Friday, August 29, 2014

Monsters, Relationships, Technology, and Tales

It's FIVE for FRIDAY... and as I write this late Thursday night, there's only FIVE more mornings before kidpeople march in the door for the new school year! I'm psyched! I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs to highlight some of the things I'm thinking about, and I have more goodies in the Building Relationships Series.

1. Okay, my daughter thinks these are creepy, but I think the kids are going to love counting by fives using these mini-hand finger puppets.  There are all sorts of useful goofy things at Archie McPhee– just click on the photo to find!  5.. 10.. 15.. 20...

2.  Arrggghh. Ever feel you are a slave to technology? All district teachers got new computers about a month ago now. I was very happy to get mine. It really is the next best thing to a second brain. New technology does not come without frustrations, though. I worked and worked to get all my mail into the mail app... only to be foiled again and again. I finally asked my daughter to lend a hand. I don't know whether it's because she's in the engineering school, or whether she's of the generation that just naturally "gets" technology faster, but within seconds, she had it working! And how? you ask... she simply closed the app, then opened it again... arrrggh.  I know to do that, but I sure didn't think to do that!

I wonder if it works like this... hope somebody remembers better than I do :)

3. To get over my wasted evening working on email, I clicked on a favorite song video. By now most teachers know this Minion video version of Happy by Pharrell Williams, but if you don't, now is the time to check it out. It never fails to bring a smile to my face. It is a great song that sets an upbeat mood. I use it in the classroom as a brain break and a clean up song. For easy, fast access to all my brain breaks, dance music, and kid vids I pin videos to my Pinterest boards then go there for fast viewing on the screen with my kiddos. You can visit my Pinterest Boards by clicking here

When you find good videos on You Tube and you want to have fast and easy access in the classroom, click "share" down below where the video plays, then click the P for Pinterest and you can pin it to your boards from there.

4. I don't have one particular theme for my entire classroom, but I do give our math activities a monster bent. I use these little guys to designate which math stations kids should go to.

If you click on the image you'll go to Oriental Trading's Monster search. I just shopping carted (can you use that as a verb...) some colorable monster magnets for kidpeople to keep math references handy on their fridge... and I think I need that Sully hat...

I also use this book the first week to launch our math discussions for the year. The monsters are adorable and there's lots of counting! Click to have a look inside.

5. Here is this week's Parent Relationship Builder Idea.

Each year, either before school starts or during the first week, I have a Work and Mingle Night.

Parents come to cut, tape, glue, staple, and assemble materials that the kiddos will use all year. This evening serves several purposes. First of all it really helps me get a lot done. If you do the math, ten parents, working for two hours each, equals twenty hours of my time saved! It also helps kindergarten parents, often new to our school community, get to know each other. And it allows parents to get to know me and why I do things. Parents ask lots of questions and I try to give lots of answers. I also use my time to describe all the ways parents can help the classroom all year by coming in, and by doing work outside of the classroom. We play music, munch, and generally have a great time!

If you think you'd like to try this, I've made it easy by posting my flyer for you to download. It might give you ideas on wording.

And here's my list of Parent Jobs. Over the years I've gotten pretty creative with ways to get parents involved with classroom life. Do you have these jobs?

Parent Center Helpers- for both literacy in the morning, and math in the afternoon

First Fifteen Parents- parents who come in with the bell and do some fast extra practice with kids

D.E.A.R. Parents- one day a week a parent reads aloud instead of our independent D.E.A.R. time

And for parents who can't come in:

Communication Parent- a parent who sends out reminder emails, most importantly to our weekly fresh produce parents. If you don't know how we get fresh produce for snacks click here.

Monthly Play Dough Maker- sends in a fresh batch of play dough the first week of every month

Book Club Parent- sorts and bags up to send home purchased books

Party Suppliers- I send out a list of stuff we need a few times a year and they bring it in

Field Trippers- parents sign up for specific field trips, but these folks are my in-a-pinch go-tos

Book Doctor- I send home a roll of tape and books to repair as they land in our BooBoo Book Bin

Now of course I don't always get someone in all of these categories every year, but I come close. Handing out the list and discussing it on Curriculum Night let's parents know they are really wanted. Parent involvement not only helps me– research shows kids who see their parents with a role in school DO better in school. It's all about the learning!

Last but not least, here is this week's Funny Kid Friday tale.

With this story I move Funny Kid Fridays from weekly to monthly. I'm just too busy during the school year to commit to weekly posts. Look for a tale on the first Friday of the month now. This week's is another from the first day of school.

One year I had this little guy who looked at me earnestly when I finished our very first read aloud on the first day of school and asked, "Are we going to do that again?"

"Well, yes," I said, delighted that he was having such a grand time as he subtly pointed out to everyone else that reading was a GREAT activity.

After art, he asked me again, and after snack, and recess... in the course of the day he asked me a dozen more times! Never doubt routines are important! He finally stopped asking when he realized that he could rely on regular, on-going fun in kindergarten every day! Isn't life grand!

Link-up below with your tale. You can link up all month now. Don't forget to grab my button up there to link back. And, of course, feel free to share your tale in the comment section below, too... in fact, readers out there in blog land, I'd love for you to share ANY love you have in the comments :)

Special thanks to Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday, thee place to go for great blog reading. Click to find more!


  1. First, I had never thought of pinning favorite videos for easy access! That's so brilliant! Second, I love your parent jobs. My school just started a mandatory parent volunteer hours, which is great, but sometimes it's hard to come up with things for them to do. Your list is super helpful!

    Kindergarten Teacher at the Wheel

    1. Hi Amanda! Glad you like the ideas. When you put your pinterest board on the screen, the kids get a kind of visual menu to choose from, and that's handy, too. I'll look for your Pinterest site and we can share. And so glad you like the parent job list. You're getting the benefit of a lot of years doing this, and I keep on tweaking so it works for as many as possible. Thanks for linking up! See you around! Kathleen

  2. What a sweet little story! Yes, the Happy video is one of our favorites too! :)

    1. Hi Rachael! Good to see you. Mine come back next week, and yes, it will be time to "do it again!" Thanks for linking up! Kathleen

  3. What a great idea for Kinder parents. I never knew anyone in my daughter's class until almost the middle of first grade. I want to share this with our Kinder parents. Thanks fellow Michigan Teacher Blogger.
    Stop by some time

    1. Thanks, Sarah. Work and Mingle Night was just last night. I had parents from half the class join in the fun and we got lots done. And I think all the parents got to know some new faces. But given it was also the first week of school with kids... woooeeee! I am pooped. Next year I'm going back to having it the week before school starts. That week is busy, too, but at least you don't have to be "on" for the kiddos in the morning. Love my new kids and their parents, too. Gonna be a great year. Thanks for stopping by. I'm off to check out your site, too. Kathleen


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...