Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Easing in to Kindergarten . . .


I'm up over at Teaching Blog Round Up today with a post about how we begin the year in my district.  We phase in our Kindergarteners so that only a third of them come each day for the first three days of school.  Head over there to read more . .  . 
And while you are there, you should go ahead and follow.  It's a great collaborative blog!  Each day of the month there is a post by a different blogger so you get all kinds of ideas!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Five for Friday--First Week Back!

Well, you can tell I'm back to school because my Five for Friday post is coming at you on Saturday morning!
Tuesday was our first day of school with students.  In our district we do a Kindergarten phase-in so I had a third of my class on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and then they ALL arrived full of energy and ready to go Friday morning!  See, why I didn't get this post up last night??  Yep, totally wiped out when I got home from school.  Plus, we don't have A/C in our building and of course Mother Nature decides that its time for the temps to rise into the high 80s when school starts.  We've had an unseasonably cool summer--UNTIL NOW!  Figures . . . 
Luckily, we had dinner plans with my husband's coworkers at a new (to us) restaurant last night so I had a chance to unwind and be an adult again!  It was nice not to think about school for a whole evening!  I'll be spending much of this weekend working on plans and activities for next week.  5 whole days with those kiddos!! Yikes!
Anyway, here's my week . . .  .
I love to just look at this picture.  This was taken Tuesday just before the first group arrived.  Ahhh.  So peaceful and everything in it's spot.  It will never look this way again until next August!  I like to call this one "The Calm Before the Storm."

I took advantage of a great offer from Tongass Teacher during the big TpT Back to School sale.  She draws custom minis and they are adorable!  I have been wanting one, so when she discounted them for the sale AND threw in a few clip art sets for free, I jumped on it!  Aren't I cute??  That's me in my favorite Ohio State jersey!  GO BUCKS!  It's football season in Ohio, baby!  If you're in the market for a "mini me"  head to her store and check them out.  She does great work!  I literally had this cutie in my inbox within 12 hours of sending her my picture!
Obligatory "first day" pictures of my own kids.  How in the world did they get to be a 7th grader and 4th grader??  Weren't they just in preschool last year?  Time flies . . .
This is definitely my favorite picture of the week.  These girls just got right down to it on their first day and played like they'd known each other forever.  I just stood back and listened and smiled from ear to ear at their conversation and interaction.  At that moment, I knew it would be a great year!  It was such a sweet scene . . .
And let me leave you with this one . . .
Remember how neat and tidy that first picture was?  Well this is what I was looking at by the end of the day Friday.  I actually think I had cleaned it up a little during my planning time, too, so it was much worse!  And see that cute little monster paper with the dots on it?  We did that glue practice sheet from Kindergarten Smiles and they are so cute!  However, in all the craziness of breaking out the glitter on the first full day with all of them, I forgot to take a picture.  Boo.  I have another one planned for Monday so maybe I can remember to take pictures then!
There you have it--a quick glimpse into my first week back.  Head on over to Doodle Bugs Teaching to see what everyone else was up to this week, too!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Shop til ya Drop!!

You know you have it bad when the first thought in your head when you woke up this morning was "Yay!  Time for the TpT sale!"  I'm sure there will be several rounds of purchases made before this sale is over!  There is SO much on my wishlist!

Thanks to Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs for the button.
If you are still in the process of setting up your room and thinking about behavior management systems, you might be interested in one of my clip charts.  The Rock Star theme is my personal favorite and the one I use in my room! Just click the images to find them in my store.

I also have two different styles of Editable Word Walls on sale today.  Yes--editable!  They come with over 100 words included, but there are blank slides so that you can add your own words.  Just be sure you have PowerPoint on your computer so you can open the file!
Need a quick and easy way to practice sight words with your kiddos??  Check this out! And read about how I use this product HERE.
But enough about my products--Here's what's in my cart as we speak!
Anything (that I don't already have!) by Caitlin over at Kindergarten Smiles!
I'm for sure getting her September Word Work pack and Guided Reading Starter Kit Part 2 (because I already have Part 1 and it's FAB-U-LOUS!)
Photo: It's ready!! The first word work pack of the year! and YES! there will be one every month :) I am super excited about this! I know there isn't one for August, but you can definitely use this September pack right away!! and it will last you through September too! (link in the comments)
Photo: I will NOT go to sleep until this is done! (and I am posting this so that I have to keep my word!) hahaha
I'm also going to get Every Moment Matters by Vickie Plant.  This is a quick way to keep kids engaged and learning when you have a couple minutes to fill.  I have her math set prepped and ready already so I'm excited about the phonemic awareness set.
Oh, and there's that great offer on a custom mini by Teaching in the Tongass!  I've been wanting my own mini so maybe now is the time!
I'm sure there will be more!  I might have to do another post tomorrow to update you on round #2 (or #3 or #4!)  As for now, I'm off to be sure my feedback is up to date so I can use all my credits!
Happy Shopping!!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Five for Friday B2S edition!


I'm linking up--yes, on Saturday--with Doodle Bugs Teaching for the weekly Five for Friday party!  I've had two days of Professional Development this week and one more on Monday.  Then--drumroll--the kids come on Tuesday!  My week has been comprised of all things back to school prep!


1.  I've been prepping some new TpT purchases for the year.  My colleagues and I are all going to use Deanna and Deedee's Writing Units this year.  I can't wait to get started with them!  I have Unit One all printed and organized in a binder.  We probably won't start this for a couple weeks, but I'm ready! 

I've also been working on these Shout Outs by Teacher to the Core.
Eww--didn't realize the picture was so bad until just now!  Yikes.  I have these printed and organized as well.  I just need to run copies of the notes and have them ready to hand out to kiddos who deserve a shout out!  I'm really excited to use them. 
And there are about 3 things still on my list to prep, but I'm afraid they might not get done before school starts.  I'm only one woman!  Ha!
2.  I got a new glue gun.  That's probably only exciting in the teacher blogging world, right!?  I can't find my old one anywhere.  I guess when I organized at the end of the year, I organized so well that I can't find it!  I'm sure when I go in later today, it will magically appear since I bought a new one.  I'm rather excited about the 2 temps and the cordless-ness of the new one!

3.  In between all the back to school prep, our garden has gone wild.  Will someone please tell it that everything can not be ready right before school starts?  In the last week, I've frozen 12 dozen ears of corn and canned 10 quarts of green beans!  Thank heavens for a helpful and willing husband and not so willing children who snapped beans and husked corn!

4.  I rearranged my shelves and my classroom library a bit.  I'm very excited about the new layout of my room.  It seems much more open and makes the room seem bigger.  I had a serious bottleneck going on in my Smartboard area last year so I'm trying to avoid that!  These aren't the best pictures to show that, but it's what I have right now!
5.  And, finally, you may or may not have heard that there's a little sale going on over at TpT tomorrow and Monday!
I need to head over there and make sure my feeback is all up to date so I have lots of credits to use!  My wishlist is LOOOONNNNGGG!  Tops on my list are these two products!
Photo: It's ready!! The first word work pack of the year! and YES! there will be one every month :) I am super excited about this! I know there isn't one for August, but you can definitely use this September pack right away!! and it will last you through September too! (link in the comments)
September Word Work by Caitlin Clabby at Kindergarten Smiles
Duck Dynasty Clip Art by Melonheadz 
I have no idea what I'm going to make with it, but I MUST have it!
What's on your wishlist??
Don't forget to head over to Doodle Bugs to see what everyone else has been up to this week!  Now, I'm off to work in my classroom.  Exciting Saturday for me!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Teacher Week: A Peek at my Classroom

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' again today for "Classroom Digs" day!

I almost didn't write this post.  My classroom is FAR from ready to go.  Today was actually the first day I've spent any amount of time in there.  I plan on being in all day tomorrow, too.  I actually walked in to find my furniture pretty much all over the place.  I spent most of today rearranging and untangling cords.  My computer cords were A MESS!! 

Seriously??  How does this happen?!
Anyway, I decided to snap some pictures before I left today because I knew you wouldn't judge.  We're friends, right??  My room is not near as "cute" as I'd like it, but I make do with what I have.  Our building is quite old so I get very jealous when I see many of your classroom pictures!  Also, I don't have the "stuff" that I'd like yet.  It's definitely a work in progress.  I was a reading intervention teacher for 8 years before going back to a classroom last year, so I'm slowly accumulating the types of storage and d├ęcor that I like.
Here we go--
This is where the kids check in each morning.  I use this "What's for Lunch" set from Primary Possibilities for kids to let me know which kind of lunch they are having. 
Here's my classroom library.  Or part of it, at least.  It continues on the other side of these shelves.  Books are organized by topic.  I use labels from Reagan Tunstall to organize my books.  It works fabulously.  Even kindergarteners always get the books back in the right bin!  And this set is sentimental to me because it was my very first TpT purchase!
This is a look at my desk, my guided reading table and my Smartboard area.  This is were most of the "good stuff" goes on!  Ugh--I need to get those bulletin boards done!
Here's my word wall.  Yes, I can't find the D card.  Boo.  I put all  my word wall cards on magnets so the kids can take them back to their seats to use them for writing and then return them.  I'm thinking of dividing off the sections with washi tape, but I'm afraid the adhesive will make the board "gooey" when I take it off.  Thoughts??  You can find this word wall set HERE
This is a terrible picture because the afternoon sun POURS into my classroom, but I love this easel.  I use it for everything.  We use Wilson Fundations as our phonics program so most of the time, this has the small letter cards on it for building words and drilling sounds.  I love the storage underneath for clipboards, dry erase boards, etc.  I keep chart paper on the other side of it and then flip the hooks around when we need chart paper. 
And here's my behavior clip chart. . . .Laying on the floor of my kitchen rather than hanging in my classroom . . . .Because I can't find my glue gun in my classroom yet. Boo. It needs a ribbon attached to the top to hang it and then it will be good to go.  I'm a firm believer in the clip chart.  I had a few kids last year that would have been quite difficult, but their buy in into the clip chart made them much less difficult.  They wanted to be a rock star!  You can find this chart HERE.
So that's a quick tour.  It's definitely a work in progress, but you get the idea.  Maybe I'll do this post again in a week when it's all ready to go! 
Be sure to head over to Blog Hoppin' to see more classroom tours!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Meet the Teacher!

I'm baaaaaaaaack!  Thanks to my guest bloggers for keeping this blog going last week while I was at the county fair with my kiddos.  They had a tremendously successful week and my hubby and I were proud as peacocks all week!  Now, it's time to get this brain in back to school mode.  I'm really trying not to panic, but I start with PD days on Thursday and then the kids come next Tuesday so I'm running out of time.  I probably should be working instead of blogging!  But, I've missed you all! 
I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week '13.  Hopefully I can keep up with the topics this week!
Today's topic is "Meet the Teacher!" 
I'm not really a very exciting person, so I'll try and think of some things that will knock your socks off!  (I may have to make things up to really impress you . . . )
1.  I teach in the same school building where nearly everyone in my family went to school.  My kids were the 4th generation to go through that school building.
2.  We have strong 4H connections and my kids love showing animals. My husband and I were both in 4H and our kids are in 4H now.  My cousins were also in 4H.  At our county fair this past week, my youngest cousin was voted Fair Queen.  Here's a picture of her and my kids after showing their pigs.  Is perhaps a picture of current and future fair royalty?

3.  I love sports.  I was never coordinated enough to make my body do what my mind knew it was supposed to do to play, though.  So I just watch.  I love going to our high school sporting events and watching my former students play.  I love watching my kids play soccer.  I love watching college football and basketball.  You get the picture . . .

4. I'm a Disney freak.  I would live in the Magic Kingdom if I could! 

5.  I'm an only child.  I get asked a lot if I like being an only child.  I don't really have anything to compare it to!  It might have been cool to have siblings, but I have awesome parents and we are really close, so it works for me!
6.  I love to collect data in my classroom.  I know, I know.  That's usually everyone's least favorite thing.  I just love to see the progress in kids' scores throughout the year.  I know they are making progress, but those numbers make it concrete.
7.  I must have a Pepsi every day or I think I might die.  Seriously.  And it must be Pepsi.  Coke is gross.
8.  I recently celebrated 17 years of marriage to this great guy.  We have so much fun together.  I can't imagine spending my life with anyone else.
9.  We have a garden each year.  I freeze corn, and can green beans, homemade salsa, and homemade spaghetti sauce each year.  It's a lot of work, but it gives me such a sense of accomplishment.
10.  I'm very un-crafty.  I think that's why creating things for my classroom and TpT has become such a passion for me.  I can "make" things, but since they are digital, they look really good, too!  I guess I'm a digital crafter!

I hope you found something there semi-interesting! Sorry, I'm not that exciting.
I'm heading in to school to really get down and dirty in my classroom.  I haven't been in very much, so it's time to get serious.  Hopefully, I'll get things set up enough that I will be back tomorrow to take you on a tour of my classroom for tomorrow's Teacher Week '13 post!

Now hop on over to Blog Hoppin' to meet other teachers!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Setting Up Math Stations & a FREEBIE

Well, it's Day 4 of our fair week!  Today is Sale Day.  Later today the kids will be selling their goats and hogs to the highest bidder.  Anyone need a goat??  Ha!  Seriously, though, our community supports these kids 4H kids like crazy!  The businesses and community members come out in droves to support the auction.  It's such a fun night!
Today, the lovely ladies from Primary Possibilities are guest blogging for me.  Read on for ideas on how to implement math stations in your classroom!

Hello Friends!!  We are so happy to be guest blogging today.  I am sure by now many of you have been in your classrooms setting up every detail from organizing files to mapping out your curriculum.  Today, we are going to talk about math stations.  Stay with us to the end of this post for a freebie.

This year will be the first year that Stephany and I will be fully implementing math stations in our classrooms.  We started by reading Debbie Diller's Math Work Stations.  She offers many illustrations and ideas to get started with math stations in K-2.
Next, we went through our grade level Common Core standards and matched it with our corporation-wide curriculum map.  After we completed this long task, we created our own math stations that are Common Core aligned and engaging for our students.

Below you will find back to school kindergarten Common Core aligned math stations.  These Common Core aligned math stations focus on the following math standards:
Quarter 1: (This packet focuses on numbers 0-10 for the first quarter of kindergarten.)
K.CC.3- Write numbers from 0 to 20. Represent a number of objects with a written numeral 0-20 (with 0 representing a count of no objects).
K.CC.4- Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities; connect counting to cardinality.  When counting objects, say the number names in the standard order, pairing each object with one and only one number name and each number name with one and only one object. 
K.CC.5- Count to answer “how many?” questions about as many as 20 things arranged in a line, a rectangular array, or a circle, or as many as 10 things in a scattered configuration; given a number from 1–20, count out that many objects.

Stephany has a super cute Back to School BBQ math station packet for first grade.  This product makes me want to teach first grade.  It is super cute and jam-packed with engaging activities.
Not only did Stephany include math stations, but literacy stations too!!  This engaging Common Core aligned activity pack is great for back to school for first grade. This is a great review of standards and introduction of new standards. These activities are excellent for students who are beginning to work on station, center, and small group work! Included are 8 stations (4 literacy, 4 math) 

Soda Pop Sentences- (1.RF.1a)
Serving Up Short Vowels- (1.RF.2a, 1.RF.2c)
Picnic Unscramble- (1.RF.1a)
Roll, Read and Write- (1.RF.4, 1.RF.3g)

Grillin’ Up Numbers- (1.NBT.1)
Missing Mustard-(1.NBT.1)
Base Ten Burgers- (1.NBT.2b)
Greater Grill-(1.NBT.3)

Setting up how students will rotate can be tricky.  I want my students to be able to understand the rotation chart and also allow my groups to be grouped by ability.  I use a standard pocket chart with Deedee Wills' Station Labels.  The best part about these labels are that they are free in her store.  There are 3 of the same label on each page.  I use one for my math chart, one for literacy, and one on the table for the location.  I feel it is important that my students know exactly where to go.
As you may notice from the chart below, I do not call them math stations and literacy stations.  I refer to this time as "discovery."  We have a math discovery time and a literacy discovery time.
And you can't guest blog without offering a freebie.  So, click the picture below to pick up Stephany's "Where'd you go, Watermelon?".
Thank you for letting us guest blog.  We hope you come check out our blog, Primary Possibilities for more ideas and resources from our classrooms.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Classroom Setup, Anyone??

Today Sara is taking over for me while I'm still busy, busy with our county fair!  She just got her FIRST EVER teaching job so give her a big congrats!  She will be great, don't you agree?!  She has some great tips on classroom setup today!  Read on . . .

Hey y’all! I’m Sara from Miss V’s Busy Bees. Lisa was so kind as to allow me to guest blog for her while she’s away this week! So, Lisa, thank you!

Miss V's Busy Bees
I’m here to give y’all some ideas for back to school decoration and organization. Being that I just got my very first classroom (!!!), I’m on the lookout for great ways to keep my classroom in order and everything visually appealing so the students feel as though they are at home for the 7 hours a day that they are with me!

Some classrooms have loads of room, wall space, and cabinets for storing stuff. Others, not so much. I’m not exactly sure what I’ll have, so I’m preparing for both until I get to go into my class on Monday!
For those of you that have loads of room, get a rug! Do you remember when you were in school and they’d have you sit on the floor? Some of my teachers had us sit on the LITERAL floor, no rug, so it was not as comfy nor as warm (especially with tile floors… chilly!) and I would have loved it had they had a rug. The rugs don’t have to be super fancy or decorative, just a general rug will do! You’ll likely be spending loads of time where this rug is, so you want to be comfortable, too!
Beyond rugs, what about how do you store your books? Some people use book bins, some use bookshelves, or a combination of both. I personally will be likely using a combination of both. Providing students bins that are labeled allows them to see what books are where in the library. If they want to read a book about Autumn (or Fall), they don’t have to go through the 7 shelves to find that book… instead they go to the bin labeled Autumn (or Fall) and look for a book that they see interest in.
Once you’ve got your classroom library set up, it’s on to the easy-peasy stuff! HAH. If anyone knows me, this whole process will actually prove difficult because I’m a perfectionist! And I have a little OCD… therefore things have to have ORDER.

Next is the classroom supplies. Where do you store your classroom supplies? We learned all throughout college that you should put supplies to where students are able to access them should they need to. With permission from the teacher first, of course. But, you could also create mini toolboxes like one of my favorite bloggers from Ladybug’s Teacher Files did for her students! This gives access to supplies immediately by having these toolboxes placed directly at student desks, decreasing the amount of interruptions from getting up to get supplies when needed. Beyond this, you could potentially put bins in your drawers to keep things like erasers, pencils, glue, and other kinds of things sorted out and easy to get a hold of when necessary.
But, what do you do about those supplies that just don’t fit in bins or in the mini-student toolboxes that are above? Well, you can always get desk caddies or have students carry their supplies in supply boxes, which they can decorate of course! In my 2nd grade internship, we had it to where our students could decorate supply boxes for their desks but we did not have it to where supplies were readily available for students to grab. Something to consider!
Okay, so now our rug, library, and supplies are out of the way. Now what? Well, bulletin boards! If you’ve got these in your classroom, they’re like real estate! These spots are FANTASTIC for displaying a variety of things… star students, great work, literature/math/science/social studies boards, anchor chart displays, etc. So, I personally will be taking pride in how I decorate my boards. Instead of putting up the typical long sheets of paper, a lot of educators are now putting up fabric for the year. Some companies have come out with FADELESS fabric… how awesome to use from year to year?! Regardless, there are sooo many different types of fabric out there, it would be easy to match your theme or color scheme to help make the classroom feel like home – cozy, colorful, and conducive to learning! Besides fabric, borders make the bulletin boards complete, but obviously, they’re not required! If you like the way your boards look with paper, no paper, fabric, no fabric, borders, no borders… that’s totally fine! These are just some ideas, of course!
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Your bulletin boards are done, your library is set for reading, you have a rug to gather on for group time, and your supplies are ready for the first day! Now what? Well, let’s talk about our walls! Some teachers decorate to the extreme (which is totally okay!!), some teachers decorate with a few things (also totally okay), some with nothing at all (finally, totally okay)! How you decorate your walls or not decorate our walls is up to you. But, here’s some ideas: word walls, alphabet posters, numerical posters, posters about the writing process, IPICK posters for reading, science/social studies vocabulary or concepts, student jobs, rules & procedures, or any other sorts of things! This gives students something to view if they are visual learners rather than hands-on or auditory learners. Having a visual always helps me, too!
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The last thing I want to discuss is the teacher’s desk! Some have them, some don’t! Some use them, some don’t. I’m going to be the teacher that has the desk for my personal things… stapler (because we all know that goes missing!!), tape, my personal toolbox, storage for papers and notes and what not, and other such things. It’s going to be the place I can sit down at the end of the day at and breathe. It’s not going to be cluttered, it’s going to be cleeeean. Therefore, I might need something like storage trays, pencil holders, paper clips, binder clips, notepads, etc. This will be the place that’s “off limits” without permission from me specifically… my place of zen if you will! But, it will not be my place during the daytime... I’ll be walking around discussing and observing and listening. Check out some of my favorite ways to organize and keep my desk neat & tidy so I can work at it after the school day has ended by looking at some of the idea pictures below.
So, now you know how I’m going to be setting up parts of my room! Of course, not all rooms are set up this way… some with more decoration, organization, and so forth while others may not have as much decoration, organization, and so on. To each his (or her) own in the way that you organize and decorate your classroom. It’s not a race or a competition… it’s all about making it comfortable for you and your students since you’re there at least 1/3 of the day while the other 1/3 of a day is spent sleeping! HAH… that’s a whole other topic!

How did you decorate your classroom this year? How will you decorate it if you haven’t already? How will you ensure that it stays organized so you can find where you put everything? Let me know through comments… I’d love to hear a variety of ideas and thoughts!

Have a good day, y’all!