Sunday, June 1, 2014

End Of The Year Survival!

My kids have been having so much fun
doing our STEM camp this year!
It has made ALL the difference with
their behavior for the last  few weeks!
I am so bummed that I didn't do that!
I'm totally planning for it next year.
They are engaged.
They are intrigued.
They are competitive.
They are learning.
They are having fun.
They're cheering and clapping
for each other...spontaneously!
Last week was the end of May.
You had them
competitive (the healthy version),
and learning?!
Rock on with your bad self!
I feel like I've been so busy

testing, testing, testing,
that your plan sounds like a dream!
How does a reading teacher get
away with doing STEM activities?
1.  Our school is going to become a STEM school
next year....very cool!
2.  I've learned to incorporate literature, poems, and songs
into each STEM activity so that we're reading
before we're off and away drawing and creating.
Uh, I believe that's called activating
prior knowledge.
Just saying...
By adding the literature and music,
I was able to incorporate my STEM activities
into my morning literacy block
when I taught in a traditional Kindergarten classroom.
I had to get creative, because there was too much to do,
and not enough time!
Sing it sista!
3.  It's the end of the year!  We're on survival mode!
I love Ma'Cherie's analogy of the

road trip.  Thanks to the Polar Vortex
asking if we're "there yet."

The week before I started,
I seriously thought my kids had lost it.
Arguing, fighting, picking on each other.
Oh, so you've stopped by my room lately?
They were finished mentally with
being together for so long!
Road trip....."are we there yet?"
You know how Angela likes to say,
"The teacher's rocking in the corner?" kids were so wackadoodle
that her phrase completely made sense.
Yup.  I could picture it.
I felt it, Angela, I felt it!
I didn't quite go there....but I could have!
And a jury of your peers
(other teachers)
would not fault you for it.

So, I started the STEM camp
where we did 1 STEM per day,
and it was a COMPLETELY different
feel to the classroom!
Turning green with envy.

Everyone was getting along and happy!
Yay!  Music to a Kindergarten teacher's ears! least until it was time to line up,
and then...we were back to the over zealous
puppy mode of rolling all over each other....
hands and feet everywhere!  I mean everywhere!
I'm not laughing at you....but with you.
After one of our over zealous
lining up episodes this week I literally said
"there are no cash and prizes for
getting there first!
We are going to the

same place
at the
same time.
Yes, the teacher was now
throwing a temper tantrum!
Little whirlwinds of energy!
Where has all of my countless training gone?
Aaaaahhhh....there it is!  Out my window!
If I squint really hard I can see it!
 You know things have gone Topsy Turvy
when you have Little Jill sniffing
in the line after you pick them up from Specials,
and you go to investigate and find out that Little Jack
had pulled out Little Jill's tooth.
Little Jack (who is always very kind-hearted
and willing to help any of his friends in need)
begins crying, saying,
"She told me to!"
Then an anonymous voice
in the line pipes up,
"Maybe she changed her mind!"
By this time, Little Jill is holding
her recently pulled tooth
smiling as she realizes
that she's off to the nurse
to get the treasure box carrier
that our nurse has
for teeth that have fallen out at school.
Who would have thought
that in my Kindergarten duties
I would have to remind my students to:
Please keep your hands to yourselves,
and MOST DEFINITELY do not put them
in someone else's mouth to help them pull
out a tooth...even if you think
you are helping a friend!
We could all write a book!
Most folks would think it's a work of fiction.
But all of us that work with short people 
would quickly agree that is the real deal!
Welcome to our world.

Also, by the way everyone...
licking trees is not a good idea.
Let's keep our tongues to ourselves, please.
AND let's remember that just because
a friend of yours is doing something,
it doesn't mean that you should try it!
Just say no!

My Kindergarten team decided
that we have had enough....
so we added a 2nd recess to our schedule.
We are now going to recess before lunch
AND after lunch.  Maybe this way
we can make it through the last few days!
Is it over yet?  Is summer here?
Almost?  Thank goodness!

I did one STEM per day and that was WITH
switching classrooms in our normal way.
For anyone who doesn't know....
I have 54 students made up of 3 different classrooms
who come to me every day.
Ma Chérie teaches writing and social studies.
Long Island teaches math and science.
It's a LOT of work.

Yes. We're departmentalized in Kindergarten.
No. I don't want to hear any negative comments about it.
I will delete them.  They will not exist.
Just giving you a heads up before you start typing.
Yes, those same students
would still be licking trees and pulling teeth
even if we were in a typical Kindergarten setting.
True that!
Between the 3 of us,
we have a combined 45 years
of teaching experience....
and we have seen things
that would boggle the mind.

Our kids are learning more than they have
ever learned in our traditional classrooms.
After one year of trying this new method,
we're all amazed at how much
our students have learned.
I seriously want to take a road trip
and check it out!
Ooooh, that's more of a flight
than a road trip from Illinois to Florida.
The three of us are ready to
just lie down and die
from sheer exhaustion,
but other than that....
it's been great!
Oh, what we so willingly give up
to help our students succeed!
We all go home at the end of the day
unable to form coherent words.

How sad is it that I was able
to read that on the first try...
without even trying to 'decode' it.
Yep, I'm just as fried sista!
I've been in faculty meetings
sitting at times with the literacy coach,
and other times with my vice principal and/or principal.
Whenever we're given an assignment to actually
THINK  and WRITE about....
I have to just hand it over to them.
Not even one little bit embarrassed about it.
Nope.  Queen Chaos is FRIED by the end of the day,
and there's no use trying to hide it from anyone!
I just tell them all.....Help!  It's the end of the day,
and after teaching reading to 54 K mouth
isn't connected to my brain anymore!
Actually that's a whole lot more coherent than
I've ever sounded at the meetings....
it's more like a garbled sound
coming from my throat
as I push the paper(s) in their direction
while my frizzy head of hair is shaking "No, No, No".
Luckily my principal has pity
on Kindergarten teachers.

I am not complaining.
I am more than happy
to keep up the rigor
for the kids.
In fact it's more upsetting
thinking about NOT doing
this crazy schedule after seeing
how high we've gotten all of our
kids this year.

But it IS the end of the year,
and in order to keep my sanity,
I used several STEM activities
from my STEM bundle of 8.

8 S.T.E.M. Activities
by Regina Davis

I also used my newest STEM actvities:

Down By The Bay Watermelon Roll: STEM Activity
 Here are some pics of what my kiddos
did with the watermelon roll.

Here you can see my students
measuring and counting.

When a group finally got the watermelon
to the hungry whale, my class went WILD.
What a fun day for them!

Here's a song you could use from youtube:
Down By The Bay....on youtube...
uploaded by icnelly
(I think this is Raffi singing, but I'm not sure.)

This next activity was also really fun,
and a whole lot easier on my back!
I had parents come and tell
me how much their kids loved
the STEM activities after this one!
Jack And Jill Paper Cup: STEM Activity

I decided to show a demo of how to fold
a paper into a cup...this isn't for your students
to see....its' just for that you'll
know how to do one in a pinch!
I'm new to this video be kind!
I get to see (well her hands anyways)

my bloggin' buddy.
 he he he!

....and why on Earth are you wearing
 a sweater?!  Seriously!!!
It's June 1st!
You live in Florida!
UMMMMM....Can you say air conditioning?
King Common Sense and I don't agree
on a lot of things, but thank goodness I
married a man who likes to keep
our house nice and cool!
So THAT's why you're in a sweater in June.
I agree with Scott though.
So bundle up sista!

Jack And Jill Paper Regina Davis aka Queen Chaos

My 4 year old, The Darling Diva, would NOT let me
do this quick video in peace...of course not!
What was I thinking?
I had to change this STEM experiment
after using it with my students. 

My kids absolutely LOVED doing this activity,
but many of them blew me away
with their ability to make a cup
that held water for as long as it took
to count by 2 to much higher numbers
than I had initially thought possible.
I thought that there was NO WAY
any of them would make the complicated cup
that's on the demo....
unless they were shown how (by me).
That would be more of a teacher idea.
Guess what? One of my kids did (on his own)
and it held water until we counted to 168 by 2's!!!

When I asked him how he knew
how to make that cup, he said that
he looks at pictures in a book at home
that’s all about “or-gummy”.
His mother came up to me a few days later
raving about the STEM Camp.
 She also said that she couldn’t
take any credit for her son’s ability
to make the cup since he really does
just study the pictures in an
origami book at their home.
He amazed me!
  Several other students came up with completely
different models and their counts
were off the charts as well.....134, 148,
were just a couple off the top of my head.
WOW! When I did it at home,
I got to 24 and thought that I was doing good!
Ummmmmm......yeah, right!
I’ve been upstaged by my 5 year olds!  LOL
And you were surprised by that?
Short people have a way of doing that.

  Since their numbers were SO high,
I decided to change around
some of the questions/answers
on the reflection sheet.
A counting by 100s chart
and a second chart which would
take kids up to 200 was added.
That way they can use the 2 charts
to count and be successful counting by 2's as a team
(perhaps even without teacher help).

  Another student’s mother came to me
today saying how this activity was ALL her son
could talk about at home and that it was
his favorite day EVER in Kindergarten!
Aaaaaaahhhhh… to a teacher’s ears!

 Here's a song on youtube that you could use:
  Jack And Jill Went Up The Hill Nursery Rhyme
youtube...uploaded by Jangain Kotla, Mir pur

I also made a Little Bunny Foo Foo STEM
which my kids LOVED!
Little Bunny Foo Foo Egg Dying S.T.E.M. Activity
They had to create their own egg dippers....
fun, fun, fun!

For Children.Song.Little Bunny Foo Foo-
Nursery Rhyme With Actions.Debbie Doo! 
By Debbie Doo TV

Now.....for the last day of school....The Big Finale!
It's going to be all about:
A Minute To Win It!

I have to say a big shout out to Pinterest
and all the teachers out there who have posted
really cool Minute To Win It Ideas..... woo-hoo!
You guys made the end of the year
last year fantabulous!!!!
One of these ladies was Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits.
Check out her blog posting for some
really cute game ideas and pics!

Ma Chérie and I did these activities last year,
and it was sooooo much fun that 
we're continuing the tradition!
I'm starting it this year.
Thanks so much for sharing!

Long Island is even jumping in and
doing them with her own class!
It makes for a great last day of fun!
Not to mention that it really simplifies
life for us teachers.
The kids have SOOOOOO much fun,
and they have great memories
of a fantastic, last day of school!
Not to mention that
it's ALL inside the classroom
so Queen Chaos can stay
in her air conditioned room
away from the bugs and humidity....
thank you very much!
Grrrrrr, air conditioning?
We can no longer be friends.

.....just kidding.
Such is life teaching in the
heat and humidity of Illinois.
Good times...
I wonder how much a wall unit
would be...maybe one of those
air conditioning units that you stick
in the window?  If I worked up there
I'm afraid that I'd have to start saving
all my pennies for a classroom air conditioning unit.
Uh, we've BEGGED for that
but negative ghost rider.
We aren't allowed to do so.
Just a perk of teaching in the Midwest.

The best pics for these Minute To Win It games
are located at Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits.
AND lucky us...she has the
game instructions posted FOR FREE on TPT....woo-hoo!
One of my room moms who is a teacher
had printed them for my class last year.
I didn't know where she had gotten them...
I'm sure she had told me where she found them,
but by this time of year everything
just starts blurring together.
And it falls out of your head....
...speaking from experience!
Anyway, I went looking for them
this year. I couldn't find them
in my files (yes, my name is Queen Chaos for a reason).
So, I went searching on my pin boards.
I found her blog posting
right smack in the middle of my May board...
how did I ever live without Pinterest?
SO, SO, SO, SO true!
THEN I went hunting on TPT...
and Voilà!  Freebie, freebie, freebie!!!!
It's the end of the year
and I'm so broke I can't see straight!
I think it's fabulous that she's willing to share!
My Motto:  The Best Teachers Share!
Have I said that before?
I think I have!

To end the day,
I'm passing out these
super cute certificates.
Angela, I'm sending these
to you...I'm not even waiting for
you to ask!  I like them that much--
I have to share with my friend!
Saw them in my email tonight.
Love them!
Thanks for sharing...
and YOU, my friend, are the best!

A+ Certificates: Kindergarten End of Year....
Follow Your Dreams!

I decided to add a little extra bonus
for all of my fabulous Teachers Pay Teachers friends...
here is a FLASH FREEBIE for the end of the year!
Here is just a sneak peak at this
fabulicious freebie!
Here is one of the
50 pages you will get!

 And one more...
I just have to give you one more
FLASH FREEBIE to add to your files!
Here are some Kindergarten Graduation Puppets.

 ....And for La Pièce De Résistance....
I decided to shrink the puppets down
so that they can be used as cupcake toppers
for your classroom celebration! 

If you missed out on any of these
FLASH FREEBIES....I'm sorry!
Be sure to sign up as a TPT follower
so that you can get any future flash freebies!
If you're anything like me
(teaching on a shoestring budget)....
the word FREE has a special ring to it!

 Well...I went to leave Reagan Tunstall
feedback on TPT, and I noticed
something.  She has had 38,462 downloads
and only 112 ratings.  That's not even .5%
of the people who have downloaded her game.
Do you see that decimal point?
No, it's not a spot or a typo.
That's a travesty. Ok....maybe not a travesty,
but it is a sad thing to see.
That makes me really sad!
Those ratios are always so wrong.
You may say that the best teachers
share.  I say that the best teachers
also say thank you!  We, of all people, 
need to send the message of being
thankful for somebody else's hard work
and their willingness to share it with us.
Sermon over.
I'll head over to her store, 
and rate it with a thank you!
If you like her game, please leave her feedback!
It's just the polite thing to do!
Unless you're going to say something mean
or not give her four stars,
then just leave that poor woman alone!
After all, it IS free!

5 more days....but who's counting?
Uh, that would be me!
7 days....thank you Polar Vortex.

 photo Queenchaossignoff-2.png

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