Sunday, October 8, 2017

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Handprint Calendar 2018

Every year I make a Handprint Calendar for my students to give their families during the holidays. It is a calendar for the entire year and is such a precious keepsake for parents. My new template is up on Teachers Pay Teachers and I wanted to share it with you because it is the perfect time to begin working on this project.

Each day I will pull students back (or have a volunteer do it!) and paint students' hands. Some days I can do 2 different pictures at once and saves me a lot of time. Each month gets its own hand print that matches a poem that is printed on the calendar. You will place the hand print on the back of the previous month so that when the calendar is flipped you will see the painting! Check it out here:
  • Print every month on a different color card stock.
  • Combine like colors when painting. For example, you can paint the pumpkin and the goldfish on the same day because the color is orange for both. 
  • Make sure you paint the hand print going the opposite direction from the previous month printed on the other side. You want the direction of the hand print to flip when parents change the month. 
  • DO NOT bind the calendar until after you have painted all of the hands. If you make a mistake, you can just change out one page instead of taking the whole book apart. 
  • Use markers and glitter glue to decorate your hand prints. The more elaborate you get, the better they look!
Feel free to ask me any questions regarding the calendar. I hope your families love it as much as mine!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Freebie Bump It Game~

Here is a FREEBIE Bump It Game I made as an assessment for my incoming Kinders. The game serves 3 purposes:

1. Teach the kiddos how to use dice trays
2. See how they work in partners
3. Assess their knowledge of numbers and quantities

Because I am doing this game with EVERY Kindergartener in school the first week (we are rotating classes), I want to make sure it is purposeful, as well as fun. Students love dice and will be using them a lot throughout the year. Why not let them experiment, while I give an informal assessment on their number sense?

I will print and laminate this board double sided, so that we can spend the first few minutes of the game matching dice patterns, and the rest of the game matching numbers to quantities.

How to Play:
Students will take turns rolling a dice. After they roll they will match their dice to one of the board, covering up that square. Then it is the next person's turn. They continue until there is no more places to put a given number, in which case they can "bump" the other person's dice. I use two colors of dice (white and blue) so they can tell which dice belongs to them.

I don't usually have a winner. But, if you choose to, just have them count who has the most dice on the board at the end of the game.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Teaching New Part 3: Transferring a Credential

Welcome to the boring section of Teaching New! Well, it's boring, but it is the MOST IMPORTANT part of getting the new job! I got my credential in California. I got my masters in California. Yet, I have moved to Oregon. Luckily, a California is reciprocal in many states and it is in Oregon. BUT, I had to get an Oregon Reciprocal License BEFORE the start of the new school year. I put in my initial application early, which is great and an accident. I just thought I would go ahead and do it since I will be in Oregon for awhile.

So that ends the easy part! From there on out it was a definite adventure that was both frustrating, but rewarding. I knew that my job was contingent on getting my license. Ok, I was just waiting for it to go through. But, then I got an email saying I needed to turn in a laundry list of items to the TSPC (Oregon licensing), many of which I did not have. It was a crazy, angry, stressful race to get things in before the next day. I graduated in 2004, got my credential in 2005. It's not like I can just order my transcripts. They are ARCHIVED!! (I am that old...) Long story short, I had to pay a lot of money to get things overnighted to Salem, OR. But, I got them all in.

Within a week I had my license. FINALLY! It was the best feeling! Now I have to take a few tests and prove I have taken all the CSETs. I have a year to do it, though, so that's nice.

So, yeah, it's boring to read about, but stressful to get. I am very proud of myself because I accomplished the task. And now I am certified in 2 states!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

My Kindergarten Calendar: Number Writing Practice

I have just put up a new product on TpT. It is a quick and easy monthly calendar that gives students number writing practice. You can pull this out at the beginning of the month, practice increasingly challenging number writing activities, and talk about the month ahead. My Kindergarten Calendars are a fun way to practice number writing skills in a meaningful way.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Teaching New Part 2: Getting Settled

After my acceptance of the position as Kindergarten teacher, I met with the principal, who took me on a tour of the school. I come from California and am used to schools with outdoor hallways. Since I now live in the Pacific Northwest where rain is a constant thing, I am moving into an indoor school. (I actually think  that it's pretty cool. Reminds me of The Neverending Story, and I LOVE The Neverending Story!)

My building is called Kinder Village, since it is its own smaller building next to the main building. I think that name is pretty adorable.

After my tour, it is on to...

Step 2: Moving In

I have my keys! Yes, I can unlock the building, walk down the hallway, open the door, look inside. And when I look inside, guess what I find? A classroom full of stuff left by someone I have never met. Granted, it was very nice to have access to materials in case I didn't have any. There are a million books, lots of games, flashcards, toys, etc. The problem is that I have been teaching for 12 years and have all of MY stuff in a storage compartment somewhere, waiting to arrive. Where am I going to put it??

I have to make a game plan:
1. Go through curriculum and get rid of anything old.
2. Put all books into one area of the room.
3. Clean out and organize cabinets
4. Organize math pieces and flashcards as much as possible.
5. Move furniture around so that it looks like I did something!

So far I have completed these steps. Now, I just need to put everything in its place. I also need to be mindful of everything else I need to bring into the room. It's overwhelming, but I am making progress.

What is amazing is that I have found items that I LOVE and do not own. Also, I can get a good look at the curriculum I will be using and begin my planning process. My goal is to be done with the cleaning by the end of the week. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Teaching New Part 1: The Interview

Hi everyone! I began teaching Kindergarten in 2005 and have been teaching 12 years! (Yes, that's math...) Well, I am in a new state and starting a new school! AND, I am still teaching Kindergarten! Yay!

I thought it might be fun to document my time as a relocated teacher. Everyone fears change (especially me!) and having to start over is never easy. So, as a little reassurance to other teachers out there, and for myself, I will be walking through my steps to becoming an old teacher in a new place.

Granted, some teachers may never have to experience this craziness. Some may experience this kind of specialness a lot. But, I don't think many people have taught 12 years somewhere and then had to relocate and start over. If you have, leave a comment! I would love to hear your story. 

Here we go....

Step 1: The Interview
First of all, I was desperate for an interview. I thought it would never come! Seriously, I thought it would never come. Everyone said it was a matter of time. But, my brain was telling me otherwise. Shows what my brain knows. I got an interview 2 weeks into the move. When I finally got one (after applying at 20 different schools!) I did everything I could to make sure I stood out as a highly-qualified teacher.

Of course, I bought a new outfit. Obviously...

I applied for the Oregon Teaching License. You can't expect your old credential to get you noticed. 

Then I started to get my teaching portfolio together. Here are some pics:
 Colorful cover

 Table of Contents

 Introduction Letter

 PowerPoint Presentation I gave at the interview

Student Samples

Many teachers already have a portfolio, and mine is by no means the best way to do it. This is just a small example.

What I think DID set my interview apart was my presentation. Usually you go to an interview and the committee asks you questions and you answer them as best you can. Instead of that standard process, I did a PowerPoint presentation that actually included a video of me teaching a lesson. Not only did my presentation answer a lot of the committee's questions ahead of time, but they were impressed with the example of actual teaching. Many principals have never had a candidate bring video of practice before. I included it in the Methods portion of my presentation as a YouTube link.

The interview went very well, and I felt very relaxed answering the questions they did have for me. I was offered the position the next day! Yay!

Next up, I will share my war with setting up a new classroom while most of my stuff is still in storage and all I have is what is left over from the previous teacher. Should be interesting...
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