Totally Elementary - Five for FriYAY!!

Saturday, January 30, 2016 / 4 comments

Yeah!  It's that time of the week!! 

Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching!!!!

Short week...just three days because of the snow.  I couldn't wait to assess see my kids again after missing them for five days!!!

This is a pic of my classroom, Wednesday at 10:00 AM.  We had a two hour delay after missing two days because of snow.  My report cards are due this Monday morning and I still had SO much assessing to do.  I couldn't wait to cross some things off my LONG to-do list!!!  

I watched an amazing video on The Teaching Channel.  It featured a kindergarten teacher from San Francisco, John Michaud.   His whole philosophy of teaching was centered around providing experiences for students so they can create their own learning.  I was so inspired I immediately blogged and made pics to hang in my room (above) to remind me of this every day.  Stop and be present in the classroom.  Learning can happen with every new experience.

We are ready for the 100th day of school!!!!
All of my students brought in baggies filled with 100 items that they found at home.
We have Shopkins, Legos, pretzels, Swedish Fish (yum), cereal, pencils, popcorn and so much more!!

February 11th is our official 100th day of school but I wanted to kick off the fun with an interactive bulletin board that they whole school can enjoy.
Yes, this is the world's loonnnnggesssst board.  

Yesterday we made MELTED SNOWMEN!!!!

It was fun to be creative and messy.  Below is the cutest story that I read to go with the craft.  The kids loved how the "little" kid was the hero of the story.  

I'm ending with a shot of my two year old's fresh haircut.  I could eat him up, I love him so!!

Yes, I still eat Chipotle and we love it!!  When you source your food locally instead of getting the same old, same old off the Sysco truck sometimes things go awry, but I think they are going to get things figured out and bounce back!!

Until next week.....

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Learning is all about Creating Experiences

Monday, January 25, 2016 / Leave a Comment

It's been a snowy few days here in Central PA and while my cute babes napped the afternoon away, I was a teaching channel junkie!!!
I happened upon the most inspiring Kindergarten teacher, John Michaud.  He is a teacher at Live Oak School in San Francisco.  At the beginning of his teaching video, Social Studies: The Kindergarten Experience, he talks about how important experiences are to learning.

What he shared was inspiring!! His philosophy of teaching involves providing and creating experiences for his students so they can construct their learning.  The graphic below shows the premise of his philosophy.

He feels that experiences make kids think.  This leads to the desire to tell others what they've learned.  Then students share through writing which causes them to want to read more about the topic and broaden their learning.

I think this will help kids take ownership over their learning and feel empowered because they are creating their own learning.  

A lot of the experiences John suggests seem doable and grade appropriate.  

One simple idea is to take weekly walks around your school's neighborhood.  I've done this in my classroom and we take a big walk around the school on Wednesday Walk Day.  We see animals, holiday decorations, neighbors doing yard work, sports activities, contractors building, small businesses, trains, and many more exciting sights that are interesting to kindergarteners.  Any of these could easily be a springboard for a science, social studies, math or ELA unit.  My previous school wasn't as walk-friendly so instead of walking outside, I might walk inside the building or show a video of the main street in our small town, the mechanics shop next door, or the farm down the street.  A video could be customized to the specific topic we are focusing on.  

John also suggests inviting people and animals into the classroom.  Through play and discussion we can build the students' background knowledge and set the stage for learning.  Parents are experts in so many different areas and having them come in and share aspects of their lives can also provide experiences for students to connect to learning.

Taking lots of mini field trips is another suggestion.  This is a great idea and since my school is within walking distance of our town's square, there are many different places that are available to us.  Our school has parents sign a waiver stating that kids are allowed to walk with us for many adventures.  I really love how this builds a sense of community and a shared responsibility for learning.  

I love the emphasis John places on experiences and learning.  Whether we go outside, invite others in or watch a media clip,  providing students with experiences will help deepen their learning.  I've added another goal for the second half of the year....provide students with experiences to help start units, provide examples throughout units and to wrap up our learning.  Thanks John Michaud for the inspiration!!

I would love to hear your ideas on other ways we can provide experiences for our students.

Thanks for stopping by!!

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Five for Friday!! January 22nd - BLIZZARD 2016

Saturday, January 23, 2016 / 2 comments

So excited for this week's Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching !!!
One of my favorite Saturday morning routines is checking out everyone else's posts and seeing what they've been up to this week! This week I am loving the center ideas I got from a pinch of kinder!!!

It's assessment time in my kinder classroom, but we still managed to have a fun week!

Yes, that's me holding a REAL HUMAN BRAIN!!!!  

While the rest of the teaching world had a nice day off to celebrate MLK, we had inservice.  Luckily I work for an awesome district who believes in promoting healthy lifestyles!!  They organized a health fair at our high school and let us walk around for tons of freebies and opportunities to improve our lifestyle with screenings and all kinds of (much needed) stress relief ideas.  

Thank you Hershey Med Center for the informative stroke exhibit that taught me the warning signs of strokes and what to do if someone I know is in danger.  

It was a fun way to spend a mandatory inservice day!!

While I was in the hallway assessing my kinders on uppercase/lowercase letter id, letter sounds, PSF/NWF DIBELS, DRA2's, sight words, etc., my amazing classroom aide made these super cute snowpeople.  

My daughter's preschool teacher gave me the idea to use balloons and white paint to create our cheerful friends.  I loved seeing how each student used their creativity to make each snowperson as unique and special as they are. 

Yummmm.  No words needed.

Last night I discovered I left some of our water table toys outside on the deck.  

Sorry, Barbie!!

(photo cred:  igoy)


It's here and in a BIG way!!!

And it keeps coming and coming and coming and coming and coming.....

With two toddlers, I'm sure I'll be braving the snow and strong winds at some point today tomorrow. 

I hope you all had a great week! 


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Meal Planning - PLUS FREEBIE!!

Saturday, January 9, 2016 / 3 comments

One of my New Year's goals is to STOP EATING OUT SO OFTEN!!!! Not only does it drain your money, but it isn't healthy!  My husband works nights so it's just me and the two toddlers every night.  Sometimes it's easier to pick up Chinese or Subway, but I am proud to say that we did not eat out ALL WEEK!!!! 

Every day is a struggle for me, so having a plan for the week helps me feel less tempted to order Domino's.  I created an organizer to help me get excited about meal planning.  If you'd like a copy, please click here.

If you have any tips about toddler friendly meals or great slow cooker recipes, please comment!! 

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Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself

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I'm Lindsay.  That's me in the middle....the other two cuties are my kids.  My daughter, Sofia, is 4 and my son, Will, is 2.  We live in central Pennsylvania with my husband (who doesn't share the same love of social media as me) and our two fur babies, Bella and Cody.

I grew up in Western Pennsylvania about an hour northwest of Pittsburgh.
During my college years (at the University of Pittsburgh and Robert Morris University) I met my husband, Bill. We graduated, got married and moved to Central PA all in one summer.

It's my eleventh year teaching and I am as happy as can be in my kindergarten classroom.  I teach at a school district in the Harrisburg - Hershey area.  We love HersheyPark and all things chocolate in my family!!

I love to learn so before I had kids I kept myself busy going to grad school.  I attended Penn State Harrisburg where I earned my masters in Curriculum and Instruction.  Then I decided to broaden my perspective of teaching and went back for my Principalship Certification.  Right before I had my daughter, I completed my internship and coursework.  I put off taking the state exam for licensure and just recently contacted PSU about finishing.  Things have changed so much and they're asking me to take two more classes so I'm up to date.  I'm excited to take the two classes again, but a little nervous about giving it my all while also being a mommy.  It will be a different experience this time!! 

Fortunately, I teach for a great school district that encourages teachers to go out there and continue their education and gain more teaching experiences.  My administration has given me the opportunity  to teach at different grade levels.  This has taught me so much about my students and my teaching philosophy.  Teaching fifth grade (two years) and third grade (5 years) has helped me see just where my kinders need to be (academically) as they get older.  I love teaching! There are aspects of the older grades that I miss, but my heart is in Kindergarten.

Thanks for reading!!  
I'd love to hear from you in the comments!!

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Farley Currently -- Welcome 2016!!

Saturday, January 2, 2016 / 6 comments

It's my FIRST Currently with Farley from Oh Boy! Fourth Grade!!  
I am pretty excited!!

I am a HUGE fan of Apple Music.  For me it's totally worth the $10.59 a month.  The ability to play any song, any time that my toddlers request has been awesome!  It's made my workouts SO much more doable.  With new music every run or a really banging workout playlist, I get through the miles without as much pain.  The playlist I've been playing in the car is called The A-List:  Pop.  Every week, the editors of the playlist pick the 30 or so hottest songs right now in Pop.  It's a good mix and keeps me current!!  Love it!

This break has been all about my kids (minus the overnight trip to Pittsburgh with my husband OH AND the night we saw Kevin Hart).  Anyway, it's all about Sofia (my four year old) and Will (my two year old).  At first, every morning they would wake up and would ask me if I had to go to work today.  Now they don't even's going to be a hard routine to break up!  We've had so much fun!  Luckily Sofia goes back to preschool on Monday and Will has his Daddy and Me class on Friday morning so I'm trying to get them excited too.  

Naps are killing me!  Sofia doesn't nap anymore, and that's fine.  She's pretty low key and enjoys her "quiet time".  Will, on the other hand, NEEDS A NAP.  Putting him to sleep is a nightmare.  I'm not too proud to admit that I've resorted to, what I call, Mama's Peaceful Car Ride.  This is a no talking, listen to music car ride that leads to Will falling to sleep.  I treasure this time.  Peace and quiet and a quick trip to the Starbucks drive thru!  

Now to the question....we've always kept our kids on a sleep schedule (or have TRIED to keep them on a sleep schedule), but today I LET WILL SLEEP UNTIL HE WOKE UP.  He slept from 1:45 - 5:45.  Dinner, baths, bedtime snack and Clifford Puppy Days are all an hour later.  Will he ever go to sleep tonight or have I created a new kind of monster?  Hmmmm....time will tell.

Wanting:  Another long vacation?  I mean, who doesn't?  My husband said yesterday that he has nothing to look forward to.  Our family situation is that he works nights and I work days so our kids can be at home.  It's hard because we both feel like single parents at times.  My school breaks are our primary time together as a family.  Another long break would be NICE!!

Needing:  I'm going to keep this short and sweet.  Sofia starts kindergarten in the fall.  We own a townhouse that is not in the school district we prefer.  We need to sell and buy a house. We are arguing deciding where to buy.  I'm stressing because Kindergarten Open House is at the end of THIS MONTH in my district.  AHHHH!

One Word:
SIMPLE!!  I'm trying to simplify my life and enjoy every minute.  It might sound silly but I've been trying to focus on being present.  Whether I'm at school or with my family, I want to be present in the moment.  You never get days back and I want to remember enjoying every last minute of every day!

I can't wait to read everyone else's January Currently's!  Happy New Year!!

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Five for Friday

Friday, January 1, 2016 / Leave a Comment

It's my first Five for Friday linky party with Doodle Bugs Teaching and my FIRST BLOG POST.  EVER.  I'm super excited to start blogging and share a little bit about myself!!

Christmas vacation has been pure bliss but I have to admit that I am a little excited to go back to school.  I've been obsessed with Instagram ALL BREAK and have collected a few ideas that I am going back with.  

I bought one of I Teach What's Your Superpower's mini sets (Audrey) and made a couple of binder covers for my Daily Five Teacher's Notebooks.  I teach half day K so I have two different notebooks. It wasn't hard to make two cute binder covers with Megan's cute graphics!!

I'm currently crushing hard on my new Apple Watch!!  When they first came out, I had a fitness bet with my husband.  We ordered a watch and whoever lost the most weight (percentage of weight) by the time it got to our house, got to keep the watch.  I LOST...but...he bought the one I wanted for Christmas this year!! My favorite thing is sending him my heartbeat.  I think I'm quite annoying with it.  Ha ha.  Oh well....I love it!!

I am relying on this book to change my life!!  

We bought a two bedroom townhouse ten years ago when we weren't even thinking about kids or what school district to live in.  Today we have two adults, two toddlers and two fur babies living in a 1200 square foot tiny house.  My daughter starts Kindergarten next fall so that means I have T minus 8 months to relocate.  

Decluttering.  Tidying up.  Organizing.  These are all things that MUST happen in the meantime!  It's not going to be easy.  I am both excited and completely dreading this process.  I have a minimalist mindset with a house full of clutter.  Not sure how this happened.  Haha.  

Friday night my husband and I are going on a much needed date!  It's just been of late that my husband and I have felt comfortable leaving the kids with a grandparent and heading out for date night.  We saw Dave Chappelle a couple of months ago and have tickets to see Kevin Hart New Year's Day!  We have a nice dinner planned with friends beforehand and then on to the show!!  

My school district uses the Handwriting Without Tears program.  I've grown to really love all of the hands on activities that are incorporated into this program.  This week I was very excited to learn that HWT now has an app for iPads!!!  I am so excited to go back to school and ask my principal to purchase this for our iPads.  It's a little pricey...$4.99... but since it correlates with our curriculum, it's a must buy, right?!?!?!

This has been a fun Christmas vacation!  I can't believe I only have two more 'wake ups' before we are back to the grind!  Happy New Year, everyone!!!

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