Friday, December 23, 2011

Is your leg gonna fall off?

Are these some of the things you wish you heard from your students and co-workers?

You look like Batman, but not really...

Only old ladies use canes... are you an old lady?

Is the doctor gonna give you a new leg?

You were doing WHAT??? Why???

Huh, I guess you're not 6 years old anymore...

Well, then let me tell you how! You TOO can be a campus clown celebrity with my new KNEE INJURY KIT!*
The best part is... IT'S ABSOLUTELY FREE!!!!**

This kit includes:
  • ONE seemingly normal weekend visiting family
  • TWO adventurous and athletic kiddos who you love dearly
  • and ONE trampoline
Simply jump on the trampoline as high as you can with your cousins and land a liiiiitle funny and viola!
You just sprained your MCL, tore your meniscus, 
and tore your ACL!

*Consult your frontal lobe, your doctor, and your family before attempting this kit. They will all say it's not a good idea. 
**Doctor's Appointments, Fancy Knee Braces, Crutches, Canes, Surgery, and Physical Therapy are not included. These items are definitely NOT free.

Alright, alright, back to reality. On November 21 I injured my knee as described above. When I showed up at school the next week I struggled to explain a million times over what happened. The worst part was I hadn't even seen a doctor at that point because of the Thanksgiving holiday! I had an appointment later that week when I finally figured out what I did to myself. It didn't change that I had to explain to everyone who asked that I tore my ACL, among other things. "I hurt my knee" was enough for my class... what they told their parents is a different story entirely. :)

I just had surgery the 20th and finally thought to put it in a post. I'm staying pretty positive about it all... I have a lot to be thankful for. 

My question is... have you recovered from an injury while still in the classroom? I'm curious to see what you have taught through!

Link back to this post, why don't you! You never know, this post could serve as a public service announcement against jumping on trampolines! Spread the word! ;)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Is it OK for me to feel this way?

Goodness... It's hard enough for me to keep up with my kiddos, lesson planning, creating and giving unit assessments, worrying about their performance on computer-based assessments, parent conferences, and a whole list of NON-NEGOTIABLES outlined by my principals (wish I could gripe about this more)... so I apologize if blogging is last on my list!

I'm feeling worried. It's only November and I have to admit I am feeling BURNT OUT. I feel like I've got so many things to worry about (remember those "non-negotiables"?) that I'm not really good at any one of them. It's not hard to see why so many young teachers leave the profession after just a few years. It's not the kiddos or the curriculum... it's all of the extra STUFF demanded of me.

I'm sure you could tell me this is "normal" and to hang in there... so please do! I don't know what else I'd so with myself other than teach... but I'm not so sure I'm a good teacher sometimes.

Now that that's out of my system!

I am grateful that my students and I are really connecting this year. I enjoy being with them more than most of the adults at my school! I have some great activities planned next week around a Thanksgiving theme that I know they will love.

Here's what I plan to do for graphing. We've made several class graphs as a whole group... now it's time for us to create and interpret our own!

We'll start with a cut-and-paste graph of Thanksgiving foods.

Then we'll taste cranberry and apple juice and graph our class data!

Then I'll make sweet potato fries and mashed potatoes the night before so we can graph our favorites the next day!

*update* I fixed the "classed" typo... Thanks, Mrs. I for catching it!

Annnnd I'm TOTALLY making mashed potatoes in a crock pot at school Wednesday... it's so much more fun to cook WITH them! :)

My kiddos are sure to love these activities! Here's to one more week then a well-timed break from it all. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jack-o'-Lantern Labeling

Whew! Finally caught up to all the great bloggers out there doing some form of labeling activity. I believe I first caught the labeling bug here from Mrs. Lee's Kindergarten and was inspired Jennifer's labeling mats at First Grade Blue Skies.

Naturally we labeled Ms. Bueno with sticky-notes first. Man, those things didn't stay on at all! They kept falling off but we got the idea. 

Are you expecting a picture?
HA! I didn't have a label for "third arm" or "parent helper"! ;)

When that was over we took the strategy to my illustration of a jack-o'-lantern. 

Now... I DID have a picture, but I left my camera at school...

Then I passed out a quick labeling page to practice. No great shakes, but it certainly helped them feel successful. Of course it looks whacko below, but it was kinda cute, I swear!

Have you gotten the PrintClearly font yet? The dashed version is great for handwriting practice and it's what most of my homemade worksheets like this one are created with.

I'm pleased that this mini-lesson went so well! Tomorrow we'll take the same idea in our writing as we describe how to carve a jack-o'-lantern! 

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Did I scare you???

I mean, I haven't been around much lately... you would've thought I was a GHOST!

Well, I'm glad you found me today! I whipped up some quick patterns cards to mimic the great ones I found at PreKinders here (scroll down to the bottom).

So get out your Halloween erasers from Target to extend these patterns!

Monday, October 10, 2011

When Life Gives You Lemons...

make... a pumpkin patch?

So I'm at school on Sunday getting ready for our pumpkin unit when I get a phone call from one of my team members. We had a field trip scheduled today (a Monday!) and she was calling to tell me...

they CANCELLED on us!

We were heading to a community pumpkin patch and they didn't have any small pumpkins to sell the kiddos because their shipment didn't come in! We collected the money, got the permission forms signed, sack lunches were already deducted from the kid's accounts, BUSES were already reserved (so hard to come by in our district!)... What do we do?!

We made our OWN pumpkin patch.

No hay bales... no scarecrows... no wooden-cut-out-photo-ops... but A LOT of fun!

We have a very quick thinker on our team that ran to Lowe's during our planning and FILLED her suv with pumpkins. We unloaded them in the field by the playground we were having lunch at and viola! Makeshift pumpkin patch.
Haha! She couldn't see out the back! 
Best of all, we put our heads together and came up with some clever rotations so that each class would have a turn to choose a pumpkin.

Mrs. Yandell graphed what jack-o-latern face each class wants to carve (pictures soon).

I paraphrased Pumpkin Circle to talk about the plant cycle (it has such great photos of pumpkin flowers!)

Mrs. Baros helped the children choose a pumpkin and Ms. Alvarado helped them organize a pumpkin rolling race!

It was a complete success! I am so proud of my team for pulling it together.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Musical Monday: ...or not!

Sorry, no music here. But at least I committed to making a post, right? No?

Well, I just have to share some of my favorite stories that I *actually* remember:

Lil' Miss Sassy: "Teacher, are you married?"
Me: "No, I am not."
Lil' Miss Sassy: "WHAT?"
Me: "Yep. I don't want to be married!"
Lil' Miss Sassy: "Ah! That is SO sad!"

Other Lil' Sassies regularly like to draw Ms. Bueno with a baby in her belly, with high heels, and with fancy dresses (I guess I haven't worn a dress yet!)

Pigtails: (makes noises with her mouth).
Me:" ____, we're not making noises right now."
Pigtails: "Oh! We're not making noises right now?"
Me: "No. We need to be quiet in the hall."
Pigtails: "So no noises right now?"
Me: "No noises. Please put a bubble in your mouth."
Pigtails: "Oh! I can make them at home?"
Me: "Yes, you can make noises at home. Right now we need to be quiet."
Pigtails: "Oh, ok. (Says to a friend) I can make noises at home."

While responding to The Three Little Pigs...

Me: "Who can raise their hand and tell me a main event from this story? Yes, ___?"
Ponytail: "The wolf should'a been a STAR."
(Smile, Take a deep breath, And Relax!!! Conscious Discipline working for ya, right here!)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Work It!

Am I the only one who actually likes coming in on the weekends? Hear me out! I can get so much done when no one else is around!
Today's post is dedicated to teachers who work 7 days a week and work with what they've got! I found new places for things and rediscovered things I had! Yes, even after unpacking my room just a couple months ago I forget what I have.

I finally put together a little paper organizer the teacher before me had left behind at the old campus. When I put it on a covered storage tub next to my *tiny* office area it made such a cute and organized space! I finally have everything together!
Can you spy Pete? I talk to him throughout the day... I'm not crazy, I swear.
We practiced this math game this week but I had to use little boxes for the jewels. I finally found my drawstring bags as I was cleaning today! It makes counting the jewels that much more fun!
They're a little hard to see, but I have 12 bags filled with different combinations of 5 jewels!
And then I found these and I thought you could help me... What do I do with them???

Friday, September 23, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award!

Wow! What a nice award to be passed around! Jennifer at Herding Kats in Kindergarten was kind enough to think of me when paying forward the feel-goodness of being recognized.
Have you seen her cute new blog design? I love the freebies tab up at the top for easy access! Here's a quick note to my blogging buckaroo:

Dear Jennifer,
Thank you so much for giving ME a pick-me-up in a slow blogging month. I so appreciate you taking the time to comment on my posts lately. Please know that your comments remind me that I DO have something to offer the blogging world and empower me to keep it up. I hope we can connect more in the future!

Now for the rules of this award:

1.  Thank the person/people that nominated you and provide a link back to their blog. 
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3.  Pass this award along to 15 other blogs that you have discovered

Let's move on to the second rule then!

Seven Things About the Kinder Kid
1. I could eat spaghetti every day. With sauce, with lemon and butter, with vegetables, with chicken, with cheese... if I needed to choose a last meal it would be with my mom's meatballs.

2. I am a huge gourmet soda fan. Yes, gourmet. Not the big corporate brands- little bottlers and international sodas are more fun. I visited the coolest store called the Soda Pop Stop in Los Angeles and brought back two boxes of bubbly beverages on the plane! I even met the owner, John Nese, who is the sweetest guy.

3. I have a "See Them Live Before They Stop Touring"list. I saw Beck and  the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at ACL. Cake for New Years '10 was so. much. fun. I need to catch Modest Mouse, Gorrilaz, and OkGo soon! Their tour dates have never matched my schedule. :(

4. I have made some pretty neat pieces of jewelry in the past couple of years. I'm making this Dr. Who beaded scarf for a friend, wish me luck!
(This is just the example... I hope I can get it right!)
5. I have 5 pairs of Vans... The yucky looking green and blue pair are 8 years old! I can't seem to part with them! I want so badly to get some in my school's colors but I'm pretty sure they would be frowned upon as too casual :(

6. I have a few nerdy celebrity host crushes... Alton Brown from Good Eats, Adam Savage from Mythbusters and Anthony Bourdain from No Reservations are such charming, hilarious, and my-kind-of-cerebral guys! (I think my boyfriend has similar qualities, too, heh!)

7. I hate walking barefoot on tile, I love sleeping with two blankets swaddling me, and I find it really hard to drink enough water during the day.

Next rule! 15 blogs that I want to pay this forward to:

My fellow teaching newbs!

And my new friends!

Krazy in Kindergarten

And my Texan friends!
Little Miss Kindergarten


Chalk Talk

And excellent blogs all around!

The Polka Dot Patch

Thanks again, Jennifer! :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

4 and 5 Jives!

Wrapping up our 0-5 unit tomorrow. We definitely need some review on 4 and 5 before we move on to patterns. YouTube to the rescue!

Laura from Kinder Kraziness has been sharing some cute Sesame Street videos and I stumbled upon this one from a few years ago! I LOVE Feist! What a cute take on the song!

Then I went with trusty old TMBG for a 5 video!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Musical Monday: Why did I make this commitment for Mondays?

Feeling a little uninspired for today's Musical Monday... and blogging in general, for that matter! I have so much catching up to do here, but I still feel like I'm always running around, no time to sit down at the computer! I did get a tip from Jennifer at Herding Cats in Kindergarten about these quick handwriting videos:

I made a channel on YouTube to keep 'em all together! Not very musical, but it'll have to do for today.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Worksheet Works

NOT a huge worksheet fan... but is a nicely organized website that lets you customize each activity. Check out some of the things I found!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Musical Monday: YouTube!

I finally got my YouTube channel up and running in an effort to organize the videos I've been using and beef up my classroom blog.

Click here to visit it!

Click on the ABC's thumbnail to rock out to the alphabet like we do! We'll be watching this one from Have Fun Teaching this week:

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Saturday Shoppin'

I went in for ONE thing... No matter, I was SO pleased to find these ice cube trays in PERFECT 10 Frames at Dollar Tree!

I also grabbed some mini word wands and teeny forks at Target for who knows what... I couldn't pass them up!

Dollar Tree also had fun erasers for math stations.

HOW do you go in a store and NOT start planning? :)

Hands On!

My district bought the Handwriting Without Tears program this year and I had to leave my class to get a quick introduction to it yesterday (the day did NOT go well afterwards...ugh). We're still waiting on teacher manuals to get started but I remembered the Write Out of the Box training I went to over the summer. My kids need fine motor practice daily, and NOW.

So with what feels like the cold that's being passed around I ventured out to grab some items I could use for fine motor development.
I needed one more pack of water squirters from the Dollar Tree to imitate an activity called Squishy Fish. It apparently develops the arch in the palm to facilitate better grip. The kids will think puffing a pom-pom around is hilariously fun!

I grabbed modeling clay from the Dollar Tree, too. I love the small amounts of each color and the resistance it provides will surely develop little hands.

Dr. Gibbs from Write Out of the Box recommends using pillows for the resting fingers to facilitate the tripod grasp needed for writing. I think I will use the ice cube trays I found at Target below as a pickup activity with pillows.
Students can place a pillow under their resting fingers while they pick up beads to play in each section.

I'm not as clever as some my blogging friends are by giving their kiddos plenty of scissors practice early in the year. We attempted to cut rectangles out for a calendar-making activity and it was utter chaos! Now I know what kind of skills my kiddos have but a booklet like this would be excellent practice for them and documentation for me.

I envision modeling a variety of activities throughout the year and putting them in tubs for each table. I hate the idea of handwriting worksheets in the morning and these tubs could be a great alternative for morning work!


Guess what came in the mail today! My Yacker Tracker Deluxe!

I am so tickled that it came with smiley stickers. It seems to work well, but I can't make as much noise as the kiddos can. We'll see how it goes next week.

This week we did model different voice levels and were able to remind each other of what voice to use for each activity. After I used far too loud of a voice one little boy said, "Ms. Bueno, you're using an outside voice, please use your teacher voice." Needless to say this chart made a difference! Click on the image to grab yours.

The cute clipart comes from Scrappin' Doodles!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Musical Monday: Jivin' Gestures!

I did it! After one workshop or another (I forget!!) I wanted so badly to make my favorite classroom songs into movies. So I finally did! Took the better part of my day, but I just finished it! I needed this song to have visuals to remind us of the gestures I want to use.

Here's the Powerpoint I made, too. Just click through the slides as you sing along! I'm going to make posters of the letters as I introduce them. 

Ah! No sooner than I make this post do I find HarryKindergarten's version! AND AND ANNNND he uses SFA's Fast Track Phonics like our campus, too! Not as fun for gestures, but at least it's consistent with my mini-lessons!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Anything will help...

Still working on forgiving myself. My negative self-talk from Monday resurrected, but I am aware of my strengths, too. Now I'm trying to find solutions.

My kids get real loud, real quick in any situation. I have tried so hard to use auditory signals, brain breaks, breathing, 60 bpm songs, and a calmer disposition but in the end I fall victim to my defense mechanisms. It's hard to get back in control after fighting with them all day. By the afternoon I'm an absolute grouch and no fun to be with.

So, come to my rescue over-priced classroom technology!

Ultimately I will be modeling voice levels more and moving kiddos around, but I've heard of these before and want to give it a shot. I think they will love managing themselves with it rather than me constantly after them.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Terrific Tuesday!

Yesterday I was WIPED OUT. I finally caught that my self-talk was getting really negative as I fell asleep. "You need to to this... you should have done this... I thought this year would be different... why aren't you prepared?" But I woke up knowing that today would be fun... and it WAS! Best of all, I can take a moment to reflect that I'm doing some pretty awesome things.

First of all, Conscious Discipline is taking off in my room. It's so exciting to see the phrases from the  Seven Skills of Discipline become a second language. For example, my favorite skill to teach is assertiveness. So often a child will expect you to tell others how to treat them when it should be THAT child! When an offended child comes up to me with some tattle or report I simply ask, "Did you like it?" Of course they say no! Then you coach them on what they could say to their friend to teach them, not police them. My kiddos are REALLY receptive to using my suggestions on their friends. It puts less shame on the offender and empowers the child that needs assertiveness! That's just one of many teachable moments that Conscious Discipline encourages. I should write a whole post about it, for sure.

Another WONDERFUL example of Conscious Discipline working in my room is that our I Love You Rituals FINALLY took off today! My group loves to sing, yes, but they get a little shy about singing to each other. For whatever reason they got into "I Wish You Well" this morning after four other mornings of little participation. But you know what, I am gonna take credit for this!!! My constant encouragement is working!

I can also be proud of the other fun things I'm striving to do with my kids.
I finally got around to setting up a Pete the Cat Hunt (like the Gingerbread Man) and at the end we found Swedish Fish waiting at our tables! They were SO excited about finding out where Pete went and coming back to a treat. Such a good idea! I got it from Chalk Talk here.
We also made a music video in our technology studio! Our tech specialist put a few of us in front of the green screen as we sang and dance to this song:

I simply bought a karaoke version of "Respect" and sang over it just like these ladies. They LOVED it!  I can't wait to use the green screen again. Sure, not everyone can participate, but we can all enjoy the video for the rest of the year.

I'm also doing a GREAT job of calling parents this year. It is so nice to have a little chat with a few a week and they all seem to appreciate me calling. I get some good tidbits about the child that way. Talking to them lets me know of the best piece to be proud about:
My kids love me! 
I wasn't sure if I loved them until about last Wednesday... (c'mon! The first few days are ROUGH!) but the love I HAVE shown them is paying off. They call me crazy (with all the singing and dancing), miss me on the weekends, rush up for hugs in the morning, and aren't afraid to tell me what they're feeling, especially when it's to say, "Teacher, I love you."

...and that IS pretty awesome. :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Musical Monday: The Learning Groove!

Everyone has something they "geek out" about... mine happens to be *cool* children's music.

My train of thought went like this...

Needed to download this video for my kiddos on Friday:

But I (finally) noticed the song Pete chose to dance to was from this album:
Rockin' Red by The Learning Groove
Upon investigation I found out who was responsible for such a cool tune!
Eric Litwin!
I mean... duh! It's on his website! But I fell in love and immediately bought the album. HELLO brain breaks! My favorite tracks are "I Love It" from the Pete video, "The Good Stuff," "Dance, Freeze, Melt," "The Number Dance," and "Hip Hop Body Rock."

Monday, August 22, 2011

Musical Monday: Thank goodness they love to sing!!!

First day with the kiddos!!! We sang "Together" this morning for our I Love You Ritual as a whole group. About half will willingly sing to anything; the other half are a little more reserved but seem to enjoy it just the same. Tomorrow I'll pair them up to sing to each other!

I sang the "Walk in Line Rhyme" without music. The lyrics are so cute! Best of all they love it!

Peanut butter lips,
marshmallow toes,
hands glued to your sides
and follow your nose!

Right before dismissal we sang "See You Later Alligator" and I'm so happy they love to freestyle dance! We just made up the moves as we went along.

All of the songs are from this album... which quickly becoming my favorite! Gonna need some tea tonight if I want to do it all over again tomorrow! :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sneak a Peek!

So this is what my room looked like for... you guessed it, Sneak a Peek (Meet the Teacher)! I'm STILL waiting on two bookshelves (grrrr...) but I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. Meeting the kiddos was a blast, too! And I spent some time talking to parents like a real pro this year. Yep... I'm Ms. Bueno! :)

Cute sticker from Dollar Tree!
Sooo thrifty by covering a plastic tub with tablecloth scraps!
Don't mind the moving stickers on the chairs... :/
Student desks!
So happy I got the Conscious Discipline posters I wanted!
Guided Reading table and student computers
I LOVE my word wall!
Listening Station, tub table for my phone, and my cute block center!
Calendar is looking a little sad... but it'll get better tomorrow!

Overall I'm awfully proud of how I'm starting out my second year! :)

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