Thursday, April 24, 2014

Springing Into Science Blog Hop!

Yay for Science!!  I sure love teaching science in my classroom.  There is not enough time, but I try to squeeze it in when I can.  This time of year is my favorite because we can focus on plants, life cycles of animals/bugs, and weather.  I love living in Indiana because we get all four seasons and can really teach weather.  Students can relate to each season - even though the weather has been pretty crazy this year. 

At the beginning of the year during the fall, I taught a unit on plants, apples, and pumpkins.  We practiced the life cycle of plants and tried planting Hair.  This was when we used grass seed and soil in cups to grow "hair."  We placed pictures of my kids faces on the cups so it would look like their hair was growing out of the top of the cup.  The students loved seeing their faces on the cups.  Then, when the "hair" grew, it was really fun to look at!

Check out our plant activity that shows the different types of plants.

Now that it is spring, we order a butterfly kit and ant farm from Insect Lore.  Check out this website to learn about different resources you can purchase.  I find them very reasonably priced.  Last year, we did the butterfly life cycle and absolutely loved it!  We had our Mom's and Muffins event, and during the event one of the butterflies came out of their cocoon and started flying around the caged net.  It was so neat!  This definitely made for a memorable afternoon.  I have never done the ant farm, so I am excited to see how that works out.  We hope to get our ants and butterflies soon!

Check out our life cycle of a butterfly activity!

During our weather unit, we learned about tornadoes, thunderstorms, rainbows, clouds, and lightning.  We did the typical tornado experiment with the 2 liter bottles of pop, water, glitter, and soap.  They loved watching the tornado spin around and around!  When we learned about clouds, we practiced the 3 different types of clouds.  We used shaving cream to learn about them.  It was so fun and messy!  For our rainbow experiment, we tried to make a rainbow using skittles in water.  Our experiment did not turn out as planned.  However, this was a good lesson for my kids to see that not everything works out as planned!  

Be sure to look at this fun Spring Science Linky Party!  There are many fun resources for FREE!

*Click to check out the link party!

Check back with my blog next week when we complete more fun science experiments and observations of plants and bugs!

While completing our science activities, we use this scientific method packet to help us understand the steps to completing an experiment.  Hope you enjoy this fun freebie!

*Click for your FREE copy

Thanks for visiting and be sure to follow my blog and "like" my Facebook page to stay up to date on what is going on in my classroom! 


                                                             *Click to "like" my page!

Click on my friend, Maja Austin's Blog at Kooky Kinders to check out all of her fun science activities and freebies!

*Click to visit Kooky Kinders Blog

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Reading Workshop

At our school, we divide our kindergarten students into 6 different groups for our 90 minute reading block.  There are 6 teachers-so we take our students and level them based on ability.  I am teaching the high group this year, so I am doing a lot of enrichment activities.  If you don't group at your school-I suggest doing it during an intervention time because it is very beneficial.  I still have to differentiate, but not as much.

One thing I have started with my reading group this year is Reading Workshop.  I've incorporated what I do for math workshop and started it during reading. I only do this 3 days a week.  I still do reading centers 4 days a week, but I've added another small group time with reading workshop.  I get to work with all 30 of my reading group kids in a small group 4 times a week!  That is pretty awesome! 

So, this is how I do it:

I number my kids into 4 different groups-so I have roughly 7 in each group.  We complete ALL 4 rotations each day we do workshop.  I choose to do it Tuesday-Thursday.  Monday, I do whole group instruction and introduce the unit, vocabulary words, sight words, etc.  On Friday, I review what we've done for the week and focus on one particular skill the whole time.  For example, we've been reviewing sneaky e words on Friday because my kids still struggle with it. 

The reading workshop goes as follows: 

The students look at what number they go to for the first rotation and go to that location.  I then change it after each rotations so they know where to go next.  We are at each station for about 15 minutes. 

1. The first station (number 1) is always with me.  This is when we meet at the teacher table and they work with me.  I teach the lesson at this time and focus on the objective for the day.  Sometimes I have my students complete a worksheet to check for understanding, but I can typically tell who understands and who doesn't. 

*Here is an example of a small group lesson.  Today, we focused in cause and effect.  It was great to teach in to a small group - they focus so much more! 

2.  The second station (number 2) is always comprehension.  The students read a book and complete the comprehension worksheet.  I believe this is so important because it covers many skills.  Depending on their level, they either write sentences or draw pictures with labels.  Now that it is farther in the year I encourage them to write sentences.  Check out the freebie!

3. The third station is word work.  They pull a colored basket and take it to the matching colored table. Then, they practice the dolch words during word work.  There are six different stations. The star actions are alphabetical order, stamp a word, use pile cleaners to make words, roll a word, white board writing, and rainbow writing. 

4. The last station is Fab Four.  They refer to be Fab Four chart and practice rhyming words, syllables, sounds in words, and write the word.  Once they have completed this, they complete another activity.  These activities change.  Sometimes they read big books, correct sentences, of play a game.  I enjoy being flexible with this and I can focus in things they are struggling with.

I hope you enjoyed learning about Reading Workshop!  I have noticed my students improve so much.  I used to ask them a question when they would leave class to check for understanding, and typically 60% would know without prompting. Now, when my students leave about 90% know without help!  I am so excited and I encourage you to try it.  The prep is really easy, and I love how my kids work at each station.  They love it too!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Liebster Award

I am so excited to announce that I was nominated by Marissa from First Grade STARS for the

Liebster Award!

This award is given to up-and-coming bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers as a way to welcome them to the blogging world.  I truly appreciate this award.  I hope to get more followers, and I appreciate this opportunity! 

As a nominee, my job is to answer Marissa's questions and share 11 random facts about myself before nominating five other new bloggers! 

Here are Marissa's questions and my answers:

1. What grade do you teach? What grades have you taught? How long have you been teaching? 

I currently teach kindergarten, and this is my third year of teaching.  I have only taught kindergarten, and I absolutely love it!  

2. Which book do you read to your class every year without fail? 

I always read the Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.  I love this book!  It is great for retelling, and it has awesome pictures!

3. If you weren't a teacher, what would you be doing? 

Honestly, I cannot think of doing anything else other than teaching!  I have wanted to be a teacher ever since I was little, and don't want to do anything else. :]

4. What is one thing you're just dying to buy for your classroom? 

I am dying to have netbooks in my classroom.  I would do anything to have a small group set!  I think they are so great and would provide so many activities for my students!

5. What's your non-teaching guilty pleasure? 

My non-teaching guilty pleasure is watching TV.  I absolutely love Grey's Anatomy, How I Met Your Mother, and Vampire Diaries.  I get on Netflix and start a show - then I watch it for hours!  I get so addicted to watching various shows, it's kind of embarrassing!

6. What is your favorite book that is not teaching related? 

I don't have one favorite book, but I love anything written by Harlan Coben!  He writes awesome mystery books.  Once I pick up a book, I can't put it down!

7. What is one thing on your bucket list? 

I would love to go to Europe.  That is one place I'd like to travel to!

8. What is your favorite restaurant? 

My favorite restaurant is Olive Garden.  I go there for every birthday!

9. Who would play you in a movie about your life? 

I would love for Emma Stone to play me in a movie about my life!

10. What's one thing you could eat every day? 

I could eat strawberries every day all day long!

11. What inspired you to start blogging? 

My friend Maja Austin inspired me to start blogging.  She is a kindergarten teacher that I work with and 2 years ago she showed me her blog.  So, I started my own.  I have learned so much by blogging.  After I went to the Indiana Spring Blogger Meet-Up I started blogging more and even made a Facebook Page.  I find blogging to be very addicting, and I hope to get more followers - as well as learn from other blogging friends!

11 random facts about me: 

  1. I love to dance!
  2. My favorite color is pink.  I like everything to be pink!
  3. I'm an Apple girl - everything I own is an Apple product.
  4. My husband is a Marine, and when we were in college he was deployed for 405 days.  The hardest year of my life!
  5. I am an alumnae of Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority.
  6. I love spending time with my family.
  7. I am moving to Chicago this summer because my husband got a new job there.
  8. I have a cat named Tiki.
  9. I played golf in high school, but I'm really bad at it.
  10. I love Michael Jackson!
  11. I really want a house!!

Now, I would love for my nominees to answer the same questions and tell us 11 random facts about themselves!

Here are the rules:

1. Link back to my blog as the one who nominated you.
2. Nominate five blogs with fewer than 200 followers.
3. Answer the questions I posted.
4. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
5. Contact your nominees to let them know they have been nominated.

Thanks again Marissa!  I had fun doing this!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Cookies and Canvas

We had a night to remember!  Our students in kindergarten were given the opportunity to attend this event at our school.  The kids were so excited!  Each child received their own canvas with paintbrushes and a plate of paint.  The students' parents came and it was so sweet to see them work together!  This was a great bonding experience.  The kids loved the one-on-one attention.  This event lasted about 2 hours and the teacher did a wonderful job!  

They provide everything for you and each child gets a bag of cookies.  If course, they ate the cookies first! If you're interested in hosting an event, contact the Bloomington Wine and Canvas at:

We added $5 to the cost so that we could make it a fundraiser for our corporation Backpack Program.  

Brazilian visitors

My mother teaches ESL and is currently teaching a class at Rose Hulman.  Her students are all from Brazil.  My class was fortunate enough to have them visit our classroom and teach us various skills.  We were so excited to have them visit!  This is such a great opportunity for my students.  They get to learn about different cultures.  My students also love all the attention! 

There were seven groups.  One group taught a fun hand game that included a song.

Another group taught about the different animals in their country.  One of my students said, "Do you want me to tell you about animals here?"  The Brazilian said, "Well, yes!"  So my student proceeded to tell them that we have rhinoceros here and that we call them rhinos. Haha I thought this was so funny that the animal he talked about was a rhino!  

One group taught the students about a parade they have each year.  At this parade they wear masks.  So, the students made masks. They also learned different words in Portugeuse by playing a game!

One group also learned about color words, while another group sang a song and did a dance!

 Outside my students learned how to play "football" or soccer.  They loved this group! 

We loved having our visitors!! We hope they come back soon!  Thank you! 

Foodie Friday

Kindergarten Smorgasbord and Kooky Kinders gave me the idea of Foodie Friday.  So, this Friday's treat was a chick  in a nest.  We had so much fun making it and the kids did a great job!  My husband. Actually found a picture of this for me:) Isn't he sweet?!