Friday, July 25, 2014

Five for Friday and a Friday FREEBIE!!

Today I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday linky party.  Stay with me til the end, 'cause there's a freebie in it for you!!

Number graphics are created by Mel from Graphics From the Pond.
I have been hard at work enjoying my summer vacation, have you??  :-)  I know that some of my new friends are already back in school, but I have a few more weeks left.  I have been spending a lot of time with my baby niece, and it's awesome to get my 'baby fix' and then give her back to her mom at the end of the day!!  :-)
 It's her first baby selfie!! I let her play around with my phone (anything to keep her happy!!) and next thing I new she was taking selfies!!  :-)  Love her!!

I have to get my baby fix 'cause I'm not a mommy yet.  Well, not to a two-legged baby anyway.  On Monday I celebrated the third birthday of my furbaby, Isis.  I just love her to pieces.  She has always been a great listener, and an industrial-strength chewer (ugh).  She never judges me, never stops loving me, and no one in my life has EVER been that happy to see me when I walk through the door.
This is one of my favorite pictures, because she is really not this shy and laid back!!  :-)  She is definitely a handful and a huge ball of energy.  She also has severe separation anxiety whenever she is left alone.
I came home to this one day after work.  Honestly, I had several occasions where I questioned my sanity in keeping this dog.  She was well-trained as long as she was with someone, but leave her alone and very, very bad things happen.  Luckily she grew out of many of her destructive behaviors, and since moving she isn't alone every day, which has drastically improved her separation anxiety.  Case in point, since moving the extent of her damage is a wooden pencil she found on the floor.  That was at the very beginning of the move, and nothing has happened since.  Hopefully that means she's happy!!  :-)

This summer, I have had the chance to spend a lot of time working on my blog, TPT store, and even created a Facebook page.  I'm grateful for the chance to work on them, and am glad I have had a chance to be so creative.  To me, doing things like that is therapeutic and helps me relax.  For my blog, I have been trying to link up with as many different linky parties as I can.  Not only are they so fun to do, it is a great way to increase traffic to my blog.  Plus I get to 'meet' so many wonderful people and learn so many great ideas.  One of my favorite linky parties so far has to be Deanna Jump's Book Talk Tuesday.  This is such a wonderful opportunity to get to learn about the incredibly wide array of literature out there, as well as how different educators have used such literature effectively in their classrooms.  It is also a chance for me to get to share some of my favorite literary gems!!  Anyone who has been reading my blog for a while knows how obsessed I am with books, so this linky is a perfect fit for me.  This past Book Talk Tuesday I got to share two of my favorite beginning of the year books, PLUS host my very first giveaway!!  I'm excited to branch out into the world of hosting giveaways, and I hope I am able to do many more!!  If you haven't entered my giveaway yet, make sure to click on the picture below to take you to my giveaway post so that you can enter via Rafflecopter!!

Since there are so many changes coming up at my school for the next couple of years, we were given the opportunity to meet as a team for an all-day paid summer-planning session.  Honestly, I don't know why anyone would say no to this!!!  So my team met on Wednesday.  We are four members strong this year.  Our newest team mate will be in her first year of kindergarten, after starting teaching pre-k last November.  My other two team mates are celebrating their second year in kindergarten, and I my fourth.  We got the first two weeks of school planned out, which is AWESOME!!  However, while we were filling in our newest teamie on the things she would need to set up her classroom, it hit me that I haven't done ANYTHING about my classroom decor yet!!  I have done TONS of work with my blog, TPT store, and even Facebook page, but had neglected my own Extreme Classroom Makeover.  Luckily I don't report back to school until mid-August, so I have some time to get things done.  So far, I have tackled behavior management and a classroom alphabet line. Here are some shots of what I have done so far.
I'm trying to keep them as uniform as possible.  I used the same 'kinder-friendly' font for all of the letters and included handwriting lines for them to see the formations. The borders are all the same, and I use the same two dragon pictures.  I wanted the vowels to stand out so I made them red, and included two different pictures because I want them to understand the vowels have two different sounds.  
I have a bit of a dilemma though.  I know that the letters 'C' and 'J' have two different sounds, but I haven't decided if I should include pictures for both sounds of those letters.  Will this confuse my kinders into thinking 'C' and 'J' are vowels, or will this confuse them when they are trying to sound out their words while writing?  Is it better to make sure they understand the letters have two sounds, or just expose them to the fact that they do?  I've almost talked myself into including two pictures for the two different sounds of 'C' and 'J' but would LOVE to hear your thoughts on this!!
I also wanted to include pictures of words they might not be familiar with, or may not have realized begin with a certain letter.  Sometimes my kinders will hear a 'letter' at the beginning of a word instead of a sound, and assume the word starts with the incorrect letter.  For example, when they hear the word 'envelope', many of my kinders hear the /en/ and assume that represents the letter 'N'.  I want them to begin to understand how tricky the language can be.

Something else that I created to go with my dragon theme are behavior calendars.  Every month my kinders get a new calendar, and this calendar goes home in their folders every night.  It 'lives' in their folder, which means it should never-ever be taken out to stay at home.  I use a color-coded clip-chart as part of my behavior management system, and my kinders color in the box for the day's date on their behavior calendar to match what color they landed on at the end of the day.  On the back of the calendars is an explanation of our color system.  In the past I have just used generic calendars I created in Notebook software.  This year I wanted my calendars to represent my theme, so I made some!  :-)  I have represented each month with it's own page from August 2014 through August 2015.  My kinders will use these to track their daily behavior, and they provide a way for their grown-ups to monitor their behavior at school.  If you're interested, or know anyone who might be, you can have these dragon-themed monthly behavior calendars FOR FREE!!  :-)

Remember, they have dragons on them!!  :-)  When my kinders start using them, I'll be sure to post pictures!!  I'll even be keeping a set as my own personal calendar.  :-)  Remember that goal of mine to be more organized this year?  I am hard at work creating my very own Teacher Toolkit, which is a binder divided into different sections that are important to my school year running smoothly.  As it comes together, I'll be sure to share it with you!!  :-)

I hope you are having a FABULOUS Friday and an even better weekend!!  If you had to go back to school already, just remember you'll be getting out WAY before I do for the summer!!  :-)  Also, don't forget to go back and click on the link for Five for Friday and Freebie Friday to go get some other great ideas and freebies!!

p.s. - The cute numbers graphics I used are from Mel at Graphics from the Pond and are a FREEBIE of hers!!

If you download, don't forget to rate and leave some feedback!!  How can you NOT grab such an AMAZING freebie!!


  1. Super cute alphabet. The dragons theme is fun and I bet your kids LOVE them!

    1. Thank you so much!! I'll be sure to take pictures of when I am able to put them up in rush or anything though!! :-)

  2. I've never seen a dragon theme before! Very fun and unique! I’m gearing up for a big giveaway on my blog on August 11 - come stop by so you don’t miss it!!
    Beyond The Gradebook

    1. Thank you so much!! I'm loving my Classroom Makeover this year!! I will definitely check out your giveaway, thanks for the heads-up!! I'm having my first giveaway too, if you're interested in participating!! :-)

  3. Hi Erin-I found you on five for Friday. My opinion: include both sounds for c and g but don't stress out about explicitly teaching it! This is a spelling skill that will come with time and at 5 years old they might not be ready yet...


    1. Thank you so much for such great advice! I was thinking I really needed to add those soft sounds, so I found clip art that was perfect for it!! Thank you so much for leaving such a wonderful comment!! I appreciate your suggestions!!

  4. Your niece did better at her selfie than I usually do! :) I love the name Isis-she is beautiful! I had a really difficult with my girl as a pup too-so glad I hung in there, we worked through most of the challenging behaviors.

    Not Just Child's Play

    1. My niece takes WAY better pictures than me, always!! She's much cuter!! :-) Thank you for your super kind words!! I can totally relate to being glad you didn't give up on a dog, so glad things worked out for you too!! Thank you so much for stopping by to comment!!

  5. Hi Erin, I am very new to blogging, so please ignore this message if I am incorrect. When I reply to your blog comments on my blog it says I am replying to "noreply-blogger". I have heard about having to change a setting in blogger to allow email replies. This article was really helpful.

    Ms. King's Kinders

    1. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this with me!! I had no idea this was happening!! I am going to head right over to read up on how to fix this!! Again, thank you so much for letting me know, and it was super kind of you to include a way for me to fix it!!! :-)

    2. You're welcome! I read something about it the other day, and then forgot to go back. I realized last night that I was a no reply blogger too. I fixed it and now my email is attached with comments.

    3. I appreciated this tech tip so much I just had to blog about it today in my Share-It Saturday post!! Thanks again!! :-)