Kindergarten is Sweet Gift Idea

I am SO excited about how my beginning of the year gifts turned out!

 On Meet the Teacher Night I always like to have a little something to send my new Kinderbabies home with. My classroom is circus themed, so I have been racking my brain to think of something cute and circus related to give.  If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I recently joined Sam's Club and I am a little obsessed with it! : ) While shopping the other day, I came across this:

 (Don't mind the nutritional information hehe...)
 A pack of 8 cotton candy tubs was a little under $6, so I loaded up my cart and started my project! 

First, I used my Cricut Expression 2 Machine to cut out lots of different colored "flower" shapes. If you have the Cricut Expression 2, the "flower" shape is included on the machine under essentials. I made them 5 inches. I'm sure you could find a similar shape on a die-cut machine.

Then I made my little message on the computer. I used a circle that was 3.5 inches so it would fit right in the middle of the "flower." 

Next, I put it all together! I used tulle to tie a big bow around each tub and attached the label with a little bit of hot glue.

I just love them and I can't wait to hand them out to my new sweeties at Meet the Teacher Night. Not to mention it feels so good to have them done with a little less than a month to spare!

Have a fabulous last weekend in July...yikes!

Five for Friday July 25

I'm sort of in a panic that this is the last Friday in July. Because do you know what comes after July? AUGUST! And what happens in August? BACK TO SCHOOL!
I am actually ready to start getting back in the swing of things, but I already feel like I have a million things to do to be ready! AHHHHHH! 

Today I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. 

 I found these precious little pennants to hang in the hallway with my Meet the Author's board. I can't wait to get it up! 

 I spent a few days this week helping a friend move to a new classroom at a new school. The lady who left her room left so much junk so many treasures, it was unbelievable! Lucky for me, this lady had a pretty extensive googly eye collection. So I have been sorting googly eyes today! 

 Tonight Hubby and I are going on a date. One of my sweet student's families gave me a very generous gift certificate to the yummiest fanciest restaurant in town. I have been saving it all summer for the perfect occasion and tonight is the night! This is the envelope it came in. I was afraid that if I posted a picture of the gift certificate you might crash our date night ; P

 Usually I avoid Walmart at all costs, because it is so CROWDED all the time! However, I make an exception for Back to School shopping. I love the teacher rebate program that is going on right now! I won't tell you how much I spent : / Since I am getting 10% back I feel like it was justifiable : ) Back me up!

As if Miss Lexi wasn't spoiled enough, she is getting presents! One of my favorite coworkers brought this over today. Look how precious the bag is! : ) Lexi is already loving the toys that were inside!

I am DYING to show yall what I worked on all afternoon. I can't wait to share it with yall first thing tomorrow morning! 
Happy Friday!

Setting Up Reading Notebooks

This has been a blog post in the making for weeks now! I am so excited to share one of my favorite things in my classroom! 

One of the teaching/organizing/communication tools I use is a Reading Notebook. This school year I decided to revamp my Reading Notebook and create a corresponding product on Teachers Pay Teachers.  When I started teaching at my school, everyone was already using a Reading Notebook. I just sort of redid everything and made it my own! 

What is a Reading Notebook you ask? Let me show you!

Each child has a one inch binder that we turn into a Reading Notebook. They bring their Reading Notebook to their reading group everyday and it also goes home. I use the Reading Notebook as a teaching tool, but it also serves as "homework" and a resource for parents.

 Here is what I include in my Reading Notebook:

The Reading Notebook has been so successful for me because it corresponds to what I am teaching in the classroom. I created the Reading Notebook Essentials to put all of my Reading Notebook resources in one place. Here is what is included in the product:
  • Alphabet Chart
  • Blends Chart
  • Digraphs and Vowel Sounds
  • Sneaky E and Bossy R Phonics Reference Pages
  • Reading Strategies
  • Student (black and white) Alphabet and Blends flashcards
  • Large (color) teacher flashcards
  • A Reading Notebook Cover and binder spine label
  • Large (color) teacher reading strategies posters

I just love that everything corresponds and goes together to help form those connections in little kindergarten brains! : ) Please let me know if you have any questions or if anything is unclear. This is one of those things that I get so excited to share that I'm afraid I don't make sense! If you would like to purchase everything you need for Reading Notebooks, click HERE.


Teacher School Supply Storage

I have officially started hoarding school supplies for the 2014- 2015 school year. I just get a thrill out of having new markers, pens, highlighters, scissors, colored pencils and post its for the school year. I guess I could be addicted to worse things ; ) Here is some of the damage:

I like to have all of the school supplies I need in my teacher bag. I always have my teacher bag with me, so that means I always have any other supplies I might need too. I have been on the hunt for a supply bag to put all of my wonderful new school supplies in. When this jumped out in front of me...

I freaked out when I found this mustache cat lunchbox at Target!! Isn't it the most precious thing you have ever seen? I just HAD TO HAVE it. Then it dawned on me! This would be the perfect thing to store all of my teacher supplies in! Then I could just keep it in my teacher bag!

Everything fits perfectly and it's all in one zipped up spot! AND I get to show off my precious lunchbox of school supplies. Meow : ) 

And the Winner is...

I am so excited to announce the winner of the GIVEAWAY...


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations Anne! I will be in touch with you about your prizes. Thanks so much to everyone who entered!

This weekend I had a garage sale at my house, so I am off to recover! 

Here is a sneak peak at tomorrow's post...

Meow : )

GIVEAWAY TIME: Book Bins and More

Happy Friday! 

I am so excited today to give away one of my favorite things! I confess that I am a book hoarder. Aren't we all? At the beginning of the summer I MADE myself clean out and reorganize a little bit. I organize all of my teacher books using book bins. I label each bin to correspond with exactly what I am teaching that week. My kindergarten team sits down together in May and we plan for the next year. Thanks so my sweet team mate Katie for typing it up! Here is what it looks like:

Then I make the book bin labels to correspond with the theme for the week. I know that theme is a bad word in some school districts, but it's really just a way to tie everything together and keep it fun and engaging for the kids. At Christmas we are going to read Christmas books and in October we are going to learn about pumpkins all while still hitting our standards, end of story : )

 Please notice the random sticker on each book bin. We try to teach the letters of the alphabet in the order that Saxon phonics teaches. However, sometimes we will change the order for one reason or another. So I write the letters of the alphabet on a sticker and then put it on the corresponding bin. It makes it really easy to change year to year if I need to. 

Now look at the picture above very closely. Can you tell the difference between the book bins? The one on the left is the amazingly giant book bin by Steps to Literacy. Eventually, I hope to completely convert and only have these book bins. I love them because they can hold nice big hardback books and are super durable. They can even hold binders! 

These book bins also come in both primary and bright colors. I just love them and I can't imagine organizing my books without them. They are the best book bin that I have ever come across.

And now for the giveaway! 
One lucky winner will receive a set of 8 different colored big book bins from Steps to Literacy and I wanted you to have something new to go in your bins so I threw in a $10 Amazon gift card! : ) 

The giveaway starts NOW and ends on Friday, July 18. I will announce the winner by Saturday, July 19! Just enter below using the Rafflecopter. Notice you get even more points for liking me on Facebook and following me on Blog Lovin! : )

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Meet the Authors Hallway Display

First of all, check out my new blog design! I am so excited! Kassie at Designs by Kassie is amazing and wonderful to work with if you are in the market for a new look! : )

I can't believe I haven't  shared my Meet the Authors hallway display yet! This was one of my new ideas from the past school year. 

At the beginning of the year (and the entire year) I really stress who an author is and who an illustrator is. I feel like a robot: 

Me: Eric Litwin wrote the words in this story so he is the...
Me: James Dean made the pictures for the story so he is the...
And Lord have mercy if the same person is the author AND the illustrator! 

(Anyone know what book I'm referring to..) 

I really like it when books have a picture of the author and/or illustrator with a tiny bio.  It helps the kids make connections and see that these people are real. I can usually find a kid friendly author biography online too!

Once we understand who an author is and who an illustrator is, then we realize that we are authors and illustrators too! One of the funnest parts of being an author or an illustrator is sharing your work! I love my Meet the Authors display for a few different reasons:
1. It stays up the entire year and work can be easily switched out.
2. Each child has their own place to display work with their picture and biography. It really creates ownership of their work! 
3. I still have room around it (and underneath it) to display interactive writing and other work. 
4. It's bright and fun! 

This is my Meet the Author's display at Meet the Teacher Night.  I used 12x12 pieces of scrapbook paper (from the primary colors pack at Hobby Lobby) and hot glued a clothespin with a circus graphic on top. My classroom is circus themed! Above each clothespin is where the student's biography goes.

These are my clips in action with some beginning of the year writing. At the beginning of the year I typically hang up their writing, but as they year goes on, they will go into the hallway and hang it up themselves. I think I only had to replace about 3 or 4 clothespins the entire year. Which if you ask me, is pretty good! 

Now on to the "meeting" the author's part. I asked each of the students a few different questions to make their biography. Here is the little form that I used...

Then I typed up their answers into a little paragraph and added a picture of them. Here are a few of them minus the kid's name...

Texas Tech! A child after my own heart...

 Mark my words, this child will grow up to be the next Beyonce!

Yes you read that correctly, "When I grow up I want to be an OBGYN." This is one of my favorite teaching stories. I was going through the questionnaire above...

Me: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Him: An obeegee
Me: A what?
Him: An obeegee
Me: (I'm trying to think of some like transformer character or super hero or something called obeegee)
Him: Don't you know, an OBG short for OBGYN.

HAHAHA! I can't even type that without cracking up! This sweet boy also is planning on being the valedictorian so that he can use the college money his parents saved to buy a new car and beer. This child kills me! : )

ANYWAYS, you can see how much fun this is to have displayed in the hallway. 

Here is a picture of everything put together at Christmas! 

I am planning on using my Meet the Authors display again this school year! I am going to redo the "Meet the Authors" title at the top with huge letters out of my Cricut and make it go across the top rather than stacking the words. I can't wait to share pictures when it's complete! : ) I love showing off my little authors and illustrators. 

How do you display student work? 

I have a FUN giveaway planned for FRIDAY. Go ahead and get a head start by liking me on Facebook! : )