Monday, July 30, 2012

Updates and sight words

I just got out of another training today.  This one was on Common Core...and... I have to be a facilitator and train MY SCHOOL on what I was just trained on! It's all so confusing and nerve racking! Hoping I don't turn bright red and start sweating everywhere!!
Back to the post:
I have had a lot of requests to change and/or add things into my "How we go home transportation cards" packet.  Here's the thing.  IT'S FREE! It's free because I wanted to give everyone something that they could easily use and make their own.  Plus it didn't take me much time at all compared to other items I have/am created/creating.  SOOOO I did not honor everyone's request {sorry!!!!!}.  I did create headers for each color that look like this:

I also added one more page to each color.  One circle has a tree {because so many of you asked for a tree and a label} and an airplane {just because I thought it was cute}.  Both of those circles have been left blank.  I can not make individualized circles for you. That would take way too much time and at that point, sadly, I would charge you. {Am I being mean here?! I don't like to be the "mean girl!"}
 Anyways! I hope you like the changes! My packet is now 55 pages long!!! Click HERE to download your free copy or your updated copy. :)
I had a fabulous request to make a slight adjustment to my Rainbow of Colors pack.  I now have a version for my sweet Canadian friends (thank you Sheri for your suggestion)!  

 Click HERE to go grab your version! 

 Now for the Postcard Exchange.  I know how eager some of you are to see if you "made the cut" so I went ahead and updated all the info...just simply click HERE! If you haven't signed up yet and your state is still available (or you want to see if your state is still available check out the original post HERE. 
We're getting close to all 50! 


Here's something that is not an update but something I created!
It's a sight word "I have Who has" game! :)  I just **LOVE** these games.  I leveled them into three different games so that you can differentiate amongst groups or just switch out the cards as the year goes a long and your kiddos keep getting smarter! :p
{above is level one...I start with this at the beginning of the year}

 {blue is level two...I play this game with my "higher" reading level/fluency kids and begin this game whole group around Dec/Jan}
 {Purple is level three...your "harder" words or I call them our "first grade words!"  These I will do the second I see most of my class is ready!}
Head to my TPT or TN store {upper left sidebar} to check it out!
I love the stitched star clipart I found at Stripped Elephants.  Cute store!

Phew! Off to finish my next packet on sound/spelling and syllables! :)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Have you signed up?! 17 left

We're only half way there people!!!!
We are still in need of the final 17 states (that's too many)!!
Check to see if your states available:

 Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho,  Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming

If you see your state listed above then click HERE and sign up to join the Postcard Exchange!!!  Such a fun way to get kiddos involved and learning about different states and how people live around our country! :)

I will continue to update the list as more sign up!
 Please help and SPREAD THE WORD!!!!

Friday, July 27, 2012

I can't stop!

Well friends, my lack of motivation to do all things school has quickly changed! 
I can't STOP working on things for school!!! I still am not allowed into my classroom, which continues to give me anxiety every time I think about it, but at least I'm working on SOMETHING! :)

Here are my latest creations:

{above: front cover of student book}
{below: example of color song page}
I love teaching colors! I love teaching anything really but this is always fun for kinders and there's SO much you can do with colors.

I like to introduce colors and color words with these fun songs {like the one above}.  I begin each day with a new song for us to learn.  Then, we brainstorm a list of objects/items that are that color. For example when we do the "blue" page, we first sing the song {I enlarged each song on chart paper} then create a class list about all things blue!  
Once we've had lots of time learning our color song and exploring objects that are blue, the kiddos then go to their desk to complete their color page {like the one above}.  Once they've colored the top part {I have them color the word "blue" with a blue crayon/colored pencil and they color the picture} then they write and draw on the bottom.  Here's what that page looks like:
I create the book by coping the pages on both sides so that when you open the book the color song is on top and the corresponding writing page is on the bottom.  It will look like this:

I love using this color songs book because 1. the kids absolutely LOVE the songs and request to sing them ALL DAY LONG! and 2. they get to take them home and practice them as well! 

I also created another Parent-teacher communication binder per request:

You can snag either of these items at my TPT store and/or my TN store!
 While you're there check out my sweet friend's brand new teacher notebook store and her new blog {she's already posted a FREEBIE}! She's SUPER creative! I can't wait to see all the things she will share and create!!! Make sure to follow her!

Don't forget to sign up for the Postcard Exchange.  There are still quite a few states left that need to be filled up ASAP.  Click HERE to head to the post to sign up or to find the link to see if you've "made the cut!"


Thursday, July 26, 2012

How do you go home?

Picture via pinterest courtesy of Miss Nelson

After seeing this picture on Pinterest a couple weeks ago I new I wanted to make this adorable classroom management tool myself!
So, I did! :p

These little guys are super cute and an easy way to keep track of how your students go home.  I love it because I often have students change their mode of transportation throughout the year, I simply move their clothespin! Easy!

I made a packet that I'm giving to you for FREE!
There are 12 different transportation cards:
2 car riders, 2 bus riders, walkers, bikers, after school {with a school icon}, after school {with a church icon}, van riders, tutoring, and 2 "others."
The best part...there's 7 colors to choose from!!!  
Black, blue, green, yellow, red, pink, and purple.

You can grab your FREE copy HERE and don't forget to become a follower!
If you download, kindly leave some love.  :)

**If you have not signed up yet to participate in our Postcard Exchange scroll down to sign up!
There's still plenty of states left! :)  I will post tomorrow who has "made the cut" so far! Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Postcard Exchange! *States Updated**

With the help of Cheryl from Primary Graffiti {LOVE HER} I am hosting a Postcard Exchange!  I'm always slow to jump on the train and never get the chance to participate! So with the help of a blogging buddy {more like blogging idol...Mrs Cheryl} and the encouragement from another super teaching buddy {thanks Jana}, I am going to attempt this! Bare with me! :p

Please read carefully to ensure you want to participate in the exchange.  If you have any reservations about it at all, please pass on signing up to participate.  

I will accept one entry per state.  To make it easy, I have a sign up form in Google Docs. Unfortunately, I won't be able to give you minute by minute updates.  I will post the last name and state from the entry forms.  This exchange is first come, first serve.

Here are some materials/supplies you will need for the exchange: 49 postcards {you're state #50}, 49 stamps, and labels!  You will receive 49 postcards in exchange.  The best way to ensure that you will be "on top" of this exchange is to purchase/create your postcards once you have confirmed your name/state was selected for this exchange.  This exchange DOES cost money.  Expect to pay roughly $30 for postcards, postage, and labels.

I will prepare the labels with each participants' name and address.  You just need to print them out and allow the kids to stick them on the cards! Easy peesy!!

The whole purpose of this exchange is to get the kiddos involved.  That's what our jobs are all about anyways! :)  Have them help you come up with a message together as a class.  I great idea is to list a few state, city, and class facts on your cards that you're sending out!

All cards must be mailed out by November 2nd.   I know the beginning of the year can be hectic and our districts/states do not begin school at the same time, however, I choose a date that allows for most {if not all}  participants to get the cards out after the end of the first quarter.  You will have no further commitments and will receive a card from each state in exchange!!! What a great way to learn! :)

There are so many different lessons that can be taught with this simple postcard exchange!  Mapping skills, geographical skills {use GoogleEarth!}, some history, letter writing, community helpers, etc...
I plan to write the postcard initially as a class, then I will have my kinders fill in certain parts of the postcard on each.  For example, they might write the word "Dear," "From," "We," etc... like a 'fill-in-the-blank" type form. Does that make sense? I'm a visual learner so I know I would have to see it. 

What's so wonderful is so many blogging buddies have already created amazing resources that you can use with this activity.  Cheryl created a FREE state notebook that has pages for every state!! She uses it when introducing states.  I can NOT wait to use it this year with my kinders!  Erica Boher has an AMAZING letter writing unit that helps teach little ones how to write letters, etc... I used this last year and absolutely LOVED it! 

Click on the pics to head to their TPT stores to snag this babies!

Now for the bad news....FL, TX, Kentucky, NC, Ohio, New Jersey, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, GA, Oklahoma, Maryland, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Oregon, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Mississippi, New York, Iowa, Delaware, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Arizona, Arkansas, Washington, Vermont, and Cali have already been snagged up.  
Good news...we need the final 17 states:
Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota,  Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah,  West Virginia, Wyoming

FYI: All entries will be date stamped into a spreadsheet.  I will take the first name submitted until spots are filled.  Once all spots are filled, I will send an email confirmation to all participants.  YOu will need to reply, confirming your participation in the exchange.  If a response in not received, I will take the next name on the list.  Link HERE for the exchange participants!

Check back later to see if you 'made the cut!' :p

Monday, July 23, 2012

More...about me! *updated

**My sweet friend insisted I take down a "boring" fact and include a more "fun fact"  Those of you have already read about me...can you spot it?

Amy Lemons is hosting another awesome linky party! You may have remembered Cara's Meet the Teacher linky party a little over a year ago...well now you get to know MORE! {you wanted to know more about me, right?!}
Since I feel like I already *know* so many of you and talk about you to others as if you're a part of my every day life, I thought it would be fun to join in!:)

I'm not even sure where to begin!

This is my hubby's "favorite" pic of us {from 2 years ago...I have brown hair now}.  I really think he choose to *love* this one because he looks good in it, not me.  My hubbers is not very photogenic and we end up having to take 30,000,000 photos until he's satisfied.  Isn't this suppose to be the girls problems? Anyways, he is my perfect person and the only one who can make me laugh so hard I can't breathe and often pee my pants a little! :)  He is also the only person I can NEVER stay mad at. He will literally sit and stare at me until I crack.  Love him!

 I am O.B.S.E.S.S.E.D with these two shows.  They are polar opposites of one another, I know, but I could watch these shows from episode one all the way through OVER and OVER! I win every trivia questions regarding Friends and am  counting down the days until Dexter Season 7 begins!!!  This also leads me to another fact...I secretly want to be a blood spatter analyst. I know, weird and somewhat gross.
I am a complete coffee snob.  I love Starbucks. I love Starbucks so much that I am a proud member of the "Gold Card Club" and frequently earn enough stars for a free drink at least once a month.  That means I've had 15 coffee's per free one.  You should see me in the mornings after my second cup! :p

 In high school I dated a guy from every "clique."  There was the guy from church, the guy with the low-rider, the college drop-out {my parents were so proud}, Mr. Ralph Lauren, the hunter, the baseball player, the 'emo' one, Mr. All-American, and the motorcross name a few! I like to think of myself as "well-rounded!" :)
  I was the BIGGEST tomboy growing up. {I refuse to put up a picture of me at that age...sorry}  I grew up on 14 acres in.the.middle.of.nowhere.  Find Shiloh, FL on a map and that's where I was raised.  Ha.  You can't, it's okay.  It's right next to Micanopy.  Fun fact: Doc Hollywood was filmed there!

Pretty Woman is my all-time **favorite** movie.  I've watched it too many times to count and will watch it EVERY TIME it comes on tv. I love Julia Roberts!!

I love scary movies.  Old school horror flicks are my faves, however, I do not watch them alone, I must have a blanket over me, and all the lights must be turned on! When the movie's over I then have to watch at least one episode of Friends before I can head to bed!

I am slightly obsessed with collecting post-it notes. Sadly, this is not all of them.  I might have a problem. :P

I workout solely so that I can continue to eat whatever I want.  My nickname is Cookie Monster. Enough said.

 Now off to read some more about other fabulous bloggers! 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Thinking Math (freebie) and Cupcakes

Ok.  My spurt of not being motivated has quickly disappeared.  Well, not completely, but I'm moving in the right direction! :)
The past week I attended a workshop entitled "Thinking Math" {still have four more days left of the workshop}.  This workshop is simply that...the belief that students must have time to think about math to fully understand it.  There has also been a lot of discussion on the use of manipulatives and how math problems are often worded.  
Here are my favorite quotes about manipulatives:
"Although kinesthetic experience can enhance perception and thinking, understanding does not travel through the fingertips and up the arm" and "Although concrete materials can offer students contexts and tools for making sense of the content, mathematical ideas really do not reside in cardboard and plastic materials."  
Yup. Makes you *think.* Basically...we shouldn't rely on manipulatives and we also need to make sure that they are used as a way to reinforce or motivate, but should not be seen as the only way to solve a problem {in other words, you don't want the kids to have to rely on manipulatives to solve math}.  

Ok. With all that said, I created a fun little math activity that not only has your kiddos THINKING about math but meets common core standards {yay}!

Then, after creating this fun little freebie I came across a communication binder request.  So, I whipped that up.  I say "whipped" loosely.  hehe
 Here's a peak at the new binder:

Head over to my TPT or TN store to snag your freebie and binder!
Phew! Can't wait for my relaxing day in the sun with some great friends tomorrow!!

A little more prepared...

Are you a follower of Diane and Kelly's blog "Made for 1st Grade?"  If you're not, you should be.  They are fabulous and always have "aha" posts {at least for me!}.  Anyways, when they updated their blog they created new tabs one of which was named "Pacing Guide."  So, I checked it out and I was BLOWN away!
These ladies created a pacing guide that was so organized and detailed.  Too bad I'm no longer in first grade and live in their district or I would've just snagged theirs and used it as my own! :)

I did, however, take time with my teacher bestie to create our own pacing guide for this year.  I LOVED Diane and Kelly's so much I stole their layout and design and I'm posting it here as a free download.  

Pacing Guide 12-13

My school district uses ImagineIT! for their reading curriculum and GO Math {for math :) }.  You may not be able to use this exactly but it's just another guide to use if you so wish to!

Thank you to the sweet ladies who commented on my post yesterday.  Getting motivated when you're not allowed into your classroom is super tough.  My 'to-do' list continues to grow by the minute!  
Now I don't feel so alone! :)

Happy Saturday!  

Friday, July 20, 2012


I don't know about you but I can NOT get myself motivated to begin working on school items {for my own classroom that is}. Maybe it's because I'm not allowed into my classroom until Aug 6th.  You might be thinking..."well that's plenty of time to get your room set up"  BUT here's the part that makes me a little bit overly anxious... Aug 6-9th I have a training from 8:30-4:30.  Yes, you read that right.  THEN, teacher planning begins Aug. 13th. Like we're going to have ample time in our rooms then {NOT}.  My room has to be ready to go by that Thursday night for kindergarten orientation.  Needless-to-say my OCD and perfectionist side of me goes into complete PANIC mode when I think about anything school related!
I'm loving seeing all your classroom pictures being posted with all your super cute 'pinterest-inspired' classroom designs!

I finally got myself motivated this morning and finished my DOT Book.  It's another communication binder!!  I made this for my dear sweet teacher friend that I work with.

You can check it out at my TPT store or TN store!

Going to try and get myself motivated to start making some items for my classroom.  Fingers crossed I can get some stuff crossed of my to-do list.
  Are you having trouble getting yourself motivated or am I the only one here?


Saturday, July 14, 2012

It's a JUNGLE out there!

No, I'm not talking about the insane amount of tourists out on the road {me being one of them on occasion } or the insane heat outside, but my new communication binder!!! I'm so excited with how it turned out and I hope you all will be too!

 Front Cover

The example behavior log given.

This pretty little guy is now available at my TPT store and TN store!
I love this organizational tool and so my class parents.  

So, how have you been spending your summer?
I'm really sad I couldn't make it to the "I Teach K" conference.  I am just DYING to meet so many of those/you ladies who were able to attend. Sadly, living in north Florida does not put me in a close enough location to travel for a day to visit with all you ladies who have meet-ups (most of which are in TX or Cali!!!!), however, I am ready to put in the time!!! :)  

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

CH 5 Daily Five K-linky party

Oh man...this might be a long one. Sorry in advance! :)  However, there is a lot of goodness from Chapter Five of the Daily Five.  Chapter 5 focuses on "Buddy Reading" {that's what I call it, rather than "read-to-someone" not sure why, I just do} and "Listen to Reading."  PLUS there are TWO bloggers who took on this chapter, so double the focus questions and I like to ramble sometimes. Sorry friends. :)

Ok.  Here we go.  First up, listen to reading.  Marsha at A Differentiated Kindergarten took on this portion of chapter five, so head over there after you read this post to hear what other amazing bloggers have to say!

How will you instill the importance {or urgency as the sisters call it} of 'listening to reading' in your students and especially those who have had little 'lap time' or reading done for them in their own homes.
 Well, this is simple.  I work at an extremely diverse school and not once in my two years of implementing the Daily Five did I ever have a problem with students not wanting to listen to reading.  Honestly, that was 99% of my students FAVORITE station!  I think it's the use of the technology {cd players, stereos, and computers...high tech, I know :) } that made them so eager.  It also helps that my attitude towards each part of our learning was 'excited' and 'eager for learning' and really made them 'excited and eager to learn' as well.  Your attitude towards anything in your classroom is contagious!  If you are over the moon excited about something as mundane as listening to a story being read, then they will be over the moon excited! 

 2.  What devices or strategies are you going to use to conduct listen to reading?' Will you use a community recording device with one cd and several earphones, individual cd players, tape recorders, ipod-type devices or computers?
I have three choices for my students.  They can read with another friend at a small stereo/listening center, listen on an individual cd player, or at the computer {I have two that I leave open for listening to reading}.
 This is a horrible picture and it's old, but this is where I keep my listening center books.  I now have two baskets.  The other basket contains song books.  I've created "big books" with the words to some of our favorite learning songs {from Shari Sloane and Jack Hartmann to name a few}.  The kiddos can read/sing the words as the song plays. They LOVE this station! :)

If students are listening on the computer they go to  This is such a fun site.  They get to select stories that are read by famous actors/actresses, etc...  Some of the books also are accompanied by a song which the actors sing at the end of the story.  I often hear the kids signing along with them! What I also like about this website is that it has a caption option, which my students MUST have turned on.  So they're seeing the words while hearing them.  Love it!

3.  What expectations will you have for your students during 'listen to reading' and how will you keep them on task and independent instead of needing your assistance when they can't manage 'devices?'
My expectations remain the same for my students throughout every part of our day.  I keep high standards and the students rise to that standard {most of the time, right?!} :)  This portion of the Daily Five requires a LOT of practice.  For the first couple weeks of listening to reading, I go to each student, during each rotation, to show and/or watch them get all the equipment started for listening to reading.  Some take longer to catch on than others.  Just be patient.  I also will pair up some students and if one is not sure how to operate the equipment they receive help from the other student.  It seems to work well!

6.  The sisters do not really talk about this in their book, but how do you feel about listening response sheets?  Will listening to reading be just for 'listening' or will there be follow-up work required of your students?  If there is reading response sheets, what will they look like?
This is tough.  It really depends on your class and the sweet little ones who make up that class.  It's really differentiated.  My "low" babies are not required to do a reading response sheet {at least until towards the end of the year}, while my "higher" students are.  They are not required to complete one EVERY time they listen either.  They can turn in one sheet in a week and I'm happy.  There's just not enough time for them to listen to the stories AND complete a listening response sheet {to my standards} sometimes.  So, I do not put a lot of emphasis on this, rather make it more of a "bonus" reward of such.

 Next up...Buddy Reading!!!!  I {LOVE} buddy reading! :)
Mary at Sharing Kindergarten is hosting this portion of chapter 5.  Head over link up with her and read the goods! 

Love these sweeties all into their book!

Buddy reading is such a fun part of the Daily Five and a part in which every student is excited.  It's not a good idea to let them just "go at it!"  This took lots of modeling and discussing with my students of why it's important to buddy read and how fun it can be!  
Teaching the students to sit EEKK is the most important part of buddy reading {at the beginning at least}.  If both students aren't able to see the pages how are they helping one another?  (honest question here) I found this adorable little poster that was created by Amanda from One Extra Degree {LOVE HER}. Click HERE to check it out! We recite it every morning when we are discussing what "buddy reading" looks and sounds like.  The kiddos love it too! 

My amazing parents also made these bad boys that the kiddos hold when they're doing buddy reading.  I do not make them use it each and every time, however, my sweet friends who are working on building better comprehension do use them each time they buddy read.  They're such a wonderful tool.  I wrote exactly what The Sisters wrote on theirs "I just heard you read..."
If you don't access to handymen or what not, you could easily use cardstock check-marks or  even make them out of poster board.

I just love the Daily Five and The Sisters!!!  :)

Sunday, July 8, 2012


I'm not sure about you but I am a little O.B.S.E.S.S.E.D with pirates!
Last year I changed the theme of my room to pirates with a little bit of ocean/island accents and I LOVE IT!
I have used FISH Books {my communication binders} every year that I've taught, except for one when I used B.E.E. Books.  Since I've decided to stick with my pirate theme in the classroom, I wanted to make a P.I.R.A.T.E Book. So I did! I think it's super cute! :)

These binders are really great in that they not only give students a sense of responsibility and ownership, but it's a great way to keep your parents informed on what's going on in their child's lives at school on a DAILY basis! Having this daily organizational/communication tool allows for consistency in school and at home.  I LOVE THAT! :)

Each binder comes with a cover...shown above.

I've included a letter to parents that I stick in the front of the binder explaining what each section of the book is all about.  This is an example of one of the section "title pages."  Behind this specific page I put notebook paper.  It makes it super easy for parents to tell me or ask me something that is not going to require a lot of "communication."  For instance, parents will ask me things like "when does the assembly for Friday start?"  or  "So-and-so may not participate in such-in-such today." etc... I check each book in the morning and it takes me all of one minute to go through all 20+ books.  Easier than it sounds.

This is the Reading Log title page.  In the packet I have provided a calendar for each month.  It's how I did reading log/daily homework in Kindergarten and First Grade.  Super easy to follow and does not require TOO much from parents {we all know how "BUSY" they are}!
Also included in the packet is a behavior log with example calendar provided, important news labels to attach to the front pocket of your binder, and "work to keep at home" labels to attach to the back pocket of the binder.  You will also find pictures on how to assemble your communication binder! Easy peasy!

I've had request for different themes and am currently working on another DOT Book {using dot letters}, a SAILOR Book, and a JUNGLE Book.  If you have any other requests let me know! :)

Now it's time to head to the pool with my "50 Shades" {holy moly, these books suck you in}

Click HERE to head to my TPT Store
HERE to head to my Teacher's Notebook Store.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Daily Five K ~ Linky Party

Time to link up!

Mrs. Miner's Kindergarten Monkey Business

Mrs. Miner is hosting Chapter 4's Daily Five Linky Party! Here we go:

Don't forget to link up!