Thursday, August 16, 2012

New school decor & theme!

I am so excited to be able to have a "real" kindergarten sized classroom this year. My past two years teaching kindergarten in a regular sized room have been sort of like being in a sardine can! I have had so much fun putting together my blue and green camping themed classroom. Even though the new school year has begun...I still have several Pinterest projects to complete........but that will be in a week or two.
Here is my version of the famous Pinterest Display Quilt.
I am already loving how easy it is making putting students'
work up in the hall. I used 2 gallon Zip lock bags since lots
of Kindergarten work is on larger or longer papers. I put
a sheet of blue or green scrapbook paper inside of each pocket
becasue i couldn't stand seeing the zip lock words showing
before the work was in there. I think it makes a nice "frame"
now that work is in the pockets!
My weldome sign is from Target...but I added a new
border to match my classroom colors.
We will be camping this year!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

PINteresting Project

Yes, I'm a PINTERESThowlic and proud of it. I have found so many awesome ideas this summer....just not enough time to get them done with so little work time in our classrooms! Today I helped a fellow teacher and friend make a "Work Display Quilt" from zip locked bags... inspired by this one that we found on Pinterest:
  • We used the really large sized.... TWO gallon Zip Lock brand plastic bags and layed them out horizontally..... with the bag's open side to the right, instead of on top loading.
  • This will let us display long pages and over sized construction paper or art well as conventional sized papers.
  • The one we made today has 28 bags. (Yes, we have that many students in our classes!) 
  • To make this size you will need two rolls of duck tape.... there's so many cute colors and prints to choose from. I've found that WalMart, Target, and JoAnn's seem to have lots of duck tape right now. 
  • HINT: We used pieces of regular clear scotch tape here and there as we layed out each row of bags. This helped keep the bags even as we  duck taped each long horizontal row to the row under it.... we did not put all of the rows together first and then duck tape. (Pictures coming tomorrow)
  • We were also mindful of putting the Ziplock logo that's printed on the bag to the BACK so that the papers inside would hide it!!!
  • My friend plans to slip a sheet of black paper into each bag that will stay there even when work is not displayed.... or can for sort of a frame for smaller pages that will be displayed.
  • This whole project cost about $20.... well worth it.'s the one that we made today........this one is for my friend's classroom and will coordinate with her Ladybug theme!

Come back tomorrow for some step by step pictures after I complete my "quilt". I would love to see your's if you make one!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Visual Clue Directions Posters

I made these gator posters a few years ago and thought I'd share them with you. I am not certain how to post them for you to download (still working on that).... but hopefully you can copy and paste them. If you have difficulty, please let me know. I'd love your input so if you download them, please leave a comment and make my day!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Common Core?????

Our school system is beginning to use the Common Core standards this coming year. I didn't have a clue about all of this until I started to find a bazillion wonderful pins on Pinterest about it this summer. Thankfully, there are just as many wonderful teachers who are willing to share...for free, for the most part...their creative ideas. I am a visual learner, the following set of cards are going to be so useful this year. Get your set of Visual "I Can" statements for both KINDERGARTEN Reading and Math here:  Just click on the "reading" and also the "math" tabs and scroll down to download this bunch of awesomeness!

These cards are full page sized. I printed them out with four cards per sheet of card stock. I actually printed one color set and a second set just in black and white. The color set will be used to post in my classroom when I am teaching the noted skill. The black and white set will be kept with my lesson planning binder so that I can reference them as I plan. I forgot to mention.... each card has the CC number info on it!

Monday, July 16, 2012

SAFE... and cute!

This cute bracelet ....with your cell phone number in beads... would be a wonderful way to be sure that your child would be able to get help finding YOU if you get lost in a big crowd. You would simply have to teach your little one to look for an adult to help them and to show them their bracelet.

I'm thinking that this Pinterest idea would be perfect when traveling on vacation, shopping at the mall, attending a festival...or perhaps going to to a Mardi Gras parade! What about your school aged child... does she/he know your cell phone number? I'm always surprised how many students at my school.. (and not just kindergarteners).. do not know how to get in touch with a parent via the phone.

Come to think of it.... this would be a easy crafty project for young students. Hint: threading beads onto a pipe cleaner is much easier than on a string.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Gone Fishin'

How cute are these sock fish? This activity cought my eye today on Pinterest. I right away filed the idea in my classroom camping theme "must do" online folder. Of course, I can't just leave it as a plain old fishing game... it has to be some sort of center if it's going into my classroom...right?

The link to the source did not work but if I find it, I'll add it to this post. The directions did say to put a magnet into the "toe" of each sock. I think the rest you can figure out. I just saw some cute and colorful socks like this at Big Lots last night ...$5 for about six pairs!

I plan to make two poles and include this activity in the "Read with a Partner" center for my Daily 5 least for the beginning of the year. I am going to write words on the socks with a Sharpie. I know it's not a book...but at this point of the year I don't expect too many of my new kinders to be able to actually "read" books to each other.

I'll start off the year with color and number words and then continue on during the year adding:
  • sight words
  • phonics word families
  • sentences
  • seasonal vocabulary words
I'll add a picture of my finished center when it's done.......stay tuned.
I'd love to hear what other ideas you have for this fun activity.

Friday, July 6, 2012

An Important Lesson

Today's favorite Pinterest find is making me do a happy dance! This talented teacher wrote a book to teach her class how to take care of books. My class last year really did a number on my books...many that have been in my huge book collection for a long time. Not only is it a really cute book with a much needed lesson's a FREEBIE to download.  (Be sure to note that she tells you what ... messy ... additions you should make to your book before laminating it.) I think that I might just make several copies and send them home with each student over the first few weeks of the new school year as required Parent/Student reading.... (with a parent signature required). Hopefully that will save the rest of my books from the garbage can.!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Silly Faces

I think that I am going to have to make these for my two grandgirlies! I found this on ...were else?!!...Pinterest! The site gives easy to follow pictures and directions to make this cute little box of fun. It would make a fun activity to take on a long car ride...or plane flight. I'm thinking it would also make a fun "story starter" center for my classroom by adding my students' pictures.

(There are also links on this site for free downloads for "photo booth" props. Those would be so fun for a creative writing center, birthday party games, .....lots of imaginative play.)

Note: Tins that mints come in would work great too!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Pinterest and Daily 5

I have spent way too much time on Pinterest these first few weeks of my summer vactation...but that doesn't mean that the time has been wasted. I have found so many awesome ideas, downloaded so many free centers that are ready for me to print and use... and I've found what I hope to be my saving grace to using small groups successfully...... Daily 5. Maybe I'm the last person in the world to hear about this program but I am excited. Thanks to the interenet for giving so many teachers a platform for sharing...... I've found two online book studies that are going on that are sharing their ideas on Daily 5. One is for all grades and the other focuses on Kindergaten.
I just found the most awesome teacher videos.... this fellow is my new boyfriend ;-) ... His ideas for learning activities and centers are awesome... and easy to set up. Great ideas for at home fun, as well as school. This link was the video tip I watched last night. Who ever thought of using!...plastic cups to practice phoneme segmentation?! Go check it out and he'll be your boyfriend too!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Before Kindergarten starts...

It is so important to teach children how to correctly hold a pencil BEFORE the habit of just grabbing becomes a bad habit. Please help your child's teacher with this by teaching ... and reteaching... and practicing this important skill. It is much easier for you, as a parent to do this, than a teacher in a classroom filled with students!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Kinders Need to Cut!

One of the biggest difficulties I'm finding with my new kindergarteners each year is their lack of cutting skills. It is a skill that I work on early on in hopes that I can make up for their lack of experience. I found this cutting "kit" on Pinterest this morning (my source of all that is good these days!) I will definately be incorporating a cutting center in my first group of activities when school opens.
Here's where I found this idea.
I will also add drinking straws and scraps of paper ...along with some preprinted cutting patterns.... I liked this box and how orderly it is.....but am sure it will only look like that until the first five year old digs into it. My center will likely be a basket to contain the objects to be cut, some pairs of scissors (not fancy cutting types at first), and maybe one of those cute mini sized trash cans I've seen at the Dollar Stores.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Summertime Fun!

I stumbled on this blog today that was so full of great SUMMERTIME FUN ACTIVITIES.  I had to share them ...can't wait to try some with my two granddaughters. I'll post pictures when I do! I know the first one I'll try is some fun with those colorful "pool noodles". I've been wanting to get some to cut to make a patterning center for my classroom in the fall. I think the girls will have fun with these too.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Everyone who knows me knows that I am a paper plate sort of gal! (Some even say it's my china pattern!!)...... with that said.... this recent post and blog that I found on Pinterest caught my eye. So many ideas on ways to use paper plates in my classroom.

My two favorite things about paper plates?
  1. They are cheap!
  2. They are colorful!

I'd love to hear how you have used paper plates in an educational way...please share!