Decisions.  It is that time of year, where as one chapter is about to close, another one is about to open.

Tomorrow, my baby turns 5.  With that, we enter a new phase in our lives.  I will have a kindergartner in the fall.  A kindergartner, who will be coming to school with me instead of going to our neighborhood school.  It will be interesting to see how we each learn to adapt to having one another.

For the first time in six years, I will not loop with my students.  This has been a difficult decision for me.  I LOVE looping and have spent over half of my career as a looping teacher.  But, I realize that I am the minority at my school.  Most teachers do not loop.  Sometimes because I loop, I limit the choices in placement for children within the grade level I teach.  Many times, I have to adapt to curricular decisions that I did not participate in the planning of but must implement and teach.  I have been able to overcome these challenges in the past.

Lately, though, I feel that I need to help with the success of our school and students in a new way.  I would like to be a teacher leader at our school. I would hope that some members of our staff already see me as one.  One day, I would like to work with students who would benefit from an additional year of kindergarten or first grade in a transitional grade setting.  But that is all in the future.

So for now, I will be a kindergartner teacher. I will focus on learning the Common Core, implementing a new language arts adoption and being a mommy of a kindergartner.


Exploring our 5 Senses

Science is so much fun in our classroom!  
We are exploring our 5 Senses through centers.

How It Works:
At each station, I set up five different objects to investigate each sense.
She is making a list of what she sees.

I number the tables and students rotate through each number until that station is finished.  

Tip: Write directly on the table with a Sharpie.
It wipes off clean.

They write a description of what they saw, heard, felt, smelled, or tasted using this journal which I adapted.

We complete the stations over a period of days.  
 I added different scents such as cinnamon oil into the rice.
I didn't want the students to use their sense of vision to tell what it was.

Afterwards, we share our thoughts about the objects.  Once finished, we will create a bubble map of sensory words.

Happy Teaching and Learning!


Today was a busy day.

We started off the morning with a visit.  We had VIPs. Well, almost!  Maybe VIGPs.  

Then, we completed our bulletin board about whales.  I had intended to hang our whales like the ones from this kindergarten classroom but it turns out that our Fire Marshall wants nothing hanging overhead.  So, I  created this board instead.  It was inspired from here.

Finally, for those teachers who use HeidiSongs, my little one, a more reluctant writer, wrote this during writing time.

Just goes to show you that inspiration can come from anywhere.

Happy Teaching and Learning!

Subtract with Pete the Cat

I am planning to use Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons to create subtraction word problems. 

My students will use this work mat to draw and write their subtraction sentence.  Later in the week, we'll make a class book.
Click image to get yours.

Happy Teaching and Learning!


Simple Mother's Day Gift

My students made these beautiful flower pens for their Mother's Day gifts.  To make, I cut the tip of each pen in order to hot glue the flower on top. (This was probably the most time consuming step. Prep this ahead of time.)  Then, each student wrapped floral tape around the pen.  The vases are jars which they painted the inside of.  I loved how they turned out and the kids were very proud to give these to their moms.

Happy Teaching and Learning!

The Gift of Education

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Aside from all the freebies and sales, this is great time to reflect about why we are teachers.  For me, I choose this path for many reasons; all deeply personal.  

I became a teacher because of my mom and sister.  You see, I am the child of a migrant worker.  My mom, like many others during her time, never had much of a formal education.  She stopped going to school by the 4th grade.  As a child growing up, she reminded me daily of the importance of an education.  She knew what a precious gift it was because she never had it.  My sister and I each had very different experiences in school.  I was the kid who got to choose the books I read whereas she was the student who went to reading class.  I would get to do presentations while she answered the questions at the end of the story.  My dream of becoming a teacher was to give the gift of education but also to let everyone have a learning experience that is positive and makes you want to know more.  Each year, I fall in love with the people in my classroom; even the most challenging ones.  Sometimes, I love them even more because I may be the only who shows them that learning can be fun, meaningful and does not always come with a worksheet.  Nothing give me more pride than to here that sigh in the room when it is time to stop because they don't want to. Or when a child asks and even suggests our next learning topic.  

These are two stories that I shared before but reflect why I am a teacher. Read more about them here or here.

I teach because of those lightbulb moments when everything clicks.  Years from now, my students may not remember everything about their kindergarten year.  What I hope I leave them is that longing to continue to do their best and to learn more and to believe that anything is possible with an education.

Why do you teach?

Happy Teaching and Learning!

PS- All my Common Core Cheat Sheet Standards from grades k- 4 are $1 now until 5/9/12. Click on my TeachersNotebook shop on the sidebar to get yours.

Seahorse Art

I am always amazed how Eric Carle is able to tell a story as well as inform young readers.  Mister Seahorse is yet another example of this.  

After learning that many fish fathers take care of the eggs until they hatch, we created seahorses inspired by Eric Carle's artwork.

First, we used transparencies and a green permanent marker to draw our seaweed.  I told them to draw 4 to 5 "stems." Afterwards, I showed them how to draw the leaves. I asked them to try to overlap some leaves.

Then, we used tissue paper to a cover our seahorse. Need a seahorse? Look here.

Finally, we placed the seahorse under the transparency to camouflage it just like it the book.

My kids are absolutely loving learning about sea animals. Perhaps, it has to do with the fact that we are also doing lots of art projects to go along with this unit.  :)

Happy Learning and Teaching,
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