December 11, 2016

December Fun

Whaaaaat three weeks left in the year??!! I totally feel like shouting that Kevin from Home Alone shriek many many times throughout the month of December with all its craziness!

At the beginning of every month, I send out a family project. As a grade level, we send out themed activities for our students to work on at home with their families. Our families get creative and our hallways are filled with beads, pasta, glitter, and more!

This month, we worked on creating a Holiday Fun-land. I send home our usual parent note explaining the expectation/purpose of our project. I copy front and back a gingerbread man template and an ornament template. I ask the families to choose one to decorate.

It's totally optional to participate, and I don't put any pressure to complete the family projects. Below is what I received this month, 13 out of 19 isn't too bad. I also have a large bulletin board so I use half to display our family projects, and the other half to display writing samples of what we've done in the classroom.

As the students bring in their project to school, we have a show and tell to share all about our project. I sent this project out on the day before Thanksgiving break so that they could work on it with their families during the week.
This little friend shared about how he didn't have brown paint at home. A cousin who was visiting during the Thanksgiving break shared with him how she had learned in her high school art class how to use food as paint. He shared with our class about how he used coffee as a watercolor to make his gingerbread brown. Impressive and very resourceful at using what they had at home already!
This little friend shared how he got the idea to decorate his gingerbread as a ninja from one of his favorite t-shirts.

We've been sharing our family projects since August, when we brought in our Family Tree Leaves, so it's incredible to see how their listening and speaking skills are developing.
Something that has been working well with our monthly projects is that even my most quietest students love to come up and share their project. They have a sense of pride when they talk about who helped them to work on the project. We work on active listening skills too. Before the presentations, we discuss being respectful and polite audience members while our friends present their projects.

I think back to my own kindergarten experience, I have great memories of my kinder teacher allowing us a Friday show and tell. It was an exciting time to bring something from home and just talk about it. In a time where teachers have a lot on their plate with the pressures of standards and such, it's nice to have something as simple as a show and tell in our classroom.

I'm in the process of putting up all of my monthly project printables that include the templates and parent notes up in my little TpT store. If you are interested in this Holiday Fun-land project, check it out here or by clicking the photo below.

November 27, 2016

Cyber Sale on TpT and Win a Gift Card!

Have you heard the big news? It's the Teachers Pay Teachers Cyber Sale starting tomorrow!

Who doesn't love shopping from home?! I've been eyeing a few new things like clip art sets and some other bundles from some favorite sellers so I'm fixing up my wishlist and cart. Visit my little store and stock up on some goodies with big savings!

I would love to help you empty that shopping cart with a giveaway!

I'm joining 26 fabulous bloggers for a huge TpT Gift Card Giveaway and Blog Hop. For a chance to win a $10 TpT Gift Card from me be sure to complete the Rafflecopter below! Then hop over to the next blogger and enter again, that's over $200 worth of TpT mula!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Click on the mittens below to visit Reading with Miss B. for ANOTHER chance to win ANOTHER gift card. Follow each button and when you reach me, you've completed the loop. Best of luck and fill up those shopping carts!

November 25, 2016

Five for Friday Thanksgiving Style

Hi Friends!

I'm back after a short break from my blog. I'm joining Doodle Bugs Teaching's weekly Five for Friday linky party!

This was the first time ever in our school district's history to have an entire week off for Thanksgiving break. I am loving it! No traveling for me this time. Instead it's a much needed time to catch up on sleep, house stuff, and of course binge watching my favorite Thanksgiving Friends episodes!

Not all I've done has been laying on the couch munching on leftovers and snacks. I love anytime that I have time off to head to my favorite gym for a morning workout. This week I was able to get in four morning workouts! I'm a data nerd so keeping track of goals and seeing the bar filled up is an added bonus!

This year I changed it up from our usual disguise a turkey project and sent out feathers instead. It was so nice to see how proud my little learners were of their creative feathers that they worked on with their families. It spruced up our hallway bulletin board.

Lately I've been doing some LuLaRoe shopping online. I love getting happy mail, especially when all I had to do was hang out on pjs to shop. Today I received a new black Irma. Check out the cute packaging.

A while back I used some of my Scholastic points to buy this cute book I saw, Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins. It is adorable. It's a MUST read/MUST add to your library collection.
I love children's books but even this one is a fun one for adults. The illustrations are beautiful too! I whipped up a couple of printables to use with my class along with a craftivity. Check it out HERE or by clicking the picture below.

 Mother Bruce Read Aloud Printables Activities

Thanks for reading up about my week. Countdown to Christmas/Winter Break is on!

July 21, 2016

Take Home Folder Prep

Take home folders, communication folders, Friday folders. We have so many different names for the tool we use to send home important messages, notes, forms to our parents. My take home folders are one of my most useful yearlong tool in my classroom to communication with parents. Because of our school colors and a campus wide initiative, red is our go to/preferred folder color. There are so many different ways to put one together. Whether you're a new teacher or need a little refresher, I'm sharing with you today my take home folder.

1. Sheet Protectors- Our kindergarten supply list includes sheet protectors, but I like to purchase a set during the end of the year or in the summer to have these ready before the first day of school.

2. Ziploc Bags- I love Ziploc bags and my favorite type are the slider quart sized bags. There are just so many wonderful uses for Ziploc bags! Below I'll share my DIY pouches for my take home folder.

3. Labels- I am the #labeleverything type so I stock up on Avery labels from Amazon during the summer and have plenty on hand to label what I need. You just can't beat the price and bonus if you have Prime Shipping!

4. Two Pocket Folders- Any folder may work, but because these folders are used daily and travel back and forth from school to home, it's important for me to invest in sturdy ones. I love these Avery Two-Pocket Folders from Amazon. (I'm not affiliated with Amazon btw.) I maybe have to replace one the entire year because every now and then you get a little friend that was rough with their folder.

Set the bar early and make it clear how important this folder is for the student, the parent, and the teacher. I've received feedback from parents that praise the folder because they know their child can misplace things. And this folder keeps everything organized for them at home.

Some teachers use the LEFT/RIGHT labels or Back at School/Keep at Home labels. Choose what works for you, but label the areas in the folders so parents know what's expected.

As parents open the folder they immediately see on the left side any important forms that need to be returned to school. Most of the time these are things that require a signature or to be filled out by a parent, like my Student Information Sheets. (Click here to see my student information printables.) On the right side I like to include the Keep At Home Label so that parents know any papers on this side don't need to be kept in the folder or at school. This side usually includes school flyers, lunch menus, classroom newsletters. (Click here to see my monthly newsletter thats picture above.)

Keep it simple! Don't overwhelm your students or your parents with too much information or management in the folder. I use a clip chart system and I do have some parents that want a report of their child's behavior. For durability, inside a sheet protector, I use these behavior calendars.
With the quart sized Ziploc Bags, I use a hole puncher to add holes to the bottom of the bag and insert in the folder prongs. Throw a label on top of what's to be included inside and manage anything from money, notes, and even Box Tops!

I have planning right away in the morning, and when I do have a chance, I do a quick check to see if I have any important notes from a parent in the pouch. The pouch is great for little friends for field trip payments and book fair days. It really helps to avoid loose money in backpacks or pockets.

The first days of school is a lot of modeling on how to take care of our take home folder, where to put it in the mornings (baskets by my table for quick checks), and putting it in our backpacks to share with our parents. It's repetitive but sooooo worth it because eventually most of the kiddos are independent in managing the folders.

You can find all of these labels by clicking the picture below. There are more options to suit your class. Options in English or Spanish and English/Spanish.

Thanks for checking out my take home folder. Stay tuned, I'll be sharing with you my Take Home Binder soon that includes little readers, sight word practice, and more!

June 18, 2016

It's been a while...

Hello Friends,

I'm catching up on my blog and a few TpT things this summer. This school year was a busy one for me. Planning, planning, planning. Best way to describe my past year. Planning the school year, planning a wedding, and planning my 10 year high school reunion. Two of three are done and I'm ready to get back to the blogging world!

Did I mention that the last day of school and my wedding were in the same week?! EEEK, madness I know but I survived. I'm a MRS. now and can eat leftover wedding cake guilt free now!

This summer I hope to share with you some of the things that make planning for back to school exciting. It's a good feeling to know that we get a fresh start at the beginning of the school year.

I found this cute notebook at Ross the other day and I couldn't pass up. I've been doodling inside for the most part. But I've also added some goals I would like to start to think about for next year both personal and professional wise.

I also typed up the checklist below to start organizing some of my thoughts. And just in case I make a trip or two to the Target Dollar Spot or Dollar Tree. Click on the picture to download your free copy. 

So print and pull out those Flair Pens and jot a thought or two! Enjoy!

November 29, 2015

Sending a Cyber Smile (:

Hi there! Have you heard? Tomorrow, TpT kicks off their TpT Cyber Smile Sale! 

I know I'm moving some wishlist items into my cart and ready to use the promo code SMILE for my purchases. 

My entire store will be on sale and I thought I'd share how I use my Count to 100 Certificate Recognition Printables in my classroom. 

In Texas, a Kinder Math TEK states that our kindergarten kiddos are expected to count forward and backward to at least 20Most of our kiddos that attended pre-k come in counting way past that 20 and I find that it's definitely something most of them can accomplish throughout the year. 

The first grade TEK states that students are expected to recite numbers forward and backward from any given number between 1 and 120. I think it's important to build that counting skill in kindergarten as well. 

At the beginning of the year I print a class set of gumball machines to have on hand throughout the year. Sometimes I laminate them, sometimes I don't, depends on the year/resources available (aka if the laminating machine is working ;). 

Count to 100 Printables

Using a 100s chart, I pull one kiddo at a time to assess how far they can successfully count by 1s. I like to assess all students at the beginning of the year just to get an idea where they are at. After that, I assess at the end of the month or every grading period as needed.

I include a template of a gumball machine and this is what I use to project on the wall and trace onto a poster a larger gumball machine.

Our poster sized gumball machine is hung on the ceiling and as students master counting to 100, I write their name on a gumball (printed on color cardstock) and add it to the machine. 

Our school has morning announcements and Fridays are reserved for Kindergarten recognition. I send new 100 club members with their gumball certificate and a crown for recognition. 

I bought the crowns at Lakeshore and use them for birthdays but sometimes double as recognition crowns. I've included a template to print your own headband. Just print and add to a crown or sentence strip to make a headband.

I saw so many motivated learners after the first couple of recognitions with the gumball certificates. I also had parents tell me that their child just wants to count at home and improve every night! 

So hop over to my store to check out my Count to 100 Certificate Recognition Printables and other goodies! Happy shopping!

September 3, 2015

Ready for not, here they come! Classroom Reveal!

Where did August go???

In hopes of being more active in the blogging world I joined Angie at Lucky Little Learners and Ashley at Schroeders Shenanigans with their Together We Are Better . This month it's all about our classroom reveal.

I was excited to sign up to join this linky party last month. This was motivation to set up my classroom and share with pictures what kinder looks like in my classroom. Sadly I couldn't get into my classroom about a week before school started. Construction was waaaaaay behind at my campus. This included working in Texas summer weather with a broken AC unit and a classroom with no windows. It was miserable and just unbearable, maintenance folks were out working on the unit late into the hours Sunday BEFORE the 1st day to prepare for our kids coming in on Monday. I worked maybe a total of 2 full days and a half setting up my room from bottom up.  Did I mention that I moved to my 3rd classroom in the last 4 years? Hence the blank canvas I had.

So needless to say, on Day 3, the Friday before the first day of school, I was as ready as I could ever be. Seeing photos on pinterest and instagram of elaborate classroom decor can be intimidating. I almost hesitated to post my results. I reflected this weekend over my first week back. I'm slowing pep talking myself that it's OK to not have every wall covered and all of the cutesy things available in the world that I could hang/post in room 205.

Right now my room is working out well for my kiddos. We've been transitioning and getting routines down, making anchor charts together, and slowly but surely making it our little community TOGETHER. Check back in a couple of weeks, together we'll get in sync and you'll see that our walls won't be bare for long.

Below are the BEFORE pics. I moved into a new classroom and ended up with the furniture of that classroom and my old. I had to work around all that until it could be removed.

This is the view from the door as you walk in. The blue plastic tubs are from dollar tree. I'm using them as crayon boxes. They are working well so far. Easy to close and open, and able to hold 24 count crayons.
The black plastic shelves are something new I am trying out. I'm debating having some of the materials we use the most on these shelves to make for quicker transitions.
Heading away from the door, I have our cubbies that house of our things like consumables. Above that is my pocket chart for our literacy centers work board. I'll be introducing these centers one at a time and slowly add the center icon cards as we learn how they work.
I'm so excited that I have three huge bulletin boards this year. I was able to section off these four sections show. First space is set up for our letter of the week and other helpful reading anchor charts we'll create together. My word wall is in the middle, followed by a section for math visual aids and anchor charts. Last is an area for science, social studies and anything health related. 
A couple of days in and I moved over our supply baskets away from the black plastic shelves.
This is what our supply baskets look like. I find this set up helps me. When we need just pencils, it's much easier to just pull the cup out. This minimizes distractions of my little friends that think they need glue and scissors ALL the time.
Here's our library. As we learn literary elements and reading strategies, I start posting these as anchor charts on clips to change out as needed. 
Because it's beginning of the year, I try to put library books that are a little worn out, in other words I'm okay if there is a tear here and there. As we practice and learn to take care of books, I start swapping them out as necessary. I have some friends that are still learning how to hold books so some of these older copies work out for them.
I also try to put out materials that most of my students have some familiarity with, like puzzles.
This the view my students have from the carpet for whole group. On the closet wall I have our ABC linking chart, our campus fluency words, good listeners visuals, and our whole brain teaching rules with our behavior clip chart below.

Our writer's wall gets student work added monthly. At the end of the year, I pull all of their work and make a portfolio to share with parents their writing throughout the year.
This little summer project is a favorite of mine so far and a popular class choice. I spray painted some old Scholastic book holders and printed a little readbox label from TpT here. These books are available for students to "borrow" when they are fast finishers. I'm going to be putting "special" kind of books and changing them up. I have two of them on opposite sides of the room.

I got rid of my teacher desk to make room for five student tables. I was nervous to part with it, but I realized it's just two small compartments I'd be missing. So this is my teacher area/guided reading/group area.

Whew! Thanks for sticking around. I'm off to catch up on emails and check out more of the classroom reveals over at the linky party.