Thursday, December 15, 2016

Hello Everyone!!
This time of year makes for busy households and busy school days...but we power through...and glean those precious moments of pure joy with our families and with our students. One more day left of this wonderful week at school. Yes, we are completely exhausted, and yes, we are ready for a winter break, but...yes, the sparkle in those little eyes makes it all worth while! We have so enjoyed the work of Dr. Seuss this week with his wonderful tale of a changing heart and the transforming traditions of life and love. We got to celebrate Grinch Day today with some fun learning experiences. Here are a few pics!
My crazy fun team!!!

Grinch Kabobs

Grinch Grime

Adjective Work

Tons of Math!!

Who Pudding!

Green Candy Canes!

All of this fun stuff is available in my Updated Grinch Unit.

We also had a special delivery today...straight from the North Pole!  Santa discovered that my kids had such giving hearts, he wanted to give them something special. He sent them each a special key to set out and have ready for him to use when he comes on Christmas eve.  
I will tell you, I think the kids were more excited about that than all the Grinch stuff put together!!

(A little hint...After packaging the keys and tags, put the box in the freezer!  The keys will stay cold for quite a while!! SHHHHHH!!)

I have so much more to share with you, but I am sooooo out of time!!! I'll be back soon!  Until then, thanks for stopping by our little "Window on Wonder!"  I am hoping you have a wonderfilled last few days with your kids and a restful family filled break!  

Monday, December 5, 2016

Santa's Stuck Again!!! What?? (Plus a little mouse, that green guy, and new year!!)

Hello Everyone!
I just wanted to catch you up on what we've been up to. If you are a first grade teacher(or anyone working with kids!), you know how exciting this time of year is! We have to work hard to keep kids engaged and learning. For the past few years, I have found that "Santa's Stuck" by Rhonda Greene fits the bill.  I have shared this unit before, but I keep reworking it.  This year we did the traditional Santa with his legs sticking out of the chimney,

(We've done this one a gazillion times- but every year, the kids love solving the problem of Santa getting stuck!),
but then we've been doing some work on adjectives, and the use of fun words from "Must Be Santa" led to some very simple but effective focus.

The kids know their adjectives!!!

If you have my Santa's Stuck unit already, yay!  If not you can get it...when you CLICK HERE!!!

There are a ton of activities included.

This week I am using "If You Take a Mouse to the Movies" as our mentor text.  Such fun!!  I'll post pics of our activities and problem solving soon, but if you need the unit
Again...a ton of engaging learning opportunities for your kids!

Next week???  That beloved Green Guy!!!
Again, I'll share pics as we go!
If you don't have the unit I shared last year, you're in luck,CLICK HERE!!!!

Finally, if you already have my Happy New Year unit, please download on the "CLICK" below for the 2017 version!!  Can you even believe it is almost the new year???  What???  This school year can't be half way though already, can it? We have so much to do!!! So many places to go! So many problems to solve!

OK!!  That's it for now!!! I've got to get working on my kids' little gifts!  I loooove this time of year, almost as much as our little do!  Have a wonderful week.  Thanks for stopping by for a peek through our window on wonder!!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Creating Critical Thinkers through Questioning!

Hello Everyone!!
I really can't even believe how long it has been since my last post!!  I am so sorry! Thanks to all those who have e-mailed me asking about my absence.  You are too kind. We have had a very busy and emotional homelife lately.  My nephew's baby daughter has been diagnosed with Krabbe disease, an aggressive  incurable genetic disease.  We had to fly to Florida to help and support them.  It is such a sad thing because she could have been tested for it at birth and would have been eligible for some transplant treatment which would have prolonged her life.  Please keep little Lola and her mom and dad, John and Kathrin, in your prayers.  
Early November, my mom turned 80!  We had a wonderful surprise party for her.  All my brothers and sisters (5 of us!) flew to Texas to help her celebrate!  They live all over the country! She about flipped!!!  It was the celebration of a lifetime!!  We feel so blessed to have had this opportunity!
And finally, another celebration!  My baby boy (24 years old!) built and just moved into his first home.  He has always been such a go getter.  He graduated from high school early and was able to go to college at age 17.  He graduated with a double major and is working in Austin in the tech industry. He loves Austin so much that he decided to build there. It also helps that he is very frugal with his money! :) We were able to go help him move in.  And he let me decorate for him!!! Such a fun, but exhausting time. 
So, all that brings me to finally having some time to post a little.   I thought I'd share a bit about what I am doing to help kids think more critically.  In this ever changing world, just teaching facts is not enough.   Kids need to learn to problem solve...ask anyone in the work force today.  There is more than one way to get the work done. 
As I worked on using the higher level questions based on Bloom's Taxonomy, I found that my kids were really finding new ways to answer, adding value to every problem, sharing their ideas more readily, and understanding that we learn more from our mistakes. I found that kids are very capable of asking each other critical questions as well.   I have worked hard to help my first graders be aware of what I mean by digging deeper into everything we do.   I am also pleased to say that our district is embracing the power of questioning as well. I want to show you what I have developed so far.  Keep in mind that there are many  many more ways to add the right kind of questioning to your curriculum.  These are just a few of the easily adaptable strategies you can add tomorrow!  Just print and go!

This is just the beginning.  I am a problem solver, as well.  I want my students to do all they can to think at a higher level than ever before.  I will do what it takes to help!!! So...stay tuned. I will be back with more. 
Thanks for your patience as we work through life and teaching!!!