Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Little of this and a Whole Lotta That!

YOWZA, This was a CrAzY busy week! The first week back is always hectic and normally, I relish in it; however, it has just been exhausting. I found out on Tuesday that I would have my first student teacher. Believe me, I am so excited to be cooperating teacher. My student teaching experience was...well, let's just describe it as less than ideal. So, I am excited to be able to share, share, share!!! By Friday, I realized that hosting a student teacher is a positive and rewarding experience and it's also work, lol. The week felt longer because HOLY hot! Our school is not air conditioned AND the best classroom has 4 windows total that face a courtyard! I'm feeling HOT, HOT, HOT!!!

What has truly impacted my temperature and exhaustion level is.....wait for it....I am pregnant! For anyone who has read my blog from the beginning you know that having a family has been something I have wanted for a looooong time. We have been trying for three years and experienced a heartbreaking loss last September. We used fertility drugs and underwent to fertility treatments (IUI). We found out in April that it had worked! While we were incredibly excited, we were very scared! We waited until I was 23 weeks to even announce it. I have been scared to even let the parents of my kiddos know because they just met me and have no idea that I will do EVERYTHING in my power to ensure the great Kindergarten experience that their child deserves. I owe so many of you many thanks for all the emails and prayers over the last months. You all have been an incredible support to me!

Now on to some school stuff...I have meant to take pictures of my room and bulletin boards, but atlas, I didn't! I thought I would upload a few documents that I use for anyone who wants to see.

Hope there is something that you can use! Have a wonderful week! Don't forget to leave some love if you download!

All documents contain fonts that are copyright DJ Inkers. Virtually all documents contain graphics that are copyright DJ Inkers. They are used with permission. Please visit, for wonderful clipart and fonts.

Here is the newsletter format I use, I create it in PowerPoint because I am a P.P. junkie!
August 29 2011

Here are my lesson plans for the week of August 29. It's not quite in the normal format because we don't have all our specials yet, all components of the curriculum don't start yet, and because I don't start teaching centers for a little bit...I like to give my new kids time to adjust to the hectic pace of Kindergarten. This is one of the few things I do in Word. It looks fancy, but it's just tables. I split and merge cells, just takes practice!
Week of August 29 - September 2

Here is my crazy pacing guide for the year. I print it out on 11x17 paper and use it as my desk calendar, which is actually always covered in piles! Again, created in PowerPoint. You can see that all my poems aren't on it yet...that's because our theme order changes based on field trips and special events that aren't always in my control.
My 2011-2012 Pacing Guide

Here is the Language Arts Assessment that I use.
My Language Arts Assessment Chart

Two little Pete the Cat Goodies for you...
The first is a little book that is a bit goofy...before you send me emails that say "Pete's shoes wouldn't turn yellow if he walked in bananas"...I know this. The book is to help teach colors and is fun!
Pete Loves Colors Book

The second upload is an idea from Leslie Bjelde! Leslie has been so generous in sharing materials with me! This is a school tour book. I needed to save on colored ink, so I had to make my own version. The first and last pages are copied on white card stock. The rest of the pages are copied on colored cardstock that corresponds with the color of shoe that Pete lost. I copy the large shoes on colored cardstock, as well.
Pete the Cat School Tour Book

Coming Soon...Spider Unit!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Poetry Journals: Making them Matter (November Edition)

Before the Poetry Journal post...

  • You can find how I introduce Poetry Journals here...
  • Yes, I will be posting December...soon.
  • I will be creating a post on activities that we do later on in the school year with our Poetry Journals at some point.
  • I will not be creating a Teachers Pay Teachers account. Read previous posts and you will soon realize I just don't believe in charging for materials. Would I enjoy the extra supplement to my income, sure...but it's not going to happen.
  • Scribd goes slow. It's free. A cross you must be willing to bare.
  • I will not change my documents for you to different formats nor will I email them to you. I don't mean to sound's just a fact.

Now with the post :-)
November is a CrAzY month for us in our district! The kiddos are off for the entire week of Thanksgiving. We have Parent/Teacher conferences on Monday and Tuesday, then we are off the rest of the week. I LOVE it!!!

With that being said, what you will find with this edition is not much, lol. The first week of November/the last week of October we learn about Fall (I am going to repost Gray Squirrel because that is the poem we do). The two weeks that follow are a combination of Turkeys and Thanksgiving. The week of Thanksgiving we are off, so there isn't a poem. The final week of November/first week of December we do our Gingerbread unit. Sorry for any confusion this may cause!

As always, I hope you find things that you can use in your own classroom, and I hope to inspire you to share with your fellow teachers! Leave a comment if you download :)


All documents contain fonts that are copyright DJ Inkers. Virtually all documents contain graphics that are copyright DJ Inkers. They are used with permission. Please visit, for wonderful clipart and fonts.

All of my Poetry Journals can now be found on TPT, as well.

Gray Squirrel

Gray Squirrel

A Turkey Is

A Turkey Is

Thank You

Thank You

Four Gingerbread Men

Four Gingerbread Men

Sorry no picture of the poster. I forgot to take it, maybe I will remember at some point to take it!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Letters, Forms, Packets, and Behavior...oh, my!

I will finally be able to get into my classroom next week and then we begin August 23rd. I haven't changed much of my documents, but I thought I would share them with anyone who just wanted to take a peek!

This is my welcome letter. I know it looks pretty plain but that's because I print it out on cute computer paper. Our first day of school is actually an Orientation Day. Parents and students come with all their supplies (which I have them sort into boxes in the hallway) and then we go over the curriculum and the in's and out's of our room. Lots and lots of questions!!!

All documents contain fonts that are copyright DJ Inkers. Virtually all documents contain graphics that are copyright DJ Inkers. They are used with permission. Please visit, for wonderful clipart and fonts.
Kindergarten Orientation Letter 2011

The ABC's of Room 17 has been greatly condensed! Our school had us take out all the information that is in the School Handbook...makes sense, right? 
ABC's of Room 17

OK, if this format of the Parent Volunteer Form is yours, please let me know and I will most certainly give you credit. I saved it in my Google Doc's and can't remember for the life of me who I got it from. Anywho, I just tweaked it so it fit my classroom.
Parent Volunteer Form

One thing that I tell EVERY new teacher is this little orders for the first month are a MUST. Why, you ask...because the first order gives you the most bang for your buck. You can really rack up points to be used later on with that first order. I spend a good amount of time practically begging parents to buy $10 worth of books with that order. I tell them EXACTLY how many points we will get and what those points can buy. I tell them they can save the books for a gift later on :)

It has never failed me. My first order of the year has never been under $200. I've gotten a listening center, hundreds of books, and TONS of literacy/math center items. Of course, every order after the first is usually less than $20, but I won't complain!
Book Order Letter

I've seen this Behavior Clip Chart all over the blogosphere! After much thinking, I decided I would give it a go! I tweaked it a bit to fit my room, and I am praying that I love it as much as everyone says I will. Here is my chart.
This is the explanation that I am giving out to parents. Yes, as you can see, I am giving rewards. I kept on thinking that it just stinks that those kids who move up don't get anything other than recognition. So, anyway you can read the chart to see what they get for rewards and consequences. My Kinder-Hoppers that make it to the top will receive a sticker on their clip...first red, then orange, yellow, and so forth. When they have all the colors of the rainbow on their clip, it will be retired to the top and they will get a new jazzy one. **My jazzy ones were nicely dyed clips and then I sprayed them with silver glitter and now they are more ghetto than jazzy, so I am rethinking what to do about it.
Behavior Clip Chart Explanation

My students each have a green, plastic folder (F.R.O.G folder) that they take home each night. I staple a behavior calendar on the left side. Students color their folder at the end of each day with the color they ended their day on. The students that make it to the top will be able to color the corresponding square in rainbow colors. I am fairly certain I am going to cut the actual table description of the chart and tape it behind the behavior calendar so parents can reference it.
2011-2012 Behavior Calendars

Monday, August 8, 2011

Scary Dreams and New Things

A special thanks for all the comments and emails! You have no idea how nice it was to hear from you all! Most of that post was directed at my some of my co-workers...some things will never change.

**A correction- The Chicka Chicka Boom Boom download didn't include the letter z. I've made the correction and just in case you missed it, here is the corrected download. My apologies!

All documents contain fonts that are copyright DJ Inkers. Virtually all documents contain graphics that are copyright DJ Inkers. They are used with permission. Please visit, for wonderful clipart and fonts.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

And, so it begins...well, it actually began a few weeks ago...the scary dreams about school. I don't think I know any teacher who isn't plagued with dreams of school in August. This year my dreams seems to be focused on one thing...who am I getting?? I work in a district that doesn't do any screening for incoming Kindergartners...scary, huh? But, the balance is usually that we know many families that are coming in and requesting us as teachers and we have some coming up from our Pre-K program. So, my first dream was that my principal decided to put all the "new to district" families in my room. It ended with over half of my kids having behavior IEP's and me without an assistant, yikes! 

I took my trip to Lakeshore Learning, and I am thanking the Dear Lord that I had lots o'gift cards! I got some new center stuff, to be placed on shelves that lack any amount of space! I also ordered a few books and a new timer. I am debating buying one of those cubby shelves from Target, but I am pretty sure I don't have space. Maybe I'll get rid of my desk...a girl can dream, can't she! Here are some of my new purchases...

 I also dropped off a HUGE laminating order at the local store...that's right, I pay for laminating! We have a laminator at school, but it's the flimsy stuff. The store I go to is nice and thick with the added bonus of...they CUT it ALL for me!!!! Priceless. I made a new Behavior Clip Chart...inspired by many blogs. I hope that it works for my Hoppers this year! I will post a pic once it's done laminating. Here are two little things I made today while it rained. One is my Smartie Pill jar, way cuter than last year, although you can't really see the words very well! The other are containers for pencils.

 Now, many of you have asked me to share my schedule with you, so here you have it folks...PURE CHAOS!
Lesson Plan Template 2011-2012

The other thing that many of you have asked about is how I handle Homework in my classroom. I send out a Homework Calendar packet each month. The packet contains Homelinks from Everyday Math, practice papers from Zaner Bloser handwriting, as well as miscellaneous things that I add. I am not sure if you will be able to use them or not. I've uploaded the Homework Guidelines that I include in my Parent Packet for Orientation day. It includes directions to the parents. I have also uploaded the September calendar (without the Homelinks or Zaner Bloser handouts b/c they are copyrighted materials), if people want more uploaded, I will certainly upload all of them.
Homework Guidelines

September Homework Calendar

(September )Letters and Sounds Go Fish

Now I will leave you with two pictures of my baby... my Thundercat, named Liono Baggins. He is a 21 pound orange and white, Tabby/Siamese cat. He is ginormous and very vocal.
One loud clap of thunder and suddenly he is a small, timid Scaredy Cat that hides in tiny spaces.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hoppy School Year!

        No one who achieves success does so 
                without the help of others.
        The wise and confident acknowledge this 
                 help with gratitude.
         -Alfred North Whitehead

Holy Cannoli...It's already August! In comparison to other years, I am getting started LATE. Each summer I usually do a new project of some sort...IE- I wrote a grant for Technology Centers and then spent the summer ordering, last year I ordered and prepped Family Literacy Bags, one year I cataloged and leveled my entire classroom library. This year I didn't have a clear focus, but I have begun to organize my thoughts! 

We begin school August 23rd, but we can't get into our classrooms until the 15th, ugh! I don't want to make a ton of changes, but with all the new regulations we have on how much we can hang up...I have to start figuring out how to make my room cute again. I see pictures on blogs of everyone's classrooms and I am SOOO jealous. Jealous of how much space you have, jealous that you don't have a wall of windows which can display anything, jealous that you can hang things from clotheslines or the ceiling, jealous that you can have more than 20% of your walls cover...jealous, jealous, jealous! Alright, enough complaining!

I've already told you that my beginning of the year is in fact...a mess! So, this post is probably going to reflect that...sorry! I focus on the themes Krazy for Kindergarten (all about our school, our room, and each other), Colors & Shapes, and Birthdays. Pretty basic stuff. I've tried to create some fun stuff because I feel that we assess and pound rules into their little brains too much at the beginning of the year, when we should just be getting into the swing of things and make them LOVE coming to school! As always, I thank you for reading and I hope you can find something to use!

I really appreciate and look forward to comments! Please if you download something...the right thing to do is to express your gratitude. I'm not fishing for compliments...just a simple thank you. I love offering things for free, it makes me feel good, but I will be honest when I say this, when I see that things that I have posted have over 500 reads/downloads and then I only get 8 truly makes me want to quit. If it was worth the download then I certainly deserve some common courtesy, this is especially true if I work with you! Please consider offering a donation if you download.

Alright, let me jump down off my soapbox and give you the Goods! I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer! Thanks again for reading!


All documents contain fonts that are copyright DJ Inkers. Virtually all documents contain graphics that are copyright DJ Inkers. They are used with permission. Please visit, for wonderful clipart and fonts.

Books We Love
Mrs. Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten
Froggy Goes to School
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes 
Pete the Cat Rocking in My School Shoes
If You Take a Mouse to School
Mouse Paint
Kindergarten Rocks
I Like Myself!
The Crayon Box That Talked
My World of Color
The Feelings Book
It's Okay to be Different
Mouse Shapes
Round is a Mooncake
Shapes in Nature
Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?

Literacy Goods
I use the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom as a whole group activity on the flannel board. I copy the pieces on tagboard and put velcro on the back. Once we have done the activity as many times as the kiddos want, I transfer the pieces to a center activity.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

These are rhyming cards that can be used as a center or whole group activity after reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!
Chicka Boom Boom Rhyming Cards

ABC's for Me is a book for students to color and read. The dots under the words are to help students get into the practice of pointing to each word. It's kind of lengthy to copy, you may want to double side it.
ABC's for Me Book
Another little book to read. Super them loads of confidence!
The School

Meet the Friends is a class book. We usually complete it during the first couple of days. I copy the "Hi, my name is" page for each student and they draw a self portrait. Then I take their first day of school picture and glue it on the page. I laminate the cover and a back cover and bind the pages. They LOVE reading this even at the end of the school year.
Meet the Friends Class Book

I use the Little Frog, Little Frog as a whole group activity on the flannel board. I copy the pieces on tagboard and put velcro on the back. Once we have done the activity as many times as the kiddos want, I transfer the pieces to a center activity.
Little Frog, Little Frog

This Go Fish corresponds to the order of Jolly Phonics. You don't have to use it as Go Fish, it could be simple matching or memory.
Jolly Phonics Sound Go Fish (1-3)

I LOVE doing this book. It is great for sequencing and the Hoppers love having their own copy. I copy the main page on white cardstock and the rest on regular paper. Students put the pages in order and I staple it on the bottom.
Brown Bear Brown Bear

I will be the first to admit, I DESPISE paying for activities, so I don't! I create and do without what I can't. I have made ONE exception to this rule....I purchased Fran's Pete the Cat unit and it was well worth the purchase! She has me addicted to Pete the Cat. The little book that I've posted goes along with the new Pete the Cat Rockin' in My School Shoes. Super cute!!!

Pete Loves School Book

I See Shapes is a sight word based book to help students practice reading the picture, identify shapes, and recognizing color words.
I See Shapes Book

Math Goods
For the Roll and Color, I create a dice with color words on it for each table group. Students take turns rolling the dice and then filling the shoes. When everyone's page is done, we will compare the results and graph them as a whole group.
Pete the Cat Roll and Color

For early in the year, I pair up students and have them play War with these cards. I like them because they are only 0-10.
War Bears 0-10

Another book for students to read. It helps students practice counting and writing numbers 1-10.
1,2,3 Count With Me Book 1-10

These are materials to create a Boys/Girls Graph. I use to make a huge one that stayed up for a long time, but now the Illinois Fire Marshall prefers our little primary grade center to look like a high school, so to save space, I had to create a small one. Once you create the poster, students use the little squares to create the graph. They write their name on the dotted line, color, and cut.
Boy and Girl Graph

Very basic Spin and Graph activity. You've seen it before :-)
Spin and Graph School Supplies Spinner

Spin & Graph School Supplies

Patterning worksheet. Pretty self explanatory.
School Patterns

The Number Buses are a center activity. A cute variation I plan on doing in my room is to use my students pictures instead of the clipart kids.
Number Buses

This can be used as a center or whole group. I plan on using them as a whole group for identification and sequencing and then placing them in the flannel board center.
Number Sequencing Center Cards 1-12

These are student cards. They color, cut, and glue them in sequence to a sentence strip.
Number Sequencing Cards 1-12

Students will work in groups to complete this activity. They take turns rolling a traditional dice and filling in the number that was rolled. They may only fill in one star at a time. If they roll something that they've already filled, their turn is over.
Roll, Count, Color Stars

The Roll a Color is for graphing and color word recognition. I create a dice by using colored dots. Students fill in the graph as they roll and write the number in the dotted box.
Roll a Color Graphing Activity

After we read Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See, I give students a small baggie of traditional M&M's to sort by color. Students have to recall the story and color the animals the appropriate color before they can begin sorting. They must complete the graph before they can eat their M&M's.
Brown Bear M&M Sorting

Have students use a paperclip and a pencil for the spinner.
Spin & Graph Basic Shapes

Simple Shape Sorting Mats to use as a whole group or center activity.
Shape Sorting Mats

Miscellaneous Goods
School Stuff Concentration

Birthday Goods can be found here....

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
        -G.B. Stern