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Monday, September 24, 2012

Wow.. Time flew

I can't believe it has been over 3 weeks since I posted last.  I have to figure out how to teach, be a mommy, a wife, a maid, a chef and now a blogger :) 

To catch all of you up, after the first day of school, I did a few more get to know you activities that first week. 

I had my students write a book last year called How To Survive Mrs. Kunst's Class.  Each student got a letter and had to come up with a rule or advice for the next class on how to make it through their year.  Since I have the same students, it was even funnier to read it to the kids this year.  I especially liked reading the one about making sure to compliment my outfits and bring me coffee :)

I did a great lesson using The Important Book.  First I read the book to them and we noticed how the author wrote details about the important things to them.  Then we interviewed partners in the class and found out the important things about our new friends.  The students then filled out a page for our own Important Book.  I took pictures of the partners and then put together a class book.  They loved it!
I also read Oh, the Places You'll Go for our theme this year.  We took large pictures of Hot Air Balloons and wrote 3 goals on them, anything from this trimester to when we were 35.  Then we wrote what we wanted to be when we grow up on the basket of the hot air balloon and added a person into the basket that looked like us dressed up as what we want to be when we grew up.  They turned out so cute.  I put them in teh hallway with some whispy clouds for all to see.


The last book I read that week was The Worry Stone.  It is such an amazing book with beautiful pictures.  After reading the story, I passed around a basket of "worry stones", aslo known as dollar tree rocks, for each student to use as a worry stone.
The next week we got into curriculum and I tried to get used to my new schedule.  It is really diificult to teach in half hour chunks all day.  It makes teh day go by fast but I feel like all we do is get things out and put them away.  We use Scott Foresman for Reading, Reading Street and Envision Math.  I'd love to share ideas of how other teachers use these programs :)
Our skill of the week last week was Cause and Effect.  I did a great lesson on this using clouds, rain drops and rainbows.  All week referring to this visual.  Then on Friday, I read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and we kept track of all of the Cause and Effects we heard and then drew pictures of each one and put them on a poster.  I thought the book might be too childish but my students LOVE stuff like this.  I want to do it every week if possible.  Which brings me to my next question.... what books do you use for teaching Theme?  Such a hard concept for my students to grasp :)  Please share your ideas with me! 
Thank you for sticking through this big gap between blogs and this super long post!  I am really going to try really hard to do this more often!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


What a great first day!  I must say, I have a great group of 26 kids and a student teacher that is working out great!  All but 4 of the kids I had last year which makes things easier and harder at the same time. Easier that things run smoothly, and they know pretty much what I expect and how tod o things.  More difficult in that I can't do everything the same way and have to be a little more creative to keep their attention.  Today was no exception. The kids knew what to do when they came in and helped the new ones to know what to do. But because in my mind they knew what to do, I didn't schedule quite as much time for certain activities, which led to me being behind schedule most of the day.  Oh well, there is always tomorrow!

So I started my day off with interest inventories on their desks.  They put away their supplies and got right to work.  Then I did my expectations powerpoint with the classroom tour.  I then read
and we created a list of things that would give us drops in the bucket and things that would take drips away.  I love this book for how easy the kids can visualize the meaning.  It was then time for a quick snack break and recess, followed by Music class.

When we came back into class, I passed out blacnk lined paper and told them to be ready for a quiz.  They panicked a little.  I then began the test which were all questions about me. Some were true/false, some were multiple choice and some were complete the sentence.

1. Mrs. Kunst went to the local high school, true or false.
2. Mrs. Kunst 's favorite flavor of ice cream is a) chocolate, b) vanilla, c) cookies and cream, d) none, she hates ice cream.
3. If Mrs. Kunst were to go on an all expense paid vacation anywhere, where would she go? a) Europe, b)Australia, c) Florida, d) China
4. Mrs. Kunsts's radio is set to which station in her car a) country, b) pop music, c) rap
5. What does Mrs. Kunst like to do in her free time a) read, b) scuba dive, c) paint, d) cook
6. How many years has Mrs. Kunst been a teacher?
7. How many books did Mrs. Kunst read this summer?
8. How old is Mrs. Kunst?
9. True or false, Mrs, Kunst has never been out of the country.

Then they switched papers and learned how to correct papers in my class.  This is a really fun way to teach this important skill.  Plus it was a fun way for them to learn a little more about me.

By this time it was lunch.  The next thing we did was go through our desks and arrange supplies and make sure our name was on each folder.  I also told them a little about each book or workbook in their desk.  This is when I looked at the clock and about had a heart attack that I had 15 minutes to have them empty their cubbies and practice their afternoon going home routine and tell them about the morning routine.  Choas for sure!  Oh well, most of them already knew right? :) 

Tonight I am feeling sleepy and my throat is sore, but am looking forward to tomorrow.  We start our Oh, the Place You'll Go theme! :)  Check back again tomorrow to see what we are up to!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mega Giveaway and Common Core

My room is finally coming along.  I get to see all my sweeties tomorrow at Open House and I am looking forward to the familiar faces.

 We had a meeting today based around the common core, that we are just starting to transition to.  If any of you have any resources to go to for 4th or 5th grade that you wouldn't mind sharing, please share!!!! :)

Tonya over at Tonya's Treats for Teachers is having a MEGA giveaway.  head on over and sign up to win some AMAZING prizes!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Back to work...and more classroom pics

Today was the first day back to work.  We started off with our all district meeting.  I totally empathize with my students when they come back from summer, it is so harf to sit still and pay attention! :)

After that meeting, I went back to my school and met my student teacher.  He will be with me for the beginning of the year as well as the end.  The teacher I will share him with and I certainly worked him today,  He may not want to come back to us!

Even with my to-do-list getting things crossed off, I still don't feel anything ready to have kids next week.  I need to sit down and get some planning done, especially around centers.  We haven't done much of that at our school but are leaning that way so I have to figure that all out!  Tomorrow we have our building meeting and then should have time in our classrooms in the afternoon.  My countdown will really begin since we have Open House on Thursday at 11! EEK!

Anyway, here are a few more pictures of my classroom.  I tried to get some clearer close-ups as well as some all around the room pics.  Let me know what you think, I LOVE comments! :)


View from my desk to the door
View from my library to the front of the room
I love our sentence frames at the front of the room, the bright colored papers.  We use them daily with all of our subjects, especially reading!
This is an up close view of one of the sentence frames.  There are 12 in all!

My reading table with pinterest inspired stools.  Last year they were all bright colored, so I had to change them this year to match my room. That's my cricut on the table, that will get moved here Friday.  Also, there should be a bookcase behind my reading table with all of my reading supplies, but the custodians accidentally broke it :( So there is a new one in my car to put together tomorrow.

Someone asked if I could take a close up of my labels for my cupbards/curtains.  Here it is!

My CAFE board that will be filled with great information within the first few weeks of school.

We do a program called Gold Cards at my school.  They are just like our teacher badges taken by LifeTouch each year.  The students earn them each week for good behavior and meeting the certain criteria.  Each week during our newscast, a group of students is announced that have earned a special treat (ie.: snack, extra recess, open gym, pencil, etc...) from the principal.  That group of kids (let's say 5th grade boys) that have earned their gold card go down to the office to collect their prize.  It is a really positive, rewarding program. This is where I store my gold cards.  It makes it easy to look up and see who has one and who doens't.

There are an up close picture of my table group signs.  They make me smile when I enter my room every time!
Inspired by Jessica at Dandelions and Dragonflies.  My students struggled last year always wanting to get up out of their seats to get supplies.  Now there is one of these at every group so that there will be no more walking around! :)

 My Clip Chart.  I LOVE this idea so much.  It was so easy to implement last year and easy to follow through with.  In fact, every teacher in my building is now doing it!
 It's hard to beleive that my students still struggle with telling time, so this clock should help them out!
My inspiration.  I made these for my kitchen years ago and they found their way into my classroom a few years ago.  They are above my door as a reminder to all my students and myself to live, laugh and love each and every day.
Well there you have it!  Day one done! :)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Theraputic Thursday

 Since it's Therapeutic Thursday, I'm here to talk about how to relax after a really stressful day. ..

Unfortunately, after a really stressful day at school, I don't have the luxury of vegging out or forgetting the world.  At least not until after the littles are fed and bathed and put to bed and everything is cleaned up and ready to go again for the next day.  There are a few days when I would love to just come home and not do a thing, but that won't happen for like 20 more years!  After the littles are taken care of however, I can take some time for myself to de-stress.

A nice hot shower with this delicious shampoo and conditioner are a great way to start.

Then a nice hot cup of coffee, mmmmm.  Relaxes me pretty quickly.

I can get lost in blog-land or a DVR'd show, like The Bachelor or Law and Order, something that doesn't take any thinking at all. 

 After that, I love to sneak off to my Sleep Number bed early and read until I fall asleep.  This usually tends to help my situation. 

There are many times when this doesn't happen because in reality, when I have had that bad of a day, after the littles are asleep, I run to bed as fast as I can to end the day! 
I can't wait to hear what is theraputic for everyone else, maybe I will steal some of your ideas so link up!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Where I Teach Wednesday

 I am linking up with day 3 of Teacher Week with Blog Hoppin: Where I Teach.  My room is not 100% complete but it is getting there. I would love to share a few of my nooks! Thank you for visiting!

My corner welcome board... it will also have the lunch menu and homework for the week posted here.  Those green and red placards will be trimmed down, but everyone had them moved for dangerous intruder.

The Language Arts bulletin board.  The weekly story and vocabulary are posted there with the ELL poster.  I also start the year off with the CAFE material, so that will go under the CAFE signs.

This is a somewhat closer image of the labels on my lower cupboards.  It is really fuzzy though. I'll have to get a cuter picture, because these are one of my favorite things in my room.

These are the were the kids put their unfinished work.  I like to have it away from their desks so that it can be found again and completed.  It is also super easy for me to check on them and see what they haven't finished.  My plan was to make these cute this summer, but that didn't happen.  Maybe one weekend...
My classroom library.  I have them leveled by AR reading level and author.  My students take car of it all after school starts.Still a fuzzy picture. Grr!
 Student cubbies and hte big pillow.  My students LOVE my huge pillow they get to read on. 
My Teacher toolbox.  I really love everything in its place!

 Soon to be Science board. And one little set of computers. 

So the rest of the pictures didn't turn out, so I will add those next time I go in.  But this is a little sneak peak.  I would love to hear what you think!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Must Haves Monday Blog Hoppin

I really thought I would have pictures up by now, but I want it to just look PERFECT when I do show the world! So I promise to get them up by the end of this week! 

I am linking up with Blog Hoppin' today to sahe my Must Haves for the school year.

As for my "Must-Haves", I really feel like I need
1.) ORGANIZATION!  My room must be organized and put together before I can even begin to think about what I will be teaching.  This is the most important thing.

2.) Brand new Crayola markers- I prefer the fine point ones.  I use these in my lesson plan book as well as grading papers and coloring with throughout the year.
3.) My Cricut- I use my Cricut for everything from cards, to invitations, to my classroom.  I wouldn't know what to do without it!

4.) Lastly, I must have a good water bottle.  I am addicted to cute water bottles.  My husband is always getting on my case when I bring home a new one!  This is similar to my newest addition, except mine is pink!  GO DUCKS!

Link up by right clicking on the picture above!    I'd love to hear from any of you that MUST HAVE the same things as me! 

I tried to ask a few questions on my last post but didn't hear back from anyone... SAD!  If anyone would love to help me out, that would be great! Thank you!