Sunday, June 30, 2013

My First "Currently!"

I am so excited to link up with Farley for her July Currently linky party!  This is my first one.  Here we go!


I tried to be really honest. I wanted to be listening to something inspirational or meaningful or even fun, but my boy is watching Shark Tank so there you go!  :)  My sweet husband is outside mowing and making the house look so nice... which leads me to...



Yes, my husband!  I love that he loves his perennials and dividing them and planting them all around to make our house pretty. I love the look of the flowers- WAY more than the actual act of planting and especially weeding... so we make a great team! I am the "encourager."  Yeah, I got the  better end of that deal! OH and he just mulched, too.   He would probably not be thrilled with that picture, but he won't even know unless he reads this. :)  Hmmm- let's see if he reads my blog! :) 



I am thinking  about what a fun day yesterday was.  I love days when I get to have great conversations with all my kids- and just relax and do silly, simple things at night. My kids are almost 23, 21, and 19, so I just love when we have some great talks or even silly text conversations throughout the day.  Last night, Jeff and I went to Sam's Club and got lots of yummy stuff - and then came home and played Rummy on our back deck while we listened to comedy on Pandora. It was a gorgeous night, all the kids were happy doing fun things- and even though I lost SO BAD playing Rummy, it was a perfect night.  We also ate some of the yummy things we got from Sam's.  Did you know they now put 4 different kinds of cupcakes together in a sampler container??? 
 Yeah, we know that now.. Obviously this is not the 4 pack we bought because ours is no longer close to being a 4 pack. (see:  "Needing" below as a follow-up to our late-night discovery of delicious cupcakes.)


I am wanting great weather for my daughter Ellie's wedding on July 13th!  I keep looking at that extended forecast - and saying prayers.  It is an outdoor wedding- hopefully- at a gorgeous park.  Of course we have alternate plans for rain, but ...    Either way it will be just fabulous.  I could not have hand picked a more perfect son-in-law! 


Seriously, I need to eat some of the vegetables and fruit I buy- and exercise!!! I have the "buying" part down really well.  I have the best intentions when I am in that store.  We have been good about grilling out veggies. (In fact we bought 500 aluminum foil sheets from Sam's last night- so THAT is a commitment to grilling in foil! :) I am picking out movies to watch while I am on the treadmill this week.  I have not seen The Help yet- can you believe it? 
 I read the book and LOVED it. I didn't want it to end.  So that is the first one on my list. (That was a boring "needing"- but it is needed, sooooo- )

Tips, Tricks, Hints

I actually went back and took the time to read the inspirational quotes and sayings I pinned on my Pinterest board.  It was like reading a good book of great thoughts.  I am really good at pinning, but forget to go back and enjoy them!  Here is one of my favorite verses on a little picture I have up in our family room.  Always good to remember!!!  :)
Here is another tip that has nothing to do with anything- but I always remembered it when my kids were little. I read someplace to always keep a red washcloth handy, in case your child got a cut or something- so your child wouldn't be afraid of seeing blood. 
I actually used this little trick with my Matt when he was little and cut between his fingers with a butter knife when we were making applesauce  :(.   It did help- so it is tried and true.  Hopefully, you will never need to use it.
 Have a happy week!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Five for Friday-and Bloglovin' Giveaway!

Today I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday.
I decided against five pictures of naps, although I have taken a wonderful nap or two since school ended.  I LOVE naps- with my soft blanket.  Perfect.

Here are my five favorites for the week!

1.  I found these cute French fry containers at... yes...  Target Dollar Spot.  :) Surprise!  Of course I bought them and knew I would figure out their destiny at a later date.  When I taught in the late 80's I had all sorts of Math Their Way workjobs- and I remember using these then.  I had numbers on the French fry containers and yellow sponges cut for the fries. The children had to put the correct number of fries in the container. 
For these containers, I decided to make a sight word independent center.

 I put Velcro on the container (so I can change the words) and attached a sight word. I put the letters to spell the word into the container on colored popsickle sticks.  I also made letters on sponges, but I think I like the sticks better for this lesson.  I will save the sponges for the number center.  I could attach magnets to the back of the popsickle sticks and the French fry container, and the children can do the center on the magnetic board.  They LOVE magnetic things for some reason. :)  I will have them write the words on a recording sheet. (Probably with a red marker for catsup!)
The magnets did not stick to the sponge pieces, by the way.  Not really a surprise I guess, I just had to try. 

 I am going to stop at McDonalds later and try to get some of their little containers of fries for the Kid's Meals and make some more.  Have you seen these? 
They are tiny.   They are probably great for - kids-  (duh) but one day in a weak moment I wanted a McDonald's cheeseburger because I hadn't had one in FOREVER and thought I remembered them making me happy.  (Not quite as much as I remembered, by the way).  SO- I ordered me up a Kid's Meal.  The fries container  held about 4 fries.  It made me chuckle.  Good for them, I guess- but since I was already making a pretty bad choice, I could have gone for some more fries to finish that bad choice off on a salty note.   The good news is, I thought, "Hey, this little container will be great for school!" 

2.  I was cleaning out and found these two "How To" books.  They were some of my favorites.  I love our "How To" book unit. 

The first favorite was the one paying homage to the macaroni and cheese color crayon- the crown jewel of the 64 color crayon box with my class:

 (I loved how he made the "black stove color" as he called it!:)
 This one was my guide to dressing like a Princess. (Or how to "jes up like a pinsus!" )   After cleaning my closet yesterday, I am going to take a harder look at her advice in this book. I think my problem is that I often forget that very important third step - to "git" my crown.  That must be my problem...

 (I love her hangers!)

3.  My friends Amy and Holly and I went to NYC on a bus trip!
We had a ball!  We teach Kindergarten together and have looked forward to this trip many times since we booked it.  :) Any hard day we would just say, "JUNE 26th!"
We had so many laughs and a perfect day.  We saw Adam Devine (from Pitch Perfect) in Starbucks and he was so nice.  Otherwise, we just walked and walked and loved to see the different people.

4. I cleaned out my closet and donated clothes!  OK- I wasn't really in the mood to do this yet, but when I was in NYC- my closet bar broke off the wall, and all my clothes fell down. Or maybe my husband wanted me to clean out my closet. :) Either way that was my sign.  It feels great to have that done.  I was even in the mood to get rid of things. Sometimes I am in the "I may wear that once again some day in the future" mood and nothing gets done.  I had some old clothes... 

5.  Ahhh.  My swing and some iced tea.  Perfect.

OH I am linking up with the Bloglovin' Giveaway
Please follow me on Bloglovin' and enter to win 3 items from my TPT store! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Check out all the other giveaways. This is a fun way to start off a great summer!

Thank you for stopping by! Happy Summer! :)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hands Free Mama

I really love the blog Hands Free Mama .

 I knew I enjoyed reading Rachel's blog, but lately, as I am seeing more and more precious children out for summer vacation, wanting so much to be noticed by parents who are so caught up with their cell phones that they don't even notice the precious faces and precious moments they are missing right in front of them,  I love her even more.

 The other day in a restaurant, I saw a mother come in with three beautiful children.  The oldest were maybe 3 and 5, and the baby was in a car seat.  The little boy and girl sat in their chairs so sweetly as their mother barely looked up from her phone once.  I was heartbroken for what she doesn't even know she is missing.  It took me back to so many sweet memories with my children, who are now  almost 23, 21, and 19. The most special memories that I always go back to are not the thousand dollar trips and well-planned, perfect, video-taped  holidays.  My most precious memories are the moments.  The silly conversations over a Frosty or the unexpected giggles over one silly thing one of my children and I both noticed, shared, and will have for the rest of our lives as a "remember when" moment. 

I am thankful for my cell phone. I appreciate the safety it provides and the comfort of knowing I my friends and family are only a click away.  But I am really not sad that I didn't have one when my children grew up. It is robbing so many people of the joys and the life right in front of them, if they would only look away from the screen and notice. 

I applaud Rachel so much for her commitment making memories, not "to-do" lists, as she says, about "letting go to grasp what really matters. "

Sometimes, people are so afraid that they are missing the big stuff , that the small stuff is passing right by. Unfortunately, the 'small stuff' grows up way too quickly. 


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Happy Birthday Eric Carle!

Happy Birthday to one of my favorite author/illustrators!

 It is just amazing how many ways I can find to use what some "untrained eyes" (AKA NOT primary teachers... :)  may see as such simple books. 

One of my favorite Eric Carle stories was when I taught a Summer School class called "Reading and Writing with Eric Carle" or something like that.  A mom stayed around after all of the children were dropped off and in the classes.  My sister was helping me with the class, and she asked her if she needed anything.  The mom said, "No, I am just waiting around to see who this Eric Carle guy is."  Bless her heart if she thought our school could afford to have Eric Carle come teach a K-1 summer school class! But I think it was not really until that moment that I realized what  a bubble I live in teaching Kindergarten.  Everybody out in the "real world" does NOT know Eric Carle, Tooty Ta, or the magic powers of a sticker! :)  I am just thankful that I do!

Today my Eric Carle Prezi is on sale at my TPT store.

 Since I use so many of his books throughout the year,   I  searched the internet for the best videos, activities, ideas, and links to go with 21 of Eric Carle's books. The books include: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Grouchy Ladybug, The Very Busy Spider, The Mixed Up Chameleon, The Tiny Seed, The Little Cloud, Draw Me a Star, Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me, A House for Hermit Crab, The Very Lonely Firefly, The Very Clumsy Click Beetle, The Very Quiet Cricket, Mister Seahorse, Pancakes, Pancakes, Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?(with Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?), 10 Little Rubber Ducks, Hello, Red Fox, Today is Monday, From Head to Toe, My Apron, and The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse.

This was a labor of love for Eric Carle lovers out there! Each book you click on will include a read aloud of that book (which I was able to find for most of the books), interviews, book talks, or songs about the book if available, links to the Pinterest boards/pins for the book, the link to the book site on the Caterpillar Exchange (Eric Carle's official site), and many science videos/charts/ posters to go with the book because so many of his books lend themselves so beautifully to science lessons. Below the book cover, I put pictures of related books that work well to use with the book. I do an Eric Carle unit each year and have always wanted these resources together and finally did it!

I hope you enjoy it, and Happy Birthday, Eric.  Thank you for making the world a better place for my Kindergarteners with your gifts!


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Picture Book Linky Party!

I am linking up with First Grade and Fabulous for a fun party to share beginning year book ideas.

Here are a couple of my favorites!

I LOVE this one:
It is silly and fun- and one of my favorite pages talks about how if ONE person touches a wall, there is a smudge- but if EVERYBODY did... and the page is all black.   I refer to  that page a lot as we walk in the hall because my kids are just drawn to that wall to touch it. It is somehow irresistible...

This is a fun early year writing activity book and the illustrations are great:
This is a fun story about Kindergarten:
I love Kevin Henkes books- and any of those are fabulous choices.  Chrysanthemum is a fun story for introducing names. We revisit this book a few times during the year.  The first week it will be before we introduce our name chart.  Later, after we do our "crumpled heart" lesson on kindness, we read this story again and crumple a Chrysanthemum picture each time someone says something mean about her name.  Afterward, we show how we can try to straighten out the picture, but it is still crumpled and hurt, just like our feelings when someone is mean. It can be made "better" by apologizing- but never quite the same as before.  :(  Makes me sort of sad just thinking about it!

Another one I use is this one:
I was trying to think of some different books that I use, from some of the others that probably we all use about Kindergarten on those first days. :)  This one is how I introduce two things for the year- first, my love of Eric Carle. :) Second, after we read this, I talk about how the spider couldn't be disturbed while he was busy spinning his web.  I have a little spider beanbag that I leave on my reading table while I am working with a  reading group, so my independent center workers know that when that is on my table, I am busy like the very busy spider and can't be disturbed. It is just one more way to try to explain to them to work independently and save questions for me until I am not a busy spider!
(Mine is a little smaller and made of felt, but you get the idea! :)

And of course...
because I do a painted handprint over a heart with a poem to send home with the children the first day.  I also made the sugar cookies with a Hershey kiss in the middle- like this:
(These aren't mine either- it is a google image picture of the cookies that I keep inside my book for the idea. :) 
This is great for a first day special snack- AND because my name is Mrs. Kisloski, I have a poster made with three pictures- a Hershey kiss, children singing with a speech bubble saying "la", and a child skiing.  I made the kids practice "Kiss-la-ski" and we have fun with that.  SO after they master my name, and I tell them that is one of the HARDEST things in Kindergarten they will have to learn, and we have read The Kissing Hand, we enjoy the cookies!  I love to joke with them that it is a good thing my name isn't "Mrs. Spinachlaski or Mrs. Brusselsproutlaski" or it wouldn't be so delicious!
 I don't let them get away with "Mrs. K." because I don't want them to forget my name when they try to look back years down the road!  :)  They are amazing at it, by the way- much better than their parents!  Ha! It just doesn't seem that hard to me- but for some reason people love to stick a "louse" in there- like "Kis-louse-ski".  Nope. No "w" and no picture of a louse on my chart! ewwww.

I tried something this year for the first time and love it. I used it for Kindergarten Orientation already, and will be using it the first day of school.  I had my class this year make a classroom book of favorite Kindergarten things for my new class.  Each page said, "You will love the ___________." Each child chose a different fun part of Kindergarten, like colored blocks, housekeeping, centers, computers, snacks, rug, and the last page, of course, I saved for " the techer."  I don't care how it was spelled.  That was my favorite! :)   It turned out so sweet. I didn't take pictures of this book yet- because I read it to my Orientation kids without being laminated and it is now being laminated, but you can get the idea!  It was a great conversation starter for the new children.  The "rug" page illustration was exactly like my rug, and I could have the children guess what the written word was from the picture and things like that.  Lots of fun.

I also just wrote a post of favorite books I use for writing activities and journals.  I have lots of these all set for emergency sub plans or those extra, unexpected chunks of time, too.

:)  Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Favorite Books for Writing Activities or Journals

As I was organizing my classroom for the end of the year, I thought I would share some of my favorite books that I use for an afternoon writing activity, book journal writing, or even sub plans. These are just good everyday books, not holiday themes. What I do is have simple papers printed out for a writing activity specifically for each of these books, and stored right in the front cover of the book.  That way, it is very easy to grab a "go to" book I love and have the writing activity right there, ready to go! Then, I can use that or choose to have the children answer a question about the book in their journal.   Below are some of my favorites with the writing prompt I use.

My children love these That's Good, That's Bad books.  There is That's Good, That's Bad on Santa's Journey, in Washington DC, and in the Grand Canyon.  I haven't seen the last two, but the Santa's Journey is fun, too.  These are great turn and talk discussion starters and for writing ideas! Sometimes I save all the stories, laminate them, and put them together for a class book.

 (I bet your figured out that this would be on the back! :)
 Other similar books I like to use are:
This one is great for the vocabulary words "fortunately" and "unfortunately."


Always in Trouble is a fun book that the children can easily relate to... (hmmm...)
The stories they shared were so amusing to me that I turned this into a book that I copied and sent home to share with parents. 
 Here are some that amused me...

 (This little guy didn't really write all year long, but he sure did want to tell me all about setting his house on fire!  And that was a great illustration for him, too!- Well, I guess "great" is kind of subjective there since it is a picture of his burning house...So...  Actually, let's say he finally drew an illustration with his story.  :) 
Here are some more!
No matter how silly the requests, there is one day a year when kids always receive positive answers: Can I have pizza for breakfast? Yes! Can we have a food fight? Yes! Can I stay up really late? Yes! This day is simply called Yes Day and it's the best day of the year.

I am going to be
a great artist.
I am off to help my dad
paint the shed.
It’s hard to be content with the present moment when you are little. The future has infinitely more possibilities!

How deep is the bond between a child and a beloved pet? And how far will a pet go to protect his dear friend? To the ends of the earth . . . always

For this book, sometimes I have the children write and illustrate a story about something wonderful that has happened to them, and other times I have had them write about something they think is wonderful about themselves or their family.

the world is filled with so many wonderful things -- birds that fly through the sky and peaches that grow on trees, spiders spinning webs and cats napping in windows, fresh-baked bread and new-fallen snow. and then there's the most wonderful thing of all -- you!

I have the children write and illustrate a time when they were brave. 

This book is about a tiny fish who steals a hat from a big fish.  The ending of the book shows the big fish with his hat back on... It does not say how that happened!  I have the children write and tell me just how they think the big fish got his hat back.  Did he ask nicely for his hat back? Did he eat the tiny fish?  There are LOTS of ideas... :) 
 When a tiny fish shoots into view wearing a round blue topper (which happens to fit him perfectly), trouble could be following close behind. So it’s a good thing that enormous fish won’t wake up. And even if he does, it’s not like he’ll ever know what happened. . .
Children LOVE the book If....  It sets them free to imagine and create their own "if" collections. 
In her first book, artist Sarah Perry has created twenty magical watercolors that are an open invitation to the imaginations of children. Beautifully produced in full color, these fantastic images conjure up a world of limitless possibilities where anything can happen: leaves turn into green fish...cats fly about on wings...and butterflies become a little girl's coat of many colors.
The If book reminded me of our activity for Horton Hatches an Egg.
I have had the children write "Horton was faithful." We talk about what "faithful" means and how what Horton did that made him a faithful friend. 
Another activity I like to do is having the children choose and draw two different animals, then combine them into one "new" animal.  Here is a sample one I did to show the children. ( Susanna, at Whimsy Workshop, please don't judge me for the poor, poor artwork quality... ha ha! )

This is an "oldie" but I love it! :) The children love the illustrations and the thought of trying to live in a cave, on an island, or in a tree.  After we read this, I have them write about their perfect place to live with LOTS of details. 
These are great for compare/contrast lessons as well as sequencing.
 (any Little Red Hen story of the millions out there! :)
I also use these for compare/contrast charts and Venn Diagrams:
 (of course I have the ORIGINAL 1969 version!  And love it!  :) 
The last one I will leave you with is one of my favorites

"The important thing about rain is that it is wet. It falls out of the sky, and it sounds like rain, and makes things shiny,  and it does not taste like anything, and is the color of air.  But the important thing about rain is that it is wet." 
It is so wonderful for character education and self-studies.  For older children (2nd grade) I  had the class write a page similar to the actual story, with several facts about themselves, followed by "But the important thing about me is that I am ______."
For my Kindergarteners, I have them just write and illustrate two sentences.  "My name is ______.  The important thing about me is that I am _____________."   Sometimes I hang these up in the classroom and sometimes I make laminate them and make a ... you guessed it.... class book!
Thank you for visiting! 
Carolyn :)  

Search This Blog