Friday, September 23, 2016

Five for Friday: 9/23/16 - Middle School, Mums, Mock Government, Minecraft, and Marches

I am joining up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for a weekly linky party. Five for Friday is a collection of five random things from the day or week. My week begins with a information meeting at church to consider the potential for a middle school at this ministry. The school board held sessions after both services to present information from the study and answer questions. On Monday, we had a mum sale to raise funds for our parent organization. They raised over $2,000 and have not totaled all of the sales. On Wednesday, I prepared all of the information to send home with students for our new Student Council. With the addition of fifth and sixth grade this year, I felt this was a great opportunity to develop leadership qualities, serve our community, and build fellowship. Friday afternoon's Makerspace session began with My students loved creating the video games they play while learning 21st Century skills in the process. Our week ended with a homecoming parade in the local community. Our cadet teacher was nominated for the court, and my students decorated our classroom window in her honor.

Here is the postcard that was sent to all of our church members inviting them to attend an information for a potential middle school. Our church was established in 1996 in Lake Ozark, MO. It was a growing community, and another local church called a missionary-at-large to open a second LCMS church in the area. To meet the needs of the community, a preschool was opened in 2003. Later, it was expanded to a kindergarten in 2012. We have added a grade or more per year depending on the families that came to us. Last year, our current students were fourth graders, and their families are beginning to think about middle school options. A decision was made to research the feasibility of a middle school. A team visited an established school and a school of about 30 years to gather ideas. Then, a survey was sent home to parents to gather data on the support of a middle school. While parents cited sports, music, and clubs as possibilities, the three main reasons included a Christian school, quality academics, and location. After additional letters and support from staff, the school board recommended their plan to the church council. Church council sent it to the voters for approval this Sunday. We are a great place for homeschooling families and students who struggled in the public school to thrive and grow in faith.

This fall, our parent organization changed their fall fundraiser from scarecrow sales to mums. The event was a huge success, but it was also a great opportunity for our newly-formed upper elementary students to serve their school. My students spent their religion time unloading several trailers of mums and sorting them by color on the front lawn. At a profit of $5.50 for a $10 plant, we made over $2,000 from pre-orders. We bought another 50 or so plants for people that picked up a few more after loving the product. The final few were sold at our church rummage sale. Our parent organization does fabulous work and is a key component to the success of this school.
With the addition of our upper elementary, the students are old enough to learn about and participate in student government. Student council is one of several activities we have added, including intramural sports, STEAM, and a Bible scrap booking club. The kindergarten through third grade can run as representatives. There will be a boy and a girl from each class. The fourth through sixth graders can run as officers. The officer candidates learn to create quality campaign posters, write a speech, and present it after chapel. All of the students will learn about the voting process prior to the upcoming presidential election. The student council will serve our community and build fellowship within the school. This new opportunity is great way to help students feel connected to their school!

I am only at number four, and I am realizing how fabulous this week has been. In the midst of lesson plans, instructing, assessing, recess duty, and the daily routine, I love that Five for Friday gives me the opportunity to remember the joys of the week. This picture is probably my favorite! On Fridays, my students participate in a simple Makerspace activity to learn about the design process. To be honest, it needs some guidance. They love the science experiments and creations, but the reflection process and usefulness needs some development. Last week, I used some of my prep time to choose my own Makerspace project. When I came across a Lego coding idea, I knew this was a great opportunity to learn about After introducing it this week, my students were hooked! You know that quiet buzz of learning that occurs when you nail the lesson? Every student is engaged and they are quietly comparing notes before going back to the activity. Perfection! They learned about functions, algorithmic problem solving, abstraction, variables, binary code, and digital citizenship. My techie heart was loving all of the 21st Century skills!

Five for Friday wraps up with a trip down "The Strip," our downtown and home of lake life activities - arcades, ice cream, restaurants, T-shirt shops, etc. The public school had their homecoming football game this weekend, and we are invited to join in the fun with other local community groups. Our parent organization (did I mention their awesomeness?) bought signs and giant shields of our new logo to attach to the float. We rolled down The Strip in style to our theme song for the year (see below). The kids threw candy and practiced their royal waves. I love seeing us active in our community and cheering for our favorite homecoming queen candidate (cadet teacher), Miss Alexis.

Happy Friday!

Monday, September 19, 2016

10 Homework Tips for Parents of Multiple Children

In my classroom, students work on math problems, reading, spelling, and memory each night. Students learn to accomplish goals, to meet deadlines, and to develop a work ethic. These skills are a valuable asset as they head off to college and into the workforce. My students follow a ten-minute per grade level guideline for homework. For parents of multiples, this can be a challenging task to complete with soccer games, music lessons, dinner, and bedtimes.
I put together this list to help some of my families with multiple children make the homework routine a little easier.
  1. Prepare snacks before homework time. You'll save on minutes spent cutting fruit or serving crackers if it is ready to go.
  2. Create activities for younger children. Busy boxes, coloring sheets, or even a little TV time can help make it through the 10 minutes you need to spend going over problems.
  3.  Minimize distractions with classical music playing in headphones and a separate area for each child.
  4. Create a schedule. Find 4-6 activities for toddlers and preschoolers to play with or work on during study time. Work with older children first and allow them to work independently when the attention span of younger children gets short. Finish up when younger children are in bed.
  5. Help students develop a pace for homework. Projects should be completed with great attention to detail. Math sheets are simply practice. It is a skill to complete greater quantities of work within a short time frame.
  6. Take breaks. Forty minutes of homework for a nine-year-old develops good study habits, but it is a long time to sit. Graduate students learn to work with five-minute breaks ever hour. Give your child a five-minute break in between each subject to help them focus better.
  7. Talk to your child's teacher. I am flexible about how and when study skills are developed. Families have busy schedules and a need for time together outside of work and school.
  8. Scaffold their work. Provide outlines for writing assignments, guide their math work by asking questions they know to learn new ones. Stuck on division? Run through the multiplication facts. Having trouble remembering steps? Write a sample of each step as a guide to help them as they work through problems.
  9. Use technology. YouTube, the Khan Academy, Spelling City, and books on tape can be helpful tools for you and your child.
  10.  Study on the go. Practice facts while cooking dinner. Work on memory in the car. Review spelling words over breakfast.
I hope these tips benefit your child's valuable time practicing skills at home!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Five for Friday - September 16

I attended my first Patriot Day ceremony at The King's Academy. All of the parents are invited to pray with us at 8 AM to remember those affected by 9/11. May God bless them!

 Grandparents were invited to visit us for a program, lunch, and activities.

 I am officially back to blogging after a less than active last six months. Check out my new posts!

 Our awesome parents are putting together our first school library. It is not finished, but it already looks great!

My first pumpkin spice latte of the season, and it was free!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Best Resource for Current Teacher Linky Parties

Have you had the pleasure of joining a linky party? During a linky party, the author of a blog (the host) invites readers to link up with their own blog posts on the same topic. I am a big fan! I feel connected to other educators, gather great resources, and have fun putting them together. Both you and the host benefit from increased blog traffic. They are great for new bloggers as they develop topics and goals for their blogs. I highly recommend trying them out.

Here are 10 tips to a prosperous link-up:
  1. Always check the rules.
  2. Pay attention to what is allowed in the post.
  3. Check the start time.
  4. Link back to the host in your post.
  5. Include the images provided by the host.
  6. Link your post - not your main page.
  7. Comment on other posts in the link-up.
  8. Follow the host on social media.
  9. Thank the host.
  10. Share the party on social media.
I put together a list of current link ups for teachers. If you host a link up, leave a comment below!


Classroom Ideas - Open until September 29, 2016 - Share any classroom ideas.

Back to School Room Reveal - Open until September 30, 2016 - See her post for a sample.


Five for Friday - Five random things pictures from the day or week.


Pinterest Pick 3 - 3rd Day of the Month - Three ideas from Pinterest. Also hosted by Inspired Owl's Corner and Just Reed.

Winner Wednesday - First Wednesday of the Month - Showcase a product from your Teachers Pay Teachers store. Also hosted by Sara J Creations.

Check back later for more linky parties!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

4 Activities for Grandparent's Day in the Upper Elementary

Tomorrow, we are celebrating our first Grandparent's Day at the King's Academy. We are opening with a prayer from our pastor. The whole school is signing two songs based on our theme for the year. We put together a video of greetings from some of our student body.

After lunch with our grandparents, grandparents will be able to visit our classrooms. All of my activities are created in a resource called Grandparent's Day for Upper Elementary. Here's a preview of the activities we will be doing with our grandparents:
 We will be displaying our new devices and blogging skills with a guest post from our grandparents.
 When they finish, they can use their extra time completing this word search.
I put a bonus activity in my resource! There are six different boards.
Before the grandparents leave, they will give a tour of their classroom and this framed gift.

Happy Grandparent's Day to all of the blessed people that support students in education!