March 28, 2015

Party! PaRtY! PARTY!

Hi there! 
 I am so excited to share about a pretty special day in my classroom today!!
MY BIRTHDAY!!

I don't know about you but I think birthdays are a BIG deal no matter how old you are turning! My husband completely disagrees with me but has given in to treating me like the queen for the entire month of March! #winning
So........
 it all started a few weeks ago when I received an email from a parent in my classroom that said her sweet daughter came home and told her family that she couldn't wait to come to my birthday party.....
Uh oh!..... 
It was during calendar time that I shared with my students that March was my favorite month of the year,  for many reasons.
1. It's March Madness
2. Spring Arrives
3. It's my BIRTHDAY!
 ***Apparently, this translates into" I'm having a birthday party! Please come!"

So....needless to say I had a party to plan! 
My birthday actually fell on a Saturday this year so I decided that we would celebrate the Wednesday after (I get to see both classes one Wednesdays, because they each come a half day but only on Wednesdays....I know, crazy schedule)!
The first step was creating some invitations to send home to get them way too excited!


Next up, stocking up on supplies for the BIG DAY!
I headed to Party City and Walmart and found lots of decorations for the classroom and their goodie bags. I also may or may not have bought a helium tank... :) 
I mean come on, you have to get balloons!!




Tuesday evening was the time to set up the classroom and get ready for the PARTY! Mr. Masters even came to help me put together goodie bags and prepare their chairs for the balloons!




The BEST part of the BIG DAY was that MR. MASTERS WAS COMING IN TO HELP US CELEBRATE! The kids have been asking for him to come in all year and this was the perfect occasion! 
The morning of the party, Mr. Masters and I got the balloons inflated and put a few finishing touches on the classroom! 









Even our pet, Marley, decided to join in on all the fun!


Obviously for our read aloud, we enjoyed an Elephant and Piggie book that aligned perfectly!

http://www.amazon.com/Invited-Party-Elephant-Piggie-Book/dp/1423106873

 Mr. Masters completed his first read aloud ever! He read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (the birthday girl's favorite!). We just had the best day, watching my kinders enjoy being 5 and 6 years old! Their faces beamed with pure joy! I heard from so many of my little friends that it was the best day of school ever! 
#totallyworthit              #letthembelittle               #ilovekindergarten

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Have a fabulous weekend!!

March 2, 2015

Learning at home on SNOW DAYS!!

Hello there!
 Thanks so much for stopping by!
Anyone else completely and totally OVER winter?!
I am going to go ahead and assume that I am not the only teacher that has had a million and one "cold" or "snow" days! We have officially had 8 days off and quite a few delays too. We ran into this same problem last year, and our district ended up providing "Blizzard Bags", which are learning assignments for the students to complete at  home. These assignments become available on the district website, once the school decides to close. This year we changed from calamity days, to hours, and therefore our students do not have to complete blizzard bags. However, starting on our first snow day this year (yes, it was in November), I decided to share Snow-Day Learning Opportunities with my Kindergarten families, that would encourage my students to "think"...even on their days off. 
Now, you may be wondering.....
What do these learning opportunities look like?
Answer: Well, it can look completely different for everyone, depending on the resources you and your students have available at home! 
Things to Consider:
  1.  How will you communicate these assignments with families? 
  2. What resources do your families have available at home? (internet access, writing supplies, etc.)   
How I Made It Work for My Classroom:
1. I started by creating some documents with easy learning opportunities on them! I tried to provide ideas that used supplies that I knew the students would have.   However, if you know all of your students have internet access, you could easily provide links to resources to use online. Here is an example of one of the learning opportunities I provided. I think it's important to note that I'm not trying to cram a bunch of tasks into a snow day. I'm simply providing some ideas for conversations and learning that will get my students thinking on their day off.

You can easily create a document in Word or Powerpoint and then convert it to a pdf. Easy peasy!

2. Since the beginning of the school year, I've been using Remind , which is an app to send text messages to parents. The awesome thing about remind is that you never exchange phone numbers. It is free and is super-easy to use! It helps me send class text messages easily and safely. 

 I use Remind by attaching the PDF that I created, and sending it in a text message. I have found that more students take part in the learning when their parents receive the ideas straight to their phones. However, you could also email your PDF to the families.

Here is an example of what my message looked like when we had a snow day in November. This is exactly as parents would see it on their phones. 


 3. Now some of you may be worried that you have to create these BIG documents every time there is a snow day, and what if you really want to sleep in?!  My advice is to spend 30 minutes one day and create multiple, so that they are ready to send on a day off. 
 Again, easy peasy! 
AND if you really want to sleep in...just sleep in and send it when you wake up! :) 
To help get you started, I've added a couple of mine from this year that you can use on your next snow days! Remember,  I teach Kinder, so these may not be suitable for your kids, BUT it is so easy to create your own, customized learning opportunities in minutes! Just click on the picture to download your copy and then you can attach it to emails or text messages! 
Enjoy!
https://www.dropbox.com/s/ptjo3kddux51v6m/snow%20day%20learning%202.pdf?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/qfisfq0342qgkgr/snowday%20jan26.pdf?dl=0

I am so happy that I started sharing these learning opportunities with my kindergarten families. The parents have loved receiving simple, learning opportunities to share with their students on these winter days and I have received wonderful feedback! I hope you'll try this out in your classroom! :) BUT maybe not until next year since Winter is obviously over....right?!