Tuesday, June 24, 2014

"In Summerrr!"

Hello, all!

First of all, I apologize for getting "In Summer" stuck in your head for those that have listened to Frozen on repeat like our class has. For the past 3 months. Every. Single. Day. 

I hope you're having a great summer, whether you're with kids or not. And if you're going on any field trips, I feel your pain; best of luck to you. 

I'm going to have some exciting things going on in my shop! First of all, if you've seen my newest "Aloha" lesson plan on TPT and TeachersNotebook, you may have noticed Rosie tagging along. She's my little Google+ avatar and you'll be seeing a lot more of her in the months to come. I'm going to add her to my lesson images little by little so that no matter where you see them, you'll automatically know where it's coming from. I'm also going to work on expanding my TN shop. They have a lot to offer and while I'm loyal to TpT, I love the interface and feel of TN. 

When I'm not working on my shop, I'm organizing!  If you knew me, you'd know what a gigantic undertaking this is. During our workdays, my assistant does a fantastic job of organizing the centers, but of course they never stay that way. Meanwhile, the teacher's areas get neglected so the children will have something nice at eye level. With our numbers low, I'm taking this challenge head-on! 

 I didn't take a "Before" picture of the art cabinet, but it looked something like this: 


But I worked on the art cabinet today and here it is now!

By the way,I recently discovered a place called the Scrap Exchange.  If you're in Durham, I suggest you check it out. If you're not, look around and see if you can find or start something like it. They sell recycled materials for cheap. If you can think of it, chances are they have it. I got grocery sale signs, a sign that said, "We go nuts for healthy eating," and some great printing materials for art, and an entire pack of folders. All for $3.50! 

How are you spending your summer? 

See you soon!

--Amy Latta

Friday, June 13, 2014


Source: discoverhawaiitours.tumblr.com

Well, this is it, everyone: the last week of school before our summer program starts!

 This means that I'll be blogging a little less since I won't be planning this summer. I'm going to use the time to work on my TpT shop and keep you posted on happenings and ramblings in general. Look for a freebie soon!

This time of year is a bittersweet time for us as teachers, especially since we're in the unusual position of knowing exactly who we're getting from the younger classes. But that's a good thing! Use this time to talk to the teachers about which strategies have worked. And hope that they'll rise to the structure in your classroom as they continue to grow. 

       We have to remember too that this is also a confusing time for the students. We had some good conversations about "aloha" meaning "Hello" and "goodbye." As a group, we talked about saying goodbye to old friends and saying hello to new ones. They got a little sad thinking about losing their friends. It helped that we had talked about making friends previously, so we were able to draw on that knowledge and review it. The week before, we'd talked about kindergarten and visited a class next door to our center. We took along scavenger hunt sheets and the kids had a blast. It's hilarious how shy even the most rambunctious ones get! Overall, it was a good week. 

This week, we're relaxing. We had our end-of-year luau last week and have already lost one student for the summer. So I'm digging into my Pinterest page! You know the ones...you collect all these great ideas and then they just sit there. Maybe you can't find a theme to fit it in or maybe it just got buried. We're having a blast.

So far, we made tape-resist letters with gloss paint (corn syrup and food coloring), drew pictures and painted them with gloss paint. The kids loved it and asked for it repeatedly. It turned out to be a great sensory experience since it was so sticky. We found out quite on accident that it resists crayons and makes great stained glass if you paint on white paper and hang it in the window.

 Later in the week, we drew what was missing from various pictures.   

We had a nice circle time beforehand about what was missing and what might complete it. Some responses included "turtle shell," "wings," and "tentacles." All for the same picture of a person. There were quite a few students who opted simply to create rather than extend, and that's ok too. 

I'm going to miss these kids.