Friday, March 27, 2015

Feeling Springy!

Hello Friends!
I made it....
SPRING BREAK!!
Two weeks of blissful relaxation! 
Yippie!!

Before leaving today, I wanted to have some Springtime happiness to welcome us back after the break.
But, what?
Here's what we came up with...
DRUM ROLL, PLEASE!!


FLOWERS!!


We did a flowers in a vase directed drawing.

They were so into the drawing & super serious about it!
Here are some of the finished products...



I just LOVE how each one turned out! 
My kiddos were really proud of them. 
I know it is super simple, but sometimes they just like to have it broken down step by step! 
My classroom is happy & cheery & ready to greet us when we come back from our break!
I made a little direction sheet in case you want to do it with your class or even put it in a center!
Please forgive the primitiveness! ;)


 Have a great Friday!!
Let me know if you use it!! 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Reading Got Ya Down?

Hello Friends!

I don't know about your classes, but usually around this time of year it's hard to keep that reading engagement up!

SPRING FEVER has hit!!

So, how do I put a little spark back into reading time? 

I find books that are high interest for my kiddos & I write a special little note to them about the book.

Nothing too major, but this is a hit!!

 Here are some of my secrets to build that reading excitement:

  1. Have the books on their desks as soon as they come to class in the morning.


 2. Only do about 5 or 6 students at a time...this builds anticipation for all students!


3. Make sure that the book is something that you know the kiddo really likes! I try to make it a book that they have never seen before! 

I like to keep it completely random...they never know when they will have a book & note on their desk. Also, just because a student got a book today does not necessarily mean that they won't get another book the next day. 
That way the anticipation is always building...my kiddos cannot wait to get into class & see if they got a special book & note from me. 
The are so excited to stop everything & read the book that I chose especially for them!
You  MUST be sure that everyone gets a book & note though...I made that innocent mistake once & about crushed those tender spirits! 
Be very careful that you keep some type of list to be sure not to miss a kiddo!

Go ahead..try it!
Let me know how it goes!! 


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Bring on the Snow...

Hello Friends!

Well, last week we had a teacher workday on Monday for President's Day. Then, Tuesday & Wednesday there was no school because we had ice. So, on Thursday & Friday we had 2 hour delays because it was cold!

Needless to say, the kiddos REALLY wanted to get a little of the white stuff. Sadly, they were left with none...boo!

My own personal 4 year old was SUPER excited when his 14 year old sister PROMISED him that snow was on the way...only to be sadly disappointed. :(

What's a mom to do???

Pinterest to the rescue!!

We made our own snow & it was a huge hit! 
 I was actually pleasantly surprised that this worked. Lately, I've had a lot of flops from these homemade concoctions!

This one was great! It actually packs together so you can make stuff, it's cool to the touch so it feels a lot like real snow, it smells nice, & it's an easy clean up.

We call that a win!  

Here's what I used: 
foil pan
2 boxes of baking soda
2 trial sized conditioners (try to get white so the snow will be white)

I spent a whopping $3 for this! That's my kind of fun! 




He was entertained for about an hour & 1/2 on this- too cold to go outside, going stir crazy, come on warm weather day! 

 BINGO!! 

This is probably the only snowman that we will be making in NC this year! 

If you are going to use this in a sensory table, this would be enough for 2 kiddos to play together. You could also add plastic spoons, lite brite pegs (that's what you see here), sand molds, etc...the possibilities are endless. 

I stored mine in a whipped topping container..I'll let you know whether or not it stays good. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?

Hello friends!
So, some of you will recall that my school has begun using Conscious Discipline as of January. I will admit that while I do like the program, it has NOT been easy to transition myself & my kiddos to this new way of thinking. We are certainly on the right path, but the path is VERY long! 

Here are some of the things that I really like so far:

  1. Everyone is beginning to feel like they are a part of our "school family". The premise behind CD is that everyone should feel safe at school. With feelings of being safe children can learn & not feel threatened in their environment. 
  2. I am seeing & hearing so many more kind things. Remember how I mentioned before that my kiddos are just plain mean? Well, not so much anymore. There actually are some sweet little hearts under that tough exterior.
  3. I see my kiddos starting to turn into little problem solvers. I have been teaching them the words to use to help them talk through situations. They are transitioning from flying off the handle with one another to actually having conversations that are productive & respectful.
Here are some issues that we are working through:

  1. CD is VERY time consuming. I have to stop frequently to talk with a student or students about how to solve problems, make smarter choices, and how to talk to people without hurting their feelings, etc.
  2. Some days I feel really defeated because CD takes so much out of you. I am 1 teacher in a room of 20 kiddos that are constantly a challenge. Sometimes I think this is just not working. 
  3. It is hard sometimes to find the right words to say to a kiddo to get through to them. Sometimes it is hard to think of the natural consequence for a behavior. Sometimes I just don't feel like talking to the SAME kid about the SAME thing for the 10th time that day!

I do know this:

  1. I will not give up.
  2. I will remain calm & breathe.
  3. I will do my best for my kiddos! They are the reason I am there in the first place!!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Winter Math Fun!

Let's talk math...

Math in my classroom looks like this:

First, we do a whole class mini-lesson. It takes 15-20 minutes or so.
Next, we complete an exit ticket based on that day's mini-lesson skill. It takes 4-5 minutes tops.
Then, I briefly (like 5 minutes) explain the math centers. I do not have to do a lot of explaining this time of year because the centers are all familiar. I just change the skill/ difficulty, but the activities are always the same. 
After that, they work in centers for about 12 minutes.
Finally, we finish up & meet back on the carpet for a quick closing. 

We don't have as much time this year for math, but we make every minute count!! 

Here is a peek at this week's fun!

My kiddos have been having a blast with these math centers....
Snowy Fun ~Ink Saving Math Centers!
(click the pic to see more)

Here are a few pics of our fun! 
Mitten 3 digit Addition
I decided to make the 3 digit addition mitten game into an add the room...my kiddos needed to move around this week!

This is one of the Mitten dice games that my kiddos LOVE to play!

This is a roll & dot...another of their faves! :)

There are more math centers in this packet, but we can't use all of them in one week. It usually takes 2 weeks for us to use all of them! 

My school uses IXL math.
My kiddos LOVE it & it makes it really easy for me to have a pre-planned center where I choose the activity for them to focus on! 

If you got this far you may want to snag this little freebie!! 


Click the pic to get the freebie! 
Leave me some comment love, please! 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Shout Outs...Holla

Hello friends!
Today was exceptionally sweet! Here's why...


So~ we have been talking about being safe, showing kindness, making good choices, etc...

Today I introduced the SHOUT OUT! 

This went over like gang busters...

Here's how it works:

Step 1- Notice someone showing kindness, helping out others, making good choices, being responsible, being respectful, and so forth. 
Step 2- Fill out a shout out form & place it in the shout out container.
Step 3- Mrs. Elliott chooses random shout out's at the end of the day & reads them in front of the.entire.class!! 
<<HOLLA>>

My container was FULL today! 

My sweet friend, Kim made these shout out forms & they worked like a charm.


Here is a shout out for a student that was reading & being quiet. Doesn't seem like a big deal but for this student it was HUGE.



 Here is a sweet one where a student noticed another student helping to pick up crayons that someone else had dropped. 

I could've posted so many more! They were super into noticing positivity. It changed the whole mood in my classroom & they were so happy to write the shout outs. 

It was too cute! 

You definitely do NOT have to be a Conscious Discipline classroom to implement this. If you want to add some positive reinforcement and compassion to your class this would do the trick! 

Just because you stuck around this long here is a freebie from my sweet friend Kim of the shout out forms that you are more than welcome to use in your class!

Enjoy! 





Thursday, January 8, 2015

Reflections...

Hello friends!
As you know, I have been implementing Conscious Discipline this week. Like any new program, it will take time to get everyone on board & in the routine. It is a new way of thinking for the me & for the kiddos. Here are some things that I am noticing...

  1. My kiddos had no idea how to shake hands & maintain eye contact until we practiced it a bazillion times in our morning meetings this week. :)
  2. I have had to adjust the way that I speak & respond to students...I am definitely more aware of the things that I say to them. No more, "I like the way Bob is sitting on the carpet"...
  3. My kiddos are more aware of the way that they speak to each other. I hear MUCH more courteous language. Instead of "Get out of my way" it's more like "Can you move, please?" (baby steps)
  4. I am thrilled to NOT have a clip chart or card system to mess with. I thought that this would be a difficult transition, but it has been much easier than I thought.
  5. I have more kiddos buying into the program than I initially thought I would. Yay! 
That being said, here is one of my new favorite things that I have implemented in my classroom this week.

Remember these?

Well, I introduced them to the kiddos by telling them that I had a special treasure that I have to protect. I asked them if they would help me protect the treasure that is in my bucket. I went around the circle & had them make a commitment to protect the treasure inside. After everyone committed, I opened the bucket & showed them & gave them their own special heart. 
To begin our morning meeting I have them hold their hearts in their hands, give it a hug, & warm it up by holding it against their own heart. After that, they come to me one by one. I say to them "NAME, I am going to keep your heart safe today" & they respond "Thank you, Mrs. Elliott. I am going to help you keep my heart safe today." Then we high five & they take their seat around the meeting circle. 
There are some that think that it is silly, but I make them do it & reiterate that it is my job to keep them safe. 

**I know that it is helping us to build a tighter classroom family & I like the fact that I know I have touched base with each student in a positive way to start our day.**