Monday, December 31, 2012

Wrapping up 2012...

Wow, it's so hard to believe that 2012 is almost over! This has been a tough year professionally and personally, but it definitely had its good points and it's still a year that I am so thankful to have experienced!

In 2012... Professionally... we started the school year with both a new assistant principal and a new principal. Having completely new administration is a challenge for them and for the teachers as everyone gets used to one another, but I think everyone's doing really well! We also made the switch to the Common Core Standards, so that's been a big adjustment for everyone. On the upside, my Kindergarten Team is the strongest it's been in a really long time, and that's been such a wonderful highlight to the year!

Personally... we've had a tough year as we continue to go through our adoption journey. My husband and I are pursuing adoption to start our family, and we're closing in on 2 years of being a waiting couple with our agency. So, it's been tough to go through another year of not being parents, but we're strong and we're hanging in there! :) We've had a great year with our families, though, and enjoyed an awesome summer beach trip in July!

This year was also the year I started my store on Teachers Pay Teachers! I opened my shop in June and I am still in awe of the support I've found and I'm humbled every time a teacher spends his or her hard-earned money on my products to use in the classroom! Creating products for my TpT store has made me a better teacher and it's helped me get a grasp on those Common Core Standards!

For 2013...
Professionally... I plan to continue to learn and develop a deeper understanding of the Common Core Standards and how to best implement them in my classroom. I also plan to continue my goal of being more organized in the classroom... so far, so good!

Personally... I am hoping and praying that 2013 will be the year that my husband and I will match with an expectant mom considering adoption and bring home our baby! Starting our family has been our biggest goal for the last 8 years and we are so ready to reach that goal!

Wishing everyone a healthy and happy 2013!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Countdown to Christmas Break Sale!

We only have school for 3 days this week, but there's a TON going on in those 3 days! After that, we're on break! I know some teacher friends who have already started their breaks. But, for those who still have time left in December, I'm taking 10% off all Christmas items in my TpT shop! Grab something to use with your kiddos before break, or save it for next year!
And for the biggest savings, check out my December Bundle!
Hope your last few days are full of fun before you're off for a well-deserved rest!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

This week has been SO busy!

We have been going non-stop in our classroom this week! We've been working on shapes and learning about Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas! The kids have made some super cute crafts, but I just haven't had a chance to take any pictures!

 One of the most surprising parts of the week was when one of my little active boys was having a really hard time settling down to finish his Roll-a-Shape activity. I decided to sit him down at a table by himself and away from distractions. I sat Barney across from him and told him that Barney was going to watch him finish his math activity and that he was really excited to watch him work on his shapes. I was shocked that it worked! It was so cute that I had to grab a picture!

Tomorrow is Polar Express Day and I'm so excited! We're going to spend the morning working on activities from my Polar Express unit and spend the afternoon watching the movie and drinking hot chocolate!

Holiday break is just 4 days away for us!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Holiday Tips & Freebie E-Book!

I am so excited about the free E-book that's been put together and posted on Teachers Pay Teachers! It's our gift as sellers to all of the amazing teachers that support our stores! It is packed with some awesome tips and holiday freebies... so packed, in fact, that the PreK-2nd grade edition had to be split up it two! :) Click on the pictures below to grab these e-books! (I'm so excited to be on page 13 of the preK/K edition!)
A big thank-you to Krissy Minor for putting these together!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gingerbread Fun!

This week is all about gingerbread in our classroom! We're getting ready to dive into the Christmas season, and I always like to start our with a Gingerbread Week! We are having so much fun reading different gingerbread stories! Yesterday we read The Gingerbread Boy by Paul Galdone...

My kids were fascinated by the "threshers" and the "mowers" and kept asking questions about what they do! After reading we discussed the characters and filled out a chart with drawings of the characters...

Today we read another version of The Gingerbread Man... this story had a bear in it and my kids automatically realized that some of the characters were different. After reading, we compared and contrasted the characters in the story using a Venn Diagram. We've also been fitting gingerbread into our math time! We played Gingerbread Roll-and-Color (remember how much my kids love this game?!)

And this afternoon we had an awesome time with our Gingerbread glyphs! I was so proud of how well they followed directions!

We have lots more gingerbread fun planned this week... we're writing stories and working on story sequencing. Friday we're decorating our own gingerbread cookies! You can find the glyphs and Gingerbread Man graphic organizers in my Gingerbread Fun unit! And the Roll-and-Color game is my latest freebie!

I'm excited about everything we have coming up in December! It's my favorite month of the school year! :)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cyber Monday plus Bonus Tuesday Sale!

Announcing the BIG Cyber Monday plus Bonus Tuesday sale on Teachers Pay Teachers! Most sellers will be discounting their stores up to 20%, plus with the TpT code CMT12, you can get an additional 10% off your entire purchase! What an awesome way to clean out your wishlist!
Everything in my store will be 20% off! Stock up on these products to get you through the Christmas and Winter season! Click on the pics below to check them out!
Here is my latest math unit, Shapes Fun!
And since we all love a freebie...
Hope to see you at the sale!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Feast!

Wow, what an amazing day we had on Friday! Our Kindergarten team got together and planned an awesome Thanksgiving Feast for our kids, and they loved it! It's been a few years since we've been able to gather together as a whole grade level for this activity. But, this year elementary schools start later, which means that lunch times start later and the cafeteria was available for our feast.
The kids started by singing a cute song about the first Thanksgiving...
Then, we feasted!
It was a lot of fun and the kids really enjoyed themselves! It was a great way to round out our Thanksgiving unit! This week we are off from school for some well-deserved rest! When we get back next week, we have 3 1/2 weeks until Christmas break and those weeks will be jam-packed with Gingerbread and Christmas Fun! Can't wait! :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thanksgiving Fun!

We are having some Thanksgiving Fun in class this week! Today we had fun with two math activities that the kids loved! First, we played a turkey Roll & Color game... now, I don't know what it is about Roll & Color, but my kiddos LOVE it! Some have even asked if they could play during developmental center time. Hmmm... I would have never guessed that Roll & Color can be more appealing than blocks or painting!
Oh, and see that orange piece of felt in the picture above? It's the PERFECT way to keep the noise level down when using dice in your classroom! We also graphed our favorite Thanksgiving foods! We read "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie" and talked about the Thanksgiving foods she ate, as well as brainstormed other foods not included in the book. Then, I gave the kids 4 options to choose from (any more would have overwhelmed my group)... they colored their choice, cut it out, and then placed it on the correct spot on our class graph.
We had a tie for the food that was the most favorite as well as the food that was the least favorite!
You can grab these activities, and a bunch more, in my Thanksgiving packets!
What fun Thanksgiving activities are you doing this week?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Teaching Tip!

I'm linking up with Miss Kindergarten today to share a favorite teaching tip!
Every teacher knows all about classroom jobs and helper charts, right? Something like this...
or this...
There are lots of ways to display classroom helpers, and for many years I had that ocean chart in my classroom! I would change out jobs every Monday and the kids would rotate jobs like Line Leader, Paper Passer, Trash Collector, Center Checker, etc... I always had a hard time coming up with enough jobs so that most kids would get a job each week. Then, on Monday I'd become so busy with Monday things that I would forget to change jobs... or a kid would be upset that he or she didn't get to be Line Leader and didn't want to be Trash Collector. To be honest, the classroom jobs became an annoyance to me.
So, I decided to switch to a new way of handling jobs... Helper of the Day! Each morning at calendar, I pull a name to be our Helper of the Day. This student gets to do EVERY job for one whole day. He or she leads the line, passes out papers, checks the weather, etc. Then, the next day, the next student on the list gets to be the helper. It works beautifully and saves my sanity! :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Turkey Writing Fun!

We had a great time writing about turkeys in class today! My kids seem to be stuck on calling them chickens, though! :) We'll just have to spend more time reading books about turkeys so that they can remember that turkeys are different from chickens. :) During our writing block, we worked together on a tree map to describe turkeys... I projected a copy with the document camera and we brainstormed together as a group. I gave each of my kiddos their own tree map to follow along with mine...
After completing our tree maps, I showed them how to use the words from the map to form sentences about turkeys. They did an awesome job!!
I was so proud of how hard they worked on this! I used this as a guided writing activity where they had a lot of support from me. But, if your kiddos are older or more advanced, you could let them fill in the tree maps themselves with words of their choosing. Either way, though, this is great practice using a graphic organizer to brainstorm during writing time!
Visit my TpT store to grab this fun turkey writing freebie to use with your kids! :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Election Day!

Everyone knows that tomorrow is Election Day... I hope that everyone takes advantage of this right and goes out to vote if you haven't already. :) We had a lot of fun learning about the election and voting in class today! We have been talking about who the candidates are for a while now and about how the voting process works. Today we had our mock election! We used a lot of resources from Jennifer Elliot's election mini-unit. First, every child received a ballot to vote for the candidate of their choice...
I got the cute ballot box from our local Dollar Tree! After voting, each child made a cute hat to wear to show everyone that they voted!
The kids loved being able to cast their vote secretly without telling anyone who they're voting for, just like in an actual polling place. So, who won the mock election in our class?
The vote was 14 for Obama, and 3 for Romney. One ballot had both choices colored, so we had a discussion about how that ballot isn't valid because there's no way to know which candidate the voter meant to choose. What kinds of things did you do in your classroom today?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Here we go!

First post! I am so excited to take the plunge into starting a teaching blog! I'm not new to the world of blogging... I've kept a personal online journal before and I keep an adoption blog where I write about our adoption journey. But, I've never had a classroom or teaching blog and I am very excited about this new venture!

I have been teaching Kindergarten for 13 years. It's all I've ever taught and, as far as I'm concerned, it's all I will ever want to teach! On my first day of student teaching back in college, I stepped into Mrs. Cheeley's kindergarten classroom and I fell in love. Kindergarten felt like home back then and, 13 years later, it still feels like home.

I hope to use this blog as a way to connect with other teachers and exchange ideas and resources. I love developing new tools and resources to use in my own classroom and sharing them with other teachers!

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