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Teacher Week - My Favorite Subject - SCIENCE!

Hello Friends,
Today at Blog Hoppin', we are showcasing our FAVORITE SUBJECT.... It is really hard to narrow it down to one specific subject because I actually enjoy everything that I teach BUT,  I guess when you get down to it, my MOST favorite subject to teach is SCIENCE... I think I enjoy it because kids are so curious about their world and it feels good to be able to share with them ways in which to explore it. Our Science curriculum is called "Exploring Our World." It is not a curriculum series that we purchased. Instead, our kinder team worked together to create units that are kid friendly and supportive of basic Early Science principals. 

I started to explore STEM activities last year and my kids had a blast when we were doing them. Our principal has made it a goal for us to learn about STEM, but we are actually calling it STEAM in our school (Science Technology Engineering ARTS Math). Last year, my kiddos did the Cup Challenge. I am not sure if we did it EXACTLY right, but it WAS fun and they did learn a bit about Engineering.

Some of my boys took what they learned and created a building in the block center.....

This is a STEM activity that I created myself....  The kids worked together in partners. Each group was given a tub of water - the LAKE - and a piece of aluminum foil. They were to create a boat from the aluminum foil and float it on top of the water. Then, using pennies to represent people, they decided how many people would be able to be on their boat before it sunk. This was a great way to explain CAPACITY and why elevators and boats have to display signs to keep people safe.

Because we use the acronym STEAM, I try to add art to as many science projects as I can. When we are in our Apple and Seasons unit, the kids work in groups to paint large murals of the seasons of an apple tree.

They create booklets from paper that depict life cycles......


 ....... gravity and space........
 and ocean layers.

They are assigned an animal to research and then after writing a simple report on their animal, create the animal from paper mache. We use our 8th grade buddies to help us with this BIG project!
Another project that my kiddos enjoy is Using our Senses to Explore Popcorn!
We make 3D representations of insects....
and of course, explore insects, plants, and Monarch butterflies in our school garden!
I could go on and on about all the fun things I enjoy teaching in Science, but I am going to stop now. You don't need fancy things to get kids excited about their world! One of the most important things we can do for our kids is to instill in them an appreciation for the space in which we all live. Once they gain this, they are on their way to becoming adults who become good stewards of our strong and precious Earth!

Make sure you hop on over to Blog Hoppin' for more FAVORITE SUBJECTS!

Until next time!


Teacher Week - Make Ahead Meals - Beer Chicken Sandwiches

Hello Friends,
Today is "Make Ahead Meals" and when I heard that this was one of the themes for Teacher Week, I became really excited because I NEED ideas! I am a whole foods shopper/eater, so grabbing a frozen dinner or a fast food burrito isn't part of my life anymore..... What this means is that during the summer, I LOVE planning meals and cooking them, but in the school year... Yikes! I just want to pull something out of the freezer or crock pot and have it ready for me when I get home...... I will say that the crock pot is my best friend and when I can put everything together in the evening for the next day! Perfect!

So........The meal that I am sharing is one that came from my mother a year or so ago. It is "Shredded Beer Chicken Sandwiches." It is so EASY and DELICIOUS! My family loves it and there are never, ever leftovers. I mix the marinade the night before WITHOUT the beer. In the morning, I add the beer and chicken and place everything in the crock pot. When I come home from school, the kitchen smells delicious. I add some roasted veggies and fresh fruit as sides and voila! Dinner is served! Yum!

Here is the recipe:

1/2  Cup Ketchup
1/3  Cup  Brown Sugar
2 T  Soy Sauce
1 T Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp  Chili Powder
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp  Paprika
1 bottle Beer  (12 ounce)
4 large chicken breasts

Whisk items into beer. Add chicken. Place in a crock pot.
Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
Use a fork to shred the chicken.
Spoon onto warmed buns. That's it! Easy Peasy!

If you like vegetable soup, I posted a recipe for a delicious soup that can be made ahead and enjoyed throughout the week in an earlier post. Click the image below to take you there....

Head on over to Blog Hoppin for more fun, easy, and delicious Make Ahead Meals!

Until next time!

Teacher Week - 5 FUN FACTS about Me!

Hello Friends,
It's Teacher Week over at Blog Hoppin and I am really looking forward to it! Today is FIVE FUN FACTS ABOUT YOURSELF...... When I was talking to my husband about this topic, I told him that I could think of nothing that was really fun about me. As I was moaning and moaning to him, he finally interrupted me and said "Cindy, you don't have to jump from an airplane to be a special person. Just be who you are and let it be..... " You know, he's right..... Even though we have not done anything really daring or made it on stage, that does not mean that we are not special people. I am always telling my kinders how special they are and I think it is time their teacher started to listen to those words, too! So here I go.....

 1.  When I was younger, I always wanted to wake up to a view like this.....

Instead, this is the view I see.... and it melts my heart to see my son becoming a part of it....

2.  I have visited Prague......

3. ...... and Rome......

 and I ADORE San Francisco......

4.  My husband and I have been married over 30 years and every year we have sent a funny Christmas card and each one has been different. That's a lot of ideas! Here are a few of my favorites.....

5.  My last fun fact is that I am obsessed with my school garden. Ever since my principal gave me permission to turn it into a butterfly garden to attract Monarchs and other butterflies, I have gone "geeky" with research on how to get it done! The cool thing is that we had almost immediate success this summer. There is a Monarch chrysalis presently hanging in my classroom that will be on its way to Mexico when it hatches and we let it go!

Make sure that you visit or link up to Blog Hoppin by clicking the image below!

Until next time!


First Week Finished and Five for Friday!

Hello Friends,

This was our first week of school and friends, I am dog tired..... You would think that I would remember how exhausting these first weeks are, but I NEVER do! I know it will get better, but YIKES, right now, I am not there yet!

I thought I would join Doodle Bugs Five for Friday this week. I wish I had more pictures to share, but unfortunately, while taking photos for our Parent Information Night on Wednesday, I dropped my camera and it is unusable... so all that leaves is my phone, which I am glad to have, but it does not take the photos that my camera takes..... boo hoo...... Anyway..... on to Five for Friday...
1.  As I said, we had our Parent Information Night on Wednesday. This is time for the parents to meet the teacher. It is both a stressful and wonderful time because we stand in front of a group of parents that we have not really met and tell them what their child will be experiencing this year BUT we also get the opportunity to personally welcome parents to our classrooms. I like to give the parents a small welcome gift and this year, I used the idea of the fabulous Regan Tunstall. You can find the link to her idea HERE. It is simply a water bottle tied with a note and a Crystal Light packet that says "Here's to a refreshing year together."

2.  We had our first practice of Read to a Partner this week. The kids did a SUPER job sharing and reading their books with their partners.

3.  I have a locked door in the corner of my classroom that leads to the furnace/air conditioning unit. To liven up this corner a bit, my kiddos make these cute Mirror, mirror on the wall projects. This is a fun project based on an idea from Kim Jordano which you can find HERE.

Here is how that corner looks now....

4.   I know I have showcased this booklet in other posts, but I LOVE doing it with my kiddos! It is such a fun way to review preschool shapes and introduce new shapes such as octagon, trapezoid, and rhombus. It also follows the Math Common Core standards of understanding how to create shapes from other shapes. On this page, the kids learn that a square can be cut in such a way that it creates 2 triangles.

Here is the link to the booklet...

5.  Finally...... We released one of our Monarch butterflies this week! We are raising one more in our classroom.....

Have a wonderful week! Make sure that you visit Doodle Bugs Teaching for more ideas!
Also, join us at Blog Hoppin for Teacher Week. It should be a fun week of blogging!

Until next time!


My Classroom Photos - Teacher Week 2015

Hello Friends,

(I actually wrote this post a few weeks ago, so I am tweaking it a bit for Teacher Week on Blog Hoppin!)

I met my new class on Thursday and they are just the sweetest! If the last couple of days are any indication of how the year will run, it will be a good one!

I thought I would share some photos of my classroom. It is REALLY similar to last year with just a few changes. I liked the setup of my room last year, so I kept a lot of it the same. My "theme" this year is owls, but honestly, it will really only be owls until I change bulletin boards!

Here are my owl bulletin boards. I used a ton of Carson Dellosa stuff. I just rolled up brown paper to create the nest and branch. I added my students names to the owls. They are not shown in this photo.

This is my good behavior bulletin board.

On this bulletin board, I added real life photos of my students which are not shown in this picture. I created the owl from brown construction paper and rolled up tissue paper for the branch. Once again, Carson Dellosa saved the day with these cute little owls.

I used this beach umbrella last year for a reading nook. This year, I simply recovered the seats and added foam letters along the bottom spelling out the word READ.

 This is the front of my classroom.

I love these letter posters above my window. I got the idea for using wrapping paper for curtains from Schoolgirl Style. It is simply wrapped around a spring rod and secured at the bottom with border trim. Easy peasey!

Here is another reading nook that is located in our classroom library corner.
This organization idea for storing colored paper idea is from Deanna Jump. I LOVE using these drawers to organize my construction paper.

Here is my little corner of the classroom. I don't have a desk, but I needed SOMETHING to call my own, so I set up this small table. I covered it with wrapping paper and laid a clear desk mat on  the top to create a smooth surface. I made the "Mrs. Feeney" sign on my desk from my Silhouette cutter a few years ago.

Finally, here is a view from the opposite side of the room.....
So that's it for now..... I hope that, perhaps, you found some inspiration from these photos. You can see that I do not have an elaborately themed classroom. It is child friendly, organized, and happy.... and that makes my students and ME happy! :)

Make sure that you hop on over to Blog Hoppin for some AWESOME classroom setup ideas!

Until next time!