Monday, August 12, 2013

Teacher Week 2013--Meet the Teacher!

It's officially "Teacher Week" in the blogging world! I'm linking up with BlogHoppin to participate.

Here are 10 things about me:

  1. I'm an only child. But, I have a TON of cousins and a very close knit family.
  2. My favorite color is purple!
  3. I am entering my 6th year of teaching! I can't believe it's been 6 years...time has really flown by. I've been at the same school for the last 6 years. I actually did my observations and student teaching at the same school, so technically, I've been there 7 years.
  4. I'm a book nerd! If it has words, then I'm reading it.
  5. I enjoy taking road trips. Locally. If I can get there in less than 6 hours, then it's for me. This summer I traveled to New Orleans for "EssenceFest", Galveston, New Braunsfels, San Marcos, and a few other places.
  6. I can play the piano. I began taking lessons at the young age of 8. I used to play for a church service, but once I started college, it had to take a back seat. I'll still tickle the ivories every now and then.
  7. This is my 3rd year teaching Kindergarten. I love this age! The growth that I see from August to May is absolutely amazing!
  8. If I hadn't become a teacher, I would have become a pediatric nurse. Anything that has to do with children.
  9. My favorite book is "The Coldest Winter Ever". I could read it day in and day out. Some days I have done just that!
  10. I love music! I could spend an entire day (and night) listening to music. Some of my fav's are pictured below. However, Whitney Houston is my absolute FAVORITE!

So, those are a few facts about me!
Here's a description of what topics we'll be posting about during Teacher Week:

 Be sure to link up over at BlogHoppin if you plan to particiapte!

Happy Blogging!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Erin Condren Planner is Here and a New Blog Design

It's here!!!!!!!!
My Erin Condren "Teacher Planner" has arrived!

It's so pretty!

I'd heard a lot about the Erin Condren planners. Many teachers used them in their day to day school life to write lesson plans, keep up with meetings, dates, etc.
I started looking into these planners last year, but I couldn't justify spending such a large amount of money on a planner. Especially since I hardly ever used them.
Then...I was named "Co-lead" of my team.
I knew with the various meetings that we have monthly (1 leadership meeting per month, 2 staff meetings per month), I would need something to help me keep up.
I went online, found the perfect planner (for me) and ordered.

Pretty Packaging

Even though my district requires us to submit our lesson plans online, my teammates and I must meet once a week to discuss our upcoming TEKS (common core standards) and plan our lessons for the upcoming week. More than likely, I'll end up writing my upcoming plans down before I submit them online. In the previous years, I've procrastinated up until the very last minute. Our lesson plans are due at the beginning of each week by 8:00am. I would literally be submitting my plans at 7:59am.
Sad, I know.
So my #1 goal this year is to have my lesson plans submitted before I leave the campus on Friday afternoons.

Here are some more pics....
She added a few "samples" of her other products to my package.
Great customer service!

Front Cover
(My name is blacked out to protect my identity. From what...I don't know)

I'm excited to use my planner! I'll be sure to update the great features of this planner as I use it throughout the year.

Finally......I have a new blog design! I decided to keep my blog super simple! The colors in my old template were starting to give me a headache, so I decided to tone it down a bit.

That's it for now. My district returns for staff development next Wednesday, so I'm going to try to milk the last of my vacation days for all it's worth!!

Happy Blogging!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Hi! My name is........ & Daily 5

It is soooooooooooooooooooooo HOT here in Texas!!!
Temps of 103 with a heat index of 110-113! I'm doing my best to stay as cool as possible.

It occurred to me after linking up with Farley's August currently at "Oh' Boy 4th Grade" that I have never formally introduced myself. A few commenters began their comments with "Hi, Lynn..." and I was left wondering:

Who is "Lynn?"

So, allow me to introduce myself:
I am Nicole at "Krazy Kute Kinders"!! For now, I'm going by my nickname since no one at my current school knows that I write a blog, and it would be very much frowned upon if my admin found out. I'm keeping a low profile at work. :-) I will also update my 'About Me' section.


Daily 5!!!!!

Here's a look at my current Daily 5 rotation chart.
*I printed this from TpT, but I can't for the life of me find my jump drive to look up the creator. Once I find it, I'll be sure to edit and give them credit!*

Normally our classroom sizes range from 18--24 students. Looking at my chart, a minimum of 24 students, can work within the Daily 5 stations without meeting with the "Teacher." I set my chart up this way purposely. There are times during the year when I must test students one on one. This set up works because I can test independently and students can still work independently without interrupting me or the student I'm working with.

At the beginning of the year, I introduce each station whole group and students are allowed to practice and learn routines & procedures for as long as they need. Some stations they learn in 3-4 days, others in 1-2 weeks. I usually begin with Read to Self starting the 1st (YES FIRST!) day of school. We begin with 30 seconds of Read to Self and build on it each day. By the end of the week, we are up to 2 1/2 minutes of Read to Self. The second week of school, we continue with another 30 seconds of Read to Self, but I also introduce Read to Someone/Buddy Reading and we practice that for 30 seconds. So by Tuesday of the 2nd week of school (we always start the week before Labor Day & we're off the next Monday), the students are doing 3 minutes of Read to Self and 30 seconds of Read to Someone. Each week I introduce a new station and the students practice procedures at the new station for 30 seconds. 
But, they continue to practice routines and procedures in the stations previously taught. 
This sounds uber confusing, I know. I'll break it down like this (BR= Read to Someone/Buddy Reading):

Week 1:                                                   Week 2:                                           
M-R2self (30 sec)                            M-R2S (3min) BR- (30 sec)   
T-R2S (1 min)                                   T-R2S (3min, 30 sec ) BR-(1 min)
W-R2S (1min, 30 sec)
Th-R2S (2min)
F- R2S (2min, 30sec)

...........................And so forth. (I'm actually TOO lazy to type all of it out. If you want to see more detail, just let me know and I'll update it.

Now, you're probably wondering how I manage my rotation chart and decide which students go where.

I don't. They do. They being the students.

I am very big on choice in my classroom (within reason of course). My thinking is, if a student has the opportunity to choose their station, they are more willing to work. 
The one choice my students don't have is when they "Work with Teacher." I decide that.
I base my guided reading groups on their skills and needs. These groups change often, which is why they don't decide when to meet with me.
Within the 1st week of school, I take pictures of my kiddos. Their pics are glued/stapled/ welded (whatever works) to magnetic strips. I call out the names of the students that will meet with me for that particular day. They place their pictures behind the numbers in the "Meet with Teacher" section and they head to the small group table. The rest of the students are called by group or seat color and they choose which station they want to work with. I make it known that each student MUST visit each station by the weeks' end. NO EXCEPTIONS! I track their stations with an Excel printout. Every now and then, I have to tell a student to choose between my picks ("You may go to either Read to Someone or Listen to Reading") when it seems as though they're picking the same station, but I track their choices for this very reason.

My Daily 5 Block is set up as:
Mini Lesson: 10 minutes
Rotation 1: 15 minutes
Mini Lesson 2: 10 minutes
Rotation 2:15 minutes 
Mini Lesson 3: 15 minutes 

Only 2 stations per day, and 3 mini-lessons. small group stays with me for both rotations. So they get 30 minutes of direct small group instruction.
I want my students to experience working with all of their classmates, not just who I choose. 
Yes, of course to choose to work with their friends. Duh..they're 5! But they WORK. They hold each other accountable too, and it's more fun working with a friend anyways. Routines, procedures and expectations play a huge part in my classroom management during Daily 5, and any other lesson.

So that's how I do Daily 5 in my classroom!
I'll be posting later this week with classroom pictures. I went to work in my classroom today and I am SORE and TIRED, but I got a lot done!

Happy Blogging!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Currently August!

I can't believe it's August already! It seems as though I just started my summer vacation.
Well....technically, my vacation didn't begin until June 30th. So I haven't had much time off.
Oh well.....
I'm linking up with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for this month's Currently!

 Here's my currently:

  • I love NCIS. My summer has consisted of waking up late and catching re-run episodes of Criminal Minds and NCIS. 
  • I have so much to finish before I go back to work! My district returns to work on August 14, and I still have a to-do list a mile long.
  • I also want to get into my classroom to start setting up. Teacher's are usually able to enter the first week of August. However, our roof was being repaired and the custodians were still working diligently to get our rooms clean. Hopefully we'll be in my next week. I have already sketched the layout of my classroom, all I have to do is set it up.
  • I need to get started on my B2S work packets and activities. Nothing major, just a few things to get us through the first week.
B2S Must Haves:
    • Personal Laminator--this thing is a necessity the first few weeks. I laminate my students' lunch tags and dismissal tags to make them last longer....and it NEVER fails....the lunch tags last throughout the year, BUT, I swear my parents must tell their students to throw their dismissal tags away every day. I'm constantly re-doing dismissal tags the first 10-14 days of school.
    • A good planner--for this school year, I was named co-lead of my Kindergarten team. I'm excited and terrified at the same time! In order to keep up with all of the instructions and notes during our leadership meetings, team meetings and staff meetings. I need a good planner. I received an Erin Condren gift card, so I ordered a Teacher Planner. I hope it lives up to the hype!!
    • Composition Notebooks--these notebooks are our life in Kindergarten! I use them as "Writer's Workshop" journals, math journals, Reading Response journals...EVERYTHING! I try to stock up as much as possible during the B2S sales!
So, that's what I'm doing currently! How about you?