Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Three Days In...

...and it's all been a blur!  Why is it that I never remember what the first few days of school are like?  I feel like I've been spouting rules and procedures, reminding them to raise their hand, stay in line, raise their hand, keep their hands to themselves, raise their hand, and listen to directions.  Phew!  I'm glad I have a three day weekend to recover.

My kiddos are so sweet and it is already shaping up to be a fantastic year.  Unfortunately, I haven't taken any pictures yet, but I'll post some soon.

I hope your year is off to a great start!  Any secrets for reminding your students to raise their hand?  ;)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Must Have Monday

Today was my first teacher workday and I am wiped out.  I better get myself back in gear before the kiddos come next Monday!

Here are my teaching must haves:
1.  My home computer
I do all of my creations with my large home computer screen, my fun fonts, and in the comfort of my own home.  It also helps that I love the space I get to work in-- my husband custom built me a craft area in our attic.  

2.  Scotch Laminator
I bought a laminator this summer and I'm pretty sure I've already made up for the cost of lamination.  I have to color print at home anyway, so now I can get everything prepped at once.  I am so impressed by the quality of the lamination.

Need this mug!

3.  Coffee
My sweet husband makes me coffee every morning.  I always have a cup before I head to work.  It gives me a chance to have a few quiet moments to myself before the day begins.

This is a great website.  When the kids need a little brain break, this is one of my go-to sites.  Isn't it funny how much more interested they are in the story when someone other than you is reading it?!  This captures their attention immediately (and gives me a breather!)

5.  My planner
I am a list writer.  I make several to do lists a day.  My planner contains every meeting, meal, workout class, appointment, etc.  I just love the act of writing everything down.  I don't think any amount of technology will change that for me!!

6.  The public library
My book collection is still growing, so I rely on the library for many of the books I use in my classroom.  I also rely on it for myself.  I love to end the day with a great book.

Check out some other Must Haves 
Blog Hoppin

Friday, August 17, 2012

Kindergarten Common Core Labels

I created labels with every CCS on them.  I printed several copies and will keep them in my lesson planning binder to stick onto my lesson plans.  I don't know why, but it drove me crazy to type in the standards in my plans!  This way, I did the work upfront and will be able to easily track what standards I still need to teach.  

If you would like a set of your own (only $1.50!!), please check them out HERE

I will be creating a third grade set (upon request) next.  If you would like a set for your grade level, let me know!

Back to School Prep

I feel more prepared for this school year than I can remember feeling any other year.  I've spent summer mornings in my pajamas, coffee in hand, working on school stuff.  I've rekindled my love of designing and creating paper products (it is a dream of mine to own a stationary store and help brides design their wedding invitations!).  I've spent days in my classroom and already have several weeks worth of copies made.  I'm hoping that I can stay ahead of the game. 

What do you do to keep yourself organized and prepared for lessons?  

Let's hope I didn't just jinx myself!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Supply Labels

Our Open House is next week. On this night, not only do we get to meet our new kiddos, but parents (happily) unload the school supplies that have invaded their homes. I wanted a simple solution to the piles of fresh school supplies and created simple tags to tie onto baskets. The parents can just toss in their supplies and the sorting will be done for me. I will do community supplies this year, so everything will remain in these baskets until the kids need them. Clutter on top of the tables drives me crazy, so crayons, markers, and glue sticks will remain on shelves until they are needed. Well, that's my current plan ;) 

 This is my first product on TPT! If you download this and would like additional signs to suit your classroom needs, I'm willing to customize a set for you. Email me( you need and I'll get it back to you! I hope you can take advantage of this freebie!

Word Wall

 My word wall found a new location this year and I like it better already.  As I introduce words, I add them to the word wall on an index card.  The white card really pops on the black background.  I write our names in one color and our sight words in another color.
The pictures aren't great because the laminated paper is reflecting the flash.  Also, don't mind my pile of goodies to donate to other teachers on the counter.  

It pleases me that the alphabet has an even number of letters.  It would drive me crazy if these weren't even rows!

Send me a link so I can see your word wall.  How else do you use it?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Completed Rug Grid

My rug grid is complete!  My parents helped me in my classroom and my Dad was in charge of this project. He made some pretty intense measurements and architectural drawings to get it done and it is perfect.  To save you some time, here are the details:  My rug is 12'x12'.  The squares are 20"x20" in a 5x5 grid.  This left some room around the perimeter to leave room for us to access the easel, the Promethean Active Board, and the white board.  I think this will be a classroom management help for sure.  

Let me know if you plan to use this idea! 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Talking, Drawing, Writing... Lesson List

This summer, I've spent a lot of time reading for professional development.  I focused a lot of this time on writing in Kindergarten.  Teaching writing in 3rd grade is quite a bit different, to say the least!

I read In Pictures and In Words by Katie Wood Ray which was the Kindergarten blog book study book of the summer (organized by Dee Dee Wills).  Unfortunately, my vacation coincided with the start of the study and this was not my beach reading material of choice.  I'm still catching up on all of the wonderful ideas the participating teachers shared.

I also read Talking, Drawing, Writing: Lessons for Our Youngest Writers by Martha Horn and Mary Ellen Giacobbe.  This was an excellent book that gave me a lot of insight into the mind of the Kindergarten writer. To make things easier for myself, I typed up a list of all of the lessons they included in the book.  They encourage teachers to use these lessons as needed in your own classroom rather than trying to make your classroom fit their prescribed lesson timeline.

In the off chance that anyone could use this, here it is!
What are your best tips for teaching writing in Kindergarten?  

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Kindergarten Writing Posters {Basic}

There are adorable writing posters all over Pinterest and teaching blogs.  The posters featured on Shenanigans in Second and The First Grade Parade are some of my favorites.  This idea is absolutely, positively borrowed, but I wanted some for my classroom.  I *almost* used Cara's, but I wanted the font and the wording to be a little more Kindergarten friendly and I also wanted the example to be on the same poster.  I am digging those cute clipart kiddos though, so they may be added to the board as well.

Here are the posters I created.  I'll have these up at the beginning of the year and then add new ones for punctuation, the writing process, and parts of speech as we learn those concepts.  I hope you can use these!


Fonts used:  No Mystery and You All Everybody (free from Kevin and Amanda) and Arial Rounded MT Bold (standard font); border is from Doodle Borders document (I'm thinking I got it from Cara Caroll's blog?!?)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Back to reality...

I'm back in town after a two week vacation.  I went to the beach, I had a reunion with college girlfriends, I celebrated a wedding, and I spent time in my hometown.  I'm back and have one more week before Teacher Workdays start.  The pressure is mounting!

I will be back soon with more pictures of my classroom and all that I am doing to prepare for the school year.