Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Why I teach!

It's Tuesday and it has been one of those thought provoking weeks where I stand back and the end of my day throwing  my "lesson plans" to the side because what my kids wanted to do was SO much more productive then what I had "planned."  I am so blessed that I live in a school and a district that allows me to teach in this fashion as long as I "map" what I have taught.  (Don't worry, I will have it by the end of the year.  I take really good notes.)
 This week we are learning about Problem solving.  At 4 we are SO good at this.  We have such good ideas.  We are not afraid to try anything.  And yet somewhere between here and middle school we quite using that God given thing called a brain and we stop learning that we can solve problems.  We quit trying.  We quit taking a chance.  Our Problem was simple:  How do I move the plate? No one laughed at an idea.  No one said it would not work. In fact many times I heard, "Oh, that is a good idea."  I did "force" them to choose something else if their idea was already taken but I am just amazed at their list. 
*with a bucket                           * push it with your feet                     *use your hands
*with a remote control              * a thing to drive it (motor)               * you can hold it up
* with a stick                             * wing                                                * with a race car
* with a shovel                          *make a wave                                   * with a flag (sail)
*push it                                      *push it with a bucket                       *make the water move
*something else floating           *by swimming in a boat to move it     * push the water
*push the water with a boat       *you can bump it                                *with a fork lift
* make a dinosaur push it
 I stood looking at their ideas thinking, "I love my job."  That was Monday. 
And then today...We began our day reading the book The Gruffalo by Julie Davidson.  If you have never read the book, I suggest you run out a buy it.  SO, good!!! (Spoiler Alert!!!)  I read the first 1/2 and stopped.  The story is fantastic. The fox sees a mouse invites him to lunch.  The mouse, who is a quick thinker, invents a creatures called a Gruffalo and tells the fox that he can't come to lunch because he is having lunch with the Gruffalo whose favorite food is roast fox.  When the fox runs away the mouse laughs because there is no such thing as a Gruffalo.  Half way through the book, the mouse finds himself face to face with a real live Gruffalo.  This is where I stopped our story.  I then told the kids it was time to go to centers.  One of my precious little guys asked, "Can we play Gruffalo?"  Now, please tell me how in my right mind I can tell them no?  So, I allow them to head to the science center (which at this point was the only center that no one had chosen).  I had 5 boys that wanted to play.  They completely had who was playing which part and had began chasing each other around the room before I had everyone in their centers.  So, we had to set some ground rules.  I know that you are playing but,  you can not run and you can not "bite" even if you are pretending.  Then we gathered paper, index cards, crayons and string and set to work so that they could make character cards for the class to see who they were in the story.  I wrote the names of their characters for them to copy.  And they set to work.  They spent 45 minutes replaying the story.  I did not get my "sorting assessment" completed.  But let me tell you I saw some AMAZING learning, problem solving, cooperation, support, and encouragement not just from those five boys but also from my class who watched them preform the first 1/2 of the story.  They laughed so hard when the little mouse said,  "Silly .... doesn't he know there is no such thing as a Gruffalo." 
That my friends is what I LOVE about teaching.  That my friends is so much more then just "I played Gruffalo today!" 

Friday, September 28, 2012

My room

 Welcome to my classroom!  This year my classroom got an overhaul.  A new coat of paint, all new bulletin boards and so, I needed a new theme.  I am "cheap."  I don't buy a new theme each year.  So, for the last 8 years we have been hopping into the Pre-K pond.  This year we are Super!!!!  Super Heroes are everywhere!  This area is our story center.  It opens about the fourth week of school after my kids understand what my procedures are for centers.  In this center there are magnetic story pieces to retell stories we have told through tout the week, flannel boards with pieces, clip boards with paper, markers (not found in other places in the classroom), a small book case with class-made books, stuffed animals, puppets and puppet theater, items to make puppets (sometimes open ended, sometimes specific).  
 Here is our Greeting/Carpet area.  I LOVE that we have these wonderful projectors that our school auction purchased for us last year.  I did not realize how much I used them especially for 30 seconds to a minute and a half at a time until lightening took out the "wireless" connection piece of it!  Yuck!!!  It takes me 3 minutes to switch out my monitor for my projector now...not so user friendly.   I just don't use it as often.  This also serves as our block center during center time.  Which is why you see a ton of "clutter" under the board.  The buckets house various blocks under our white board.  The left part of the shelf in the picture has the other portion of our block options.  This is where later we add variety to the center.  I will a variety of odds and ends to the block center to expand and extend their play/work. 
 This is our Writing Center.  This is my 9th year of teaching.  Last year I tried this (thank you Pinterest!!!) and for the 1st time my kids began to use the writing center. I mean REALLY use the writing center!!!  I was so super excited.  This I love.  And I love the flexibility of this station.  The table pulls away from the shelf and we "borrow" chairs from the other tables in the room.  When center time is over they return the chairs and the table to their correct position.  It is  a lot of "moving" but it works for our room.  They kids love that the buckets and baskets come down. Some times they even use the floor instead of the tables. I love how easy it makes
 I use Frog Street Pre-K  this year.  I am enjoying it.  It is very different from what I have done in the past.  This spot our "Safe Spot" is part of Conscious Discipline. The kids love it.  The pillow, the "Cranky Cream" and the timers are their favorites. 
 The art center...And this is the center that I don't think needs any explanation.  Doesn't everyone have one of these? :)
 This is our Sensory Station.  It, of course, is a favorite.  Last year, this was my "goal" I spent the year focusing on beefing up the things that I could use in this center. I love what I did.  I had a parent make my table 5 years ago.  Now I store all my supplies under the table in three large totes.  I switch out the items in the table each week. Sometimes, we switch tables with the Pre-K 3 class in our building.  It really has been fun for me and for the kids. 
 This is our Dramatic Play center.  I don't feel like this is my "best" center in town.  But the kids love it.  There are times in the year when it is better than others.  Right now it is the first of the year so I only have the dishes and food out.  The puppet theater is also seen in this picture.  It was moved to the story center.  My personal kids were playing with it while we waited on their dad to fix the door that fell off. 
 This in our Science Center.  Not too exciting looking but the kids love it.  I have a lot of movement stuff that stays on this shelf year round that they can manipulate as well as any investigations we do throughout the week. 
 Because I teach in a Catholic School, we are required to have a Prayer Table.  This is our space.   I love that we have a space set up somewhere in our classroom to display a Bible.  It just makes my heart happy. 
The Math Center:  This is another one of those centers that I have a hard time thinking of things to "explain." Everyone has one.  
 My Desk:  The cleanest that it will EVER be.  I Never sit here It just becomes a place to pile things that I need to get to someday when I want to take a minute.  :) I have one more center that I did not
I have one more center that I did not get a picture of.  You can see it here.  The back table is the Language Center.  This center is anything to do with alphabet and words.  I usually have a lot of fine motor things in this center as well.

 
 I had a really hard time with my classroom this year.  For 8 years I have lived in these walls.  These walls have been neon green.  They have been FULL of color!!!!  I had to have something that would balance that, so I made the little bunnting.  I LOVE it!  It matched the skirt that I made for the water table a few years back and it matched the colors in the super hero kids and the alphabet chart that I had as well. 
So, the end of September is a little late for a classroom tour I know  but, life got the better of me.  I have been busy with life and blogging was not on the list of things to keep up with. :)
Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The waiting is over!

 Mess, mess here is my mess!
 Mess, mess but my walls are bright and fresh!
 Mess, mess here is where I begin. 
 Each brand new year, starts with a brand new slate. 
 So,  new paint.  Clean carpet.  And a room all ready to be put together. 
Tonight, I will post what my room looks like now, after a week after lots of work. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Waiting



This is the part of summer that is really hard.  I am ready to get back into my room and get started on the new school year.  But this is what my classroom looks like.  I have to wait till it is painted, the carpets steamed, and the blinds cleaned before I am okay to enter.  So, I go to Target and the Dollar Tree.  Really I should stay away from those two places.  I got 8 dinosaur hats, two sets of world flag cards and two new pens for my writing center.  The green dinosaur looks like a crocodile.  I can see the "play" coming out of these hats even before they make it the dress-up box in my house center. 

What neat finds did you get this summer?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Blog Award

This made my day!  Thank you Cassandra at Panda-monium in pre-k


Here are the rules:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. Include a link to their blog.
3. Include the award image in your post.
4. Give 7 random facts about yourself.
5. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.
6. When nominating, include a link to their blog.
7. Let other bloggers know they've been nominated.

7 Random facts about me:
1-I love to read.
My main love is Bible study type books:  Stormy O'martin, Elizabeth George, Beth Moore.  
2-I don't think I am creative but I can't use a pattern.  For example, I sew my kids Halloween costumes. I don't use patterns.  I decide that I am going to paint fairy land.   I look at a map and I do it.  But don't ask me to use the pattern to draw, paint or sew.  I just can't do it.
3.  I love, love, love to do things for others.  RAK are all on my list!!! LOVE them!
4.  I LOVE to sing but I can't carry a tune to save my life.
5. My teacher hat is my favorite hat because it is the only hat I wear that I feel totally and completely confident in myself. 
6. I do not like spiders and yet I have one as a pet.
7.  I love watching water.  My favorite places to sit:  by a creek, on a beach, at a lake, near a river.  I just love the sound of water.  So peaceful!

So, my list of favorites:

Catholic Icing
Ms. Bassett
Let the Children play
Childhood 101
Little warriors 
Loving and learning
Kristina
Kindergarten lifestyle
chasing cheerios
Chalk talk
rainbows within reach
teach preschool
pre-kiders
growing in prek
Mrs. Goff's

Have a blessed day!