Saturday, October 14, 2017

Self Portraits!

Hey Kinder Friends,
Well, with my room under construction it's fair to say that it has been an interesting start to the school year to say the least. I feel like I have been on a long scavenger hunt that has lasted a lot longer than I had anticipated. When I finally find something I am looking for it almost feels like Christmas. On the flip side of the construction, I really have learned a valuable lesson. As I tried to ease my nerves about starting a new school year without having every little thing in place, I learned that I had to let go of the idea of perfection and enjoy the joy in each day. And I learned that we really need fewer things to survive in kindergarten than I had originally thought. The kids were just happy to be in kindergarten finally and they didn't seem to care at all that things in the environment were not perfect.
As Open House was approaching I wasn't sure if I would be back in my old room or if I would still be in the new room. No matter what I had to get things ready for parents to come and visit the classroom. I will admit I had no grand plan. It was hard to get motivated considering I still felt like nothing was perfect or even close. I came in each day and stared at the walls and I was afraid to look at the shelves because they were not so organized but in reality only I would have known that!
As I passed my old room each day I knew I needed a pick-me-up and quick. We decided on self portraits because it is such a traditional kindergarten must. And I knew these would do the trick to add some life and color to the bare walls. But this time was different. A teacher friend of mine suggested that I include a you tube video to help facilitate the lesson. I believe this really helped the children produce such great self portraits. Not only could they visually see the process, they could hear the artist explain as he drew. The results were amazing.
We watched the video and used scrap paper to practice drawing our self portraits. I had plenty of paper on hand and we used it. Some children were happy with their first portrait and others were not. We practiced drawing a new portrait for five days and ended those sessions evaluating each portrait as they were shared. I believe all of us had a better idea of how to approach our final portrait after practicing for five days and learning how each person created theirs. The final products were amazing to look at. Each portrait had personality. I could not wait to hang them on the walls for Open House!
After the self portraits were up it started to feel a little more like home. I was able to throw together a few decorations behind my desk just in time. And the morale to this story is that the kids were happy to just be in kindergarten and it didn't matter if things were perfect. The parents were snapping pictures of the self portraits and the conversations were lively. Nobody ever knew things were not perfect or how I would have done this or that had there been no construction. I learned to not sweat the small stuff and move on and enjoy the joy in everyday no matter if it's perfect or not!

Monday, July 24, 2017


Hey Kinder Friends,
We spent a lot of time setting goals last year and talking about positive mindsets. So when we were put to the challenge of a team challenge and contest, I think it all kind of collided. I think the hardest part of a team challenge is definitely defining the focus and getting started on a plan. And all I could muster up were images in my head of vintage red trucks carrying Christmas trees. I guess I was wishing I was back on break and things were not so busy.
After setting goals for the spring semester with our classes and displaying them it kind of made the truck idea seem a little more tied in to a theme of positive mindset traffic signs and trucks on the move. Once we all agreed on the theme and the kids had set their goals we really were ready to getting moving in the right direction. And once we got started we really were on a roll.
We were so excited our theme even reached the main building. And we all noticed that having the positive signs displayed just about everywhere seemed to uplift us all at a very busy time of year. We had the display up for open house and several weeks after. It was hard to take it all down because it was our favorite theme the entire year.
What really made this challenge fun was that we got to work together on a project in a different way than usual. I quickly discovered that I work with very creative teachers. We paired up on different parts of the project. We laughed a lot.
We had true collaboration and I also learned that I work with a team of perfectionists! I swear I do not remember the hallway being so clean or cohesive except for the day the building was opened 17 years ago.
I think one of my favorite parts about the team collaboration was having a general theme but having our own personality shine through. It was a lot of fun coming up with individual motto's for our drivers license, license plates, quotes for above our doors and individual truck designs.
It was a lot of fun looking at each door as it was put up and noticing the personality of each teacher come out. We had a lot of great comments on the night of open house. Parents commented on the goals the children had set for themselves, how they could help them reach their goals and they got to know a little bit about us personally through the decorations.
Our theme kind of took off and PreK wanted to join us! And they set their own goals too.
Once everything was done we almost forgot it was a team challenge. Even if we didn't win we were happy with what we had accomplished together.
But it sure was sweet when it was announced that we did win and we got to leave early the Friday before spring break!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

A Little Fall Fun!

Hey Kinder Friends,
Fall is in the air and we are beginning to feel it. So, naturally we were excited to get busy with a little bit of fall fun. As the leaves begin to turn colors we were busy talking about Spookley the Square Pumpkin. I knew my class had not heard the story before so I was excited to get out the book and dig right in. It gave us a good reason to talk about how we are alike and different and begin the discussion about bullying.
You can still get this book from Amazon and if you want to get it on video that is available too. I like reading the book because I think it delivers the message better than a lengthy video. The kids were super excited to make Spookley and we will be writing about Spookley this coming week.
When I saw these counters I knew I had to have them for my class. I thought they would be perfect for the counting buckets we had in class already. As soon as I got them out the kids wanted to use them right away. I found them at Hobby Lobby and bought three bags but I really wish I had bought four!
We had been talking a lot about counting, counting strategies and organizing our count. These I knew would be perfect for practicing that skill. I knew we needed to review that before moving on to greater numbers. Once we were working with them we discovered that these could also be used for sorting by size, shape and color. And now I am wishing I had about five bags instead of three! As the children were counting the fall objects with the buckets, I was able to notice the different counting methods my class uses. Some children count and move the objects as they count. Some put everything in a row and then count. Some use the bucket and empty it and count as each one goes in. And a few had no method at all. These were perfect for a discussion about ways to count. As they went off to independent work they asked if they could use them on counting mats. Take it from me you will want more than three bags because three was not enough for our counting mats. We added apple counters and the problem was solved. But I still want...more!


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