Thursday, August 30, 2012

I {heart} Lakeshore

Anyone who has ever seen my classroom knows that I absolutely ADORE Lakeshore products! I cannot convey how much of my past classroom budget and paychecks have gone to their products. Everything I have purchased has been of absolute quality and truly benefits my students.

This past year our school f.i.n.a.l.l.y. got Smartboards. Well, you know me, I am all about creating materials for my classroom; however, we got them when I had just had Cooper. He was a month old and I was on leave. I knew that I wouldn't have time to search for lessons and activities, let alone create them, so I took a route that would benefit my students, as well as, myself....I wrote a grant. We have an incredible organization in our district that has big fundraisers and then gives the money out to classrooms for new things that they want to try. In the past I've written grants for Family Literacy Bags, LeapFrog Technology Centers, and Reading Buddies. My new grant was for Smartboard Centers. My partner in crime and I received this lovely box of centers....
They are AMAZING!!!

I was contacted by Lakeshore to try out their Phonemic Awareness Plinko Game. It is awesome! Students can practice beginning sounds, ending sounds, and rhyming.
Phonemic Awareness Plinko Game

The game board is durable and the chips are not just cardboard or laminated. I LOVE this game for early first grade!!

Here is a little something from Lakeshore for you! Enjoy a Buy One, Get One 50%

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Without a hitch

Friday was the first day with my new kiddos, and oh my gravy...are they cute! I normally have TONS of stuff planned and then get one thing accomplished. It's funny how I forget what the first few days of school are like....practice, practice, practice! Sometimes I feel like some sort of drill sergeant. I always feel like I am trying to cram so many rules and procedures into them that they must go home thinking "Kindergarten isn't fun."

But, Friday was different. I kept it pretty low key and fun for them. We got many of the rules and procedures down, but also did Dr. Jean's Peanut Butter song (because Heaven knows how much they love to hear the word underwear!), we read Pete the Cat Rocking in my School Shoes, did a school tour looking for Pete's Shoes, read the book with the music again by request, had gym...even lunch went without a hitch! I am soooo looking forward to this school year. I feel like I am in complete control of one area of my life and it is at school.

I haven't had too much time to create anything new. I've been getting home around 6 and then spend some time with the Little Mister, shower, wash and get bottles ready, try to eat a little dinner, and then sit comatose. 

Although, last night I made some Owl Theme Ten Frame Mini Posters for all you owl lovers out there. I am hoping to finally finish up my Thanksgiving unit soon.

I've had some questions about my Focus Wall.
This is a new feature in my classroom. I am going to use it so my students know what we are working on for the entire week, as a form of early goal setting. On the first day of the week, I will talk about many of the things we will be learning for the week (Theme, Math, Reading, Writing, Phonics, and Phonemic Awareness) (I plan on adding a PBIS goal too). I have general "blurbs" for each heading that are linked with what we are working on and the Common Core. For example, Math might say Counting to 100. Looking back at the creation, I wish I had done I can statements, but live and learn, right? Then on Fridays, we will go over what our goals were and what we still need to work on. I love the idea of having them feel like they are in some control of their own learning.

Yes, I do plan on selling this on TPT, but I am still wondering if I should tweak it a bit first. Let me know what you think! 

Happy Sunday!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Revamp 2012

My classroom revamp is going very well. It's been lots of work, but I definitely LOVE my new classroom. It's not completely done yet. Here are some of my new boards, hopefully the room will be done tomorrow!

Here is my word wall before.

Here is the after (although I don't have words up yet because I put them up as we learn them).
Putting that up was a PAIN, I now remember why I had the other one up so long!
A close up...

My new Focus Wall...

I LOVE it!!! I included all as much of the Common Core as I could. The plan is to talk with my Kinders on Monday about our goals for the week and refer to it throughout the week. On Friday's, we will talk about how we did and what we still need to work on. :0)

A close up...

I put magnetic tape on the back of my Ten Frame Number posters, so the kiddos can manipulate them. Thanks to Barb for that little nugget!

I use to keep my Table Groups in a pocket chart on the wall; however, the Smartboard resides there now. So, I put them on the dry erase board, as well. Thanks Pam!

Calendar Wall... missing the Partner Chart.

I love it all so far! I've still got some things to do. I'm looking forward to sharing it with you :0) I hope you are all either enjoying your time back with your students or enjoying the process of prepping as much as I am. I get to meet 22 smiling faces on Thursday, and I CAN'T wait!!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


 I've never needed a ton of sleep, even through my pregnancy I could get by with about 5 hours a night. Lately, I'm averaging about 3 hours per night. Seriously, I don't know how I am functioning at all. But, here I am...10PM just finished cleaning bottles, working on math assessments and rubrics, oh, and the all too important blogging :0)

I had some focus today. I unpacked, unpacked, and unpacked all my math and literacy centers, hung up my long weird bulletin board in the hall, labeled cubbies, typed out and printed my welcome letters, organized 3 big ole boxes of books into Fountas and Pinnell levels, and walked to the office a zillion times looking for supplies that once I got there (after seeing and talking to people in the hall) had forgotten what I needed, over and over and over. All in all a pretty good day.

Here are some pics...
The famous Pinterest inspired crate chairs, which will more than
likely get me into hot water with Scary Maintenance Guy...
"Are these flammable?"

My fire chairs filled with highly flammable leveled readers.
Took FOREVER to organize by level, but I felt soooo good afterward!

I've had some questions about how I organize my library for my classroom. When I got into my room, there was no rhyme or reason to the organization of the books, so the first thing I did was take an inventory, then I wanted to determine what the purpose was...did I want them all organized by level or theme. I chose theme. These are books that students have access to everyday. I wanted them to find the books/characters they love, quickly.

The next thing I did was create book bin labels with matching labels. Each book has a label that is displayed on the front cover. This allows students to just match the pictures. My bins are EL Cheapo! I bought ice cube bins from walmart. They work perfectly for my ick shelving. The bins that have LOTS of books are rhyming-repition-song/fiction animals/non fiction animals, and insects and spiders. These books are in dishwashing tubs again from the store that I loathe....Walmart.

The next picture is mainly literacy centers. These are the first centers that I teach. They are my "staples." They include Read the Room, font sort, magnetic word building, stamp the alphabet, do a dot letters, chalkboards....there are TONS of them. I teach them throughout September. Then when we start doing Stations, students work on more thematic centers, if and when they finish, each group has a choice of 4 staple centers to work on. This prevents I'm done, I'm done, I'm done.

These are math centers.

Every bin has a picture on it. There is also a picture on the shelf where the bin goes. I just got tired of my kiddos putting things away wherever they could find space. It made me crazy!

Alright, I am officially tired. Here's hoping I catch some Zzzzz's tonight! I haven't decided if I am going in tomorrow or not, guess you'll have to check back tomorrow. Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Chaos in the Classroom

Today was the first day back in my classroom, it was my futile attempt at several things...
1- Make it look like a classroom.
2- Revamp it

Fail. So, I haven't been shy about how things are going in my life, things ultimately have just fallen apart. I am not fishing for any woe is me, it is what it is. I am trying hard to find my way through some beyond murky waters. Anywho, I have very little control of my personal life, so it an attempt to have major control somewhere, I decided to redo my room and try to feel really good while I'm at school.

Clearly I have too many projects....personal things are causing my brain to lack the capacity to organize or at least complete more than one task to completion. I am in need of a life coach.

Here is my classroom my pigsty today.
From the door...straight across
From the door...diagonally

Opposite side of the room
You can see that my room is one HOT mess! And, holy cow, I could not get my mind together. I lacked focus :0) Hopefully, things will get better.

Guess what? The 7 coats of magnetic primer actually hold little letters. Worth it...probably not, but live it, learn it! I decided to paint my cabinets green. The green I chose seemed like a good choice at the time, I'm pretty sure you can see it from space ;-)


They were U.G.L.Y and chipped. So, last year I asked my principal if I could paint and she said yes! First I used magnetic primer on 4 of them. Then I painted them this crazy green...
Ohhlala...see the little magnetic letter :0)
Seriously, they are BRIGHT! I love 'em; however, I nearly got in trouble from our Scary Head Maintenance guy. Who said the problem is that it might be flammable and that now all the rooms aren't uniform. Scary. Truly, I am an avid rule follower. I was freaking. All worked out, here's the full pic.

That's pretty much all I got done. Then I flit, flit, flit, couldn't keep my eye on the prize at all. Speaking of prizes, here are all of my goodies that were awaiting me (please keep in mind that all of this is grant money and school purchases)...

Lakeshore ob.sess.ed

These are Smartboard Centers for my room and my partner in crime!

LOVE stickers and Carson Dellosa cutsie stuff.
More tomorrow, maybe :) Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Frog Inspired Room

I think I've like frogs forever, not real frogs of course, real frogs are just interesting to me. Now cute cartoon like frogs are or I should say have been, a whole other story. When I finally got my first classroom, way back when you could ride a pterodactyl to school, I had a few frog things in my room here and there. Carson Dellosa took advantage of my affinity for small, green amphibians and suddenly it took on a life of its' own. I've got a frog calendar, frog word wall, frog behavior system and lovely frog themed gifts for all occasions. 

Over the years, I've gotten rid of some of it or just no longer display it. Unfortunately, I cannot get rid of it. I call my students Kinder-Hoppers from day one. I found that naming my group gives them a sense of pride and belonging. They associate themselves as Kinder-Hoppers in Room 17. They take ownership of our classroom because it belongs to them. If you've never tried to give your group a name, you should really try it out. Also, if your classroom number is under the number 31, celebrate that day...e.v.e.r.y. month. I don't mean have a party or anything, but I make a big deal out of 17 whenever it hits and they LOVE it! Where was I going with this? reason I can't get rid of it is because siblings count on being a Kinder-Hopper and a few years ago at the end of the year, I said to my little loves that they wouldn't be Kinder-Hoppers much longer, to which my little Lily said, "Once a Kinder-Hopper, always a Kinder-Hopper." I cried. Seriously. Then her Mom painted me that saying with a frog on it. I cried and cried and cried. There you have it, frogs are there to stay.

So, I showed some pictures of my "Classroom Revamp" which really has less to do with frogs, it's more of an adapted color scheme which I adore. I printed it all out and can't wait to hang it all up! This week keep your eye on my blog...I'm going cray, cray with the pics! Well, I've had some requests, so My Revamp stuff is up and for sale!

Here are some pics. I've divided it up in case their isn't something you want. Don't want you spending cash you don't need to :0)

That's all I've got for now. Coop is running the show over here...I can only work when he takes his little power naps :0) Hopefully, I will be able to get my Thanksgiving Unit up...we'll see!

Back to School Sale...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Busy, busy

I know I am a bit late but my TPT shop is 10% off through Monday. I am going to try to put up my frog/color scheme up along with my Thanksgiving unit....if I can somehow find the time tonight. Happy shopping!

Monday, August 6, 2012


I.Loathe.painting. When I decided to start painting my cabinets, clearly I had forgotten how much I....

1- Hate painting
2- Am not good at painting
3- Hate painting

That magnetic primer is killing me! One coat, two coats, three coats...and not a magnetic letter will hold. Four coats, five heavy duty magnet barely sticks. Six coats, seven coats....a magnetic letter sticks...FINALLY. Thank goodness I didn't paint more than two cabinets. That tiny can cost my Father-in-Law $20 bucks and I used the e.n.t.i.r.e can.

I found myself painting after K screening because I can't really bring Coop in and have him breathing in all those fumes. Holy cow....barely any circulation in my room = a serious lack of focus and control.

Total class act. Wearing a dress, covered with magnetic paint, and a head in the clouds. Class act.

Now I am freaking out about painting over this magnetic primer. It is barely holding a magnetic letter. So, I have two choices-
- I can paint over it, as planned and pray that it will hold magnetic letters or just leave it as lesson learned.
- I can leave the two black, paint the others as planned and maybe add some kind of border to the black.

Ho-hum. Any thoughts?

On a different note...a little sweetie today had me laughing. When I got to the portion of the screening that assessed letter sounds, I pointed to a letter and asked "Do you know what sound this letter makes?" He replied with a loud "Caw-Caw! Caw-Caw! Caw-Caw!" Love it!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

There's a Monster on My Blog

Two weeks from Wednesday, that's all I have left. I don't quite feel that I had a summer really, better luck next year, right? I've got Kindergarten Screening all day Monday and Tuesday and then I've got to get into my room and get it set up....turns out, it doesn't just set it self up.

I keep blog stalking all of you and am seriously envious of the size of your classrooms. My room is sooooooo small. Here is a picture of it waaaay back when I first started. Keep in mind that this is a shot from the door.

There are doors in all four corners of my room, which cannot be blocked. It looks completely different now....more "cluttery" because I have a huge kidney table and a SmartBoard, which also, cannot be blocked. The computers and ginormous printer are not allowed to be moved, even an inch and suddenly you are pulled out of a team meeting on your third day and read the riot act about how you could ruin the equipment. I never did figure out how the computer general knew.

Here is a shot that was how I found the room, but it is taken from a different angle so you can see the right side.

See all those bins on top of the cabinets....well, no more. We can't store anything up there. And, while it may look like I have tons of storage, I don't. Picture that room with another gigantic table and 23 little bodies. Oh, with just that little fan in picture two keeping us from dying of heat exhaustion because only 3 of the windows open, really four open but then you may have to find a way to save the little hummingbirds that find their way in because there isn't a screen on window 4. By the end of the day we all smell like wet dogs.

I have no space. I need a bigger classroom. I am jealous of your spacious classrooms. I look at some of your rooms and think, "Oh my gravy, the kids can get out of their chairs without backing into someone else's chair." You lucky ducks.

I'm looking forward to getting in there though. I've got a new word wall, new numbers, labels, new fabric that will protect the entire school from a fire (lol)....we are making crate chairs....I've got my work cut out for me. All with a little Coop in tow. That should be fun, have I mentioned he has a thing against people? He doesn't really enjoy the company of well...anyone but me.
Just want to eat him up!

I've had some questions as to whether or not I will be selling my new frog decor. I want to print it all out and make sure it's all cute first. I will be printing it out either tomorrow or Tuesday, so I will know more then :0).

My new Monster Unit is ready to go and sometime next week, I will have my Thanksgiving unit done. Here are some pics of the Monster Unit....

Monster Literacy Summary Monster Math Summary

Have a great week!!! 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Out in Space (with a little freebie)

Creating, creating, creating....that's what I've been up to. Yesterday, I think I spent 8 hours working on a new Monster Unit. I am loving it so far :0)

Anywho, while working yesterday, I was trying to find some background noise and I found the show Bunheads OnDemand. I loved the show Gilmore Girls, and Bunheads has the same feel to it. There I was creating away and next thing I knew I had watched SIX episodes....look away....nothing to see here, but a loser girl with a TV addiction. I guess it could have been worse, I could have sat for six hours watching Bravo. Who hasn't found themselves on a Saturday being sucked into those crazy housewives shows or a marathon of America's Next Top Model?

I put up my new Space Unit on TPT and TN. Here are some pictures...

This is the lengthy description...

Of course I have a little Space freebie for you :0) 
Take Me to Your Letter

I hope you can use it in your classroom. Happy Wednesday my friends!