Wednesday, August 29, 2012

First Day Photos

There have been so many cute first day of school frames floating around on Pinterest.  I love them all, but I never got around to making one of my own.  I did find the sign you will see below and used it instead.  I cannot remember where I downloaded them, and the file is on my work computer.  If it was you, please let me know so I can give you credit!

I wanted each of my students to have a copy of his/her picture.  Have you seen the deal WalMart is currently running?  A FREE 5x7 print for the first day of school.  The fine print says "one per child".  Well ok said this teacher, I'll do just one per child.  The kind woman at my photo department said I was the only person to take advantage of the deal so far!  You just have to ask for it!  Click here for a link to WalMart's site for more info.  I got 21 5x7 pictures (1 per child) for free- the original bill was $48!  I have foam frames for students to decorate with their pictures in them.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Back to School Books Linky Party

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin for the Back to School Books Linky Party.

I love back to school books!  Below are a few of my favorites that I look forward to each year.  All book links take you to The Clever School Teacher website.

Jake Starts School by Michael Wright: Jake is a bit nervous to start kindergarten.  He does not want to his parents to leave...until his teacher finds something he can relate to.  The illustrations make this book humorous, and many children can relate to being nervous about starting school.

The New Girl...and Me by Jacqui Robbins: I love the illustrations in this book!  When a new girl starts school, making a connection and becoming friends can be difficult.  Find out how Shakeeta, the new girl, finds a friend in Mia.

Pete the Cat (Pete the Cat: Rocking My School Shoes) by Eric Litwin: Pete will, of course, be making an appearance at the beginning of my school year. I use the original "Pete the Cat" book in the first day or 2 of school to introduce my students to Pete.  They beg for him daily for the first few weeks (and beyond).   I love "Rocking My School Shoes" to discuss different places in our building (goes well with your building tour).

What are some of your favorite back to school books?  I'm always looking for new books to add to my collection!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Where I Teach Wednesday

Today we had "entry conferences" where we meet with each new kindergarten child and his/her parents.  Conferences last 20 minutes and went from 8:00am-7:00pm (with a couple breaks).  While we meet with parents, children are being screened and having hearing/vision tested.  The kids start tomorrow!

I'm continuing Teacher Week and linking up with Blog Hoppin for "Where I Teach Wednesday".

I teach in a preschool and kindergarten building.  We have 7 half day preschool classes (14 kids per room per session) and 12 kindergarten classes (averaging 20-22 kids per room).  It is a busy place!  I snapped a few pictures of my classroom before I hurried out at 7:00 tonight!

This is near my classroom door looking into the room.  You can see the bulletin board, writing and art tables, library,  and SMARTboard/large group area.

My classroom door is to the left.  Please excuse the supplies on the tables; I was sorting them as they came in.  

This is looking back to the side of the room with the door.  You can see my dramatic play center, small group table and word wall.

I hope to have more pictures of my classroom soon.  Tomorrow is our first day with students.  Looking forward to getting the year started and getting into a routine.  We are starting a new curriculum this year, so many changes are happening!  

What kind of building do you teach in?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tech Tip Tuesday {Teacher Week}

I am linking up with Blog Hoppin' for Tech Tip Tuesday, part of Teacher Week.  Last year, our building received a set of iPads through a grant with a local university.

I couldn't wait to get my hands on those iPads!  I had 2 gifted readers, so as enrichment, we used the app "Zapd".  You can easily create a website using this app.  My boys did research on penguins using some nonfiction books I had in our room.  They wrote out their penguin facts on paper for me to review.  After writing the facts out on paper, they typed them into Zapd, and with my supervision and guidance, found images on Google images to go with their research.  They LOVED it!  Here is a link to one of their Zapd sites.

Another app we love is Bugs and Buttons.  I paid $2.99 for it, but it is well worth it!  Awesome graphics, games that work on fine motor as well as academic skills and a little something to interest everyone.

My students also each maintained their own blog.  We used Weebly to accomplish this.  As you can imagine, this is not something that was done independently for quite some time in kindergarten!  When beginning in October, students dictated what they wanted to write to a college student volunteer as the volunteer typed it on the iPad.  In January, I began writing out (on a white board) what students dictated, and they independently typed it into their blogs.  By the end of April, they typed completely independently.  I did help with spelling if it was something that their audience wouldn't be able to figure out.  This was done in groups of no more than 5, depending on how many iPads I had in my room that day.  We blogged about 2 times per week.  Parents enjoyed accessing their child's blog, and the kids loved sharing.

What is your favorite tech tip?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Must Have Monday (Teacher Week)

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin'  Teacher Week!  

Here are my must-haves for this year:

I reorganized my classroom library and used A LOT of this!

This is one of my new favorite craft materials!

I love my Macbook.  A must in my world!

My SMARTboard...we use this amazing piece of equipment most of the day!

HeidiSongs DVDs...if you teach Kindergarten and have never seen these, YOU ARE MISSING OUT!  My students (and I) love these.  We have the sight words, numbers and sounds DVDs.  They are worth every penny I spent on them!

Lakeshore CD-Rom games.  I have many of these, and they are awesome.  The newer ones even keep data for you.  We use them on the SMARTboard, but you can also load them on individual comptuers.

This isn't my actual car (no palm trees here) but it looks like it.  I am commuting 64 miles one way this year, so my car (in good working order) will be a necessity!  

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Back to School Sale

Two of my wonderful friends surprised me for an awesome birthday day today :)  Shopping, lunch and pedicures.  New fun items for school purchased during a trip to Lakeshore, Joann Fabrics and the Container Store.  Another post to come on that.

Tomorrow (Sunday) and Monday TpT is having a Back to School sale!  My store will be 20% off with an addition 8% thanks to TpT using the code BTS12.  You can view my store by clicking here.  Have a great Sunday!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pete the Cat

Are you familiar with Pete the Cat?  We LOVE Pete the Cat books in my classroom.  While doing my weekly blog stalking on Monday Made It (thanks Tara at 4th Grade Folics!), I found this awesome Pete the Cat packet at Krazee 4 Kindergarten!  I plan to use the School Shoes book during the first week of school, so I am excited to have this packet to go along with that book.  If you don't have Pete the Cat, check out this You Tube link to see the author read the story to a group of kids!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Lab Journals

Our new curriculum, Success for All (SFA), calls centers "labs".  Each day before lab time, students are to write about what they are going to do during lab time; they need to make a written plan.  It was suggested that we give children a 1/2 sheet of paper to complete the writing, and that we collect them periodically to track progress in writing.

I don't know about you, but keeping paperwork organized is not necessarily a strength of mine, and I didn't think having 1/2 sheets of paper floating around was going to help that!  Then I saw an idea...on another blog of course!  It was a "Monday Made It" on EmilyStuff.

You begin with a composition book and cut it in half.  I took mine to Office Max and they cut 12 for $4 (making 24 journals).  I then took my new favorite craft material, colored duck tape, and got to work.  I LOVE my finished product.

Because I teach kindergarten, it isn't likely that the kids will write on the lines, but this is not the expectation, just to give them an organized place to write. If you are up close, you can see a little bit of the composition book pattern through the white circles, but not from a distance.  I just need to add a little label and they are ready to go.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Little Bit of Shopping...

August means Back to School, and Back to School means time to go shopping.  Every year I think I am not going to spend that much, and every year I think I buy more than the previous year!

Here are some of my recent finds:

Dollar Tree: My kindergarteners seem to go through SO many erasers!  I found these on one of my many trips to Dollar Tree. I was thrilled to see that they match my 4 table colors.  I might have picked up a few packs.

I've seen a few blog posts about these, but found these in the Target Dollar Spot.  It took 4 or 5 trips to different Target stores, but I eventually picked up a few!

Just ordered this from Educational Insights.  It is a "scrapbook" pocket chart.  I take TONS of pictures of my students and this looked like a fun way to display them.  It was on sale for $8.99 today and had free shipping with the code EIFREE.  I thought it was a great deal with 14 slots for pictures!  Click here for the link.

This is the scrapbook pocket chart without pictures in it.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


I have seen some great ideas for celebrating birthdays in the classroom on Pinterest and on various blogs this summer.  I was inspired by the pixie stick birthday balloons over at What the Teacher Wants, but wasn't sure I wanted to order those.  So, I purchased fun straws and was going to attach some cutout cupcakes I found when cleaning out my classroom last week.

Meanwhile, I asked my middle school aged cousins (soon to be 11 and 14) to help me create a game with those cute cupcake "eggs" that I purchased at Target last Easter.  They suggested I give them to the kids for their birthdays.  An ah-ha moment...

Cupcake "egg" from Target last Easter with a fun straw attached with scotch tape to the back.
Inside each cupcake is:

A cupcake shaped eraser (Target dollar spot), 4 cotton candy scented stickers (teacher supply store: 100 in a pack) and some "Happy Birthday" confetti (Dollar Tree)
I made 24 sets (I currently have 20 on my roster) and put them all in a basket (Dollar Tree with stickers from Hobby Lobby).  Total cost was about 70 cents per child.  I hope the kids like them!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

All About Me and a Freebie

I saw these cute "All About Me" posters on a blog (wish I could remember which one).  The blogger stated that she purchased them in the Target dollar spot.  Off to Target I went, of course!

After visiting 6 Targets across the state of Ohio, I was a bit frustrated that I couldn't find these posters, so I decided that certainly I could create something like that myself, right?  Wouldn't you know it, Target #7 had the posters.  There is a picture of them below in case you want to look.

If you don't want to search Target for these, you can download my little freebie instead.  It is printed on legal sized paper.  Click here to download.

I purchased the kit below at Lakeshore last year and wanted to hang my students' creations next to these posters.

Click here to go to Lakeshore's website

I'd love for you to follow my little blog and leave a comment if you download the poster!