Howdy folks!  Did you survive your Monday?  We had a great day full of fun and learning.  We were so busy with our apple activities that we were late for dismissal.  OOPS.  But remember…I don’t work to educate children.  Note to self:  stop not working so hard!  GRRR.

Can I tell you something?  As I was driving home I decided to check Blogger to see how many followers I was up to (at red lights and sitting in Nashville traffic…not really driving…I swear!)  I noticed a huge spike in my page views.  For the first time ever, I had more than 1,000 page views in a day.  Wait?!  What?!  Where did that come from?  I think it came from the friends who shared my shape pack on Facebook last night and from my friend Kaci for giving me a shout out last night!  Thank you to all of the support and sharing and pinning and shouting outing!  You guys make a dude feel so good!

And to brighten your Monday here is the famous Greg in a fun hat picture!  This is one of my favorites so far.  Insects…and guess what?  Next week we celebrate Read For The Record and our theme for the week is “Gettin Buggy With Books”  and we have a schoolwide door decorating contest.  So…bugs…insects….my creative dude brain went to work and I got this far:  I took pictures of the kids with their insect hats on.  Now I am thinking of doing an art project to create a bug body for each bug head and having the kids write something about their buggy favorite book.  It’s still a work in progress.  Thoughts?  Ideas?  Suggestions?  HELP!  My creative dude brain needs creative help!  Anyways, here is the picture!

Isn’t my classroom so fun!?

And now onto our regularly scheduled programming.

I am continuing my newest feature:  Morning Meeting Monday!   I am a huge Morning Meeting advocate.  Last week I shared the schedule of my morning messages.  Today I am going to share some of our favorite activities for morning meeting.

The activity component of Morning Meeting should last just a few minutes and can involve movement but it’s not a requirement.  Early in the year our activities do not require a lot of movement.  As the year progresses, we add in a lot of movement (we have better control of our 5 year old body later in the year and no one gets hit in sensitive areas by flailing arms…sensitive areas.  5 year olds at a perfect height.  Dude problems in Kindergarten.)  The activity can be just for fun or it can have an academic component (because how dare we do anything that doesn’t meet a standard!  Bad teachers.  Bad.).

Here is a short list of our favorite activities:

Hot Penguin:  This is played like hot potato.  We pass a stuffed penguin instead because penguins are cute.  And it’s fun to say hot penguin.  This is a great game to teach good sportsmanship.  I love that my monsters cheer for the winner!  This also helps with hand eye coordination because we can’t throw the penguin, we must pass it.

Number Game:  This is a favorite and a much requested game.  It also meets Common Core Standards and gives you a quick and informal assessment first thing in the morning (standards…assessments…good teachers.  good.).  To play the number game, everyone stands in a circle and you determine which number you’re going to count to.  Early in the year we go to 5, then 10.  Later in the year we can count to 20.  You can even let one student pick the magic number.  Once the magic number is chosen, you pick your starting student and you count.  1..2…3…4..and so on.  Whoever lands on the magic number sits down.  And then the next person starts at 1 again.  You continue until one person is left.  My kids crack up whenever I have to sit down!

I Have Who Has:  This is a favorite of mine and the class.  I love that this can be a great introduction to a new skill, a fun way to review previous skills and a quick easy informal assessment.  For example, today we started our shapes unit.  We played I Have Who Has with shapes.  I quickly got an idea of which shapes we’re a challenge (oval and hexagon) and the three students who had no shapes at all.  I was able to adapt my small group time to meet the needs of those students better.  (Assessment…standards…small groups…good teachers.  good.)  My kids love I have Who Has and beg to play it.  Check out my TPT store and older blog posts for I Have Who Has games!

Find The Clothespin:  This is my favorite!  I learned this game in training and love watching the kids play it!  It’s simple.  Everyone closes their eyes.  Actually, I have my students turn around, close their eyes and cover their eyes.  No peeking.  After everyone is not peeking, you put the clothespin somewhere on a child or yourself.  Then you find the clothespin.  We have a rule that you cannot talk or point when you see the clothespin.  If you see the clothespin, you sit down quietly.  I use this game to help my students with attention skills.  They can’t just walk around and laugh, they have to really pay attention to their friends or they won’t see the clothespin.  When we first start playing the game I use a giant clothespin that I found at Target (oh Target…how I love thee…good Target.  Good.)  After we play a few times, I switch to a regular clothespin.  And later in the year I use a tiny clothespin that I found at….Target.  It’s so funny to find interesting places to hide the clothespin.  I have hid the clothespin on my ear…in kid’s hair…on shoe laces…belts…and once in my nose.  Clothespin and nose=pain.

These are a few of our favorite and most used activities.  What kind of activities do you use in morning meeting?  Will you try any of these activities?

And here is how we spent recess!  Can I just say that I LOVE my kids!

THE WEDDING!  12 Days!  Go buy stuff.  I have to pay for the macaroni and cheese bar that includes THREE types of macaroni and cheese (regular, Gouda, and pepper jack!) and the 15 different toppings for the mac and cheese.  My shape pack is free through today and then it will be $2.  Go buy.  Mac and cheese.  MMMM

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It has rained here since sometime overnight…and it’s still raining.  Rainy and dreary Mondays are the worst.  Especially when you were up late the night before.  And when you have to plan for a sub.  People, I seriously worked harder today planning for my 3 day vacation than I would have for a week of being at school.  I am thankful for the fiancee’ and this trip to Chicago!  And for a wonderful sub!!

I am starting a new feature on my little manly blog…it’s Morning Meeting Monday!  I will share some of my Morning Meeting mumbo jumbo!   And I made a simple little button to go along with my new feature!

I am a HUGE morning meeting fan!!  Here’s why.  Two summers ago our Kindergarten team was invited to attend the week long Responsive Classroom training by a brand new charter school ( I will not share my views on said school!).  If you have participated in this training you know it’s EXPENSIVE so it was very gracious of the school to include us.  It’s also time for some brutal honesty.  An admission.  A peek into Greg:  I am bitter and negative toward all trainings.  I am very cynical.  I have spent so much wasted time in professional development where I want to scream “DUH!” when the presenters are talking.  It seems like I hear things I am already doing except it has a fancy name on it.  So I was skeptical (as I always am) going into this training.  But guess what??  I walked away excited and energized to start Morning Meeting in my classroom.  The results have been tremendous.  The sense of community in my classroom is unbelievable.  And I attribute that to Morning Meeting.  Another great things about morning meeting is that you can quickly hit on so many standards!  All of those benefits in just 15-20 minutes!  And we all know we have all the time in the world when teaching right?!

With all of my raving of Morning Meeting and it’s benefits out of the way…here is what my typical Morning Meeting Schedule looks like:

Morning Message

Today I want to share what my morning message looks like.  I tend to follow a schedule with my messages.  It looks something like this:

Monday-we write the letter that we’re not focusing on for the week (This gives me a quick glimpse into how well the students can already write the letter and lets me know where to focus my attention! Hello quick and informal pre-assessment!  Aren’t I clever?!)
Tuesday-we make a bubble map of words that have the sound that we’re not focusing on for the week
Wednesday-I do different things this day.  Bubble maps, letter matching, etc
Thursday-Math (currently we’re counting the dots and writing how man)
Friday-Nouns (we list people, places and things)

I like for my morning messages to be very interactive and predictable.  We echo read the greeting and date.  See, you’re hitting standards already!  After that I read the message which generally gives 1 or 2 highlights of the day!  Then we echo read the closure!  After that we have the interactive part of the message.  Later in the year, the students will actually write the day, date and year so the message is even more interactive.

Here is a picture of today’s message:

The Tuesday bubble map of words with the sound we’re not focusing on is another quick and informal assessment so I can get a quick idea of who is “getting” it for the week and who needs some intense help.

Wednesday our message depends on what’s going on and what skills or focus we might need a little help in or a quick refresher.  And sometimes we make it fun.  We make lists of things that are red or our favorite colors.  We also do a lot of ABC order skills on this day!

Thursday we do a math skill.  We do a lot of counting and numbers.  We write numbers, we order numbers, we count to answer how many.  We also do tally marks.  We write how old we are.  We make graphs (age, favorites, do you like…)  It’s a quick way to meet some math standards and another (WAIT FOR IT) way to get some quick, easy and informal pre-assessments!  You can say it…”Boy he’s clever!”

Friday is when we do nouns.  Every Friday.  We list people, places and things.  As the year goes on we add in verbs.  I love hearing all of the nouns we can come up with throughout the year.  I also love that my students have a strong foundation in nouns and verbs and I never had to teach a lesson on it!  By December you can ask my kids to name nouns and they can tell you people, places and things!

The power of morning meeting!  Do you use morning meeting?  How do you use morning message?  Next week will talk about the activity part of our meeting!

OK, I have a 4:30 wake up call for my 6:30 flight for my mini-vacation to Chicago.  Madonna, here we come!  I plan to do some fun little posts from Chicago.  And I am a firm believer that it’s OK to share some fun, and personal non teaching related posts.  And that’s what I am going to do tomorrow and Wednesday!  Stay tuned!

PS  I have had lots of questions about the hats my students make on Mondays.  They go with the letter and sound we’re not focusing on that week.  I wish I had thought of such a genius and fun idea, but I did not!  These are the brainchild of Jennifer at Simply Kinder!  If you like the hats, go get some.  My kids LOVE them!

I also have seen the cute ones that The Moffat Girls have and I love those too!  I think I am going to combine the two and make super fun hats!  HMMM

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  • Reply Mrs. Wheeler September 24, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    I'm loving the mac n cheese idea!


  • Reply Crayons and Curls September 25, 2012 at 12:47 am

    You always have the best ideas! Love your teaching games! 🙂
    Crayons and Curls

  • Reply Jill September 25, 2012 at 1:07 am

    I am excited to hear how your guests like your mac and cheese bar because that sounds AAAAAAAAAAAAAMAZING!

    Thanks for sharing all of your ideas! I love the clothespin game! I am so using that tomorrow as a brain break. Yay!

    Marvelous Multiagers!

  • Reply Nicole Lanier September 25, 2012 at 2:51 am

    You are defiantly a southern boy…Mac & Cheese bar sounds great! I love your morning meeting ideas! “I Have…Who Has…” is a favorite in my room too! We used it today to review our numbers! I think I'll try the clothespin game tomorrow…I'll let you know how it goes! Thank you for sharing your Shape Packet! It's been downloaded and saved to my flash drive. YAY!

    Lanier's Kindergarten Lions

  • Reply Previously September 25, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    We play what I call the Coin Game. The kids sit in a circle and one kid sits in the center. Everyone around the circle sits with their legs crossed. Your left hand always stays on your left knee but your right hand pretends to pick up a coin from the left hand of the person sitting to your right, and then you pretend to put the coin into your left hand. (confused yet?) Everyone pretends to pass an imaginary coin around the circle like this. There is actually one real coin that starts with an unknown child (teacher chooses), and we sing a song:

    There's a penny in my hand
    It can travel through the land
    is it here, is it there
    it can travel anywhere

    When the song is over, everyone closes their hands and the child in the middle tries to guess who has the real coin. There are many skills practiced and developed– pretending to have an object, keeping a straight face (many kids who have the coin make hilarious faces while trying to act 'normal'), and also playing fairly (actually passing the coin and not hanging onto it the whole time. It's a bit complicated but they've really gotten a hang of it. We love this game!

  • Reply Ms.M September 26, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Yay & congrats, for the spike in page views. 🙂


  • Reply nancy john January 5, 2015 at 5:25 am

    Thank you! Our kids are having fun and learning new things . This looks like so much fun for them.

    lessons for kids

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