The Morning Meeting Book: Greetings

Hello! Thanks for joining me today for the first big section of The Morning Meeting Book by Roxann Kriete. Greetings!  Today I will be sharing my own reflections but I'd love to hear from you too! If you haven't read the book you can grab one HERE.  I actually purchased 3 books to get me started on this journey: The Morning Meeting Book, The First 6 Weeks of School, and 80 Morning Meeting ideas.  So I have lots of reading to do this summer!
Let's get started! Here are my reflections on 
Greetings: A Friendly and Respectful Salute

Sets a positive tone for the classroom and the day


We have all had those days where everything felt a little "off" and for the most part the "offness" happened first thing in the morning.  For me it's when we start the day with a bad staff meeting.  I start the day rushed, frustrated, and not ready to be cheerful and happy for my kiddos. Morning meeting may just be the remedy for that!  

Provides a sense of recognition and belonging

I loved this portion of the chapter. It is really important to remember that we have kiddos that fly under the radar. They are the quiet, well behaved ones. They rarely speak in class and as teachers in a room of 24 students we rarely get a chance to have a one on one conversation with them. Of course I make efforts, but there are always those days that I have to ask myself "Was everyone noticed today?" I love that morning meeting makes a set time to notice and that this will aid me in my efforts to get them to speak up for themselves. 

Helps students learn and use each other's name

In March, April,  and even May I am still hearing things like "She did it" (or my favorite....her did it). My teaching partner and I just talked about what we could do to get our kiddos learning each others names earlier in the year. We teach 2 sessions of half day kindergarten so my ultimate goal is for both classes to learn and know each other's names.

Gives practice in offering hospitality

A few years ago we had a teacher at our school who had a designated greeter in their classroom. A few weeks into school our Superintendent visited classrooms and she was promptly greeted with a handshake and a "Welcome to our Classroom" from a exuberant young lady. Everyone heard about it because she was so impressed with the modeling that had been taking place in the classroom. I implemented a "greeter" but it never took off because #1 I didn't model it and #2 The expectation of hospitality had not been established. It takes intentional planning and modeling to make this happen. And LOTS of practice in Kindergarten!

I LOVE the last section of this chapter.  There are so many examples of greetings to try in your classroom.  Of course some of them will work for me in Kindergarten and some we will have to work our way up too or adjust but the ideas are endless.  Once the routine is in place there are so many options!  I went through and highlighted the ones I want to introduce one we get the basic greeting down. I'm all about schedules too so I'm thinking a morning meeting lesson plan template will be in the works soon!  
Thanks for joining me today. I will share the next chapter all about sharing next Tuesday!  Until them, happy summer!  

What Are You Reading This Summer? The Morning Meeting

Summer is one of my favorite times of the year for 3 reasons.  #1 No alarm....that's a given.  #2 I can plan fun things for the next school year. #3 Self chosen professional development!  I get to pick what I read!!!  So I was wondering....

I am starting my summer out with the Morning Meeting Book by Roxann Kriete and Carol Davis.  I am really excited about organizing my morning meeting time and putting some of these ideas into action in my classroom.  I'm going to spend the next couple of weeks reflecting on the chapters as I read and I'd love if you join me!  Here is the schedule I have so far.

Tuesday May 31st: Greeting: A Friendly and Respectful Salute
Tuesday June 7th: Sharing: The Art and Skill of Conversation
Tuesday June 14th: Group Activity: Building Whole-Class Identity
Tuesday June 21st: Morning Message: A Letter to the Class
Tuesday June 28th: Wrap Up

I'm not going chapter by chapter because I have some other books to get to in July but this will be a good schedule to follow for the month of June to get all the way through the book.  I've also started a board on Pinterest to collect everything I find that I want to save in regards to Responsive Classroom. You can follow that board HERE

Posts will start up tomorrow!  I'm about half way through the book and I am so super excited about this.  I've read so many great things about morning meeting during the school year that I just could't wait to get started this summer.

Saying Goodbye Class of 2015-16

I've said it numerous times over the last couple of weeks but saying goodbye to a class is always hard for me.  Especially after a year like we had.  This group of kiddos are caring, cooperative, and hard working.  I'm thankful to have had a chance to be their teacher this year.

What do they do with extra recess?  Find a spot in the shade to put together an impromptu game of duck duck goose.  They were cheering each other on as they ran around the circle.  It was just TOO MUCH!

I wanted to share this adorable gift and GREAT idea to help you remember all of your littles.  One of my moms made me this and I will cherish it forever!  This would be a great gift for your class as well or a cute page to incorporate in a memory book.  Love the idea! 

How do you say good-bye to this?  
We worked really hard on our memory books the last couple of days of school to get them finished up. Here are some examples:
I love the details she added on her cover.

They had a lot of room to reflect on their favorite activities.  They wrote about things I didn't realize were their favorites! 



Packing up.  ARG.  I put EVERYTHING away this year in hopes of doing a little redecorating.  You don't realize how many books you have until you start taking them all off of the shelves.  Storage tip?  I use my crate seats to put all of my books in so they will fit in my closet.  Hundreds of books shoved in one space! 
 So I packed up my room, took one last look and walked away. Well....not really.  I went back on Monday to finish a few things and I have to go back any time I want to print anything but other than THAT....I walked away :)
Are you done yet?  If you are not don't hate me...we go back the end of July so while you are enjoying August I will be trying to keep my head above water again.  It feels very strange to be out so early this year too.  I don't get our schedule this year.  If you are out I hope you are enjoying summer! Today we are setting up the pool so I look forward to many afternoons of floating in the privacy of my back yard with a good book!
Here is what I'm reading!!
Check back for a book review later next week!  I just got started and I am LOVING it!


Making the most of First Day Photos

Kindergarten is a milestone in a child's life and one that parents want to keep fresh in their minds forever!  Being the mom of 3 almost grown up daughters I know that I would give ANYTHING to relive kindergarten with my girls.  Here is a fun project that will help you preserve this special milestone year for your families. 

THE BACKDROP 

At the beginning of the year I taped a sheet to the wall and took a quick pic while they were exploring blocks.  You have to be quick on that first day because there are ZERO procedures in place and this could fall apart at any moment.  For that reason a few of my first day pics are a little blurry! 

On the "LAST" day of school (actually about a week before school gets out!) I take the same picture. Well let me tell you a little trick I learned for setting up that backdrop!  I ran out of tape and then I realized I had a fitted sheet.  All I had to do was hang it on the door to make a backdrop.  Perfect! 


Why was I wasting time with tape when I could have been doing this?  Next year I'm going to try a white sheet.  Twin size fitted sheets are less than $5 at Walmart. Easy peasy and it can double as a sheet to cover your bookshelves for the summer.

THE PROP

Give your kiddos something to hold that shows it was the first day of school.  No, I'm not talking a newspaper like in a ransom video but something like this: 

I painted this K with chalkboard paint so I could write on it each year.

 THE FOLLOW THROUGH

DO SOMETHING with the photos once you take them.  Mine automatically save from my phone to my Google Drive so they were safe there.  At the end of the year I take an identical picture and put them side by side.  The results are so cute! 

Can you tell I got a new phone half way through the school year this year?  Even though they are not perfect (the unevenness drives me a little crazy) the OVERLOAD of cuteness makes up for it.  I send them to parents that I'm friends with on Facebook and the kiddos include these in their memory books.  Each one was so unique and fun! 

Those are my tips friends!  I've actually followed through 2 years in a row now.  I'm pretty proud of that!  It's WAY too easy to get busy and forget the little things but sometimes it's the little things that mean so much.  I will never forget how important this first day of Kindergarten is to my little ones. 






Miss you like Krazy FREEBIE!

Half a day....half a day to go with my sweet sweet class and then it's the sweet sweet sounds of summer for me!  Today I whipped up this little goodbye goodie to go in their summer practice packet. I'm really happy with how they turned out!  Quick print on colorful paper and these Krazy straws from the dollar store look really cute!  There were 6 in a package so it was a fun, quick and cheap end of year goodie.

I went ahead and saved them for you in case you needed a quick end of the year treat.  I was going to add some Kool-Aid in there too but I wasn't sure how my parents would feel about sending home sugar.  This saved me a trip to Wal-mart too.

Click HERE to get it for free!

One more day!  Happy end of year friends!

Field Trip Fail!

I am only logging in tonight to vent my frustrations at mother nature.  First of all...I live in Arizona.  It never rains.  
It NEVER rains in May. 
Like ever.

I haven't done a lot of field trips in the last couple of years because our busses were horrible and it was IMPOSSIBLE to get one for a field trip.  Thanks to a bond we got new busses this year and I took advantage.  I planned a field trip. 
In May. 
Perfect right? 

No.  Not perfect. Today was filled with thunder, lightening, hail, and all sorts of other horrible weather disturbances that totally messed up our day.  ARG!

The day started like this...

Perfect right?  On the bus...happy children....excited teachers!

Then we got to the zoo and then we got to do this....



Super cool up and close encounters with snakes and tortoises. What could be better?  

Ummm.....no rain.  That could be better!  Within minutes we were surrounded by thunder storms and we had to hunker down and wait it out.  After a really long time (I didn't keep track!) of waiting we called it and got back on the bus.  Soaking wet....
I snapped this to my daughter to let her know she wasn't missing anything.  We were soaked, cold, and bummed!  I love the rain but not today! 

That's what happens when you take a chance and put yourself out there.  My kiddos don't really know what they were missing, they still had a great time!  We  had a peacock eat lunch with us...
and we got to touch a snake.  Kindergarten success.  I'm bummed but I'm keeping my chin up and hoping tomorrow the weather will cooperate for field day.  Heaven help us!

What Are You Teaching? May 1

It's the FINAL COUNTDOWN! 
4 and a half days.....
What am I teaching?
As much as I can squeeze in with a field trip, field day, and half day mixed in! 

I'm not sharing my visual plans this week because to be honest they are pretty bare.  But I have found a couple of really great products to make my week go a little easier so I'm just going to share those here.

Instead of our morning work this week we are going to reflect with Cara Carroll's End of the Year Writing Freebie. I came across this Saturday morning and I'm really excited about it.  I already copied and cut 45 of them so it's a done deal!

We are also working on our memory books.  All week they will be working on different pages of this book to take home with them at the end of the week.

This is an easy option for memory books for a couple of reasons.  #1 It's black and white....no color left in the tank here!  #2 The kiddos make it.  I used to make very elaborate memory books for each of my kiddos with hundreds of pictures.  This option is so much more about the CHILD and not my obsession with scrapbooking.

What else are we doing?

During Read to Self we will be "cleaning out" the book boxes.  I like to have kiddos go through each box and make sure it has all of the correct books in it.  So instead of using their own browsing box (those will go home on Monday anyway) they check out a book box.  If they check out the "Pete the Cat" book box their job is to go through and make sure there are nothing but Pete the Cat books in there.  And of course they get to enjoy them too.  Read to Self is really exciting the last week of school.  They love this option!

Writer's Workshop:  Cleaning out our journals and putting our "go home" journal together.  We always write in small journals but our writing goes into a 1" binder all year long.  During this week we will get those together and send them home too.

Math:  We have a few activities and games we want to do from Guiding Kinders this week but mostly we will be cleaning out the math tubs and sending home math journals.  There's so much to do!

And a field trip to the zoo.....
and field day......

And we're done!  I can't believe how fast this year went.  They seem to go faster every year! I've already met a majority of my kiddos for next year too so that makes it go even faster!

Enjoy your last few weeks, days, hours.....whatever you have left! Thanks for stopping by today!