Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Workin On It!

So, I feel as though I am ignoring my blog lately as I have been really busy working on making a better me! I joined http://www.myfitnesspal.com/ and I have lost 14 pounds since then!!! Yes, 14 pounds! Plus, I lost 7 pounds before that, so I have lost 21 pounds in the last two months! I am so happy about this!

Here is my before pictures

Here is a during

Here is an after 17 pounds down

Sorry, I have not gotten around to taking any pictures of me lately!  Though, there is not a great amount of visible difference between 17 and 21 pounds...

Oh, whats that on my hook you say, well...you will soon see. It is part of something BIG!

Friday, July 20, 2012

New Learning = New Teaching

So...have you wondered where I have been as of late? Well, I have not forgotten about my blog, but I have been very busy! I took two classes this month. Creative Curriculum Literacy over the 8th, 9th, and 10th. Then See the Sound Visual Phonics II during the 16th and 17th. Both were very informative classes and I am really excited to take what I have learned back to my classroom in the fall.

The Creative Curriculum Literacy class helped me to realize that I incorporate way more literacy activities into my classroom than I originally thought. That was a great feeling. I also learned many new ways to incorporate even more literacy into my centers. Who knew you could do literacy activities in the music center?!? Lovely ideas from a group of lovely teachers.

The See the Sound Visual Phonics II class was absolutely wonderful!!!! If you have not heard of the Visual Phonics method it is definately worth a look! I LOVE it! I used the hand symbols with my students last year and saw a definate increase in their ability to connect letters to sounds. I also had many students who could read simple words at the end of the school year. AMAZING! A bonus to this method is that our speech teacher also uses it, so it helps to be on the same page with the students speech learning.

So, since my crafts and crochet have taken a back burner for a bit (I have been working on them, just nothing completed yet) I thought I would share with you the homework I completed for my class and perhaps you can use it with your own children or classrooms...

Here are my Visual Phonics activities and how I will use them in my classroom:
1a)  Description:
Letter Sounds B and D Distinguishing Game:
 To play this game the children choose one of eight cards and name the picture (ex: ball) on the card, then state the beginning sound of that word (In this case ‘B’) and place the card onto the board under the corresponding letter. The cards and the board are programmed with sound symbols for self-checking.
1b) How I will use this in the classroom:
This game would first be used as a small group activity with one teacher and three to four children. After the children mastered the activity, the activity would be placed in the literacy center for independent or partnered work.

2a) Description:
Beginning Sound Wheel:
Two paper plates are placed together using a brad. The top plate has two holes cut through it. One hole shows the picture and the other shows the sound symbol. The child turns the ‘wheel’ and then states the beginning sound of the picture shown. Below the picture is the sound symbol and beginning letter.
2b) How I will use this in the classroom:
This activity would be introduced to the children during whole group instruction, and then later used for one-on-one time with a teacher. Once the activity is understood by the class, it would then be placed into the literacy center for independent use. Materials would also be placed in the art center for the children to make their own beginning sound wheels if they desire. A teacher would program their wheels with the sound symbols.

3a) Description:
Bag a sound: Zoo Animals
Although I made this example of the game for zoo animals, it could be altered to fit any unit of study. The child will take an animal picture from the bag (a lunch sack). The child when then state the animal’s name and the beginning sound for that name (ex: Tiger, ‘T’) using their visual phonics. Next the class will repeat the beginning sound four times while demonstrating their visual phonics, and say the animals name at the end (‘T’, ‘T’, ‘T’, ‘T’, Tiger).  If the child cannot figure out the beginning sound, the teacher will give him the visual phonics movement to help him out.
3b) How I will use this in the classroom:
This activity could be used as whole, small group, or even one-on-one for practice or assessment purposes. I would start this game out as a small group activity, move it to a whole group activity, and then use it as an independent and/or a one-on-one activity. I really like this game because I can modify it to work with every unit I do in the classroom. It will really help me to assess letter-sound association.

4a) Description:
 Royal Words:
This will be a phonetic version of a preschool appropriate word wall. Like a word wall it will have the initial letter programmed on cards above a set of words, but unlike a traditional word wall, the cards will also have the visual phonics sound symbols below the letters on the cards. Words will be added to the wall under the sounds they begin with.
4b) How I will use this in my classroom:
We will set up the word wall on a board before the first week of school. During the first week of school we will talk a little about letter sounds and have the children attempt to state the beginning sound of their name then help place their names below the correct sound on the wall. We will continue to add words of interest and some simple words to our wall throughout the year.

5a) Description:
Visual Phonics Name Cards:
Have a set of note cards (one card for each child in your room). Program the cards with the child’s name written in letters, then below that written in visual phonics. I think this will work best if you use one color for the letters and another for the symbols.
5b) How I will use this in my classroom:
I will have a set of these cards done up for my incoming students. During the first weeks of school we will use see the sound visual phonics to decode the names. This will be an attention drawing way to get the kids interested in learning the visual phonics symbols and help lead into more instruction on phonics.  When we have finished using the cards for group time, they will be placed on our Royal Words wall. This way the children can practice their phonics independently.

6a) Description:
Mystery ‘Word’ Game:
You will need empty yogurt cups with lids (you could use a similar item, but it cannot be see-through), post-it notes, and small items to fit inside the cups. Place one small item into each cup, such as a car, butterfly, pinecone, rock….
Place the post-it on the lid with the see the sound visual phonics written on it. Use the visual phonics to sound out the items name.
When the children think they have the answer, open the cup to let them check to see if they are correct.
6b) How I will use this in my classroom:
This game will work well for whole group, small group, one-on-one, or independent work. I plan to use it for all four. I will introduce this during small group, then use it as a filler for large group, place it into the literacy center for independent work, and use it one-on-one for observation purposes (if needed) and practice with letter sounds. 

So, thats what I have accomplished in the last few weeks...now, back to the crafting!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Handy Art Work

As you know, I am a teacher. Here that means SUMMER off of work! This is great for the little ones. They really enjoy getting to spend lots of time with Mommy. On the other hand, it keeps me on my toes in an attempt to come up with entertainment for the little ones. They are both really into art, so...why not create some for the living room walls?

That is exactly what we did. We took lots of pictures too!

Supplies: Canvas (10x14 is the size we used), White paint  to prepare the canvas, paint colors of your choice (we used red, blue, yellow, and purple)

First the red...

The children chose purple for their next color...

Then blue...

Added some green by mixing the blue with the yellow-the kids really liked the color mixing.

We made orange...

We finished up with yellow!

I really love how the children's individualism comes through in their art. Sami made 'handprint rainbows' while my little Tony chose the 'her, there, and everywhere' approach!

I hope these inspire you to make some canvas art with your own kiddos!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Congradulations! Its a GRANNY BAG!!!

With all of the granny love going around lately, I just could not resist spreading a bit of my own appreciation for the wonderful granny square! I wanted it to be something not only fashionable, but something that I could easily carry with me and show off a bit! So, why not a bag?! I will use this bag for my latest carry-along crafting project....without further adieu, lets get down to showing off the granny bag to all of you!

Here is a lovely view of the front of the bag hanging from my built-in china cabinet:

 A gorgeous side view (I used 6 smaller grannies for the 3sides-left, right, and bottom):

My daughter is also in love with the granny bag! Just had to share:

Here are the straps. I ironed the fabric for a hem, and applied it to the inside of the handles with a simple whip stitch. I like to line the handles of my bags because this adds stability to the bag and prevents the handles from stretching. I chose to do a simple single crochet for the straps so as not to take away from the lovely granny squares:

Here is a shot of the inside lining. If you look closely you can see that I have a larger pocket for patterns and notions, a pocket that is just right for holding my scissors, and two pockets for hooks:

If you notice, in this last picture, the base of my bag is stiff...how did I do it you may ask? Well (hee hee hee) I cut some plastic canvas and doubled it up then sewed it between two pieces of lining fabric before adding it to the bag...can't have a misshapen Granny, now can we! Well, thank you so much for stopping by! I hoped you enjoyed your visit, as for me...I am off to craft some more: