Friday, August 23, 2013

The Kissing Hand, a freebie, and TGIF

One of my favorite Back to School activities is The Kissing Hand. It's such a great little book to read and discuss feelings. 
After I discuss the book, my students help me with some activities. We either create an anchor chart, venn diagram, or we sort cards in a pocket chart. Here are some ideas that I've done in the past. 
We also make student handprints. Last year I made them on a puzzle and included a cutesy little poem from Kim Adsit. This year, I stamped handprints on a "Kissing Hand" printable. 
Some of the ideas and more can be found in a freebie. If you weren't able to grab this during the Kinderland Freebies on the Fourth hop, now is your chance. Just click the image below to grab from google docs. TGIF!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Back to School Sale - save 28% off!

It's here ya'll! The Back to School sale on TpT. Yay! I am so excited about emptying out my shopping cart and purchasing items that I MUST have! ;) I've been wishlisting items like crazy! ha Now is the time to stock up on back to school items and ongoing packs to get you through the school year. Here are some units you may be interested in from my store:
My "Gingerbread Man Loose in the School" Back to School Pack. This has everything you need, and more, to accompany the book by Laura Murray! It's been a HUGE seller for me. You can check out how I used this unit in my own classroom {here}. 
Belnds and diagraphs can be such a tough skill to master. These cards provide extra support for your student and are so easy to use. In the unit, I even talk about binding on a book ring and placing in a writing center.
I also have a great Classroom Books Unit, Vol. 1. This unit addresses themes and skills typically taught during the first half of the year. 
This is my Classroom Books Unit, Vol. 2. This unit addresses themes and skills typically taught during the second half of the year. 
Or, if you really want to it in a bundle!
I also have a few decor packs! Zebra Bright and Zebra Primary. These packs include a number set, word wall cards, alphabet line, shapes, 3D shapes, and more! 
This Daily Schedule Bulletin Board Set is another decor pack I offer and is great for keeping up with time management. 
As most of you know by now, Katie Mense and I have a few co authored packs. Check out our Monthly Family Projects and our Letter Homework from A to Z! In addition to our monthly homework packs...
Those can be found in her store. Don't forget to add the promo code BTS13 at checkout for an additional % off. Whoo hoo - - Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Classroom Digs

Hey ya'll! I'm back with my Classroom digs! I've only taken a few snapshots. My room is still a work in progress (although we are back in full force). I'm waiting on my new rug and chair pockets to arrive. When they do, I'll do the FULL reveal - so stay tuned! is just a sneak peek. I've done a lot of things differently this year....painted, rearranged, changed my bulletin boards, etc. Here is what my classroom looked like last year. 
As you can rug/whole group area was in the far corner of my room (under the large palm leaves). Here is what that corner looks like now...
It houses my classroom library! I added a large tree around my palm leaves for added detail. Students can sit on the bean bags and "explore" books! ;-) ha Yup, I'm corny! All my books are labeled with Reagan Tunstall's book tub labels and stickers (I no longer think the sells this unit). I spent most of the summer working on this and am thrilled with the outcome. 
Students are doing so well with putting books back where they belong. If you'd rather not do this method, check out an easier alternative {here}.
Here is my word wall that my most precious Dad helped me make. I used suggestions from Debbie Diller and April Larremore and was thrilled with the final results. Debbie says:
1) Make a border or a grid for the letters and words to go in. This is based on brain research she is reading about and how the brain sees in borders.
2) Make the vowels one color and the consonants another color.
3) Add a picture for the beginning sound of the letter. This applies to lower grades.
4) Make the words on the word wall in black and white. The words are easier to see this way and it is a  common color for words in print. I decided to put a border around the individual words based on the brain seeing in borders idea.
One thing I wanted to add this year was a defined writing space. While I've always had a writing board, students have never had a space they could go to in order to write (aside from their desks). I am so thrilled with the way this turned out! Of course the sweet little Writer's Eye posters came from Cara Carrol. :)
Here is my calendar/whole group area! I'm awaiting the arrival of my new classroom rug, furnished by Donor's Choose!
Here are just a few other random snap shots! Please check back soon for pictures of the end result. I cannot wait to share it with you! Don't forget to link up with Blog Hoppin' and visit again tomorrow for another Teacher Week '13 post! 
Happy Tuesday. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A "sweet" way of starting off the year...

Well, I'm back at school - full swing with a class full of Kindergarteners. 21 to be exact. We've had a fun week back and have learned all about our rules, procedures, our new school, and the new friends in our class. I think I'm going to have a great year! 
Each year, I start off by reading The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School, by Laura Murray. This book puts a twist on the traditional Gingerbread Man and is a great introductory to school. When a class leaves for recess, their just-baked Gingerbread Man is left behind. But he's a smart cookie and heads out to find them. He'll run, slide, skip, and (after a mishap with a soccer ball) limp as fast as he can because: "I can catch them! I'm their Gingerbread Man! "With help from the gym teacher, the nurse, the art teacher and even the principal, a deliciously sweet ending is served up for both the Gingerbread Man and the children who made him. It's a must read! Anyways - when I finish, I tell my class that the gingerbread man is loose in the school and we must find him. I leave clues around the school that take my new students on a "tour."
They meet the librarian...
The art teacher....and more. When the "tour" is finished, my students have learned all about their new school and met most of the faculty and staff. The last clue leads them back to the classroom for a treat.
Students are left a coloring page and a gingerbread cookie of their own to enjoy! 
We even practice our cutting skills. 
AND we make a gingerbread glyph. 
This is such a wonderful way to start the year off and it always helps my students get acquainted with their new school! You can pick all of these activities up and MORE in my Gingerbread Man unit
Head on over to my TpT store and grab it for 20% off (for a limited time only). Do you  have a sweet way of starting off the school year? Please share! Also...don't forget to head over to Blog Hoppin' to get your posts ready for Teacher Week 2013. Be sure to link up each day and use the hashtag #teacherweek13 if you are an instagrammer.  A LOT of hard work has gone into this week already and I'm super excited to be a part. A big thanks goes out to Amy Lemons for making the cute buttons! I cannot wait to see what everyone posts. Happy Sunday!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Missouri Kindergarten Conference

Hey ya'll! Ohmiword is all I can say. I have been slammed with a capital SLAMMED! Shew...lord have mercy. I went to the Early Childhood Conference in East Tennessee and finished up on Saturday, July 27th...flew out to St. Louis on Sunday, July 28th......flew home on Wednesday, July 31st...and returned to school on Thursday, August 1st. Crazy?! I think - YES! was a blast and has absolutely has been a whirlwind, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I was lucky enough to attend the Missouri Kindergarten Conference and meet my real life bloggy bestie, Katie Mense. As you all know, Katie and I have been creating packs together for the past year. You can check them out in her TpT store
We were so happy to finally meet and work on our packs IN person. ha ha Although we didn't get much done for talking, catching up, and playing with her kiddos. A special thanks to her hubs for capturing this photo. We are "hard at work" (wink wink).
While I was there, I listened to Deanna Jump present! Actually....Katie and I signed up JUST for her classes. ha Yes, we are stalkers. You mean, there were other people there presenting?! What? 
Did I mention that I got to meet Deedee too? Yup. I pretty much was on Cloud 9! 
Here we are all together! 
Deedee, me, Deanna, Erin Mullet (check out her cutesy blog here), and Katie! 
And seriously ya'll....what is a trip outta town WITH teachers...without a trip to the Dollar Tree!? ha ha We had so much fun and just laughed and laughed as we filled up our baskets. A post of our purchases will be coming soon. We got some GOOD stuff and plan on making some cool things to go with it. You must check back! The cashier said, "You all must be teachers!" ha For real - what gave it away?
Katie also hooked me up with a first class STL tour and took me to the top of the arch. Check out the view of the Cardinals stadium from the teeny tiny window. Yes, you can go to the top of that thing. ha Very scary!
I'm snappin' away from up there! ha 630 feet up to be exact. It was so cool! They say you can feel it move during windy is designed to move 9 inches to the left and 9 inches to the right if need be. Um...get me out of there! NO thank you!  (Disclosure: I wear my jean jacket ALL.THE.TIME....don't judge)
And what's a trip to STL without some toasted ravioli!? Delish! I had so so so much fun and am thankful I was able to attend and meet some of my favorites! Be sure to follow my Facebook fan page for more pics from my trip! I hope everyone has a great weekend. I'm off to rest. It's been a busy week back to school!