Saturday, June 30, 2012


Today I celebrate FIVE years of wedded bliss with my sweet hubby!
{this is a mini-milestone peeps}

We are having a party with friends and family to celebrate the occasion and I can't wait.  :)

Here are a few pics I thought I'd share as I stroll down memory lane.
{on a side note: I have to say....I would do things COMPLETELY different now than I did then for my wedding.  Have you ever felt that way too?  I'm talking new dress, some different peeps standing next to me (drama), some different decorations, different photographer, etc... The location would stay the same!}

Sweet memories:

The wedding party

My precious nieces {flower girls}!


No caption needed.

not nervous at all

this sums us up!

Since I'm loving the number 5 right now, I'm going to let you in on the celebration by throwing a sale at my Teacher's Notebook store. 
Everything's 50% OFF {ends today}!!!! Woohoo!
Kelly :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

K Daily Five - CH 3 {linky party}

Brace's a LONG one! Grab some coffee or a glass of wine and enjoy my 'ramblings' of the Daily Five! :)
1. Creating and establishing a place for brain and body breaks.
I use a carpet.  After I ring the chimes {more on that in a minute} my students clean up their area and meet me on the carpet.  Here we dive into our next 10 minute section of learning or take a brain break!
Click HERE to go to my post on brain breaks! :)

Developing the concept of "Just Right Books."
This is big.  I mean serious stuff.  'Just right books' are books that are on a child's independent reading level.  They're not too difficult that they get frustrated or have a hard time comprehending what is happening in the story and they're not too easy, where the child is not challenged.  They are at a level where the child knows most of the words but not ALL the words.  
I highly recommend using the shoe example.  I did this with my kids both years and it really stuck. I did exactly like the Sisters did in their example.  I tried on one of the kiddos shoe and brought in my husbands shoes.  I used those examples of finding a book that is on their level and then used high heels "fancy shoes" and tennis shoes in scenerios to which they would not match.  We then discussed the importance of choosing just right books and how not everyone will be reading on the same level or the same types of books.  We all have different interests and read and learn at different levels.
 There are so many ways to introduce this concept though!

Create anchor charts with students.
DO IT!  The first year I did this I really didn't put much emphasis on the anchor charts, however, this previous year I did and BOY did it make a difference.  By creating the anchor charts with them they KNOW what it says, remember its meaning, and when a student is off task I simply point to the anchor chart.  I also had my students help me in placing the anchor charts around the room where they would be able to remember.  We put the Read to Self and Buddy Read charts in our book nook area, Work on Writing in that section of our room, and the Writing chart in our writing station.  Refer to them constantly.  Use as reminders.  I like to pretend I forgot what is expected and they 'oh-so-quickly' jump at the chance to remind me of what they should be doing and what I should be doing! 
This is my '3 ways to read a book' anchor chart I created with students (I guided them into saying each of these three things :)  I do NOT laminate this and keep it each year.  I make a new one each year with each class so that they GET IT and KNOW IT! 
Short intervals of independent practice and setting up book boxes.
First off, short intervals are definitely a must.  They need to practice doing the RIGHT thing! :)  Building stamina is important!  
These are my "book luggage."  $1 from the Dollar Tree and die-cut paper laminated for the "book luggage tag."  Love their durability and they're so easy to store!
       Here are some of the contents inside their book luggage: 'just right books' (I select roughly 5 books, they select 1 from our classroom library, and 1 from the school library.  We also place our decodable books inside here as we are introduced to them...we take them home and put in new ones every other week), an eyelighter (the thingy that looks like a ruler...this is used as a tool to help them stay focused and read.  It also helps those kiddos who need help tracking),  a bookmark with reading strategies on it {snagged these when I first started blogging 2 years ago...have NO clue where I got them from...if they're yours let me know!}, and magic reading glasses {Dollar Store glasses/or you can get from Michaels, with the lenses popped out} This is a simple tool that they LOVE to keep them focused the whole time.  This year they had to earn them by showing me they knew how to be a good "learner" and take responsibility for their learning {i.e.: stayed on task and focused the WHOLE time}

Calming signals and check in procedures.
I use chimes.  I love how calming they really are.  I never raise my voice {at least during the daily five...lets be honest here :) } during this time.  I keep my tone at a normal speaking voice to whisper.  Works marvelously with keeping their volume down and keeping the classroom enviornment calm and on task.  Doesn't always work but for the most part! :)   
I love having students check in.  It's their way of taking responsibility for their own actions and for the most part they are 'spot-on' honest!!!!  Checking in is simple.  I have mine "check in" as they come to the carpet.  They give me a "1" (one finger placed close to their heart) if they did a great job and were on task, a "2" if they were on task for the most part but could have done better, and a "3" if they did not do well and had a lot of trouble.  It takes me a whopping 20 seconds to get this part done! I scan have them show me (they have to make eye contact with me) and move on to the next mini-lesson and next rotation!

Using the correct model/incorrect model approach for demonstrating appropriate behaviors.
I enjoy this part as much as my sweet kiddos!  I do follow the examples the Sisters lay out for you in the book.  I choose students I know might be a "problem" student with staying on task and building stamina and I have THOSE students show us the "wrong" way.  They all laugh and act overly silly but THEY GET IT!  They really do.  I had a SEVERE ADHD student in my classroom this year...NO MEDS... and he was BRILLIANT in the daily five {did I use enough CAPS there?!}.  If I caught him off-task, I simply reminded him of when he did the "incorrect" way and he immediately remembered that everyone had cheered for him when he did it the "correct" way.  Of course, there will be some that were placed in your classroom by God to test your patience.  Just do quick reminders/reviews in the mornings and praise those you seeing doing a great job!  We all know this! :)

 I can not thank Tammy from Live, Love, Laugh enough for hosting this awesome linky party.  It's such a great way for us to reflect on our own teaching, learn new ways to implement and "do" things, and a great way to utilize all the resources we have at our fingers tips {all of YOU}! Even though I feel I have "mastered" the Daily Five in my first grade classroom this year will be a new year with a group of kinders.  I've never implemented the Daily Five with kindergarten and greatly appreciate the chance to reflect on what I'm already doing, see what you all are thinking, and try to challenge myself to come up with new creative ways of doing things.

Thanks for sticking around and for all your creative minds!

Don't forget to link up!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hobby Lobby is...

on crack! :)

I mean I know they like to get things out ahead of time but SERIOUSLY! There are SO many more holidays before Christmas! I mean MY BIRTHDAY! :) ha

Ok.  I was just in SHOCK when I saw 6 aisles being set up with Christmas stuff.  After I snapped back into reality and realized it wasn't even July 4th I got back to my list.  My list of a million things that I WANT to buy {but didn't because lets face it...I'm on a teacher's salary}.
I did get lots of goodies for Pinterest inspired crafts.  Will be back later with the results...if everything goes well.
Tropical Storm Debby has been here for over 24 hours and is not planning on leaving the area for AT LEAST another 24 hours, which means I've got to keep myself busy.  

I'm not sure about you but when it rains I **love** to sit on the couch, browse the internet, and watch some Lifetime movies.  The problem is, the movies that are on today I've already seen.  ALL OF THEM.

I have a problem.

Don't forget to check out my new communication binders.  I'm so proud of them. They're kinda cute:

Okay.  Off to get my craft on!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Communication Binders & WINNER

First thing's first. 
After 1,018 entries the winner is...

Congrats Lori!  Start checking your inbox! :)

Thank you to all of you who participated in the giveaway and a HUGE thank you to those of you who actually followed the "rules!" :)

I wanted to post this announcement first thing this morning, however, tropical storm Debby had other plans and decided to to make us "powerless" for two hours!  That wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't so dark due to the thunder clouds!


Next up a communication tool that I use every year and LOVE!
I use a parent-teacher communication binder as a way to keep in touch with parents on a daily basis.  The idea is to keep the parents actively involved with their child's daily education/school "life" and give the students something to be responsible for.  
Each year at the end of the year I give parents a survey and ask them to "grade" me on my communication skills and give me any praise/advice.  Each year I receive numerous comments on my binders.  They LOVE them! They like being able to hold their children accountable (with behavior and homework) and like that they can easily see what their child is learning and how they are doing.  So with that said, I created a new version of my FISH Book and while I was at it created three other binders (some were requested by fellow colleagues).

You can check them out at my TPT Store
Woohoo! So proud of myself for getting those done! :)
Now... putting on my rainboots and taking the dogs outside to potty! Should be interesting as one of my sweet pups is a bit of a "priss" and won't step on wet grass! HA! Well, here I go...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

LAST DAY for Giveaway!!

If you haven't done so already, it's your LAST DAY to enter the big giveaway!  A winner will be announced TOMORROW!!! :)

Click HERE to be directed to the giveaway!
I will hopefully be back later with a new back-to-school related packet!
Good Luck and Happy Saturday! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Daily 5 Chapter 2 - link up!

I love the daily five and I love how my firsties the past two years really embraced it and LOVED it.

So, now we're onto chapter two.
Here are my reflections:

1.Do you trust your students? How do you build this trust? Are you able to trust them and allow them to be independent throughout all aspects of the day? Are you going to be able to stay out of their way?
Okay.  I do trust the majority of my students (well...have...the year IS over!!).  Trust is built from day one in the classroom based on their ability to make good choices! :)  Plain and simple.  With all the role modeling, practicing, and repetition, it's usually easy for them to build a trusting bond.
When I first started implementing the Daily Five I was TERRIFIED to let them make all their own learning choices and really relinquish control to them, however, after having done it successfully for two years there's no other way I would do it.  By creating an environment where there is trust and responsibility the kiddos really rise to the occasion.  It's also not just thrown all at them at once but practiced in increments until they have built up stamina (part of showing you that you can trust them to make good independent learning choices).

2. How much choice do you give your students throughout the day?  Do you go over your daily schedule with the students or is it just posted on the wall?
 First, I do allow students to make their own learning choice, within reason.  As you will learn through reading the book and implementing the Daily Five, giving students only a FEW choices in each daily five component (especially in word study and work on writing) helps to keep them focused and working the entire time.  If you have TOO many choices, for instance in word study, it's easy for the kids to find themselves off-task.  I give my students options.  In word study they have at least one "have to" (an activity that they MUST complete first...this is where I put all those fun literacy activities that I snag from blogs).  When they're finished with their "have-to" they can then chose one of the three "want-to's."  These are other literacy games/activities that are more for continued review of certain concepts, etc...
Secondly, my daily schedule {OBJECTIVES} are posted on my front board.  I do go over my objectives in the morning with the kiddos to give them a heads up of what kind of fun activities we're going to be doing.  Then, during each part of our day I redirect them to the objective and we discuss why it's important to be learning about that certain topic/objective.  This sets up an importance to why they are learning that concept.  Gives the lesson more purpose!

3. How are you going to establish a sense of community where students will hold each other accountable?
While implementing Daily Five in first grade,  establishing a sense of community was done at the very beginning of the year.  We talked about accountability when we were learning about each component of the daily five, as well as when we were learning about being "peacekeepers." (Cara from First Grade Parade made a cute mini-unit on this topic...perfect for creating community)  By telling the kids that they were responsible for their own learning at this time, they seemed to take it "seriously." Meaning, they were always on-task and those times when others became off-task, there was always someone near them to redirect them back to doing what they were suppose to be doing.  It's really amazing to watch the kids take ownership, responsibility, and independence in their own learning.  I had several students this year who were constantly trying to distract others, and very RARELY did I have to intervene.  The kids handled it on their own and I continued with my conferencing.  That's why I love the Daily Five SOOOO much!:)

4. Student ownership in learning.  How do you instill this?
Read above and implement the daily five as suggested in the book.  Remind them often who is responsible for their learning. 

5. Stamina!  How are you going to build this?
Simply follow the books outline.  Seriously.  They wrote it out for you for a reason.  If your students aren't able to sustain stamina for as long as you would like that day, immediately ring the chimes and bring them back in.  They're not ready.  Try the next day.

Some of these questions are too premature.  After reading the book you will have a full understanding of most of these questions, however, some ladies have already posted some great advice so be sure to check it out and link up at Caitlyn's blog! :)

Kindergarten Smiles

     While you're here, make sure to enter my big GIVEAWAY:

scroll down to my previous post to enter!!!
Kelly :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

'Big Timin' Giveaway!!!

I can't believe it! I've reached 1,000 followers! 
I started this little old blog in October 2010 and slowly began to develop and establish my tiny spot on the world wide web! :)
I love 'blogging' and all that it entails.  
The following group of ladies are some of my daily inspiration.  They are each so brilliant and have some of the most ADORABLE goodies hosted on their blogs.  I hope that even if you don't win, you find some amazing new things from each of them!

With that said let's get to the good stuff:

Here's what you could win:

 {click HERE to head to Caitlyn's blog}
{click HERE to head to her TPT store}

 {click HERE to head to Jennifer's blog}
{click HERE to head to her TPT store}

 {click HERE to head to Kim & Megan's blog}
{click HERE to head to Kim's TPT store}

{click HERE to head to Rebecca's blog}
{click HERE to head to her TPT store}

{Click HERE to head to Kelli's blog}
{Click HERE to head to her TPT store} 
And, of course, the winner will get to choose anything out of my ever-so-slowly-growing TPT store! :)  

Make sure to enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make sure to check back on Sunday to see if you won!
Let the fun begin!
Kelly :)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

"We are at..." {FREEBIE}

I have seen lots of adorable 'pins' on Pinterest of "Sorry We Missed You" and "We are at.." signs.  I thought I would share mine!  

My classroom door is outside.  I do not have a classroom that connects to a hallway.  Since I don't have a hallway, anything I hang outside tends to get discolored and warped from the direct sunlight it receives in the morning {I learned this the hard way}.  With that said, I use door hangers.  When I first started teaching I used the generic ones that you could purchase at any teacher store.  But they were just B-O-R-I-N-G! I mean no cute clip art or anything!
Last year I decided to create my own! :)
Super easy, super simple, super cute!!

{Packet includes "We are at..." lunch, playground, P.E., art, music, guidance, library}
 {click HERE to be taken to my TPT store where you can download this file for FREE}

:)  I printed these guys on cardstock and used a thicker laminate than I usually use {or you could glue them onto a colored "background" or laminate twice} for durability.  I also changed my mind after creating these and did NOT cut on the lines at the top to create a slit for the hanger to slide on the doorknob.  I left mine a complete circle.  I got nervous that my little ones would be rough with them and they would tear.  So far they're as good as new still!


In other news, I am THOROUGHLY enjoying my summer break so far!  I don't know about you guys but I have spent 9 out of my 13 days of summer (so far) with my bathing suit on or out of town on a mini-vacation!  It has been FABULOUS!  And it's only going to continue!! :)  Next week I have a quick 3-day workshop {easy-peezy}. Then, I will be preparing my house {and backyard} for my FIFTH wedding anniversary party!!!!!  So excited for our mini-milestone and all the fun we will have celebrating with friends and family!  
Wish you could be here too! :)

Hope you are all having a fantastic summer as well and enjoying your time with the Dad's in your life today! {LOVE YOU DAD!!!!!!}

BTW...I'm so close to reaching 1,000 followers.  That is just MIND-BLOWING! Seriously!!!  Working on a great giveaway for when I reach that amazing number.  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

K- Daily Five Linky Party

Tammy over at Live, Love, Laugh is hosting a fabulous linky party/book study based on the Daily Five in Kindergarten.  Most of what I read so far on other ladies blogs really is relevant to all primary grades hoping to use the Daily Five.

As many of you know, I implemented the Daily Five two years ago, mid-year, with my very first year in first grade.  I taught two years in "K" before being moved up to 1st.  Well, this year, I am moving back down to the sweet little ones in Kindergarten!!!  I am very excited about it but am a little anxious about implementing the Daily Five in K.  

I have decided to link up and discuss what I have done with the Daily Five for the past two years.  Maybe something I have learned/or my successes can help you!  {I love reading/learning about what others do in their room}

Ok.  So Tammy has kicked off this book study with posing questions from Chapter One.  Here are my thoughts:)
 Number 1 & 2 are pretty much the same question, so I am combining them:

1. How do I teach new behaviors. 2. How do I teach expectations?
Repetition, repetition, repetition!!!!!!!  It is so important to SHOW your kiddos what is expected and what is not expected.  We read stories about certain behaviors, discuss, role play, sing songs and poems that remind us of certain rules.  
 The "Help Me Be Good" book series are my ABSOLUTE favorite to read with the kiddos when setting the stage for the year.  The kids always love them and find them funny!
Expectations are reviewed first thing in the morning and throughout the day.
Here's how: 
I began using components of Whole Brain Teaching in my classroom this year and it seemed to really work.  Repetition being the key!!  Each morning when the kiddos come in, right before we begin our Morning Meeting, we review the classroom rules {my behavioral expectations}. The kids do this by echoing what I say {or our captain of the day says}.  Here's what it might sound like: ME: "mirror" (raise hand, shoulder level) Kids: "mirror" (raise hand, shoulder level....this snags their attention) ME: "Rule One" Kids: "Rule One,"  ME: "Listen when the teacher is talking" (said with hand motion...make hand talk) KIDS: "Listen when the teacher is talking" (doing hand motion), ME: Rule Two...etc...
We do it in funny voices and exaggerated motions.  Works wonderfully! :)

I also remind students throughout the day of acceptable behavior by pointing out students making good choices rather than directly getting on to a student making a poor choice.
"WOW! I love how "so-and-so" is working so quietly.  I can tell they're working hard" or "I love how 'so-and-so' is using capital letters at the beginning of their sentences.  I can tell they're ready to sign our 'Capital Letter Club'" OR "I know 'so-and-so' is ready for the hall.  Look how quiet they are standing! They have a duck tale, bubble, and are facing forward! That's fabulous!" etc...

3. How do I monitor student behavior? whole group? small group? individual?
I am always observing my kids.  I a hawk!  Individual student behavior is monitored by a clip chart.  {I am currently updating my clip chart and adding a 5th color}.  Each day the students begin on 'green.'  Students can move their clips up and down depending on their choices.  This year my firsties really took moving their clip "down" to heart and most would change their behavior instantly and work the rest of the day to move their clip back up.  
Clips colors are like this (hanging top to bottom):
Gold - You are Golden (my room is a pirate theme)
Purple - Way to Go
Green - Keep it up (this is where kids start every morning)
Yellow - 1st Warning (I might change this to Stop and Think)
Red - Stop and Think  (Might change this to "walk the plank")
I also have a "think seat" where I send kiddos when they need a moment to remove themselves from the class to collect themselves and their thoughts. :) They also have to write about it on a simple form.  They simply draw what happened, write about it, and sign their name.  The paper goes home to their parents to sign and return.  Just a way to let the parents know their kiddo needed a minute to regroup themselves and the behavior can be discussed at home and at school so that it won't happen again.  Parents also sign students daily behavior log found in their FISH Books (updated post coming soon on these).

Whole Group: I use Sparklers!!!!  I also have a "Mystery Phrase."  Kiddos have to earn a compliment to turn over a letter.  Once they've turned over all the letters they get whatever treat it says (i.e.: Picnic, Free Choice, Popsicle Party, Movie, Extra Recess, etc...)

    4. What do I do when a student is not exhibiting desired behavior.
See above.
Students also lose recess time.

5. Whose classroom is it?
It is OUR classroom.  My goal at the beginning of each year is to establish a sense of family in our classroom.  Although I might be the "leader," I set my classroom up so that each student is responsible for their own behavior and learning.  

6. Locus of Control.
I like for my kiddos to take responsibility for each action they make. Good or bad.  
While during the Daily Five the past two years I've had my kids put out their own "fires." For instance if they are reading to self and another students tries to talk/distract them, the student simply puts a finger over their mouth (the sssshhh symbol) and shakes their head "no" and goes right back to reading.  Works like a charm.  If a student continues to bother someone they say "please stop. I am learning."  Seriously.  Worked each time! :)

Incentives are the best tool however, with the little ones! :)  I use Sparklers, Mystery Word/Phrase (see above for both), Treasure Box (only for those who earn purple/gold ALL week), really just praise and acknowledgment for good behavior/choices really works marvelously and I don't have to purchase a thing for it! :)

 7. Where are supplies stored?
Hhhmmm....Items are stored in many different things and in many different places throughout our classroom.  Take a peak at my room HERE if you're interested in seeing my set up from last year.  Not sure how it will look this year! :)  Might just switch it up! 

Next up, Chapter Two, hosted by Caitlin from Kindergarten Smiles.

I love the Daily Five and am so excited to use it for the first time in Kindergarten after two very successful years implementing it in First Grade!!!!  

Link up by clicking on Tammy's button below:

Live Love Laugh

Monday, June 4, 2012

currently ...and lately

What a wonderful start I have had to my summer vacation!!  My summer officially started this afternoon around 1:30pm when I left my room.  I cleaned up, tossed out all the items I didn't use or want to put away {lazy I know}, put all my stuff piled high in the middle of my room, put my "special" items safely in my closet, and turned in all my last minute paper work.  

I. am. so. HAPPY! My day tomorrow consists of waking up whenever my eyes decide to open, cooking the hubby and I breakfast, working out, and finishing the final Hunger Games book that I am 85% complete with.  

Now on to currently:

This was a little tough because there are so many places I "wish" and "want" to visit. I mean SOOOO many!

Referring to my "went" portion:

 {one sexy man}
I went to Tampa this past weekend to the kickoff concert of the "Brothers of the Sun" concert with Tim McGraw {yummy}, Kenny Chesney, Jake Owen, and Grace {forgot her last name}.  

It. was. AH-MAZ-ING!!!!!!!!  

The tailgating began at 11am {yes, you read that right}.  The concert began at 4:30 and ended at 11pm!  Needless to say it was a LONG night!  
The above is a picture of me {on the far right}, my bestie Nicole {far left} and her sister Lauren {middle}.  We all wore our boots and all took them off for the majority of the tailgate.  It was so unbelievably H-O-T!

I had such a wonderful weekend and really enjoyed getting to play and not worry about school.  Next up is Key Largo for my cousins wedding.  We will be there from Thursday through Tuesday! So stinkin' excited for lots of fun in the sun.

Hope you're summer is kicking off to a great start as well!  
 Now off to my friends for some Bachelorette fun.  Since it's not a school night I get to go out! :)