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November Currently

Okay, I am a seriously neglectful blogger, but there is no better time than the present 
to jump back in!  
Read what's on my mind right now with this November Currently post, then head over to 
"Oh' Boy 4th Grade" and see other bloggers' November thoughts.


August Currently

After a summer break, I'm back at the computer to join Farley at "Oh' Boy 4th Grade," with 
August Currently!

Listening - To the “Today Show…” and that’s it… no husband, no children, no Stampy Cat Minecraft videos… only Matt and Savannah. I don’t have to be at school until noon, husband is at his training, and sis-in-law came to get my kids before 9 a.m.  Every school year should begin like this – with a few moments for quiet, un-rushed reflection…

Loving - My new planner - designed by ME!  I'm the worst at keeping up with a calendar.  Somehow I always manage to get things done, but I have no idea how.  I live a week-at-a-time, in general, by putting family activities and appointments on our "fridge calendar."  This year I'm trying to turn over a new leaf... for inspiration I designed my own calendar and had it printed and bound at Office Depot.  It cost WAY too much, but I love it... maybe I will keep up at least through August.  :)

Thinking - About my NEW position!!! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE teaching Kindergarten, but I also LOVE, LOVE, LOVE intervention.  So, when our Reading Recovery position became available this summer I mentioned to my principal I would love to do it... and within 3 hours I had changed jobs!  Yikes!  I don't tend to make big decisions that quickly, but I know it was the right choice.  I'm motivated to learn something new about literacy instruction and thrilled to be back in a position with less to "take-home," so I can focus on my family.  It was overwhelming at first to downsize, but I am excited about my new small space!

Wanting - Time to SLOW DOWN!  My first baby starts 4th grade in three days and in our district that means going to middle school.  I'm. Not. Ready.  I think she is ready, though nervous, and I am putting up a very brave front, but I feel for the first time like my Kindergarten parents have felt leaving their babies with me.  And, speaking of Kindergarten parents, my middle baby starts K in three days!  As if a fourth grade transition wasn't enough, I'm a Kinder-Mom, too!  AND, my last baby starts preschool next week.  I marvel at the start of this new season, I'm prayerful for peace-of-mind, and I'm blessed with three amazing kiddos who get to attend an wonderful school district..., but, MAN, this is HARD!

Needing - To fold the mountain of laundry... I think I put this in the "needing" section of every "currently" post.  LOL!  But, laundry can wait... and if we wear clothes straight from the pile every some days, nobody has to know.  ;)

B2S RAK - Encouraging Notes... This has been a summer of changes at my school... several teachers are taking on new challenges.  A random, anonymous note of encouragement might be just what they need to get through the starting days.  So, I plan to sprinkle some words of encouragement throughout my school.  Who knows?  Maybe it will be contagious and others will pass along the kindness!

Whew!  That was therapeutic!  
Bring on the new school year... Here's to new beginnings!
Now - Head on over to TpT, fill your cart, 
and enjoy the BIG BTS SALE!


Blog Hop Follow Up!

WOW!  Thanks so much to all those who hopped through our Summertime Blog Bash last week!  Check out that post to see who won the 21st Century K Giveaway!
By far, most of you are ready for some relaxing summer days full of sleeping in and good books.  Me, too!
My girls and I created our family "Summer Bucket List" last week and are already in full swing planning our activities.  Every year we display it in a new way... this year it is piece of "Subway Art" hanging on the fridge.
On the first of our many snow days this winter I quickly realized that our entire family needed screen time restrictions.  Usually we are so busy with school, church, family, and extracurricular activities that there isn't much need for limitations, but, oh boy, when all five of us were home all day it was obvious we needed an intervention!  We had mandatory screen-free times on snow days, but I knew we needed more for summer.  
Thankfully, I ran across a couple of great ideas on Pinterest, (Of, course!)  and sort of meshed them together to create my own.  
I really wanted a positive spin so I developed this list of ways to earn screen time...

IF (and that's a big one) my nine- and five-year-olds do all the activities on the list in one day they will earn 2.5 hours of screen time for that day.  It seems like a lot until you consider this includes ALL screens (TV, Xbox, Kindle (reading is set to unlimited time), iPad, etc.).  Combine that with the fact it will take at least 2 other hours to complete the list and the fact we are in and out of the house with other summer activities everyday and you have a plan that works for our family.  
Now, if only I would follow this advice myself... blogging doesn't count, right?  ;)  Just kidding -  try to save my screen time until a time when my kids are napping, out of the house, or are sleeping.
What works for your family?  
How do you hold yourself accountable to your screen time rules?


Summer Blog Hop

Summer has finally arrived in Western Kentucky!  Since our last day of school was this past Friday (after several winter snow days), we are at the finish line for another school year!  My precious Kinders are all ready for first grade, we've said our tearful goodbyes, and our sights are now set on the next school year.
BUT FIRST... I am blessed to enjoy a summer with my own sweet children (ages 9, 5, and almost 3).  We make a Bucket List within the first few days we are home together of all the things we plan to do to pass our easy stay-at-home summer days.  Activities may include something as simple as a backyard picnic and themed movie night, to something as complex as a family vacation or project. My girls and I love keeping up with our list as the days progress!  It helps make sure we are mixing in lots of fun activities, surprises, and even a little learning, too.
Check out my Pinterest Board full of fun summer activity ideas!

Edit 5.30.15: You can still find this summer resource in my shop at TpT, but the free promotion is expired. :)
Check out my fun freebie for a limited time only!  "My Summer Journal" is perfect for primary students.  It can be used as a year-end review, during summer intervention sessions, or for a fun way to practice reading, math, science, and other basic skills at home over the summer.

Enter here for a GREAT summer resource 
PLUS a $10 TpT Gift Card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Happy Earth Day!

Have you checked out the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)?
For the past year or so teachers at my school have been working to adjust our science curriculum to meet these standards and it has been tough!  For my team of Kindergarten teachers it has been hard to "let go" of some favorite topics and themes in order to make time to address the rigor of our new standards.  BUT, I have truly enjoyed incorporating the engineering standards!  
21st Century Students are practically crying out for more lessons that involve multiple levels of thinking and melding various topics that apply to "real-world!"
One topic that we all love to teach that has not been moved to another grade, though, is Earth Day!
NGSS-K-ESS3-3.Communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on the land, water, air, and/or other living things in the local environment.
In a couple of weeks we will dive into a unit on the 3 R's and culminate our various themes from the entire year that pertain to the Earth (ie. plants, animals, weather, and even maps/globes).  I think the topic of Earth Day appeals to primary students and teachers alike because it is a call to action that knows no limit in age.  Anyone can help care for our earth and everyone should!
Some favorite Earth Day books:
Why Should I Save Water? By Jen Green
Our House is Round By Yolanda Kondonassis
Recycle Every Day By Nancy Elizabeth Oliver
It's Earth Day By Mercer Myer
The Earth and I By Frank Asch
What Does it Mean to Be Green? By Rana DiOrio
The Lorax By Dr. Seuss
Harry Kindergarten has the best songs and videos on YouTube... His Earth Day songs are fun and catchy!

And... check out my new Earth Day freebie!

Now that I have shared it's your turn!  
Link up any and all of your favorite Earth Day blog posts, products, freebies, and pins here for the next week as we plan to celebrate our wonderful planet!


April Currently

April?!?  It's already April?!?!  
I cannot believe how fast this school year has flown by... It is true... time really does fly when you are having fun!
Take a peek at my month as I join "Oh' Boy 4th Grade" for another monthly "Currently" link-up!
 It's Spring Break in Kentucky!  I am enjoying some quality family time!
Find out how your students spent their break and get them writing as soon as you return with this fun FREEBIE!


Primary STEM Unit for St. Patrick's Day, "Leprechaun Traps!"

This week we had lots of fun in my Kindergarten class putting our engineering skills to work with my primary STEM unit for St. Patrick's Day trying to catch a Leprechaun!  

One of my favorite ways to introduce a new concept is in the convergent style.  In this way you provide students the "pieces" and they find connections, draw conclusions, and converge on the topic in their own way and their own time.  It is so much fun to watch them figure out what we will be learning about next!
On Monday we read Clever Tom and the Leprechaun by Linda Shute and learned about old Irish folktales that say if you catch a Leprechaun he will give you his gold!  Then I provided my students ample time and lots of supplies to create their own Leprechaun traps.  They quickly set to work planning, creating, and building some pretty
neat contraptions!
Afterward we all gathered around each other and listened as students explained how their traps would work and question eachother on their plans.  We left the traps set at the end of the day (much to the dismay of the custodians who had much to clean around... but they were very good sports and asked that we share the gold with them.)

When students arrived on St. Patrick's Day morning they carefully walked around checking their traps.  But, that pesky Leprechaun just busted all the traps and had gotten away! *Wink! One little girl was shocked to find "green pee" in the toilet!  When we started up our Smart Board Calendar there was a message from the Leprechaun saying our traps were tricky, but we couldn't catch him.  He said he had left some special gold for us hidden in the classroom.  The students' disappointment at not trapping the Leprechaun melted as they devoured their chocolate gold coins at snack time!
For the remainder of the week we learned about Simple Machines and how they make work easier.  Since we ran out of time this week, we will take Monday to plan new Leprechaun traps (for next year, of course), and complete our extended response assessment.  You can check out our fun unit, "Leprechaun Traps," in my TpT store!


Post at The Literacy Ladder

Head over to The Literacy Ladder to check out my post on a great Phonemic Awareness program!
And don't forget to join in our weekly Linky Party "WOW Me Wednesday!"
Share your favorite products, freebies, and/or blog posts and WOW us!


You Oughta Know About Read Across America Week!

It's time for another "You Oughta Know" blog hop with Mrs. McClain!
This month I think you oughta know about 
"Read Across America!"
With all the snow and ice that has fallen over the state of Kentucky it is hard to believe that spring is right around the corner, but March will be here in just a short 8 days!  One of the first signs of spring for me is "Read Across America" week.  
In our school we celebrate reading and Dr. Seuss with a week full of fun activities!  We have guest readers from the community in classrooms every day.  Children are encouraged to dress in fun and silly ways just like the characters in Dr. Seuss's books.  Students compete to read the most minutes at home throughout the week.  
New this year we are having a book swap!  All children are encouraged to bring in a used book to trade with another friend.  I am so excited about this new activity.  It encourages sharing, talking about books, reading, and, best of all, it doesn't cost a dime!  
My kids love all the fun Dr. Seuss activities I've found online.  
You can check out a few here:
Visit PBS Kids!

Visit Random House Kids!

Visit Seussville!
I'm really excited to use my new theme activities for "Read Across America," too!  It's aligned to ELA Common Core for grades K, 1st, & 2nd and includes a story book about fact/opinion, an organizer and publishing template for an opinion piece, and more!
Visit my store!
How does your school celebrate 
"Read Across America?"


Snow Day Link-Up

The Eastern half of the United States is under a blanket of ice and snow!
How will you combat the "Snow Day Slump?"
Check out my post at The Literacy Ladder for some great resources for Snow Day reading and writing opportunities!
Then come back and link up your own ideas here!


FINALLY February Currently

Wow!  I'm a week behind on life in general!  After a state basketball tournament and a case of the flu our family is playing catch up on everything - homework, laundry, studying, Valentine's projects, and more!  It's time to gather my thoughts and get back on track before this short month is over and it's March!  Yikes!
SO, it's about time for my February Currently with Oh' Boy 4th Grade!

Sunday Scoop

Catching up and linking up with "Teaching Trio" to start off my week with The Sunday Scoop!


Wordless Wednesday

Linking up with Miss DeCarbo for Wordless Wednesday this week!

Last Thursday we celebrated our 100th Day of School!
These are a few of my students' "100 Collections."  I always love seeing how each family interprets the projects and the kids love sharing their collections with the class!
How do you celebrate the 100th Day of School?