Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Oh My Goodness...and Some Random Freebies

It's official. My plate full.  No, I passed full 2 weeks ago.  In fact, I can't even find the plate. Literally!  The end of the first quarter with report card assessment and grades converged with closing on a house, packing and moving.  I feel totally disorganized in all areas of my life.

The past few weeks at school, amidst the chaos, we spent time studying owls and bats.  We did tons or reading, writing, and math activities related to both, but do you think I have found the box with my camera cord yet?  Oh no.  So for now, here are two labeling activities that we did with owls and bats.

Next up, we are studying Native Americans in preparation for our Native American Program which will be held the week before Thanksgiving. Pin It

Sunday, October 9, 2011

KMP Doodles!

Just had to share this one really quick...

Kristen at Ladybug's Teacher Files is having a giveaway!
Ladybug's Teacher Files
The winner will receive 2 clipart sets from KPM Doodles.  

That is exciting enough, but when I hopped over to check out what was new KPM Doodles Etsy shop, I discovered that she is having a Columbus Day sale!  Everything is discounted, and if you buy 2 sets, you get one free, buy 4 and you get 2 free, and so on!  I couldn't resist, and I thought you might want to take advantage too!

So head over to Ladybug's Teacher Files and enter the giveaway and then head over to KPM Doodles for some great deals on some adorable clipart! Pin It

Pumpkin Investigations

We're headed to the pumpkin farm tomorrow!  At the end of our trip, each student will get to pick out a pumpkin to bring home.

When we return to our classroom we will measure the height, weight, and circumference of our pumpkins using this investigation sheet, some cubes, links, and my tired old bathroom scale.

Click the picture to grab a copy from Google docs.

This week we are also going to continue our pumpkin investigations by reading 
We will be opening up a pumpkin, labeling the parts, and counting seeds.  Then, it's into the giant plastic barrel (sealed with an excessive amount of duck tape) to watch Jack decompose.  The kids will observe Jack's changes and record their observations weekly.

I'll be back later in the week with more pictures (and printables) from our adventures this week.

I love fall!

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Muffins with Moms and Donuts with Dads

I know lots of classrooms do Muffins with Moms around Mother's Day, but I have decided to make it a monthly event in our classroom.  The first Friday of every month we will alternate between Muffins with Moms and Donuts with Dads.  

Today was our first Muffins with Moms, and I was amazed by the turn out!  We had 15 moms join us, which is an amazing turn out (almost twice as many as Open House)!

On Thursday we made pumpkin muffins to serve our moms!  We also made simple invitations by folding a piece of construction paper in half.  Students filled in the information on the invitation, addressed and signed it and glued it inside.  They colored their muffin and glued that half of their page on the outside.  Simple, but cute!

Our community liaison and kindergarten ESL teacher joined us to assist with translation.  After the kids served muffins and juice to their moms, they selected a favorite book for their mom to read to them.  We read the big book, It's Pumpkin Time!
 and the students sequenced how a pumpkin grows
(found here) with their moms!  
It was a great ending to our week!
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Fall Patterning Cards

I love this time of year!  I went to Michael's tonight to pick up some oil pastels and found some metallic fall table confetti.  It looks like the confetti below, except there aren't any yellow leaves. For $1.29 a package I knew we had to have some for our classroom.
Maple Leaves Table Confetti - 80pk

I created some patterning cards and a recording sheet for math work stations this week.  I am going to have the kids use the confetti to duplicate and complete the patterns, but I created some printable leaves that could be used instead.

We have lots of fabulous fall learning this week and next!  I will try to remember to take pictures!  Next week we head to the pumpkin farm!
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Versatile Blogger!

Wow!  Thank you to Barbara from The Corner on Character

The Corner On Character

for nominating me for The Versitile Blogger Award.
I am humbled, and slightly embarrassed, as I see all of the other amazing, talented, creative bloggers out there who have received this award!  I am feeling like a bit of a slacker.  I started my little blog during the lazy days of late summer, but when I started back for professional development, my blogging fell by the wayside.  I guess I really need to get in gear!

7 Things About Me:
  • I first met my husband in middle school (it was junior high back then).  We have been married for 17 years, and we have an amazing son in middle school and 7 year old fraternal twins.
  • I live for basketball, and I wish the NBA would get it together already!
  • Before I began teaching, I worked with adults and children with developmental disabilities.
  • Baking is a hobby that feeds my serious carb addiction and gives me something tasty to go with all the coffee I drink.
  • I am learning to play the guitar, even though I am not the slightest bit musical.
  • I have always wanted to travel to all 50 states.  I am no where close to achieving this goal, but I hope to do some serious traveling next summer.
  • Books are the most comforting thing in the world, and despite my love of technology, I just can't bring myself to get a reader.  
Now, on to the nominations!  SO many wonderful bloggers have already had The Versatile Blogger award bestowed upon them, and there are SO many more that it is difficult to nominate just seven, but here are my nominations (in no particular order):

I hope that you'll check them out! I am always inspired by these versatile bloggers!

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

TAP - No, Not Dancing, Or Maybe It Is?


Our district, and specifically 12 of our Title I schools, started year 1 of the TAP program in our schools this fall. 

At this point, I am excited for the opportunity to refine my craft, and I am especially excited to see the changes within our building.  Since we are just beginning, most of our professional development has centered around the TAP rubric and implementation of the program. I plan on periodically posting about my experiences with TAP, and documenting the journey of my students, and our building as a whole.  

I know performance pay can be a controversial subject, but
I'm curious to know if there are others out there in blogland that are teaching at a TAP school.  If so, how many years are you into the program, and what has been your experience? Pin It

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

You Spin Me Right Round, Baby Right Round!

When I broke out the spinners again this week, this is the tune that a group of my girls serenaded me with (and continued to sing throughout their work stations)!

My kids have an obsession with spinners, so I am capitalizing on it big time!  I want to share a great resource I found online for making your own printable spinners.

Here is a screen shot of one I created to use with our sight words.  
(Click on the picture to go to the website.)

But wait, it gets better!  One of my all time favorite teacher purchases was this set of overhead spinners from Learning Resources.  I bought a package of 5 spinners for $5 almost 4 years ago at my local teacher supply store, and they have held up amazingly well.
I must confess, I have never actually used them on an overhead.  Instead, I laminate spinners I have made and then tape them underneath.  The spinners can quickly and easily be changed out, and no more dealing with pencils and paperclips!  And that, my friends, is worth a whole lot, especially at this point in the year!
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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Jumbo Pattern Blocks and a Freebie!

It has been so long since I have posted anything.  I am realizing that I really have to get blogging into my weekly schedule, or if just doesn't happen!  The beginning of the year exhaustion is slowly wearing off - notice I said wearing off, not totally gone!  

As I was blog stalking in my sleep deprived stupor last night I saw this great photo
on Mrs. Huff's Kinderblog.  I instantly thought how my kids would love jumbo pattern blocks!  There is just something intriguing about anything that is either teeny tiny or jumbo sized.

I knew that I had to make some for my kids.  After a bit of mathematical calculation and a gyration or two, here they are!

The kids absolutely loved them! Most of my kids can fill in a blank outline, and this will be a great transition into tangrams.  Sorry, the photos aren't great. I think I must have had my camera on a close-up setting, but you get the idea.

You can grab your copy below!   I printed mine on colored cardstock, rather than burning through a ton of ink, cut them out and laminated them, but there is a color version also.

Thanks, Mrs. Huff , for the inspiration!

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Saturday, August 6, 2011

One of My Favorite Technology Blogs

I wanted to share an amazing blog that is one of my go to blogs for all things technology related!


I'm sure many of you already follow Erin, but, if not, you must pay here a visit.  I am currently a kindergarten teacher, but I am also a member of our building's 21st Century Technology team for our district.  This means that I need to have amazing ideas, tips, and ways to integrate and embed technology in a variety of grade levels!  

Kleinspiration has been the inspiration for many new things I have tried in my classroom, as well as things that I will be sharing with our tech team to introduce to our staff throughout the upcoming school year.
I love that her blog is full of amazing resources, but it also focuses on the purposeful embedding of technology, which is really what it's all about!

You must go visit her blog,
and while you're there be sure to sign up for her Target gift card giveaway!

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Rockin' Giveaway

How would you like to win this for your classroom?

Hop on over to 
to find out how to enter this giveaway, and check out some of her amazing reviews while you're there!
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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Embedding Google Docs with the New Version

Ok, let me first say, that I do not profess to be a blog or tech expert, but I can usually figure things out.  I originally learned how to embed a Google document into my posts from Kristen at Ladybug Teacher Files.  Her amazing tutorial taught me how to embed files using the old version of Google docs.

Our friends at Google have since completely done away with the old version.  No matter how many tutorials I read/watched or how many times I tried to make it work with the new Google docs, it just wouldn't.  I was trying to post the activities that went with the Christmas in July Picture Book Exchange (this post), and I couldn't let it go.  

I know lots of people are using Scribd now rather than fight with Google docs, but I just didn't want to mess with setting up one more thing :)  So I decided to do trial and error with the HTML code that the old version of Google docs generated for me in the past, and I believe I have a bit of code that may be helpful to others.

Here's my humble attempt at sharing, via a tutorial, the process I used.

Obviously, start your post, and then switch over to the "Edit HTML" tab.  Copy and paste this code into your post. I leave the highlighted portions for now.

<iframe frameborder="0" height="560px" src=";pid=explorer&amp;chrome=false&amp;embedded=true&amp;srcid=A PORTION OF YOUR GOOGLE LINK GOES HERE&amp;hl=en_US" width="100%"></iframe>

In a new tab, open up your Google docs, and check the box next to the document you want to embed.  This will bring up the properties of the document on the right sidebar.

Next, click on the "Settings" link in the Sharing section on the right sidebar.

It will bring up this box:
If you have not already defined the sharing for the document, click "Change" and select either "Anyone who has the link can view" or "Public on the web."  You must choose one of these options to be able to embed the document.

The link you need will be highlighted at the top of the box. Copy this link, and back to Blogger we go!

Paste this link underneath the copied HTML code, so it looks like this

<iframe frameborder="0" height="560px" src=";pid=explorer&amp;chrome=false&amp;embedded=true&amp;srcid=A PORTION OF YOUR GOOGLE LINK HERE&amp;hl=en_US" width="100%"></iframe>

The section highlighted in yellow is what needs to be copied from Google generated link, and pasted into the highlighted section of the HTML code provided.  If needed, you can also adjust the height in the first line of code, highlighted in green. 560 works nicely for landscape documents, and roughly 675 work nicely for landscape.

Click on the "Compose" tab at the top of your post to see how the embedded document looks, and make any height adjustments necessary.

Clear as mud?  I hope this is helpful to those struggling to embed Google docs with the new version!  Pin It

Monday, August 1, 2011

Christmas in July Picture Book Exchange

Christmas in July Picture Book Exchange 
Linky Party

I was so excited to participate in this festive exchange organized by Randee at How About Them Apples?, Jackie at Here We Go Loopty Loo, and Nicole at First Grade O.W.L.s!

My partner was Amy, a kindergarten teacher in South Carolina.  

Amy sent me "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!" by Mo Willems

and some fabulous activities to go with the book including: thinking maps, writing prompts and cute pigeon writing paper, a directed drawing lesson, and so much more!  I can't wait to use these activities this fall when we start our Mo Willems author study! 

I LOVE MO WILLEMS! I had this picture book in my classroom, but it apparently met it's maker sometime during the last week of school :(  It was on my list of books to replace this summer, but I hadn't yet.  SO perfect!  And what makes it even more perfect than the fact that it's Mo Willems, you ask?

Look what I found at Target this last week! (more about my latest Target finds coming soon)
(on clearance for $6.48! Yea!)

It was meant to be!  Thanks Amy for a fabulous Christmas in July gift!

And because the giving is so much more important than getting...

I sent Amy "Splash!" by Ann Jonas.
This is one of my favorite picture books to use in math lessons.  Early in the year we use it to practice listening, counting, 1 to 1 correspondence, and oral number stories.  As the year goes on it is a natural book for addition, subtraction, and writing number sentences.

Here are the activities that I sent to Amy to go along with the book:

Small manipulatives to use with the story ( I have used them in small group math and as a follow up activity after the listening center).

Large version of manipulatives (I use mine with magnets on the whiteboard).

Number Story pages with 4 different levels, depending on the time of year or the needs of your students.

Head on over to 
How About Them Apples?
to see all of the fabulous picture books that were exchanged and their corresponding activities!

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Playdough Fun!

I love playdough, but I don't love to pay for Play-doh.  I'm always on the look out for ways to vary the playdough fun.  I also like to make playdough frequently, because let's face it homemade playdough + lots of little hands = petri dish for all sorts of things!

I found a new recipe for playdough that used crayons for the colorant! (found here) My first batch didn't go so well, and it seemed like it was taking way too long (maybe I'm just impatient), so I made a few modifications and I absolutely love it!  The crayons make the colors so vibrant!

Crayon Playdough Recipe
1 cup of flour
1/2 cup of salt
4 heaping teaspoons of Cream of Tartar
1-1/2 Tablespoons of oil
1 cup of warm water
1 teaspoon of vanilla, almond extract, or whatever scent you would like
  1. Mix flour, salt, and cream of tartar together well in a bowl.
  2. In large saucepan, heat oil and one broken crayon over medium heat until crayon is melted.
  3. Pour dry ingredients into oil, leaving the heat on.  Blend with a whisk until it is all mixed and resembles cornmeal.
  4. Pour warm water and vanilla into the saucepan and stir until it forms a ball and pulls away from the pan.
  5. Remove from pan and knead for 3-4 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!
I plan to put it to the test over the next two weeks at Jumpstart!
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Who Doesn't Love a New Pair of Shoes?

Who doesn't love a new pair of shoes?  Especially new school shoes!  Mrs. Tabb at 
First Grade Awesomeness

has created a fabulous mini unit all about shoes!

Perfect for back to school!  So head on over and visit Mrs. Tabb and check out her mini unit!
Makes me want to go shoe shopping!
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Monday, July 11, 2011

Target Here I Come! (again)

How exciting to take a break from some standards alignment and check a few blogs, only to find that I won a Target gift card from Spotlight on Kindergarten!
Thank you Mrs. S!

Spotlight on Kindergarten

I can't wait to go shopping and come back and share all my finds! 
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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fall Read Alouds - Linking up with Mrs. Parker

Mrs. Parker is hosting a Read Alouds for Fall Linky Party!


Here are some of the books I plan on using:

Starting School:

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg   Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten (Miss Bindergarten Books) by Joseph Slate  The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn 
Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes  Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes    The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

Kindergarten Rocks! by Katie Davis  Amelia Bedelia's First Day of School 


Me First (Sandpiper paperbacks) by Helen Lester  Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell  It's Hard to Be Five: Learning How to Work My Control Panel by Jamie Lee Curtis

The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill  Enemy Pie (Reading Rainbow book) by Derek Munson  Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni

Content Related Back to School:

This Is The Way We Go To School (Blue Ribbon Book) by Edith Baer  Panda Kindergarten by Joanne Ryder  Follow the Line to School by Laura Ljungkvist 


Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems  Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity by Mo Willems  Miss Smith's Incredible Storybook

It makes me want to go read a few good picture books! Pin It
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