Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I'm WONGing it!

Well, you can't actually search inside.  Sorry about that!
Well, ladies and our few gentlemen, we are all just weeks or for some of us, days away from starting over with a fresh batch of kids.  Is this when a lot of you, like me, seriously question your career choice?!  I LOVE my babies once we are a month or so into school but the first few weeks are in FULL.OF.PAIN. for everyone! The kids are exhausted and somewhat bewildered- we wear them out, don't we?  And of course, being much older, we are definitely worn OUT.  That being said, the only way and I mean THE ONLY WAY to start off the year is with PROCEDURE, PROCEDURE, PROCEDURE.  Did I hear AMEN?!  Did I?

After my first and somewhat, disastrous, but chock-full-of-lessons-learned First Year back to teaching, I spent that summer seriously re-evaluating the year.  I knew things had to change and my sweet friend, Lana, told me I needed to WONG it.  I am sure that most all of you are aware and have probably read Harry Wong's book but after staying home with my girls for many, many years he was fresh news to me.  His directions are clear, simple and repetitive.  This works for children but it also works for us, doesn't it? 

Children need to know EXACTLY what to do when it is time to line up, go to the bathroom, go to lunch, what to do when they have a question, how to walk through the hallway, how to sit on the carpet during whole group, what to do if the kid next to them won't.stop.bothering.them, etc.  If you SHOW them, model all of these procedures, have them practice, practice, practice then the answers are clear.  They feel more sure of themselves and you start to form a group.

I re-read this book right before school starts every year just as a re-fresher and it makes such a difference.  The single best advice I give to new teachers, students teachers or elementary ed majors is to READ THIS BOOK.  The more confident children feel about clear, succinct, simple and oft-repeated directions and procedures for doing everything, the more smoothly they are able to function as a class, a team.  This allows everyone to work together and for those having difficulty, the consequences are plain and upfront-no surprises.   I love it!

By the way, thank you all for your very sweet comments about my husband's deployment to Afghanistan.  I so appreciate them and all of your prayers.  It means a great deal to our family.  Thank you so very much.  That is just another reason to love blogging-you meet so many wonderful people! Thank you for taking a moment to write-you are amazing!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Parting Gifts and a Good Man

You know the expression, behind every good man is a good woman.  Well, if you will kindly indulge me, I wanted to tell you about a good man behind a thankful woman. 
My husband retired from active duty after 23 years in the Army in April and while bittersweet, we felt thankful for all the many opportunities it had provided us.  We were also happy knowing that we could finally relax and not have to worry about deployments, excessive travel, etc.. 
Well, there is another expression...if you want to give the Lord a good laugh, tell him YOUR plans.  Greg's government contract job has sent him to Afghanistan for six months and he left yesterday.  We have been apart much longer than this...the longest deployment was for 15 months in Iraq.  Chin up, we've done it before, we can do it again, we are used to this, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger...all that, whatever, it still stinks! 
However, I am proud of him and what he does and I am fully confident that all of this fits into the Lord's plan for us.   There are so many military families who have been asked to be apart many more times than we have and for even longer so I am NOT complaining.  I did want to tell you, though, what he did before he left, if you'll let me brag for a moment because I know I am blessed.  

In the midst of shipping his trunks out, taking care of plans, paperwork, etc.  he took our daughters to see the midnight premiere of Harry Potter, celebrated my oldest daughter's 19 birthday, took care of the yard, checked all the cars and in general, tried to take care of six months of "Dad" jobs ahead of time.  He also took the time to put this together for me.  Not an easy task...

THIS is the way to my heart..forget jewelry!

And while in Walmart, he saw me looking at this and asked what it was.  When I told him and explained that Deanna Jump swears by it, he was putting it in the cart before I could turn around.  When I told him that I could wait for this (we were shopping for his last minute things), he said, "If Deanna Jump has it, you should have it!"  :)  He patiently listens to my blog talk, I must say, so he knew who Deanna Jump was!   So I now I am the proud owner of my own personal laminator.  Woohoo!

So here we are in all of our glory and I will think of him every time I write on my fancy new easel and will try not drown my sorrows in laminating film...

Thank you for allowing me this rather selfish post.  I am just feeling very thankful.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Scott Foresman Sight Word Business Cards!

I got this idea from Michele Potts who used this study system with her students last year and was very happy with it!

These are all of the Scott Foresman Sight Words Units 1-5.  I also included color words and "name".  They have all been formatted to fit Avery Business Cards #8371 and #5371.  Each child will have access to these cards in their Bee Binders.  For each unit, I will add the sight word cards to a binder page made for business cards.  This will enable them to practice reading the cards at home with their parents.  Practice, practice, practice!!

Sight Word Business Cards

Sight Word Business Cards 2

Sight Word Business Cards 3

I'm not sure why this page looks so wonky but I just downloaded it straight
 off of Scribd and when you click print, the words yellow and blue should align with the rest of the page. 
If you have trouble printing this page just let me know.
Sight Word Business Cards 4

Sight Word Business Cards 5

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

School Prep...Bee Binders!

Alright, I have not had the courage to face Sam's yet to pick up the binders and colored copy paper but I wanted to post the pages so YOU can prep your binders if you are more together than I am!!  I have to be very clear, these pages are directly from Jessica Meacham's website.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jessica!!

Check out my page here that I have posted on how we utilize the Bee Binders.  Once you have tried them, you will LOVE them!

Bee Notebook Cover Blank

These are the labels that we use for the inside of the folders.  Self explanatory, I know...
I used Avery 8860 1' x 2 5/8" labels.
Bee Folder Labels

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Lunch Printables!

I thought I would post this info that our team includes in the Bee Binders on the first day of school (if we have the lunch numbers available by then).  Once each child knows their number and can enter it independently at lunch, I let them take a trip to the Treasure Tub once back in class.  Last year, all but two children knew their lunch number by the end of the first week!  Woohoo!! 

K Lunch Number Letter Blank

K Lunch Number Chart

Two upper grade teachers use this spreadsheet for their classes and they shared it with me.  I LOVE it!  I staple this sheet on the front of a large mailing envelope. This enables me to know exactly how much lunch money has been collected if ever a question arises. 

As I check Bee Binders every morning, I write in the amount of money collected next to the child's name and list the total number of lunches to be bought that day, place the money in the envelope and send it with my lunch helpers to the cafeteria. The cafeteria staff has told me that they like the simplicity of this chart and how easy it is to read. They just return it to my mailbox every afternoon for me to pick up for the next day.  Simple!  Thank you, Mrs. Strode and Mrs. McFerran!  

Lunch Chart Updated Blank

Friday, July 1, 2011

Math Offices

Our Kindergarten Team plus our First Grade Friend goes out to dinner a few times a year to celebrate birthdays.  Wednesday was the day and after a movie, we all enjoyed dinner at P.F. Changs.  OK, yes, we were loud.  Yes, we were THAT group of women at the restaurant who are oblivious to how loud and obnoxious they are being.  :)  Well, we don't get out much.  Anyway, while we were celebrating Michele's birthday (two months late) Maisha told us about a Math Office she was going to make for her class this year.  I LOVED it so I am STEALING it!!  Of course!  But she gets ALL the credit.  Right, Maisha?!

She got the stickers at Dollar Tree.  So yesterday, Lana and I hotfooted it over to DT and picked some up too.

Now DT also has stickers for money recognition in this same format. 
I already have some at school so I will include them in the Math Office, as well . 

10 file folders for $1 isn't bad.  I'm sure there are better deals out there
but I wanted to go ahead and play around with the arrangement so I picked these up.

I made a header for the folders and a 100's chart.

My Math Office

When I made the chart, I wanted to differentiate between fives and tens
so I highlighted them in different colors to make it easier for the kids to recognize them.

100 Chart

These pictures are dark but you get the idea...don't you?

The space below the color words is where I will put the money sticker. 
Of course, I will laminate the folders and add a name label to the front once school starts.

Thank you, Maisha!!
I can't wait to see how they look all shiny and laminated!!

I also found this computer paper which I will use for the First Day of School Homework. 
These colors will look great on the scrapbook page.

Look at these!!  Dollar Tree has plenty!
Lana picked some up since her classroom is decorated in a movie theme. 
I grabbed them up to use when we learn about adjectives. 
You have to check this lesson out at The Inspired Apple if you haven't seen it!!
(Look for the March 9th post.)