Cyber Monday TpT SALE!!

My store will be 20% off from Cyber Monday through Tuesday.
I hope you'll take a peek...
Be sure to use the promo code CMS28 for an additional 10% off on Monday.
Thanks so much!!
Karen :o)

FABULOUS 50th Day of School!

Friday was our FABULOUS 50th day of school... and we celebrated in 1950's style!  Of course, we dressed up in our best 50's gear and danced whenever we had a chance.  

 Some of the kids' favorites were:
  • making ice cream floats and sequencing the directions (made with vanilla ice cream and choice of root beer or orange soda)
  • making cotton ball poodles (with 50 cotton balls each!)
  • making our own records (Cut a black 10" square TLC style and either a lt. blue or pink 5" square for the label.  Then we draw concentric circles with a white crayon. Add a photo of the 1950's dressed class on the label... "Our Greatest Hits!").  I love this for our "guys" and "gals" photos!  
  • tasting hamburger sliders
  • doing a past and present sort
  • counting to 50 by 1's and tracing the numbers and tallying too
  • counting to 50 by 5's (and slapping hands with a partner as we count)
  • counting to 50 by 10's (and slapping both hands with a partner as we count)
  • And, of course, chewing bubble gum!
I added a few of these things as FREEBIES on TpT... click here for flyer to send home, tracing to 50, ice cream float sequencing, and a past and present sort.  Hope you can use them (either this year or save for next!)  :o)

OH--this summer I found the most wonderful site (while blog hopping, of course I forget which blog was talking about it... sorry!) for getting parent volunteers or parent donations.  It's called Volunteer Spot and I LOVE it!  In fact, I got all the materials for our 50th day in about 2 days (that's the cotton balls, sliders, ice cream, soda, cups, straws, gum, etc!!!).  My class parents think it's the best also--and even our PTO is using it now.  Check it out!  (and no, I am not getting paid for this endorsement... I just really like it! LOL!!)   

My poor, little, neglected blog!

YIKES!  When I look at how long I have neglected this blog, I truly cringe... and I guess that I just have to say that "life happened" and it  (my sweet blog) got away from me.    

I hope you are saying, "yes, yes, that happens to me to!" and have already forgiven me!?  Pretty please with sugar on top?  And an extra cherry!!  

Now that that is settled, let's move on to life in kindergarten.  What happier place is there???  None!  We just celebrated our 50th day of school on Friday--time certainly flies when you're having fun!!  So check back tomorrow for some goodies from our celebration of 50 FABULOUS days!  

Three for Thursday!

I hope you're enjoying teacher week over at Blog Hoppin' as much as I am! Without further ado... my three favorites: font, blog, and online resource!!

I am so happy that I learned about all the Kevin and Amanda fonts this summer...  I have had so much fun exploring them!  There are a lot of favorites!! But the fonts I always gravitate to for school are from a little CD I got way back when (I think my 1st or 2nd year teaching).   It's called Fonts for Teachers.  I love ABC print and ABC print lined, because they look just like the print we want them to do (and "lined" adds standard handwriting lines). 

I have found so many UNBELIEVABLY talented teachers this summer... through all my blog hopping.  It is so hard to choose just one favorite blog!!  But I really was inspired by Hadar at Miss Kindergarten to start my own!  I think she has terrific ideas and a wonderful way of sharing them... THANKS, Hadar!  

Online Resource
Anyone who knows me, knows that I LOVE using and integrating technology in my classroom. There are so many amazing resources available to use in the classroom that make your day to day lessons and activities so much more effective! 

One of our favorites is BrainPop Jr.  The kids love the little snip-its and they are short, sweet, and to the point--while being right on target with our SOL's (Standards of Learning)

Be sure to link up and check out everyone's favorites!!
Blog Hoppin

Where It All Goes Down Wednesday--Classroom Photos!

I've really been enjoying looking at everyone's classroom pictures... in all the various stages. My room is still in the VERY initial stages, but I will update this as I make more progress (teachers start officially next week and the kiddos join us on September 6th).  Link up with Blog Hoppin' to share your pics and check out other classrooms!!

Last Wednesday and Thursday, we did our Kindergarten Round-Up (initial assessments before school starts).  We were booked solid from 8:00 AM till 6:30 PM both days, so I really didn't have any time to work in my room... but I did snap a few *before* pictures. 

This is my BLANK slate!  A plain room with shiny floors and everything pushed to one side of the room. 
SO much to do!  But, I do love this time of year... as a new classroom community is built!!  :o)  

Day 1!
 Monday was my 1st official day working in my classroom.  I got all my furniture set and the carpets shampooed. (No, my rugs will not stay randomly in the middle of the room... although that would be interesting!)

You can see my Promethean board and my library book carpet--2 of my favorite things!  
I also washed all my shelves and started cleaning and setting out book tubs.  This is one of my work station "nooks".  One of those lovely carpets will go here with the short table and pillows (for listening station).   

Day 2!
On Tuesday, I worked on washing up more tubs (these are for Social Studies and Author's tubs).  I also noticed that I need to update some of my labels!

We got a 5th student computer... which was so exciting!  (Of course, that also meant making a place for my 5th computer)  I got all my other computers hooked up too.  You can see my science book tubs and closet door.  

I switched out one of my round tables for another rectangle-- just learned that I'm up to 27 kiddos!!  Can't wait to put out my chair pockets (my assistant made them, and they match the binder boxes for table colors).  

Here's a close-up of the binder boxes that my assistant's husband made last year (I'm SO UPSET that she won't be back this year--she's amazing!!).  We attach their name tag to the Velcro.  The baskets are from Really Good Stuff and slide right underneath (for pencils, crayons, glue sticks, and scissors).  This saved us SO MUCH time last year... compared to having my EAGLE notebooks in a central location, like I used to have them.  

Stay tuned for more updates as my classroom comes together!
Hop over to link up and see more classrooms!!!

Teacher Talk Tuesday

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' for some new teacher advice... but I think these are good for all of us to remember!  :o)  
  • Surround yourself with *POSITIVE* people!  Beware of gossipers... especially in faculty lounges!!  I always ate lunch in the staff lunchroom.  Then I began to notice that the conversations always turned to complaints about students, gripes about parents, and grumbles about administration.  A few of my colleagues and I started eating in our room instead.  We still eat with fellow teachers... but without all the drama!  (And look, no more indigestion!)
  • Be *POSITIVE* with your students too!  Praise, encourage, and praise some more!!  Treat your students with kindness and respect, and they will show you the same in return.  Share great news with their parents too!  If you need to have more serious conversation later, it will come much easier after sharing happy news.  
  • Prep for new students--before you get one!  There are always those days when... *SURPRISE* you have a new student!!  I remember my first class ever... I called it the revolving door.  Over half of the class left during the year, and were replaced with new students!  I even had a few who left--and then came back!!  :o)  There are so many little things to get ready when you have a new student... and don't have the time to do it.   So, when you're getting things prepared at the beginning of the year, make 5-10 extra of everything to store away for that *rainy* day!  I make extra EAGLE notebooks, laminated name tags, cubby tags, lunch plates, birthday surprises, etc.  It really does save you time (and sanity) later!!  
  • Teach (and empower) your students to be independent!  By taking the extra time to teach your students how to complete tasks independently, they gain confidence and essential skills-- as well as a positive attitude!  This gives them pride and that *I can* mentality.  Kindergartners CAN do so much... if given the chance.  My kiddos get their own mail, stuff their EAGLE Notebooks, and record their daily behavior.   They know how to exchange their nightly reading books using library cards and pockets.  PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE is key... do it right from the start! 
  • Organize!  The more organized you are, the easier your school day will be.  Repeat after me... "labels are your friend"!  :o)  Seriously, labels make items easier to find (for your students, parent volunteers, teacher's assistant, and yourself).  Why spend precious time searching for an item?  Last year, I labeled each of the books in my room to match the book tub labels.  This was a *big* project, but saved so much time in the long run, because the kids could return books themselves.  I love using labels with a picture and text.  I also print label sheets with students' names and use them to label supplies, song and poem journals, etc.  I went completely file cabinet free too--and switched to binders!  LOVE it!!  It is so much easier to find things now. 
  • LAUGH and Have FUN!  Start each day with a smile... my kiddos "pick an H" when they walk in the door (handshake, high 5, or a hug).  It helps you have that quick interaction with each and every student.  Throughout the school day--have fun! Don't be afraid to laugh at yourself, and laugh with your students.  Dance, sing, jump, and learn together... this truly builds your classroom community, and makes your classroom a a place where everyone wants to be!
Hope you'll link up to share your tips for both new and experienced teachers!
Blog Hoppin

Meet the Teacher Monday!

I'm SO EXCITED that a wonderful group of teacher bloggers got together for a little Blog Hoppin'!!  It's Teacher Week!
Here's a little about me for "Meet the Teacher Monday"!

Tell us a little something about you...  
I am most proud of two things in my life... my husband Jeff and our daughter Amelia!  Jeff and I celebrated our 7th anniversary this summer.  Amelia turned 2 in April and is a bundle of fun and energy.  Trust me--going back to school is going to be a bit tough... Mommy and Amelia have been enjoying a TON of summertime fun!!!  I mean, how can you resist blue eyes and red curls!? 
I grew up in northeastern Pennsylvania (in the Pocono Mountains).  We now live in northern Virginia, about 45 minutes south of DC.  

How long have you been teaching?
This is my 10th year of teaching.  I started out in half-day kindergarten for a year and then taught first grade for 2 years.  When I moved to my current school, I taught second grade for 2 years.  The next year, our district started full-day kindergarten... I LEAPED at the chance and never looked back!!  This will be my 5th year in full-day K! 

I'm happy to have the perspective from teaching K-2... but my heart is definitely in kindergarten. :o)

You might not know...
that even as a young girl, I knew I would live in Virginia when I grew up!  My Mom grew up in North Carolina, and we lived in Pennsylvania.   Every Easter we would drive (10 hours!) to visit my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins in NC.  Whenever we passed through VA, I would tell my parents--some day, I'm going to live here!  

What are you looking most forward to this school year?
Math Work Stations!!  I got the book after everyone's raves and posts earlier this summer.  I thoroughly enjoyed learning about it through blog hopping and now reading Debbie's work.  I LOVE her stuff!! This is something I have been *trying* so I'm excited to test out some new ideas... because I know it can be better!  Can't wait!!

What do you need to improve?
I think the area I'm most focusing on improving is organization--not the organization that everyone sees (because I am *obsessed* with labels, color coding, and other organization!!).  I'm talking about the behind the scenes stuff...  I completing redid my classroom files into binders this summer, organized my teaching iPod into play-lists, and I want to improve other *hidden* areas.  This is the stuff that REALLY makes your teaching life easier!! :o) 

What teaching supplies can you *not* live without?
BOOKS!  Today was the first day I was back all day working in my room--and what is the first thing I worked on... washing book shelves and book tubs, and getting out my books!  I LOVE having a classroom where other teachers come to look for books!!  

Promethean Board!  I can not believe I ever taught without one... it is such an integral part of our day.  

Music!  We love Heidi Songs, Jack Hartmann, Dr. Jean, Shari Sloane, and more!!  I am a firm believer that if you put it to music, they will learn it!  

LINK UP!!  We'd love to learn about YOU!

Kindergarten Round-Up!

It's crazy to think that summer is coming to an end already... but, we're already gearing up for our Kindergarten Round-Up (next week!).  

Hooray for Blogging Giveaways!!

So excited... I won 3 more giveaways!!  
Thanks so much...

for $10 to Donor's choose!! 
I can't wait to finish my proposal--and then add the 1st $10!  


Thank you...
Teaching Heart Mom
for prize #11:  
How can you go wrong with Fountas and Pinnell?


Thanks to...
Made for 1st Grade
for Musical Math CDs!  
I was actually just uploading the rest of my CDs to my classroom iPod today.  How exciting that now I get to add more!!  

THANK YOU to all of these amazing blogs!!

My 1st SALE!! 30%!!

Join me for my 1st sale... to CELEBRATE the
Back to School Season!!
My entire TpT store is 20% off plus 10% off from TpT
(Use TpT code:  B1T1S) = 30% off!  I'm just getting started with my store, but will add new items all week long to celebrate (freebies too)!
Sale lasts August 1st through August 5th... check it out!  

Want to know who else is having a sale? 
 Check out this linky party on Teaching Blog Addict:

OK, you need to check out these giveaways right away!!

Teaching Heart Mom
Teaching Heart Mom has had a week of giveaways... 18 different ones!!  (ends 7/31)

Made for 1st Grade
Made for 1st Grade has a musical math giveaway!  (ends 8/1)

Kinderglynn has an ESGI membership!  (ends 8/4)

First Things First has a Graphic's Factory membership! (ends 8/6)

Life's a Teach has a Graphic's Factory membership too!  (ends 8/17)

Doodle Bugs Teaching has personalized stickers!  (ends 8/5)

Surviving a Teacher\
Surviving a Teacher's Salary has $30 to Amazon!  (ends 8/19)

A Teeny Tiny Teacher
A Teeny Tiny Teacher has $20 for Barnes and Nobles!  (ends 7/31)


Classroom Library...organize it with labels: FICTION!!

If you were to take one step into my classroom, you will notice that I am in LOVE with children's books!!!  I like to spread my classroom library out throughout the room... so the kids truly know the importance of reading--everywhere you look, there are books!  I use different colored tubs for the different subject areas of my classroom library:
yellow tubs= Authors and book series
green tubs= Science
blue tubs= Math
red tubs=Social Studies
white tubs= sight word readers / beginning readers

 On each book tub in my room, I attach a large label that has an author photo and a book cover by that author. You can even attach a duplicate label to the shelf, so students know exactly where to return the book tub!  

Every book in my collection has a book label added to it before placing it into the book tub.  By having a matching visual (the author’s picture), students can independently return books to the correct book tub.  This really helps keep my Classroom Library clean and organized!!  If a book is found anywhere in the room--the kids know where to return it!  What a time-saver!

And the winner is....

Sorry for the delay... but here are the winners of My SWEET Giveaway!!

1st prize:  $15 Coldstone gift card
The winner is... Sarah of Confessions of an Untenured Teacher!

2nd prize:  $10 Coldstone gift card 
The winner is... Nancy of the Apple Basket Teacher!

Please send me your email within 48 hours to claim your prize.  CONGRATULATIONS!

PS  Do you have an ELMO?  My friend Lindsey at Whyte Water would love to hear about it--ELMO LINKY party!!