Sunday, April 29, 2018

Classroom Reveal 2017-2018

Usually teachers reveal their classrooms in August or September. I just don't have time or energy for that. Plus my room feels like a work in progress all year.

Friday I had my good cameral at school and took some photos. It is still a work in progress, but I love how it feels right now. 

The "front" of the room. The whole class teaching area. The "Student of the Day" and his/her table group gets to sit on the blue couches behind the carpet. My favorite parts here are the little red chair and the gray chair. I sit in the gray chair to read books to them, and the little red chair to be close to them while I demonstrate something.

Moving around to the left, a side of the class. My favorite part of this picture is the letter/phonics cards that hang. We review them daily in a variety of ways.

The "back." Behind the six doors that you see is my least favorite part of the class. Back there are hooks for coats and backpacks and a wonderful place to go hang out with your friends.

The other side. My favorite part are the windows. It looks into a grassy area, so we are not distracted by recess or a road. I love the sunlight!

The "Teaching Table." The bulletin board has grown with us this year. It holds our high frequency words. If they are written in green marker, the word "follows the rules." If the word is written in red, it does not "follow directions." I love that saying. One of my kinders has named the red words that--words that do not follow directions. 

And my very favorite! Class photos (more to add tomorrow on the far left), and moving right: individual photos and names, balloons with kid photos, our zones check-in, and the Safe Place, and description of the zones.

I love how colorful this area is, and the kinders flock to it, they love seeing pictures of themselves and their classmates. 

Soon I will pack this all up for the summer. I wonder what will be the same next year...

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Friday, April 27, 2018

Friday Five

I used to never miss a Friday post and linky party with Doodle Bugs Teaching. (Are there even linky parties any more? Does this idea age me???) Like years ago. But tonight I'm feeling like sharing five random things...

1. Kids made awesome flowers for our hallway bulletin board. 

2. It was joke day at school, and I told the BEST joke! 

3. Twice I was able to calm an unregulated kid. I used the skills I have gathered and remembered! My principal was proud of me and she told me so. Yep, she knows me, and how to get me to do that again. I had another teacher take the rest of my kids and I did the hard work. It was hard, and so very rewarding!

4. After school, as I was sitting in my quiet room, I felt a little sad and lonely. I know them so well, and they know me. I miss them when they are not with me.

5. I took pictures of my classroom today. All the way around. I'll show them another day. But it is just not the same without 21 smiling faces looking at me. 

What randomness happened in your room today?
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Monday, April 23, 2018

Pots, Behavior, and Regulation

So many pots cooking at once. 

But I like it that way. Whatever I'm feeling, I can ponder, research, ask questions and make plans.

The current pots:
  • ways to make the learning more interactive, more participatory
  • trauma, resiliency and education
  • lesson plan forms/planners/templates
  • looking ahead to my summer and what soul-building activities I hope to include
Even as I look toward my summer with sadness (I sure am gonna miss the kids I call my students) and joy (time to pursue interests outside of education), I wonder what feelings my students are experiencing. 

If I dedicate myself to being a kid-watcher, what will their behavior tell me?
  • nervous (for next year--teacher, class; the summer schedule/routine; meals)
  • joy (some kids get to know that kid joy, they do not worry about home, parents, safety)
  • sad (our year has been so much fun, why does it have to end; school is safe, will summer be safe?)
  • see me. just see me. call me by my name. ask me about my new puppy.
Tonight I've been refreshed. You know what that means? Tomorrow I will have lots of opportunities  to use my skills that I once used and forgot about, but were reminded of tonight.
  • behavior is communication. stop. look. name it (or at least try). offer validation of the feeling, allow time to cool down, then explore alternative ways to manage that intense feeling
  • the behavior is happening in front of me, not to me
  • is the behavior a call for help
Today I was able to see the behavior in front of me. (Yay!!!) And then I froze. (Whoops.) Did not know what to do. (Deer in headlights) Felt like I had tried everything (when really, had I tried anything???). Felt tired and sad. (Defeat.)

Tomorrow I will do my best to see each of the 21 of my little people. Can I create a 7-second period of time dedicated to each one? Build on our relationship that we have already. Can I offer my emotional regulation to them in times when they are not feeling regulated? Me regulated and with a sort of plan will help in the moments when I want to freeze or get the heck out!

I will see the best in me, and see the best in others.

References (because some are my thoughts, and some come from these books):
  1. Fostering Resilient Learners (2016), Kristin Souers with Pete Hall
  2. Conscious Discipline, Becky Bailey

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Sunday, April 15, 2018


This is one of my favorite spots in my classroom.

It is part of ELA center rotations. I can change the sentence frames and the pictures to keep interest high. The other day I found kids using words to cover the words and reading the silly sentences. They were laughing so hard at their creativity. I was thinking... this is like Mad Libs, I just don't get it, but others are smiling and that is good.

Tomorrow starts our school-wide ABC countdown. Should be fun and interesting. But it makes me sad, I'm never ready for the end of school. I like school. So, my task ahead--make each day wonderful and full of love and learning, to hold me until the time I can be back in my classroom again.
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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Fun Stuff

I'm a smidge excited for next week.

1. I haven't seen my Kinder Kids in 9 days
2. I've been inspired by Instagram to up the fun factor for the 4-day week

The kids will need a list of theme words, so we will create a cool anchor chart first thing. (The eggs look a little like ghosts!)

We will practice "predicting" with each book we read.

These eggs have tiny objects in them. (Not my idea, it was a carry-over from the teacher who used to be in my room).

These papers will hang in the "kitchen" and hopefully spur some creativity and writing.

Other ideas...
*use jelly beans with our tens-frame/adding to ten during math
*talk the science teacher into doing a Peep STEM activity
*have an egg hunt (with LOADS of parental assistance)

But, to start Monday morning, a great big hug and smile and then some time to talk and share about our Spring Breaks. I wonder how I could use a Kagan structure to up the engagement and practice social skills...
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Sunday, March 18, 2018


As I finish up (yes, I'm in the last class) my Masters' coursework I find myself in "Action Research."

I also find myself in a bit of a panic. Research is difficult. It is time consuming. I must site resources in APA.

However, as I take one step at a time, I also find that this research is totally up my ally (except the works sited part). 

Here's the current plan, in the very earliest stage (I haven't even developed good questions yet!):
We are about to start a math unit on teen numbers--compose, decompose, really understand them. I wonder how technology and "fun" and engaging activities may increase learning.

Anyone with helpful advise as I being this?

Research to look at?

A classroom to work with me?

I'll be back soon with a contextual summary!

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018


Part of learning to read is learning to read sight words, or high frequency words. Quickly.

One of the ways that I help the kids is to know which words follow the rules that I teach (closed syllable, v-consonant-e) and which ones don't.

We call the rule followers "green" words, and every where they appear in the room I write them in green marker. And the words that do not follow the rules are "red" words, and they are written in red marker.

Steps I follow to teach new high frequency words:
1. Read 3 sentences that contain the new word (it is the only word that is the same in all three sentences).
2. Students listen and discover the new word.
3. We say the sounds of the word.
4. I write the word on the board as I say the sounds.
5. They LOVE this one, they decide if it is a green word or red word.
6. Post the word on the word wall and add to the deck of cards that we review.

Well, this week our words are: have, for.

I cannot remember the exact conversation that led up to my smart kindergartener, but I must have asked "why is have a red word?" (And I know it could be a green word, but for K, we are going with red.)

And she replied, "Because it is not following directions." (She did go on to explain the direction that was not followed.)

Oh sweet child. Yes, some words do not follow directions!
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