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About Me

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I am a first grade teacher who has rediscovered a love for firsties this year. I have taught pre-k, kindergarten, first grade and even second over the past 16 years. I have been married for 17 years to my wonderful husband and have been blessed with 2 very active boys.

Pre-K Back to School

Pre-K Back to School
Pre-K Back to School

Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy

Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy
Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy

Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy

Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy
Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy

Phonics Games

Phonics Games
Phonics Games
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Calendar Math for Primary Grades

Calendar Math for Primary Grades
Primary Calendar for the Year

Making the Most of Morning Meeting

Morning Meeting is one of my favorite times of the day.  
I have a captive audience so it is crucial to get their little brains engaged in learning
because I only have their attention for a short amount of time.

The MOST important reason to come to the carpet according to my students was to see who the Apple of My Eye is going to be!  The WHO you say? The Apple of My Eye of course! In my apple themed classroom, that's the helper of the day.  

You might call it your Star Student or even your Top Dog,  Either way that child does EVERYTHING all day so I only have to keep track of one helper. This is the BEST classroom management change that I have made to save my sanity.  The child's name is on The Apple of My Eye chart every day until December and I reveal one letter at a time

We them move onto to our calendar.  In pre-k, we start the year off with our weekly calendar.  We count the number of days at home and the number of days at school.  Dr. Jean's Days of the Week song is a favorite.  This is the first step in counting and number recognition which gets us well on our way to counting up to ten. 

You can find my weekly calendar HERE along with seasonal pictures for each month and the numbers 1-7 for counting each day.  

When we return from Christmas vacation in January, I switch the weekly calendar to a monthly calendar. On the back of each calendar piece, I have the child's name that will be the Apple of My Eye.  (I had a morning and afternoon pre-k class last year so there are two names on each card-one red and one blue.) 

My pre-kinders would be excited to see what the new cards would be each month, but I soon realized we needed a little bit more.  I made a set of monthly calendar cards to include a pattern each month. Upon looking back, I realized that I needed to review the patterns as we moved on so I also built that in. My new calendar schedule looks like this:

We move onto reviewing our schedule for the day.  I have a daily schedule with pictures and words  and within a few weeks of school, the kids know the typical schedule.  It does have to be changed from time to time, and if I forget to turn it back they really let me know!

And to wrap up our quickly moving morning meeting, we incorporate a little literacy.  We work on a poem or nursery rhyme each week together.  While we practice the poems, we work on letters, sounds, rhyming words, vocabulary and concepts of print.  There is so much packed into this short period it amazes me.  

The rebus pictures that are used with the poem allow for students to reread it independently after a few days of practicing it chorally.  We add it later in the week to their Poetry Journal to practice reciting it, tracking print, illustrating it and connecting it to our language skill.  

That about wraps up our morning meeting time.  There are always extra activities that are substituted in throughout the year like out weekly journal starting in January, but by that time my pre-kinders are able to sit for a little longer!

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Mrs. Wathen
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5 Ways to Keep our Children Safe in the Face of Danger

I have been glued to the television and computer all day long.
There was ANOTHER mass shooting
with FIFTY victims dead and FIFTY THREE injured.
My prayers go out to all the injured as well as friends and family of all the victims.
My heart is so sad, filled with worry.
Worry for my husband who is there working the scene.
Worry for my community, who has dealt with two shootings in two days.
Worry for our children and the world they are growing up in.
In this past decade there have been numerous school shootings as well.
So what can we do to protect our children, both personal and students?
We, as adults, need to show our children that life goes on.
God conquers evil.
So what can we do in the face of danger?
Here are five ways to keep our children safe in the face of danger.  
Look around for anyone and anything out of place. 
 It is so easy to let a parent walk down the hallway with their child, 
but did they stop in the office first to sign in.  
What is the protocol at your school? 
Make sure it is followed at ALL times, even if it is not convenient.

What is your school plan? Is there a county plan? 
I had to take an active assailant training to prepare myself
in case of an intruder on campus and then take a test.
We, as teachers,  never think things like this will happen to them, 
but I am here to tell you this shooting was too close to home for me.
PLEASE take the time to make a plan or review the one you have.

Just like we, as adults, need to have a plan, 
we need to practice the scenarios with our children.
Will it be scary for them? ABSOLUTELY!
However, if it can save their lives, it is well worth it.
Just like a fire drill, an active intruder drill needs to be practiced.  
Teachers and parents need to have these hard conversations with our children.

I can't even imagine what would go through my head and I hope I never have to test this.
The children in our care are counting on us.
Do we hide? Try to get out of the building?
We are their first defense and these kids are counting on us.
The more prepared we are, the more likely we will be able to keep a clear head. 

What can you do on a daily basis to keep you and your students safe?
I teach out in a portable and I ALWAYS keep my door LOCKED.
Can this be inconvenient? You betcha! 
BUT, it keeps us safely inside the room.
When someone knocks, my students know not to open the door 
if it isn't someone they know and at that point my para professional or I check.
Most importantly, SPEAK OUT, if something isn't part of your norm.


So my friends, please pray for those who lost loved ones, 
the city of Orlando and the people of the USA!
We need to grieve and then move forward...with a plan.

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Mrs. Wathen
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Head Lice, Scabies and Pin Worms, Oh My!

Pre-kinders can be the most LOVING little people around!  
They share EVERYTHING (except maybe their favorite toy)! 
Did I say everything? OK, maybe not everything, BUT definitely
 Head Lice and Scabies and Pin Worms, Oh My!
This is just the tip of the iceberg...

This has been a year for the books! My first year back in pre-kindergarten
 and we ran the gamut of germs and creatures that spread!
So here are my top 5 things to look out for in pre-k!

We had 17 case of head lice this year!

I {almost} died.

But my kids were treated at home and were cleared by our nurse
before they came back to the classroom.
David Shannon has a great book to help kids (and teachers) through this.

Hand, foot, and moth is common in daycare centers and with young children.
My poor little guy was so sad he missed the end of the year festivities.

I did have a little sweetie who was out for THREE weeks
 before she was released by her doctor to return to school.
We wash our hands ALL THE TIME in class!

And the list went on and on this year! Today was the last day of school 
and I am happy to report that a sinus infection 
was the worst thing I caught THIS YEAR! 
 Yes, I am knocking on wood as I type this and thanking God and my lucky stars!  

Personal space is so hard for little friends! They want to hug All. THE. TIME.
Ring worm did not make it to my room THIS year, 
but I didn't want any little creature left out!

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Mrs. Wathen
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