Thursday, February 25, 2016

Two Hoots and A Holler: Field Trips and Visitors

Hoot #1
Last week we had a field trip to the Children's Museum of MemphisThis field trip is a favorite among kids.  The museum has so many different things they can interact with, and they get to be a KID!  
There is an actual Fed Ex airplane inside for the kids to explore!  Students loved sitting in the cockpit and pretending to be a pilot! 

The students also love to take on roles that they see adults do everyday! Through play, they are able to experience what it might feel like to have certain occupations. Above, you see Issac.  He was working on this car as a mechanic.  He was filling the car with gas before his customer, Madysen (you see popping her head out of the car), left.
Cristian and Mason talk about becoming police officers a lot!! So, I was not surprised to see them here! However, I was surprised to hear Mason say, "Pull over Mrs. Jamie. You are under arrest!"
This pic just makes my heart smile.  Daija is pretending to be a chef. She is READING the recipe and pretending to mix the ingredients.  WOOOOHOOO!!!

And who doesn't like adventure?!?! Brylee took the time to do a little rock climbing! She made it to the top all by herself! You go girl!!
Look at that face! The wonder and amazement is so precious!
Our students experienced so many things in their short time here.  They got to grocery shop, go to the bank, pretend to be a star in Hollywood and perform on stage, play in the Mississippi River, be a dentist, and so much more!  If you are ever in the Memphis area, be sure to go check it out! 

Hoot #2
For Dental Health month, a dentist came to talk to all of our kindergarten classes about dental hygiene.  I was amazed at the questions that they had for them.  We can check question asking off on the report card!

Of course they loved singing the song about brushing their teeth!
The students got to choose what foods were healthy/not healthy for their teeth.  Yarel is choosing that cookies are not good for your teeth.  Some of the students disagreed with her.  One students said, "They may be bad for my teeth but they are yummy in my belly."

The students were able to put on some of the items that dentists wear.  Cristian got to wear the face mask.  He was so proud!
 Of course, it wouldn't be right to have a visit from the dentist and not have our own teeth cleaned.  Check out those pearly whites on Jodi! It took some muscle work, but boy are they shiny now!!

This Week's Holler...
 This week's holler goes out to Heather at Smack Dab in the Middle. She is an Indiana middle school teacher. We met Heather at the French Lick Teacher Blogger Meet-up last year.  She was so friendly and helped make us feel right at home.  She has a ton of helpful ideas so hop on over to her blog and check them out.
Smack Dab in the Middle

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Two Hoots and A Holler: Growing Readers

Hoot #1
Our students have really taken off in reading this year!  We are so happy with their growth that we wanted to share one of the things that we think has made a difference in their growth.  It is Reading Eggs.  Have you heard of it? This is a computer program that our school has purchased for us.  Using this program, the students are able to go at their own pace to move the Rabbit along the path.  At each stop that the rabbit makes a new reading skill is reinforced.  New sight words and word families are also reinforced at each "stop". As the student grows, so does the material that it exposes to the children.  The children move on to sentence structure and reading bigger stories.  The students do all of this through the games in this program.  The best part is that the students are getting reinforcement, and they do not even realize it!! If you haven't seen this before, check it out! They do offer a trial period:) 
Just thought some of you may be looking for an extra boost for your little learners! 

Hoot #2
Our students are LOVING small group reading time!  They cannot wait for us to call them to our table to read with us.  We have Flying Start to Literacy by Okapi in our leveled library.  And we LOVE these books!  If you have never heard of them, then you definitely need to go check them out!  The program has paired books, vocabulary starters, lesson plans, black and white copies of the books for children to take home, and digital resources.  It literally has everything you need to teach your group right there in your hands!  It makes small group time a lot easier, and the students love the books.  It goes hand in hand with our Fountas and Pinnell assessment, and it makes it easy to follow each student's progression of reading levels.  We are so blessed to have these books in our school's leveled library!

This Week's Holler...
This week's holler goes out to Rhea Ervin at News from The Resource Nook. Rhea is a Special Education teacher from Indiana! We love how she uses Kahoot in her class! Although we use ESGI in our classrooms for assessments, this sounds like something the students may want to do during their computer time.  We also love how invested she is with her students! We can tell that she really cares and goes a step above the call of duty! Thank you Rhea!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Two Hoots and A Holler: Handwriting and Dinosaurs

Hoot #1
Need to reinforce letter and letter sounds?? How about rhyming and word families?? This might be just for you! These kiddos have loved writing in their new poetry journals. We have enjoyed watching them as they are reinforcing letters, letter sounds, and improving their handwriting without even knowing it!

I can not tell you how their handwriting has improved! As they are writing, I usually circle the  room.  I conference with students about letter formation.  The students highlight sight words and circle punctuation.  As a teacher, it is so exciting to watch their face light up when they sound out and discover new words!
You can get "My Book of Poems A Through Z" for your class by heading over to our TPT store.  Just click on the picture below.

Hoot #2
This year we have had some students who were very interested in dinosaurs, so we decided to do a dinosaur unit this year.  This was our first time to do a dinosaur unit...let us just say it was VERY interesting!  We learned just as much as the kids did!  We began by looking on TPT for dinosaur units, and we purchased a few to help us out.  Deanna Jump, Julie Lee, Kindergarten Smorgasboard, Kindergarten Rocks, and Kindergarten Lifestyle have some AWESOME dinosaur units on TPT!  With the help of a little research and these wonderful teachers sharing their ideas on TPT, we were ready to teach all about dinosaurs.  Take a look to see some of the activities our classes participated in over the past 3 weeks....

We were paleontologists for a day.  We made our hats and were on our way to excavate!  Students loved excavating chocolate chips from cookies.  They used toothpicks and paintbrushes to help them excavate the "bones" from the "dirt".  They LOVED this activity!

After they were done, they counted how many chocolate chips they excavated, and we graphed them in the hall.  We had a class discussion on who had the least, most, and the same amounts.  

We used air dry clay and plastic dinosaurs to create our fossils.  Students got to choose their favorite dinosaur to make their fossil.  
Here are some more crafts we did from the units we purchased.  Students made a Triceratops and wrote about what they would do if they were a dinosaur.   We also created skeletons of a T-Rex by cutting the bones out of paper and gluing them to look like a T-Rex.  They added the rib bones by using white paint and a Q-tip. 
We kinda ran low on white paint, so we had to improvise with liquid white out.  It actually worked great! 

Our dinosaur unit was a HIT!  
The students were so excited to learn about different dinosaurs, and LOVED being paleontologists for a day. 
This Week's Holler...
This week's holler goes out to Tracy South and Mrs. Moon at 4th Grade Dynamic Duo! We absolutely love that there are two friends that decided to blog together, just like us! They have got some wonderful ideas.  We really like the idea of their Virtual Learning Day.  We are already trying to figure out how to fit it into our schedule this year.  We know that it will take a lot of planning, but it has really caught our attention.  Go check out their blog!!!!!

4th Grade Dynamic Duo

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Two Hoots & A Holler: Proud Moments

Hoot #1
Our writer's workshop is finally in full swing!  We discovered a couple of years ago that we have a lot more success with writer's workshop if we wait until after Christmas to begin.  This allows them time to understand letters, sounds, and the concept of writing better.  Our students have taken off with writing, and ask for it every day!  We call it WOW (work on writing) time.  We are so impressed at the stories our students are writing.  Students have a writing folder that holds their stories and Writer's Toolbox.  They love using their toolbox to help them with their writing.  The toolbox is just a file folder with a word wall, fab 5 rules for writing, and an alphabet line to help them remember letter formation and sounds.  Take a look at some pictures of it in action in our classroom...

 They are writing for a whole 15 minutes and staying focused the entire time!  This is only the second day of our writer's workshop! 

 I haven't done a mini lesson on adding details yet, but the picture above shows an awesome picture that this student has drawn.  He is writing about the three little pigs...and of course his story began with "wonsuponatim"! 

 During conferencing, some students needed help with putting words on their paper.  Some are very hesitant at first, and need a little push.  I remind them there is no wrong way, and it is their story.  They told me what they wanted to write, and I drew lines for each word to help them put their thoughts on the paper.  By the end, they had their story written!  Talk about a feeling of success!  They were so proud of their work, they are wanting to share it already!

 This little guy is on his fifth page of his story!  He told me that he needed me to staple it together for him so he could read it to the class like I read books to them!  I couldn't be any more proud of all of their accomplishments! 

Hoot #2
We live in a world where children go to bed hungry and scared. In a world where some days there truly is more testing than teaching.  There are really days that we are tired. There is more paperwork than time in the day. Competition between teachers is actually something that exists, and the petty whispers can be heard in the halls. You all know what I am talking about. We have all been there.
BUT THEN.........
 You shut your door and it's just you and your students. They are smiling.  They are excited to be with you. They can not wait to hear about all of the new things that you are going to show/teach them. They feel safe...They feel loved. You want to give them your best because they deserve it and nothing less. In just the past 6 months, they have thrived.  They have become independent. They only see the importance of your smile and approval. It makes all of the "ugly stuff" disappear. Doesn't it? 
 These two are spending their free center time reading in our reading loft!
My heart smiles when I can get to see this! It somehow makes it all worth it. Doesn't it? 
I say all of this, to let every teacher know that YOU are enough. YOU are more than enough.  YOU are the world to your students. You may feel buried under all of the "junk", but your students see YOU standing on mountains. 
Keep doing what you are doing!! Don't get discouraged when you are buried under paper work, when you feel like you have nothing left to give, or when you feel as though you do not fit in anymore.  Instead, remember your students' smiles and the impact YOU have made on their lives....and then realize that YOU are AWESOME!

This Week's Holler...
 This week's holler goes out to Anita Goodwin at I Live 2 Learn I Love 2 Grow:  Learning and Growing in Second Grade.  She has some awesome ways to use technology in the classroom!  She shares her ideas on how to use Classroom Dojo, Book Creator, Brain Pop Jr., Pic Collage, and so much more!  It is amazing what her class does with their IPads.  Go check her blog out, and grab some of her awesome ideas!  
ilive2learn ilove2grow