Friday, September 23, 2016

Using Whisper Voices or Not!

Have you ever asked children (in any grade level) the following questions?

1. What is a quiet Voice?
2. What is an inside voice?

Then all the marvelous little voices begin to "yell" all at the same time; what they think and know a quiet voice is! Yes, this happens to me every year and it doesn't matter how many times we "talk" and I "model" what an inside voice is and sounds like; outside voices are pretty much used 95.999999999% of the day!

Another overly used statement, especially the first few weeks of school is:

"Please raise your hand and wait to speak."
Followed by:
"But I need to say something." (while waving hand in the air as fast as they can)
Me: "Ok, what do you need to say?" 
Student: "we have kittens."

As you can see, the first few weeks can be tough for my students and me. There's usually anywhere from 19 to 23 students all trying to speak over each other, over the teacher, or anyone who walks into the classroom. Over the years I've thought and pondered on how to teach children the importance of speaking softly, using inside voices, and take turns speaking. I've modeled, we have had group discussions, chart our ideas, and constant reminders. Frankly, it's a struggle all year long, until now. This year I was determined to teach students about not just inside voices, but also about table voices, outside voices, six-inch voices, and whisper voices! Yes! I myself have learned about other types of voices not just my students. After learning about the different types of voices one can have, we chanted "SQUEEK-A-MA-DOODLE" all while using our different voices. The kids loved it and well, I'm pretty much a happy teacher who has taught my students all about our 6-inch voice!

I've learned that there's something about using stories that children can truly relate too; when we want to teach them certain concepts (like whispering.) This was evident during our readings; We sure learned a lot from Decibella, a little girl in school, who is learning when to speak loud, soft, and even whisper! Or Louis who's mouth is a volcano and always "Errupts." His tongue just happens to always push all his words out his mouth, through his teeth, and always gets in trouble! Even Lacey, who learns how to be a good listener, because she lost her voice and can't use it anymore. These books have taught both my student's and I important life lessons and are now part of my teacher collection and will be so for a long time!

  Books on how to teach children to speak softly                       Books on how to teach kids to use inside voices teaching kids about inside voices or whisper voices

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Rules of the Classroom

As I'm writing this post, I'm thinking about how lucky I am, because every year I start school in July! Yes, it "cuts" into my "summer break" but that doesn't bother me, click here if you want to know why I start in July.
To top it off, this year is EXTRA special for me because my very own baby girl starts kindergarten. She also happens to be our baby, and has been asking for a whole year (really, I think, ever since she realized I am a kindergarten teacher) for me to be her teacher. This past year, while she was in pre-school, I thought and pondered about the idea. My husband and I talked about the pros and cons. I even asked veteran trusted teachers for advice and decided why not? So, for over a year we have been "prepping" her to be in mommy's classroom. We would constantly inform her, that if she was going to be in "momma's" class, she had to listen like every one else. We also made her aware, that mommy would share her heart and time with other children in the classroom; as expected she would listen quietly, ask why, and would finally nod and say OKAY, after a huge sigh and she always wanted a hug!
Honestly, up until last week I was somewhat worried. Last week was our first week together in the classroom and I was so impressed, surprised, and amazed by her! Her maturity, kind heart, and extrovert personality were far beyond my own expectations of her. I think my husband and I made a good choice, not to mention my amazing principal who also gave me the ok! Needless to say, tomorrow we start our second week together and I'm so looking forward to it!
I credit part of this success to some of my classroom rules, procedures, and expectations. It's cliché to say children thrive on boundaries, but it is the truth!
My first week with students, we play at all of our centers and practice routines and procedures. We read several first day of kindergarten/first day of school books and we sing many songs.
One the songs we sing and I also use to teach classroom "rules" comes from Mr. Harry Kindergarten Music  the rules of the classroom:

But before we even sing this song I lead the students into a discussion about my role as a teacher and their role as a student. We chart our ideas, and eventually all their ideas can be summarized perfectly into this song.  After I write down their ideas, I show them our posters for each rule, which look like this in our class:

Classroom Rules Posters

Classroom rules posters

Class rules for kindergarten

And we can never sing this song enough through out the year! Setting clear classroom rules and expectations will lead you to a productive school year! Add amazing little minds at work to that and it's even more so beautiful! Children will love learning!

If you would like a set for your own class here you go!
Rules for the classroom

Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 New Year and Blog Hopping Fun!

Happy New Year Friends! This is what I'm currently doing on the first day of the year...

Listening to my washer spin as I blog away, I do not know why, but hubby woke up EARLY this morning and is doing laundry!

Loving CROSSFIT, exactly a month ago my sister took me with her to a free class and needless to say I fell in love with crossfit, Dear yoga, I will come back.... I promise!

Thinking... I am a thinker, always thinking, and this morning I woke up thinking about this upcoming year. My plans, my hubby's plans, our kids, we all have dreams, wishes, ideas, and thinking about how it will all roll out! Praying and Expecting a fruitful and happy year!

Wanting, Biscochos!!! No one made biscochos for Christmas this year and I have been craving them since then. I pulled up a recipe from online yesterday and they came out OK, they look pretty... taste, not what i was expecting, but still good. Check them out in my IG account here, I had so much fun baking them with my 4 year old daughter! "Mommy, it's like playing with play-doh!" Those are the moments I truly live for!

Needing COFFEE!! I thrive on Coffee, and it's still brewing. I love how it makes my kitchen smell. Now only if coffee tasted the way it smelled :)

One little word: LOVE, love God, love myself, love my family, love my job, and love those around me!  This is what keeps me grounded and rooted. Something we all need, especially in today's  society!

Speaking of LOVE, who doesn't love a good giveaway, especially a TPT $30 gift certificate? My friends Suzy, Amy, and I, from On the go Teacher Mama and Albuquerque Amy and Academics are hosting a New Year's Blog Hop, giveaway, and freebies.

1st: download my kinder freebie, even if your not kinder, share with your Kinder teacher friends, they might find it useful :) Feedback is welcome!

kindergarten counting activities

2nd: Enter Our Fabulous Give Away (3 giveaways, $30 TPT gift certificate, K-2nd bundle and 3-5th bundle) Good Luck!

3rd: Hop on to Amy's blog from Albuquerque Amy and Academics, for a fabulous freebie :) Only three blogs, with amazing products and freebies! When you get back to me, you are done! Best Wishes and lots of Love! #tchr888

P.S. If you want to join the "Currently" linky party go on to Farley's blog :)