Tuesday, November 24, 2015

How to Draw an Elf Directed Drawing

A few years ago, I began using guided drawing in my classroom.  Each month, I have my students draw an image related to our theme.  I was so honored this month when several teachers shared their students' work of Pilgrims and Native Americans because of a blog post I wrote a few years ago.  

This inspired me to share with you How to Draw an Elf; a Facebook fan freebie.  

I created a movie that you can use for yourself or use with your students.  
(The link above will also send you directly to the video.) 

Lastly, here are a few other Elf inspired books and resources that you might like to add to your collection. In my classroom, I like the read The Littlest Elf before our directed drawings.  I also love Harry Connick Jr.'s The Happy Elf; the music alone brings a smile.  

If you use this in your classroom, I would be so honored if you shared them with me.  You can connect with me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.  

Happy Teaching!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Star Wars Inspired Bulletin Board

It's Red Ribbon Week at our school. This year's theme is Respect Yourself which aligns perfectly with our school's exceptions; Be respectful. Be responsible. Be safe.

Our door this year was inspired by Star Wars.  Each child created a folded Yoda. I originally found the idea for this craft from Origami Yoda but modified the craft to better suit the needs of my students.  

How to Make Yoda:
Fold a brown construction paper into thirds.  
Fold down to create the robe. Glue it shut. 
Use green #Astrobright paper to make Yoda's face.  
Add face details with black marker.

Happy Teaching! 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Building Relationships

I've thought about this quote many times this school year. My class this year is not like my class last year. Oh, how I miss my class! I see their smiles, hear their "Mrs. Parker!" and wish that they were still mine. Although, they will always be mine in my heart, I have a new class to love. 

And, that's exactly what I've tried to do. Love each child for who they are. It's not always easy; even when they are 5. I've had many sleepless nights wondering how to connect with a child so that I can help improve their behavior. Wondering how we will survive the next 100 days if we can not get behaviors under control.

But, I have learned that before I can teach them, I must build a relationship. Talking, learning about their interests and listening to them. The power of creating a relationship is limitless. I witnessed this  at conferences, when a child told his mother, "She loves me." It didn't matter what I had taught him, that was all he wanted her to know. 

So, as I sit here writing this, I know that I am doing the right thing; one child at a time. Creating and building relationships with kids and families. That's the most important work I can do as an educator. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Our Learning Space

Each summer, as I see teachers laboring for weeks in their classrooms, I wonder if I should do the same.  But I refrain, because I love my students' work and learning to be as much of our space as the decor I set up prior to their arrival.  The first few weeks, our walls are minimal.  Weeks later, this is what our classroom has become. It may not be "magazine worthy" but it is a homey learning space.  
View as you enter
Our Meeting Area
This is the heart of our classroom.  Much of our learning takes place here.  
Book Boxes
One change I made this year was to purchase these shelves.  Our book boxes fit perfectly and it looks much more streamlined than it has in the past.  

Library Area
Our library space contains a mixture of board books, easy readers and themed books.  I also have our listening center here.  

Writing Center
Currently, our writing center has student generated word lists and focused vocabulary from our Language arts adoption.  I will add words into the pocket charts as students become more confident to write.  

Exploration Table
I am trying to add more play and STEM projects.  This table will house different activities.  So far, we have used it to explore magnetic and non-magnetic items, build with legos, and to play with letters.  The class really likes this space.

Guided Reading Area
I use one of the tables my students sit at for Guided Reading.  I like to do this so that I can have as much open space as possible; less tables.  

Our classroom is beginning to look and feel lived in.  I am sure that our classroom will evolve as the year progresses. 

Happy Teaching!  

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A New School Year: New Beginnings

We just completed our eighth day of school.  And, to be honest with you, I am exhausted.  You just simply forget how much goes into teaching; let alone teaching kindergarten.

This is one of my favorite bulletin boards.  (I hope to share more detailed pictures of my room later.)

We have been busy working on routines and procedures.  My class this year needs more direction so I am finding myself looking for new ways to effectively deal with classroom management and behavior.  First off, we are beginning our day with community circle.  During this time, we greet one another, share and work on creating our classroom community.  I am also using some Whole Brain Teaching Strategies to keep us focused.

Here are a few activities that we have used in our classroom; many are freebies.

1. We used beads and dry erase markers to write our names.  Find this excellent freebie here.
2. We read from our book boxes.  The book on the table is from my blog about school expectations.
3. We built number towers.
4. We love Pete the Cat!  We made these directed drawings from First Grade Blue Skies.

Overall, we've accomplished a lot in these last few days. 

Happy Teaching!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Happy Classroom Happy Teacher Giveaway

Happy Blogiversary to Learning with Mrs. Parker! Five years ago, I began this journey as a teacher blogger.  Each day, I am inspired and thankful for you!

 In honor of Back to School and my Blogiversary, I am hosting a

I have selected items that make for a Happy Classroom.  

I have successfully used HeidiSongs in my classroom for over a decade! Each year I am amazed how students respond to it; particularly my students who struggle. I love HeidiSongs Sounds Fun Phonics Combo and her Sight Word DVDs.  These catchy sight word songs are a staple in our Happy Classroom.

Have you heard? Heidi has created a new DVD for Classroom Management.

HeidiSongs has generously donated her new Classroom Management DVD to one of you!

SitSpots are one of my new teacher favorites.

To you, this may look like just a row of velcro dots.  To me this is a Happy Classroom management tool!  No more pushing and tattling about where/how to stand in line.

We use this row of dots to line up.  During calendar, the girls sit here while the boys sit behind them.  And, if you follow the dots all the way to the end, this is how we line up to get our things from our cubbies before it is time to go home or as we put away completed work.

SitSpots are also a teaching tool in our classroom. You can read about it here.

Joyce, a former kindergarten teacher, and creator of SitSpots has generously donated a $50.00 gift certificate to her shop.

Happy Classroom needs a great collection of books.

I am donating a $40.00 Amazon Gift Card to help you build your classroom library.

SheilaJane Teaching is all about the Happy Teacher.  In fact,  her website is dedicated to the well-being and health of a Happy Teacher. How cool is that! I am a proud member of her Teach Happy Community. Think of this community, as a network of teachers coming together to share their love and passion to all things related to teaching.  Her Members Only Section is filled with tidbits of goodies such as Lifestyle tips, past Periscopes and videos created just for us on topics like grading and prioritizing.

SheilaJane Teaching has generously donated membership to her Teach Happy Community.

Here is a recap of the Giveaway.  Enter from now until August 15th.

Lastly, here is a Happy Classroom Happy Teacher print to hang in your classrooms.

I hope you like it.  Again, thank you for reading, commenting and following me on other forms of social media.  This little blog means the world to me and I am so happy to have you here. 
Happy Teaching!