Monday, April 15, 2013

Visual Plans for this week

I'm linking up with Mrs. Wills Kindergarten for her Peek at Week Linky. This week is all about plants. I have some great units from my friends to draw from and I'm so excited to be teaching about plants. This week I'm only sharing my reading and science plans. My writing plans are exactly like last weeks. (We'll be doing the Pop Rocks Descriptive writing activity from Abby at the Inspired Apple.) We didn't get to it last week.

Be sure to click here to access the links and the freebie that I included.
I made an anticipation guide for this unit like I did with Oviparous animals. It gave me a good idea of what the kids already knew about plants.
You can get this freebie by downloading my visual plans.
Here are some units I'll be drawing from this week. The are from some of my fantastic bloggy friends.
This one is from Jennifer Knopf from Herding Kats in Kindergarten. Check it out here

 This one is from Erica Crowder from Sprinkles to Kindergarten. Check it out here.
This last one is from Shuna from Pocket Full of Kinders. I'm in love with the graphics and activities. Check it out here. 
What are you doing this week? Be sure to check out all the other plans this week over at Mrs. Wills Kindergarten.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Random Ramblings

So I haven't blogged since Tuesday. It was hard getting back into the swing of school after a week and a few days off. But I'm back today for my non teaching related post. I'm back to share some ramblings of my past week. I had started this post last night before Chris and I went out for date night. By the time we got home, I just wanted to get in bed and read. So I'm going to finish this post today and share my visual plans tomorrow. Anyway, I'll start off with what I'm reading. I finally started the book Gone Girl.
Oh my goodness, I'm hooked. It's so suspenseful. I've almost stayed up way too late the past two nights reading it. I really wanted to finish it the other night but I was only like 45% through.(I read a lot on my kindle and that's how I  can tell how far I'm in the book.) I'd say I'll finish it tonight. I'll read just about anything but I love mysteries. They are my favorites. I just recently finished this series of books by a local author. Tuesday at our local library he's doing a book signing and I wanted to have his books read by then. I'm on the board of our library and plant to be in attendance. They were pretty good. I found them amazon and if you like mysteries these are good.
I'm not sure what I'm going to be reading next. I have some new stuff on my kindle so next week I'll update you on what I'm reading. I'd love to hear what you're reading so leave me a title or two in the comments.
I'm still working on my healthy eating habits. I have been 6 days without diet coke and it's hard. I miss my diet coke and I'm getting the worse caffeine headaches. I was only having one at lunch so I was a little surprised that my head would hurt so bad. But it's getting better. I think if I can make it 10 days I'll be on my way to giving them up. I weighed this week and I've lost almost 6 and half pounds. I know it isn't that much and it has taken me a while but I feel good about it. I'm not doing anything crazy (well the no diet coke is a little crazy) but just trying to get some better habits in general. We had a couple of good dinner this week. The first was Greek night.
I had found a Greek chicken crockpot recipe and the chicken had great flavor. I put lemon juice, red wine vinegar, water, garlic, onion and oregano in with the chicken and cooked it on low for 6 hours. I put it on a bed of spinach with grape tomatoes, cucumbers and sprinkled with feta. I also made a home made tzatziki sauce. It was delish. I thought it looked really pretty on the plate.
This meal is one of my old single standbys with chicken added. I got the recipe originally from Giada on the food network. It's a roasted vegetable pasta primavera. You chop up bell peppers, zucchini, squash and carrots. Coat with olive oil and then add spices. I use Italian seasonings, paprika and garlic powder. Cook on 450 for about 20 minutes. I cooked whole wheat penne. Tossed the vegetables and penne with Parmesan cheese. This was always satisfying for me but my hubby likes meat. So I sauteed 2 chicken breasts with the land o lakes saute express butter. It was a good dinner and pretty healthy. So those are my food suggestions for the week. This week on the menu is Skinnytaste's chicken and white bean enchiladas, fish tacos, salad with chicken and pinto beans and cornbread. What's on your menu for the week?
I have a couple more pictures to share of my adventures the past week.
 Chris and I are still working on our spare bedroom. It has been my junk room and then our junk room. We found a cute desk at a local store in our arts and crafts community a month ago so we've been working on itslowly. Part of the problem is all my craft materials. So last weekend Chris bought me a shelf to try to get the yarn under control. I think it looks like I'm opening up a yarn store. But it looks a lot better.
 Monday since I had a doctor's appointment and had to leave at a half day. Chris and I met for lunch at this great cafe. We got to eat outside since the weather was so nice. They have a really pretty patio area. If you find yourself in Pigeon Forge, TN you should check the Pottery House Cafe out. There food is so good.
Last picture is from our field trip on Thursday. I'm blessed to live next to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We have a very special relationship with the park and every year each grade level goes on 3 field trips to the park. It's called Parks as a Classroom. They have it in other national parks but our program was one of the first ones around. This was the end of the our habitat hike on Thursday. We got to see some really neat things. The rangers led it and it was great trip. I'm a weirdo and love field trips. They make me happy rather than stress me out.
So those are my random ramblings for the week. I need to get lesson plans written, visual plans up, and a couple of things made for plants next week. So be sure to come back tomorrow to see my visual plans and snag a few freebies. I love comments so I'd love to hear about what you are reading or eating.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Differentiation difficulties

Yesterday was the first day back from spring break. I really didn't want to go back to school. Not because I don't love my kids and my job but I just enjoyed my time off. But I couldn't complain too much. I only went to school a half day yesterday and then I was out today. I had doctor appointments. You'd think I could have made them the week of spring break. But the one I had today I made the appointment in February and today was the first day that they could get me in. My appointment yesterday was about my knee and I was a little disappointed in the results. I had surgery on my ACL in November. I actually tore the ACL and meniscus when I was a freshman in high school and didn't do anything about it then. So there's a lot of damage. I was hoping that this ACL surgery would fix my issues but it doesn't seem like it has. I'm still having some pain in one side of my knee. I have done really well with physical therapy and have full motion and flexibility with my knee. I've been trying to get back into exercising by walking and swimming. I love walking when the weather is nice. Well the doctor told me that I need to start wearing a brace whenever I'm going to be on my feet for a while and definitely when walking or hiking. He also said that I need to focus more on swimming, biking, and the elliptical instead of walking for exercising. I know it's not the end of the world and  it isn't that big of a deal. But I feel really discouraged. I'm worried that I'm going have to have more surgery and I have better things to do than that. I also have to continue with my physical therapy. I don't mind it because I love where I go to physical therapy at and I love the people there. But I think I'm the only one that has been there this long except the older people. So enough about my complaining. I have tried to keep an upbeat attitude about it all so I need to continue with that.
So onto something a little more educational and school related. Differentiation. I try to differentiate and I try to meet all my kids needs but it's hard. One of my weaknesses as a teacher and really is a person, is I get great ideas but it takes me a while to follow through on them. I started the school year out really wanting to differentiate my spelling program and now that there are 8 weeks left of school, I'm finally following through on this. The week before spring break, most of my kids did very poorly on their spelling test. I had 4 students who got 104. So this week, we're working on those words again and then my 4 that got a 100 are doing a different list. My problem is that it is hard to find words for these students that need more of a challenge. But it went well yesterday for those students to work on a different list of words. So hopefully, I can follow through with this these last few weeks.
One area that I do a good job with differentiation is homework. I send home 4 different levels of reading fluency homework and some weeks it's 5 different levels. I started out the year just doing one. But I have 2 students who are far and above ahead of everyone else in reading. So it has kind of just evolved and it works. This week my high average group are working on a readers' theater script. I'm excited to see how they do with it. These students are very dramatic and enjoy working with each other.
So my ongoing professional goal is to differentiate my instruction more. I also need to work on using my assistant better. So I watched a few videos on PD360 (that's this online professional development that our district subscribes too.) about differentiation and I got a couple of ideas. One of the major themes was giving students choice in how they completed an assignment and in what kind of group they worked in.
So I tried it out yesterday with our frog life cycle assignment. I made a few copies of the life cycle page from Kaci's All About Frogs unit and then gave the choice of doing this worksheet or making their own flip book. I was surprised how many of them wanted to create their own life cycle.
Overall I was satisfied with how this assignment turned out. I am definitely going to try to be more creative in how students present information. My next task to really tackle with differentiation is math. I would love to hear how you meet different students' needs and what ways you differentiate in your class.
It's back to school tomorrow and I'm looking forward to continuing our Oviparous animals unit. Tomorrow it's all about sea creatures.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Visual Plans for Next Week

So the week before spring break, I linked up for the first time with Mrs. Wills Peek at my week linky party. I just shared my reading plans and that took me forever to do. This week I'm sharing reading, writing/language, and math. It didn't take me quite as long to do these now that I've had a little practice and have a template to work with. I did forget to link up my freebie so you'll have to grab that at the end of the post. I can't do it all apparently. Remember to click on this link to get a pdf of my plans where the clickable links work. 

This week we're finishing up our oviparous animals unit. You might remember some of the reading activities from my last set of visual plans. We ended up having a snow day in the middle of the week and didn't get to everything. So we're working on the same skills again this week. I'm excited to be trying out my dear friend Debbie Clement from Rainbows within Reach's Polliwog song and activities.  If you haven't checked her blog and great songs out, you should. I'm so excited to share this song and her beautiful illustrations with them. They will love it. My kids love to sing this year. You can check out her TPT store here.
I don't think anything else needs explanation. I had a follower ask me last time if I did these plans just for me or if I did them for my administration. I had already done my formal lesson plans the last time I did these. But this week I'm going to add in my common core standards and use these for my administration. I am thinking I should have done that while working on them. Oh well.
So I have a freebie for you. It's 3 different math journal prompts. I usually print them out and cut them. Then let the kids paste them into their math journals. These have a spring theme and focus on subtraction. I added a little tiny clipart picture from Teacher Laura. She just started making clipart and she has some cute stuff. Check her out.

Click here for the freebie.  If you download this freebie, I would love it if you would follow me and/or leave me a comment. I love hearing from you. Be sure to head over to Mrs. Will's Kindergarten and check out the party.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Ms. Kerri's Randomness

I've decided to start doing a new weekly post. I can't say what day it's going to be on but hopefully I will post it once a week. I have been wanting to post about a variety of things that aren't teaching related. Like I want to give book recommendations or recipes that I've tried lately or an outfit I wore that I really liked. I also have started on a new journey of trying to get healthy. I have a lot of randomness in my head. I had thought about starting a new blog but let's be honest. I don't always do the best job of keeping up with this one. So once a week, I'll indulge myself into some non school and non teacher related posting. If you are all about the teaching and not about the personal, that's ok. Just don't read my blog that day. Reading blogs has made me realize how nosy I am and I love reading the personal too. Hopefully a few of you are like that too and enjoy the personal. I even made a button for it. (Well I guess you can call it a button. It's a graphic. The background is from Erin Bradley Designs and the font from Hello Literacy)

I'm going to start with my healthy eating journey I'm on. I want to be a mom sooner rather than later, but Chris and I haven't been married even a year yet. Anyway, I want to have healthy eating habits in place when we have kids. So I've been working on changing some of my habits. I also could stand to lose a few pounds. I think I really started to put it on with my knee putting me out of commission with exercising. So I'm trying to eat healthier and exercise more.
I saw this pin on pinterest today and it sums up for me what I'm trying to do.
To help me make some changes, I've been using the fitness pal app. Have you checked this app out? You answer some questions about your weight and lifestyle and you can keep track of your calories you eat and keep track of your exercise. I've been working on this for about a month or so and I've lost 5 pounds. It isn't a ton but I'm happy so far. I haven't been sticking to a really strict diet. I've just been working on trying to cut out sugary sweets and trying to eat more fruits and veggies. I've also been trying to exercise 4-5 times a week. I'm missing running so badly right now. I haven't been able to run since the end of the summer because of my knee. There is a pretty good chance that I won't be able to run again. Now that it's so sunny and warm, I've really wanted to get out and run. I've been walking and that's good if I have someone to walk with. I'm getting back into swimming. I swam in high school and I forgot how much I enjoyed it. It's hard and it's a great workout. I've also been wearing out the website She has great recipes that are healthy and they are even already loaded into My Fitness Pal. Here are a couple I've tried lately that you should give a shot.
Click here to find the recipe. I borrowed this picture from the website. This is a meatless recipe. I would love to go meatless once a week but I'm not sure the hubby is up for it.
Click here to find the recipe. I borrowed this picture from her site too. I'll be sure to take a few pictures of food this week. The biggest difference between this and regular lasagna is instead of noodles you use zuchinni. I love zuchinni so I love this recipe and so did my hubby.
I also tried a quinoa recipe. I've been wanting to try quinoa and it was good.  This is a picture of dinner Thursday night. It was very good and healthy. 
So that's my healthy journey I'm on. I think sometimes Chris thinks I'm a nut job with all my label reading I'm doing. I'm trying to be more aware of what I'm putting in my body. I would love any encouragement and or tips you have to share. I have a pinboard on pinterest all about healthy living. If you aren't following me on pinterest, you should. There's a place on the side of my blog, to start following me.
I love to read. I have the most basic kindle you can get and I'm not even sure that you can buy the one I have anymore. But I love it and I only use it for reading. Our school librarian and I talk books a lot. She turned me on to a couple of websites that send you the kindle deals. I've gotten some great books from these emails. The main one I use is called bookbub. The site is You should head over there and sign up to start receiving some free and reduced prices on books. Here are a couple of books I've gotten this way. 

 I really like getting books through this site because it gives me exposure to books I might not have picked up otherwise. The only one of these I knew anything about what the James Patterson. The first two are just fun mysteries with a little chick lit thrown in. Honolulu was a great book with a lot of historical information about Hawaii.  So my recommendation is to check out this website right now.
I have no cute outfits to show because I was on spring break this past week and didn't really get dressed much past my yoga pants and a t-shirt. But next week I'll take a few pictures. I got some new pants and tops I can't wait to wear.
I would love to hear from you on whether you thought this post was completelely worthless or not. I'd love to know what you're reading and if you check out Book Bub let me know what you get. I'll leave you with this pin I found. (


Friday, April 5, 2013

Oviparous Animal Activities Part 1

I'm finally back to blogging about something that has some substance or school related. Although I did have fun joining in the linky parties. It's been nice to have time to play on my computer and do some blogging and creating. Last week we worked on Oviparous Animals. (check out my peek at my week linky with my plans.) We had a snow day thrown in the week and a half day on Friday so I didn't quite get to everything I wanted to do. So we'll be continuing with Oviparous animals next week. I played around with Picasa yesterday and learned how to edit some of my pictures and to make collages of pictures. I'm excited about how easy it is to use.
On Monday I introduced what an oviparous animals was. When the kids came in the room, I had a chart up. It was egg shaped and just had the word oviparous on it. The students completed an anticipation guide (You can find that freebie on my peek at my week.) Then we read a book.

After reading Chickens Aren't the Only Ones (World of Nature Series)  we made a list of all the oviparous animals we had read about. I starred some of the ones we'd be talking about this week. Then later in the day we read this book An Egg Is Quiet.
I loved this book. It had the most beautiful illustrations and lots of information about eggs. After we read this book, the kids wrote their own sentence An egg is and then drew an egg with crayon. After they had drawn with crayon, they water colored the egg. They turned out so well. 

Tuesday was our snow day but the plan was to learn about chickens. So this was moved to Wednesday. I'm annoyed with myself because I didn't take a picture of our life cycles that we worked on. They were from Kaci Hoffer's Chicken Life Cycle Pack.

 We read a couple of books about chickens. 

From Egg to Chicken (How Living Things Grow)
Dora's Eggs

Then we made a class life cycle and the kids were able to make their own life cycle. Kaci has a different ones to choose from. 

On Thursday it was all about Sea Turtles. This was one of my favorite animals to talk about. I was lucky enough to see them in Hawaii and I've been hooked on them since. 

One Tiny Turtle: Read and Wonder
We read this book. It was a great story and had lots of facts in it. After I read the book, I passed out a nonfiction passage about sea turtles I had gotten from Stephanie at Fallin in First (the link for this can be found in my visual plans.) The kids partner read the passage after we talked about the vocabulary words. Then they picked 3 facts and wrote sentences on the back. Then they made their sea turtle and wrote one fact on the back. They turned out really cute. Stephanie includes templates for the craftivity but I don't really use templates. I have the students use shapes to make their projects. 
So that's what we did the week before spring break for oviparous animals. When we get back next week, we're going to finish up the unit. We'll be talking about frogs, insects, and sea animals. I've really enjoyed this unit and I think the kids have too. I hope to be back with some visual plans this weekend. I'm hoping to do a little more than just my reading plans. 
Yesterday I worked on Spring has Sprung Math Workstations Activities. You can check it out on TPT here.
I can't wait to get this printed out and ready to go for my kids to use the next few weeks. I've gotten behind in my math workstations.
I also updated my Spring is in the Air: write the room activities. If you purchased it already, you need to go re download it. I added 3 more write the room activities. Check it out here.  This is on my kids favorite word work activities. 
I hope if you're at school today that you have a great Friday. It's my last day of Spring break and I plan on doing not much of anything. I would love to hear from you especially if you use any of these ideas for oviparous animals.