Monday, June 8, 2015

Reflect and Refresh: Part 1

Welcome to Reflect and Refresh, a two part linky party where teacher bloggers share their reflections on the 2014-2015 school year and ways they are planning to refresh their teaching in 2015-2016.


I like to use technology as much as I can in the classroom. I have a private class Instagram account and my teacher webpage. In the past, I've used Remind101 and I loved it! If you've never used it, I highly recommend it. However, this past year I only had three parents utilize these methods of communication. I had to go back to the old fashioned way of communicating with parents- the weekly newsletter. I have nothing against them- I just like to save as much paper as possible (not to mention copy quotas). Here is what it looks like. I will be putting an editable version in my TpT store soon. 


Like most teachers, I hoard. And it's no different with my files. I used to have them all in a filing cabinet but then saw so many people transferring theirs to binders that I just had to do the same! I like that I can look on the shelf, skim for the content I need and it's right there at my fingertips. It's a little pricey (read: lots of binders and page protectors) so I'm doing a little at a time. I totally forgot to snap a pic before packing up my classroom but I'll let you in on a little secret: I'm working on new covers and will put them in my TpT store when they're done!


This past year was my first year to work in a district that really pushes early childhood education. I've never been able to use things like a dramatic play center or sensory table. This year I got one around March and was amazed at how much my students loved it! They were more engaged at the sensory table than any other center. 

Here is the March table. I used Marsha McGuire's March sensory table unit that you can find here.

This was in April. They are using this freebie I found from Greg at The Kindergarten Smorgasboard.

My Big Summer Project:

During one of the recent TpT sales I found this really awesome resource from Learning is Something to Treasure. Making words is a big part of my small group routine but I've never found a way to utilize it that I thought was fun for the kids. They like using white boards and plastic letters but when I saw this I knew I had to try it. 

Like I mentioned above, I like to save paper for green reasons as well as to save on my copy limits. I also knew I didn't want to copy each set of letters I was using AND cut them out for each student (ain't no teacher got time for that). 

Enter, my big, huge, gigantic summer project.

First, I printed all the letter tiles on card stock. I used a different color for each vowel family, blends, digraphs and r-controlled vowels. 

Next is to cut out all the letter tiles. After about 10 pages I was thinking to myself, "What did I get myself into?!" This part is taking FOR-EV-ER. Most word family groups came with 5 sets of letter tiles- I put each set in a baggie so that when it comes time to actually use these we won't have to spend time in our small group sorting out letters (there's a picture of the baggies below).

I made cute labels for each group because everything's better when it's cute right??

I put the labels on individual manila file envelopes and the corresponding letter tiles inside.

I thought about gluing the word list on the back of each envelope but I'll be honest, that's just more work. So I'm just going to slip it inside the envelope (some of you may not even need a word list but since it came with the pack I'm going to use it).

Finally, I thought I'd be placing all the envelopes in a plastic storage tub but I'm not sure if I like that so I'm still working that part out.

This project may take me all summer to finish (I can only cut and bag so many teeny tiny pieces at one time people) but I know it'll be worth it next year! 

Want to link up with us to share how you're looking back on the 2014-2015 school year and reflecting on your teaching? Grab the picture below, write your blog post, and then come back and link up! Linky will close June 22 at 11:55pm.

Don't forget to come back on August 3rd to share how you're going to Look Forward and Refresh your teaching!


  1. I use binders too. I put my lesson plan with all of the resources used behind it that way I am never digging for stuff.

    I'll try to join in on the linkup this afternoon when I get out of summer school.

  2. I just started using the yellow folders to organize stuff in my classroom. Best. decision. ever! And your labels are so stinkin cute! If you help me label my library, I'll help you cut letters ;)

  3. I used Remind 101, but Love Class messenger by Scholastic. Parents can even respond to you, you can ask for volunteers /donations, schedule conferences, etc.

    1. Thanks for the tip, I'll look into that!

  4. Those sensory tables look like so much fun!! And, so engaging! I think I might have to follow along on the binder trend! I threw away ALL my files and I'm starting fresh this year! Too many old papers pre-TPT :) Good luck with your word work project!!! Chandra @ Teaching with Crayons and Curls

  5. Oh my goodness, those sensory tables look amazing! I'm sure your kiddos go crazy for them!! I love the binders as well, although I haven't taken that leap, that is something I am considering during the next 2 months off! Enjoy your summer :)
    -Momma with a Teaching Mission

  6. You have some great ideas! I really want to start a class instagram account. I love that idea!

    Made with Love

    1. Thank you! Yes, try a class IG, the parents LOVE seeing their kiddos in action at school!

  7. Replies
    1. Aww, thanks friend! That means a lot coming from graphic design genius as yourself! ;)

  8. Love your labels and am excited to see the binder covers! The sensory tables look like fun. Thanks for the linky - Great idea! :)
    Once Upon a Classroom: A Teacher's Tales

  9. I LOVE having a sensory table! Well....when I taught PreK I loved having a sensory table. Although, I think some of my second graders would love to have one in our room. When we learned about insects, I hid some plastic ones in some Easter grass. Then the kids used magnifying glasses and tweezers to find them. They had a blast! They had to record their observations and check off when they found certain insects. So fun!

    The Learning Chambers

    1. That sounds fun! I admit, I didn't do much except throw the grass and a couple different centers in there this year I hope to utilize it a lot better.

  10. I loved reading your post! Your sensory table looks so colorful and engaging! Your GIGANTIC summer project will be so amazing for your students! And yes - everything is better in CUTE! :)
    Peggy @ Primary Flourish

  11. What a great idea for a linky party! I had fun reflecting on my year and hearing from everyone else. Thanks for hosting!! :)