Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Found a Classroom in DC…well close to DC Anyways!
Recognize these girls? This is me and Karen Stamp! Karen has a blog called Mrs. Stamp’s Kindergarten! After I put up my post about how much I missed being in Megan’s room each week, Karen sent me a message that her door was always opened. Now, I’m not totally sure she meant it, but I took her up on the offer. I am too afraid to drive in DC, so one of her colleagues, who lives in Alexandria, VA, picked me up at the King Street Metro station and we drove to her school in Manassas, VA. (I’m getting pretty good at navigating the Metro!)
Can I just say, she is one of the sweetest, kindest people I have ever met! You could tell that everyone in her school just loves her! She spoke to everyone and only had kind words for her colleagues! And it didn’t stop there. She was so kind and soft spoken to her kiddos. She greeted them each at the door with a special good morning! She was kind and encouraging and was able to redirect children in a way that it seemed she never got “onto” anyone. Ya’ll she even packed me a lunch! I had grabbed an apple on my way out the door! I never take the time to think of lunch until it is too late and I’m starved!
I also love the way she had a song or a little chant for everything:
Like when she wanted them to be sure and close the tops on their markers, she said, “Be sure you hear a click or your marker will get sick!”
Or when they were in line talking she would say, “Tootsie Roll, Lollipop, We’ve been talking now we stop!”
When she wanted her kiddos to carry some paper scraps to the trash can, she told them to push the scraps into their hand. “Now, make a sandwich.” They would put their other hand on top and walk to the trash. No scraps falling all over the floor.
Finally, I loved how she told her kiddos to grip the pencil. She kept telling them, “pinch your pencil like we did the playdough.” I’m not sure if they had actually used playdough to demonstrate this, but they all knew what it meant.
Here are some of the great things I saw in her room:
Each of her tables had one of the handy box things that her teaching assistant made for her! Yep, she made them, not her husband! I loved that they kept their home/school connection notebook right there with them. It was easy to make notes, add papers, and check their reading assignments by making them more responsible. Karen has the contents of her notebook in her tpt store.
Each child has their own bag that hold various tools they may need. This way Karen can just say, “Get out your dry erase boards.” and no time is wasted. They are kinda like my carpet bags, but the kids just hang these on the back of their chairs.
I’ve shared on my blog about using the numbers on the floor for lining up. She had just started using them, and they were so good at “finding their number” to get in line. Okay, so do you see that closet!?!? Wouldn’t you just love to have that to hide all of your clutter? Then, your classroom could be clutter free, too! I wish I had one of those when I was teaching! The other snapshot is their lunch choice board. For all my LA natives, one of their choices was Jambalaya! Really? Do kids in VA even know what that is?
Karen’s room is stocked with a smart board. Here they are practicing writing the numerals. Her kiddos were great at getting the pen and making it work. They are way better than I am, for sure!
Ever been out of your classroom when the fire alarm went off? So, you have to figure out who is and who isn’t there. You don’t have those emergency papers that you are suppose to have….Well, at Karen’s school, each classroom has an emergency backpack. Whenever, they leave their room, the leader carries the backpack on their back. Then, no matter where they are, they have all the supplies needed in case of an emergency. Why haven’t more schools thought of that?
Loved Karen’s “Behavior Bingo”! I think it was my favorite idea! Megan and I let our kiddos work together to fill a jar with happy rocks. In Karen’s room, if they are caught “doing good” they are allowed to pick numerals out of the bucket and find where it goes in the 100’s chart. Can I just say that has to be one of the best uses of a behavior plan that I have seen. Karen and I later talked about all the questions you could be asking and about how you could have the children share how they knew where the number belonged. I was telling Megan about this last night and she said she saw something like it on Pinterest. Not sure if Karen put it on pinterest, or if she snagged that great idea! Either way…I loved it!
One of the things that was a “ah-ha” moment was when Karen told me they had only been in school for 3 weeks. You see, in GA, our kids have been in school for 8 weeks already! There was quite a big difference between where Megan’s kids are and where Karen’s are! It is amazing to me how much they do learn those first few months and this was a good reminder of that!
She said she has almost finished introducing all of her literacy stations, now just to “beef them up” and keeping adding new things.
Loved Karen’s word wall. She told me that she found this cute little number of tpt. When she got home, she looked up who she got it from and sent me a message! Imagine how surprise I was to find out it was from one of my blogging buddies, Lindsey, at The Teacher Wife. The popcorn boxes are free on tpt and here is where you can get those cute popcorn word cards!
first grade words
second grade words
It was a rainy, cold day when I went to Karen’s school which meant no outside recess. So she opened up some of the center areas and let them play. One little girl, that I had earlier spent some time snuggled up with on a couch reading, brought me this picture. When I asked her to tell me her story, she said…no kidding this is what she really said…. “That is you and your shoe. You know the old lady who lived in a shoe! That’s you!” Oh my word! I almost died right there!
Karen and I are going to get together again! This was a getting to know you visit. Next time…watch out Karen…I will be bringing something for us to do!
Posted by Kim and Megan at 10:11 PM