Monday, July 30, 2012

Hug Your Heart jar

I am so excited about this post. If I were a puppy, my tail would be wagging!

When I first saw this jar on Amanda's blog, it was love at first sight. =)

Isn't that precious?

Be sure and visit her blog later and tell her Heather sent you. She is amazing. =)

She also made one with Hershey Kisses so the kiddos can kiss their brains. Adorable!

Since we are all about being helpful and kind in Our School Family, I knew I wanted to make a Hug your Heart jar. I am always looking for ways to reinforce positive behaviors. At the beginning of the year, I do A LOT of celebrating of the behaviors I want the kiddos to learn. After a few months, my kiddos are great about celebrating each other and adding helpful hearts for each other when they notice helpful and kind acts.

I have never felt the need to "reward" them for doing those things with "treats". I have seen the "treat" they get from realizing they are filling someone's bucket and heart by being helpful and kind.

There are times though where a little something extra special might need to be done.

Here are my plans for using the Hug your Heart jar.

We always talk about our heart words at the beginning of the year. We also talk about our heart promises. These are words and actions that show someone you care about and respect them.

************************************CD squirrel************************************
Conscious Discipline talks about the importance of building connections with others and how those connections wire the brain for optimal learning to take place. Those connections are made by gentle touches, eye contact, and building those relationships in an environment where you feel safe and loved.
We are going to start off reading this book:

I couldn't find a good picture on-line so Edison helped me out. =)

A Book of Hugs by Dave Ross

You can get this book off eBay for around $6. It is an adorable book that talks all about different kinds of hugs. It talks about the hugs different animals give and the kind of hugs you can get from different people. After reading the book, we are going to come up with some "secret hugs" that only those in Our School Family will know how to give. I have done this before and the kiddos LOVE having this secret that connects us together.

I am going to tell the kiddos that there will be times when I celebrate them with bubbles when I notice a kind or helpful act. There might be times I add them a helpful heart. There also might be times when your need to hug your heart and get a *hug* from the jar. They can also choose one of the special hugs from the book for me to give them. It could be a fish hug, a porcupine hug, an arm hug, a piggyback hug, etc. You can just make up and decide as a class what a "porcupine" hug would look like. This is going to be fun and silly. =)

Here is a picture of my jar:

before the candy

with the Hershey Hugs

The picture does not capture how cute the jar is in person =)

Here is a little poem I wrote about hugs that I'll share with the kiddos.

graphics by DJ Inkers

Here is the H.U.G. acronym I am putting on the inside of the lid.

click here to grab your copy =)

The connections we make through our words and hugs are how we can show our little ones we love them. It is up to us to see our little ones either as a blessing or a burden.

I would love for you to take a few seconds and leave a heart note letting me know what you think of the Hug your Heart jar.

From My Heart to Yours,

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Is Your Heart in Your Room?

I was at the city dump, landfill, tornado disaster site I mean my classroom today. I started thinking.

Did you know that young children have not developed inner speech to govern their behavior yet? This means there is no little voice in their head that might be saying I should not hit my friend because I'll have to sit in time out or If I wipe my boogers on Ms. Price's rug, she will move my clip. This means they cannot think of the consequences for what they are about to do. Have you ever told your kiddos If you talk as we walk down the hall, you will owe me time on the playground. You then have the children repeat what will happen if they do. You take a few steps and someone starts talking. There was no voice inside this child's head governing their behavior and making a connection to what they do and what the consequences will be. Becky Bailey says that setting up a list of behaviors and the consequences that will happen if they don't behave that way often doesn't help because young children think in pictures. I'll talk more about this in another post. Becky Bailey talks about this on one of her Conscious Discipline cd's and I always have a WOW, light bulb moment when I hear it.

Okay, the squirrel is gone and I am back on track. =)

I started thinking about all of the hours teachers put in getting their room ready. I know a lot of what we do makes us happy and creates a more positive and inviting learning environment. But I seriously doubt one of my Firsties is going to say, "Ms. Price, I love how you covered those drawers with that pretty paper." I am also pretty sure that cutesifying  all of my clip boards will not cause my kiddos to be more engaged and able to learn better.

We spend so much time in our really is our second home. But then I think about what I have at the top of my blog Before you reach their heads, you have to touch their hearts.

I can come up with creative activities and be an awesome teacher but not make any effort to smile at my children or hug them or encourage and praise them. Will they learn? Probably. Will I reach all of my children? Probably not.

I have always told each child in my room that when they walk into my room they walk into my heart...I have also told them I will hunt them down and have a Come to Jesus talk with them if I need too! =)

Last year I looked up during a lesson to see a young man standing at my door. Right away I knew who he was. He was in my very first class....aka my guinea pigs that I should have stapled a note to apologizing for whatever I did...or better yet did not do to help them be ready for 2nd grade.

He was finishing up his junior year and wanted to tell me about an assignment he had for his English class. He had to write about 2 teachers: his favorite and his worst. He said that he had to go all of the way back to 1st grade and me to think about his worst teacher.

Ha....only joking. I was his favorite teacher. =)

He said he knew he was a TOOT, a HUGE STINKER, and BAD to the BONE. He also said that no matter what he did he knew I loved him, forgave him and still expected the best from him.

He probably could not have told me what the room looked like or even if he knew what his favorite lesson was. He remembered the way I loved him.

As you get your room ready and mark the crafts off your to-do list, think about what you want to do to touch the hearts of your children. Also, remember that Because of You a difference can be made.

I'll be back soon to share about what I am doing with these. =)

Hop over to visit Erica at Sprinkles to KindergartenShe is having a great giveaway and you have a chance to win some items from my TpT store and much more. She also has a fabulous blog and is as sweet as can be.

I would love for you to take a few minutes to leave me a heart note. Each one is such an encouraging blessing to me.

From My Heart to Yours,

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Books that Help Build Your School Family

One of my favorite things is finding books that help teach my kiddos skills and lessons we talk about during Our Family Circle time (like a morning meeting). I have linked up with Lindsey to share some of those books with you. We read most of these books the first few weeks of school. =)

I love all of the Shubert books and really could not choose just one. First, this is Shubert.

Shubert is a lightning bug that helps teach children so many skills. These books are wonderful and incorporate so many things about the language and skills of Conscious Discipline. Here are some of the skills these books can help teach:

*ways to calm down when you are upset or angry...even for the teacher =)
*being helpful instead of hurtful
*being assertive and using your big voice
*making choices
*seeing the best in others
*problem solving with there is conflict

The list could go on and on. These books are AMAZING and they are very helpful for the teacher too! These books have helped me be a better teacher. Go check them out here.
I ADORE this book! We use this book to talk about how filling someone's bucket is like filling someone's heart. We have 1 bucket that we work as a School Family to fill. We use heart beads to fill the bucket. When a someone notices a kind or helpful act, they go to that person and say "Heather, I am going to add you a helpful heart for ______." The person who is having the heart added for them says, "Thank you for noticing that." At the end of the year, EVERYONE gets to make a helpful heart bracelet. This is one of the sweetest things I have ever seen. You can read more about how we use hearts to talk about our heart words here. Grab the book here.

This book is very simple but I love it because of what you can do with it. It is about a child who is showing his mom all of these things in his room that might look like trash or junk but to him it is a treasure. I have used this book in Writing Workshop too. I have the child bring in 1 or 2 things that are a treasure to them and have them share why it is a treasure. We talk about how we treat something that is a special treasure. I then show them each a picture of them that I took the first week of school that I have glued on a wooden heart. I tell them that each one of them is a treasure to me. Since my job in Our School Family is the Safe Keeper, I am going to make a heart promise to keep each one of my treasures safe by putting them in my Safe Keeper's box. You can read more about the Safe Keeper here. You can grab your copy of the book here but notice I did NOT pay this much for it. =(

My Safe Keeper box is getting a makeover this week. =)

I love using this book to talk to my kiddos about being kind. I am working on a post now about how I use this book to talk about Our School Family job of the Kindness Recorder. Here is a sneak peak: =)

The flowers are from Target but I have also had the kiddos make flowers.
Grab your copy of the book here.

The first time I read this book I got a little teary-eyed. This book is about a dog named Charlie who is looking for a new owner. He writes an ad that lists all of his criteria his new owner must have. After reading this book we talk about what it takes to be a good friend and a helpful heart. We make a list and even take pictures of what some of those promises look like. We then write our official Heart Promises (kind of like rules). =) You can grab your copy of the book here but please note that I did not pay this much. =(

I hope these books give you an idea of some activities you can do to help build your School Family.

I would love for you to take a few moments to leave me a heart note. Please let me know if you have any questions.

From My Heart to Yours,

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cruising Back to Reality

Last week I was here:

The Carnival Magic

Beaches, relaxation. yummy food, family, reading, yummy food, sun, beverages, yummy food, and blog withdrawal. Did you notice how many times I said yummy food? I thought they were going to have to roll me home.

Here is a picture before we got on the boat.

I am loving how they made my sister squat down so I look taller!

We swam with dolphins. This is my youngest niece Emma kissing Calypso the dolphin.

She She (me) and her Chickadees

We got home on Sunday and I think I left my brain on the boat!

I usually avoid Wal-Mart but I have been REALLY scared to go because I am afraid I will see that they are starting to put out the school supplies...and I LOVE to buy school supplies. I would love to jump into the school as if 1 month of the year had already gone by. The first month is just exhausting...I feel like I reach my word limit for the day around noon.

I am excited that we are having some BIG changes in our math curriculum. I have wanted to burn the majority of what we have been doing. As you might know, Texas is one of the few states that did not adopt the Common Core. We already have our own standards called the TEKS (We have TEKS for language arts, reading, science, social studies, art, technology, health, etc. These are for every grade level across the state). We have new math TEKS this year that have brought in standards that we were missing with the Common Core PLUS more.

Here is an activity that comes from this FABULOUS book that our district is giving to every K-2 teacher. We are also getting the Debbie Diller Math Work Stations book...WAHOO! =)

This is just a quick activity that you can do when you have a few minutes to spare or you can even use the plates as a transition to line kiddos up. This activity helps build number sense and number concepts. All you need are some plates and some dot stickers. My OCD did have trouble getting the dots to be even so it probably took me a wee bit longer to make. I also put a dot on the back of the plate to show which way is the top of the plate (I am not sure if this matters).

Here is a picture of a few of the plates:

There are 32 plates in all.

I don't have a scanner at home so sharing a picture from the book of the different plates you can make was the easiest way for me to show you how to make all of them. If there is an easier way, please remember that I left my brain on the boat! =)

If you have any questions, please let me know.

I will be back very soon to talk about the first chapter in the Conscious Discipline book. It is a wonderful chapter about composure and being the person you want others to become. One of the big ideas is No one can make you angry without your permission. WOW! I think that is a powerful reminder to all of us. I hope you hop back over to read all about it. =)

Question of the Day: Do you do a scavenger hunt the first day of school? Would you be interested in me sharing a Pete the Cat or Kissing Hand scavenger hunt?

I would love for you to take a few minutes and leave me a heart note. =)

From My Heart to Yours,

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Remember to F.R.O.G. and some *freebies*

My classroom has been invaded by frogs. They are everywhere. My chickadees (my nieces) love to count them when they come help me in my classroom. I have frog lamps, wind chimes and even an adorable frog mailbox. The frogs each help to remind me to F.R.O.G.


I would not make it a day in the classroom if God had not called me to be there.

Our job is full of so many challenges. Curriculum, standards, and testing seem to be all that matters. "They" (whoever the heck all of "those" people are) seem to not realize I have been entrusted with the hearts of 18 little ones. I am not supposed to take in consideration that I have kiddos who get their only meals at school. The fact a parent is in jail or they don' have running water or they wake up grumpy because they were yelled at should not matter when they get to school because "they" think we teach a curriculum....but we all know that it does matter because we teach the child.

During my first 2 years of teaching, I cried almost everyday on the way home. I wanted to "fix" their burdens or carry them for my little ones.

I have realized how much I need to rely on God and trust Him to take care of my little ones when I am not there.

I can be there to love, hug, and listen to them. I can remember to have a Heart of Patience.

When I heard this song, I realized this is what we can do for our children and each other.

I never would have thought when I started blogging that I would be so encouraged and blessed by each one of you. Each one of you is a treasure in my heart. When I pray for God to use us to make a difference, I think of each one of you.

So, this poem is for each of you. When you see the frog, know that frog is a reminder that I am praying and thinking about YOU. I hope the frog also reminds you to F.R.O.G. The frog can also be a reminder to stop and take a few seconds to pray for the little ones in your classroom.

I hope you find a special place to put this. =)

Time to hop to the ***freebies***

I created these games for my kiddos to work on during the first few weeks of math work stations. I wanted something that would be fairly easy for them to work on independently....of course you are never sure until you meet your GROUP. Did your heart just skip a few beats??!!!?? Have you heard rumors or reports about the GROUP headed your way???

You can hop over to my TpT store here to go grab this **freebie** fun.

FYI: Followers of my store will be notified of secret *freebies* that I won't tell you about on my blog. =)

Here are the games you'll find:

This game is for my sweet little ones who will need help identifying numbers from 1 to 6.
Yes, I will have Firsties who will not be able to recognize numbers to 5. =(
This game will also work on color words. =)

Pete and Chester will compare who has more apples using ten frames.

building and coloring patterns with cubes

adding or subtracting dice to reach 50

ordering numbers to 20

adding sums to 12

I hope you can use these with your kiddos this year. 

Please take a few minutes to leave me a heart note. Each one is a blessing to me and leaves me with a smile. I would also big {{PUFFY}} heart LOVE for you to leave me a little note at my TpT store. =)

From My Heart to Yours,