Friday, January 23, 2015

Prayers Needed!

I don't often talk too much about my personal life, but I am today. I am asking for prayers from the teacher blogging community. This week I was faced with a situation that I hope no one ever has to face. On Tuesday afternoon (Jan. 20, 2015) my family received the news that my only sibling, my younger brother passed away. He was only 27 years old. This was devastating news to all of us. 

Yesterday we laid him to rest which was extremely difficult. Please pray for my family in this time of tragedy. I know how supportive this blogging community is and I am asking for your support now more than ever! I know that I have to be strong for my parents but I am also grieving this loss.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Thank you Donors Choose For Our Sweet Seats!!

I am so excited to say that I have had another Donors Choose grant fully funded and my classroom received the new materials this week! My kinders were so excited when we had 8 (yes EIGHT!!) big boxes wheeled into our classroom. They didn't know what was coming until I opened the first box and they saw the new beanbags that were ours for our classroom. I wrote the grant for 8 "little" beanbags to use during Daily 5. They match the colors in my classroom and are red, blue and green. The kinders LOVED them. They were even more excited than usual for Read to Self time. Here are some pictures of them using the new beanbags. 



I am completely amazed at the generosity of the donors who have given this money to complete my classroom project. I do not know these donors and yet they have chosen to support my students. It is an amazing feeling to know people care about our kiddos!

If you have not written a Donors Choose grant before, I encourage you to do it. The best advice I have is to keep the materials you are requesting under $350 dollars for the best rate of success. I have found that the more expensive projects tend not to be funded in the allowed amount of time. Also, when your grant is posted make sure to let everyone know via Facebook and email. You also need to come up with a cute, snazzy title for your project so it will attract donors' attention. My title for this project was: "Please Be Sweet and Buy Us Seats!" You will be surprised where the donations pour in from! 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Hearts for a Heart Warrior Fundraiser

What the Teacher Wants is hosting a fundraiser for a family in Utah. This family had a baby boy named Ryder who was born with a Congenital Heart Defect. This little boy went through multiple surgeries but the doctors were unable to repair his heart or find a heart donor. He died at only 8 months old. You can read more about him here at Natalie's blog:


To help his family pay for the medical bills and to get him a headstone, many popular clipart designers have donated their clipart to this pack that is available for purchase through TpT. It is $25.00 that will get you a great group of clipart and help a very deserving family. To purchase, click on the link below:

Even though I do not know this family personally, as a mom and a teacher I cannot imagine what they are going through. Please say a prayer for them and if possible support this fundraiser. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

My Teacher's Dream

In honor of MLK day, I was thinking about dreams and I read this great blog post on Kathy Griffin's blog about a teacher's dream. It is so true and you can tell she is speaking with a true teacher's heart in mind.

In response to her post, here is my teacher's dream:

  • I hope that one day teachers will be respected as the professionals we are. We do not work as teachers because we cannot do anything else. We are teachers because we love helping children succeed. 
  • I hope legislators and other government officials will see that we put forth much more than is required of us by our contracts. No we do not work from 7:30 am to 3:00 pm and then leave it all behind. Even on days when I don't take home work I take home issues that my "children" have told me about and worry about them until I can hug them again the next morning.
  • I hope that one day teachers will be allowed do what we were meant to do - TEACH!! So frequently we are bombarded with all the assessments - report cards, interim reports, MAP, running records, etc. that we cannot appropriately teach the content to our students.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday Freebie & Jan Brett Author Study

Next week we will be doing an author study of Jan Brett's books The Mitten and The Hat. I love both of these books and my kinders love them every year too. There are so many fun activities to do with these books. I do all the sequencing activities related to The Mitten with picture cards and my kinders will make their own minibook of the mitten.

I am also doing an extension activity with The Hat. I found this cute hat craft on Pinterest and we cut paper plates in half to make each child's hat. They will decorate their hat and we will give them cotton balls to make the fluffy ball at the top of their toboggan cap. This is a picture of how my sample one turned out. I am sure the one the kids make will be so cute too! 

After we made the toboggan caps, my kids used this writing paper to write about their hats. I printed this writing on light blue paper (although it doesn't look blue from this picture). 

You can click on the link below to download it for FREE in my TpT store. Please leave me some feedback if you download it!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

It's a Winter Wonderland! (Part 2)

This week we have continued to learn about winter and all the things associated with the season.

For writing, we wrote about what we can do, like and see in winter. I made this writing paper and it is a freebie, so please download it if you would like to use it. Please leave me some comment love if you download it.


Here are some of my kinders writing on this paper. They were able to use a list of winter words to help them spell those words correctly. 

They are doing very well in my opinion with their writing at this point in the school year. 




I thought it was really cute how they saw snow and snowmen in winter but we rarely ever have snow in SC!! Kinders have such great imaginations!

We also read The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. It is such a sweet and beautiful book. After we read the story, we practiced retelling the story with a beginning, middle and ending which is so difficult for so many of my kinders. Then they wrote and drew the beginning, middle, and end of the story. These were two of my best and these kinders worked so hard to sound out all of their words. I am so proud!!



We also pretended it had snowed and they wrote about what they would do if there was snow. These were cute too but I only got a picture of this one.
I would build a snowman with my friends.
She did such a good job sounding out her words! I am so proud of the improvement she has made this year!

As a fun activity, we made these cute winter hats to wear to lunch. My kinders loved decorating them. They are free download by clicking the link below. The pictures are two to a page. Each child colored and cut out their circle. Then we stapled them to a construction paper strip to make the hat. 



I hope you are having a wonderful winter wherever you are!! 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Color & Number Words

Even though our school district does not require our kindergarten students to be able to identify the color and number words, I always teach them with my sight words so I have made another set of Word Worms for these words. This set goes from zero to twenty (I only teach to 0-10) and has the ten basic color words. I am introducing this set tomorrow with my kinders and I hope they will enjoy adding these words to our Word Worm bag. If you would like to purchase, this game is only $1.50 in my TpT store. I am putting it on sale for the until 2:30 pm EST on Wednesday for $1.00 if you would like to pick it up at the discounted price. Just click on the link below to purchase.


Color & Number Word Worm

BTW: Can anyone see what I am posting OR are my comments not working? I haven't seen any comments on any of my posts in a LONG time. I am just wondering if somehow my settings have been changed.... If you can please leave me a comment just so I know you can see this. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

It's A Winter Wonderland! (Part 1)

Well actually here in SC, it isn't... It was 50 degrees today so kind of cool but not bitter like in other parts of the country. Last week we did have a day where we were on a 2 hour delay due to the extremely cold temperatures. It was 17 degrees when I left for work at 7:15 am and the high that day was only 31 degrees so we never got above freezing. It was an EXTREMELY cold day here! There wasn't any precipitation (Thank goodness!) because we had two ice storms last winter. 

Since winter is officially here, last week and this week we are talking about the new season. Even though only a few of my kinders have ever seen real snow, they sure love talking about it. One of our activities was making a snowman craft from Amy Lemons (click on the link to go download for free from TpT!). Then after we read the book Snowmen at Night, each child wrote about what he/she would do if he/she was a snowman at night. These turned out precious!






I thought these were too cute! They are hanging outside our classroom our class clothesline and I have had so many sweet comments on them.

We are going to be doing some more cute winter activities this week that I plan to share with you. Hope you are having a great weekend!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Happy New Year 2015!

Happy New Year 2015! I know I have been MIA during December. I was busy with both school and home life! I know all the other teacher moms out there understand what I'm talking about. 

This was our first week back at school and on Monday we talked about the new year and new year's resolutions. I read my students the book Squirrel's New Year's ResolutionI love this book because it explains what a resolution is and how to make one which is perfect with the lower elementary kids like kindergarten and first grade. After we talked about what resolutions are, my students wrote their new resolutions on this writing paper. I know it is too late for you to use it this year, but you are welcome to save it for next year.

Here are some of my kinders' resolutions:
make up my bed.


be a friend.


not cry.
(This is my child who cries EVERY morning so I hope this one actually happens!)


read better.
(This is my child who has a learning disability but has made such great gains this year...I am so proud!!)


be a good student.
(This child has come so far this year. She came in and didn't know any letters or sounds, but look at the progress she has made!! YAH!!)

Hope you are all having a great new year and I look forward to hearing from you soon. Please let me know if you download the writing paper and please leave me feedback. Thanks!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Classroom Communication

I don't know about you but in my classroom we use many different ways to communicate with each other. Of course my kinders think they have to use their voices to communicate everything at the beginning of the school year, but they quickly learn in my classroom that there are other ways to communicate with me and my assistant. 

For example, we use the sign of crossed index and middle finger raised in the air to let us know when they need to use the restroom. Then one of us will nod and they know they have permission to get up and go. All of this happens without saying a word. It helps tremendously to cut down on the excess noise in the classroom especially during quiet times like Daily 5. 

In my classroom I have two students who speak Spanish as their first language. They are enjoying teaching our other non-Spanish speakers tidbits of the language. It is a great compliment to my lessons and helps me tremendously because I do not speak Spanish myself.

For my parents who do not speak English as their primary language, I have found this translation website to be very useful: Smartling. This website translates other websites easily and quickly. It is definitely one to check out if you don't know about it already!

Now here's the question for you...Do you have any non-verbal language cues that you use in your classroom or do you teach your students another language?

Monday, December 1, 2014

TpT Cyber Monday & Tuesday Sale

Just wanted to let you know that I am participating in the TpT Cyber Monday & Tuesday Sale. All my products are on sale for 20% off plus you get an extra 10% off with the code below! Happy shopping everyone! 


Thanks to Literacy Without Worksheets for the adorable graphic!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Operation S-Elf-less - Week #1

So Krista Wallden who makes the fabulous Creative Clips clipart has created Operation ELF and the S-ELF-less Challenge. I have decided to join in the fun too! This challenges us to do random acts of kindness for others and this is the perfect time of year to do this. Here is her list for this week:

Here are my RAK for this week!

#3 - A Fun Freebie:
Here is a fun freebie for you using the free clipart from Krista this week. I know this isn't classroom related but it is something fun for Christmas. I used her gift tag clipart to create these tags for your Christmas presents. You can print them out on cardstock or regular paper using a color printer and just cut them out. Merry Christmas to you!

#4 - Postive Post-Its:
I left these Post-Its for my teacher assistant and 2 of my fellow teachers! I hope they brightened their day as much I had fun writing them!



#5 - Free Choice:
For my free choice, I decided to fill a shoe box for an adult working at the children's home our church supports in Mexico. This will be mailed to the missionaries down there and given to the kids and adults for Christmas. I forgot to snap a picture of the box before I took it to be mailed...
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