Friday, January 9, 2015

Five for Friday! January 9th

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Thank you for hosting, Kacey! We had a great week back after break.  I was The kids were ready to go! Although that stomach bug has been hanging around my room like crazy. My poor kids.  I try to keep one step ahead of those germs with the disinfectant, but somehow the germs keep winning.  You would think the germs would just give up and move someplace warmer when the wind chill is -20. 
I love to plant an amaryllis bulb in the classroom.  You can get them for about $5 at Walmart or different stores.  They are so easy to plant- and great for measuring, because they grow so fast. The kids can take a measurement each day and see what happens.  Plus, it brings a little joy to the room in the cold, gray winter.

I will keep you posted!

Monday morning after we shared our favorite moments of our break we read Squirrel's New Year's Resolution by Pat Miller.  
I love to watch the children think about what resolutions they want to make this new year.  I explain that a resolution is a promise you make to yourself to be better or help others, just like it explains in the book.  I also love that none of my kids wrote that they wanted to  eat healthy or exercise more.  That one is getting OLD for me. Just DO IT already, Carolyn!

This little guy was so sweet.  Before break, I sent home a  paper to remind the children to practice tying shoes.  When we shared our good news from break, he said, "Well, I have some REALLY bad news.  I STILL CAN'T TIE MY SHOES." (tears.)  :(  Poor thing. That was on his mind all break.  Well, you can bet we are working on that any extra chance we get this week!  Anyway, here is his resolution:  Not a huge surprise!  He actually wrote out 'shoos' but then went back to erase it because he forgot to write 'tiy my' in there. So I was proud of his rereading! 
 I want to help people swim and help people in wheelchairs. 
 I want to be a good friend and help others.
LOVE them!

Here are some quick tips that you probably already know and use, but that I use and love.  So just in case you don't do this already, here you go. They are simple- but sometimes you forget to do the "simple" things.

The most magical thing I do to get everyone paying attention and on the same page, is to notice one person doing the right thing.  I say, "If you forget what you are supposed to be doing now, please look at (insert name of the person doing what you want) to see what to do."  Magic.  Everyone wants to be that person.

"If you forget how to sit and chit-chat quietly, look at ________ and ________ to remember how." 

Next,  you know how the kids HATE to take apart Lego creations or work so hard on building something fabulous- and it is sort of heartbreaking for all involved to have to clean up and take things apart?  I take a picture of the creation, and the problem is solved.  Sometimes I print it out for them, but many times, it's just the taking of the picture that makes things all better. Then, that masterpiece can be remembered forever. 

Finally- we have been TRYING to write neatly.  For a while, I thought maybe they just couldn't do it. But lo and behold, they can.  All I had to do is tell them that they are writing like 2nd graders. And on some days even BETTER than 2nd graders! They are thrilled.  We also have a NEAT practice time each day, and they are coming along so well. After morning work, we have a little "spelling test" with about five sight words. First we sit in our 'Neat Seat' with our 'Neat Feet' on the floor so we can do our best.
 (On a side note...look how many kids are missing from that stomach bug.  I had 12 kids today!   Then, get this- two more went  home during the day!  TEN KIDS.  TEN!  and one scared teacher...)

 On the back of the paper, they write a sight word sentence that I say with about five words in it, like "We can go in here."  It doesn't take long to do, and really lets them focus on conventions of writing. Then, I praise, praise, praise way over the top.

 I am thinking a Skittle may be a great "Neat Treat" if they try really hard.  MAYBE I'll have them use  that Skittle to self check spaces between words, and then they can decide if they wrote their neatest.  If they think they did, they can eat that Skittle.  Yes- Skittles=gold.  I think that's an actual Common Core math fact.

OR just go over the top with your red marker if they try realllllly hard... and let them color in the heart! They love that, too.

This is our neighbor's tractor at the bottom of our hill.  The lights on the wheels go around (of course) and it just sort of makes me smile every time I see it. I just thought I'd share.

My husband is the Superintendent at the school district next to mine.  He shared this 5 minute video of some things some of his students are working on, and I was so proud of them, I wanted to share it with you.  Both people who are being helped are local, wonderful young people everyone knows and loves.  I think it is just amazing what high school students can do!  Jeff is a very strong supporter of  the School to Work program and has created many unique programs for his students to take, so they really learn a skill and  graduate with certificates which help them so much in the real world.  It's wonderful.  These are two of the programs he has created.  His district is small- only about 800 students, and he genuinely cares about their future.  Sometimes I feel like these people somewhere who make all these blanket, educational rules, assuming that everyone will take the same Regents courses, graduate, and continue on to Ivy League schools, have NO IDEA who real students are and what they need or want to be successful in life.  Jeff has wonderful kids, many with a lot against them, who love coming to school, and who feel successful. Can you tell I'm proud of him? We don't hear enough GOOD about education these days.  


Have a wonderful weekend! Thank you for stopping by!


  1. Hi Carolyn,

    I'm going to steal 'Neat Seat' and 'Neat Feet' from you! :)

    Love, Laughter and Learning in Prep!

  2. Carolyn, the video is amazing! I am going to share it with my High School! So inspired!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing it, Stephanie- and for writing! :)

  3. Hi Carolyn! Thanks for two reminders: Squirrel's New Year's Resolution which for the life of me I could not remember this past week, and Skittles as spacers. And your husband's video is inspiring! I will share it! Stay warm... having a snow day today, and there's nothing like staying home working in your jammies to keep toasty :) Kathleen Kidpeople Classroom

  4. I am soooooo impressed with the kids and program in the video. Wow! Wonderful. To touch lives and create a community of kindness and purpose is something to be proud of for sure! Love the writing progress and I need that book! Neatness practice is a great idea too. I have a few who write more neatly than I do! Have a great weekend, sweet Carolyn!

    1. Thank you, Sandy! Can I pleassssssse come to the conference and help you sell aprons?! :)

  5. Love your neat seat/skittle idea! Sounds like a great way to help the neat handwriting blues. :)

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  7. I looove your amaryllis bulb! I'll have to look for one at my local Walmart! And I know a few friends in my class who could use some skittle reinforcement for finger spaces ;) Thanks for the great ideas!



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