Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Currently December!

It's December!

Coffee brewing is always wonderful! Especially when there are no kids up yet!

Our school takes a break from Thanksgiving through Christmas! It allows parents time to do other school stuff with their kids besides the homework we give, and I am definitely thankful for the extra time at home and break from school stuff! :)

So on Monday we found out we were expecting a GIRL! I was completely expecting to be adding a third boy into the mix, so I was quite excited to find out it was a girl! I have been spending way to much time on pinterest and look forward to getting crafty for this little girl. :) I have been really sick this pregnancy, which is why this blog has been totally neglected, but I am starting to get some energy back and have several posts to start working on! :)

I want to go baby shopping too, but I am trying to hold back! ;) She isn't due til April.

The boys and I are going to go visit my dad for a couple days while my mom is out of town. Will has a ton of classwork and lesson plans to work on so I figured he could use some peace and quiet too.

{real or faux}
REAL! We started getting a real one about 2 or 3 years ago and I will never be able to go back! I love the smell and how beautiful the real ones are! This year I am giving in to Alex's wishes and going with colored lights though. I love the simplicity of white lights, but I guess the kiddo's desires trump that sometimes! ;)

Happy December everyone! :)
Be sure to link up with Farley's Currently!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Currently November

I can't believe it's already November! Time is flying by! I'm having trouble keeping up with life, so my Currently is a couple days late, but here it is!

raining again! I think our house feels forever slightly damp! It's an old house so I currently have a love/hate relationship with rain!

We made Thai food tonight and it smells DELICIOUS. Thai food always makes me so happy! The leftovers are great too!

Our homeschool academy starts winter break the week before Thanksgiving! I need to start thinking about what we are going to do to celebrate the end of the semester. I'm thinking an Author's Celebration while we share our holiday narratives!

It's been a long day! I am ready for the boys to go to bed so I can follow soon! :)

I am kind of keeping up with the everyday cleaning. But there are some areas in my house that really need a deep, deep cleaning! I'm just trying to find the energy for it! 

I love making Thanksgiving every year just to be able to make my mom's stuffing! I think it is from an old betty crocker cookbook, but it is amazing! I make a double batch every year and it is perfect leftovers!

Linking up with Farley's Currently!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Five For Friday: Regaining Routines

The last two weeks have been quite a whirlwind! School was canceled last week due to the flooding and road closures here in Columbia, SC. It was devastating to watch all the destruction happen around us. We were thankfully not affected by the flooding, but so many around us were. We emailed out assignments and homework to our students and then I took my boys to stay at my parents house for most of the week. So many roads were closed around us I wasn't sure if we would be able to find a way out of the city, but thankfully we did and got to spend some time with them and enjoying clean water!
We got back to Columbia on Sunday and have been getting back into the daily routines as best as we can!

Monday afternoon we had to go out to run some errands. It usually takes less than 20 minutes to get home from target, but on this trip it took almost an hour to go the round about way to get home thanks to road closures! my venti coffee wasn't enough! 

so the next morning I tried another way to get to school. We used to leave our house at 7:40, but now we have to leave at 7 because the road right before our exit is closed! so we take about a 45 minute detour to get to school now! and it is just 10 minutes in the opposite direction! In the midst of it all I try to pay attention to the reasons to be thankful... we still have a home and belongings, we only have to make this trip 2 days a week, the end is in sight... 
It is truly amazing how quickly the city came together to pick up the pieces after the flooding. Neighbors lending a hand, first responders working tirelessly, volunteers donating meals, goods, gift cards... 
With the road closures it has made it hard for us to be able to get out and help, so I am thankful for those who have given so much time and energy to help others!

Back at school we worked to get back into our routines for those two days, but we didn't get through all I had planned. Which was fine. The kids had to share their stories. We played a review game before we took our Literature Test. You can find it {here} in my Games Galore pack!

At home we have been having lots of fun with apples! We went apple picking while we were at my parent's house. We had been planning on it for a while so I was relieved it still worked out! We have made too big batches of apple sauce. The boys love helping. Liam is obviously good at eating too! We love to hold up the peels when we are done and see how long they are! 

I made some mini apple pies too! I followed the recipe {here}. They were fun to make and will be a fun treat over the weekend, especially to help me endure the pile of grading I still need to get done!

Hope you all had a great week! Be sure to check out Kacey's fun link up!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Currently October

Hello October!

Alex is so funny when he is talking and playing. Liam slept in today so it was nice to have a quiet morning!

I've been ready for cooler weather to come in. And we are getting ready for lots of rain, so hanging out with coffee under a blanket today is the best idea ever!

We finished up our first units for Writing and Literature. Now we are moving into using our Voices in writing and beginning to think deeply about what we are reading to build comprehension. I like to try and plan out the whole unit at once so I make sure to know where I am taking them. I am excited for these to start because they are ready to really go deep with their comprehension. I am thinking about using Patricia Polacco as an author study because there is a lot we can connect to her books in both writing and literature!

Now to find the time to get the planning done! I need a kid free afternoon sometime to be able to devote to planning. I work better in this kind of situation with a big chunk of time instead of trying to do it over the needs of the boys! :)

I keep renewing my library books online, but am so ready to take them back and get new ones out. We just can't find a time to go, and I have SO many books out right now that I am trying to plan a time when Will can come along so that he can help me with all the books and the boys. I also need to check out a bunch of Polacco books for our study. 

Fall puts me in such a good mood. From the beautiful, bright colors of apples and pumpkins to the pretty design on my PSL starbucks cup. And all the other colors in between. And because its scarf weather. I love it. Its the little things in life that make it so beautiful!

Linking up with Farley's Currently party!

Hope you all enjoy a wonderful October! :)

Friday, September 25, 2015

Five For Friday: Busy Week!

Here is what we have been up to this week!

Over the weekend I shared about some of the things that Alex and I like to do at home to build number sense. All you need is a couple of basic materials and then have lots of fun! You can check out some of our activities and can't live without materials here.

I also worked on a beginning letter sound sort for him. Its perfect for Pre K through Kindergarten to help them hear beginning sounds! I wanted to make sure it was useful all year long, so I also added long and short vowel sorts, and word cards so that the ones who are ready can start using their decoding skills to match the words and the pictures! You can find more information here!

In writing this week we talked about adding sensory details to our writing. So I split the kids into groups and they had to feel an object in a bag and first describe it without looking at it. Then I let them look at it and add more descriptions. We then came back together as a group, looked at the different descriptions and i gave each group a different bag and they had to match the object to the list of discriptions! It was fun. I did notice that a lot of kids went back and added more detailed descriptions while we were revising so I thought that was a plus! :)

This week we studied Michelangelo in history so that 3rd-5th graders got to experience what it was like to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel! They found unique ways to make it work, but all commented on how tiring it was! I have been able to see the Sistine Chapel in person and I am so amazed by its beauty! The set up and clean up were quite involved, but the kids had a blast!

To celebrate the ending of our first set of novels we had a fair with with our kids at a family's farm. We had elements from our three books, Because of Winn Dixie, Charlotte's Web, and Maniac Magee, present. The petting farm gave them a taste of Charlotte's Web's fair, Lots of food goodies from Winn Dixie's party at the end of the book, and a cobbler's know, pizza, and games from Maniac Magee... What we didn't anticipate is that true to the ending of Winn Dixie, our plans for a day of fun would be thrown for a loop by rain!! It slowed down at the start of our hay ride, but by the end the rain picked up and we were DRENCHED! Of course a lot of our plans changed, but the kids had a great time and made lots of memories! Since we did it on a non school day for us, parents and other siblings came along, so Alex and Liam got to come along too! They loved every minute and were troopers through the rain too!

Even though it rained I have to say I love the cooler fall weather that is rolling in! Can't wait for lots of fall activities to start!
Hope you all had a great week too!
Be sure to check out Kacey's Five for Friday Linky!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Preschool: Number Fun!

This summer I made some schedule cards to give us a sense of routine at home. Over the next couple months I will highlight some of the activities we do when Alex decides to put up that card! ;)

We will start with Numbers because that seems to be Alex's favorite and I enjoy it too!
I had lots of number sense activities that I had bought/created throughout my years teaching and so I was able to bring them home and I put them in a big tub. Whenever Alex chooses numbers we pull out the tub and go from there! 
Here are some fun things to add to your number tub!

Foam Numbers

Foam numbers are great for building numbers! We use them for lots of different things. Here he would roll dice, count the amount, and then build the number! 

Unifix or Connecting Cubes

We also spread the numbers out like a number line and Alex builds the number on top! Connecting cubes are also fun to build with! :) Eventually I do want to get some base ten blocks, but for now these are great!

Counters and Dice

These are two tools we can't live without! Alex loves to play dice games where all we do is roll, count, and collect. I got a fun tub of dice from Target that included all sorts of numbers, colors, and letter dice. Its fun to combine different dice together. Here he would roll a number dice and a color dice and then count out that many of the color. 
We also like to takes turns rolling a die and see who can get to 20 bears the fastest. 
With dice and counters the possibilities are endless!

Pentaminos/Attribute Blocks/Tangrams

These were all fabulous yard sale finds! Building spacial thinking is so important, not to mention the problem solving skills that kids develop when they learn to try again to figure out how all the pieces fit! We do a lot of these together and I am glad he enjoys it because I love this sort of thing! :)

We talk a lot about shapes when he pulls certain ones out to start building the pictures!
Check online for pictures and shapes cards to laminate and cut out! I found a bunch of freebies that I used at school before I found this set!

Ten Frame Mats

I love ten frames! I think it helps train kids to keep their work organized in a fun and easy way. There are lots of great ten frame activities out there. Alex is already getting the visual of "how many more" to a five or ten and its easy to count the empty squares!


This was born more out of necessity because Alex was constantly asking "How many more days until..." Now he looks at the calendar and can tell that its too more days until Saturday, etc! He loves to add the new date each day, tell me the date, and ask what day of the week it is. He has occasionally come up to me and told me it was a "new day" because of something fun he is anticipating, so of course we have those conversations about how putting up a new date doesn't mean its a new day!! Target occasionally has the little pocket charts, and I had picked up a couple before, and they are perfect for the calendar!

I also sneak in a lot of number talk through the games we play, but I will save that for another post! :) What are some of your favorite numbers activities to do with kids?

Friday, September 11, 2015

Five For Friday

I've been on a little hiatus the last couple weeks, mostly because we have been out of town a lot with family. There has been lots of times I have wanted to write, but it is hard to find the time! But I really do want to get back into the swing of it, so this is a good place to start. 

This post is from a while back, but we had such a sweet beginning to our writing workshop and it has only gotten better! The kids love to write! Click on the picture for a link to the post!

I have one bulletin board in my room to use! It's kind of crazy, but I'm trying to use it as our reference board to help keep track of what we are learning. 

At home we also enjoy some preschool fun! Alex always likes to choose the numbers tub, so we go through it and I make up some games to help us practice counting! :) I plan on writing a full post about some fun numbers activities soon! Target had a fun container of all kinds of dice that I used at school last year, but it has been perfect for activities at home too!

Labor day weekend was spent with my family! We all gathered in Georgia at my parents house to have one last hurrah before we said goodbye to my sister and her family! They flew to the other side of the world to minister to the people there! I am so thankful that we live in the age of iPhones and iMessages because we have been able to stay in contact so easily once she got there! I can't imagine what it was like when my parents took us to Japan when I was two and long distance calls were so expensive! These are all the grandkids minus 2! They didn't have enough swings! :)

This had been on my to do list for a while, but I finally made Alex and Liam a calendar yesterday! I wanted to make one that could fit in the little Target pocket charts! I had seen some calendar pieces at target, but they didn't have all the pieces left! I'm hoping this helps Alex figure out the days of the week a little better and helps cut down on some of the "how many days until..." I need to finish up a could of things but will eventually add it to my TPT store! ;)

Well, there is lots more to share, but hopefully I will start to get into a better routine of posting. The busyness of traveling is slowing down and I am finally caught up on laundry! ;) Be sure to check out what all the other teachers are up to at Kacey's Five for Friday link up!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Starting Writing Workshop

This week we jumped into writer's workshop and it. was. beautiful! :)
Yesterday we started talking about ideas. Where do ideas come from? 

Roller Coaster was the perfect book to start us off. 

Most of them could relate to experiencing something for the first time and so after we read the book we did a quick write about something we had done for the first time. 

Then we spent some time brainstorming ideas on our heart map. The kids were pretty excited about that, and lots of their maps included their family, pets, toys and other things dear to their hearts! :) We discussed that our heart map carried some big ideas, but it was important to make them more clear and specific when we wrote about them. 

Today was the day we really jumped in. Instead of using a read aloud, I decided that we need to learn a little bit from other authors, so we watched a couple of author interviews to find out about other people's processes and where they get ideas.

We started with Jacqueline Woodson because we had read Each Kindness.

They noticed so many great points about her process. Writing different genres, ideas being everywhere, writing multiple things so we don't get bored....

Then we watched an interview with Oliver Jeffers (the kids were big fans of Stuck and the Great Paper Caper), a totally different approach to an interview, and they loved the humor, but again they picked up on lots of great points about what authors do.

He was very clear about his process for writing too and that lead beautifully into our talk about what writer's workshop would look like in our room. There were some gasps when I told them I didn't want them to erase, but cross out mistakes so we could talk about their thought process. Their eyes glimmered when I told them they could write about whatever they wanted, using whatever materials they wanted, including a variety of papers. Heads nodded when I said we could talk about what we were writing, but other conversations should be kept to a minimum.

Then I told them that we would take turns letting boys and girls spread out using clipboards!
(oh the glee!)

So first they had to all choose their varieties of paper. Some decided to write in their notebooks, others stapled notebook paper together (to make chapter books) and still others still used my blank books stapled together.

Then they settled in around the room and started writing.

I could not believe how quiet it was!

Were there pockets of whispering?

Did kids keep coming over to talk to me.
Yes. (something to address next week)

But I got to hear kids read so many beautiful stories to me, each one as unique as they are! Everything from fantasy to true stories (with maybe a just a few elaborations).

I'm more than a little excited for where writer's workshop is going to go this year. It has always been a struggle for me, but it's amazing what you can do when you have an hour designated to it! This is a group that loves to write and I think we will learn lots this year!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Five For Friday: Back to School!

This was a busy week for us! The boys and I finally had our first days of school. Here is what this week looked like.

The start of the week was all about planning for the first month or so of school. Because we are only in school two days a week, I am trying to plan out the entire unit at once, and then break down the lessons. It give me a good idea of where we are headed. You can read more about my planning {here}

Back to school wouldn't be complete without treats for the teachers! :) I made banana bread and then was trying to figure out what to put on a tag... This seemed pretty fitting! ;) I may or may not have passed some out to some of my coworkers as well! ;)

Our first day was on Tuesday! Both boys went in very excited to their classes! Alex is in 4k this year! We actually will have some homework to keep up with! ;) Liam is more in a nursery setting, but I think he will keep plenty busy in there too! I had my 8th first day of school, but my first one in 3rd grade. :)

Our two days at school were wonderful! I enjoyed getting to know the sweet kids in my class. You can read lots more about our back to school adventures {here}

Back to School is never complete without some team building time! The Marshmallow Challenge is always a great way to build those skills, but you can go to the collaboration posts (or click here) for lots of great ways to encourage teamwork during the first weeks of school! I think it is important to get to know the kids, but then its also even more important to help them to learn how to work together and problem solve even in the middle of challenges!

That is a peek at our week! Hope everyone who headed back to school this week is having a great week!
Be sure to hop on over to Kacey's Five for Friday link up to see what others are up to as well! :)