Tuesday, May 29, 2012

SAVE the napkins!

Hey ya'll! At the end of each year, you're left deciding what to keep, toss, or give away. When cleaning out your cabinets and drawers, you may come across these....
Left over napkins from birthday parties, holidays, etc. And more than likely, you only have a few of each left. Right? DO NOT THROW THESE OUT! These can be recycled to make the cutest book covers. All you need are a few (FUN!) napkins, a paper cutter, plain and/or lined writing paper, and a stapler. 
Step 1: Cut your paper into squares. Measure your napkin and take a half inch off each side so your paper will fit nicely inside your napkin. 
Step 2: Lay the paper inside the open flap of your napkin. Line it up with your fold and make sure there are no excess edges hanging over. 
 Step 3: Add 2 staples to the folded flap of your napkin. 
Step 4: Viola! You have a book! These "napkin books" can be placed in your writing center or used as a journal. Students can journal about the topic of the napkin. For example: the one above is Easter themed, so students can write about spring/Easter topics. 
 Here is what the book looks like opened. Add as many pages as you like!
Here is another one! Perhaps a summer theme? Students can journal about their plans for the summer or a time they visited the beach. The possibilities for these are endless! I have become THAT teacher who makes anything out of everything. Hopefully I won't be pilfering through anyone's trash. ha What are your thoughts? Do you just love these? I do and I can vouch for my students too - they LOVE them!

Pinning fool

Are you pinning with all this free time on your hands?  Hello summer break! I am in love with this freedom, weather, and fired up for next year already. Here are a few of my most recent and favorite pins. 
I am SOOO implementing this into my work stations next year - certainly towards the beginning of the year. This will help with learning names and making new friends. A name writing station - genius!
I think this is presh.  I plan on asking all of my new kinders to bring a framed photo of their family to school. They will decorate the tops of my books shelves in my library center - emphasizing the importance of home and school. Source: Prepare to Play
Can Post its get any better? How awesome are these? I can think of a million and one things to use these for. Sight words, word of the week, notes home, spelling words, library book due, etc! I MUST FIND THESE! Source: n/a
Seriously. This teacher is beyond smart. She glued a pom pom ball to the top of students' dry erase markers for an instant eraser! Viola. No more old socks or used dryer sheets. Source: Classroom Collective
What a great way to incorporate signals in your classroom and without interruptions! This serves as such a cute visual, too. Source: The Organized Classroom Blog

Have you pinned anything great lately? Please share! I'm always looking for new ideas. Happy Monday! :)

Monday, May 28, 2012


Graduation turned out great! The parents loved it and my students were thrilled. Check out the little slideshow I put together! :) Just click on the pic below.
We ended our last full day with field day. My kinders had a blast! A HUGE thanks to our 2 awesome gym teachers for organizing a great day of fun. Of course, the water station was my students' favorite! ha Look at her - she is soaked!
Here is the last group photo of the year! This was right before my students held me and dumped a HUGE bucket of water on me. Those pictures will remain in MY possession! ;-) ha ha I believe my tennis shoes are still wet. 
I will share this one with you though. Here it COMES! My kids had a little help from some 8th graders. 
Now that school is over, I'm gearing up for next year. I'm saying good-bye to the yucky "dull-ow" in my room (it doesn't even come close to being considered a yellow color - ha) and hello to bright green!  Whoo hoo!
The walls will be - green, the doors and shelves - black, and all my trim - white! It will go so perfect with all my zebra rugs and safari theme. And best of all - it will look CLEAN! When this is done, I'll begin changing out my bulletin boards and organizing stuff for the new year. I am dying to make DeAnna's palm tree {here}. I've been busy painting and hope to finish my room and start on the pam tree, tomorrow. I'll post some pics soon. 
I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day! I'm so thankful for all our veterans - past and present. I know that freedom certainly isn't free. I spent my day in the sun and with family...here is a pic of my sister and I. What a wonderful way to start the summer! Can you tell I'm burnt?!  ha ha It's not summer until you get your first sun burn - right??

Monday, May 21, 2012

Camping Capers!

This past week, we worked on our {camping unit}...courtesy of Cara Carroll. This has been so fun for my kiddies...I actually may have had more fun teaching it! ha I started out the week by setting up my library center to resemble a camp site. 
I sat in my chair and read stories to my students as they sat around the campfire. They loved this!
Here are some of the stories we read!
The "Something Stinks" page makes me LAUGH! For those of you who are unsure as to what the Eastman comment means - Eastman is a HUGE employer in the area and they specialize in manufacturing chemicals, fibers, and plastics. When you pull into the town this plant is located in, you can immediately smell the foul odor it puts off. One of my students' Dad works there and he says that he smells bad when he comes home everyday. So funny! Truly, it does stink...so of course we had to add that to our list. 
We did all sorts of math journals, writing camps, and other camping center activities. My students had so much fun!
We even compared and contrasted campers to tent. While this pageant girl has been camping in a tent before, she would MUCH rather be in a camper. Amen? Can't wait to share pics of our kindergarten graduation with you. It turned out SO cute! LAST Monday of the school year for me! Yippe!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

It's a Zoo in here!

Holy smokies friends! What a whirlwind these past few weeks have been. I know I always say that, but this time...I really mean it. I got pulled a few weeks ago to give TCAPS to some of our flex and special ed groups. So, I had to prep sub notes for the ENTIRE week. Yes, that's right people - the whole week. Do you know how insane-o that is? Who am I kidding?  You're teachers, sure you do. I seriously do not take off unless it's blood or guts because prepping for a sub is a LOT of work. Shew, nonetheless, I survived and so did my sub! ha Bless her.  

Anyways, after reading aloud several tests, allowing extended time, and repeat questions - I'm convinced I would lose if I ever competed on "Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader?" Am I?  Um - NO! ha Some of those questions are TOUGH. And I tested a variety of grades, too. I am sending prayers up for all of the students taking state tests right now and the teachers scrambling to get in all of the material. I never remember them being so difficult. If all else fails - pick C! Right? Anyways...while I was out, my sub taught my zoo unit. I was super bummed I wasn't able to teach it, but snagged some photos of the fun. Once again, I bought DeAnna's unit and loved it. That woman is a teacher prodigy. For real.
Of course we made alligator pie. Yummy! The kinders loved it.
We sequenced the steps afterwards and my students recorded the answers.
One of the skills tested on our kinder report card is "delivering an oral report to answer a research question."  Students had to present their project on a zoo animal of their choice during our zoo week.  Their projects were AMAZING! I used a rubric to grade their presentations and was literally speechless over some of the words they used. A few of my kiddos even passed out circus peanuts and animals crackers for students to enjoy while they spoke about their poster. Ohmiword! Can we say PRESH!?
We had fun doing our chit chats and learning all about giraffes!
Their fact sheets and giraffes turned out great!
I loved this for teaching mental images. The illustrations were awesome and right on target. Please look at the hair standing up on that kid's head. HA!

That's all the photos I had time to grab. :( I wish I could have gotten more, my students did a TON of stuff. Off to work on report cards and the mound of paperwork I have to finish up.  It's our last week! Whoo hoo. Hope everyone has a great Monday!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Running records: A Great Idea!

So, I thought it would be fun to share a brilliant idea from this year. And while I started out doing really good on this, I let it slip as the year went on.  However, I plan on implementing it ALL next year! This worked wonderfully when I did use it and wanted to share it with you all. All you need are:
Address labels (this size works great), a clipboard, pen, and index cards.
Stick the labels on a clip board like this. And while you're walking around observing students, make notes. Write ANYTHING! Ex: Ashley is struggling with letter sounds. Continue to reinforce letters: H, M, and Y/Grant is reading well. May want to bump him up a level. Continue to reinforce tracking print. Try a different pointer?! 

You get the picture - right!? 
Anyways...at the end of the day....or end of the week, match the labels to student cards (I use the LARGE index cards) and stick your notes on there. The label method works so well and keeps me from rummaging through 20+ cards to make notes on every child in my class. As you can see, I mix mine. Sometimes I write on the cards, other times I use the labels. It's just a fast and easy way for you to keep running records on your students. AND - BONUS! Are you ready? Come Parent/Teacher conference time...all you have to do is pull out the notecards and share your observations. Viola! Just a note: I typically use 4 cards for our 4 nine weeks. I stick the labels on the front AND back. 

Thoughts? What was your brilliant idea for the year? I'd love to hear! Do you have a grand idea for keeping notes on your students?!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mother's Day SALE!

Hey friends! I'm spending some time tonight getting Mother's Day stuff ready - stuffing our breakfast bags and stapling my students' books. With that said, I wanted to share a few pages of those with you. They are TOO cute! :)

 I made them guess at how old they thought their Mom was! ha ha I'm sure his Mom will LOVE this.

My Mom loves money! ha ha Who doesn't? Hilarious!

All of these printables can be found in my Mother's Day {Mini Unit}. You can check that out below. Included are lots of fun goodies from an emergent keepsake reader to printables and a handprint page! Mom's will love it - trust me.
In order to push these out the door....for a limited time only, this 20 page {Mini Unit} will be 20% off! Hop over to my TpT store and pick it up for the little's in your class. Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful Mother's out there. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Graduation kinders

Oh my word. Look how stinking cute these turned out! Students painted their paper plate this morning and added details (eyes, cheeks, mouth, hair, and grad caps) this afternoon. I hung them in the hall under letters that say "Class of 2024." I cannot wait for parents to see!
Here are a few more.
I love this little guy! I swear - these look just like my kiddos. It's funny!
I drew up the grad cap and ran it off on black paper. Then, we hot glued the yarn tassels. The blackline for it is below. I hope you enjoy! :)
Just click on the image to grab the pattern from Google docs.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mother's Day Mini Unit

Hey friends. I just posted my Mother's Day {mini unit} and I'm dying for you to check it out! It has 20 pages full of sweet keepsakes that will make any Mom shed a tear! 

Included are:
-3 reader's response pages
-a Venn Diagram
-Mother's Day magazine scavenger hunt
-Hand print Keepsake
-Breakfast in Bed activity
-Menu printable
-an Emergent Reader Keepsake (<---Mom's will LOVE this one)

For $3.00, you can purchase this packet and make any mother smile. What are you waiting for? Hop on over to my TpT store and pick up your copy today. Because my Mom is an amazing mother to 2 girls (Emily and myself), I'll email FREE copies to the first 2 people who comment. Be sure to leave an email address. Thank you for looking! :)