Friday, August 30, 2013

Five for Friday!

It is that time again!  We made it through our first week!  Well, we only made it 3 days...continue reading to find out more about this and a GIVEAWAY AND a freebie!

1.  I am currently enjoying a surprise 5 day WEEKEND!  You heard that right!  Remember my last post?  My school district cancelled school for Thursday and Friday for any school without a/c!  Guess who does not have a/c?   Can you believe that!?  I relaxed and headed to WI yesterday.  Today, I will lesson plan, lesson plan, lesson plan so I can get ahead or get caught up...ha!

2.  The first day we read First Day Jitters and did a writing response activity.

I had my kiddos write about how they felt on the first day of school.  It was a great informal assessment to see where my kiddos are at!

3.  I am excited about these 2 days, but my class was doing so great with everything and I just wanted to keep going with everything!  Wednesday I started Guided Math with them.  We only practiced our expectations in the center part of Guided Math, but they did a great job with that!  I wanted to spend the new few days practicing, but that will have to wait until next week!

4.  Have you seen the new Precious Pink sharpener from Friendly Classroom Supplies!?  I am in LOVE with these sharpeners and this color!  The best part- $1 from each sale goes to a cancer charity.  Read about the two charities here!  I find myself ALWAYS buying something when I know some of proceeds go to a I the only one!?  I have great news, Troy was so nice to give me one to giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

5.  Now a freebie for you!  Skip counting cards and recording sheet!  Click on the picture.  Enjoy! :)

Freebie Fridays

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Back at It!

Well, we have survived the first couple of days of school.  I say survive because it is this hot:

And my school does NOT have A/C!  Talk about sweaty!  I decided yesterday to skip the gym because I sweated enough at school.  Today we took "ice breaks"...aka we rubbed ice over our faces and neck, then got all goofy because who has an ice break at school!?  My kiddos are great and the principals are doing anything to keep us cool.  Bringing us water, ice, and popsiclse!
Besides all the sweating we have been doing some school related activities!  My kiddos are so eager to learn!  All day yesterday I heard, "When is math?"  "When is science?"  "WHEN ARE CENTERS!?"  I had to explain it was the first day and we couldn't do everything on the first day.  So when I said we were going to explore snap cubes everyone was cheering!
After we explored our cubes, I started making up story problems for them to solve using the cubes.  Then of course I let my kiddos come up and make up their own story problems!  Yes, one of the problems included Christmas presents and underwear.  I am loving these new grades!  Even though a couple tried to tell me they were in 2nd and got all "confused" when I caught them in their little lies.  My new life as a 1st/2nd grade teacher!:)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Five for Friday

It has been a week since I blogged last!  Where has the time gone!?  I know...PD, PD, PD, work on my room every free second I get!
1.  I think that will be my number one for the week!  I had PD for STEP- a literacy assessment program similar to Fountas and Pinnell.  Then, another PD on ST Math- a computer based math program.  If you missed it I am teaching a 1st/2nd split, so some PD's were for 1st only or 2nd only and guess what...I had to go to both! AH!
2.  We do Responsive Classroom in our classroom and I am still trying to figure out how to do the correct components of R.C and do my calendar all in 30 minutes!  We have exactly 30 minutes before my prep for the day!  Talk about a rush!
3.  We had open house on Thursday and I met some of my cuties!  They all seemed so great and the parent's were so excited to be there!  About 5 minutes before they came I whipped up some signs to direct traffic through all the papers and forms they needed to sign.
4.  I know I haven't taken pics of my new classroom, but I will!  I also have a whole blog post on those cute pom poms/tissue flowers that are hanging above the tables!
5.  I'll end with a funny story-  Last week my mom came Friday to help me move all my teacher stuff to my classroom.  The hubby and I don't have an SUV so she came and helped us by bringing their's.  We spent the next day (Saturday) looking for caddies for my tables.  Target has them for like $3 but every Target has like 3 of each color.  I need 6!  What does one do when there is a Target in every city around you?  GO to every Target!  Yes, we went to like 5 Targets and bought anything we found and still only ended up with 5 at the most.  I decided to split 3 and 3 then use the color pom poms for tables.
The kicker...I went to the Target next to my house yesterday and they restocked the shelves...6 of each color...#teacherproblems

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Back to School Sale Linky!

Before I talk about my fun linky party I wanted to announce...I HAVE A CLASSROOM!  Thursday I had one interview for a second grade job and when I walked out of that I had a call for another interview for a 1/2 split class!  15 minutes after I left my interview the principal for the 1/2 split class called and offered me the job!  It is not kindergarten, but like one of my FB followers said, "...change is the best professional development." TRUE THAT!  I have already been in my room and EVERY teacher has said my room is the biggest and best room at the school...what!?  It was meant to be! :) Pictures to come!  Here is a little sneak peak:
This is from the front of the room to the back.  Right behind where I was standing is a GIANT walk in supply closet!  It is huge!  I actually asked a teacher who showed me my room if it was all mine?!  The hubby can finally park in the garage again ;)

I am sure you have all heard about the fabulous Back to School Sale going on from August 18th-19th!  That means the sale starts tomorrow!  I am hosting a Back to School Sale Linky!  Link you your stores or you blogs!  Grab the button if you want to blog about it or post about it on Facebook!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Teacher without a Class

I think I should change my blog name to that.  Ok, I am being over dramatic haha!  I am still waiting for a placement.  I had two interviews the past two days!  One was 1st (close to Kindergarten, YAY) and one was 3rd (ahh- one of the interview questions was about ordering fractions!?) and BOTH were 40 minutes away from me WITHOUT traffic!  I can't imagine how long it will take as I try to drive through the city during rush hour...  Anyway, the first grade position was filled by one of my teacher friend's who is an amazing first grade teacher!  And two of my other teacher friends got positions too!  Whoo whoo!  So happy for them!  I still have my fingers crossed I find my classroom, so the hubby can park in the garage again ;)
Since I have extra time on my hands and can't really prep anything without knowing grade or school, I have spent lots of time on Pinterest-duh!  Check out some of my, because I know I will have more tomorrow :)
*Click on the pictures to find the links*

Create words with brass or silver push pins in a foam board and frame. Quick, original, affordable art.   dining space

This could be really cute if done the right way or really "tacky"...I'm here all week folks! :)

Popcorn bar: display plain popcorn and several spices and let guests do their own seasoning
How fun is this!?  Plain popcorn with shakers filled with different flavors!  
Equivalent fraction anchor chart using the cut-out of the number- love it! Could even have the students make their own and glue into their math notebooks for future reference.
I've got fractions on my brain now!

Switch up rock, paper, scissors to help kids with math! Two player game, one person is "odds" and the other is "evens." Kids shake their fist, chant "1,2,3, shoot!" Then, they stick out zero, one, two, three, four, or five fingers. Kids find the sum of their fingers. If the answer is even, then evens gets a point. If it's odd, odds gets a point.
This is so fun!  Rock, Paper, Scissors but with numbers!  Add fingers together and if the answer is even, then the even team gets a point!

I actually saw this on Facebook, but thought I would share.  "If Disney Princesses had Instagram"

Monday, August 12, 2013

Let's Talk About Me!

I am linking up with Blog Hoppin' for their Teacher Week '13!  Today is:
1.  The hubby and I went to high school together and never talked until after we graduated!  We went our separate ways for school and randomly reconnected right after graduated college!  What is with graduating!?  
We just celebrated our one year anniversary!
Wedding Day! 8/4/12 <3
2.  We just celebrated our one year anniversary in Puerto Vallarata!  
3.  We live in MN but both grew up in WI!  And we LOVE the Packers!
4.  I did gymnastics for most of my childhood until I graduated high school!

5. My favorite movie is Legally Blonde!  But the only movies I really watch now are lifetime movies.  The last time I saw a movie in the theater was The Lorax with my kinders 2 years ago!

6.  I LOVE kindergarten and have taught it for 3 years! 
7.  I don't know where I am teaching next year!  Did your mouth just drop open?  Yep!  Still waiting to see where I will be...  However, my teaching partner Irene is in the same boat-we don't like it!  Haha!
8.  I love reality TV!  I am obsessed with Big Brother right now! 
9.  My favorite things are: summer, pink, pizza, tacos, the beach, diet coke
10.  My not so favorite things: snow in April, ranch dressing, mayo, mice

Now it is your turn!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Hola! Back at it!

Home sweet home!  The hubs and I had a fabulous trip to Puerto Vallarta!  It was sunny, hot, and so relaxing!

The view from our room...ahh!  Miss it already!
Our first night there we got to do a sea turtle release!  My little guy was so wiggly!  
Anniversary dinner-"The Romantic Couple" as the waiter would say every time he walked passed us.
Our trip wouldn't be complete without a sombrero! 

I haven't done anything school related, so I hope you enjoyed a few pics from our trip!
ALSO- THANK YOU to all my fabulous guest bloggers!  I have never done that before, but it was fun and easy.  Hmm...maybe I will have to do that again!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Guest Blogger- Pam from Moments to Teach

Hey guys! I'm Pam from Moments to Teach and I'm excited to be guest blogging for the first time. Kimberly said I could choose my own topic to blog about and I think this made it harder for me. I don't make choices very easily. However, I did come with a lesson that I'm eager to try with my firsties after we start back to school.

Every year, I end up having to teach my kids what my expectations are for their illustrations on their stories. It's one of those things that I forget to teach until I see the things they are producing. After a few reminders of what effort looks like, I find I get better results from them. This year, I'm going to be proactive and teach my expectations early in my writing instruction.

For this activity, I whipped up a few examples of how I would teach this lesson. Please be kind to my drawing abilities - I am no Picasso. I did get excited when I realized that I got to use my big box of crayons and that it came with the cutest crayon sharpener ever!

For this activity, I took the banner page that I created and went to town on how I would teach this to my kiddos. I am including a link to the banner page with this post. I will eventually be making it cute and uploading it to TPT, but you can use the not-so-cute version I've included to recreate my idea. Below you will find a picture with step by step instructions.

For this activity, I would demonstrate what a "good" drawing has by walking the students through good and bad examples. I would then display these for their reference. The object of this lesson is for them to create a banner that tells others about them using only pictures.

One - This picture has one color, a name, and a stick figure. Now, there is nothing wrong with stick figures - they can be very cute if done right - but where's the color and excitement? This child (me) did not put much time or effort into their drawing.

Two - The next drawing has a little color, but the student has not added any extra details. They have simply written their name and drawn themselves. I am not able to tell much about them.

Three - This student is beginning to add details about their life. From their picture, I know they have a dog. I also see different colors being used.

Four - This student has added a lot of color and detail to their picture! They have used the entire space by adding a background. They have also added two or three pictures in addition to their self portrait.

I would draw these in front of the students and we would critique them together. Then, I would give each student the page for themselves and have them complete a banner. I'm thinking this may be a good time to review expectations for using supplies as well.

The last step is my favorite - displaying it for all to enjoy! I cut pennants out of scrapbook paper and used them to add a little pizzazz to the display. You could also have students color the pennants that are included in the banner file if you'd like. Thanks again Kimberly for allowing me to be a guest blogger on your adorable blog!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Guest Blogger-Amanda from Mrs. Pauley's Kindergarten

Hi everyone!  My name is Amanda and I blog over at Mrs. Pauley's Kindergarten.  I am starting my 7th year of teaching and four of those years I have taught kindergarten.  It is by far my favorite grade to teach!

It is that time of year when we are all thinking about back to school.  At my school, we do something a little different for kindergarten at the beginning of the year.  When kindergarten students register and even start the year, they are not assigned a classroom teacher.  Yep, that's right not assigned a teacher.  Instead all the students are grouped together in one class.  We take the first few days to get to know the students, assess them, and take into account any other information that will help make the decision of which class the student will fit best in.

The first piece of information we use is a parent information sheet.  We send this home the week before school starts to all the parents who have registered their child.  We ask that parents bring the form on "Unpack your Backpack" Night.  The front side of the form is basic information like name, if the child goes by a nickname, and how they will be getting home from school.  The back side of the form asks questions like "Is your child right or left handed?" or "Can your child tie his/her shoes?".

If you click on the images below, you can download this information sheet for free.  :)


Once school starts, we assess the students on some basic skills like letters, sounds, numbers, colors, etc.  We are only able to do this with the help of our wonderful reading teacher.  She is amazing and helps us out the first two days.  We teach and she pulls students out one at a time to assess.  (I should also mention that during the first couple days our Speech Pathologist and ELL teacher come to screen students as well.)

After the assessments are done, the other kindergarten teacher and I sit down with all the information we have gathered and place students into the two classes.  We try to have the classes evenly matched with abilities, behaviors, and special needs.  One thing though is that we keep all the ELL kids in one class to help accommodate the ELL teacher's schedule.  This year all the ELL students will be in my classroom.  By the second week of school, each student is assigned a teacher and we send home a note explaining that.

This practice is common in our district, but I don't think many others do this.  How are kindergarten students placed in classes in your school?  I would love to hear!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Guest Blogger-Elizabeth from Kickin' it in Kindergarten

I love visitng other blogs! I'm so glad that Kimberly Ann reached out to me to guest blog for her while she is soakin' up some rays in Mexico! We all need a little R&R before it's time to head back to school. If you don't know me, this is Elizabeth from Kickin' it in Kindergarten. Kimberly Ann and I have become bloggy buds since I started blogging and she is just the best! 

When she asked me to guest blog, I thought about everything that I do going back to school. The biggest and (I think) the most important part of early Kindergarten is getting those little friends trained right! 

I know you know what I'm talking about...

It's utter chaos for the first few days. I am going to start writing to my August self from my April self for reassurance that it will get better. You just feel like a crazy person when they all get to your room untamed like tiny little crazy people. 
Last year was insane. I had kids running away, crawling on the floor, crying, peeing in pants...I still have nightmares (it got way better like it always does). 

Here is a book I like to read at the beginning of the year when we talk about our rules.
Have you read this one? I also like to use the language that is in the book about "today was a difficult today and tomorrow will be better."

Here is a reader response page you can complete after you read a book about rules. I didn't include, a "We Read" because possibly you have a better book that you like to read to introduce your classroom rules! I would love more suggestions and ideas.

Since it's the beginning of the year, I try not to stress them out with writing anything down. If they can illustrate it and explain what rule they illustrated, then I am happy. 

Maybe you have a class this year that needs to do this for each rule. I like to brainstorm different ideas with them of what following each rule looks like. I try not to focus on what it doesn't look like. Take the focus off the negative :)

What are your rules?
How do you ensure that you set clear expectations for your students?
I'd love to hear more ideas! 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Guest Blogger-Brittany from Lovely Literacy and More

Brittany here from Lovely Literacy and More. As you probably already know Kimberly Ann is soaking up the sun in Mexico. Can you say jealous?! There's almost nothing that I love more than soaking in the sun on the beach with a yummy drink in hand. Ahhh... I can almost feel the sand in my toes now. I'm picturing this as Kimberly Ann getting her groove on to a Mexican band. :)
The week while Kimberly Ann is enjoying Mexico I will be finishing up all the things on my back to school to do list. I don't know if I will be able to get into my classroom yet (though I hope so) since teachers don't officially go back until August 28th. Me & the hubs will be in Laredo, TX Aug. 13th-20th and I have orientation the 22nd & 23rd since it's my 1st year @ Millgrove so I need to get things ready before I head out of town. I don't know how y'all are but I need a solid 2 weeks at a bare minimum to get everything all set & ready to go for the first day of school.
Here is just a little peek at what my back to school checklist looks like right now and I know there is probably many things missing.
What are your top 3 must-do's on your back to school to do checklist?
I put together this Amigo Syllable Sort freebie for y'all since Kimberly Ann is in Mexico. I thought it was fitting.
I hope y'all are having a great summer for those of you who are still enjoying your summer break. For those of you who may already be in school or soon will be I hope you have a fantastic first week of school!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Celebrating ONE Year in Paradise!

Today the hubby and I have been married for ONE YEAR!  Yay!  We are currently soaking up the sun in Mexico, but I have a couple scheduled posts (like this one) plus some guest bloggers lined up while I am gone! 

 I like any excuse to have a sale, so head on over to my store and stock up on some Back to School products or any product!  It is ALL 20% off! :)