Thursday, December 3, 2015
Monday, November 30, 2015
You know those things that you do with your students and just love?? The things that you make time for every week, just because they make you happy? For me, directed drawing is one of those things! And BONUS....it doesn't just make me happy. My students absolutely LOVE this time!
I have directed drawing scheduled for 30 minutes every Friday morning and it is easily one of my favorite parts of our week. Each student has their own box of 64 crayons that they only use during this time, which of course is special and super fun for them. They love getting to use all the colors that they don't have in their pencil boxes. I am not exaggerating when I say that they CHEER for directed drawing time!
I love this time for lots of reasons.
1. The students are SO engaged. You know your kiddos love something when you could hear a pin drop in the classroom. Sometimes I tell students what we'll be drawing and sometimes I don't. It is so much fun to hear them guess what it could be as we go. They really stay equally engaged whether they know what we are drawing or not. Either way, they are completely immersed in this activity every time we do it.
2. It boosts confidence! EVERY child can do this. Even the drawings that are a bit more complex always turn out awesome and adorable! One step at a time, you can draw ANYTHING! The kids are always amazed and PROUD of their finished products.
3. It's a great, indirect way to work on basic shapes that are needed to write letters and numbers. Vertical lines, curved lines, horizontal and diagonal lines, etc.
4. It's also a fun way to practice relational concepts. Above, below, next to, around, etc.
5. It's a chance to TEACH kids the process of drawing. How do you draw a dog? A shark? A person?? Then, they take what they've learned and use it -- during writing time, choice time, and at home.
6. Parents LOVE it too!!! I have received so many positive comments from parents about the beautiful drawings their children complete at school. They are always AMAZED at what their Kindergarten kids can draw. These pieces of art are treasured masterpieces!!
I would not consider myself a gifted artist. At all. But even I can do this. And if I can do it, I know that anyone can do it! The step-by-step directions take things that look challenging, and make them completely doable! For 5 year olds and even for their artistically-challenged teachers. Ha!
I haven't remembered to take pics of every directed drawing we've done, but here are some that we've already completed this school year.
We drew this dog on the first or second week of school. A brand new Kindergarten baby drew this!
Spiders at the beginning of October. We added them to glitter webs.
Pumpkins, also in October. We painted these with watercolors. They turned out beautiful!!
Scarecrows to start November. I love these every year.
A couple of weeks ago we drew these Happy Thanksgiving turkeys! Adorable!!
Each one has it's own personality. Love!
In December, we'll be drawing elves and reindeer.
I have found free directed drawing how-to's by searching Pinterest, but here are two of my favorites that I've purchased:
If you haven't done directed drawings with your students before, I encourage you to give it a try! So much FUN and I know that your kids will love it!!
Friday, November 13, 2015
Hey there! Happy Friday!
Every Friday morning during calendar time in my classroom, my students and I sing "It's Friday, it's Friday, it's Friday, Friday, Friday....wooooh!". I've been singing it all day long. Hip, hip, hooray for Friday!
Here's what 's been going on lately in my classroom!
1. Kindergarten students digging through their Halloween candy buckets to bring you your very favorite treats must be one of the most pure acts of love possible. My sweet Kindies have been flooding me with Twix bars ever since Halloween. Love them so much. I know how precious Halloween candy is to kids. Their generous little hearts are so special!
(And I'm just going to pretend that I don't see the calorie count on that full-size candy bar! Yikes!! Cover your eyes! Don't look!!!)
2. Sometimes teachers just need permission to take things one day/hour/moment at a time. This verse has been in the forefront of my mind this week. I'm so thankful for TRUTH and precious, timely reminders.
3. Few things melt me more than Kindergarten friends immersed in books. Looking, talking, learning together. I had to capture this sweet moment from today.
4. 'Tis the season for turkeys!! We started these "Thankful Turkeys" last week and finished them early this week. Love.
5. And we made these directed drawing turkeys today! They turned out too cute for words!
Wishing you a relaxing and wonderful weekend!!
Friday, October 23, 2015
Happy FRIDAY!! Yippeeeee! I love my job so much, but Friday is still such a GREAT feeling!
I'm linking up today with Kacey for Five for Friday....it's been too long!!
1. Last week, I received my very first package from Naeir. The box was BIG and I was so excited to see it on my doorstep! It had been a while since I'd placed my order and I had forgotten exactly what I was getting.
Inside were labels and post-its and book tape galore!! ALL of this was less than $25. Such a fabulous resource for teachers!!
2. I got to be twinsies with this cutie pie earlier this week. I love that long sweater that she wears!! It's always so much fun when my students show up wearing something similar to me.
3. We recently finished our Five Senses unit in science. I always love starting the year discussing what it means to be a scientist and how we can use our body to explore the world around us. This activity from Kindergarten Smiles was a favorite activity with my students this year! I just used a sound CD that came with my reading curriculum. It was lots of fun!
4. My students had the best time "flipping for good behavior" and earning a special, delicious treat last week Monday. After earning all of the letters in the word APPLESAUCE, we got to make fresh crockpot applesauce in class and enjoyed eating it at the end of the school day.
We had gotten to the point near the beginning of October when we just needed an extra behavior management trick. I love having lots of resources to pull out of my bag of tools! We haven't needed anything since, but I am ready with my next word for when we need a little boost again! I love this resource from Ashley Sharp!
5. We began Literacy Work Stations last week! It always feels overwhelming to begin this a few weeks into the school year, but we dove in last week. It felt like ripping off a bandaid! Just had to be done. And, as always....the kids did great!! I really do love this time in our day. The kids love it too -- working at their own pace, feeling independent, and getting to choose their own activities when they've completed their tasks.
I've blogged about my Literacy Station routine before. Click here to read that post.
I'll be spending my weekend filling out progress reports for next week's Parent-Teacher conferences. Hope your weekend is terrific!!
Saturday, October 3, 2015
Happy October!! In Michigan, this week brought us from early September to mid-November! The drop in temperature and bitter cold wind of the past few days has been a drastic change from mid-70's and sunshine! It definitely feels like Fall has arrived....and just in time to turn the calendar to October! It's beginning to look and feel like October in the classroom too!!
I make these spiders with my students every year. I've gotten smart over the years and now always make sure to have a parent or two come in to help out. These cute little guys require lots and lots of cutting, which is a challenge for some new-to-Kindergarten hands. It's helpful to have another adult there to help. My crew this year did a great job! They turned out as darling as ever and they just make me happy!
On Friday, we did a fun apple taste test. Students tasted a slice of red, yellow, and green apple and then added their favorite to our apple poster....
Later in the day, we analyzed our data and organized it into this graph so that I could tie in some of the concepts we've been practicing in math - graphing, comparing, more/less, greater/fewer. Learning is especially fun when it's so delicious!!
Each Friday, we do a directed drawing activity as a class. Last week, we drew a pumpkin. This week, my students got to paint their pumpkin drawings! They turned out so beautiful! I can't wait to pull out the watercolors again. My students LOVED this calm, creative activity!
Caramel apples as a birthday treat from one of my sweet former students??? Yes, fall is here!!
Saturday, September 12, 2015
I'm so happy to be back on this little old blog! I had such a busy and wonderful summer. Posting here just hasn't been a top priority. BUT...ready or not...school started on Tuesday! Our first week of 2015-2016 is in the books, and it was great! My kids came home excited every day and woke up happy every morning. My Kindie cuties are easing into a routine, and they worked hard this week! I didn't lose my voice (for the first time in 13 years, I think), and I'm not exhausted this weekend like I was expecting to be. All in all, it's so good! Summer is amazing, but having a job that I LOVE is pretty amazing too. I'm thankful!
I didn't get many photos to share of first week fun this week (not much time for a camera on days 1-4 of Kindergarten!), but I do want to share some of the fun ways I'm using vinyl in my classroom this year. I had so much fun with my Silhouette this summer!
My teaching partner asked me to make this crayon organizer for her. I used the same mini 5-drawer Sterilite that I used for my pencil drawers. Didn't it turn out cute??? I hope it helps to keep those extra crayons nice and organized for her this year!
I don't have caddies on my student tables, but I do have two other tables in my classroom for small groups to meet and work at. I like to keep caddies at those tables with pencils, crayons, glue, etc. I decided to add some inspiration to the plain caddies!
Since I teach Kindergarten, not many students are able to read these. Of course I tell them what they say, but honestly....I love having positive words around to inspire ME throughout the day! I think that a text-rich classroom is key for our little learners!
This was a bit spur of the moment. This school bus clip art from Whimsy Clips was begging to be used! ;) Nevermind that this cute vinyl is covered by my bus information sheet... Still adorable!!
I've had these buckets on my desk for a couple of years. They hold my markers, pens, scissors, etc. I love that they are all uniform, but they needed a little something. Aren't these Melonheadz kids the cutest??? I love the fun that they add to my desk!
At the last minute before school started, I decided to simplify my life a bit by labeling the drawers and cupboards that students have access to. The blue words pop and make it easy for students to find what they need.
I also added labels for a choice time cupboard and the band-aid drawer. (PS about band-aids....it literally took me a decade of teaching to realize that band-aids are something kids can apply on their own. Having to stop instruction to put a band-aid on totally disrupts the flow of a lesson! In Kindergarten, kids need band-aids A LOT, and 9 times out of 10, it's not for anything that requires my assistance. Teaching independence is a beautiful thing!!)
Monday, July 27, 2015
It's a great Monday for a new Monday Made It! I had so much fun with this one! I love any excuse to pull out my Silhouette Cameo and I LOVE adding color to my classroom!
I've been using buckets for my sharp and dull pencils for the past few years. You know, those adorable buckets you find in the dollar spot at Target? The kind that I can't stop buying even though I already have more than I know what to do with? Yes, those. ;)
I wish I had a picture of what I used before, but I didn't want to drive to my classroom just for that. My setup was very similar to this from Peace, Love, and Learning. Even the same signs!
While they were cute, the problem I had with them was that they tipped over ALL. THE. TIME. There were newly sharpened pencils and also dull, broken pencils on the floor every day. My students were always good about picking them up, but it was messy and just became less and less practical with every tip of the buckets! I needed something different for this year.
I wish I could remember where I got this idea. I know that I saw it somewhere before, but I can't remember where. Anyway, I saw a teacher that used small Sterilite drawers for her sharp and dull pencils. I loved that idea, so I set out looking for a drawer set for myself.
I actually was on the hunt for a 3-drawer set because that was the kind used in the photo I had seen, but the store I was at didn't have any. They only had 5-drawer sets. At first I thought that would be too many, but I quickly thought of other things I could use the drawers for to simplify my life at school. I picked up a small 5-drawer Sterilite just like this one.
I started with this...
...and then I got to work with my Cameo! I designed and cut the words for each drawer. I also added a star to each drawer just because they're cute! I covered two words on the middle drawer because it gives away the name of my school, but you get the idea.
The other drawers I added are things I have kept behind my desk before, but it will make my life easier for students to have access to them.
The bright colors and practicality of this classroom addition just make me happy!
Keeping pencils in these drawers will eliminate clutter and mess, and everything will still be just as easy for the students to access. Win win.
Thanks to Tara for hosting Monday Made It! Head on over to add your own item to the linky or to check out what other teachers have been up to!