Always shine by using all your talents and skills!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

ePals- More Than Just A Pal!

What a beautiful fall Sunday!  What is the color report by you!  I did not get to Door County today, but almost as close, ran through neighborhoods that were ablaze in copper, gold, hot pink, and deep cherry!  I tried to take a mental image of each tree-hopefully I can retrieve these images this winter when it is bare and 10 below!

Besides the fantastic feeling that fall stirs inside of me, I am also a smiling teacher because on Friday I found out my classroom will be ePals with a classroom in Florida!  HOORAY!!!  I so excited, and tomorrow I will show my students our ePals' website and discuss potential projects, writing ideas, and the best ways to make our new friends know all about us!  I can't wait to Skype with them, share photos of our endeavors and explorations, and develop our literacy strategies and skills and we converse back and forth!!!

Here is the website if you are interested in finding a classroom to become ePals with:  Click Here

Hopefully, I will be on this road next weekend-Door County!


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Scavenger Hunt at Open House

Saturday, Saturday, Saturday!!!  On top of that, it is a SUN SHINY SATURDAY!!!

I hope your school week went well!  Mine-I think it was a blur!  Does it ever go by so fast, you have a hard time remember how you stayed on top of everything??

On Thursday night we had Open House!  ALL are welcome to our Open House and our school doors are open from 6:00-8:00 pm!  Plus, we offer a carb dinner- Spaghetti :-)

Our classroom prepared for the Open House by creating a Scavenger Hunt for our student families to complete.  Of course, students were not able to help their parents/family members find the items on the hunt!  As the families entered and my students gave their parents the Scavenger Hunt form and instructed their parents what to do, I knew they were so excited and anxious to see how their parents would do!  Many parents asked for clues and hints-I even heard- "Can you tell me if I am hot or cold?"  LOVE IT!!!

As the parents searched the classroom I heard giggles, saw many smiles, and felt bonding waves floating through the classroom!  Both moms and dads completed the search which was a pleasure to see!

WAY TO GO Multi-age families!               
Link to my Scavenger Hunt:  Click Here

A grandparent took this-this was at the start of Open House!

Door County, WI!  BEAUTIFUL!!!  Hopefully, I will get to see this tomorrow-road trip!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Corn Stalk

Happy Tuesday!
We have dug into our soil and plant unit.  One of our students lives on a MASSIVE dairy farm and her dad brought in a corn stalk for us to examine!
I had the students draw the stalk in their journal and then label the following parts:  roots, stem, seed, flower, and leaf.  I put the terms on the white board for them to copy (as you can see in the picture these students were looking for the words to copy).
THEY DID EXTREMELY WELL understanding the parts of the stalk.  I then threw in a challenge question- what part of the plant is the most important part?  Two got it right!  HOORAY Multi-agers!!! 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Guess the Baby!

Hooray Sat. made it!!!!  It's very windy in our village, but the sun is beaming!!! 

Yesterday my Multi-agers needed to use their inferencing and connection skills to try to guess who the babies were that they each brought in.  My Multi-agers were asked to secretly bring a picture of themselves when they were a baby.  I took the pictures and displayed them in the hallway for the whole school to see!  I gave the pictures each a number.  It was such a hoot to overhear the conversation all the grades were having to try to guess the babies.  Some of my students did not even know who they were!!!  Well at 8:45 we took a clipboard, a class roster, and recording sheet and went down the 17 pictures!  "That has got to be a boy because the baby has blue on.  That baby has brown hair so that is a girl," were comments I heard as we tried to guess who the babies were!  After each picture I revealed the answer- SURPRISE IT's...label with a SURPRISE face picture that I took of them on Tuesday, was held up and then put under their baby photo.  Now, that was a cooing good time!!!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Double A's-ABCYA and Adventures to Fitness!

Today we used the Smart Board for a variety of purposes and activities.  (we don't have one in our classroom :-( so when we use it, it's a special treat).  First, we went on one of our FAVORITE sites-  Abcya  !  We  practiced our math skills and used our math strategies on the Smart Board.  We used a blank hundred's chart to try to place numbers on it correctly (using our understanding on place value, ordering of numbers, and sequencing-trying to meet a few Common Core Math Standards. 100 Number Grid

 We also practiced our sight words by playing a came where we raced 3 other kittens to get to the finish line before they did!  Sight Word Recognition

WE TRIED OUR BEST and earned a trophy.  The support and encouragement on this game shook the walls!!!  I think I can put this under Favorites!  Again, this game supports the Common Core Standard on fluently reading grade level sight words!

Mr. MarcFinally, we went to Adventurestofitness  to learn about the Himalaya Mountains.  First, of all, if you have never used Adventures to Fitness, it is almost like you whole curriculum on one sight-standards from all curricular areas are woven into physical fitness adventures!            

 Kitten Hop
100 Number Grid


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Two Dice, Add, and Smiles!

Happy Terrific Tuesday (is it terrific for you, if not, I'm sending you terrific well wishes).

Yesterday my Youngers (my 1st grade students) used dice to practice their math facts.  It is ponderous how two cubes can reveal a great depth of information on the math understandings and levels of a child.  When he/she rolls a die, does he/she have count each dot?  Does he/she start with the bigger number and count on?  Does he/she use facts he/she knows to help him/her add the two dice? Can he/she print the number correctly?  What facts does he/she know?

Rolling fun!

I can print my numbers correctly.

So happy and proud!
More games yet to come- Dice War, Addition Sentences, Subtraction Sentences, Highest Number, Lowest Number, Doubles, Race to 100, and many more.  What games do you play?

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Ughhh this morning I woke up stuffy!  Shouldn't I have predicted this?  Two weeks in-perfect time for the bugs to move in-guess it's time for the GERM talk with my Multi-agers!

New this year in my classroom is hand sanitizer by my computer and in the Tech Lab!  All my students must sanitize before and after-two proactive and preventive measure.  I also have them put the hand sanitizer on their desk (with the bathroom pass) and they must sanitize before they hang up the pass and put the sanitizer away (this way those who sneaked out of the bathroom at least get sanitizer).

I will be emailing our volunteer parent nurse today too!  She does a fantastic job on showing students how to properly wash!  Most students (even catch myself sometime) will squirt the soap and before wetting their hands.  She firmly and nicely reminds us to wet our hands first, then lather!  She has each one of us wash in front of her and dry appropriately!  Did you know if you use hand sanitizer you are supposed to rub your hands together till it dries?  When washing your hands you should be able to sing the ABC song if you have scrubbed them long enough.  She shares facts like these and more...this is a wonderful learning experience for all (BYE, BUGS and GERMS)!
Preventing Mr. Germ!

Here is a cute and catchy music video that hopefully many will find repeating: Pump the Pump



Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Dirt on Plants!

First of all, happy SATURDAY!!!!  Did you sleep in?? 

This week we had a Green Start- we began our dirt/soils/plants unit in science!  (on of my favs).  We started by making a chart about scientists!  I had to chuckle because many envisioned scientists as only those people who wear the long and white coats and have goggles on (could this be from a Disney flick or hot cartoon?)  One of my Youngers added that scientists also work for the environment- HOORAY for her higher level thinking and making great connections! 

After our brainstorm about scientists we took a little field trip in our school to the teacher's cafeteria.  We discussed the parts of the plants we eat-roots, leaves, steams, and seeds.  Many were surprised that they eat ROOTS-I think the pictured themselves chewing away on long, stringy plant roots!  I then took a piece of celery and an apple and asked what parts of the plant these two items were.  All of them knew the apple, but only one knew that the celery was a stem.  (this was a great pre-assessment for me)

Next I got a bowl of water and asked them to make a prediction about which one would float-all, none, or both!  Many predicted both would definitely float!  In they went into the bowl- the apple floated and the celery sunk!  I then inquired why.  One student's hand shoot up.  He was sure it had to do with the size!  "The apple floated because it is smaller than the celery."  (the celery was very long)  So, I cut up the celery into 1 inch pieces and the apple into 1 inch slices.  Guess what?  The same results-the apple pieces floated and the celery sunk!  This lead into a modified lesson on density!  I then asked them to relate this to their bodies and why they float on water and what else sinks/floats!  Concluding this portion I asked them to go home and with their parents permission test out some other parts of plants and report to the class their findings!

Yesterday I used the rest of the celery.  I had them examine a celery stalk and take note of the "holes" in the celery-what might they be for?  Next we put the celery in water-of course I added bright food coloring!  They then predicted in their science journals what the results would be and why!  Later on we went down to the kitchen and saw the results- Wallah!!!  Some of the food coloring was in the leaves of the plants.  Well, how did it get there?  Why?  Their answers were spot on!    They asked if we could leave it over the weekend and I asked them what would happen if I did.  Many reported they stalks would rot!  A few then asked, what happens when something rots.  Inquiring minds want to know!!!!!!!!!!!  Oh, how I love teaching Multi-age 1-2!

Up next- we look at dirt, ask if all plants need dirt and have roots, and we "plant" seeds in a towel.

Celery experiment

beginning of our chart

Does this plant need soil?

Do these plants need soil?

What is going to happen with the carrot tops?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Grow and Glow in Penmanship

I have to give a SHOUT OUT to a teacher who came up with the Grow and Glow tool for writing.  I took her FANTASTIC idea and am using it for handwriting!  My Multi-agers use a green-grow and yellow-glow highlighter to mark their letters.  They must highlight three letters as a glow and two as a grow!  (many highlight more) I felt they should highlight more for glow then grow because I want them to feel confident in their potential!  After, they have marked their grow and glow, I will mark their letters for grow and glow!  After they fix the grow, they are done with the page. So far, it is working out GLOWINGLY (Not sure if it is a word, but I like it).
This student has marked hers for grow and glow!

Grow and glow highlighters

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tomorrow I Remember! Tomorrow I I Teach About Heroes!

Tomorrow I Remember!  Tomorrow I Teach About Heroes!

Do you want to show your students the Memorial that honors 9/11:
 9/11 Memorial
Here are some tips to talk to your students and/or children about  9/11

Here are three poems I found that touched me!  The last one was written by a 7th Grader.

 My Hero
I saw my hero
just walking down the street
the other day.
I see my hero
in my dreams
I watched him leave
he had a tear in his eye
as he looked back at me.
He mouthed 'I love you'
and then he was gone.
I said 'I love you too.'
and then tears came down
my eyes
as I started
to cry.
I saw my hero
fighting for me,
fighting for you.
I saw my hero
in my dreams.
Why did he have to go?
Why did he have to leave?
Why is this happening
to me?
I miss him.
As my heart starts pounding
I watch as the light in his head goes dim.
I saw my hero
in my dreams.
I saw my hero
pleading to come back to me.
I saw my hero
in my dreams.
I as the light
in his head went dim.
I saw my hero
come back to me.
I saw him.
I see him.
My hero.

Stephani Mager

The Day The Towers Fell

A sad day for America
As rejoicing rang from hell,
Awakening a mighty giant
On the day the towers fell.

Our hearts were saddened
As we watched this vicious act unfold,
As innocence met a fiery death
And seeds of war were sowed.

Shouts rang out from the middle east
That Allah has done his good
But no god joys in faultless deaths
Through certain cowards could.

America just sort of glides along,
But don't step on her toes ...
For her belief in right and justice
Will stomp out freedom's foes

Cross Amidst the Ruins

On an early September morning;
Hatred reared it's ugly head.
Terrorism struck Manhattan;
It's wake left thousands dead!

It truly was a miracle ...
How many lives were saved.
Over-shadowed by the horror;
Of the war-like rubbled grave!

Time seemed frozen, hope was lost;
For loved ones left behind.
Trying to hold onto their faith,
Praying, "God give us a sign!"

Uncovered from the wreckage;
A sight that seemed unreal.
A cross that stood 'bout twenty feet ...
From twisted beams of steel! 

On September 11th we woke to a normal morning and got ready for the day.
We never expected the tragedy that was headed our way.
We got ready for school and work; we didn't want to be late,
Not knowing we'd never forget this horrifying date.

We started our routines, and planned for a busy time,
Until we got the call through the telephone line.
We turned on the TV just as we were told,
And watched as our hands started to grow very cold.

New York was full of smoke like a very foggy morning,
Because a plane had struck a building without a single warning.
We all watched in silence as the second building was hit,
I could not believe it, NO not one bit!

As we watched the first tower collapse and saw the people jumping,
We had to look away for our hearts were surely pumping.
When the second tower collapsed, tears fell from my eyes,
I thought of all those people that lost their lives.

© 2/23/03 -Roman Widdig
7th Grade - 13 yrs old



Saturday, September 8, 2012

Book Shopping and DIRT!

Saturday has made it!!!  Four days have been completed; did it seem like a few weeks for you, or was it just my throat and my feet thinking it was.  I forgot how much you talk when you are a teacher, but my throat was sure letting me know!  Yesterday my Multi-agers got to book shop!  They were eagerly waiting since Wednesday!  I definitely did not need to coax anyone into wanting to pick out Just Right books. :-)
In fact, for a couple I needed to give a few minutes left reminders!  I must say, the bags my my sewed for them-we call them our DIRT bags (Daily Independent Reading Time-read to self), did add a little spice to their shopping experience!  Then off we went right into DIRT!  Their stamina was IMPRESSIVE!  I think I felt a few proud tears trickle down my cheek!  Congrats Multi-agers!
Book Shopping


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Beautiful Oops!

Happy Thursday and 3rd day of school (well for most Wisconsinites it is)!  We have now read 4 “Hot Reads.”  Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse, Juice Box Bully, started Cam Jansen and the Mystery Television Dog,  and Beautiful Oops!  I think most of my Multi-agers would agree Beautiful Oops was there favorite this far-or at least generated the most smiles and laughs!!!  We learned that one’s mistakes can be transformed as “BEAUTIFUL OOPS.”  In fact, even when I was reading the story and modeling reading strategies, I accidentally made a mistake with one of the words.  One of my students politely commented, “Ms. Wenzel you did not make a mistake, that was a BEAUTIFUL OOPS.”
Check out this link:  Beautiful Oops Video

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Another Must See Site for Common Core

The first day of the school year (and for a brand new "grade"-Multi-age 1-2) quickly came and has gone. The second day made it and is here! Hopefully, my Multi-agers can have an opportunity to "talk" more today; I think yesterday I must have sounded like a yaker because I felt like I was none stop-going over procedure after procedure.  I still have a few more to get through- what the hallway looks like/sounds like, Safety Drill procedures, fire and tornado drill, a classroom tour, and ...well, I guess there is more than I thought :(  BUT, all of these are so important to model, model, model and establish the first few days!  Hopefully Harry Wong would give our classroom and myself a pat on the back!

I continue to search, read, chat with educators about the best resources to meet and tools to meet the Common Core Standards.  I found this site:  Professional Development Toolkits  It is broken down into two categories- K-2 and 3-5.  Once you click on one of those categories, you can click on Student Activities, Teacher Strategies, Materials, or Formative Assessment!  It also has lesson plan and formative assessment templates!  All in all, a MUST SEE and USE!!!  I have just begun to explore it!  I hope it is helpful to you!

Lesson Plan Template

Saturday, September 1, 2012

I Have, Who Has? (student names)

Happy Labor Day Weekend!  Did you sleep in this morning?  For me, it is the last weekend before school starts!  Did you start or are you anxiously waiting for Tuesday like me?
My students have always loved I Have, Who Has (Follow Me Cards), so I decided to make them using their names.  I also included my name-I can't miss out on the fun!!  Through the use of their names I hope to strengthen our classroom family ties, foster connections, encourage social interactions, and spark a few smile moments. (I also get another snapshot at the reading skills -at least recognition of a peer's name.)

Here are a few websites that you can use to make I Have, Who Has cards:   senteacher    sparklebox

I just used a table in Word.  Here are my cards:   I Have, Who Has

SMILES and wishing you many moments of relaxation this weekend!