Spotted

In exactly 26 days I will welcome a whole new group of 4-year-olds into my Pre-Kindergarten program.  In exactly 16 days I will be back to work preparing my classroom and writing lesson plans.  Which means I have a little over 2 weeks to enjoy these last, long days of freedom from schedules, doing my hair and make-up every day (something that is tiresome to me), and working on my tan.

During my summer vacation I refuse to even wear my watch.  I try that hard to not schedule my days.  Really, the kids are the only ones with things to do and places to go, and I’m ok with that.  I’d be happier if they liked to stay home as much as I do, but they don’t. I clearly remember those days of being a teenager in the summer and wanting to be out and about!  In order to be ready for school to start, I need to be working on stuff now, but trying to get my head in the game is really, really hard when the sun is shining and the pool is calling.

It’s easier for me to get excited about planning if I’m excited about my classroom theme.  In years past, I’ve done my classroom in various themes: Winnie-the-Pooh, monkeys, dogs, camping, outer space and owls.  I should probably start recycling themes as I tend to go a little overboard and by the end of the year end up with a full rubbermade tote of items.  But I get bored easily and using a theme I’ve already done is…well, boring.  This year I’ve decided to go with the theme of ladybugs!  There’s a lot of cute things I’ve already found.  I am kind of worried about the whole gender thing.  Are the boys going to be insulted?  I thought of calling them “ladies and gentle-bugs”  since I usually refer to my students as “ladies and gentlemen.” ( I say, speak it till you see it!)

I’ve spent hours online looking up ladybug stuff and, in my opinion, used great restraint when it’s come to purchasing some really cool things!  I did get one of these (I found it at the candy factory of all places!), and the dollar store has been a great source for cheap red stuff I can add black spots to.  The theme idea is something I actually stole borrowed from my SIL.  She and my brother did their brand, new baby girl’s nursery (my 1st niece!) in Ladybug stuff and in doing my classroom the same theme, I can think of her often even though I will miss her growing up (they live 12 long hours away.)  So, in a way this room is dedicated to this Little Ladybug, Allista Evelyn.  On a side note, I will get to meet her very soon!  We’re going to Philly to visit before school starts. I. Can’t. Wait.

Back to my classroom…you guys have often been a great source of ideas! Especially Kelly who has tons of fun ideas.   So far I have: “Ladybug Library: Buggy For Books”, “Busy Bugs” (for my job helpers), and “Birthday Bugs”.  I’m kind of stuck on what to do for my behavior board this year (or if I even want to have one.)  Each class as a whole is different, and last year’s group was the only group I’ve had in 8 years of teaching this curriculum that the green, yellow, red behavior board did not work. At all!  I was thinking of: B.U.G. (Being Unbelievably Good), or “Great Behavior Spotted” and having a green ladybug, a yellow, and a red, with the goal being to keep their “spot” on the green bug.  As for whole class behavior, I’ve always done a jar of some sort.  Last year I did “rock on with good behavior” and when they filled the jar with rocks, they got to choose a prize from the treasure chest.  I have two thoughts for this year: they start each day with a snack baggie with 5 ladybug “spots” (pom-poms) in their desk, and can add them to the jar as good behavior warrants, or I can hand out “bug bucks” for good behavior that weekly they can choose to turn in for prizes.  Both systems require work, I’m just not sure which one I want to use.

The other thing I have to decide on is show and tell.  It’s such a pain!  The kids love it though, and it’s really an educationally sound practice (the kids learn how to address a group, learn language skills as they describe what they brought to share, etc.)  However, when you have 15 kids in your class and you give them each 3 minutes, you do the math.  It’s longer than most of them can sit still!  I talked to a teacher recently who had one child do show and tell each day in a rotation.  I’m not sure I really like that idea though, and might just stick with the time-sucking old way.  Sigh.  Too many choices.

I could use your brain cells! Any ideas, thoughts, or suggestions on all things ladybug?

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