Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ummmm, Reality Hits

I just read this post over at Kinder Kraziness and I just have to say AMEN!!
I don't know how all you fabulous teacher/bloggers do it EVERYDAY!
Now that I'm a couple weeks into school I remember why my husband says school takes up too much time. Don't get me wrong - he is totally supportive. I have to admit that school completely takes over my brain and that's all. I. think. about. All. the. time.
I'm still trying to remember how to switch teacher off and turn mommy and wife on. Hopefully I'll get it down soon. This year was supposed to be easier.....right??

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Just a little update

In case anyone actually reads this, I'm still here, just super busy. School started this week and we've been assessing all our new little kinder babies and placing them in classes. We have over 180 already registered this year and I'm sure we'll get more over the next few weeks. And since we actually have kinders in the classroom starting on Monday I have a feeling that this next week is going to be CRAZY as well. So hang in there with me and I will be back to posting about our first days as soon as I can:)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Seymour the Snake

This is a story that our local librarian (she's FANTASTIC) told during storytime a few weeks ago. The cute poster/picture thingy below is actually hers that she let me borrow when I asked to look at it after story time was over. Seymour was really falling apart, so she said I could borrow him if I did a little repair work. Sounds like a great deal to me:)
The story was really cute and repetitive enough that the kids were really getting into it - saying the mom's advise in a "motherly" voice while wagging their fingers, opening their mouth really wide and make the appropriate number of gulps. Oh and of course sneezing at the end. They loved it. And actually while my 10 yr old (who accompanied my 3 yr old to storytime) helped me to retell the story below, my 3 yr old was saying it right along with us...and asking "Where is Seymour?" I returned him to the library already, he kind of took up space, and I don't have good flat storage at home. But I plan to make one for my classroom soon.

Here's the story, retold by A, my 10 yr old. I'm sure that we changed it, and you can too. I tried to look it up on the internet to see if it was a "real" story, but I didn't find anything. So if this story seems familiar, please let me know where to find it.

Seymour the Snake

The time had come for Seymour the Snake to grow up and move out on his own. Before Seymour left, his parent gave him some advice. His mother told him, "Remember, make sure you get enough to eat!" And his father said, "Don't bite off more than you can chew."

(This is what Seymour looks like at the beginning of the story. For all of these pics he is lying flat on the floor, but when telling the story you would hold Seymour up in you lap and have all the flaps on the top folded back behind Seymour. His total length - he's folded in half for storage - is about the long side of a piece of poster board. I didn't measure him, sorry, I should have.)

So Seymour went on his way, slithering along to find himself a home. All of the sudden, Seymour saw a rabbit and he remembered his mother's advise, "Make sure you get enough to eat." So Seymour opened his mouth and swallowed the rabbit in one bit gulp! ("gulp")

Seymour starts to slither along again, when he sees a peacock. Seymour remembers his mother's advise, "Make sure you get enough to eat." So he opened up his mouth and swallowed the peacock in 2 big gulps. ("gulp, gulp")

Seymour continues on his way, when he sees a giraffe. He remembered his mother's advise, "Make sure you get enough to eat." So he opened mouth wide and swallowed the giraffe in 3 big gulps. ("gulp, gulp, gulp")

Seymour continues on his way, a little slower this time (because he's eaten so much), when he sees an elephant! He remembers his mother's advise, "Make sure you get enough to eat." So he opens his mouth really wide and swallows the elephant in 4 big gulps. ("gulp, gulp, gulp, gulp")

Seymour continues slowly on his way, until he sees a lion. He remembers his mother's advice, "Make sure you get enough to eat." So Seymour opens his mouth even wider and swallows the lion in 5 big gulps. (gulp, gulp, get the picture)

Now Seymour's really moving slow, but he continues on his way, until he sees a kangaroo. He remembers his mother's advice, "Make sure you get enough to eat." Seymour opens his mouth super wide and swallows the kangaroo in 6 big gulps. (gulp, know)

Seymour can barely move he so full, but he sees a camel and remembers his mother's advice, "Make sure you get enough to eat." So he opens his mouth as wide as he can and swallows that camel in 7 big gulps. (gulp, gulp....)

Now poor Seymour can't move at all and he has a terrible tummy ache, when he sees a pig. He remember's his mother's advice, "Make sure you get enough to eat." So Seymour tries to open his mouth to swallow the pig, but he just can't take another big. Then Seymour (finally) remembers his dad's advice, "Don't bit off more that you can chew." All of the sudden Seymour started to sneeze.
Achoo! And out comes the camel. (flip camel to back again)
Achoo! Out comes the kangaroo (flip)
Achoo! Out comes the lion (flip)
Achoo! Out comes the elephant (flip)
Achoo! Out comes the giraffe (flip)
Achoo! Out comes the peacock (flip)
Achoo! Out comes the rabbit (flip)

Now Seymour felt much better. And he remembered is mother's advise, "Make sure you get enough to eat." But he also remembered his father's advice, "Don't bite off more than you chew."

The End

Oh, and here's a pic of the other side of Seymour all put together so that you can see a little better how to make one of your very own!

I hope that you enjoyed this little story! I know that my kinders are going to love it, I hope that your's will too. And make sure that you share any pics of Seymour that you come up with!

Monday, August 1, 2011

My Classroom - After....

Well, it's not totally done. but cosmetically it looks OK. I still have some final sorting and organizing. And I haven't put ANYTHING on the walls yet. The only things up are those that were left by my friend. We're doing student assessments this week (by appointment) and then class lists on Thurs and Parent Orientation on Friday. I have a few things I need to have ready by Friday morning, but other than that I will have to finish up on Friday afternoon and then after school next week - as the kinders have 1/2 days M-Th and then our first full day on Friday. After that it's business as usual. So effectively I have another week to out the finishing touches on the room.

So here we go - counter clockwise around the room starting from the front door. (Just try to ignore the last of the boxed in the whole group area...oh, and the paper bags on the counter are my children's school supply over-flow that were taken to their classrooms this morning.)

My gosh the walls look bare:) Somehow looking at it in photos makes it more obvious.
And can I just say - I LOVE my contact paper covered desks! They look so loverly. And I can almost over look the fact that they are totally uneven and some even rock a little. And if I had it my way I would not have tennis balls on everything, but my floors (and the head custodian) would never forgive me.
My room was the first stop for all the assessments today and I had lots of kids and parents in and out and the contact paper held up well, so we'll see how it goes once the students are in the room all day every day.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

My Classroom - During

Here are a few pics of the during process in my room. It's still on going, but at least it's starting to look nice. These were actually taken that same first day - just right before we left for the day.

Here is A, my oldest, finally getting over the spiders. Taking down my friends word wall so I can pass it on to the new teacher that will be in my old room.

Here is the worst of it. My room pretty much looked like this from this first day (about a week and a half ago) until just yesterday. The pile just got shifted around and around and around and around...

At the end of the first day there I did get my whole group area somewhat together. Of course it's change a little even since then:)

And my bee-u-tiful desks. I seriously LOVE them! They were totally inspired by Kristen over at Ladybug's Teacher Files. This is all the ones covered in blue. I had to switch to green because I ran out of blue paper - not ideal, but it works. Especially since the contact paper was F.R.E.E. I found it in another teacher friend's closet (while looking for something else) and asked if I could have some - she gave it all to me!

And he is one completely done - with black electrical tape around the edges. Even that was pretty cheap - it took 4 rolls to do 24 desks and I paid $.75 for a 2 roll pack on clearance at Home Depot.
And lastly my new clip chart. I love this too. I've seen them all over the internet lately - I could probably list a few webstie here, but really if you just Google "behavior clip chart" you will get tons of info. Last year I used a card system, which I liked, using green, yellow, orange, and red cards. By the end of the year I was thinking that I would add blue for a step up for my really good kids - then I found this idea and I liked it so much that I just had to switch. Also if the kids get up to the purple "outstanding" area they will add a jewel to their clip. I haven't figured out all the specifics just yet - because even though school starts Monday, the kinders don't start until next week, so I have a little more time to get it all together:)

I just made mine from construction paper and printed out words. I know that ClutterFree Classroom printed hers as a (free) banner from VistaPrint. Also, I had tons of questions about the font when I was in the work room laminating it. The font is Wish I were taller from

Friday, July 29, 2011

My Classroom - Before

I was finally able to get into my classroom a couple of weeks ago - only to find it had been taken over by spiders....lots and lots of spiders. Just harmless, even helpful, ones. But still.....uuughh. So the first order of business was to haul in the shop vac and suck them all down. If you look in the second pic below you can see my lovely mother- and father-in-law doing just that. And seriously I think my father-in-law vacuumed for more than an hour before he made it all the way around the room and got most of the spiders. I'll just pretend that we intentionally left the rest to cover insect population control for the school year. Ah...the joys of teaching (and living) in Hawaii. (Spiders, cockroaches, and centipedes aren't usually something you deal with as a tourist - paradise does have it's draw backs.)

Let me tell you a little about my room before you see the pics. Last year I taught in a portable classroom - super common in Hawaii, especially since we don't have traditional hallways - buildings usually have 4-8 rooms connected, but the doors all open to the sidewalk outside - kind of like a hallway, but not enclosed. Hard to explain if you've never seen it. I'll try to remember to take a pic of the outside of the building tomorrow. Anyway - I was in a portable, which is pretty tiny, especially for kindergarten, but I did the best I could and endured the heat in the afternoons - I had 2 window AC units and they just did not cut it. I'm just glad I had AC at all.

This year I was able to move to a "real" room - more space and central AC. However, it's bittersweet since it used to be my best teacher friend's. I only got the room because she moved back to the mainland over the summer. It's been fun finding all sorts of little notes that she left for me. I just found one in the filing cabinet today that said "Mrs. Peterson is the best teacher ever." Made my morning.

So here are the pictures of my room, basically how it was when I first walked in this year. While I did get the keys on July 8th, it wasn't until last week that I actually did anything but bring all the stuff I took home for the summer back. (You know - all the stuff I was supposed to work on, but never seemed to get around to? Ya, that stuff.) Anything you see on the wall, including the bulletin boards, was left up by my friend.

From the front door - you can see my oldest (who was supposed to be helping) was NOT happy about the spider situation.
Looking from the back door
From the back corner. (Yep, she's still sitting on the chairs, feet up off the floor - you know, because the spiders can't crawl up and get her there!)
From the front corner
Straight on from the front- so you're seeing the back of the room. I LOVE that I have a sink and cabinets. I had neither of those things in the portable.
Straight on from the back - so you're looking at the front of the room. And yes, I'm aware that 4 is missing. It's actually on the white board ledge, you just can't see it from here.
Actually these pics look nice compared to how it is now:) It's gets worse before it gets better folks. Be prepared! I hope to get some during pics up tomorrow. I'm really excited at how it's coming along - especially my contact paper covered desks, inspired by Kristen over at Ladybug's Teacher Files. Seriously they make me smile every time I enter the room. And everyone who comes in can't believe how great they look.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

New Year's Resolutions - Linky Party

Clutter-Free Classroom is hosting a linky party all about your New Year's Resolutions - you know, for the new school year. Here's a few of mine:

1. To actually have my room organized and ready to go on the first day of class. I know that seems a little strange - but I had so little time to get it all together last year (besides the fact I had NO CLUE what I was doing) that I really want to have it all together this year.

2. To plan ahead further than a week. Again - I was flying by the seat of my pants last year and I hope to be more prepared and then hopefully more effective as a teacher because of that preparation.

3. To do some sore of literacy and math centers. I read these 3 books over the summer:

And I really hope to be able to put some of the fantastic ideas to good use this year. The books and discovering the world of teaching blogs has helped me to see what can be done in a classroom. I don't expect it to just happen this year, but I want to start - baby steps - working towards doing it all in years to come.

There's many, many more things that I want to do this year, but I think these 3 are good goals to focus on right now. Once I get them under control I can set some new ones. And I've made too head way on #1 over the last few days. I hope to share some pics of my room this weekend - I'd like to have it at least cosmetically done by Friday afternoon. Parents will be in my room starting Monday morning, but I will still have time to do prep work next week before the students in the classroom. Wish me luck!!

Oh, and make sure you head on over to Clutter-Free Classroom to check out everyone else's resolutions!

Clutter-Free Classroom