Friday, December 26, 2014

2015 Resolution Linky

I'm teaming up with Second Grade Nest to share my 2015 New Year's Resolutions. Hop on over to her blog to check other Resolutions.

So here are my 2015 Resolutions

For the past 2 years my boyfriend and I have said that we should drive up to Salem to celebrate our anniversary in October. For one reason or another we have never managed to get there. This year I want to book the B&B early so there is no excuse why we can't go.

As a kid I took piano lessons for years. I never really devoted as much time to it as I should have. This year Santa brought me a new Keyboard to play around with. I want to learn a few songs that I can play during Morning Meeting. We sing a lot in my classroom so it will nice to have some accompaniment.

I use to take a Bikram class on Saturday mornings but the cost just became too much. With the money I have been saving from tutoring I should be able to to get a monthly pass.

I'd love to hear some of your resolutions, you can leave them in a comment below. Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Kicking off the Holiday Season.

caring santaWe just finished our Thanksgiving show which means it is time to gear up for the holidays. I just wanted to share something I saw on Facebook last week.

Caring Santa
Simon Malls will be teaming up with Autism Speaks to host Caring Santa.  Special Needs families can make reservations with Santa before the mall opens. This program provides a more subdued environment so that children may enjoy their visit with Santa without the added stress of a crowed mall or long lines.
Check out for times and locations.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

You Oughta Know November

Is it just me or is November a ridiculously busy month? The past two weeks I had Teachers Convention, Report Cards, Parent/Teacher Conferences and my 40 minute unannounced observation. If your November has been anything like mine you may be scrambling for extra time in your schedule. This month I am teaming up with some excellent teacher bloggers to share some classroom advice. To save you some time this November, I complied a list of great books to help celebrate Thanksgiving.

Many of you know that I am obsessed with scholastic. I take advantage of all their great deals and promotions to build my class library. These are some of my favorite Thanksgiving non-fiction books.

  • Sarah Morton's Day
  • Samuel Eaton's Day
  • Tapenum's Day
  • On the Mayflower
  • The Pilgrims' First Thanksgiving

Scholastic also has some really great resources on their website. You can even sign up to receive letters from the New World! Some things were a little too advanced for my Kinder's so I just paraphrased the information. They loved looking at the photos though. Check it out for yourself here.

You can't forget all of the great Thanksgiving read aloud stories. Last year my kids loved Turkey Trouble. They had so much fun creating disguises for their turkeys and then writing a turkey free menu for Thanksgiving.
  • The Littlest Pilgrim
  • Bear Says Thanks
  • T is for Turkey
  • Turkey Trouble
  • The Night Before Thanksgiving
  • Pete the Cat The First Thanksgiving
  • Happy Thanksgiving Biscuit
  • The Great Turkey Race
...and many many more!

I would love to hear about your Thanksgiving favorites. Don't forget to stop by these other fantastic teacher bloggers for more great suggestions.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Celebrating Halloween

Another successful Halloween completed. Getting through Halloween at school can be arduous. The students are so excited that it is difficult to get anything accomplished.  The day is too long to waste just playing games so this year I planned some excellent Halloween related activities that kept the kids engaged and learning.
Sequencing Fun! {Sequencing Activities for 4 Fall Read Alouds}We started out our morning ELA block focusing on the classic Kindergarten Halloween story, The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything.  I found this great packet on TPT.
 The packet includes anchor charts and sequencing activities. First we read the story and used the anchor chart cards to retell the story as we read. I then split the students into two teams. I had each team use real objects to retell the story. Everyone wanted to be the stinky shoe that went Clomp Clomp. The students then went back to their seats and completed the cut and retell worksheet for independent practice. We've been working on retelling guided reading so this fit perfectly.

Then I had the students complete this adorable craft that my coworker found on toddlerapproved. I copied the template on to colored construction paper and had the students cut and sequence the pictures to create the scarecrow. I was surprised at how well they were able to cut the hands. Many of the students actually tried to cut in between each finger!
When everyone was finished we watched this cute youtube video of the story that was turned into a song.  The students love getting up and dancing.
After lunch we invited the parents into to help us with our Pumpkin Investigation. We counted how many ridges were on our pumpkin, we measured the circumference of our pumpkin, we tested to see if it would sink or float. We cut open our pumpkin and counted the seeds by making piles of 10 and then the parents carved the pumpkins into silly faces.
 Before we knew it, it was time to get ready for the Halloween parade and end our day. How did you celebrate this year?  

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Liebster Award

I'd like to thank Little Miss EduGatorkinderdoodlezMy Life at the Pencil Sharpener,  and lisateachr  for nominating me for the Liebster award!!! 

1. Why and how long ago did you start blogging?

I started blogging this past summer. This was the first summer that I wasn't working at a camp or taking classes and I needed something fun to fill my time.

2. What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why? 

Sharing: I love sharing ideas and activities that have worked in my classroom. I also offer Freebies with many of my posts.

 3. Is there something you learned late in your blog journey you wished you knew before?

Google+ can be a great way to network and get your blog noticed.

4. What is your favorite past time other than blogging?

 I love to go hiking. We actually have some pretty decent trails here in Jersey.

5. How many hours per week do you dedicate to your blog? 

Not enough :( I typically spend 2 hours a week networking and promoting but I would like to dedicate more time to creating quality posts.

6. What category of blog posts do you enjoy the most?

I love seeing activities and tips in action. Seeing the inside of other classrooms, it helps inspire my own teaching.

7. Where does your blog inspiration come from? 

I get most of my inspiration from my own classroom. If I find something that works I share it.

8. Of which post that you have written are you most proud?

  I loved sharing my classroom makeover. My family and friends loved seeing it all come together.

9. Is there any post you have been planning to do, but have been postponing it for a while now?

I've been meaning to do a post on sensory activities. I just need to collect some great images to make the post come to life.

10. What is your favorite aspect of blogging?

I love connecting with other educators. I have a great Kindergarten team and we share everything, but it is nice to see what people are doing in other districts and states.

11. Which recipe, project, or idea on my blog would you be most likely to try yourself?  

Little Miss EduGator- I love your Q-Tip Skeletons, they would be perfect for Halloween.
KinderdoodlezI love your First Day of Kindergarten Frame, too cute!
My Life at the Pencil Sharpener- I love your meet the author box! I always kick off writing with Library Mouse, what a cute extension.
LisaTeachR's- I love your post about Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. My Kinders love Moe!!
My Nominees:
To those who have been nominated, here are the "official" rules for accepting:
1. In your post, link back to the blogger who nominated you as a thank you and "shout out." (Follow their blog if you haven't already!)  
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you (the ones I answered above).
3. Nominate 5- 11 blogs of your choice that each have less than 200 followers. Provide them with 11 questions to answer or have them answer the questions above.
4. Let your nominees know that they've been nominated and provide them with a link to your post so that they can accept.
5. Send your nominator a link to your post so that s/he can learn more about you as well! (You can just put your post link in the comments below!) 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Tricks and Treats Blog Hop

Hi everyone,
Is it just me or has this year been whizzing right by? I can't believe we are already in October!! Today I am teaming up with Mrs.Pelmonskindergarten and other teacher bloggers to bring you this Tricks and Treats Blog Hop.

As the title of my blog suggests, I love anchor charts.  I always find such cute anchor charts on
Pintrest, you know the ones I'm thinking of. These anchor charts must be made by some REALLY talented teachers. They  put mine rushed, slanted writing to shame.

Here are a few tips for creating anchor charts that pop....

1) Plan your spacing and arrangement:
I have 13 students so I always figure out how much room I need for each of their responses and leave room for the tile and embellishments.

2) Use bright colored markers to make important text stand out:
I picked up these really cute Scentos smelly markers at the craft store. They make my anchor charts really stand out. Plus the kids have fun guessing what the smell will be.

3)When all else fails, make a computer template:
I have to admit I do not have cute teacher handwriting, its something that I am working on. I will often create my titles or labels in PowerPoint using cute font and fun colors. I've been really attracted to KG Second Chances Font. You can download a free version here, but you have to buy a commercial license if you intend to sell any of your creations.  

Here is an example of a my computer embellished What Writes Write About anchor chart. The day before I presented the lesson I asked the students to brain storm about the topic. I then took their topic ideas and some ideas I had and got to work looking for cute clipart. I found all of these images for free at

You can snag your own copy of my anchor chart here. I love Freebies

I hope these tricks help you create beautiful and and useful anchor charts in your classroom. Now hop on over to see the tricks and treats the others have in store.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fabulous Fall Freinds Giveaway

I am super excited to be featured in Teacher Treasure Hunters Fabulous Fall Friends Giveaway.
I donated one of my fan favorite fall math activities. Head on over Here  register for your chance to win some amazing products.

Building strong number sense is an important component in any primary math program. It is imperative that early learners can identify numerals and quantity, and also represent numbers in different ways. 

My Apple Math Center is a great  fall themed introduction for building number sense.
Last week we celebrated good old Johnny Appleseed by participating in a variety of apple themed learning experiences.  I put these low prep math activity in the earlier finisher tubs. All I had to do was print a few copies, cut, and laminate.

The kids enjoyed using the apples in a memory game. The students worked in pairs taking turns flipping over 2 apple slices. If the quantity and numeral matched the students got to keep the slices, if they didn't match the students turned them over and let their partner try.

Another way we focused on number sense was by using the apple number math mats. The students worked independently and in teams to match the different representation of a number. I introduced this activity first during Guided Math and before putting it out for group work.

Don't forget to enter for your chance to win this and other great prizes. If you can' wait for the raffle you can always snag your own  Here  at my Teacher Pay Teacher Store

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Youtube in the classroom

There are thousands of great resources floating around on YouTube. I know plenty of colleagues who would love to show Khan Academy clips, animated stories, character education videos or silly brain breaks. Some teachers are still apprehensive about using YouTube. We've all heard the horror stories and sometimes the risk isn't worth it. Here are a 2 tips to help make YouTube more classroom friendly.   

Tip #1 Pre-screen
No matter what the content or the source I always watch the videos at home before showing it to my class. I do this to ensure the appropriateness of the content but also the value. I don't have 4 minutes to waste on irrelevant information.

Tip # 2 filter the video through an alternate source. 
Ok so you found the prefect video to explains proper nouns but there is profanity in the comment section, an unrelated suggested video on the side bar or maybe it has an ad that you want to skip. Pintrest is a great way around all of that. I simply pin the video to my "YouTube in the classroom" board and then play the video off of Pintrest. All you see is the video!
Check out my YouTube Pintrest board for more great ideas.

How do you use YouTube in the classroom?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

You Oughta Know Spetember Blog Hop

This month I'm joining up with other bloggers to pass along helpful tips and advice. This month's post focuses on classroom craftivities.

My students love crafts. I use  many different types of educational crafts with my Kindergarteners.  We make seasonal crafts for the bulletin boards, we create book extension crafts that bring stories to life and we even work on math crafts during  guided math. Although these crafts are engaging and purposeful, they can take a lot of prep time.   In the beginning of the year you have to find or make a template, trace the craft onto construction paper,  sometime you have to cut the pieces out or organize them into baggies.  I'm getting tired just thinking about the work.

Last year my wonderful mentor shared a time saving tip with me.... You can Print on Construction Paper!!! This saves so much time. You no longer have to trace all the shapes out before you cut. Just trim the construction paper to the size of  standard computer paper and feed it through your printer. You can also use the bypass tray on your copy machine and feed the whole sheet of construction paper through. This tip has made classroom crafting so much easier.

Ladybug Math CraftTry it for your self by downloading my ladybug math freebie. Click Here

Now take a moment to stop by and see what the others are blogging about.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A New Look

Hey Everyone!
I just have to say I am super excited about my blog makeover. I finally made enough money on TPT to treat myself to a custom blog makeover. I used "Design by Christi" and she was fantastic. She made the whole process really easy. I started by filling out a design questioner to layout my concept. I had previously found various backgrounds and elements that I was interested in incorporating and she worked them in beautifully. Her prices were very reasonable and she had a very quick turnaround time. I highly recommend her if you are in the market for a new look. 

Thanks again Christi!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Classroom Makeover

All of my friends have the cutest classrooms. Everything is organized. Everything is color coordinated. Everything is cute. I would walk into their rooms and think... "why can't my room look this pulled together?".  So I've spent countless hours this summer reading teacher blogs and searching Pintrest for great classroom ideas.

This past week I was allowed to start setting up my room.  It was a very bust week. I was fortunate to have the help of my grandmother and mother, I would have never gotten everything accomplished without them. Here is a look inside my newly designed classroom.

 I spent the summer going to garage sales, Goodwill, and my local library to purchase used book for my classroom library. I was even lucky enough to get a generous donation from my grandmother to purchase some new books though Scholastic. I got these amazing neon bins at the dollar store this summer. They are the perfect size for my leveled reading books.  Each bin contains leveled books for independent reading. I made hanging labels for each bin but I forgot to laminate them. Something to add to my To Do list.

I love making anchor charts with my students but it is hard to find room to display them. I saw on Pintrest that someone used a magnetic curtain rod to display anchor charts. I immediately went to Target and snagged one for my room. Now I can easily change out our focus ideas.  

A few years ago  I made Owl curtains for my classroom. The Owls did not go with my current theme so I went to the fabric store for inspiration.  I found these chevron and polka dot fabrics and knew I had to create something with them. My mom suggested I make pennants to hang over the window. Great idea Mom!!!

Last year the PTO generously bought all the Kindergarten classes these pocket chair covers.  They held up really well. They may be one of the most useful items for a classroom without desks. I've even seen some people using those stretchy book covers a quick alternative.

I am loving this  Free Pencil Banner I found on TPT. It pulls together my whole bulletin board.

I hope you enjoyed this quick tour of my room. I would love to see how others are decorating their room.You can check out more classroom makeovers over at The Primary Gal

Friday, August 15, 2014

DIY Saturday (Classroom Organization)

Hey everyone!

Summer is winding down, some of you may already be back in school.  I'm not allowed back in to my room for set up until the 25th.  I'm wasting no time by organizing at home. A colleague of mine shared this great classroom organizational tip for storing foam craft letters or magnet letters.

All you need is a a bead storage box from your local craft store. I selected the one with 18 fixed compartments.

I labeled each compartment so that the students will know where to find a specific letter. My box only has 18 compartments so some letters have to share. I always tell the students... In Kindergarten Everyone Shares (if only that was true). I have to admit that this was not a fun task. Next time I will turn this job into a center for the students (letter recognition, fine motor).

 My inspiration for this mind numbing task stemmed from my newest back to school product. Click to learn more.
Chicka Chicka Name Craft
To save time I put all of the craft pieces and letters the students would need into individual zippy bags. These will look great with my newest back to school welcome poster...

Saturday, August 9, 2014

You Oughta Know... August Blog Hop

 Hey everyone!

This week I am taking a break from DIY Saturdays to join other amazing bloggers in this August's You Oughta Know Blog Hop. With school right around the corner I am going to focus on Parent Teacher Conferences.

Finding the right words for Parent Teacher conferences and Report Card comments can be challenging and time consuming. You have to make sure that your phrases convey the right attitude, they need to be unbiased and sincere. You shouldn't say the same thing about multiple students and you have to remember what you said each time. Here is how I  plan and organize  for my conferences. Click the link below to grab your  own editable copy for free. Glow and Grow Template

I start out by using this Grow and Glow conference sheet. I use the top portion to record grades and  general remarks (exceeds expectation,  good, doing well, needs improvement...) I use my grade book and student artifacts to complete this portion of the sheet. When speaking with parents you have to be accurate. Some parents may challenge what you say and it helps to have student artifacts to back you up. While I am organizing this  section I use a sticky note to jot down any impressions or thoughts for the comments. This will make filling out the  bottom section of the template easier.

Next, I begin drafting my comments for the bottom part of the sheet. In this space I focus on areas of strength and ways to improve. I typically aim for 2 comments in the glow sections and 3 in the grow section. I use a variety of resources to make comment writing easier. I picked this book up at my local book store and I can't say enough about it. There are perfectly drafted sentences for all many different areas of concern.  The book also provides many useful positive comments for students who are doing just fine. I would highly recommend picking it up if you have a chance. Scholastic also provides teachers with sample report card comments on their website. 101 Report Card Comments

I hope this helps make conferences time a little easier. Don't forget to checkout more great tips from the bloggers below.

for stopping by!