Tuesday, April 22, 2014

No Idea

So, when I wrote my last post, I didn't realize it would be almost 8 months between that post and this one. To say I have been busy is an understatement. This has been such an amazing year of growth for both me and my students. I can't believe how much my Cubs have taught me. This group has been astounding. I have the highest students I have ever had and the lowest. I have seen such amazing growth in this group of students.

When I tested them at the beginning of the year, NOT A SINGLE student knew all their letters and sounds. In fact, I only had 2 students that knew any letter sounds at all. I am pleased to say that by November, all but 1 of my original Cubs knew ALL of their letter names AND sounds! Yep, in less than 3 months we had reached our first class goal. I have to say, my little low one is still struggling with her letter names and sounds. She is very close, but still has a few to learn. Now, how did I do it? I didn't. My Cubs, my parents, and I ALL worked together. Without this trifecta, we would not be experiencing the success we are.

I am very excited to share with you the things I have learned this year. So please stay tuned. The journey is just beginning.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Wondering...

So, I've been blogging off and on for a couple of years. I've been reading blogs for a lot longer. This is what I've learned, blogging is really hard work. It's hard to gain an audience and keep them interested. I have great intentions. Really I do!!!! However, life gets in the way. I don't get how the really great bloggers balance all of their responsibilities. I really admire their ability to do it all! But, I do not have that same ability. Doesn't mean I don't have a lot to share, just never going to be a daily blogger.

I've also learned that NOT all Kindergarten classrooms are the same. I read about some of the amazing things going on around the country and I cry. I mean I literally cry. My students will never be able to do what is going on in these classrooms. My Cubs are poor! My Cubs don't speak English! My Cubs are homeless! My Cubs have very young parents (20 and 21). My Cubs come to school hungry! My Cubs have seen things that NO one should ever witness let alone see as a child. My Cubs have gang members as parents. My Cubs have one or both parents in prison. I could continue listing all the strikes my Cubs have against them. Not all my Cubs have all these strikes against them, but most have several. However, with all these things that are wrong in their life, they never stop surprising me with the desire they have to learn and how much they learn in the year I have them. I also need to say, my Cubs' parents love their children and do the very best they can.

I guess my question is, do you get frustrated reading all the amazing things going on around the country? Are your students able to do those things? Or are your students like mine?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Best Intentions...

Today is the very last day of my summer vacation. I officially start back tomorrow. I have been a very busy girl working in my room. I have had some "help". My boys have gone with me every day I have gone in. I must say that it took twice as long to get my room almost done. However, I would not change a thing. It was wonderful to spend these last few days of summer with them.

As for my room, I mentioned in earlier blog post that my theme was Enchanted Forest. I was so excited to have fairies, butterflies, gnomes, and all the other wonderful forest creatures visit my room this year. But, somehow my room had a mind of its own and it is now Once Upon A Time. Don't know how it happened. But I am really excited how it all came together. I have only taken one picture so far. I made the banner and the pom poms and think this bulletin board turned out pretty cute.

I love the colors and can't wait until I'm actually done with the entire room. I'd better hurry, school starts on Monday.  Stay tuned for the rest of my room.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

And so it begins...

On Friday I took my boys to "help" me work in my room. My youngest is having a hard time adjusting to "Cub Camp". He is very anxious and is nervous to the point that he is making himself sick. So to give him a break, I let him miss a day and join me and his brother working in my room. Any suggestions on how to help him transition to middle school would be greatly appreciated. I do have a Dr. appointment for him to see what he suggests. Now I don't know how many of you take your children with you to help you in your rooms. If you do and they actually get stuff done, I want to know your secrets. When I take my boys one on one, we get a lot done. If they are together, not so much. What I did get done was to empty one of my big storage areas and organize what was inside. This is the mess we made trying to organize my room.
I am not going to post any of my after pictures until I'm completely done with my room. That being said, I have been a shopping fool. I have been on the look out for a new chair to use during circle time. I found a couple that I LOVE, but they cost way to much. So, I decided to save a little at a time and in the mean time, I did find this fun chair at Big Lots for under $30.
 Hello, I had NO idea that Big Lots had so much fun stuff for the classroom. I also found book baskets for my reading area. Big Lots is now on my official list of favorite places to shop for school stuff.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Not Such a Great Day to Work in My Room!

Well, I went to work in my room this morning and walked into a surprise! Apparently our school is getting a new intercom system. Guess whose room is being used as a staging area? MINE! This is the mess I walked into.




When I went to the office to find out when they would be done, they couldn't give me an answer and suggested I find one of the workers. So, I did. The two gentlemen I found were amazing! Without skipping a beat they offered to move all of their supplies, promised to be out by the end of the day. As you can tell from the pictures, I need as much time as I can get. Should be a little better once all of the construction stuff is gone. Whew!!!!


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Going to School Tomorrow!

I don't know about you, but this time of the year is overwhelming to me. You would think after 21 years it would be a piece of cake. NOT! I need to make sure that everything is just right for my cubs. I have been planning for months. I am not sure I will ever feel ready.

Tomorrow I am going to school for the first time since the last day of school. This is a first for me. I have never stayed away from school this long. It seems kind of weird. I am a little (lot) nervous to see what my room looks like. This is how I left it. I can assure you it will NOT look like this tomorrow when I go in. I have a feeling everything will be in one big pile on the carpet. UGH!!!!

 I recently bought Decorate Like a Pro, the Schoogirl Style Way, by Melanie Ralbusky. LOVE this eBook. I would recommend it to anyone looking for styling tips. Following the guidelines in her book, I am going to set up the room tomorrow. I am taking my #1 son to help with moving all the furniture. I liked the arrangement I had last year and may go with that. I do know that I am getting rid of some of my furniture. I have a mismatched housekeeping set and I am still debating whether I should keep it or not. It takes up so much room and we don't get to use it very much. I also have two huge wardrobe closets. I think with some reorganizing I could get rid of them. They are so big and awkward. You can see them in the picture. Why all of the stressing over my room? Because...

Friday, August 2, 2013

Calendar Freebie

Had to make a quick trip to California. Nice to get away, see family, and enjoy cooler weather. I also had to enroll my youngest in "Cub" camp. My son's middle school offers a 2 week boot camp to give new middle school students a quick look at what their next 3 years will look like. So, while he is in "Cub Camp" my oldest son and I are going to start on my classroom. This will be the first year in 9 years I don't have a child attending the school where I am teaching. Have to say I am looking forward to the peace and quiet in the mornings.

Every morning the first thing we do in class is calendar. I am expanding the way I do calendar this year and want my Cubs to be more involved. In the past it has been teacher led and now I want my students to take a more active roll. This year I am adding calendar notebooks. I purchased two different ones from TPT and will mix and match what I want. 



I am going to try using heavy-duty double pocket portfolios with fasteners rather than binders. I use binders for their scrapbooks and don't want to mess with two of them. I may change my mind, but for now it's the folders.  Before I left for California, I gave my calendar headers as a freebie, today I am going to give my August calendar pieces. They are simple but I like that I can pattern with the graphic I put on them. I will put the rest of the year, one month at a time. Hope you like them and if you would like different graphics, let me know, I can easily change them.