Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Year in Review... My Favorites

I was just thinking about all the things I did in 2011, and realized that I have been blogging for exactly one year now. My how time flies! Here are some of my favorites from the year:

These question words have served my kids well.

The Quiz Me Can
This was a popular one that I still enjoy using with my high readers.

 I opened my Teachers Pay Teachers and Teachers Notebook stores.

My kids did an awesome job on our animal research project.

I organized my teacher library.

I created summer writing notebooks for my students.

That led me to create my LINK Math Workshop Plans. (Which is my favorite thing to teach in my classroom now!)

I was moved to teach Kindergarten. Now that the beginning of school has passed, I can happily say that I am loving my job teaching kinder! (Apparently, I need to take more classroom photos since the room actually has tables now!)

I found a new way to organize my Listening Center.


We ended the year with some cute Christmas activities.

Phew! This has been quite a year. As I look back on the end of the year, I realize that the stress of changing grade levels caused me to severely lack in writing blog posts. I haven't even created anything for TPT in months! For next year, I plan to take more time to post about the things going on in my kindergarten classroom and to create more things I can share.

I hope you had a wonderful 2011. Happy new year!


Comparing Numbers with Name Snowmen!

Have you seen the idea of Name Snowmen floating around Pinterest? I loved the idea and decided to integrate it in our math unit on comparing numbers. Each child made a name snowman, pasted it to our snowy scene, and then counted the circles so we could easily compare. Then, with a math partner, they wrote sentences that compared two of the snowmen. I love using these speech bubbles that I made with my Cricut machine. I laminated them so we could use them again and again to make talking graphs.


Friday, December 30, 2011

The Polar Express

Do you read The Polar Express with your students? We do, and it's a lot of fun. Our principal reads The Polar Express to a class of kindergartners, then later (right before dismissal) she comes bounding through the door with an icy cold package (thanks to the freezer) straight from the North Pole. It contains a letter from Santa and bells for each of the students. Such a fun Christmas activity!


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Need ideas or motivation?

If you do, this is a great post for you. If you are looking for holiday related teaching ideas, check out the Holiday Learning eBook from we teach. It has over 30 ideas packed into this free download, and I was one of the contributors. Check it out by clicking the button below:

we teach holiday learning eBook

If you need a little motivation as we get ready to go back to school, you may want to read an article I wrote for Teacher 2 Teacher. It is about what it means to be a teacher (mine is the 2nd article listed). If you check it out, let me know what you think!


Better Late...

than never! Sorry I haven't found a time to post about what we did for the holidays in my classroom until now. Here is a quick summary:

We created Christmas Countdown Bells.

For a parent gift, we made 5 Little Snowmen Ornaments. I painted the kids hands with acrylic paint, they grabbed the ornament, we hung it to dry, and then I decorated them. Pretty cute, huh?

My favorite is the reindeer that the kindergarten team at my school does every year. We give the kids a tracer for the antlers and face, and the rest is up to them. To create the face, we give them a circle tracer with a slit in it. They cut down the slit and overlap the paper to create the cone-shaped face. Later, we created a Santa as a class to complete our hallway display.

I hope you enjoy the last few days of our break!


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Free Online Digital Library

I just came across something that you have got to check out. It is a site called We Give Books. Created by the Penguin Group and Pearson Foundation, their goal is to put books in the hands of children who don't have them by reading them on the internet. In doing this, they help some of the best literacy organizations in the world by spreading the word about their great work. In my opinion, the best part is that after you read a book with your class, you can click "Give a Book". By clicking this button, the organization will donate a book to someone who needs it. You can also choose certain initiatives to support.

I have set up an account and already found a book I want to read for a social studies lesson. We are going to look at how technology has changed in the home. I plan to read Goodnight Moon with them, and then compare it to the new online book Goodnight iPad.

Here is a look at the books I found in about 10 minutes and have saved in my library:

Go check it out! They say that they add new books every month. I can't wait to see what's next!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

25 Days of Christmas

I am one of the Teaching Blog Addict authors participating in 25 Days of Christmas. I want to share with you a recipe that has become a tradition in my family. Every Christmas morning, my brother and I would wake up to the smell of my mom's fabulous (and EASY to make) Monkey Bread. Now, I make it every Christmas morning for my husband and myself. There are lots of recipes floating around on Pinterest and the Web for Monkey Bread, but this one is simple and easy. She did not come up with the recipe, but it is a great one! Click the image below and right click to save. Enjoy!

If you enjoy this recipe, I'd love for you to show your appreciation by voting for me. I have a grant application on We Are Teachers, and the person with the most votes wins an iPad2, an iPod Touch, and $100 for their classroom. 2nd-5th place get an iPod Touch and $100. In the last few days, my competitors have shot up about 1,000-1,200 in votes which seems a little fishy to me... just sayin'... With every valid email you have, you can vote. The best part is, if you vote for me, you can drop me a line here and be entered into my giveaway!
Thanks in advance for your support!


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cyber Monday Sale

I am throwing a sale on Teachers Pay Teachers this Monday through Thursday for 20% off. Combine it with the coupon code CMS28 for an additional 10% off! Click the link on my sidebar to check out my products.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Money for Your Classroom... and a Quick Giveaway

Have you heard of We Are Teachers? One of my colleagues introduced me to this website. It is a great place to find ideas to use in your classroom or to apply for grants by answering a question that a company asks. You can get things like iPads, laptops, cash, etc. for your classroom simply by submitting an idea and asking people to vote for you. Check it out!

Also, if you have just on minute (that is literally the amount of time it takes) I would appreciate your vote for me. I posted an idea here. My class could win an iPad2, an iPod touch, and $100 for supplies if we get the most votes. All you have to do is click this link, enter your name and email (just so they know you haven't voted already) and voila!

I would love to give out something free from my Teachers Pay Teachers store if you vote. In fact, if you vote, leave a comment with your email so you can be entered in the giveaway. I'll pick 5 people to pick something out of my Teachers Pay Teachers store on December 3rd.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

AWESOME behavior incentive...

Some of you may have heard about this recently, but this weekend I discovered Class Dojo. Class dojo is an online program that you can use to give or take away points from your students based on behaviors. It is a free program that you upload your list of students too. Then, you can set what behaviors you would want to give points for, or take points away for.This week, I have had it pulled up on my projector, and when I see some students who got to work right away, I either go to my computer and click on their names or use my iPhone as a remote to give them points. It makes a ding when someone gets a point, and it makes a doink when someone loses a point. I really needed something to help my kids' behavior through the holidays, and this seems to be just what I needed! You can set it up tonight and try it tomorrow, it's that easy. Check out my screenshots below to get an idea of what the program is like.

Here is a pretend class I made:

Here are the things I give points for:

Here are the things I take away points for: 

You may be wondering what you do with the points... well at first I thought I would let the boy and girl who had the most points get to choose centers first the next day, but then I thought that was too much to keep up with. Instead, I give the boy and girl with the most points at the middle of the day and then again at the end of the day a starbuck. Starbucks are like dollars that they can spend at our school Starbuck Store. No... not a coffee store, but it's called the Starbuck Store because our mascot is the Star. I do think it's important to reset the points after the middle of the day so that the student who didn't have the best morning could have a much better afternoon.

Let me know if you use it... I'd love to hear how it goes!