Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Classroom 2011-2012!!

Sorry I haven't posted a new blog in a good while, but I have been super busy! I worked in my room a few days and it is starting to look like my class again!!! YEA!! Then before I could post pictures we went on vacation for a week and just got back. We went to beautful St Maarten!! While there I got a BIG surprise!! I got ENGAGED!! I have been on cloud 9!! But school is about to start so I have to focus on that right now!

Here are a few pictures I took while at the school the other day.  There is still so much to do, but at least most things are in the right place.  I don't have a classroom theme, but I do like acquiring new pieces of furniture! The only problem with that is it can make my class a little cramped looking and is hard finding the right place for them.

Here is the welcome table set outside my classsroom door. I think it makes it feel a little welcoming before entering.

Here is a picture looking in from the front door. This area is still being worked on so it looks a little messy. I bought some cute baskets from Michael's the other day that will go on the bookshelf, but I haven't added them yet.

Another view from the door. You can see my library a little in the back. Yes the tables are on the floor. There is research done behind this that shows this is developmentally appropriate for 5 year olds. The kids love this and it helps those that wiggle a lot in chairs. Think about it... When you were 5 did you really want to sit in chairs all day?? It also helps them devlop some gross motor. We do have chairs at my back teaching table where if they need a chair they could sit. They usually perfer the tables on the floor though.

You can see my back teaching table a little bit (it's under all that mess). I am still working on clearing that table off. You can also see my word wall on my cabinets.

This is a better pic of my small group area and my mess!

This is the view standing from my back corner by my bathroom. You can see my mailboxes and cubbies.

This is the view of my whole group area from the back of my room.

Here is a little better view of my classroom library. The blue baskets are where my more "theme" related books are and the wire shelf with the yellow pocket chart is where some of my leveled readers are. The black tubs are for "really great books" (when they don't go with another tubs theme but are just really good anyways) and the other one is for when we read one we just LOVE we can put it in here.

Well thats all for now! I think I may take closer pics tomorrow of different areas and explain how some are used in my room. Still have so much work to be done though!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Guess What... Last Shopping Trip (Maybe)

Yes I know I have a shopping problem! My friend Jody (another teacher of course!) called and asked if I wanted to do some shopping at Target's dollar spot and a few dollar stores. A few hours of shopping turned into an all day affair! Not that I'm complaining though! I love shopping but it is better when someone else is there to bounce ideas off of. I know I have already hit these places up so I didn't plan on spending too much more money, but I can not say NO to shopping!! Below are some pics of what else I bought. I did find more finds that I missed the first time! Imagine that!

Target Dollar Spot

My friend picked up these cool math cubes and sorting beads for me because she is so thoughtful and they didn't have many left! I picked up the tabletop pocket chart because I always see these and wanted one so I finally bought one.  The number puzzle looked fun and can be added to one of my math stations.

These are my new tabletop pencil/crayon holders.  Last year I had 2 of my tabletop containers break and so I needed new ones this year.  After all my shopping I couldn't find any that I really liked that weren't super expensive.  I got these for $1 for now until I can find something I really like.  The cups were a funny story. Everywhere we went we were looking for cups in a set of four colors, preferably red, green, blue, and yellow. Everywhere we went we could not find any with yellow!! They were always red, blue, and green! Is there something wrong with yellow die!?!? We went to Target's seasonal section and they had their summer/ 4th of July stuff 50% off. We found this set of cups which appears to have the 4 colors we wanted. After we were soooooo excited (even the lady at the checkout thought we were crazy for getting so excited over cups) we brought the cups home only to find that the cups were really red, yellow, dark blue, and LIGHT BLUE! The light blue cup was with the yellow cup and since they were translucent cups the light blue and yellow mixed together to look green! Well guess instead of crayon cups we can use these for when we learn about mixing colors!!

We went to our local good will to see if we could find any deals on furniture and books.  I had never been before and was a little overwhelmed when I walked in. I was making zig-zags all over the store saying look at this look at that. My friend then had to stop me and show me "the way" to look through the store. We went down one side to the back then up the middle and then the other side. So glad she was there to help guide me! After all the looking I ended up with this hardback for $2. I was so excited because this book was on my wish list. I used this story last year to introduce schema. The book is about a kitten who is seeing the Moon for the first time and she thinks that it is a bowl of milk. It is a cute story and helps the children see that we all have different experiences in life which makes us see things in different ways.

Then we went back to the Dollar Tree so that my friend could get some of the math manipulatives I bought the other day. Well of course I had to buy things too! I bought the number puzzle to put in my math or fine motor center. Jody told me that I could glue the puzzle part down on something and then the kids could practice putting the numbers in the holes making their finger muscles grow.  The self adhesive green paper is really cool. Jody had just gotten back from The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, which from what I hear is aMaZiNg! We talked all about it over our like 2 hour lunch at subway! Anyways she learned that this stuff can be like highlighter tape. You can cut this stuff to whatever size you need and put it on a transparency. The kids can then keep this in their reading bags and then pull it off when they need to highlight something in their book (word, skill they learned, something the want to share at share time...).  When they are done they can put it back on their transparency for next time because it will still be sticky enough. So COOL!

 These were also bought at the Dollar Tree. These books are so awesome! If you do writing workshop in your class you have GOT to get these! They are all about different styles of writing and would make great mini lessons! Grandma's Lists shows a little girl making different lists for the grandma and explains purposeful ways to make them.  My Picture Story  is great for beginning writing because it explains how he wants to draw a picture and then try and write some words that tell what the story is. Writing Dino-Mite Poems is about different kinds of poems and then shows examples of them. All About (Real) Bears is so cute. The bear, a fictional character, is researching about real bears and writes an all about bear book.  Little Monster Becomes an Author shows how to go through the writing process from making a web of your ideas, draft, sloppy copy, sharing, revising, editing, publishing and then to the author's chair.  Room 9 Writes a Report is great at showing steps to write an actual report. It shows how to choose a topic, what to do with the information and how to share it, and how to become an expert.  Cat's Fairy Tale (A Cat and Dog Story is great at showing the importance of beginning, middle, end, and title. The cat is writing a story and the dog helps to assist the cat by telling him what he needs next in his story.  Fairy Tale Mail is great to use for letter writing. To understand some of these it would be helpful to have a fairy tale background.  Each page a fairy tale character writes a letter about a problem they are having to the queen. The queen then helps solve the problem by writing back with a solution.  All the books are amazing at showing steps to writing, but I really like that they use a lot of the language I use as well. I know I didn't do these books justice but they are really good books for writing! There are more in this series, but this is all our Dollar Tree had.

I have been either shopping or in my room this last week so I haven't really been able to post a lot lately. Yesterday I got A LOT done in my room!! I only have one more table of stuff to clear off and then I can post some classroom pics! I don't think I have ever been done this early with my room!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Shopping Continued!

Hey guys! I have 9 followers!!! I am so excited! Yesterday I talked about my target finds and ran out of time for my other shopping trips! So here are the others!

Some books I bought at Hastings. I only had to pay $2 and some change because I had a gift card a parent had given me! It was awesome walking out with all those books!


Here are some books I bought at Half Priced Books. Some were not the best but were only $.48 so how could I pass that up!!

Trip to Big Lots! I got this really cute bench/storage piece. Don't know where I'm going to put this at yet but I thought it was really cute and everyone needs more storage room right?? I also picked up this whiteboard/chalkboard piece to use with my crayola dry erase crayons. It also came with wooden letters but weren't magnetic.

I also went to Michael's and found some great buys! Everything was $1 or less except for the hangman game.  I didn't know teachers got a discount there! I was walking around the store and there was an advertisement on their radio saying teachers get a discount! Score! I had to buy those jacks because I have had kids that get that as a picture in their word study sorts and always ask what it is!! Now they will know! The rocks were just what I needed to make the Kindergarten Rocks craft I talked about yesterday. The smaller ones I am going to use to let kids sort and then maybe add letters to make a fun letter sort and maybe even words. More ideas here at Keeping Up With The Kindergartners.

Here is a closeup of the hangman game. It was too cute to pass up! Thinking maybe they can play with our word wall words or words around the room to start with.


Hobby Lobby was next. They had many of their Spring/Summer things on sale and lots of other things too! By this time I had already spent some $ so I tried to take it easy here! Not sure what I am going to do with the planter but it was cute, on sale, and surely will be able to find something to do with it. Like how the planters were attached with a cool handle. The insects were so cute and cheap. I think I saw these on someones blog but not sure who or what they did with them.


Dollar King! Everyone has gotta love the dollar stores! The microphones will be cool for encouraging reading. I am stocking up on cups for snack time because last year I could not find them anywhere and had to spend a lot more $ because I waited too long to buy them. Not this year!! :) I normally don't do name tags but these were cute and fun. I am hoping the book displays work! The bug containers will be some added fun in my science exploration station. The clear stones I am going to use as our morning commitment. I will put the kids pictures on the bottom so you can see their faces through the rock and then they will place them in a treasure chest each morning and I will tell them how they are a treasure! This idea I stole from one of my former kinder teachers (I am so going to miss you next year Jody!!!) I use to put their pictures on a Popsicle stick and as they came in they would put them in the "safe jar" (A crystal light container) and I would seal it with the lid and tell them "They are safe." "My job is to keep you safe and your job is to help..." the kids would repeat "keep it that way." (This is from conscious discipline) Sorry got a little off topic! Imagine that! Can you tell how excited I am about my buys and ideas for them!!

Last store was the Dollar Tree
More snack cups! They had some really cute glass jars (not sure what I'm going to do but couldn't pass up.) The burner covers I am going to use to put sand in and let the children write letters in. They can also use magnets on them.  Others are shown better in next pic.


They had scrap booking scissors but kid size. I want to put these in my fine motor center. Fun spin on cutting. They also had some blocks with a hole and sticks to put in them. Also adding those to my fine motor fun as well as the lacing beads.  There were also some colored wooden cubes and plain wooden cubes to add to my math manipulatives.

 These are some pointers I made. I bought the wooden shapes from the Dollar Tree and hot glued them to a Popsicle stick. I will let the kids use them in small group reading and independent reading. Thinking that I may use them for when I see great readers as an incentive and they can keep them in their book bags.

Stored in a cup I bought from Target.

My new file folder to help me organize my desk. I am one of those pile on top of pile teachers (most of us are right???). Maybe this will help me!! I got the idea for Miss Kindergarten Thanks! Got this at Target for $10. Well worth it if it helps me stay organized! I think my files might be labeled:
Things to do
Things I want to do
Book orders
Important papers (emergency cards, student info sheets...)
Things to copy(originals like writing paper, class list, behavior sheets...) I am always looking for these originals through out the year
Maybe leave one blank and see what else I tend to pile up

Sorry SOOOOO long but wanted to get this in one post. I promise they will not be this long during the school year! But since I have the time now I want to share what I can! I have been working in my classroom a few days. Pictures to come soon! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Hey guys! I wanted to share some of my buys from my latest shopping trips! Yes tripS!! Last week I went to set up my room and I tried to get creative with my classroom layout since I have had it almost the same for 2 years now.  Well, I couldn't figure out another way to arrange my furniture! Every time I wanted to move a piece I thought well... but I really like this being here because... and I like this being here too because... needless to say I guess it has stayed like that for 2 years because I like it and it works so why change it! Instead I thought I would buy some new things to spruce it up a little and change it that way. I know whatever I do it will be new to the kids, but I needed a little change!

Here are my buys from Target

Yeah so I realized halfway through taking the pictures that the date had been set for January 2008! I took it off halfway through the pics. Gotta love technolgy! Back to ShOpPiNg!! Everything I bought was in the $1/$2.50 bins. They were having 50% off some things! Can you believe 50% off things that are already $1!!! I love shopping but bargain shopping is my absolute favorite! So imagine how amazing I felt getting this good of a deal! The tin cans and books were only $.50!! I plan on using the tin cans for the Have You Filled A Bucket Today? click here for the link for this idea. The books will help add to my nonfiction collection.  The "B" is made of fabric. It is super cute! I will hang this outside my room for my last name initial. The stickers I already used to make my first craft I found on a blog. I found this super cute idea on Keeping Up with the Kindergartners. Here is my attempt at it. I want to mount this some way but I am not sure how yet. Any ideas? I need some followers first! :)

I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do with the other containers I got I just thought they were cute. The army men are for my math. I will use these as fun counters.  I also like the number stamps. The kids can stamp with them and they are dotted I guess so the kids could practice writing on them to help learn to write their numbers.  The Dry Erase Crayons are great! A teacher on my team shared these with us last year and I knew I needed some. If you haven't seen them yet they are great. Instead of the smell of markers, lids lost, marks on the rug or clothes... These can write on dry erase surfaces and then erase just like markers but without all the drawbacks. Pretty smart Crayola!!

Thanks for reading! Tomorrow I will add the other shopping trips. Thought I could add them all here but this post is getting a little long.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

As my first post I thought I would share one of my all time favorite kindergarten qoutes! This is so true!

All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten

      by Robert Fulghum 

 - an excerpt from the book, All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten

All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten. ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sandpile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned:

      Share everything.

      Play fair.

      Don't hit people.

      Put things back where you found them.

      Clean up your own mess.

      Don't take things that aren't yours.

      Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.

      Wash your hands before you eat.


      Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

      Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and
           paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.

           Take a nap every afternoon.

           When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold
           hands, and stick together.

           Be aware of wonder.
           Remember the little seed in the styrofoam cup:

           The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really
           knows how or why, but we are all like that.

           Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in
           the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.

           And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word
           you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and
sane living.

Take any of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms
and apply it to your family life or your work or your government or your
world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it
would be if all - the whole world - had cookies and milk about
three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a
nap. Or if all governments had a basic policy to always put thing back
where they found them and to clean up their own mess.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are - when you go out into the
world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

© Robert Fulghum, 1990.
Found in Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, Villard Books: New York, 1990, page 6-7.