Monday, August 29, 2011

Classroom Pics

I finally got a chance to snap a few quick pics as I was heading out the door today.  Man, these last few days have been cah-razy!  I’m loving my new little kinders though! They are doing such a fantastic job!  We have been going through all the expectations and routines over the past 4 days, and today we actually did math centers! Wow! Can you believe it?! I’m so excited Smile 

So here’s my room – don’t look too closely…there are piles everywhere!!  I’ll try to take some more detailed pics later, but for now, here is an overview:

This is a view from the door to my classroom looking towards the front.  Immediately to the left is our coat area. I dislike having the coat area in my room because I loose so much valuable space!  *See my rainbow board ala Julie Lee?  It is working WONDERFULLY!  The kiddos LOVE it!*

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From the front door looking at the back of the classroom.  To the immediate right of the picture is the tile floor area – counter space, sink, and bathroom are there.

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Manipulatives/toys are housed in the little book shelf (blocks, legos, bristle blocks, round stackers – I’ll change these out periodically).  The play kitchen is also back there.

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Here is our little reading area and writing center.  The writing center is not finished yet! ahhhh!  The flowers are for our name word wall – yep, you guessed it – not done yet Winking smile

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The little table to the left of this picture is my little work table – I can also use this table for assessments or working with 1 or 2 children.  You can see our art easel, mailboxes and bathroom in this pic.  The open door to the left leads to another K classroom (which used to be first grade).

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Here’s one of my little messy areas!  Daily supplies…(ahem…including the diet coke…see it?!)

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And another catch-all messy place.  This is right across from the picture above (behind the mailboxes).  I decided to take over this counter space for me – drawers to organize papers, supplies – and to just stash stuff until I know what to do with it.  I also have a bookshelf with my favorite books (above behind the red and white curtain).

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Ahhh….so there you go! Please ignore the mess! I know we all have it – especially at the beginning of the year when we are all trying to keep our heads on straight!

One more thing – two fabulous ladies have started a new blog! Kim Adsit and her daughter Megan have teamed up to write a blog together! I’m so excited to see what they come up with this year!! Be sure to go and check them out!

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Calling all Music! August/September

Hi friends – phew, am I exhausted!  We started school on Wednesday, and I don’t have ANY pictures for you! I haven’t even gotten a chance to snap pictures of my room, I have been sooo terribly busy!  Soon, I promise Smile

Do you ever get stuck in a music rut?  I sure do! I have my favorites and we sing them…. a lot.  One of my summer projects WAS going to be to organize my music by month – perhaps even by week, so I would be introducing new songs every week.  Well, that didn’t happen.

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So, I’m reaching out to all of you amazing teachers!  Each month, I’ll write a post asking you to leave a comment for your favorite music for that month!

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So, this month, I’m asking you to post up with your favorite back to school songs, movement songs, beginning of the year phonics,phonemic awareness songs, math and beginning number concepts! Make sense?

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I’ll compile all of the songs for August and September into a document and post it for all of you to organize your OWN music!

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To make it easier on everyone, please include in your comment:

1. Title of Song

2. Artist of Song

3. Album that the song is on

Happy Singing!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Teacher Talk Tuesday–Advice

Today’s theme is advice for new teachers, but I think this tip might help others too!  

We have a lot of turnover at my school – the military base sees children come and go throughout the year.  Last spring, we gained 12 kindergarteners from January to May! CRAZY! 

As I label things I made 5 additional piles.   I continually add to the pile as I work: lucky duck sticks, birthday flower, apple for lunch choice, helper stick, clothespin – anything that I would need to label.  I did the same when I was putting together my open house folder.

I put all the papers inside a file folder (with a checklist for parents!) and all of the little pieces in a baggie. I tried to color code all of the papers to make it easier on parents.

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I tucked everything inside of a poly folder.

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When a new student walks through the door, I can grab a file and a baggie, and I’m good to go! 

*I also type up a WHOLE page of labels for each child – first name, first and last name, (small font and large font), name and lunch number, address, etc. – anything that I could possibly need!)

I hope this tip helps all of the newbies out there!  Doing a little extra work now will definitely save you time when that new student walks in your room!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Meet The Teacher Monday!

Meet the Teacher Monday!

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I am so excited to be a part of a new blogging adventure that we like to call Blog Hoppin!  A group of us got together and developed this blog to collaborate and share great ideas. We are kicking it off (our grand opening!) with Teacher Week 2011!  The first item on the agenda is Meet The Teacher! 

Abby started us off over at Blog Hoppin with her bio and I’m linking up with her!

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 Tell us a little something about you...

I think you all know who I am by now, but let me tell you a bit more! I started this little blog almost a year ago hoping that it could be part of my final project for my master’s degree.  When that didn’t work out, I decided that I would continue on!  I can’t believe my first anniversary is coming up!  I think blogging has made me a better teacher and I LOVE getting so many great ideas from ALL OF YOU!  P.S. – Thanks for supporting me on this little adventure of mine Smile

 How long have you been teaching?

This year will be my 7th year teaching.  I taught 1st grade for one year, and have been in kindergarten for 5 years.  I took some time off after the death of my daughter to be home and raise my other two girls.  Kindergarten is where my heart is.  Each day can be challenging, but it also can be (and is!) SO rewarding!  

What are you looking most forward to this school year?

I am looking forward to an exciting year of lots of learning and implementing all of the great learning I have done over the summer!  My Kindergarten team has also completely changed, and I am excited to work with two wonderful ladies!  We are going to have so much fun!

What do you need to improve?

I love writing time in my classroom, and my kiddos can write a pretty good story by the end of Kindergarten, but my lessons are always so random!  I’ve been reading the Fountas and Pinnell Curricular Calendar for Writer’s Workshop and am working on my mini-lessons for the rest of the year! I am so excited to incorporate “real” mini-lessons into my writing time! I’m also working through their Reader’s Workshop book as well – my new teaching partner LOVES reader’s workshop, so she will be a great asset to me!

AND – I really AM going to be organized this year! I am done with my Master’s Degree so that is a HUGE weight off of my shoulders!  ALSO…and the MOST exciting thing for me….I get my husband back! Back Story: For the past 12 years, he has worked his regular job writing software and then taught Norwegian in the evening at the University – which meant that he was not home until about 9:30 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  Here’s the good part – he is now teaching his classes online so that he’ll be home with us in the evening! I can’t even express how excited I am about this! So, with him home to help out I’ll {hopefully} be able to keep my home life and school life organized and be on top of my to do list! Keep your fingers crossed!!

What teaching supplies can you *not* live without?

1. Diet Coke – it’s my fuel.

2. My interactive white board.  I had the opportunity to move to a MUCH larger room this year, but there was no IWB.  I chose to stay put.

3. I love me some Heidi Songs! Great way to get the kiddos up and moving and practicing great skills too!

4. My laminator! It’s saved me in a pinch when I have had to make a center game last minute – not going to do that this year – staying organized!!

5. My Silhouette – this is my brand new baby, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!  I’ve made so many things for my room with this – it is truly a time saver!

6.  They aren’t really “supplies”, but I couldn’t have gotten through last year with some very special friends.  Kim and Deanna were life savers to me – I don’t know what I would have done without their guidance, support, and friendship last school year.  Thanks girls – looking forward to another great year Smile

PS – I totally have to add this photo because I just took it off my camera….

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That’s me and Brandi Carlile!!  She is SO awesome, and I was so excited to get to meet her!!  If you haven’t heard her music before, you need to TOTALLY check her out! She rocks my world! 

So, now, it's time to link up your bio over at Blog Hoppin’.  Click on the image below to take you there!  You can use the questions above or write anything else you would like as long as it pertains to the topic of the day : YOU!  

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Teacher Week - 2011

Yay!  So excited to share this wonderful new blog with you!

Check out all of the details over at Blog Hoppin’!

Hope to see you there!!

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Peace and Love

The finished product:

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Sorry that the picture is kind of light – the colors are super bright and fun! The lights are off in the hallway and doesn’t make for good picture taking!

I love how it turned out – super simple, and took me all of 10 minutes to put up!  Just how I like it – especially since it will only be up for a couple of weeks!

Thanks for all the help with the font! I was too anxious to get started and used a combination of Turkey Sandwich and Brady Bunch…but the real font was Floraless!

So….

Kristy Sully – send me an e-mail and let me know what you would like from my TpT shop! You are the winner of the font contest!

More classroom pics coming soon!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Back to School Calendar Book

Update:  See this post for how my calendar book looks now! It evolved throughout the years to be more of a daily journal page in which we fill in information each day (on one page) instead of over a series of pages.  It became more meaningful to the children having the skills all on one page*

I get tons of e-mails asking me about calendar book.  First, I want to clarify that this was NOT my original idea!  My kindergarten friends introduced me to it a few years ago, and they learned about it from a Shari Sloane conference.  I just adapt and tweak to meet my kiddos needs.
The first year I did calendar book, I was SCARED.  I didn’t start until January.  I thought the kiddos needed some time to mature and be able to sit longer be better listeners and so on.  Don’t get me wrong, I still did calendar, but I wasn’t ready to put the books in the hands of my little babies!
My second year of calendar book, my friend convinced me to start right away at the beginning of the school year.  I didn’t start at the very beginning….I gave it a week or 2 and started in September.  VERY S….L…O…W…L…Y.
These are the binders that I use:
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I get them at Sam’s club.  I TRY to make them last 2 years, but some kids are harder on them than others.  We always talk in the beginning about how important they are, and how they need to treat them nicely……you know the gig.
I also put in a pencil pouch.
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They are kinda spendy – so I really watch for deals.  Sometimes you can get them at the dollar store, but make sure they fit a three ring binder! I bought a bunch of them once, and they didn’t fit!  My friends put these on their supply lists, but I can’t do that because not all the K teachers in my building do calendar books.
In the pencil pouch are 2 crayons and a pencil.  Keepin’ it simple!
This is what the kiddos have in their calendar notebooks:
1. September songs
2. Alphabet Chart
3.The September calendar page with dotted numbers to trace.
4. Number writing page (we wait a while to start this).
5. Patterning page
6. How many days in school page (with the first few numbers dotted)
7. Tooth tally chart
8. Birthday Chart
9. Zero the Hero Chart
*The last 4 stay in the calendar book year round.
As the children are able to, I add more pages that match the pages in my flipchart.  (Here the bummer news: I can’t send you my calendar flipcharts because I use DJ Inkers clip art, and the images can’t be secured.  We all know that is a big no-no with DJ Inkers!)
Phew – got all that?  Really, it’s not that difficult to do – just takes a bit of courage!  Kim Adsit and Shari Sloane have put together a really nice calendar packet that explains everything in detail…there are lots more activities for names, weather, songs, etc.  It’s a gigantic pack and well worth the price!  You can find at at Kim’s store on Teachers Pay Teachers.
So, here’s the good news! I’m sharing my calendar goodies with you to get you started!  I promise you you’ll really enjoy it! The kids are so engaged and are practicing skills everyday.  When you notice they need practice with a certain skill, just add it to their book…they get so excited about new pages! 
So…here goes! 
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This is why you need 2 crayons in your pencil pocket Smile I always keep an “extra”  basket nearby for pencils that break or if someone loses a crayon.
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This one we do with a number writing song – right now I can’t tell you if it is a Jack or Dr. Jean song.  Sorry!
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(I get the Zero the Hero page from Kim’s pack)
 Just leave a note to tell me that you snagged ‘em Smile

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Creative Slump!

Okay, just to give you a warning…this post is a hot mess.  Phew. I am all over the place.  I think that’s how I’m feeling these days! With that being said, have you ever been in a creative slump?  Oh my goodness – my creative juices are running L.O.W.!  I’ve been racking my brain trying to come up with a theme for the year (which I’ve never done, and this is probably why!).  First, it was “magic.”  Then, I backed off …magic can be a little iffy in schools.  Then I thought I had it, detectives and mystery!  I had all these slogans thought of, and Deanna came up with a few awesome ones for me too, but now I’m just not feeling it!  So, I’m stuck.  I need a back to school bulletin board and an idea for my name word wall.  Last year, I did this: 

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“Cruising through Kindergarten with my friends!”

My current thought is: “Peace, Love, Kindergarten” – I think I could do a pretty simple bulletin board for the hall (because, let’s face it…we all have lots more important things to do than spend hours on a board that’s going to get torn down!) Here’s the inspiration:

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{Source}

**UPDATE:  Freebie from my TpT store for the first person to tell me what the font on the t-shirt is!**

I think my name wall could be “I Love my Friends” or something of the sort…

Sheesh…slumpy, right?

So, HELP ME!  Ideas, anyone?

One more question…I am going to do a focus wall this year. I’ve never done one before, but I think it will help to keep my teaching on track and keep the kids focused on what they’re learning.  For those of you that do them, what do you put on them?  So far, I have sight words, amazing words (vocab words from our reading series), alphabet, math….

I also have a really neat behavior plan that I want to share with you.  It’s from Aloha Kindergarten.  I. LOVE.IT  It works so well with our schools PBS (um, RTI-B) plan.  I am totally doing it this year!

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Source: Aloha Kindergarten

{HERE} is the blog post that explains the CHAMPs system.

AND – I’ve had lots of requests for a new back to school problem solving pack.  I’m going to TRY to work on it this week!  I also have some more calendar downloads for you too!  Keep checking back!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Shut the door! Sale Extended!

sale extended

 

Growing Kinders

Would you like to see it in the “new and improved” format?
click {HERE!}

Kim Adsit

Deanna Jump

THE COUPON CODE IS: B1T1S

Did you find my monster freebie?  It’s a big one! Come back and tell me what you think of it!

Here is another freebie for you!

Laurie, one of my sweet readers, asked me to make some labels  for her Zero the Hero book! She is copying the pages and putting them in a 3-prong folder.  Here are the labels I made for her (Avery 5163)

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And another set if you want some that are a bit bigger.  (You’ll have to cut these out and glue them on though!)

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Don’t have a Zero the Hero pack yet?  Find it {HERE}

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