Monday, April 29, 2013

Computer Lab - YAY!

My school recently got a computer lab...complete with a computer aide! Woot woot!

What programs do you have your little ones use on the computer?   Let me rephrase that question... what do you have your little ones do when all 29 {yes, I have 29 in my class!} of them are on the computer at once? It is exciting... but a little scary, right?

So far we have been using Smart Notebook....as in the program you use on a SmartBoard. It was the suggestion of our computer aide to give it a try rather that Pixie or another drawing program.

It has been GREAT and not as hard as I thought it would be.... maybe partially because they have been watching me use Smart Notebook all year. You can hear a pin drop for the full 30 minutes we are in the  lab. They LOVE every second of it... and I have to say, I don't mind the lower volume myself.

Look at these darling zoo animals:

I'm pretty sure this little guy is using the shapes to create the dots on the giraffe.


She is drawing with the crayon pen.


And what about this monkey? How kindergarten is that? Love!

So if you haven't had your kids use Smart Notebook to draw... give it a try! I've never used Pixie and a long time ago I used Kid Pix, but I have been very impressed with this program for kindergarten!

And please share... what other programs or ideas do you have for our new computer lab!


And don't forget to get on Instagram tomorrow for the first #teachertalktuesday
Click on the camera below to find me or just search crayonsandwhimsy

Instagram

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Teacher Talk Tuesday on Instagram


I'm linking up with Apples and ABC's and What the Teacher Wants for a new way for teachers to share on Instagram!  Are you on Instagram? I just recently got on there myself...as in last week.... and what good timing it was!

















Starting this Tuesday you can share a picture with the hashtag #teachertalktuesday!
You can find me by clicking the camera:

Instagram
What a fun new way to meet each other and it will be so easy to search and find us all!  See you there!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Five For Friday... with a Freebie

Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching... I love this linky because I love any reminders that it is Friday!

fiveforfriday
Here is all about my week!





We having been crazy about the zoo in our room! We even had a field trip to the zoo about two weeks ago! Today we finished it up! I am so proud of the writing my little ones did. This unit has so many non-fiction connections, but I wanted to squeeze in a little bit of fiction too! They did a zoo story, complete with a "sloppy copy," conference with me and voila... check out some of the  finished products.

I'm SUPER proud of them! I stapled their sloppy copies under the final draft so their parents can see it... I wish I had taken of few pictures of them for you too!



 Please feel free to download the writing paper for free. Just click on the image below.
As for the cute zoo stamps. I got those at Michael's {Link} ... be sure to have the Michael's app for your coupon!
The clip art is from Scrappin' Doodles



I had a lunch date with some of my little friends and we played Mouse Trap. My goodness, there are a lot of pieces to that one! I love spending extra time with them and just having FUN!
In case you were wondering... no, I didn't win.



Chick eggs arrived. As we wrap up our zoo unit it is time to make that transfer to the farm! And the best part is hatching eggs. They arrived on Thursday... so we are hoping for some little chicks on May 15 and hopefully a few ducklings right after that. {Chicken eggs take 21 days to hatch and ducks take about 28 days!}

Doesn't the incubator look like some prop from a 1960's science fiction movie?

When I realized my little toes were in the shot I was going to crop them out, but thought I would let you all see my odd choice of a blue polish.... paired with a blue shoe. Not sure I can explain that one. {And yes, I was called "ET toe" as a child.}



I am on Instagram! Yet another new adventure :) So far I really like it (I know I am a little late to the party!)  I'm there under crayonsandwhimsy.




On Monday some silkworms were delivered to my room.  I never request them, but they always seem to show up around this time of year and of course, I say yes. We are done with our insect unit, but why pass up a chance for some fun and good review?


They are so tiny, but holy moly will they get big and ugly! Actually they already are ugly. Poor little guys!

As you may know, they are fussy eaters and will just eat leaves from a Mulberry tree.  Lucky for me... my school has several of these trees... and honestly I believe that someone at some time planted these trees so that silkworms could be a yearly tradition! 

 So here I am.... modeling how to stand on the lunch tables... nice one, right? 



Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Birthday Box

I am starting to think about next year and organize things! One thing I do for birthday celebrations is give every child a book. They also wear their birthday crown and get to be my special helper for the day.

I used to individually wrap a book for every child..... But then when I moved in to a new classroom two years ago and I inherited a Birthday Box! What is a birthday box you may ask?

Well take a look.....

It is a giant box (from the photo copy paper) wrapped up with a bow and when each child celebrates a birthday we open it up and they get to choose one book. Only the birthday friend can peek inside....


I like it... I like that I don't have to wrap each book but it is still super special for the child.... plus, they get to choose their own book! Did I mention the part where you only have to wrap one thing?!

Where do I get the books?  I try to get a few with bonus points on each Scholastic Book order. 

I am about to wrap up a fresh box for next year... the one you see was made by the other teacher and I think it is time I make my own. But before I did that I thought I would ask... What do you do for birthdays??? Do you have a new idea for me to try next year? 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Five For Friday

It's about that time again... time to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for the Five for Friday Linky Party.
fiveforfriday


I got this puppy up on TpT... can you say FINALLY?








I had a little student teacher for the day.... well sort of. As part of a school fundraiser we have a Teacher of the Day for students. Parents can bid in a silent auction for their child to be the teacher of the day. It is a lot of fun...and a great way to earn money for our school. This year I had a darling 3rd grade girl who was in my class a few years ago.

The kids start at a staff meeting in the morning.... funny how different their perspective is on attending one of these :) They LOVE it... being in staff room.... pretty special!

Then here is a clip of her writing some of the ideas the students were sharing with her. Honestly the clip board is key.
Let me list the things students need to LOVE this day:
-a staff meeting... with a donut
-a lanyard that has a whistle
-a clipboard
-the ability to add 5 minutes to recess
 And I would like to say this little teacher made me smile because almost all the things that came out of her mouth you know she has heard a teacher say to her! It was perfect.


Paint-o-rama! With Mother's Day and Open House approaching we painted like crazy this week. And while I had a little teacher to help me out.... we went for it! These are finger painted spring flowers that will be part of our Mother's Day celebration.



My Erin Condren phone case arrived! 'nuff said....



I "launched" (such a fancy word) my Facebook page for this blog! Woo Hoo! Now I'm just working on getting a social media button on here. For now I'll just link the image below.

Have a fabulous weekend!!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Homework Hooray!

Homework. Ahh, it can be such a hot topic. Not enough. Too much.  This post isn't get into that part of the whole thing.... maybe we'll delve into that another time. I personally do think that when the little ones do complete homework they should be acknowledged for the time and effort that it takes them.

At my school we give a weekly homework packet in kindergarten with about 4 pages and when it comes back I reward 5-7 kids with a Homework Hooray. It is just a simple reward to let them know the work is appreciated. Before I would try to write a note on the homework and send it back home.... I don't think that was the best plan since many of my kiddos aren't readers yet, especially in the beginning of kindergarten. But a fun award... with a lil' glitter... that does get the message across.
I wish you could see their cute faces to know just how proud they are! The Homework Hooray has become quite the honor in our class.


So if you need a little spice to your homework you can download the Homework Hooray here {just click on the image below}.... please note: glitter not included :)

A quick shout out... the adorable oval frame is from Enlightened Elephant and the fonts are from two of my favorites... Cara Carroll and Kevin and Amanda.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ta da! We are Getting Ready for Mother's Day

Today our Mother's Day plates from Makit arrived! OK... so do you know these plates? As in you may have made one when you were in kindergarten! They are old skool and that is one of the reasons I love them.

In all my kindergarten years... which I think is 7....I have done these every year except for one. And man was I sad that year. There are so many things where I like to change it up because I want the newest and best lesson or idea..... but these are just special to me for some reason.

You order the starter kit from Makit, the kids draw on the special papers. They tell you the approved marker list (which is pretty much everything Crayola) and off you go....

Then you wait patiently AND they arrive....
My only rule is that their name is on the plate somewhere and so is the year so that their mommies can remember when they made it. I put up a word bank with other things like "Happy Mother's Day." I could honestly post all 29 beautiful plates... but I won't. But there's one more you gotta see.....
That is a glass of his mom's favorite drink! You see... we all brainstorm what would make a good picture. And I say over and over again... think of what your mommy likes! Well, there you have it..... he 100% followed directions.

I know... the cost is what you are wondering about. I ask the parents for a $9 donation. The plates cost $6.99 each, but I factor in the cost of the starter kit, shipping and other supplies. I explain that ALL children will make the "special gift" (since shhh! we don't tell them what it is!) regardless of whether or not they pay, but that I would greatly appreciate it. And yes, that is a risk... and yes, most years I end up paying a tiny bit myself. I am lucky to be at a school where I am able to gather most of the cost.

The other issue is tricky family situations and I handle those on a case by case basis. I have had some kids make 2 plates and I have had a few make the plate for their dad. In that case they choose whether to give it to him early or wait until Father's Day.

I also invite the mom's in for a Mother's Day Tea Party! The kids make a corsage (I can't find any pics of these from previous years) but it's just a coffee filter. The kids decorate it with marker- coloring most, if not all of the coffee filter. They then spray it with a water spray bottle and watch the colors bleed together. When they dry you gather it on one end and add masking tape. I also add a safety pin so their mom can wear it. (I write names on the center of the filter in Sharpie and then transfer it to the masking tape once assembled.)

We also make cards for their moms. These I do change up year to year. These pics are a few years old. I went with a simple flower cover and a note on the inside.


When the moms come in the room those typed up paragraphs (on the purple above) are posted on the wall and they all read in a similar pattern "My mom looks the prettiest ________" etc.... The moms have to guess which one is from their child. We unveil the results and then after the game they take it down themselves and glue it in the card as shown.

The kids also sing Mother's Day songs and once in a while I have thrown in a square dance. And there is always a treat. Last year it was Alligator Pie! As for actual tea... well, sometimes there is tea, but I don't think it will be featured on the 2013 menu.

As it gets closer to Mother's Day this year I will post more pictures!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Facebook Time

My little project this weekend was to get a Facebook page started for this here little blog! Woo Hoo, it's up and running...

You can check it out by clicking on the image above....

AND .... if you just got to the blog from FB... and if you are having fun clicking Like buttons today, feel free to join this site, too....it is much appreciated :)

Thanks everyone!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Five For Friday with a Freebie at the End!

fiveforfriday
It's time to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for the 5 For Friday! And what a random week it was...

1. I'm starting with this picture... this is what my husband and I were up to on Sunday....our last day in the desert.  That still counts as "this" week right? Ahhh, it was a fabulously hot and a wonderfully cool time away. I heart you Palm Springs!

2. So then Sunday was over and reality kicked in.....Monday and Tuesday were uneventful....Then on Wednesday I was just starting to think... really, why is the week so long when I am working...yet, so fast when I am off? And then one of my little friends walks in and hands me this:
It says, "Mrs. Donnelly I am happy that I am back." Well, first of all this made me smile, but then it made me feel soooo guilty for secretly wishing for more spring break.... I love the the picture too, but I just can't figure our what the gray bows on the right are supposed to be?


3. A few posts ago I told you about my praying mantis situation. Click {HERE} to get caught up... then on Thursday morning I'm grabbing my keys running out the door and see that this:
has turned into this!!!!!!!! Seriously, THIS was (and actually still is) INSIDE my house.
This is to be continued, I'm sure!

4. I found a great new place to get ramen! I heart ramen! I actually heart anything Japanese. I've only been to Japan once, but I can't wait to go back. Over Spring Break my husband and I ventured up to Little Tokyo in LA and that is a special treat. This week I wanted ramen, but not the drive all the way to LA (or get on a plane to Japan) so we tried a local place... fun experience and so yummy! It's called Santouka Ramen...BEST part is that the only place you'll read that name is on some of the employee shirts because all the rest is in Japanese letters!) It is inside the Mitsuwa Marketplace in Costa Mesa... for anyone local!


5. Another teacher at my school shared this fun rain project. A. isn't it adorable, B. Check out the "sloppy copy" below... and C. I'm sharing the writing page as a Freebie :)

Here's A...the adorable: 



Here's B... Gotta LOVE those kinders.. we aren't sure of b vs. d and definitely don't know about silent e.... so this is what we have:


And here is C... your chance to use this paper. Thank Cara Carroll and Scrappin Doodles for the fonts and clip art. Just click on the paper to download it.

Happy Friday everyone!