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Sunday, August 21, 2016

First 3 Weeks...

So we're starting week 4 & planning week 5!

Hard to believe, but it's so exciting to see our classroom community deepen.  So excited we're starting independent centers, partnering, and just getting the routines & schedule of school.

Here are a few photos of our "Friendship Fruit Salad:"








Then we had Open House {except we call it Expectation/Curriculum Night at my new school}.  Since parents are in, gotta get something up to show all our hard work (learning to write our name in standard form, cut, color, & glue):








Truly living the dream!

Miss Kristan King

Friday, August 12, 2016

Data & ATB

So new school & new expectations.

Excited to try my hand at All Time Best.  Not sure if you're familiar with this system - my school is implementing an ATB program school-wide.

Here's what my data wall looks like currently:


We take 5 question quizzes/tests every week in ELA & Math.  I graph the data & discuss.  Here is my ATB graph:


Here is my math priority standards graph:


Here is my ELA priority standards graph:


I also add a DIBELS Next stack graph, but I have to redo it because I dropped from 29 to 22 students & when I made my graph I had 2 absent kiddos!!

How do you chart & discuss data in your district/school/classroom?  Any ATBers out there with some tips or tricks?

Happy Data Charting,

Miss Kristan King

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Finding Your Spot!

Moving is tough!

Heck, change is tough.  Heard that moving is one of the top 5 hardest things to do...can I get an "Amen!"

Last May, I moved states.  It was hard to leave a 10 year spot in one district.  REALLY HARD to leave my team of 5 years, that was probably harder than boxing up everything.  That final good-bye in the parking lot when none of us wanted to pull out first...whew, pass a tissue!!

Well, new state. New district.  Last year was...c-to-the-razy!

And this year, starting over, again!  God made a way when there seemed to be none - He's awesome at that.  I endured a year that taught me a lot, about who I want to be & rising above.

So, here I am - AND IT FEELS SO GOOD!  Blessings come in many forms & I am SUPER pumped and rejuvinated to start Kindergarten, in AZ, at my new district, & my new (albeit familiar) school.  My sister is around the corner (LITERALLY, teaching 1st grade) and really, it's AMAZING!!  See, God thing!

Here is how my room looks (and yes I'm open to change; however, no matter the school, or district my room just comes together to make my own familiar, special, HAPPY place - so many of the features you'll see have carried over & some are new).  Check it out:

Come on in, Follow the yellow brick road to Rm. #118.

Thanks Michelle Hannah for my awesome vinyl lettering (customized)!

My easel - Donor's Choose is AWESOME!

Carpet area

Calendar & puppet theater (in right corner) station

Objective & Daily schedule area...1/2 of our Reading Focus Wall

Document camera & my desk - oh the cords & clutter!!  Bottom left is our "Chrome book Station"

Front board, divided for my projection & other 1/2 for Reading focus wall poster.

My 1st MPES parent gift (her son's in my room - she's a staff member, teaches 5th).

Writing station

Wicked Word wall & play-do station

Table Tubs, sink, drinking fountain, & cupboards

More cabinets and storage - block station & some of  our classroom library.

Our Listening Station, Classroom Library, All time Best & Data wall of "OZ"some Goals!

Sensory Table Station, recess door, color/shape wall, bathroom, & storage closet.

Reading table - where the "MAGIC" happens!  Don't you love my new IKEA red chair?

Behavior Clip Chart

Math manipulative storage

Built in cubbys!

And bless...my new "closet-o-shame"...already a mess, oh well!  Closing the door & tackling that problem Scarlett O'Hara style..."Tomorrow's another day!"
 This folks is my new home.  Have a great year, I'm so excited for my fresh start.

There's no place like....SCHOOL!

Miss Kristan King

Thursday, April 21, 2016

We're Off and Hatchin'

So this arrived over spring break...


I can't lie...I'm no farmer!  Luckily though, I have moved home & I know people...as in people who are related to me, as in an EXPERT birdman, who loves me so much he'd never tell me (or 26 5-6 yr. olds) "No!!"

So what's a girl to do?  Call her UNCLE!!  I am so indebted to my Uncle Perry - he's such a great man!  He walked me through all things bird after school on Friday, April 15th.  I felt confident walking out of his house at 11pm, "Yup.  I can do this thing!"

AND I DID!

I have that incubator at 100 degrees, humidity between 65-70% & we're on Day 2!

The kiddos were STOKED!

Here's some proof:








Along with the 12 chicken eggs I received from my Donors Choose grant, I also got 5 more from my uncle (he has bird friends!).  So I am pretty sure we'll have a successful hatching in Room #204 in about 20 days.

And, I think I'm MORE excited than the 5-6 yr. olds!  I don't sleep at night, worrying about if my "bird babies are too warm, or too cold...if they're moist or dry."  I come in at 8:20am & the first thing I do is check the temp. & humidity %.  Is that cray-cray?

PROBS - but oh well!


My afore mentioned Uncle Perry aka "The Birdman" is scheduled to be a guest speaker too, in May!  He's taking time off work to come in, teach my kiddos about homing/racing pigeons, and do some fun activities with them.  I will post again about his presentation, but I am LOOKING FORWARD TO IT IMMENSELY!

Hope you are having as wonderful a spring as we are,

Miss Kristan King

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Tied to a Basal & Clippin' It Up!

Sometimes I get confused....

New district, new state, new school...

New experiences, new curriculum, new MANDATES...

So I attend new teacher orientation, after only a phone interview - explaining that I need some wiggle room.  As in I will teach the basal's weekly: skill focus, strategy focus, comprehension focus, vocabulary focus, and even read the weekly selections/stories.

However, I enjoy adding my own flare.  Choosing "better" or "more appropriate" books - as in strategy is prediction, basal says read The Little Red Hen and everyone (95%) of my class knows the story.  How can they predict with a book they're so overly familiar with?

Problem?  NO!  I happen to have thousands (not joking) of books available on my shelves & sorted by comprehension skill.  Do I have a book that I can read/share how to make a prediction with...are you kidding me?  Let me grab a favorite!

Former administrative team I started at this school with said, "Make it work."  "Don't stray from 'the core' - We teach ____ for Reading & _____ for math, SOLELY!"  What?  What happened to wiggle room, didn't you hear me say this in my interview?  Do you know who you hired?

All this to say, I need to have freedom.  This year has been quite chaotic.  New administration - since returning from Christmas Break - has been very supportive of start with "the core" for math & literacy, but use your professional judgement for differentiation and remediation.  YAY - as we all know 1 program, 1 curriculum will never meet the needs of all kids, in every classroom.  All basals/programs/curriculum have strengths & weaknesses.

So this week has been so FUN!  I pulled out the basal for writing workshop...it was the what of my modeling lesson.  From there, it was pretty weak & really lacked engagement!  We are writing messages, aka letters.  I mean this is so EXCITING!  I was like "BOY do I have a book for modeling this!" - ever heard of The Jolly Postman and Other People's Letters?  Such a great text for fairy tales, letter writing, heck even just for enjoyment!

The kiddos are loving the postcards, apology letters, catalog orders, & attorney letters from Jack, Goldilocks, the Wicked Witch, and B.B. Wolf.  I read 1 letter a day to kick-off/review parts of a letter & then I write a message and read it with the kiddos.  They're so excited to write their very own letters tomorrow & it's amazing what a little injection of creativity does to make lessons more enjoyable to TEACH!  Same content from the basal, just a little bit of my ideas and resources - that's the key, the CRUCIAL key to a successful lesson - engagement (when I'm excited about what I'm teaching it transfers to the students & BAM - look out, we're learning).

I'm not a huge teacher/professional book reader about educational research, but I was required to read Robert Marzano's The Art & Science of Teaching.  What I've learned from my own 10+ years experience and this book, is that Marzano is ABSOLUTELY correct in his research, teaching is both art & science.  In fact it's a constant balancing act - it's hard to juggle in all subject areas, in all lessons, every day!  However, it happens & man, it's truly MAGICAL!  It's the best, it's why I became a teacher, it's LEARNING!

BTW these are the academic freedoms, hands were also tied for behavior/classroom management...now that I have more freedom in this area as well, my school year is finally shaping up!  I feel the system that you have, that works for you and your students/parents - is the system you should keep and use.  No judgement about your cards, no judgement about my clips.  Yes, I clip - it's posted and for me...it WORKS.  Oh, freedom (insert Aretha Franklin vocals)!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Back in the Saddle - AZ Style!

So, here I blog...from sunny Phoenix, AZ!

I moved.  Back home...sort of, but definitely closer to family!

I'm going to walk you through my room (before & after), so you can get a feel for the space I'll be sharing with 23 of my Kinders 2015-16.  I kept the Wizard of Oz theme, I love it and it allowed me to focus on putting up the essentials:

Back door, bathroom, & Math Focus Wall

Classroom Library...

writing center & student work bulletin board


 Cabinets, cupboards, & sink

Connecting door to my Kinder teamie, front windows, & door

Front white board & tables

Teacher desk & left counter


Reading Table

Right counter, desktop, carpet, document camera, & Reading Focus Wall

Back to where we started, but so excited for my SMART board!

After 2 weeks of New Teacher Orientation & 1 week of B2S meetings at my school, I was EXCITED to get started with kiddos!  I am most excited for how organized my room is "behind the scenes" - as moving will do that (force you to keep things that matter & toss all that you haven't used).  My files are so neat & tidy, as are my cupboards & cabinets.  I will need to tackle center/station organization, but I'm not ready to jump into that just yet!

Here's to a great year,

Miss Kristan King