Read Across America

I love Read Across America Week! It's one of my favorite weeks (next to St. Patrick's Day week). Our school usually does a whole week of Dress up Days and have extra activities for March 2nd. Here is our schedule this year:

We will be doing my Happy Birthday Silly Cat centers in class.

Here are a few of the math centers that are included in this unit and that will be incorporated into our centers.

Tally Counting

Ordering Numbers from Least to Greatest

Adding to 10

Place Value Practice

Counting On: How Many More?

Greater Than or Less Than

Here are a few of the ELA centers that are included in this unit:

Real and Nonsense Words


Sight Word Practice

We will actually make Green Eggs and Ham on Wednesday and green GAK. Can. Not. Wait. What do you do to celebrate that silly cat??

Let's Get Personal

I don't share a lot about my personal life on my blog. I get a little freaked out by social media and how much people can really find out about you. I have mentioned before on my blog that I was a Type 1 diabetic, but haven't gone into a lot of detail. Today was another big day for me in my health journey, so let me give you a little background information. WARNING: THIS IS A LONG POST!

I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 27. There are 2 types of Diabetes. Type 1 and Type 2. Most people associate Type 1 diabetes with "juveniles" because it was once called Juvenile Diabetes and it USUALLY diagnosed in children or young adults. Only 5% of people with Diabetes have Type 1. Type 1 diabetes is inherited from risk factors from both parents and something "triggers" it. Type 1 diabetes can only be controlled by insulin because the pancreas does not produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes (is also caused by genetics but also lifestyle) does often require oral medications, but can also be controlled with lifestyle choices (diet and exercise).

Okay...enough with my facts. I was very lucky in that we caught my diabetes very early. I attended a wellness even our school system put on. We fasted and went in and they checked sugar, flexibility, weight, etc. My fasting sugar was 116. The nurse questioned if I fasted and I assured her I did. She knew my mom was a nurse and may want to have her check this another day this week. So we did....fasting morning sugar of 156. We knew immediately. We assumed it was Type 2. (My first cousin has Type 1 diabetes and was diagnosed around the age of 25...what were the chances I had the same thing?) My mom did some major research and found the best doctor in Louisville (2 hours from my hometown) and we begged her to take me. (She wasn't taking new patients.) That was THE BEST decision we have ever made. She immediately did a test checking my antibodies to see if I had Type 1 or Type 2. (I'm almost positive if we stayed in my hometown...that wouldn't have been done!)

As soon as we found out it was Type 1...we cried...then went and got Graeter's Ice Cream.

 I know what you are thinking...You have diabetes and you get ice cream? We were trying to make ourselves feel better. (On a side note: Graeter's is THE BEST ice cream. Ever.) I immediately began giving myself insulin injections. My sugars were still fairly good and my doctor said I was still in the "honeymoon" phase and my pancreas was still producing a little insulin. I continued with injections and was very stable throughout my entire pregnancy. I had no complications and delivered a healthy beautiful baby girl.

In 2010 I decided to get an insulin pump. It only seemed logical to me. Instead of giving myself 5 injections a day...I give 1 injection every 3 days. DUH! I chose the Omnipod because I like the idea of it being wireless. (My cousin had the same pump and liked it.) I have not regretted the decision. I have been healthy and currently have an A1C of 6.3. (A1C takes you average blood sugar level over 3 months...the goal is to be under 7.)

Today...was another big day. Today I began using a Dexcom G5 Continuous Glucose Monitor. This is another device that I wear that checks my sugar every 5 minutes and keeps a graph of my sugar. (This was not available 5 years ago when I began wearing a pump.) It has that pretty pink device that I can use, but it also has an app that I can use on my iphone. It seems silly to me to carry around another device when I have my phone with me all the time (and I still have to carry around my PDM for my pump).

This is how you wear it:

    This is the reading on my phone. I love how it literally alerts me (beeps at me) when I go low. It was also do it for a high! I'm so excited about how much healthier I will become once I truly get an idea of my patterns.

I'm so blown away by technology and I'm so thankful for doctors and science that allow me to live a healthier lifestyle. Is it easy? No. Is it scary? Yes. But it is the card I was dealt and I am thankful that this disease can be managed. It isn't curable (although they are working on it and making HUGE strides) but it can be managed, unlike many diseases and cancers.

So...I got real personal but I feel like if this can help at least 1 was well worth putting myself out there!

Week 1 with 1:1

We are so excited about our 1:1 classroom! 

Before I gave students the ipad, I did my best to get them student friendly. I created backgrounds to match my classroom decor. This background is the home and the lock screen. Each student is assigned a number and they know how to click on the ipad to assure that it is theirs. (The belkin storage I bought is numbered they know exactly where to place their ipad for storage.) I also placed all apps in a folder (reading, math, stories, coding) and the most frequently used are at the bottom.

We began by practicing how to turn them on and off. We have had 1 ipad in the room all year, so this wasn't completely new to them.

Once we had the hang of that, we practiced opening up a document in Showbie. 

Our district has some guidelines on using Google for the younger grades, so I wanted a way for students to access assignments on the ipad, complete them, and submit them back to me.  I uploaded a simple beginning of the year paper that we could practice using a stylus with. We had never used one, so this was all new to us. They did great! They were so excited. They were zooming in to help them write better, zooming out, erasing, etc. SO FUN!!!!! When finished they submitted it to me.

I do not have the upgraded version of this program....just the free so I could leave a comment for them (which I did and they freaked out!) but I couldn't "grade" it or I didn't have the option to show parents. While I love showbie, I think I am going to look at my options for other similar apps before we purchase it. I want to make sure it is what I want.

I also have to say that I was a little disappointed in Frontrow. I placed it on their toolbar thinking they would use it often, but it is a little too advanced for I have to go back through their ipads and change some things around. 

We are still practicing. This week they are completing and submitting one center on their own via Showbie. We have also played Kahoot! and it makes them CRAZY wild!!! 
What apps have you used? What do you love? What do you hate? I'd love your feedback!

We are 1:1

I am SUPER excited to say that my classroom is now 1:1 with ipads! Eek! I still cannot hardly believe it. We are beyond excited and I am excited to share my findings with you!

Our district began the 1:1 push a few years ago. You could apply for a grant and share how you would use these in your classroom and 1 classroom would get the devices (whatever device you preferred). Well...I didn't even apply. Now, I am fairly tech savvy. The longer I teach the more I realize I'm not NEAR as tech savvy as these young teachers right out of college, but at my school...I'm considered pretty tech savvy. Now...having said that...the thought of going 1:1 scared me to death. I just really couldn't wrap my head around it!! And to be honest...I wasn't sure I thought it was developmentally appropriate for Kindergarten. But principal asked me what I thought about going 1:1 with ipads. Uh....I wasn't sure what to say! I know. You think I'm crazy, but I was skeerd! I couldn't say no, so I said sure! Her response..."Good. They've been ordered. They will be here after Christmas break." Eek! I about died!

I have been teaching for 14 years and feel like I do a good job of changing my teaching to best meet my kids needs. I don't ever what to feel like I am "stuck" and not moving forward. The more I thought about this opportunity, I knew it was what was best for my kids and to be honest, best for me. It has made me excited about the cool things we can be doing in our rooms. And then...I found this quote and knew it was true.

(And let's be honest...that dress needs to be replaced.)

I spent Christmas break doing LOTS of research and reading lots of blogs. I LOVED Hip Hooray in K's post on the best free and paid apps you should use. (Click on images to go to those posts on her blog.)

Mary from Sharing Kindergarten has been SUPER helpful too! This post helped and a nice chat with her helped me decide on what to get to store and charge my ipads.

I went with the Belkin charging device that she recommended and I LOVE it! (I got 2!)

 I also love her Ipad 101 from her TPT store. It was very helpful as well to get me started!

I cannot wait to come back and share more! I've only had them for a month and the kiddos for a few days but I've already learned TONS! Check back soon!

Snow Days...Snow Days

Well....we are on our 8th snow day since Christmas break. Yes. I said 8th!

And y'all. Seriously. Seriously. They are calling for some snow tonight. And by some snow I mean about 1/2 an inch. That doesn't seem like much but in my rural town it's enough to close school! We have lots of rural roads to travel that don't get salted or plowed therefore making it hard for buses to travel. I just want to get in a routine. I just want a normal 5 day week! I really want a Valentine's Day party tomorrow...not next week sometime. I say sometime because we are supposed to get more snow on Sunday!!! AAAGH! Have you had any snow days? I know those up north laugh at how often we are out!
I've managed to accomplish a few things. I finally have letters A-M RTI units updated! I just completed the A-M bundle and placed it on TPT! That means I am 1/2 way through!

I hope you enjoy your Valentine's Day with your kiddos tomorrow!