Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tell All Tuesday: Summer Flashback

If it's Tuesday in the summer time than I am linking up with My Day In K and Teach. Talk. Inspire. for their awesome summer linky party, Tell All Tuesday!

This week it's all about flashbacks. We are to share a past summer memory through photographs. I am flashing back to last summer, when I got to take a really amazing trip with my nephew!

We headed to Easton, Pennsylvania (a little over a 3 hour drive North of where I live) and had a chance to visit and tour the Crayola Factory. How awesome is that??? It's like a teacher's dream to visit the Crayola Factory! It's a really incredible tour, called the Crayola Experience, and I was tickled pink just looking at the factory from the parking garage. Doesn't it look so awesome??

Check out the croswalk we used to get from the garage to the factory. I really love how they use so many details and that the Crayola Experience began before we even entered the building!

It was an incredibly sunny day, but we just had to get a selfie next to the amazing mural that was painted on the outside walls of the factory! As soon as we walked in, we got an amazing bag of goodies that included tokens for all of the interactive parts of the tour!

Here's my nephew standing next to the World's Largest Crayon. Yes, it's 100% real!!

I had to get a picture of the information for that giant crayon! Look how heavy it is, sheesh!!

There were so very many interactive things to do there! One of the floors was all about making your own markers and crayons. This is one of the double-ink markers we got to make and keep! It was so awesome watching the process of it being made! We put a token in the machine and the machine had a clear plexiglass front so we could see the entire process from start to finish!

We also got to make our own crayons and design their labels. I had a great time trying to figure out a dragon-themed name for each color!

There was SO MUCH to do there! We made crayons that were different shapes, created drawings using liquid crayon wax, visited the interactive floor and used iPads to make our creations dance along the wall!! We ate at the food court surrounded by facts about all things Crayola. We sat through an awesome demonstration that showed us a behind the scenes glimpse of the factory! There were vending machines full of crayons, markers, and modeling clay! An entire floor was dedicated to creating sculptures using their modeling clay. We ended our trip with a visit to the HUMONGOUS gift shop! An entire wall of the gift shop was dedicated to all of the colors of crayons and markers Crayola makes, sorted by color. You could buy a tin and create a mixture of whatever colors you want! I'm still in awe over the size of that gift shop and everything that was in it!!

My nephew and I had such an incredibly amazing time, and I'm glad that I have so many pictures to remember it by. The trip was long, a little over 3 hours each way, but it was totally worth it! I can't wait to go again, I had such a great time!

That's my Summer Flashback! You should swing over to My Day in K to see who else has linked up to share their summer flashbacks. There are some really great posts, including pictures that go back many, many years!!

You can still link up for Spotlight Saturday! Come showcase your favorite products, resources, activities, or ideas! I have learned so much through your posts, and I can't wait to start using some of your awesome ideas this school year!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Must Read Monday: Math Books

Every Monday is a fun day in the summer time!! Today I am linking up with Kindergarten Planet and The Kindergarten Connection for my favorite link up, Must Read Monday!!

In case you don't already know, this is a weekly summer linky party where we get to share our favorite books on a given topic. Last week we learned all about Friendship Books, and I soon had several boxes from Amazon waiting to be opened. I'm hoping to pace myself a bit better, since there are so very many more wonderful weeks to this linky. This week our topic is Math. We get to share our favorite math-centered books. One of the things I love about getting to teach kindergarten is that we get to read so many wonderful books! I love starting off my Math Rotations with a good book! There are so very amazing math themed books out there, and many books can be used across more than one subject. I wanted to try to share some books that you may not have heard of yet! :-)

The Hueys in None the Number by Oliver Jeffers is a really great book to help kiddos to understand the concept of number sense. This book is a counting book that includes the number zero, referred to as 'none' in the story. The book focuses on numbers 0-10, bringing it back to zero at the end. This is a great book to read at the beginning of the year in kindergarten since we focus on counting and number recognition. It may also come in handy for Math RTI groups. 
The story starts out with the Hueys asking how many lumps of cheese are next to you? (none) The story starts at none and counts all the way up to ten, with some really fun sets to count! '4 is the number of tantrums Kevin throws everyday' and '9 seagulls that are after Frank's French fries' are two of my favorites! My kinders are really going to enjoy this book, it's definitely going to make them laugh!

This is another great counting book, and I'll use this one a little later on in the school year. This book focuses on counting in sequence from 1-10 as fast as you can, any way you can. It is a great book to use when you are introducing the concept of skip counting by 2s.
In this folktale, King Leopard wants to choose a successor from the jungle who will take his place when he is gone. He offers his daughters hand in marriage to the animal that can beat his challenge. He tells them that he is going to throw his hunting spear up into the air, and they must count from 1-10 before the spear lands. Each animal attempts to count to 10 before the spear falls, and each one gets progressively closer until one animal shows he can skip count by twos to get to ten. 
This is a great book to use when working on skip counting, as well as a great book to practice predicting with!

This is a math book I would use towards the later part of the year when we begin to focus on subtraction. It is a really fun book to have students act out and represent the subtraction problems in different ways.
In this story, the monsters are together for a party and decide to play musical chairs. There is a lot of repetitive text which helps students chant along with you as you read. Each time the music stops one of the monsters is out and must be subtracted. On the edge of each page the number sentence is illustrated with monster faces. For example, for 5-1 there will be five monster faces with one crossed out.

Was I able to introduce you to a book you hadn't heard of yet? I would love for you to comment about it! :-) I'm about to go read every one else's posts so I can learn about some new books too! I'm hoping to add some real gems to my Wish List!

You can still link up for Spotlight Saturday! Come showcase your favorite products, activities, resources, or ideas! This week I'm Spotlighting Mrs. Garcia's Super Scholars!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Weekly Summer Link-Up: My Favorite Quote

I am linking up with Monica from I Heart Grade 3 for her Weekly Summer Link Up! This week's topic is My Favorite Quote!

I have a confession to make. I have been OBSESSED with quotes for as long as I can remember. I would buy books full of quotes on random topics and keep journals of my favorites. I have always had such a fun time reading a quote and creating my own meaning for it or trying to find a way to connect it to my life. It's really hard to choose one favorite, I have so many! I love all of Dr. Seuss' words of wisdom, like 'You are who you are, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you!'

I think, though, that my current must favorite quote was written by J.K. Rowling and spoken by Headmaster Albus Dumbledore.

I love words. I love getting to use them to tell a story or write a letter. I love memorizing the words in songs. I love figuring out how to pronounce words. I love learning new words, and getting to use them in conversation. I feel that words are important, so important that we need to be careful how we use them. This quote reminds me of the power of words.

Remember in school they told us to say "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me!"? I could never get behind that statement, because I didn't agree with it. Words can hurt. No matter how much we deny it or hide from it or ignore it, words can hurt. A perfectly timed snide insult can stick with you, popping up into your brain when you least expected it. Hearing hurtful words over and over and over again can make you start to believe them, regardless of their truth.
On the flip side of that, words can be used to help ease hurt. A heart-felt apology can take some of the sting of an insult away. The compliments and assurances from friends can lesson the impact of a rough day.

I believe that words are one of the most important tools we have to express ourselves, and that we need to remember that our words can have an impact on others. As a kindergarten teacher I make sure my kinders know it's important for them to use their words kindly and not to hurt people's feelings. I also try to teach them that people will learn the most about them by the words they speak and how they speak them. 

What is your favorite quote? Link up and tell us all about it!

You can still link up for Spotlight Saturday! Showcase your favorite products, resources, activities, or ideas!

Share and Prepare WINNER

On Thursday I participated in the Share and Prepare linky hosted by Once Upon a Classroom: A Teacher's Tale and I raffled off my Color the Room packet! Time to announce the WINNER!!

YAY Penny Johnson! Make sure to check your email, I sent the Color the Room packet your way! I'd love to hear what you think of it, feel free to leave a comment here!

Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter, it really means a lot to me! Make sure you are following my blog through Bloglovin' to keep up with all my giveaways! HINT HINT HINT, I will be having another giveaway this week!!

Also, it's not too late to link up for Spotlight Saturday!!!

Sunday Scoop

I'm linking up with Teaching Trio to share what I hope to accomplish for this upcoming week!

Here's what I'm hoping to get done this week!

Check back on Friday to see if I could check everything off of this list!! What are you up to this week? Come on over and link up so I can read all about your Sunday Scoop!

Don't forget to come over and link up for Spotlight Saturday! You can showcase your favorite products, resources, activities, and ideas! This week I'm Spotlighting Mrs. Garcia's Super Scholars! I would love to read all about your showcase!!

Rock Your First Year Teaching

One of my very favorite parts of blogging is getting to learn so much from other educators! There are so many amazing and incredible educators out there who enjoy sharing their tips, tricks, and advice. It's like having a library full of tips and tricks right at your fingertips! Today I am participating in a linky that allows teachers to share their advice for that slightly-daunting, incredibly exciting first year of teaching!

I am linking up with Teaching with Crayons and Curls and My Mommy Reads in order to bring you lots of advice for your first year in teaching! I would have LOVED to have something like this when I first started teaching! It is so great getting to be part of a community that shares their successes and celebrations as well as their trials and tribulations! With that being said, here's my advice for all you Newbs out there! :-)

1. Make friends with the support staff at your school! I can't stress how important it is to make friends with the office staff, custodians, and lunch room staff! These are the people who keep the school running, who knows where everything is located and how it works, and who are the first people you go to when you have a question about school. Trust me, you will need these people so much more than just once or twice throughout the school year! Make friends with them and keep them on your good side, and you will enjoy the benefits of those friendships all year long!!

2. Find someone in your school who knows not only how to work the copier and laminator, but who also know how to unjam the copier and replace the laminating film! You will use these machines A LOT during the school year, and once school gets started you may not be able to find someone to help you during the day. It is important to know the fundamentals of these pieces of technology so that you can problem solve yourself when you need to. Trust me, the copier will jam when you only have 5 minutes of planning or lunch left and the laminator will run out of film on the day the only person who knows how to change it is absent!

3. There are going to be many mornings during the year when you are running late. Maybe you overslept or the alarm didn't go off. There will be days when you run out of the house with barely enough time to get to school, and those are usually the days you forget to do things. Brush your teeth, put on deodorant, wear matching shoes... If you have some travel sized personal hygiene products kept in a drawer or a cabinet in your classroom, you can feel better about running out of the house and forgetting to do something!

1. Hopefully you are lucky enough to work on a team where you can plan together and share ideas. If you come across an awesome idea or activity, don't be stingy with it and only use it for the kiddos in your classroom. Good ideas should be shared so all can benefit from them. Plus, if you don't share with others no one is going to want to share with you! Your school life will go so much easier if you are willing to share with the other teachers in your building!

2. Every school has different rules about how you can hang things on your walls. Most schools follow a strict fire code that states exactly how much you are allowed to have on your walls as well as if you are able to hang things from your ceiling. Before you spend hours and hours setting up your classroom, make sure you have checked with other teachers in your building the correct way to hang things on the walls. If you use the wrong tape or pins or staples to put things into the walls and ruin the paint, you will be making your custodians very unhappy. And remember I said it was important to keep them happy?? It would be a shame if you spent days hanging things on your walls only to be told you had to take it down and redo it! A simple question asked can save you hours of extra work!!

The biggest piece of advice I can think to give is that you need to understand that your job is never, ever, ever over when the bell rings. You will be staying after school to put your classroom back in order after a hectic day. You'll find yourself coming to school early because you enjoy getting work done when it's so quiet in the building. You will lug home stacks of papers to grade and forms to fill out. You'll spend your weekends planning awesome activities, creating amazing lessons, and scouring Pinterest for new ideas. You may find yourself attending after school PTO meetings or a sporting event of one of your students. Even over the summer, your job's not done. You'll have PD sessions and courses to take in order to keep your certification. You'll find yourself on vacation and walking by a storefront window and getting inspiration for a lesson or activity. Your brain will always be on the hunt for the best ways to teach new concepts to your students, and that's a switch you'll find it very hard to turn off! Our jobs are not like office jobs, where whatever they were working on gets left on their desk at 5:00 and waits there till the next work day. We work every day, whether we're in the classroom or not. Oh, and don't forget that should you ever have to call out sick, you'll be doing more work for that day than you would if you actually went into school! It takes organization and patience to get through your first year, but you will get through it. And you'll become a better teacher for the following year because of everything you went through!!

I can't wish you enough luck for your first year of teaching! You will laugh, cry, yell, and pull your hair out. However, you will never find another job as rewarding and fulfilling as being a teacher! There is so much more wonderful advice out there for getting through your first year of teaching, make sure you head back over to Teaching With Crayons and Curls or My Mommy Reads to see who else has linked up!

Don't forget to come over and link up for Spotlight Saturday! I can't wait to read the products, activities, resources, and ideas you showcase! This week I am Spotlighting Mrs. Garcia's Super Scholars! Come read all about it and link up to share your Spotlight!!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Weekend Warriors: Teacher Bio

My friend Jill has introduced me to another amazing linky party! This one is hosted by Always Kindergarten and some of her friends, and is held during the last weekend of every month! Fittingly, it is called Weekend Warriors!!

This link up was created as a way for teachers and edubloggers to link up and share their thoughts, ideas, and tips based around a certain theme. This month's theme is all about learning about each other.

The link up follows the very popular 3-2-1 theme seen on many graphic organizers that we use. The topics are given to us, as well as the blank frames to use. All we have to do is fill them out!!

For this month, we are completing a Teacher Bio based on the topics above. I'm always excited to learn about other teacher bloggers, and this is a great way to share a little more about myself too!

First up, 3 things about me THE TEACHER.

1. Organization is Key!! I teach kindergarten, and we use a lot of different manipulative and materials every day. In my classroom, I need to know that there is a place for everything and that everything is in it's place. Not only does this help me stay sane, but it provides a sense of security for my kinders. They know where things are in their classroom and they know how to clean up and get what they need. Organization also means that I have color-coded files in my filing cabinet and that the files on my computer are organized by topic. Also, I have to write everything down. I am the proud owner of my very first Erin Condren planner and I can't wait to start using it! I'm one of those people who, if I don't write it down, it doesn't get done or I completely forget it! I have to stay organized or my eye starts to twitch and I get stressed out!

2. Teamwork! I am lucky enough to be part of an incredible teaching team. We support each other and share ideas, and are not only great sounding boards but also understand that we have to vent sometimes! I enjoy teamwork with not only the other kindergarten teachers on my team, but also with other grade levels. My kinders pair up every year with one of the 5th grade classes and get their very own 5th Grade Buddies! Teamwork is so important and makes my job so much easier! I would not want to have to plan alone and have no one to share with!

3. Ask Lots of Questions! I teach my kinders that the best way for them to learn about the world around them is to ask lots of questions. I make sure that they understand there is no such thing as a stupid question and that they'll never learn anything new if they don't ask. I try to model this throughout the day by asking all sorts of questions from 'I wonder why Pete doesn't watch where he's going when he walks?' to 'Where do the butterflies go when it rains?' I want my kinders to know that it is okay to ask questions and that we will never laugh at their questions, no matter how silly they may be.

1. The regular me Loves to Listen! I enjoy being someone that people feel they can open up to and share their joys, sorrows, and concerns. This also means that I'm a pretty good secret keeper, and that I don't share with other what people share with me. I also Love to Listen to all sorts of music! I can totally loose myself in a good song, just close my eyes and let the rhythm take me away! Music helps me decompress from a hard day and is something I really enjoy!

2. I also like to think I have a Helping Hand, and am always willing to help out my friends and family whenever I can. The people I care about know that they can count on me when they need something and that I will always be there with a helping hand to help pick them up or give a hug when needed!

One of the biggest things on my bucket list is the chance to go on an African Safari. For as long as I can remember, this is a dream I have had. I have always loved everything to do with the animal kingdom. I grew up watching the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet and loved to learn as much as I could about the animals in the world. Someday I really want to head to Africa, armed with my camera, and spend a week or two going on safari. I want to sleep surrounded by the sounds of hippos calling to each other, and be able to get pictures of all the animals I have seen on TV for so many years! I hope to be able to cross this off of my bucket list in my lifetime!!

Well, that's all about me! Thank you so much for taking the time to read about me, it means a lot! Don't forget to swing back over to Always Kindergarten and read about lots of other bloggers that linked up! Just click on the image below!

Did you know that Spotlight Saturday is up and running on my blog! This link up will be open all week long, and is the perfect way for you to showcase your favorite products, resources, activities, and ideas! This week I am Spotlighting Mrs. Garcia's Super Scholars! I would love for you to come read all about her, and to link up and share your Spotlight too!!

Spotlight Saturday: Mrs. Garcia's Super Scholars

Today is Spotlight Saturday!! Today is the day we get to link up and share some of our favorite products, activities, resources, and ideas! I have been so excited to read all of your posts, I can't wait to see what you have in store this week!!

One of my favorite things about going on this blogging journey is getting to meet so many wonderful and amazing people! This little community of ours is so supportive and helpful, I just love how everyone works to build each other up!! Today I get to Spotlight one of the incredibly sweet people I have meet through my blogging, Deirde Garcia from Mrs. Garcia's Super Scholars!!

She hast the cutest blog with such an awesome theme!! I really enjoy reading her posts and am glad I am a follower!

A few weeks ago we both participated in the Win It Wednesday linky hosted by A Dab of Glue Will Do, and Deidre raffled off some of her sight word activities. I was lucky enough to win them! They are really going to come in handy this upcoming school year, and I wanted to share them with you! She sells each activity in her TPT store, and you can link up to them at the bottom of this post.

I am so excited to use both of these packets next year! They are going to be the perfect fit for our Word Work rotations during Daily 5! They could also be used as morning work or homework, depending on your need!! I love that each page offers my kinders a chance to practice their cutting skills, which is a skill they can never get enough practice with!!

I also found a really great freebie in her store that I wanted to share with you!! She has some really great freebies at her store, make sure that you go and check them out!!!

This is such an awesome freebie!! This freebie covers a very important skill that pre-kinders and kinders need! Not only is it FREE, but it's also printer friendly!! All you need to do is print out the sequencing sheets and then laminate them. For added durability, glue each sheet to a piece of construction paper before you laminate. Once laminated, cut them out into strips and set them at a literacy center with dry erase markers and erasers. To differentiate you could also include an ABC chart, to help guide students who aren't familiar with the letter sequences yet. My students are going to wok on this center during their Word Work time of Daily 5. I know this is going to help them master their alphabet skills! Also, this packet could be a great tool to have for RTI groups!

Make sure to give Diedre some love! Here's where you can find her!

Click below to go to her blog.

The image below will take you to her TPT store.

To check out the products of hers that I Spotlighted today, click on the images below.

Click on the image below to head over to her Facebook page!

I would LOVE to have you link up for Spotlight Saturday!! Feel free to use either the Spotlight Saturday image at the very top of this post, or use the one below. In the one below, you can add screen shots of what you're Spotlighting. Whichever one you want to use, you can either screen shot it or click Control A to download the image.

If you're using the one above and Spotlighting someone else, feel free to post it to the Facebook page of the person you are Spotlighting to let them know!

To link up, read the rules below and then click on the inlinkz blue box!

1) You need to spotlight an educational resource that either you have created or you have found from someone else and love! This means you must link up with a blog post you have written putting an activity or idea in the Spotlight. Please do not link directly to a product in Teachers Pay Teachers or Teacher's Notebook or similar sites.
2) If you are Spotlighting a product from your own TPT store or that of another seller, make sure that in your blog post you Spotlight a freebie or a paid product. If you have a freebie and a paid product from the same seller, feel free to use both in your post. If all you have is a freebie, then post about the freebie and how you used it. You can also Spotlight a freebie that someone else created along with a product that you created.
2) Make sure to give credit where credit is due! You will need to include the name of the creator as well as a link to their TPT or Teacher's Notebook store where others can get a copy of the resource as well.
3) Include pictures of the product in your post, either screen shots  or photographs of your kiddos actually using the product. Give us a snapshot, just a brief glimpse into how the product or activity works. Just an image of the cover and one of the pages you have listed in the preview of the activity on TPT would be fine. It gives readers a visual and helps them better understand what your product is all about.
4) Make sure to leave a comment on the post of the two people before your post and the person after. This will help get conversation rolling, and will make sure everyone feels recognized for their efforts!
5) This is not the place to share your frustrations or disappointment with an activity or how you would have done it differently. If you are unsatisfied with your purchase that is a private conversation you need to have with the seller via email. This is not a link up to bash any sellers or their products, and any posts like that WILL BE DELETED!!
6) Follow my blog with Bloglovin' to make sure you are kept up to date on all the latest link up additions. Don't forget to follow my Facebook page too to keep up with all the notifications I send out!
7) To Link Up, you will need to click on the small blue button underneath my closing signature. It is directly under my name on the left hand side of the blog.