Tuesday, August 28, 2012

First Few Days of School

We are officially on our 5th day of school and things are starting to settle in nicely. We have been able to start on some "real lessons" this week and I am excited to share one of them with you (I say "real lessons" because while there is more meat to them than last week, it is still only the 5th day of kindergarten!). We have finished our Chicka Chicka Boom Boom name trees. These were super easy for the kids to do, the most challenging part being the accordion folding. Luckily my kiddos are all very hard workers who are independent and want to do the work themselves. For this lesson the students had to write their names on the first line, and then count the letters in their name and write the numeral on the second line. This ties together both our Chicka Chicka study and our study of our names. I guess it technically counts as handwriting practice and math since we practiced recognizing and forming our numerals too. So this one little lesson accomplished a lot!! Here are a few of our finished trees:

You can definitely notice the beginning of the year kindergarten handwriting!! I cannot take credit for this idea because, like so many other things I do, it came from Pinterest. Speaking of Pinterest, I have one more picture below from my grade partner. Ya'll she created the most adorable tree for her bulletin board that she saw on Pinterest and I just can't let it go without being seen! 

This idea is especially genius because we will be studying apples soon, and then as we head into fall she can switch out the green leaves for fall colored ones. It is hard to see from the picture but she used scrapbook paper to die cut her letters on, which is something we both LOVE to do. It just adds that little extra touch to make it a teensy bit cuter! 

I hope you're all having a great week!!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Teacher Week- A Little Bit (Ok a LOT Bit!) Late!!

Ok so I don't know about ya'll, but this week just completely got away from me. I literally feel like it should still be Monday- but don't get me wrong, I am NOT complaining about it being the weekend! Between all of our long back to school meetings, Meet the Teacher Night, having my class list changed every single day (how are you supposed to write their names on their supplies?!? My Mr. Clean Magic Eraser came in handy this week a LOT!) and starting school on Wednesday. This week was wonderful but CRAZYYYY! 

Let me start by saying that I have just died and gone to kindergarten heaven this year with my class. Last year I had a wonderful but very challenging class and this year I have a wonderful not-so-challenging class!! My assistant and I decided God must be rewarding us this year for all of the extra extra hard work we had to put in last year and let me tell you, I am perfectly fine with that!!!!

The only complaint I have is that I was too busy this week to participate in Teacher Week through Blog Hoppin'. As I was complaining to my boyfriend about how wonderful Teacher Week is and how I wish I had been able to join in on all the fun he said "Lauren, really?? Who is going to stop you from joining in a little late? If you want to do it that badly- just do it!!!" So here I am! I could write one super long post about everything from the whole week but that would probably take up my whole morning so I will just do the last two days- Therapeutic Thursday and Freebie Friday. 

Therapeutic Thursday!

Between grad school, teaching, and now tutoring after school I am one very busy girl. But as the saying goes, work hard play hard, right?? I definitely make sure that I take some "me" time- even if it is as simple as taking my dog for a walk at a pretty park. This is Freedom Park in Charlotte, which is just a 5 minute drive from my apartment. It is one of my favorite places in Charlotte because it is so pretty! I love taking Tucker for a walk here on weeknights after a stressful day. 

Believe it or not, Freedom Park is walking distance to downtown Charlotte via the Sugar Creek Greenway. We also love to walk on the Sugar Creek Greenway which starts at the park and takes us here in about a 15 minute walk:

For those of you who already know me, I am slightly obsessed with yoga. It is another one of my favorite things to do after a stressful day at school because I have to keep my focus away from school or else I will fall on my butt in front of the whole class while trying to do one of those crazy poses!! I feel so much better after yoga.

I also love getting manicures and pedicures with my friends at our favorite salon on Wednesdays (when they give out free sangria while you get your nails done!), massages at least 2-3 times a year, cooking- especially making my own sushi, and blogging!! 

Freebie Friday!
Because this week is back to school week for many of you and you may want an extra little paper to hand out to your parents to help improve parent communication- I am making my Back to School ABC Pamphlet FREE until midnight tonight!! I am also putting my Year Full of Glyphs packet on sale 20% off! Head over to my TPT store to check them out!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Meet the Teacher Night and Birthday Straws

Is it me or has this week been flying by??? I can't believe it is already Thursday tomorrow! On Monday we had Meet the Teacher Night and I was a little disappointed that I only had 9 of my parents show up. I guess I was a little spoiled last year that I had all of them there. At Meet the Teacher Night I always give the parents a little folder of information that is ONLY kindergarten information (they get a lot of information from the office and I like to keep mine separate in their kindergarten-only folder). In their folder I give them: 
1. Another copy of the list of supplies they need to bring in
2. A copy of our specials schedule
3. A copy of our gradual entry schedule (we do half of the class one day, and the other half the next day. Both of these days are half days and are HEAVENLY!! I could totally get used to teaching a half day kindergarten!)
4. A form for them to fill out on allergies
5. A "Getting to Know Your Child" form where they can tell me things about their child I may need to know- their likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, things they are afraid of, etc.
6. And most importantly- my Back to School ABC's Handout. This is their "cheat sheet" to kindergarten and some of my parents last year kept it all year so they could refer back to it in January if they had forgotten a policy (like what to do for birthdays, field trips, etc).

Here is a picture of the outside cover of one of their folders and a snapshot of the inside:

Also, this has nothing to do with Meet the Teacher Night, but these are the finished products of my birthday straws I will give to my kids:

They turned out a lot better than I expected! I bought the silly straws at Party City, used a Cricut to make the accordion folded circles, a scalloped punch from Michael's for the colored paper on the front and labels from SchoolGirl Style for the middle circles. I spray painted the clay pot and attached a ribbon I already had to the top. I put a few stickers on the pot to spell out "Happy Birthday" and voila! I can't wait for someone to have a birthday so I can start giving them away!! All in all I think the whole project cost me about $15- I was lucky that I already had most of the supplies in my craft basket (which is really two baskets that are overflowing and in desperate need of a third!). They were not hard to do and I was able to knock them all out while sitting on the couch watching a movie. Not too shabby, eh? ;)

Hope you're all having a great week!!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Back to School Linky Party

I stumbled across this Linky Party this morning from Kindergarten Lifestyle and couldn't pass it up! I have been reading other blogs from teachers who have already had the first day and I just can't wait! That'll be me on Wednesday! But until then, I need to focus all of my attention on Meet the Teacher Night which is TOMORROW and I am sooo not ready!! I will get there though and I will definitely post pictures and some of the Back to School documents I give the parents from Meet the Teacher night. But until then... Linky Party! I can't wait to see all of the other posts from this, I feel like there could be a lot of really funny ones!! 

Ok, your turn! Head on over and link up!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hallway Bulletin Board and Linky Party

This week we started back with our BTS meetings and oh my goodness am I excited or what?!?! Getting my class list was like opening a present on Christmas morning. This year I only have 14 little sweeties to start (I've been told to expect a few more that are having issues with getting their paperwork in though). I was excited to see some of the unique names! Every year at the beginning of the year, we start off with the story Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and so I figured I would start off my hallway bulletin board with a Chicka Chicka theme! Here it is:

I hope you're all enjoying the back to school madness as well. On Monday we have our Meet the Teacher Night and I will upload all of the paperwork I give to them in case ya'll want them too. 

Now onto the 5 Things I Miss About Summer Linky Party. This Linky Party is from the Joy of Kindergarten and even though I am excited for school to start back up, I will certainly be missing quite a few things about summer!! 

1. Having the time to go to my morning yoga classes!! I will certainly miss starting the day being healthy by going to yoga with one of my best friends. I would need to start going to class at 5:00 am in order to be back in time to get ready for school and that it just a wee bit too early for me. 

2. Oh my goodness I don't even want to think about what I'm going to do when my little sister goes back to college. The end of my summer means that the end of her summer is just around the corner. This is a picture from a painting class we took together this summer.

3. I have already said this one a few times but I will definitely miss my sweet little pup Tucker!! I signed him up to go to a Doggy Daycare so he will at least be having fun a few days a week while I am at work and not all alone in my apartment- thank goodness!

4. Having the time to read for fun rather than for school or for grad school. I am already looking forward to Thanksgiving break just so I have the time to leisurely read a book (oh, and the fact that we will be going to visit my little sister at college in HAWAII!! Ahh!!)

5. And last but definitely not least, I will miss just RELAXING. This is definitely something I take for granted a little bit about mid way through the summer and I miss big time once the school year starts back up. 

Alright, now it's your turn! Head on over to Joy of Kindergarten to link up!!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Classroom Pics

Well I can't believe it but I am finally almost done getting my classroom put together!! There is still a little left to do, mostly just sorting through a bunch of stickers that were donated to me and organizing them. Anyway, here are the pictures!! 
Ok, you caught me! This first one is not actually of my classroom, it is a 4th grade classroom I saw while attending a workshop. I just love this bulletin board because I have had the song "Call Me Maybe" stuck in my head all summer and this board made me smile :)

This is a view of our carpet area where I hung up the pom poms I bought at Party City. I think I am overdue to update that super old chair. It looks like it has been there since our school opened in the 60s.

This is just a side view of my classroom. It is very unorganized right now but this is where we keep most of our games for centers and some math manipulatives in the red and brown bookshelves.

I am so proud of this! This is something I saw on Pinterest and actually made it! I am the worst about pinning things I think are adorable and then never going back to them. But this time I actually made it!! It is made of two of my file cabinets that I put back to back and then covered with paper and border, then put magnets on it. Later in the year, this can be one of our centers where they spell their sight words using the magnets.

This is our specials classes and special events schedule board. At my school, which is Catholic, we go to mass every other week. My kids are always asking "are we going to mass this week?" We also have some specials that are every other week and they ask about those. Hopefully by keeping this board updated it will keep them informed on what to expect that week. The days of the week are from Mrs. Lemons blog and the specials tags I found on TPT from Little Miss Glamour. Sorry for the blurry picture!

Last but not least, here is the view of my room from the door. Hope you enjoyed seeing the pictures!! 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

TPT Sale!!!

It's time for the back to school sale!!! Everything in my store is 20% off!! Click HERE to enter my store!!  

Head on over to Blog Hoppin to add your link!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Back to School Linky Party!

While blog hopping around I stumbled across this Linky Party from Mrs. Shope's class and thought it was a fun little party for the back to school season!! I'm sure my list will be incredibly long compared to others!

1. Bring in my freshly cleaned carpets to lay on my tile floor- which gets so dirty so fast!
2. Hang up my borders- I am doing double borders this year and am so excited! It is ridiculous how something so small makes me so happy hah
3. Finish cleaning/re-sewing chair pockets
4. Hang up window decorations
5. Organize my hundreds of stickers I have collected over the years- does anyone have a good suggestions for this?? I have soooo many and want to find a good way to keep them separated by theme.
6. Put together parent packets for Meet the Teacher night
7. Prepare pencil pouches
8. Put up my hallway bulletin board. This year I am doing a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom theme that I saw on Pinterest.
9. Finish my first week of planning

Woohoo- That wasn't as bad as I thought! Go ahead and link up and make your own to-do list!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Back in the Classroom!!

I headed into school today to start getting my room all organized because believe it or not, we start back to school meetings on Monday. It is amazing to me that I was there for a few hours, yet my room looks like I hardly got anything done! I will be back in again over the weekend to add some more touches to it. If possible, I would like to be COMPLETELY done with decorating before Monday so all I have to worry about is beginning of the year paperwork and planning from then on out. Once you see the pictures though, you will notice I definitely have my work cut out for me!! It may be time to bring in my mom and sister for a little help!

Here is the before picture of the back of my room. My desk was off to the left, computers on an old ugly table in the middle, and a hodgepodge of colors on the bulletin boards. 

I changed all of the bulletin board paper to blue which will go with my rainbow border theme (from this post). I also got rid of the ugly table and put one of the white ones with the green legs where the computers go. I changed the right back corner into our art center with our easel and one of our art tables. All of the art supplies are  on the shelves back there. I also changed how may desk faces and moved my kidney table to the left for guided reading. I wanted so badly to just get rid of my desk but my principal said I had to keep it because there was no more room in storage :( One of my goals this year is to have a clutter free classroom (or as clutter free as possible) and it would've helped to have that big old hunk of junk out of my room! Oh well... here are the pictures!

Notice my two file cabinets that are back to back on the right side, I can't wait to paint them and hang up cute fabric and border on them like the picture below from Pinterest. One of my many projects for the weekend!

As I was leaving I took one more picture of the whole back of the room. As you can see, I definitely still have my work cut out for me!

I also made a pit stop today at Party City and picked up some of the pre-made pom poms to hang up in my room:

I also picked up this book at Lakeshore that has thematic plans for every week of the year. It had plans and handouts for all of my major units that I teach. It was a little pricey but I think it will be totally worth it!

There will be more pictures to come once I get more of my room finished, I promise!!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Alaska and a Little More Back to School Prep!

You know you are a blog addict when you are on vacation and can't wait to get online and post to your blog!! We did not have very strong internet access on our cruise (and it was SUPER expensive) so I had to wait until we got to our lodge in Talkeetna, Alaska to post and I have been going a little bit crazy! Well first let me tell ya'll that if you have never been to Alaska, you have to come at least once in your life. It is absolutely beautiful and so much of the nature up here is still untouched and unaltered. So without further ado, let me go ahead and share a few pictures!!
 This was the view from our hotel in Vancouver, B.C. where our cruise took off. The floatplanes that you see out in the harbor are EVERYWHERE up here. One of our tour guides joked that the floatplane is Alaska's state bird :) I also thought it was so funny that the building out in the middle of the harbor is a gas station to fill up your boat! I have definitely never seen that before!
This was just a pretty little creek we passed while walking from where our ship docked into Skagway, Alaska. I thought it was pretty and I would share :)

And then this is the beautiful Hubbard Glacier that we woke up to one morning off the side of our ship. I feel so blessed to be able to see a part of God's Earth I've never seen before. I have about three hundred more pictures (literally!) I could post but figured I would spare ya'll the family photos and move on to what's next...

What I've been pinning! Yes, even though I've been on vacation, I've still been pinning... I need to go to Pinterest Anonymous! Anywho, here are some of my favorites:

This is an adorable gift for parents that the kids can make for Open House. It is a pizza box that can hold some of their projects and has their handprints on it. Cheap and adorable? Yes, please!

This one doesn't have much of a picture but it is a great game. Every day there is a "Hundred's Chart Thief" who comes and steals a few numbers from the chart. The other students have to raise their hands to tell which numbers are missing. I can only imagine the excitement over being the "Hundred's Chart Thief"!

Well let me just say an huge THANK YOU to Ms. Pasqua for this post because ya'll, you can buy pre-made pom poms! This just saved me a lot of grief because I am not nearly as crafty as the rest of ya'll!! I have attempted and failed quite a few pom poms and was stressing about how to make these for my classroom. She got them from Party City.

And last but not least, "Fishin for Addition!" I don't think that is actually what the original pinner called it but I thought it was catchy. Your students catch two numbers using a magnet and add them together. So simple yet so fun!