Friday, May 31, 2013

你好 Hello to Mandarin Chinese!

Nǐ Hǎo
Hello in Chinese! My smart kids had the opportunity this year to begin to learn Chinese. Did you know that Chinese is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world? It is also the official language of many US trading partners. When I found out that my county was partnering with the Confucius Institute to bring Chinese language instruction to our schools, I wasn't sure what to expect. However, I was surprised how quickly my kinders picked up on the language. An added bonus was the joy of getting to know our Chinese teacher, Qiao Yuan. The school calls me her "American mother." Even though I'm old enough to be her mom, we agreed that I'll be called her "American sister." My family adopted her and we've enjoyed having her in our home. We even took her on vacations with us.

Miss Qiao wanted more resources to we made some! If you are in a school with a Chinese language program, or if you know of someone who is, we hope you'll take a look at our products. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Teacher Vacation Pics on Instagram

Yesterday I was packing up my classroom. Today I am sitting in my favorite red rocker looking at the lighthouse on Hilton Head Island. What a difference a day makes! I'd love to see where my teacher friends are going to rest and recover from the school year. Post your vacation pictures on Instagram and use #teacheronvacation. Happy Summer!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Summer Bucket List

Yesterday we celebrated the end of school year 2012-2013. I wished all my smart kids a very, merry summer...and then fell down exhausted! I do, however, have a summer bucket list.

On the "school" bucket list...I am going to read this book:

The title sounded interesting, but I was also intrigued by the description:
What would a classroom look like if understanding and respecting differences in race, culture, beliefs, and opinions were at its heart? Welcome to Mary Cowhey's Peace Class in Northampton, MA, where first and second graders view the entire curriculum through the framework of understanding the world, and trying to do their part to make it a better place.

If you've read this book, drop me a note! Click on the cover to learn more about it.

On my TPT bucket list...I am going to work on the remaining part of my writing series. I have finished this:

And need to work on these two: 

Also on the bucket list...fostering these puppies for Paws and Adopt. I actually hope we won't have them for long because they need to find their "fur-ever" homes. Let me know if you are in Georgia and need a puppy!

Finally, on the "it's all about me" bucket list, I am scheduling a massage because my class gave me gift card to a local salon! Sweet!

To join the linky party, be sure to click on the bucket list invite at the top of this post. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I'm on Instagram

I had to get my middle-school son to show me how, but I joined my teacher friends on Instagram. You can find me at smartkidsgammons. I was inspired by....


 Here is my home page:

Here is a picture of what my smart kids are working on:

Finally, here is the link for the memory book:

My twelve-year old is so proud of my new technology skills!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Singing to Survive the Last Seven Days

Wondering how you are going to survive the last days of school? My smart kids love these sing-alongs from Barefoot Books. 
Just might be playing them a few extra times next week...

There are 18 to choose see them all go to this link:
Take some time to find your students' favorites and sing your way to the last day of school!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Collaborative Math Thinking

So the other day I pulled out a book of daily math problems and this is what I found.
BORING, right? So in the words of Emeril, I decided my smart kids needed me to "Kick it up a notch. BAM!"

Step 1: We discussed the picture as a group. I said, "Give me all your math thinking." They gave ideas that covered counting, comparing more and less, addition, subtraction and more.

Step 2: Students worked with partners to record their math thinking in their journals.

Step 3: I put the kids in mixed-ability groups and assigned jobs such as writer, color and glue person, and moderator.

Of course, this lasted several days...and it covered lots of standards! So proud of my smart kids!