Monday, October 27, 2014

Trick AND Treat Just For YOU!!!

Who said kids get to have ALL of the fun? If anyone deserves a good ole treat, it’s YOU!  We've got your back! I hope you brought your bag because you're about to embark on some ah-mazing 
Teacher Trick & Treating!



I have teamed up with my Freebielicious friends again to share some teaching tricks and special free treats for you!  

I have a few TRICKS up my sleeve that I would love to share. Brace yourself people, it's not rocket science so set a medial expectation pretty please but hopefully it's something you can use. 


First, do you have "reading glasses" for your kids? My kids LOVE reading with their glasses. I always go to Oriental Trading online a few times a year and I buy a few dozen when they are on clearance. They usually have holiday themed ones that I purchase after the holiday for next year. Pop out the lenses and wha la! Magical reading glasses

Next, did you notice what he is reading? I love the scholastic weekly reader but can't always afford to do it every year (like this year) so last year I was diligent to laminate all of my science issues for future use. I switch out the issues in their book boxes so they have different issues to read. I also do that with old issues of kids national geographic and other magazines. I take out the binding, laminate them and put them on a ring. My kids have read the same ones for years and they LOVE them. 


Another tool for reading is a fun pointer finger. I purchased these martian fingers from Oriental but I can always find them around Halloween at the store too. I usually wait until after Halloween to find them on clearance and buy them for their summer bags. They have ones that glow in the dark too, which is super fun for flash light reading. Seriously, fingers and glasses puts my kids in reading heaven and they haven't been a distraction *yet*. 


Moving on...I don't know about you, but fine motor ability seems to be a MAJOR issue with my students and each year it gets worse. I can't pinpoint what the reason is though. I try to have regular activities for them to increase strength in those little muscles. 

During our last round of centers, I wrote their name a few times on a sentence strip and they traced it with different colors of glue. Just add a few drops of food coloring to a bottle of glue and there ya go. 



So, for our new round of centers, I am writing five different sight words on a sentence strip for them to trace with glue. I like to do similar centers as often as possible to help with independence. We won't glue words all year but we will do it for one more round because the kids LOVE it, it's easy and it's purposeful in more than one way. I ask them to say the letter (spell) as they put glue on it and when they are finished, they have to read the words to their center partner. Then, if they finish early, they practice writing the same words on a dry erase board. Easy peasy.  

Now, for your freebie! I have decided to make a huge class turkey next week. I am going to print these out on white cardstock and send them home. I will create one to show my students before I send it home too. It will include pictures of my family, pictures from magazines or newspapers of things that I am thankful for, etc. I hope they will have fun with this and I look forward to how different each feather will be. Just click this picture below to grab your freebie. I hope you like this idea!


Now hop along to the next Freebielicious friend to see what their Trick & Treat is! Fill that bag up friend! 


Kindergarten Smiles

Love and virtual hugs!!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

This AND That


Oh. My. Goodness. 

Have you ever watched a dog chase their tail over and over and over and wonder why they keep doing it? Well my friends, welcome to my life. I wish I was cool enough to be the dog trainer but nope, I'm the girl chasing my tail. I'm Ms. Frizzle but the hot mess version. ;). I told my teammate that I'm living one of my favorite lines from Steel Magnolios..."I'm not sure if I need to scratch my watch or wind my butt." Ha! 

I really can't put my finger on that one thing that has me struggling this year so I'm just praying over anything and everything. Our new math TEKS (objectives in the country of Texas, ha!) are a fierce beast and in my opinion initially too hard for the average kindergartner's developmental capabilities. But, I teach. And they try. And I teach. And then we all need a hug. Sigh. 

It will be okay. God is definitely stretching me this year but my heart is big enough for all of it. I just have to remind myself that no matter what expectation is put on me, my expectations for my students need to for that of a five year old. I think our world is in such a rush to grow children up to be little geniuses but we forget to let them be little. I wish social development was part of our objectives. There is something to be said for the teacher that teaches the WHOLE child. That is the child who walks away changed. 

Clearly, I have a ton on my mind and any time I could just explode with my opinions but I thought of give you a little peek to what we've been up to instead.

So..on to this and that!

What's in out pocket chart....


Last week we read several books about fall and the kids loved the apples book. Apples really weren't in the plan but my kids were inquisitive. I saw a door open and ran through it! We had some quick, impromptu learning fun.

I found this chart on Pinterest by my friend Abby from the Inspired Apple (that makes me giggle bc the inspired apple inspired my apple..ha! I know, I'm lame.) and I made my own. :)


On Thursday everyone brought an apple and we observed them. We sorted them by color, short/no stem or tall stem, big or small and sticker or no sticker. Then we graphed our results. 

On Friday we made applesauce. We peeled and cut about ten apples and tossed them into the crock pot. I put a little cinnamon and about a cup of water in it. It took about four hours to cook and man did our class smell tummy! 


We made apple investigator hats for all of our apple adventures too. I baked an apple pie the night before so we could taste our applesauce, apple pie and apple juice. I'm always surprised how many kids have never tried all of these before. It was a ton of fun! We needed to have some fun!!! Objectives are great to keep learning focused but there shouldn't be too many of them that you have to limit experiences to squeeze them all in. I loved how my students referenced our matter unit w our applesauce too. It's all about experiences and connections! 
Friday we also had flash light reading. It's definitely a Friday favorite (other than free centers lol). If we can do our best at Read to Self Mon-Thurs, on Friday we turn the lights off and read by flash light. 


Here is our Read to Self chart. I like to use real picture of students following the rules instead of clipart for this chart. They also love to see themselves on the chart. :) 


One of the letters we learned this week was "G" so we made these ghosts to hang from our ceiling. They are made out if paper plates, construction paper and white streamers. They are pretty funny because I just gave my kids construction paper and told them to make it however they wanted to..no patterns. They were super proud of their work. :)


Did I mention that we had a fire truck visit was on Friday too? I can't possible explain how much me crammed into one day. Ha! 


I got my school pics. Usually we just get a proof but this year I got a big package lol. I'm not sure if I should mail them to all my BFFs or put them in Christmas cards?! Ha! And can we also notice how my dress appears to be off of my left should a tad AND it looks like I have this crazy tan line that does not exist by the way. How does that happen? lol Can we say retakes?!! ;)


Okay. That's all I've got for now. Actually I have a gazillion other things I want to share with you and even more pictures but let's be honest, I'm blogging from my phone and I'm already in bed. Ha! 


Monday isn't here yet and I already feel it. I hate complaining about Mondays because I feel like that makes it look like I don't love my job because I do. I really really do. That doesn't mean it isn't hard and unpredictable. Loving my job doesn't take away the stress and concern I have for my kids...but love makes it worth it. That, my friends is why I set my alarm every day. I go ahead and give tomorrow to God and just pray he walks with me. 

I'm not sure what he is doing this year in my life, career and classroom but I dont have to see the bigger picture to know my job is not to be in control. My job is to just be available. 

I read your messages and comments on Facebook and know that I'm not the only one that feels this way. Just know that what you do is important. The seed you are planting can change the life of your student. Some days they need your love more than they need your lessons. When you're teaching the whole child, that is important too!! 

Tomorrow the pumpkins are coming! I can't wait. Pumpkin week is my favorite and on Friday everyone carves one. It's great. We use my pumpkin unit too! The whole school stinks like pumpkins  on Friday lol. It's good times!!

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Great-Pumpkin-Investigation

I'm drifting off. Good night moon.

Sending you love and virtual hugs! 

Friday, October 3, 2014

AWESOME GIVEAWAY!!

Greetings friends! I am SO EXCITED to share with you some exciting news. If you follow my blog, you know I am a BIG fan of ESGI.  You can read my previous post here. I included lots of pics and details in it.

I discovered them last year and man oh man did it save me hours upon HOURS of time last year. ESGI provides an online software for assessing students and keeps track of all the data. Amazing. Some of the awesome things you can do are:

·       Print out parent letters that show exactly what they know and what they don’t know.
·       Print off flash cards for certain skills they did not master in an assessment.
·       Monitor whole class progress through pie graphs for each assessment AND bar graphs to show exactly what letter, number, word, etc. needs to be worked on in your class.

Really, these are just a few things you can do with this program. There is SO much more. The data alone has been a life saver for my team and I. So long making spreadsheet after spreadsheet. Before I would take a week to assess for report cards. Now, I can assess my entire report card each grading period in one morning (most of the time).

Now, for the BEST news!! For the last few months, I have been creating tests for TEXAS teachers specially aligned to your kinder TEKS. ESGI now offers 57 ELA and Math assessments that you have access to with your license.

You can read their blog post about it here:


If you haven’t tried ESGI, sign up now for a FREE 60 DAY trial.

With this new launch, I am also giving away one FREE year subscription of ESGI software. All you need to do is click the picture below and sign up for the free sixty day trial. Try it out for yourself. This is a special link created just for my blog so by clicking it, you will be signed up to enter this awesome giveaway. A winner will be chosen Monday, October 13th, 2014. You have until Sunday, October 12th, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. to register for a chance to win. No purchase is necessary. I hope you win! 

Seriously, try it out. I promise you won't be disappointed. Have I ever steered you wrong? Well..there was that one time.... Haha! J/K. Try it; share it with your administrator. If they are nuts about data, this will be a lifesaver and they will want it! Use my blog promo code B4477 and get $40 OFF too.

Here is a video about the software along with some input from their website. :) 













So, get to clicking, Sign up and cross your fingers because this is a giveaway you NEED! 
(Click this pic and go!)



Thursday, September 18, 2014

Back to the Beginning!

Let's go on a magic carpet ride back to Meet the Teacher. Hey, that’s ME! I always puffy heart love meet the teacher.  Oh, it gives such insight to my new little friends. Granted, this happened four weeks ago but hey, this chickadee has been busy.  It's not easy to be the ring leader and lion tamer every day. Our job is not for the faint at heart fo sho! 

When students come in (for MTT or the 1st day of school), they will find several crates and boxes to sort their supplies. I will eventually put their names on their scissors and crayons if they haven't but really everything is community supplies in my classroom. This makes my life so much easier. It already takes an act of congress trying to figure where to stash a billion tissue boxes and germ gel (also known as hanitizer) bottles so having them presorted makes this circus act go by much faster.  




I cannot for the life of me remember where I got this freebie. I looked on TPT and pinterest to provide credit so if you know, let me know so I can give credit where it is due. I have given this cute little glow stick gift at Meet the Teacher the last two years. It's cute, easy and the kids love it. 


Outside my door, I label file folders with each student's name. This helps me to figure out who doesn't come. In the folder is all of the paper I need parents to fill out. If possible, I ask them to fill it out before they leave that night. 




Here are my directions. Don't laugh! "Find your child's folder. Read the directions on the front of the folder and follow them." Easy enough right? You would think. :) Isn't the melonheadz clipart the cutest? I just printed, cut and taped this stuff to an art easel. Easy peasy. 


Moving on. Picture it. The first day of school. Controlled chaos is not enough for me. It should also be known as my BIRTHDAY! What? At first I was bummed about this situation. When I was younger, we weren't in school on August 25th so I always had a "summer birthday". Then, I became a teacher and it's always the first week of school and I am too exhausted to do anything. But, this year it was fabulous. My husband sent me beautiful roses and my parents sent me a mixed bouquet of flowers and balloons. Y'all, I felt so fancy. My room smelled fabulous too. 


In true husband form, he sent my team gift for the first day of school. I was curious what he would do since he has already done flowers and cookie bouquets. This year he had these Survival Kits made for us. So stinking cute. The funny thing is that I did almost the same thing for my team the night before. It must of been Jesus planting a seed, knowing that we would need TWO survival kits. I bought us mason jar cups (Thinking our year was going to be Ah-Mason. Ha!) and filled them with aspirin, gum, rolaids, etc. So, people. We are ready to survive. We have a glass and a box full of crap sure to make it happen. Haha! 



Here is the Welcome to Kindergarten sign that my teammate painted. Isn't it presh? We used it for our 1st Day of School pics. This is one of my cutie patootie students. Her mom works at my school so I luck out and get to post her pics on here. You will probably see her a lot this year. :)


Moving on. First day of school. Oh the anticipation. Luckily my own children's school district did not start for another week so I was able to get to school super early EVERY day that week. I was only slightly, ehem, bitter that they were still sleeping when I left. Anyway, I put that jealousy in a bubble and blew it away. Haha! 

Here is how the tables were set up when the littles came for the first day. They had their name tags and a coloring sheet waiting for them in their spot. 



We all survived the first day. We accomplished coloring the sheet above, making the Pete the Cat hat that my little friend is wearing above, and learning the rules of play dough. That's about it. I forgot how long walking down the hall or going to the bathroom takes. Oh, and of course I read some books to them. They loved Pete the Cat. 

Oh, and recess was their highlight. I think I said, "Rocks stay on the ground!" about five hundred times. I bet by 823 they will get it. Haha! 

I did have a little friend cry at the end of the day because "we didn't play with any toys." Bless his little heart. We didn't. Honestly, there wasn't enough time. Everything we did took an hour. I made sure that we "played" with manipulatives on day two. It's tough being little! 

At the end of the 1st day of school, Nick, our kids, my parents and my sister's family took me out to eat for dinner. I insisted that we meet for dinner at 5:00 p.m. because honestly, who really has energy to hold a fork on the first day of school? I thought asking someone to feed me (even if it was my birthday) was pushing it so we had to make that happen before the sun went down. When the sun went down, so did this very tired teacher!!! 


Oh, how I love this man!! 

Now y'all, I have blogged three times this week. Don't go getting used to this craziness. You know my life is a big ole hot mess and I fight squirrels every other minute. The struggle is real people. Haha! 

I hope you are having a great week. Love and virtual hugs.