Friday, January 16, 2015

Five for glad it's Friday!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching this week to share my Five for Friday.  Life has been busy and wonderful around here and I couldn't think of a better way to share all the latest!

1.  Last weekend the hubs and I went to my beloved alma mater for a basketball game. I realize I'm a bit biased, but I truly don't believe there are many places better than Allen Fieldhouse on game day.  Right before the game started and we headed to our seats, big Jay walked right up to me to pose for a picture... and who's going to turn that big guy down?  We had a fantastic time and, of course, a big KU victory at home!

2.  Speaking of Kansas... Kansas Day is coming up on January 29th, so we have been working on Kansas symbols in Kindergarten.

My mind was blown last year when a new co-worker moved in from out of state and informed me that not all states go crazy over their birthdays the way Kansas does, but, well, that's just how we do it around here!   Probably one of the cutest conversations I heard this week went like this:

Me: Ok kiddos, who remembers our state bird? (and, of course, several shout out)

Student 1: Bald Eagle!
Student 2: The Jayhawk! (clearly earning extra credit)
Student 3: Hummingbird!
Student 4:  (scrunching up face and thinking really hard) I know it starts with M... um... Mummingbird?

I was just tickled!  He was trying so hard to remember!  FYI, the correct answer is Meadowlark.  You know, in case you ever find yourself on a game show about to win a ton of money and they throw a little Kansas trivia your way.  Just don't forget to share the winnings!

3.  The weather in good ol' Kansas is finally starting to warm up to above freezing temperatures, but we have had our fair share of snow lately (which also means our fair share of indoor recesses).  Rather than hate it, we embraced it in sweet room sixteen!  Snowmen are everywhere!

Inspired by the wonderful and talented Cara Carroll, we did two snowmen crafts this week.

After reading the book Snowmen at Night by Carolyn Buehner, the kiddos began brainstorming what the would do if they were snowmen alive at night to do whatever they wanted.  Their responses were precious!  These were two of my favorites:
Read 100 books
Go to the wedding dance

I made my own number stories to go along with our math lessons this week (see Five for Friday #4) and was very pleased at how the students were able to solve the problems independently.  I think they are truly grasping how to make ten!  If you'd like a copy of your own, click the here for a free download!

4.  We hit a milestone this week in math:  Making 10.  We have been working on understanding addition and number sentences lately, so this week we had some fun with all the different ways we can make ten.

Inspired by A Cupcake for the Teacher, I helped the students see all the different ways to make ten with our Rainbow to 10 anchor chart.  I don't know if it was all the colors or the fact I busted out the smelly markers, but my students loved this chart!  Luckily for me, A Cupcake for the Teacher also posted a freebie for the little ones to make their own Rainbow to 10 to keep.  I had them leave it in their work folders this week to refer back to in different lessons, but sometimes I find my little learners just admiring their math masterpiece!

We just couldn't quite leave our sweet snowmen out of math this week, so we made these awesome ten frame books by The 2 Teaching Divas.

5.  As wonderful as this past week was, I think I saved the best for last.

I can barely type this I'm so excited.

Remember my inspiration for my snowmen craftivities (and a gazillion other lessons I've taught throughout my career)?

I get to meet her!

My principal approved my request to attend the SDE Conference for Kansas Kindergarten Teachers and Cara Carroll from The First Grade Parade is presenting!  I'm beyond elated to get even more ideas from her!  

How was your week?  I'd love to know!  

Have a wonderful and amazing weekend!


Sunday, January 4, 2015

January Fun and a Freebie for YOU!

If we must go back to school, I insist we go back with new Teachers Pay Teachers resources.  I insist!

If by chance you're still looking for new ideas to get you excited about the return to school, check out my new product on Teachers Pay Teachers!  Switching from first grade to Kindergarten this year has given me a unique opportunity to basically start over in my literacy centers and small groups.  I've had a blast creating new resources for my students that I can make specifically to fit their needs.  I can't wait to share the new centers with them this week!

Over 80 pages of goodies for you to share with your Kinders!  

The first activity is all about sight words.  We use Scott Foresman/Reading Street at my school, so I made sure to include some new words and review words for January based upon our reading series.  
There are two types of activities to practice sight words in this resource.  Sixteen sight words are presented over four different Sight Word Spinner activities, and then each of those words has its own Find-and-Color Sight word worksheet.  I personally like to laminate spinner activities for my kiddos.   It allows for me to cut back on paper and ink and lets them do the activity over and over... and they love using the dry erase markers.  It's a win-win!

Mitten Match is a good way to review after break, or to reinforce letter recognition for those little ones that don't quite have the confidence yet.  Students sort and match the mittens with uppercase and lowercase letters.  Included are two worksheets to practice supplying the missing uppercase or lowercase letters.

Snowball Sounds actually has two different activities, basically because I couldn't decide exactly which I liked best.  The first sort is with the entire alphabet, so students are to match the beginning sound to each letter with a letter snowball card and picture snowball card for all 26 letters.  After I made that, I started thinking about how some of my little learners still need the extra practice with just a few letters at a time.  I then created two different sorts, one for the letters Dd and Kk and one for the letters Ff and Rr.  Same concept of matching up the beginning sound with the correct letter, but this time focusing on two letters at a time!  The D, K, F, and R letter sorts also include a cut and paste worksheet for extra practice.

Winter Word Puzzles focus on building words through onset and rime.  Teachers laminate and cut apart the puzzle pieces and students then build words using the picture with the rime cards as a clue.  This center includes a recording sheet so you can monitor their word building.  I also included two cut and paste printables that can be used as a follow-up for the center or just for extra practice any time the students need it!

My kiddos this year LOVE clapping out syllables, so I had to make sure there was a syllable sort in this packet.  This activity includes snowflake cards and a sorting mat where students will decide if the word has one or two syllables.  I've also included a Snowy Syllable worksheet for extra practice.

Finally my literacy centers wrap up with Snowflake Sentence Scramblers.  This resources consists of seven different sentence scramblers where students unscramble the words to make a complete sentence, use their very best handwriting to copy the sentence, and then illustrate what the sentence says.   All sentence scramblers use sight words and really help my kiddos remember a sentence always starts with a capital letter and ends with punctuation.  I know I'll be using these to ease back into our Writer's Workshops after a long break!

As a freebie for those of you who have so kindly visited my blog, I'm sharing the first unit of Snowy Sight Words!  This includes the spinner mat and four find-and-color worksheets.   Click the picture below to download your free copies.  I'd love any feedback or for new followers on the blog and my TPT Store!  And don't forget, if you like this freebie there is plenty more in my Kindergarten January Literacy Centers Packet!

Thanks so much for sharing in my excitement over new centers!  It's the little things, right? :)


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Farewell, Winter Break


How is break already over?  I'm excited to go back to school and see my Kinderbabies, but wowzer!  Time goes so fast when I'm sitting on the couch watching Netflix! ;)

I hope all of my teacher readers had a great time off!  I know I sure did!  Since I not only took a break from school but also accidentally took a break from the blog, here are a few snippets of what I've been up to to catch you up to speed:

For whatever reason, my husband and I got into a card game phase at the beginning of break.  We barely watched any tv (or did laundry...oops) whenever we were home because we were constantly playing Skip-Bo or Phase 10!  It was fun to relax enough to feel like we had time for a game.  And yes, I won most games. :)

 Christmas pictures are a must in our family.  We took a couple of selfies, but once my mom was involved she insisted on taking a picture of her "kids" in front of the tree.  For as old as I feel some days, I won't complain when mom insists on little things like this!
My husband, me, and my "little" brother on Christmas morning.

Coffee seemed to be a big theme over break.  As soon as Christmas was over, I snagged eight (yes, 8) bags of Starbucks Christmas blend on sale for 75% off the original price!  I'd like to say this will last us until next year, but we all know that isn't true.

My husband and I also discovered a new date night idea where we live.  This new dessert spot uses liquid nitrogen to fuse together coffee and homemade ice cream.  It was delicious! 

Unlike me, who enjoyed over two weeks of break, my husband eventually ran out of his vacation time and was back to work.  So often during the school year I find it hard to sit down and watch the news, which is also the hubby's job.  It was so refreshing to watch him do his job so well!  I'm always proud of him, but seeing him in action reminded me of how talented he is!  Also... isn't he so handsome? :)

Finally, we wrapped up 2014 by having a wonderful dinner out with family.  We had such a wonderful year last year - a beautiful wedding, incredible honeymoon to Jamaica, a new house, a new job, and so many amazing memories.  I cannot wait to see what 2015 will bring!

If you're also excited about what 2015 will bring, check back on the blog tomorrow for my new January Literacy Centers aaaaand... a freebie as a preview of my latest creation just for you!


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Liebster Award

Thank you to Kathy from Kindergarten Couture for the Libester Award Nomination.  This nomination is for bloggers with less than 200 followers to get to know and connect with other new bloggers.  To do this you must answer 11 questions that help everyone get to know you better. Then, find 11 other new bloggers to nominate.  
  Now to answer the 11 questions....

1. Why and how long ago did you start blogging?

Well, I first started a blog back in 2013 but was in just a smidge over my head. When I took a Kindergarten teaching position in a new district this year, I felt like I had so many new perspectives I could share and definitely wanted to connect with other Kindergarten teachers for ideas.  With the encouragement from Amanda at Mrs. Pauley's Kindergarten, I decided to start a brand new blog for my brand new teaching adventure!

2. What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why?

Teaching!  Although I think that's pretty obvious, ha!  I wanted to start the blog up again to connect with other teachers, share ideas, and learn from the highs and lows of Kindergarten.  I definitely won't have perfect posts nor will I be able to post every day, but I think that's real life as a teacher and I'm ok with that.

3. Is there something you learned late in your blog journey you wished you knew before?   Oh goodness, I'm still learning!  I think what I've realized this second time around is that I need to be true to myself.  Some teachers can post a new product and post every day, but that's just not realistic for me.  I love that I pull the best ideas from so many teacher blogs, and I'm thankful for all different types of teachers! 

4. What is your favorite past time other than blogging?

Spending time with my hubby!  We have the best time together, whether it's chatting over coffee on Saturday  mornings, running errands, or date nights out.  He is definitely the calm to my often crazy life! 

6. What category of blog posts do you enjoy the most?  

I love blog posts from primary teachers, especially Kindergarten and first.  I love when teachers can post pictures of their activities and share freebies!

7. Where does your blog inspiration come from? 

My classroom, other blogs, and life in general!  Like I mentioned above, I'm learning that to truly enjoy blogging you have to be true to yourself and write about what you love.  If I think it's something worth sharing, I'll share it! 

8. Which post that you've written are you most proud of?  

This post is pretty exciting!  I hope to connect to many other teachers and find exciting new blogs and hopefully gain some followers! 

9. Is there any post you have been planning to do, but have postponing it for a while now?   

Oh all the time!  I've learned that blogging is hard work and takes time.  All too often I have a great idea or pictures to share and then the day slips by me before it's posted.  I love to create items for TPT, so I'm hoping to get a little better with this so I can share my creative babies!   

10. What is your favorite aspect of blogging? 

I've always loved to write, so blogging is therapeutic in a sense.  I love being able to share ideas but also recall my day and reflect on the highs and lows.

11. Which recipe, project, or idea on my blog would you be most likely to try yourself? 

I would love to capture the enthusiasm and amazing learning efforts that Kindergarten Couture shows with each blog post!  She is totally putting forth her best effort in learning the ways of the blogging world and it's so contagious! 

Love and Teach On
Laugh, Love, Teach, Learn
Glitter is Everywhere
Teacher Will Run for Books
The Take Home Teacher
Days Like This
Primary on the Prowl
A Kindergarten Life
Mrs. Bohaty's Kindergarten Kingdom
Tiffany the Teacherista
Berry Sweet Teaching Treats

To those who have been nominated, here are the "official" rules for accepting:
1. In your post, link back to the blogger who nominated you as a thank you and "shout out."
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you (the ones I answered above).
3. Nominate 11 blogs of your choice that each have less than 200 followers. Provide them with 11 questions to answer or have them answer the questions above.
4. Let your nominees know that they've been nominated and provide them with a link to your post so that they can accept.
5. Send your nominator a link to your post so that s/he can learn more about you as well!     (You can just put your post link in the comments below!)

I know this award had been floating around on the blogging world for awhile, but I truly feel honored someone found my blog and wanted to nominate it!  I hope you enjoyed getting to know me a little bit better, too!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Christmas Literacy FUN!


I am SO excited for my latest creation!  I searched and searched for the perfect Christmas themed literacy centers for my Kindergarten kiddos and couldn't find anything that I thought truly fit with their needs and how we do literacy centers in my room.  So with the help of some cute fonts and clip art, I created a whole new resource!  

All centers are Common Core Aligned and come with worksheets to reinforce the skill.  Click the picture above or here to take you to the store!  On sale for a limited time because I'm just so darn excited to share these with you!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Five for Friday!

Does anyone else remember the little theme song that went with ABCs TGIF back in the 90s?  "Gonna have some fun, show you how it's done - TGIF!"  Is it bad that I still often sing that to myself on Fridays?  Because I definitely do.  It's peppy!

But seriously.  I'm so thankful the weekend is here.  I love my little ones, but wow-oh-wow were they full of extra energy this week!  I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to celebrate the fact that I survived with five of my favorite things from this past week.

1.  Thanksgiving is EVERYWHERE!  I love holidays in Kindergarten because we do so many craftivities and decorate our classroom and hallways.  Here are some of our favorite masterpieces:

These sweet Native Americans were inspired by A Cupcake for the Teacher and oh how I love doing these with my students each year!  I tweaked the writing prompt this year for my Kindergarteners because while darling, the craft does require quite a bit of listening to create.  I knew if they had to write much more I might lose them, so I compromised a bit!  Next year I may omit the small picture of the pilgrims and Native Americans in the writing paper because it looks like by the time we got to that we forgot all about or Three Star Coloring....
I'm kicking myself because I didn't take any pictures of the pilgrims that go along with this craftivity, but I can assure you they are just as cute!  I loved reading what my little ones were thankful for!  Of course I had to display the student's work that said she was thankful for her teacher (melt my heart!) but I loved that one of my little guys wrote that he is thankful for numbers!  

Our next Thanksgiving craftivity was inspired by Just a Primary Girl and this year was the first time I tried this one out.  I adjusted the writing prompt again and had so much fun helping my students brainstorm some of the best parts of Thanksgiving!   A few of my kiddos cracked me up when they said their favorite part of Thanksgiving was taking naps!

2.  Our Christmas cards arrived!  

Ah, love being married...and merry!  I figure we only really have one Christmas to share our wedding photos AND send holiday greetings, so we made sure to find a cute play on words for our card this year.

3.  Jerry. Seinfeld.  

This SO happened Thursday night!  My husband, parents, and brother all headed out for a fun night to see our favorite comedian perform live.  No kidding, my cheeks hurt for hours afterwards from laughing so hard the entire time!  Laughing really is my favorite and I figured I burned enough calories giggling to compensate for the glass of wine I enjoyed on our night out.

4.  I'm finally getting over the horrible cold I've had for the past week!  Despite how we scrub and disinfect our classroom, germs still seem to creep in every now and then.  I won't post pictures of my recovery process, but I will promise that lots of Emergen-C and Clearquil did the trick for me!

5.   We are SO close!
I have a feeling a lot of teachers will be posting about this and it's so true - just make it to Thanksgiving break!  We go Monday and Tuesday next week, so I'm working on my plans to do lots of mini-Thanksgiving projects, a Fingerfood Feast, and, of course, GoNoodle breaks. :)

Happy Friday, everyone! 

Want to join in on the fun?  Link up here!  Don't forget to visit other blogs in the party!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Good Reads

My husband likes to tease me because he says I'm "obsessed with Facebook".  False.  Ok, partly false.  Truthfully, I do find myself scrolling through my newsfeed a bit more than I'd like to admit, but it's not always just to "like" photos of my friends sweet little babies or to take a funny Buzzfeed quiz (although, let's be honest, both of those are highly entertaining to me).  More often than not I have stumbled upon an article a friend posted, which leads to another article and then another.  

This past weekend it seemed like many teachers were using Facebook like I do because several of my teacher friends were sharing some truly amazing articles.  I wanted to share them here because I think they are not only encouraging, but empowering for teachers to read.

This article, published here, stopped my in my tracks.  I read it twice, just to absorb it all a little better.  The article is an open letter to classroom parents about THAT student: the kid who is angry, overly-active, loud, needy, aggressive.  The student I personally have had many times in my class, who can bring me to tears at the end of a particularly rough day.  The child that leaves me feeling exhausted over a battle that never should have been a battle in the first place.  The student who I swear will be personally to blame for my first gray hair.  The kiddo who warms my heart like no one else could when a little smile pops up on a usually clouded face because he learned how to write his numbers to fifty.

I started reading this article on my teacher pedestal, identifying with the author because I have all too often felt frustrated that I couldn't be brutally honest with all parents and guests who enter my classroom to explain about THAT student.  But as I continued to read, I was reminded of all the many reasons THAT student is THAT way.   Not that these reasons make THAT student suddenly easy to teach and reason with, but I was reminded to take a step back and look beyond the outbursts and tantrums.  To remember that his little heart needs just as much love, if not more, than even the most well-behaved student in class.  To think about responding to her defiant attitude with grace rather than anger.   I needed this article as a check-point as we complete another semester to remember my favorite part of teaching: the love and nurturing I have the opportunity to provide each day.

This article, found here, is all about Teacher Power (you know, like "girl power" but for teachers).  In response to an article published in Time Magazine about Rotten Apples (bad teachers) an assistant principal fought back against the scrutiny we hear all too often about how teachers are failing.  She is so sharp in her response, making me feel not only empowered by her stance to protect all educators, but to think that I share a profession with some seriously amazing people who will stop at nothing to help their students succeed.  Highly encouraging!

As we near Thanksgiving, I'm reminded once again how thankful I am to be a teacher.  I'm thankful I get to spend my days with little minds and hearts that will one day grow up and change the world around them.  I'm thankful I work with so many men and women who share my passion to make these little learners feel loved and cared for while also teaching them math and how to read.   I'm thankful that I can share my passion through technology to connect with other teachers who can help build me up, whether that's through blogs or articles on Facebook.

And ok, I'm thankful for Facebook too :)