Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy Holidays

I'm here, I'm here, I'm here!!
Boy have I been gone a long time or what!! I have been terribly busy with finishing a class and turning in finals, Christmas shopping, entertaining my two boys during their holiday vacation all while being nauseated (I will spare you the gruesome details) and trying to stay awake long enough to have fun during my Christmas break.

Being 9 weeks pregnant, getting my masters, being a mother to my 2 boys, a wife to my husband, blogging, facebooking, etc. seems like it is going to be the most challenging time in my life.
Oh and did I mention that I am turning the BIG----3----0 on January 12th! NOOOOOOOOO!  I can't even put the three in front of the zero with out freaking out! LOL!

My twenties were so much fun, both my sons were born in my twenties, I got married in my twenties, I received my bachelor's degree when I was in my twenties, we bought our first house in my twenties, and I was awarded TEACHER of the YEAR in my twenties!! What more could a girl ask for?

And let's not forget I started blogging, pinning, and facebooking in my twenties.  Whoa, what is 3    0   going to bring?  I know one thing is for sure!  A new addition to our family!  And yes we are really hoping PINK PINK PINK!!
I am hoping that I won't be missing in action for so many days again! Don't forget about me, I am still here!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sum it up with QR CODES

Sum it up with QR Codes!
Kindergarten  3rd Quarter
During our Math Sums lessons, students will find QR codes available all around the classroom.  Each QR code will either have a youtube video, graphic, or actual problem to work on.  Students will be paired in twos with a clip board, pencil, iPad, and QR Reader app.

                                   I am 4.
QRCode


Scan this QR Code for a cool Sum it up song.
QRCode

I am 3.
QRCode

Video: Reteach, check for understanding

QRCode
Table Work:
QRCode



CHALLENGE!
QRCode

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

TREEmendous Christmas

Wishing everyone a "Tree"mendous Christmas!!
December is in full effect and we are learning so much.  We only have 12 more days until our Christmas Break kicks off, and we have tons to do!
Here are a few activities we have completed so far with a bit of help from pinterest and Teachers pay teachers.

Hand Christmas Trees

 Class Hand Christmas Tree, each ornament has the first letter of each student's name with their self portrait right next to it.


Brown paper bag Gingerbread Houses. (Incentive Bags)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Debbie & Me

GUESS WHAT!! Sometimes it just works out without any obstacles or hassles....It is just meant to be!!
That is exactly what happened with Debbie Clement from Rainbows Within Reach and Me, Michelle Ayala fromm Kinder Fun!
    This is a great example of the power of a blog and facebook page.  Debbie and I have become good friends through our love for children, Pinterest, Facebook, and blogs.  I have never been to Florida and She had never been to South Texas.  Most of all the blogs and classroom pages on facebook that I follow are my inspiration.  I love to collaborate and communicate with you because you are the reason I am a great teacher.  At the same time I never really imagine that I would meet any of you.  I see occasionally the east coast crew meet up and I only wish I knew more bloggers near me.  I have still never been to Florida but I can say that I have my first friend from Florida!

   Debbie was able to visit us today, November 19th in Harlingen TX @ Dr. Rodriguez Elementary, a day I will never forget!

Debbie's personality, voice, sense of humor, talent, singing, books, music, and her ability to connect with young children is so unique and inspirational.
  I want to thank Debbie and her husband for making a dream come true for me and my students.  My kinder kiddos may not realize it now but they will never forget Mrs. Debbie and her wonderful spirit!  I know we will meet again if not in person through skype for sure!

Follow our Blogs/Pinterest/and Facebook pages!!


RainbowsWithinReach

Debbie's Pinterest --->http://pinterest.com/debbie_clement/

Michelle's Pinterest -->http://pinterest.com/mrsayala/

Click on the images below for our facebook pages!

Here are a few pictures we took today!!






Thursday, November 8, 2012

Virtual Field Trips



Going on a field trip is typically a student's most highly anticipated event of the school year—there's nothing more exciting than packing a sack lunch and experiencing a new, exciting place off campus.  But the downside of traditional field trips is that they often take too much time, money, and require extra adult supervision that may not be available to you. If you are struggling with a dwindling school budget or just want to give your students an experience of-a-lifetime without the fuss of permission slips, technology can really save the day.
What are Virtual Field Trips?
Like the name implies, virtual field trips can essentially let your kindergarten students have a "virtual" exciting adventure without ever having to leave the classroom.  Depending on which program you choose to use, your students can experience a trip into space, explore an erupting volcano, or visit the pyramids of Gyza all with the click of a mouse button.
While there are programs that have intricate field trips created (with included lessons plans) like the Micronauts e-mission designed for grades K-3, often times they require a small fee to access. But do note that you can scour the internet for free virtual field trips like the one offered at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History or the ones listed on the Scholastic for Teachers website.
Other sources to consider include the VC Content Provider Database (which offers some free virtual tours on specific days of the week) and the Global Nomads Group which connects your students with other students across the globe via video conferencing.
To make this happen all you need is internet connection and preferably a projector screen or a television with the proper lap top connections. Or students can watch the videos individually via the school's tech lab. Make sure to ask thought-provoking questions so that your students get the most out of their experience after experience the "field trip."
DIY Virtual Field Trips
While the sources referenced above can make virtual tours in the classroom a possibility, do keep in mind that you can create your own virtual tour using the tools you already have access too as well such as Panoramio and Earth, both offered through Google. These two features can transport your students to unique places around the world or to the moon. You can also make semi-virtual tours. For example, if you just visited city or landmark that has a lot of historical significance and you took ample amount of photos, you can display them on a slide show for your students.
Virtual tours can really open up a window of opportunity you didn’t think was possible.
Lenore Holditch is an education writer and a regular contributor to toponlinecolleges.com, a site that specializes in higher alternative education. She welcomes your comments. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

November in Kinder Fun

Thanksgiving Time

Thanksgiving time is here
Let's give a great big cheer
For food and friends and family
Thanksgiving time is here.



We are well underway in November! Lots of culture, symbols, customs, and celebrations around the world! We started November with Election Week and then moved on to Veteran's Day, Native Americans, Pilgrims, and we will end right before the holiday with a Kindergarten Pow Wow where students will rotate and migrate to different regions (kinder teachers) and create a project in each region.We only have a week and a half before the holiday break. Here is what we have worked on or will be working on in November.



 Directed Drawing Native Americans.



If You're Thankful 
If you're thankful and you know it clap your handsIf you're thankful and you know it clap your handsIf you're thankful and you know itThen your face will surely show itIf you're thankful and you know it clap your hands!
Do the Turkey Pokey 
Tune: Hokey Pokey

Sing the Hokey Pokey like normal,
but then the last line goes as follows:
"You do the Turkey Pokey and you gobble all around,
that's what it's all about." 


Veteran's Day/Presidential Election



I just recently found this great post by
First Grade Blue Skies
http://firstgradeblueskies.blogspot.com/2012/11/plump-and-perky-turkey-glyph-art-plus.html


Pinterest!
 Stay tuned for much more!!


























Monday, October 29, 2012

Election Week

Hi everyone!! I hope everyone had a restful weekend!  Time seems to be flying by so fast.  In just a few weeks we will be getting out for Thanksgiving break!
This week is a very important week for our kindergartners   We are learning all about ballots, voting, voting booths, secret ballots, Presidential election, etc.

Throughout the week we will be conducting several elections and learning the basics of an election.  Today I introduced what an election was with the book "Duck for President".  I had never read this book before and I really enjoyed it.  It is funny but at the same time teaches about an election and what happens after you are elected.  I then explained what a secret ballot is.  We conduct elections almost every other day by a show of hands when we are making different decisions in the classroom.  I loved how as soon as I said the word "secret" everyone became very serious and focused on what was going to be a secret.

Last week my teacher assistant was able to create a voting booth, ballots, and a ballot box.  Students voted on what their favorite snack was: "Fruit Loop Cereal or Animal Crackers".  Students went one at a time to the voting booth, circled their favorite snack, folded the ballot, and placed their ballot in the ballot box.  It was so quite, I couldn't believe it!
I will announce the results tomorrow and naturally we will eat the elected snack during our snack time.
Here is the copy of the ballot we used:






Tomorrow we will be conducting an election on what our favorite animal is: "Dogs or Cats".
Thanks to Greg I have an awesome Election Unit that he made!









Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Spiders: A Kindergarten Lesson




Not-so-scary Spiders: A Kindergarten Lesson
While October is generally a time for spooky stories and Halloween costumes, it is also an excellent time for Kindergarteners to begin learning about different animals, especially creepy crawlies that are usually considered icky or scary.

The Very Busy Spider
Eric Carle’s The Very Busy Spider is the perfect way to introduce young children to spiders. The book follows along with a spider as she builds a web and catches dinner. If you haven’t read the story before, you can listen to Veronica Francisco’s narrated version here.
Story time is also a time to begin familiarizing students with the concepts of objects and action in regard to English language skills. A simple way to help students make a distinction between verbs and nouns is to organize vocabulary into two separate sections. This story is also excellent for developing critical thinking as students will be able to predict the spider’s behavior after many different animals have similar interactions with her. Spann Elementary in South Carolina has offered a downloadable parent-teacher lesson plan that is extremely thorough.

Watch and Learn
Spiders are incredible creatures with a wonderful natural talent. Watching a spider build its web is captivating at any age. Here are my favorite YouTube videos for spiders.
A spider weaving its web at night. This video is simple and captured at night. Relaxing sounds of running water in the background make this video soothing.
BBC’s microscopic look at the spider and how it weaves its web.  This is more appropriate for teachers than for Kindergarten children. However, it is extremely interesting.
Another video of a spider building a web, but in the daylight and to jazz music! This is a very upbeat video that will get children giggling and dancing as the spider boogies around in circles.
Bring in a Live Sample
Some students are braver than others, especially when it comes to bugs. Though it is important to advise students against picking up certain types of spiders, this can sometimes make them even more afraid of the little critters. Bringing in a live spider to the classroom is a great way for kids to observe the creature in real life – at a safe distance, of course!
Bug Viewers are specially designed jars and containers equipped with magnifying lenses. There are a variety of these containers for sale on Amazon.com. Sometimes a simple trip to the playground is all it takes to gather a fine specimen.
Crafts and Projects for Anatomy of Spiders and Webs
After students are equipped with a general knowledge of spiders, where do you begin with teaching them HOW a spider builds its wonderful web and WHY its body is different than other insects?
One of my favorite crafts for teaching children about spider anatomy is the classic egg carton spider craft. However, I would make two revisions. 1) Paint the egg cartons before you  take them to class. 2) Include an additional pom-pom to serve as the spider’s head. The anatomy of a spider is vital to teaching students about how these animals build their homes and how they differ from insects.
To teach children about building a web, you can use popsicle sticks and string to build a small web that each child can take home. (Complete with a plastic spider in the center!) Another option is to engage to entire class by building a web by wrapping string around chairs and desks.
And of course, all of these activities can be learned in sync with songs and poems like The Itsy Bitsy Spider, There Was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly and Little Miss Muffet.


Nancy Wood is a freelance blogger for onlinecollegeclasses.com. She loves writing about education, health, and college life and works to provide helpful information on the best colleges for all students. She welcomes comments and questions below!


Monday, October 8, 2012

Have 2 Ways Out!



Fire Prevention Week is this week!
This year's theme is "Have 2 Ways Out!"

Here is the interactive website that I use every year with my students and they really do love it!

The following are FREE or DIY activities that I have found on Pinterest or other blogs that I found really beneficial to incorporate in this week's lessons!


















CLICK ON THIS LINK TO SEE WHAT I USED LAST YEAR DURING FIRE PREVENTION WEEK:
http://mrsayalaskinderfun.blogspot.com/2011/10/fire-prevention-week.html


Have a great week!

Friday, October 5, 2012

5 Great Children’s Books that Teach About the Seasons




5 Great Children’s Books that Teach About the Seasons
Every season brings a distinctive change to our everyday lives. We wear different clothing, eat different food and even take part in different activities and traditions. Students love to learn about the differences between the seasons and how the year is organized around them. The following books can help teachers illustrate these differences and are perfect for kindergarten through second grade classes.
The Year at Maple Hill Farm by Alice and Martin Provensen
A personal favorite, this book shows how the seasons direct what happens on a farm throughout the year. It takes readers through the farm chores and activities, month by month. The text is simple and softly humorous.  The Year at Maple Hill Farm is a great story that teaches both about the seasons and farm life.
The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons
This book tells the story of a young boy and an apple tree. Throughout the year, Arnold uses the tree as a tool for imaginative fun. As the seasons change, so does the tree and Arnold’s use of the tree. The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree shows the unique relationship between people and nature, helping readers understand how much we depend on nature for food and fun.
Sunshine Makes the Seasons by Franklyn M. Branley
The new edition of this book is a lot more colorful and easier to read than the original. It tells the science behind the seasons; how the earth is tilted and rotates around the sun to create what we know as winter, spring, summer and fall. An experiment using an orange, pencil and flashlight is included to help students better understand the concept.
The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri
This book is perfect for children who are just learning to read, thanks to short, easy-to-read sentences and repetition. It’s about a busy squirrel that can’t stop to enjoy time with his friends, because he’s working to gather food for the winter. Because squirrels are common all over the country, kids will be able to observe what they read in their own back yards with a new understanding and fascination.
Seasons by Blexbolex
This book is a visual story told by through the stunning illustrations of artist Blexbolex. Seasons explores the relation between time and the seasons by showing how everything that we see and do changes throughout the year. The book encourages readers to observe the world in greater detail to see the associations between the seasons, time and the cycle of life.
The concept of seasons can be taught using all the subjects, including math, science, art, music, history, writing and, of course, reading! I hope your students enjoy reading these books!


As a freelance writer, Melanie Foster enjoys sharing valuable information about pedagogy and life-long learning. In addition to regularly contributing articles to OnlinePHDPrograms.com, Melanie also writes for numerous other websites and blogs related to self-guided learning and teaching. Please leave any questions or comments for her below.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

YUP! WE LOVE OCTOBER!!

Hello everyone! I sometimes forget how much fun fall is and especially incorporating "October" related materials into our lessons.

It is just October 3rd and we have done and learned so much using pumpkins, leaves, and apples in our lessons.  We began our Pumpkin Investigation today during science.  We have 4th grade buddies and we teamed up for this special project.  Mrs. Alvarado, my fourth grade teacher buddy, found this neat planting project on pinterest!  We all usually open up our pumpkin, count the seeds, measure the pumpkin, weigh the pumpkin, and it can go on and on and on.  How about Describing the outside, How many lines does it have?, and How about describing the inside?  Then, how about leaving the seeds inside the pumpkin and add either top soil or potting soil, add some light, and water and BAM!! You have a plant growing!!
(In two week we will do the measuring, weighing, counting, and cooking of the pumpkin during our science lab time.)

That is exactly what we did today!! Check out the great pictures.  If you have never buddied up with an older grade level you should really try it out.  The 4th graders really gain and learn so much by helping the little ones.  My kinder students love to have an older friend who is caring and wiser.  :D






GREAT BOOK ALERT!!! "SOMETIMES" when I have time I try to go and visit our school library during an open slot.  I don't like to go through the library catalog online... I will tell you why..I don't think the title of a book, author, or level of a book can tell you if it is a good or appropriate book all of the time.  I go shelf by shelf and look at the covers and illustrations of a book.  I usually find some great titles that I have never thought of or knew about.  WEEEEELLL, Guess what!! I found an awesome book.  I saw it on the shelf and I thought the title was interesting so I check it out and read it for the first time today.  I LOVED EVERY BIT OF IT!! The illustrations were super cute and the story was really cute.  The ending also left it suspenseful and it left the students wondering and saying what if...  It is almost very similar to Eric Carle's Tiny Seed.  You have to check it out!!




You can surely do so much with this book! Students can:
  • Build a pumpkin town in your classroom, hall, or school.
  • Draw a Pumpkin Town
  • Write and Illustrate a spin off of the book. What would you do? What could happen next?
  • Carve pumpkins and display them in your classroom. Add a light inside your pumpkins and turn off the classroom lights. :D

I hope what I wrote makes sense.  I guess I am just on TEACHER EXCITED mode this afternoon.  I love to find new things to add to the traditional activities that we already do every year! :D
Happy October to you!!

HOORAY Day #6 and they are growing!!
This is our latest October craft thanks to Deanna Jump's Glyph on Teachers Pay Teachers.

http://mrsjumpsclass.blogspot.com/2011/10/frankie-friend-glyph-and-free-downloads.html

Check out our pumpkin on Day 12!!

Check out our Pumpkin Patch Field Trip that we took on October 19th,