Tuesday, November 3, 2015

When I Knew I Was Meant to be a Teacher.

It's the same question you get asked from time-to-time when discussing your choice in profession with friends, family and even complete strangers...
My answer...no. Not at all.  In fact, I wanted to anything but be a teacher. I entered college with the hopes and aspirations of being a reporter. My ultimate goal? Being an anchor on Good Morning America. I mean...serious dream job.

Aside from my career goal aimed in media/journalism, I am the proud daughter of a 38-year-veteran teacher. My Mom will be retiring this year after 38 years in education and, believe it or not, she's kinda sad about it!! She actually wants to go back and sub already!  I watched my mother work, a lot. She put a lot of time and energy into her job. I can recall countless days spent at the high school helping Mom get her room set up or getting into trouble while waiting on her to finish working. My brother and I are were always at the school and I wanted no part of that after I graduated.  

I knew I was meant to be a teacher August 26, 2015. 
This year was the first year in twenty-six years that I did not attend a 'First Day of School.' It did not sit well with me.  
Don't get me wrong, I love being with my son but I so miss my classroom.
In my 7 1/2 years of teaching, I never realized just how much I loved my 'job.'  Just how much I loved being a part of something so great.
Thankfully, because of social media, TPT, and the blogging community I don't feel too disconnected from the world of education.  I still feel like I'm current with the latest classroom trends and I'm having fun getting to create things for my new classroom next year. BUT, I so desperately miss the interaction I had among other teachers throughout the day. I miss the interaction with the students. I miss a lot of things about teaching that I never thought I would.
Being a teacher is so much more than teaching.
Did you always know you wanted to be a teacher? 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Biggest Pumpkin Ever

One of my favorite stories to read during the month of October is The Biggest Pumpkin Ever by Steven Kroll.  It is our catalyst into all things pumpkin and Halloween, so it is usually the first book I read before diving into learning all about pumpkins.  Since the story talks about growing a pumpkin, it's a great way to get my kinders thinking about how a pumpkin grows, what it needs to grow, etc...  There's also so many opportunities for text-to-self connections and discussing real vs fantasy. Have I mentioned I love this book?!

Three years ago, I created a book companion. It is a compilation of activities that I used with my kindergartners and first graders over several years. I just updated the entire packet, adding several new pages and tweaking those already made with updated fonts and clipart. 
Here's what I've included and how I incorporated the activities into my classroom.  
 These activities are pretty obvious! Your standard reading response sheets; story map, story sequencing, text-to-self connections, character trait bubble maps, character comparison venn-diagrams, etc...


The week following our study on the book, I introduce my kindergartners to the story Pumpkin Faces.  This emergent reader focuses on students writing and recognizing the sight word 'see' and I offer two version for differentiating between students who are ready to write the word independently and those that still need a little support.
We read the book together several times and work together first to put the story in order in the pocket chart before placing this activity into the center rotation. The emergent readers are placed into their book luggage for the remainder of the month for reading during read-to-self and buddy reading!


I included anchor chart ideas and labels that I used every year with my students. Simple and effective learning!
We completed the brace map the week after reading the story as we began to dive into learning more about pumpkins.
The Great Pumpkin Exploration was also completed the following week during our pumpkin unit.  Just wanted to share :)
I also included a fun little rhyming activity and recording sheet that you can use in a literacy center or use as a small group activity.
The math sheet, Fill the Pumpkin, is one of my students favorite math tub every year.  It's a simple game of roll the dice, count, fill in corresponding number of squares. Player with the most squares filled in wins. Easy!
I printed this game on cardstock and laminated. Then, had students use expo markers to fill in squares. Simply wipe off when finished!

I just love this time of year and all things pumpkins!


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Teacher Week - Sanity Savers

Next up for Teacher Week over at Blog Hoppin' focus on what keeps us SANE throughout the year.  For me, this was easy! Below you will find four things that I use/used on a daily basis.

 Do I even need to explain?
 You may get tired of hearing about these beautiful little bottles of oils, but they are GAME CHANGERS!  Kiddos giving you a headache; rub a little Thieves behind your ears and on the back of your neck. Want your kiddos to be a bit more calm? Diffuse Lavender in your classroom.  Need to clean your desk from all those nasty germs, but despise the smell of cleaners? Spray some thieves (and a little lemon for tougher germs) and clean away!
I start every day with a little Stress Away and Joy on my wrists.
Love these little bottles of beauty!

 I had to learn the hard way. Thankfully it was only my third year teaching and I didn't have quite the large files I have now!
If you spend your money on nothing else...get an external hard drive.  
I back up everything. Anything I create for school, my clip art, important forms, etc... I take it with me everywhere, can plug it into any computer and bring up whatever I need.
It's the best investment in my opinion!


If you have not heard of GoNoodle by now then you may just be living under a rock.  Living in Florida, the weather is very unpredictable and ever-changing. You can head to school in the morning wearing clothes for a hot, sunny day and an hour later you need a rain jacket, umbrella, rain boots and a canoe and paddle! For these days, we use GoNoodle as our indoor recess. 
We love GoNoodle for brain breaks! Teaching 5 and 6 year olds requires lots of moving around and GoNoodle totally takes care of that in a super fun way that has every kid engaged! Love me some GoNoodle!
Get them wiggles out!!!!

I'm sure I'm forgetting a lot of really good ones, but I'll leave that for the rest of the amazing educators who are joining in on Teacher Week to share their ideas.
Click below and save your sanity!!
Blog Hoppin