Sunday, August 25, 2013

First Few Days of School! And a Peek at My NEXT Week!

OMG! I keep thinking about posting about what we are doing but I am so crazy busy, I barely have time to even think about it! I am going to **TRY** to link up with Mrs. Wills Kindergarten for a Peek at my Week before the week starts, but we'll see how that goes :)

I finally have a break today, so I thought I would share with you some of the fun things I am doing with my kinders! I have to say that as a new K teacher this year, I wasn't sure how to start. I have gotten so many fun, engaging activity ideas from fellow bloggers and I will try my very hardest to make sure that they get credit for all their ideas!

I think as everyone knows, the first few days are a blur of routines and procedures, especially in K!
My main routines that I teach the first few days are:
-1, 2, 3 for question, bathroom, drink
-line up in number order (kinders CAN do it, and it makes life so easy!)
-safe body

These are just a few highlights from the first few days:

**Buddy Building: Parents always talk to me about how important it is to them that their children make friends, and I wanted each child to go home on the first day and tell their parents they made a friend. So we did buddy building!

Literally, the easiest activity ever to set up. I just gave partners a bucket of snap cubes, and gave them a few ideas of things to talk about it. It was perfect! If I saw a group that was struggling a little with their conversation, I just gave them a few ideas!

**First Day of K Frame: I am SO happy how these turned out!

**My Name Is....: This was a perfect formative assessment for me! I already had the chart filled out and each child wrote their name. After they wrote it, we did a chant for them. "Hey, hey, what do you say? We're happy _____ is here today! Woo ______!" So silly, and so easy, but they loved it! Even on the first day of school I could keep them interested long enough to do everyone.

**Introducing the Rules: These are rules that my school has decided to use school-wide, but I think they could easily be used in any classroom. I use the tune from Dr. Jean's Rule song and use hand motions to go with each rule. My kiddos SO remember these. It's amazing. They already remind each other with the hand motions! What smarties :) You can get your copy of my rules here :)

**Pete the Cat School Tour: My kids LOVED this! We read Pete the Cat: Rocking in my School Shoes and talked about all the places we could go in our school. Then we had a special message from Pete in the back of the book and went on our school tour. In hindsight, my kiddos weren't quite procedurally ready for this, but in the end, at least they had fun!

After the tour, there is a top secret envelope waiting in the room. Each student gets to color their own school shoes and practice writing their name! We also played disappearing shoes (take one person's shoe in the circle with everyone's eyes closed and then name who they are!). This is great for learning friend's names.

You can get a copy of our Pete the Cat tour and activity here!

**Wemberly Worried craftivity: I got this wonderful idea from Mrs. T's First Grade Class. We read Wemberly Worried and talked about what we were worried about when we got to school. The exciting part was painting! We talked about what a circle looked like, and then painted circles on our papers with watercolors. I thought this was going to be a disaster, but they did a great job!

The next day, I modified the words for my kinders and they dictated to me what they worry about. Some of them were so cute!

**How To Lose All Your Friends and Friendship Salad: I think that reading this book is applicable for any elementary classroom! It is a great way for students to all laugh and gasp together at the way the kiddos act in the story and to truly see what a bad friend is. Then, we made friendship salad! I got this idea from Greg at Smedley's Smorgasboard. It was super fun and the kiddos loved that they got a snack!

Obviously, this is just a smattering of what we did, but we had a lot of fun. We're learning to listen and play together :)

Here is my attempt at visual lesson plans for next week! (Can you tell I like Mrs. Will's products?) I am trying really hard to be consistent and not introduce too much too fast. We have not started literacy stations and will not for at least 2 weeks. Right now, I am teaching the games whole group MULTIPLE times.

So here they are! Making this for myself is so helpful and hopefully it will help you too! I will post pictures of our week HOPEFULLY on Friday!

Have a great week!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

TPT Sale and Best and Most Linky Party!

So last week was Teacher Week, and I only managed to participated in the first few days because I was barely surviving my first few days of kindergarten. They are so sweet and innocent but my goodness...they can't do anything! I forget how much help and routine building it takes when they come in as little babes!

Anyway, I am participating in the Back to School Sale on TPT! My store will be 20% off and you can get up to 28% off by entering promo code BTS13. My store will be on sale from August 18-19. Thanks to Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah Designs for this button!

I am also joining in the Best and Most Linky Party from Bunting, Books, and Bainbridge!

Bunting Books and Bainbridge

These are products from my TPT store that are my best and most!

 My teacher's pet product is my new CCSS aligned math packet Oh What Fun! K.CC.1 :) It is a packet specifically focused on the first Counting and Cardinality CCSS. I find that there is not as much out there for teaching this specific standard, and this is going to help my kiddos so much!

The product that is most likely to help your students succeed are my calendar journals. They are a perfect way to incorporate calendar, ELA, math, and life skills into a fun and quick activity. Since calendar skills are not really included in the CCSS, this is an easy way to incorporate them! The calendar journals start in August with the most simple skills, and gradually get harder and harder. If you would like an example, the May journal is free!

Lastly, my best couple are my Back to School Math and Literacy Stations and My Sweet Sight Words pack. Both are fun, highly motivational, and a great way to start off your school year!

Enjoy the sale!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Teacher Week Day #3: Organizing for Instruction

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week 2013!

I am an organizational freak (as seen in my Let's Talk About Me when I confessed most of my stuff in classroom storage are actually containers haha), so I like this one!

As much as I love organization, I'm preparing for the third day of kindergarten, I am so tired my eyes are closing as I am typing this.

So I am going to leave you with my top 5 tips for organization for instruction:

1. LABEL EVERYTHING: It's not only good for you, but it's good for the kids too. I find that the more I use real pictures instead of clipart, the better it is for the kiddos. Labels help everyone be responsible.

2. Throw stuff away that you aren't using. My first classroom had so much stuff leftover from the previous teacher and I felt bad throwing it away. But as soon as my first graders came it, I realized it was so much and so distracting that I was having trouble teaching. Only keep the things you are using!

3. Organize your files in the way that makes the most sense to you. If you are a year planner, plan by months. Make a bin or file to keep all your documents for August and so on. If you are a unit planner, plan by the unit. Keep bins or files for each unit for each subject. If you plan by standards, you get the drill. Do what is easiest for you!

4. Save examples. If you have the space to do so, and you are teaching the same grade the next year, save examples! I spent countless hours making examples of the projects and activities for my kiddos (unfortunately, I have not taught the same grade for more than one year yet!) and I could be way more organized if I had the examples already made!

5. Refile! This is one that I need to be better at doing. I am good at planning ahead, but I am horrible at putting master copies away. It makes my teacher space messy and a LONG afternoon when I finally do it. If I just did it as I went, it wouldn't be a problem :)

Now to go get some much needed sleep :)
Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Teacher Week Day #2: Classroom Digs

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week 2013!

I love decorating so I'm excited about this day :) These are my classroom digs!

 These are a few overall views of my classroom :) I tried to take them from all angles!

Now that you've seen the are some close-ups! Right inside the door are my hooks. No cubbies, no lockers, just hooks :) I have them named and numbered and use the space below them to store extra books and materials. (Obviously the boxes aren't usually there!)
This is on the other side of the door. I LOVE this for changes (like going to a friend's house) or for subs!
I don't know if you can use any of these, but if you would like a copy, you can get yours here! The pretty frames are from The Creative Chalkboard and the other pictures are from Google Images.
From the door, you can see a little peek of my frames. Here they are! My Hall of Fame is where I post art projects, writing samples and more! The kids love seeing their work on the walls. Below them, you can see my classroom computers.
Right next to the computers are my student drawers. These are where they keep their personal school items since we have tables. This holds their writing folder, math journal, poetry journal, etc.
Moving around the room, this is my listening center. Obviously, the box of CDs and CD players needs to be organized!
 From this view, you can get a little peek of my library. You can see the guided reading portion of my library, but I did not get a picture of my "dessert" books. These are favorite characters and authors, and other themed books. I made the puff balls out of tissue paper and pipe cleaners and I made the tree. I hate it right now. I need to add student work to it to make me like it better :(
As a full day kindergarten teacher, I am lucky enough to still have time scheduled in my day for learning centers! This is my dramatic play area and building area. I also have a blocks center that I did not get pictures of! GRR!
Next to dramatic play is my math center. This is where I have our math manipulatives and our math tubs for math stations.

This is my teacher catch-all. I guess it's technically an easel, but for me it's: big book holder, whole class materials holder, morning meeting materials holder, brain break materials holder, shared writing board, interactive writing board, etc. The list goes on and on. The next picture shows where I sit between the board and my computer that connects to the Smartboard.


Behind my computer and document camera is my non-computer calendar. The kids don't really participate in this one, it's mostly just for reference during writing. I do all my calendar work on the Smartboard.
This is my teacher area. I took the plunge and got rid of my desk! I hope it works out :)
These are my file cabinets turned to make a magnetic surface for word work, and my mailboxes to keep my papers for the students for the week. You can also see my birthday balloons, stuffed animal bin, and my TBM (to be made) brag tags.
These are pictures of the art center. I have an easel, drying rack and two shelves of art supplies. I got the wonderful idea for the color drawers on Pinterest! Any of the other labels I used for reading (GRL A-Z and various themes), math (all manipulatives) or art (supply and crafty) I made for my classroom. Once again, I don't know if they will be useful for you, but please feel free to pick up your copy here! I have a high ESOL population, so I tried to use as many real pictures as possible.

This is my sensory table. I fill it with science materials throughout the year!
This is my behavior board. I am going to use a mix of the 7 Habits/whole brain teaching this year. I am not trained in either, but am using the research I have done to mold my practice :) Missing is our class promise and class rules! TBM this week!
I'll leave you walking out the door on my paw prints!
I hope you enjoyed my classroom tour. You may notice I don't have many resources up on the wall! I like to make these with the kiddos and hang them up throughout the year :) I find they use them much more when they are a part of making them!
Stop by tomorrow to check out my classroom management skills!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Teacher Week Day #1: Let's Talk About Me!

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week 2013!

I'm super excited about Teacher Week! I start school tomorrow, but I'm going to try my best to be involved everyday. I love hearing about how other teachers do their thing :)

Today is Let's Talk about Me Monday! Since I HATE talking about myself, I thought this 10 fun things about me format would be perfect :)

1. This is my third year of teaching! I can't believe I've already been a teacher for two. I have taught first grade, second grade, and now I'm starting with the babies in kindergarten! What a change! But I am so excited :)

2. I am an organizational freak. I found this out when looking at my storage shelves that half of what is "stored" are actually storage materials. I HAVE A PROBLEM.

3. I foster dogs! It is such a rewarding experience, even though I cry like a baby every time one of them gets adopted :) Here are my most recent babies! Turbo and Sulley just got adopted today!

4. I am slowly getting into the process of moving! I still live with my parents :( I'm only 24! But I wanted to wait until after the first crazy month or two of school to start another crazy adventure. Cleaning out all of my stuff is so hard! I hate throwing stuff away!

5. I have a serious caffeine addiction. REAL serious. Like the "I get a headache if I don't have caffeine every hour" type of addiction. My day starts with me making some Dunkin' Donuts coffee...that stuff is the best! Then it's Diet Coke for the rest of the day. I know it's bad for me, but I can't help it!

 6. I love to travel! I got to spend a summer abroad in college in Ireland and have been trying to save my money to go back ever since!

7. I am in grad school. UCK! I love it and hate it at the same time. I am getting my reading specialist certification and a masters in elementary education. My big pet peeve right now is that to be certified in reading, you have to be certified K-12, and that means I have to do a practicum with a high schooler! When am I ever going to use that?

8. I LOVE to shop! What teacher doesn't? I spend entirely too much money on my classroom. But for me personally, my favorite store is Target! I swear I cannot go into that store and leave for less than $50 :) Oops!

9. I am trying SO HARD to be a good blogger. I started this blog about a year and a half ago and it is so hard to keep up with during teaching! Especially when I have a more rigid curriculum to follow, it's hard to be creative to put stuff on here. I'm trying! I am looking into a new blog design too so I look better :) Any ideas of good designers that aren't too expensive?

10. I absolutely love my job. Teaching is all I ever wanted to do and I truly care about my students. This night before the first day of school is always so nerve-wracking for me. I am truly the teacher from "First Day Jitters!" I am just as scared as the kids. But after a few days they are my babies and always will be. It melted my heart that one of my second grade kiddos from last year came and visited me during meet the teacher last week and broke down in tears because I wasn't going to be her teacher this year :( So sweet!

I have an awesome classroom tour planned for tomorrow so make sure you come back and check it out :)


Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday Made-It and Book Review for Blucy!

Hey all! I don't know about you all, but I am over this start school in August and end in the middle of May-thing. Whatever happened to starting school after Labor Day? With the way weather is now, it's barely summer until July anyway. Who cares if we are in school for 2 weeks of June!

Regardless, I get to meet my sweet kinders tomorrow! We do a special Meet the Teacher with our kindergartners where they come meet us, drop off their supplies, and learn about bus safety! They get to come a week earlier than the other kiddos so they can come all by themselves and feel comfortable :) Then school starts next Tuesday! AHH! I still feel like I have so much to do!!!!!!!!!!

So obviously today, instead of curriculum planning or lesson planning, I crafted! I have two Monday Made-It's to share :)

Monday Made-It #1: 1st Day of K Frame!
I have seen this frame for all grades all over Pinterest and I LOVE IT! I think this is just such a wonderful gift to give parents at the beginning of the year and is a fun picture to put in their memory books at the end of the year :)

It was super easy and actually not that expensive. I bought:
-plain wooden frame (with no finishes) (about $9)
-plain wooden letters (1.49 per letter, about $9)
-black, green, and blue paint ($1 each, about $3)
-cute little wooden bus (50 cents)
-hot glue gun
-foam paintbrush
-clear acrylic sealer (I already had this, so I didn't count it in the price. It's probably not necessary, but I used it just in case!)

So all in all, it was about $20ish to make this. I bought it all at Hobby Lobby. I probably could have found the frame cheaper if I really wanted to or used an old one, but it was easier to get it all in one place.

These are some pictures of the progress. I just did all the work in my garage.

I touched up the paint and hot glued all the letters on. Then I sprayed it with the sealer. Here is the finished product :) I'm SO happy with how it turned out!

Monday Made-It #2: Magnetic Dice Holder!
Once again, I've seen this all over Pinterest, and I knew I had to make one for myself. Now, this was my first attempt at Modge Podge so it didn't turn out quite as well as I had hoped but still super cute!

This one was much cheaper to make! I bought:
-cookie sheet from Dollar Tree ($1)
-green chevron scrapbook paper (50 cents)
-green ribbon ($1)
-small clear tupperware containers
-magnetic tape ($4)
-hot glue gun
-matte Modge Podge
-clear acrylic sealer
-foam paintbrush

I already had the Modge Podge and the sealer, but that would be about an extra $12-15 dollars if you needed to buy it.

I put about 3 coats of Modge Podge and 1 coat of sealer. Besides a few air bubbles that refused to come out, I thought it turned out pretty good!

Then, I got my Tupperware containers and hot glued the magnetic tape to the lid. This is the almost finished product! I didn't bring my dice home, so I'll add it at school tomorrow! My letters are also at school. So I will also be adding a dice sign :)

For the second part of my post, I was asked to do a book review! Blucy is an e-book coming out in a week or so, written by Julia Dweck and illustrated by Erika Lebarre.

It's such a cute story about a little girl who goes to the pound a finds a cat named Lucy. She finds out that this cat changes colors based on its mood, so she renames it Blucy! The book's illustrations are awesome as you see all of the mishaps Blucy gets herself in. She is a very lovable character :) At the end, Mandy discovers a special way to keep Blucy blue forever, but you'll have to buy the book yourself to find out how :)

Blucy is on presale now until 8/12 at 20% off on Amazon. You can buy your copy here :) It's only $3.19! What a bargain! Perfect for your classroom :)

Well I better go finish up everything for Meet the Teacher tomorrow :) I hope everyone's getting excited about their school year!!

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