Sunday, December 15, 2013

Almost Christmas Break

Hello to all of my fabulous follower and readers!  Is your district on Christmas Break yet?  In my district, this is the last five days before break.  I don't know about y'all, but I've found that the weeks leading up to Christmas break can be a little hairy.  So last year I began using the Elf on the Shelf in my classroom to help encourage positive behavior choices.  Since she worked out so well last year, I decided to use her again this year.  Our amazing assistant principal delivered her box, fresh from the cafeteria freezer, to our classroom.  The students were amazed at how cold the box was, and then were thrilled when our 5th Grade Buddies dropped off a SECOND package from the North Pole.  Inside that box was a copy of the Elf on the Shelf movie.  After we watched the movie and read the story, my little voted on a name for our elf.  This year she has been Christened as Frost the Elf.  Last year she was Jingles, and I just love how they keep to a theme!!
  These last 5 days before break can be very, very stressful in kindergarten.  I came up with some little notes of encouragement from our elf that would show up in our room each morning of the last five days.  With each note was a special treat.  I found a fancy wrapped box at the Dollar Tree, and inside I put enough treats and notes for each student in the class.  I place the elf on top of the box and wait for it to be found by my kiddos.  Then I read the note and they try to guess what the treat is.  Afterwards, everyone gets a treat and a note.  They totally look forward to seeing what our elf has left us.  If you use the elf in your classroom, please help yourself to this FREEBIE of positive encouragement treat notes!
Another FREEBIE that might help make your planning easier this week is a little Easy Emergent reader I created to help work with positional words.  Students use the pictures to help them figure out the positional words, and you can also use the sentences to practice finding subject and verb.  Enjoy!!

I hope that the last few days before break go as smoothly as possible for you, considering Christmas is only 10 days away!!  Can you STAND IT!?!?!  I hope that you and your loved ones get to spend some time together.  This will be our first Christmas without Mom, so I'm not sure how much celebrating we'll do, but we're keeping the spirit as alive as we can!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Product Sale

Happy Snow Day!!  Well, at least in my neck of the woods!  We had an unexpected 6 inches of snow fall yesterday, so schools were cancelled today.  I took to opportunity to finish up some activities I have been working on for this month.  Since there's less than two full weeks left of school (for me) before Christmas Break, I thought I'd put my newest creations on sale in the hopes that you can use them before Christmas has passed!  Please go check them out at my TPT store, on sale until Wednesday, December 11th!!  Click on the links and you'll go right there!!
This amazingly stuffed packet is full of Christmas themed centers you can use in your room during those last few weeks before Christmas vacation!  There are 2 different center activities for 5 different centers: Pocket Chart Center, ELA Center, Writing Center, Write the Room Center, and Math Center.
A great way to practice those subitizing skills, and works great as an activity to use with those students who are having a bit of a hard time understanding the numbers 1-10.  I use this with my RTI students, and they LOVE the cute gingerbread graphics.

 As always, please stop by and let me know how you are using these activities in your classroom!!  If you're enjoying a snow day or two, have a wonderful and relaxing mini-break from the stress of school!!  :-)

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Happy Turkey Day everyone!! I hope you are getting time to spend with your family and friends and take a moment to think about what you're thankful for.  I'm thankful for my family, my job, friends, and that I got to spend almost 33 years with my mom!!
   I'm also very thankful for all of my fabulous followers here and at my TPT store.  My store will be participating in the HUGE Cyber Monday sale at TPT, where everything is up to 28% off with the code CYBER.  Stop on by to fill out a wish list and make sure to buy up lots of resources for your classroom!!

I hope that you all have an amazing time off and enjoy each other!!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Littlest Dragon

OMG, something AMAZING has happened in Room 130!!!  A few weeks ago I applied for a grant through the organization Pets in the Classroom (  They are a non-profit organization that believes every classroom should have a pet in order for students to learn more about them as well as how to be responsible when caring for a pet.  The grant covers the animal's habitat as well as a 50% off coupon for the animal itself.  There were MANY choices of class pets, including mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.  I chose the bearded dragon, since we are the Kindergarten Dragons I thought that was PERFECT!!  Well, in the mail yesterday I received a letter from them that said 'Congratulations, you were approved!!'  I was SO EXCITED I had to run out to PetCo. that night and pick up our newest dragon!!!  How stinkin' cute is he!?!?!?
I am already so very much in love with him!!  He's SO TINY!!!  That's him next to his food dish, see how TINY he is!!  He'll get much bigger, the size of my forearm!!  He has been a huge hit in my classroom, and student's voted on their name choices today.  Their ideas for names are 'Fire Wings', 'Blaze', 'Hot Wings', and 'Draco'.  I'm partial to 'Blaze', but I haven't counted up the votes yet.

See the awesomely AMAZING habitat set-up that was covered by the grant??  Since he's a desert critter, he needs two special day-time heat lamps and one special night-time heat lamp (included in the kit).  My dad provided the mini-lock for the tank so my littles can't get him out, and since this week is Bully Prevention/Drug Awareness Week my kinders thought our dragon needed a red ribbon of his own!

My kinders have decided that he is a REALLY REAL dragon and the reason he doesn't have his wings and fire yet is because he's a baby, and if we are responsible and take good care of him he will grow up to be a big and strong dragon with wings and fire!

Plus, since he is a kindergarten dragon it has been decided that he needs to learn his ABCs.  So, I found some vinyl-clings that we have stuck onto the side of his tank so he can work on mastering his alphabet! (Having some trouble getting that pic to load, but as soon as I can I'll make sure to share!!)

If you're able to have a pet in your classroom, you really need to go check out!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Literature Links

Happy Monday!!  Our students have off today because we have a full day of Professional Development.  Lots of meetings today, so wanted to get a quick post up and out there!  I STILL have no internet at home, and it's MAKING ME CRAZY!!!
   During Social Studies this marking period we have been learning all about ourselves and our feelings, and we have been reading a lot of stories about feelings.  Reading stories isn't just something that I love and my littles love, but it gives them something to make a connection to.  They can find details in the story that may have happened in their lives or in the life of someone they know.  When we did our week on Bullying Prevention (October is Bully Awareness Month, and coincidentally it is also National Pit Bull Awareness Month) we read all sorts of wonderful literature examples of  preventing bullying.  So when we did our discussion on feelings, one of my favorite examples of a story about feelings is 'When Sopie Gets Angry, Really Really Angry' by Molly Bang.  (click the picture to get a copy from if you don't have one of your own!)

I love how this story has such incredible illustrations for when Sophie gets really, really angry.  My favorite one to discuss with my littles in when she feels like a volcano that will explode and when she roars her anger.  It always leads to a great discussion about what they do when they get angry, and then we can discuss good choices for how they handle their anger.  They love to share about times when they were angry about something, and they love to help each other figure out ways to handle their anger.  After our discussion, they got a chance to draw and write about a time they got really, really angry.  After they write about what made them angry they were to write and draw about what a good choice would be to help with their anger.  If you're interested in doing this lesson with your kiddos, please click on the Literature Link below and you can have the writing page that we completed after reading the story.  Hope you all have a great week!!
For some reason my Literature Link didn't include the credit for the fonts that I LOVE to use, so here's where I get them!!  Jen Jones has some AMAZING fonts, and many of them are free for personal use.  You'll have to go check them out!!  Click on the image to head over to her blog!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Character and Setting

Happy Sunday Funday!!  In K-Town this week, we have been focusing on Common Core Standard K.RL.3 - With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.  We have been reading some of our favorite stories and identifying the characters and settings.  We have also used the SMART Board to look at a setting and decide what type of character would fit there, or if a character belongs in that setting.  We put Rainbow Fish in the setting of the farm, and discussed if that was a good setting for the Rainbow Fish or not and why.  Then we completed a writing activity.  Students were allowed to choose either a setting card or a character card.  They were then to draw either the setting their character was found in, or the characters that would be found in their setting.  There were some super cute responses!!

Some of the pictures are blurry, still learning how to use my new phone!!  This one reads 'My character is a dog so my setting is at the park.'

'My character is a pumpkin so my setting is a tractor.'

'My setting is a train so my character is a conductor.'

'My character is an elf so my setting is the North Pole.'

'My character is a fish so my setting is the ocean.'

'My setting is the garden so my character is the flower.'

'My setting is a tree so my character is a monkey.'

'My setting is an owl so my character is the forest.'

How stinkin' cute are they!?!?!  Our kinders have been working on sounding out their words, as well as writing their sight words 'a', 'an', and 'the'.  Myself and another teaching partner stapled the cards to the student's papers, and another team mate had her little include their cards in their pictures.  I think that is a SUPER cute idea, thanks for sharing Danielle!!!  I feel that our kinders now have a deeper understanding of the definition of 'character' and 'setting'.  If you're interested in this activity, follow the link to my TPT store and get a copy for yourself!!

TPT is throwing a huge sale to celebrate them having 100,000 Facebook followers!!  In order to help them celebrate, I'm throwing a sale at my store too!  Enter the code 'FB100K' to get an additional 10% off of the already 20% off sale I'm throwing.  Just wanted to help THANK YOU ALL for helping TPT to grow, which in turns helps us all.  YOU ALL ROCK OUT LOUD!!!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Crayon Box That Talked

Happy Tuesday!!  One of my littles told me that Tuesdays are 'Taco Tuesdays', so make sure to enjoy a taco tonight!!  :-)

During the first marking period at our school we are learning all about rules, routines, feelings, and how to be a good friend.  One of my favorite books to read during this unit is The Crayon Box That Talked by Shane Derolf and Michael Letzig.  Besides talking about how to be a good friend, we use this book to address the Common Core Standard K.RL.3 - With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.
I got this book through Scholastic, but if you don't have one click on the image to link up to Amazon to get your own!!

I whipped up a quick response sheet for my littles to draw the two main characters of this story, the crayons and the little girl.  They are also going to attempt to write the labels for the characters.  Here's the freebie if you'd like to try this activity with your class!

Hope that you have a wonderful day!!!  :-)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Shoe Tying

Happy Sunday!!  Seeing as how the Ravens won today, it's a very good Sunday indeed!!
  Do you teach your littles a lesson on shoe-tying?  Is it a lesson that a part of you dreads having to teach?  Be honest!! I definitely feel that way when it's time to break out the fake shoes and work on teaching my munchkins how to tie those shoes!  This year I found something that seems to spark an interest in  learning to tie their own shoes.  MANY, MANY, MANY thanks to Michelle Rist over at Inspired by Kindergarten for creating such an amazingly awesome freebie!!  She has definitely been a life-saver in my classroom this year!!  I know you have all heard of, and probably love, the Pete the Cat books.  Well, my kinders LOVE Pete the Cat and his fancy shoes and buttons.  Recently we read one of our favorite books, Pete the Cat's I Love My White Shoes.  We talked about how Pete wants us to BE Safe (one of our Bainbridge BEs) and how he doesn't want us walking around without our shoes tied tight.  I told my littles that Pete is going to help us learn by creating a Pete the Cat Shoe Tying Club!  He has sent us all the materials we need to set up our club.

Each student gets to choose a pair of shoes that they can sign their name to when they learn how to tie their shoes.  This gets put on the wall so that everyone can see.

He also sent each of us our very own License to Tie that we can earn and keep forever and ever.  I laminated them to try and help them last a little bit longer!  My kiddos get SO EXCITED when they get to show off their license!!

Pete has also sent us certificates that we get when we have learned to tie our shoes, and he signed them and EVERYTHING!!!

I have  shoe-tying center in my classroom that my students are FINALLY excited about going to!  During our recess block,  I allow them to show me if they know how to tie their shoes.  If they can show me, they get to become a card-carrying member of the Pete the Cat Shoe Tying Club.  If shoe-tying is something you teach and/or encourage in your classroom, you DEFINITELY need to go check out Michelle's amazing freebie!!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


  Holy Problems, Blog Followers!!  I have NO INTERNET at home!!  I haven't had internet at my apartment in over three weeks!!!  Yes, I am going CRAZY!!  I must apologize for not keeping up with my blog the way I had originally planned before life went all crazy on me.  Now with the internet....ARGH!!!
  For the majority of our science curriculum we do a study of and a focus on trees and how they change throughout the seasons.  We focus on the main parts of the tree; roots, trunk, branches, and leaves.  We do as many activities we can find about trees, and one of our favorites is when we go on a Nature Walk and about our very own class tree.  We will visit this tree during each of the four seasons to view how it has changed.  We will come back into the classroom and record our observations in our Class Tree Journal, and at the end of the year we will get to have a Teddy Bear Picnic with our 5th Grade Buddies out under our class tree.
  One of my amazing team mates found an incredibly fun activity on Pinterest (how much do you LOVE Pinterest???!!!) where we use pretzel rods, pretzel sticks, and grapes to complete a model of the parts of the tree.  After we used the edible tools, we had our kinders label the parts of their tree.  I took a picture of each student's model and used that picture to determine their science grade.  They had TONS of fun making their incredibly edible models, and after they were able to show me their work they were allowed to eat their models!!  If you teach anything about trees, you should totally try this 'Pinteresting' activity!!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Name Game and Sight Words

Hello blogging friends!!  I must apologize for my sporadic posts lately.  Things just haven't been right in my world since my mom died!  I had so many plans and ideas to start the year off, so many things I wanted to get started and try!  Then life smacked me upside the head and I've been trying to recover ever since!!  I would like to give a huge thank you to all of the people who still check my lil' blog and read my posts!  I am going to continue to try and do better!!

This past week we have been doing a lot of work with our names.  My students completed a cute name activity during their Independent Group Time this week.  They were given a typed outline of their name, which I made simply by choosing my favorite font in PowerPoint, making it large enough to cover the entire page (without going off the edges), and then choosing the 'text outline' feature to create an outline of their name.  I gave them choices of tissue paper they could use to fill the letters of their names, and they each chose a different way to fill in their letters.  Here are a few pictures of the activity that we did!
I used one of my favorite fonts, called 'Doctor Soos Bold'.  I found it as a freebie onine a while ago, and a sweet teaching partner pointed out it was spelled wrong.  I'm thinking it's spelled that way so it doesn't violate copyright laws.  

 Here are the buckets of tissue paper that I had available for my littles to use.

This is a sample of some of their completed work.  It was interesting to see the different styles and methods my kiddos used to fill in their names with tissue paper!

On to a freebie!!  In my room, we are working hard to learn our sight words.  I have created a few coloring pages where my littles must follow the code to color in the pictures.  I'm working on getting them together as a pack and adding it to my TPT store, but for now I only have a few done.  I'm sharing one as a freebie!!

Please leave me a comment or two to tell me your favorite ways to teach sight words!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Room Set-up

Thanks so much to my followers who have stayed with me through this process they call grieving!!  It's still really hard for me to deal with, but I'm working on it.  My mom was one of my 3 official followers, and I remember the week before she died she told me how proud she was of the fact that I started a blog.  So, in the spirit of my mom, I'm going to try to get back into the world of daily blogging.  I know that's what she would want!
   I'd like to share with you some pictures of my finished (almost) classroom.  Since mom died two days before school started, I missed the entire first week with my Littles.  I'm still in the process of catching up!
This is my Environmental Print ABC wall, located on the wall right inside my classroom door.  This is NOT my idea!  I first read about it on the Growing Kinders blog and just had to try it out for myself!  I had a hard time having parents send in labels, so I recruited members of my family.  My mom was a big help with this project, and I'm glad I get to remember her every time I walk through my classroom door!  I also found a great resource to add labels, since I was having a hard time finding them.  Joey Barnes has a great Environmental Print ABCs Freebie over on TPT, and I used that freebie to fill in some of my letters.  If you look closely, you can see that some letters (like I,U,V) really needed the help of Joey's freebie, so thanks a zillion Joey!!!
This is my Art Center next to my Sensory Table.  My easels are covered with cheapo plastic tablecloths from the Dollar Tree, which helps to keep the chalkboards under the cloth free of paint.  My Sensory Table has two sides, and currently it is full of paper scraps and scissors so my Littles can practice their cutting skills.  My amazing teaching partner Heather thought of that idea, and I LOVE it!!  (So do my kinders!!)
This is the front of my room, where the SMART Board is located.  After my first year in kindergarten, I asked to have the Board lowered since it was installed WAY TOO HIGH for my Littles to reach the top, and I was nervous about having them stand on stools while they tried to use the Board!  On the top of the wall are the number cards for 0-20 (which is our focus for the first marking period) and they contain the number word with a matching numeral and set of dots.  I hot-glued the number cards in the order they would appear in a ten-frame instead of a straight line.  We do  A LOT of work with ten-frames in kindergarten, and having them displayed in this way helps my kinders to remember the formation.  My bulletin boards are covered with fabric.  I have found that fabric fades A LOT less than butcher-style paper.  I have used the same pieces of fabric for at least four years now, and they are still as bright and crisp as the day I put them up!  The green board is my Math board, and right now has the 2D and 3D shapes we are focusing on, as well as a poster of rhymes for writing the digits 1-9 and a Touch Math poster that shows the digits 1-9.  There is also a spot for a Math Word Wall which we will add to throughout the year.  The yellow board is my Language Arts board and contains the short/long vowel posters as well as a Word of the Day poster where we display various sight words we are working on.  Next to the LA board is a color words display.  The blue kidney table is where my little do their Independent work.  My Computer Center is located in front of the Math board, and up in the corner is where our TV is mounted.  We watch our 5th Grade Friends perform the daily announcements every morning.
Here's a shot of the front right corner of my room.  Behind the blue dividing wall are the lockers where my littles keep their things.  In this picture you can see most of my ELA Centers, including the Reading Center, Interactive Pocket Chart, and Listening Center.  Right now we are using the Pocket Chart Center to play the Name Game that I blogged about a few weeks ago.
This is a shot of the back left corner of my room.  You can see the Dramatic Play Center, as well as a bulletin board I'll use to display our Star of the Week's poster.  You can see the other half of the Sensory Table as well as the filing cabinet that contains our Behavior Clip Chart.  My desk doubles as the Magnet Letters Center, and the door behind my desk leads to one of the other kindergarten classrooms.  The blue table you can kind of see in this picture is where my littles do Art Center projects that don't require the easel.  For example, this week we studied the letter P so my kiddos made a piggy craft using the letter P.  The chalkboard is usually where I put our objectives for the day, including our daily schedule.
This is the back right corner of my room.  On the chalkboard is the small calendar I display in order to meet our State Validation requirements, but all of our Calendar Routine and Activities are completed on the SMART Board during Morning Circle Time.  Above the chalkboard on the wall is our classroom birthday display.  The blue bulletin board is our Sight Word Wall, and I'm still searching for ways to make it more interactive for my kinders!  The star burst next to the Word Wall is our Job Chart, and underneath that is our BLURT! Board.  Behind the stacks of chairs are the Blocks Center and the Science/SS Center.  The brown trapezoid tables are used for the Writing, Phonics, and Math Centers (during different times of the day).  Our Write the Room supplies are found there too.  My littles LOVE LOVE LOVE the Write the Room Center, do yours??  That door leads out to the playground that all three kindergarten classes use, as well as our morning and afternoon pre-k class.
This is a closer shot of the Science/SS Center, and the shelves that hold many of our manipulatives and interactive learning games.
Here are our classroom mailboxes, where my littles put their folders every morning and I can easily pass out papers.  The empty white wall space underneath the clock will eventually contain our Sight Word Rainbow displays.

Due to everything that has happened in my life lately, I TOTALLY missed posting pictures of the awesome package I received from my Mystery Blogger for the Back to School Blogger exchange.  My AMAZING partner was Kelly Brown, a kindergartner teacher from NC and fellow blogger!  She did a superfantabulous job of finding items to go with my theme of Dr. Seuss and dragons!!  Thanks so much Kelly!  

  Thanks again for bearing with me through this process!  I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into Room 130, and I will be adding more pictures as the room changes.  I'd like to leave you with a shot of my furbaby Isis, who was spayed on Monday.  She definitely does not like the Cone of Shame!!