder. What?? I had already sent out the card and info to our friend saying it was coming TODAY! Now it wasn't coming until 11/17. Needless to say, I was super annoyed and called target to let them know that. Then, after a (sad) discount off of shipping, they said it should be fine. THEN I get an email yesterday saying it had been cancelled. You have got to be kidding me!! I called our friend with my tail between my legs to tell her about the stroller being cancelled, and she told me she actually liked the Schwinn Turismo Double Jogger more (since it works for infants). That was great news and today I started this new order.
 Now, I am on the phone with target (again) trying to place this new order and get at least some type of discount for the horrible experience it has been so far. I am not someone who complains normally but I will stick up for myself when I feel that I am being treated poorly and this experience has definitely fit in that category. I keep getting tossed around from person to person and STILL the only discount they can give me is free shipping. seriously?? This is already a promo being advertised on their website. I don't consider that compensation for this mess. I am supposed to be hearing from this woman's supervisor if they can do anything else for me (It's Target, c'mon! of course they can give me a measly discount off the product, right?)
 Am I asking too much?? Should I just get over it?? I Love Target and this is just making me not want to shop there anymore! Beyond frustrating. :(

On a funnier note,
Today a mom came into my classroom *an hour after the kids had left* and when I asked her how she was and if she was waiting for her daughter to get out of extended day kinder (title reading class) she said she was here for her conference. Conferences are not until next week. Oops! Turns out she had completely jumped a week in her brain and thought it was this week, even telling the kids that they didn't have school tomorrow. :) I told her that I wasn't prepared for her conference or else I would have just done it for her today, and that next week everything would be set. She is so sweet and i'm sure she was embarrassed, but I just thought it was cute. I love the parents in my class this year! I can't wait for conferences to begin! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Can't celebrate holidays....

I have a couple of students this year whose families don't celebrate holidays or birthdays for religious reasons. Because we want to respect their choice and "celebrate" each others differences (didn't mean that in a bad way, but it's the only word I can think of haha) we do not celebrate holidays in the classroom other than a short party on the day of, where the child can go to another place during that time. I'm having a hard time with it this year because I am seeing all of your super cute Halloween themed games and lessons! I so badly want to talk about them and explore themes in the classroom, but am afraid of offending certain families (we have had this happen in the past).

It's not that we pretend holidays and celebrations don't happen, we just don't make a big deal out of them. I can tell I am going to have a HARD time with this at Christmas! It's already hard for me to not talk about the meaning behind Christmas, even when families do celebrate it! :) Do any of you have advice for me?? What do you do??

Oh the joys of public schools.... :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Equity Training

Hi bloggie friends! First off, I apologize for how long it has been since my last post! I keep thinking that I want to write something, but when it comes right down to it I just have dropped the ball! New goal is to blog at least a couple of times a week (since I've been once if lucky lately! haha) Hopefully you'll all still stick around ;)

So today we team was out of the building for an equity training. This was my first time with a sub and my new class, which always makes me nervous at first. However, I talked with the kids with it a lot before I left and I am very confident in the teacher who was in for me today. She is a retired teacher at our school and has been one of my main subs since I began teaching. She is wonderful :) I'll be out at least 4 more times for these training's, but for the rest of them I am going to be having my mom sub (she lives in another state now, so she drives down and stays at our *her* house when she subs for me. Aren't I lucky??) I am so blessed to have so many amazing master teachers who can step in for me when I am out. I don't know what I would do without them!

Now onto the kinder team has been invited to be a part of the CARE team (collaborative action research for equity). We are on the team with one of the special education teachers at our school and our principal. This is my first experience on a team like this (besides committees) and I must say I really enjoyed the seminar today!! It was lead by an extremely charismatic woman who has a passion for deepening our own understanding of race and culture and making a "space" for all children to be on a level playing field in the classroom. Our district has been focusing on Courageous Conversations about Race for 2 years now, and this years cohort is going to be completing action research and implementing culturally relevant instruction in our own classrooms.

While I consider myself to be continuously learning about my own understanding of race and culture as it applies to my own teaching, I think that I have a lot to learn. especially when it comes to applying this to a scripted curriculum like we are expected to teach now days. I am really excited to have the chance to focus with my peers on such an important topic, and can't wait to reflect back on this as the year progresses!! I'll be writing more about this later i'm sure. But for now I want to leave you with two of my favorite phrases our instructor taught us about her own culture today:

1. "We all add our own 'pop and shine' to a lesson. what works for her might now work for you"
2. "Don't make me 'catch a case'!" - Loved this one :)

Does your district do something similar? What does culturally relevant instruction look like in your classroom? I'd love to hear more about your experiences and am excited to share my own soon!!