Friday, March 28, 2014

Five for Friday

The question of the evening... How to keep this party fresh, exciting, interesting?

Here's my idea for today. I'm posting five photos from our recess that happened after lunch. 


It was discovered earlier this week that a mother rabbit had hidden some kittens (the name for baby rabbits) in Freckle's hay trough. I haven't seen them yet, but these kids are hoping for a glimpse.


A pickup game of football. I think the Broncos are playing the Chiefs today.


Tom Sawyer was at it again. Today the chore was scoop poop in the calf and donkey pens. There was a line waiting to scoop because we didn't have enough rakes. Maybe we should buy more? Can you believe it--the kids were sad when it was time to go in. Because they loved scooping poop so much!!


Normal playground equipment.


A circle of storytelling. See the smiles? What fun. 

And an extra picture because it is just so wonderful.

Mrs. Roux is great with kids and animals.

Everyday she challenges us to let the children do all the things/jobs with "our farm."

There you have it. Just another 15 minute recess in all it's splendor.

Linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching and 

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sun Shiny Recess

What do children like to do at recess?



Is there anything else?


Today at my school there was a run on shovels.

Tom Sawyer, I mean Mrs. Roux, got some kids to fill two buckets with dirt. She wanted the dirt (which probably had some manure in it) to put on our garden. You know, to fertilize it.

But, why would we do it when we have so many able-bodied youngsters?

These kids love to work at recess.

I wonder what jobs Tom Sawyer/Mrs. Roux/Mrs. Bartel/Mrs. Jones will come up with for tomorrow.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Field Trip

Did you know that this week is National Ag Week?

What can an ag school do to learn about ag week?

Do something with food of course.

Our school has been collecting cans of food for a food drive. And today we went a HUGE Food Bank in Wichita to see what will happen to the food we collected.

It was an amazing day that started with a sunny 40 minute drive on a school bus.

The K, 1, and 2 classes toured the food bank (which was cool) while the 3 and 4 classes sorted food and packed food backpacks.

Here is my class with the cool, big backpack.

Next stop... a soup kitchen. This place only serves the evening meal, but cooks/prepares for 5 or so different locations. The grownups really got it--the thankfulness of having a home, kitchen, and money to buy food. The kids loved the walk-in freezers.

We ate our packed lunches here.

Our plan was to go to a park and play, but the rain came. 

We settled for a noisy, sleepy bus ride back to school and some library and music time.

Yes, it was a great day. So glad we stepped out of our secure little bubble (school) and experienced two organizations that do so much with donations from people all over the USA.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Back At It

What a great first day back after a week of spring break and a day of PD.

I had those same thoughts yesterday... How in the world will I keep their attention? Do I have enough planned? Do I remember how to do this job?

Thank goodness for a wonderful day. Here's what made it wonderful...

I set up a Safe Place in my class. Finally. After holding off for 3 years. I taught how to use the Safe Place, when to use it and how many can use it. (See Conscious Discipline and the information on The Safe Place.)

I was really nervous. As I was explaining I said "And if I see you mistreating the tools you will be sent back to your seat." 

But then I stopped and channeled Becky Bailey and Mrs. Bookbinder. And came up with a better way. "Class if I see you mistreating the Safe Place I will come and teach you the correct way."

There was often a little person in it throughout the day, and never a moment of reteaching needed. Yippee!!

Mrs. Jones helped our firsties plant potatoes in our garden while I played tag and chased other kids around the playground. Really, I should play more. It was fun and carefree.

And, it's that time of year. When we try to stay strong with our teaching and look toward the next year and begin some long term planning.

Today I sat in on a meeting where 8 adults tried to map out a master schedule for next year. 9 classes (2 of K - 3, and a 4th). 90 minutes of ELA, Tier times, 60 minutes for math, lunch, science, PE, music, library. 

They worked for 2.5 hours. And through it discovered that we are short 2 music and PE classes. Uuuggg.

Not sure what the next step is, but I'm sure it will be entertaining.

So, looking forward to more great days with this wonderful, considerate, and loving class who will all too soon become second graders.

I think I'm already crying a bit.

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

My Friend is hurting, will you pray with me?

This evening I was trying to catch up on nearly 100 blog posts. About half-way through I received an email through my work address.

From a dear, sweet, first-grade, teacher friend. Inviting me to join her "" page.

What? Wait? What??? Last week she was diagnosed with cancer.

A friend of hers wrote about how we can pray for her and her family. I found it very encouraging and helpful. You could read it here.

I immediately went searching for a prayer that I could pray for her. I found this one and personalized it for her.

Think, O God, of our friend, Danielle, who is ill, whom we now commend to Your compassionate regard. Comfort her upon her journey, and ease her suffering. We beg for deliverance, and submit that no healing is too hard for the Lord. We therefore pray that you bless our friend, Danielle, with Your loving care, renew her strength, and heal what ails her in Your loving name. Thank you, Lord.


Thank you for your prayers.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

More Potato Fun

Yesterday after school, I had a poster made. Of all the students and their potato heads.

When I got to school this morning I hung it on the wall. 

I loved that without me even showing it to the kids, they noticed right away. Smiles, pointing, reminiscing of the day we made the potato heads. 

Today we got back to potatoes. 

The comprehension focus today was main idea and details. I used an umbrella to give a picture to the concept. The main idea is the umbrella, and the rain drops are the details that give evidence to prove the main idea.

We practiced once with a story we read yesterday and then we listened to Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato (from YouTube).

It was pretty easy to create a chart to document our learning.

The best part was listening to the story twice and adding to the chart. Their faces lit up with excitement and joy. They understood this tough concept!

A big highlight was planting potatoes. After asking parents to send in sprouting potatoes, the kids stuck toothpicks in the potato, plopped it in a cup, added water, and now we are waiting to see what may happen. Roots? A plant? Who knows?

And I will leave you with a special photo...

Miss Janzen and a student have spent a lot of time with the donkey these last six weeks (when we are outside, that is).

They give the donkey hay, chat, and talk about important things.

I'm going to miss seeing this when she leaves.
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Monday, March 10, 2014

Pizza Day

We've been planning for a month now. For today. And it all came together in a fabulous way.

The weather even cooperated. Our school got to walk (for homeroom) for the first time in what seems like for-ev-ev!

Our reading/comprehension lesson was awesome. I found this book

on Reading A to Z. And it came with a lesson plan. And I did it. Nearly all of it. I loved having a plan and getting to choose what I wanted to use.

We learned and practiced compare and contrast. We connected with prior knowledge. We were doing REAL reading.

All of my readers loved this book. The topic (pizza) was a great hook. My high readers did more comparing and contrasting. And my struggling readers worked so hard to read (and they did an amazing job).

They got to draw and then write about pizza.

Jeff and his crew (from Mid Kansas Coop) came just after lunch and gave a presentation about Kansas crops/commodities that are used in making pizza. It lasted about 25 minutes, and the kids were quite good (meaning, they listened, asked good questions and answered his questions).

Then they pulled out 8 pizzas made at the local (in-town) pizza shop and we chowed down!

After all this talk of pizza we needed to get back to normal. So, I pulled out a math game. Roll three dice, write an addition number sentence, solve and color a spot on a cute picture. (The game came from this wonderful pack No Prep Games.)

Wow! Miss Janzen and I were sooooo tired this afternoon.

I'm sure it has nothing to do with Daylight Savings Time.
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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Five for Friday March 7, 2013

I didn't have the strength to post last night. It was a long 4-day week. An inclement weather day on Monday (our Dr. Seuss celebration day) made for rearranging schedules all week long.

So many more awesome learnings, activities, lessons and conversations happened, but you will have to take my word for it.

1. We rescheduled our Dr. Seuss/pj day for Tuesday. But with the specials schedule I just didn't have time to do it all. We did some on Tuesday and some on Friday. Wearing pjs both days. I loved saying--"Find a book, find a spot, and read." They loved it too.

2. Our Cloverbuds group (that is the K/1 version of 4-H) met Thursday morning. Mrs. Jones cooked with the kids (black bean and corn salsa--YUMMY), Mrs. Paronto did a physical activity, Mrs. Roux taught the pig curriculum, and I led an art activity. Coming up in April our county will have a smallish home and garden show. Our school has a booth. We sell plants, granola, and this year an art project.

The kid used sharpies to decorate a tile. They were so creative!

3. That same afternoon, we just wanted to have fun. But we were hungry. Lucky for me, I had a popcorn popper donated several years ago, and some popcorn in the cupboard. Oh, they loved watching it pop, and then eating it. I made 4 poppers full of popcorn.

One friend wondered -- how this could work without a bag? We are still wondering about that, maybe a research project is in her future. While we ate, we watched a video about how popcorn is planted, harvested, dried, shelled and cooked. It was very cool.

This was my snack when they went to their special classes that afternoon.

4. We are studying about potatoes this week and next (mixed in with many other themes--can you say, "Choose ONE?") Next week we will plant sprouting potatoes in a clear cup so we can see the roots grow. On Thursday, the kids planned how they would decorate a "potato head" and on Friday, they did it. We had an Elvis, ninja, karate pro, and many other dudes and dudettes. I got a picture of every single potato with it's creator to go in a book they are making.

5. Miss Janzen, my student teacher, arranged for a special guest on Friday. Since she has been teaching about synonyms, she had a local author/illustrator come to our class. He read his book, showed his art tools, and talked about how he used synonyms in his book. It was really neat and the kids LOVED this time.

That's my week in a nutshell. How was yours?

Head over to Doodle Bugs Teaching to see what more friends did.
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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Currently, It's March!

I love changing the calendar to the next month. So much hope. Endless possibilities. A fresh start. 

And in the blog world, a time to think about me, about what I'm thinking and doing Currently. 

It's Saturday morning and I have the tv all to myself. Hello Pioneer Woman. How will you inspire me today?

My student teacher did a fab job this past week. She taught everything, I hung out in the hallway/computer lab and began some planning for next week and beyond. It was lovely.

Some kids learn to read in spite of me. Some kids need me to show them how to read. I think about this all the time. Some kids need time. Some kids need intervention. How do I know which to give each kid? This is what I think about in the morning, in the afternoon, and as I'm falling asleep. 

Inner peace. I think I'm doing ok. I hope I'm doing better than that. I'm always second guessing myself. Having a teaching job is more than teaching. I wish I could find some peace and at the same time not give up.

BFF time grounds me. Especially in times of stress. I hope we can get together for a cup of Chai Tea soon.

Know what my question is? Give a guess...

Now I'm off link up with Farley, and leave some comments on my friend's currently posts. I will also be watching the weather--in like a lion? We might be in for it.

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