Dec 30, 2015

Reflections of 2015

How can it be the end of 2015 already. Time just seems to fly by faster and faster each year. What better way to ring in the new year than by taking a look back at this year and all the fun times we had. To do that I am joining Miss Kindergarten, A Teeny Tiny Teacher and Dragonflies in First for their fun linky.

I must warn you upfront this is going to be a bit of a picture overload. I have said before I am a recovering "scrapaholic" and so this is my way of scrapbooking my way through 2015. I decided to pick 1 or 2 ... or 4 or 6 ... of my favs from each month of the year. So you have been warned! Here we go!

Each year we go to Pismo Beach to spend New Year's playing in the sand. It is always a great time with family and friends and the boys always have a blast. Of course 2015 did not disappoint and I can't wait to head out in the morning for our little get a way this year! 

February was very memorable. I was named Teacher of the Year for our school district. I was so honored and excited to have received this award. Of course they gave me this framed piece of art work from our county with my name, school, etc, but it is hanging on the wall at school, and since I am on vacation I was not driving out to take a picture so this will have to do for now.

Every year in March we take our younger 2 boys to the NASCAR race in Las Vegas. Our oldest son isn't into racing, and he was away attending UC Irvine, so it was just the 4 of us. It was a jam packed 5 days at the track and tons of walking, but always unforgettable.

In April, my middle son attended the Jr. Prom. He just looked so handsome all dressed up. My favorite pic was actually the one of he and all his buddies. They got a limo so they could all go together with their dates and they had a blast.

My favorite pic from May was this one on Mother's Day. We haven't had a nice family pic in 3 years and the boys have all grown so much. So, my MIL took this one out in my mom's backyard for me, I love it! We had a great brunch and hung out, and the boys swam, with my Mom, MIL and grandma Sweetie. It was a perfect day.

Each summer we spend at least one day with the family at the water park. The boys took some friends and cousins along and had a blast playing in the water and on the slides.

My little niece had the cutest little bathing suit! Wish I looked that good in mine, lol!

In July I was fortunate enough to attend the I Teach K and TpT conference in Las Vegas. I had a fantastic time learning from some super teachers and meeting so many of my blogging and IG friends IRL. It was unforgettable!

The Venetian resort was beautiful. Here I am with some of my Primary Punchbowl Girls, Sara @mrsbfirsgrade and Chris @thescoopinsecondgrade.

These are just a few of the MANY pics I took with all the amazing teachers there, Kim Adsit @kindergals, Erica @missveeskinderkraziness, Cristy @kindergartensquared, Chris @famousinfirst, Greg @kindergartensmorgasboard, Chad @malekindergartenteacher, Kimberly @livelaughlovekindergarten, and Greta @learningwithmrsleeby.

Deanna @mrsjumpsclass, Deedee @deedeewills, Mary @sharingkndergarten, Suzanne @kindergarten_planet, Becky @theclasscouple and Alex @thekindergartenconnection,

In August, I helped organize a fun Central California Teacher/Blogger Meet-up. It was fun getting to chat with like minded women who "get it", and don't think you're crazy for owning ALL of Creative Clips Clipart, lol.

These were just a few of the pics. Carol @thesupersparklyteacher and I having fun with the photo booth props and Erin @veryperryclassroom another one of my Primary Punchbowl girls. I met so many wonderful teachers and I can't wait to do it again.

We are a race family and spend 2-3 weekends a month at the track. This year the boys moved up to a new series and had been doing fantastic with many top 5 finishes, but in September our youngest won  his first race in the 600 Micro Sprint and made it to Victory Lane. We were all super excited and proud of him!

Here he is being interviewed after the race in Victory Lane!

In October, the hubby surprised me with a quick day trip to the beach to celebrate our 23rd anniversary. Besides the race track, my favorite place is the beach! It was relaxing and a great day with just the two of us.

Thanksgiving was a great time spent with family and TOO MUCH FOOD. We played a fun new game, Pie Face. It was hilarious. Everyone was such a good sport, even Grandma Sweetie, considering she got the pie in the face twice! If you have little ones they will love seeing the adults get the pie.

December is one of my favorite months of the year! I love all the traditions, and food, and baking and time with family. One tradition our school has is that Santa visits on our last day and brings each child a toy and takes a picture with them. For many of them this may be the only present they receive and it is magical and wonderful to see the joy on their faces. Here I am with my class and Santa. (sadly, we had a few kiddos out sick who missed it, but we saved their gift for them)

Once school is out, it is a mad rush to get ready for Christmas, with lots of baking and shopping and wrapping of gifts. But I finished it all in time and we had a very blessed Christmas.

My 2015 was a great one and I know that 2016 will be even better! Have a great New Year's Eve and see you in 2016!

Oct 16, 2015

Creepy, Crawly, Spiders!

Creepy, Crawly, Spiders, EEKK! I don't really like finding spiders in my house, but I love teaching all about spiders in my classroom.

I am super excited to be blogging today over at The Primary Punchbowl all about how I integrate learning in my class, specifically during my unit on spiders. I share lots of great ideas for Science, ELA, Writing, a Craft and of course a Snack too! Be sure to head over and check it out here!
Here, I am sharing the complete contents of my two Spider resources. You can check them out and even win a copy of each for yourself!

I know there are mixed feelings about teaching in themes, but honestly I love it. I feel it actually helps me maximize my instructional minutes by having my lessons integrate all subject areas together, rather than trying to keep everything separate. To do that I have created a Non-Fiction Spider unit incorporating Science and ELA. As well as, a Spider Literacy and Math center pack.

Studying spiders would be considered a science unit. However by focusing on reading skills, word patterns, citing evidence in the text, comprehension it is quite easy to see how it is also my literacy focus for the week. In addition, there is a big push to introduce our students to more informational text so this fits in quite nicely.

We start all our units by making anchor charts. I like to do Schema, New Learning and Misconceptions. Here is the one we made in our room.

I know some teachers like using the K, W, L model. I have included headers for both types of charts in my pack.

The next thing we do is go over our vocabulary for the unit. I have 9 vocabulary cards and journal pages to illustrate and write a sentence about each word. I also created one to use in Interactive Notebooks if that is what you are using in your room.

Going hand in hand with our vocabulary we label the parts of a spider. I have fill in diagram with the key included as well as a second version for use with INB.

In addition to reading several books about spiders,

I have created Spider fact sheets that I project on my smartboard that we read together. You can also print out these pages and put them together to make a book about spiders to use whole group or in your guided reading groups.

Then I put up the coordinating comprehension question sheet and we share the pen to answer the questions. I also incorporate a partner talk question. I have a 95% ELL population so we try to incorporate as much speaking as possible. Talking with a partner is a great way to build confidence in language development. We do then share our ideas whole group and even take a poll and graph our results.

For those of you want something on a higher level I have included 2 spider fact passages with vocabulary and comprehension questions. These can be done independently or in a guided reading group. I have students highlight the vocabulary words as we review them and use context clues to confirm their meaning. Next, they look for the answers to the comprehension questions and highlight their evidence in the text.

I have the students illustrate a Spider fact book once we have read it together during a small group session.

Finally in this pack I have included 2 emergent readers. One focusing on sight words and predictable text. The other also incorporates a review of colors and counting spiders up to 10.

If you are interest in this unit you can find it in my TpT store by clicking on any of the pictures above. It is on sale through Saturday for 20% off.

I love carrying my unit theme throughout all of my lessons. So I created this unit of Spider Literacy and Math centers. There are 5 Literacy and 5 Math activities included. Each activity has an I can... direction card and all are aligned to Common Core standards.

One of my kiddos favorite things to do is write or count the room. This pack has an activity for both writing and counting included.

There is also a rhyming center, that can be easily differentiated. Students match the rhyming cards. They can also complete a recording sheet by drawing pictures of their matches, or for my highest learners that sound out and write the words of the matches along with their pictures.

The other literacy centers included are a sentence scramble, uppercase/lowercase/picture match a sight word roll.

For the math centers this a roll and cover with 2 different levels. One just for finding the number rolled and the other they roll two dice add them together and then find the number.

There is a non-standard measuring center. Students will measure how many spiders long each spider or web is.

My kiddos love using themed erasers, and let's face it I can't pass them up at the dollar section in Target. So what do you do with them. I have Ten frames that the students complete by filling in the number on the card using those fun erasers. The numbers 1-20 are included.

The final two math activities are the Count the Room, and a number and tally mark matching game. My kiddos loved all these centers. Thus, my lack of action pictures, we were having so much fun I forgot to snap some pics, blogger fail! If you are interested in this unit you can click on any of the pictures above to go to my TpT store and it is also 20% off unit end of day Saturday.

For making it this far I have 2 goodies for you. First off a freebie to use during your spider week. We started word families in our class and I found this super cute spider activity from Susan Jones at Thank God It's First Grade.

Secondly, I a going to give away a copy of both of my Spider units to one lucky winner on Sunday October 18th at 8pm (pacific time). My son will pick a random number so just leave me a comment below telling me how you feel about spiders. Be sure to include your email so that I can send you the units if you are the winner. For a second chance to win, be sure to head over to my post all about Spiders on The Primary Punchbowl.

You still have a few days left to enter on our Fall Blog Hop to win a $25 TpT gift certificate as well as tons of other goodies too. Click here to head to that post. Have a great week friends and thanks for stopping by!