Monday, August 24, 2015

B2S Survival Kit Exchange


This summer, a group of teacher-bloggers got together to pair up and spread some Back to School love all around the country. After learning a little about our partner and their interests, we shopped and shipped! 

I was paired with Gina from Miss. Peluso's Kindergarten (who has an adorable little blog that you should check out). 


Look at the goodies Gina sent! I loved that everything she sent was an absolute necessity for the classroom- and yes, Sour Patch Kids and Reese's Mini's ARE necessities! 


She even sent a little surprise for Chip! We have gotten lots of use out of this new toy!



I had so much fun shopping for Gina. She posted this on IG when she got her kit- she may have cried when she opened her box but I cried after reading this. It's a great feeling knowing you've brightened someone's day a little bit! 



A big {virtual} hug and thanks to everyone who participated! 




Monday, August 10, 2015

Books Bloggers Love {September}


It's time for another edition of Books Bloggers Love, brought to you by all the wonderful bloggers below. We hope you get some more great ideas for your classroom and hopefully win some books in the process!



Since the beginning of Kindergarten is all things alphabet, letters and sounds, I chose this popular book by Lois Ehlert.




First, I usually just read through the book, pointing out all the different foods and occasionally asking students if they'd ever eaten any of them. Some of their reactions are quite hilarious!

Then we go back and create an anchor chart sort of like this, using one food for each letter (trust me, my illustrations don't come CLOSE to these). I will incorporate some interactive writing with this and have students write the upper and lowercase letters on the chart (with help of course).


How can you read a book about food and NOT eat any? I'll bring in several different foods from the book for the kids to sample (I always check for any food allergies and get permission from parents first). 

I'll have students write letters on index cards, spread them out around the room and then have them help me sort the food according to its beginning letter. After sorting, we eat!

To incorporate some math, I'll choose 3 or 4 of the foods we sampled and we'll vote on which one we like the best. Then we'll analyze the graph together. 

There are so many activities you could do with this book but these are just a few!

Here's your chance to win some books! This month, Jessica from The Teacher Talk, Meredith from Creativity to the Core, Jen from Sparkling in Second and Emily from Third in Hollywood, are giving away a copy of each of their books! Just fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter. As always, good luck!

Stephanie has also created a Pinterest board dedicated to all the books we love, so make sure to follow!

Follow Stephanie's board Books Bloggers Love on Pinterest.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Thirty Minute Thursdays


With school right around the corner that means no more leisurely breakfasts, lunches or dinners, or taking as long as you need to cook and eat them. My friend Crystal has organized this fun, and what is sure to be helpful, linky to help busy teachers at least attempt to eat meals that don't come out of a bag.

I'm a notorious "can't cook." I'm envious of those people who can step into a kitchen, no recipe in hand, just look at what ingredients are available to them and voila! A delicious meal. You won't see that happen in my kitchen, unless someone else besides me is cooking. 

But as horrid a chef as I am, I've been able to find a few recipes that I've added to my go-to list. This one ranks very high because it only has THREE ingredients and it COOKS ITSELF in the slow cooker. You had me at set it and forget it. 

I know it technically breaks the 30 minutes or less timeline, but it's so easy I had to share it. And it doesn't even really take as long as the recipe says.



Come back and comment to let me know how you like it if you try it! 

Here is the picture from Pinterest, click it to go to the original source. 


Now I'm off to see what recipes my friends have blogged about; I'm bound to find SOMETHING I can't mess up. ;)



Monday, August 3, 2015

Pinterest Pick 3 {August}


Since Back to School is right around the corner (waaahhhh!) I thought I'd use this month's Pinterest Pick 3, hosted by PAWSitively Teaching and Inspired Owl's Corner, to give you some ideas for teacher gifts.


This little gift is cheap and quick to make- don't we all love those kind! All you need is a pack of highlighters, some twine or ribbon and this printable. I like how the printable is black and white so you can color it with the highlighters!




I don't know much about succulents (or plants in general for that matter). I always end up killing the ones I buy. However, I've always thought having a plant in the classroom adds that home-y touch and this seems to be pretty low maintenance. 



This is more of a traditional back to school teacher gift but cutesified (don't think that's a real word but I'm going with it!). I love how this person included a Tide To Go- I don't know about y'all but eating and copying at the same time can be hazardous for my clothes and a spill almost always inevitably happens!


I hope everyone has a wonderful 2015-16 school year--is it too early to start a countdown to summer?!? :)



Reflect and Refresh {Part 2}

Welcome to Part 2 of 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.

Today I'll be sharing with you some ideas I want to implement/improve upon this year.


Communication

I've been using homework folders (some people call them take home folders or communication folders) every year. But every year I find myself unhappy with one part or another of the folders. So I've thought long and hard about what I want to include so I'm not using my conference period midway through the year to change them.

Here are the contents for the inside:

Labels for the pockets indicating what paperwork needs to stay home and what needs to be returned to school. 


You can download the Keep at Home labels {here} and the Return to School labels {here}. Just FYI, there are NOT borders on the labels- I just put them in the picture so you can see them better. You will need Avery Labels 5160/8160. 

This is a new thing I'm trying. I work in a very low socioeconomic demographic and many times my students don't have supplies at home to do their homework. I bought these zipper pouches at Dollar Tree and I'll be putting a glue stick, scissors, pencils and 8-pack of crayons inside. Hopefully this will reduce the amount of "Can you please send scissors/pencils/glue sticks home with Johnny for his homework?" letters I get from parents. They're also a good place for parents when they need to send money to school. 



Next are various handouts I want my students to have handy for review either at home or while they are waiting for morning assembly to start. 

I love this pack of alphabet charts because there are so many different versions to choose from. I will use the version with all the different phonics sounds so I won't have to print and insert new ones during the year. I also use these for guided reading so the kids have consistency between school and home.


I also go ahead and put a blends/digraphs chart so I don't have to later in the year (it never hurts to start exposing them early either!). 



I use a couple of pages from this pack- the combined upper/lowercase letter formation page, the days of the week/months of the year page and the shapes/colors page (I use the black and white version so the kids can color the crayons themselves to get that extra bit of practice). 


Next, our district uses a system for sight words that has 100 words per page, all on different colors. I start out with just the first page-once a student has mastered all 100 words I will add the next list behind it. I don't have a picture of them, sorry! Just imagine bright sheets of Astrobrights paper with 100 words on them. :)

Finally, I'm going to keep their guided reading books and a reading log in a manila envelope in the back pocket. I will affix a cute name tag label, as well as {this} information for parents, on the front. {This} reading strategies bookmark will go on the back, then I will laminate the envelopes.

Organization and Classroom Management

I started reading Whole Brain Teaching near the end of last summer but never got around to finishing it. I've seen more and more teachers using the Super Improver portion; I'm all about students taking control of their learning and using their progress as motivators so I'm going to try it out this year. 


I made these star trackers for my wall. Feel free to download {here} and use if you'd like! The font used is Hello Asparagus.

Content

Like the Super Improver Wall, I keep seeing posts about close reading all over the place. However, many of the posts were for upper elementary and not appropriate for Kinder. I searched TpT and found these amazing looking reading passages from Tara West that I'll be using.



My Big Summer Project

My ginormous task this summer was to prep my Making Words unit so it's ready to go this year. You can read about it {here}. I'm proud to say it is 90% complete; What I'm struggling with is how to organize all the bazillion manilla envelopes. I have a couple of ideas in my head but if you have any suggestions I'd be glad to hear them!


Whew! That was a long post! If you're still here, thanks for sticking it out with me! Now head over and read some MORE great posts from some other great bloggers!

Use the image below if you'd like to link up and share your ideas!






Saturday, August 1, 2015

Currently {August 2015}

Currently August?! What? Summer was actually going by pretty slowly for me until the last couple of weeks and now all of a sudden, BAM! Life moves fast doesn't it, folks?


Listening

I just joined Spotify a few days ago and am wondering why it took me so long! I’m obsessed! I’m discovering so many types of music I never knew I liked. You can find me {here}!

Loving


Not gonna lie, I was scared at first….but I’ve only been in my 30’s for 11 days and so far they have been awesome! Not to say there haven’t been moments of bad luck (hello huge crack in my windshield that I had to get replaced but thankfully had a $0 deductible), but I have had this awakening and newfound look on life that is an amazing feeling!

Thinking


That awakening I just mentioned? I truly believe God has a reason for everything He does and He recently put someone in my life that has given me more inspiration and encouragement to turn my dreams into reality in two weeks than anyone has in my entire life.  I have a serious case of wanderlust but now I’m actually taking steps to fulfill my desire to see the world.

Wanting

Those world travels I just mentioned? Well, I’m going to need to document them and I’m certainly NOT going to rely on my iPhone to do it. If you have suggestions/tips/preferences for DSLR cameras (since I know ZERO about them) please let me know! I did go to Precision Camera and they suggested the Canon T5 or Nikon 5100…anyone use either of those?

Needing


I love my job y’all. But all the big plans I have for myself have me thinking “I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna.” about going back to work. So I’m having a harder time than usual getting my mind back into school gear. But I know I have a fresh new group of kiddos who will need me and that helps.

B2S RAK

This year I'm planning on teaching about and giving my students more opportunities to show random acts of kindness,so I'm excited about this! For back to school, maybe having my class create welcome back cards for another class? I'm still working out all the details!