Thursday, September 26, 2013

share time.

My biggest smile from Share Time this morning?

"Before the day is up today... I'm going to get a PIGEON!
Or wait... maybe it was parrot."

1st graders make me smile.  =)

Sunday, September 22, 2013


The district I teach for has 4 elementary schools. 
1 in town and 3 rural schools. 
One of the rural schools is 1/4 mile away from our house. (Not the one I teach at, unfortunately...) 

Our home internet is a mess right now.  
Verizon is not my favorite. 
But we had a few bills that were due tomorrow and some bank info that I needed to look up online. 

So... I am currently sitting in the school parking lot... in my pajamas... at 10:14 pm... watching a possum snuffling around outside my window. 
(My school laptop is programmed to automatically pick up the wireless at all buildings.)

I emailed a couple of the teachers here and told them that if they here about some strange creeper in their parking lot late at night... to assure everyone it was just me. 
Me and the possum. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

chuck e. cheese.

Our little trips to Oklahoma to visit my aunt and uncle have become some of our kids favorite memories! We didn't make it to Kiddie Park last year because of all the craziness of moving. This summer was pretty crazy, too, but we decided to make a little trip a couple weeks ago right before they closed for the season. 

We've always gone during the summer and went for a Thursday/Friday/home on Saturday. This year we went after school had started, so we didn't get to leave until after school on Friday. Our drive is longer now, too, so we didn't get there in time to go to Kiddie Park that evening. We got everyone to bed fairly soon after we got there, because we knew we had a busy, busy day the next day! 

Aunt Aletha and Uncle Pete always take us to Chuck E. Cheese in Tulsa. (Our kids didn't even realize we have them in Kansas until a couple years ago. This is the only one we've ever been to!)

How does Chuck E. Cheese take some of the most photogenic pictures?

This game was Gretchen's favorite. (Guess we need to use the air hockey table we have in our basement a little more! Or get her a stool to stand on.)

Always a good time. =)

kiddie park.

Kiddie Park was a little stressful this year for mommy and daddy. We might have had a bad attitude from one child... we might have had one child who wanted to go on things, but not by themselves... we might have had one child who would say they wanted to go on things, but then chicken out at the last minute... and there were limited rides that the big kids could go on this year. They've just gotten too big. 

My camera battery died after the 2nd ride and somehow I had let both batteries get run down. Bummer. A sweet girl at the concession stand charged it up for me, but by the time I got it back, I had lost all the good light. More bummer. So not a lot of pictures this year, but still some smiles and good times to remember... 

This little miss surprised us all when she wanted to go on the roller coaster. I wasn't sure she would like it, but she did!

You've got to love ending an evening with smiles like this...

A quick stop at some fun buffalos downtown before we headed home the next day...

Thanks again, Aunt Aletha and Uncle Pete! 
You always spoil us and make us feel so special! We love spending time with you! =) 

You can see all our other trips here:
Kiddie Park: 2009, 2009 Day 2, 2010, 2010 Day 2, 2010 roller coaster, 2011
Chuck E. Cheese: 2009, 2010, 2011
Waterpark: 2010 (We've only gotten to do this once, but the kids are already hoping for next year!)

Monday, September 9, 2013

country living: lesson #2.

Lesson #1 was learning to pay attention to my gas gauge on the van.
(I didn't run out of gas, but it was pretty darn close. We drove into town on fumes one day this summer...)

Lesson #2: Have an extra set of keys to all vehicles that are not on your regular key chain.
That way when your husband takes your keys (and his) to work with him at 4:30 in the morning... work that is over an hour away... you aren't left stranded out in the country with no way to drive.

Yes... we have 3 vehicles. But the only vehicle I had a key to was the one that Corey drove to work.
Not so helpful.

My mother-in-law (who lives 4.5 miles away) wasn't home.
Our kindergarten teacher (who lives a few miles away) was already at school.
I was sure that our Special Ed teacher (who lives 1 mile away) had already left... but I called her anyway.
Turns out she was home... sick.
But... sweet thing that she is, she drove over here in her pajamas and drove us the 9 miles to school. And daycare.
And she promised not to breathe on us. =)

I owe her big time.

So... making copies of van and truck keys has now been added to the To-Do-List.
And I'm pretty sure Corey will be checking his pockets a bit more carefully in the mornings.
Lessons learned.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

1st grade.

I can't believe we're 3 weeks into school and I haven't posted any classroom pictures! Crazy. 
Most of these weren't taken with my good camera, so they aren't awesome quality. 

Several people have commented on how much bigger my room is this year. But I was able to take out 4 desks! That's huge!! I only have 4 teams this year, instead of 5. I am loving that we have room up in front of our whiteboard to sit on the floor. That's where we gather for math now. 

I didn't change anything with my calendar board this year... just added the sign language alphabet (I use sign language LOTS) and got some cute new schedule cards. 

Aren't they cute? {Free download here}

My cute little lunch system I made last year. I love it. But we don't use it this year. Our district started a with a new food service program (which is really good food, but wow... it's been a bit crazy.) There are 3 different options for school lunch each day. The older grades have been able to use a system like this (with the 3 options) but my kiddos can't read the choices yet. So it's easier at this point for me to just ask them and highlight their choice on a clipboard. So I need to either take these down or find another use for them... 

This was my biggest project this summer... organizing all my books into guided reading levels. I used two big Fountas and Pinnell books to look up lots of the titles (thanks, Jean!) but I still have two big tubs full of books that aren't listed. I need to just look through them all and level them all using my own judgement. And I'm still baffled by the amount of Level J and K books I have... (Some of you will understand what that means.)  

Our year is off to a good start. I have a sweet group of little people, but I am a bit overwhelmed with our new math curriculum and how crazy long the lessons take. I could literally fill my entire day with teaching reading and math. 

I got this little card on the 2nd day of school... 

I'm usually pretty good at reading 1st grade phonetic spelling, but I'm pretty sure these are just random letters... {I fuzzed out the name at the bottom} We've got a little work to do... =)

Our first day of school (actually 2nd day) "Ways we get to school" graph... {We make a class book, too.}

I always start the year by doing interviews with each kiddo. They choose 5 people for questions, then they help me write a story about that person (this is when I introduce the little tongue click sound for periods). Then we read the stories together (making our little period clicks!) and practice spelling that child's name. I use magnetic letters and mix their name up, another child puts it in order, we chant/check it and then do little cheers. Then the kids all practice writing that child's name, write a sentence about them and then draw a picture of them on the back. I staple them all together and send it home with that child. 

They write about me first, so all my drawings are basically stick people. I do a little mini-lesson on drawing people before we start the first kiddo. (And then do quick examples the first 3-4 days.) It's amazing the difference in their drawings after just a bit of instruction.

They choose want sentence they want me to write and I write it on a sentence strip. Then I take that sentence and cut it into words. "But... we can put words together to make sentences!"

We still need to make our 5 point listener rubric. This is my one from last year...

I don't like doing tons of worksheets and in 1st grade there is so much stuff that we just do together... up on the floor or whole class at our desks. Our district requires us to enter grades every two weeks. This rubric gives me a way to take "grades" for our whole class learning and group work times. I just mark it as "Attentive Listener" on our gradebook.

We did do one fun project earlier this week...

Our number words! {This one I take the words and cut them into letters. "But... we can put letters together to make words!"}

My para did #13. =)

Obviously I forgot the part of my instruction where we only make the number, we don't decorate all around it...

I did this last year, just because I realized one day that I didn't have any number words displayed anywhere. I didn't feel like going out and buying any, so we did this. Now, it's one of my favorite lessons. They get so excited to see them hanging up the next day. =)