Monday, September 7, 2015

Our "Pony Express" Morning Message

Our third week of school begins tomorrow!  Yikes!  Our "Pony Express" message for the first few weeks of school is about my students' names.  After all, for most of them, that is the first word they learn to read. I begin by choosing a name from my name can.  I write the name on the chart as the students write on their "hand slates".  A "hand slate" is just their index finger on their palm.  Next, I write the beginning letter of his/her name.  If anyone else in the class has the same letter in their name, we write it on the chart.  In this case, no one had the letter "v".  Then, we clap the name and write the number of syllables on the line.  In this example, I wrote the student's name on a pink name strip and cut it apart.  The selected student assembles his/her name and glues it to the chart.  We circle the vowels and count the vowels and consonants.  I ask them their age.  We write their response in a complete sentence and I ask their favorite color.  We also write that in a complete sentence.  Finally, we get to "Happy Talk".  I ask the class to compliment the selected student.  We have talked about the definition of a compliment.  And, I record their responses.  Finally, I call out selected sounds and the student circles that letter. The entire process takes about 15-20 minutes. I am not taking credit for this idea...I've been to sooooo many conferences and read sooooo many blogs in the years that I have taught, I just can't remember where I got this idea!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

More Circus Photos

Each of the yellow tickets had own names on them!
Our talented kinder teachers made these!  In my earlier post, I wrote about the theme for our school is "The Greatest School on Earth" and every grade level is participating in the circus theme.  As the kindergarten kids walk down the hall, they will be greeted by these fantastic displays! 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Greatest School on Earth

This year, our school has a theme!  We are the "Greatest School on Earth".  The first photo is taken from the main entrance to our school.  At the end of the hall is a backdrop for photo ops.  Does you school have a theme?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

OHHH...MY!! There's alot of work ahead!

I'm tired just looking at this!  It's 107 degrees today!  Every year, our school floors are stripped and waxed.  So, we stack EVERYTHING on the counters!  Do you have to do this? My goal for the day was to get everything down.  I accomplished my goal, however, the A/C was cut off at 3:30...and it got pretty HOT!  Tomorrow's a new day and I'm getting there early!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Save 28%

Click here to go to our store. Everything is on sale Aug 3rd and 4th! Be sure to use the promo code at the checkout.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Fall Directed Drawing...Look for a Freebie soon!
Click on the image to go to our TPT store.
My favorite season is FALL!!!  I am finished with the October version of Draw, Flip, Read.  It's on sale for the next few days for $4.  In this set, there's directed drawing instructions for Columbus, pumpkins, a bat, an owl, and a witch.  A FlipBook for each drawing is included.  Keep checking back for a haunted house freebie.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Butterfly Release

We successfully hatched about 30 butterflies in the Spring! The entire kindergarten released their butterflies one morning.  In my earlier post, I talked about our school's outdoor learning center.  This butterfly garden is separate from the sensory garden.  It's just as awesome!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Year in Review...Our Outdoor Learning Center!

Our school has an outdoor learning center!  It's fabulous!  There are several gardens...vegetable, sensory, butterfly and ABC.  These photos are from our lesson in the sensory garden.  There are five sections to the sensory garden.  One section for each of the five senses.  Volunteers from our local garden club maintain the gardens and schedule the visits.  Our class hatched butterflies and released them in the garden.  I'll post those photos, soon.  The vegetable garden is maintained by the upper grades and the ABC garden has a plant for every letter of the alphabet.  The kids LOVE it! 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

An Oldie!

Just wanted to share an oldie but a goodie from at least 10 years ago!  I know I will be doing this activity the first day of school in August.  This is originally Deanna Jump's idea.  And I still love it!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Houston Astros Visit!!

I LOVE baseball!  We were sooo lucky to have three Astros and their mascot, Orbit, visit our school.  The Astros talked about the importance of setting goals and working every day to achieve them.  After a few questions from the students, they had a toilet paper roll race.  A student from my class was chosen.  She's usually very shy, but was a really great sport.  A few weeks later, her mom told me that they were moving to north Texas...I guess she'll have to be a Ranger fan now!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Draw, Flip, Read

I'm just doing a little summer kids (and parents) love any directed drawing activities we do!  Each drawing is always unique.  I combined my directed drawing lessons with a flip book and an independent writing sheet and posted it to TPT. “Draw, Flip, Read” is a series of theme related directed drawings
with flip books and an independent writing page, for each drawing.  Step by step written instructions and step by step illustrations are included for each drawing.  Great for vocabulary and geometry terms such as:  above, below, before, after, right, left, adjacent, rectangle, right angle, etc. The themes included in this set are:  Brown Bear, Colorful Cat, Coconut Tree, Big Red Barn and Johnny Appleseed.  This set is great for August/September themes such as, Back to School, Colors, Farm, Names and Apples.  Sight words in this unit are: on, a we, can, where, is, the, has, here, comes, up, are, see, the, I, brown, red, yellow, blue, green, purple, white, black, orange.  Look for more “Draw, Flip, Read” products on TPT. Click here to check it out for $5.  A free download, “Fairy Tale” version is available on TPT.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

"Draw, Flip, Read" Freebie for the Fourth!

Our fairy tale unit is one of my favorites!  Earlier, I blogged about our castle trip.  After the trip, we did a directed drawing.  My kids (and I) love directed drawing.  It's great for building listening skills and vocabulary. We do one drawing with every unit. My students also complete the flipbook and independent writing sheet that is included.  I posted a free fairy tale "Draw, Flip, Read" to TPT. Click here for your free download.  Happy Fourth!!

Friday, July 3, 2015

My year in reverse continues...100th day.

Making the 100th day hats.

Collecting 100 numbers.
Putting 100 numbers on the chart.
Making 100th day ice cream cones.
Our 100th day snack.

I continuing my year in reverse!  I love to look back at all the fun things we did.  These photos are from the month of February...our 100th day celebration.  I have made these 100th day hats for years.  We have some wonderful volunteers that cut the construction paper strips then, glue 10 construction paper strips to a sentence strip.  The kids use dot markers and put 10 dots on each construction paper strip. Next, we had a number hunt.  In the past, I have put the paper number in a balloon.  The kids would crawl on their knees and sit on the balloon to pop it and get the number that was inside.  However, this year I had air compressor I scattered the numbers throughout my room. I assigned the numbers to hunt.  For example, numbers that have a 2 in the tens place.  Or, numbers that have the same number in the ones and tens place (like 55).  Then, we place all the numbers on a chart (no photo).  Our paper ice cream cones were from fabulous Cara Carroll, I think.  The kids chose 10 scoops and glued them on top of their cones.  Then, they wrote by tens on each scoop.  Finally, of course, we have to eat!  They counted out ten of each of the ten different items and put them in their baggie.  This activity has been done a zillion times, but the kids still love it!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Since We live in Texas...Our Kinder Rodeo

Big Boot Races

Barrel Racing


Buckin' Bronco Racing

Roping Lessons

Horseback Riding
Every year, in March, we celebrate the end of our Texas unit with  a kindergarten rodeo!  The kids participate in many events.  They love it!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

We Miss Blue Bell!

In our little town, Brenham, Blue Bell has its corporate headquarters.  Blue Bell is very supportive of our community and our schools.  They support everything from scholarships to t-shirts.  Entire families work for Blue Bell and even generations!  Our community had a "Support Blue Bell" day.  It was a day to say thank you to a company that has done so much for us.

Friday, June 26, 2015

"Flip Out" Seasons Version

Another "Don't Flip-Out" book for $2.00 just posted to TPT.  Click here to check it out.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Another "Flip" Short Vowel/CVC Version

Click Here
Like I mentioned on my previous post, I use these books as part of my station rotation.  I will be creating many more flipbooks throughout the summer...and, of course, more freebies.“Flip Out Short Vowel/CVC Version” is a series of flipbooks that students create. Each flipbook has pictures and common kindergarten sight words. The words in this set are: this, is, little, we, can, get, the, look, at, red, I, want, big, was, it, a, yellow.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Yes..There is a CASTLE in Texas!

As our final thematic unit, Fairy Tales, came to an end, we had the opportunity to visit a real castle about 20 minutes from our town!  Mr. Newman has been building his castle for many years and it continues to be a work in progress.  It has a working drawbridge and a moat!  It was amazing!
The castle's dog rides the drawbridge up and down!

My sweet class of "Knights".

Inside the castle's dining room!

My class welcoming visitors to the castle.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Little "Flip Out" Freebie

 I posted a free download to TPT.  “Flip Out Fairy Tale Version” is a series of flipbooks that students create.  Each flipbook has pictures and common kindergarten sight words.  I use these books as part of my station rotation.   The students color, trace, write the word in the boxes and cut the strips.  The students stack the strips by matching the stars.  The strips can be in any order.  At the station, I include a stapler and the students staple on the star.  They read their book to their station partner and put it in their book boxes. These books are great for practicing handwriting and sight word recognition. Look for a free "Farm Version" soon.
Look for more “Flip Out” books on TPT.

Friday, June 19, 2015

My kids...grown up!!

My kids know of my MS diagnosis and they are the best!! I truly hope that I am teaching them to live and love life!  My son is 24 and is employed by our city, my middle daughter is a senior in college and my youngest, just finished her 8th grade year!  Yikes!! Some photos...

Yes...I am a RUSH fan and missed the in the 80's so I took my daughter to see them a few weeks ago!  We had a BLAST!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Life is Full of Ups and Downs

I debated on posting this...One week before the beginning of the 2013-14 school year, I lost the vision in my left eye. An ophthalmologist diagnosed me with a "Marcus-Gunn" pupil, meaning my pupil was not responding to light and that meant it was something in my brain. She ordered an MRI which showed 18 brain lesions typically found in people with Multiple Sclerosis. Because I was not in the typical age-group for MS, it was not definite. On Sept. 3, 2013 I saw a neuro-ophthalmologist at Methodist Hospital in Houston. The doctor asked some questions: Have you ever had any other vision issues, double vision, flashes of light? Yes and yes. Have you ever had numbness? YES. I told him that 12 years ago, my legs were numb for several months and I saw a neurologist and had a spinal MRI that showed no lesions (no MS). And over the years, I had double vision (blamed on dry eyes by the dr.) My arms and legs would be numb for periods of several days to several weeks (blamed pinched nerves). I had chronic fatigue and brain fog (blamed on stress). Dr. Lee gave me the name of the MS specialist at Baylor. He told me I didn't have to call...some people leave his office and don't want to know. Of course, I had to know. Several weeks later, I had a spinal MRI and it revealed 8 lesions, which confirms MS. I chose to inject myself with Copaxone and my doctor said it would be about six months before the medication would be in my bloodstream.
Finally, in March, I could feel the cloud lift. I joined the gym, hired a personal trainer and decided to eat cleaner. I don't want to give MS a reason to come back.
Looking back,sometimes I'm frustrated. For years, I had complained to various doctors about my vision, numbness and extreme fatigue.
However, I know I can not change the past...only move on.
Most importantly, I don't look too far into the future (after all, the future isn't promised to anyone). I take one day at a I can see and today I can walk.
In March 2015, I was featured in an ad for my gym.  It was quite an achievement.  I continue to work out daily and eat "clean".  My latest MRI revealed only one new brain lesion. 
By posting this, I hope my story can help someone else.