November 30, 2015

Science in the Classroom





Last year my school received a grant by a very generous grandparent. With this grant we were able to bring in presenters from this amazing group called Science Explorers. After the presentation we began an after school science club.  Myself and the third grade teacher offered to be the instructors for the class. Each club runs for 5 weeks. One day a week for an hour we met after school with a small group of students and did awesome science experiments. 

I am a huge supporter of this company as I feel that we needs more kids interested in science. Especially because that is where the jobs are. I will be the first to admit Math intimidated me and it was never an area I excelled in. However, math and science are the two subjects we need to get more students interested in. Think about, in teaching those are always the two areas that are hiring. 

My other half is in the science field and his experience and career has opened my eyes to the fields. This year I have been researching more about S.T.E.M. teaching. ( Science, technology, engineering, and Math). There are many resources out there in regards to this area. My personal goal this year is to grow a s.t.e.m. classroom. 

If this is something you are interested in for your own classroom checkout Growing a Stem Classroom. 



Gifting My Secretary

If your school is anything like mine, you know the heart of it is in the secretary. While completing my undergrad we were frequently reminded that there are two very crucial people you should be kind to in a school: the secretary and the custodians. Truer words were never spoken. These two people have the connections to help you when in a bind.

Well I am a huge fan of my secretary. We have grown very close. She is like my second mom! I like to surprise her when ever I get the chance because I feel like she can be taken for granted.

With the holiday season upon us I thought I would remind her to stay wrapped up in the Christmas season. 

I mean come on! How cute is this idea from Crafts reDesigned.





November 29, 2015

A lazy Sunday

Well since I did not have my laptop this weekend I have been exceptionally lazy. And I am totally okay with that! Lots of eating, reading, movie watching, blogging and shopping. 

Yesterday I stopped at Hobby Lobby and Target after a first birthday party. The party was adorable and I got some great shots. Whenever there is a big life event my camera and I are always there. Which my camera is making more of a debut in class since I have started blogging for sure! 

As you can imagine, Target is a black hole for shoppers lol.  Hobby Lobby was just as bad. But Tis the season for giving! And a lot of what I got was for gifts. As well as my piñata for when my class does las posadas. 

And as I was just searching online for an image of the star piñata I got I came across this Latino 12 days of Christmas. And, I need it!

After church I cam back so hungry, since I woke up late and didn't eat breakfast. D had a friend from home over so they had rice and meat. I was craving this enchilada dish every since I started my whole 30. 

A friend of mine and I both did a whole 15 before Thanksgiving and I felt so amazing. Of course then Thanksgiving came. I wasn't too bad, but I had sugar and dairy and well...game over. So tomorrow starts a whole 30 before Christmas. Now, if you know that the holidays will be rough on your stomach...I highly suggest beginning your near year with a whole 30. The reset is rough in the beginning but, in my opinion, so worth it. 

But until then, try this delicious enchilada bake! 


November 28, 2015

What I am reading...

So I knew with this weekend being extra long I would be able to get in some good reading time. I don't know about you...but I don't read half as much as I would like to. This year I have adopted the philosophy of leaving work at work. It can be hard since I work as a TSS 10 hours a week right after school. Right now Friday is my only day to stay late at school. But let me tell you, I am doing it! I am utilizing my prep time during the week and take very little home with me. So now it is time to pick up a book a little more, sip on some coffee, and have a little me time. 

I am always checking out scholastic book clubs not just for my classroom, but also for my personal library. I try and read books that upper elementary would read as I hope to move up in grade levels one day. Well on my way out the door to D's house I grabbed whatever was on the book shelf. So here I am reading Alice in Wonderland.


Should be a quick read this weekend. So what did you all pick up this weekend?



November 27, 2015

Advent in the classroom

WHOA! Is it crazy to any one else that we are now in the Advent season? Time is sure flying by. 

Here is a random act of kindness calendar to use with your little ones from Coffee cups and crayons. 



Advent is the four weeks before Christmas. And since I have the joy of teaching in a Catholic school - we discuss it heavily. The season of Advent is a time of preparing our hearts for the birth of Jesus. 
Before we left for we made these adorable advent candles.
I have 16 kids and 4 windows - hello perfection. 
I got this craft from Maria over at Kindercraze.com you can check it out here.





I love them in the windows! The best part is that all the cars that drive past the school will see them. :) I laminated them and will be keeping them for future years




Help a friend

Okay all, a very good friend of mine is in need of help. She is a 5th grade teacher in Oregon. Recently she raised money to get a smart board for her classroom. However that grant written did not include the projector! So she has the board and no way to use it. Check out her story here.

If you are able to donate, please consider helping out. Through the weekend she will have a price match so she only needs to raise $400!

Donate to her cause at Donor's Choose here




Don't forget to check out her blog for some 
great resources!






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Pete the Cat

Have you heard of Pete the Cat?! I truly hope so! I have been obsessed with Pete for about 3 years now and have turned every Kindergarten class into fanatics. It makes my heart happy to see them all gravitate towards Pete the Cat books at the book fair. What really makes me happy is knowing that I am building readers!

So let's talk about Pete. He is this awesome character who never gets upset about the things that may happen to him. Like ruining his shoes or losing some buttons of his coat. Our motto in Kindergarten has been adopted from Pete's attitude. "Do we get upset? Goodness no! We keep walking along and singing out song, because it's all good." I mean really - what a lesson to teach your kids? Life happens, but we decide how we react to it. And be honest here teachers, does getting upset really solve anything?

So thanks to Pete's wonderful attitude I have adorned my classroom with him - everywhere!




What is your awesome classroom theme?

And say hello to my Christmas presents to my kids this year. PETE THE CAT SAVES CHRISTMAS! You can get it for $4.00 on Scholastic Book Club. I know the will be excited because they love getting books. Making it Pete - is a slam dunk.
Cover art

This year I came across an awesome blog by The Brown Bag Teacher

Catherine gave awesome suggestions on how to make the most of your scholastic orders. I used her idea of getting the kids excited to read by letting them pick out some books for the order. Every month when the order comes in I let the kids have some D.E.A.R. time with the books. ( d.e.a.r. = drop everything and read)

They definitely get excited and we are at a point where they are requesting D.E.A.R. time! I ordered the birthday coupons for myself this year and used them to get the kiddos their Christmas gifts, as well as some books for me and the classroom. 

I also raffled off books for the kids as well. I basically picked the kids that do not order books and I know will most likely not. I know parents have different reasons for not ordering their kids books but it is always exciting to see the kids joy. Plus - it is a prize. Which makes it easier to give away.



November 25, 2015

Suitcase and Passport

As you know, we are traveling the world in the upcoming months. So of course we need a passport and a suitcase! How else will we get into another country and bring back souvenirs?! I did not get a chance to make my own this year, but thankfully there are so many other crafty teachers out there.


Here are some of our final products. 


Rachelle at  What The Teacher Wants shared the awesome passport and suitcase cover. I have to say - I am floored by the passport. When our school pictures came in I glued them to the back of the cover. For the stamps I will be creating my own to personalize it to the countries that we are visiting. 




Sarah from  First Grade Snippets shared directions on how to make the suitcases from cereal boxes. I sent home the directions as a project for the parents to help their kiddos with. 


How are you celebrating the holiday season in your classroom?

Be sure to check out my winter writing prompts. These are a great pairing with your Holiday Around the World Travels!


November 24, 2015

Yoga and Turkey Day

Okay we are now in the last few days before Thanksgiving break, and thankfully my little ones are not too off the wall. 

We did not have gym class today so I decided to do some yoga with my kiddos. BEST idea of the day! I used Cosmic Kids Yoga, she has a channel YouTube. I highly recommend that you subscribe and utilize the videos in your classroom. 



Totally engagement and active for the entire video. 25 minutes! I am loving it. Any way to build my students to be better, is awesome with me!

We also took the opportunity to make some art projects. This week our Phonics focus is Ii, so of course my aide had an Indian project. (We made pilgrims earlier).


Check out the turkey outside of my classroom - isn't it just the best? What makes it even better is the wondeful things that my kiddos are thankful for. Not going to lie, seeing that I made the list of things to be thankful for makes me feel like I am doing my job right.  I can't wait to see what is a gift they would want to give baby Jesus!
Here is another look into my hallway. During Pp week we made paper bag pumpkins as an art project.  I have to say, my aide is such an invaluable resource for me. She brings so many ideas that I never would have thought of. For example - using a hand print pattern and simply tracing it for the kids to cut, versus having them trace their own hands. Yes, this is a skill that they will accomplish down the road, but for now that trick is super helpful!

The last of my hallway decorations is the Indian Corn. How perfect is it to focus on Ii for two weeks right before Thanksgiving! The kiddos did such an awesome job with their corn! Their task was to use three crayons in an ABC pattern. Some are not yet finished, which is fine by me - because it means they are taking their time!





Even though it is a short week, it is jammed packed! Advent begins on Sunday and I am super excited for the project that we have coming up. Be sure to check back tomorrow!


November 23, 2015

Our Visit to the U.S.

So to begin my Holidays Around the World I figured there was no better place to begin than at home!  I bought this awesome bulletin board set from Carson-Dellosa and wanted to put it to use right away! Check it out here



My game plan is to add one child to our map as we travel to the new countries. As we travel I am very excited to add in my own pictures and knowledge from some of the countries. I really want this to be an eye opening lesson and a great experience for my kids. Since I don't know everything - much to their surprise I am sure - I am reaching out to parents to help me. There is a parent in the school who is the priest at the Russian Orthodox Church down the block from my school. Um, how awesome would it be if he came in to speak to my kids! (fingers crossed!)

Now, I would like to say that my Native American lesson was thought out and planned for a decent amount of time. Unfortunately, that was not the case. This idea came to me right before my kids went to computer class. So I ran with it! 45 minutes later I had a mini-lesson prepared. 

It was a smooth transition as we are discussing Thanksgiving, Pilgrims and Native Americans. We discussed how the different tribes were known for certain characteristics. I showed them on the United States map where certain tribes lived, as well as what they hunted. Then we read Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message. We tied this lesson into how we give thanks to God and that is something the Native Americans always did - give thanks. After I read them the story we watched the scholastic version. It is fantastic because not only is it narrated by Chief Jake Swamp, but he speaks in his native tongue as well. I love giving my students the opportunity to hear different languages and accents, I feel that it expands their world beyond the English they hear every day. Check out the youtube video or visit amazon

I really might need to invest in amazon prime!

November 22, 2015

NYC Trip

Okay, while I may be young I live a very slow paced life. Except for this weeked! My brother and his wife are home for Thanksgiving and my mom took the opportunity to plan a trip to New York City. We got into the Christmas spirit with the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular! Even better than I remembered. 



We took  time  as well to visit the 9/11 memorial, since only D and I had been there before. When we went two years ago it was completely different. It is wide open now and I had no clue they were building SEVEN towers! 

But of course One World Trade Center is the tallest and most spectacular.


It was a chilly day, and if you live on the East Coast - you know! 
Overall - a fabulous day with my loved ones and better half!

November 17, 2015

Holidays Around the World

So - anyone else beginning to feel absolutely crazy?! I swear thanksgiving hits and it is all downhill until the new year.

So - I got to thinking. I need to plan a UbD every quarter, and I want to use the holiday season. Every year I teach about holidays around the world, as most teachers do. I love exploring different cultures and exposing them to my students. Fortunately, I teach in a Catholic school and can do all things Christmas. But I want to go past Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. 

So as I was planning my countries to explore I realized I did not want to teach Kwanzaa. Now hear me out! I see Kwanzaa as a political holiday that African Americans use to become closer to SOME qualities of the African culture. However, Kwanzaa has no one specific country connected to it. And considering most people don't celebrate it, it's getting left behind. This final decision came after a discussion with my other half who said he has never heard of anyone celebrating the holiday, and he's African! Now I know he represents just 1 of the 54 countries in Africa. So instead my plan is to have my students visit Nigeria (since I have a fantastic resource sitting across from me!).

All of that aside - I am so excited for my unit that is unfolding before my eyes. The 8 countries we are visiting are: Sweden, Holland, Mexico, Israel, Germany, Italy, Nigeria and Russia. 

Stay tuned!