Sunday, January 27, 2013

Behold, the "Q" Matrix!

As I said in my blog post yesterday, I attended a workshop on differentiate instruction.  Here was another tool we learned about and I cannot wait to use it with my Kinders.  This, is the "Q" matrix:

This handy dandy matrix can be used in a variety of way!  The questions in the red quadrant are the ones we hear the most, they are simple, dead-ended, knowledge based questions.  The yellow questions are "caution" questions.  We are able to find out a little more information using these questions.  The green questions are "go" questions.  Using these questions we can gain even MORE information.  Lastly, the blue questions are "Sky's the limit" questions.  These are very open ended and often times give us the most information.  Here is another breakdown of these questions:


This would be useful for students when they are looking for specific types of information.  I'd love to start using this in my classroom because I always get those red zone questions.  Unfortunately, the Kinders aren't very curious, so this will help them to learn to be curious.  I think we will start a weekly game of "What's in the box?" and I will teach them to start using yellow zone questions.  The possibilities with the Q matrix are endless!
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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Differentiated Instruction

On Thursday I had the opportunity to attend a workshop about Differentiated Instruction.  I figured it couldn't hurt as I have an inclusive classroom and could use some more helpful hints on differentiating things for my students.  We had a wonderful presenter.  Her name was Terri Ward and she is a college professor at The College of St. Rose.  It is a coeducational college which means they offer inclusive courses!  She told us that in her current courses she has a wide range of student abilities.  She has students with physical disabilities such as CP and she has students with intellectual disabilities who read on a Kindergarten level.  It is very apparent that she has to differentiate her instruction in a variety of ways.  Instead of just telling us about these activities, she had us preform them, which is great for me, I learn best hands on!  There are a couple of activities that I plan to use in my room from now on. 

My favorite new thing I learned about was Layered Curriculum.  This is a wonderful idea that gets every student, no matter their ability, engaged and learning about the topic.  There are basically 3 different levels in the curriculum; the A layer, the B layer and the C layer.  Much like Bloom's Taxonomy, each level becomes more advanced.  So, at the A level you would have very concrete knowlegde based activities.  At the B level you would create activities at a higher level.  Lastly, on the C level you would have the most abstract, involved activities.  To give you more information and a sense of what this would look like on the Kindergarten level take a look at this example:  Shapes.  Dr. Kathie Nunley hosts a wonderful website, help4teachers, that hosts a variety of these ideas K-12.  I hope you are able to find some great ideas there!

How do you differentiate your instruction if you have to?  I'd love to hear some more great ideas!
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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

MLK Jr./Black History Month/Peace & Love

At our school we are sure to celebrate MLK Jr Day as well as Black History Month as our school is named Sgt. William H. Carney.  In honor of MLK Jr., peace and brotherhood, we created this display in the hallway.

Each of my Kinders as well as my aides, volunteer and myself created a cute little person.  I got the pattern from an old The Mailbox magazine.  It is adorable!  We will also be participating in the Black History Month program at our school next month.  We will be singing this song along with 2 other Kindergarten classes:
Freedom, Freedom
(Sung to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle)

Freedom, freedom
let it ring,
let it ring said Dr. King.

Let us live in harmony,
Peace and love for you and me.  

Freedom, freedom
let it ring,
let it ring said Dr. King.

How cute is that?  I cannot wait to see my Kinders perform this one!

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Monday, January 21, 2013

My other hobby....

I know, who has time for hobbies?  About 5 years ago I took one of the Wilton Cake Decorating courses at my local AC Moore and I fell in love!  I instantly began baking and decorating like no other.  Fast forward to now and I still make time to bake and decorate.  I have been an avid Cake Boss follower and most recently have become a Georgetown Cupcake (DC Cupcakes) follower.  In October I was able to visit the original Georgetown Cupcake store and I was even further in love!

For Christmas, my loving husband, bought me both of their cookbooks!  The first recipe I tried was actually in People magazine right around Christmas.  It was called Champagne Cupcakes.  They were DELISH! 

The next recipe I tried was the Milk Chocolate Birthday, those are yummy!  I just frosted them today!

I can't wait to bake some more of their creations!  Do you have any hobbies, besides blogging, of course?

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

More Gingerbread!

My ever talented Para had the students make some Gingerbread Boys and Girls when I was out recovering from my surgery two weeks ago.  We decided to do this beforehand and thought that it would be cute to have them on a baking sheet in the hallway.  She was finally able to put it up Monday because she had been out with the flu last week.  Here is the final product:

Isn't she talented?  I love the details; oven mitt, spatula, and a cup of milk!

On a side note, I have a very caring and involved Assistant Principal.  He checked in on me daily after my surgery and was eager to hear the results.  Last Thursday I got my results and shared it with him on Friday.  When I picked up my lesson plans on Monday morning after he checked them, I found this note:

It's so nice to have supportive administration!

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How We Celebrate Birthdays!

Stephanie over at Falling Into First is hosting a link party about celebrating birthdays in the class room.  We have a very strict no food policy in our district.  So, for birthdays I give the student an "It's my Birthday!" sticker.  They also receive a certificate and pencil and they wear one of these fancy crowns:

And to top it all off they get one of these on their chair for the day:
 I picked that up at the Dollar Tree!  I love it!  What do you do for birthdays in your room?  Post about it and link up here:

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Mrs. Sommer is Missing!

Yesterday I wasn't feeling 100%, and with all those germs going around, I decided it'd be best if I stayed home.  Needless to say, my Kinders missed me.  While I was out they did a lesson about me being "missing".  They were to draw me and what I usually do every day.  Here is what they came up with (they are soooooooooooo cute):

Here I am introducing a color by number sheet:

We must be singing here because our mouths are wiiiiiiide open!:

Here we are doing the calendar:

Not sure what we are doing here, dancing maybe?

Clearly, we are doing the alphabet!:

Here is one of my repeater ASD kiddo.  So proud of him, this picture is AMAZING!

I'm not sure what I'm next to but I have a cute bow in my hair and green shoes!

Love this!  I guess my Kinders picture me in jeans!  I only wear them on Fridays!

Here I am in front of the whiteboard!:

 I love seeing how the Kinders see me and what we do each day.  It is really sweet to see this.  This is probably the best illustrations they have provided so far this year.  I was so happy to come in to these this morning; it warmed my heart!

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

MLK Giveaway!

Elizabeth over at Kickin' it in Kindergarten is giving away her adorable MLK pack!  Here is a snippit from her pack:

Click on the picture to head over to her blog and enter yourself to win this adorable pack!
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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Tell me something good!

Jennifer over at Rowdy in First Grade is having a linky party!  It's titled "Tell Me Something Good".  And, as soon as I read that all that played in my head was:
Hahahaha!  Anywho, here are my two "Good" things:

School:  I got some new assessments made for the kiddos and can't wait to use them next week!

Home:  I met with the surgeon the other day and she gave me the best news ever!  My pathology report came back benign!

What are your two "Good" things?  Link up here:
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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Back to work!

I returned to work yesterday after having had my surgery last week.  The kiddos were glad to see me, and I was glad to be back at work.  What I wasn't happy about was the amount of kiddos who were coughing and sneezing all over the place!  Today, I had 5 kiddos out and I sent one home with a fever!  Unfortunately, the flu is running rampant around the country!  It's a very scary thought!  I am a HUGE germaphobe, so I am sure to clean my classroom every. single. day.  After the kiddos leave, I wipe down all of the tables with Lysol wipes.  I also wipe down my desk, our work area and any other surfaces that get used through out the day.  I also spray each student's chair with Lysol, as well as the scissors, glue stick and dry erase markers.  I know, I'm crazy, right?!  During the day I try to crack one of the window open to get some fresh air into the room as going outside in these temps isn't always possible.
  So, all of this got me to thinking today.  Beside reminding the Kinders to cough/sneeze into their elbow, use a tissue and wash their hands, what else can I do?  I know most of my kiddos don't get the rest that they need and they don't eat as well as they should, so I figured I'd search for a little sheet to color and send home about staying healthy.  But, I couldn't find any!  I did, however, make my own.  Here it is:
I am going to have the students write: sleeve sneeze, wash hands, get rest, eat healthy.  So, that was my day/night.  How was yours?
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Friday, January 4, 2013

What a day of recovery means....

This is what I did today while recovering from my surgery:
I laminated, pasted, laminated, cut and laminated some more!

 I laminated these very cute Beginning Sounds freebies for my Kinders to use with magnetic letters in a center.

I also made and laminated these calendar numbers using the adorable gingerbread men from Pink Cat Studio.

And lastly, using the same gingerbread men I made this sight word Bingo game:

I loved having the time to get all of this done, but, I really missed my Kinders these last two days!  I cannot wait to get back to them on Monday!

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Thursday, January 3, 2013


I know this has nothing to do with the contents of this blog, but, I know many people sent thoughts and prayers my way!  Just wanted to update that the surgery went well and that I was resting at home by noon today!  I am a little sore and tired, but, I expect to recover pretty quickly!  This was a walk in the park compared to my thyroid surgery in 2011!  Thank you to those who were thinking of me today.  I have a day off tomorrow to recover.  If I feel up to it I am going to take the opportunity to laminate, cut, print, create, plan lessons, etc.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Elf on the Shelf Journals Complete!

Just wanted to whip up one quick post tonight to get my mind off of my surgery in the AM.  I finally bound all of my students Elf journals today and sent them home.  Here are a few pictures of the final product:

 Of course, there were many other pages in between, but I didn't want to overload this post!  I also put their letters to Santa in here so they could keep them.  Well, I need to wrap this up.  Have to be up early tomorrow!  Hoping to be out of surgery and home by mid-afternoon tomorrow.

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

January Currently!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Part of me cannot believe that Sept-Dec has already passed.  I feel like this school year is flying by!  I return to work tomorrow, but, for only one day.  I have a surgery scheduled on Thursday and won't be back to work until the following Monday.   I really wish I could just get back into the swing of things, but, this must be done.  I am really excited to start our Gingerbread unit so while I'm home on Friday I'll be working on some more activities and laminating, laminating, laminating!  I wish everyone a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Currently link up with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade!

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