Sunday, March 11, 2018

Teach Your Heart Out- Nashville

It has been FOREVER since I've posted! But I had to get on here and share about the incredible weekend I had! When I found out the Teach Your Heart Out conference was coming to Nashville, I knew I had to make it! And they made it affordable by offering a subscription box where you could pay for the conference monthly up to the conference.

First, lets talk about the swag! I LOOOOOOVE the cup they gave us. We got the cutest cookies and I'm definitely hanging that flag near my desk at school!
 Second, I got to meet some of my favorite teachers I follow on social media. I'm not going to lie... I was fan girling on the inside but I think I played it cool! haha! Michelle and Vera were so genuine and sweet. It really meant a lot to me that they took the time to chit chat with me and take a photo with me! These ladies are such inspiring teachers and it's so cool to meet them in person!

The hotel was AMAZING! I didn't stay there because I only live 15 minutes away, but in the 10 & 1/2 years I've lived in Nashville, I have NEVER been to the Opryland Hotel. I was so beautiful inside! I loved the sound of the water, and it felt like a little village inside. So cool! The conference rooms were beautiful and the seats were super comfy.

They had props for everyone to take photos. I was so sad I didn't get one on the stage before I left yesterday! And I missed out on the photo booth! Bummer!

I thought it was so crazy that Monica Genta was presenting the high school sessions. My youngest sister graduated high school with her and I graduated with her older brother. Small world! (It's only crazy b/c we went to school in a small town in central Illinois!)

The 2nd day, Gerry Brooks spoke and had me crying from laughter. I definitely waited in line to get a photo with him. Even my non-teacher friends/family recognize him! 

I'm sure everyone knows Greg from Kindergarten Smorgasboard. I teach in the same district as Greg and he was so kind and invited me out to dinner with him one night my first year teaching in metro. I felt like I knew him forever when we met. He was so kind and fun to chat with! When I ran into him at the conference, I had to snap a pic with him too! =)

One of my favorite sessions was with Michaela from Especially Education. I'm in NO WAY an Exceptional Education expert, so when I heard she was presenting, I had to go. This year I have a few friends who are non-verbal and her session was on eliciting language through cooking and science experiments in non-verbal children. She gave some great ideas that I'm excited to implement in my classroom!

 Will you believe me? I've NEVER made slime before. So this was exciting for me to make some in her session! =)
The other sessions I attended (but forgot to get pictures of) were Vera's (The Tutu Teacher) on building my classroom library to represent ALL children in my class. I loved this one because it was what I got my masters in! Teaching and Diversity. So I'm a huge advocate on making sure every child is represented and seen in the classroom.
I also attended a session on Teacher Wellness. I'm grateful that the Metro Nashville Pre-K department has begun a Teacher Wellness program where we discuss things that help "fill our cup". B/c we pour so much of ourselves out into our classroom, school and students, that we need to "refill b/c you can't pour from an empty cup." It was another great session! This is definitely an area I'm working on in my own life.
There were so many great sessions but my FAVORITE was the keynote on day 1. Dr. Marcia Tate spoke on 20 Instructional Strategies that Engage the Brain. It was AMAZING. I wrote down so many notes and am inspired to try out some new strategies in my Pre-K classroom.

I'm so thankful I had the opportunity and funds to attend this conference! I highly recommend attending if they have one near you in the future!

Monday, July 3, 2017

"I am Freedom's Child" by Bill Martin, Jr.

Hey ya'll!!!! 
It's a short post today!
I am re-reading my Anti-Bias Education textbook from my masters and came across this poem today and LOVE it. I created this image in hopes it will spread because people need to hear it! Feel free to share!  

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Winter Penguin Counting to 20 freebie!

Hey ya'll! It's been forever! I just created this little goodie to help my preschoolers practice counting! I've decided to share it as a freebie since I'm too lazy to upload stuff to TPT anymore (It's a process ya'll!) So you're in luck! Here are some penguin counting (ten frame) cards you can print, cut, and laminate. It includes numbers to 0-20.

Here is a recording sheet to go with the counting cards in case you need one for a center!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Metro School Chosen As National Model For Behavior, Discipline Fairness

Hey all! I have a future post in the works about all the fun stuff we've been doing in my Pre-K class this year! Now that I have a year under my belt with the PreK curriculum and after starting in a new district, I have a little more extra time to devote to my teacher blog. =) If you've read my past few entries, you know that we are a worksheet free school. Metro Nashville Public Schools received an amazing grant to provide a developmentally appropriate education for our preK students. We currently have 4 early learning centers, that are for Pre-K students. I work in one of those early learning centers, so if we wanted to use a worksheet- we are encouraged to find alternate ways to teach and gather data on our students through play. It's been a game changer for me. But that's a whole other post! =)

I'm so excited because our school was chosen as a National Model to provide a social-emotional education to our students to provide equity among ALL children when it comes to addressing their behavior. Once this went public, my favorite news station came to our school to share the story. And they filmed my class and I for some of the footage as they told the story. I was so nervous, but excited! :) Below is the footage, but they came in at the end of the day between nap and dismissal... and funny story! Right before they came in to ask if they could film us, I had just spilled my coffee ALL OVER my desk and floor! hahaha I was mortified but didn't want to pass up a cool opportunity, so I said come on in! =)

(And how cute are my kiddos? I just love them! Clearly, some are a little sleepy in the footage after just waking up! But they really are an energetic, happy, silly, lovable group of kids that I am so lucky to teach!)

And thank you to everyone who has continued to support me on TPT and following me on here. I know I've been on a hiatus... but the fact that people still read my old posts, email me with questions and support me on TPT is such a blessing! I'm so grateful for you all! <3

Monday, January 4, 2016

A tour of my PreK Classroom

So if you're anything like me... You LOVE seeing pictures of other people's classrooms! Today, MNPS gave teachers a planning day. Because I finished my plans before break, that gave me all day to clean and rearrange my classroom. We dusted all the shelves with pledge (and it smelled amazing), moved the furniture around and swept underneath all the shelves (the floors never looked better!) and I organized our huge closet and my drawers. It looks fantastic now!

You'll notice my PreK room is not AS bright and colorful as my Kindergarten room. (This is not my choice. lol) We are "encouraged" to keep bright colors to a minimum and keep with neutral colors with some blues and greens. But my rainbow loving heart has an extremely hard time with this OBVI. 

So here's your tour....
My pathetic word wall to the left. It has housed my student's pictures and name's all year. (And nothing else. Definitely an area of improvement.) The library center and cozy corner. The cozy corner offers my students an area where they can go to calm down, be alone or read a book. I've made it a rule that only one student is allowed in there at a time all year, but thinking I may start letting 2 friends as long as they are reading.

Here's a view of the coolest hanging lamp ever. (All the classrooms in my building have them!) Below is our dramatic play center. We are in the middle of a music-making study, so my para is a creative genius and made a "Center Stage" with red curtains for the kids to perform in. This also houses our puppet theatre to the left. The bulletin board picture shows the kids different problem solving skills. My para is going to add a title to the board tomorrow while I'm at CPR training. I'm excited to have the board to refer to when the kids may need some help with solving a social problem.

Block area. We post pictures of different styles of buildings for the kids. I actually have one who LOVES trying to build each one! He'll come get me from whatever I aim doing to show me his structures! I love it!

A better view of the block shelf and some more building photographs.

Gotta have a little literacy and social studies in the block center!

The Discovery center. Thanks to my awesome work friend Dana for the stump stools. The gray tote to the left houses or class worms. (Yup... and the kids LOVE holding them. Well most of them anyways... lol)

A view of our toys & games center.

The back of our math center.

Other side of our math shelf.

Another view of our word wall and some fun charts we have done! (They LOVE the Chubby Snowman!)

Art center #duh

Nothing exciting in the sand table right now, except... sand. (Need to switch out some fun toys for Jan!)

The kids listened to music and we "felt" the music as we drew. 
The next few photos are some examples of tallying we did before Winter break! I was so amazed at how well the kids did on their own with this! They came up with their own question to ask their classmates. Then they walked around the room with a clipboard and crayon, asked their peers the questions and tallied their responses. I had them bring it to me when they were finished and I watched them count their tallies and I wrote the numbers down for them. Then I asked them which had more/fewer. 

I love this question!

He did a great job!

This one asked how old my para and I were, so we wrote down our age since we are neither 4 nor 5! 

Before winter break, we had some visitors come in and talk to the kids about their musical talents. Before the visitors came, the kids helped come up with some questions to ask them. Ya'll... these kids are AWESOME! I didn't prompt any of these questions! They came up with them all on their own! 

The visitors would share with us their talent and perform something for the class. Then we asked our visitor the questions and I wrote down their responses. The kids loved this! (And I just realized I forgot to take pics of the instruments the kids made below this chart! Well shoot! Maybe tomorrow! *wink *wink)

You'll notice there is no clip chart or behavior management system in my room. That's because we have an amazing Social-Emotional curriculum we use called "Second Step" and we also use CSEFEL. The reason why....? Because we are teaching the children problem solving skills and self-management skills. I thought I would hate this... but actually, I love it. The kids are responding very well and I've seen them put the new skills into place! Plus, now that I have the bulletin board in dramatic play center, I can refer to that when needed also! It's great! I also have the benefit of seeing all the parents when they drop their child off and when they pick them up!