Monday, June 28, 2010


Summer seemed to stretch out endlessly before you as a kid and now it seems it is a short countdown of projects to try and get finished before school starts again. That sounded depressing...

I so enjoy having a job that allows this time off in order to relax, recharge and just get some sleep for a change. I am thankful for my job especially when so many good teachers are without one so I will NOT complain! However, I do tend to bite off more than I can chew-did you hear that, Mom?

I start off the summer thinking I will whip not only myself but my house and my entire next school year into shape in two short months. I am met with cold, hard reality time and time again. I think it is important to just make some steps in the right direction and let yourself relax for awhile because The First Day of School comes very quickly and there is no stopping that train!

I think I need to appreciate what I have been able to get done so far and not worry about what doesn't get done. Can I get a t-shirt made with that on it?

Check off the list:

~painted upstairs hallway

~driven to two different courthouses in two different towns to get baby girl's learner's permit Yay, Delaney!

~started this blog!

~made labels and pages for next year's scrapbooks

~ BEE binders totally together for new crop of Kindergarteners

~mapped out a year's worth of monthly budgets...seriously

~made pillows for both girl's bedrooms (some with French script-but, yes!)

~started Weight Watchers

~started walking with the mister in the morning

~tried new Chicken Picatta recipe

~started Weight Watchers again

~watched old movies with my girls

~had lunch with a dear friend that I had not seen in 15 years and it felt as if time had not passed at all

~watched To Kill a Mockingbird with the whole family on Father's Day

~ enjoyed a day at the lake laughing with friends like silly girls

~watched Mythbusters marathon with the mister and lived to tell about it

~sat outside with the family for hours just talking and watching the fireflies

~talked about what is really important to know before you leave for college with my oldest


I guess if my summer had to end here it would be complete but there is still time to work on my long checklist and hopefully get a third of it done.

But I might just be too busy counting fireflies...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!!

We have so many activities for Dr. Seuss in celebration of his birthday for Read Across America-here are just a few!

Of course, we read Cat in the Hat, Hop on Pop, ABC and many, many more but part of our main focus is Green Eggs and Ham.
We read the story, chart rhyming word pairs, talk about trying new foods, etc. Then we talk about how to make green eggs and ham. What do you need? What turns the eggs green? What happens first, second, last? Each child gets a recipe chart and a sentence strip. We read the simple text, talk about each step and start cutting. I wish I had better photos of this process but I don't! Each child cuts out the six pictures showing the sequence of steps. They number each picture and glue them on their sentence strip in the correct order. They now have their own recipe to take home for green eggs and ham!

Green Eggs and Ham Directions

First, the children has to read the recipe out loud, step by step so we can make our own green eggs and ham as a class! I heat up the electric skillet and each child gets to take a turn cracking their own egg into our bowl. They LOVE this part!

Some are nervous...

Some are excited!
Some just like posing with their egg!
Now the children have to walk me through these steps -reading their recipe cards- I beat the eggs with my green whisk 20 times. I add 20 small pieces of cheese, 20 small pieces of ham and 20 drops of green food coloring. (I had 20 students). The children count with me each time. NO one is fidgeting, out of their seat or goofing off, they are glued to this process!

I pour the mix into the skillet and s.l.o.w.l.y stir 20 times while we count together.

Can you say Y.U.M.M.Y?!
Before anyone gets their bowl, we make a prediction as to whether we will like the green eggs and ham or NOT .

They try their eggs and give me a thumbs up or thumbs down.
Most are excited they are eating something soooo exotic!!
After everyone has eaten, we then make a graph to chart how many liked the green eggs and ham and how many did not. I don't have a photo of our graph (darn!) but the majority liked them this year. Next year is another story...
Towards the end of our unit, our wonderful reading coach, Mrs. Yokley, puts together the Dr. Seuss Cafe for us to attend in the Library. Our librarian, Mrs. Barnett, gladly plays the part of the Cat in the Hat!
Here is Mrs. Yokley with students enjoying her hard work! Older students play host and servers. They escort the children to a table where the children choose from a menu of Dr. Seuss books. The servers then read the books to their table. The children are served multi colored goldfish crackers and have a chance to color a Dr. Seuss mask. They love every minute!!

Look at how the library is transformed by Mrs. Yokley, Mrs. Barnett and Mrs. Gautreaux into the Dr. Seuss Cafe!

This Mrs. Booker's class posing in front of the cafe-this photo goes into each child's Kindergarten Scrapbook-so sweet! What a wonderful experience! I have a section of my reading center that is dedicated to Dr. Seuss books and after this unit, the kids absolutely can not get enough of his books...which is the ultimate goal!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Liquids, Gas and Solids Lab Book

I LOVE this unit and I save it for the end of the year because it is so much fun! We talk about the world around us and how everything is made of matter.

We start by reading this book.

Then we chart what we think are liquids, gases and solids-this is usually pretty interesting and it isn't long before we have to deal with a bathroom joke followed by a reminder of good manners, staying focused, etc. you get the idea...

In order to demonstrate how molecules move within matter we spread out all over the room and move around freely without touching anyone else as we would if we were steam. Then we move a little closer -still, without touching as if we were water, moving a little more slowly. Last we squeeze in close to one another without moving at all as if we are ice. The kids love it!
To demonstrate this concept on paper, we use stickers and a tri-fold piece of construction paper so that we can chart how close together or far apart molecules are for each form of matter.

This is the first page of our Lab Book on LGS. I want to get white button down shirts from Goodwill-enough for the whole class-so that we may wear lab coats when we are conducting experiments or writing our lab reports. Fun!
Our first experiment is the Rubber Egg Experiment. We want to find out how one form of matter may or may not affect another form of matter and record our findings. We talk about how a good scientist observes the world around him/her and how one thing affects another. Hmmmm...
For this experiment each child gets a raw egg and a clear plastic cup filled halfway with white vinegar. Yes, I did say we were using raw eggs! For the two years that I have done this experiment with a class, I have not had one child break their egg. When I explain that they will only receive one egg and that is it-buddy, they don't fool around! We place the egg in the vinegar and each child takes a moment to observe what happens as their egg settles in the cup. Does it float? Are there bubbles? Do the bubbles go away? Then we talk about what we think will happen-we make predictions and chart them as a class. Next, we state our hypothesis and talk about how this is a very smart guess. They come up with some pretty insightful ideas-I am always surprised!

The next day, they are so excited when they come in that morning that they make a beeline for the tubs with the cups-they can't wait to see how their egg has changed. I give everyone their own cup back and we take a moment and observe the changes that have taken place and then we chart them on the board. I will have a lab report for each child and we complete this whole group. Most of their hypotheses were accurate. The egg does appear to change color-the yolk is more easily seen through the softened eggshell. The egg is larger and when touched it has a soft, rubbery feel. Cool!
So, the vinegar (a liquid) did change the egg (a solid) with some gas occurring when the egg meets the vinegar. Now we see if this is true with other LGS.
We bring a small rock in from the playground after recess one day and place it in a cup of water. We have added a solid to a liquid. Guess what? Nothing. It is just a rock in some water. So then we wonder about other solids and liquids. I ask what they think will happen if we add something to a soda since it is a liquid with a gas IN it. Hmmmm. What if we add candy to a soda? What?????? Are you kidding? This is the glory of Kindergarten. Most people have heard of or even tried this experiment themselves but most five year olds have yet to experience this.
So we go outside and after making predictions and a hypothesis we just do it. I add a roll of Mentos candy to a 2 liter bottle of cheap diet soda (less sticky) and stand back FAST. (Hence the goofy picture of me running backwards from the soda that you saw in my second post.) SPEWWWWW!!! I go ahead and repeat this two other times and then we vote on which bottle of soda spewed the highest. They LOVE this! I have got to bring a clean shirt next year...

We fill out our lab report with our findings and discover that when a certain solid meets a certain liquid with gas already present-stand back!

Okay, the very last phase of our LSG unit is our study of bubbles. We talk about how bubbles are a liquid that change shape when we add a gas (our breath) using a solid (a wand). We make wands out of pipe cleaners in different shapes because no matter what shape your wand is the bubble ALWAYS emerges as a sphere. We go outside and we make a mess! I have an assortment of dollar store bubble kits, wands, strawberry baskets, etc. for the children to experiment with in making bubbles. What fun.
All in the name of science...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

How exciting! My sweet friend, Suzan, a veteran Kindergarten teacher, has started her own blog and I can't wait to steal, I mean, borrow her amazing ideas. She has a straight forward approach to teaching five year olds that seems fresh and exciting at the same time. I have a lot to learn from her.

Take a look at what she is up to! I think you will like it.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Summer Prep

I hope everyone is having a great summer!
This is usually the best time to put together
BEE Binders for next year.
It's a process...

It is also a good time to re-think a few things. Ms. Potts includes a business card sheet protector in her binders to keep sight words on business cards for the children to study with their parents at home. Isn't she CLEVER? I think I will definitely want to copy, uhhhh-implement this into my binders this year, as well.

We all try to get a headstart on scrapbooks for the next year, too.

Can you tell I went to Sam's?

I am thinking I am going to try to learn this sign language method to teaching phonics. Mrs. Johnson teaches her children a Phonics Movement song called Alpha-Size. She swears by it and her students always max out our state DIBELS testing so... I think there is definitely a stronger connection in the brain for letter-sound learning when movement is involved.

OK, the plan is to try and make some fresh, new reading activities for our reading rotations during our small group reading time. More on that later. I will see how many of these activities make it to completion. My fingers are crossed...

Alright, my daughter is calling me a workaholic so I'm off to go have some summer fun... You do the same!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Learning slowly...

Alright, there is a lot to learn to this blogging business. I will keep at it. In the mean time here are some more photos of my sweet class from this past year!

OK, our Mentos Experiment worked! We tried this experiment as a part of our Liquids, Gas and Solids unit. Fun! The kids were so excited and I spent the rest of the day with Coke all over my WHITE sweater. Worth it! Can you see how high the Coke spewed?! That window is app. 9 feet high-cool.

Now class, this is what can happen when a solid combines with a liquid AND a gas at the same time...

This was an activity from one of my Homework Bags but I wanted the whole class to participate. They each had their picture taken (I know the glasses look a little Elton John-ish) then they each wrote about what they would do...

If I were President...
  • I would decorate the White House
  • I would fly on Air Force One
  • I would have my statue made
  • I would make important decisions
  • I would give everyone candy

This was one of my favorite pages in their end of the year scrapbooks!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Goodbye to 2009-2010!

Still working hard...

Enjoying ice cream outside to celebrate our hard work for the year...

Shanley and Delaney stopped by to see my class-they are always game for a silly picture!

Everyone dressed as a fairytale character for our Fairytale Ball!

We study fairytales for the last month of our school year. We learned about elements of a fairytale and compared and contrasted different versions of fairytales.

We make a Fairytale Book with the children's writings and art projects about The Three Little Pigs, The Frog Prince, Little Red Riding Hood and Snow White. We learn map skills with Hansel and Gretel and plant seeds for Jack and the Beanstalk. We even talk about stranger danger with Little Red Riding Hood!

We conclude the study with our Fairytale Ball. We start with a parade around the building for the upper grades to see our costumes! With parent help, we have the school stage/cafeteria decorated and the children rotate to three different stations. Everyone makes and decorates a foam crown, sings fairytale songs and dances and enjoys a cupcake with punch and has their photo taken.
A fun way to end the school year after state testing is OVER! This is our third year and we plan to continue this fun tradition!
Wow! It is hard to believe that another school year has ended. It sure went by quickly... It is funny how there is SO much to do to close out a school year and as soon as the dust settles all I can think of are things I can get done over the summer for next year! Tell that to my giant pile of laundry...