8/29/12

A Great Day

Today was a great day.

First, it was Wednesday.  My favorite day.

Second, it was early dismissal.  But let's be clear.  As I've said before, early dismissal just means we get out an hour early.  I don't think we should be calling it early out day.  Or early dismissal.  Or early anything.  It's just an hour.  And the kids still go home in the afternoon.  So it's not early.  It's afternoon.  Well into the afternoon.

But I'll take it.  Don't go getting any ideas.

Third, I had a celebrity visit my classroom.

Yep.

No, not the celebrity related to the identical twin boys in my class.  Not that celebrity, dang it.  

Nope.

This was even bigger.

Ready?

Are you sitting down?

Miss Kindergarten came to my classroom today.

MISS KINDERGARTEN!

THE Hadar!

If you had told me a year ago at this time that Hadar would be visiting my classroom, I would have done three things.

First, I would have just taken a sip of my wine, (Because surely I would have been relaxing with my feet up on the coffee table, as I often do.) and I would have been in such complete shock that I inevitably would have spit the wine out all over you.  In a ladylike manner, but still.  Shock and awe and all that.  (And then we would have had to clean you up a little.)

Then, I would have said, "Shut the front door."  (That's my go-to saying, along with "Shut up!" but I don't really want you to shut up -- I want you to go on and tell me every.single.thing.and.don't.leave.anything.out.)

And then, I would have said, "She doesn't even know who I am."

But guess what?

She does know who I am!

And now we're BBFFs!

And she came to my classroom!

Talk about intimidating!  I felt nervous.  I felt like I was being observed.  Really.  For schizzle.

But then she gave one of the identical twin boys a math test that he missed so I kinda forgot she was there for awhile.

And then I went to recess duty on the blacktop that is ten degrees hotter than anywhere else in the land of the living while she stayed in the air conditioning and glued All About Me books for me.  Did you know that she's one smart cookie?  

Then, (because I haven't used that word enough in this post) then, we went to Chick Fil A.  I treated.  I mean, it's the least I could do.  And I am nothing if not a big spender.  (And that girl can eat.  She got 8 {EIGHT!} chicken nuggets.  And one dipping sauce.  And a whole coke.  I know.  It cost me an arm and a leg, but what are you going to do?  Next time, I'll let her order and then decide if I'm treating based on that.  Now who's one smart cookie?)

Last, she watched my kids come in from a non-recess lunch in which they were loud hooligans with ants, spiders, lizards, and possibly mice in their pants.  That was fun.

I taught a little bit of math.

She got to hear one of the twins say the number ten.

Tin. 

Tiin.  With two syllables.

Do I talk about the twins too much?  They're just too darn funny.  I can't help it.  

For example, at the end of the day, one of them said, "Teacher, I forgot to tell you something.  You look good like that today."

Except he didn't say it in two sentences.  It took about fourteen.  Lots of "Teacher, teacher . . . um, teacher . . . I . . . I . . . teacher, you . . . I forgot . . . teacher . . . "  

I seriously have the patience of a saint and deserve a candy bar of my choice.

Anywho . . . she left after math.  I had to stay.  Ho-hum.  Like I said, early dismissal --- notsomuch.

But what a great day.  

Miss Kindergarten in my room . . . who would have thought?

Certainly not me. 

8/26/12

Clarification -- Clearly

Well, I need to clearly clarify some things I said yesterday.

Ready?

Okay.

(I was not a cheerleader.  But I was in Pep Club.  And that's just as good.  Especially because you didn't have to try out or do a dangerous back flip or anything.  Anyone could be in Pep Club.  And whether or not you were a cheerleader or a pep clubber, you still got dog bones thrown at you at away games.  We were the bulldogs so it happened occasionally.  And then at home games, we would shake our keys and chant "Go start the bus!"  It was just as good to be in the pep club, as you can see.)

1.  So . . . first of all, let's clarify the sub thing.

Yes.  It's true.  I hide books from subs.  

Besides leaving subs the dictionary to read, I also leave various User's Manuals from our microwave or stove or dishwasher.  There is plenty for the sub to read if there is extra time.

Okay, okay, okay.

I only hide the good books.  And however many good books I think I own is for me to know and you to find out.

I appreciate what subs do.  Truly.  I have only subbed three days in my entire life.  Two were for friends of mine when I was off track. It was first grade and I knew what I was doing.  But it still felt weird.  And the third day was in kindergarten.  It was a really fun day and I left thinking I could teach it if I had to.  Especially because our kinder day is still a half day.  And that's all.  No afternoon class.  No early bird -- late bird thing.  You just teach for half a day and then you prep.  Or help out your partner.  Or nap.  I don't know, really.  I've never done it.

In any case, I appreciate that subs walk into a strange class and have to figure out what to do and how it works . . . which is why I write a NOVEL of sub plans and pray the subs are fast readers and can finish the whole book before the kids arrive.

I have some go-to subs that I love and ask for every time.  Plus the kids love them so it's a win-win.  I don't like subs who leave a big mess at the end of the day.  Trash on the floor, chairs pulled out, lunch boxes left behind, cubbies not cleaned out, etc.  THAT annoys me.  So did the sub who came when I had a REALLY challenging class and left this note:  "I did the best I could."

Oh.  

Okay.

And to clarify things further, I think there is a HUGE difference between a sub that is a credentialed teacher and could not get hired because of a sad state of affairs called Our State, and a sub that decided this would be a good gig instead of working as a  . . . well, I can't think of anything that's polite so I'll stop there.

2.  Student Teachers

I have had two and a half.  The half was my good friend, Kelli.  She started with another teacher on my team, and then that teacher went off track, so I inherited her when I came back on track.  It was confusing, but Kelli needed a master teacher so I took her.  Against my will.  And with a bit of whining.

BUT.

She was born to be a teacher.  She was awesome.  

We became great friends and then I was in her wedding.  I'm sure that happens with every master teacher/student teacher relationship.  Right?

The second student teacher I had was . . . she always . . . well, she never . . . and then she would . . . and so I had to . . .

Clear throat.

Cough.

Um.  Well, I think, maybe, quite possibly, she didn't want to be a teacher.

So I was a little confused as to how she ended up in the credential program in the first place and then in my classroom.

The parents of my kids weren't very happy.

Neither was I.

But I have this confrontational phobia thing . . . so I didn't really do my job as a Master Teacher correctly.  Unless you agree that my job was to let her bleed me dry of all my good ideas, evenings, mornings, enthusiasm, comforting, there-there-ing, reteaching, doing it over again, and planning every single thing with a back up plan just in case.  Then I did a fine job.

I also let her talk me into speaking at her university to her "student teaching class" or what have you.  They met once a week to discuss their experiences (or in her case, what she watched me re-do that day) and I went as a guest speaker.  On a school night.  And I had to drive to a place at least 30 miles away.  I know.  Shoulder shrug.  I'm a martyr.

I have not heard from that girl since.  Nope.  Nada.

My third and final student teacher was two years ago.

She is now my friend, Kassie.  She was also born to be a teacher, but the state didn't get that memo so she can't get a job to save her life.  She subs (which is wonderful because then I don't have to write plans and she knows exactly how I run my classroom!) and has also done a long term for someone on my team.  She deserves her own classroom.  As do many of you.  

There.

Now you have it.

I'm not crazy.

Not so much, anyway.

I just like to teach.  Children.  Not grown people who want to become teachers.  

And I want to read the books.  In the right way.  With the right voices.

I just do.

If I were to have a student teacher this year, I think I'd like to interview her first.  

Maybe she could audition by reading a book???

Just saying.

8/25/12

New FAQ

Oops.  I was supposed to pick the three random winners for the Parts of Speech pack . . . but instead, I drank a glass of wine, had some cheese and crackers and salami and grapes for dinner, and watched an episode (or three) of Sons of Anarchy.  To be perfectly clear, I was against Sons of Anarchy from the beginning.  It just didn't seem like a show I could watch.  Because I'm a girl and all that.  So the hubs watched all four seasons by himself while he was traveling and gallivanting all over the world this summer on super long flights.  And after lots of cajoling and arm twisting (his, not mine), I finally agreed to watch the first two episodes.  

It was a really bad idea.  Now I'm hooked.  Even though parts of it are super gross.  But I love the idea of it.  And the story lines.  And I've always been partial to big, bad dudes with tattoos.  (My hubs is big, but not exactly bad.  As a matter of fact, he's a rule follower so much that it can bug the heck out of me.  And he doesn't even have one tattoo, but still.)  We're trying to watch all four seasons before the new season comes back on in September.  So, people, I'm really busy around these here parts.  Obviously.  

Winners of the Parts of Speech pack:


Thanks for being interested . . . I really appreciate it!  Jill, with the wasp sting:  I'm totally willing to give you a pack, too, because I have a wasp sting story, too . . . but I don't have your email!

The Parts of Speech cards are still on sale.  :) 

Onto the FAQ.

I've had some recurring questions lately so I thought I'd take this opportunity to answer them.  The opportunity being that the hubby is busy figuring out if the Dodgers are going to get all those Red Sox players . . . and suggested we wait before we start the next episode.  

1.  With all those kids (30 with 32 the max), do you have an aide?

Ha!  Hahahahahahahahahaha!  Ha!  

No.  

Crazy talk.

I used to work at a Title 1 school and I had an aide for an hour or so each day.  Francine.  She is wonderful.  We still keep in touch.  And she knows Fran from Kindergarten Crayons!  REALLY!  

Now I have me, myself, and I.  I can have a student teacher almost every year if I wanted, but . . . I don't.  I've had 2 1/2 in my entire 15 year career.  I have a hard time giving up control.  And I get jealous.  Like, awww, man, SHE gets to read that book to them.  Or SHE gets to make butter with my kids (which happened two years ago, and that's all my kids could ever talk about no matter how many times I told them I bought the whipping cream, and that it was MY tupperware container,  and I planned the activity . . . my therapist and I are still working through that trauma).  It's just really hard for me to have a student teacher.

I've also been known to hide certain books when I have a sub.  I want to read certain books.  I don't want a sub to.  So the sub is usually left with . . . um . . . let's see here . . . the sub usually gets to read . . . oh, I don't know . . . a page out of the dictionary to my class.  Or something like that.

No aides.  Just me.

And parent volunteers - but that's a whole 'nother can of worms and I'll save that for a different time.

And some of you commented that you have 34 students!!!!!!!!!!  Holy mack!

2.  How many recesses do you get?

Keep in mind I'm in California.  And we don't have specials.

We get four.  

There's a ten minute one before school starts.  Except the kids aren't exactly allowed to play.  They can walk around.  But the swings are closed, and the jungle gym is closed, and the grass is closed, and no balls are allowed.  They mainly stand there.  Or play with pretend balls.  Or they jump over their backpacks.  Or they play four square.  I'm not sure if they're really allowed to play four square so I look the other way when I have that duty.

So let's say we get three recesses.

Morning Recess for 15 minutes.  (We take turns being on the Duty Schedule.  You can read about that nightmare HERE.)

Lunch Recess - we get a duty free lunch.  It's 45 minutes.  I know.  I know, I know, I know.  But we don't have specials, and we have no money, and I can have up to 32 kids in my class.  Hiccup.

The kids eat for about 20 minutes and then noon supervisors watch them on the playground for the other 25 minutes.

Last Recess - 15 minutes in the afternoon (about an hour before dismissal) that noon supervisors cover for us.

So when I say "we got all our recesses today", I mean my day was nicely broken up and the kids did not stay inside.  With me.  And ants in their pants.

3.  How tall are you?

For my newest readers:  I am 4 foot 11 inches.  It used to bother me, but I'm over it.  I can even take staff picture day now.  That used to bother me, too, but I'm over it.

On staff picture day, they make us line up from tallest to shortest.  So all of the talls argue and measure back to back against each other to see who is the tallest - it's an honor.

And all of the smalls argue and measure back to back against each other to see who is the shortest - and it's not an honor.  It's embarrassing.  Every year, someone shouts, "Kristin, go to the back of the line!"  I'm not trying to sneak into the middle . . . I just had to say something quick to a friend is all.

Our staff has not changed in at least 4 years because of budget cuts and no new hires, etc.  But we STILL measure back to back against each other, and someone pats our hair down, and we have to take off our shoes because her flip flops have a half-inch foamy heel and that's not fair . . .  STILL.

And every year, it's the same.

I'm the shortest.

Even though I feel taller than a couple of the smalls.  But they're five feet and five feet one, respectively, so I guess I'm wrong.

I'm told I'm proportionate which makes me look taller than I really am.  

It's the little things that hold a person together, you know.

4.  What is your favorite kind of pen?

I like a really old pen that I can't find anymore.  It's called a Uniball Vision.  I love the way it writes.  I used to have a set of them in different colors, but now I'm down to my last black one.  I take it back and forth from home to school with me.  

If a Bic is cooperating, I'll like it, too.  But I prefer a gel-like pen.  Inky.  But not gross inky. 

That's all, folks.  I can't think of any other questions you've asked me recently.  I'm sure I'm missing a couple, but that just means I have an idea for another post in the future.

I leave you with a question . . . Do you like having student teachers?  Do you hide books or activities from subs?   

8/22/12

Parts of Speech

Happy Wednesday!  I like Wednesdays.  Have I ever told you that? I just do.  Always have.

We got all of our recesses today.  And it was early out so that we could go to PTT.  And discuss fascinating stuff as always.  It's never not fascinating.

Even though we got all our recesses, it was still pretty hot.  So, as usual, I hosed my kids down after every recess.

Don't you?

I feel it wakes everyone up.

And you can get your stress out if you need to.  Not on anyone in particular, per se, but it's not my fault if the kink comes out of the hose at an opportune time.  (insert shoulder shrug)

Aw, well, you know I'm just joshing you.  

I don't really hose them down.  I just spray them.  With a spray bottle.

Every day after recess, I hear, "Will you spray us?  Are you gonna spray us?  Can you spray me?  Do you have the spray?"

Spray, spray, spray.  If only the spray bottle held a magic mist that sprayed genius-ness or quiet-ness or any sort of -ness I might need at that time.  If kids don't want to be sprayed, they know that they are supposed to go around and behind me.  On occasion, I accidentally spray the back of their heads, but that's just because I'm being thorough.  Really.

This year, my identical twin boys (that are related to a famous person) have started a new trend.  

They hold their noses when I spray them.  As if we're swimming.  Or jumping off the diving board.

I mean, it makes sense, right?

Got to hold that nose, don't you know.  And now a couple of my girls are doing it.  Because if the identical twins are doing it, by all means.  Let's all do it.  It's the new trend.  It's totally possible that mist might really get up their nose.  I'm sure it's just precaution and that they're not really afraid of drowning or anything.  (I don't get it AT ALL because I have never been the type of swimmer that holds her nose.)

Just had to share.

Moving on.

I know I mentioned that DJ Inkers offers commercial licenses now.

Right?

THEY DO!

Anyone can get one.  You just have to pay the moo-lah.

So I took three of my Language Arts projects, beefed them up a little, (I have a vegetarian option if you need it) and bundled them together.  They are on sale at my TpT kiosk if you're interested.  




I'm kind of partial to them.  Mainly because I love DJ Inkers clipart and I used a big variety from all of my cds.  And also because each set has 30 cards of each now which is my class size at the moment.  Holding strong and steady.  I could get two more, but I scoff at that.  Scoff.  Snort.  Whatever.  

(Especially when I read that Jennifer over at First Grade Blue Skies only has 13 kids.  THIRTEEN.  That's all.  That's not even ONE LINE in my class.  That is only two table groups in my class with one extra desk.  Are you kidding me?  The jealousy I feel cannot be expressed.  Not without a lot of sobbing and crying and snot.)

This new pack is on sale right now over at my TpT kiosk.  I'll keep it on sale for a week, let's say.  Unless I forget and then it will be on sale for longer.   

 And that's all I've got.  Except I can't believe the RHoNJ - Joe is a big, fat cheater.  And Teresa has officially lost her mind.  And Aviva on the RHoNY was a bit angry, don't you think?  And lastly, I can't believe the twist on Bachelor Pad and that Michael got sent home.  Waaaa.  He definitely charmed me so everything Erica Rose said went right over my head.

Well, I need to write sub plans for a training that I have to go to on Friday.  Can you say Common Core has FINALLY arrived?


8/20/12

Printing and Penmanship and other P words

Monday.

Did you make it?

I did.

We got our morning recess AND our lunch recess.  And then it was determined that the blacktop was too hot for our afternoon recess.  The blacktop that is actually more of a light gray.  But, hey?  Who am I to argue?  Or complain?  Or whine?  Or gripe? 

Not me.  

Nope.

I might have growled, but it was just a natural instinct, and not on purpose or thought out in any way.

So, I had some comments about the printing on my whiteboard.


One of the first comments was from my BBFF, Hadar.  She wanted to know how I could write that high.

Hmph.

I'll just go on record and say that the whiteboard doesn't go to the ceiling.  

And I stand on my tiptoes.

There.

Then I got several comments and a couple of emails about my printing.  That it was neat.  And could be a font.

What?

No.

No way.

I can't stand my printing on the whiteboard.  Mainly because it slants one way or the other . . . and I need to have the perfect marker.  And if I'm in front of the kids, it's super sloppy.  I wrote "Take One" for P.I.N. at least ninety three times before I was okay with it.

I DO like my printing when it's on paper.  And if I have the right pen.  And if I'm in a good mood.  And if the stars align.  And if I have ice cream nearby.

Evidence

Close up Evidence

I don't know.  It's okay.  Sometimes I've been accused of writing too small.  Tiny, if you will.

Well, if that's not weird, then I don't know what is (well, maybe it was weird when I had last name envy of a pastor at our church this weekend whose last name was Boss, and instead of concentrating on the message, I thought about what it would be like to be called Mrs. Boss.  I still want to be married to my husband.  I just wish this pastor was my husband's father so we could be the Boss family, and my kids would call me Mrs. Boss.  I might have spent a weird amount of time thinking about it, is all I'm saying).

I think my printing slants too much.  I try not to slant in front of the kids.  In person, and in my printing.  

So . . . that's all.

I was just wondering about printing.  Do you like your printing? 

8/18/12

Donations and Supplies

Happy Saturday!

I survived Back to School Night.  P.I.N., as we call it.  Parents, I'm Nervous, as I call it.

I survived.

I only had two no-shows.  

I had 26 families come to my first session.  My room was filled to capacity.  And the air conditioning kept going off.  And I talked very fast.  And probably a little too loud, as I have a tendency to do.  My husband often says, "Kristin, I'm right here."  My family often says, "Kristin, we're right here."  It gets worse when I'm excited or nervous so I imagine the parents went home with a headache after my presentation.

I may or may not have said that I do my best thinking in the shower.

What?  Why?  Why did I say that?  Like I need the parents to picture me thinking in the shower . . . 

Anywho . . . the parents had nice things to say to me (not to mention, I met the dad of the student that told me he calls me the "pixie teacher".  Yep.) and I had lots of parents sign up to volunteer in the classroom.  That's something.

And I'm looking forward to classroom donations.  We are not allowed to send out a Supply List like lots of you do . . . don't ask me why.  My sister just spent about $75 on supplies for her three kids because she was told to.  The end.  Your kid needs this and that and the other and so you have to provide it.  Not the case here.  Nope.  

We do get start up supplies from our school budget.  You know.  A box of crayons for each child.  Two dozen pencils for 30 kids (you do the math).  And some glue sticks and paper clips because those kids definitely need paper clips, otherwise how would they find them on the carpet and take them apart so that they become a weapon?  And we get one roll of scotch tape because kids need that.  Right?

We get a monthly supply budget which is anywhere from $1.00 to $1.50 per student.  It depends on the BUDGET.  And we can't carry over so I usually spend a large portion of the end of every month carrying the one and erasing a pencil cap eraser because I exceeded my budget by 2 cents.

I have a section on my weekly newsletter called "Can you help?" which translates to begging in most languages.

And then, at P.I.N., I always make a post-it garden in the hopes that parents will take a post-it and return the item I'm wishing for.

This year, all my post-its were taken by the end of the second session.  Which wasn't really a second session because only two parents came to that one.  So we sat at a table and talked about reality tv.  And the heat.


Not the cutest garden ever.  But I was in a hurry to go eat the dinner that
PTA provides for us every year before P.I.N. so that we don't have to
go out and get something.  We had Chinese food catered in.
I am a fan of egg rolls.

I've also made a giving tree with apple post-its.  And a teacher with speech bubble post-its.  That last one is the most fitting, but I had flower post-its this year.

I also printed out a wish list that parents could take home with them.  You can get a non-PDF version {HERE} if you'd like to adapt it.  

Do you do something similar?  Or cuter so that I can implement it next year?  Which I won't think about right now or I might start getting nervous about it too early . . . 

8/15/12

Gone Fishing

Today marked six days of school.

In the last six days, we have finally figured out where our spot is in line.  I've said before that I assign spots in line.  It's that controlling nature of mine.  Assigned spots virtually eliminate "He's cutting in line!  She cut!  They're cutting!"  Instead, every once in awhile, I get, "He's in my spot!  She's in my spot!"  Either way, we've finally figured out WHERE our spot is, and now we don't want to give it up.  

They have also finally stopped stampeding me when they finish their work.  For the most part.  On occasion, I still get knocked down every once in awhile, but the bruises are beginning to fade.  

Routines, routines, routines.

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Oh, and inside recess.  STILL.  

Don't get me started because I checked the weather on my phone at lunch and . . . well, it wasn't stifling or suffocating or sizzling.  But we still didn't go out.  This sounds like it could make an emergent reader.  


The teachers cried.  
But we still didn't go out.  
The teachers sobbed.  
But we still didn't go out.  
The teachers went crazy.  
But we still didn't go out.

Due to the "we still didn't go out", it was obviously time to FINALLY introduce centers.

Centers = sanity!

What took me so long?  (I forgot.  Really.  I woke up and thought, CENTERS!!)

I modeled and introduced several:  Leap Pads, Writing, Math, Listening, Write the Room, etc.

But the one center that got the biggest reaction was Fishing.

And this made me think I should blog about it because apparently, none of my kids went fishing in kindergarten.  And I have kids from five different kindergarten classes.  And no one had EVER BEEN FISHING.

Now, THAT'S a good day.  They didn't say, "We did this in kindergarten."  Which kills me.  Growl.

But they didn't say anything, as a matter of fact.

Instead, they clapped.

CLAPPED.

Like, spontaneously.

I'm telling you - sweetest class ever.

I took several bows.  

Blushed.

Beamed.

I may have smirked a little.  That's right.  Uh huh.  First Grade rocks.

Anyway, the whole thing got me thinking.  Maybe not everyone knows about the fishing center.

Maybe?

I don't know.

So here it is:


That's just blue fabric I picked up at Walmart a million years ago.
It's fraying on the end so I probably need to No Sew it up.

This fishing pole is from Lakeshore.  But for the longest time, I had a pole made from a wooden dowel, string, and a magnet.
At the bottom of this post, I am going to give you a link to a blogger who makes the cutest poles ever.

Students have to read the sight words!
Or add and subtract.
Or tell the letter names and sounds.

These fish are old.  I laminated construction paper.  Die-cut it.  And then I wrote on the fish with sharpie.  I have seen MUCH CUTER fish on TpT.  Obviously.  My way is just an avenue for saving on ink.  And it shows my lack of computer skills from ten years ago.  I'm much better now.  But a little lazy.  I haven't cute-sified it up yet.  Forgive me.

This is how I store it in my classroom.
The kids just grab it and go find a spot.

Worthy of applause?  I don't know.  But my kids thought so.

Jessica over at The Curious Catfish  has made the cutest fishing poles!  And she said she's contemplating making more and trying to sell them on TpT.  So maybe if enough of us left her a comment . . . and followed her . . .  

Anywho, tomorrow is Back to School night.  Or, as we call it, Parent Information Night.  P.I.N.

My tummy hurts.

My head hurts.

I think I might be coming down with something . . . and it has nothing to do at all with those parents sitting in their child's seat staring at me.  Nope.  I just think I have a bad case of the sniffles.  Poor pitiful me.

I hope I pull through.

8/14/12

Music Box

I have to start off this post with a huge thank you.


THANK YOU!

I can't believe how many people stopped by my TpT kiosk.  Thank you so much for purchasing one of my items (or both).  Seriously.  I am thrilled and I am super thankful.  I haven't taken the time to speak with my office manager about setting the prices back to regular . . . so feel free to head on over there while both items are 20% off.  It's too hot for me to do anything else so they're still on sale. 

It was hot.

Like, all day. 

So, I introduced the Music Box.

I didn't want to.

And I really didn't have to.

But I did.

I just felt like throwing another trick at them.  A what-what.  A "First Grade is so cool that even though we don't ever get to go out to recess ever, you will love it more than kindergarten in here."

Do you use a music box?

I have no idea who, what, or where I got this idea from.  It's not my original idea.  But I've used a music box for years.

Basically, I wind the box up at the beginning of the day.  Mine happens to be a Winnie the Pooh music box.  It's pink.  It's old.  The lid doesn't want to close on it very well anymore.  But it works.  And it plays the Pooh song, whatever that is.  It's kind of in my head right now, but I don't know the words.  Just the tune.  If only the box would play the words . . . 

It sort of looks a lot like this:

But instead of a ballerina in a tutu, it's Pooh.  In a shirt and no pants.  

Huh.   

I think I got it from Walmart a million years ago.  That might explain why Pooh only has a shirt on and no pants.

Anyways, every time my class gets too noisy or chatty, I open the music box.  And music spills out.  Uh oh.

The kids then hear the music.

Which triggers their brain to send a message to their mouth to STOP TALKING ALREADY.  (Except for the occasional kid who yells, "THE MUSIC BOX!  SHE OPENED THE MUSIC BOX!!  SHHHH!  SHHHH!  THE MUSIC BOX!!!!")

When it's quiet (and they have finally stopped talking already), I close the music box.

I do this all day long.

Open it.  Close it.  Open it.  Close it.  OOOOOPEN IT.  Close it.

At the end of the day, we check to see if we have any music left in our box.  I count, "1, 2, 3, shhhhh."  And the kids do it with me because they are so easily swayed into doing what I tell them to do.  "1, 2, 3, shhhhh," they say, as they lean forward in their seats in the hopes that some music will eek out.  It's precious, I tell you.  Little wide eyed faces.  Clasped hands under their chins.  Precious.

If we have music left over, we each get ONE WHOLE STARBURST.  A WHOLE ONE, people.  I know, I know.  I am SO generous.  (Parents donate the starbursts.  In the old days, it was a Hershey's kiss.  It could be a sticker.  It could be whatever.)

If we don't have any music left, (and we usually know when that happens, because I'll just leave the lid open for the rest of the day, and Pooh just stands there.  Silently.  Dejected.  Almost like Eeyore.) then we get nothing.  NOTHING.  Pooh.  On that.

My kids went crazy for it today.

And with no recess, I kind of needed it.  This particular group is really well behaved and sweet . . . so when I say they got chatty, I mean that four or five of them talked at the same time.  Whoa.  I thought I should get a handle on it before I lost all control.  

And instead of playing Heads Up, 7 Up for Inside Recess (I'm holding off on Adventure to Fitness because it's another trick up my sleeve), I passed out whiteboards.  And, once again, I'm the greatest teacher in all the land.  That's right.  Got my crown back.  

So.

That's the music box.

I don't know if you want one.  Or if you've already got one.

But click {HERE} for a bunch listed on Amazon.  Some are reasonable.  Some are not.

Hadar talked about it at her Kindergarten Expo.  You can check it out {HERE}.  :)  

So do you use a music box?  Or something similar?

8/11/12

School is Cool


Well, actually school is not cool because it is extremely hot and I can't stand it . . . but thanks to my BBFF, Hadar, School is Cool in my classroom!  

Take a look:

Please ignore the three kids who are missing.
One was absent.  I mean, that is completely acceptable 
since it WAS the third day of school.
One is still working because she is related to the turtle species.
And the last one is . . . to be determined.
I'm not sure who that last one is because 
I don't know these kids well enough yet.
But someone is missing.  I'm sure they'll figure it out on Monday 
when they don't see their project hanging up.


I am in love with this craftivity.
Look how cool this kid is!


Loving this girl.
In real life, too.
I had her brother a few years ago.
Let's just say I was nervous when she appeared on my list.
But no need.
She's a doll.


This cutie asked me if he could add eyebrows.
I love it.
He looks extremely cool.


Last but not least . . . a kid that is so cool,
he did his face upside down.
That's right, folks.
But I love it.  It cracks me up.
This is how sunglasses look on me.
Because my head is too small.
And my face is too small.
And nothing fits.

Like my brand new sandals that I got for the first day of school.
I had to order them online because they don't carry size 5 in the stores anymore.  And I had to get a size 5 1/2 online, too.  Because they didn't carry size 5, either.  And so the sandals slipped all over the place.  It was hard to walk, actually.  Which means I had to do a little hot glue gun action.  No one could tell.  I don't think. (And it's not like I hot glued my foot to the strap or anything.  That's crazy talk.  I mean, who would do that?)  Anywho, that's how sunglasses look on me.  Maybe I was this kid's inspiration for doing his project upside down.

If you'd like this craftivity for yourself, Hadar has it for FREE in her TpT store.  FREE, people.  You just have to provide the paper.
I offered multicultural paper and let my kids choose.  Some kids understand their skin color and others . . . well, they may need to invest in a mirror.

I copied the hair template onto white construction paper for two reasons.  One reason is black hair.  If I copied the hair onto black, you couldn't see the lines.  The other reason is red hair.  I have an adorable little girl with red hair this year and I wondered what to do.  So I copied hair on white and the kids colored it.  It worked just fine.  Obviously, you can do whatever works for you.

Also, I had to shorten the writing prompt that Hadar first offered.  Hers was a full sheet and I couldn't get ALL THIRTY faces AND writing on the bulletin board.  Due to ALL of the students.  Sometimes I forget that my cute bulletin board is meant to actually showcase their work.  (And, the shorter prompt saved some of my sanity because these kids are babies right now.  In a good way.  But not capable of doing very much for very long periods of times.  In a good way.  I'm in no way trying to compare this to the first three days of kindergarten, either.  I'm just saying.  A shorter prompt was necessary.)

Click {HERE} for the shorter prompt.

You can get the cute craftivity and original prompts {HERE}.

I don't know if you've heard, but there's going to be a huge sale this weekend on TpT. 


I've got my Math Fluency Assessment Pack and All About Me book in my store.  And that's all.  It's a little store.  But everything's on sale tomorrow and Monday.  That's the important thing.  You can click on the pic to go see my "store".  Or we could just call it a kiosk.  :)

However, I am in the process of trying to add a couple of more items before the sale because I now have a DJ Inkers Commercial License.  That's right.  I'm over the moon.  In heaven.  Flying high.  Out of this world.  Take your pick.  (And just know I'm actually on the couch.) I am a huge fan of DJ Inkers, if you didn't know.  So maybe my store will have three or four items in it.  You just never know.

Have a good weekend!  I'm off to add some TpT items to my cart . . . and the best part about it?  No one can tell me they don't have my size.   
 

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