Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tried-It Tuesday!

Happy Tuesday!!  Tomorrow is Wednesday, which for me means tomorrow is Early Day!!  <the student leave at 2:00, we stay until 3:45>  Early Day is awesome! Do you have anything like that in your school?

Today I wanted to share with you something I have tried out in my classroom.  This is an activity one of my teamies <my shorthand for team mates> found on Pinterest.  Our main focus in science is an in-depth study of the tree.  We spend all year with this as our main focus, and this means that we get to really dig into all things tree-related.  One of the best parts about getting to focus on trees all year long is that we get to observe the trees as they change throughout the seasons.  In my part of the U.S., we get to experience all four seasons as well as how they change from one to the next.  Gotta love that temperate climate!!  Right now we are focusing on how trees change from summer to the fall, as well as the reasons behind the changes.  While we were planning on different ways to help our kinders understand the main parts of the tree (roots, trunk, branches, leaves), my teamie found this activity on Pinterest. <click on the picture to head over the my Pinterest board where I have this pinned!  Follow me while you're there!!>

As a team we decided to give this activity a try.  I pre-cut the strips into the bags, and I think I may have cut my strips too long.  One of my teamies cut hers shorter and her kiddos had a much easier time getting the trees created. 

 I had this graphic up on the SMART Board while they were working, and I also walked them through the process step-by-step while modeling with another bag.  

Here's what my sample looked like.

I don't have as much of a trunk as the one in the diagram, and I'm thinking the reason is because I cut the strips down too far.  Next year I won't make that mistake again!!  My teamie also made some labels for them to add to their trees once they were finished with the leaves.

I gave each student a square of red, orange, and yellow construction paper.  They were to tear their leaves from those pieces, and glue the leaves to the branches of their tree.  Some of my Dragons glued their entire square to a much for diagrams!!  :-)  Still, I think they had fun making it!!

My kinders worked hard on this activity and they were SUPER excited to get to take them home and share them with their families.  My kiddos get SO EXCITED whenever they get to take something home that they worked on in school.  Do your littles get excited to take things home?  

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Markdown Monday!

I am excited to link up with Kelly and Kim's Kindergarten Kreations for their Markdown Monday linky party!  I just LOVE that they have this awesome linky every single week!!  If you have never heard of this linky, here's a quick run-down.  If you create activities and sell them online through sites like TPT and Teachers Notebook, you can choose whichever product or products you wish to mark down in price.  You also choose how much you mark them down for.  They will stay at this markdown price for the entire week, and it's a great way to stock up on your favorite sellers' activities!!  Make sure to click on the Markdown Monday picture at the end of this post to take you over to see who else has linked up this week!!

For my Markdown Monday this week, I am going to mark down EVERY SINGLE ONE of my Halloween-related activities!!  Each one is going to get marked down by $1.00, AND I am currently throwing a SALE!!!! Perfect reason to stock up on activities you can use for the last few weeks of this month, and stock up with activities you can use during the Halloween season next year!!

All you have to do is click on the picture below to hop on over to my TPT store.  Once there, use the Quick Find search box and type in 'Halloween'.  All of my Halloween-related activities will pop up, and you can check out their discounted prices.  Also, any activities I'm able to finish this week will be marked down too!!

I hope that you are able to find something you are able to use!!  Don't forget that my 100th product, that I posted yesterday, is a pretty sweet Write the Room FREEBIE that will fit perfectly into your room this time of year!!

What is your FAVORITE part about this season?  I LOVE the Fall, especially watching the leaves turn such beautifully gorgeous colors!!

Don't forget to go back over to Kelly and Kim's Kindergarten Kreations to see who else has linked up with their Markdown Monday linky party!!

Extreme Blog Makeover!

Welcome to my BRAND NEW blog!!!  I was lucky enough to have my blog completely redone by Designs by Kassie!!  Did she not do an AMAZING job!?!  I am totally in love with my blog's new look, and I just LOVE how it fits my theme!!  Have you seen the 'Pin Me' button she created??  It's a DRAGON!!!  :-)  It was an investment well spent!!

I am also celebrating a personal milestone!  Back in June, I set a goal for myself.  This morning, that goal was FINALLY achieved!!  

My original idea was to have 100 items posted in my TPT store by the end of the summer.  At the time, I had 75 items in my store.  I thought it'd be easy-peasy to get 25 items done over the summer months. happened and most of my summer was spent exactly as it should be, with family and friends!  :-)  So by the time school started up again, I had only been able to raise my total activities posted to 90.  Not too shabby, but still not the original goal. I wasn't able to meet my original deadline, but I have finally gotten 100 products listed in my TPT store!  I thought it fitting that the 100th product should be a FREEBIE for all of you wonderful folks who have inspired me to keep creating!!

This little freebie is a Write the Room activity created around smiley spiders.  This activity focuses on the numerals 1-10, the number words 1-10, and the colors of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, black, brown, and gray.
Each poster has a different number represented by a set of same-colored spiders.  The matching number words are also on the posters, done up with spider-web letters.

There are two different types of recording sheets.  The first type focuses on the numbers 1-10 and matching those numerals to a set.  
Students must identify the number and find the spider set that matches.  They then write the number word on the line next to the numeral, and color the numeral to match the color of the spiders.  There are two sheets, one for the numerals 1-5 and another for the numerals 6-10.  You could either use these to differentiate for students in your room, or copy them back to back and have the students work on all of the numbers. 

The next recording sheet has students reading the given color word and then finding the set of spiders that matches that color.
When students find the matching poster, they are to draw the amount of spiders in the set.  Since the black spider poster has ten spiders on it, students would draw ten black spiders in the box labeled with the black crayon.  You could also have them write the matching numeral inside the box, if you wish.

I hope that you enjoy this freebie, and that you help my celebrate this milestone!!  I am going to be throwing a SALE in my TPT store, where every single product will be listed at 10% OFF!!  Stock up on all your favorites!!  Check back tomorrow to see which products I mark down EVEN FURTHER!!!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Markdown Monday!

We made it through Monday!!!  Woot-woot!!  I don't know about you all, but Monday has always been the hardest day of the week for me!

Tonight I am linking up with Kelly and Kim's Kindergarten Kreations for their Markdown Monday linky party.  I am going to mark down two of the products my team and I will be using in the upcoming weeks. Each product will be marked down $1.00 for the entire week.

First up is the packet we will be using to introduce the concept of character and setting with our kinders.  This packet is full of activities that will help us determine if the kiddos understand the importance of matching up the character to the setting and vice versa.

Second is the packet of activities that will help us understand if our kinders can differentiate between the job of an author and an illustrator.  They will be doing various activities, including sorting the tools each would use, as well as drawing and labeling the tools an author/illustrator would use and writing about how they would use them.

For this week only, each activity packet is marked down $1.00, so make sure to grab a set before the price goes back up!!

Make sure to head on over to Kelly and Kim's Kindergarten Kreations to see who else has linked up for Markdown Monday.  Teachers from all grades and special areas link up, so you'll most likely find something that can work for you!

My kinders got to meet their 5th Grade Buddies for the first time today!  We will pair up with them throughout the year to do different activities, and our first was Reading on the Green, where we went outside with our Buddies and sat on our towels and blankets and got a chance to read to our Buddies and have them read to us.  It was so much fun, even if there was a very slight drizzle happening...we were rained out last week, so today was our Rain Date!!  :-)  Do your littles pair up with an older grade, or if you teach an older grade do they pair up with a younger grade?  I would LOVE to hear the different types of activities you do together!!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Peek at My Week (Week 5)

Hello again all!!  First let me say I'm very sorry for not posting in so long...dealing with family stuff as well as the craziness that is the beginning of the year in kindergarten left me plum tuckered out!! I'm going to be trying a lot harder to get regular posts up!!

I know it's getting a bit late, so I won't keep you long.  I am linking up with Mrs. Wills' Kindergarten for her Peek at My Week linky!  This is a really awesome linky where teachers get to link up and share their plans for the week, as well as links to any activities they might be using.  Make sure to go back over to Mrs. Wills' Kindergarten to see who else linked up!!

Here are my plans for the week.  The first picture is the morning, and the second picture is the afternoon. I teach all day kindergarten, so we do all things ELA in the morning and all things Math and Science/Social Studies in the afternoon.

This is what we are planning to do for ELA and Daily 5 this week.  My kinders are working on rhyming words and beginning sounds, and so far this year we have introduced the letters p, b, t, d, k, g.

In Math, we have been focusing on gaining a deeper understanding of the numbers 0-10 as well as how to use a ten-frame and rekenreks.

During Math we are learning how to follow the Daily 3, where we do Math with Self, Math with Someone Else, or Centers.  This week during Math with Self and Math with Someone, my kinders are going to be working on activities from my newest product.  It is a BUNDLE of beginning of the year math activities that focus on the numbers 0-10 as well as color words.  Click on the picture to go check it out in my TPT store!

Don't forget to go over to Mrs. Wills' Kindergarten to see who else has linked up for her Peek at My Week linky!

This week I'm looking forward to getting our first Scholastic Order in!!  My kinders ROCKED it this month and ordered $94 worth of books!!  Woot-woot, love those Bonus Points!!  What is something you are looking forward to this week?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Peek at My Week (Week 4)

Hello everyone?  How many of you have been doing schoolwork while watching your favorite team play?  I don't know about you all, but I am so very glad football is back.  My team doesn't play today, so I've been catching up on a TV show I've been very curious about.  You may have heard of it, it's called 'The Blacklist'?  Anywho, I remember one of my team mates talking about it last year and have seen a lot of talk about it this year, so I've decided to give it a try.  I told myself that I can start watching Season 1 as soon as I finish this blog post, and that I also must cut out my laminating while I do so.  Not a bad compromise for a Sunday, right?  :-)

Here are my plans for the week.  The first page is what we have planned for the morning and the second page is what we have planned for the afternoon.

During ELA we focus on a lot of skills.  We will ask and answer questions about key details in a text, and this week we will be using non-fiction texts about character traits, such as respect and responsibility.  Our school subscribes to an AWESOME online digital resource library, which is Captstone Digital's PebbleGo databases.  Click <here> to go read more about this awesome program, including pricing and availability.  The non-fiction online books that we can access through this program are wonderful.  Not only will the program read the text to the students but they can learn more by clicking on highlighted words and various text features.  Since the text is read by the computer, students can use headphones at the computer center during Listen to Reading portion of Daly 5!!

For Word Study we are focusing on the letters/sounds of /d/ and /t/, as well as continuing to work on our ability to identify and create rhyming words.  We use a lot of nursery rhymes for these activities, and I am always AMAZED at how many of my dragons have never ever heard any of these rhymes.  It always makes us, as a team, want to find as many examples out there as we can to introduce to our littles!!

During all of our small group times this week we will be administering portions of the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) and the Emerging Literacy Survey (ELS), so the majority of our instruction from now until we finish will be held during Whole Group, which is when we meet together on the carpet in front of the SMART Board.

In Math this week we will be focusing on the numbers 1-5 during Number Talks and Math with Self and Math with Someone Else time, and we will also continue working on our Number of the Day activities.  Monday marks Day 13 with our kindergarteners, so during NotD this week we will focus on #13-17.

Remember that our team teaches Social Studies for two days and Science for two days.  The elementary school students in our district have early dismissal every Wednesday at 2:00.  The teachers remain at school for professional development trainings, school/staff meetings, and team planning sessions.

For Social Studies this week, we will be finishing up our Monster School Rules books.  This is an idea from

The last page we need to make is 'Helping Hands', and then we are going to practice reading them to each other and modeling the rules.  For the first few months of kindergarten, we spend A LOT of time working on our rules, so I love this book because they can keep it in their book bins and read it again and again!!

During Science we are going to continue our study of trees by focusing on leaves.  We will discuss the different shapes of leaves and how those shapes are adapted to help the trees survive in their environment.  We are going to read Leaf Jumpers by Carole Gerber and then head outside to find as many different types of leaves as we can.  When we come back inside we will try to sort them based on their shapes!

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my week!  Please click on the image below to go to Mrs. Wills' page where she is hosting her Peek at My Week linky party!!  I really love to see all the different ways teachers set up their plans and deliver instruction during the week.  I'm really glad she is hosting this linky, how fun right??!!

What are you going to be focusing on this week?  I'd like to throw in some name recognition and writing practice, plus introduce Word Work and Listen to Reading for Daily 5, and Math with Self and Math with Someone for the Daily 3.  I'm hoping I can find the time!!!  :-)  I hope that all of you have an incredibly wonderful week!!!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Finally Friday

TGIF = Teacher's Grateful It's Friday!!  I saw that on Facebook, and thought it was so cute!!  Here's something else I found on Facebook today!!

This is the first full five-day week I've had with my Dragons, though it is Day 12 of kindergarten.  I can definitely relate to this today!!  I'm just SO DRAINED by the time Friday finally makes an appearance.  There were days this week where I was truly afraid of falling asleep on the drive home!!!  CRAZY!!

How was your week?  Can you relate to the picture, too?  :-)  I hope you have an incredibly wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thursday Thankfuls

Hi there friends!!  I am sorry about not being more on schedule with my blogging since school started, but I forgot how crazy busy/exhausting the first few weeks of kindergarten are!!  I have only been with my kinders for 11 days now, but I feel they are getting to the point where they are comfortable with their daily routines.  They are now walking down to the classroom on their own once they get off the bus, they are choosing their own breakfast/lunch items, and are getting much better at sitting on the rug.  Are we still working on all of those things?  Of course!  Those and many, many more!!  :-)  However, I am starting to relax my constant vigilance of their every movement. They are able sit for longer periods of time before needing a GoNoodle Break (we take LOTS of 'Brain Breaks' using GoNoodle...we're on our third champ and have only been in school for eleven days....) and they are getting better at remembering Daily 5/3 and center rules.  I am loving this awesome group of tiny people, and am enjoying seeing them grow!!

I know that I have a lot of things in the works, both blogging and creating, but I wanted to take a moment today and share some things I'm thankful for.  On a day where we lost so many (including my cousin, who was a fire fighter that lost his life as one of the first responders that day 13 years ago), I am still aware that there are people who are thankful to have survived (like the woman my cousin brought down to ground level before he went back for another and never returned).  I wanted to share a few things from my week that I am thankful for.  Don't worry, this will be quick-ish!!  :-)

If you have ever searched for super-adorable clip art to help you complete a project or activity, chances are you have come across Krista Wallden.  If you, seriously, where have you been??  Just kidding, but really if you have not heard of her awesomeness please click on the link or picture and head over to her TPT store!!  Not only does she have a little bit of everything, but she uses the same shades of colors in all of creations.  This means that while they are fabulous on their own, they become simply marvelous when you pair them with some of her backgrounds/borders/other clip art because all of the colors match!!  Well, as you may have guessed, I am a huge fan of her clip art.  I own many of her sets, and have many more on my Wish List.  Now, I don't know about you, but whenever I purchase something from TPT I make sure to take the time to rate and leave feedback.  I try very hard to leave feedback that is meaningful to the product as well as being a resource for potential buyers.  I understand how busy TPT sellers can be and that many of them simply don't have to time to respond to the feedback left on their activities.  I know that sometimes it has been days after a comment was posted on one of my products before I was able to respond, and I can't even imagine how many comments those Top Sellers get!!  Imagine my complete surprise when Krista Wallden took the time out of her busy day to respond to one of my comments!!  I was so thankful for that I simply had to share!!

AAHH!!!  How AWESOME is that??  I was totally floored, and her thoughtfulness definitely put a smile on my face!!  Thank you so much, Krista!!  :-)

I am so INCREDIBLY thankful to have two such AMAZING administrators!!  Our school's principal and vice principal make such a great team, and they are always supportive of their staff and students.  Our elementary school has over 600 students, but our administration makes time each day to make a connection with each student, even if it's just walking through their classroom and giving them a smile.  They are both completely approachable and have always worked so hard to help us with whatever issues or concerns we have.  They always 'have our backs' when dealing with those not associated with our staff.  They are wonderful at spear-heading different initiatives, which has led us to be a PBIS Gold Medal School, a Maryland Green School, and a Baywise School.  They have helped to create an environment where not only the students feel safe and respected, but so do the teachers and every other staff member.  They make sure to let us know how appreciated we are, and it really makes a difference in morale.  Since I knew I could approach them with any idea and they would hear me out, I asked them if they would help us kick off our Super Friends Awards.  
Yes, that is our principal and vice principal dressed as super heroes.  Let me take you back to the beginning of last year, when early one morning two super-hero capes and masks showed up on their desks.  Now, we have many crafty ladies at our school.  Knitters, quilters, and alpaca farmers that dye and spin their own wool, to name a few.  No one knows who made these or how they got to the desks of the principals.  The ones who do know have done an incredibly excellent job of keeping it a secret, because to this day we still don't know.  It's a mystery.....  Well, since their arrival last year, our administrators have donned their super hero costumes and periodically traveled up and down the halls, high-fiving every student in the school (since we all get to go stand in the hallway while they 'fly' around the school.  This year, I had this idea....would they dress up as their 'alter-personas' and help us introduce the Super Friends?  I wasn't sure if they would be down for it, but I was TOTALLY wrong!!  They got so excited to help, and they did such an AMAZING job!!  They helped our kinders understand what it is to be a Super Friend and encouraged them to join Captain Kindness and the Fab Friends.
I created this outline for them to follow as they introduced each of the Super Friends as well as how the kinders could become Super Friends.

Let's just say our kinder were enthralled!!  They were excited to meet Captain Kindness and his trusty sidekick Sergeant...

as well as the rest of the Fab Friends and their sidekicks.

Our kinders learned that when they become a Super Friend, they can earn certificates,


and badges!

Best of all, they get a BOOK!
For your Super Boys...

and your Super Girls!  The entire class writes about what makes him or her a Super Friend!

You can get all the awards, bracelets, badges, and class book by purchasing my Super Friends Awards Pack in my TPT store.

Soon I'll be updating this pack with the presentation my administrators used to kick this off for us, as well as some more styles of award certificates and bracelets.  Get it now before the price goes up!!  As soon as it's ready for relaunch, I'll be blogging all about exactly how I use this in my classroom!!  Teaser: It involves capes.

What is something you are thankful for today or this week or just in general?  Have a wonderful rest of your week!!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Sunday Scoop Linky Party

Hello again!!  I stumbled upon a SUPER-CUTE linky party being hosted by the Teaching Trio called The Sunday Scoop.  This is just a quick little form, based on the ever-popular 3-2-1 organizers so many educators use.  It's a way to quickly share 3 things you HAVE to do this week, 2 things you HOPE to do, and 1 thing you are HAPPY to do.  Here's my Sunday Scoop, enjoy!!

Don't forget to hop over to the Teaching Trio's blog to see who else has linked up with this linky!